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

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!

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

Potential for Self Knowledge

Art work by Ravenari – Wildspeak

Lizard is letting you know that it is time to take do an internal audit. Are you coming from your heart? Be aware – simply because the ego is the master of deception and you will often have to peel back many layers to get at the truth – and to discover what your heart is really telling you. Take the time to really focus on your personal dreams.

For a long time, I have worked with ‘others’ in mind! My heart is telling me to apply my artistic midwifery skills to self! As a result, I am spending time treasure hunting for inspiration and drawing again. Frilled neck lizard inspires me to stop camouflaging myself, to open up fully, step out into the bright light and own my artistic abilities.

When you are able to know what parts of yourself need to be on display you begin to know who you are as a person. There is great potential for self-knowledge with the frilled-neck lizard, who says that rather than hiding because of fear there are ways to display ourselves in ways that incite pride and admiration.

Be Crocwise

As a creative being crocwise means knowing that there are many things that endanger the creative process. Being crocwise means using your head and shielding the creative spirit from all those things that would kill it.

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!”

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

 

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!

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!

Cocktail
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

Romancing the Creative Spirit

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 eight and Brolga has danced into my life, on the arm of and the creative force, to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat have been initiating.

Brolga by Ravenari, Wildspeak.

When brolga energy has come into your life, it indicates that there is a focus on relationships – particularly romantic or more-than-platonic relationship. It might be time to court your partner again and remember romance or the joy of finding a person you love.

Alternatively, there is something quite intoxicating about being in true connection with the creative spirit.  When this happens, as it happened to me as I gifted my one true love, the creative spirit, with the Twelve Days of an Australian Christmas, it can feel like a passionate love affair that washes over you like a storm. It can feel like a Mystical Union that puts everything into perspective and fills one with a deep sense of peace.

When Saint Teresa of Avila wrote I Gave All My Heart she was writing about her relationship with God, her beloved one. When I meditate upon this work I acknowledge that I have given all of my heart to my one true love, the Creative Spirit.

I gave all my heart to the Lord of Love,
And my life is so completely transformed
That my Beloved One has become mine
And without a doubt, I am his at last.

When that tender hunter from paradise
Released his piercing arrow at me,
My wounded soul fell in his loving arms;
And my life is so completely transformed
That my Beloved One has become mine
And without a doubt, I am his at last.

He pierced my heart with his arrow of love
And made me one with the Lord who made me.
This is the only love I have to prove,
And my life is so completely transformed
That my Beloved One has become mine
And without a doubt, I am his at last.

For me, courting the creative spirit also involves making romantic gestures to self. This might involve buying a bouquet, a box of chocolates or king prawns for dinner ‘just because’ is a great way to establish a bond with self.

Brolga also teaches the value and wisdom of flirting. Sometimes flirting harmlessly with friends and meaningfully with partners allows us to re-experience what it is to have fun with others. In the French language class I am enrolled in I am enjoying playful banter, conversation and flirtatious behaviour. This is a way to experience fun within the friendship of this group.

Sometimes it’s time to just let loose and be joyful, instead of being serious all the time.

Brolga Dreaming

Long ago, back in the Dreamtime, there was a very beautiful young girl, named Brolga. Even though she was very young, Brolga was the best dancer in the whole land. Everyone in the tribe was very proud of Brolga, her dancing was so graceful, and her movements so special. When she danced, the old people would sit around and say,

‘She dances so well. It makes us proud that she’s part of our tribe.’

‘Look at Brolga, she must be the best dancer in the whole land!’

Now Brolga hadn’t always been such a good dancer. When she was a very little girl, she used to get up very early in the morning, and creep past her sleeping brothers and sisters, out of the gunyah and to the plains around her camp. Once there, she would practise swooshing her arms like the Pelican, parading like the Emu, and whirling like the wind. Brolga soon became so good hat the rest of the tribe asked her to join in their dances. But Brolga didn’t just do the old dances. She liked to make up new ones. Dances about the trees and the wind dances about the Spirits and the animals. The dances that Brolga invented were so good, that people from other tribes would come just to see her dance. The more she danced, the more famous she became. The old men of the tribe were very proud of her. Never had there ever been anyone as talented as Brolga. And they were sure that her dancing would make their tribe the most famous in the whole land. They would sit and watch as the beautiful young girl whirled and twirled – she seemed to fly through her dances.

