MEDICINE PAINTING

An Ancient and Futuristic Tool for Summoning the Inner Healer
by Shiloh Sophia McCloud

You are invited to join Shiloh Sophia for a complimentary class to experience Medicine Painting for yourself: www.medicinepainting.com

Medicine Painting is an ancient practice woven throughout human history. We are seeing a revival in modern times, as people are called to take healing into their own hands.

In our methodology, Medicine Painting is painting with an intent to heal and receive insight. In this introduction I will share some examples of painting within a healing context in the ancient world. I will review how we approach the practice today. As well as share stories of how this has informed my body of work and has sparked into a global art movement. Tens of thousands of women around the world work with this approach to embark on a healing journey through Intentional Creativity®. We have been practicing this way of working in our creative lineage since the 1930s.

She Rides the Equal Sign, Codex Course - A one year painting journey with over 100 women across the world.


Creativity activates inherent life force and can be put into practice as a powerful tool to summon the inner healer. Medicine Painting can be a choice for anyone to spark healing, not just artists, the talented, or those who feel they are creative. Creativity cannot be relegated to those with skill alone.

Approaching painting as a healing journey can be thought of as a blooming branch of neoshamanism with roots that go back to our ancestral healing practices. Storytelling, ritual, embodiment, ceremony, intention, marking and prayer were often a part of the healing practices from the past. Painting with an intent to heal, deliver remedies, tell stories and to warn those in the future of potential dangers, can be identified in many ancient civilizations. The art that remains in our human archives, provides the visual evidence.

Medicine Painting is an intuitive journey that grants access to our internal guidance system - the inner healer. More often than not, we don't know what we know. With painting specifically, we do have a way to make what our subconscious or unconscious knows, visible. Imagination may be one of the most potent links to recovering from trauma and illness that we have available. My hope is that our culture can begin to include this medicine painting as a valid pathway to healing, not as a fringe practice, or the domain of the gifted few, but as an integrative approach to self healing.

Painting brings the unknown invisible domain into the known visible domain. What was inside is now outside to be witnessed and interpreted. The painting itself is the symbol providing insight for next steps, or serves as an oracle.

Creativity flows from a living fountain of instinct; hence the unconscious is not merely conditioned by history, but is the very source of the creative impulse. ~ Carl Gustav Jung

The purpose of this teaching page is to introduce you to Medicine Painting.

If you are interested in joining us to experience Medicine Painting, we do teach it in several of our programs, including APOTHECARY taught once per year online by Shiloh Sophia and Jonathan McCloud. You can learn more and stay informed when enrollment opens here: www.medicinepainting.com

Cosmic Hand by Sue Hoya Sellars, 2000


What does Medicine Painting look like?

The practice, process and product of Medicine Painting is unique to every person. In this brief video you will see some of the paintings I have worked with over the past few years that demonstrate my version of Medicine Painting, and some of the potential beneficial impacts. I have experienced these beneficial impacts personally and have had students share with me the incredible impacts they have experienced from their medicine painting journeys.

I encourage you to get a cup of tea, and have 'cafe' with me. Take your time and see what arises for you. Perhaps you will feel called to bring Medicine Painting into your own healing journey.

Origins and History

Ancient cultures have used different forms of art as personal medicine to tell stories of trauma and healing throughout centuries.

Marrapinti by Australian artist Naata Nungurrayi. Her work hints at sacred women's ceremonial sites, their dancing, and the designs on their bodies - Modern but based on ancient ideas

Cueva de las Manos, Argentina, 13,000 to 9,000 years ago

Shamanism is one of the oldest forms of healing we have record of on earth and has been practiced in every part of the globe, by all tribes, regardless of race or place. They may call their healing work or healers by a different name or take distinct cultural approaches, yet the intention to heal is the common red thread. The essential ingredient of journeying to heal and transform is woven throughout the human existence.

In many cases, there is a specific shaman or group of healers who perform the work on behalf of those who need it. Yet increasingly, the idea of self healing, and the actual power to heal, is in the hands and minds of the individual who chooses to embark on a healing journey.

Examples of Healing Art Throughout History

Here are just a few of the many examples of healing, trauma and storytelling where painting or drawing is involved. While there are many ways art is used for healing, our focus is on painting.

The Shaman’s drums for the Saami people; Native American’s rugs woven with messages; traditional Chinese Medicine filled with the illustrations of how the body works; the healing icons of the Blessed Mother in Orthodoxy; paintings from ancient Rome in which the artist was charged to literally create the healing ‘scene’ while someone was healing, or after their death; the retablos, devotional paintings and the ex-votos of folk art in Mexico; the artistic medicine containers and talismans of Africa; the Aboriginal paintings which "show the prescriptions for thousands of years of traditional healing”; the Totem Poles created by the
First Nations of the Pacific Northwest to represent and commemorate ancestry, histories, people, or events; Native Hawaiian traditional skin tattoos representing tribal stories and heritage; the paintings in India of countless Gods and Goddesses in positions of victory, pleasure and power; and the medicine buddhas within the Tibetan portable tankas, and Egyptian glyphs rich with teachings on healing.

Our human history is rich in medicine painting and medicine art-making.

There are SO many more references here - perhaps you can think of one from your ancestral lineage? Do a search for your bloodline or land, and put 'healing art' and see what you find.

The common thread that shows up across healing painting traditions the world over is the presence of the elements, the sun, the moon, the stars, the path, and medicinal plants. Also common are scenes of healing in which the change or transmission is taking place. The image is thought to ‘carry’ the vibration of the actual healing for those looking on it, and it is thought that the artist 'charged' up the image for that intention. Perhaps not everyone was practicing painting themselves, yet artists and scribes created it on behalf of those seeking healing - in a sense, on behalf of the health of the collective.

Saami shaman frame drum of the segmented variety. The symbols were determined by the shaman and used in shamanic healing rituals. 1700s CE, painted with stories

The art of ancient healing practices in Egypt is demonstrated in much of their imagery. Their images often tell complete stories, transmitting information to the viewer.

In the case of the Blessed Mother, millions of healing icons of her are spread throughout the world. These are paintings with the intent to heal and bless and emanate energy - some of which are thought of as miraculous. In the case of Our Lady of Czestochowa Black Madonna Icon in Poland, there is a wall of crutches and symbols representing answered prayers for healing.

Contemporary Examples

In modern times, there are a plethora of very well known artists who used art for personal illumination, healing and connection with the Divine. Painting was created, not just to duplicate nature or render a concept, but for personal transformation and experience.

Alchemizing pain through art

Experiencing pleasure through art

The Two Fridas is an oil painting by Frida Kahlo

“Painting completed my life. I lost three children and a series of other things that would have fulfilled my horrible life. My painting took the place of all of this. I think work is the best. I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.”

