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!
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.
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?
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.
Numbat’s focus on detail leads to an inevitable scrutiny focusing on whether we are being satisfied by life at this current time. Ask yourself if there are things you can change in your life, and things that you want to change.
Be honest about what is right as well as what you want to achieve and who you want to become. Be honest with every aspect of your life because you are the one person you can forever count on. Search your soul, for the truth, so that you truly know who you are. Once you do, you’ll have a better understanding of where you are now and how you got here, and you’ll be better equipped to identify where you want to go and how to get there.
Numbat gives you the power to focus, and dissect the things that are no longer helping you from the things that are.
While walking my dogs I came upon some stunningly beautiful thistles. The thistle has been much maligned. Being a tough plant, the thistle grows everywhere other plants usually don’t. It stands for surviving where others won’t and often this is surviving harsh conditions.
Allow yourself to be seen for your gentleness as well as your strength.
Call in balance and harmony in your emotions.
Give yourself time to grow into your full gifts.
Dive deep internally to fully connect with your hidden gifts and talents.
Forgive yourself and others for not fully appreciating you, and focus on truly loving yourself and what you have to offer.
Bandicoot teaches us that one of the most successful ways we can understand the ancient earth is by living a quiet existence, especially amongst times of noise and trauma. Bandicoot comes in our lives to quietly nuzzle our shoulder and point out a little shadowy, sandy track that we missed, and to not neglect it simply because it looks quiet and uninteresting. Like bandicoot, sometimes the quietest places are where we find the most nourishment.
Bandicoot has appeared reminding me to set boundaries and look after my inner home. Bandicoot reminds me of the importance of taking care of myself, providing a healthy environment for myself and not allowing the chaos in the lives of others to dominate. Bandicoot wisdom comes from within and is a reminder, to be honest in my daily affairs and above all, be faithful to myself. To walk my walk and talk my talk will help me feel fulfilled.
These days I mentor very small writing groups. However, whether I have two or twenty-two people participating, those engaging invariably draw odious comparisons and think that their work is not as good as the work being presented by others.
When this happens I remind people that:
♣ a voice trained to live in a dark cave has a strong inner critic to keep it there. You learned to judge yourself relentlessly and to be cautious, and now your inner critic cautions you at every turn. It questions your natural inclinations, your spontaneity; and it ensures that you don’t stand out, and judges you when you do.
♣ When the inner critic dominates, self-worth is swept away.
♣ You are actually speaking the words of someone else
♣ It is natural to de-value your ideas and opinions if they are not heard and valued when you are young. You learned to question their worth, and now in adulthood, you continue to question them and struggle to share them with others.
Perhaps you can add some advice about how to be compassionate to the voice that wants to speak its truth!
* Understands the power of the sunrise
* Ability to survive harsh conditions
* Communication skills
The cockatoo is a member of the parrot family. Its most noticeable feature is its magnificent crest, which crowns the top of its head. This crest is used to send signals to other birds in the flock. More than a colourful ornament it represents communication. When raised and used with other parts of the body it can indicate several things from defending its territory or its flock, calling for its mate, showing fear or indicating that something is bothering it. True communication is a complex art. The cockatoo knows of this complexity and teaches us how to understand and correctly interpret messages that come our way.
Beautiful in colour and appearance the cockatoo holds the teachings of self-esteem and confidence. The rose and grey coloured galah teach us spontaneity and fearlessness.
These birds are intelligent, affectionate and acrobatic. Adults take care of one another and mate for life. Cockatoos are social birds and enjoy companionship with others of their flock. When danger appears they will either fly off or become very still hoping to remain unnoticed. They are always conscious of their surroundings and are masters in the art of survival. As pets, they are inquisitive and affectionate as well as unpredictable. Known as great escape artists they will use their powerful beaks to open locks on cages.
Coming into contact with one of these birds in the wild or as a pet can be an unforgettable experience. They are extremely ingenious. Watching them perform is like watching a magician pull things out of a hat, you never know what the cockatoo will do next or what hidden skill it will use to complete its task. The cockatoo is a great teacher. It is reminding us to play.
Yesterday I acquired some wonderful books by Marion Deuchers that promote art play. Back in the day, I encouraged students to create figures on their handprints and then use these to create stories. Needless to say, Duechers work with handprints really captured my imagination.
I plan to use these at a primary school where I will be doing my placement and with a small writing group that I am running at home.