My oldest son was taken into hospital this week and required emergency surgery to remove adhesions on his gut, so all in all a very worrying time.
Feeling somewhat lost and all ‘washed up’ I turned to my mandalas this March.
The process comforting and, sometimes, rewarding.
Exploring new ways to construct them, to somehow loosen the geometric hold of them, all the while procrastinating, putting off more serious commitments.
Quite a crop!
Some are more satisfiying than others…..
(click on first image in each gallery to view full size with title)
wet willow mandalas
I saw my first bumble bee this month enjoying the shining crocuses golden pollen!
random one off mandalas
Decided that to compare techniques I’d make a selection using the same image. I have always found mosses and lichens to be a favorite form to mandalize and very plentiful here.
A daffodil is the perfect natural, 6 point, ‘flower of life’ mandala anyway!
I find more Beauty in the real flower than could ever be contained in these artifical, symmetrical, manipulated forms though …… yup, having a mandala crisis too!!!
This is my world.
My whole horizon.
It is Beautiful.
And it is all that I need.
I am its only Guardian.
And this tiny world needs me.
I Care for it.
I have some agency here.
And only here.
Any illusion of becoming real in a virtual world is now dissolving like a bad dream.
A nightmare of 4 years.
I have found a place.
Out of the wind and rain.
In the shelter of rock and tree roots.
On a bed of dry leaves and under canopy.
The moss drips at the entrance to this shelter.
Only here do I feel safe.
Watching the whirling world.
While embedded in this spot.
More in common with this tree, this soil and this rock,
than with all those glittering projections.
Melt into the landscape.
Blend in, become invisible.
Just another tiny particle.
If that makes me inhuman,
Then humanity itself now alienates me.
I perceive, as alien, this planet from Deep Space,
With alien senses, hear the ‘hum’ of Earth,
And whispered stories
Of stars and distant universes and of our, as yet unexplored, potential.
I feel Earth’s cold and lonely passage,
I see how very precious She is.
Now I must take such care about which culture I take root in.
I choose a culture that is not ‘on screen’ and more akin to fungal networks.
The Machine now builds a ‘cage’ around the Earth and I find have become mistrusting even of our Father Sky.
Even the Air I breathe, the space around me, now polluted with our, focused, radiation.
This Fire in our oxygen is dry. So very dry. I become wizened.
If I am to be caged, then I choose this place.
For I find myself in good company among the lichens and branches.
Better to tune to their frequency and breathe their fresher, moister, air.
If this is an illness then please feel free to diagnose me.
But I will not be taking any medications, for they are only added layers of complexity and over-looked side effects.
If ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ why do we keep inventing layers we do not need?
Using more fuel to fuel our already fuel-driven lives.
Crudely drenched in the stuff.
Sometimes I see the whole world on Fire.
Sometimes I need to swim, to wash those charred layers off, to re-hydrate.
Where I go swimming I imagine rainbows are left swirling on the surface behind me.
It only takes a drop.
I do not need much.
I have found a place.
Out of the wind.
In the shelter of rock and tree roots.
Dry leaves and under canopy.
From here I can watch the whirling world.
And ride out this wild weather.
Kat Robertson February 2021
I made this gif (below) of my tiny world’s horizons, in an accelerated spin, after doing some research into NFTs. (Non-Fungible tokens).
This would make quite a good one.
I was almost persuaded by the hype, for I have much unmarketable, digital artwork, shared here, on this blog.
But, on looking into it all more deeply, when tapped, it all just has that same, hollow, ring.
I will surely become poorer for little reward and I do not like to gamble.
I work and someone else becomes richer. Same old, same old.
Painted as an ‘evolution’ I see it as another desperate grab in a dying world. Another chunk torn out of reality.
I find I am a bit charmed by the idea of it though.
All artists live in a kind of unsolvable riddle, a koan of existence.
The virtual nature of this proposition is attractive, but if I find real relief in stepping away from the screen what would possess me now to put my real money, and learning time, into a virtual, screen-based, economy!!??