 Spring - Georgia O'Keefe 1948

“Making your unknown known is the most important thing” ~ Georgia O'Keefe 

"I didn’t write you yesterday—I worked all day and again today all day—and I can’t tell you how I enjoyed it... I was at work before eight—stopped a couple of hours at noon—then at it again till six—I will be at it again tomorrow—I haven’t had such a feeling of real pleasure in working in a long long time.” written to Stieglitz in 1929

This is the work of Hilma af Klint of Sweden, presented in New York at the Guggenheim, a collection called Paintings for the Temple. She is now considered one of the earliest Abstract Expressionists - she received instructions to create a body of work that came 'through her' in 1908. "The pictures were painted directly through me, without any preliminary drawings, and with great force. I had no idea what the paintings were supposed to depict; nevertheless I worked swiftly and surely, without changing a single brush stroke."

Klint and a group of women would gather regularly to pray, meditate, draw and receive insight.

Painting can be a connection with the great mystery, revealing hidden worlds from within and through our connection with other worlds.


Becoming Your Own Healer

We know that holistic medicine asks us to see the entire human being as an integrated system - you are likely familiar with the mind, body, spirit language. Ancient practitioners knew this - but somewhere along the way with specialization we started treating symptoms or parts instead of the whole. When there is something in the body that is hurt, it also exists in the mind, the spirit, and the field of energy around the person. Yes, all living things have fields of energy - it is not a spiritual idea but a scientific fact!

People who work with Intentional Creativity heal emotionally but also physically because of this. We literally add symbolic scars, cellular information, and marks for DNA - often picturing the wound and then creating an image where we ‘heal that wound’. In shamanic traditions they know full well that to heal, an individual must invite healing in all of their systems. If this does not happen, the cure or medicine will not work as effectively as it could.

In Medicine Painting we have the clear awareness that the WHOLE person is involved regardless of whether they are working to heal something specific in the body, mind or spirit. We invite all aspects of the being to be present. We work in the field, to heal, as well as in the body. We invite people to be at cause for their own healing by integrating and working in all the different aspects of themselves. We acknowledge that there is a field outside of the body, and a field emanating from the heart (see HeartMath Institute), and we bring conscious awareness and engagement here throughout the medicine painting process.

"The Field is the sole governing agency of the Particle."

~ Albert Einstein

Perhaps one of the greatest distinctions between the ancient images of healing and the images of healing we are working with today in Intentional Creativity is this:

The INDIVIDUAL SEEKING the HEALING becomes the HEALER they seek.

In one of our dedicated courses, that includes Medicine Painting called Apothecary, our students are invited to transform tragedies into remedies. They are guided in an 8-step process that supports them in identifying, and ultimately alchemizing, the toxicity, pain, or trauma which holds them back.

Instead of beginning from the place of trauma, as in most classical therapeutic approaches, we begin with identifying where you want to go from right where you are in the here and now. We only look at the part of the past which may be preventing you from moving forward. This empowers the individual to create and work from a field of healing instead of a field of trauma that gets created when we are 'triggered'. Not to say that there isn't some serious material to compost and get through, and it can be quite challenging to do so. Yet the focus is clear - to move forward towards healing. That is the CONTEXT in which they are working.

This course was developed based on the vision of my husband, Jonathan McCloud, a Veteran who works with PTSD and Intentional Creativity. The inherent teaching suggests that you are the alchemist/shaman/healer/oracle of your own experience and how it lives in you - therefore you are the one who can create the solution.

Labrys in my Teapot, Apothecary Painting by Shiloh Sophia 2018

Freedom, Apothecary Painting by Shiloh Sophia, 2019

Medicine Painting can be practiced by anyone. At first it might be helpful to have a guide, which is why we teach so many classes on healing with art like Apothecary and also train Intentional Creativity Teachers.

When we are creating, our subconscious thoughts seem to flow more freely, with the artist as a conduit. The brush is a point of contact with the canvas that allows a flow of energy from inside the person out onto the canvas.

Love is at the center of all choices when we make art this way, which fills the field we are working inside of with the energy of love. Before we begin, we may bless the canvas, anointing it and ourselves. We may drum onto the surface, charging it up like a talisman. Often, we write our intention, to be hidden with layers of paint and document each evolution of the painting. We mark, code, swirl, color, shape, design, our canvas with what arises while we are creating, noticing ourselves as we go. As the active observer of your own process, you are the one in charge of the experience, while at the same time being surrendered enough not to dominate the outcome. If someone controls their painting too much, the intuitive flow of insight is often dampened.

During a dedicated painting session, we may ask for a physical, spiritual or emotional healing. Dedicating our process to that particular focus. Through inquiry and intention we make ourselves available to what is "ready" to be revealed. We begin to hear our internal guidance system with increased clarity - words, images, emotions and insight begin to be revealed. Once you gain access to your inner world then you have some dominion over curating your consciousness and experiences.

Medicine Painting lives within the field of Intentional Creativity®, which means to make with love and mindfulness across all different mediums and contexts, which are infinite.

Features of Medicine Painting in our work include intention, blessing, ritual, invocation, layering, mark making, witnessing, affirming, alchemizing and writing as things arise.

Here is a brief video at the start of a course from the Fall of 2019 called Anthropas. In this course we explore 42 Teachings within Intentional Creativity. In this video you will see the start of the painting as a ritual, then travelling through 13.777 billion years to the origin point of human existence.

Work in progress, Anthropas Painting by Shiloh Sophia 2020

One of the main focuses within our work is guiding others to gain access to all the facets of themselves - which, has largely not been taught to us growing up in our families or school or religious systems. In fact, having access to your own content and self agency may even be controversial!

In a journey of healing, the artist takes the work into their own hands, becomes the healer they seek. This can be guided by someone, or self-created once you have an idea of structure. And yes, structure is important when embarking on a journey to inner and outer worlds. Our students say that they have had some of the deepest insights of their entire life during Medicine Painting as taught in Intentional Creativity®.


Rewiring the Brain and Healing Trauma

Medicine Painting is more than just painting to heal as a concept. The body and brain begins to be rewired through the practice of creating, with this level of awareness. In most of our classes, our students are able to spend a great deal of time rewiring old pathways to a new potential.  

When we are in the act of medicine painting, the artist becomes a conduit - engaging in inquiry to ‘move the energy’ to a space outside of them. Once this engagement occurs, they move energy through their hand which holds the paintbrush and makes strokes with it onto the canvas. It really is quite remarkable to consider the power of bringing something into form - something that is a reflection of an otherwise hidden interior!

When we are activated through inquiry and our imagination begins to take flight, it engages the entire human system -  the physical, emotional and energetic bodies are all firing at once. This is why Medicine Painting can be such a powerful catharsis and tool for dislodging trauma. Releasing stuck energy, activating the particles, cells, and bundles within us that were unconsciously created in response to traumas.

