hello Year of the Sheep - welcoming harmony and creativity

Natura by Patricia Ariel

Artwork: Natura by Patricia Ariel

I always feel that the spirit of a new year truly begins with the New Moon & today we celebrate the birth of the Year of the Sheep. In Chinese Astrology, the Sheep is a symbol of peace. The Sheep brings harmony and tranquility with an emphasis on creativity and the arts. The totem of the Sheep teaches us about community, tribe and sharing. 

I have just been writing  a lot about the spirit this year in our monthly MoonMedicine Newsletter and thinking about the Sheep and the Goat as so much of my day is spent handling and creating with wool and fleece. I had no idea when I began making medicine dolls that they would become such a big part of my daily art practice and work. But I'm so glad that they did! The benefits are many but the one I am focussing on at the moment is how much the dolls have introduced me to the wild rainbow world of fibre!

The first wool love affair was with colour. Dollmaking has helped me to understand colours in a much deeper and profound way. I began to understand why I love certain colours so much and then I began opening my heart to embrace a broader range of colours especially when I was asked to create a doll in a colour that I wasn't naturally drawn to myself. What I began to notice was that after making that doll I had changed my whole understanding and appreciation of it. I noticed this particularly with the colour brown and now I absolutely love it and am blown away by the huge spectrum of just that one colour. I'm sure being surrounded by all of these giant trees in Sherbrooke Forest had a powerful influence too - I am constantly noticing the many types of brown in even just one tree. I feel I have now opened my heart fully to every colour in the spectrum.

wool for medicine dolls by Sacred Familiar

I always had a sense that I was in a kind of 'spirit apprenticeship' with the medicine dolls and that the teachers were ancient doll makers. These Great GrandMothers must have felt happy with my understanding of colour because they recently brought a new love and understanding to me and this new love affair is now with texture and fibre! I began branching out and experimenting with all the different types of wool - this organic fleece is so flexible and malleable as well as extremely soft. I try to use Australian merino as a base always and now I am adding silk, mohair, camel and alpaca. Recently I was contacted by someone who is creating wool for me that also includes buffalo. I am very excited about working more with these beautiful creatures and understanding how each different animal medicine feels in a doll and how she comes to look when she is holding it.

wool for medicine dolls by Sacred Familiar

Another benefit that really appeals to me and touches my heart is getting to know the animals personally that share their wool and fibre with me. This is the best way to work with animal medicine - to meet the beautiful beings sharing themselves with us. Below are photos of some of the alpacas that we met at a farm in nearby Wandin, VIC called Santa Fe Alpacas. Did you know that a lot of farms are open to visits? You can organise a group visit with Sante Fe - I'm sure you're children will love meeting alpacas. Buying fleece and fibres directly from growers and artisan crafts people is really important to me and also lots of fun. We have some of alpaca Storm Attack's (great name hey?!) beautiful fleece and met his daughters. The black little baby in the photo is two weeks old. I have never been so close to alpacas before and they are gorgeous - their eyes are huge and dreamy. The alpaca was sacred to the ancient Inca tribes and their fleece became known as the 'fibre of the gods' - so far I've only made 3 dolls with the alpaca fibre and all 3 have an elder grandmother / grandfather energy to them - very wise indeed.

Alpacas with sacred familiar

StarSeed Medicine Doll Giveaway by Sacred Familiar

Subscriber Winner of StarSeed OakAcorn!

And lastly we drew a random subscriber as the winner of the StarSeed OakAcorn medicine doll yesterday and NewGridWolf is the winner!

Love to you all for everything you are birthing in this Year of the Sheep. Here's to more harmony, peace and communal art-making! Julia + Tony

New Moon in Aquarius - Share What You Love

Dollmaker Sacred Familiar Good morning friends and welcome to the New Moon in Aquarius! Last night I was finishing our MoonMedicine newsletter and began to write about what I felt in the spirit of this year and the spirit of Aquarius - I thought I would share it here too. But first look at this amazing drawing gifted to me in trade for a medicine doll to artist, Nadia Turner and Fox is in there too! This artwork drawn especially for me was a an opening to the lesson of receiving and I will share the story but first let's talk about the gift of giving!

foxfaerie medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

Thank you to all of the new followers and subscribers hanging out with us here in the forest - I'm putting the virtual kettle on for you all! Last night we drew the name of a random subscriber to our MoonMedicine newsletter and the winner is Memory Maze! We truly wish we could share this doll with you all and we look forward to sharing more give away dolls in the future.

I believe that many of the dolls wish to be given away, it's a part of their medicine. This week we were inspired to give away 3 dolls: the FoxFaerie, the Himalayan Spruce doll that was left by the sacred Spring at Mt Donna Buang on an icy and misty day and the Rainbow Lorikeet medicine doll. I am always blown away by the wisdom of the dolls when they are given away - they always go to the person that needs them most. The Rainbow Lorikeet was won by a beautiful young woman, mama, painter who has survived cancer 4 times. You can see her amazing artwork at I truly couldn't have chosen a more worthy keeper - the dolls know!

doll given away by sacred familiar

Rainbow Lorikeet doll by Sacred Familiar

I'm an Aquarian so I am thrilled to be feeling the vibe of this New Moon about to birth in Aquarius - a Super Moon means that it is very close to the body of Mother Earth and has a much stronger presence. But I've also come through one of the deepest and darkest months - I understand now that I was shedding a layer that was keeping me in a comfort zone that no longer felt comfortable. And I didn't go easy!

It's our understanding that in the Year of the Sheep we will be asked to create community even more by collaborating, sharing and weaving with each other. It is no longer a time of the 'lone wolf' - doing everything ourselves and alone. We are realising that we are all in this together and that working together not only benefits us all but really helps to lighten the load of carrying and doing everything ourselves. And even though we understand this, putting this new way into practice might be hard for some of us because it requires us to trust each other. How do we do that? We learn to really truly trust ourselves.

