Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom

Becoming Your Shiny Self

Bowerbird is the common name for any of several species of birds of the Ptilonorhynchidae family of Australia and New Guinea, the males of which build beautiful and elaborate nests of sticks or grasses called bowers which is the central feature of their mating ritual. In 1872, naturalist Odoardo Beccari was the first to record observations of a bowerbird’s bower. He thought it was made by a person because he considered it too artistic and elaborate to be the work of an animal.

Naturalist David Attenborough describes these bachelor pads as “a giant bower woven around a single sapling, carpeted with moss… the ultimate seduction parlour.” The bower is actually a tunnelling structure that creates an illusion of uniformity. These make the males appear much larger than they actually are. Research by Evolutionary Biologist John Endler’s research has shown that the one who creates the best illusions gets the most dates. Are females attracted to magicians? Or does size really matter? Until we can communicate with the feathered females, we can only guess. But one thing is for sure: beauty matters. The Navajo have a concept, “hozho naasha”, which translates as “Walking in Beauty”. They believe that beauty exists within us and around us as the light reflects through a rainbow. They honour the four directions with different colours and objects, just as the Bowerbird lines his home with colour and light; the objects could number in the thousands! The rainbow symbolizes communication between creator and perfection. Bowerbirds are avid collectors of colourful treasures; some species favour objects coloured red and orange while others, exclusively blue.

Bowerbirds live up to thirty years and can spend half a decade building the bower. This models for us the patience, dedication, focus and fortitude of true artistry. Their home decor includes flowers, fungus, deer dung, charcoal, grey stones, bones, feathers, fruit, shells and human materials like plastic, marbles, glass, metals. They are aware, opportunistic and imaginative in their choice of objects: all qualities humans would benefit storing in the bowers of their own consciousness. The birds lay these on top of mossy floors. The bower provides comfort, shelter and safety, along with a place to rendezvous with their lovers. It reminds even the most flighty and spiritual artists among us that we have bodies that need attention and care.

During Spring time escapades, if a female is interested, she will fly from bower to bower, inspecting them from both outside and inside of the avenue. While the female is inside, the male will stand in the court just outside her view and display his prized, brightly coloured objects. He will dance a unique and bizarre dance, another display of his artistry and creativity. If she is impressed with him, she will allow him to approach and dance with her.

Bowerbirds teach us that effort, resilience and innovation is necessary for bringing the beautiful within us out for all the world to see. The Bowerbird shows us how to become a shiny being ourselves, in the safety of a nest we have built with our own two talons.

source: Backyard Shaman Amy Katz

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Heather Blakey, Wild Play

A Central Victorian Bowerbird

Reverence is everything. I feel humbled by the objects I find… or is it that they find me?
Roger McKindley

Situated at the Loddon River Ford at Newstead, Antares Iron Art Garden is an established art and sculpture garden created by Roger McKindley.

Found objects are sited creatively in the space where he lives and works, to form unique and entrancing patterns and images. The whole space is a kind of installation, where visitors are free to roam and explore – finding themselves by turns entertained, beguiled, uplifted and moved.

Roger’s work invites his visitors to engage their sense of play and imagination.  He says, “My art can be interpreted and re-interpreted from every angle and in different environments… different seasons. In the changing light, in shadow and full moon or in rain, however you approach the art I make, you will see it change over and over.”

This is a garden in constant flux, as objects are arranged and re-arranged to suit its creator. Nothing is extraneous. Roger finds beauty in all the objects he finds and the things that others discard – he brings these objects together into an enlivened and creative whole.

A qualified landscape gardener of many years’ experience, a stone worker and self-taught artist and sculptor, Roger has over the past 20 years, created Art Gardens wherever he has lived and has participated in numerous community and art events.

I love visiting Antares! A visit here is a joy to all the senses!