The link between Imagination and Trauma is a clear pathway. The story of trauma is stored both in the body, the field and the mind. Imagination impacts all of the same areas of the self that trauma does, bringing image, language, inquiry and emotion into the healing process. When the person creating is aware of the potential for healing, of what could be happening, is actively witnessing what is happening at the end of their brush, pen or dancing body - the potential is amplified through their awareness. Quantum physics reminds us that when we witness something, that something changes, and then we too can be changed.

As human beings who are often in a state of hypervigilance, we cannot get past the constraints of the prefrontal cortex (executive functioning) into the cherished flow state. Hidden insight and unfiltered information can come to us in the flow state as the entire system (body, brain, field etc) of the human being is engaged. And because our focus is on process, not product, the relationship with what we think of as the critic, can be quite diminished (this part may take some practice!)

When we are fully engaged, as we often are with creativity - we can experience heightened awareness, intuition and connection to the inner healer. A relationship begins to form that with practice, can give us continued access to the deepest insights we have available.

We are excited to see the importance of art and how it can be embedded in healthcare to work with trauma.

From the article The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature in the American Journal of Public health states (read full article here):

“Having emerged as an international movement, arts in healthcare is a health-enhancing practice that includes and goes beyond medical art therapy, in that it not only aims to improve patient care, but also the quality of care for caregivers, of hospital environments, and of community-building in and outside medical settings. As far as patient care is concerned, art-based approaches and methods including painting, music, dancing, or writing are used, like art therapy, to improve physical, emotional, and cognitive function, to reduce pain, stress, or trauma and to promote social skills (intra-, interpersonal, and communicative) with all age and gender groups who are challenged by disabilities or mind–body illness.”


Amplifying the Impact of Healing
Personally and Collectively

In our methodology, the process of healing is amplified when there is a conscious awareness that you are doing healing work. It seems obvious, but we aren't trained to look at making art this way - with intention. Most of us in learning art, are taught to copy something, and if you don't make it look like what you were looking at, then you did not achieve your results (and should likely choose not to be an artist).

If you practice with others creating at the same time, there is a shared field where many of us are working together towards a common intention for healing. This works both when we are together or if we are in a virtual classroom. We do this all the time in Intentional Creativity - often with hundreds of women creating at once, and sometimes, thousands. We are creating a conscious collective of healing, amplifying the field of healing. When our students tune into this, they say they can 'feel' the field of connectivity and it helps them feel supported to do deep work they may be scared to do on their own.

Many who worked with me, my teacher Sue Hoya Sellars, and my mother, Caron McCloud, began to have phenomenal results they were not able to achieve with other therapies. More and more began to come forward to experience the power for themselves. Instead of just offering to sell our paintings to clients so they could feel the impact, we started to teach what we knew for ourselves. Moving from one to many in our in person classes, and then onto 100 women working online in 2008 with our first online class through Cosmic Cowgirls, Legend.

A movement rose up organically from those who were doing the work. We only started calling it a movement after many tens of thousands of people had interacted with it in small and potent ways. Some of us have been practicing this work for close to 16 years. This isn't just my work but the work of hundreds of teachers, coaches, guides and many thousands of students around the world.

In 2017 as part of our work with the United Nations, we conducted a Research Survey with over 500 members of our community. Here is what we found.

86% said they have experienced breakthroughs and aha’s during painting

77% said they choose painting specifically to work through a chosen breakthrough

88% said they experienced a shift in their personal story through creating with intention

85% said they experienced an expanded sense of self

79% noticed an ease of physical symptoms while creating

93% experience creating as a relief/break that benefits their overall well being

90% have experienced a shift in recurring emotional pain through creative process

90% said that creativity helped them maintain a healthy outlook



Thousands of us are painting for self healing and illumination

Paintings from students of Apothecary : Medicine Painting

Leisl Bryant, 2018 Legend

Tamera Boyd Hays: Bringing Medicine Forward, 2019

Sherry Banaka, 2019 Apothecary


My Personal Reflections

Clients began to see my paintings as tools for healing

When clients began to purchase paintings for their own healing, I paid attention.

In my early career as a professional artist with a gallery and shows, clients would buy paintings of mine as an access point to a potential healing. They would take it home and make an altar with the art. Images of liberation, freedom, movement and healing were being requested - like this image from early in my career.

I was also commissioned to create healing paintings for specific individuals. In some cases, I was asked to put a prayer for the arrival of a new partner into a painting for someone who was living with a broken heart. By painting their future lover into the painting, this was a form of medicine for them. When a friend lost her breasts to cancer, I painted them being added as planets to the cosmos. When an Intentional Creativity student’s death was imminent, we gathered a circle and everyone painted for her journey. We have painted for marriage and divorce, birth and death, transition and transformation.

Images created to evoke an icon of healing or transformation not only carry that energy but may have that impact on the viewer, as well as the maker.

Below : Apothecary Australia with Lou Reed of Energy Medicine Institute - Above : She Dances Her Gratitude 2002

When Medicine Painting revolutionized a personal healing journey

I have painted for healing all of my life, but this intentional focus on the heart changed everything about my life - and the way I teach.

I remember a time in my life in 2012 when I was nursing a broken heart. I wanted to try my own medicine with Intentional Creativity. I had already begun our Teacher Training called Color of Woman by this time, inviting other women to heal pain through paint.

The ‘wound’ as I experienced it, was not scabbing over. I felt this in my mind, heart, body and the field. I could not seem to move the energy. I visited healers. I did ritual. I prayed. Then I chose to embark on a series of paintings of the heart. I wanted to see what I was capable of moving for myself. It was during this series of paintings that I finally found relief and new hope.

What was it that worked?

Moving my body?

Asking my heart to speak?

Our Lady of the Flaming Heart, 2014

Perhaps it was spending so many hours focused on the illumination of the information I needed to heal? Working with my imagination in new ways? The answer is, all of the above.

The pain had felt unbearable before. Now with each painting, there was improvement. In one painting I painted two hearts connected by a red thread that was stitching my wound. As I painted the heart of my future lover, a wound was there too for him/her – so I stitched that up with paint as well. Every stroke was changing me from the inside, out into my life.

Evolution of a personal medicine painting by Shiloh Sophia

Is there a story you would like to begin to heal?
Is your heart stirring with the idea of what might be possible?

I coded that painting with pain and possibility. I put one red circle moon to mark every year of my 42 years of life. I painted a line of unavoidable tragedy. I got messy. And I fell in love with my painting and process! And of course wanted to share it with others, and began to share it almost immediately.

To complete the experience, I did another painting, a painting of joy and release. I painted a house of love, that I called the house of honey. I also wrote poems to go with it and performed at open mics, to embody the work.

Being at cause for your own healing and transformation and yes, have a good time doing it. For hours I would lose track of my pain and then when I was done painting, I felt joy instead of suffering. I almost couldn't believe it! If this is possible based on how I felt before, I have to tell everyone!

Then I painted a NEW Legendary Self (Cosmic Cowgirls Course) to bring myself into my archetype - and I integrated the wisdom of my broken heart into my legend. She is called, Born This Way. She completed right after the heart paintings - you can see the heart is there, and the red moons - but now I have integrated my pain. It has become a part of my story instead the story I live through. Pure alchemy at the tip of a brush.