Sometimes the old people would worry. Brolga was very pretty and very famous. What if she became too proud? They worried that she would become vain, and ask for special treatment. but she never did. Each day found her the same happy modest Brolga as the day before. Each day, Brolga would spend some time to gather food with the women and at night she would dance for the rest of the tribe. One day, Brolga went off by herself to dance. She went out onto the dry red plain near her camp. On this plain, was her favourite tree, a big old coolibah tree. Brolga began to dance in its shade moving with the shadow of the old tree’s branches. As the wind swayed the tree, Brolga swayed, dancing out into the sunlight. The early morning sun fell on her face and with her arms floating out she spun for the sheer joy of it. As the little puffs of dust rose from her feet, an evil Spirit, Waiwera, looked down from his home in the Milky Way and saw Brolga. She was, without doubt, the most graceful and beautiful girl he had ever seen. Waiwera decided that Brolga must be his. He would steal her to be his woman!

Waiwera quickly spun himself into a whirlwind, a willy-willy and flew down onto the plain. Brolga saw the willy-willy swirling across the plain. It looked so very pretty, a gentle column of dust spiralling upwards. Brolga didn’t know that it was the evil Spirit, Waiwera!

As the wind came closer to Brolga, it made a sudden great roaring sound and enclosed her. Brolga was swept off her feet. She was caught! The wind roared, and Brolga thrashed, but it was no use, she could not escape! Far away she could see the big old coolibah tree and near it the camp of her tribe. She began to cry. When Brolga’s tribe discovered she was missing, they went looking for her.

       ‘Maybe another tribe has stolen her.’

‘No, we would have heard her cries.’

‘If we can find her tracks, then we will be able to

follow them. They will show us where she has gone.’

But the wind had covered her tracks. The tribe searched everywhere for her. They found the big old coolibah tree.

‘She used to come here to dance, but there are no tracks.’

Then they saw the path where the willy-willy had been. One of the old men suggested they follow the path of the willy-willy, perhaps that would take them to Brolga. So the tribe set out. For several days, they followed the path of the willy-willy, until they came to a hill overlooking a small plain. There below them, they saw the evil Spirit, Waiwera, and with him was his captive, Brolga! The whole tribe rushed down hurling their spears and their boomerangs. Waiwera, seeing them coming, began to spin the whirlwind faster. Brolga was now his, and the evil, jealous spirit, realizing that he couldn’t escape with her, decided that no one would have her. The whirlwind swirled around Brolga and just as the tribe reached her, she vanished! Brolga’s tribe watched as the willy-willy wound its way slowly up into the sky. On the spot where it had been, there now stood a big old-coolibah tree. But there was no sign of Brolga.

They knew that the evil spirit, Waiwera, had returned to his home in the two black holes in the Milky Way. The old people shuddered and hoped that they would never have to pass along the Milky Way, for to do so, they would have to pass the two black holes where Waiwera lived. As they stood near the tree which Waiwera had left, one of the children shouted,

‘Look! Look! There is a bird! A bird we have never seen before!’

As they watched a beautiful tall grey bird appeared from behind the tree. Not even the old people had seen one like it. The bird slowly stretched its wings, and instead of flying away, it began to dance, making the same graceful moves that Brolga used to make. The bird danced, taking long, hopping steps, and floating on its graceful wings. The men called out,

‘It’s Brolga! It’s Brolga!

See, the bird is dancing just like Brolga!’

And the bird seemed to understand. It pranced slowly towards them, and with one last graceful bound, flew up into the air, and away! Then they all knew that the wicked Waiwera had changed Brolga into a bird. A bird which the Aboriginals, from that day onwards, have always called the brolga.

Embryonic Diapause

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 seven and the creative force has produced the Kangaroo to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat have been initiating.

Embryonic diapause (also known as delayed implantation in mammals) is the developmental arrest of a fertilised embryo. This evolutionary device, which has evolved in over 100 mammals, allows reproduction throughout the year and maximises survival of young during less favourable environmental conditions. An embryo is considered to be in diapause when mitosis is decreased or has stopped completely and considered to begin development again when mitotic activity reoccurs. There is a complex interplay of stimuli which regulate the entrance into and exit from diapause, but in marsupials it is very much dependent on a suckling young being in the pouch. The main benefit of embryonic dipause is to lengthen the active gestation period; regardless of mating seasons, birth can happen at the optimum time for the species, or to effectively space out births.

