Monday, January 06, 2020


Epiphany is a symbolically and  spiritually sacred and holy
day following the Christmas season on January 6th of the new year.

 It is the Christian holi-day for recognizing the manifestation of God through the journey of the three wise men or magii to the visitation at the stable in Bethlehem.

The Three Wise Men came bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, as they followed the light of the Star of Bethlehem, to their revelation and understandings of the Christ child, Jesus.

The journey towards the light, the magic of that revelation, and the power of the gift, itself, are all seen as their own 'Epiphany', or manifestation of the Divine, and the gifts of the the Godhead of that Divine, the Universal all knowing, all seeing, all being presence of the "I am".

The journey itself, is not an easy one but the giving of holy (rooted to the original halen or healing meaning of that journey, those magii or holy men as well as the rare and deeply meaningful gifts to their young king of kings

Today, in secular terminology, an epiphany is a sudden realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something. It is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify receiving new information or having an experience that illuminates a deeper understanding.

The journeys to our destinations of those understandings may take a great deal of time and many challenges but we arrive at a place of receiving the aha gifts that also arrive from the ahhhhhh of amen.

All of our roots no matter your personal, spiritual, or religious beliefs arrive from the same holy aha/ahmen source or our roots. The word re-ligion from the original holy language msans to link back. We link back to our holy virecof belief if blessings and of our understanding to the level we each of us is at.

It's a wonderful day for looking both inside to where your own gifts lie and then looking outside of your self to how you might best use those gifts for the good of the world.

Consider the idea of selecting your own word of the year. The word that best represents the gift you would like to give to yourself, for your own blessings of transformation or the gifts you can give to others because of the blessings of your gifts.

To 'have an epiphany' is to have a 'wow' or 'aha' moment. Suddenly, every thing is crystal clear, seen, understood or recognized. 

I long for aha moments. But I am grateful for any gifts, in any manifestation, that I receive.

On a more personal level, I've had many, many "aha" moments in my own life. I always saw them as I saw my own lifetime gifts of knowledge abd intuition as sacred and to be used for my own growth or to help others by caring and giving  of gifts in return.

As some of my holi-day gifts over the years, were some of these highly valued and sacred resins, shown below  Lovely and so symbolic, they were unusual and unexpected and appreciated holiday gifts.

I'd always wanted both frankincense and myrrh and was delighted to receive them. I placed my gifts within an abalone shell (my own gift from the sea) and now have gold (shown: gold pyrite), frankincense, which is the pale yellow resin, and myrhh, the golden amber resin.

These, of course, are the three gifts of the magii as they came bearing gifts on Epiphany. In the current dating and historical referencing of Christianity, January 6th of each year is known as Epiphany.

I was also given the gifts of a resin known as dragonsblood (dark red chunks) from the Canary Islands and Morocco, and copal (white chunks), a plant resin sacred to the Mayans.

All highly treasured throughout time among many cultures and belief systems. I treasure them greatly as well. Symbols and signs carry deep meaning and can be seen depending on your own spiritual, historical,  or cultural view and belief system.

Another year, I received an unusual selection of salts, Red Alea Salt, Cyprus Flake Salt, and Black Lava Salt.   I was also given a dainty salt spoon for serving them, a little mortar and pestle, and another smaller jar of frankincense of myrrh.

Seen as a miracle in themselves, all salts, precious minerals, and resins are quite mysterious, really. Mystical sap emanating from sacred plants and trees, which magically hardened with contact with the air and emit exotic fumes when burned as incense.

And of course many of you will recognize dried sage...a gift to many peoples for both burning and purification and of course, for a seasoning herb in cooking.

While I do grow my own garden sage, as shown tied by embroidery twine into a bundle or simple 'wand'. I love receiving them as gifts or growing my own. I use them as a natural decor element as i do rocks, or flowers, or gourds or pinecones.

In 2018, I was gifted a bag of the loveliest white sage. Just looking at it is calming, holding it feels very cleansing and reminds me as 2019 ends, and we usher in 2020 how important it is to let go of old grudges, angers, jealousies or ped ins that we had in this last year and begin the New Year of 2020 with an open mind, heart and spirit.

My eldest daughter has given me many lovely herbs. As a trained medical herbalist, she once gifted my spice rack with the most unusual things with very unusual, even exotic, even strange names.

I, of course do love making my own Alaskan remedies such as my Cottonwood or Devil's Club lip balm, a fun recipe and great Alaskan experience gifted to me by my sister-in-law, Paula, from Douglas Island, where I grew up and visit when I can.