“Your painting is a resonator
of your intention.

When you put your love into what you make the love changes you, and what you make.

Your work carries your transformed energy. ”

~ Sue Hoya Sellars


Putting Medicine Painting into Practice


Here you can see a continued evolution of what eventually becomes She Eats Lightning For Breakfast. This was the heart painting that is now behind directed by consciousness.


Can pain be transmitted to the stone
through the hammer’s blow?

Can joy be absorbed in rock to sound in stillness?

And as the tool tenderly shapes the stone,

the hidden self of that granite is given into my hands.

​The rock falls away to reveal that which is
not of my making.

Who is the carver?

~ Lenore Thomas Straus 1909-1988, Stone Dust
Lineage of Intentional Creativity

Paintings as Healing Icons - a story of holy water

For those who have collected my paintings, some clients have reached out and said they received their healing and want to pass the painting on. Others have passed a painting to another in their life who needed it more. Some have purchased paintings to have in their room at the time of a birth, or at the time of a death. Women who had experienced abuse purchased healing paintings for healing their bodies. Some women even put paintings in the room where the abuse took place as a talisman of protection, and yes, some have experienced transformation of that space.

One painting that I did in 2005 was a commission for a woman I met at a street show in Oakland. She saw my paintings had images of the Madonna, and she immediately knew she wanted me to make one for her - Our Lady of Lourdes. We made a plan, then an hour later she came back with a jar filled with holy water from the baths at Lourdes. I said I would use it in the painting. When I did the blue water background, I prayed and poured the water onto the canvas. When I went to rub it in, my hand was stayed. I had to let it dry naturally - to evaporate and be absorbed. I always remember the experience, because I had a whole day to paint it, but had to take extra time to let it dry.

I told her the story of my process, and she let me know that this is the practice at Lourdes – you cannot dry off after you get out of the baths. I attached a rosary to the painting that was also from Lourdes, which was removable so you could pray with it.

This woman had the painting blessed by her priest, and it was often in their church processions. She told me stories of how the painting had saved her during a fire. She also eventually began passing the painting around to her community when they were sick. This and other stories began to teach me how much more was happening through medicine painting than I was aware of.

If you look at the blue under her feet, that is the area where the water is - that did not get covered over by paint.

This idea, to ‘use’ the paintings for healing, has gradually developed into a part of our methodology over the years. It is an idea informed by the countless messages I received from clients who have experienced healing in this way.

Knowing that my paintings were bringing so much healing to people, I began to wonder - could I teach others to do it? It wasn’t just my painting that offered this. Maybe they could do it too. So I began teaching Intentional Creativity painting processes actively in 2005 - inviting others onto the journey of medicine painting for personal and collective healing. I have continued to teach nonstop ever since. Intentional Creativity has become a movement of medicine painters - a pathway for healing and transformation for thousands.

In this painting in an ancient cave, you can see the longer path or the shorter path - a more direct one illuminated by the sun. They both lead to the same place - but one path is more direct. I don't know the origins of the image.


An Invitation and Prayer to Awaken Your Inner Healer

Thank you Dear One for taking the time to have tea with me and read about the powerful re-emergence of Medicine Painting as a tool to summon your inner healer.

Each one of us has this capacity inside of us. It can be essential, at least in Intentional Creativity, to realize that to make true change, it doesn't happen just by thinking about it, you actually need to DO something about it. For us, the 'doing' part is the practice of medicine painting.

If you want to study with us further, you can find plenty of ways to do that at by visiting our
School Page Here. Not all of our curriculum is designed to focus on this one area of our Methdology, but all of them have healing impact.

This is my prayer. Perhaps you have one that wants to written or spoken?

I am inviting my inner healer to awaken
Let that which is available to be healed be healed
Show me what I am not seeing
Let me hear what I have not been hearing
May I honor my body and entire system
I am inviting my inner healer to awaken


Blessings on your path dear one,


Shares from Women who Practice Intentional Creativity

“I feel Intentional Creativity played a huge roll in my healing from cancer....it was my first piece with you that kicked it off....and I feel it allowed me quickly to arise out of a dark place with diagnosis to a positive minded Knowing to be healed thinking...and opened my mind and spirit to the messages of truth to come through ... healing thought and spirit and thus healing flesh.....my oncologist had no answer for my pathology reports to be so so much lower than when initially diagnosed......I am cancer free and stay that way........”

~ K. McLane

“Shiloh McCloud is an exquisite artist, a great teacher, and a healer. In four hours she was able to heal 40 years of emotional wounding that kept me from painting. Her process is amazing. She draws out the spirit within and guides you in expressing your inner most knowing. Since studying with her I have painted on a regular basis and much to my surprise my work has been exhibited purchased, understood and enjoyed by others. The time you spend with Shiloh is worth every minute of it. Do yourself a favor and pick up that paintbrush.”

~ Chief Luisah Teish

“Intentional Creativity helped me reconnect to and be able to listen to my body. I was completely disconnected from the neck down....believing that my body couldn't keep me safe and my body always failed me. We were in constant conflict with each other and I engaged in behaviors that were unkind and unloving toward her. IC allowed me to access those stories, create dialog and form a loving relationship with my body which has impacted my health in a positive way.”

~ Heidi S. Moondancer

"Intentional Creativity has been a game changer for me! I was blessed to create a physical healing while participating in one of Shiloh Sophia’s retreats. Recently I had been diagnosed with a serious life threatening intestinal disorder. During my painting process at the retreat, I purposely decided to ‘place’ it into a container I had painted onto my canvas. As I made each brush stroke I declared: “my illness can live in here now” I approached this with a playful energy and no expectations. In order to truly believe in what I was doing, I even went off of my medication! My illness and symptoms have never returned and it’s been over a year ago! Such is the potential power of Intentional Creativity!"

~ Lisa Adriana

"I discovered IC in the darkest period of my life - I had just suffered a huge betrayal from my childhood church and my then husband had cheated on me. IC gave me the tools I needed to survive that period, and to finally pursue my own needs and interests. For the first time, I took responsibility for my own life. Three years after my first class, I am working in a field where I get to change lives...Intentional Creativity transformed my life. I don't say that lightly. Through creativity I was able to reclaim parts of myself I had forgotten, and was able to step back into the role of creator of my own future.”

~ Anonymous

"I have emerged on the other side of hell after being subjected to sexual abuse for 8 yrs of my childhood by extended family members. I kept silent until my 30's; have had years of therapy, searched countless avenues for healing, and with Intentional Creativity I feel like I have finally come home and into my own arms. I am on my way back to my own wholeness now with tools for healing myself and my family, and am even now reaching out to others."

