Connecting the Dots

I am on a mission to connect the dots of my life to finally figure out some important things. As part of that, and for some fun learning, I enrolled into an exciting course learning about totem animals and how they can help and guide us in our lives.

The course gives so much food for thought. Even though I initially I enrolled in the hope of ‘just some creative fun’ to add spice to my serious soul search for deeper answers, the course has completely drawn me in and provided such a lot of serious and exciting insights.

Between happily jumping into the fun world of the animals and wonderful kindred human souls who are part of the course or tribe and drawing back in resistance to so many different issues, I have managed to delve deep and hold on to this crazy ride.

I am trying to really let myself go with the flow and allow things to happen. And that is what I want to tell you about.

Black Leopard Sleeping

Black Leopard. Sleeping

Ok, so my main foundational totem is the black leopard. I guess I need to write much more about that at another time, but now I am onto something very different and more immediate. I had been thinking about how the leopard pulls its prey into a tree, to keep it safe from other bigger predators. Two other totem animals of mine move into trees (or live there) for safety.

Then it struck me, that I had a vision about myself as a tree two days ago and because it was so striking I made a small painting in my sketchbook about it.

I felt as if I was a tree growing from the top downwards, with the bottom trunk and roots missing.

The tree could not bloom or produce leaves until those parts eventually grow and connect it with the earth and its nurturing soil and water, its hold and steadfastness. A place to be.

Floating Tree

Floating Tree (quick sketchbook drawing)

I took a photograph, in order to be able to share it or continue working on it in a digital format. When I downloaded it, I realised that there were still a whole bunch of other older photographs I have taken, but not downloaded yet…

Interestingly they were mostly of trees – treetops in the mist and a wire baobab tree that we got as a gift for our wedding. And of the bottom of my coffee cup, where the residue has left…. You guessed it: the shape of a tree floating in the air.

Coffee grounds tree

Coffee grounds in my mug:  can you see the floating tree?

Wire Baobab from Namibia

Wire Baobab Tree from Namibia – another photo found still on my camera

My favourite tree is the Baobab. So I looked up its symbolism. Its protective, nourishing and healing and can survive in harsh climates, because it stores water in its trunk. It is also a symbol of strength…

It is also known as the ‘upside-down tree’ – according to myth, the gods planted the tree upside-down in error.

Which reminded me of my initial version, of the tree growing from the top to the bottom and also about something I created just over a year ago, when I felt depressed and generally pretty lost:

Sometimes the world seems upside down

Sometimes the world seems upside down

These are so many dots connecting and I will have to ponder about the lessons that entails. So I decided to write it down. While writing, I thought I could just as well post it as a blog. I thought that this is probably a bit too spiritual and way-out for my main art blog and I decided to post it first on my Baobabs, Magic and Art blog.  And then it struck me that even the title of this blog adds another dot to connect to the mystical tree…

And it led me further to another poem and image, which I had made and posted on there in June last year:

trying to grow new roots

Trying to grow new roots
In a foreign land
With my feet on unfamiliar ground

Trying to become grounded
Return to the earth
And feel at home

Drawing strength
From below
From belonging

I have no roots
Here
Yet

© Imke Rust

And hopefully I will eventually find or grow my roots so that this tree won’t be floating around in uncertainty anymore, but will find its place and grow into a big nurturing, protective, creative and healing tree. 🙂

Wishing you a beautiful start to the week!

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10 thoughts on “Connecting the Dots

  1. ute

    Connecting the dots is most inspiring, fascinating, impressive,(thought) provoking; I wonder why Freud discusssed totem together with tabu – I shall try to find out-
    Love – Ute

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    1. Imke Rust Post author

      Thank you, Ute. I love to hear from you. Interesting to read about Freud and his essays – I just googled it to get a quick idea, will have to read more about it when I have some time. Liebe Grüsse!

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  2. Janet Botes

    Wow, Imke, such inspiring news and thoughts!! Thank you for sharing! I think as artists it is important that we give our followers and viewers such a wide or indepth look into who we are as we can, or are comfortable with, so I applaude your decision to share here! It’s also part of growing your roots and connecting to earth, in my opinion, to allow disparate pieces of your life to come together, even here on your website – a digital realm. I am currently in the same process – bringing together my spirituality, environmental/activist convictions and my professional image as artist to come together, painting a fuller picture to others about who I am and what my work is about. I absolutely love the tree formed from the coffee grounds, I got goosebumps when I saw it. Very special… Same thing with your poem!

