Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Contemplative Practice, Expressive Arts, Nature Fix, Self Compassion

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?

Posted in A Donkey and A Raven, Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Contemplative Practice, Heather Blakey, Just Killing Time, Nature Fix, Pencil Drawings, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Self Compassion, Wild Play

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

Posted in A Donkey and A Raven, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Contemplative Practice, Pencil Drawings, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Self Compassion, Still-observing, Wild Play

In the Beginning

Life While-You-Wait.
Performance without rehearsal.
Body without alterations.
Head without premeditation.

The seed I planted, when I began working on the idea of what I would do while I was Waiting for Godot, was planted back in November 2014. At that time I established a small visual journal and undertook to draw a donkey, with a raven companion, each day. Like me, they were waiting for Godot to provide some inspiration. I maintained the practice for three months, adding clippings and poems by poets such as Mary Oliver to my journal.

Then I got distracted! I enrolled to do a Masters of Social Work at Monash  University and my notebook, pencils and the idea lay idle.

But things have a way of growing by delay and after a daunting first semester last year I actively established this site. A series of creative projects have brought me back to my notebook. I was surprised by how a sense of fun dripped out of my drawings.

I have begun to draw again, in conjunction with the still-hunting that Ted Andrews inspired me to undertake! I do not need to know where any of this is going! All I know is that the creative spirit is growing as vigorously as Jack’s beanstalk.

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 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, 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, Contemplative Practice, Heather Blakey, Lemurian Adventures, Nature Fix, Resilience

Create Colourful Portraitures

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 three and the creative force has produced the Musk Lorikeet to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.

They talk with their beaks full of blossom
In a cascade of chatter as they sidle
Invisibly through the swaying treetops
They fly in a hurry as if all the gumnuts
Would disappear before they got to them
Geoffrey Dutton

Musk Lorikeets have been feeding on the fruit in my yard, hurling stone fruit onto the roof of the galvanised shed that the fruit tree spreads its branches over. The ground is covered with kernels, hastily discarded as the birds flit off looking for the next treat! These joyful creatures bring brightly coloured plumage and comic antics into my world.

The Rainbow Lorikeet and Musk Lorikeet have inspired rich poetic characterisations, with poets depicting them as gangs of unruly, chattering, aerodynamic, comical bandits. Geoffrey Dutton and Mark O’Connor are just two Australian poets who personify the spirit of these free-ranging, social creatures.

Lorikeets are full of silliness and humour, and they are also inquisitive about their surroundings. They remind the writer and artist to bring colour, humour and light into their work.

Manuel Payno is a writer whose work brought as much joy as a flock of lorikeets. In the translator’s preface, Alan Fluckey describes the small riot that erupted when a ship, carrying copies of  The Bandits from Rio Frio in its cargo, arrived in Mexico. Boxes were hastily opened and copies were sold within minutes as people greedily hustled to get their own personal copy. Book in hand Mexicans sat about in the open air reading to their neighbours! Rainbow chatter filled the air!

Lorikeet and Payno come whirling into my world, reminding me to remind everyone to be exuberant and add colour to their writing; to write and paint about colourful places and colourful characters! Examine the work of Payno closely! Combine this with a copy of The Donkey Inside by Ludwig Bemelmans! Your work will be enriched!

Rainbow Lorikeets
by Mark O’Connor

To feed head-down in an aerial smother of honey and pollen
reassured by a rainbow chatter of siblings
changing tree on impulse
in case python or man is stalking,
reckless till then . . .

A frantic pillaging crew,
crimson-patched pirates screeching in plunder-frenzy,
ignoring the silver-eyes nervously feeding
under those orange scimitars of beak.

The first dozen leave in a second, headlong, a rapid
scatter of downward notes; greedy last tilts his head
and is traumatised by a blank grey-green
widowed of reds and orange.

Before long they’ll circle back.

Shrieks of “Saps up”, “Feed here!”,
churrs of “All’s well, Honey flows”,
screech of “Hawk’s shadow! Watch out!”
mute to the mating thrum
Bill-and-Coo, Tickle-and-Tweek.

Their world is millions of honey-dripping pores.
Free as a child with a million breasts to suckle,
the world’s glands, daytime and night,
at work making sweets for them.

