Natalee Miller is a Chicago-based artist, whose art awakens feelings that are latent within the subconscious mind. Her mastery offers a creative communion with the senses through evocative perspectives with pen and ink.
She recently journeyed to Rythmia (the world’s first medically licensed plant medicine facility), and had her first experience with ayahuasca. A medicine that provided a deep healing of mind, body and spirit – while offering an experience that perhaps she knew was part of her life’s path all along, as dreams and synchronicities served as reminders to remember that this would happen in time.
In the interview below, Natalee shares her great revelations through her words, and the paintings that were birthed after a week with the medicine. The story of her story is to serve as a way for you to remember your dreams, to pay attention to what is calling your soul, and to know that all paths eventually lead to finding your great purpose.
Prophetic Messages From the Astral Plane
“Four years ago, I was in an extremely emotionally toxic relationship, and began having very vivid lucid dreams about water. I would be swimming underwater in this cool, beautiful relaxing natural pool, just swimming and cleansing, when I came up to breathe, it would be a huge gasp and I would wake up. At this time, I wasn’t remembering my dreams, or anything really.
I was drinking all day every day, and doing whatever else I could get my hands on. There was no desire, or space in my life to pursue any kind of spirituality or self-improvement, but I knew these dreams were different and important somehow. So I reached out to this one girl I met in LA who seemed like a ‘crystal person.’ I was defensive yet curious, and wanted some book suggestions to explore why I was all of a sudden feeling a feeling. She suggested The Four Agreements.
I bought it, along with a book called Living Abroad In Costa Rica, and both of them just sat on my windowsill for years. I would occasionally glance through, while I was still having these water dreams more frequently and had begun fantasizing about Costa Rica as my escapist fantasy from my alcoholic, toxic life.
Still, I just didn’t have space for that in my life, and continued on…
Two years ago, the relationship and the way I was treating myself finally hit a wall. I hit rock bottom and quit drinking and drugs one summer day. It was difficult, but life was miserable and I knew I had to do something. Then the unravelling began. My marriage, friendships, stories I had told myself for decades all started changing and falling away. I scrambled to figure out my place, recalling some pieces of my mom’s spiritual practices, taking in some trending spirituality, trying to apply it all to myself. I bought so many books, did all the manifestation workshops, went to AA. It kept me sober but I never felt like it was ‘working.'”
“I went through a period of jealousy and resentment towards spiritual people. People would say things to me like ‘your mother’s spirit is always with you’ or ‘she’s watching you’, and I heard that, could tell they meant it, but I never felt it. I could never feel her spirit. I tried to visit her grave and felt nothing. I would pray and talk to her, apologize for how I was living. I thought if she really was watching, it must feel so helpless for a mother to watch her daughter do this to herself for years. My only comfort was that I thought she probably saved me from dying on several occasions, and yet still I couldn’t even connect to thank her for it.
Over the course of my life, my art was another thing I had abandoned. It was too painful to make, and I had drinking to do. Something that used to come so naturally to me, that was actually as important to me as breath and water at one time, was no longer accessible. I would try to doodle and I knew it was empty lines that meant nothing. The skill was kind of intact but I felt nothing. I stopped making art for over ten tears because it was like a reminder of something I lost every time I tried to create.
Last November I heard a song in the car on the way home from work and saw a vision. I rushed home and sketched it out so I wouldn’t forget it in the morning. For the next three days I stayed in filling old abandoned sketchbooks and posting them online. I have no idea what clicked or opened up for me but I had to get them out. I started drawing the archetypes of the Tarot and realized i needed to make my own deck somehow. Everything rushed in so fast I didn’t know how to proceed. Overwhelmed by this need to keep drawing and my lack of funds to publish a deck of my own, I decided to start with the Zodiac. People started reposting my work and emailing me for prints. It was surreal. I came to the point where I realized nothing bad could happen from putting it out there, and if it wasn’t meant to be it would just die out. The stronger my connections became with other creatives, the more miserable I was at my normal job. I spent that entire winter isolated and working on art. It was just like in high school, where I could come home from a day in the world and create my own space. I was lonely but determined and knew something would happen if i kept going.”
A New Beginning
“I received an email in April from a woman named Jennifer Sodini who wanted to help me get exposure by featuring my work on her site Evolve and Ascend. We talked on the phone and hit it off right away, and by the end of the call we had agreed to collaborate on an oracle deck she had been envisioning for years.
The bar I worked at closed, opening up my time to work on the deck, supplemented by independent commissions. It seemed insane and I was terrified to jump in full time, but everything I had been studying about synchronicity and the bigger plan speed to be telling me what to do, so I trusted the process for the first time ever. Jen and I became super close friends during the creative process and she mentioned Rythmia in Costa Rica. She pitched an idea to me, to come with her and go on this healing journey and see where it took my art. I was pretty unfamiliar with plant medicine but a massive life changing experience sounded intriguing and also, Costa Rica was finally calling me again. I was in complete denial that it was actually happening until I stepped off the plane in Liberia.”
