In Pursuit of the Numinous | Facing the winds of change

 
Tree Talker Art Blog | In pursuit of the numinous  | Facing the winds of change
 

My time in the desert is nearly up!

I can’t believe how quickly time has flown while I’ve been out here. I am on the last few months of my contract, but I do think I am ready for a new adventure. The desert has been very healing for me and I’m going to miss this place for sure…

Being the temporary keeper of this land has been a magical and rewarding experience. Living off grid like this changed the way I look at a lot of things, and I’m thankful for the life altering lessons I’ve learned out here.

This has been such an inspiring place to live!

I am going to miss those beautiful sunsets that show up every night and the ever changing weather that rides in on the voices of the wind.

I have loved living in a place where the pine trees and the cactus mix… I’ve loved the feeling of both solitude and community that this area has provided me with.

From the mountainous views as far as the eye can see… to the oddly shaped roots and branches that beg for stories to be told about them... I’ll miss it all.

But I’m thankful for all the beauty I’ve seen, the photos I’ve taken, the adventures I’ve been on, and desert treasures I’ve found along the way.

This truly has been a magical place!

While I am sad to leave the desert behind, I do feel ready to find my new home! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me… House hunting is not my favorite task by any means, but I’m not too worried…

I have a particular talent in finding the numinous.

I’ve been living in remote locations for about 4 years now and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live in a city again!

Don’t get me wrong, Santa Fe is one of the most inspiring and beautiful cities I’ve ever been to, but I love to plan my trips into town! Especially when the drive is beautiful. Being about an hour or so from Santa fe and other surrounding cities means it’s vital to plan ahead and make lists of the things I need. Because I leave the cob house so rarely, I also have to include day trips and adventures into my normal in town errands if I’m going to explore the area at all.

Santa Fe has been my favorite city to visit and live near... so far.

It took several attempts, but Gavin and I finally were able to see the Miracle Staircase in the Loretto Chapel! (pictured above!)

Exploring the history of Old Town Santa Fe as well as the other fun small artsy towns always provided me fresh inspiration and awe.

I still have a month or so left here and a little list of all the things I want to do before I head off to my new home. So far, my list includes the Georgia O’Keeffe museum and Meow Wolf both in Santa Fe!

Santa Fe has been a great city for me… but I think I am going to miss the little town of Madrid the most. This has been one of my favorite places ever. It’s about 20 minutes from my house and the town I drive through to get into town town. (You know, the kind with a gas station.) At first it was weird they didn’t even have a gas station, but after a short while, I learned to love how remote (and strange) this little town is.

It wasn’t long before I started to get to know everyone by name at the coffee shop and post office. It’s such a fun and unique artist town.. I really am going to find it hard to say goodbye to this place. Hopefully I’ll get to come visit in the airstream one day.

Tree Talker Art Blog | In pursuit of the numinous  | Facing the winds of change |

I’m not entirely sure what is next for me… but I hope it involves pine trees and mountain views. I’ve been house hunting for the last few months, and I have faith the perfect opportunity will work out.

Living here in the desert for the last year and a half has been such a blessing despite some of the challenges I’ve had to face.

I’ve had to put a lot of projects and ideas on hold while I’ve been here so that I can process and heal, but I am hoping my next place will have adequate land for my airstream so I can finally get her up and running.

I also want to get back to that oracle deck I started a while ago! As well as a few other projects I’ve had on the back burner. I don’t like to put creative projects on hold, even though sometimes it just has to happen.

Tree Talker Art Blog | In pursuit of the numinous  | Facing the winds of Change | Tree Talker Art Journal Pages

This last year, I’ve been mostly working in my art journal. I make myself a new one for my birthday each year, and last year I made myself a very thick book.

I’m determined to fill in each page in with either art, poetry, writing or dream journaling. It’s been really healing to focus on my journal for a little bit instead of put expectations on myself with large paintings.

Since it’s a pretty big journal, I can still scan in work and make it available for patrons, or put it in the shop!

This is my second year art journaling in a journal made by my own two hands… and it really does hold so much extra magick!

 
 

My art journal is my place for both therapy and experimentation, but not much of the journal would make much sense without an explanation from me… luckily I do go into quite a bit of depth and detail behind the meanings of the ones I show, over on my patreon!

