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.
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.
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.
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.
You may not spend a week gorging yourself but just unike the very hungry caterpillar, you can undergo a complete metamorphosis and reinvent yourself repeatedly.
Transformation * Change * Celebrating Life’s Miracles * Magick of the Vortex * Lightness of Being * Joy * Understanding * Reincarnation * Seeing Time as an Illusion * Communication with the Spirit World
It’s hard to imagine any creature being so loved by so many civilizations and across so many traditions than the Butterfly. They have captured our fancy since time immemorial. As children, we found our imagination carried away on their painted wings, to the fantastical realms of fairies and elves. And as adults, we are beckoned back to the memories of those magical days, whenever we see these beautiful insects flutter dreamily past.
One has only to think about the miraculous life cycle of these amazing creatures to witness true magick. They begin as larvae in its most basic and vulnerable state, the fuzzy, wriggly form of the caterpillar. Then they enter their self-made cocoon, a time capsule that holds them in what seems like a suspended embrace, but in reality is more akin to a portal of metamorphosis. Finally, the chrysalis breaks, and an entirely new emerging, this one with wings of such ethereal beauty that our minds can scarcely grasp how such a previously odd and rather uninteresting creature, could transform into such a resplendent wonder.
If this stunning insect has chosen to journey with you as a Spirit Guide, count yourself fortunate, for theirs is the Magick of the Fairy realm, the miracle of transformation, and the teachings of one who passionately embraces change. They are a Spirit Animal that guides through the imagination, and imbues their human counterpart with a sense of joy and the ability to celebrate the special miracles we all encounter as we walk through this life.
Butterfly is beside you to teach you that you should always strive to keep your sense of wonder, to find the miracles in the tiniest of places, and to always look for ways in which you can create more beauty in your life, in the lives of others, and in the world at large. She teaches you that time is but an illusion in the greater reality of our immortal souls, whilst simultaneously reminding you that each moment is precious and filled with limitless possibilities.
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.
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.
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’!
“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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On the basis that things Grow by Delay, during a semester break, I began by doing a spot of sniff mapping around Central Victoria with my two dogs. While my companions and I waited for Godotto provide some direction, magic has taken place. When we slow down, connect with the country and create a nurturing environment, the blossom turns to fruit and the wheat ripens. Forks in the road appear that take us in exciting new directions.
Soul Food Constellation
The Soul Food Cafe,built by Heather Blakey, was inhabited by an international group of writers and artists whose global mission was to promote writing and art-making as a daily practice through the use of interactive web-based technologies such as blogging and e-mail groups. While Waiting for Godot is a branch of this complex site.
Soul Food remains a wonderful resource. Using the Wayback Machine link you can access all the features of this quirky world.
The Finnish Lapphund is a hardy, easy going, medium-size breed of Spitz type. Traditionally this dog has been engaged to help herd reindeer. Although it is one of the most popular dog breeds in its native country, Finland, it is not very numerous outside of the Nordic countries. Lapphunds are not common in Australia but an increasing number have found their way here.
Anika, Archie and I acknowledge that we are on Jaara country, and that the members and elders of the Dja Dja Warrung community and their forebears have been custodians of this land for many centuries, performing age-old ceremonies of celebration, initiation and renewal. We acknowledge their living culture and their unique role in the life of this nation. We pay respect to the elders past and present of the Dja Dja Warrung nation and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.