We share a love of arts and crafts and without her making these fun projects including paper making, tree sap and beeswax balms, creams, and ointments, (and learning to work with clay in her fabulously fun pottery studio) would have been much more challenging, or even unlikely.

Dried roots and leaves and such that I felt a great kinship with those women who'd cared for their families with balms and salves and concoctions and tinctures of all kinds. She makes a lovely elderberry elixir that is praised and valued for winters ills by all who've tried in.

And always, I bring the outside in with fresh greens, flowers, vines and fruits, vegetables, and berries. Gifts from the earth with the transformation with energies of the heart and the work of our hands.

Oops, did I sneak chocolate Christmas mice and Rachel Ray fudge into ny elixirs? Ha again.

But yes, some days an epiphany moment requires the "gift of the gods" otherwise  known as chocolate. Ahhhhh-ha!

And of course my own DIY tutorial on how to make paper :

All of these precious gifts from days long ago, carefully mined, collected, and saved and used as currency or as gifts to those most worthy. Now, often unknown by people today, but treasures they remain.

May I honor the opportunity to share love and goodness with each person I meet. May I allow them and may they allow me to meet as equal and holy beings learning from one another in this earth school and recignizing the blessing of life, health, and love for as long as we may experience them.

Celebrate Epiphany...the giving of the gifts, and the "aha" moments of awareness.  Light a candle in a window, give gifts of your own, celebrate the dawning of a new light into a new world.

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.

Friday, January 03, 2020

Craft in America: Quilts

If you missed last night's newest episide of Craft in America: Quilts,
it is still available to view at this link below.

In the past, this award winning PBS series periodically featured short segments on quilts and quilters in America. They were extremely well done documenteries and incredibly interesting to crafters and artists of all kinds.

But over the past decades quilting interest and the number of quilters in America has skyrocketed as has the interest in quilts and their quilters.

In the newest series the entire program was devoted to quilts.  With a focus on  
contemporary quilters from diverse traditions the program with a team of six, celebrate the important role quilts have played in our country’s story.

Featuring four contemporary quilters selected by a team based on surveys and interest groups quilt artists, Susan Hudson, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Michael A. Cummings, Judith Content, the International Quilt Museum, and with special guest Ken Burns. 

The series begins at the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, where the world’s largest publicly held collection of approximately 6,000 quilts from more than 50 countries, dating from the 1600s to today.

Twenty-eight of those quilts are owned by filmmaker Ken Burns.
And to quote the already legendary documentary fim maker.

“This is what human beings are required to do, to take raw materials and transform them into something greater than the sum of their parts,” Burns says. “And that’s what a quilt is, that’s what art is.”

And as artist Susan Hudson so beautifully explains her creative process:

Albuquerque Journal

I start to see visions coming through my head,” she says. 
“It’s like those old-time movie projectors where the pictures come slowly and cut in and out. 
That’s my process. I take the time to figure out how I’m going to re-create each one.” 
After the visions appear, Hudson then looks for help from her spirit helpers.
“I always seek guidance from them,” she says. “I’ll put an idea to the side and pray on about it. Then about 10 minutes later, I’ll see how I’m going to fix or continue something
It always involves more than just me. The spiritual guidance is there to ensure that the story is told boldly and truthfully.”

The programs also features New York based quilters Victoria Finley Wolfe.

and Michael A. Cummings,

as well as 

California-based quilter Judith Content.

To watch the video now while the link is still available go to:

QUILTS episode | Season 11 Episode 1 | Craft in America | PBS

To read about the exhibition

Craft in America: Quilts 4 Directions

Fundraiser by Terin (Tiffany) Bilyeu : Terin's cancer fund

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Blessings of the Solstice

Somewhere, out at the edges, the night
is turning and the waves of darkness
Begin to brighten on the shore of dawn.
The heavy dark falls back to earth
And the freed air goes wild with light,
The heart fills with fresh, bright breath
And thoughts stir to give birth to color.

I arise today
In the name of Silence
Womb of the Word,
In the name of Stillness
Home of Belonging,
In the name of Solitude
Of the soul and the Earth.

I arise today
Blessed by all things,
Wings of breath,
Delight of eyes,
Wonder of whisper,
Intimacy of touch,
Eternity of soul,
Urgency of thought,
Miracle of health,
Embrace of God.

May I live this day
Compassionate of heart,
Clear of word,
Graciousness in awareness,
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love.

John O’Donohue, Irish poet and philosopher
“Matins” (Morning Prayer)
From To Bless the Space Between Us

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.