Sometimes, my patrons even get art prints or mini-originals that match some of my private journals!

I LOVE sending things in the mail… and I’m thankful Patreon gives me the opportunity to send out surprises to my patrons! I love that Patreon gives me the ability to connect with people on a more personal and even private level.

I blog over at the private patreon blog pretty often. They get to hear about my random ideas and project ideas as well as the deeper meanings of some of my work. They are also the first to hear news and get updates from me.

The support of my patrons and blog followers is so important and appreciated!

My art journal is great for relieving stress and anxiety, especially about this upcoming move… but having my circle of support is more helpful than many realize!

I’m hoping that the great house hunt will be over soon so that I can start to direct my energy towards creating the new home and other creative ventures.

I can’t wait to share my future plans with you soon! Keep your fingers crossed for me and send some good energy my way that I can align myself with the perfect opportunity.

I’m ready to put down roots and not move again for a LONG time. I can’t afford land of my own yet, but I am hopeful I can find some land and a cabin for rent that will be as inspiring and magical as where I am at now.

Tree Talker Art Blog | In pursuit of the numinous  | Facing the winds of Change |  Moving
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Rachael Caringella

I am an Artist, Mystic and Oracle. I have been creating since I was little, and am constantly working on something new in the studio. I also have a passion for illustration. I have illustrated a few children's books as well as some Tarot decks and Oracle decks. Aside from creating art, I am also a card reader. I specialize in Tarot and Crystal readings. I love all things mystic, and spiritual and I delight in the mixture of creation and intuition.

New Year, New Art, New Start

Snowed In - Desert Off Grid Life - Tree Talker Art

It seriously felt like January lasted forever!

It just seemed to drag on despite starting off so rocky. I’m not complaining or anything… it was just a really overwhelming month full of the unexpected.

Last year I had pulled a year-ahead-spread for myself with the Untamed Truth Oracle, and I feel like that gave me some perspective that I enjoyed and used last year. I’ve really missed that so far this year! I guess it’s not too late to pull a new reading for myself… cause WTF.

I did the New Moon Blog post for Spirit de la Lune for this month, and while I wrote about expecting the unexpected, it is still a tricky thing to do.

I remember last year’s winter out here in the desert wasn’t bad at all. We got a few inches of snow, and I felt a little bit bad for the desert life out here. But everyone said that’s the typical winter for this area. So,I used last year’s winter as my example for preparing for THIS Winter…

Oops!

New Mexico got hit with quite the snowstorm!

Just before the drive, I made a mental image of a hawk facing a snowstorm… I didn’t know it would be days before I would get to actually paint it!

Just before the drive, I made a mental image of a hawk facing a snowstorm… I didn’t know it would be days before I would get to actually paint it!

On our way back from visiting family for the holidays, Gavin and I got caught in the blizzard just hours away from my house. We spun out in the ice totalling a borrowed car and stranding us in the storm.

Gavin and I have been dating long-distance for a few months now, but we’ve known each other for a long time. We work together really well… probably because we worked together when we were younger. (He was one of my first crushes!)

Anyways… After hitting the ice patch it took us several days and several tows to get ourselves back to the Santa Fe area, where no one was prepared for this year’s winter either.

The trip was now lasting much longer than I prepared for, and I had cats at home! (Luckily I had cameras set up to watch their food and water levels)

By the time we made it to the Santa Fe area, I got word from a neighbor that my house had about 3-4 feet of snow up there. No tractors could get in and out, and no car rental places had any cars with 4 wheel drive!

We finally were able to secure a truck with 2 wheel drive and the determinitaion that we would be hiking in the snow to the house.

It was an adventure. We had all of our luggage from the trip, our food, and the dogs with us! This was quite a journey walking back and forth in the 4 feet of snow. I gave Gavin my snowshoes for one of the trips and he was able to smash us a path. I at least had snow boots!

When we finally reached the house I was thankful the house was relatively warm. I knew they had enough food and water, but I’m thankful my cob house has thick walls to keep the winter chill out.

Snowed In - Desert Off Grid Life - Tree Talker Art

We couldn’t stay and rest for too long, we had heard that a new storm was coming... and like I said, I was not prepared.