Kangaroos have a particular ability to delay the growth of their young through a process known as embryonic diapause.  This is a very adaptive way with which they are able to slow the growth process of their young ones when there is not enough source of food in the area where they are located.  Kangaroos communicate through various bodily movements such as touching, stomping their feet, grumbling and snapping.

♣ The lesson of kangaroo is that things can grow by delay! Is there a project you have in embryonic diapause, waiting for the right time to be kick-started again, waiting to be born at an optimal time?

Quantum Jumping Over the Moon

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 seven and the creative force has produced the Kangaroo to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat have been initiating.

Quantum Jumping over the Moon – Heather Blakey 2018

Known for their strength and agility, at full speed, the adult Grey can reach 40 mph and can jump a distance of approximately 25 feet in one hop and about 9 feet high. The tendons in their large back legs stretch and then snap back, providing lift-off. When travelling great distances, as momentum builds, the kangaroo expends less and less energy through the use of these special tendons instead of using muscle. Their breathing is also very efficient.

In mimicking Kangaroo’s forward momentum skills and in remembering to take a breath during times of stress, we can learn how to progress and achieve our goals quickly, and our stamina during will be greatly enhanced as we leap over any obstacles in our way.

Kangaroo prompts us to simply use the knowledge from our past to keep us from repeating mistakes, but will never allow us to live in the past. They teach that it is best to look ahead and to keep moving forward toward our hopes and dreams.

Take a leap of faith! Go Quantum Jumping with Kangaroo

Tunnel Deeply

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 six and the creative force has produced the Echidna to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat have been initiating.

Echidna teaches us the value of focusing on the little things. Paying attention to the small details can make the bigger picture that much more successful and nourishing. Take the time to look closely at the matters around you.

As well as looking at the little things, there is something in your life at the moment which requires further investigation. When Echidna is threatened they did deep into the ground. It’s time to dig a little deeper. This might be through research, conversation, chasing up leads or simply meditating or spending time ruminating on an issue until ‘it’ comes to you. Echidna energy is valuable for helping us to scrutinise ideas that – up until now have not been fully formed.

Echidna gives you the tools and power to not only look beneath the surface but tunnel deeply into your problems and thoughts and find nourishment from what you find there.

Echidna comes into our lives to show us what an asset being stubborn can be! Dig your claws in, brace your spines against your threshold, and protect yourself, your family, your ideas and your creations. When you let echidna teach you nourishing stubbornness, you also access stability. Echidna teaches you to remain grounded at all times, even when you are sailing through the lands of your creative imagination, coming up with new ideas and plans to make your life happier and healthier.

Don’t Be Like Me

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 six and the creative force has produced the Echidna to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat have been initiating.

Echidna has come urging me NOT to be like him. He raises his spikes when someone gets too close and I have been guilty, not only of keeping people at arm’s length but of raising my spikes when faced with criticism. I have a well-established armoury to defend myself! Echidna says ‘get back or I will spike you’; ‘get out of my space’! He is so encased in his comfort zone that he won’t let anyone in. When we don’t walk outside those self-imposed boundaries we don’t grow.

Rather than rolling into a tight ball when the critic tells me that what I am doing is self-indulgent I am checking out how it feels to be self-indulgent and self-compassionate! I am also opening the barrier to my property a little! I posted on FB suggesting that cooks or families might like some fresh fruit from my trees! Some lovely people have responded, each offering other fruit in return. Given what the price of figs has been it will be a treat to receive some freshly grown ones.

As I engage in Still-hunting, suddenly this area seems even more interesting, almost indulgent! Yesterday I found my way to a historic cemetery and sat under large oak trees contemplating Mt Franklin, which lay within the frame of my view. A brown rabbit ran by but I chose not to try to follow it. Instead, because Echidna has been urging me to step well outside the boundaries I have unconsciously set for myself, I indulged in quiet time in the shade and contemplated going inside one of these trees. I made a note, in the small travel journal that had lain unused, of other places I might explore.

Read about Zen and the Art of Team Blogging, a testimony to what can be achieved when we break down the barriers and work collaboratively.

