drop its magical cloak of light around
your heart, soul and body
to illuminate your greatness –
greatness because you are unique
with your own starsong embedded in
the encrypted title deeds of your country,
your you, your essence.
I have, unfortunately, been absent for some while due to a rather virulent bug which hit me at the New Year, not the best way to start off 2016! For the past three weeks I’ve had a dreadful headache, severe muscle pains, stomach pains and bronchitis, the sickest I’ve been in my whole life. Luckily I’m not too bad now although others who’ve had the bug have taken up to eight weeks to get over it.
In that time of enforced rest, however, I watched Series 1 & 2 of “Art + Soul”, about Aboriginal art with Hetti Perkins a leading curator of Aboriginal art. The programme looks at all aspects of Aboriginal art from past to present. I am particularly fascinated by the desert art and dot paintings. These represent what Ms Perkins called: “Encrypted Title Deeds to Country”, as Aboriginal artists represent their Country in the paintings and sing Country into their art as they create their images.
Thinking of this, it made me think of how we ourselves incarnate on Earth. If we view our cosmic soul song as encrypted title deeds to our own Country, to our own unique creation like no-one else, we might get a better understanding of who we are, our unique gifts and how we express our own individual spirit voice through the way we live, create and forge our own way in life.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m going to explain some of my own astrological chart so that you can see how my own “encrypted title deeds” operate in my own life. I was born with the Sun in Libra and my Ascendant also in Libra. The Ascendant is the constellation on the horizon as you’re born, the first energies you inhale and – for me – the energetic pathway to expressing your sun sign. So for me, I double up on Libra and it’s how I express myself in life.
I always strive to be pleasant and peaceable. But I am a staunch advocate of social justice, hate injustice, am pretty much always on the side of the poor, the downtrodden, the disadvantaged, working people and the unemployed. You could say it’s in my DNA! Added to this, I can see both sides of a situation or a person’s story and it drives my husband around the twist. He’ll make a comment and I respond, quite unconsciously: “Yes, but think of the other side, there are always two perspectives”. And he’ll rant: “There you are, off on your Libran thing again!”. Luckily we can both laugh but this ability to see both sides is intrinsic in me.
I love art, beauty, good clothes, flash jewellery and hate vulgarity, greed, bad taste (except for bling, of course!) and coarseness. I never find cruel or crude jokes funny and I pretty much never say anything cruel or wounding to someone because it offends my sense of propriety and also the awareness that words can hurt and have long-lasting consequences. I am lousy at standing up for myself although recently I’ve decided I’m not going to tolerate rudeness and hurtful comments in future.
Now if you look at my husband’s natal chart, he has his sun in Leo and his Ascendant in Aries. He is passionate, kind, brutally honest, totally without tact, very fiery, a born leader, impatient, intolerant and is always on the move. The idea of sitting at a computer appalls him, but he had a grand time as a dogman (the guy who directs cranes) on high-rise building sites where he could run around all day, taking charge of lots of stuff and being active. He once suggested he’d take me to the very top of a high-rise building (ie, walking up heaps of steps as it was unfinished and lifts didn’t reach the top yet) so I could see the views across Perth, Western Australia, and over to Rottnest Island, about five miles distant from the city. He thought he was offering me a grand treat. I thought he was offering me a complete nightmare! My husband was a union organiser, health and safety officer and shop steward – he always stood on the side of workers and was respected for his honest dealings.
I’m not saying it’s been easy over the years. We have had to work to accommodate each other as we have quite different energies and interests – I’m into dreams, crystals, psychic stuff, Tarot, arty-farty, abstract art and the peace movement. We both have the same ideals about social justice – luckily! I loathe conflict but my husband is happy to stand up to bullies. I call him my Rottweiler because I’ll get him to deal with difficult situations while I lurk in the background. My husband is into gardening, model railways, army history (he was in the British Army), landscape and portrait art, Scottish and Celtic music, do-it-yourself and home renovation. I will work into a new home and think it’s okay. Bryan will walk into a new home, note all the bits and pieces that need repairing/straightening/sort out and get on with it. We worked together once, for 30 minutes, on a piece of home renovation until we had an almighty row and I told him to stuff his renovation where the sun don’t shine and told him never again (which I’ve stuck to). My husband is a sergeant-major given half a chance, but it’s been good for me to overcome my peaceable nature and stand up to him. And it’s been good for him to have someone stand up to him and shout back because he naturally takes charge.
We both had bullies as fathers but how we reacted differed greatly. I went quiet as a kid, kept my head down, strove for approval and was incredibly well-behaved. My husband, on the other hand, played up, got into trouble wherever his army family ended up, stood up to his father and refused to knuckle under. But, we both wanted our fathers’ approval and we never got it.
In my next post, I want to talk about my Libran Sun being in the Twelfth House, and Neptune being in the First House, as they both incline me to be interested in psychic matters, to be hyper-sensitive, to sense people’s emotions and to be flitting off with the fairies, given half a chance.
much of it wasted on wrong turns,
back roads riddled by ruts.
