I'm going to do my best to type out a detailed explanation of this piece and its meanings, even though 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' is blaring in my ear. If I lapse into stupid bubbly babble, please forgive me. ^^; Although this piece was done for the Livejournal Art Community called 'I Would Be A,' I've been dying to have an excuse to draw a piece like this for some time... A piece of art that was distinctly me, and all the little things that sum up who I am as a person. I'm going to go through this coat of arms piece by heraldic piece and write up a description of each part. The Shield: Probably one of the more obvious differences from a normal heraldic coat of arms, I chose to use the shape of a Native American shield rather than the traditional form for several reasons. First of all, the Native culture has always fascinated me. I've gone through many lengths in my life to understand a people that surrounds me, perhaps even outnumbers the caucasians around where I live. I took a Native Studies course in Jr. High rather than French. I ask questions, read their legends, respect their rituals. I was fortunate enough to attend a music and dance festival once that was specifically for local Natives, even though I'm a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian from the other side of the country. It's a culture that I am very muchso in love with, and I'm proud to be able to incorporate it somehow into this image. I chose it for another reason... Although I look like a stereotypical blonde bimbo on the outside, I recently learned that I do have native in my blood as well, hidden behind several generations and much, much European blood. Although I cannot show it in daily life, I want to show this small piece of my heritage here. The Pieces Of the Shield: There are several things that make up this particular shield, little things that are attatched to it or are 'painted' onto it which I should explain as well. The Background On the Shield: Gracing the background of the shield is the coat of arms of the province in which I spent most of my life; Alberta. The Moth: No, it isn't a butterfly. It's a moth, one of my totems. I felt it was fitting to include some form of homage to one of the creatures that guides me though life. On the wings of this particular moth is the diagonal blue cross that is part of the flag of the province in which I was born, where my much of my heart still resides, Nova Scotia. The Anchor: This isn't included simply to show my oceanic heritage. The anchor is in this picture and where it's placed for several reasons. Yes, it shows that I was born by the sea, but it is also the heraldic symbol of hope, which will be mentioned again in my description later. On top of that, it's the yellow centre that completes the unfinished flag that the moth begins, taking the place of a golden shield and a red lion. The Pieces Attatched to it: There are two separate items that are attatched to this shield; a trio of tails and two magpie feathers. The tails are those of my spiritual self, and perhaps the piece of the Coat of Arms that most identifies it as my own. The feathers belong to the other of my most influential totems, the Magpie, who had guided me through the most difficult points in my life and has shown me how to discover myself and my spirituality. The Guards and the Flowers: I deviated yet again from the traditional layout of a coat of arms in that, rather than having two animals serve as the guards to my shield, I have four humanoid faces, all of them belonging to more personal spiritual guides who follow me through life. Clockwise from the top left: Shineko, the white-winged bat spirit who serves as my guide to gently dealing with problems and teaches me that sometimes, the best strategy for survival is simply to run. Ren, the vampiric half dragon who teaches me how to adapt, accept certain pains, and move on with life, no matter how disfigured it may leave me emotionally. Keiman, the perpetual smile, the fae spirit who helps me smile through the darkest of times, when apathy and simple gentleness are not the way to handle a situation. Vesper, a battered, hardened, perhaps even cold human who knows when enough is enough and helps me to stand strong and fight when fighting is the only option left. The Flower, the Lilac, was included in this image because it fills me with a sense of hope whenever I smell its sweet fragrance in the springtime and when I see the delicate bunches of tiny blossoms hanging gracefully yet strangely awkwardly on the branches of the tree. The Motto: 'Out of Nothing See a Miracle.' This is only a portion of a personal quote of mine, words that I live by. Hope plays a huge part in my life, and the quote in its entirety ties the entire theme of this image together. 'Hope is the ability to find a single possibility within a sea of the impossible, and out of nothing, see a miracle.' It ties in the anchor, which serves as the single possibility in the sea of trouble. It ties in the lilacs, which in themselves are a tiny miracle, and it ties in my guides, both spirit and totemic, who all show me how to live a life with hope and strength in my heart in their own special ways.