An archive of email letters sent to people subscribed the Atlas of the Year program updates.

Hello fellow travelers,

In the last letter, I mentioned setting up a gathering place for us, well that’s what is happening today. We have a private Facebook page now. It will be an option for you to join as a way to respond to fellow travelers, ask questions and post your creations.

Also today being Mardi Gras, here’s an interesting three minute video that tells the history of the day’s celebrations:

Having insight about how holidays evolve is what brings meaning and depth to the reason we all need to celebrate our days and lives. It’s these kinds of insights that enliven the Atlas of the Year program.

One more thing, please check out my revamped home page and let me know what you think. I’m slowly making other changes to the site to accommodate the program, which you will be able to register for in 15 days!

onward! Kathleen

Hello fellow travelers,

Today we delivered the Atlas art works to Carnegie Institute for Literacy and Learning. Finally, the 24 works are on public display, after showing them in the studio only, during the process of creating them. They can be seen from February 20 – April 15. I hope to see local people for the Gallery Hop reception on March 15. 

I’m pleased to show you this graphic that features details from all 12 collages. You will recognize it when I publish the registration page on March 20. The design process is the fun part for me. I’ve been creating graphics for social media and emails. This last month will be busy with promoting the class. I appreciate you spreading the word!

One more thing, I’m setting up a gathering place for us, more on that later…

onward! Kathleen

Atlas of the Year Program Logo

Atlas of the Year Program Logo

Hello fellow travelers,

Just a quick note to mention the class page  ~ I’ve added the pictures of the journals and shadows to the images so they look dimensional, like my art. All 64 course topics are loaded and look fantastic, which you’ll be able to see upon registration. There’s still lots more to do.

The Carnegie Institute for Literacy and Learning has offered to hang the Atlas of the Year art sooner, on February 18, to help promote the eCourse. Gratefully, this week I took a side  trip transposing digital presentations into for print materials. These served to describe the class to Open Studio visitors Saturday as well.

I noticed what had to be left out like, “click here”, for information. So I made a QR code, and had fun with design, which brought me back to tweaking the class page. It was invigorating to suddenly feel “more public”. Below are photos of how the materials looked at the Open Studio. Kimber from the Carnegie came and gave her approval. I assembled all the sheets into a portfolio that will accompany the art show. I’m picky about display, and happy that I enjoy making things beautiful, like the maps you will create as part of the program.


Hello fellow travelers,

This is a combination New Years and mid-winter greeting that brings news of a few changes and some insights into this brightening time.

Once the program starts on March 20 the material will be available to you all at once, rather than by monthly emails throughout the year. This allows you to pace yourself, without having to wait! You might want to have a peek at your birth month!

Also, the four printed Journals will be sent to the first ten people who sign up. After that they will be available as downloadable PDFs. See more on the updated Atlas page.

I still have a bit to complete, but here is a preview of how the spring quarter will look on my site once you sign up:

Imbolc is the first cross-quarter point of the new year, mid-winter and is celebrated on February 1—2, and begins at sunset on January 31.

The cross-quarter feasts honor the agricultural cycles, each one significant for the main focus of the cycle. Imbolc heralds spring, celebrates motherhood, the birth of animals & ewes coming into milk. They also are fire festivals, each honor a specific form of fire. In this case it is candlelight. Read on to find out why.

Imbolc is dedicated to the goddess Brigit, protectress of women in childbirth, domestic life, healing, smithcraft, and muse to poets. She is celebrated in many cultures by different names; Brighid, Brid, Bride, Biddy, Bridgid, Briginda, Brigittina, Brigantia, and Birgittta. She was canonized as St. Brigit, whose feast day is February 1. It is also known as Candlemas.

A sacred fire burned in Kildare, Ireland reaching back into pre-Christian times. Priestesses gathered on the hill of Kildare to tend their ritual fires while imploring Brigid to protect their herds and to provide a fruitful harvest.

The fire of Brigit was kept alive in her convents for a thousand years. Records show that a few attempts were made to have the fire extinguished but without success.

The sacred fire was re-lit in 1993, in the Market Square, Kildare, and continues to be tended by the Brigidine Sisters in their Centre, Solas Bhride. Since then her candle light is passed from woman to woman to share the energy of healing and peace. Brigit’s legacy is marked by many healing springs dedicated to her.

When you visit me, I would be honored to share some Brigit spring water and a candle lit from the one I received several years ago.

The fire burns in a bronze sculpture representing on Oak tree, which symbolizes both the Christian beliefs of St. Brigit and the earlier Druidic worship of trees. The oak is also the namesake of Kildare, Cill Dara, Church of the Oak.

Imbolc means literally “in the belly”, which refers to both the birthing of young animals and the presence of Brigit in the center of the world at this time.

onward! Kathleen

Hello fellow travelers,

Happy Solstice Card

Happy Solstice Card

May the light of the Solstice fill your heart and hearth with joy, love and peace, now and in the New Year.

cheers, Kathleen

Hello fellow travelers,

I wanted to share some thoughts with you about Halloween!

