To all intents and purposes my childhood wasn’t that bad. I was born with pigeon toes (Mum said she knew something was wrong when everyone went quiet after I was born) and spent the first 18 months of my life in braces to force my bones to grow more straight. Now I tend to have duck feet with my toes pointing out!
I do know Mum said her milk didn’t come through properly, I screamed with hunger the first two days of my life, the nurses refused to believe my mother when she said I was starving, until finally they decided she was right, I was fed formula milk and stopped screaming. To this day I have an intense fear of starvation – my cupboards and fridge are always full which drives my husband stark, staring mad.
Even at a pretty young age, I was always aware that I had to be well-behaved. I can remember being in a department store once with mum talking to another woman and telling her I never played up because I knew I’d get a slap on the leg. I know even at that age – about 3, I think – I felt deeply resentful at being talked about as if I were invisible.
At this point I need to add that I’ve found out about myself since I studied astrology. I don’t want to go into huge detail because this isn’t an astrology blog, but what I did find out is that I have the planet Neptune in the first house which relates to me as an individual. It is incredibly close to my Ascendant, Libra, which is the constellation popping up over the horizon as I was born and which influences how I express myself with a Libran Sun.
In my e-book, Astro-Crystal-Mandala Healing (which I’ll shortly be re-publishing), I characterise Neptune thus:
General: Transcendence; illusion; inspiration; vision; dreaming; glitz; glamour; smoke and mirrors; enlightenment; submission; humility, ego, addictions – drugs, shopping, etc; mystical experience; subconsciousness; visions; ungroundedness; delusion; faith; trust; hope; hunches; supernatural; occult; creative artistry; idealism; philanthropy; selfishness; hoarding; bondage; freedom.
Body: Addictions; out of body; movement; dance; yoga; purposeful action; shapeshifting; directionless; lack of boundaries; healthy boundaries.
Mind: Inspiration; vision; artistic inspiration; procrastination; hypochondria, schizophrenia; insanity; delusion; wishful thinking; spiritual purpose & focus; emptiness as in Zen meditation; occult.
Emotion: Bliss; depression; euphoria; black mood; disillusionment; happiness; deception; fog.
Heart: Love; openness; embrace of all; fear; surrender to the Divine; sensitivity; resistance; separation; healing; release; sacrifice; identification with humanity as a whole; release of ego.
Spirit: Love; mystery; trust; faith; hope; surrender; submergence.
What it means in practice is that I am quite often off in la-la land, I daydream a lot, and am incredibly sensitive (although I’ve successfully hidden that over the years with brashness, cockiness and a forced self-confidence) and can sense what people are feeling under the surface. I used to go to meetings in Melbourne and come home feeling disoriented, sick and dog-tired because I never realised I was picking up on all the emotions swirling around – anger, fear, aggression, game-playing, and so on. If I do Tarot readings, I can also sense people’s emotions and I pretty much always go with my first impressions of people. If I over-ride uncomfortable feelings, I generally find I was right in the first place.
And what it meant within the family situation was that, sub-consciously, I was picking up on the hidden language and actions of my parents. I was aware of having to behave, to be under pressure to perform at school (at 9 I came fifth in my class instead of first and all hell broke loose, with lectures from parents and nuns at my convent, extra homework and added pressure to come first in the next lot of exams).
I felt like a spare part in the family, that mum and dad were there for each other, and I was not part of that inner relationship. I used to feel loved at birthdays and Christmases when I got presents and, yes, my parents went to a lot of trouble to get me some fantastic presents. It reassured me in December and September each year that all was okay and I had parental approval. Whether I had love, I wasn’t sure. My mum used to complain bitterly about how awful giving birth was and later, when I was a teenager, my father told me (as I mentioned in an earlier post) that he could have made something of himself if I hadn’t been around. But, as I pointed out to him, he and mum were responsible for my conception, not me, and I wasn’t going to take on board that thoroughly rotten comment.
Now I have to say that, for my family, I was very intelligent and fulfilling expectations of a working-class family to do well, particularly after World War 11 when many people had lost dreams and experienced difficult lives. I had the added pressure that my father had been very clever and had been denied the opportunity to go on to higher education due to his family’s poverty. On the other hand, it went without saying that, if Dad’s elder brother, John, the family favourite, had been as bright as my Dad, they would have found the money to fund his higher education.
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
At least, I think that’s the case. Because I was to realise in later life that my father was a liar, a first-class con man and he would rip off his closest friend if he could make money out of him or her.
