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.
I rather think our tour of China in 1978 was a bit of trial and error for the Chinese as conducting tours was a very new venture. All I can say is that we concluded back in Hong Kong, after the tour ended, that we had never worked so hard in our lives – we had breakfast at 8am, out on the road by 9am with two visits to schools/factories/handicrafts factories, back for lunch at midday, a 30 minute rest period, then off again at 1.30 for two more visits. Back for dinner at 5.30pm, and then off to see movies or an orchestra or some other aspect of culture in the evening. This went on for three weeks.
At each place we visited during the day we’d be given a tour of the school or factory or whatever we were visiting, we’d meet the people and children, if we went to schools, we’d sit down and be given a history of what we were visiting, and then we’d enjoy a cup of jasmine tea and a general chat.
The Chinese had a great cultural life which I think we found surprising as the image of this enormous nation had, up until then, always been of a rather drab and dreary culture. China had been so closed to the outside world that really we had no idea of what we’d encounter or the rich cultural life of the country.
But going into a movie was a great experience – we didn’t understand a word but the Chinese audience had the time of their life and often the movies were very gruesome which they watched without turning a hair while we Westerners flinched and shut our eyes. I mean – people getting cut in half by a sword; a concubine disappearing and re-appearing floating in a huge pot with her arms and legs removed; someone else getting beheaded in incredibly realistic battle scenes. All very colourful and also an introduction to the various ways in which people were killed in feudal China!
We were taken one evening to see a Chinese orchestra and, I have to be honest, we were pretty bored. We weren’t used to the instruments or musical sounds of Chinese music but, while we sat there quite quietly, the Chinese audience had a terrific time, applauding noisily and having the time of their lives. Nevertheless, it was a great experience to see Chinese culture at such close quarters and to see the pleasure of people in the audience. We found that film, music and other cultural events were widespread, cheap to go to, and very, very popular with Chinese people.
We visited various handicrafts factories where the work was exquisite. In one pottery factory we saw mass-produced dinnerware which was an interesting process to watch, but we also saw fine, individual pottery production which required great attention to detail and a very steady hand. In one place we saw artists painting scenes within tiny glass snuff bottles. It was quite awesome as the artists had incredibly fine brushes bent at right angles so they could get the brush inside the bottle, then paint the scene from the inside. We found out that people who did this had to retire early as the incredibly close work required ended up damaging people’s eyesight. I’ve included below photos of this painting technique – I do have a painted glass bottle in a lovely lined box but my camera’s in for service so I’ve had to use images form the internet.
We visited one diesel locomotive production factory where we were struck by the pride of workers at what they were creating. They were involved in all aspects of the locomotives’ production and design, and you could feel the satisfaction they got at being part of the whole process. We got to get into the cabin of one of the huge locos (we did this in small groups) and trundle along part of a rail section – quite extraordinary to be so high up in such a huge machine and have such a wide view around the whole area. One of our tour members when I was in the cabin was poking a button and asking what it was for, and the Chinese interpreters had great fun telling her she was the one responsible for the diesel’s hooter going off continually!
Towards the end of the tour we had the opportunity to meet a group of artists and actors which was quite an honour. Except we nearly caused a diplomatic incident! One of the artists started describing an incident with the Gang of Four, a group which had been in control of China but which had been displaced just before our tour. She told us how the Gang of Four didn’t like a painting of a single huge cock. There was silence in our group and then our tour leader leaned forward and said: “Actually, in Australia, we prefer to use the words ‘rooster’ or ‘cockerel'”. However, the artist missed this completely as she was intent on her story and continued telling us about this huge cock stretching up to the sky with its one beady eye peering upwards. We were pretty exhausted and overwrought by this time and had a hard time not laughing. One of the interpreters asked a tour member who was sitting at the back why we were all acting so strange so he drew a picture of male genitals to try to explain we used different terminology, but we all decided afterwards that the sketch was pathetic, and so it took some time to explain what was going on.
In the meantime the artist was still going on about the huge cock and how the Gang of Four didn’t like the look in its one beady eye. Finally the dam broke. We started howling with laughter and on the Chinese side there was a startled silence. Gradually we calmed down after our hysterical outburst and looked at each other appalled – we’d surely created a diplomatic incident and we’d be deported and get into all sorts of strife on our return to Australia. We were actually very over-tired and over-wrought after what had been a gruelling tour which explained our cackling away like demented kookaburras.