“Rythmia is the most heavenly place I have ever been, but the first two journeys were hellish. I sat against the wall in a blanket staring at the stars sobbing wondering why I still felt nothing, even in a place like this. My appreciation was so earthly and human. I was so grateful to be there, but wasn’t feeling connected to anything and definitely wasn’t seeing any visions. Just hearing my own voice tell me over and over that the universe didn’t care about me, I was forgotten, and that my angels couldn’t hear me.
Over and over ‘your angels can’t hear you.’ It was a lonely despair that I have never felt in my life. Complete abandonment. I kept asking the shaman for more medicine because it ‘wasn’t working’, and I was just feeling sorry for myself. I told him my heart was too cold for the medicine to touch me. He blessed me with Agua de Florida and assured me it was definitely working.
The next morning in the shower, I cried harder than I ever have in my life. Wails and sobs just kept coming from the depths of me. I tried everything to stop it, and it just kept coming. Even alone in my room I felt stripped and vulnerable. I didn’t want to cry that hard even if no one could hear me. Thats not ‘strong.’ I went to breakfast puffy and swollen and Gerry told me I looked ‘so much better than yesterday’, which I brushed off as complete bullshit.
Through that day, messages kept coming. All the ‘work’ I had done wasn’t work at all. My library of self help books and all my tarot cards and all my spiritual connections were nothing. I had a nice collection, but was emotionally guarded to the point of feeling nothing. I could cry watching a commercial and feel nothing for actual people in my life. I showed up in my relationships with others just to say I had been there and expected something in return. That wasn’t love, thats why I couldn’t feel my mom’s presence, and thats why my angels couldn’t hear me. I was completely unable to give or receive love on a real level.
So I decided to out myself, I told my new friends my spirituality was just stale platitudes and that I felt nothing. I forced myself to be open about these messages despite my ego telling me I would cry if I opened my mouth. I did it anyway and cried in front of everyone and it was ugly and hard.
I decided to be real for once and write Ayahuasca a letter. I apologized for disrespecting the medicine and expecting a beautiful miracle just for showing up. I told her I was humbled and asked for a little bit more motherly love next time. I thanked her for handing me the truth even though it was not easy to hear. I ended it by saying to tell my mom I love her and miss her, if thats how it works.”
An Honest Purge
“I went into ceremony that night feeling like shit. I felt really guilty and small and scared of what would happen, or that nothing would happen at all. About two hours in I realized my hands were twitching at my forehead, like I was tuning a dial in front of me. I felt a wave of familiar warmth flow through my arms. I had been waiting 22 years to feel that presence. I could hear my mom’s voice telling me “it’s ok” and to breathe. I saw my own hand touch my hair, but it felt like hers, just like she used to when I was upset before bedtime and she would comfort me to sleep. It was overwhelming, I wanted to ask her everything, about dying, ‘the light’ if she had been watching me this whole time, and she told me to just relax.
‘The channel is open now, you can ask questions later’ she said. I asked her to go to dad and tell him she was around, then to check on my brothers and give them a sign. I asked her to go comfort the woman next to me who also felt like she was too broken for the medicine. ‘She will find what she’s looking for’ she told me.
The next night was the most beautiful night of my life. I fell asleep after drinking the medicine and woke up to a large white dragonfly symbol hovering above my head. I went outside and stared at the stars for hours, completely in awe of the sky. Silver and white symbols were scattered across the sky. Some familiar, some I have never seen. Some looked like ancient hieroglyphs and runes, some looked like emblems.
There were so many I couldn’t differentiate them. I could feel this energy shooting through my hands and every time I reached up it got stronger. I heard messages in my own voice telling me all the things let go of in my life. All the false identities I had clung to over the years, to forgive and let go of all the resentments I had been holding. That I was a child again and there was no time to be bored. I am a student and the universe is too vast to learn nothing. I have an obligation to help people, to learn to heal and create. I need to look up to get information and spend more time observing and less time talking for no reason. This is a time for humility and expansion and the concept of growing has nothing do with time passing and everything to do with how much love I can receive and give to others. A few hours in, it told me to just lay under the stars and ‘charge.’ I have never felt such complete peace in my life. The beauty of everything was overwhelming. I fell asleep in fetal position watching a meteor shower.”
The Present Moment
“Everything feels different now. All of my anger and resentments seem like lifetimes ago. People are looking at me differently, I feel like I have nothing to prove in the world anymore. When my mind wanders, its doesn’t land on what upsets me, but rather what I’m grateful for.
I’m moving to be closer to the ocean, and where I can look up and se the stars every night, and where I can be with my family and help heal them and give them the love I have been withholding.
I look at these sad drawings I had drawn and I don’t even recognize them. Some of them will be left unfinished. Aya told me I don’t have to tell those stories anymore. I don’t know what this means for me as an artist, since I clung to that for so long but if I learned anything, its to give up control and just trust the path.”