Danna D. Schmidt

Master Life-Cycle Celebrant®

Ordained Wedding Officiant

Funerals/Memorials Specialist

The Art of Waypointing

inukshuk mountain
The waypointing motif is a mainstay in my life’s work and play. I have always been strongly intrigued by and attracted to signposts, compasses, arrows and gyroscopes; and my myriad collections, hobbies and interests reflect this.

For as many years as I can remember though, the waypointer that has held my highest regard has been the inukshuk. To be Canadian is to feel a certain affinity to inuksuit, the stone cairns of the Arctic. Inuksuit, indigenous to the First People of the north, are navigational rocks that symbolize many things. Directionally, inuksuit serve to help wayward travelers find their way across the vast tundra land. Commemoratively, inuksuit act as grave and memorial markers, yet viewed in a wisdom sense, inukshuks stand as silent and mysterious oracles. It is not uncommon to stumble upon an inukshuk in desolate locales along the path, as though they are somehow welcoming and beckoning the wayward northern mariner forward.

The inukshuk became a universally-recognized symbol when it was adopted as the official logo of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics to symbolize international goodwill, and highlight Canada’s celebratory spirit and role as host country and welcoming ambassador.

I befriended the inukshuk as my personal totem a decade ago when I began noticing that my I Am-ness is that of visionary navigator; and that my work in the world is about helping people share their meaning stories, shape empowering action, and shift perspective.

white feather

More recently, I have come to resonate with the feather as a more ethereal guidepost. I adopted the feather as my talisman for the visioning work I did in staking my claim for the year. And no sooner did I do that, then lo and behold if I didn’t begin to notice little feathers everywhere thereafter. Despite the hipster trendiness of all things arrows and feathers, I selected the quill feather motif as my logo for its transcendent versus contemporary appeal. 

There is something alive in a feather. The power of it is perhaps in its dream of sky, currents of air, and the silence of its creation. It knows the insides of clouds. It carries our needs and desires, the stories of our brokenness.”
Linda Hogan, Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World

I felt drawn, in conceptualizing the brand identity, to depict the quill pen as the Muse’s instrument that lives as old as time in ceremonial writing. I also wished to acknowledge all the minutia that ceremonies contain – right down to the dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s. I imagined the pointing of the feather might be invitational in its forward and onward waypointing gesture. And I desired to encapsulate the words of Emily Dickinson, “hope is the thing with feathers” in symbolic form, because ceremony is, at least in part, about putting wings and dreams on things as though we might dare to live like carrier pigeons ~ intuiting new paths, transmitting vital communications, and floating our messages like so many prayer flags on the winds above. 

I can’t be certain my logo says or does any of these things: it’s just a feather and a digital one at that. But if it can maybe ~ if even briefly ~ inspire you to tilt your head such that you think about your life in as precarious and wondrous a way as that of a feather’s journey ~ then I’d venture to say it has bespoken its wild and waypointing heart.

He sat quietly as his father went silent. Sometimes, his father would look far off and  he shape of his eyes would sag, and he knew his father was carrying the things that burn where no one can speak. It was then that the feather appeared. He tried to guess if it was hawk or crow or maybe heron, but his father  said, “It doesn’t matter from which flying thing  it comes. What matters is that it carries us back and forth into the life above and the life below.” His father held the feather as if it were his own, “It carries us into sky life and ground life until both are home.” His father placed the feather in his hands, “Anything that connects above and below is such a feather. The quiet is such a feather. Pain is such a feather. Friendship is such a feather. The things that burn where no one can speak is such a feather. You are such a feather.”
Mark Nepo, “Being a Feather”





Say it RITE…the Ceremonious Way!