Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Maine Oracle 2020

I asked The Maine Oracle for an overview of the year 2020. 

It is New Year's Eve in the USA.


As a new year begins, one always hopes for the best. In this sad and confusing 2020 glad tidings are replaced by a cacophonous clamoring for information. Lacking leadership we heard as many opinions as there were birds in the trees.


A dark shadow began sweeping the land, growing blacker by the day, whisking off far too many ill served by craven incompetence and misinformation. We continue to reap a grim harvest.

"The Cardinal"   

Here are the Spirits of those lost to the whirlwind. The Souls of those who have passed make themselves felt each day, what will we hear if we listen? 

How do we make sense of such loss? 

How can we best honor the memories of our friends, neighbors and family members?

What can we do in the coming year to help those left behind? 

How can we aid those who find themselves in the middle of cruel circumstance?

How can we protect ourselves from preventable illness?

How do we best help The Helpers? 


Do take very good care of yourselves. May the next year be a better year.



Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Maine Oracle - Groundhog Day

Well, the Global Pandemic marches on...

I have worn a mask, stayed home for the most part and have marveled at those who would quibble with experts in the field of epidemiology.

Day after day it goes on.

The situation in the United States is out of control.

Day after day.

Over and Over.

The Maine Oracle has noticed.

Wear a mask. Stay safe. Help is on the way. 


Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Maine Oracle - Two Ears One Mouth

Here is a reading for June 11, 2020, here the "Restraint" card suggests holding your tongue during trying times until a situation becomes clear. In times of great change and conflict it may be best to assume nothing.


The Greek Philosopher Epictetus wrote:

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”


Which brings us to...

"Education" as the way forward. Here is an opportunity to reassess one's world view.  A person with an open mind and an open heart is a practical person.  

A practical person does not fight facts.


Going forward, armed with the truth and a better understanding of one's fellows, a person returns to "The Hive", which always hums along at its best when the occupants work together for the common good. 


Restraint, Education and The Hive from The Maine Oracle


Monday, May 18, 2020

Don't Move That Mountain

Staying at home last week felt just a bit more difficult than previous weeks. 
I felt just a bit more unsettled, a bit wearier.

I pulled three cards for guidance from three different divination decks.
From left to right I drew the sequence which is described below. 

The Past   “The Hive” from my own deck, The Maine Oracle.

Familiar workplace and social gatherings are now a memory.

The Present Passing  “The Magician” reversed is from The Rider Waite Tarot Deck.

The new normal is anything but; the tables have been turned. It is time to pick up the pieces. The Magician is the alchemist, bringing together resources and clever devices to fashion a new way of life. Cash, inspiration, unity of purpose and tenacity are all required.

The Future  “The Mountain” is from the Lenormand Oracle.

This card brought to mind a gospel song, “Lord, Don’t Move That Mountain” by Inez Andrews. I always say that I am not particularly religious or attached to any rigid notions of an All Powerful Deity. That said, I believe that there is great inspiration to be found in the following lyrics:

“Oh Lord you don't have to move the mountain
 But give me the strength to climb
 And Lord, don't take away my stumbling blocks
 But lead me all around”

 Stay strong and stay safe.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Maine Oracle - Keep On Keeping On

Today I asked for general guidance from The Maine Oracle, and an interesting set of cards emerged.

1.  "Snip" in the Past Position refers to the recent and abrupt changes to routine, "separation or alteration" has definitely become the norm.

2. "Maintenance" in The Present Passing Position underlines the need to continue all precautions. Now is not a time to relax one's vigilance. This card is showing up frequently.

3. "Chickadees" in the Future Position bodes well for a reunion with friends, family and society in general as long as we all adhere to the guidelines suggested by the best of our leaders and health care professionals.


The Maine Oracle


A Deck of 61 Divination Cards

Downloaded, Designed and Illustrated in The Great State of Maine

by Dorette Amell



Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Maine Oracle - A General Reading for April 1, 2020

Yesterday, throughout the day and off and on, I experienced a most unpleasant feeling of being rudderless, combined with a low grade anxiety percolating just below the surface.
Today the experience calls to mind a radio station, fading in and out.

Before heading off to the "Feather Ball" I asked The Maine Oracle for insight. 

I slept very well, and this morning, while it is understandable to feel unsettled, along with the entire planet, I have a more philosophical take on my current reality.

1. "The House" while confined to my particular "House" I must pay particular attention to quality of my thoughts. I am responsible for taking action to elevate my thinking. On the other hand being too hard on myself for missing the mark is equally counterproductive. These are unprecedented times, and there is no one who will navigate them perfectly.