 

Piggiebillah the Echidna

Echidna by Ravenari-Wildspeak

Piggiebillah the Echidna was once a man. When he grew old, so old that all his friends had died, he lived with men who had been boys when he was middle-aged. They were all strong and tireless, and able to hunt all through the hot sunny hours of the day, and to travel long distances in search of food, but Piggiebillah was too old to take his part in providing food for the tribe.

No-one gave him anything to eat, and it was surprising that he remained so well. As he grew older he seemed better nourished than anyone else. In fact it was so very surprising that some of the people became suspicious and kept a close watch on him. After some time they discovered something that Piggiebillah had kept a secret to himself for years.

When he left the camp one morning, he was followed, and it was seen that he went to a rock at some distance from the encampment, and hid in its shadow. The watchers peered at him from behind bushes, wondering what he was waiting for. They soon found out. A young woman came along the path. Piggiebillah sprang out, and before anyone could move or give a shout of warning, he plunged his spear into her body. The old man dragged her off the track, ate her limbs, and hid the rest of her body away for a later meal.

The disappearance of many people of their tribe, and of visitors who were expected and never arrived, was at last explained. A secret meeting was held and it was unanimously decided that Piggiebillah must be killed. He was so active, in spite of his great age, that he had to be taken unawares.

They waited until there was a dark night without a moon. The old man was lying at some distance away from the fire. The men gathered silently round him. He was sleeping on his back with his mouth shut to prevent his spirit from wandering. He moved in his sleep and murmured, ‘I hear the butterflies stamping in the grass.’

While he dreamed of butterflies the men drove their spears into his body. Piggiebillah groaned as they beat him with their clubs. Bone after bone in his body and arms and legs was broken, and at last the terrible cannibal lay still.

His wife was looking on in horror. She hit her head with her digging stick until the blood ran over her breast. Her name was Guineeboo, and when she fled from the scene she became Guineeboo, the Red-breasted Robin.

The men crowded round the fire, laughing and chattering over their easy victory. But Piggiebillah was not dead. He dragged himself painfully into the deeper shadows until he came to the burrow of Trapdoor Spider, Murga Muggai. He fell down the hole, and stayed at the bottom until his wounds were healed.

The one thing he could not do was to pull the spears out of his body, nor did the bones in his broken limbs knit together. Nobody recognised Piggiebillah when he came out into the daylight again. He crawled on all fours, with his broken legs splayed out, and the spears were a bristling forest on his back. For food he dug with his hands, and had to be satisfied with ants and other insects, and scraps of food.

Piggiebillah had turned into an Echidna, the little animal that scratches for ants because he cannot eat other food, and burrows underground to escape from his enemies.

A.W. Reed, Aboriginal Fables & Legendary Tales (Aboriginal Library)

Dog Rocks – Still-observing

 

Today I was called upon to drive up to Dog Rocks on nearby Mount Alexander to still-observe. The call was quite insistent! I considered finding a space closer to home but the voice calling me would not be silenced.

Dog Rocks are near the peak of Mt Alexander. They comprise of huge, picturesque granite outcrops. Over the years, they’ve become a favourite stopover landmark for bushwalkers and a popular spot for climbers and artists. Rock climbers were working the main area so I clambered into a quieter space, hoping that a ‘significant’ creature would make its presence felt. However, only the Australian Blowflies buzzed noisily around me as I examined a vulva like a passageway leading through an outcrop.

I quickly decided that blowflies are far from insignificant. They do make their presence felt! Blowflies have been deemed to be vehicles of death, decay and destruction; envoys of evil, sin and pestilence by the Christians. However, some African tribes celebrate a Fly-god, with the fly revered as an embodiment of the soul. As such flies are never killed.

I have been guilty of being homicidal with blowflies but I was rehabilitated after vomiting repeatedly when cleaning up a mass of dead flies seven years ago. Now I quietly encourage them to leave the premises; refrain from having toxic sprays in the house.

As I contemplated the blowflies I thought of the small house fly who has quite literally been the ‘fly on the wall’over recent days! This small creature has been persistently invading my space, eavesdropping, circling around my fingers as I type, soaking up knowledge, urging me to develop my senses and become more observant.

Let’s face it! It is almost impossible to dissuade flies from persistently swarming about us when we are outdoors. The presence of flies affirms the quick and abrupt changes in my thoughts, emotions and endeavours. Rapid changes in all aspects of my life are currently taking place and the ever-persistent fly is reminding me not to give up. It is persistence which will enable me to reach goals and bear fruit sooner than later.

