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!
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.
The whale is renowned for its soul songs, songs that enrich and nurture the soul. Carl Sagan taught that one of the truly magical things about whales was the importance of their songs. Whales, quite literally, have a catalogue of songs that they remember and sing. Apparently, they have a different song for each month of the year. They will also have a special song that they sing in a certain location, leave, come back and pick up the song again. These soul songs travel far and wide throughout the oceans.
Since I have been on placement at Winters Flat primary I have remembered the song of my soul. I am back in the classroom as a specialist teacher of writing working with children of all ages and plan to feature the activities and responses of students, parents and teachers in a special Advent Calendar at the end of this year.
Here are some words that are associated with the whale. Think of them as fridge leftovers and make something out of them. Sing a song, be it a ballad, some hip hop, a hymn or a rhapsody and share it today.
Because the turkey is closely associated with the spirit of the Earth, it is also symbolic of feminine energies at work in our lives. This animal has been revered in ancient traditions as a symbol of fertility and abundance.
The turkey is a useful guide to unlocking the fullness of life. It invites those who have it as a totem to cultivate the balance between giving and receiving and find contentment in what they have.
The spirit of the Turkey totem puts an emphasis on community and the importance of sharing and generosity. The wisdom of this spirit animal is about paying attention to the people who are part of our life, whether it’s our family members, coworkers, classmates, or society at large.
When the turkey shows up as a spirit guide, it encourages us to see beyond our immediate personal needs and foster a sustainable relationship with others. Those who have the turkey as a power animal or totem may be inclined to be generous and giving without expecting anything in return.
Turkey comes to remind us to share our gifts with those around us, without any expectation of receiving. The only way to receive is to give with an open heart.
It is no accident that Parrot has flown into my world, encouraging me to keep seeking what nourishes me. Like the parrot, we are each wonderful beings, each gifted with special skills. The parrot’s resplendent colours speak of wearing one’s beauty on the sleeve. The parrot is a gregarious bird who enjoys the interaction with others. After so long tucked up inside my burrow I am happy to be interacting with others.
The parrot also has a great ability to satisfy its needs by foraging for food and nesting places. It is known to eat fruit and seeds and builds nests in all manner of places. Like the parrot, I am actively seeking that which meets my personal needs and the really good news is that a vision is, like a jigsaw puzzle, falling into place.
While walking my dogs I came upon some stunningly beautiful thistles. The thistle has been much maligned. Being a tough plant, the thistle grows everywhere other plants usually don’t. It stands for surviving where others won’t and often this is surviving harsh conditions.
Allow yourself to be seen for your gentleness as well as your strength.
Call in balance and harmony in your emotions.
Give yourself time to grow into your full gifts.
Dive deep internally to fully connect with your hidden gifts and talents.
Forgive yourself and others for not fully appreciating you, and focus on truly loving yourself and what you have to offer.
* Understands the power of the sunrise
* Ability to survive harsh conditions
* Communication skills
The cockatoo is a member of the parrot family. Its most noticeable feature is its magnificent crest, which crowns the top of its head. This crest is used to send signals to other birds in the flock. More than a colourful ornament it represents communication. When raised and used with other parts of the body it can indicate several things from defending its territory or its flock, calling for its mate, showing fear or indicating that something is bothering it. True communication is a complex art. The cockatoo knows of this complexity and teaches us how to understand and correctly interpret messages that come our way.
Beautiful in colour and appearance the cockatoo holds the teachings of self-esteem and confidence. The rose and grey coloured galah teach us spontaneity and fearlessness.
These birds are intelligent, affectionate and acrobatic. Adults take care of one another and mate for life. Cockatoos are social birds and enjoy companionship with others of their flock. When danger appears they will either fly off or become very still hoping to remain unnoticed. They are always conscious of their surroundings and are masters in the art of survival. As pets, they are inquisitive and affectionate as well as unpredictable. Known as great escape artists they will use their powerful beaks to open locks on cages.
