It is time for play. The more bizarre, left field, unexpected and apparently ridiculous the better. This may not feel safe or appropriate at first. That is okay. That is good actually. It is a sign that you are breaking with your self-imposed conventions. It is time to move beyond them now because a bigger life adventure is calling you.
Sacred Rebels – Alana Fairchild
The Great Escape – An Intensive Journal Writing Course begins on Wednesday the 16th of October at the Castlemaine Community House.
This is a time when we can unleash and play with the Sacred Fool. The fool is a great rebel, able to thwart conventions and tell the truth without restraint.
Our journals provide a safe space to let the fool, who does not give a hoot about what the mind is saying, have free reign. In an intensive journal writing class, we do not have to worry about being socially acceptable or what others may think of us when we sit outside reading children’s books to the trees.
The day time class provides the opportunity for us to sling our creative medicine bags, filled with supplies, over our shoulders and wander around Castlemaine. For example, in order to position ourselves in the now, we may take time to visit the nearby collectible place and see what items demand to be given a voice within our journals. We may sit outside the nearby coffee house, visit the art gallery and step inside artwork, check out what is going on at the Railway Station or just wander down some streets and see what endless variety of nothing turns out to provide a rich vein of gold.
For details check out the Castlemaine Community House. Alternatively, if you are interested in joining a small evening group in a private home, contact me for details.
This is a lock on a door at the old Castlemaine Gaol, a building which certainly holds many secrets.
Just as Adam and Eve ignored God’s command in the Garden of Eden it was inevitable that Blue Beard’s bride would disobey him and use the one key he explicitly instructed her not to use. From the outset, we knew that she was going to go through a door into a room containing a terrible truth.
Apart from the secrets, we, as individuals, keep under lock and key, families have secrets which have been carefully locked away.
Sometimes it is best to keep those safely stored in lock proof places. Entering lock proof places can end in tears. Just as Blue Beards bride came to grief for violating a lock proof place one of my ancestors was transported to Australia from Scotland for having had nimble fingers. The punishment was so severe that after being freed he left Tasmania and settled in Victoria under a new name. It took over a hundred years for this truth to be revealed. Happily, most living Australian relatives were more than a little excited to have genuine convict roots.
The Old Castlemaine Gaol
Revealing secrets does not always go so well! It can be painful to choose to unlock some of the secrets that have been carefully hidden from view. However, there are very real benefits from uncovering truths. By taking a close look at a family secret an individual may just be freed from the impact that secret has actually had on their life. Most importantly, some genuine healing may take place.
Bring a family secret to the surface and give it some air. Take it out and carefully interrogate it. Be honest and consider the impact of concealing the truth, of keeping the secret under lock and key. Remember, you can always choose to lock it away again!
Lock and Keys – Real and Imaginary Travelling in Lemuria by Imogen Crest
Many of these contemplative practices provide a doorway to connecting with our ancestors.
All Souls’ Day was first instituted at the monastery in Cluny in 993 CE and quickly spread throughout the Christian world. People held festivals for the dead long before Christianity. It was Saint Odilo, the abbot of Cluny in France, who in the 10th century, proposed that the day after All Saints’ Day be set aside to honour the departed, particularly those whose souls were still in purgatory. Today the souls of the faithful departed are commemorated. Although All Souls’ Day is observed informally by some Protestants, it is primarily a Roman Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox holy day.
All Souls’ Day in Mexico is a national holiday called Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Many people believe that the spirits of the dead return to enjoy a visit to their friends and relatives on this day. Long before sunrise, people stream into the cemeteries laden with candles, flowers and food that is often shaped and decorated to resemble the symbols of death. Children eat tiny chocolate hearse, sugar funeral wreaths, and candy skulls and coffins. But the atmosphere is festive.
While there are ritual ways to honour ancestors at Samhain, Ancestral Medicine provides some timely advice. Their article offering five ways to honour your ancestors includes some great suggestions such as fulfilling one’s life purpose, staying open to direct communication with them and establishing a physical place to honour them.
This November I am committing to spending twelve months learning more about contemplative practices, epigenetics and to finding ways to actively honour those who walked before me.
Throughout most recorded history, human societies have used various types of cemeteries for burial purposes; this theme points to humanity’s need to construct a meaning behind death and reflect life into the places where the dead are interred. Whether the bodies of the deceased are placed in the ground, within elaborate tombs, or simply in the presence of ancient or contemporary monuments, their location holds symbolic meaning as well as practical historical meaning for the surrounding living community.
At the beginning of November, Mexicans celebrate Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead. People wash and sweep their family’s grave-houses, decorate them with flowers, bring their loved ones’ favourite dishes, and eat the meal by the graves.
Up until the early 20th century, cemeteries in America were a popular place to relax, picnic and get together near a loved one’s grave.
In Prague, the old Jewish Cemetery is a popular place of pilgrimage, particularly by Jewish people who come to pray and leave small coins on tombstones. While I was in Prague I visited this famed cemetery but I managed to find my way to the Old Jewish Cemetery in Zizkov and the sprawling, beautiful Olsany Cemetery which is also in Zizkov.