“Comic book bandidos”, but equally
rainbow-motley clowns; with their walk-claws
they tread-cling, wading and stumbling
up loose sprays of blossom
as a lily-trotter walks floating weeds.
They clutch-bunch and jostle on rafts of leaf
buoyed there by bough-spring, then flare out
over forests where the tenth tree in rotation
is an oasis of dripping pompoms.
Their brush-tongues delving and combing
bully honey from bottle-brush florets
or bite them off short,
munching sweet mash.

This desert of unfruiting trees,
deluding the settlers with woody semblances,
is their land of nectar and pollen-bread, antipodean
paradise, where raucous workers thrive.
A good tree gives gallons a day
— but modestly, from flowers as dull as grasses,
pale cream or off-white, blanched foliage.
Birds themselves must play petal;
their stridulous yellows and blues and orange and red
flag out each tree of delights, proclaim the loud shrines
of fermenting, honeyed, winey abundance.

It is said the birds came from dinosaurs.
Rainbow dinosaurs.

Some Colourful Characters Who Populated Lemuria
Heather Blakey 2004 – 10

Posted in Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Back Yard Bird Life, Contemplative Practice, Heather Blakey, Nature Fix, Wild Play

Magical Healing Voices

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 two and the creative force has produced the Common Blackbird to build on the lessons that the Superb Blue Wren initiated.  

The Welsh Goddess Rhiannon (Great Queen) was accompanied by magical birds whose enchanted songs could ” awaken the dead and lull the living to sleep”. Tadhg, son of Cian, meets the Divine Cliodna, the most beautiful woman in the world. Her three magical birds heal the sick and wounded with their sweet songs. Rhiannon’s birds charmed the company of Bran into losing track of time, in the Welsh legend The Maginogi. Often three birds appear together in Celtic symbolism, an association with the Triple Goddess. Birds often symbolize the flight of the spirits to the otherworld. They possessed supernatural powers, and throughout Celtic mythology, divine entities frequently shape-shift between human and bird form.

Illustration by Anna-Marie Ferguson
showing Rhiannon,
the Celtic Goddess of Birds and Horses,
who may be associated with the Roman
Goddess Epona. Source

Rhiannon is a Welsh Horse Goddess, her name means White Witch or Great Queen.   She is an inspiring figure to invoke for Poets, Artists, and Singers.    She possesses deep magic and can manifest her dreams and desires for the good of all.  She is a good witch, a Healer.  She travels on a powerful white horse with her mysterious birds that possess healing powers.   These birds are magical, for they are the birds of Sweetest Song and she is their mistress.  Rhiannon’s birds appear in various Celtic symbols in Celtic Art.

Rhíannon is a goddess, the princess submerged in cultural darkness who lies like a shadowy creature in the realms of our dreams waiting to come to life with vigour and passion again.

Rhíannon was as patient as she was beautiful.  She was also extremely courageous.   Rhíannon possessed magnificent singing birds which healed with the magical quality of their voices.

Blackbirds are the bird of both the gateway and the forge. Blackbird calls to us from the gateway between two worlds, urging us to follow a spiritual path or to become more self-aware. he calls to us in the twilight, showing us the path to Otherworldly secrets, pointing out the ways in which we can discover more about our hidden motivations and potential. There are times in life when it is important to concentrate on the outer world and your responsibilities in that world, but there are also times when you must attend to the haunting song of your soul which calls you to a study of spiritual truths, and to an exploration of the inner world through dreams and myths. In heeding Blackbird’s song, you will discover healing and new depths in your soul.

Stop to listen and meditate upon the song of the Common Blackbird! Allow the Common Blackbird to do her magic!

Now let Three Birds of Rhiannon songwriter, Stevie Nicks soothe your creative spirit! Play it again and again! Take words and phrases, write them down, work with the words you glean and see what emerges from the inner world.

Posted in Apothecary for the Creative Spirit, Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Back Yard Bird Life, Contemplative Practice, Heather Blakey, Wild Play

Sing from an Elevated Perch

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 two and the creative force has produced the Common Blackbird to build on the lessons that the Superb Blue Wren initiated.  

Blackbirds are known for their melodious voice where they sing from high places such as; rooftops, trees and any other elevated perch. They enjoy standing alone singing and catching the attention of others. Today blackbird is asking us to recognize our creative talent. While this may not be singing, there is a talent that each of us should unhesitatingly express. Rather than hiding our Light under a bushel we need to be singing from the rooftops!

Blackbird inspired The Beatles who wrote a song about him:

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Today Blackbird is reminding us of the need to celebrate our creative talent, build a firm foundation upon which to create and pay close attention to the details. Blackbird is reminding us to listen to the wisdom of Paul McCartney and Maya Angelou’s And Still I Rise.

