Crystal Songlines: Opulent Ochre


It was actually getting an image of a piece of Ochre in my collection which prompted me to unpack all the crystals I’d stored away a while back. This Ochre comes from Coochiemudlo Island (yes, it’s a real name!) off the coast of Brisbane, Queensland, and it was gifted to  me, along with two smaller pieces, by a good friend who now lives in New Zealand.

Ochre isn’t strictly a stone. According to Wikipedia, it’s: ” a natural earth pigment containing hydrated iron oxide, which ranges in color from yellow to deep orange or brown. It is also the name of the colors produced by this pigment, especially a light brownish-yellow.”

In Aboriginal culture, red ochre is sacred. Along with other colours of ochre – yellow and white – red ochre can be used in artwork, body paint and protection for weapons. Although I can’t find any information on the internet, if I remember rightly red ochre is also used for medicinal purposes.

The piece I have is a rusty-red colour, it’s high in hematite as its hard and heavy, while the two other pieces my friend gifted me are a pale pink, much softer and easy to scrape for the pigment. For me, therefore the large piece of ochre is linked via hematite to earth energy and resonates with practical creativity.  No point being creative if you don’t actually do anything!

The above image was developed from a photo of my piece of ochre. It represents our links to the stars, but also the long history of ochre being used in rock art with the image of hands re-appearing not just across the sacred sites of Australia but also in other places, such as the caves in France, and in Native American art.  It’s why I’ve included a hand-print to link to those who’ve walked on this earth before us and connect with us through their use of red ochre. I also added in the metallic decoration at the top to link to present-day work with ochre by creative spirits and by those working with Aboriginal cultural heritage in Australia.

Pale pink Ochre
Red Ochre




Below is a link to an Aboriginal artist talking about the sacred aspect of working with white ochre and also how to use the pigment. The second piece is about Aboriginal art while the last link is to Aboriginal cultural stories. Hope you enjoy this information – I got quite homesick looking at all this!

Ochre in Australian Aboriginal culture

Aboriginal art

Aboriginal Culture Stories

Crystal Songlines: Kyanite

Fields of Love
This is a digitally re-worked image of the Kyanite fan, which I’ve called “Pallisades of Love”. I have the feeling the Kyanite fan and necklace are opening me up to new visions and fields of love although it’s unclear of what that new direction is.

I’ve been working with Kyanite for the past few days – a Kyanite fan from the Harts Range in the Northern Territory of Australia, and a Kyanite necklace which I re-configured as I wasn’t happy with the focal bead, it was too heavy for the delicate stones on the necklace itself.

So last night I had a weird dream. I was in a Myers Department Store in Australia (which is a large, fairly upmarket nation-wide chain of stores) which was seriously run-down and shabby. I was looking at how to revamp it, mentioned to an older saleslady about my concerns at the state of the shop who said the store wouldn’t fund any upgrades. She said she was going to leave, broke into tears and I gave her a big hug.

Then I had a brainwave – how about starting our own business?  There was another  salesperson there, a younger woman, and the three of us felt amazingly enthused about establishing (of all things, as I’m not into wedding paraphernalia!) a wedding planner business.  We had heaps of wedding dresses and offers of help from all sorts of people, including a cleaning business.

I woke up in the middle of the dream which a big thunderstorm passed over Cyprus, complete with hailstones and heavy rain. I got up to let our dogs out for a run and then, when I returned to bed, promptly ended up in the dream again, at the part where we had the wedding dresses and offers of help.

I worked with The Shining Tribe tarot deck, created by Rachel Pollack, to try to understand this dream. For myself I drew the 8 of Stones card, which represents a new identity, a sense of playfulness and ending something in order to make way for the new.

The idea of the shabby store and new beginnings was represented by the 4 of Rivers, which again is about new beginnings and letting go of old limitations, shedding one’s old skin.

The wedding shop was represented by the Knower of Birds which relates to wisdom, knowledge, ideas, psychic vision and ability to communicate it clear to others, as well as setting up a system of thought.

The outcome was the Spiral of Fortune which offers the breaking out of old patterns, change that liberates, gaining a wider vision, and possible breakthroughs into new ground.

Kyanite necklace
Kyanite necklace: Kyanite blade; strung beads: blue coral; rutilated quartz; rose quartz; clear quartz; blue lace agate; amazonite; fluorite; citrine. There’s also a white feather on the face of the Kyanite blade, for alignment with spiritual direction.

So, yes, the dream is about new beginnings and directions but stuff me if I have any idea, at present, of what those directions are! I did have a dream about playing with crystals last night, crystals of all kinds and big heaps of them, so how that works out we’ll ha ve to see.

