May 30, 2009

The moon she be waxing.

The moon is nicely rising day by day and can be seen all day at the moment as well as at night. I've been sitting in the garden watching Mr Mog planting new things and overhead is the faint outline of the moon.
This was taken last night as the light was fading. Not a cloud in the sky, indeed there isn't today either. It has been rather gorgeous. We had to go visiting friends for an hour or two this morning but the rest of the day was spent around the garden.
I've just seen some geese going over, calling to us to see if we wanted to go with them.
Perhaps not.
These barns are for you Diana, taken on our recent visit to see Mr Mog's aged parent.
Also on the same journey going over Sebergham,the river surrounded by new growth.
The bridge is double arched and so pretty at the minute with all the flowers.
Lots of poppies everywhere
As I mentioned yesterday, I have started Elsewhere and this was yesterday's picture. I am a little further on now.
I am loving the yarn and especially the fabulous colours Laal Bear dyed it for me.

The moon this month is bringing me lots of vivid dreams, I seem to be busy all night in them and they vary from odd to strange. Some of this is Beltaine energy and some I think because I've started doing morning pages again. Each morning 3 pages before I get up. I fill them with everything that comes out of my head and I am sure that is why the dreams. After all you have to have something to write down:)

May 29, 2009

A jacket, for me?How kind . What next?

There is finished knitting chez Moggie.
What is more it is for me this time.
I haven't knit jackets or sweaters for many a year. I became obsessed with shawls and then latterly socks and there just wasn't time for anything else.
That has now officially changed thanks to the efforts of an ursine friend of mine.
This friend of mine was wearing a jacket when she came visiting and I liked it. You would think that was the end of it? Not so. Said ursine friend showed me the pattern, told me it was easy. Whispered blandishments in my ear, "it won't take long, there isn't much pattern, , it is knit sideways so 1 main piece then just 2 little sleeves, it will soon be finished"
Oh what a tangled web she wove. Made worse when we found out that the self same yarn was on sale at Kemps for just 79p per ball instead of £2.95. Meant to be I think.
I tentatively cast on and started to knit. This wasn't half bad and grew speedily as the yarn is aran weight.
There were one or two minor drawbacks when I went wrong with the double moss stitch and had to frog a few rows but I soldiered on.
Very soon it was ready for pinning together

Then stitching the sleeves in.

After blocking it went over the line to finish off the drying.

Tried on, mumm ok, will grow as it is worn.
Over all verdict? Not too bad.
However said friend had something else up her sleeve, if you will excuse the pun.
Now you have finished that how about trying Elsewhere?by Amy Swenson. The link is a ravelry one so not sure if it can be seen. It can be seen made up by that self same ursine person on her blog though:) Scroll down and you will see the finished jacket and also what finally tempted me down the jacket path once more.
Yes said Bear dyed some yarn for hers and kindly offered to dye some yarn for me to match my new boots. We are bartering skills for this.


Here you see my downfall and I've now cast on for the jacket.

Connections

Today's topic is connections
We are all connected in some way or another. You've probably all seen the those connection doodads that people write where through such a body and such a body we have royal relations etc. That is fine and fun to read but I'm talking about the connections and synchronicity that abounds at the moment.
You know when you read a blog or someone says something to you and you think" that is weird I just wrote the same thing"?
That is connection. A spiritual link in some ways.
I wonder if it is with the current state of the world and all the negative things going on. Are we connecting as a defence or to shout out to people that there is more than just the dark side that the media portrays.?
Yes things are bad with the economy and with parliament. Things are always bad somewhere or some when. We can't live our lives through this only. There has to be more.
We connect in so many ways and sometimes it is almost magical how it happens. You meet someone , get talking to them and realise how much you have in common.
You talk to strangers at a museum say where there was a witchcraft exhibition on. They seem to be following you round the exhibits and then as you pause towards the end of the artifacts they approach hesitantly and ask a question. Do you know of moots, or open groups where I can get to talk to people about what I believe or what I want to learn more about?
How do you answer? How do you help without pushing? How do you give them a guiding hand on their first steps without presuming and without pushing something you believe?
Is this how the cults initially operate do you think? Seeing some lost soul or some confused person looking for answers and latching on to them?
I gave this person some magazines with local moots in. Her choice then what she did with the information.
We kept in touch and when she found out we had open gatherings to celebrate the wheel of the year she asked if she could come?
Our open gatherings were for all ages, a way of celebrating the turn of the wheel and having fun. No pressure of beliefs. After all the old ones used to get together at say midsummer to celebrate the longest day, simply because it was.
Why can't we?
It will shortly be the midsummer and I see it as a joyous time, a time to enjoy the long days and short nights for themselves not for anything more.
Yes we can have a spiritual belief and it can be a big part of our life but that is what it is. A part of life not its whole. It permeates all we do and all we are but so do the simple things of going out into the garden and taking photos of what is there today, at this moment in this place. That is who I am and what I am.
From my readings in blogland it would appear there are lots of others who feel the same.
Connections you see:)
My next post has finished knitting and it is for me:)