Coming into contact with one of these birds in the wild or as a pet can be an unforgettable experience. They are extremely ingenious. Watching them perform is like watching a magician pull things out of a hat, you never know what the cockatoo will do next or what hidden skill it will use to complete its task. The cockatoo is a great teacher. It is reminding us to play.
Yesterday I acquired some wonderful books by Marion Deuchers that promote art play. Back in the day, I encouraged students to create figures on their handprints and then use these to create stories. Needless to say, Duechers work with handprints really captured my imagination.
I plan to use these at a primary school where I will be doing my placement and with a small writing group that I am running at home.
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.
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.
As an amphibian, frog experiences a major shift in reality as he transforms from a pollywog to an adult hopper. In this way, frog gets to live two distinct lives in one lifetime. Humans also have this ability to transform, but we can do so multiple times in one lifetime if we allow emotional processes to run their full course in us. We are not the same person we were at the age of ten or twenty and as our world gets bigger we are constantly finding ourselves, returned to a state of limited resources.
The pollywog has no other resource save his excitement for life. He swims and propels through the stuff of life with a pure and ambitious energy and slowly starts to develop arms and legs and other tools to play with his pond more completely. There is a frustration in our limitations, but if we allow those frustrations to crush our spirit we leave the very effort that will see us through to greater freedom.
Frog says keep loving, keep hoping, keep swimming with all the energy you have and one day that effort will propel you forward in a great leap upon new shores.
My old school song began with the lines “Life is Adventuring, beyond the far horizon”. I honestly cannot remember the rest of the song but I do know that life is an adventure when you have lots of coloured pencils, and are able to travel through a portal into another universe, prance along with pipers and meet big friendly giants.
When frog hops into your life the creative spirit is reminding you of the importance of cleansing and renewing. Allow yourself the time to do this. You may need to look at your life in an honest way and ask yourself if you are heading in the right direction. Are there changes that you can make to the path you have followed? You will feel refreshed and will feel new growth when you permit yourself to do this.
One way to cleanse and renew is to spend time creating an ideal scene for yourself. Think of a goal that is important to you. It can be a long-term or short-term one. Write the goal as clearly as possible in one sentence. Underneath write the words Ideal Scene. Proceed to describe the situation as accurately as you would like it to be when the goal is achieved. Make sure to describe it in the present tense, as if it already exists.
Raven: “Nothing ventured! Nothing gained! Right?”
Donkey: “I am hoping we don’t regret following this piper?”
Raven: ” Well if we don’t take the risk we might miss an important opportunity!”
Donkey: “Ben Franklin also said that lost time is never found again!”
Like many animals, bats have learned to adapt to a wide variety of environments and habitats. The only terrain they don’t inhabit is the Arctic. There are 39 species of bats in North America, all of which are nocturnal. Some bats are insectivores, others eat things like fruit and pollen. Bats are associated with many different cultures and mean different things to different people.
The Mayans had a bat god called Camazote, who was said to have tested human souls with a large sword. This is slightly negative since the bat is associated with violence. In Biblical tradition, bats were believed to be messengers of Satan. The Puritans believed that if a bat flew close to someone, somebody was trying to bewitch them. The Chinese, however, view the bat as a symbol of happiness.
They are amazing creatures. Bats can fly in huge hoards while never hitting each other because of echo-location. This ability is linked with the gift of clairaudience, which awakens the ability to hear spirits in some beliefs. Because of their echo-location and manoeuvring in the dark, bats represent the perception of things that others cannot see.
To the Indian tribes of the northwestern United States, bats are symbols of diligence; while in the Great Plains, they imparted wisdom to their people. In the southwest and Mexico, they are representative of death and rebirth, because they go underground in the early morning, and then appear again each night in a noisy hoard. So they are reborn every night, flooding out from their caves.
Bats often represent death in the sense of letting go of the old and bringing in the new. They are symbols of transition, of initiation, and the start of a new beginning.
Information from Ted Andrews’s Animal-Speak, Jessica Dawn Palmer’s Animal Wisdom, and Steven D. Farmer’s Power Animals.