Even if it means annoying others or being selfish for a while I do have the ability to accomplish my goals. My current goals are to trust the process and complete the final year of my Masters of Social Work; spend 52 weeks learning from Australian birds and animals. Still hunting is a part of the 52 week process! I am carefully recording my observations.

As I sat at Dog Rocks I noted the call of the Kookaburra and the footfall of rock climbers clambering to find places to test their skills. But it was the brown butterflies who danced around me and who led me to find a small magic circle, formed by ancient granite.

Butterfly seemed to be asking me to go on with the clearance I have been facing, embrace changes in my environment and to work with my emotional body. The energy supporting a physical transformation of energy was all about me. It is time to release any expectations and simply allow change to flow through and around me.

Still-Observing

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 five and the creative force has produced the Pelican to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

After watching a Pelican, patiently perched on its nest at St Leonard’s, Victoria, on the Australia Day long weekend I have been encouraged to emulate this bird. Ted Andrews talks about Still-hunting in this classic book, Animal-Wise. 

“Still-hunting was practised in shaman traditions all over the world. Its primary purpose is to observe and learn. The still-hunter would go to a place he or she knew well or felt attracted to, whether a hillside, a meadow, a forest or a pond. There the individual would wait patiently until everything returned to normal. Then the still-hunter opens themselves to learn from the natural world.”

A google search reveals that this term is also used by actual hunters who treat the killing of animals as a sport! As a consequence, I will be using the term still-observing!

Perched on the nest my pelican, photographed here, appeared to be still-observing!

Become a still-observer!

Let the place choose you! It may be your own backyard!

Allow intuition to guide you to a place.

Upon arriving in the place become as unobtrusive to the environment as possible.

Remain very still and observe. Let the world go around you as if it were not there.

Feel and imagine yourself as a part of the environment and natural surroundings

Quietly observe the sounds! Pay attention to small detail.

Reference: Ted Andrews, Animal-Wise, page 28

Still-observing With Akari

Dog Rocks

Perch Advantageously

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 five and the creative force has produced the Pelican to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

The elegant pelican animal totem is definitely an opportunist with style and finesse. In the wild, these large-billed birds perch themselves in the most advantageous position before swooping in to catch their prey. They wait patiently and focus intently, striking at the most perfect moment.

Pelican spirit guides float into our awareness to encourage us to do the same. In order to experience the benefits of opportunities, we must be proactive. We cannot just sit idly and wait for things to come our way all of the time. Each of us needs to get out there and place ourselves in circumstances that will yield benefits. Put yourself in a position that will enable you to utilize skills and resources.

In addition to resourcefulness, the pelican spiritual totem commonly symbolizes social responsibility and active attributes, such as social, teamwork, charity, generosity and friendliness. This is because these birds are highly social and reliant upon their groups. Hunting is a group effort, in which many members of the flock work together to gain abundance. Pelicans encourage us to develop friendly, caring, and supportive relationships with members of our own communities, as well.

Are you intent upon a goal, or some treasure you desire? Do like the pelican does. Perch yourself in an advantageous position, and observe the resources that come your way.

Remaining Buoyant

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 five and the creative force has produced the Pelican to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

Despite their size pelicans are light and buoyant. They can float like a schooner. A pelican in flight can quite suddenly plummet into the water and then pop up to the surface. Its system of air sacs under the skin makes it unsinkable.

Symbolically this hints at the benefits of buoyancy during tough times. The pelican is teaching that no matter how difficult the creative process may be, no matter how much we may plunge when we are knocked back or our critic’s voice is loud, we can pop back up to the surface.  The Pelican holds the knowledge of how to rise above criticism.

Pelicans, in spite of their lightness, sometimes have a difficult time taking off from the water. Still, they do manage, and again we can see the correspondence to freeing oneself from that which would weigh us down.

The water is a symbol of emotions that may weigh us down. The pelican teaches how not to be overcome by them.

Here are some facts about density and its effect on buoyancy! How can we apply this principle to the creative process? How do you stop your spirits from sinking under the weight of self-doubt and criticism from that inner voice that is quick to pass judgement?

