The prompt for the local art challenge was ‘Inside Out/Outisde In’ and as I have been ‘carrying’ this idea, for quite a while now, I thought I’d give it a go.
Inspired by a small birch I planted, years ago now, that has been shining, opposite me, where I often meditate, outside in the garden.
A part of my practice involves breathing as ‘Tree’.
This little tree and I often cross ‘boundaries of being’.
My ‘edges’ drawn in Air, defined only by the tree’s branches.
I felt it kind of fitted the breif! (Although most of the other entries were the view out of a window!)
I sat down and painted this, in ink, freehand, but felt it was not complete. The shape was wrong, my attempts to make the outer twigs lie like hair made her too conifer-like and it is spring!
She needed leaves!
So I worked with a photograph of this birch.
In photoshop I selected only the leaves and then super-imposed that image on top of the drawing, to test what it could look like, before I committed to painting them on.
Well that works!
After deciding to go for it and paint the leaves on, I had another play with the completed painting and super-imposed that onto a sky image from another of my photos.
This seemed to stress the Air body better…..
Still not totally happy with it if I am honest.
This is a work I will probably try and create again though.
Re-work it with finer branches, more interesting anatomy and a less chunky trunk.
I love this idea and can see where it could go.
The title’s pun was intended.
Not ‘Bohdi Tree‘, but ‘Body Tree’.
I am not Buddha!
Or we all are……
It was only later, after painting this that I found out it was Buddha’s birthday a few days later.
I also was reminded of how he died.
Did I mention I have been thinking about death, a lot, recently?
(Note to self: Do not eat the meaty, mushroomy, pig dishes my, ‘blacksmith’/engineer, husband prepares, full of salt and a smoker’s over seasoning!) (wink)
The Time spent with this little tree and painting came into our, monthy, Treeisister’s Full Moon meditation too:
“Response to Treesister’s May Full Flower Moon Call: Healing the Amazon.
Got a bit lost in ‘doings’ and missed the live call, but joined on replay the following day.
I was ready to pray.
Outside was that super-still way, wet with the first summer rain in a long time. Droplets of mist hung on everything around. Bird song thrilled through this ‘heavy’ stillness. Today I love the rain. We really needed it here after a few dry weeks.
Very quickly, as the meditation began, I became Tree.
I became a little birch I know very well, that grows opposite me where I regularly sit to meditate, outside in the garden. I planted it years ago. It shines so bright now with all its new leaves. I have been photographing it, and even used it as the inspiration for a recent picture of the ‘tree’ ‘drawing’ a meditating figure with the air between its branches.
I called the picture simply ‘BODY TREE’.
I became that little tree even before Clare’s breathing suggestions and her invitation to call our guardian tree. I was so completely with the experience that this tree was obviously the tree for this session.
Water droplets hung on each new leaf.
I could feel myself shining, brilliant in the sunlight. Each time I trembled, or was stirred by the breeze, droplets fell to the ground. Feeding our network. Feeding the entire Earth. I loved how this felt! So I continued to work with this, mainly.
The Amazon, from an eagle eye’s view became very clear, held by our circle. Vast and Lush. Then as Clare continued with describing its destruction, it’s wounding, I saw the huge scars across the canopy….the gaps in it.
Then I began to ‘see ‘ it fighting back…..I saw a perplexed farmer who, every time he tried to cut back the trees, thousands of tiny seedlings would spring up in their place. I saw vines creeping in real time over cutting machines, strangling them. The jungle became like a huge triffid, accompanied by orangutans and butterflies, swallowing all of man’s attempts to conquer it.
In tiny, water bejewelled, tree-form, I connected deeply with the relationship between this mighty canopy and the clouds and mist that wove through it. I trembled and let ‘my’ water droplets fall. Water became the conduit. I saw all the trees ‘breathing’ in the water and this tree-breathed water rushing into the black, polluted, veins-like deltas of the river and diluting the poison….clearing the water……
I ‘met’ an unidentified Amazon shaman woman. We bowed to one another, she took my hand. She encouraged me to continue with this simple action.