The irony is that I went through my childhood with the label of “liar” hanging over me, and all over a storm in a teacup. When I was about four-and-a-half years old, I was talking to my friends at the window who asked me to come out to play. I told them I couldn’t but in talking to them through the window, I managed to pull down the lace curtain which used to cover the lower windows in those days.
Looking back, any normal child would have told their parents what had happened and the curtain would have been hung up again. But I was terrified because I’d done something wrong and tried to fix it myself. My father crept up on me, found what I was doing, gave me a hiding and I ran downstairs to our basement kitchen, bawling my eyes out and hiding under the kitchen table. My mother didn’t talk to me or console me in any way which was devastating.
I was so scared at my parents’ reaction that, when they asked who’d pulled the curtain down, I said it was my friend’s older sister, justifying in my child’s mind that the sister had been urging me to come outside and if she hadn’t, I would have not pulled the curtain down. My parents went storming down to my friend’s house to rant on about Jenny (and I expect my friend’s parents though my mum and dad had really over-reacted!), and it was only a week later I confessed that I’d been the culprit.
Now it’s likely that a more sturdy, outgoing child would have shrugged their shoulders over the kerfuffle and got on with their lives without worrying too much. But I was extremely sensitive, a lonely only child, and I bottled it up inside. Added to this, from that day on my father accused me of being a liar at the drop of a hat; threatened to put me over his knee and give me a hiding, again at the drop of a hat; and was extremely strict about where I went, when I went and what time I got home.
Finally, when I was about fourteen, as I mentioned in another post, when Dad threatened me with his usual words: “You’re not too old to put over my knee and give you a hiding” I stared back at him and told him that if he so much as touched me again I’d pack up, move out of the house and my parents would never see me again. He could see I meant it and, as bullies do when you stand up to them, never mentioned giving me a hiding again.
In my next post, I’ll be addressing the history of domestic violence in my mother’s family, and my father’s behaviour as a dry drunk.
As I got more interested in dreams, read about them, went to a dream course and investigated the hows, wherefores and wheretos, I also began teaching understanding dreams. There are, in fact, countless ways to work with dreams and those who teach understanding dreams also have their own views on how to work with dreams. If you’re interested in dreamwork, have a look on the internet and see what draws your attention or what interests you. Work out how you personally want to work with understanding dreams.
My one proviso is that you don’t become dependent on a dream dictionary as often these are very rigid interpretations of symbols. Each symbol is unique to the person. For instance, if you like dogs and one appears in your dream, you might consider it a positive sign. But someone who is scared of dogs or doesn’t like them, would feel quite differently about them.
These are my ideas for understanding dreams and I hope you find them useful. I personally believe that working to understand our dreams can be a richly rewarding experience for our body, mind, emotions and spirit as it leads us deeper into the unseen realms and opens us up to to rich perspectives on our lives.
- Dreams are generally messages from within, “postcards from your inner to your outer self”.
- Dreams are likely to relate to your daily life generally.
- Ninety percent of dreams are about yourself and what’s going on in your life.
- People in dreams are most likely aspects of yourself even though they may seem to be about people you know, i.e., friends, relatives or workmates.
- Some figures in your dreams can be spiritual energies, such as angels or spirit guides or spiritual individuals who have a meaning for you.
- Some figures in dreams – if they are family members who have passed into Spirit – may have loving, personal messages from the world of Spirit.
- Some (a few) dreams can be predictive (look to see if you are detached from the dream); or about past lives (are you viewing a scene as if through a lens or telescope?); or have spiritual significance (are you in a foreign country with people speaking a language you don’t understand?).
- Dreams can be multi-layered. Sometimes, if you return to your dreams later, you’ll see that they may have an additional meaning or relate to additional things happening in your life as well as your initial interpretation.
- Listen to your intuition when considering dreams and the “aha” feeling when you’ve made a connection about the dream or some symbol within it.
- Pay attention during the day to the subject of dreaming.
- Read books about dreams.
- Start a dream diary.
- Use affirmations during the day.
- Practise meditation.
- Practise relaxation.
- Stay reasonably healthy.
- Drink lots of water.
- Go to sleep at regular times.
- Try to get in the habit of setting your internal alarm.
- Drink half a glass of water before going to bed and the rest on waking to jog recall.
- Ask for guidance dreams from Spirit, your Higher Self, spirit guides or angels.
- Make an affirmation to dream and recall your dream before you go to sleep.
- Take time to lie flat, relax and focus on dreaming.
- I use the following affirmation:
I am a child of the Light. I live in the Light. I love the Light. I serve the Light. I am supported, sustained and protected by the Light. And I bless the Light.
- Use aromatherapy oils for relaxation or use a drop on your pillow – clary sage, lavender, etc., can help, but try a few to find what suits you.