It simply makes no common sense.
My digital artwork remains for sale, in high resolution, through my mandala shop, for £3.50 or so. Why would any fool be persuaded it was worth £1000’s, even if it did prove virtually marketable??
I am also, now, thanks to this ‘advance’, even more fearful of art thieves.
Today yet another marketing entrepreneur has chosen to follow this blog. I may have mentioned this before, but most of my ‘followers’ are media types (and psychiatrists!) who never comment and rarely like. No like minded community being built here. Not all, but so many ‘licking to be licked’, standing on other’s shoulders to see better, with no regard for their well being.
I saw one of these new nfts ridiculing ladies of my age/demographic, depicted riding a social media ‘rocket’, waving her lipstick and handbag.
This seems to be the general tone.
“Let’s dis the Gen X mothers, just as we make ourselves all disposable”.
As may be obvious from this post I am struggling now. I am not OK.
I was worried that I had no Love left in me, until I remembered that Grief is an expression of Love and now I find that Gratitude, for what remains and Grief, for all that is lost, are, prehaps, the only appropriate expressions. I cannot stop being an artist, but if any future, alternative, occupations become necessary I have been considering training as a death doula …… at least I would be useful……
A creative attempt to summarize/record my, month-long, participation in this remarkable project.
My original, published, ‘cool’ captions and inspiring ‘Earth quotes’ became lost to the ether when I chose to delete my Facebook account…..which is just as well….as with hindsight it seems I was not really listening…..some of my posts where only text and gone forever now ….but this is all the visual work I shared with the group….cobbled together, chronologically, and with new meaning.
It all began with Nuts.
Those prefectly designed, well travelled, nuggets of both nutrition and potential.
(Reminded now, also. in hindsight, of an Egyptian Nut.
Daughter of vital breath and heat, a star-covered naked woman, bowed over the Earth,
With her head in the West and her feet in the East. A bridge between the Earth and the Sky.)
I wondered how this ‘tree’ would grow from there…..
The endangered red squirrel became my constant companion on this journey.
And, as always here, the Wind.
Winter Hawthorn showed me her sharp, protective, thorns…..
The Beech hedge whispered ‘Sssssh…..ssssh’……
Mole spoke to me of staying buzy, but remaining underground, unseen…..
Mosses demonstrated how to cling on and thrive, on only cold, ungiving, stone……
But I was not really listening …….
And worms writhed in the compost heap of my mind, giving birth to strange new, artifical, creatures….
I have a well-weathered head.
Colonized now by Nature.
Worn away by Time.
Still able, though, to see those ‘Spots of Light’ and bask in their Radiance.
Celebrate their Beauty.
That is, until I see when I venture out, again and again, our trashing of everything Sacred …
And I am returned to Grieving.
Yet, I was reminded, in that Darkness, there is always Light.
You only have to find new ways of Seeing.
It is Imbolc.
A time of Rebirth. Of Future. A Time of New Beginnings and Returning Light.
Humble Snowdrops blaze a fanfare.
Spring is on its way.
The soil gives way to green, urgent, spears of New Life, pushing up toward the Sun.
Even, inside our winter home, the houseplants put on a show of wondrous, exotic, blooms.
Out walking I was shown something weird, almost alien, something that I had never encountered before.
Earth spoke to me again of all the unseen wonders that she holds.
That Living can only ever be learning.
I cracked open my first rotten egg in a long, long time.
The smell was of Sulphur.
I learned that Humans create more Sulphur now than is released by all the Earth’s volcanos put together.
So Humans smell, to the Earth, of Sulphur too.
A smell associated with Decay.
And the breaking open of her Crust.
Then we were invited to dig deep and find our authentic Howl.
Always a tough one.
It turned out my Howl is, and has always been, my felt Impotence in affecting any real Change
Through what I am able to do, through my own unique gifts.
Earth told me it was OK to share, again, some work I have already done.
For it is Work that has not lost Value through Age.
Just as I have not lost Value.
Work created when I first began to Give the Earth a Voice online.