So I trembled /shivered my body over and over, releasing this shimmering gown of water to my roots and off into the wider field. Water flowed from me through my roots, into others in the circle and out wider and wider world. Water hung on my tongue, my tear ducts, my vagina, my ears and nose…..on each hair……each tiny shake and the droplets fell.
I saw myself Shine as this tiny tree.
I did not need to ask it for anything else. It had already shown me so much beauty and given me what I needed in this Time.
Praying for all Life and hoping this connection proves as powerful, as it felt during this meditation, to me.“
Response to meditation posted on Treesister’s Nest
It was only later I was given the understanding of my vision dream when all Time stands still.
Only later I had more warning dreams illustrating a magnificant, Earth, lightning strike and had further bright flashes of realization….but that would be a story for another post…..
(working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)
Japanese season called ‘Boshu’/ . Grain beards and seeds 6th June until 20th June .
Micro climate ‘rotten grass becomes fireflies’ 11th – 15th June.
I LOVE this title.
Somehow it describes so much of my journey.
My gift is to turn the ‘burden into abundance’…..and never has this felt more valuable than now.
I live my life on the compost heap!
Examining every immediate layer, inside and out, forking it all over, letting the air in and letting it all break down into something new.
Working only with what I have already got. What presents.
And creating out of that a nurturing space for tiny, hopeful, seeds to grow out of what is ‘old’ and ‘past’.
I have been working so hard on my trailer that the days have blurred and I am 3 days late with this entry…
My core timeline these last weeks has become ‘trailer, trailer, trailer’….and it has to be so if I am to complete in time.
A time of self discipline and hard work.
So little space for creative dreaming.
But I did find time to write this this morning as part of another online conversation I am having….
“I also see a network of connecting threads around the planet and have experienced certain ‘lights’ getting ‘switched on’. As more and more ‘lights’ get ‘switched on’ the ‘grid’ of protection grows stronger. I believe this grid is getting stronger by the day as individuals tune in to these higher vibrations.
Perhaps this grid counter acts 5G? I hope so, as this IS happening!
My journey yesterday was a telling of the history of FIRE.
And how humans became hypnotised by its power and how, when our ancestors learned to use it, they just did not know when to stop and ceased to be in right relationship with it.
Forgetting to thank, to show respect, forgetting to use its power for good, with the advent of metal alchemy and the forge.
They forced FIRE into slavery to create weapons and jewellery to adorn our, now god-like, bodies….now almost everything that is bad for this world, plastic, transport, indeed, almost all the stuff we surround ourselves with, is fire-derived and we are still not thankful! Most of the time the majority are not even aware that this is the case, and totally disconnected from it’s essence!!
Significant ‘others’ control it and harness it to production.
FIRE was supposed to be about protection and now ‘we’ have taken the piss so extremely. Carried away with our childish delights and the power that it gave us over nature…..even at the same time controlling the fires that naturally regenerate the forests!
And so the WATER rises….as she re-balances….
I was left with the instruction to pay more attention and as I wandered around my home viewing ‘all that is home’. I saw each item ‘born of fire’ in flames!! My home was literally burning! Nearly everything! So I blew gently on it all (not to fan it but to ease it’s fury!) and visualised crying over it it all to cool it all down….and most importantly….showing respect, and I have to say, in this case, rather reluctantly, gratitude, for the FIRE that bore it.
I have the line ‘….after all…ALL our mothers warned us not to play with fire….’ running around my brain.
Happily, I also ‘see’ so many more ‘right relationship’ fires being lit.
People returning to the wild and truly appreciating fire for the warmth and light it gives us.
More sacred fires being lit. More prayer candles. And this brings hope….
On a side line it took me to examine more closely my continued addiction to smoking.
Yes, one of those hypocritical environmentalists….wholly flawed and visibly conflicted…..I smoke rolling tobacco like an old Indian lady smokes her bidis in the Himalayas….it keeps the midges at bay when I commune with nature, or am working outside, and is my ‘last’ vice (other than being human!) and I hang onto it like a a strange ‘death’ raft!
I struggle with this enormously.
I can see all the destruction that the tobacco industry is responsible for, but I feel like I have to keep this connection with fire close to me.
I return each butt to the Earth with an awareness and a prayer.
(Rollie butts actually FEED the Earth and contain few harmful compounds to compost).