- Work with crystals – moonstone, chrysoprase, Herkimer diamonds, or again, tune into the crystals in your care and listen to whichever calls to you to help stimulate your dreaming during the night.
- Keep a notebook by your bed. If you wake up in the night, jot down notes on your dream or use a mini-recorder (depending on your sleeping arrangements and partner relationship!)
- On waking, keep your eyes shut, lie still and go through any dreams you can recall.
- Even if you can’t remember all the details, jot down the bits and pieces you recall, even if it’s one image.
- If you have difficulty, go to the last scene and work backwards.
- Write your dreams down when you get up, don’t try and remember later in the day.
- Keep a dream diary and daily journal so you can relate dreams to the day’s events.
- Jot down your emotions when you woke up and recalled your dream.
- Give the dream a title if you can.
- Write the dream down in the present tense.
- Say the dream out loud as you write it down.
Having said all this, don’t get obsessed about remembering each and every dream. It’s been my experience that the ones that you remember most clearly or which leave you emotional when you wake up are the ones you need to work with.
- Give the dream a title, the first one that comes to you.
- Simplify and make the story break up into beginning, middle and end.
- Does the story line relate to anything going on in your life?
- Work out the symbols – remember, symbols need to have meaning for you, so be cautious in using dream dictionaries.
- Make up a dream map – put symbols in middle and then put meanings that come to you around them until one “clicks”
- Look for puns, ie, a symbol of a ram could relate to Aries and whatever you associate with this sign.
- Become the symbols and talk as if you were they; alternatively talk to the symbols and see how they respond.
- Talk to the people in your dreams – what do they mean to you?
- Men and women figures in your dream usually relate to your male and female energies. What qualities do you associate with those figures?
- Try word association.
- Trust your interpretation.
- Ask for help from a friend who knows you and what’s going on in your life, but again, trust what feels right for you.
- Do a waking dream. If you were interrupted in a dream, take time to relax, go back through the dream until you reach the point of interruption, and then continue in a waking dream to see how your inner vision resolves the dream.
Here are names of some nifty blogs on working with and understanding dreams:
And here’s a list of useful books:
I like Signposts as Ms Linn gives suggestions about symbols which are quite useful for prompting your own ideas. I also particularly like The Dreamcatcher’s Handbook which takes a Gestalt approach to understanding dreams.
Signposts Denise Linn
The Language of Dreams Patricia Felesco
DreamCatchers Handbook Helen McLean & Abiye Cole
Pocketful of Dreams Denise Linn
Animal-Speak Ted Andrews
Animal-Wise Ted Andrews
Medicine Cards Sams & Carson
Animal Dreaming Scott Alexander King
In 1994 we decided to move – after 20-odd years in Western Australia – from Fremantle to Queensland, on the other side of the Australian continent.
What can I say? It seemed a good idea at the time.
But I think if we’d known what we’d go through in the early years, true Dark Nights of the Soul for both of us, we would have nailed our feet to the floor of our house in Fremantle and poured concrete over to boot (sorry about the pun).
Looking back I can see the sands starting to shift in 1993, when the death of my much loved little dog heralded huge changes for me, and in 1994 when my husband’s father died suddenly of a massive heart attack.
Queensland had actually come onto our horizon in early 1993 when Bryan had a holiday on the Gold Coast courtesy of the construction company he worked for as he’d had many years in their employ. I remember he phoned me raving about how beautiful it was, how Mt Tamborine looked wonderful and how odd it was to see the sun setting over land instead of sea, as happened for us in Fremantle.
I, on the other hand, while he was in Queensland, had a nasty fall in our porch which I almost view now as part of the opening stages of our journey to Queensland. It was, looking back, as if it was a wake-up call. I tripped on a brick and fell heavily, broke my glasses and pretty much had concussion for the rest of the weekend. I had appalling headaches after this and it actually led me to cranio-sacral therapy which I’ve used on and off ever since.
A bit later, in July 1993, our little dog Chloe, a part-Llasa Apso, was hit by a bus and killed. She and I were incredibly close. We went everywhere together. That late afternoon I’d returned from shopping with Chloe who was leaning against the back of the passenger seat watching me as she always did. I unpacked the shopping, made a cup of coffee and then heard a knock at the front door. It was our neighbour across the road asking to speak to Bryan. He seemed to give me a sort of compassionate look which puzzled me. So as I heard them go outside, I went to our front window to see what was going on. And saw Chloe lying motionless on the verge on the opposite side of the road. She had run in front of a bus and been killed instantly.
