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.
In her lovely book “Eat, Pray, Love”, Elizabeth Gilbert introduces the one person with his true name in the following way: “Ladies and Gentlemen, Richard from Texas has arrived”.
So now I’d like to announce in similar fashion, that Yvonne Tait, Herbalist and Spiritual Seeker Extraordinaire, entered my life with a colourful flourish a few months after we moved to Boonah in south-east Queensland in 1994. She was not only a herbalist. She opened me up to the world of crystals, spirituality, colours and much more. And like so much about our time in Boonah she entered my life in a very synchronistic way.
In Perth, Western Australia, in the months prior to our move to Queensland, I had learned Reiki 1 and Reiki 11. So in Boonah when, we had got settled in our new home, I decided I’d like to start offering Reiki and contacted the local newspaper to publicise my work. I had no idea at the time that Boonah was a hotbed of fundamentalist Christian churches. This was the town where the fundamentalists had threatened to boycott the local newspaper when it started offering horoscopes. I mean – horoscopes, for god’s sake! Practically every mainstream newspaper offers horoscopes but in Boonah it was the work of the Devil. So was Reiki, I was to find in due course.
I, of course, never imagined that Reiki would be regarded with suspicion and outright horror. Reiki to me was simply a healing modality and part of the 20th century (this was 1994, remember). I found out later that the advert for Reiki sparked horror among many fundamentalist Christians who believed the Devil was walking among them.
It’s sad that so much ignorance and fear exists about a practice which has at its heart service to those in need. Luckily for me, a couple of brave souls contacted me to have Reiki healing, and one of those left a Reiki manual for me, asking me to return it to the original owner when I’d finished. This person was Yvonne.
I finally tracked her down to a small shed tucked away behind the main street of Boonah. Yvonne wasn’t in her office, so I left the manual on one of the shelves in her front room. But as I turned to leave, my attention was caught by rows of beautiful, coloured bottles, lined up in a display in her office. They looked magical, each one consisted of two colours, one over the other, and looking like a vivid rainbow glowing in small, rather ordinary-looking office.
Yvonne, I was to learn, wove magic in this office. I returned quite quickly as I was so curious about the coloured bottles. I’d learned about the power of colour a few years earlier. After my mother’s death from lung cancer, I had become seriously depressed and was really hitting the booze. My weight had crept up and I looked like the half-side of a bus. As I said in an earlier post, I could have auditioned for the Incredible Hulk and won the part easily.
I always wore black because I thought black made me look slimmer. But I had seen some information on colour at the centre where I’d learned Reiki and it interested me no end. Also, on the last afternoon of my Reiki 1 course, I’d walked out and seen a little butterball of a woman walking along the street in front of me dressed in black. I looked at her and thought: “She looks like a fat woman trying to look slim in a black outfit, and she still looks fat”. And, of course, I looked at myself and thought: “And you, my dear, look just the same, a tallish woman dressing in black to look slim and you still look fat.” So I went out the next day and bought the most beautiful, coloured dress I could find. It was multi-coloured and multi-patterned and quite eye-watering! Bryan called it my “Ken Done dress”, Ken Done being an Australian artist who works with bright patterns and colours. The experience of wearing colour really hit me. I felt quite different, more people smiled at me, and one woman actually walked up to me and told me how much she loved my dress and all the colours. It made my day!
Finally I met Yvonne, who was in her office the next time I visited the premises where she worked. She was a short, dark-haired woman with a huge, welcoming smile and a very warm, healing presence. I asked her for a reading as I was so curious about the coloured bottles which, I found, were part of a system of healing called Aura Light. I remember I chose four bottles with quite intense colours. Yvonne told me afterwards, that the first bottle represented childhood, predominant programs for life purpose and links to the past. The second bottle was about life’s obstacles and challenges in your teenage years. The third bottle relates to the here and now on all levels. And the final, fourth bottle, represents future potential, the future and correlating the past and present.
I didn’t know at the time but these are multi-layered bottles which reflect back to you where you are at any stage of your life. So while one reading might be about where your are currently and how you’re working through particular issues, another reading will provide further information which reveal another layer of your life and how you’re living it.
I remember doing another one of my jaw drops as Yvonne proceeded into the first reading I ever had, because she honed in on my difficult relationship with my father. At that stage, she knew nothing about him or my dysfunctional relationship with him. I was absolutely amazed. And in subsequent readings, I’d pick what I thought were quite different bottles and Yvonne would look then murmur: “Hmmmm, your father’s been stuffing you around again, hasn’t he? What’s he been up to this time?”
My work with Yvonne didn’t stop there. We connected really well and she asked me to go with her when she did workshops at various places, either to talk about herbalism or about Aura Light. She also opened up the world of spirituality to me with her amazing range of books which she generously lent me. I was sucking all this up like someone who’d been without a drink for a week and now was busy guzzling greedily from the fount of nourishment, which for me was spirituality in all its various guises.
Yvonne also helped me with the herbal tinctures she gave me and dietary advice. I started losing weight and began exploring all the books and manuals this warm, caring lady had in her office.
And then I met her daughter Joy. Joy came for a visit from Coffs Harbour where she was living at the time. We picked her up from the airport and she started talking about the small angels she’d seen holding up the plane she’d travelled up on as it had hit bad turbulence landing at Brisbane Airport. I remember sighing inwardly to myself and thinking: “Oh, god, another member of Flakes Anonymous”, although I kept that to myself. But I was wrong and I’m glad I didn’t open my big gob and shoot off about my blockheaded prejudices.
Joy opened me up to crystals.
She brought with her the most beautiful necklaces she’d created of various crystals. When she pulled them out and displayed them, I could feel my senses tingling and an awareness I’d never had opening up. I eventually chose a necklace in pearl and citrine and I really felt, for the first time in my life, like a very powerful empress when I slipped it around my neck.
Joy looked at me and said: “But you know how the crystals talk to you, don’t you?” with such confidence and with such a brilliant smile on her face, that I simply said “Yes”, although I had no idea what she was talking about. It just felt churlish to say “no” in the face of such faith and belief in me and my supposed abilities with crystals – particularly as I’d never done or experienced anything like this before.
But she was right. Yvonne offered to let me sell crystals in her shop and I agreed, because for some reason the crystal jewellery that Joy had created, and which she left with her mother to sell, just fascinated me. I could feel their power and how each necklace offered different energies to the people who bought them. We met up with Joy at Byron Bay and went to a crystal warehouse.
It was like entering Aladdin’s Cave! I had not the faintest knowledge of crystals, but I whizzed around that magical palace and picked exactly which crystals I wanted to take back with me to sell: clear quartz, citrine, carnelian, and many others. I didn’t have much spare cash, so I was quite focused on particular stones which seemed to me to draw me. I remember Yvonne wandering up with a number of small, polished, clear quartz points and unhesitatingly I went to one and said: “That’s mine!” I had no idea why this particular stone attracted me but since then, it’s always how I’ve operated with crystals. They communicate with me at some unseen level, at a higher dimension than I’m unable to explain. I still have this little polished point which has travelled to the UK, back to Western Australia, to New South Wales, down to Victoria, back to NSW and now has a home in North Cyprus!
When I set up my little display in Yvonne’s shop, the various crystals sold like hot cakes. I was hooked! Who would have thought I’d ever be working with crystals! In my next post I’ll talk about crystals, my work with them and how I work intuitively with crystals, rocks and stones. Note: this might be a long post as crystals are my passion!