Monday, 26 November 2012

For Tam

I'll be back in blogdom in a few days. But for now, in response to a special request from Tam...

from Jack

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Hurry up and slow down

The past two weeks have found me feeling as though I’d been wading through mud uphill and then sliding down the other side, desperately trying to catch a hold of anything that will anchor me long enough to gain composure - to no avail.

Tears on Memorial Day and thoughts tumbling randomly through my mind, distracted me when I really needed to concentrate on the task at hand - preparing for the up-coming three biggest art & craft markets of the year. 
All I wanted was to disappear into a cave like a hermit. No one and nothing seemed agreeable to me. 
I began to wonder why my usually focussed self was playing tricks on me. 

Then, I remembered - the trickster has a name. And, a reputation.

Grasping and shredding my mental notes and throwing them to the emotional winds like confetti, was...

 mischievous Mercury...

perhaps he should be depicted with his middle finger up instead  ;)

... planetary ruler of the mind, communication, travel and technology. 

And, right now, he is reeling backwards and wreaking havoc on our lives - if we let him. 

Most of us are affected to some extent during periods of Mercury retrograde, which happen usually three times a year and last for approximately three weeks. 

A topsy-turvy time of feeling the need to move forward, yet also feeling lethargic, as though we are in a fog or, off-kilter and unsure of how to proceed. 

And even though technically the planet isn’t really moving backwards (it’s an optical illusion), the effect it has on our lives is very real.

It is preferably not the time to undertake new ventures, sign important paperwork or generally make big decisions.
Verbal and written communications/negotiations can be affected and/or mis-leading, so pay attention to what is being said. 

Travelling could result in delays or long queues. Beware of road rages.
Electronic gadgets may 'play up' and the possibility of internet and computer glitches are more likely at these times - back up your data people!

More than ever, we need to mind what we say, and in turn, don’t take off-hand comments from those around us too personally...
Mercury has a way of influencing the tongue :) 

If it’s possible, try to leave the purchase of “big ticket” items until the end of these periods. If that can't be avoided, perhaps consider a good warranty.
And, carefully read all legal documentation.

This is the astrological period of Murphy’s law. And not the easiest of times, especially in a household where a Gemini and Virgo live, since both are ruled by Mercury. I can attest to this personally! 

It’s best to think of Mercury during his backward flowing periods as a cosmic jester - he’ll have a laugh at your expense if you give him the chance.

Generally, retrograde cycles aren’t as bad as some people make out (although some major world events have happened during these times). They can be valuable periods to review and assess areas in our lives which require contemplation and communication with others.
A time to think upon whatever needs improving. So, introspection and revision is required. A deeper perspective.
It’s a good time for solitude and quiet reflection.

Knowing that Mercury is in retrograde can be frustrating at times, but it also helps to understand why things sometimes happen when they do.
These necessary down-times, can lead to huge breakthroughs which could benefit mind, body and soul, if we are open to them. The call is for patience.

We are more than halfway through this cycle, which started November 6th.

I find it interesting that I was feeling at my lowest ebb a week into this phase - on the 13th, the day I published my last post and… on the day of a total solar eclipse!
No wonder I felt the way I did.

It’s also very interesting that this retrograde is focussed on ethics and values - something I felt strongly about and grappled with early in this period. So it makes sense.

With minor (thankfully) electric kiln set backs, mis-communications with market organisers and a general blocking of forward momentum recently, coupled with misunderstandings and last minute application hiccoughs, it is no wonder that the Universe was tapping me on the shoulder and asking me to hurry up and slow down. Listen. It had something to say.

I did a bit of research and found that I was born during a retrograde period. Gasp!
So, it made sense to tap into the backward flow and see what I could learn. Take the time to breathe and, be still.

Bam!  The moment I did, the strongest urge to act on a spur of the moment decision led me to a specific place at the very moment I was meant to be for what looks like a positive future outcome for my creative interests, starting late January 2013.

If I hadn’t gone to that very place, at that very time, on that very day, I may have missed out on the opportunity presented to me. If I hadn’t stopped and listened.

An important lesson for a mercurial Gemini.

The rest of this phase will be dedicated to my (pre-retrograde) planned markets, tying up loose ends and thinking upon projects for the new year.
And a reminder to not lose sight of my creative vision and purpose.

If there is no other lesson to be learned for me but this one, it is that, whether the flow be direct and forward, or retrograde and backward, it is still energy and flow… go with it. 

