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Friday, September 26, 2008

On Getting Carried Away

*Cottage Garden (by *Susie*'s Photostream ~Flickr)

"May I a small house and large garden have,
And a few friends, and many Books, both true,
Both wise, and Both delightful too."

Abraham Cowler 1618-1667
English Poet

There is a lot to be said for getting carried away. An exploration of the limitless imagination can provide many a sweet dream and more than a few relaxing hours. I do love a good 'away with the fairies' hour. Never more so than now. I've been getting quite carried away with the possibility of owning my own home for the first time in my life. Yes, the Hubble and I are taking the plunge finally. Finally meaning we can actually afford to now that we live in one of the cheapest areas of Melbourne in which to buy property (outside of the slightly less salubrious areas at any rate). We saw, we likey, we put in a conservative offer which is likely to be accepted. We find out on Monday. This is both ARGH! and YAY!

Owning ones own home is, I believe, a spiritual necessity unless you able to rent one place that you love in the long-term and decorate it how you please. (We have been unfortunate enough to have to move house twice in under two years due to people selling our rental properties out from under us). I cannot tell you how thoroughly joyous I am that my years of being subject to someone elses colour palette are coming to an end. No more beige or peach or lilac walls for me. no more horrible turquoise and peach lino from the 80's, no more floral monstrosities passing as curtains. Ah the sweet, sweet promise of change. It practically makes me giddy.

And don't even get me started on the garden. Despite its perilous incline, the current owners of our property have created a sort of magical walking wonderland out back. Tiny paved pathways lead up and up and up past all sorts of wonderful fauna and flora and, most magical of all, they have already created a vegetable patch. Now I'm the first to admit I have less than green thumbs, but I do have a lot of enthusiasm and a watering can - so how hard can it be?! I have just ordered myself a copy of the most wonderful book called 'All New Square Foot Gardening' and it promises to be a most enlightening read with regard to growing a fair amount of veggies in a small amount of space. not that we have a small amount of space. We have a whopping back plot but the current veggie garden is conservative and I'm happy to start small. Best to kill only small amounts of defenceless vegetables to start off with, don't you think? They'll have no extended family and they probably won't be missed.

Anyway - I have been dreaming big dreams of increasing self-sufficiency. A getting back to nature scenario that would probably scare an aborigine. I've gone into great detail about my fantasy new life. I become a sort of 1950's housewife crossed with Diane Fossey and it's all about baking, cooking from scratch (frugally but with great gusto) using fresh organic ingredients from my very own patch, knitting, sewing and making stuff, maybe even quilting. Hell, I've even bought a book on making soft toys from old socks. (By the way, an update on my Sock Monkey project for my daughters second birthday coming soon!).

There I am, far svelter than I am in real life, sporting rolled up jeans and flip flops digging my hands into the soil and getting ever closer to mother earth all with fantastically manicured nails. It's just so divine. I imagine myself sitting out on my gorgeous suntrap of a terrace, surrounded by fresh herbs and fruit trees, sipping a pot of chai or chamomile tea, watching the brightly coloured Rosellas and Cockatoos flying around our bird feeder. Nodding a gentle hello to the gigantic black faced sheep mowing our back lawn as he enjoys a leisurely green breakfast. Chuckling as next doors chooks spook at something Bella* says to them with her mischievous yellow eyes. Laughing at my daughters antics as she tries to plant seeds in small boxes full of black, richly scented earth. (She is incredibly well behaved in this fantasy and never makes a mess or lobs tufts of dirt at me, as she is likely to do in real life). I lounge on my chaise in the sun room and read for hours. I potter about in the kitchen. I play with my wee girl and yodel hello to the neighbours. Later we'll swap recipes and gardening tips (though hopefully not partners). It is an idyll.

