Moon Milk
 
This is the digital artwork that I created to accompany my blog post on the Full Moon of January 1st, 2018, on the Icon Alchemy website.

As often happens, I wound up creating an alternate piece of art from the same source photo - that version is viewable by patrons only.

The source photo is one of the many in the backlog of photo files I've been sorting through lately, finally making some real progress on the old stuff so I can tackle new images.

This image went with the liquid theme of the Grand Water trine enveloping this Cancerian Wolf Moon, and also with the associations of milk with motherhood and family.  For me, milk reminds me of my father, and his very matter-of-fact "it's good for you" explanation to me as a small child when I was asking why I had to drink it.  He was so clearly convinced that it was something that I should have, and I did not want to disappoint him, and so drank huge quantities of the stuff growing up.  Then of course it turned out that I was lactose intolerant, and for a while I thought I really would have to give up dairy products for good.  Then I found out that  there is a difference between the proteins present in the milk of different types of cows - the Holsteins favored by American farmers produce milk with the A1 protein that lactose intolerant folks have trouble with, whereas Jersey and Guernsey cows as well as cows in Africa and India produce milk with the A2 protein that is easier for some of us to digest.  As a result, I started drinking milk from the local Twin Brook Creamery, whose cows are all Jersey cows.  

Since I was raised vegetarian, I sometimes have trouble making meals with meat in them - I grew up watching my stepmother cook all sorts of things and learned basic cooking principles by example, but since meat wasn't part of that example, it often stymies me when I try to cook it, so I have a limited non-vegetarian cooking repertoire.  This meant that when I was trying to put healthy weight back on this past fall after losing 40 pounds due to cancer, my fallback position was to drink milk and eggnog from Twin Brooks.  I wound up writing a note to them about it after my aunt sent me a link to a video of theirs talking about their cows and their new milking equipment that allowed their cows to determine their own milking schedule.  I really think that if we are going to use animal products we should treat them as well as possible, and I loved the idea of those cows being free to come and go, wandering in to be milked when they want to be.  Plus, I wanted to let them know how much I was appreciating their milk during my recovery.  

It turns out that the eldest son of the family who runs that farm lost his own battle with cancer, and they sent a beautiful message in return to mine because of that.  It was a reminder to me that we never know how deeply the things that we say or do are going to affect people.  I hadn't been sure if I should send that message, but it resulted in a very meaningful exchange that I will most likely never forget.  

Given that this Wolf Moon is about connections and learning the skills to balance the difference between what we want and what we feel, putting violets swimming in a sea of milk seemed especially appropriate.  Violets are the primary ingredient in a throat-soothing syrup I make in the spring in preparation for the next winter's cold season, so this image combines my associations of violets with healing and milk with family connection.

In addition, I have a fondness for white-on-white or black-on-black imagery that gives a sense of texture to a two-dimensional piece.  It reminds me of the Italian silk ties I used to get for my father, with a printed pattern and different textures within the fabric itself that contrasted with the printed image.  This piece was an attempt to evoke a similar impression.