I had adventures
I never would have known
if I proceeded as the crow flies.
Super highways are so sure
of where they are going:
they arrive too soon. A straight line isn’t always
the shortest distance
between two people.
Sometimes I act as though
I’m heading somewhere else
I narrow the gap between you and me.
I’m not sure I’ll ever
know the right way, but I don’t mind
getting lost now and then.
Maps don’t know everything.
As you know from an earlier post, it was reading about the long-term effects on your brain as a child in the Adverse Child Experiences (ACE) report which sparked off this current run of posts. I felt that the kidney infection I suddenly experienced was a physical way of shifting the shit I’d felt since childhood. I also felt – and still feel – that emotions are not as easy to release as some think.
It’s my view that adverse emotional responses get buried in the body’s emotional memories which the body then draws upon as a defence mechanism and is very reluctant to ditch. Of course, I can’t prove this but if you look at the number of people who have weight problems and who also have dysfunctional childhoods in one way or another, there’s something that goes on in the body which is so far unrecognised.
After all, if weight loss were simply a matter of less calories, more exercise, being overweight would be easy to achieve. But weight has many positive features for people – protection, comfort, solace, and so on. Food has many properties beyond simply filling your belly. It has emotional overtones, comfort qualities, helps squash down grief, anger, feelings of powerlessness and so on. And in a society where spirit and soul are drowned out by consumption, fast lives, constant social media addiction, stress and so on, it’s not surprising so many people are weighty
It’s why I’ve spent time researching my family background to understand where my own weight and alcohol problems come from. Apart from my father’s own alcoholism, I can remember him mentioning that his father had been a drunk, until the time he staggered home along the tram lines and realised, when he was sober, that he was lucky not to have been mown down by a tram. He took “the Pledge” which was a formal promise to stop drinking. Indeed he never took another drop of alcohol.
As for me, apart from the ancestral inheritance of alcoholism, the first time I saw an astrologer, she coughed gently, went a bit pink, and then said: “I hope you’re not offended by my asking this, but do you have drug problems?” I was quite startled, how did she know I had alcohol problems? I know now that the position of Neptune, in the first house and – in my case – is a classic sign for addiction problems of any kind.
Australia was a problem drinker’s delight when I first arrived here. Alcohol was freely available and cheap. Grog was pretty much evident at all social events. And my drinking took off like a rocket. It ricocheted around for quite a few decades until I broke my leg and ankle in Queensland in 1996 and gave it up. I remember talking to an alcohol and drug counsellor when Dad was in hospital who said that she knew I’d give up, but she could see Dad wouldn’t. And sure as eggs, he’d been out of hospital for about five weeks when he went back on the grog.
One of the puzzles in my life was solved when I saw a psychologist about my alcohol problems. He listened and then said something which really surprised me: “I think you lack self-confidence and have very low self-esteem”. Well, I had hidden all that under a veneer of confidence but his words hit home. It was another piece in my life puzzle, realising that my father had continually chipped away at my self-confidence which had led to bouts of depression, alcohol abuse and weight problems.
I decided when I began writing about my life that I would be absolutely honest and not present an airbrushed version of myself. So I haven’t stayed off the grog, but it comes and goes, so to speak, and I’m very careful and judicious if I feel like a drink .It simply doesn’t fill my life the way it used to. I have a highly productive, creative life and I won’t allow alcohol to spoil that in any way. I’ve come to understand my demons, I’ve been through the dark night of the soul when we were living in Queensland, I’ve overcome depression, lack of self-confidence and lost my abiding need for approval, something I never got from my father.
Writing out all my demons this week has helped me dig into depths I hadn’t realised existed and which I can now release since they’re out in the light of day.
I’m a digital artist – holding my art exhibition recently, Heart’n’Art, which was a retrospective of all my art from 1996-2014 (acrylic, mandala, vision board, digital art, shamanic art) gave me a huge lift as I saw all my creativity on the walls in front of me. I’m an abundant writer. I’ve learned to stop criticising myself. I have a wonderful, loving, kind husband. I have marvellous friends. And I have a daughter as my husband’s eldest daughter, Dee, has adopted me as her mum. So I’m also a grandmother and great-grandmother.
I think I’ve done okay!
I was going to start writing this blog again but decided that I’m going to leave it until after the Christmas season to give myself a good rest given that I’m still getting over the rather nasty kidney infection I experienced a short while ago.
This illness has actually caused me to have a bit of a re-examination of what I’m doing and where I’m heading, which I’ll explain the next time I post. Amazing – you get to 67 and think all is sorted out and settled, and then something comes along to give you a kick up the backside and new beginnings in healing work – healing with words, that is. At least, I think and hope so. It’s why I don’t want to commit to anything printed at the moment as I’m processing what came up for mentally, physically and emotionally with the kidney infection.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the above image for the Festive Season, however you choose to celebrate it, and send you the very best wishes for the New Year and a great 2015.
I have decided to have a break from writing my book for a while as I want to focus on setting up my art and photography work in a professional manner, everything’s a bit disorganised at present.
