Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Tree Prayers

I'm thinking how much I am looking forward to my regular shamanic peer group meeting here in our beautiful barn tomorrow,  and looking out at the big Ash tree which watches over us here,  & this prompts me to share some photos of it - of the view from my kitchen window,  at various different times,  photos that have accumulated..  some from the end of last winter,  some from August.

With this come thoughts of how lovely it has been here this summer ( to have had our 1st summer for 3 years..!)  and big gratitude for being in this beautiful place.  I do feel so supported by the Spirits here,  so held in my spiritual practice,  whether its meditation,  chi kung, gardening, prayer,   making paintings or textiles or whatever comes each day...  so these photos are to celebrate that .. and thank the Trees & the Land that holds and teaches us.


Wednesday, 1 May 2013

May Day and the Ancestors

HAPPY BELTANE  friends..
Its the 1st of May,  and these lovely pheasant's eye narcissii are blooming in my garden and at last the sun is shining :-)   I planted them because my Mum used to grow them and I always loved them.  This is the 1st year I have had a group of blooms like this,  and their beauty seems like the right place to start this post..
Inspired by beautiful photos coming in on the email from friends who are celebrating this day,  I photographed the the flowers  this morning on my way over to our barn & looking forward to my daily  spiritual practice.

When I looked up in the barn,  there was a new image on the wall ..

Well,  to me this looked like a dancing woman,  with a banner,  or is it a snake ..?  I soon realised it was the shadow of a woodcarving that sits on a window sill and was made by a dear lady called Marjorie who was a fellow student of wood carving in a class I went to in the 1990's.   I knew Marjorie at the end of her life,  she was in her 80's,  and became a friend.  When she passed on her family kindly let me have this sculpture,  which I had seen her make in the classes,  & which was the last piece she completed.  So it is dear to me,  as she was - 

So,  this morning I felt Marjorie's dancing,  playful,  no nonsense  energy there in the barn,  which made me smile even more,  on this lovely sunny day.  Not  only was this image at the top of my wall,  but it was above two paintings  - 

these  paintings are about meditation,  death,  and the communication between power animals and the shaman - ( I have written at length about them in posts last autumn which you can find in the blog archive ) . So all this is at the core of my shamanic practice,  and it felt like a blessing to have the sculpture's  shadow dancing there too.  

On my One Spirit Interfaith training we are looking at buddhism this month and I am  using a beautiful daily prayer we were given (thank you , Cathy Slow ).  In buddhism ,  as on the shamanic path,  we honour and celebrate the Ancestors,  meaning all those who have gone before us in the widest sense,  not just our bloodlines.  So on this May Day  I would like to share it here. It is based on work with the ancestors by  Thich Nhat Hahn,   that wise vietnamese buddhist teacher..

In gratitude and compassion, I reach up to my physical ancestors

In gratitude and compassion , I bow down to my physical ancestors

My mother in me,

My father in me

In gratitude and compassion, I reach up to my spiritual ancestors

In gratitude and compassion, I bow down to my spiritual ancestors

In gratitude and compassion, I reach up to the ancestors of this place

In gratitude and compassion, I bow down to the ancestors of this place

In gratitude, compassion and the spirit of forgiveness, I reach up to all those I have injured

In gratitude, compassion and the spirit of forgiveness I bow down to all those who have injured me

In gratitude and compassion, I reach up I to all beings

In gratitude and compassion, I bow down to all beings

Sunday, 17 March 2013


I seem to be becoming addicted to playing with my sewing machine,  and great fun it is too.  Why stick with clothes you are not happy with when you can change them ?? Get out the scissors & cut off what you don't like!
That's what I did with the t-shirt below,  I snipped its little sleeves off.   I love the blue colour,  that's really why I bought it,  and for the cool drawing by Jean-Michel Basquiat,  which I take to be of himself.