Blackbird is encouraging us to repair our broken wings, take the moment to arise and share our inspirational gifts with the world.

A participant in one of my writing courses told me that, I had to keep sharing my gift, that I would be selfish to keep the gift hidden under a bushel! Blackbird has encouraged me to arise, puff out my chest and sing, without inhibition, from an elevated space! I am a gifted purveyor of creative stimuli who has shared inspirational ways to promote creative endeavour. I do this by working on projects like this and by putting together an apothecary (a new form of the Soul Food Cafe) for those who wish to feed the creative spirit.

What will you share with the world?

Posted in Art and Healing, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Back Yard Bird Life, Contemplative Practice, Heather Blakey

Valuing One’s Unique Identity

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 one and the creative force has produced the Superb Blue Wren to provide some lessons!

“The Arrernte word Awelye, from Central Australia, describes the interrelationship of everything; plant, animal, earth and language. Aboriginal knowledge about plants, animals, non-living things, spirit, economy, aesthetics, kin, responsibility and journeying bind types of information with one another.

In other words, everything informs us about everything else and nothing can be considered in isolation. By contrast, non-indigenous knowledge structures involve hierarchical and increasing separation of information into ever smaller parts for detailed examination. Aboriginal knowledge stems from the practical experience of natural resources. Like all people that live with and close to the land, they have developed an understanding of the interrelationships between ecological functions and broader patterns in climate and geophysical features. Understanding and learning the signals of change is indicative of the depth of knowledge that Aboriginal people have achieved.

Totems are a significant symbol of Aboriginal people’s inextricable link to the land. Aboriginal people gave recognition to the power of the plant and animal spirits by wearing skins and masks of ceremonial paint, and by mimicking, singing praise and dedicating prayers to specific plants and animals.

They painted and engraved them in caves, rock overhangs and on rock platforms, on bark and burial trees and asked Mirrirul4 to guide them to plant and animal foods and to bless the spirit of the plant or animal that was killed. These acts allowed people to remain linked to the plant and animal guides and to accept the power they offer in lessons, in life, and in death. It reminded people that all animals are our sisters, brothers, and cousins and most importantly our teachers and our friends.” Source:  Murni Dhungang Jirrar Living in the Illawarra

The Ngarrindjeri people of the Murray River and Coorong regions called the Blue Fairy-Wren, waatji pulyeri, meaning “little one of the waatji (lignum) bush”, and the Gunai called it deeydgun, meaning “little bird with long tail”.  Both it and the variegated fairywren were known as muruduwin to the local Eora and Darug inhabitants of the Sydney basin.

This Aboriginal Dreaming story about waatji pulyeri (blue fairy-wren) reminds us that while we are all interconnected we each have unique characteristics. It also cautions the creative of the dangers of engaging in competitions to prove one’s worth! We are reminded that individuality is a very important part of our identity. Blue Wren’s story tells the creative that they do not need to engage in a competition. They only have to be their unique self!

 

Posted in Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Back Yard Bird Life, Contemplative Practice, Heather Blakey, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Wild Play

Courting 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 one and the creative force has produced the Superb Blue Wren to provide some lessons!

Of all the facts about the Superb Fairy-wren’s life that have been discovered over the years, none is more charming than one small detail of the male’s courtship behaviour. While wooing a potential mate, either in his territory or in somebody else’s, a male Superb Fairy-wren will pluck petals from a flower and present them to the female as a kind of bouquet.

Males are also known for the ‘seahorse flight’, named for its seahorse-like undulations, during which the male—with his neck extended and his head feathers erect—tilts his body from horizontal to vertical, and descends slowly and springs upwards by rapidly beating his wings after alighting on the ground. The ‘face fan’ display is also noted as a part of sexual display behaviours; it involves the flaring of the blue ear tufts by erecting the feathers.

Whether this increases his chances of mating or not is hard to know; but it’s hard not to smile at the thought of this tiny, colourful bird carrying such an offering.

Artists who court the muse want to tap into that mysterious source of artistic inspiration all creative people seek. They search for a more knowing, more spiritual inner wisdom – something inside or even outside themselves that will inspire and inform their art. That inspirational, essential wisdom points the way inward, toward the emotions, the psyche, the soul. It calls upon us to cultivate a healthy relationship with the deep well of creative mystery that lies within.

What ritualistic displays might you devise to court and nurture the creative spirit? How will you use the reflective faculty we have within?