Moola the Pelican

‘As a young boy, I used to sit and watch pelicans for hours. The big graceful birds would sweep down to land on the lagoons near my tribe’s cam, then paddle along, dipping their large bills into the water looking for fish. Pelicans lay sometimes two, sometimes four eggs, and when the little pelicans hatch they leave their nests and spend their time playing and learning with other baby pelicans in a kind of kindergarten. One or two adults look after lots of babies while most of the adults are out looking for food. In a lot of ways they are the Aboriginals, sharing their campsites, and the raising of their young.’
source: Jane Resture Oceania

Long ago, in the Dreamtime, there lived a pelican called Moola. In the Dreamtime, pelicans were completely black, and Moola was the blackest and fiercest of them all. he was proud of the way he looked, and each day he would spend hours and hours arranging his feathers, preening and prancing, and grooming himself with his large bill.

When he was quite happy with his appearance, Moola would climb into his bark canoe and paddle around showing off to all the other birds. Moola was very proud of his canoe because he was the only pelican who had one. The other birds would look at Moola and say,

‘Look at Moola, so proud in his canoe.’
‘I wish I had a canoe like Moola’s.’

But Moola was very selfish, he would never let other pelicans ride in his canoe. When they asked, Moola would say,

‘You might fall out, canoes are difficult to paddle.’

Moola knew he looked important, sitting in his canoe, and he didn’t want the other pelicans to look important too. One day there came a huge storm. The rain poured down, soaking all the animals. The old Wombat shivered in his hole, the Kangaroos sheltered under the trees, and still, it rained. It rained so much that the rivers filled and flowed out over the land. The old wombat knew that he would have to leave his cosy hole. As he scrambled out he saw the Kangaroos hopping off towards higher ground. But Moola was delighted. All this water meant that he could paddle his canoe to places he had never been before. It also meant that he could show off to lots of animals who had never seen him before. Big, black, proud Moola, the only pelican with a canoe. As he paddled off, he sang,

‘Munmuckinny, munmuckinny, munmuckinny, munmuckinny.’

He hadn’t rowed very far when he came across a group of Aboriginals stranded on a tiny island. Moola could see that the rising water would soon cover the tiny island. As he came nearer he could see that there were four people, two old women, an old man and a beautiful young girl.

‘Help, please help us. If you don’t save us we will surely drown.’

The young girl, whose name was Mungi, pleaded with Moola,

‘Please save us. You have a canoe and you could take us one at a time.’

Moola stared at her, she was very pretty and young. And, he, Moola the proudest and blackest of all the pelicans didn’t have a woman. Mungi felt uneasy. Why was the big, black bird staring at her like that? She huddled closer to the old woman. They were all very wet, and very frightened. Moola stared at her. If he could get the three old people off the island, then he could come back and take the young girl for himself.

‘I will help you. don’t worry. I can save you with my canoe. I will take you one at a time, and I will take the oldest first.’

Moola collected the older woman and paddled her across the river to where the land was high. He helped her out of the canoe and went back again. He collected the other old woman and returned for the old man. Mungi and the old man sat huddled together on the island. Mungi was frightened. Each time Moola came to the island he stared at her and waved his big yellow bill in the air. When the old man and Moola had gone, Mungi was left sitting all alone. She thought. She was young and very pretty, everyone told her so. Was that why Moola stared at her? She began to cry. Through the rain, she could just see the big, black bird paddling the old man towards the distant shore. she sobbed,

‘At least the old people are saved, but I don’t trust Moola. I am frightened he will steal me to be his woman.’

Moola reached the far bank. She watched the old man climb out of the canoe. Then Moola turned to come back for Mungi. She watched as he paddled towards her. Mungi knew she must escape, if she tried to swim then Moola would only come after her. She must trick him so that she could escape. She had an idea. ‘She quickly slipped the kangaroo-skin rug from around her shoulders, and she wrapped it around a log. Mungi slipped into the water and began to swim to the opposite bank. Moola paddled up to the tiny island. He couldn’t see Mungi. Where was she? He jumped out of his canoe. Mungi was nowhere to be seen. Then Moola saw the kangaroo-skin rug.

‘That Mungi, asleep, when I Moola the most
handsome of all pelicans have come to save her.’

He rushed up to the log and gave it an almighty kick. Pain soared up his leg. He leapt into the air. He had been tricked. Mungi was gone. Moola limped back to his canoe. No one had ever tricked him before. ‘the more he thought of Mungi, the angrier he became.