I also want to consider how I’m writing my book, I’m not quite satisfied with the structure at the moment so the break will give my imagination and grey cells time to whirr, whizz and clank away until the image which will inspire the writing to which I aspire pops up in my head with a great yell, shouting “Eureka! Aha!”.
I shall be back, probably in 2-4 weeks, and hopefully I’ll have sorted out a format which satisfied.
I thought for this post I’d do a hop,skip and jump to a few years ahead because really, there’s only so much misery you can take! Our time in Boonah township,after we quit our block up Mt French, had many plus points but, on the other hand, I had to deal with Dad’s descent in rampant alcoholism so I’ll leave that dreary tale for another time.
I had been dithering with writing about dreams but I’ll save that for another time too. Because I finally decided to write about totems and soul retrieval as, when I came into my study, the big spider hanging off my blind’s chord was hanging over my computer screen. Big hint – my spider totem wants an outing!
Although I’ll cover this another time too, we moved from Boonah to the UK in 2002, it didn’t work out, and we returned to Perth in 2004. We had in mind to move to South Australia, where we hadn’t lived at all, but stopped off in Perth – our old stamping ground – as our Jack Russell, Rosie, had to stay a month in quarantine on her return to Australia.
And in that time, we did research on South Australia, found it was stinking hot in summer and was also a very dry state with water a bit thin on the ground. So we started looking around in Western Australia and eventually found a place within our means – a 100-year-old mud brick cottage in Pingelly, on WA’s wheatbelt. I say “cottage” but it was huge – three big bedrooms, a large living-room and a large kitchen. The bathroom wasn’t brilliant but it did have – ta-daaa – a huge claw-foot bath!
The garden was in an appalling state, filled with rubbish, so when we moved into to Cobweb Cottage (lovely name, eh, and a very apt moniker for my totem when she turned up), Bryan set about transforming the garden, clearing out the rubbish, landscaping and putting in plants suitable for a rather arid landscsape. He also completely repainted the interior which had been in quite lurid colours, and I did a clearing on the very angry, negative energy left by the previous inhabitants. The house was transformed and looked one hundred percent on when we moved in. It also felt a lot calmer and more peaceful.
As I mentioned in my earlier post on crystals, I’d learned a lot from a shamanic crystal worker and healer in the US, Fabeku Fatunmise, and I eventually decided I’d like to undertake a soul retrieval process with him. Soul retrieval works on the basis that with certain experiences you lose a part of your soul – not completely lost, just travelled into never-never land, for want of a better word, until the time comes to retrieve it. Funnily enough, once I’d decided on it, I could feel a dark spot low in my tummy as if something hidden was reaching for the light, much to my surprise.
Soul Retrieval Process
Fabeku did all the groundwork in the US, working with energies and prayers to open up the process, and then I did the personal work in Pingelly. The box with all the goodies arrived and I eagerly unpacked and checked out the content. A thin string with prayer knots along its length was to be tied securely around my left wrist and left in place until it disappeared. Well, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see how a tied cord could disappear from my wrist, but in for a penny, in for a pound. I tied the string tightly, walked out to the car to fetch something and hey presto! the string had disappeared. I really couldn’t believe it. I stared at my bare wrist, hunted around for the string but it had completely vanished.
On the other hand, my totem – a spider – appeared! Interestingly, a spider made an appearance in 2000 when Bryan travelled to the UK to see his mum. For some reason, I felt I needed to stay in Australia and we both needed to walk a different path for a while. And in that time on my own I created this personal mandala where a spider has started to walk to the centre but is still only present in the corner.
In accordance with tradition, you don’t say exactly what spider is involved or what she is called and, believe me, my totem let me know in no uncertain terms what name she wanted. I could feel her perched on my right shoulder. Bryan thought it was a load of old rubbish but, to the astonishment of both of us, spiders came out of the woodwork, so to speak, throughout the house. It was if they’d appeared in order to pay homage to the Spider Queen totem now inhabiting our home. There were spiders all over the place – big ones, small ones, medium ones – so basically we decided to cohabit with them and well settled into a co-operative lifestyle in Cobweb Cottage.
When we first moved to Perth we visited a mind, body, spirit festival in the Perth foothills where I came across a drum which I knew was just right for me. I walked around the corner and there was an octagonal drum, quite big, which gave me a big smile and waved hello. Bryan groaned when I said I was going to buy it but I knew it was meant to be mine. And once my totem appeared, I decided to paint her image on the drum. It was incredible – the difference in tone was enormous once I’d invested my energy and that of my totem into my drum. The sound was deeper and much more intense.
And once my spider totem had turned up, I started creating art in a quite different fashion – more symbolic and no more mandalas. This is the painting I created to represent Spider Woman:
I continued with the soul retrieval process and, again, as part of energy work and tradition, I won’t go into the rituals I carried out, except to say that Bryan thought I’d really gone off my rocker! I would feel bits of energy returning to me – some I could recognise and know what hurt that had happened in the past was being healed. One particular time I could feel a huge energy moving back into me but, when I asked what it was about, simply got a message that I didn’t need to know.