*Kitchen Garden (Susies photostream ~ Flickr)

Of course its all dependent upon whether or not they accept our offer. Monday seems an awfully long way away on this quiet Friday evening. Still, I will miss this relatively gently sloping garden with its tall gums and its shady wattles. It is a lovely garden and made all the more lovely with the knowledge that my days sitting out on its prickly green grass watching for the sunset, are now numbered. In just 60 or more days, we could be gone from this emerald patch and its wonderful sights and smells. Gone to a better place sure but still gone - and that makes me just a little bit sad. But only a little.

Because of my complete immersion in the new fantasy version of my life in my new house, I rather rashly suggested to my hubble that we 'make' everyone's Christmas presents this year. Yes, I know, it's probably insane. I've never really been into cooking or baking or crafts etc. I've always had the envy but never the time or inclination. However, as we will be living like wild green fairies in the jewel of Tremont and stretching ourselves to our financial limit to do so, I thought it might be nice to hand make things for our rellies, this side of the globe at least. So, with that in mind I intend to find out what everyone's favourite goodies are and make them up a batch. Maybe even make them into small gift baskets. I'm thinking easily doable things like scones, muffins, cookies, shortbread, damper - that sort of thing - all done up in cellophane and tied with a pretty ribbon and a handmade card. I might even do Christmas icing or whatnot - though this may prove too ambitious. These are pictures of two cakes I made from scratch and iced for my beanies 1st birthday. Note the rather wobbly looking farm animals. Hmmm...

Me looking very pleased with meself.
A green sheep.

A red pig, a blue cow, a yellow duckie and a whole lot of handmade birthday love.

Anyway, this suggestion was happily taken up by my husband and so now I'm sort of committed. Or I should be. I did make it clear that he had to help - especially when I'm in the grip of the almost terrible two's and am tearing my hair out.

There is a definite yearning in me to live a more sustainable life. To walk lightly on the earth and leave only footprints. I have always experienced such profound (and physical) heartache when I am in the presence of truly beautiful scenery. It doesn't have to be grand or dramatic either. I remember being almost moved to tears once by my old bosses garden on a particularly lovely summers day. I'm hoping that this potential garden, this new green haven of dirt and grass and plants will breathe new life into my sometimes ragged soul and allow that connection to deepen. To ripen like fruit in an orchard, waiting to be touched by a divine hand and taken on an unforgettable journey.

I am drawn to a more simple life of living in harmony with the passing seasons, of eating more healthily, of crafting things rather than buying mass produced plastic products, of engendering a growing awareness of the earth and her many precious gifts in my precious little one. I want her to grow up knowing her connection to that which is greater than ourselves and which we feel in deeper contact with when we are out in nature. i want her to know where her food comes from and how it grows -how it looks and smells and tastes and what it means to do this for yourself. I want her to know how to sew and make things with her hands. I want her to be fully present in her life and to know the magic that she has been given to create a life of joy and purpose, no matter what she chooses as a career.


It is these things that carry me away right now. To a place of sweet dreams scented with basil and honeysuckle. Why don't you come join me?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Winds of Change

Photo by Bayat on Flickr.

There's nothing I love more than moving. No. Wait. Sorry. That's my lobotomised self coming through. What I should have said is that I HATE moving. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. It practically makes me feel suicidal, so deep is my enmity towards it. Not moving into a new space and all the promise that that holds, that's pretty cool actually. It's more the packing of endless boxes, realising how much crap one has unconsciously accumulated and tussling with oneself about whether to continue to hoard or throw overboard. Then there's the redirection of mail (we are still enjoying our current redirection thanks) and the cancelling of bills and services followed quickly (or happening simultaneously) by reconnecting services and changing addresses on absolutelyeverydamnthing. That's what I hate. Oh and loading and unloading large trucks and watching unnervingly hairy 18 year olds mangle furniture. I'm still smarting from the last move (a mere 10 months ago) when aformentioned reptilian brained teenagers placed our microwave oven on top of our beautiful wooden hall table WITHOUT anything inbetween. Massive scratching still visible. Teenager strangely never heard from again...

Ho Hum.

