Shades Of Fall

Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive Autumns. ~George Eliot

Fall Whisper, Illustration, Courtesy and © Dante Lividini 2017

Illustration ‘Fall Whisper’ From The Wisetrees Series By The Artful Blog’s Favorite Artist Illustrator Dante Lividini. Beautiful new tribute piece inspired by the seasonal sights and sounds of Fall and our magical little property. A wonderful world of nature spirits botanical beauties & forest family friends full of whimsy wit wisdom & wonder.

Autumnal Equinox Blessings! ‘Tis the season that gets us thinking about trees and tuning into the beauty of the landscape that surrounds us. Equinox is the point when the Sun crosses the equator and everywhere on Earth day and night are approximately of equal length. Symbolically, it can be viewed as the point when day meets night, where opposites meet on equal ground, where we can integrate the duality within the oneness of existence. The ancients, who knew themselves to be at one with the Earth, honored these planetary shifts as important reflections of life. As above so below, As within, so without.

Illustrations (shown here & below) from Chapter One: Raven The Maker -An Inuit Myth, Chapter Seven: Ilmatar The Goddess Of Air -A Finno-Ugric Myth, Chapter Two: Tepu And Gucumatz -A Mayan Myth, Chapter Four: Nyambe The Creator -A Lozi Myth & Chapter Five: Ymir The Frost Giant -A Norse Myth.

From the newly published graphic novel Dawn of Time: Creation Myths Around The World, (Author) Nel Yomtov, (Illustrator) Dante Lividini, Capstone Press, 2017. Part of a Graphic Library series: Universal Myths

Forests play a prominent role in many myths and legends. In these dark, mysterious places, heroes can lose their way, face unexpected challenges, and stumble on hidden secrets. Part of the age-old magic of forests lies in the ideas that people have had about trees. In mythology from around the world, trees appear as ladders between worlds, as sources of life and wisdom, and as the physical forms of supernatural beings -nature spirits were thought to inhabit trees and forests. The mythology of early India, preserved in texts called the Upanishads, includes a cosmic tree called ‘Asvattha.’ It is the living universe, an aspect of ‘Brahman,’ the World Spirit. This cosmic tree reverses the usual order. Its roots are in the sky, and its branches grow downward to cover the earth.

Dawn of Time gathers seven ancient multicultural creation stories from various traditions around the world so readers can discover the unique differences and similarities between the cycles and seasons of life within world mythology -all recreated in artful graphic novel format Dante Lividini style.

About

Dante Lividini is a New England-based illustrator, graphic novelist and 3-D animation artist whose work, constructed with considerable imaginative care, invites a mythological journey. With a Master’s Degree in Literature from New York University, and a background in teaching and contemplative arts, Dante cleverly weaves the art of storytelling of all that is mysterious and miraculous in the natural world throughout his work, infusing it with meaning, depth, and metaphor.

Dante’s evocative ‘Wisetree’ illustrations are all deeply rooted in nature and myth. Prompting a rare kind of empathy towards his subjects, thoughtful connections between rustic gods & nature spirits, half-humans & heroes, biosphere & biophilia, trees & time, and the realms above and below human experience, blossom. We discover an unfolding meditation on those existential dilemmas that surround us all, and a world of its own in the making. Resonating otherworldliness and sublime beauty. Presently, he is completing another graphic novel project, and works for the award-winning visual effects studio FuseFX in NYC.

For More Autumn Inspiration & Magical Wisetree Artwork By Dante See Previous Post: Autumn Always

On Mantra

Mantra and its practice are part of ancient Vedic tradition first developed by wise spiritualists who connected the sounds of the natural world around them to a greater universal energy. They saw sound and its vibrational quality as the audible manifestation of the energy to which we are all connected. They recognized that no matter who or where in the world a person is, if one sit’s quietly long enough, one can hear those connective sounds, and not only that, but can achieve peace through the concentrated practice of listening and repeating them. The sages began to mimic such sound patterns that they heard as a form of meditation, achieving a greater sense of clarity, awareness, and transcendent peace. This same concept, thousands of years later, can be appropriated to bring us closer to our highest self and to achieving what we most desire.

Traditional Mantra Meditation uses existing Sanskrit hymns and chants that have been shared and practiced apart of Vedic tradition. These mantras are typically vocations towards certain deities for blessings specific to them. The sounds of these prayers said in repetition are meant to induce a deeper meditative state, such as when a lullaby soothes a child to sleep. The linguistic nature of traditional mantra and the quality of their sounds works to quiet mental chatter and fosters a peaceful environment for the body and mind to exist. Examples of traditional mantras are: Om (ohm): The simplest to repeat, yet a powerful acknowledgement of connection between all beings. Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu (lo-kah sah-mah-stah sue-kee-no bah-vain-to): Asking for peace and contentment for all living things. Om namah shivaya (Ohm nah-mah she-vah-yah): An acknowledgement of the power, beauty, and unique perfection of another being.

Personal or Unique Mantra is another way of approaching the practice and benefiting from it. Just as is true of thoughts, there are no right or wrong mantras. Rather, your mantra is based on personal experience, and holds power as an individual and unique expression of what you most desire. Whether it be aimed at manifesting security, deep connection, pervasive self-confidence, or release from suffering, the only requirement of mantra is that it is authentic.

Spend a half hour with your journal, preferably in the morning when your mind is fresh, free-writing about what it is you desire at this moment in time. Without over-analyzation or personal judgement, let it flow freely. Writing it down will help you to gain clarity on what is most pertinent for you in the current moment. Decide which idea, goal, concept, emotion, etc., it is you want to focus on first. Once you have a sense of it in your mind, turn it into a declarative statement. Imagine you already have what you are looking to attract as part of your reality.

The Personal Mantra is an individualized expression. A concentrated effort to help you achieve stillness, and peace and ultimately aids in creating your optimal reality. Whatever that is for you at this moment, is right. As a side note, you can have multiple mantras at the ready, however when meditating with the mantra, it is important to repeat only one at a time in order to focus your energy towards one thing instead of smaller efforts towards multiple goals.

Mantra Recipe

  • 1/2 hour spent alone journaling about what you seek to attain
  • Refinement of what speaks to you as the most pertinent to focus on
  • Written declarative statement
  • 10 minutes daily quiet time sitting or walking slowly to repeat your mantra
  • Try incorporating mantra into your meditation practice and pay attention to what arises

Mother’s Day

Practice kindness gather love ~Proverb

“All living beings have been your mother in a former life” say Buddhist teachings that encourage altruism toward others. On Mother’s Day, we practice learning to see all beings as our mother -or whoever cared for us when we were young, in order to shift toward a kinder way of being. The more we engage in this type of contemplation, using rebirth as a metaphor, the more we develop a sense of equanimity, and are better able to relate with compassion and empathy.

Bodhicitta or the Thought of Awakening is the aspiration to realize enlightenment for the benefit of others. “The jewel that is the seed of pure happiness in the world and the remedy for the suffering of the world.”  Enlightening beings, called bodhisattvas, altruistic heroes of the mind, seek to generate the thought of awakening and then maintain the thought as they fare on the Buddha path. In Tibetan Buddhism, bodhicitta is said to have six causes: 1) Seeing All Sentient Beings As One’s Mothers,  2) Remembering Their Kindness, 3) Repaying Their kindness, 4) Love,  5) Boundless Compassion, and 6) Altruistic Intention.