I was prompted to create this image after reading some posts on Facebook about depression. My first bout with the Black Dog came in my first year at university in 1966 and from then on I’d have bouts of depression from time to time when I felt like I had fog in my head and my feet in quicksand.
I remember one particular time of my life where I dressed entirely in black, from head to toe. I could have auditioned for Godzilla and aced it!
After I’d trained in Reiki 1 and 2, I suddenly realised that wearing black was depressing in itself and also didn’t perform its function which was to make me look slim. Instead, I looked like a fat woman trying to look slim by wearing black and failing spectacularly.
After this insight, and after I’d worked on issues of self-confidence and self-esteem (something seriously lacking in my after my father’s lifelong bullying, although I hid it well), I bought a lovely dress, cotton in multi-colours. I called it my “Ken Done” dress after the Australian artist who specialised in bright colours.
To my amazement, not only did I cheer up, but people started approaching and talking to me, telling how much they liked the bright colours and exchanging various views out of the blue. Since then I’ve been fascinated by colours – they are so influential in our lives at a conscious and unconscious level.
So the above image represents various levels in our awareness of colour – the emotional responses; the influence of the wider environment; the moon for our subconscious awareness of colour; blue for communication and turquoise for communication with love; and finally the stars for our resonance with the colours of the universe.
The tree represents our potential for new growth and transformation as we move out of darkness and into the colours of light with their qualities of healing and awareness.
I returned to a painting I created a couple of decades ago when I was working on healing my relationship with my father as he’d slipped into an alcoholic decline. I loved the original acrylic art but, when I showed it to another artist, her comment “Oh, yes, we all do this as beginners” left me feeling really deflated. I gave the painting away but had a photo of it and eventually decided that the worst thing I’d done was listen to a small-minded artist who gave destructive rather than constructive comments. Anyhow, this week I finally decided to stop making excuses for my father and this is the result – a final return to my original painting and putting the past behind me with new growth ahead.
Someone from Twitter with the moniker StreetArt reminded liked one of my posts and reminded me how much I like street art. I think it enhances our urban environment and adds richness to our daily lives, plus the creativity of street artists never ceases to amaze me.
The spider represents the web of creativity spun by artists world-wide; the honeybee represents the sweetness in our lives when we open to the creativity around us; while the crow at the top represents the mystery of art and the power of imagination in our lives.
We got woken up in the early hours of this morning by our neighbour asking us to call an ambulance as his wife was very ill. Sadly, by the time the ambulance got here our friend and neighbour had passed away, likely from a heart attack. We have lost someone we treasured and who’s passing into the realms of spirit has left a big gap in our lives.
I want to pay tribute firstly to our friend: she was lovely lady who was kind, generous, sensitive, had a great sense of humour and of the ridiculous, always looked terrific, and who enriched our lives by her friendship. A few days ago, she popped in to visit us in the evening, and to gift us a glass ornament from Caithness in Scotland which she’d had for 30-odd years and which she wanted us to have as a thank-you for something we’d done which pleased her no end. We are so glad we had that time with our friend and that we have her gift to remind us of the good memories we have of our friendship.
Secondly, I created this mandala today to honour friendship and the loving ties with our friends. We have moved around a lot being Geriatric Gypsies, and in the process have met so many wonderful friends who have made our lives that much greater and richer for their presence. I include not just people I’ve met in person but also people with whom I’ve come in contact through the internet, Facebook and this blog. There are no limits to the global village in which we now live and where the tyranny of distance has dissolved so much in recent times.
Value your friends while you have them in your life. Feel the love for those who honour and hold you dear in their hearts. And send out love to all those who you hold dear in your life. Because, as this morning’s event shows, you don’t know what will happen each day and how quickly life can turn topsy-turvy.
This mandala evolved as follows:
The cover is a sarong which my long-term friend in Perth, Australia, gifted me recently. It represents the foundations and richness of friendship.
At the back is a large, clear-quartz cluster representing the energetic connections with our friends, whether we are in physical or energetic contact.
The two orange candles represent the joy and happiness of friendship.
In front of the quartz cluster is a very pretty glass container which was gifted to me by a young woman I treated with Reiki while I lived in Boonah in 1999. Sadly she died of a brain tumour which had been incorrectly diagnosed. On the container is a candle holder with the word “Love” to remind us of the power of love in friendships. And resting on the glass container is a small bear and a little book of quotes about friends which were gifted to me by friends I made while living in the UK, upon my return to Australia.
In the centre is the glass dome our friend gifted to us prior to her passing. In front of that is a sphere of Girasol quartz. This was one of the first crystals I bought on US Ebay and it reminds me of Jupiter, and the serenity this planet and the Girasol engender in me. Whatever happens, friendship extends beyond Planet Earth into the realms of Spirit.
The feathers represent the energies which can move through time and space, without the limits of the physical realms. Friendship can help lift us to a better version of who we are.
The crow feathers remind us of the mystery of life. The two coloured feathers are from Rainbow Lorikeets to remind us of the laughter, support and communication we encounter in friendships. The white feather represents the higher energies which can flow in friendship exchange.
The two raw rose quartz stones embody the power of love. The two blue/turquoise stones include chrysocolla, emotional support. The pink and white calcite and pink pollucite with lepidolite represent again the healing power of love. The Kullie Rose quartz from the Himalayas embodies the heights we can reach when we work with the power of love, while the Angel Aura quartz reminds us of the angelic energies supporting us in the unseen realms.