My One and Only Nightmare
This last one felt a complete doozy and shortly afterwards I had the one and only nightmare of my life. I was in an underground cavern walking along a narrow ledge on the right side of a bottomless cavern. All of a sudden I felt frozen in place and suddenly a Dementor appeared and swooped towards me. Dementors are characters in the Harry Potter series of books, rather ghastly apparitions which suck out your happiness and will also suck out your soul, given half a chance. The Dementor towered over me as I shrieked that I couldn’t go any further, I felt stuck in the one place and absolutely terrified. Then the Dementor said: “What happened when you were six?” and disappeared.
The nightmare disturbed me deeply. I felt shaken, depressed, lethargic and kept crying. God knows what the nightmare stirred up, as the only thing I can recall happening when I was six was that I was transferred from a state school to a private convent. Mind you, when you think about it, to a scared six-year-old, a nun swooping down on you probably did resemble a Dementor although, of course, they hadn’t been invented then! And I was deeply unhappy at the convent. I was lonely, a scholarship girl when everyone else was wealthy enough to pay full fees, and I thought the Catholic religion was a heap of old cobblers. As I said in an earlier post, when I got to 11 years of age, passed the 11+ exam and had a choice, I dumped my convent days for the local grammar school. Apart from that I have no memory of what might have been so disturbing to a 6-year-old girl.
I am also into astrology and know that I have nine air signs, four water signs, 2 fire signs and no earth signs. So getting grounded and staying here on Planet Earth is quite hard for me. It was really interesting then that, as I was doing the soul retrieval process, we were driving around sight-seeing on the wheatbelt one day, when I felt a sort of “pop” and suddenly felt as if I’d connected with Earth at long last. It wasn’t so much a case for me of “Beam Me Up, Scotty” as “Beam me down and get me grounded!” I looked around and felt quite different, as if I could feel the earth energy and also, when I looked down at my body, felt a connection I hadn’t had before. Mainly I used to sail along in my head, look down sometimes in astonishment at the body trotting along under my head, then get back into my head!
And as the end of the soul retrieval process came into sight, I had another dream with the Dementor appearing. On this occasion I just yelled “Oh my god, not again” and kicked the Dementor over the side. As it fell into the chasm, its robes fell open and there was nothing there. It was as if I’d faced whatever darkness was lingering in my from experiences as a six-year-old, and found that the fear was groundless and the only answer was to be fearless.
Ross River virus – an end to work for my husband
Ross River virus is spread by mosquitoes, it’s quite prevalent in the warmer parts of Australia and is gradually spreading further south. It’s characterised by polyarthritis which causes your joints to swell, you get pretty bad pain and fatigue, and your muscles ache. Depression is part of the cocktail of this disease too.
When Bryan first described how he felt, I told him I thought he’d got Ross River fever and at first I didn’t take it too seriously as I thought it was something that would clear up quite quickly. But I was quite wrong. My previously super-active partner sat in an armchair each day, wracked with pain, suffering chronic fatigue, and hardly able to move. He had always been a thin man but he got ever thinner and eventually ended up at six stone.
Bryan was deeply depressed and he told me years later that he came close to committing suicide because of the constant, agonising pain and the feeling that he’d gone from being a productive worker to someone who had become utterly useless. Funnily enough, in 2004 in Perth, after we’d spent two years back in the UK, he had a reading with a medium who told him he’d come very close to death, something to do with his immune system being rock-bottom and Bryan being close to getting a devastating illness which would have killed him. Then he said: “But you were spared. You’ve been given a second chance.”
Bryan saw a couple of locums who diagnosed Ross River fever. But when the local doctor returned, he told my husband that he couldn’t have Ross River because he was nowhere near Ross River. In blind prejudice, and without knowing anything of Bryan’s work history – a hard worker all his life – he decided that Bryan was faking his illness. This was despite the fact the two locums had diagnosed my husband with Ross River fever.
In desperation, we eventually decided to go to a doctor in Ipswich in the hope of getting more decent, respectful treatment. I remember sitting there with my very sick, grey-faced husband and the doctor – a complete stranger who’d never met him before – looked at him, after we’d explained the situation, and said: “Well, I’ve never met you before, Bryan, but looking at you I see a very, very sick man.” What a relief to be taken seriously!
Bryan was sent to a rheumatologist who carried out various tests, including the PSA test for prostate cancer, and I remember sitting there worried sick that he might have cancer. I needn’t have worried about that. Something else pretty devastating had happened. When Bryan came out of the doctor’s surgery he looked shell-shocked. Ross River fever sparks polyarthritis and this had affected vertebrae in his back which had been damaged by heavy work on building sites, an accident when he had a bad fall on a building site, and getting blown up and badly injured while serving in the British Army in Cyprus. The rheumatologist told Bryan that if he attempted any heavy lifting, he could damage his back further and end up paralysed. He advised my partner to stop work immediately.