‘I’ll go back to my camp. I’ll get my spears and I’ll
hunt that Mungi.’

The other pelicans saw Moola coming. He looked quite funny, paddling along with one big, swollen foot dangling out of his canoe. They began to laugh.

‘Look at Moola.’
‘Moola doesn’t look so important now.’
‘Moola, Moola, Bigfoot.’

Their teasing only made Moola angrier. He went to his camp and splashed white war-paint over his body. The white paint made him look very fierce. Moola roared in anger, gathered his spears and started back to his canoe. The older pelicans saw him, all covered in white war-paint. They had never seen anything like it. Pelicans, they said, should not look like this; pelicans were black. They decided to teach Moola a lesson. Flapping their wings, they rushed at him. Wheeling around him, they pecked and flapped, their huge bills plunging into Moola’s black and white feathers. When the old pelicans had finished, they told Moola that he must leave and never return. He was to be banished forever. Although the young pelicans watched in horror as Moola stumbled away, they thought he looked very fierce and proud.

‘If we painted ourselves, then we could look
fierce and proud like Moola.’

So they all rushed off to paint themselves like Moola. Soon all the young pelicans in the cam had covered their black feathers with fierce blotches of white paint. The old pelicans looked amazed. Pelicans should be black. But the young pelicans didn’t listen. They went parading around, admiring their new black and white plumage.

‘We look so fierce.’
We look so proud.’
‘We all look as fierce and as proud as Moola.’

And they have stayed that way ever since. And that is why, today, if you see pelicans on a lagoon or Billabong, you will see that they are black with white patches, just as Moola was, long ago in the Dreamtime.

source: Jane Resture Oceania

Memoir Writing with Possum

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 four and the creative force has produced the Possum to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

KMN-112-SFW - BW2Janganpa jukurrpa (Possum) travels all over Warlpiri country. Janganpa are animals that often nest in hollows of white gum trees (Wapunungku).

This story comes from a big hill called Mawurrji west of Yuendumu and north of Pikilyi (Vaughan Spring).

The “E” shape figures are possum tracks and wavy lines are the trail their tails left on the ground. The concentric circles are the trees in which the possums live. Men and women would go at night for Janganpa hunting. Source: POSSUM DREAMING (JANGANPA JUKURRPA)

Possum is calling upon us to draw a map of the paths we have walked, marking where we have left our track marks. This is a great way to prepare for memoir writing!

You might use the Hiss-tory Snake concept as a way of tackling this.

Exchange Freely

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 four and the creative force has produced the Possum to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

The Djargurd Wurrong possum skin cloak was worn by Gunditjmara Elder Ivan Couzens at the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. The cloak was made by Vicki Couzens and Yarran, Jarrah, Marlee, Niyoka and Kirrae Bundle. Gunditjmara, Western District of Victoria. River people.

A dreaming story tells of a confrontation between the Rock Wallaby Men from Port Agusta and the northern Possum Men. The Possum Men were conducting important ceremonies when the Rock Wallabies burst in and a fight broke out. Eventually, the two sides called an end to the fighting and agreed to exchange the important ceremonial knowledge. They established a big corroboree camp and the country surrounding was known as good possum country before the arrival of the white settlers. In fact, Aboriginal law completely protects some of these sites from hunting, even during drought, in order to ensure the survival of their food species. Unfortunately, possums have almost completely disappeared from this region although they are still very important in the dreaming songs and rituals performed today.
Source

Possum has come to remind us that no one can own the stars; that the creative force is responsive when we share and take active steps to protect the source of creativity.

The Djargurd Wurrong possum skin cloak, worn by Gunditjmara Elder Ivan Couzens at the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, is an example of what happens when artistic people work collaboratively, rather than keeping their important ceremonial knowledge to themselves. Elder, Ivan Couzens, and others talk about how the cloak helps Aboriginals understand who they are.

Exploring the photographs of possum skin cloaks that were made to wear at the Commonwealth games, and reading the shared stories may inspire us to find a way to express who we are. There are invaluable templates provided which will help us name aspects of ourselves.

Make sure to freely exchange the process you find works as you do this.

 

 

Building Upon Ancestral Foundations

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 four and the creative force has produced the Possum to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

The tradition of using possum skins for the making of cloaks, waistbands, belts, armbands and headbands was practised by Aboriginal people across eastern Australia.