2. "Partnership" speaks to working with local authorities and following the social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. It helps me to remember that "doing nothing and sitting around at home" is giving the folks on the front lines a chance to do their jobs. Staying at home is an act of love. While I have a number of projects calling for my attention, it is alright to have days when I don't feel up to the task. One can't underestimate the emotional toll exacted by isolation and uncertainty. It is often exhausting. Resting and recharging will go a long way. I am doing my bit.

3. "Grace" will continue to grant a "second wind" on those occasions when everything seems topsy-turvy, giving a person what is required to carry on for one more day.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Maine Oracle - Three Cards for a Quarantine

My Mother pulled these cards this morning, asking for general guidance. The three cards below seem to be speaking to what most of us are going through during these days of increased isolation.

1. "The White Owl" in the Past Position

    Last year at this time who knew that we as a 
    global community would be facing our current
    challenge and what benefits may result from the situation?

2. "Spilt Milk" in the Present Position

    You can't unring a bell, and whether or not we asked for
    our altered circumstances, drastic change has been 
    thrust upon us all.
3. "The Green Light" in the Future Position

    We are now, all of us, asked to get on with our lives as
    best we can, going with the flow, while following the new
    "rules of the road."  


Friday, March 20, 2020

The Maine Oracle - Stay in Your Lane and Maintain

“The Highway” and “Maintenance” cards from The Maine Oracle showed up for a general reading today. “The Highway” card suggests that we are traveling into the unknown, the wisps of mist are worth noting. We are asked to “stay in our lane” or keep a sensible distance. 

When I was learning to drive I was told to keep my focus further down the road, and not on the hood ornament, that is to say, during any journey there is usually a sense of what one wishes to accomplish upon arrival. 

These trying times will end, until then “Maintain the High Ground” and “Deal Fair and Square”. Difficult days ask us all for more than the usual diligence. 

The “Maintenance” card follows, a very interesting bit of repetition and emphasis I think. “Maintain” was something that was said a lot when I was younger, as in “Be Cool”. “Maintenance” suggests a bit more than mere Spring Cleaning this year. 

Whatever can be done to lighten your passage through these peculiar circumstances will bring surprising rewards. All of those things that have been waiting for a time when there is more time are still there. 

“When fishermen can’t go to sea they repair their nets.”

Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Maine Oracle - The Crybaby to the Rescue

Some days are just Crybaby Days, here is today's draw from The Maine Oracle.   
Pandemics are bad enough, I don't help the situation by dwelling on worse case scenarios. There are professionals dedicated to the task of plotting such possibilities. 

This is where "The Crybaby" can go to work. 

The Crybaby is here to take away the overwhelming urge to awful-ize. 

Flatten the curve, read a book... remember books? Watch an epic film, sort your socks... 'Twill be what it will be. Thank you Crybaby for helping me to move on, just for today.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Maine Oracle - On The Current State of Affairs in the U.S.A.

Life in The United States today is fraught with uncertainty. What with partisan division, vitriol and calls for unity often coming from the same sources on different days...  I thought I'd ask the cards to take a look at the national temperature.

"The Easy Chair" in the Past position suggests voter apathy, often the result of feeling that individual opinion matters little. On the other hand, perhaps too many for too long have been too comfortable... disinterested in, or unaware of the forces leading to a general feeling of unrest. Looking the other way, a person may unwittingly allow the ascent of those who do not necessarily have the greater good at the top of their List of Things To Do.

"The Lighthouse" in the Present position certainly references the ongoing political contests across the country. There is a search underway for a candidate who is up to the challenge of the Presidency, a "Dependable Beacon" who will keep the Ship of State from running aground.

"The Bean Supper" in the Future position offers reason for optimism. A Bean Supper is an opportunity for folks from all walks of life to gather, regardless of petty grievance. Here is Community and Nourishment. All are Welcome. Here is Inclusion. Prepare for Better Days.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Maine Oracle - The Fish, Cast Off and The Troll

These are the first three cards of The Maine Oracle. It occurs to me that they belong together, and form a continuum... backwards, forwards or forwards and backwards. Originally these images were all painted in casein media. I made pencil drawings based on the paintings and these were adapted for use in my deck. For me, this group of cards/paintings/images describe an ongoing struggle. 

The Fish prevails when disappointment and unrealistic expectations are left behind as represented in the Cast Off card. The Troll enters again and again to challenge the idea of personal progress, fueling insecurities while luring The Reader into the trap of second guessing.

Shaking off The Troll becomes easier over time. Learning to Cast Off unwanted baggage will become more of a relief, and less charged with the fear of letting go. Heeding the lessons of The Troll and Cast Off cards will allow The Reader to return to the ways of The Fish, breaking the surface and rising from the depths into the light. The cycle goes on. Three steps forward, maybe one or two backwards, but always moving a little further in a good direction.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Maine Oracle - Card #1 The Fish

This Fish is showing off a little, and why not? This is the first edit of The Fish card. The font, prompt and background have been edited, as can be seen in my post of January 26, 2020.