So my husband’s working life had come to an end overnight, so to speak. We drove back to Boonah, very silent and, I think, very depressed about our financial future. One thing we knew we’d have to do and that was sell our home as the block was too big for Bryan to maintain due to his ill-health. And as I still had a gammy leg from my fall, there was no way I could keep the block under control.
A turning point in all this downhill race was that Bryan became eligible to move to the disability pension. We had no idea that this was a better payment, we simply knew that my partner was now officially disabled and so it made sense to apply for the pension. The switch from unemployment benefit to disability pension happened without a hitch, and we found to our surprise that we were slightly better off financially. We could get pensioner discounts on rates and electricity. And the rate of payment was higher than the unemployment benefit.
Selling our home on Mt French
Very reluctantly we put the house up for sale. It was still a rock-bottom market and nothing happened for a while. Bryan would recover somewhat from Ross River but then have to mow the block to keep the grass under control, and he’d go backwards again health-wise. We really wanted to leave Boonah but, however much we were itching to move, no offers appeared. Eventually we got one offer, which would mean a loss of $25,000, a really devastating hit on our finances as by then we had exhausted our savings. However, we decided we were selling in a depressed market but we were also buying in the same market. So we went looking for a house in the Boonah district.
What did occur to me later was that, as long as we wanted to quit Boonah and move elsewhere, nothing happened. But as soon as we decided we would stay in the town, particularly as we were both still in fairly poor health and couldn’t handle a major move elsewhere, the situation changed. It was as if we were meant to remain in Boonah for the time being.
I later realised that this is what happens to people who get drawn, quite unconsciously, to this area. I lost track of the number of people who I queried about their reasons for ending up in the town. They all looked puzzled and said it was by accident (like us), or they had a vision of Boonah for a long time (Yvonne), or liked the look of the town when they visited. Looking back, it was as if the area attracted people, turned them inside out and then, once they’d had their shake-up, sent them on their way. Those who really changed in some fundamental way left the town to carry on their new lives elsewhere.
Tarot: The Wheel of Fortune
At the time we were selling our home, however, I had no idea this sort of energy vortex existed. We were desperate to move as we were getting close to bankruptcy. I do remember looking at a picture of a house in Boonah and being attracted to the good energy which surrounded it. I insisted on looking at it, although our real estate agent tried to head us in the direction of another, grotty house he obviously wanted to get off his books. The house we went to look at was a cottage, run-down, a bit seedy but with a really lovely, large garden and lots of bounteous trees providing shade and a richness to the whole block. It was about two minutes from the town centre and in a quiet cul-de-sac. We put in an offer which was accepted. And we accepted the offer on our home, with a heavy heart but with no choice given the state of our health and finances.
Just to wind up our bleak time at Mt French, our dear old Mr Smudge came running in howling in the early afternoon, the day we signed the contract of sale. He was obviously very ill and I drove with him at breakneck speed to the vet’s. He’d been hit by a car and had to be put to sleep due to the injuries he had sustained. I held him in my arms and he purred as he slipped into the beyond. It was such a sad end to such a loving, kind and affectionate cat, and we were devastated. At the same time, our last cat, Jessie, had a hard lump on her cheek. The vet operated and we found she had a cancer in her saliva gland. We hoped the surgery might clear it up, but within two weeks, it was clear that Jessie was dying and we had to repeat the trip to the vet’s to have her put to sleep. Thank god our little Jack Russell, Rosie, remained in good health.
I remember arriving back at our home and looking at Jessie’s little body in the back seat and feeling grief overwhelm me. We had been through so much heartbreak, sadness and despair in this house, and the loss of our two cats seemed to set the seal on a period of our lives which had been far from our excited expectations when we had set off from Perth with such high hopes. I cried so much that day in a way I’ve never cried before or since. It was as if I’d got through everything trying to be positive and cheerful, burying the hurt and setbacks deep within, but Jessie’s death opened the floodgates. I sobbed my heart out all day, utterly unable to stop. It was absolutely gut-wrenching, those deep cries of pain from deep within which erupt and there’s nothing you can do to stop them.
When we walked out of the house, we did so with enormous relief. Whereas we’d been sad to leave our home in Fremantle where we’d lived for ten years, we never looked back at the house on Mt French as we drove away. But, as it happened, the end of our Mt French misadventure heralded a complete turning point in our lives and from then on, we never looked back.
In the Tarot the Wheel of Fortune can very often mean a turning of the wheel to more fortunate circumstances in life and that’s what happened once we’d left our home on Mt. French. It was, by the way, a No. 1 house in numerology which means completely new beginnings, a clear-out of the old and a fresh start in life. It was if our old life had been completely ripped away from us, we had been turned inside out and in our new home we were embarking on a completely fresh life. A true Dark Night of the Soul which I can see, looking back, brought us great blessings but, god help me, I never want to go through anything like that again!
I was reading an interview today with the director of the new movie Gravity, Alfonso Cuaron, and right at the end he said:
“I was unhappy, trying to fit the mould (of Hollywood). And I was desperate because I needed the money. I had my son back in Mexico and it took me a couple of years to realise that I have to do what I have to do, what I am. The funny thing is, when I started doing that, it’s when so many good things started happening for me!”