“Discipline is very important. I think we’re creative all day long. We have to have an appointment to have that work out on the page. Because the creative part of us gets tired of waiting, or just gets tired.” — Mary Oliver

“If Romeo and Juliet had made their appointments to meet, in the moonlight-swept orchard, in all the peril and sweetness of conspiracy, and then more often than not failed to meet — one or the other lagging, or afraid, or busy elsewhere — there would have been no romance, no passion, none of the drama for which we remember and celebrate them. Writing a poem is not so different—it is a kind of possible love affair between something like the heart (that courageous but also shy factory of emotion) and the learned skills of the conscious mind. They make appointments with each other, and keep them, and something begins to happen. Or, they make appointments with each other but are casual and often fail to keep them: count on it, nothing happens.

The part of the psyche that works in concert with consciousness and supplies a necessary part of the poem — the heart of the star as opposed to the shape of a star, let us say — exists in a mysterious, unmapped zone: not unconscious, not subconscious, but cautious. It learns quickly what sort of courtship it is going to be. Say you promise to be at your desk in the evenings, from seven to nine. It waits, it watches. If you are reliably there, it begins to show itself — soon it begins to arrive when you do. But if you are only there sometimes and are frequently late or inattentive, it will appear fleetingly, or it will not appear at all.” Mary Oliver

♥ Make an appointment with the creative spirit today! It is enough to just hang out together!

♥ Visit Contemporary Aboriginal Artist, Mirree and learn about how Wren Dreaming can help nurture your creative spirit. Perhaps you will treat the creative spirit to some of Mirree’s beautiful Oracle Cards and her Dreamtime Colouring Book. I use a deck like this to determine who will be the next animal to enter my space and insist that their voice be heard.

Posted in Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Back Yard Bird Life, Contemplative Practice, Heather Blakey, Superb Blue Fairy-Wren, Superb Blue Wren, Wild Play

Singing Over Our Creative Eggs

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 one and the creative force has produced the Superb Blue Wren to provide some lessons!

Mothers usually set about teaching their offspring the moment they’re born. But the females of this  Australian bird can’t wait that long. Researchers discovered, by accident, while recording at fairy-wren domed nests, that female fairy-wren were singing to their eggs.

The females of superb fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) start singing to their unhatched eggs in order to teach the embryo a “password,” a single unique note, which nestlings must later incorporate into their begging calls in order to get fed. This trick allows fairy-wren parents to distinguish between their own offspring and those of cuckoo species that invade their nests. The females also teach the pass-note to their mates. This has the potential of opening up new lines of inquiry into prenatal learning systems.

In her book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks about singing over the bones to feed the creative spirit. As an artistic midwife I am familiar with the creative birthing process, but until the blue wren flitted into my world I had not thought of encouraging creatives to “sing over their eggs’

Posted in Art and Healing, Artistic Midwife, Contemplative Practice, Heather Blakey, Superb Blue Fairy-Wren, Wild Play

What is your Creative Niche?

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 one and the creative force has produced the Superb Blue Wren to provide some lessons!

Superb-fairy-wren

Andrew Katsis, who spent two years of a Masters studying the fairy-wren, reveals that there is much more to this striking bird than meets the eye. He explains that they live in cooperative family groups (in which sons – but not daughters – hang around to help raise their younger siblings), learn vocalisations from their mother while still inside the egg, and boast perhaps the highest rate of adultery in the bird kingdom.

One intriguing finding of a Geelong study was that being more exploratory affected a bird’s survival chances. Fast- explorers were less likely to be present in the population a year later, most likely because they had died. The researchers speculated that fast- explorers are perhaps less wary of potential threats and more likely to stray into the sights of predators.

One cannot help but ask why this variation exist at all?  You might think that natural selection would quickly weed out all the fast- explorers? This is a question the research group are working on. One possible explanation is that birds with different personalities facilitate each other by performing different social roles (known as social niche specialisation). Fast- explorers may be filling a separate social niche that achieves equal reproductive fitness despite their shorter lifespan.

Today the fairy-wren encourages us to consider how we work, to consider our creative niche specialisation! Fairy-wren asks us to consider how we pace ourselves? Fast- exploring animals tend to form routines more quickly, and therefore thrive in consistent environments. Slow- exploring animals are better able to respond to changes in their environment, which may be beneficial in a fluctuating habitat.

Take the time to consider your social niche specialisation and the routine that works best for you!