Our tour guide had finally realised what the problem was in terminology, walked forward and whispered into the artist’s ear why we’d been laughing our heads off. We sat there frozen – then she turned to the rest of her Chinese colleagues and told them the problem with cock/rooster/cockerel phraseology and, to our amazement, they all burst into great gales of laughter, slapping their knees and rocking back and forth with glee. We were so relieved, everyone heaved a great sigh and calmed down, but it was also a lesson to us that the Chinese have a raucous, earthy sense of humour which was totally unexpected to us.
One thing I had forgotten was the honesty: if we accidentally left stuff behind when we left hotels and moved to new cities or towns, we would – within a couple of days – find the item forwarded to us and waiting in our rooms.
What we came away with after our tour of China was an abiding sense of awe at the ingenuity of the Chinese people, pleasure in their care for their kids, and great respect for their dedication to rebuilding their country. We also ended up with an abiding respect for their ability to knock back the Chinese liqueur, Mao Tai, as I said in an earlier post like drinking rocket fuel which we drank with great caution and they swigged with apparent impunity.
We also experienced great delight at their wonderful sense of humour and ability to joke around and have a damned good time, with no sign of rigidity or stuffiness. Given how nervous we were at the start of our tour, when we left China we did so with an awareness of how lucky we were to have seen the country at its then stage of development, and also how privileged we’d been to encounter the friendliness and kindness of the Chinese people.
In my next post I’ll get to the really important part – Chinese food! And then I’ll wind up with a final blog about my return to China in 1995 when I visited the Hidden Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang at Xian and saw all the changes in China since my first visit in early 1978.
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’ve been absent from my blog for quite a while, apologies for the lack of writing, but very hot weather in August (40-odd every day and hot nights) really did a number on me. As it was very humid too, the heat really exacerbated the good ol’ fibromyalgia and it’s taking me a while to really get back on my feet.
I’ve also been focused on my digital art as it really helps me stay positive when my health is a bit challenging..
I’ve really had to re-assess what I can and can’t do as my tendency is to pretend the fibro and hip pain don’t exist, except they have a mind of their own and make their presence known! At present I’m focusing on an art exhibition I’m holding here in North Cyprus on 22nd November. I’ll be showing my acrylic, mandala, vision board and digital art, as well as photography from Australia and New Cyprus.
I’m not a terribly practical person as I prefer the creative process rather than the practical one, so I’ve decided to spend my time from now until 22nd November on all the background stuff needed to get the exhibition up and running, and then return to this blog after that time.
Then I shall be writing about my trips to China – exciting and memorable. And also about my health issues and how I’ve worked with various alternative therapies over the years. Thereafter, I’ll be posting every other day, health taking into consideration, and posting art on the intervening days.
My apologies for my absence, but for once I’m listening to my body and taking things step by step. It’s very frustrating to do so, by the way, but perhaps common sense has hit me in my golden oldie years!
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.
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!
I was stuck up Mt French with my leg in a cast for six weeks, as the broken bones were slow to heal, much to my disgust. I wanted my leg to be healed YESTERDAY! I used to phone my friend in Perth and she said she could hear my impatience burning down the wires. Unfortunately, impatience didn’t get me anywhere except feeling extremely frustrated.
When I had the cast off and put my weight on my right foot for the first time, it felt like I was walking on glass. It took quite a while before I could abandon the crutches altogether but I still had trouble with a recurring infection around the cut where my leg had been set and a metal plate put in place. I was not in good shape, got tired easily, my foot would swell in the evenings, and I had to rest a lot.
So I kept drawing mandalas. I used the technique taught at the workshop in Brisbane which was based on creating shaded white symbols on black cardboard, and then a layer of colours over the white, the idea being that you could show light shining through each symbol in the mandala.
As I got more mobile, I also started teaching mandala workshops in small groups. I have to say, looking back, that I jumped in the deep end with teaching. Prior to teaching mandalas, I had started practising Reiki and reflexology in Yvonne’s clinic, as she had bought a house with an area attached she was able to use as a clinic. But learning Reiki 3 really opened the door to my expanding the courses I taught.
