I created this piece of acrylic artwork when I lived in Australia and it’s always seemed a bit dull to me, so I returned to it today to add more life.
I think, metaphorically speaking, it also represents me returning to life and the magick, sparkles and glitter of the wonderful Planet Earth on which we live.
I’ve been feeling out of sorts for ages, depressed, tired and lethargic. Last summer’s heat here in North Cyprus (40C most days through late July- early September) really did a number on me; I’ve had a few kidney infections; a lousy bout of the ‘flu which lasted about 5-6 weeks in early January, plus a stomach bug.
I’ve come to realise that one thing which really kicks me in the gut and starts off kidney trouble is animal abuse and cruelty which turns up out of the blue in Facebook posts as well as the terrible images of refugees and asylum seekers seeking shelter and safety. I have taken steps to minimise this as much as possible for self-preservation and my physical health.
I can tend to be a serious person, and god knows there’s plenty of suffering in the world to take very seriously. But today I realised I’d lost touch with the fact that there are stars in the sky, there are star songs which surround us at unknown levels, there is so much love around, so many people doing good deeds and spreading kindness, lovely art, good people, laughter, joy and happiness if you care to be open to it, and suddenly I felt the power of magic in my life again.
So to return to my original artwork, I’ve added colour at the centre to represent the power of a strong, loving heart, feathers in two corners to represent the flight of hope, Swarovski flatback crystals for the magick in our lives, tiny rose quartz chips in two corners to represent loving kindness, and of course glitter abounds to represent the stars, the starstuff within us and the power within all of us to sing the stars to earth.
Magick, glitter and the song of the stars rule!
(Artwork price: US$75; postage US$25)
Yesterday I had to revamp one of the paintings I created when I was living in Woodenbong in northern New South Wales. We lived in the mountains on the rim of the caldera of an ancient volcano and it was a time in my life when I really was absorbed in Goddess and Earth energy.
The original painting had a barn owl’s wing resting in a piece of wood I found when I took our little Jack Russell, Rosie, for a walk. I used to let Rosie (now sadly over the Rainbow Bridge after 16.5 years of her lively, loving presence) go where she wanted and often found material for my artwork in our ramblings.
I came across the barn owl lying beside the road when we lived in Pingelly, on the wheatbelt east of Perth, Western Australia (yes, I know, we’ve moved around a lot), and I kept both wings (and yes, again, my husband thought I was stark, staring mad!).
I felt the wing fitted well into the wood when I’d fixed it into the artwork and it’s stayed that way until I noticed yesterday that the wing had fallen to bits. Some insect had got into it and eaten a lot of it away, so I had to remove it and look for a replacement.
In earlier times, I would have ranted and raved about losing the barn owl’s wing, but now I’m a lot older I simply view it as another step forward in the road I’m treading on earth. So I hunted around and found a feather fan I’d created a while back, with local wood, feathers from Australia, and clear quartz stones wrapped around the wood. It fitted perfectly into the wood, in place of the barn owl feather, along with some of the remaining feathers from the barn owl’s wing, and I felt it signified a shift in energy to shamanic work with the winds of the earth. I am very connected to air, wind, feathers and birds as – in astrological terms – I have nine air signs, so my motto is: “I think, therefore I am!”
I use the term “shamanic” with some reservation as I certainly don’t see myself as a shaman, nor do I wish to appropriate symbols from First Nations people for whom shamanic work is a life gift (or curse, however you wish to see it) which is not in the Western spiritual tradition. However, working with the energies of this artwork and the other artwork I created in Woodenbong seems best suited to “shamanic” in a very, very broad sense.
Previously I called this artwork “Woman of Power”, and now I’ve named it “Shaman of the Winds”. Other symbols included in the artwork are: a piece of hollow wood to represent ability to act as a hollow bone to bring spirit into being at the earth level; mookaite stone (Australian jasper) to represent Australian energies; spider – representing creativity and my Totem; red, wooden petals at the base intermingled with small tumbled stones for earth energy; gold glitter for wisdom; centre wood for grounding; and a gold network over the base paint to represent the net of light which connects us all.
All change – toot, toot!
Over the past couple of days I’ve had fun creating a feather smudge wand and altering some of my stone pendants.
I have been meaning to create a wand with feathers to use for smudging sage smoke but the day before yesterday felt a real urge to go out for a walk, stepped out of our apartment building and there, on the field facing our parking area, was exactly the right stick and it had fallen off the hawthorn tree. So I grabbed that, continued my walk around our apartment block and, by the time I’d got home, the wood had separate into two, with one being just right for creating my wand.
I had fiddled with the feathers a few times and nothing worked out quite right, but when I decided to work with the end of the stick which had a few thin twigs everything fell into place really fast, as the twigs made a cradle for the feathers. The wand is created from feathers I’ve collected over the years:
* Crow feathers for deep insight and inspiration, for opening to the sacred and hidden depths;
* Kookaburra feathers for sharp vision and ability to retain a sense of humour, of the absurd and to keep my feet on the ground;
* Rainbow lorikeet feathers to remind me of the vast array of treasures available to us here on Mother Earth.
I have white sage in the garden so, when the weather’s cleared up a bit and the leaves have dried out, I’m going to cut quite a few leaves to make smudge sticks.
Well, no, I’m not exactly talking in dreams but the last one I had was very simple and very clear and was about communication: I was in my home watching as a phone landline was being installed to my house. A bit ironic in one way because landlines in North Cyprus are as rare as hen’s teeth, mobile phones are the way to go here.
For me, the dream was saying that my communication paths are opening up, perhaps not quite there, because the trench for the cables hadn’t quite reached my home (which in dreams often means yourself). But the poems are crowding into my head now, lining up to be written so things are changing for me and I feel on a bit of a roll.
I decided also that I’d revamp my sanctuary tables too. I’m not comfortable really with the term “altar” as it brings back unpleasant memories of being in a convent as a kid. But I decided I liked the term “sanctuary tables” because they do represent for me a connection to the earth, to ground me and to help me cope with life on earth.
I have suffered from depression in the past but have managed to work through to its causes which has helped me stay pretty sane (well, I think I’m sane, others might have different ideas!). But I do find life on earth hard, particularly when I see what evil humanity is capable of. A comment by Russell Brand about Robin Williams’ tragic suicide rang so many bells for me I could feel tears welling up: “an attempt to anaesthetise against a reality that constantly knocks against your nerves.”
I’m lucky in that I have a lot of optimism within me – I am so grateful for the good that people do, the help that is extended so generously to others, the outrage at social injustice, the artists and singers, my friends, my wonderful husband, our menagerie of cats and dogs. But I do find very wearing the selfishness, the rage around these days, the focus on things rather than people, the lies of governments, the victimisation and scapegoating of the poor and dispossessed, the greed of the super-rich and the way governments serve big business, not the people.
So my tables are sanctuaries for me – the reminder of the sacred in watching birds fly; hearing birds sing; feeling the energy of rocks and crystals, hearing the purity of my singing bowl; feeling energised by using my rattles; tuning into earth, fire, air and water. So today I also burned a feather from my past, my old me. I know I’m moving in new directions because the way I dress is also changing – not so gypsy-ish as I was in Australia, I’m wearing tighter clothing as I’m showing more of myself as I am but, don’t worry, still got the purple hair!
The Round Glass Table in my Study:
The turquoise of the bowl represents communication with love; at the bottom of the bowl are dried rose petals from the Apothecary’s Rose in my garden, one of my favourite roses, and obviously to remind me of love; around the edge are feathers for the air element – from pigeons, doves, rainbow lorikeets, pheasant coucals (a cuckoo found in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, Australia) and kookaburras. In astrological terms, I have nine air signs and no earth signs, so birds are important to me being representative of the air element, but I need crystals, rocks and stones to ground me back to the earth element. So on the table are three spheres: ruby for energy; labradorite for magic communication; and girasol for the vast, expansive energy of Jupiter. There are also two crow wings which I salvaged from a crow killed by a car, and a barn owl wing, again salvaged from a barn owl killed by a car. Both again represent air element for me. Also on the table are the elements I worked with on soul retrieval which remain private and sacred – burning the feather today represented a return to wholeness for me and a letting go of the past. And finally the Buddha figure reminds me of the sacred in life, while the petrified wood underneath brings back memories of my eight years in south-east Queensland where I turned my life around, discovered the artist, teacher, photographer and writer within and never looked back.
The Round, Black Glass Table on my Verandah:
The rocks around the centre bowl all represent important memories and relationships for me. The bowl in the centre is green, for the energy of water, and in the bowl are rocks, coloured glass pebbles again representing the colour of water, and pine cones for earth energy. There are also sparkly, white balls which represent the stars and galaxies around us.
And after all the wordy descriptions, here are my sanctuary tables:
This is my collection of feathers which I’ve gathered over the years, all of them in Australia. They are crow, rainbow lorikeet, pigeon, dove, kookaburra, pheasant coucal and barn owl. I use them in ritual and ceremony as they have a strong connection with the air element.