 The Maine Oracle
Divination Deck 
  Dorette Amell    

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Maine Oracle ...Economy

The image for the "Economy" card was inspired by a difficult morning in April. I had been invited to two different events on a Saturday afternoon. Each event had its attractions.

I became more and more unsettled as I tried to figure out how I might make an appearance at both gatherings.

The Great Scot came to mind, and represented something beyond mere frugality. I thought of him after I had made my choice... I finally decided on a child's birthday party, complete with a Piñata and a Bouncy House. 

The card asks us to look at the choices we make in light of energy available, as well as emotional resources.

That said, you also might want to hang onto your wallet and pay those bills... "see surrounding cards" as they say.

12 x 9"
Graphite on Stonehenge Cotton Paper

from The Oracle Series
soon to be digitally colorized and included in The Maine Oracle Deck

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Maine Oracle

For lo these many years I have been fascinated by the insights that can be gleaned through the use of divination cards. There are many decks to choose from, and just as many schools of thought regarding the interpretation of the imagery used in the decks.

I have considered producing a deck of cards using my own work for quite a while. In January I began production on The Maine Oracle.

I live in Maine, and while many of my cards do reference my environment and the kinds of things that come to mind in general when thinking about Maine... Lobsters, Lighthouses and Pine Trees for example... my focus is on concepts and imagery useful to the overall philosophy of the deck.

Images are selected because they resonate with me as being descriptive of universal situations and considerations. I am not fitting the context around any preconceived notions of what might describe the Maine experience. I haven't designed a Blueberry Card for example, but there is a Lobster Card based on the Lobsters' behavior in captivity. When I found myself trying to force meaning on an image I had to move on.

The Maine Oracle is a divination system downloaded in the Great State of Maine.


Thursday, April 4, 2019

About a Painting... Cast Off

"Cast Off" is a charm to ward off all manner of corrosive thoughts and actions which may weigh down the spirit of the viewer. The work has gone to a very good home in Nashville,Tennessee.

It was painted using casein, a very fickle medium... which I have thinned with acrylic air brush medium, rather than water. 

Sometimes it is best to try something new. You just never know.


10 X 10
Casein and Acrylic Media
Photo by Jay York

Monday, February 4, 2019

A Beautiful Question

There is certainly ample fodder for outrage these days and it can be challenging to maintain mental equilibrium. 

I have always been fond of this quote by ee cummings:

Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.

Therefore, I have been designing a number of elaborately framed question marks, the better to nudge myself into a more productive frame of mind.

A Beautiful Question on Faux Leopard

Digital Media

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A repost, because reflection is in order...

From 2015

Thanksgiving, George Catlin and Refugees

I like Thanksgiving, however mythical or sketchy the origins of the holiday. 
I also like the artist George Catlin.

George Catlin traveled among the Native Americans, producing more than 600 portraits and illustrations of daily life among "the numerous and noble race of Human Beings". Catlin estimated their numbers to be in the neighborhood of 16,000,000. 

So much for the hubris of those who believe that the North American continent was somehow lying fallow before the first Europeans slogged onshore.

Be that as it may, and this a rare thing is a day when white people in the USA pretty much agree that some of their forbears were in deep, dire and unpleasant straights and needed help which was freely given them by the Native Folk.

Today is a day that commemorates a remarkable community supper and the spirit of cooperation. 

So, once upon a time, there were the Pilgrims. They were immigrants. They were religious and political refugees. At home they were facing almost certain death. They travelled across treacherous waters to an uncertain future. They were down and out. They were given a leg up by the First Americans ...the "numerous and noble". The Native People showed them how to feed themselves and where to shelter. In gratitude the Native People were invited to dinner by the Pilgrims once the dust had settled.

Now, please pass the cranberry sauce and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

This lady is Kei-a-gis-gis,  
a woman of the 
Plains Ojibwa. 
George Catlin painted her in 1832.
She was lovely and she was here first.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

From the Transition Series..."Fabulist"

Trolls are interesting creatures, they can be large or small, horrifying to behold or as ordinary as any ordinary person can be. The only thing trolls have in common as a rule is this... they are usually not interested in bringing much that is positive into any given situation.

Contemporary trolls can be found on social media, and their methods range from mild disruption to pointed malice. Trolls of this sort are best approached with caution, or ignored altogether.