Plus, our rental was marooned in a snowbank and we had to go shovel it out… When we got there, we heard many of the neighbors were snowed in or needed help or supplies delivered.

It was inspiring to see a bunch of other off-grid hermits come together to help each other like that.

I love meeting fellow off-gridders. We love to share tips and advice to make our lives easier. We gave rides, and helped deliver supplies and shovel people out for most of the day, then ran into town with my neighbor for more supplies.

We had to be careful with how much we brought back because we had a long ways to hike in all the snow.

I’m very thankful for Gavin! He carried back firewood, propane and so many groceries… often at the same time! I felt pretty bad following him with my load which felt tiny in comparison to his.

He was also able to play around and fix with an old propane heater we found in my back room.

That and the firewood helped the house stay so nice and toasty… even when the snow came in through the front door!

Because of the solar panel system we weren’t able to get a full charge on a some of the days it snowed so much. This resulted in some fun cozy candle lit nights with audio books or card games.

 
Snowed In - Desert Off Grid Life - Tree Talker Art
 

I am very thankful Gavin has come back into my life. I feel very lucky to be loved by him… He’s inspiring and supportive of me and my work and I can actually create around him. (Which is big for me!) He helps me expand my ideas and encourages my creativity while helping me in so many other ways too. I finally admitted to him that he truly does make the best burritos. (A minor 14 year old debate finally resolved.)

I don’t think I would have made it through this winter without him.

He carves stone and wood himself and helped give me some of the confidence I needed to begin carving my own stuff. Carving wood eventually led me to felting and other forms of fiber sculpture. It’s been a lot of fun exploring new ideas and mediums. Carving and felting have been a lot of fun. I’ve been wanting to do them for so long, but just haven’t felt like I’ve had the motivation or inspiration until lately. Here are some samples of what I’ve been up to, but I do have more in the works!

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Felting Animals - Snowed In - Desert Off Grid Life - Tree Talker Art

I’ve been working in my art journal almost daily. It’s very therapeutic for me, and I can tell when I need it. I’m hoping to finish up this current art journal by my birthday, which actually won’t be too hard to do… I’m teaching in Effy Wild’s Book of Days class this year! There are tons of lessons and art journaling prompts to follow! This is the only class I’m planning on teaching this year, and I’m really excited about it.

If you can’t tell, I’ve really been digging glow in the dark paint so far this year! I’ve been using it in a lot of my journals and 3d works.

It was a busy month indeed, but I did get six new art prints in the shop! Two of the new prints will feature hand embellished glow in the dark paint.

Painting Titles: (Starting At Top Left) Hazy, LightEater, Smolder Out, Phoenix - Of Lighting and Flame, 3 Wolves Howling, Exhale, (Glow samples of Smolder and Phoenix)

Painting Titles: (Starting At Top Left) Hazy, LightEater, Smolder Out, Phoenix - Of Lighting and Flame, 3 Wolves Howling, Exhale, (Glow samples of Smolder and Phoenix)

I’ll be posting some new art and a new blog post next month! My plan is to check in here at least once a month with some of the new stuff that’s been going on.

I’ve got my brand new Spirit de la Lune planner to help keep me organized and on top of things this year!

(You can still order your planner here!)

Remember to follow me on instagram for more photos, and on patreon for the private blog, behind the scenes pictures, downloads, discounts and prints.

xx

Rachael



Rachael Caringella

I am an Artist, Mystic and Oracle. I have been creating since I was little, and am constantly working on something new in the studio. I also have a passion for illustration. I have illustrated a few children's books as well as some Tarot decks and Oracle decks. Aside from creating art, I am also a card reader. I specialize in Tarot and Crystal readings. I love all things mystic, and spiritual and I delight in the mixture of creation and intuition.

Finding Peace after being left in pieces

Done | Mixed Media Art | Tree Talker Art | Rachael Caringella

Happy New Moon!

My blog has been a major part of my life and livelihood for several years now. I've been doing my best to blog and update it regularly even though it got very difficult to keep blogging these last few years.