I spent a lot of my life being what I thought was acceptable to people and being deeply unhappy within myself without really realising why. When I finally dumped Ms Goodie-Two-Shoes for real in 1996 , I felt a sense of lightness and giddiness as if a big boulder had fallen off my back. As I’ve said, I started working with crystals, art, took up teaching, and dabbled a bit in astrology.
But it’s here in North Cyprus that the crystals and art have coalesced in surreal, digital art and I can now really understand what I’m supposed to be doing and what I have to do because the genie’s out of the bottle.
When I first met my husband, Bryan, he used to rave about Cyprus and the great time he’d had here as an army brat while his father served in North Africa, and when he himself served in the British Army in his late ‘teens. In Queensland, Bryan had a dream about Cyprus where he was walking in the streets of Famagusta with a white dove on his shoulder BUT the streets weren’t those of the Famagusta of his childhood, they were the streets of today. When I told my friend, Yvonne, about his dream, she reckoned my husband had left a piece of his spirit on this island, and I do believe that.
Quite frankly, at times I could quite cheerfully have nuked the island after listening to Bryan rave about it over the decades. So I couldn’t believe it, when we were discussing the idea of leaving Australia, when “Cyprus” popped out of my mouth and Bryan immediately said yes!
Here I have felt not a skerrick of artistic longing for conventional paint until canvas, which felt really odd, but I was quite bereft of any inspiration. Then I was fiddling with Photoshop and came across a great little gizmo called “liquefy”. You activate this and then you drag your mouse over photos and it swirls and melds the colours into a cauldron of flowing shapes and rainbows. Until then I’d only used Photoshop to tweak photos I’d taken of scenery, rocks, family, and so on. But with the discovery of the “liquefy” function the medium of digital art opened up for me which I’d always considered, well, not quite art. Not quite art, that is, until I realised that all the gizmos available for working with digital art allowed me to get all the images out of my head which had been whirling around and going nowhere fast.
Then I started working with the photos of crystals in my care and it all came together. The spirit energy I can sense in crystals, rocks and stones could be coaxed out with digital art. This past week too I’ve been doing a course on surreal art, learning to layer photos to create quite complex images. And I’m off and running. I can suddenly understand that everything I’ve experienced, all the places I’ve been have all been leading up to this time in my life when the surreal art which has been lurking within me can be released.
A while back the Merit Hotel, which is a bit to the right of us on the coast (we’re slightly set back from the sea) held fireworks displays on two successive nights. I stood and took photo after photo as the brilliant display lit the sky in front of us as we had a free, box seat for these displays. I’ve worked with the photos since, using Photoshop, but now I’ve learned to combine images to create a completely new one. This photo combines work I did on another piece of Munjina Rock in my crystal collection with a photo I took of a firework exploding during one of the Merit’s fireworks displays.
It’s an amazing feeling, huge bursts of creativity are pouring out from within me, as if a cork has been released from a champagne bottle and all the surreal bubbles are exploding into being.
While this is my story, I’d like to to take the time – in winding up – to urge you to walk on the creative wild side however it works for you. Creativity doesn’t need to mean art, music, but really what lights your heart and what your practice in your daily life which is you and no-one else.
I’ve just heard today that Lou Reed, who wrote the iconic song “Walk on the Wild Side” had died. And it strikes me that one of the problems we’re faced with today is that we’re always being encouraged to live in fear, to be confined by straitjackets, to forget our own wild nature. It’s never too late, as I’m proving. Don’t live a little life!
Here’s a link to Lou Reed and Walk on the Wild Side:
I veered off onto different areas for a while, basically because the various topics of recent posts seemed to pop up and need to be written at that time. So now I want to return to the way crystals, rocks and stones have stayed stuck to me, despite moving from Queensland to the UK in 2002, returning to Australia in 2004, moving four times thereafter, and then moving to North Cyprus in February 2012.
Just prior to leaving Boonah, Queensland, where we lived for eight years, I decided my time with crystals was pretty much over so sold quite a few to a friend. Alas and alack, however, the crystals had a different idea. I lived in Scotland for six months and made the mistake of visiting a mind, body, spirit fair in Aberdeen. And up popped the crystals again!
Just prior to our trip to the city from the small village where we were living near my step-daughter’s house, I had a dream about a crystal which was either indicolite or iolite. At one of the first stalls I visited, I asked if they had any indicolite – I’d found it on-line and it’s quite a rare, expensive stone. Lo and behold, the stall-holder had just one piece she hadn’t put out yet, and I bought it straight away, a small, beautifully-shaped polished stone. Indicolite is a rare, indigo-coloured form of tourmaline. It’s a beautiful colour and this stone has travelled with me back to Australia, to the three States where we lived – Western Australia, New South Wales (twice) and Victoria – and finally to North Cyprus.
I wandered further around the exhibition, turned a corner and there was a large, raw quartz natural wand almost flashing a light at me. When I held it, it fitted into my hand like a glove, it felt like I’d received an electric shock and I couldn’t put it down. That too is still in my crystal collection.