~ Anonymous



Intentional Creativity in Action

For a look into the process of Intentional Creativity in action, watch this video, Cantos for Reclamation - The Making of a Painting, which will go over some of the steps of Intentional Creativity and the layers that build on the canvas in the process of Medicine Painting.


MEDICINE PAINTING

An Ancient and Futuristic Tool for Summoning the Inner Healer
by Shiloh Sophia McCloud

You are invited to join Shiloh Sophia for a complimentary class to experience Medicine Painting for yourself: www.medicinepainting.com

Medicine Painting is an ancient practice woven throughout human history. We are seeing a revival in modern times, as people are called to take healing into their own hands.

In our methodology, Medicine Painting is painting with an intent to heal and receive insight. In this introduction I will share some examples of painting within a healing context in the ancient world. I will review how we approach the practice today. As well as share stories of how this has informed my body of work and has sparked into a global art movement. Tens of thousands of women around the world work with this approach to embark on a healing journey through Intentional Creativity®. We have been practicing this way of working in our creative lineage since the 1930s.

She Rides the Equal Sign, Codex Course - A one year painting journey with over 100 women across the world.

What does Medicine Painting look like?

The practice, process and product of Medicine Painting is unique to every person. In this brief video you will see some of the paintings I have worked with over the past few years that demonstrate my version of Medicine Painting, and some of the potential beneficial impacts. I have experienced these beneficial impacts personally and have had students share with me the incredible impacts they have experienced from their medicine painting journeys.

I encourage you to get a cup of tea, and have 'cafe' with me. Take your time and see what arises for you. Perhaps you will feel called to bring Medicine Painting into your own healing journey.

Creativity activates inherent life force and can be put into practice as a powerful tool to summon the inner healer. Medicine Painting can be a choice for anyone to spark healing, not just artists, the talented, or those who feel they are creative. Creativity cannot be relegated to those with skill alone.

Approaching painting as a healing journey can be thought of as a blooming branch of neoshamanism with roots that go back to our ancestral healing practices. Storytelling, ritual, embodiment, ceremony, intention, marking and prayer were often a part of the healing practices from the past. Painting with an intent to heal, deliver remedies, tell stories and to warn those in the future of potential dangers, can be identified in many ancient civilizations. The art that remains in our human archives, provides the visual evidence.

Medicine Painting is an intuitive journey that grants access to our internal guidance system - the inner healer. More often than not, we don't know what we know. With painting specifically, we do have a way to make what our subconscious or unconscious knows, visible. Imagination may be one of the most potent links to recovering from trauma and illness that we have available. My hope is that our culture can begin to include this medicine painting as a valid pathway to healing, not as a fringe practice, or the domain of the gifted few, but as an integrative approach to self healing.

Painting brings the unknown invisible domain into the known visible domain. What was inside is now outside to be witnessed and interpreted. The painting itself is the symbol providing insight for next steps, or serves as an oracle.

Creativity flows from a living fountain of instinct;
hence the unconscious is not merely conditioned by history,
but is the very source of the creative impulse.
~ Carl Gustav Jung

Cosmic Hands, by Sue Hoya Sellars, 2000

The purpose of this teaching page is to introduce you to Medicine Painting.

If you are interested in joining us to experience Medicine Painting, we do teach it in several of our programs, including APOTHECARY taught once per year online by Shiloh Sophia and Jonathan McCloud. You can learn more and stay informed when enrollment opens here: www.medicinepainting.com

Origins and History

Ancient cultures have used different forms of art as personal medicine to tell stories of trauma and healing throughout centuries.

Marrapinti by Australian artist Naata Nungurrayi. Her work hints at sacred women's ceremonial sites, their dancing, and the designs on their bodies - Modern but based on ancient ideas

Cueva de las Manos, Argentina, 13,000 to 9,000 years ago

Shamanism is one of the oldest forms of healing we have record of on earth and has been practiced in every part of the globe, by all tribes, regardless of race or place. They may call their healing work by a different name or take unique cultural approaches, or use the concepts sacramentally. Yet the essential ingredient of journeying to heal and transform is woven throughout the humans of earth.

We know this place within us and within the circle, our ancestors knew this and worked this way. In many cases, there is a specific shaman or group of healers, who does the work on behalf of who needs it. Yet increasingly, the idea of self healing is in the hands of the individual who chooses to go on a healing journey.

Examples of Healing Art Throughout History

Here are just a few of the many examples of healing, trauma and storytelling where painting or drawing is involved. While there are many ways art is used for healing, our focus is on painting.

The Shaman’s drums for the Saami people of North; the Native American’s woven rugs; traditional Chinese Medicine filled with the illustrations of how the body works; the healing icons of Orthodoxy; paintings from ancient Rome in which the artist was charged to literally create the healing ‘scene’ while someone was healing, or after their death; the retablos, devotional paintings and the ex-votos of folk art in Mexico; the artistic medicine containers and talismans of Africa; the Aboriginal paintings which "show the prescriptions for thousands of years of traditional healing”; the Totem Poles created by the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest to represent and commemorate ancestry, histories, people, or events; Native Hawaiian traditional skin tattoos representing tribal stories and heritage; the paintings in India of countless Gods and Goddesses in positions of victory, pleasure and power; and the medicine buddhas within the Tibetan portable tankas. Our human history is rich in medicine painting and medicine art-making.

There are SO many more references here - perhaps you can think of one from your ancestral lineage? Do a search for your bloodline or land, and put 'healing art' and see what you find.

The common thread that shows up across healing painting traditions the world over is the presence of the elements, the sun, the moon, the stars, the path, and medicinal plants. Also common are scenes of healing in which the change is taking place. The image is thought to ‘carry’ the vibration of the actual healing.

Our human history is rich in medicine painting and medicine art-making.

The art of ancient healing practices in Egypt is demonstrated in much of their imagery. Their images often tell complete stories, transmitting information to the viewer.

Saami shaman frame drum of the segmented variety. The symbols were determined by the shaman and used in shamanic healing rituals. 1700s CE, painted with stories

In the case of the Blessed Mother, millions of healing icons of her are spread throughout the world. These are paintings with the intent to heal and bless and emanate energy - some of which are thought of as miraculous. In the case of Our Lady of Czestochowa Black Madonna Icon in Poland, there is a wall of crutches and symbols representing answered prayers for healing.

Contemporary Examples

In modern times, there are a plethora of very well known artists who used art for personal illumination, healing and connection with the Divine. Painting was created, not just to duplicate nature or render a concept, but for personal transformation and experience.

Alchemizing pain through art

The Two Fridas is an oil painting by Frida Kahlo

“Painting completed my life. I lost three children and a series of other things that would have fulfilled my horrible life. My painting took the place of all of this. I think work is the best. I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.”