This post has been kind of eating at me for a little while now. It just feels like there are some things I really need to get off my chest. I've had a lot of time to reflect on things lately, and I need to update my blog about what's going on in my life.

Sterling left me again.

This time instead of moving the to a neighboring cabin, he chose to move back home to another state.

I’m feeling the swirl of emotions that come with any breakup... It’s been a few weeks since he officially left, and I’ve been on the swing of both confusion, anger and grief. (Though writing this post has helped me tremendously.) There is no real time limit on healing, and I'm not writing this to vent or lament and I hope I don't sound spiteful or resentful. But, I wanted to update my blog about what has been going on, because so many of you were "there" when we first began our relationship, and I had so much hope that we would see things through. I know you did too.

This post is also in part, a way of me reaching out to others who might be in a similar situation, but might not see it yet. I know it's important to respect an ex and not continue to air your dirty laundry, but transparency and honesty can save lives.

Lightning Strikes | Tree Talker Art | Offgrid artist living

I’m still feeling a sense of shock over everything that's happened these last few weeks.  Shocked at him leaving so abruptly, and confused why things turned violent. The murky memories of the past 6 years tell me he loved me, but his actions spoke otherwise. 

Substance abuse also played a major role in all of this, and as I’ve done my soul searching, I’ve noticed that there were other subtle and not so subtle forms of abuse that piled up without me noticing. It was like the moment it all came to light, he immediately threw me away to begin a new life.

I haven’t gone into too many details of what’s gone on in our relationship or how it all ended. I still am unsure how much I feel comfortable sharing, but at the height of this all, I did reach out and alert my Facebook tribe that I was feeling in danger and was needing support. I was in a place where I could no longer even think straight for myself and I was scared. 

Narcissist

The relationship began in what felt like such a "perfect" way, so when things got ugly, I weirdly clung to the hope that things would go back to the way they were in the beginning. When things were good, they were really good. But when things were bad, they were terrifying. Things got so ugly and intense that I feel like I get whiplash if I even try to look back on the 6 years and find out what went wrong. 

By the end of it all, he had been drunk and angry for 9 days straight and was hell-bent on destroying my life. I was actually afraid that he would begin making good on the threats he had made towards me the previous night. The cops were called the night prior, due to the yelling and my pleading for him to calm down.

He told me if the cops were ever called again he would take it out on me physically, reminding me that he doesn't hit softly. He screamed at me for 5 hours straight that night... Telling me he was an enlightened man, yelling at me- that I was lucky he hasn't killed me or raped me. Yet. Yelling at me that everyone dies alone.

I laid in bed that night, huddled under a blanket, clutching my fur-babies and holding up my phone... I was recording everything I could as he yelled at me through the door. I was terrified he would "catch me" and hoping it would not be the last thing my family would hear from me. I prayed the cops did come that night, even if it meant him trying to harm me. All of the statistics of domestic violence and homicide were running through my head that night. I don't remember what stopped him, but he eventually went outside.

The next day, he didn't sober up. Instead he drank more, and called and scared my family and then sent off a message to my landlords in an attempt to destroy my reputation and relationship with them as well.

Everything that wasn't broken in me shattered that day. I had seen his true colors, he knew it. Shortly after that he announced he was leaving.

Relief flooded my body. I had been living in fear of breaking up with him for months. I was afraid of what could happen physically if I even tried to say anything about it.

I poured out the remaining alcohol in an act of bravery and over the course of the week he sobered up... That's when the hard part actually started. That's when I had to get really brave.

He began acting like his normal self again... It was like he started acting the way he did when we met. He told me he understood everything now. He finally saw things my way. His eyes were wide open. He told me how amazing I was. How smart I am, even though literally the day before he was screaming "STUPID GIRL" in my face. 

Narcissist behavior warning

I realized his cycles of love bombing and the Jekyll and Hyde behavior (which he openly admitted to) were very real. Not just wonderings in the back of my mind.

He apologized profusely that week, and told me what a changed man he was now that all of it happened. How I was the best thing that ever happened to him. I had changed him.

He told me through his abuse, I was given the gift of inner strength and ability to strike boundaries. He told me I would make great artwork from the broken heart he gave me.

I felt that dagger in my heart twist. 