I also find that such a visible flaw feeds humbleness and connects me to many that find ‘the whole striving for perfection’ thing a bit much, so am enabled to take the whole conversation into some very unlikely places! I am trusted as I wear this badge of imperfection.
Sometimes I feel like I take this poison FOR the rest of humanity!
In full awareness…..
Potentially I am choosing how I die…..by fire ( if it was possible in the UK….I would also choose to be cremated under an open sky, Hindu style, in the event of my death )
Divine Timing, that wonderful instructor, came in finding smoking paraphernalia in my son’s school bag yesterday too…
I am listening….I ran out of tobacco this morning….but do not think I can fight it’s call….yet….not while I need to push on with my work.”
The day I was so looking forward to, the day I cut out the original old roof, has passed with no fanfare…only onward. In a series of tiny steps. There is a rhythm to building. I am learning not to obsess about the next step until the step I am currently working on is compete. At least, with all this rain, I know that, at last, the recycled coffee table, glass sky-light is now water tight!
Each evening , after feeding the family, I collapse. My body exhausted.
But I feel happy and my head is full of the next days plans and tweaks and corrections and new ideas as to how to proceed.
My daily meditation practise is also evolving. This is what keeps me going and how I begin each day.
These rainy days mean I have returned to sitting practise inside more often, although often called to stand. This is what gives me strength.
I thought this month I would make a short video of the intuitive moments that are becoming a kind of yogic dance for me….they only form a small part of my 30 minute practise.
I am so empowered and strengthened by this self-styled ritual!
There are some mistakes in the captions and the angle is less than flattering…. I also do not normally wear jeans to meditate, but these are my work clothes…and this is what gets me up and out there!
Making the time to come to centre and connect in this way with our dear Earth, even if less tangibly, is keeping me on track and reminding me daily why I am attempting this…..this fulfilment of a long held vision.
In these simple moments I set and hold the intention.
A vision that few, but me can yet share, but, at last, I AM DOING IT! Hurrah for me!
Building my tiny gallery with a heart.
The garden is glowing….they say that through the cracks the light gets in…in the cracks between our paving such a glow has self seeded! My favourite kind of gardening.
The kind where it is more about what you leave than what you take away.
(The chair, and its matching blue companion, were found on the community dump! Such a waste and really quite trendy and comfortable outdoor furniture despite their plasticity!)
Solstice is coming fast upon us. That tipping point. I listened to my beloved Treesister’s Full Moon call and feel the power of light spurring me on.
(working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)
Japanese season called ‘Rikka’/ Beginning of Summer. 5th May until 20th May .
Micro climate ‘bamboo shoots sprout’ 15th May – 20th May.
No bamboo shoots sprouting here, but everything else is!
Summer is definitely here!
I had a wacky inspiration to create a kind of litmus of the colours of spring here….the dog rose is out now too, almost wish I had added a streak of brilliant rose pink at the bottom….but where would it end as all the garden is now coming alive alive with colour!?!
I have been so very busy with tackling the trailer, and beginning to build the ‘tiny’ gallery.
It is very challenging for a creative dreamer like me to become a builder.
Firstly there is the material side of such an action…the physical buying of screws/tools etc….then there is the using of them!
In asking for guidance my whole meditation practise has evolved too….the wonderful weather we have been having lately has encouraged me to meditate outside daily. The need for ‘action’, ‘courage’ and ‘strength’ has led me to explore standing meditation.
Such a revelation!
I have naturally gravitated to sleeping on the floor recently (as my husband and I are exploring ways of giving each other more space to grow…each in our own directions!). This came first. I got my old student futon out of the attic. My aches and pains where almost instantly addressed!
I have been getting up a lot earlier with the light also.
Then I found I was growing increasingly frustrated with sitting to meditate.
I enjoy the feeling of being grounded/rooted, but my feet were always curled up beneath me, not making contact with the ground and then there are inevitable pins and needles after 1/2 hour!
I always walk barefoot around my home from April to September and as I was outside I thought I would explore more of ‘being tree’, feeling into that contact between the soles of my feet and the ground, facing one of my young trees as I do so. Becoming one with it.