As the suns sets October 31, candles, Jack-0-Lanterns and fires are lit to welcome the ancestors who visit to warm themselves by the hearth of our remembrance. Families keep the doors unlocked and set out favored food, drink and mementos that belonged to them. The evening is enjoyed by communing with them and storytelling of their lives and sayings.

Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Samhuin is a Celtic festival of the momentous time of Summer’s end, beginning of the dark half of the Year and the Night of the Ancestors. It is the midpoint between autumn equinox & winter solstice, that is celebrated from October 31 – November 2. Cross-culturally this is a time of honoring our Ancestors and the dead. It is also All Soul’s Day, All Saint’s Day and Dia de Muertos, Day of the Dead. The Cherokee Bounding Bush Ceremony clears away aggressive energy before “wintering in”. For the ancient Egyptians it was Isia, the 6-day celebration of resurrection of Osiris.

A few of the traditions of All Hallows Eve, Samhuin:

Trick or Treat: leave edible treats and their special belongings out for our ancestors. If we don’t TREAT them, forget to show them we miss them, they are allowed to TRICK us!

Jack-0-Lantern: hollow out a pumpkin, squash or gourd in the guise of a face representing your ancestor and put a lit candle in, so they can find their way to your hearth.

Bon Fire: gather around its warmth and light for companionship and storytelling. Throw off mistakes and negativity from the past year.

There is much I want to share about this time on the material, spiritual and cosmic levels, in the upcoming class. The important thing is to remember and include your ancestors in your celebrations!

Quests for Samhuin

What are you grateful to your Ancestors for?

What would you like to ask them about?

What do you remember about them?

You will be an Ancestor one day. What wisdom can you bequeath?

Hello fellow travelers,

You are the first to know some exciting news. The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington will present all 24 artworks of Atlas of the Year in their beautiful SkyDome Gallery next March, at the same time the eCouse will begin. That was their idea –  it’s so perfect! They are excited about the whole idea of the time/space perspective, that includes the Journals and gallery talks. Perhaps some of you will be able to attend the Gallery Hop reception.

Towards the goal of having new items for the 10th Annual Autumn Open Studio, I’ve made 12 new greeting cards with details from the Atlas of the Year artwork. Each of the three sets will have one of each of the four seasons. For example, Set One, shown, has details from Atlas 1 Aries, 4 Cancer, 7 Libra, and 10 Capricorn.

Everything is on track for the Kathleen O’Brien Studio/Sunwise Solarium School Annex to be delivered in about two weeks. The foundation has been poured, in advance of the next rain. The area has trenches dug out for drainage and utility conduit. Not a pretty sight, one that challenges my desire to have things finished. How will it look and be for the Open Studio?

I hope you are enjoying your autumn. Please let me know how you are doing and stay in touch. Always feel free to reply to this email with your questions or comments!

onward, Kathleen

Hello fellow travelers,

I’m thinking of you on this first evening of Autumn (9:54 PM, ET) and how this was going to be the start date the Atlas class. Even though I spend a part of each day with creating eCourse materials, there is much more to do. I’m glad I’ve kept at it steadily, because I can feel the ramping up of energy to get things done and in place, squirrel-like, before the diminishing light and warmth. Below is a picture of one of the eBooks.

Everything is on track for the Kathleen O’Brien Studio/Sunwise Solarium School Annex to be delivered in about a month. Finally deciding to build again is major. It will provide space for creativity, classes, Open Studios, retreat. If the interior can be finished for the Summer Open Studio, that would be terrific.

The Artist Entrepreneurs program started this week. My apprentice is a sophomore high school art student. All five mentor / apprentice teams will be working together towards the apprentices presenting themselves at June Gallery Hop, for the Great American Brass Band Festival. It’s going to be really interesting!

Have fun with autumn. Please let me know how you are doing and stay in touch. Always feel free to reply to this email with your questions or comments!

onward and love, Kathleen

Hello fellow travelers,

As I’ve been developing materials for the upcoming class, I think of you often and want to keep you updated. Always feel free to reply by this email with your questions or comments!

I’ve been steadily adding content to the eCourse that is on track to begin with the Vernal Equinox. Three out of four journals are in print. I am open to hearing about what you would like to cover.

It’s hard to keep secret the news about the eBook extras I’ve been creating to include in the class. Giving into my impulse to share, here’s a peak of just a few book covers for various topics. They are not in the order you’ll get them! My M.O. is to create what motivates me at the time and place, which guarantees a juicer product. And one likes a bit of mystery, right?

This update was a bit delayed because a big project interjected itself onto my list with a mid-August deadline.  I am proud to announce a newly published chapter, entitled “Art as a Language: An Atlas of Seasons Where Time and Space Intersect,” in Handbook of the Changing World Language Map, edited by Stanley D. Brunn and Roland Kehrein, Springer Nature Switzerland AG, publisher

This link shows a tab to access the Table of Contents. It is a five-volume reference book with many chapters by global geographers that will also be in print this autumn. I’m so pleased that the editors are putting my chapter in the first section.

Have fun – it’s still summer, the place we always face, the time of love, trust and growth. Please let me know how you are doing and stay in touch, onward!

love, Kathleen