I held it together despite wanting to spew fire. I understand it is helpful to see our trials in a positive light and turn them into strengths, but hearing it straight from the mouth of my abuser made me feel sick. I began to purge my own belongings in a mad fury to cleanse my environment and prepare the house for myself. 

I had decided the moment he had told me he was leaving that I wanted it to end as well as possible and not in a fit of rage. I didn't want to even look at him, but I know in my heart of hearts you never regret extending kindness and compassion. We took loads to the thrift store, the dump and prepared him for his trip home. 

It was a long and tiring week. He pulled out of the driveway on a Sunday, at 5:30 am. Exactly one week to the minute of when the threats and yelling that still scar my memories finally stopped. 

Monsoon Season | Tree Talker Art

After he pulled away, I silently slipped into the bathroom to look at myself in the mirror for a pep-talk.

Instead of speaking, I took a good look at myself. My eyes were so tired. My feet and hands were blistered and bruised from helping with the move.

My body weight is and was dangerously low. I’ve always been underweight and skinny, but I currently weigh in at a scary 85 pounds.

When I saw what the scale read, I kinda just crumpled onto the floor. I held what I could of myself together while realizing just how much of myself I had been giving away.

The stress from carrying the daily domestic chores, the emotional labor and full financial responsibility with the growing drinking habits and the constant fighting took a massive toll on me. He hadn't worked in over a year and wasn't unable to bring in any income to help me. On top of it all, I was desperately trying to stay creative and make the art that is inside of me, all while trying to keep and maintain a happy relationship.

Cob House | Rachael Caringella | Tree Talker Art

Now I am alone here, with the added full brunt of the physical labor too. 

I made a vow to eat 3 meals a day and lift weights daily and went to bed to have nightmares for the several nights.

I felt entirely depleted of myself. Like a paint tube with all the paint squeezed out.

I wanted to sleep for months.

I asked myself often over the next several days, how did something so wonderful turn this violent? How did it get this bad?? (Real talk- I just had to edit that from "how did I let this get this bad")

Things started off so perfectly, but the changes happened over time. I would receive love notes in the morning, but at night I would be crying myself to sleep over a fight that came out of nowhere. This behavior started off tiny, but grew and grew. I would make plans or deadlines, and watch drama come up that sucked my attention and energy away from my art and work. It happened every time.  For some reason, I didn't see it. 

After a while, I had such a hard time being able to connect with others. His jealousy would rear it's head often, and I slowly found myself not talking to anyone in fear of seeming like a flirt. It slowly turned into an inability to respond to messages, emails or even post to my own blog. But, I didn't see it.

Marissa and I were texting one day back when I lived at the cabin, and she asked how things were going. I mentioned another fight happened, and she said something that really shook me. It shouldn't have, it was so small, but it did. She said "Rachael, do you know that normal relationships are not like that." 

I realized I hadn't really known what a normal relationship was in a long time. None of my previous relationships were ever this tumultuous. While her comment did strike me in a profound way, I still thought "There is hope." I was still missing something.

He moved out to another cabin shortly after that conversation when a simple misunderstanding between us when awry. Back then he moved to the cabin next door, so we could work things out during the winter. When his contract was nearly up, he told me how much he finally saw my side. His eyes were wide open. He needed me in his life, and I let him move back in. Though he never even fully unpacked. He kept bags packed in the spare room and let me on to think he could leave at any time.

For years I felt like I was walking on egg shells. It was like there were invisible trip-wires everywhere. If I mentioned one complaint, or said one wrong thing, it somehow snowballed into a massive fight despite my desperate efforts to just maintain peace. Small arguments turned into huge outbursts where I was called names and insulted. My intelligence was questioned, and my sexuality and gender constantly held against me and mocked when I had tried so hard to avoid confrontation.

Off Grid Cob House | Tree Talker Art

Before we moved here to the desert, I tried to play my last card. I said, "We cannot move to an even more remote location if life continues to be like this. We need to figure out boundaries on alcohol, and the fights need to be tempered down into conversations... I just want peace." I told him I would move alone if he could not agree to these things. Maybe it was naive of me to try that but I did what I felt best at the time. He agreed, and I had hope once again.