If anyone feels drawn to offer their own interpretation, feel free.  I welcome others’ views to help get a deeper perspective of what this dream means!

Kyanite fan - Hartz Ranges
Kyanite Fan – Harts Range, Northern Territory, Australia

The Light

The Light

I came across this mantra or prayer (or whatever you want to call it) when I was living in Boonah, Queensland, in the late 1970s.  I like it because it’s generic – it can be whatever floats your boat: God, Goddess, Divinity, the Light, Spirit, Buddha, or whatever. And it relates to kindness, compassion, love, tolerance and a sense of spiritual homecoming.

I return to it from time to time then forget about it, but always it returns to my consciousness at odd intervals. So yesterday was one of those odd intervals and I thought I’d share it in case it has meaning for others.

Cracked: Heart Healing


Yesterday I read a deeply emotional letter from an Australian man to the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, in relation to the Safe Schools programme run by the Federal government. The programme, for those of you overseas who don’t know its contents, is designed to address issues around bullying in general but also homophobic attitudes in relation to LGBT schoolchildren, as so many are facing mental health issues, contemplating suicide or even taking their own lives.

Last week, under pressure from extreme right-wing homophobic and bigoted government members, the PM had announced substantial changes to the programme which virtually gutted it, then let slip that once this round of funding was exhausted, the programme would be ended.

I was in tears at the end of the letter as the adult man described what he’d gone through in the school system, torture virtually, because he was identified as gay. Here’s the link:

I did wonder at the time why it affected me so deeply, then woke this morning with the very clear memory of a time in my mid-teens when I’d attended a dance in Deal, a seaside town near where I lived in Sandwich, Kent.  I felt the pain of that event so clearly this morning and knew the time had come to let it go.

As so many teenage girls do, I had a crush on a good-looking boy attending Sir Roger Manwood’s private grammar school. At the time the school was boys only although now its intake includes boys and girls. I was hoping to connect with this boy so set out to catch the train my best friend had told me everyone was catching to the dance at Deal.

When I got to the station, I was the only one there. I ended up getting to the dance only to find that my so-called friend had told me the wrong time so that she could chat up and, after the dance, go out with the boy I fancied.  By the time I got to the dance, everyone had sorted out partners and I was left on my own trying to look happy and hiding my deep upset at my friend’s betrayal. I danced on my own with a big smile on my face and pretended all was well in my lonely world. Because basically I was a shy, sensitive kid with very little social skills who had felt a complete outsider right through primary and much of secondary school. This experience and the unkindness and selfishness of my “friend” only served to solidify that feeling of isolation.

My reaction, if people hurt me  or bullied me at school, was to put on a smile and brave face, swallow the hurt and pretend all was well. But when the memory of that dance and my loneliness was so clear in my mind this morning, I realised that the letter I’d read yesterday had triggered long-buried grief and hurt.

So I set out to release these old, damaging emotions with digital art.  The first image, above, relates to my young self and how I felt at the time.  The images below represent the healing process.  The first one is a step towards healing, the second one represents the growth of new patterns, by showing a tree growing towards healing and new beginnings.

I dithered about writing this because I find it hard to share deep, distressing emotional pain, but I decided to do so because I get so fed up with people who preach how easy it is to put the past behind you and get on with your life. My experience has been that, however much that sounds good in practice, emotional hurts send roots deep into your cellular and spiritual bodies which don’t simply vanish because you say in your head all is well and the past vanishes. It doesn’t. I’ve found, for myself, that art is a great healer but I’ve also found that the most intense healing happens when emotional hurts surface in their own good time because then they can really be dealt with at a deep, fundamental level within our bodies.

I hope this post helps others who may identify that I went through as a kid and perhaps find art useful as a healing medium.

Heart Repairs

Heart Healing


Crystal Songlines: Clear Quartz Polished Point

Life of Quartz

When I first felt a connection with rocks, stones and crystals, I really thought I’d gone off my rocker as I’d got through to my late ‘forties without showing any serious signs of nuttiness. But it’s one of the mysteries of my life since 1996 when I switched from logic to intuition virtually overnight after moving to a small village called Boonah, in a circle of mountains known as the Scenic Rim inland from the Gold Coast of Queensland.