A friend was going to attend a Reiki 3 course but it fell through for her so I phoned the Reiki Master to see if I could take her place. I told her I had no money and would pay her when I could and she immediately agreed. Another miracle and step forward in my life. I had an absolutely wonderful weekend, very intensive but very rewarding.
There were only two of us so we had very personal and intense instruction. On the second day we were taught an advanced healing technique where we looked inside people and worked with whatever we saw or felt. It was a form of psychic healing where you tuned into the emotional and spiritual energies of a person to sense what was required at those levels for healing to happen. It’s not an everyday occurrence. You would only do this form of healing with someone’s permission and when they had themselves done enough work on themselves to be able to participate in the whole process. So it’s not for complete beginners.
We were to be intuitive in our approach, our Reiki Master said. I was instantly alarmed – intuitive? Me? But something amazing happened. I saw exactly what needed to be done – it was quite different from acting as a channel in Reiki healing, more interventionist but at a psychic, spiritual level as I’ve described above. And for me it involved symbols which of course flowed for me as I love symbolic work. I remember describing the images to the other person doing the course with me, and knowing that I had to stop at a particular stage because he had to do the rest of the work.
And then out of nowhere came all sorts of knowledge flooding in which I passed on and now have no idea what I said. Of course I wouldn’t repeat it, if I could, as it’s private and personal to the person concerned. But I do know I felt stunned and he looked stunned. He stared at me for a moment, then stomped off to the bathroom and shut himself in. I really thought I’d blown it, but my Reiki Master looked amused and reassured me that I’d tuned in correctly and that I’d done the right thing in the whole healing process. It was a heck of a relief, I can tell you!
I’ve gone through a process of pooh-poohing Reiki a bit over they years, but now I’ve come full circle because I’ve seen it lead to miracles. For some it relates to spiritual, mental, emotional or physical healing. For others, it opens pathways to personal growth and heading in completely different directions. For me, it opened up the whole process of teaching. While we were still living up Mt French, I had opened a healing centre in Yvonne’s clinic premises when she bought a new house and started working from home. I started off doing Reiki and reflexology, something I’d learned back in Perth. But one day I thought I’d like to start teaching a course in colour, energies and healing.
I have no idea where this proposition came from but, as they say, it seemed a good idea at the time. I set up a billboard in the main street of Boonah, but then nearly had a nervous breakdown when someone appeared to say they wanted to attend. I must have looked like a headless chicken running around when the guy signed up, but it must have been meant to be because I met another lady shortly afterwards who also wanted to take part. I found I really enjoyed teaching. I was a good communicator and was able to sort out my ideas and get them through to people.
I also find it interesting that, if you’re heading in a direction which meets your life purpose, you’ll get help along the way. I started off with two people in my first class and I continued to do the odd class on chakras and creative visualisation with just two people but it expanded when we moved down off the mountain to the centre of Boonah.
One day I got hold of a book about focusing on your goals, and happened to mention it to a friend that I’d like to teach it. She said she’d like to take part, spread the world and, lo and behold, within a matter of weeks a group of seven had got together to work our way through the book. With me as the teacher.
I must admit that the first time I looked up and saw six faces looking back at me waiting for me to take the lead I nearly had a nervous breakdown. I felt quite inadequate, but took a deep breath and ploughed on. We had a ball and I discovered that I had a knack for creative visualisation and tuning into people as they described what they’d seen, heard or sensed.
We all have different ways of using our senses so some might find creative visualisation very easy and images popping up without difficulty. I know the first time I was able to visualise very clearly during a guided visualisation I felt my self-confidence go sky-high. I never realised I had that ability. My visual sense is very important for me. I can see parking spaces, or notice little details very easily. If I visualise, I can do so with no difficulty whatsoever.
Just don’t mention auditory ability to me. It’s pretty much low on my list. Bryan, my husband, on the other hand has perfect pitch, can listen to music and distinguish all the instruments and the nuances of singers, drummers and other performers. Whereas to me, it’s a nice noise, I’m not too bothered about the lyrics, I just like the overall, end result. I’m also tone-deaf which causes my husband to wince if I do sing as he can hear when I’m off-key and I can’t.