I begin by adopting a Qigong pose, feet shoulder width apart, relaxed knees and arms held slightly out to either side and commence with the usual deep breathing, letting go, then through left nostril (10 deep breaths) then right nostril (10 deep breaths) as I was taught by the Dali Lama….this centres me….opens the third eye.
I continue by visualising my roots and also the branching upwards towards the sky. Finding that balance.
It was very interesting to me how I seem to hold my stomach in and how I need always to work on releasing that and lowering the energy into my ‘hara’. So much in my head.
Then I find I am enjoying the prayer hands mudra (mainly suggested by Kartikeya coming into my life in the form of an unexpected gift. A pendant that the giver suggested was Buddhist, but I knew was not! The unteachable boy, son of fire and water, the god of WAR and BRINGER OF PEACE. The master of OM and wrestling the ego…perfect! Just what I needed!)
OM SARAVANA BHAIRAVAY NAMAHA!
My hands then rest in front of my solar plexus. I play with drawing the energy from the ground and breathing out…thank you….then drawing the energy in through my crown, through my centre and giving back….thank you….then comes the bow.
And what a bow!
I jut out my chin (as taught to me by Dru yoga) and stretch out my neck as I do so. ‘I bow to you in service’ this brings me face to face with the ground. The colour in my closed eyes changes to a wonderful violet. I then, slowly allow my spine to stretch, down and down, until (I do have a long back and short legs!) my hands touch the grass. I dangle there and loosen my spine until I feel all the vertebrae separating…I caress the ground with my hands and utter my devotion. Then I let my hands make full contact….a kind of downward dog pose….and become four legged…connecting with the animal kingdom….I bring my head up as far as I can and look forward….then, releasing the head again….very slowly…..I return to being upright, which often feels like evolution itself!
I feel inches taller and twice the warrioress!
Then I return to simply standing, being, breathing, correcting, adjusting. Lowering the centre. Sometimes swaying with the breezes….feeling the resistance…..I often OM during this section….adding my felt resonance to the worlds.
To end I bow again….hands in prayer mudra and lower myself all the way to kneeling, stretching my legs the otherway. Then reach out my arms and touch my head against the ground, like a Muslim prayer, relaxing into this posture and talking with Mother….to end I stretch my whole body out, face down and let myself be held by her, as I hold her…..and relax.
I had thought about drawing this whole sequence, but it has come out in words!
I have learned so much about my body doing this.
The main lesson has been not to root too much!
In the beginning I was very focused on only ‘grounding’….in one session I mentally ‘buried’ myself up to the waist, but actually the soles of my feet hurt all day after doing this!! I did wonder if this was the Earth’s pain I was feeling…but now know that the lesson is to ‘go lightly’….almost to imagine one is levitating across the Earth’s surface. To keep the power/weight in the pelvis while not letting it up into the chest/head, but remembering also not to root too deeply down.
It is a fine balance.
She does not need our weight….she needs our HANDS and our ability to move FOR her….rooting down is for TREES, not humans!
She whispered these words to me:
“Balance, Grace. Awareness.
Hold on, but not too tightly.
Let go, but do not waste.
Slow down, take time to taste……OM’
And these words have become my mantra during this build.
I am encountering many hurdles. Testing obstacles to overcome.
Not least of which was beginning, going out, ready to start and discovering that a queen wasp had got to it before me!!
Such beautiful, perfect creations, but I was faced with a very difficult decision!
I simply could not allow her to build there.
After consulting the internet I realised that I had to knock all her work off…they were only days old….and discourage her from building. Which, with sincere apologies, I did. She was not well pleased and kept coming back, looking for her babies and her home….a huge, angry, confused, queen wasp.
I wondered if it was a sign that I should not be attempting this.
But then I brought out incense…smudged my trailer in ritual, asking her politely to leave…she did not like the smoke and has not bothered me since!
The beautiful, tiny, ‘bykes’ are now my prize, to treasure in my nature collection, (after leaving them in the porch and allowing other predators to feast on the tiny living larvae within), and a reminder to really make something beautiful, in honour of them and the cedars, and not to rush it.
It rained yesterday for the first time in weeks. The whole land breathes a sigh of relief, so I am taking a break for the weekend. I will be helping my father with his garden opening anyway….and there the colours will almost be overwhelming!