Experiencing pleasure through art

Spring - Georgia O'Keefe 1948

“Making your unknown known is the most important thing” ~ Georgia O'Keefe 

"I didn’t write you yesterday—I worked all day and again today all day—and I can’t tell you how I enjoyed it... I was at work before eight—stopped a couple of hours at noon—then at it again till six—I will be at it again tomorrow—I haven’t had such a feeling of real pleasure in working in a long long time.” written to Stieglitz in 1929

This is the work of Hilma af Klint of Sweden, presented in New York at the Guggenheim, a collection called Paintings for the Temple. She is now considered one of the earliest Abstract Expressionists - she received instructions to create a body of work that came 'through her' in 1908. "The pictures were painted directly through me, without any preliminary drawings, and with great force. I had no idea what the paintings were supposed to depict; nevertheless I worked swiftly and surely, without changing a single brush stroke."

Klint and a group of women would gather regularly to pray, meditate, draw and receive insight.

Painting can be a connection with the great mystery, revealing hidden worlds from within and through our connection with other worlds.


Becoming Your Own Healer

We know that holistic medicine asks us to see the entire human being as an integrated system - you are likely familiar with the mind, body, spirit language. Ancient practitioners knew this - but somewhere along the way with specialization we started treating symptoms or parts instead of the whole. When there is something in the body that is hurt, it also exists in the mind, the spirit, and the field of energy around the person. Yes, all living things have fields of energy - it is not a spiritual idea but a scientific fact!

People who work with Intentional Creativity heal emotionally but also physically because of this. We literally add symbolic scars, cellular information, and marks for DNA - often picturing the wound and then creating an image where we ‘heal that wound’. In shamanic traditions they know full well that to heal, an individual must invite healing in all of their systems. If this does not happen, the cure or medicine will not work as effectively as it could.

In Medicine Painting we have the clear awareness that the WHOLE person is involved regardless of whether they are working to heal something specific in the body, mind or spirit. We invite all aspects of the being to be present. We work in the field, to heal, as well as in the body. We invite people to be at cause for their own healing by integrating and working in all the different aspects of themselves. We acknowledge that there is a field outside of the body, and a field emanating from the heart (see HeartMath Institute), and we bring conscious awareness and engagement here throughout the medicine painting process.

"The Field is the sole governing agency of the Particle."

~ Albert Einstein

Perhaps one of the greatest distinctions between the ancient images of healing and the images of healing we are working with today in Intentional Creativity is this:

The INDIVIDUAL SEEKING the HEALING becomes the HEALER they seek.

In one of our dedicated courses, that includes Medicine Painting called Apothecary, our students are invited to transform tragedies into remedies. They are guided in an 8-step process that supports them in identifying, and ultimately alchemizing, the toxicity, pain, or trauma which holds them back.

Instead of beginning from the place of trauma, as in most classical therapeutic approaches, we begin with identifying where you want to go from right where you are in the here and now. We only look at the part of the past which may be preventing you from moving forward. This empowers the individual to create and work from a field of healing instead of a field of trauma that gets created when we are 'triggered'. Not to say that there isn't some serious material to compost and get through, and it can be quite challenging to do so. Yet the focus is clear - to move forward towards healing. That is the CONTEXT in which they are working.

This course was developed based on the vision of my husband, Jonathan McCloud, a Veteran who works with PTSD and Intentional Creativity. The inherent teaching suggests that you are the alchemist/shaman/healer/oracle of your own experience and how it lives in you - therefore you are the one who can create the solution.

Labrys in my Teapot, Apothecary painting by Shiloh Sophia, 2018

Medicine Painting can be practiced by anyone. At first it might be helpful to have a guide, which is why we teach so many classes on healing with art like Apothecary and also train Intentional Creativity Teachers.

When we are creating, our subconscious thoughts seem to flow more freely, with the artist as a conduit. The brush is a point of contact with the canvas that allows a flow of energy from inside the person out onto the canvas.

Love is at the center of all choices when we make art this way, which fills the field we are working inside of with the energy of love. Before we begin, we may bless the canvas, anointing it and ourselves. We may drum onto the surface, charging it up like a talisman. Often, we write our intention, to be hidden with layers of paint and document each evolution of the painting. We mark, code, swirl, color, shape, design, our canvas with what arises while we are creating, noticing ourselves as we go. As the active observer of your own process, you are the one in charge of the experience, while at the same time being surrendered enough not to dominate the outcome. If someone controls their painting too much, the intuitive flow of insight is often dampened.

During a dedicated painting session, we may ask for a physical, spiritual or emotional healing. Dedicating our process to that particular focus. Through inquiry and intention we make ourselves available to what is "ready" to be revealed. We begin to hear our internal guidance system with increased clarity - words, images, emotions and insight begin to be revealed. Once you gain access to your inner world then you have some dominion over curating your consciousness and experiences.

Medicine Painting lives within the field of Intentional Creativity®, which means to make with love and mindfulness across all different mediums and contexts, which are infinite.

Features of Medicine Painting in our work include intention, blessing, ritual, invocation, layering, mark making, witnessing, affirming, alchemizing and writing as things arise.

Here is a brief video at the start of a course from the Fall of 2019 called Anthropas. In this course we explore 42 Teachings within Intentional Creativity. In this video you will see the start of the painting as a ritual, then travelling through 13.777 billion years to the origin point of human existence.

Work in progress, Anthropas painting, by Shiloh Sophia 2020

One of the main focuses within our work is guiding others to gain access to all the facets of themselves - which, has largely not been taught to us growing up in our families or school or religious systems. In fact, having access to your own content and self agency may even be controversial!

In a journey of healing, the artist takes the work into their own hands, becomes the healer they seek. This can be guided by someone, or self-created once you have an idea of structure. And yes, structure is important when embarking on a journey to inner and outer worlds. Our students say that they have had some of the deepest insights of their entire life during Medicine Painting as taught in Intentional Creativity®.


Rewiring the Brain and Healing Trauma

Medicine Painting is more than just painting to heal as a concept. The body and brain begins to be rewired through the practice of creating, with this level of awareness. In most of our classes, our students are able to spend a great deal of time rewiring old pathways to a new potential.  

When we are in the act of medicine painting, the artist becomes a conduit - engaging in inquiry to ‘move the energy’ to a space outside of them. Once this engagement occurs, they move energy through their hand which holds the paintbrush and makes strokes with it onto the canvas. It really is quite remarkable to consider the power of bringing something into form - something that is a reflection of an otherwise hidden interior!

When we are activated through inquiry and our imagination begins to take flight, it engages the entire human system -  the physical, emotional and energetic bodies are all firing at once. This is why Medicine Painting can be such a powerful catharsis and tool for dislodging trauma. Releasing stuck energy, activating the particles, cells, and bundles within us that were unconsciously created in response to traumas.

The link between Imagination and Trauma is a clear pathway. The story of trauma is stored both in the body, the field and the mind. Imagination impacts all of the same areas of the self that trauma does, bringing image, language, inquiry and emotion into the healing process. When the person creating is aware of the potential for healing, of what could be happening, is actively witnessing what is happening at the end of their brush, pen or dancing body - the potential is amplified through their awareness. Quantum physics reminds us that when we witness something, that something changes, and then we too can be changed.

