You only need to be silent and look into the eyes of the frogmouth owl to know that this wise creature is reminding you that great wisdom comes from within silence.
Artists talk about the negative space. Negative space is, quite simply, the space that surrounds an object in an image. Just as important as that object itself, negative space helps to define the boundaries of positive space and brings balance to a composition. As I have worked with primary school students they have come to truly understand what can be drawn from the negative space that silence creates.
Spirit echoes through the silence, sending us messages. It is important to follow the visions that rise up from the time spent in silence.
I have been romancing the creative spirit by wandering back into Soul Food and using tried and true idea generators with children in years 4-6 at Winters Flat Primary School. We have used guided imagery to wander deep within a seashell, through a pearly door to an alternative world. We have chosen fragments from my box of wonder and within seconds of holding it in our hand told stories to one another. We have sat drawing Prince Prospero’s (Edgar Allen Poe Masque of the Red Death) castle and given Red Death a face, written ballads and news reports about the Masque of the Red Death and marvelled at the wisdom of Australian birds and animals.
Children have loved contemplating how to build up their artistic eyes and they have written with speed and passion that is a joy to watch. Words literally fall on to the page within just ten minutes! Ballads, lyrics, complex drawings, news reports, fiction and folklore have emerged on their pages and the excitement, as they share their work and cheer one another on is palpable.
Over the coming weeks, I will be featuring some of their work. It feels good to be romancing the creative spirit again!
One of the oldest art forms on the planet is the artwork of the satin bowerbird. If we take the time to observe we can learn from this bird. We can learn and strengthen our artist’s eye.
The male bowerbird creates what is called his bower. It’s not a nest, but an artwork he builds in the hope he can attract a female to visit it, observe his performance in and around the bower, and then—if he’s lucky—mating just might occur!” In parts of Northern Australia, the bowerbird collects colourful rocks, leaves or other trinkets and patiently places them in an artistic formation. When the shrine is complete they wait patiently for females to approach to judge their creativity. If the females like what they see the pair will breed.
Take the time to go out and gather some special pieces to make a bower, or altar of your own.
The whale is renowned for its soul songs, songs that enrich and nurture the soul. Carl Sagan taught that one of the truly magical things about whales was the importance of their songs. Whales, quite literally, have a catalogue of songs that they remember and sing. Apparently, they have a different song for each month of the year. They will also have a special song that they sing in a certain location, leave, come back and pick up the song again. These soul songs travel far and wide throughout the oceans.
Since I have been on placement at Winters Flat primary I have remembered the song of my soul. I am back in the classroom as a specialist teacher of writing working with children of all ages and plan to feature the activities and responses of students, parents and teachers in a special Advent Calendar at the end of this year.
Here are some words that are associated with the whale. Think of them as fridge leftovers and make something out of them. Sing a song, be it a ballad, some hip hop, a hymn or a rhapsody and share it today.
Because the turkey is closely associated with the spirit of the Earth, it is also symbolic of feminine energies at work in our lives. This animal has been revered in ancient traditions as a symbol of fertility and abundance.
The turkey is a useful guide to unlocking the fullness of life. It invites those who have it as a totem to cultivate the balance between giving and receiving and find contentment in what they have.
The spirit of the Turkey totem puts an emphasis on community and the importance of sharing and generosity. The wisdom of this spirit animal is about paying attention to the people who are part of our life, whether it’s our family members, coworkers, classmates, or society at large.
When the turkey shows up as a spirit guide, it encourages us to see beyond our immediate personal needs and foster a sustainable relationship with others. Those who have the turkey as a power animal or totem may be inclined to be generous and giving without expecting anything in return.
Turkey comes to remind us to share our gifts with those around us, without any expectation of receiving. The only way to receive is to give with an open heart.
Hold still and be yourself! Be borne up upon the wings of power. Taste the frontier! Wander along the boundary fence and feel its special power.
When you meet Raven, he could be telling you that there will be changes in your life and that possibly you should step by the usual way you view reality and look into the inner realms …walk your talk…be prepared to let go of your old thinking and embrace a new way of viewing yourself and the world.
Given that I have just let go of Soul Food it is no accident that my totem bird, the Raven, has appeared to remind me to embrace a new way of identifying myself. Raven’s appearance is reassuring! He uses his adaptability to magically be present when least expected.
A couple of weeks ago Lizard entered my life, reminding me of being able to let go! This week, when I was quoted over $5000 to keep Soul Food online for another five years I was challenged! After personally sponsoring this site for over eighteen years, letting go of Soul Food felt like letting go of a part of myself.
When under threat the Lizard will let go of its tail as a defence mechanism thereby ensuring his survival. Choosing to let go of Soul Food quite clearly is not a question of surviving. However, this aside, Lizard is calling upon me to demonstrate that I have the ability to let go.
As it happens, although the site will not be as accessible to the visitors who have benefited from it, Soul Food gets to live on as a part of internet history. It can live, in its entirety, in the Wayback Machine, waiting for internet archaeologists to dig and explore. The work of this web archive is amazing! I am grateful that they are the caretakers now! I will be donating to them https://archive.org/donate/. You will find links, that take you into the Wayback Machine, to favourite Soul Food features, such as the Advent Calendars, ABC of Alchemy and Chocolate Box on the sidebar of this site
Somehow it is very appropriate that Soul Food now lives ‘way back’, representing a part of who I was. Especially as I approach the finishing line, ready to graduate after four years of study, it is time to carve a new niche for myself and find new directions.
