While I was pursuing my crystal craziness, a couple of other newbies lobbed into my life too.
Around the time the crystals jumped my bones, I began to dabble in art and the Tarot.
First the arty-farty stuff.
In February 1996, my friend, Yvonne, and I decided to go to a mandala workshop at the Relaxation Centre in Brisbane. It was a non-profit enterprise which offered a range of courses, with a borrowing library and bookshop. The main reason I considered going was because it was within my means. The 2-day course only cost $60. But I had completely forgotten a Tarot reading I’d had in November in Ipswich. We – Yvonne, myself and a couple of young people – had gone to the town to take part in a market. It was a pretty dismal affair with few people turning up to look at the stalls. So in sheer boredom I wandered off, found a Psychic Fair around the corner and decided to have a reading.
I wandered around looking at the various readers until I found one who drew me through her energy. I don’t know if you’ve ever have had Tarot readings, but my experience has been that the best way to approach a reading is to do your homework and find one who draws you. Don’t be in a rush. And don’t get drawn into repeat Tarot readings. Also, beware of any reader who preaches doom and gloom and leaves you feeling dispirited and despondent. A good Tarot reader isn’t one who can necessarily predict the future. For one thing, if she does make accurate predictions, what exactly is the purpose? A Tarot reader needs to be able to leave you uplifted, positive, understanding yourself, feeling you’ve had spiritual guidance to walk into the future with courage and inner awareness. If she does that, fantastic. And if she doesn’t, let her reading go metaphorically speaking into the trash bin.
I once had a Tarot reading where the reader predicted the end of my relationship with Bryan. I was devastated. But Yvonne, who was at the same centre with me, pointed out that the reader had recently had a bad car accident. It was obviously still affecting her negatively. What the reader had picked up on was that Bryan and I were having some relationship challenges, as all couples do from time to time. The most constructive advice would have been to draw this out and give advice how to approach this situation positively for the highest, rather than the lowest, outcome. And, of course, since Bryan and I have been together for 36 years, her prediction certainly didn’t come true!
I did a Tarot reading for a couple once who were concerned that, in an earlier reading, they’d drawn The Lovers and the reader had told them they would break up and form new relationships. I delved a bit deeper and found out that, in one sense, the information was correct. They had each done personal development courses which led to a new relationship alright – with each other. Their relationship had been strengthened by the change and growth in each of them.
I once did Tarot readings with a good friend at another Psychic Fair in Ipswich a few years later. I did a reading for one woman who said in deep disappointment: “Oh, that’s pretty much what the other reader told me”. Rather than seeing it as confirmation of the information from each reading, she wanted one which presented her with the information she wanted to hear, not what she needed to hear. You’re wasting your time and money and the Tarot reader’s time and energy if you have your mind made up about what you want from a reading.
The same thing happened when I was doing Tarot readings in the UK. I was giving the readings in pubs in the evenings. Bookings were taken beforehand and readers just turned up to do the readings. It was right up my alley as I’m not a good organiser, so to turn up and have everything fixed up suited me to the ground. Then one night I received a phone call requesting readings for four people at a home. I accepted but, when I turned up, I realised I’d already done readings for a couple of the women. They were disappointed to receive similar comments but I could have told them that if they’d advised me they’d had readings recently with me.
So if you want a Tarot reading, decide to have one reading, and one reading only. It’s all you need if you take the time to tune into the whole process and find a Tarot reader who attracts your attention. I won’t do repeat readings within a year of a consultation, otherwise it encourages dependency on the Tarot reader – people living their lives according to each reading instead of understanding they have free will and need to stand on their own two feet. The Tarot can give advice and insight, but it can’t live your life for you.
Back to my Tarot reading in Ipswich. I had to wait an hour for the reader to become free but I really felt I needed to see this particular woman. I wasn’t wrong (although I thought I’d done my dash when I’d finished the reading). She told me, and this is about all I recall after all this time, that I would attend a short painting workshop which would open me up to seeing colours around people and I’d start drawing images for them. I sighed inwardly to myself. I had always been a cack-handed artist. Or rather – artist manqué. I had no talent at grammar school and I always believed that I managed to scrape through art exams by the skin of my teeth with the minimum pass marks out of sheer compassion on the part of the art teacher.
My art was, not to put too fine a point on it, quite pitiful. In fact, I really didn’t believe I had any creative talent at all. So a prediction that I would start painting for people seemed quite unrealistic and a complete waste of my money.