DAY 2 : WATER
Steely grey skies today. Everyone sleeping late again. Drank a pint of sweet, cold, spring water from the butt I keep on the porch. Below freezing last night. Drinking Water all day today. I still prefer the rock-filtered, crystal, sweetness of the local spring water to our rainwater collection supply. Drove the short distance to the sea this morning. It is not far, but the view point I was inspired to visit is only accessed by the main road and I wanted to take my wee dog. Stopped to throw some old bread out to the crows at our ‘crow-tree’. I could hear them ‘cawing’ out their notice, waiting until I drove away.
The viewpoint is accessed through a set back lay-by. I had not stopped there for a long time. The picnic table, that was then new, was now rotting and looking uncared for. Where does the time go!? A black bag, full of rubbish, with a yellow vest next to it, as if the litter picker had just melted, sat lopsided in the grass. There was quite alot of windblown trash too where the cars stop. There was too much for me to take today…I made a note to return there with a bag another day.
Had to remember how to ‘put’ the energy down into my feet, and trust them again, as I scrambled down over the slippy, irregular, volcanic rocks.
Found the perfect lichened stone seat and sat there for a while. I was blessed with a cormorant diving over and over in front of me, another (as yet unidentified!?) diving bird (perhaps a juvenile gull, but did not behave like one, bobbing and diving for ages!) and then a seal patrolled the shore parallel to me. I sang a song to the sea and then scrambled over the rocks, marvelling at the lichens and barnacles, igneous rock forms and limpets, as a halo of sunlight broke over the distant islands. So many patterns in our cracked, ancient, landscape…no wonder I am so enchanted! Tried to visualise the busy worlds below the vast grey surface of the sealoch. The glens and kelp forests beneath the water. Sometimes flocks of geese flew over, honking. Disturbed, on this still day, by the constant loud thrumm of the fish farm and marina, pulsing through the land and water and the intermittent roar of passing traffic on the road behind…so much quieter up on the hill. I baptised my forehead in sea water before retreating inland again to our still and silent home.
Retreated into my artcave.
So many sea treasures collected on my window sill.
Half an urchin’s perfectly dotted, sea- green shell, a sea bean, several Shiva’s eyes and some shark eggs. A Posidonia oceanica, ‘Neptune’ grass ball. And sea glass pieces. Such curved, smooth and rounded, satisfying ocean riding forms.
Fluid. Plumping. Sustaining. Rain. Ripples. Ice. Shards. Flakes. Icicle. Drip. Drop. Glacier. River. Stream. Delta. Brine. Loch. Reflection. Fog. Mist. Clouds. Transpirational!
Tuning into the flows.
Listened to Shelley Ostroff’s Rest and Reflection with Water meditation.
Such a powerful cyclic motion. I was caught up in it, from spring to river to delta to sea and ocean evaporating to clouds pushed by the wind to rain on the land to filter through the ground to spring forth once more….felt the presence of water in all space. Inside and out. Somehow easier and more intuitive than yesterday with Earth energies. Floating in a Super Conductor. Carrying memories. All in flowing motion. Whirlpools and jellyfish swam in my mind. Tummy gurgles on this water fast day delighted as a reminder.
The eternal motion was what I wanted to work with so decided that a video or a song would be best today.
Feeling extreme gratitude on every visit to the sink or bathroom, for my coffee (just one naughty one!) and the cleansing pints of spring water. Gratitude too for not having chlorine in our water and our filter sewage system successfully, constantly, feeding my trees. Aware of the entire house being wrapped in pipe veins of flowing water in and out. Water as blood. The humidity of my breath. Imagined a body with no water plumping up its cells. Little more than a shrivelled pile of bones and teeth.
Very aware also of the oil related products I am ‘swimming in’ at home. Overwhelming when I really look.
I lit a candle and as I was looking for a suitable container I noticed the way a little water moved on a steel balti dish as I washed it.
Here was my celebration of the incredible qualities of movement in water!!
Knelt on the floor and filmed it ‘dancing’ across the steel as I listened to Lixin’s Mystic Voice chanting to Water. When I halved the film speed the audio was slowed also. I loved the way it looked and sounded. I hope that Lixin will not be offended! I thank her in the credits!?!