When we moved from Scotland to northern England, Nelson, to be precise, I finally got a computer and an internet connection. And THEN I discovered eBay and I was off and running with crystals again.
I found a lovely Iolite gemstone as a tiny pendant on the auction site, won it and have worn it on and off ever since. When we arrived in North Cyprus, I couldn’t find it anywhere and was really upset it was lost. Then I woke up in the middle of the night, suddenly thought to look for it, opened my jewelry case and there it was, right on top, looking at me, and I had been through that jewellery so many times before! I find when I wear this it really bumps up my psychic ability, but I wear it only when I feel it calls me.
Now of course, most normal people would think that talking of a crystal “calling me” is quite off the planet and, I have to be honest, I do wonder about this myself. I would think of a crystal, look on eBay and there would be just what I’d been thinking of, I’d enter the auction and win it. And I had an ethical way of working with crystal purchases on eBay. As long as there were no bids, I’d put in an offer. But if someone else had already bid, it was theirs. It has worked out well over the years as I’ve won crystals and rocks which were rare and at rock-bottom prices.
My husband got fed up with packages of rocks and crystals turning up regularly from eBay in the UK and the US, but it was on eBay in America that I really got more cluey about a huge range of rocks and crystals I’d never come across before. I did get ripped off once by someone who claimed to be selling special rocks from Africa which were basically a very common (and cheap!) mineral. One guy tried to gouge on postal prices so I told him to keep the polished quartz sphere I’d won, rather than fork out exorbitant postal costs. But mostly I was lucky in dealing with ethical eBay sellers.
And then I came across a crystal site on Yahoo Groups, run by a guy called Fabeku Fatunmise, which seemed like heaven to me. He wrote at length about the metaphysical qualities of rocks, stones and crystals. He gave a perspective of stones as spirits or earth elders, he offered a wide range of crystals which opened my eyes to rocks and stones I never knew existed, and it was right up my alley. I have never been interested in the composition of stones, only in how they communicate to me and attract me. Someone may come to visit, mention they’d like a stone, I get an image of the stone in my collection, and in most instances it’s the one the visitor needs or connects with. It quite often narks me that a favourite stone might appear in my mind and be the right one for that person, but I’ve learned to accept that I don’t own crystals, I caretake them, and they have their own view of who they wish to reside with.
Sometimes a stone may step forward which doesn’t fit the normal descriptions you get in the various crystal books circulating. I personally don’t like saying “what a crystal is for”. It’s far better for someone to browse, pick the stone that attracts them, and then tune in to see how they feel when they’re holding that stone elder. I teach intuitive crystal healing by getting workshop participants to work with energy in very simple exercises, then get them to hold stones with their eyes shut and see how they feel, then move on to choosing stones for others, with no regard to colours, chakras or whatever. It’s what you need on the day that counts, not what’s in a book with so-called hard and fast rules and regulations, as far as I’m concerned.
When we returned to Australia, with a far larger rock collection than when I left, nothing much happened as far as any new entries into my collection went, until we moved to Woodenbong, in far north New South Wales, on the border with Queensland. There I came across the joys of rock fairs where “rock hounds” – fossickers – turned up with all the stones they’d fossicked around the traps at really low prices. I was in seventh heaven at these fairs.
I added to my collection in Traralgon, Victoria, and also in Bowraville, New South Wales, so that quite a few boxes of crystals, rocks and stones were in our luggage when it shipped out to North Cyprus. I looked around my study recently and decided that not too many people have as many rocks, crystals and stones in their homes as I do.
In my next post, I intend to describe how I’ve come full circle – bringing my photography, art and crystal spirits together in a fusion of digital art. Enormous fun!
It’s interesting looking back on the various stages of artwork I’ve created over the years. I did a post on this recently in my general blog:
which was a bit of an overview at moving from mandalas, to Soul Song art, to shamanic type art to the digital art which is drawing my attention at present.
But I want here to talk about how I started working with what I call Soul Song art.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I had a Tarot reading with a lady who predicted that I’d attend the mandala workshop where I realised I could actually create art. Well, I ran into her again when Yvonne and I went to a psychic fair on Mt Tamborine. I wasn’t booked to do any stalls but went to have a day out after being confined to home with my broken leg and ankle. Yvonne was holding a stall with her Auralight bottles and readings.
Lo and behold, I saw the same lady again doing Tarot readings so I wandered over to get another reading. I told her of the previous reading she’d done for me (if you’re a Tarot reader you simply don’t remember the details of each reading) and she looked at me and said: “Can you see colours around me?”
I looked at her in alarm as it had never crossed my mind to think about actual colours around people. So I closed my eyes, concentrated on what I felt around her and hesitantly I said: “I think you should be wearing more turquoise and lemon to balance your aura”. She beamed and said what I’d said made sense. I also told her I saw people as symbols with particular colours which I was doodling desultorily at the fair to while away the time while it ran its course.