May the remaining cycle be kind to you, dear readers. And, get ready for a powerful lunar eclipse on November 28th!


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Thoughts from a heavy heart

After a very busy week creating and making for up-coming Christmas markets, I took time out to remember the brave souls who fought and lost their lives in wars throughout the years, and to think of those fighting today in far off lands.

And, along with many others, I shed silent tears and thought upon the ugliness of war. 
The violence. The devastation. The pain. The sadness. The repercussions. To all nations. On all sides.

My heart grew heavy with the thinking of it all.

Then, my thoughts turned to the ugliness of inhumanity. Ugliness abounds. Not just on the battlefields.

On the streets, where thugs and criminals take lives and property, without the right to.

On the roads, where rage replaces patience.

In the home, where children lose their innocence too soon, against their will. And partners take abuse from those who profess they ‘love them’.

In the workplace, where those who should know better, exact their pound of flesh and take advantage of employees simply trying to make a meagre wage for their families.

On the internet, where predators prowl in seclusion. And cowardly bullies, hidden behind LCD screens, create a living hell for their chosen victims to dwell in.

In politically suppressed and oppressed countries, where peaceable people are persecuted and driven from their beloved homes.

The world over, with the ever increasing emotional detachment by those who mistreat animals for greed, entertainment, food.
And, from those who don’t consider where their food came from and how it arrived on their plate. The suffering involved. Short lives lived in misery to the end.

The burgeoning fast food outlets that encourage fast eating and bad food habits - gross producers of gut putty.

A world of disconnectedness. Of violence and injustice and, inhumanity.

Research tells me that humanity is the quality of being humane - of kindness and benevolence. Of a disposition to relieve persons or animals in distress, and to treat all creatures with kindness and tenderness.

I know that there is beauty in the world and true goodness in much of humanity. And, it is so good to be grateful for what we have... food, shelter, warmth, freedom, love.
But there are times, for me, when it seems right to spare a thought for those who suffer inhumanely at the hands of others. To feel, really feel, for them. They mustn't be ignored. 

I believe that it is important to act, if one can, in any way – large or small. To make life a little better… for someone, in some way. For humans and all living creatures. For that is how the world can keep its humanity.
I’m not perfect, far from it. No one is. But...

... even a simple act of kindness, can make a huge difference.

And so, in these reflective times, when my heart weighs heavy, I turn to phrases like this:

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty”.
Mahatma Gandhi

If you would like to share any favourite uplifting quotes, please do. I would love to read them. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

For the fallen...

...lest we forget

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.


Monday, 5 November 2012

Sunday drive around the mountain

It was a beautiful, bright, spring fresh morning, so hubby and I decided a leisurely drive around the mountain with wee Jack was just the tonic. 
We love to bundle into the car and drive, seeing where the road takes us - that's the gypsy in us I guess :)

First, a walk around our favourite gardens, then with a take-away coffee in hand, we headed out, meandering along the many roads and lanes.

I enjoy all things quirky, funky, beautiful and unusual - and there are many places on our travels that reflect them. Here are some snapshots from our morning out and about...

From shimmery, sun-shiny, iridescent lime greens... cool, damp, mossy, dark grotto and ponds just off the path, slightly hidden - almost unseen

 The paths we walk are patterned with filigrees of dark and light

The roads we travel are lined with trees showing off their billowy bright new spring dresses...

... and tall, silent sentinels guarding the forests deep behind them

Frequent stops, present photo ops...

pretty lanterns light the way

and stunning views, to places far away

Little eateries, from funky to charming to freaky

gives a new meaning to wine and spirits on the menu!

Quaint little buildings that capture my eye

there's just something that I love about a red door

Then I spy,

  the dilapidated


 and, abandoned

There are churches of stone, nestled in peaceful surrounds,

 did I mention I love red doors? :)

and some 'converted', amid lush wooded grounds

Blooms abound all around...

 vibrant viburnums

 clambering clematis

 radiant rhododendrons

 magnificent magnolias

 heady, intoxicating jasmine

charming Crepuscule roses

  ...and curly ferns unfurl 
fine, fragile fronds

And ever always, a dear travelling companion is ready to head home when it's time to go

so, if I make with the puppy dog eyes, do I get a biscuit?

I hope you too enjoyed a sojourn around the mountain. There will be more roads to travel and sights to see... and, you're always welcome along.