Altar to my Spider Totem

Here’s a photo of my altar to my totem, a spider. It is customary not to name the exact spider and I connected with her when I did a soul retrieval. I had to tie a prayer string around my left wrist until it disappeared and my totem would have arrived. So I tied the knot tightly, walked out to my car and the knot had disappeared already. My spider totem appeared, her presence so strong that all the spiders in our home came out to greet her – big, middle and small spiders. Even my husband noticed the spiders everywhere. We were also living in the appropriately named Cobweb Cottage at the time!

My totem sits on my right shoulder. The drum on the wall was blank but once my totem appeared, I painted the spider image and it was amazing how the tone of the drum changed once I’d put my energy into it. I also created the Spider Woman painting. Around the drum are my beaters, rattles, a rain stick and a pair of Aboriginal clap sticks (in the red and black bag) which I sourced from an ethical outlet in the Kimberley region of north-west Western Australia. You need to be careful about buying Aboriginal art in Australia as a lot of it is cheap copies from Indonesia. But my clap sticks are the real deal.

Solidarity!

“It is in the shelter of each other that people live.” (Anonymous)

“It matters not that someone is born, but what they grow to be.” (Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter. Author: J.K. Rowling)

I’ve been absent for a while as I’ve been on what I described to a friend as an existential walkabout on the road less travelled. I felt dog-tired and unmotivated, asking myself every day “What’s it all about?”.  For some reason I felt quite short-circuited, then I had a dream which was just a message – to create art which was healing for the Earth and for its inhabitants.

So here I am back again, feeling far more motivated (thank goodness, I hate it when my MoJo up sticks and vamooses), with the above image which I’ve called “Solidarity”.

In my time away in the wilderness, I’ve wrestled with this whole question of love, violence in society and so much intolerance and hatred. I finally came to the conclusion that I am simply not interested in pathetic excuses for supporting hate and violence. Life’s too short for then negative. That’s the choice and responsibility of those who live in fear, on their knees, happy to see people who are in any way different subjected to violence, abuse and belittlement.

And I call it out as cowardly and craven because those who are happy to embrace intolerance, racial division and hatred never have to face the consequences themselves. They aren’t the 8-year-old kid who was subjected to an attempted lynching by teenagers at his school. They don’t have to worry about being shot out of hand by the police, acting with impunity, for the “crime” of being black or in the wrong place. They don’t get beaten up for being gay or trans-gender. They aren’t black kids in Australia subjected to abuse on the streets and repression by the police, governments and social services.

I am far more interested in those who show love, kindness and respect for people because they have open hearts and are willing to embrace fellow human beings of whatever colour, religious belief, sexual choice or disability because it is this which is our future. I support all those in environmental organisations fighting for the future of Mother Earth.

Living on your feet rather than cowering on your knees takes courage and hope and moral choice for good not evil. Thank god there are so many good people out their in the community of so many countries who inspire hope, optimism and respect!

Detour
 
I took a long time getting here,
much of it wasted on wrong turns,
back roads riddled by ruts.
I had adventures
I never would have known
if I proceeded as the crow flies.
Super highways are so sure
of where they are going:
they arrive too soon.
 
A straight line isn’t always
the shortest distance
between two people.
Sometimes I act as though
I’m heading somewhere else
while, imperceptibly,
I narrow the gap between you and me.
I’m not sure I’ll ever
know the right way, but I don’t mind
getting lost now and then.
Maps don’t know everything.

~ Ruth Feldman ~

 

 

Stone Songlines

I’ve returned again to a photograph of the Standing Stones of Callenish by Dina of The World According to Dina.

In this image I have linked with the concept of Australian Aboriginal songlines. Aboriginal people, as far as I can understand, have songlines which criss-cross the country and relate to physical elements, reflected in song, which act as place markers. An Aboriginal person can sing their way across the country by reflecting on the song and knowing what physical place it relates to. A person can sing a song to another person who can then traverse the countryside solely by the songlines and their relation to physical elements.

I remember watching an Aboriginal Elder being shown a painting created by another Aboriginal artist, and the Elder started singing as he “walked” through the landscape of the painting. It was astonishing and really a cause for humility in that so often we are disconnected from earth energies and yet consider Western civilisation so “advanced”.

In this instance I’ve represented the songlines or ley lines emanating from the Standing Stones of Callenish as ribbons of energy at the bottom of the painting. The white, dotted wheels represent the turning of the wheels of time as these energy lines permeate Mother Earth and connect our whole planet via the ephemeral energy lines.

We are, literally, never alone as earth energies reverberate below our feet wherever we are and anchor us to this lovely planet on which we live.

Frog Dreaming

This image is based on a special site we found in Pingelly, on the wheatbelt of Western Australia. There were huge granite rocks that had images of frogs in them, they were quite clear. It was an incredibly peaceful place and we later found out that Frog was the totem of the Aboriginal tribe of that area.

Earth’s Songlines

I picked up a packet of sea shells in our local do-it-yourself shop (called here in North Cyprus a Yapi Market). I found three beautiful shells, took a pic of them then fiddled with on Toolwiz. This is the result – it reminds me of the songlines of the earth and how we can align with them to harmonise with Planet Earth.

The three sea shells

 

Crystal Songlines: Opulent Ochre

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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.

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Pale pink Ochre
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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

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.