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!!!
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. )
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!
All is frozen hard.
Stunning patterns in the mud.
Water moves the Land.
Kat Robertson January 2021
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!)
What a year eh!?
Welcoming in the Light for 2021…..
The need to ground, to centre, wild weather and a distinct lack of clear direction have drawn my attention back to mandalas recently.
These are very retro!
I know there is a button on new programmes that just ‘makes these’ now, but I love my ‘dinosaur’ software, the non symmetrical, imperfections and the pain-staking process of ‘making’ them.
I love the ‘bringing to wholeness of many parts’, circular, meditation of making them and the surprises at the end!
How some just work and others don’t, but you cannot know until you try. The vast choice of directions at any one point, in light, filter, position of image, scale……like a giant crossword with no correct answers, only possibilites.
How I can erase wrong moves and go back, but also, often, go too far and have to start again.
How working with natural images focuses me. It becomes an act of honoring the subject.
How they create stories, and wonder sometimes, as they reflect forms.
How mirroring often gives birth to new, magical ‘faces’ and characters/butterflies/insects, all gazing out at me. All echoing the beautiful, imperfect, symmetry in all all Life……..
(What I do not love is, that in ‘following my bliss’, I find myself sat at the computer all day!!)
I have been keen, for a while now, to push them a bit further.
They had become a bit boring to make. Too easy.
I wanted to complicate matters!
To experiment with layers/change of focus/filters, and, most importantly for me, numbers.
I have strong feelings with regard to numbers.
I embue certain numbers with meaning.
Some with real power.
I have always used 6 as this echoes the Sacred Geometry of the ‘Flower of Life’.
I have now been on an intense journey of learning through 8 (eurgh) and layering 6’s and 7’s (jolt!).
I have even ‘cracked’ the 9 direction mandala!
It is so difficult to pick just one or two to share that I made this short video to give you an idea….this is the experience of ‘mandalaizing’!
The weather around the ‘box-house’ is wild.
I burrow in.
Looking in this screen to look out.
Looking in myself for calm.
Filling the circle.
Reflecting on forms.
Finding calm in the eye of a storm.
Focusing on Source.
I think I have arrived at ‘my’ new way of making mandalas.
A process that echoes the intention and that deepens the mandala.
One of my very favorites of the last few days is one of the Scots Pine mandalas.
I have been reading up on Fenrir (the giant wolf of Norse fame) and the leash that holds him.
I could clearly ‘see’ a wolf-form in this mandala, so worked with this theme in mind, for a few hours, to create these, one-off, mandalas.
I call them ‘Gjallarhorn’ and ‘Roar of Fenrir’……
The next and the last.
Ardfern Lockdown Art Challenge is going down in a blaze of orange and pinks! The prompt being ‘Colours of a Craignish Sunset’.
It has been decided to wind it down.
I will miss these weekly prompts to do something ‘other’!
This week I decided to simply use photographs of recent, incredible, sunsets here and make some mandalas….
Then after making them I thought I’d like to try taking it one step further and completly abstracting the mandala itself!
Can you see (from the above images) which photo was used to make which mandala and associated abstraction?
Then there were lots of other experiments!
I really quite liked this one….it became my cover photo on FB for a week or so.
Colours of a sunset through glass…..a bit like a lockdown?
So this is the last week of prompts.
I’ll miss this lovely project that connected me to the village more.
Restricitions on movement are ‘loosening’, the people are ‘bubbling’……not entirely sure what I feel about that….
Always lots more to be getting along with here though, without going anywhere!
Sometimes I feel Grateful that we live ‘past tarmac’, so off the beaten track.
Inspired by local, ‘lockdown’, art challenge.
The theme last week was either blossom or eggs.
This is what the blackthorn muse called!