Well,  JMB,  I loved your drawings,  but not the kind of texts in your paintings that were like this one,  doing poor me about people with lotsa money...  so I covered them up & got a nice little pocket into the bargain.   I hope you like looking at the African drawings which I put there instead,  and the fun I had with the shapes from t-shirt 2.  That was another real favourite which had worn too thin,  and was another lovely blue,  so I am pleased with the colour mix too.  Here's the back ..

For the next one I went back to the fleece material left from my 1st garment (2 posts ago)  and used the central part of the blue piece,  with red additions this time.  Another useful pocket,  of course,

and on the back a lovely design from another old favourite t-shirt  the rest of which will be in the rag bag.  Alas I dont know who JG is,  but her initials are still on it,  and the title - Lapwing.  So this garment has a name  too.

I have already been asked to make a garment for someone else,  and offered some more old clothes,  this seems all set to escalate..  watch this space !

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Interfaith Ministry

I said I would post next about Interfaith - so here I am,  1/4 of the way through training to be an Interfaith Minister with the One Spirit Interfaith Foundation.  This means a w/e in London about once a month with a wonderful group of fellow students,  mentors & tutors going through all manner of experiential learning processes, looking at many of the great faith paths /  religions,  and learning about an inspiring form of deep listening called Spiritual Counselling.  This will lead on to creating ceremonies in the 2nd year of the training too.  

It was this latter aspect that drew me in initially,  as an opportunity to explore ritual & ceremony further,  I have so enjoyed helping create ceremony to mark important moments in people's lives already.  I still look forward to that element of the training,  but I am engrossed in the beauty of finding out about so may ways of honouring Spirit in our lives, that I am in no hurry to get to the next bit of curriculum.  And I am reading so many wonderful books - many of you know what a happy bookworm I am..

A friend whose experience was one of my inspirations to do this training spoke of 'having layers peeled away' , and this is certainly my experience too.   It confirms for me that  opening to the Divine is & always has been at the centre of my life;    but now I am learning to recognise how I have ducked & dived away from this,  how I hide behind my defences, indeed hide myself away.  I need the challenge of working with these patterns to have anything to offer others down the line.  The more I step into the enormous support that was always there to stop this , the more my relationship with Whateveryoucallit grows.  Words are difficult,  so easily laden with old stuff - but  God /  Spirit /  the Mystery /   Source /  is beyond those hangups,  and shamanically speaking my Spirits are backing me clearly and strongly.

This kind of focus stimulates creativity too,  & I continue to play with my sewing machine - more posts soon.

And we have done fun things in the recent good weather, like have fish & chips at Newquay on the w/e ..  under a watchful eye, as I thought,  though when I saw this photo full size, the eyes seem to be elsewhere ..?!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Well,  yes it has been a long time since I posted, & the 2 best reasons are 
(1)  that I am now a Student Minister with One Spirit Interfaith Seminary, and this training will  take me to summer 2014.  I will write about it in my next post.
and (2) my creativity is taking a new turn,  which this post is about, I have circled back to textiles..

It started with upcycling clothing classes with the wonderful Carys Hedd and her sewing machines - she inspires & guides one to cut up old garments & make funky fun new ones.  See http://wenchwear.co.uk

Luckily Sarah came to stay,  I needed her help again to make a mannequin. Great way to use up rags,  we wound each other's torsos in duck tape, cut each other out & stuffed them. A real laugh! You may note I have also edited my trousers - comfy army ones that needed some colour...

Once that was in place I happily demolished 2 old fleeces & I was away..

It took a while for the whole garment to take shape.. but it is an immensely satisfying process,  which I look forward to repeating,  though of course no 2 garments will be the same..

I enjoyed creating lots of seams up the back,  but there were some spark holes too from bonfires..  so I have made a feature of them.  The finishing touch was some text,  copied from balloons given out at the end of a wonderful & inspiring play I saw in Birmingham last w/e - Flying Home by Deidre Burton & Tom Davis - which my  nephew Edmund Caird was acting in..  
So here is the final back view in the sun in our garden.. and this garment is called