Casein and Acrylic Media on Cradled Panel
10 x 10"

Friday, August 31, 2018

Aviation, or The Love Bomber

Here is a 38 second film of my Aviatrix. Her craft is self propelled and her aim is to shower as many people as possible with rose petals. We need all the help we can get. The machine makes quite a racket once the hydraulics kick in. The plane is very fast and has thrilled audiences around the globe. She may soon appear in a city near you.

Acrylic on Canvas
24 x 36"

Photo by Jay York

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Throw Back Thursday and Memories of Philadelphia

This is a drawing from my High School days, this woman looks an awful lot like a very nice woman in SW Philadelphia where my family lived in the sixties. She dyed her rugs maroon one summer, and the dye left traces on the bottom of your sneakers. She was Polish and her daughter and I were friends for a short while. 

The daughter passed away in her twenties from what I understand. I often think about this woman and hope that the balance of her life was comfortable and blessed. 

The neighborhood was a rabbit warren of Roman Catholics. First Communion saw the smallest of us crammed into unaccustomed finery for our first trip up to the altar.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

"Conflict" is an online competition and group show hosted by Artspan

I am tickled pink to have had my work selected as the winner of this competition! 
Thank you Artspan!

More Alike than Not Alike
12 x 12" casein on birch panel
Photo by Jay York

While working on this piece I was reflecting on a thought that has often crossed my mind. It is this... When we as citizens put more emphasis on our perceived differences rather than our similarities, we leave ourselves vulnerable to those who would cynically exploit an all too human tendency to blame the "Other".
Here is an excerpt from Maya Angelou's "Human Family" which inspired the title for this piece...
I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

Please click on the link below to view the entire online show

Sunday, June 17, 2018

About a Painting...The Invention of Clouds II

I imagine a little wooden structure in the woods shuddering and hissing and sending out product. While I have an idea why weather is the way it is, it still remains a mystery as to when it will be the way it will be. The use of diagonal lines has come, for me, to represent the divisions between time and space... of things known and unknown... the mysterious other side of things as in “Frontier”.

The Invention of Clouds II 
in Process
14 x 18"
Acrylic And Casein Media


8 x 8"
Casein on Cradled Panel

In "Frontier" the barrier is used as a metaphor for the division between what is right before the eyes and that which is unseen... the visible world and things metaphysical. Spirit and matter, where does one stop and the other begin? The barrier could also be closing in on a mind with a fettered worldview or opening to celebrate a happily altered state of being.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Colossus

There is an alarming consolidation of media giants in this country, from Sinclair to Fox to Comcast. I have dressed my giant in attire appropriate to the 1970s, he'd fit right into the film "Network".  The television is similar to the one I watched as a child, although I can't imagine my folks buying anything with a blond finish... which I've always loved.

The Colossus

26 x 18"
Casein and Acrylic Media
photo by Jay York

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Closed Circuit

Here I am considering the all too human tendency to seek out others with similar opinions, and the attendant danger of ignoring or discounting a point of view which may run counter to one’s own notions. The two utility poles are carrying information back and forth, but remain disconnected from any outside source.

Closed Circuit 
Casein and Acrylic on Cradled Panel
photo by Jay York

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

In Process...The Colossus

This is a detail of a casein work nearing completion. There is an alarming consolidation of media giants in this country, from Sinclair to Comcast. I have dressed my giant in attire appropriate to the 1970s...he'd fit right into the film "Network". The television is similar to the one I watched as a child, although I cannnot imagine my parents buying anything constructed with a blond wood finish... which I've always loved. 

Detail of "The Colossus" casein on Birch Panel

Monday, April 30, 2018

Reincarnation Theatre

Our heroine has dealt with various and sundry demons, risen above stubborn problems (with the help of both earthly and unseen angels represented by a lute playing assistant who, now that I think of it, looks a bit like Jeff Spicoli). Finally, she assumes her chosen occupation as the self appointed Queen of Paris, France... she is a bit overwhelmed, but feeling that she is up to the challenge. Long may she reign.

Reincarnation Theater
Triptych mounted on Polychromed Wood Structure
Acrylic and Ceramic Tile
27 x 52 x 4"

Photo by Jay York

Monday, April 2, 2018

March has come and gone...

...and I have broken a cardinal rule of blogging. One should post AT LEAST once a month, here is a penance post. 

The All Seeing Eye on School Street
Acrylic on Panel
8 x 8 "

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.

Digital Media

Monday, January 1, 2018

Friday, December 1, 2017

About a Painting..."Grooming" from the Transition Series

There is a song in Richard Rodgers' musical "South Pacific"...

You've got to be taught to hate and fear
You've got to be taught from year to year
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught before it's too late
Before you are six or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught.


Casein on Birch Panel 
12 x 12"
Photo by Jay York