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Heather Blakey, Wild Play

In the Flow

The whale is known to have a substance in the retinas of her eyes called biomagnetite, which causes sensitivity to the electromagnetic field of the Earth. She reads the electromagnetic field like a map and this helps her migrate across oceans. Whale symbolism speaks of the ability to find your way through the abyss using the pull of your soul’s compass. Others may think that somehow you magically “see” the way, but you know the map is coming through a different channel. You may not know how to explain this pull, but it is there.

True practitioners of the law of attraction don’t have to think of where to go, they are mysteriously drawn. Whale spirit animal brings a time of being “in the flow” with the law of attraction. She is where she needs to be when she needs to be there.

Generally, the electromagnetic fields follow coastlines, but in some locations, these fields turn directly into the coastline. A significant amount of whale beachings occur in these locations. If you feel like you’ve followed your guidance onto the beach and now you’re stuck, wait. Either the high tide will come to haul you back in or you will experience a time of letting go. You are now at the mercy of fate. Before the rebirth must first come a death. Dive into the mouth of the whale to move through this process.

Spend some time dreaming and  ‘seeing’ the way! Allow yourself to be drawn along by the creative spirit!

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Heather Blakey, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience

Listening to Your Inner Voice

The whale spirit animal is the earth’s record keeper for all time. As a totem, the whale teaches you about listening to your inner voice, understanding the impact your emotions have on your everyday life and following your own truth. When the whale enters your life, it may be time to closely examine where you are, the actions and emotions that have brought you to this point, and what you can do to alleviate existing drama and unrest and find peace. Those who have the whale as their animal totem is in touch with true reality. They are nurturers and go-getters who understand there is more to this life than meets the eye.

How to create an atmosphere of safety and trust in your inner world and in your inner voice! This chapter from the power of focusing covers:

Let it be as it is
Being in a relationship with your feelings
Being a good listener to yourself
Being a friend to your felt sense
Hearing all the voices
The wisdom of not knowing
Following the felt sense

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animals, Heather Blakey

Bay Whaling Ancestry

The Flying Childers

Bay whaling was a rough game, one of the hardest and most dangerous in the world. It thrived in Hobart Town for half a century.

Bay whaling was very popular with the native youth many of whom looked forward every year to the excitement, perils and profits. Exports of whale oil and bone from Hobart Town showed a big increase in the period between 1827 -31.

Bay whaling entailed as many risks as deep sea whaling and there are records of many deaths. The bay whalers lived hard and worked hard. They risked life and limb every time they set out after a whale. Though the black whale was not as dangerous as the sperm whale of the middle grounds, boats were sometimes smashed and the men drowned.

By 1847 bay whaling had been discontinued. The last whale to be taken in the Derwent River was at eight o’clock in the morning of June 23, 1856. When the whale spouted in the river off Hobart Town a crew of whalers from a ship in the port set off after it.

The harpooner, a legendary Whaling Man was Captain George Watson, my great-great, maternal grandfather. The Flying Childers was built for him at Battery Point by his brother John.

This week the humpback has swum into my world to remind me that things are always as they should be at any given moment. I am appalled by the whole notion of my ancestor using a harpoon and I do not support the continuance of whaling in any form. However, he was working at another time, in a world completely different to mine. I unashamedly pay tribute to my great-grandfather’s bravery and I honour him; honour my families place in Australian maritime history.

The whale is the keeper of records from time immemorial. Whale remembers the past so that he can learn from old lessons, but do not need to dwell on past hurts. While it is good to acknowledge the past Whale is reminding me not to get caught up in memories but to release emotional attachments and be my unique self.

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Heather Blakey, Just Killing Time, Killing Time, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Romancing the Creative Spirit, Wild Play

A Dreaming Space

The appearance of Lizard is a reminder to create a space for dreaming. In her book, “Visioning Ten Steps to Designing the Life of your Dreams”, Lucia Capacchione talks about setting up a creativity gym, a place to exercise your imagination and vision. Dedicating a specific area can pose problems but as Capacchione points out, if you have a free table anywhere in the house, you have the makings of a portable studio.