The daughter of my friend, Yvonne, came to visit and commented to me knowingly that I could attune to crystals, which I thought was seriously whacko but being polite I just nodded and tried to look as if I knew what the hell she was talking about. But then she and Yvonne took me to the wholesale warehouse of the Crystal Castle in Bryon Bay and I was hooked. Yvonne brought some crystals over to show me and I zoomed in on one particular crystal which glowed and sang to me at some unknown level.  I still have that stone – a polished clear quartz point with inclusions and that’s what I’ve worked with today.

So yes, I still feel a bit of a pillock when I talk of communicating with the stone elders (as they’re known in Indonesia) because I really don’t quite know how it works. I hear their voice in an intuitive way, they call to me, I get images in my head, and I know which individual crystal or rock I need to work with. I see faces and spirits in mountains and rock formations. And how this works is a completely  mystery to me, but it works. I still remember being in a crystal warehouse in the UK, felt a sort of nudge, turned around and found myself face to face with the only charoite wand in the whole warehouse (charoite is a rare stone, purple and black, only found in Russia). Of course I picked it up and then saw that my friend looked astonished because she’d looked at that spot just before me and hadn’t even noticed the wand. I can get a crystal out and a few days later someone will call by and hook up to the crystal.

As I’ve perked up intuition-wise this past week or so after working with an earth elder called Pipestone or Catlinite, I’ve felt the urge even more strongly to work with crystals and bring their inner energies into digital art. Today I kept getting an image of the first crystal I glommed onto in Byron Bay and so here is the result.

I found it an interesting experience as firstly I tried working with the image in a logical sort of way which looked pretty damned awful. Then I went back to square one, working with the image in a different, more intuitive way, and I have to say the result really surprised me. I never expected the image above, yet when I was working on Pixlr and the above digital art suddenly appeared, I know that was how the inner energy of my crystal wanted to appear in digital form.

I shall be doing more digital art relating to the inner energies of rocks, crystals and gemstones, and I’m calling this series: Life of Rocks.

For your interest and information, below is also a photo of the original crystal.

Clear quartz point 1 - my first stone spirit

Singing the Stars to Earth

Singing the Stars to Earth

When I lived in Woodenbong in far northern New South Wales, Australia, on the caldera of an ancient volcano, I’d go out at night and look at the stars. There was no street lighting in the small village so no light pollution obscuring the stars, and it was like looking up at a deep cloth of black rich with lights glowing brightly above our planet.

I also remember watching Hettie Perkins, a well-known art curator in Australia, interviewing an Aboriginal artist in the ABC TV series “Art + Soul”. She described how her father would sing the stars to sleep in the early morning light as the rising sun gradually obscured the tapestry of stars above the Earth. And now that artist paints stars on all her creations, bringing them down to earth.

So the above represents birds, the element of air, all flying gracefully as they accompany the light from billions of years ago, from stars in the far distant reaches of earth, reaching down to earth to light up the creativity in our soul and spirit.

Each of us is creative in our own way and we can reach out to the stars to illuminate our starstuff within to bring beauty to our lives, to the lives of others and to all beings on Planet Earth.

Moral Choices: Love not Hate

Moral Choice - Love not Hate

This is the text of a post on the Humans of New York Facebook page run by Brandon Stanton which I think is worthwhile posting here.

An Open Letter to Donald Trump:

Mr. Trump,

I try my hardest not to be political. I’ve refused to interview several of your fellow candidates. I didn’t want to risk any personal goodwill by appearing to take sides in a contentious election. I thought: ‘Maybe the timing is not right.’ But I realize now that there is no correct time to oppose violence and prejudice. The time is always now. Because along with millions of Americans, I’ve come to realize that opposing you is no longer a political decision. It is a moral one.

I’ve watched you retweet racist images. I’ve watched you retweet racist lies. I’ve watched you take 48 hours to disavow white supremacy. I’ve watched you joyfully encourage violence, and promise to ‘pay the legal fees’ of those who commit violence on your behalf. I’ve watched you advocate the use of torture and the murder of terrorists’ families. I’ve watched you gleefully tell stories of executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood. I’ve watched you compare refugees to ‘snakes,’ and claim that ‘Islam hates us.’

I am a journalist, Mr. Trump. And over the last two years I have conducted extensive interviews with hundreds of Muslims, chosen at random, on the streets of Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan. I’ve also interviewed hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi refugees across seven different countries. And I can confirm— the hateful one is you.

Those of us who have been paying attention will not allow you to rebrand yourself. You are not a ‘unifier.’ You are not ‘presidential.’ You are not a ‘victim’ of the very anger that you’ve joyfully enflamed for months. You are a man who has encouraged prejudice and violence in the pursuit of personal power. And though your words will no doubt change over the next few months, you will always remain who you are.

Brandon Stanton