So, here we are again. 10 months into the second tenancy that ends with our house being sold out from under us. (Bitter? Moi?). After only just really getting settled in, we are now required to move. Our tenancy runs out in November and after that it's a 'month by month' while the owner tries to sell. We had our first open for inspection on Saturday. Am I the only person who secretly resents unknown persons wandering freely through my inner sanctum? I know its actually hypocritical as we are out doing the self-same thing every Saturday. But still. It's me. Harrumph.

The hubble starts a new job on Monday and has this week off, so we have actually started the nauseating job of packing. We figure that if we do it slowly but methodically, it will be more bearable and, perhaps, less a case of throwing everything into boxes pell mell, forgetting to label them and then spending 2-hours trying to find the kettle and cups. We shall see. I can't even bear the thought of what's lurking under the house (usually big hairy arachnids). Shudder.

Never mind. As one door shuts (literally) another opens. We might be buying a house. The hubble accidentally stumbled upon a fantastic house on Saturday. I'd like to explain about this happy accident because it will also tell you a lot about my husband. He was returning from his visit to the dentist* (first time in 4 years) and saw an 'Open for Inspection' sign. He had a quick shufty around said property - no go. He got in his car and pootled on, saw another sign, realised that it was well out of our price range and carried on driving. He saw an interesting road he liked the look of, turned into it, saw a sign for ANOTHER open for inspection and turned towards it. 15 minutes later i get a call from a (trying not to sound too excited) husband demanding that I join him at my earliest convenience. 10 minutes after that (and with only 5 minutes remaining of the inspection) I arrived. Looked around the house, loved what I saw and entered into frantic whispered discussion about buying said property. Now we are currently engaged in organising a mortgage, inspecting the property again with family (tomorrow) and plotting to buy. Very exciting stuff. The location is wonderful. So secluded (and at the end of an unsealed dirt road), in amongst the trees and so 'country' that we share a sheep (cum lawnmower) with our two neighbours! Did I mention that our other neighbour has a pony? I'll keep you posted. We could be homeowners by the weekend. Yikes! By the way, our new home is so remote that our home comes complete with this sign.

In anticipation of this potential move and in anticipation of the painting frenzy it will surely bring, I went out and bought Beanie some lovely 'big girl' bedding for her new bed. (It's actually her daddy's old single bed but we are going to paint the stripped pine white and make it more girly for her). The bed set is gorgeous. Here are my rather pathetic photos of it.

The Butterfly in more flowery detail.

Well, I must go. My daughter is brandishing a rubicks cube at me and muttering darkly about the 'miaow'. I fear for the life of our poor chubby Poohsey. New words are emerging daily from our nearly 2-year olds mouth, not least of which is 'Oh, this is nice,' and 'this is licious!' I just love it.

Squeak soon.

*the lucky bastard has perfect teeth. Not so much as a coffee stain on his pearly whites (though he did have full headgear for most of his adolescence). It will reveal even more about him to know that it didn't bother him in the slightest to have great wads of metal coming out of him from (almost) every orifice and he went on to star as Jesus in Godspell!). I, on the other hand, have only to think of going to the dentist in order to need a root canal. HarrbloodyRumph!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Happy Heart

Well, I hardly know what to say actually. Not something that is usually a problem for me. The lovely Moonroot has nominated me for an 'I Love Your Blog' award and I'm very touched. It is wonderful to know that someone reads my waffling and likes it! Anyway, thank you Moonroot for your kind words about my blog and for nominating me for this award. I'd like to thank my mother for having me, my management company and of course God...


The Rules for those receiving an award are:

1. The winner can put the logo on their blog
2. Link the person you received the award from
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4. Put links of those blogs on yours
5. Leave a message on the blogs nominated

Now I'd like to do some nominating of my own.

There are a couple of blogs that really do warm the cockles of my soft little heart and these are:

1. DocWitch at Dark Side of the Broom, whose posts are funny, smart and with just enough wildness to make me love her more with every read. I am addicted.

2. Erin at BlueBirdBaby Her blogs have inspired me many, many times and I adore her unbridled creativity and shining, happy spirit. Any woman who can juggle motherhood and creativity gets my vote!