(Though, at that time, I thought I was Alone in doing so.)
Sharing this Work, reminded me that I have been Standing here a long, long Time already.
And brought home how committed I am to doing it still.
Rarely witnessed and, in the main, uncelebrated.
As undeserving of applause as a weed in a lawn.
A rock, the moss or a twisted tree.
A sea squirt.
Or a hooded crow.
This is not a show.
A creature of magik and alchemy.
Who no longer needs to shout out “I am here!”
Because, in the course of this experiment, the only One who really matters told me that:
She Loves me,
that She is Sorry,
that She Forgives me
and is Grateful for all that I do.
And when I heard that back….
I just Let Go.
I AM HOME
and that is where you’ll always find me.
Kat Robertson. Standing As Earth. Imbolc 2021
I am staring at this screen.
How to condense the Experience?
The above barely scratches the surface.
Now only recorded in pages and pages and pages and pages and pages
of messy, scrawled notes, avid, crazed, chanelled, journalling …processing …..too much to edit.
And this trail of shared artworks.
I have deleted my Facebook account.
Deleted all social media accounts.
I am too much to edit.
It was Earth that called me to withdraw from all that fight to be seen.
The fight to feel heard.
While I celebrate all who are able to continue this work of being visible online.
Who have those skills.
I have become exhausted from trying to find new ways to say such a simple thing.
There simply are no words left in my limited vocabulary.
I can tell you how I felt when I first saw the online invitation.
YES! YES! What a brilliantly simple idea!
Let’s ALL Stand AS Earth.
Earth, my true Nature, guides me now to simply write of the WEATHER during this month long experiment #standingasearth on Facebook.
The Weather of Standing As Earth
It began with a, freezing, Siberian Wind that howled from the East.
Screaming over vast, populated, landmasses,
Carrying all that stale air,
To meet the ocean
All the way from China, it came hurtling through, at tree-breaking ,wave-hurling, speed,
Onward over the Atlantic, toward the East Coast of the Americas.
It was hard, sometimes, to Breathe.
The Land became hard too, as iron.
It’s Life Blood frozen.
Impermanent diamonds grew in the Mud.
And the Trees grew hair of Ice.
Until the very Dryness turned it all to Dust.
Dust that came Alive, like dervishes, like dancers,
Rising, with the gusting wind, up from the Ground.
Gritty in my eyes.
Making me Cry.
And then it Snowed.
And all became Still and Silent.
And all became Clear and Sharply defined.
Blueish and Breathtaking.
The Light alone, a sensory orgasm.
And then, it all, inevitably,
The winds have never stopped blowing.
They are blowing still.
They have just swung around a bit and radically changed direction.
I found I had been blown off course.
I found myself, full circle, called back into the Mystery.
I found I was, already, HOME.
Kat Robertson. Standing As Earth. Imbolc 2021
My last post on Facebook, after realising I felt I had shared way too much, and deleting my account, was this.
It hangs on the wall of my ‘artden’.
And, while not my own words, says all I really have left to say of any worth.
My continued prayer is only that more of us will find this Truth and try their very best to LIVE BY IT.
And each find their own ,unique, Balance.
(N.B. I have only just realised that when a person deletes their Facebook account, they disappear, also, from all groups. As if they had never been there at all. I experience a deep sadness about that, as I fell in Love, with new brothers and sisters, and Earth, over and over again, during this month of participation …….. despite not joining in on Zoom! Now guided just to rest in the Knowing that we are, all connected, through the Forest floor. )
And then it snowed!
We do not get much snow here in Argyll, West Coast, Scotland.
It rarely lies for long.
This is due to the Gulf Stream that flows along our coast.
(This Gulf Stream is also the reason we have some pockets of pristine temperate rainforest locally, havens for tree ferns, lichens and mosses, and why palm trees can thrive here!)
When it does lie I become very sensorily heightened.
I am a snow lover.
I love the Peace, Mystery, Wonder and Magik that it brings with it.
I love how it slows everything down and shows us a brand new, pristine, crystalline, world.