Then I had a general reading with her again, the details of which I can’t remember now. But a short while later she came up to with a big grin on her face and said: “You’re on!” I looked at her quite blankly and then she said: “The spirit guide artist can’t come, her car broke down. So I’ve told the the organisers you can do your soul song art and they want you to step in to replace the artist”.
Well, I can tell you, I nearly fainted with fright. It was one thing to dabble in this sort of art with people I knew, but quite another to do it at a fair with strangers queuing up and paying. Yvonne cheered me on and so did the Tarot reader so I reluctantly shuffled to an empty table, got out my pencils and paper, and shook like a leaf when the first person approached me.
Amazingly, everything flowed – to my enormous relief. I found I could produce images and symbols quite easily while I nattered with the people waiting for their piece of artwork. But, as I mentioned earlier, the universe takes you by the hand when you’re ready, so one guy sat down and, while I was drawing, said: “Do you pick up any messages while you’re doing your work?” I stared at him and my mind went blank. “Ummm, I don’t really know,” I stammered weakly. He persisted. So I shut my eyes and concentrated. “Well, I’m getting the message that you should be meditating more, that you’ve been slack about it in recent times,” I muttered. “Spot on,” he said, much to my relief. And then said: “I’m the director of this facility and, yes, you’re right, I should be doing more meditation.” Now it’s a good job he didn’t mention his position before as I’d have have been too intimidated to say one word. He continued: “You’ve given me a timely reminder.” I stared at the guy and my jaw dropped, I was gobsmacked!
I continued doing Soul Song art on black cardboard with art pencils, much as I’d done with mandalas, and then dgot attracted to working with acrylics, pastels, stick-on decorations and glitter – never looked back after I hit the glitter trail! The first Soul Song painting on the right is one I really, really liked when I created it, and it remains one of my favourites. I swapped it with a guy who created ritual feather tools, as I didn’t have the money to buy one of his creations.
I really enjoyed working on it and then, right at the end, when I was trying to work out how to finish it, I remembered an agate slice I’d dropped and which had cracked in half. The two pieces slotted in neatly at the base of the fire, another piece of synchronicity because – without the agate pieces – I simply wouldn’t have been able to finish off the painting in an authentic way. And then, to my disappointment, I got no feedback from the recipient at all, which was a real let-down.
I have no idea who I did these paintings for, I didn’t keep records. I enjoyed creating these images but, again, packed it in after a while because I felt like I was back on the treadmill again. I also felt under pressure because you’re painting for an individual and you never know whether they’ll like the art you’ve created for them or not.
I’ve decided I’d rather be inspired by creations which come up from my intuition and imagination, which fire up my creativity in a spontaneous way rather than having to be somewhat constrained by painting for other people, if that makes sense.
Anyway, by then I’d got involved in a psychic circle which I found very enjoyable. I found to my surprise that I had a real talent for psychometry. We would each put something personal in a bowl and then pick out an item, hold it for a while and do a reading for the person who owned that item.
I found I could tune in, pick up energies and then channel information which was intended to offer advice to the item’s owner. I was pretty much 100% accurate with this and it opened me up to working directly with people in giving them information and messages that came through via some disembodied voice which used to speak in my head. Afterwards I started doing Spirit Guide portraits with readings from the guides to the individuals for whom I was doing the portraits.
It’s interesting when I look back over my life because at university I studied German and French languages, politics and history. But part of the languages course involved simultaneous and consecutive interpreting which I rather believe now got my brain used to listening and reading out comments at the same time.
I had, by the way, been quite cynical and doubting about the existence of spirit guides as I’m quite logical and the idea of spirit guides seemed a step too far for me. I had been told I had a spirit guide around me but didn’t really feel much. So one day I muttered to myself: “Well, if spirit guides exist, show me!”
Be careful what you wish for because you might get it!
A week or so later I was doing a Tarot reading for a lady in Beaudesert, a large town near Boonah where I was living, when a spirit guide burst out its energy like a firework exploding right beside her right shoulder. I actually reeled backwards because the energy hit me so forcefully. So yes, I got my confirmation of the existence of spirit guides but not quite in the form I’d expected. I guess I thought I might see a disembodied figure floating around or whatever, but I could feel the energy of the guide that turned up in the reading, and I could hear the message he brought the lady which, by the way, made sense to her.
However, I started going a bit bananas and New Agey with the spirit guide drawings. When I was using simple pencil and paper, spirit guides came through clearly and my portraits weren’t bad considering I’d never drawn faces and actual people before. But then I decided to get into colour and all soft and spiritual and sooky and I went right off the rails, I’m sorry to say. I carried on this path for a short while but an inner voice kept nagging me that what I was drawing was what I thought was spiritual but wasn’t, it was a reflection of seeing all sorts of wishy-washy, cutesy-wootsy images which were doing the rounds instead of listening to my own sense of what I needed to be doing and NOT doing!
Eventually I came to my senses and packed in the spirit guide drawings, I’d done my dash with them. And really I didn’t do much more in the way of art until we returned to Australia, after spending two years – from 2002-4 – in the United Kingdom.