This is an image inspired by a really beautiful waterfall. PicMonkey has a new gizmo in its “Effects” section called “Mirror” which I’ve found fascinating when working with elemental energies. It’s as if you can pull apart the surface image to find below the elemental waiting to be revealed.
In this image, you can see the face of the Lord of the Realms of the Waters which is what this Elemental demanded to be called. I went for Lord of the Waters first off, but no – his full title is “Lord of the Realms of the Waters”. The moon is included as well as clouds at the base as these are related to the waters of Planet Earth.
Call me as nutty as a fruitcake if you like, but one thing I’ve learned in my many years of metaphysical learning and Tarot reading, it’s to heed what I hear and reproduce it without allowing my intellect to interfere.
This is a digital reworking of a volcano to draw back the shutters of illusion and show that there is no separation between our world and the galaxy which holds us all in its energetic and spiritual embrace.
As Above – the stars filling our night skies.
As Below – the stars united with the fire of earth.
In the centre of the volcano is the portal through which starlight flows to integrate with life on this wonderful planet of ours.
We are one with the Universe, with Mother Earth and with the Light within each of us.
A friend suggested I add some green and yellow to my original photo of a black honeybee here in North Cyprus and, once again, I found myself working with crystals in a circle. The green stones are Peridot chips, which represent positive thinking, creativity, self-confidence, your inner sun radiating positivity. Around the Peridot chips are citrine chips for abundance, creativity, regeneration, the sun within us shining out, augmenting the energies of Peridot.
In relation to this, a reader asked me about the difference between a crystal mandala and a crystal grid. I guess it’s up to your own choice. A grid, to me, implies a structure such as a square or rectangle while a mandala always signifies a circle. But that’s my choice, others may feel differently. I think it’s important to work with what has meaning for you. For example, I don’t feel comfortable with altars in my house, due to a lousy time at a Catholic Convent when I was a young girl. I now prefer to have Sanctuary Spaces in my home as the term “sanctuary” has a great significance for me – a place of retreat from an often inharmonious world.
As for mandalas and their significance in my life: the first piece of halfway decent art I ever created in my life was when I was 49 and I attended a mandala workshop in February 1996. Prior to that, in November 1995, I had felt drawn to have a Tarot reading with a particular reader at a mind, body, spirit fair. I felt very drawn to her energy but felt disappointed when she said I’d go to a short art course and end up drawing colours for people.
The reason why? At the Convent we never painted anything. We, as good little Catholic schoolgirls, were taught embroidery and knitting to prepare us for lives as good little Catholic wives. So when I got to grammar school and was introduced to poster paints, I really had no idea what to do with them. My art was appalling and I’m sure I got a 53% pass mark out of sheer sympathy on the part of the art teacher. But what I did love was when we had art classes looking at particular artists, because they awakened me to the beauty of art.
I never even thought about the Tarot reading when I went to the 2-day workshop in Brisbane with a friend. In fact, I panicked when we all got seated and if I’d been near an exit, I probably would have scarpered. But I’m so glad I didn’t because at the workshop I created a mandala which, for me, was quite extraordinary – it’s the one on the right. And I found that my forte was symbols rather than real life. I never looked back. I created mandalas for friends. I got orders for mandalas. I saw colours around people and drew what I called “Soul Symbols” for them.
And I taught mandala art which really opened me up to the power of mandalas as circular art which people find inspirational. It’s as if working with a circle connects people with their inner voice, their inner wisdom, their inner light. I tell people to put their pen, pencil or whatever they want to use in the middle of an empty circle on a piece of paper, take them into a creative visualisation, then guide them to open their eyes and start drawing whatever comes to them.
And no-one, absolutely no-one (after the first look of horror at a blank space), has failed to draw some wonderful, beautiful images which have meaning for them. Some people don’t like to look at the meaning of art designs, but for me the important part of mandala work is that the art speaks to the artist, it has a message. And when we create mandalas, we are all artists.
I rather think that the circle has meaning for us because so much of life is circular – we start off as a round blob before fertilisation. Our cells are circular. We live on a round planet with round planets around us. We see round trees, round limbs, round spinning chakras or energy centres in our bodies, sitting in circles of friendship, round particles of sand, round atomic particles (although admittedly they’re too small for us to see), round blood cells, and so on.
For me, when you embark on creating a mandala, you’re going within into your centre, to your heart and soul, to your soul’s connection with spiritual energy, from whence you start weaving patterns and symbols of creation which feed out through your heart centre, along your arms and out through your fingertips. We can access inner wisdom and bring it into being when we focus on a circle and surrender to the mystery of creation and spell-weaving through our art.
So if you’re at home and want to experience the power and wonder of mandala creation, find a quiet space, take some deep breaths and relax, draw a circle (I use whatever is round – plates, saucepan lids, etc.), put your pencil/crayon/pen in the centre of your circle, close your eyes, let go of any tension or expectations, imagine your heart opening and symbols pouring in which then float out of your heart, down to your fingertips and, when you open your eyes, onto the circle on your piece of paper. Let go of control. Don’t think. Just let the images flow and see what you create in your circle.
Most of all – relax and have fun. Remember the joy of drawing and painting when you were a kid.There is no right way. It’s not a test. It’s a journey into your inner world and bringing that inner world out into concrete form on your piece of paper.