845-887-3156 debra@debracortese.com

TOTEM ANIMALS – What are they saying?

Manatee Waters #3














I have realized that over the past couple of years,

that I’ve been honored by some very personal contact

with the energy of several animal totems:

Dog, Honey Bee, Baltimore Oriole, Iguana, Cat

and Manatee have all visited me in ways that

speak loudly of energy I can not ignore. 


I’m a nature lover (you can tell that instantly

from my art, and I believe in an energy that

connects everyone and everything.

Even though I am often caught up in the all

too human game of ‘too busy, too much to do,

not enough time’, I know when to stop, to pause…

and listen with my heart. So, when an animal or new

plant comes into my life, especialy in a brash or unusual

way, when it arrives with such an impact that

I must notice its presence… I acknowledge that I am to

pay attention to the message of this particular energy.


Over the years, I have always relied on the insight of

“Animal Speak” by Ted Andrews.

Here you can read about ‘The spiritual and magical powers

of creatures great and small’. This is an excellent resource

for animal energies. For plants, I’ve come to rely mostly on

my intuition. Since my art has centered around the devas,

nature’s energy for so long, I am able to sense and know their

messages for me. If I am not clear though, I will often

go to my library. Some of my favorite plant reference books are:

Plant Spirit Medicine by Eliot Cowan, Audubon Society and

Peterson Field Guides, American Medicinal Plants,

The Magic and Medicine of Plants, Native American

Animal Stories by Joseph Bruchac, and The Wise Woman books

and volumes of information from Susun Weed.


I’ll be posting some of the stories and more of the related

art in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear about

your experiences with animal and plant totems.


Here’s a link to see a larger view of Manatee Waters #3 




Does Attitude Affect Our Energy?

It’s only February and a lot of people have already decided to erase much of the past year from their thoughts. So many things we wanted to do and never got around to, goals and resolutions that didn’t quite turn out as we had hoped.

You might even be giving up on your hopes and resolutions for this year.

But, what if you choose to think about it from a different perspective?

Make a list of all of the things you DID accomplish last year. Same year, same you, only now, you’re acknowledging positive accomplishments.

Your energy shifts from discouraged to encouraged.

Positive energy is engaged and feels so much better!

I read about doing just this on one of the many business and self-improvement sites that I visit and was amazed at how much I actually did accomplish last year! I hope you will try this and let me know if it makes a difference in your energy.


Who we are and what we choose to do and be is powered by our core energy, our spirit, soul, divine power, God, chi… By whatever name you are familiar with, every human, animal, plant, tree, organism, and cell has a life force.

I’m a nature lover and a visual artist. For me, it is nature’s energy and what my art is all about.

In every image, my intention is to share the energy that I see and feel. Whether it’s a flower, leaf, sunset, the clouds, water, children, or animals, eveything/everyone has a vital vibration like an electrical current that ebbs and flows… dancing, singing, resting, playing, LIVING!

Since a picture is worth at least a thousand words, I’ll share a few of my latest images that can immediately give you a sense of the uplifting inherent ‘energy’ of each nature subject.

Manatee Waters #1

During an early January afternoon visit to the Deering Estate at Old Cutler, my friend, Paula and I encountered a pod of about six manatees. We watched and photographed them for almost two hours as they played, snorted, splashed and rested on this perfect winter day. Sure seemed like they were performing just for our entertainment!
Because of the angles of light and the constant ripples of the water, I did not get a recognizable manatee photo, however, this “Manatee Waters” artwork carries the delight and joy of their energy as well as the beauty and warmth of a glorious south florida day!

‘Manatee Waters” is available as a fine art print on paper or canvas in a range of sizes. It can also be custom printed and framed to complement any room or office decor. You can see a larger image and get all the details at:


MANATEES are an endangered species.

To learn how you can help them, visit: http://www.savethemanatee.org

NOTE: a portion of your purchase price of any Manatee artwork will be donated to Save The Mantee.org


View National Geographic manatee videos here: