September 7, 2015 § Leave a comment
An early Spring afternoon. A full moon rising. An irresistible pull to the ocean.
It was an impromptu decision to jump in the car and go.
Some children relished the chance to explore the rocks as well as their physical skills. Some of us relished getting our feet wet and watching the moon rise above the swell of the water near the heads.
We stayed well past dark, bushwalking back to the car by the light of the moon.
A much needed family adventure.
April 5, 2015 § Leave a comment
As time goes by, and as my life experience accumulates, I find myself in an interesting space in regards to religion and spirituality. I have moved on from the religion to which my mother introduced me as a child, and find myself gradually moving still further from any expression of organised religion. However my spirituality runs deep, and is intertwined with nature, in which I increasingly find the purest expression of the divine, but despite this depth of feeling I do not yet feel fully immersed in any other category of spirituality, which sometimes leaves me feeling a little adrift.
These issues are on my mind right now as it is Easter, and this Easter finds Sydney a somber, rainy, dark place to be (kind of fitting really, if you follow the religious meanings of this time). Frankly I find Easter confusing: with the Christian version of Easter, the Pagan roots from which the Christian version supposedly arises, and the seasonal aspects which are woven into this holiday too.
It is not Spring where I live, it is Autumn, and the time of the Harvest. We don’t normally have pumpkins here at Halloween time in October as is traditional in the Northern Hemisphere; they are in abundance now as the weather takes its turn towards to the colder months. It feels strange to celebrate with eggs, a symbol of new life and new beginnings.
In previous years, I played along with Easter and all its stereotypical accompaniments, planning an Easter Egg hunt for Easter Sunday but adding a homemade, soulful touch with handmade bunnies for the children to keep, to become part of their daily playthings.
In recent years my enthusiasm has waned in sync with the waning of my connection to religion. Our children learn about all religions both at home, at school, and from their extended family, but I was not keen to play a part in something that lacked meaning for me. For years now our family members have been asked not to give us chocolate eggs, and the holiday has passed with us camping, or staying close to home and treating it as some special family downtime.
Now that my daughters are getting older, they bring home an awareness of these festivals and the dilemma has arisen again for me. This year I plan to straddle both the fun of Easter (for fun’s sake!), whilst somehow acknowledging the themes of renewal that Easter carries, as well as the seasonal Harvest time we find ourselves in, and the imminent descent into winter.
To accomplish most of these ideas in one go, I use the Nature Table. In Steiner Education, the aptly named Nature Table is a point within the home that holds a connection to the seasons and happenings of nature outside. I recently made space for a rather large nature table, right in the middle of our living space, and as this weekend progresses it will display the bounty of nature at this time of the year, here, where we live in our place on this Earth.
We will acknowledge the season and its gifts with some eggplant lasagne and pumpkin soup. We may talk, as a family, about what new beginnings we are facing, as well as the gifts in our lives for which we are especially thankful. And the table will hold, on Easter Sunday morning, the bounty that magically occurs at Easter. No matter my own spiritual dilemmas, I am determined for this Easter to hold some energy of reverence, and depth, and just that little touch of magic.
April 1, 2015 § 1 Comment
Six months of dreams and applications, and six weeks of intense preparations and discussions culminated on this weekend past with two Crafting the Sacred Yoni workshops held at the Seven Sisters Festival.
It was my first time attending this festival for women. Over 1500 women converged in a wild and somewhat remote location south of Melbourne. When my companion and co facilitator, Yia, and I arrived, we emerged from the car to a frigid and powerful wind that made setting up my little tent tricky, and had us both wondering how we would manage to craft successfully in such conditions.
The energy of this gathering gradually gathered us up in its movement and by the time of our first workshop the weather was all but forgotten. Forty women came, crafted and left with their own unique Yoni. I always suspected this workshop had the potential to be both powerful and healing, but I was deeply moved by the depth of creativity and journeying that each woman took in the ninety minutes we spent together.
I found it extremely interesting how the Yonis were influenced by both which life cycle stage a woman was in, as well as a more subtle influence of her monthly cycle point. By the time of our second workshop, the last time slot of the entire festival, the process felt deeper still as the participants seemed more deeply opened to themselves through other workshops and events they had attended.
Yia and I facilitated just over eighty women crafting their own Yonis this past weekend. It was exhilarating, exhausting, deep, tender, raw and so powerful. Not sure what is next for this little workshop idea but I am already so filled with wonder and gratitude for the journey so far.
And now, for some snapshots…..
January 29, 2015 § 1 Comment
Photos by William Price.
I’ve long been fascinated by the Tree of Life – an ancient image that is sacred in many religions and cultures.
The tree reaches both down into the earth, and up into the heavens. I have read that for some, the branches represent male, and the leaves female. The Tree of Life symbology also incorporates the four directions, as well as the Milky Way.
It can represent the spiritual realm, where the dualities of light and dark, or good and evil do not exist. Think of the Bodhi Tree, under which sat Buddha until he attained enlightenment. In Christianity, the tree can represent the cross, and the blood of Jesus Christ is referred to as the Fruits of the Tree of Life. And of course there is the tree from which Eve plucked a forbidden apple to eat, thus finding herself and Adam banished from the Garden of Eden
Probably the stories that I am most familiar with involve the Norse legend of Yggdrasil, a most sacred tree that is at the center of all life. It reaches far into the heavens, as well as below the earth, therefore connecting it to all nine realms. Gods would regularly visit the tree, and it is from this tree and the tales surrounding it that other trees, such as ash or oak, have come to have sacred meanings and uses.
I first became interested in crafting my own Tree of Life some seven years ago, whilst living in QLD. We bought a good friend of ours an Egyptian representation of the tree on papyrus paper. The accompanying description of its meaning intrigued me deeply, as this was the first time I had seen birds present.
In the Egyptian Tree of Life, there are four or five birds depicted, representing the different stages of life from infancy through to adulthood and death, or for me more personally, the four stages of womanhood: maiden, mother, magii, and crone. All but one bird faces the East. In the Egyptian telling, the East, being where the sun rises, represents life. The West, embodied by one bird facing this way, looks toward eventual and inevitable death. I often look at the birds and think of the stages of womanhood I have passed through, and those I have yet to meet.
My husband, being a very talented artist, helped me draw the first template of my internal vision. Then, taking felt, my preferred textile, I created. The very first Tree of Life I made went to a dear friend, wise woman and mentor, for the occasion of her own Harvest Queen Ceremony. Since then I have made four more: one for my own mother, one for myself, and two sold – not to strangers, but to women who I know or know of in my community. Because of this, I think the pieces have remained highly meaningful, and indeed have become even more powerful in their symbolism and beauty (at least I hope so!).
Each Tree of Life is slightly different in leaf colour, in bird positioning, and of course through the normal variations that occur when making by hand. In this final piece, pictured above, I have tried to reflect the seasons through the changing color of the leaves. Every aspect is made by me: the felt, hand dyed. The leaves and bird shapes, cut by hand. And everything hand stitched in place. After seven years and five different variations, the Tree of Life still remains one of my favourite creations.
June 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
The weeks are flying by at this point of the year. We are hurtling towards the end of the school term, as well as the Winter Solstice. In the next two weeks I will attend three spiral walks to mark the Solstice, and will have to pack for three children to attend an overnight camp and Lantern Walk with their school.
I love the spiral walk….the walk into the centre of the spiral reflects the seasons’ journey into Winter, and darkness. We light a candle in the centre and return outwards, the candle a representation of the light held within all of us throughout the dark Winter months – the light we anticipate the return of in Spring and Summer.
This year my eldest daughter Lily will accompany me to a Women’s Spiral Walk, and I love her excited anticipation of the experience we are going to share. Sometimes, at the centre of the spiral, I am called to surrender something to the greater forces that underpin the changing seasons and our responses to them.
This year it will be fear: the many small moments of fear masquerading as doubt or ‘sense’ that keep me from charging ahead with all the many grand plans I have in my mind. Taking daily steps towards my goals has been a hard learned process and is often still a struggle, but when I look at the big picture of life, the progress is clear to see. It all comes back to the moment: the thoughts we think, the action we take.
This moment, all we will ever have.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to all of you who read my blog and support my evolution as both human being and writer. I promised a giveaway at 100 posts – the winner is Maryen (chosen via the highly technical process of pulling a name out of a hat!), who left a comment after post #98. Maryen, I will be in contact soon to find out what crafty goody from www.etsy.com.au/shop/littlefeltrainbows you would like!
July 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
I am in a field.
An endless field, surrounded by peaked mountains in the distance. The feeling is free, yet safe and enclosed. The sun’s rays inhabit every molecule of air and waves of wind are rushing across the long grasses.
As I turn around there are a pile of boulders behind me. I am drawn closer, and discover an opening between them. I enter, and the darkness is quick to surround me as I descend stairs cut into rock.
At the bottom there is a kind of doorway, though with no actual door. I step into a new scene, a new field, like I have just changed levels in a shopping mall. In this view however, a small brook runs, with willow trees dipping their arching branches into the edges of the water. Eagles fly high overhead, and there is an expansiveness to the sky. But I must follow the water.
It leads to an open cave that faces the river. Rock walls and a high rock ceiling surround a comfortable area. There is a pile of furs on the ground and a crackling fire. Immediately I sink into the furs and warm up beside the flames, all the while feeling a gentle breeze on my face and seeing the gurgling rush of the brook. Behind me there are pictures on the wall: ancient, primal scenes of animals, shelters, and hands.
And suddenly there is a figure….a woman, older. She wears native american dress and has a distinctive nose, and deep, dark, endless eyes. Her energy is strong, yet compassionate. In a rush my troubles spill out….not through my speaking voice, but mind voice. She hears it all with an almost imperceptible nod of acknowledgement. She carries a staff decorated with feathers and leather thonging. Her hair is long and graying. I know I trust her, and love her.
I lie for a while, knowing this place is just for me and letting myself feel nurtured by this sacred space. I notice crystal clusters here and there around the space. I know there is a bruise over my heart and so with my mind I focus the crystal energy down to dissolve it. The process brings such a deep sadness to my awareness that I almost cannot continue.
The the woman’s voice speaks inside my mind….telling me how it will be, providing answers and reminding me of my gifts of strength and intuition. I can’t recall the exact words, but I know the memory of them is there, deep inside. I know I have been changed by this encounter.
It is time to leave. I don’t wish to, but I must. I reluctantly leave the furs and fire, following the brook back to the stone staircase. I ascend slowly, knowing that each step brings me closer to my reality, to my perceived ‘problems’ and anxiety, to the responsibilities that sometimes sit so heavy. I know rather than feel that healing has begun. How many more times will I visit this place before my smile is less slow to shine?