One of the earliest documented accounts of a possum skin cloak is from Governor Macquarie. In his journal on 10 May 1815 (Bathurst), he recounts that three Wiradjuri warriors, led by Windradyne, visited him and gifts were exchanged. Macquarie gave Windradyne a tomahawk and a piece of yellow cloth; in return, he received a possum skin cloak.

One example of cloak-making from this region is held in the Smithsonian Institute (Washington, DC, USA). Known as the Hunter River Cloak, it was collected during an expedition in the mid 1800s by American explorer Charles Wilkes. It features four rows of six rectangular pelts sewn on the back, edge to edge, with very fine overhand stitching of corded sinew. The fur has been left on and the skin side is completely covered with large diamond-shaped designs made by scraping up a thin layer of the skin so that it stands up in a little curl.3

Traditionally, cloaks were used for ceremonial purposes: in dance, drumming, initiation rites and also in daily life. They were primarily worn as a means of protection from winter conditions, but also used as a shelter from heat and wet weather and to carry babies and small children.

A local example of how valuable the cloaks were in trade is suggested by stories of the Darkinjung nation trading them with inland tribes in exchange for spears and woomeras. In the Dandenong region of Victoria, the trade value of a cloak was said to be worth a greenstone axe. They were also given as peace and marriage offerings.

Possum skin cloaks were created for individuals when they were born and were added to throughout their lives. The intricate designs and ochre decorations were either made by the individual or by others, depending on the design and the purpose for which they were being added.

This practice reminded of a gift that I was given when I visited the  Isle of Ancestors. The Isle of Ancestors is a part of the Lemurian Archipelego, a fantasy world that I created during the hey days of the Soul Food Cafe. It is well worth a visit! Travellers have left rich stories of their meeting with their ancestors at this revered island.

At a point when I was feeling quite low I hitched a ride with the Ferrywoman and visited the sanctuary on the Isle of Ancestors. It was a moving experience as I met all my grandmothers. Before insisting that I return to the world I had come from, they gave me was a cloak filled with raven feathers to wear and provide comfort whenever I felt low.

This cloak held the life stories of the ancestors who walked before me and upon whose shoulders I now stand.

In her iconic book ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’ Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks extensively about the importance of Soulskins. In her chapter, Homing: Returning to Oneself she talks about how women who have lost their pelt, lose their protections, their warmth, their early warning system and most devastatingly, their instinctual sight.

Possum urges us to see our life as being built upon the foundation of our ancestors; to wrap ourselves within a cloak and find anchorage with our ancestors.

There are many ways that we can honour our ancestors and to actively remember them.

Possum urges the creative to take the time to use some of the ways suggested in the linked articles or to make a metaphorical coat to record the journey. Actively taking tangible steps to honour our ancestors provides a foundation upon which great things can be initiated.

Personally, I found that I viewed my potential differently when I pulled the cloak I had been given out of the cupboard and celebrated wearing it on a daily basis.

The Advantages of Playing Dead

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 four and the creative force has produced the Possum to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

This morning when I was out with the dogs, Archie alerted us to the fact that there was a possum tucked in the branches of one of the shade trees. It took us a moment to spy the frightened, frozen creature whose bright eyes seemed to be looking far far away. Given the fact that we were anticipating that temperatures would rise to 42c our primary concern was that this creature and its access to water. I have been filling vessels for the bird life at my house but with no tap in sight, there was little we could do.

Possum medicine uses a great deal of strategy. Possums are well-known for one of their tricks. These small animals are amongst a group of animals who have the capacity to play dead when predators are near. This way they trick other, larger animals, that they are dead and then attack them or avoid them after they give up on the hunt. This trick helps possums to survive in often dangerous habitats.

Despite idleness being dammed as slothfulness, as one of the seven deadly sins, inactivity plays a perfect role in human life! When we are idle we are actually keeping up a valuable tradition. There are many advantages to inaction! For a start, immobility conserves energy. A half an hour siesta can ward off coronary disease. Plato tells us that Socrates stood still for nearly 24 hours while ruminating on some particularly intractable problems.

Most people would recoil at the idea of doing this but they would be wise to learn from a possum. Sometimes we need to go into a torpor and not think about anything much. Sometimes we need to rest our brains and replenish, in readiness to receive messages from the creator and enjoy another creative spurt.