May 27, 2009

Journeys and inspiration/imagination

Doing a spot of tidying I came upon an old journal of mine and found a few lines on the subject of journeys.
Journeys through the mind like a motorway drive to hell.
Places you don't want to visit but you have to go through to get to your destination.
You can't go past there is too much traffic so you are forced to see what is there. But when you get to the other side it is worth it.
As a part of becoming more aware you have to examine things you have gone through and your feelings for them. Not always an easy task if you have as much cr&p in your life as I've had. Getting through it makes you stronger and also makes you realise that if it wasn't for the self same cr&p you wouldn't be the person you are today.Trying to live in the now for me means knowing who is the person actually doing that? What made me get to here and how did I do so?

One of my favourite quotes from Anne Morrow Lindbergh is
Only when one is connected to one's inner core is one connected to others. And, for me, the core, the inner spring can best be re-found through solitude.

This leads nicely on to another piece I wrote some time ago.



Imagination knows no bounds, it arrives how it pleases. Sometimes inspiration visits a little at a time. It doesn't want to overwhelm you see?
Other times it turns its attention full on to you and boy get ready to work.
It is all inside your head waiting to come out.
Have your pen and paper at the ready. Have your needle threaded or your yarn cast on.
Here it comes now, use it.
Imagination, inspiration they are both the same and come from the same source.
The muse, the indescribable, unforgettable core of you.
The part that taps into the creative soup of time.
The part that has to work, no matter what ,on the idea inside.
When you touch that core you know it, you feel it.
You taste it.
You are it.
.


All artwork by me:)

May 26, 2009

Sacred spaces

We carry our sacred spaces within.
A place of belonging, a place of our own.
Somewhere we can be ourselves and connect to our inner child.
A place of trust and peace.

We also make places sacred when they are used for meditative practice, ritual etc.
A sacred space can be anywhere. It can be a room in your home, it can be a garden or a special tree. It can be something as simple as an altar, a shelf with things of meaning to you.
There are no rules.
My first sacred space comprised a wooden box full of bits and pieces. The box was one I was given by a friend. She had a gift shop and the box was used to hold french soaps for selling. I painted it black and added spirals in a dull platinum. It smelt gorgeous.
Inside I had a piece of rough amethyst given to me by my mum and brought back from a trip to Turkey. She saw it and thought I'd like it. I did and it became part of my treasure chest.
I also had a rune, painted on a pebble from the beach. The rune was Gyfu . It too given by a friend. Gyfu intrigued me and made me read more about Runes. Gyfu is in the form of an equal length cross X
For me in it's simplest form it symbolises Sharing. Give to receive, or give something back. Spreading the generosity around, not being selfish. What goes round comes round.

It also held a sweet smelling beeswax candle. I found this at a craft fair, ridged with patterns representing the cells of a bee hive. I had always talked to bees when I saw them as my gran did before me. This seemed a good thing for the box.
The next item in my box of treasures was a shell, a scallop shell found on the road one day.
The final piece was a tiny goddess statue I found in a charity shop,medieval gown and quite heavy. Sadly she has now lost both her hands but she is still beautiful.
When I opened my box it set the mood for any meditation or magical working. Took me out of the now and into the there. I was in my sacred space.
When I think back on my treasure box I realise I had all the elements within.
Air the candle smoke
fire, also the candle
water, the shell
earth, the amethyst
spirit, the statue, reflecting the goddess within.




When you start to look around the beauty of the lady can be seen in many places.My sacred spaces have changed as time has gone by and as I have moved from place to place. I've often been able to have a room I can use for ritual, but sometimes it has been the trusty box.
Today I made a new sacred space, it nestles within my craft room. Quite appropriate I think because for me making something is a sacred experience. I go somewhere when I craft, I pick up inspiration and ideas that have to receive a form. Most often femmes but also lately the shawls I craft have this magic within them. A sense of creative soup within them all.
My new sacred space is simple, a chest of drawers as it's focus. Simple pieces upon it that reflect where I am today, including the amethyst.
It holds meaning and that is enough in itself.
I may add to it, I may leave it be but it will change on other planes as I do.