It is no accident that Parrot has flown into my world, encouraging me to keep seeking what nourishes me. Like the parrot, we are each wonderful beings, each gifted with special skills. The parrot’s resplendent colours speak of wearing one’s beauty on the sleeve. The parrot is a gregarious bird who enjoys the interaction with others. After so long tucked up inside my burrow I am happy to be interacting with others.
The parrot also has a great ability to satisfy its needs by foraging for food and nesting places. It is known to eat fruit and seeds and builds nests in all manner of places. Like the parrot, I am actively seeking that which meets my personal needs and the really good news is that a vision is, like a jigsaw puzzle, falling into place.
Potoroos belong to a small family called the Potoroidae (rat-kangaroos), within the large superfamily Macropodoidea. The rat-kangaroos are small marsupials which hop on their hind feet, dig for much of their food with well-developed forefeet, and have a complex stomach that allows them to extract nutrition very efficiently from their diet. The Potoroidae contains several small genera, including Bettongia, (the bettongs, such as the burrowing bettong and the brush-tailed bettong) and Potorous, containing the potoroos.
The Potoroo has a habit of spending their time in damp pockets of forests, hiding from the eyes of humanity. They nest during the day and at times during the night in bowl-shaped depressions beneath the spreading sedges, generally well hidden beneath the shrub canopy. They come out to feed, at night when most humans have gone to bed. After an extended period of accumulated losses I abandoned much that I did and, while I have not exactly been hiding from humanity, I have kept a low profile.
Life is a discovery of self and, as I complete the last subject of a Masters of Social Work I have been gifted with fresh insight. I have been affirmed! I have been shown the benefit of the skills I acquired along the way and I can see that it is time to resurface! As I tentatively resurface I am welcoming the fresh insight that comes when you emerge from the darkness into the light and when you can what you have been blind to.
It is not surprising that Kookaburra has flown back into my life to remind me to lighten up. Working at Winters Flat Primary for my Masters of Social Work placement feels like I have come full circle. It is a little like a final jigsaw piece falling seamlessly into place. Nonetheless, I have expended more energy than usual and I am tired and emotionally more vulnerable.
Hearing Kookaburra’s laugh reminds me to remember that life is for the enjoyment of living. Since it is so cold and wet here in Castlemaine today I think I will treat my senses to another hot bath in a room filled with some rose incense I picked up.
The frilled lizard grows to around 45-90cm in length, about two-thirds of which is tail. It has a vivid yellow mouth and a large extendible frill gathered about the neck and under throat. The combination of the gaping mouth and the wide, brightly coloured frill provide an intimidating sight to any potential predator. It frequently runs at speed on two legs to escape danger, quickly climbing the nearest tree to safety. Their colour can be brown or grey with the frill being lighter and often tinged with orange or reddish-brown. Males are bigger than females and have a more robust appearance. There are two long, pointed canine-like teeth present in the lower jaw, which can inflict a painful bite.
There is so much that we forget to remember. One thing that Lizard has not forgotten is how to let go. Lizard when under threat will let go of its tail as a defence mechanism thereby ensuring his survival, yet we find it hard to let go of the past issues. Remembering these will always be a part of our undoing. If we could only remember to trust and let go our enlightenment would be ensured?
Come September 7th this year I am hoping to have completed my Masters in Social Work. I have submitted my final academic paper and now I have the final placement to complete. I am delighted that I have secured a placement in a primary school in the town where I live. I will be there five days a week for three months. I am particularly happy about this as I am a former teacher and although I worked as a secondary school teacher I did spend a lot of time working in primary schools. The Student Lounge at the Soul Food Cafe still has samples of work that was completed by students of the feeder schools I visited.
As a part of my course I need to keep a reflective journal. At this stage it is not my intention to publish any of my reflections online. However, I do want to create a site that acts as a vault of material and stimuli that I find useful. I need some help to come up with a name for this.
Initially, I will be doing some work with Prep – 1 and I decided to use this delightful story to get them to think about ways of being helpful. After listening to the Very Helpful Hedgehog I was thinking of using the word helpful in my title, but coming up with quirky names is not my speciality. Back in the day, Luke (one of my students) came up with the name Soul Food Cafe.
One housefly has taken up residence and has been persistently hovering, determined to attract my attention. I decided I really should take the time to listen to this determined, tiny creature. The housefly (Musca domestica) is a fly of the suborder Cyclorrhapha. It is believed to have evolved in the Cenozoic era, possibly in the Middle East, and has spread all over the world as a commensal of humans. It is the most common fly species found in houses. Adults are grey to black, with four dark, longitudinal lines on the thorax, slightly hairy bodies, and a single pair of membranous wings. They have red eyes, set farther apart in the slightly larger female.
The Fly teaches the ability to greatly multiply prosperity, endeavours and ventures at enormous rates. He shows how to be quick to act and respond to achieve results. Fly aids in demonstrating the power of keen eyesight along with expanding awareness in many directions. The fly also makes use of and gains nourishment from things that others see as “dung”. This can point to being able to use that which others pass by and seeing opportunities where others see only a need to clean up. Flies make the most of their environments…whatever it may be. Their short lifespan points to making the most out of every moment and having no time for regrets.