Last October while on my way south I had the great pleasure of experiencing Terra Casa Retreat Center. What a wonderful peaceful place of high energy! I was invited to come and help create art on the property. One of the first things that I did was walk TCRC's trails with John who pointed out different plants and trees. As an environmental artist trail walking is a magical experience above and beyond the connection to nature, learning new information and quieting one's mind in moving meditation. Trail walks to me are treasure hunts. I seek nature's paintbox. Some people just see lichen. I see sea-foam crackle paint. Others see moss. I see green velvet or terrycloth. There is a myriad of colors and textures everywhere in the woods and it is a joy to go foraging in the forest.
Joy Joy... Amber and I put our maker hats on and collaborated in the design of a large earth mandala. “Mandala” is a Sanskrit word meaning circle. Loosely used it can represent a circle of friends or community. Buddhist monks make sand mandalas in silent prayer and do so for inner and outer peace. When finished they brush the sand away. The sand that is not taken by the wind is placed into the nearest stream. This is to let the prayer's energy travel throughout the world. Also the destruction of the mandala itself symbolizes the impermanence of all things including us and our thoughts. Many of my earth mandalas are also temporary giving way to the wind. The Terra Casa Mandala however was made to “transform” with the seasons rather than fully disappear. As a guest of TCRC you too are a transformative beauty. Relax, be quiet and experience a calm, pleasant change in yourself.
The design... After agreeing on a five pointed star design we set out with Eric to gather “paint” in the form of moss, pine cones, pods, and sticks and stones. As winter would soon be showing itself with snow I wanted to make sure that the design's basic template would stay in place.
John helped by cutting a sumac that needed to be removed from atop the berm house. He measured out each of the star's sides and I set them half of their circumference into the lawn. I wired a circular shape for the center made of area pine cones, Eric placed a rock/stone rim and Amber designed the center and smaller circles. It was a community effort of love and natural magic.
With Plattekill's spring right around the corner I await to see if the basic structure held it's place. I think it has. With a little sprucing up it will be ready to be renewed with new foraged materials or seeded and planted as an herb garden. The proximity to the house and kitchen makes a mandala herb garden perfect for Amber's fantastic healthy cooking!
It was a blessed week-long visit. I not only had a delightful time with plants and people making art I also had the chance to stay in the beautiful berm house AND two additional days in the tiny log cabin in the back of the property. What could be better you ask? Doing it again. This itinerant artist looks forward to visiting when she migrates north in the summer.
Many thanks angels, both earth and heavenly for the opportunity to “BE” at Terra Casa Retreat Center. Wishing everyone well.