I can remember the overwhelming grief, that I would never see my beloved dog again. I felt as if a piece of my heart had been ripped out. You want to turn the clock back and see someone you’ve lost alive again, but of course, time marches on and it’s relentless, it won’t go back. I tried to make sense of what had happened. But, of course, there is no sense in untimely death. Or, at least, it seemed like that the first day. The following night I had a very clear dream about Chloe. I saw her surrounded in a radiant, beautiful golden light walking away from me. She turned and looked at me for one last time, as if to say a final goodbye, then kept walking. And as she faded away, I heard a voice say: “She came to teach you unconditional love. Her work is over and now it’s time for her to move on.”
When I woke up the next day and remembered the dream, I thought I was becoming unhinged. I had no idea what “unconditional love” meant. But synchronistically I saw in the Sunday newspaper an advertisement for a psychic fair. I had never been to one and had no idea what happened there. But it drew me for some reason, so I ventured out that morning to visit the fair. It all seemed a bit weird to me with tarot readers, aura readers, numerologists, crystal sellers and other such-like stalls.
I took a punt on a lady doing numerology readings, but really didn’t take in much of what she was saying. She asked me what was wrong and I told her about Chloe’s untimely death. She directed me to her friend, a psychic and medium, so I duly trotted over to see what this person could offer. I said I’d just lost my dog and her first words were: “My word, she went out with a bang, didn’t she?”
Her second words left me speechless: “She’s here now”. I looked around rather nervously because I had no idea what happened when a dead dog started hanging around. And then she said those words again: “She came here to teach you unconditional love.” I felt my jaw unhinge when she said that.
I have since then learned that, if you open your psychic senses, you can tune into images which are present in another person’s consciousness. We all have psychic ability but in our logical, scientific society, the idea of psychic ability is treated with scorn. Yet this is an intrinsic part of all of us and when we don’t exercise our psychic senses or deny their existence, we are shutting down a very important part of us.
Psychic work develops when we open to our intuitive, emotional sides and work with our higher energy centres, otherwise known as chakras or energy centres. If you look at the brain, it’s divided into two hemispheres. The left one controls the right side of our bodies, which is our logical, scientific, intellectual side. The right side of our brain controls the left side of our bodies, the intuitive, sensing, feeling side. Anyone can work with their intuitive side but too many discount that information because we are so geared to logic and poo-poo the unseen. Yes, I know it’s a great simplification and if you want to know more, you can do some internet searches and get more in-depth knowledge by doing your own homework.
I digressed a bit there because I just wanted to give you a basic idea of how psychic awareness works and why it would have been quite easy for Julie to pick up from me what happened to Chloe. But then Julie said: “She’s telling me she used to run down the stairs to your bedroom and jump on the bed with you while you read in bed.” I gaped at her as this was the last thing I was thinking of. Then she repeated herself: “You know, she was there to teach you unconditional love, but it was time for her to move on.”
There was that weird word again: “unconditional love”. What on earth was going on? I think by this time I must have looked like a stunned mullet as I was just sitting there gawping at the reader. Luckily for me, Julie persevered. She looked at my hands and told me I’d make a good Reiki healer, particularly working with animals. She also invited me to join her Inner Child workshop which was being held weekly. I got the strong sense that this was a turning point of some sort for me. I didn’t know what, but something was pushing me into exploring this concept. So I decided to attend the workshop.
And thus began my slow, halting path towards a completely new life where I learned about inner child work, healing, Reiki, developing my psychic abilities, becoming an artist, embarking on a teaching path and also doing the odd bit of mediumship work. I will go into more details of this later. This, Chloe’s death, was the gateway to a new life opening up which finally came to fruition in early 1994.
The upheaval for my husband erupted in February 1994 when his father died suddenly of a massive stroke in February of that year and we decided to return to the UK (where we were both born) to visit Bryan’s family. I had lost touch with members of my own family after my mother died.
Prior to our departure for the UK, we considered our circumstances, which were challenging our settled lifestyle. I hated walking out of gate and seeing the place where Chloe’s body had lain. And my husband decided that his working life with the company he worked for was likely coming to an end and so took redundancy before we flew to England.
So we had the inspiration to sell our home, up sticks, move across the country and settle in this far-off State where we knew absolutely nobody. Neither of us is now quite sure why we made that decision. Bryan feels it was because he was in a state of depression after his father’s unexpected death. I wanted to get away from the house because of Chloe’s untimely death, and because my alcohol intake, which had reached considerable proportions, was bothering me too. I had the vague idea of managing to escape the problem if I changed my habitat. Fat chance! A life lesson I’ve learned very well is that, when you move, you take yourself with you and you still end up having to deal with the same problems.
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!