Other people sense or feel things. They might get a feeling of unease about something, or sense happiness, or smell scent or something like that. Then you find that some people can work well with more than one sense. There is no right or wrong, it just depends on each person’s particular focus.
I became aware of my ability to do creative visualisations when I was doing a mandala workshop with one of my friends while the rest were complete strangers. Up until that point, I’d run workshops but used the text of a book on mandalas word for word in guiding people into creating mandala art. On this occasion, however, I was particularly concerned about one participant. He created amazingly straight lines, so straight, in fact, I thought he’d got a ruler stashed away. But I gradually came to realise that he couldn’t access his creative side, and was working with his intellect all the time.
In creating mandalas you need to access your intuitive, sensing ability which arises in the right side of your brain and affects your left side. As I mentioned earlier, the left side of your brain, which relates to intellect, reasoning and logic, crosses over to your right side. You could say that your right side is your “doing” side and your left side is your “receptive” side, if that makes things clearer. The idea of contacting your intuitive side is that you sideline your intellectual side so that you can access your emotions, your feelings and your inner wisdom. So while this particular guy was creating beautiful mandalas, they had no emotional depth to them.
I was lying awake that night, pondering on this problem, when a voice said: “Take them into a creative visualisation and work with Mother Mary.” I nearly levitated. “I don’t believe in Mother Mary, I don’t do that sort of religious stuff.” The voice persisted: “Work with Mother Mary.” I sighed, rolled over and went to sleep quite quickly after this little exchange.
But the words remained in my head so I decided to take a punt. I sidelined the written material I’d been using, someone else’s text, in other words, and embarked on my very first creative visualisation. As I let go and trusted the flow, the words poured out as I started: “Mother Mary ……”. It worked a treat. The logical guy created a mandala which veered between emotional, intuitive images on one side and logical images on the other side. It was quite amazing to see the difference and at the end of this particular session, he walked outside, burst into tears and had a good, hearty cry. Ever after that, I simply asked for the right creative words to flow when I was doing creative visualisations, and it’s worked like a dream.
This is what I extended into my workshops in our new home. The numbers were small as I only had a limited space but I was thoroughly enjoying myself.
I was then asked to take part in other events and one of those led me to holding my Live Your Dream course at a nearby health centre. It was a big jump as I had between 10-16 women at these courses. Once again, I looked at all the faces gazing back expectantly at me, took a deep breath and jumped in the deep end.
This is what I mean by the Universe leading me gently by the hand, expanding my work slowly but surely so that I got confidence in handling larger and larger groups. It was a wonderful process and I loved my work.
The first course I held at the Women’s Centre was brilliant. The women were bright, courageous, willing to be open and honest, and very supportive of each other. I really remain honoured by their presence at that course as they were willing to jump into the unknown, face their challenges and take action to change their lives if they felt it appropriate. I say “appropriate” because through the course some people got a better handle on their personal situations and were able to take action to stay in that situation but work with it in different ways which made life a lot easier for them.
The first “Live Your Dream” course was repeated a few times and it also led on to courses in “Understanding Dreams”. I also incorporated mandala work in some of the courses because it’s interesting how focusing on the voice within and accessing intuitive images can open the way for deeper understanding in a self-development context.
As my confidence in art work grew, I contacted a new age magazine in Brisbane and asked if they’d be interested in my contributing an article on mandalas. I created my first bespoke mandala for the editor which was the first time I created images outside the inner circle.
I advertised in the magazine and ended up getting regular orders for personalised mandalas. In the beginning, I really enjoyed creating atwork for individual people. It amazed me that I could get such different images for each person. But gradually I found that I was on a treadmill and the joy of creativity began to fade until one night I walked out and showed Bryan the latest mandala I’d drawn. He looked at it and said: “It’s mechanical, Mo, it’s got no heart to it. It’s nothing like the mandalas you’ve created previously.”
I knew he was right and had put into words what I was feeling inside – that I was forcing myself to drum up images whereas previously the whole process had flowed for me. So I tore up that mandala, left it for a while and eventually found my inspiration returned to finalise what I decided would be my last bespoke mandala.
The relief I felt was enormous and a sure sign I’d come to the end of the road with that path.