May 25, 2009

Evacuation isn't fun:(

Been a strange weekend.
We went to stay at our friends house Saturday evening because we were having a new bathroom fitted. My dear son in law was doing it with a friend of his. Wonderful job finished in no time and makes the bathroom look twice as big. Well it would do as it is now a sparkling white suite where as before I think it could be called avocado:( The original I'd guess from when the bungalow was built in the 70s.
So that went swimmingly and we arrived home yesterday morning to a new loo etc. Tidied up then decided to dismantle the high bed in my craft/study/spare bedroom as it overwhelmed the room. Mr Mog did a sterling job on it and the room looks much bigger(sensing a theme?)
We are going to try and pick up a sofa bed for occasional use. The idea is that then it can double up as my craft room and a meditation room/sacred space for us. We haven't really got that at the moment in the house, just in the garden.
We went to bed last night very tired. Around 2pm I woke to sirens and voices, no specific words could be picked out but worrying. We are near to a nuclear power station and my first thought was a leak or some such. After a few minutes coming round Mr Mog checked out the window and saw lots of smoke over the way. On ringing the police we were told that due to a major fire they were evacuating the area and telling those not quite as near to keep all windows and doors closed.
I didn't want to stay and risk smoke or chemical problems so we decided to go to our daughters home 20 miles away. We were dressed by this time anyway.
As we got ready to leave the police were knocking next door with the news I'd received on the phone.
We had to take a longer route than normal as roads were closed but eventually arrived at DDs house around 4am, fabulous sunrise over the mountains as we set off along the prom. Amazing how many people were out in the pubs or should I say out on the pavements drinking. More stamina than me:)
Sleep not good at DDs home and 7am I rang police to see how things were going. We were told it was safe to come home so we did.
Back home 8.15am, had quick wash/breakfast then off to Cumbria forMILs 90th birthday celebration.
I don't ever travel on bank holidays if I can avoid it and never to the lake district as it is normally packed solid.
We had a super journey there and back, no jams or problems. A good meal with Mum and other family members then home to relax.
Good night's sleep I hope tonight.

May 21, 2009

Beaded shawls

Remember the shawls I showed you the other week? I've finally finished beading them both. What a slow job it was, adding each little bead and its stopper bead to each point on the border. Anyway they are done now so I thought you would like to see them
I haven't blocked them as they are very big especially the green goddess one. Who ever gets them can always block if they want them even longer.

pictured outdoors because it is actually sunny today:)
Close up of the edge, you can just see the beads
Then the giant green shawl.

What you don't see is how much is over my hands, another foot or two I'd guess.
The border is done in different greens I wanted to progress from thicker to thin mohair to reflect the way the trees go from bare to full of leaf. There are many different shades of green in the beads also.
Hope you like

Drumbeats

Drumbeat, slow, one beat at a time. Count the beats, feel the earth's heart beating slow slow slow.
Slow your breathing down, right down to tune into the mother's pulse.

Can you hear it? Can you feel it? Be one with the heartbeat of the earth.
Too fast the world today. Too many rushing to their journey's end with no thought for the actual journey itself.
We all need time in tune with the earth.

Time for her beauty, her sacred heart. She shares it oh so willingly with us despite the way we desecrate her.

Who can say they don't enjoy just being? But, who makes the time to do it on a regular basis?
I see the world anew when I stop and be.
I hear more in a conscious minute than I do all day blithely wending my way from moment to moment.
In one of my previous careers with a building society we had one of the, for then, new workshops or development days. All different team building games and role playing. You know how it goes, they seem to do that all the time. Back then it was something very new.
Much of it I have forgotten now. I do remember how bored I was. One thing stuck in my mind however.
The person running it asked us how much of our day to day activities we thought was done by habit or on auto pilot.
I can't remember the exact percentage(I'll see if I can find it on g$$gle later) but I believe it was something around 85%.
That is 85% of our day seeing nothing, doing nothing except by habit. We could be robots.
Get up, clean teeth, wash, get breakfast, go to work, come home. You know it goes and how easy it is to stay in the habit.
Wake up. Do everything consciously, be aware.
It is surprising what you will see, feel and notice if you make each act a conscious one.
Back to the drumbeats:-

I find drumming has a strong effect on me. I love music where drums play a large part.
I love drumming on its own.
I really love the evenings spent drumming, alone or with friends.
It is cleansing and exhilarating. It gives me a buzz. I can feel the energy coursing through my veins.
When I become aware of the earth's heartbeat that too gives me energy and gives me a feeling of being a part of the earth. Connected by a thread of rhythm.
Gordon MacLellan(Gordon the Toad) in his excellent book Sacred Animals has a wonderful quote.
" A pagan world is one of endless connection and communication between the individual and the inter-related, growing, changing, always evolving world that that person lives in"
Do you live in your world or just exist?