So here it is!
The hypnotic dance of water on steel. I love how it finds itself and joins and separates again and again as the environment shifts.
Shape shifting meniscus.
Made a new water-inspired mandala too, from a picture of a running brook I took yesterday.
Fire tomorrow! Ideas brewing, but trying again not to hold onto anything too fiercely. Who knows where it will take me!?
Deep Bow to the Element of Water.
As part of the 7 Days of Rest and Reflection
It was all planned.
Each day between the 1st and the 7th of January I hoped to find time to meditate and become curious about each element/topic, producing a piece of related work each day.
Dawn feels so late.
Very aware of post celebration debris and waste.
Walk was made difficult due to having to face the destruction and mindless roadwork that has been done to our track. They have widened the road as they intend on bringing truck-loads of commercial timber out this spring.
We knew this was coming. The forest was in desperate need of some management.
But it is the way they do things that fills me with grief this morning.
Machines have scarred the road with mud and tracks. Just smashed a way through, no care has been taken, and then they have dumped ugly piles of rock on the road to prevent locals using the back tracks.
Stood in silent communion with some of the remaining trees.
I felt their shock.
This is superficial I remind myself.
Mud is Earth.
It will re-green in time.
They have left alone, and in one case, happily exposed, some specimen trees. One of these trees, I have frequently intended to identify. I know it was planted by a woman who owned this woodland years ago.
Turned out to be a Macnab Cypress! (UPDATE: I found out the following day it is actually a Monterey Cypress, details on following post!) Known to the American Indians as the ‘juniper tree’! Glad to see it was saved from the saws.
All I could really feel and see, as I walked mindfully, was mismanagement of the land and a total lack of love. I felt trapped in this damaged landscape. Part of it. Guilty by participation.
My eyes then became drawn to the beautiful details of life in the mosses and lichens. The untouched hills and land beyond these ravaged edges. The Winter of everything. The subtle hues of brown and ochre greys. I tried to look beyond all the blatant destruction.
I returned home and tidied up. Let the fresh. fresh air through the house. Put out food for our hungry (and now distressed) birds. Mainly Blue, Great and Coal tits at this time of year. On my walk they had been humming out unusual distress warnings as we approached.
The whole area is alarmed.
Machines rumbled in the distance, accompanied by the shouts of men.
I watered my house plants, wondering at Hyacinth and Orchids beauty and scent. I walked on our cold winter lawn and greeted the sun as it spilled over the horizon, bathing the glen and me with golden light.
And then I retreated to my art’cave’.
A feeling of ‘earthing’, ‘grounding’.
First thoughts were of previous works that seem to embody this theme.
All my work might fit this brief, but this painting, titled ‘Substance’, painted last year, is the one that came to mind immediately.
I had had pretty solid plans to draw 4 yin yang designs, each based on an element showing the male and female, creator/destroyer, sides of each element, but the mood of my mornings walk had affected me deeply. I also have been playing with images of carbon molecules and Earth grids. But I found that I wanted to be more immediate than that. Just open and see what came through.
I created a sacred space and listened to the Earth guided meditation, by Shelley Ostroff, on the 7 days of Rest, Day One, page.
Perfect. Exactly in tune with my new resolution! Supporting this experiment in an almost uncanny way!
As the plans faded and openness to the moment took over I found myself reaching for one of my many treasured collected stones from the windowsill. It was a beauty. Full of layers and patterns of rock. I could see many images floating through it. Stories from the stone?
On one side I could see a landscape lit by the full moon….
On the other beautiful tides from the air and sometimes a maiden with wild tidal hair…
And as I held it it grew warm. Such poetry in that alone.
And as it warmed the thought occurred that I must go back to the ravaged ditches to find another stone and ask for it’s story!
So I ventured outside again and I soon was called to a glint of quartz in one of the muddy ditches. It was bigger than my usual finds and covered with a thick mud.
I carried it home to wash it.
The mud smelled fresh and earthy and was thick, sticky and dark.
I became interested in the contours of my skin and thought there might be something interesting to explore in that…like body maps…drawn in soil….as you can see I got a bit carried away!
And my skin felt great afterwards!