I love the memories it brings with it, of places I have lived that get real snow, snow that lies all winter, metres thick, in Poland and Germany.
And, prehaps, carried in my DNA, some deeper, past life, memories too.
I also love to get snowed in, but here that barely ever happens…..
As a child my Finnish mother taught me how to make snowlanterns. Known as ‘snölykta’ in Sweden.
What a treat to see it glow in the light of the waxing Wolf Moon ( 5 days from full)
I have included a link to another blog (above) that shows how to make these, but took a few pictures myself.
It really is very simple and a lovely activity to do with children.
See how it flickers in the wind.
A beacon on the hill.
(I forgot to mention….if it is windy where you make one of these….it helps to fill in the gaps with a thin layer of snow. After a while the inside melts, making a glassy ‘lining’… which make it more windproof.)
My teenage boys are not as excited by the snow as they once were, so I dragged my 16 year old son out to play with me.
I let him decide what our snow sculpture would be this year.
After a little thought he said he would like to make a CHAIR!
This made me laugh.
Coming from a teen who has barely moved from his chair, in front of his PC, for months now, I suddenly saw this as a perfect example of ‘Lockdown Art’!!
Orignally going to be a ‘snow throne’ it turned into a, rather chilly, armchair!
These photos were taken at night, in the torchlight.
A mysteriously inviting piece of snow furniture that lasted only one night.
This is my favorite mandala of 2021 so far…..
It speaks to me of Stasis.
Of this Lockdown.
The Land is all frozen hard and still.
We are all like bubbles trapped in ice.
I have water containers all over our patch. This small bucket was floating, inside another bucket, full of rain water.
I pulled it out and found this heavy piece of ice attached, hanging on, improbably.
I left it on the table outside.
It took an entire week for the ice to fall off. It has been so cold recently. Staying in minus all day too.
I heard it fall from inside the house with the thaw.
The picture of the bubbles, inside the ‘inner bucket’, is the photograph I used to make the mandala.
And I loved this little character that appeared during making this!
Beauty and Inspiration all around.
I love Winter here.
Made from one of many attempts to photograph this vision….only the sound of the water lapping.
I was invited to join a visionboard group.
The idea being to create a visionboard for 2021.
It triggered some deep thinking.
Not really sure what I want exactly.
More about what I do not want!
Haunted by the word ‘less’……
Then I dumped all the, pages and pages, of journalling and automatic responses and just let it flow, as a digital collage.
Not something I have tried before.
Grabbing images from the internet and building them up using photoshop….
Key words for this were BIRTH, GROWTH and COSMOS.
A member of the group commented “A lovely image for Christmas. Especially these days when Earth Consciousness needs to be reborn. I love the ‘digital’ pun.”
I did not think about the Christmas angle…..hope the pun he also sees is the cosmic, super nova, vagina and human doulas idea!
I decided to title it ‘Co-creation’ after that…
(Note: I know I have used other artist’s work uncredited here….not something I do as a rule….but I hope they will forgive me, just this once, as the process was fast, intuitive and fluid…and it would take me hours to unwind it and credit all the talented photographers and artists that got woven into this piece! It was ‘flashed ‘on Facebook, but I do not intend using it anywhere else. So “Thank You!” is all I can say….)
Oh and they are all doing another round, so please visit ‘Create 2021 Visionboard Challenge‘ on Facebook if you fancy a having a go yourself!
Quite a crop of mandalas this month.
Some treelinesky mandala experiments.
I published the coloured one on Facebook and someone commented that it looked like human pubes!
Have not been able to look at it quite the same way since then!
I had good reason to meet with some friends around a fire.
A night where the sky was full of shooting stars.
Fire mandalas were inspired …
I wiggled the camera as I took pictures of this years Tree with the lights on….psychedelic rainbow serpents!
A digital bow! A crossing over of worlds.
Intuitive tingles led to this mandala becoming this years Solstice greeting.
Let there be LIGHT!
(even if, at Source, it is some fairly cheap, electric, tree lights ….. the illusion is beautiful!)