You might also find that as you release attachments and let go of the past in the Year of the Sheep you will then be asked to grow in your medicine and your gifts and share them in places that at first seem too big, too hard, too far. But the key word here is seem. So much has changed, we have changed too and that's why it's so important to let go of the past to dream in the new. I know all about this because after 2 years of quietly living and dollmaking in the forest and barely leaving the mountain, I was called by the powerful dreamers who have created Spirit Weavers Gathering to join them this year in the Redwood Forest in California! I have been actually feeling the call to join these amazing sisters for the last 2 years but resistant to travel so far and leave my beloved forest. But there was more to it, something I couldn't really put my finger on. This year the call was strongest of all and as much as I felt every cell in my body say yes! to the Gathering I also felt an enormous amount of fear.

This year I broke through the fear and reached out to my sisters of the North and received an invitation to join them in the Redwoods! But as soon as I accepted, my fear ramped up a notch and my back went out - I was unable to walk for a week! As I lay in bed I had a lot of time to finally meet and know that fear. I was afraid that something so big and magical was requiring me to be bigger and I thought that meant to be more than myself. But we are never asked to be more than ourselves or to be like someone else. Yes it was a big energy calling me to travel across the oceans but Spirit only ever wants you to be present as yourself. We are always enough. As soon as I let go of what I thought I should be I acknowledged that the pain in my back was actually about creativity blocked and locked up in my body. When I acknowledged that I was here to teach what I know and share my love of dollmaking and also create in even more mediums, my back 'let go' of the pain. I think we have a hard time understanding how magnificent we naturally and truly are. We have a terrible habit of comparing ourselves to others and their gifts and that is so sad. It's like having an orange tree and wishing for apples. This year is the year - it's going to ask a lot of you because you have a lot inside you. It's time to let it out, let yourself out and share yourself and what you love to do with as many people as possible.

Nadia Turner is one of our favourite artists and we are also lucky to have her as a neighbour here in Sherbrooke Forest. I am still very emotional when I look at the drawing of the dollmaker that she created for me - not only because it depicts Fox and I but because it contains the message my Spirit has given me about creating what I love and letting it go. Sharing creativity with others and letting the dolls take me as far as they need to go. It reminds me that the little is the big - that in a small doll is a big world. This year I will be stretching out to teach as many people as I can to weave and sing love into the creation of their own medicine dolls. I hope to see you in my travels. I see each doll now as a little seed of love being planted back into the body of the Earth. Let's plant this garden together.

Tony and Julia - Sacred Familiar

New Moon Stasis

Sherbrooke Forest 

Sometimes we have a lot of expectation of the New Moon. It's as if we think it will suddenly transform us and our world in one magical moment. But of course that's just us being human and wanting transformation to always come easy and quickly. I was waiting for that kind of change this morning with the Gemini New Moon and when it didn't happen I was perplexed. I've been in a low mood during the recent Dark Moon and I kept getting the same message over and over - to make no move - not that I would listen! Instead of just surrendering, relaxing and doing nothing, just like my daily readings with the Tarot kept advising me, I kept pushing and striving - trying to make change happen. Why do we find it so hard to do nothing? Or why do we think nothing is happening just because it doesn't look like it is or because we can't see it with our eyes. I decided to go for a walk in the forest to shake off the heaviness and today the trees were shrouded completely in mist. I couldn't see very far ahead at all. And the whole forest was absolutely silent under the mist and yet I was acutely aware of the Life that filled the forest. The air was thick with life and it was moving silently all around me. I was reminded of how we are standing on the brink of Winter and how much the trees and animals slow down in this time to preserve energy and hibernate.


I've decided to take a deeper look into decision making and how we can become more accepting in times of quiet and stasis in our lives in our Tarot workshop, Tarot of a WaterWitch, tomorrow night. I'm eager to remember the art of doing nothing!  Yesterday I created a spread to help in times of hard decision making, a spread that we can use when there are a several of paths or choices to take. These times often feel like we are standing at the centre of some divine crossroads.  And usually this is where we can get very blocked and afraid of taking the next step - as if there is ever really a wrong or right step to take. Yesterday I included a new path choice into the Tarot spread. It is the choice to 'do nothing'. I'm interested to see what happens when this choice comes up for the readers tomorrow. I will share the ins and outs of this spread to subscribers on Saturday - so if you would like to receive it, you can add your email address to the Subscriber box in the top right hand corner or email me at

The photo below is of the New Moon Crossroads Spread and in this photo you will see a curly-topped bell sitting beside the spread. This bell was created by a beautiful sister Sadie, as a trade for a medicine doll for her mother. Sadie created the magical saggar fired bell to help find what is lost - not necessarily objects. It was fired with seaweed, mango leaves and sawdust from a camphor laurel tree. I placed it beside my own Tarot reading to understand and find my sense of nothingness or no-time. I know what this feels like and I'm looking forward to remembering how to step back into no-time again.

And the photo below of the 2 black swans is for anyone feeling that they are riding difficult and deep waves tonight. Neptune is such a strong influence at the moment and is really affecting us water-beings. These 2 creature-teachers look so calm and still and yet on the day I took this photo near our old home in Williamstown, they were swimming in the middle of a raging storm.

Love to you all, however you find yourself tonight, it's all ok. Make a New Moon wish and set it free x

Saggar fired bell by Sadie Jean Tansey
New Moon Crossroads Spread with Gaian Tarot
Gaian Tarot - Four of Water: Time to fill your own well
Gaian Tarot - The Tree (Hanged Man) Letting Go

Creature-Teachers: Black Swans - calm in the storm