3. Jessica MacBeth at Sings to Coyotes, because she just tickles me. And how much do I love the title of that blog!

4. Rema at The Hermitage
(thanks Moonroot!) because she lives in Scotland (pang), she has a cool earth sprite wagon and because she appeals to my wild gypsy heart. Plus talented or what?

5. Terri Windlings Studio beautiful artwork - mythic and moving. Love it.

6. Kitchen Witch - cos I have a soft spot in my heart for other witchypoo's. Especially smart ones.

7. Inside a Black Apple because I have craft envy.

8. A Goddess in the Kitchen because she's funny and cooks and has 5 kids and still manages to do, well, anything... plus she's a tiny bit ranty sometimes and I secretly like that.

Well, I hope that you'll check out these other wonderful blogs. I'll check in again later. Off to spend some quality time with my bubsy.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Come As You Are

"If you surrender yourself to your essence,
the whole world surrenders to you."
Come As You Are ~Rumi

So, I have changed the name of my blog and in doing so, I have changed its reason for being. In the beginning The Dark Mother was upon me, with me and working her shadow magic through me. I believe that I am emerging, blinking, into the light of a new day. It is as much a decision as it is a process. I no longer wish to dwell in darkness. I no longer wish to mother through shadow. Who I am is splitting open and I am more ready than before to face the discomfort and joy that this journey will bring. I am ready to face that which I have previously turned away from and to sit with it. In this change comes a promise of peace.

It's not that I expect that my life will continue onwards without darkness. I know that it won't and I don't think I would enjoy it if it did. I appreciate the dark. I love the night and the end to striving that it brings. I would not more be without the dark as a balance to the light as I would be without the night as a balance to the day. I still hit the edges. I still struggle with my vulnerability in motherhood and my anger but, despite this, I simply want to refocus my attention on the possibilities for awakening that are present in this journey. The new title comes from a book I'm currently reading by Pema Chodron called Starting Where You Are (see What Mummy is Reading). She refers to Bodhichitta which is the awakened heart - the art of living in our wounded, softened heart. I don't know why but it spoke to me. It is a journey I feel I have been unknowingly working towards all of my life. My spiritual journey, though sometimes confused, has always been towards this state of Bodhichitta. I long to soften and awaken my heart and begin the process of unravelling those places within me that are battered and bruised. Not because I want to wear them as some sort of badge of honour - 'look what I have survived' - but more because I simply want to let it all go. Those who have visited here before will know how hard I find it to surrender and it is precisely because of that that I am walking, head down, into its powerful wind.

What I love about this idea of the awakened heart is the capacity for joy it contains. I have been inspired over and over by *Erin from Bluebirdbaby and she refers to this state of unadulterated joy for the simplicity of life in her recent Butterfly post. She is another woman who, like me, struggled with motherhood initially before learning the subtle art of surrender and the joy that it contains. She really has 'got it'. She explains her experience of it better than I ever could, so please pop over to her blog and enjoy her own words on the subject.

It has taken some time but I have finally begun to understand the true nature of the statement 'with our thoughts we make our world' ~Buddha and, this being so, I needed to step voluntarily out of my own shadow and into the world of lightness once again. I am someone, who despite a natural tendency to be sentimental and soft-hearted, leads with my extremely sharp mind. I am not a scientific type or a maths and numbers type, I am a creative sort who is held hostage by my overly analytical brain and because I am so soft-centred, it often leads to unhappiness with the way things are. I punish myself severely for all perceived mistakes or wrongs and I never give myself any credit for the things I do right. I am not tender or kind or compassionate to myself. I am not patient or understanding of my faults. And so I am here, at this strangely quiet internal crossroads, not walking but waiting until the path becomes clear to me. I am here learning to be compassionate and kind to the only person that really matters on this journey. Me. It sounds terribly selfish doesn't it? I know. I have a hard time putting myself first in any situation but its true. My spiritual journey has nothing to do with my hubble or my child. It is only about the unfolding of my Self. Sure it may impact on them - positively or negatively - but it is not about them. What they think or experience is not the focus of my spiritual journey, only awakening my heart and following my soul's guidance is important here. In this place I am more present and therefore more able to love well than when I wear myself weary to the bone trying always to put them first. In the place of the awakened heart there is joy in every moment if we are awake to see it - how could that not benefit them?