As human beings who are often in a state of hypervigilance, we cannot get past the constraints of the prefrontal cortex (executive functioning) into the cherished flow state. Hidden insight and unfiltered information can come to us in the flow state as the entire system (body, brain, field etc) of the human being is engaged. And because our focus is on process, not product, the relationship with what we think of as the critic, can be quite diminished (this part may take some practice!)

When we are fully engaged, as we often are with creativity - we can experience heightened awareness, intuition and connection to the inner healer. A relationship begins to form that with practice, can give us continued access to the deepest insights we have available.

We are excited to see the importance of art and how it can be embedded in healthcare to work with trauma.

From the article The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature in the American Journal of Public health states (read full article here):

“Having emerged as an international movement, arts in healthcare is a health-enhancing practice that includes and goes beyond medical art therapy, in that it not only aims to improve patient care, but also the quality of care for caregivers, of hospital environments, and of community-building in and outside medical settings. As far as patient care is concerned, art-based approaches and methods including painting, music, dancing, or writing are used, like art therapy, to improve physical, emotional, and cognitive function, to reduce pain, stress, or trauma and to promote social skills (intra-, interpersonal, and communicative) with all age and gender groups who are challenged by disabilities or mind–body illness.”


Amplifying the Impact of Healing Personally and Collectively

In our methodology, the process of healing is amplified when there is a conscious awareness that you are doing healing work. It seems obvious, but we aren't trained to look at making art this way - with intention. Most of us in learning art, are taught to copy something, and if you don't make it look like what you were looking at, then you did not achieve your results (and should likely choose not to be an artist).

If you practice with others creating at the same time, there is a shared field where many of us are working together towards a common intention for healing. This works both when we are together or if we are in a virtual classroom. We do this all the time in Intentional Creativity - often with hundreds of women creating at once, and sometimes, thousands. We are creating a conscious collective of healing, amplifying the field of healing. When our students tune into this, they say they can 'feel' the field of connectivity and it helps them feel supported to do deep work they may be scared to do on their own.

Many who worked with me, my teacher Sue Hoya Sellars, and my mother, Caron McCloud, began to have phenomenal results they were not able to achieve with other therapies. More and more began to come forward to experience the power for themselves. Instead of just offering to sell our paintings to clients so they could feel the impact, we started to teach what we knew for ourselves. Moving from one to many in our in person classes, and then onto 100 women working online in 2008 with our first online class through Cosmic Cowgirls, Legend.

A movement rose up organically from those who were doing the work. We only started calling it a movement after many tens of thousands of people had interacted with it in small and potent ways. Some of us have been practicing this work for close to 16 years. This isn't just my work but the work of hundreds of teachers, coaches, guides and many thousands of students around the world.

In 2017 as part of our work with the United Nations, we conducted a Research Survey with over 500 members of our community. Here is what we found.

86% said they have experienced breakthroughs and aha’s during painting

77% said they choose painting specifically to work through a chosen breakthrough

88% said they experienced a shift in their personal story through creating with intention

85% said they experienced an expanded sense of self

79% noticed an ease of physical symptoms while creating

93% experience creating as a relief/break that benefits their overall well being

90% have experienced a shift in recurring emotional pain through creative process

90% said that creativity helped them maintain a healthy outlook

Thousands of us are painting for self healing and illumination

Paintings from students of Apothecary : Medicine Painting

Leisl Bryant, 2018 course

Student Tamera Boyd Hays: Bringing Medicine Forward, 2019 New Orleans class

Sherry Banaka, 2019 course


My Personal Reflections Around the Importance of this Work

Clients began to see my paintings as tools for healing

When clients began to purchase paintings for their own healing, I paid attention.

In my early career as a professional artist with a gallery and shows, clients would buy paintings of mine as an access point to a potential healing. They would take it home and make an altar with the art. Images of liberation, freedom, movement and healing were being requested - like this image from early in my career.

I was also commissioned to create healing paintings for specific individuals. In some cases, I was asked to put a prayer for the arrival of a new partner into a painting for someone who was living with a broken heart. By painting their future lover into the painting, this was a form of medicine for them. When a friend lost her breasts to cancer, I painted them being added as planets to the cosmos. When an Intentional Creativity student’s death was imminent, we gathered a circle and everyone painted for her journey. We have painted for marriage and divorce, birth and death, transition and transformation.

Images created to evoke an icon of healing or transformation not only carry that energy but may have that impact on the viewer, as well as the maker.

Below : Apothecary Ausralia with Lou Reed of Energy Medicine Instittue - Above : She Dances Her Gratitude 2002

When Medicine Painting revolutionized a personal healing journey

I have painted for healing all of my life, but this intentional focus on the heart changed everything about my life - and the way I teach.

I remember a time in my life in 2012 when I was nursing a broken heart. I wanted to try my own medicine with Intentional Creativity. I had already begun our Teacher Training called Color of Woman by this time, inviting other women to heal pain through paint.

The ‘wound’ as I experienced it, was not scabbing over. I felt this in my mind, heart, body and the field. I could not seem to move the energy. I visited healers. I did ritual. I prayed. Then I chose to embark on a series of paintings of the heart. I wanted to see what I was capable of moving for myself. It was during this series of paintings that I finally found relief and new hope.

What was it that worked?

Moving my body?

Asking my heart to speak?

Our Lady of the Flaming Heart, Shiloh Sophia, 2014

Perhaps it was spending so many hours focused on the illumination of the information I needed to heal? Working with my imagination in new ways? The answer is, all of the above.

The pain had felt unbearable before. Now with each painting, there was improvement. In one painting I painted two hearts connected by a red thread that was stitching my wound. As I painted the heart of my future lover, a wound was there too for him/her – so I stitched that up with paint as well. Every stroke was changing me from the inside, out into my life.

Evolution of a personal medicine painting by Shiloh Sophia

Is there a story you would like to begin to heal?
Is your heart stirring with the idea of what might be possible?

I coded that painting with pain and possibility. I put one red circle moon to mark every year of my 42 years of life. I painted a line of unavoidable tragedy. I got messy. And I fell in love with my painting and process! And of course wanted to share it with others, and began to share it almost immediately.

To complete the experience, I did another painting, a painting of joy and release. I painted a house of love, that I called the house of honey. I also wrote poems to go with it and performed at open mics, to embody the work.

Being at cause for your own healing and transformation and yes, have a good time doing it. For hours I would lose track of my pain and then when I was done painting, I felt joy instead of suffering. I almost couldn't believe it! If this is possible based on how I felt before, I have to tell everyone!

Then I painted a NEW Legendary Self (Cosmic Cowgirls Course) to bring myself into my archetype - and I integrated the wisdom of my broken heart into my legend. She is called, Born This Way. She completed right after the heart paintings - you can see the heart is there, and the red moons - but now I have integrated my pain. It has become a part of my story instead the story I live through. Pure alchemy at the tip of a brush.