I gently and tenderly scrubbed the rock clean. I began to see so many possible stories and characters within its layered crystalline facets. It definitely was speaking to me!
I processed this picture into a black and white image and sat with it for a long time debating what to draw out, turning it around and around….
I laid it in front of me and contemplated all things Earth…
One of my ideas was to draw ‘live’ and fill a page with stories, I wish I had now…but working against the clock now I chose one story….and here she is.
Earth Gaiantess Rising.
Just one of many stories a quartz stone rescued from a fresh Earth wound told me this afternoon. If I had had more time I might have written her story too…but I am tired now….from ‘dancing’ with this heavy mineral element.
Trying not to plan tomorrows dance with Water Element…just opening and letting it flow….
Deep bow to the element of Earth.
I read a book that shouted ‘Dogon’ and I followed that call.
Lit up with a passion I cannot explain and everything began to go right for me again.
Weaving and wandering.
It became important to me.
There is ‘gold’ here. I feel it.
A typical westerner.
This time not stealing sacred statues for my museum, but scouring their ancient knowledge for answers.
So I dig my feet into the sand and begin my quest.
My ‘Dance with the Dogon.’
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…..
This a story of spiralling light.
Beginning with the smallest of things.
A tiny, tiny seed.
This seed, when conditions became just right, began to vibrate from within.
This tiny seed grows and grows until it becomes the entire universe.
A, holding-all, universe, in the shape of an egg.
An oval mass.
Aduno Tal. ‘The Egg of the World.’
The womb of the world.
It takes seven long stages of spiral unwinding for the seed to become the egg, each stage longer than the last. This seven stage unwinding is drawn, by the Dogon, as a prefiguration of a human shape. Beginning with one foot, then a hand, then one half of the head, then the other half of the head, then a hand, then a foot and finally, orgasmically, the sexual organs. I can find no reference as to in which direction around the body this spiralling happens!
At this point the egg breaks violently open and Amma is born.
(Does that sound like a male name to you? Most of the pages I scanned say ‘HE’…..the Dogon say the ‘breast is second only to Amma’….I guess this is up to interpretation…some, more generous, texts refer to Amma as androdgenous.)
In Amma was born a divine plan.
To create a new world.
She created a planet.
Amma did have intercourse with that first planet, but it was struggle, a violent battle, the planet’s ‘clitoris rose up like a penis’ !!!, but Amma eventually succeeded in becoming impregnated.
A new egg was made.
An egg containing twins.
A male, with perfect female balance, and a female, with perfect male balance.
Perfectly designed to seed a new world.
These were the first Nommo. Children of Amma.
……BUT SOMETHING WENT TERRIBLY WRONG!
The ‘male’ oriented twin was born too early!
And he tore out of the egg into space, leaving the ‘female’ twin behind! He took with him his half of the egg sac and even stole some of the Amma’s seeds to create his world.
It was a HE who created the first world in such haste.
Due to missing such a vital part, his creation was a dark, dry and imperfect world.
This twin lived his life in restless disgrace and as punishment, Amma turned him into a desert fox or jackal. Yurugu. He repeatedly raped the planet and the resulting DNA from this union still echoes in the world today. The descendants of Yurugu’s imperfect, incestuous, children.
This mistake HAD to be rectified. Balance had to be restored.
So Amma gathered strength and created another eight sets of Nommo twins, from the remaining female twin. Four cosmic pairs and four more ‘earthy’ pairs, that came from East, West, North and South.
The Nommo travelled through space on two rays of spiralling light, in a basket shaped boat or ark. As they powerfully collided, in a rain of fire and thunder, with the planet, they brought with them the element of WATER and created the oceans. The much needed, missing, feminine, essence for this dry, parched land. These Nommo are depicted as amphibian. Looking very much like a catfish. Able to walk on land, but whose natural element was water. They thrived in the ocean where Yuguru’s children could not hurt them, but their mission was to populate the planet, become one with the, corrupted, first people, dilute the situation and restore the balance.
The bargaining began.
Yurugu was lonely. So lonely. He now understood the consequences of what he had done and felt wretched. He conceded to allow these beings to join him on the land and oh how he longed to ‘drink from the Nommo’, but still untrusting and sly, he only agreed in return for the power over the WORD. (Isn’t that wonderful!? This explains so much….even the confusion over the possible original gender of the creator AMMA!)