Some of my favourite music containing drumming:-
Drums of a nation John Richardson
Any by David and Steve Gordon.
Inkubus Sukkubus heartbeat of the earth.
Any by Peat Bog Faeries.
Any by Gabrielle Roth.

Phew , I do go on don't I? Something to do with the Beltaine energy rising methinks.
BTW the tulips remind me of orchids today as they twist and spiral towards decay.

May 20, 2009

Last faded splendour of Spring

I know I said that I had photographed the last of the spring tulips but it would appear that I was wrong.
I saw these in Lidl the other day and had to buy them, the colour was so evocative of spring for me.
They may not be the last of Lidl's British tulips but I suspect they are mine.
Now that they are a few days old I love the fallen splendour.
I love the way the pollen has collected at the edge of the petal, ready to fall.

I love the shades of colour within these flowers.
As spring flowers fade the blossom is thriving on the trees. This year is the best I've seen the blossom looking. I am sure the hard frost last Winter has worked wonders. The plants need this dormant sleepy period to enable them to throw forth spring growth.
We need it.
I've found it hard in previous years to wind down in the winter, to go inward and reflect on the previous year. As the years have gone by it has become more natural to me. To try and live with the wheel of the year instead of just live alongside it. To be in the now, noticing the weather, the length of the days and the phase of the moon. To be part of it and not just pay lip service to the wheel.
I'm not perfect, far from it. I am human after all:) But I do try. If I find myself straying a mental reminder helps.
My word for today was clarity. A hard word to live up to. To be clear about what? For me to be clear about where I want to be and what I want to achieve.
Making an affirmation of each word I chose and consciously saying it to myself throughout the day.
Clarity.

May 17, 2009

Simplicity/creativity

This mornings affirmation card was simplicity.
This mornings reading from the book of qualities was creativity
To me these are linked.
I need to simplify to make space for creativity to expand.
However, you can make a space for her but she only appears when she is ready. You can never force creativity.
Lack of clutter helps. Not just in her sacred space but in the mind. Let go of all the negativity and the inner critic as the tree has done above with her petals. She let them go as they had served their purpose. Letting go makes the space for the fruit.
Open up to the beauty around you. Harness the flow, turn it into something tangible.
Let your inner child out to play amongst the paper & paint, the thread and fabric, the beads or the yarn. What ever you have handy she can use any or all of them to mold her ideas into physical being.
Who has not sat down to play and been amazed at what came from your needles or paint brush?
Sometimes I feel as if it appeared by magic. Surely I couldn't have created that?
Yet, how many of us have made a gift for someone and wanted to keep it because it felt wonderful and we were thrilled with what we achieved?
I find that those gifts strike a deep chord with their recipients.
Do it, put your inner child to play.
Create something from within. Look at it .
Do you long to keep it with all your heart? Then pass it on. The person who receives it will be honoured by its soul as you were by its making. An old saying is that to accept a gift gracefully honours the giver.
To me that is the true art and creative endeavour.Real craft on all levels.
The beauty of an item is expanded by passing it on. Don't keep it shut away in darkness. It needs the light to enable it to shine.
A beacon to creativity.

