Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animals, Back Yard Bird Life, Expressive Arts, Heather Blakey, Wild Play

Playfulness Wins the Day

Cockatoo’s Wisdom Includes:

* Understands the power of the sunrise
* Ability to survive harsh conditions
* Communication skills
* Beauty
* Playfulness

The Cockatoo

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.

How will you play today?

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animals, Expressive Arts, Heather Blakey, Nature Fix, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Wild Play

Inspirational Transformation

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.

Source: The Dream Faire

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, 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, Aussie Birds and Animals, Brolga, Contemplative Practice, Expressive Arts, Heather Blakey, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Romancing the Creative Spirit, Self Compassion, Wild Play

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.

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Echidna, Expressive Arts, Heather Blakey, Nature Fix, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Self Compassion, Wild Play

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.

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

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)

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, Aussie Birds and Animals, Dog Rocks Mount Alexander, Expressive Arts, Heather Blakey, Interpreting Spaces, Just Killing Time, Mystery Art Making Writing Tours, Nature Fix, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Rock Art, Stone People, Wild Play

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.

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

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

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Australian Pelican, Back Yard Bird Life, Contemplative Practice, Expressive Arts, Heather Blakey, Nature Fix, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Wild Play

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.

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Australian Pelican, Back Yard Bird Life, Expressive Arts, Heather Blakey, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Wild Play

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?

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Australian Pelican, Expressive Arts, Heather Blakey, Nature Fix, Resilience, Wild Play

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

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

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.

 

 

Posted in Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Heather Blakey, Just Killing Time, Lemurian Adventures, Nature Fix, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Wild Play

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.

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

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.