Over the summer, while my son was here, we had a clearance in the ‘shed’ that was storing things that needed to be sorted and cleared. He did a great job and I now have a big table set up where I can spread out and be as messy as I like and vision what the transformations I have in mind for this space will actually look like. I want to take time to romance the creative spirit and to test run and see how much I use this space before upgrading in any way!

Tomorrow I am having wire mesh placed strategically so that the shed begins to disappear under a swathe of green!


Create your dreaming space today and share any images of what you have created!

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Contemplative Practice, Expressive Arts, Heather Blakey, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Romancing the Creative Spirit, Wild Play

Bask In The Sun Daydreaming

The frilled neck lizard is a creature that spends its days basking in the sun, daydreaming its future into reality. Lizard’s wisdom is that of the dreamer; the daydreamer!

In a culture obsessed with efficiency, mind-wandering is often derided as useless—the kind of thinking we rely on when we don’t really want to think. Freud, for instance, described daydreams as “infantile” and a means of escaping from the necessary chores of the world into fantasies of “wish-fulfilment.”

In recent years, however, psychologists and neuroscientists have redeemed this mental state, revealing the ways in which mind-wandering is an essential cognitive tool. It turns out that whenever we are slightly bored—when the reality isn’t quite enough for us—we begin exploring our own associations, contemplating counterfactuals and fictive scenarios that only exist within the head.

Today Lizard is calling upon us to take serious note of our daydreams and visioning! It encourages us to keep a journal and spend time creating ideal scenes, roadmaps of possibilities.

Try creating some ideal scenes in your journal – writing or drawing. Address areas such as

  • daily routines
  • creative expression
  • leisure and travel
  • money to support the lifestyle you want
  • relationships
Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Archie, Neeks and Me, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Heather Blakey, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Wild Play

The Enormous Crocodile

Roald Dahl really is much more than mere talent! The language in this well told story is an utter delight: enough to bring a smile to my face today! The next time I feel the need to use some expletives I must make use of phrases such as ‘you horrid hoggish croc’!

The Crocodile

“No animal is half as vile
As Crocky–Wock, the crocodile.
On Saturdays he likes to crunch
Six juicy children for his lunch
And he especially enjoys
Just three of each, three girls, three boys.
He smears the boys (to make them hot)
With mustard from the mustard pot.
But mustard doesn’t go with girls,
It tastes all wrong with plaits and curls.
With them, what goes extremely well
Is butterscotch and caramel.
It’s such a super marvelous treat
When boys are hot and girls are sweet.
At least that’s Crocky’s point of view
He ought to know. He’s had a few.
That’s all for now. It’s time for bed.
Lie down and rest your sleepy head.
Ssh. Listen. What is that I hear,
Galumphing softly up the stair?

Go lock the door and fetch my gun!
Go on child, hurry! Quickly run!
No stop! Stand back! He’s coming in!
Oh, look, that greasy greenish skin!
The shining teeth, the greedy smile!
It’s Crocky–Wock, the Crocodile!”

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Contemplative Practice, Heather Blakey, Nature Fix, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Wild Play

Position Yourself: Be Patient: Be Ready to Pounce

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week nine and Saltwater Crocodile has swum silently into my life to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat have been initiating.

The saltwater crocodile is the largest reptile in the world. They are also called the estuarine crocodile.The average length for a female is 4 metres, and 5 metres for a male but it can grow up to 7 metres in length. These crocodiles are found in parts of eastern India, Southeast Asia and northern Australia in rivers and swamps. They are grey and brown in colour with a strong body, a powerful tail, a huge head, heavy jaws and are known to be excellent swimmers. The saltwater crocodile feeds on fish, reptiles, birds and mammals while the young are limited to smaller animals such as amphibians.