We moved here and those terms were not met. In fact, everything got so much worse.

I began to think it was all my fault.

I was seeking therapy. I wasn't eating, I was always stressed trying to make rent, keep the house clean and come up with meal ideas. I was nauseated all the time from the vitamins and supplements I was taking to stave off the panic attacks that met me every morning.

By the end of this, I was looking up different mental conditions that I might have had... because over time, not only was I doubting my own thoughts and emotions, I was doubting who I was entirely. 

Even the week he was moving out he was giving me simple tips on driving, "teaching" me daily simple tasks that I had been doing every day for years. It was like for the first time, I really saw how stupid he thought I was. 

Why didn't I see it all before?

Narcissism warning

Because it happened slowly over time. I was conditioned to it. The beginning seemed so good, that I always held out hope that it would go back to the way it was before. Because of this, I wasn't honest with myself or others around me. Because of that, I was blinded. 

I'm writing this blog post to those who might not see it either.

I was miserable for several months to a year when I didn't need to be. I was putting my hope in the wrong place and person. It shouldn't have to take a night of terror and violence to have finally gotten honest with myself, and so I hope it never gets to that point for anyone else.

Rachael Caringella | Tree Talker Art

Like mentioned earlier, I had reached out to my friends online during the height of this and I was flooded with love and support.

One of the biggest things that helped me the most was the other women who had been through similar situations. I hated to hear how many went through it... but they helped me see all of the things that I was missing.

Other women helped me recognize the patterns that were at play and even told me what to expect. They helped me name the monster I was up against. I was sent helpful articles and videos. I was so unsure what was going on, I needed other women to have been through it before to show me the pieces I was missing.

I would not have been able to navigate these waters alone.

I never meant to scare anyone, like I hope he didn’t mean to scare me. In fact, I still go through bouts of wondering how intentional his behaviors and actions truly were. But I've been told I may have many years of those questions and healing to go through.

I understand that some people might not think it's right for me to share some of these details that I shared here, but there is a part of me that needed to share this in order to remember it, in order to heal. I was against my every intention, but this is part of my #metoo story now.

I can only hope that others out there will recognize toxic abusive behavior before it gets out of hand. If you are constantly confused, reach out and hear the stories of others. It's so much harder to leave than anyone ever expects. I get that. But reach out if you can. Friends will be honest with you when you can't be honest with yourself.

I had been in the fight or flight mode for years. Alarms were constantly going off in my head and heart. My intuition for myself and my own needs was not always accurate. For years I felt a sense of dissociation from the fights. Reaching out felt hard. But I really wish I had reached out sooner. 

Being vulnerable the way I did was life changing for me. It forced light onto the situation that I kept hiding from myself.

 

Rachael Caringella | Tree Talker Art

Each day since has been getting a little better and I'm finding more peace as the nightmares slowly decrease with time.

I'm trying to give up feelings of responsibility and fault over all of this. Part of me feels responsible that he might hurt someone else in the future because I'm no longer the target.

I realize that'a not really mine to carry, but knowing the cycles that I've seen, shows me the likelihood of him laughing this off and treating another woman as carelessly as he did me.

Break ups are hard as is. Watching someone who said they will always be there for you, drive away with your dreams of the future is heartbreaking. 

But the questions that still bounce around in my head, bumping into the threats, and ricocheting off the names and insults hurt just  as bad as the abuse.

I don't think I'll ever truly know all the answers as to why this all happened. I hope the hurting doesn't continue to spread. 

Restless Disdain | Tree Talker Art | Rachael Caringella | Mixed Media Art

 

"More than a storm,

I am the monsoon.

You will never feel warm,

because I will eat the moon.

Foreboding rain,

Keep your restless disdain."

 

(The paintings shown in this post will be available this Full Moon in my next shop update!)

Rachael Caringella | Tree Talker

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Rachael Caringella

I am an Artist, Mystic and Oracle. I have been creating since I was little, and am constantly working on something new in the studio. I also have a passion for illustration. I have illustrated a few children's books as well as some Tarot decks and Oracle decks. Aside from creating art, I am also a card reader. I specialize in Tarot and Crystal readings. I love all things mystic, and spiritual and I delight in the mixture of creation and intuition.