I am beginning a new type of meditation this week - *Shamatha-Vipashyana - just a conscious watching of the breath and an awareness of my self-talk which is simply labelled as 'talking' and let go of. I'll let you know how I go. My meditation has been sporadic of late due to my daughter's somewhat unpredictable waking and sleeping cycle. She's been waking up at my meditation time again recently and crying out for me. I am powerless to resist the pull of those sad little 'mamma mamma' kitten cries. I think i have been a bit stagnant of late actually and reading Pema has put me back on track once more. I am not a buddhist, nor do I have any aspirations to become one. I am simply drawn to the simplicity of that way of life and wish to try new things. I will always be a daughter of the Goddess because my wild green heart demands it of me.

So - I will leave you with a poem from Rumi to contemplate. It is one which I think perfectly describes my state of being.

Come as You Are

Where is Islam's accent
when it comes to the language of love?
If you surrender yourself to your essence,
the whole world surrenders to you.

Every day spent in separation feels as long as a year.
But when you come out of separation,
where does the day go?
And what becomes of the night?

On this pilgramage, removing the dress
of your existence
is the cloak you must wear.
But who will be able to comply
with the conditions of this cloak?

Village and town, near and far,
the changing seasons,
all are on this side of the sea.
But on the other side, where is the town?
Where are the seasons?

Man's mind and reason have created
the cold loneliness of separation.
But when he warms up with that wine,
where is the mind? And what becomes of reason?

A bird in the cage
is under someone else's control.
But when he breaks the cage and flies away,
what becomes of the control?
Where even is the bird?

When the mind is confined to the head,
it tempts the body to commit sins.
But when the mind of minds explodes open,
where are the sins now? Where is the body?

If you drink,
go swaying to the land of secrets
without your feet.
If you're already drunk, then come as you are.
Where has your mind gone?
And where is the need to be something
you are not?

*Erin and I share quite a lot in common - particularly books and ideas.*
*This link is to a page with an excerpt from the aforementioned Pema Chodron's book which tells you how to do this type of meditation. Very simple.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Business of Being Divine

Well it has been a while, hasn't it?

I've been wanting to come and post a bloglette but have unfortunately been buried under a pile of little Goodie Bags waiting to be filled with their magical spoils. I have spent the last 4 nights, printing off tiny spell scrolls, rolling up tiny spell scrolls, tying up tiny spell scrolls and putting tiny spell scrolls into appropriate coloured bags. I have also been up until 1am for the last two nights filling small sparkly bags with appropriately coloured candles, a stick of incense, a money off Tarot voucher card and my gorgeous business card. Then I spent a night filling small roller ball bottles with almond oil and a blend of aphrodisiac essential oils and making myself feel a tiny bit sick in the process. I guess you can have too much of a good thing. It did make me dream about sex a lot though so it must work! We have Purple bags for Success, White bags for either Peace or Soul-Purpose, Gold bags for Creativity, Pink bags for Love and Red bags for Passion. This blur of activity is just part of the work that goes into producing one of our gorgeous events and these bags in particular are given away for free at our hen nights. We also have pretty boxes filled with White Tigress Love Potion Number 3 - a potent blend of tantric massage oil guaranteed to bring out the Tigress in you! So that's tonights entertainment sorted then. (Making up the bottles and boxes - not so much trying out the wares unfortunately!). I must be ovulating or something... all this skirting around sex and sensuality. Still this is the business of The Divine Feminine and it's what keeps me up at night.

Moving swiftly on.