May 16, 2009

Books that inspire, help creativity and such

I was reading one of my favourite blogs, The Creative Spirit and Pixie had written a brilliant piece on books that helped her. I loved the idea and decided to take a leaf out of her book and mention mine;)
Firstly one by Julia Cameron , The Artists Way. This started my journey towards being myself. I did Morning Pages for many months and even now still do them when the need arises. I found it a great way to clear my head of junk and allow the creativity freedom to just be. The idea is to write 3 pages , by hand, each morning before doing anything else. It clears your head of all the rubbish. At the beginning I found it extremely difficult to write 3 full pages each day, indeed in the first week or two there were suggestions of lines as I wrote "why am I doing this" many times. It worked though.
Secondly Writing down the bones,freeing the writer within. This was by Natalie Goldberg. It helped me to explore my urge to write. I couldn't believe that after so many years of being told that my writing and poetry were rubbish it was a lie. I could and did write. My inner child began to smile and enjoy her new found ability to play with words on paper and with paint. I was giddy, exhilarated with the buzz it gave me. I filled books with morning pages, I filled journals with my art and my writings.
Third book was Earth Wisdom by Glennie Kindred. A marvellous down to earth writer on the pagan path. I have all her books but this one is the one I recommend to the people who ask me how they follow a pagan path. It isn't a book to frighten or mystify a beginner. She doesn't suggest lots of formal rituals or lots of fancy equipment. Her path is one of following the wheel of the year in a simple heartfelt manner. It is a good beginning for people when they aren't sure where to go.
Following on from this my next recommendation is Wheel of the year, myth and magic through the seasons by Teresa Moorey and Jane Brideson. Again a simple look at the way the wheel turns. Jane also creates the most incredible artwork, check out her cards.
I love these pagan books and have often dipped into them, still do:)
Then on a lighter note, anything by Charles de Lint. I love his work and have all his books. I found Charles at a very low point in my life and his urban fantasy gave me a place to escape to. I'm lucky to have a few of his books signed and a few of his chapbooks that he sends out each year to family and friends. He also has some of my femmes:)
I will add to this list but Pixie inspired me so much i just had to make a start, thanks Pixie.

Owls, art books,creativity and more


In answer to the comment from Sue.The owl book was one I made and embroidered a few years ago. I used to take part in an art book/page exchange. You made as many copies of a page on a particular subject as there were players, sent them to the hostess along with your book covers. She bound the book and in some cases beaded them, with copies of each persons artwork. Normally anything from 12 to 30+ people took part. So you ended up with a limited edition book each time. They all had different artwork on a theme, for example birds as in my owl book. Some wrote poetry and short stories to go with the artwork. I do have quite a few books from these exchanges. Obviously each persons book would also look different as you sent in your own front and back covers. I hostessed quite a few of these swaps as well as joined in others. The owl book was a particular favourite as it was my first time binding a book. Mr Mog did the holes and got it wrong the first time on my cover hence the additional set of holes to the right:) I think it made it even more unique.
This book was for a celestial theme
I randomly dyed cotton and added salt to change the colour.I padded the cover in parts so it feels almost quilted.

This was my page in the book. You also had to add a vellum or other clear front page before it with your details and on this I put "We are all a part of the universe"

This next one was a collaboration on the dragonfly theme:)

Can you see the beaded dragonfly on the cover? The cover was thick card or mounting board that I liberally splattered with colour.
I thought a haiku went well with the picture, the colour on the wings was actually sari fabric I scanned then printed then cut out to add to the wings.It is also lightly glittered. The cover sheet reads, "The original idea for my dragonfly came from a line drawing in our local wildlife magazine. I made up the haiku. Then scanned sari silk for the embossed dragonfly. "

Next was on the theme Given to fly.
The cover is mount board painted with various metallic paints, mulberry paper added, wild geese embossed in gold on top, the goose is stamped on more mulberry paper. The charms include butterflies, a fairy and a bee.
My page of stamped, coloured images
I came up with the words for the cover sheet also.

This next was a holiday journal page book. We all did a page of Christmas/New year/Yule ideas and impressions then I bound them. The face charm was to represent Janus, looking both ways into the old and into the new year.Commercial fabric that I added glitter to.

The Christmas Haiku was by Wes Magee

This next book was just one I made that has blank pages in
Hand dyed fabric with salt sprinkled on before it dried, various fabrics, silk tops etc added then embroidered. Stab bound.
The pages are all mulberry paper. This is ready to use for whatever comes to mind:)


This next one was on a Tropicana theme. Different size format for this one. Cover is tropical print fabric with different tropical ties.
Foam painted.stamped, embossed and gilded.

My page with feather. My writing. All the pages in thisbook were showcased differently.

This next was a similar idea but you made tags. Cover is Clay, stamped embossed and beaded. Theme goddesses.

My tag was sponged background, stamped goddess layered on to background and gilded. Goddess definition quote stamped.
Hope you liked this glimpse of my art books. I have a yen to maybe do another collaborative after going back through these.
It reminded me of one of my journal pages where I did a piece on artists block.
I wrote;-
Swim in the sea of creativity.
Dip your hand in the creative soup.
Imagination
+
Creation
=
Elation.


Also on the same page I'd written a quote from Maryanne Redmacher Hersey

Live with intention
Walk to the edge
Listen hard
Practice wellness
Play with abandon
Laugh
Choose with no regret
Continue to learn
Appreciate your friends
Do what you love
Live as if this is all there is

Also this quote from George Bernard Shaw;-

Imagination is the beginning of creation
You imagine what you desire
You will what you imagine
and at last you create what you will