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    1. Imke Rust Post author

      Dear Janet, welcome to my blog! and thank you for your kind words. It is as you say: I realised that I am more than ‘just an artist’ and I want to really give the spirituality and other parts of who I am more space and acknowldegement. And I am happy to see that you are at a similar space in your life – I love following your blog and activities that you share!

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  3. Celia Wilson

    Your post resonated with me; we have just moved house, only 2 kilometres down the road but from a rural with much loved large rambling garden to an urban with an urban sized, severely fenced section of land and a sparse, manicured garden ( – that won’t last long!). I have found new possibilities, however, and in the wandering around the town I have found all sorts of weeds providing new art and dye research avenues for my task of joining the dots, ‘finding new roots’ and earthing myself in the new place. I, perhaps, need a totem – I was thinking of the kereru, the New Zealand wood pigeon. They are large birds, and visited us at the old house. A few days after we moved in here, one of them – was it one of the pair of visitors? – swooped over the house, just checking where we had got to perhaps! Must investigate that.

    A quick check reveals that ‘kereru are classified as [in] Gradual Decline (NZ Department of Conservation)… [through h]abitat loss, predation, competition and illegal hunting. Wood pigeon play a vital role in regeneration of the forest by eating a variety of native fruit seeds, which they later disperse over a wide area’. So we are back to trees.

    Thanks for a lovely, thought provoking post, Imke.

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    1. Imke Rust Post author

      I am so happy to hear that this post has resonated with you, Celia! I can imagine that you miss your garden (I really miss mine), but great that you are open to see the urban city with its weeds as your new garden and to provide for your dyes. 🙂
      Totems are really so much fun and such a cool way of connecting to the world around you, looking at situations in a new light etc. and yes, to act as guides or connections to the wilderness or trees, which you have left. Some animals are totems while others are just temporary guides or messengers… So it would be cool to find out what the kereru is for you and what it is telling you.

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  4. Indigo Spider

    Wow, I don’t know where to start… this struck me in so many ways, so many emotions and thoughts floating through my own mind after reading this. I feel as you do, rootless and wandering, trying to find a place to plant my roots and seeking to nurture them; on my own spiritual journey as well. I’ve been trying to connect the dots for a few years now, sometimes I feel close to making the connection, finding my place, and other times I feel as though I will float endlessly. I have no idea what my totem animal would be but I suspect it is either a raven (love them!) or something water related as I just adore being in the water. I often dream of being underwater, floating happily with turtles, whales & all manner of fish, as if I’m some kind of fish myself (or mermaid). Sometimes I dream that I am floating among the stars but it is also a vast ocean, made of both galaxies & water, discovering new “water” creatures as I swim in the current of the universe.

    As for the pictures… first, the black leopard looks like my (sleeping at the moment) kitty Harley. Harley is missing his Lyrica, who died earlier this week, and somehow the sketch reminds me of both Harley (who is a big kitty and all black) and Lyrica, who was black and white but when she curled up sleeping you only saw her black fur. The coffee cup scared me a bit because the first thing I saw was a mushroom cloud, like from an atom bomb, but I do see the tree as well. The baobab tree, I never knew that was what it was called but my parents had a similar tree that they received as a wedding gift. I remember seeing it my mother’s china cabinet when I was growing up and always wondered if that was a real tree or just an artist rendition of a tree. The picture of your legs in the stars reminds me of the dreams I have when I’m swimming in the universe 🙂

    Sorry for such a long, scattered reply but, as I said, there are so many emotions and thoughts bubbling through my mind from reading this! I need to re-read and absorb a bit more. Thanks for such a great post; my muse & my soul are contemplating now!

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    1. Imke Rust Post author

      Wow, thank you so much! I am so touched by your response, I just love it when what I do sends people on their own association journey and hopefully sparks some inspiration to your soul and muse! I love your associations to the pictures and am happy that you have found out that the mystical baobab truly exists.
      You usually have one foundational totem and several other totems, so it might be all of the ones mentioned. I have even read that mermaids, unicorns and dragons could be considered as a totem, although they would probably be represented by some other ‘real’ animal, like a dolphin. Ususally animals that we really have strong connections to, are found as part of your totemic circle. Its really fun to find out your totem animal, I can just totally recommend Emelie Archer Pickett (the link in the post) to help you get started. 🙂

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