The challenge, this November, is to think of a ritualistic way that I can honour my ancestors.
Archie Hair’s precious box of wonderment
I have been romancing the creative spirit by wandering back into Soul Food and using tried and true idea generators with children in years 4-6 at Winters Flat Primary School. We have used guided imagery to wander deep within a seashell, through a pearly door to an alternative world. We have chosen fragments from my box of wonder and within seconds of holding it in our hand told stories to one another. We have sat drawing Prince Prospero’s (Edgar Allen Poe Masque of the Red Death) castle and given Red Death a face, written ballads and news reports about the Masque of the Red Death and marvelled at the wisdom of Australian birds and animals.
Children have loved contemplating how to build up their artistic eyes and they have written with speed and passion that is a joy to watch. Words literally fall on to the page within just ten minutes! Ballads, lyrics, complex drawings, news reports, fiction and folklore have emerged on their pages and the excitement, as they share their work and cheer one another on is palpable.
Over the coming weeks, I will be featuring some of their work. It feels good to be romancing the creative spirit again!
Satin Bower Bird
One of the oldest art forms on the planet is the artwork of the satin bowerbird. If we take the time to observe we can learn from this bird. We can learn and strengthen our artist’s eye.
The male bowerbird creates what is called his bower. It’s not a nest, but an artwork he builds in the hope he can attract a female to visit it, observe his performance in and around the bower, and then—if he’s lucky—mating just might occur!” In parts of Northern Australia, the bowerbird collects colourful rocks, leaves or other trinkets and patiently places them in an artistic formation. When the shrine is complete they wait patiently for females to approach to judge their creativity. If the females like what they see the pair will breed.
Take the time to go out and gather some special pieces to make a bower, or altar of your own.
Hold still and be yourself! Be borne up upon the wings of power. Taste the frontier! Wander along the boundary fence and feel its special power.
When you meet Raven, he could be telling you that there will be changes in your life and that possibly you should step by the usual way you view reality and look into the inner realms …walk your talk…be prepared to let go of your old thinking and embrace a new way of viewing yourself and the world.
Given that I have just let go of Soul Food it is no accident that my totem bird, the Raven, has appeared to remind me to embrace a new way of identifying myself. Raven’s appearance is reassuring! He uses his adaptability to magically be present when least expected.
The Peregrine Falcon has flown into my world today to remind me of the importance of communicating our own truth.
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!
Today the butterfly is reminding me not to rush the process of transformation. I am writing my final essay and I am preparing for a 500-hour placement beginning in June. Butterfly reminds me to spend some time in the cocoon of my home nurturing my creativity and getting in touch with my feelings. Within the cocoon, I can embrace the rapture of transformation and rebirth; trust that a force greater than me has a guiding hand in what I will do when I finally complete this degree in September.
Take the time, within the safety of a special cocoon-like space to read more about butterfly symbolism.
- Wrap yourself tightly in a blanket for a few minutes and then slowly unwrap it and emerge. Does this seem like a metaphor for anything in your life right now?
The frilled neck lizard is a creature that spends its days basking in the sun, daydreaming its future into reality. Lizard’s wisdom is that of the dreamer; the daydreamer!
In a culture obsessed with efficiency, mind-wandering is often derided as useless—the kind of thinking we rely on when we don’t really want to think. Freud, for instance, described daydreams as “infantile” and a means of escaping from the necessary chores of the world into fantasies of “wish-fulfilment.”
In recent years, however, psychologists and neuroscientists have redeemed this mental state, revealing the ways in which mind-wandering is an essential cognitive tool. It turns out that whenever we are slightly bored—when the reality isn’t quite enough for us—we begin exploring our own associations, contemplating counterfactuals and fictive scenarios that only exist within the head.
Today Lizard is calling upon us to take serious note of our daydreams and visioning! It encourages us to keep a journal and spend time creating ideal scenes, roadmaps of possibilities.
Try creating some ideal scenes in your journal – writing or drawing. Address areas such as
- daily routines
- creative expression
- leisure and travel
- money to support the lifestyle you want
Art work by Ravenari – Wildspeak
Lizard is letting you know that it is time to take do an internal audit. Are you coming from your heart? Be aware – simply because the ego is the master of deception and you will often have to peel back many layers to get at the truth – and to discover what your heart is really telling you. Take the time to really focus on your personal dreams.
For a long time, I have worked with ‘others’ in mind! My heart is telling me to apply my artistic midwifery skills to self! As a result, I am spending time treasure hunting for inspiration and drawing again. Frilled neck lizard inspires me to stop camouflaging myself, to open up fully, step out into the bright light and own my artistic abilities.
When you are able to know what parts of yourself need to be on display you begin to know who you are as a person. There is great potential for self-knowledge with the frilled-neck lizard, who says that rather than hiding because of fear there are ways to display ourselves in ways that incite pride and admiration.
Jumping over the moon
To stay or go!
Spirit Guides on Lemurian Road