Saltwater crocodiles lurk beneath the waters of rivers and swamps and are excellent predators. They wait patiently, often just below the water, their nostrils barely visible above the surface, until prey comes along.  Once they are ready to kill, they strike with lightening speed and immense power. and when the perfect time has come, they plunge out of the water without warning, pull their victim into the water and wait until the animal drowns before having their meal.

Crocodile teaches us about:

Patience – When crocodiles have positioned themselves, they wait patiently.  They know that they may have to wait for their prey to come to them and are prepared to bide their time until the opportunity presents itself.

What about you?

Are your expectations realistic?

Do you get impatient when opportunities don’t come immediately, or do you understand that you may need to wait for the right job, the right opportunity or the right time?

Pounce – After crocodiles have positioned themselves and waited patiently, they have to take advantage of the opportunity to pounce when the time comes.  They launch themselves with all that they have and grab their chance.

Are you ready to pounce?

When your time comes, will you be ready?

Or do you hesitate and watch while the opportunity that you’ve been waiting for walks in the other direction?

Today we can learn from saltwater crocodile to position ourselves, wait patiently and pounce at the right time. 

Living with Crocodiles

Steve Irwin Crocodile Totem

The Enormous Crocodile

Be Crocwise! Protect your creativity


Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Contemplative Practice, Expressive Arts, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Wild Play

Brolga Dancing

Sit comfortably, but erect! Let your shoulders relax and your feet rest on the floor. Close your eyes! Choose colours for brolga dancing! Choose colours that will help your spirit dance! Use your intuition to choose colours! Pick the colours that feel right at the moment – don’t just choose your favourite colours! Visualize a circle with those colours! Keep looking at the circle as it spins and dances. Keep it simple! Watch the colours for ten minutes and then, when you are ready, colour in brolga and write about spirit dancing with her!

It is in this way that I draw and then colour images such as these! Looking at them now I can see the joyful spirit that lies within!

Posted in Akari Mystery Tours, Akari Write Your Own Adventure, Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Expressive Arts, Heather Blakey, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Self Compassion, Wild Play

Host A Brolga Party

Along the theme of experiencing joyfulness, brolga also lets us know that it might be time to draw in ‘party’ energy. While this might literally involve organising a party, attending one with friends, or going out with a group it could, equally, simply mean that you intentionally release stress and energy and have a good time.

Social gatherings are often very healing when we go with no expectations but to treat ourselves and look after our social spirit. Rather than going on an Artist’s Date alone you might host a brolga party OR  bundle some friends in the car and go on an Akari style mystery tour with an end destination such as the Brolga Room at the Healesville Hotel!

Brogla Room

The menu below can form part of the canapes to start a function or to create the perfect cocktail party. When confirming your numbers & timing we can work together to develop a menu, you may choose fingerfood for the event or match it with some more substantial dishes.

Cocktail parties include feasting on
freshly shucked oysters with red wine and shallots dressing

smoked buxton trout rillettes with horse radish cream & lavish

rice paper rolls of green herbs, chilli and hoi sin pork

duck rillettes on buttered sourdough toasts with cranberries

cured yarra valley salmon, crme fraiche and chives on rye

crostini topped with-pork & pistachio terrine with pear chutney
crostini topped with-babaganouj w dukkah

buxton trout rillettes w yarra valley salmon roe

yarra valley goats cheese & tomato tartlet w green olive tapenade

pumpkin, sage and fetta arancini

zucchini fritter with tahini yoghurt

lamb kofta with tzatziki

chorizo and sweet corn fritters with aioli

confit duck pithiviers

middle eastern lamb turnovers, zaatar dipping sauce

little caramelised onion tarts, rocket and fetta

salt & pepper squid lime aioli

cones of local beer battered fish & chips

mini beef or chicken burger sliders

slow braised spiced lamb on cous cous

kennedy and wilson chocolate tartlet

mini pavlova with passion fruit cream mini lemon curd tarts