“Your painting is a resonator of your intention.

When you put your love into what you make the love changes you, and what you make.

Your work carries your transformed energy. ”

~ Sue Hoya Sellars


Putting Medicine Painting into Practice


Here you can see a continued evolution of what eventually becomes She Eats Lightning For Breakfast. This was the heart painting that is now behind directed by consciousness.


Can pain be transmitted to the stone through the hammer’s blow?

Can joy be absorbed in rock to sound in stillness?

And as the tool tenderly shapes the stone,

the hidden self of that granite is given into my hands.

​The rock falls away to reveal that which is not of my making.

Who is the carver?

~ Lenore Thomas Straus 1909-1988, Stone Dust
Lineage of Intentional Creativity

Paintings as Healing Icons - a story of holy water

For those who have collected my paintings, some clients have reached out and said they received their healing and want to pass the painting on. Others have passed a painting to another in their life who needed it more. Some have purchased paintings to have in their room at the time of a birth, or at the time of a death. Women who had experienced abuse purchased healing paintings for healing their bodies. Some women even put paintings in the room where the abuse took place as a talisman of protection, and yes, some have experienced transformation of that space.

One painting that I did in 2005 was a commission for a woman I met at a street show in Oakland. She saw my paintings had images of the Madonna, and she immediately knew she wanted me to make one for her - Our Lady of Lourdes. We made a plan, then an hour later she came back with a jar filled with holy water from the baths at Lourdes. I said I would use it in the painting. When I did the blue water background, I prayed and poured the water onto the canvas. When I went to rub it in, my hand was stayed. I had to let it dry naturally - to evaporate and be absorbed. I always remember the experience, because I had a whole day to paint it, but had to take extra time to let it dry.

I told her the story of my process, and she let me know that this is the practice at Lourdes – you cannot dry off after you get out of the baths. I attached a rosary to the painting that was also from Lourdes, which was removable so you could pray with it.

This woman had the painting blessed by her priest, and it was often in their church processions. She told me stories of how the painting had saved her during a fire. She also eventually began passing the painting around to her community when they were sick. This and other stories began to teach me how much more was happening through medicine painting than I was aware of.

If you look at the blue under her feet, that is the area where the water is - that did not get covered over by paint.

This idea, to ‘use’ the paintings for healing, has gradually developed into a part of our methodology over the years. It is an idea informed by the countless messages I received from clients who have experienced healing in this way.

Knowing that my paintings were bringing so much healing to people, I began to wonder - could I teach others to do it? It wasn’t just my painting that offered this. Maybe they could do it too. So I began teaching Intentional Creativity painting processes actively in 2005 - inviting others onto the journey of medicine painting for personal and collective healing. I have continued to teach nonstop ever since. Intentional Creativity has become a movement of medicine painters - a pathway for healing and transformation for thousands.

In this painting in an ancient cave, you can see the longer path or the shorter path - a more direct one illuminated by the sun. They both lead to the same place - but one path is more direct. I don't know the origins of the image.


An Invitation and Prayer to Awaken Your Inner Healer

Thank you Dear One for taking the time to have tea with me and read about the powerful re-emergence of Medicine Painting as a tool to summon your inner healer.

Each one of us has this capacity inside of us. It can be essential, at least in Intentional Creativity, to realize that to make true change, it doesn't happen just by thinking about it, you actually need to DO something about it. For us, the 'doing' part is the practice of medicine painting.

If you want to study with us further, you can find plenty of ways to do that at by visiting our
School Page Here. Not all of our curriculum is designed to focus on this one area of our Methdology, but all of them have healing impact.

This is my prayer. Perhaps you have one that wants to written or spoken?

I am inviting my inner healer to awaken
Let that which is available to be healed be healed
Show me what I am not seeing
Let me hear what I have not been hearing
May I honor my body and entire system
I am inviting my inner healer to awaken


Blessings on your path dear one,


Shares from Women who Practice Intentional Creativity

“I feel Intentional Creativity played a huge roll in my healing from cancer....it was my first piece with you that kicked it off....and I feel it allowed me quickly to arise out of a dark place with diagnosis to a positive minded Knowing to be healed thinking...and opened my mind and spirit to the messages of truth to come through ... healing thought and spirit and thus healing flesh.....my oncologist had no answer for my pathology reports to be so so much lower than when initially diagnosed......I am cancer free and stay that way........”

~ K. McLane

“Shiloh McCloud is an exquisite artist, a great teacher, and a healer. In four hours she was able to heal 40 years of emotional wounding that kept me from painting. Her process is amazing. She draws out the spirit within and guides you in expressing your inner most knowing. Since studying with her I have painted on a regular basis and much to my surprise my work has been exhibited purchased, understood and enjoyed by others. The time you spend with Shiloh is worth every minute of it. Do yourself a favor and pick up that paintbrush.”

~ Chief Luisah Teish

“Intentional Creativity helped me reconnect to and be able to listen to my body. I was completely disconnected from the neck down....believing that my body couldn't keep me safe and my body always failed me. We were in constant conflict with each other and I engaged in behaviors that were unkind and unloving toward her. IC allowed me to access those stories, create dialog and form a loving relationship with my body which has impacted my health in a positive way.”

~ Heidi S. Moondancer

"Intentional Creativity has been a game changer for me! I was blessed to create a physical healing while participating in one of Shiloh Sophia’s retreats. Recently I had been diagnosed with a serious life threatening intestinal disorder. During my painting process at the retreat, I purposely decided to ‘place’ it into a container I had painted onto my canvas. As I made each brush stroke I declared: “my illness can live in here now” I approached this with a playful energy and no expectations. In order to truly believe in what I was doing, I even went off of my medication! My illness and symptoms have never returned and it’s been over a year ago! Such is the potential power of Intentional Creativity!"

~ Lisa Adriana

"I discovered IC in the darkest period of my life - I had just suffered a huge betrayal from my childhood church and my then husband had cheated on me. IC gave me the tools I needed to survive that period, and to finally pursue my own needs and interests. For the first time, I took responsibility for my own life. Three years after my first class, I am working in a field where I get to change lives...Intentional Creativity transformed my life. I don't say that lightly. Through creativity I was able to reclaim parts of myself I had forgotten, and was able to step back into the role of creator of my own future.”

~ Anonymous

"I have emerged on the other side of hell after being subjected to sexual abuse for 8 yrs of my childhood by extended family members. I kept silent until my 30's; have had years of therapy, searched countless avenues for healing, and with Intentional Creativity I feel like I have finally come home and into my own arms. I am on my way back to my own wholeness now with tools for healing myself and my family, and am even now reaching out to others."

~ Anonymous



Intentional Creativity in Action

For a look into the process of Intentional Creativity in action, watch this video, Cantos for Reclamation - The Making of a Painting, which will go over some of the steps of Intentional Creativity and the layers that build on the canvas in the process of Medicine Painting.