In recent weeks I have been busy with matters more spiritual. Namely the making of my beaters. Yes, many moons ago I made a lovely drum. In fact, many moons ago Lausy and I made our beautiful drums together - from the same Red Deer. It was my birthday gift to her and a wonderful day for both of us. Making a drum is an interesting experience for two vegetarians (well I was then!). Handling the wet slippery skin of a deceased majestic beastie is quite, well, disgusting actually. And yet not - if that makes any sense to you. We were asked to choose our skins intuitively. That meant closing our eyes, having a wet skin put on the table in front of us and running our hands all over it before deciding if this was 'our skin' or not. I remember touching the first skin and shaking my head. Something about it felt like a 'no' to me. I then touched a second skin and nodded vigorously. This skin felt right under my hands and I wanted to keep touching it. When Laura and I opened our eyes our drum teacher told us that we had both refused the others skin! We then spent the afternoon stretching and strapping on our skin to our drum hoop. It was a complicated and tricky business but very satisfying to watch our spirit drums take shape. We were both so thrilled with our finished drums that we rushed out and put them on a shelf for 2 years.

Kitty's Drum - *note the two dark striped markings that looks like a bird in flight in the centre. My drum maker suggested it looked like an Eagle.

I have increasingly been using my drum in ritual but before that it sat forlornly on a shelf thrumming with a longing to be beaten. To sound out the hearts call to Spirit. Anyway, in honour of my drum and in order that its sacred voice might be heard and as I had never gotten around to making a beater (we ran out of time on the day!), two weeks ago I booked myself onto a drum making course with a friend and asked to make two beaters. I don't know why two. I just wanted two. The reasons will become clearer in time. Maybe I is greedy.

It was great fun. The lovely Judy O'Donnell (who is a goddess of all trades but is fantastically good at making drums) brought out her specially chosen branches, her sheepskin pieces and her lovely suede coloured beater heads. I chose a green head for my 'day' beater and a purple one for my 'night' beater. Once we had chosen our bits 'n' pieces she then produced a veritable witches cauldron of animal, mineral, arachnid and bird bits for us to include. On the day in question the drum makers and I had been asked to draw a medicine card for our drum. There were two Whales, one Bird and I drew Spider for my beaters! So right off the bat I was given a spider carcass to put in. Pause for cackling.

As I had decided to make a night and day beater, I separated my 'bits' into two piles. After much eyebrow raising at the contents of her special basket, my beaters were filled with the following:

Night Beater:
Moth (wing - intuition, psychic perception, knowledge of other world), Bat (bones - Rebirth), Spider (whole), Snake (skin - transmutation, sexual energy, women's wisdom), Horse (hair - power) and Cat (fur - integrity/embracing the unknown)

Day Beater:
Horse (hair), Possum (fur - invisibility, ability to avoid danger), Buffalo (fur - abundance), Snake (skin), Echidna (spine - playfulness, trust), Bee (legs) and Moth (wing)

Both beaters also contained sand from a Tibetan Mandala, Vibhuti (Vibhuti is the sacred ash used in religious worship in Hinduism) from both Amma - the Hugging Mother and the lovely Sai Babba, sage, sweetgrass and cedar to honour our native brothers and sisters, and a pinch of red ochre to honour the Red Centre of this land. We then beaded our beaters and added feathers.

The birds that chose me were Raven, Tawny Frogmouth and Magpie for the night beater,

and Duck, Hawk and Galagh for the day beater.

Both beaters also have a separate strand of Ostrich feathers to honour the spirits of this land.

The story of Ostrich is that it voluntarily gave up its power of flight in order to walk the earth here. That makes it's medicine very special for our earth walk.

So - after all that activity, I ended up with two very special beaters for my beautiful drum and here they are united at last.

I am intending to attend some Full Moon Drumming in Dromana with Judy and her friends next month, so I'll be sure to take some photo's and report back with any interesting experiences.

Well, I'd best get my ever spreading ass back to the business of being Divine - I have bottles of potion to make and boxes to fill before I sleep. Ho Hum.