And then I attended the mandala workshop. When we got there and sat down, I was terrified because I thought I was such a dunce at artwork. If I’d been near an exit, I would have bolted, but I was too far away and had to stay. It opened up a whole new world of creativity and awareness that my artistic ability doesn’t relate to the world around me but to the world within, to symbolic art.
I couldn’t believe I’d created something like this. I was even more delighted when, after laying our various mandalas on the floor, one of the participants chose my artwork to photograph. I got home and showed Bryan the mandala and he asked who’d done it. He looked simply thunderstruck when I said I had, as I’d never in our whole life together drawn anything!
I carried on creating mandalas in a desultory fashion until the day I fell and broke my leg and ankle. Bryan used to leave early to drive to work in Ipswich but our car started playing up- breaking down and needing a tow back to Boonah. One day when this happened, he phoned me to let me know he’d give me a ring once he was back in the town so I could pick him up while the car was checked out at the garage. I started off up the slope to my car, decided to go back and pick up a radio to listen to the news while I waited, slipped on the wet grass and went down with a bang.
Unfortunately, my left leg shot out from under me but my right leg got caught in a small hole so my leg got badly twisted on the way down. I knew straight away I’d done some serious damage as I felt really, really weird, spacey and sort of detached, as if I was in some sort of bubble. I was also stuck out in the open in cold, wet weather, hidden from the road where there was precious little traffic anyway, so decided I’d have to drag myself back to the house.
Luckily I had my house keys with me and was able to reach up to open the door as I couldn’t stand at all. I slowly dragged myself to the study, where I was able to knock the desk phone to the floor, and phoned a young friend who – luckily – had just done a first aid course. He arrived within 20 minutes, got my right leg strapped up (with a supply of free, wrapped up community newspapers!) and helped me get up. I felt no pain but, due to the shock, my throat was dry and I was drinking water like there was no tomorrow.
Martin drove me to Boonah Hospital where Bryan caught up with me, as he’d heard what had happened from another friend. And there I found I’d splintered the bone in the fibula of my right leg. We hadn’t been able to afford ambulance fees as we were so broke, so Bryan had to drive me to Ipswich Hospital for my leg to be sorted out in an operation. Again, I felt a bit weird, was in no pain but was drinking gallons of water.
The lady doctor who greeted me was quite delightful, She stroked my arm to calm me down, turned to the male orthopaedic surgeon who turned up to check me out and said: “See, I told you how strong women are. This lady says she’s not feeling any pain, talk about being brave!” I felt a complete fraud! I kept denying I was in any pain and kept reassuring them that I was fine – that was, until the lady doctor noticed bruising on my ankle, felt around and I nearly fainted with the pain. I’d also managed to break my ankle.
My treatment at Ipswich Hospital was fantastic. I was whizzed off to a ward within an hour or so arriving, and was in the operating theatre within a couple of hours. It is really weird waking up with a heavy cast on your leg, plus I was informed I had a raging temperature when I was admitted and some sort of infection, so was on intravenous drugs for a couple of days. I used a walking frame at first to hop around but then got issued with crutches and told I couldn’t leave the hospital until I could get up a couple of stairs. Co-ordination has never been my thing and, after watching a few miserable hops on my part, the physio gave up and I was released from hospital.
I was stuck up Mt French all day on my own. Bryan had casual work at the time and left the house around 6am and got home around 5pm. So I sat there in solitary splendour all day, going slightly off my rocker with impatience and boredom. I didn’t realise it at the time but it was a real turning point for me. I slept a lot of the time as the accident had shaken me up big-time. I began to really focus on mandalas, and I started creating different ones for friends. I’d get Bryan to post them off for me, and then get the response that the symbols had meanings for the recipients.
I’d started on the path of drawing colours for people which was a complete surprise for me. And I loved it. In the night I’d wake up with the pain of the cast pressing on my foot which had swelled in the heat of the bed, so I’d get up, hobble out to the front room on my crutches and keep on drawing mandalas in the quiet of the night.
During the day, I’d doze and then get back to drawing mandalas. The days were those lovely winter days you get in Queensland – clear, blue skies, bright sunshine, not too cold, very dry, and I’d listen to the carolling of the magpies and the liquid, falling notes of the butcher birds which were plentiful in that area. A friend had left me a beautiful tape by the Native American Musician, R. Carlos Nakai, called: “Emergence – Songs of the Rainbow World” and I listened to this time after time, soaking up its soaring, and deeply relaxing, notes. It was a time of profound spiritual and physical healing, where I tuned in not only to artwork and psychic connections, but also to nature and my own inner voice.