One Nommo came out of the water and was, willingly, ’NAILED’ TO A TREE! This female Nommo went through a painful transformation, she sacrificed herself. She died there, only to be miraculously resurrected by Amma and she returned to whence she had come, only after solemnly promising that one day she would return.
After this act of sacrifice the remaining Nommo grew legs and descendants of Yuguru and Nommo slowly populated the world.
One of these original Nommo, Ogo, a male, also returned to Amma, but only to steal a piece of the sun, using his crook, to bring back to this new ‘Earth’. It was that piece of sun and the planet’s new, watery atmosphere that gave him a rainbow bridge to return swiftly on, making his escape.
He was also punished by Amma. Killed and his body parts thrown far and wide, where they landed became the scared places for the Dogon. From this story grew the male-lineage, metal workers, of the Dogon. The Holy Blacksmith. The one who travelled over the rainbow bridge. The Magician. The Alchemist. Iron the realm of the dead. Air the realm of the spirit. Fire, that piece of sun. So powerful is their energy that they must forever wear metal shoes to prevent their feet from poisoning the soil.
The Dogon still wait for the coming of that Nommo who promised to return.
(One has to bear in mind that the Dogon are very clear that all this wonder is taking place in a specific part of our known universe, a place in the sky near Sirius, to them, a Holy Trinity of stars. One sun, one perfect, ‘blood-filled’, seed and one invisible, female star, Emma Ya, now either dead, or beyond ‘seeing’. Their knowledge of this area of space long precedes ours and is the cause of much debate, and fascination, among scientists, anthropologists and astrologers. As yet we can only see ‘the brightest diamond in the sky’, Sirius….possibly the original sun, and one tiny white dwarf, Sirius B, whose density is immense, beyond imagining, which orbits that. A new seed? The Dogon religiously count its orbits, their calendar based on them.
Emme Ya remains a mystery……
There is also some indication, within the references I found, to point to our Earth not being that original planet! This could be a longer story than we can even comprehend, perhaps we are all descended from extra-terrestrial IMMIGRANTS moving through the galaxy, re seeding and re-seeding worlds!)
A desert people, the Dogon, re-enact this sacred tale in dance and recited knowledge.
And they hold their hands up to the sky and pray for RAIN.
Only once the world is cleansed, flooded, and all descendants of Yurugu are erased (basically all of us carry his gene) will the Nommo will return to this, then watery world, only then all will be in balance, as originally intended.
They say many star travellers visit and then return. They talk with Yuguru through fox prints in the sand. They build their villages in spiralling formations and carve statues of their ancestors. Covering them with offerings of blood, millet porridge and earth. Their calendar based on the orbit of Sirius B around Sirius A. The seed is all. Their granaries holy. Their society split into 3 principle parts, Awa, (whose responsibility is the dead, whose masked dances escort the souls of the ancestors to their final resting places. They reorder the spiritual places disturbed by the death of that naughty, thieving, Nommo), Lebe, whose responsibility is LIFE (primarily agriculture) who comes to earth, at night, in the form of a serpent, to cleanse and renew the life force, by licking the priests, (the Hogon), and Binu, (the guardians of the sacred places, spiritual communications and animal sacrifice/blood). The Binu often make themselves known to their descendants in the form of an animal spirit, many reptiles among them. Crocodile (age) Tortoise (home), but also hedgehogs, deer and other animals are represented, each with their own interpretation. They are the carpenters or workers with the TREE. Which is normally the spikey, ancient, baobab, which they harvest, limb by limb, with the utmost respect to the tree, for their artwork.
One thing really struck me in the translations of their songs and chants. Common in them is the repeated sentiment. ’Forgive us. We are sorry, Excuse Us’ as if somehow they hold themselves to account for all this imbalance. I know a powerful mantra like that!
To the Dogon everything is a miniature of the whole.
It is their responsibility to work to maintain cosmic HARMONY.
And to keep up communication with their imperfect creator to let her/him know they still intend and desire to come HOME.
It comforts me greatly this creation story of theirs.
The modern world has dramatically impacted on the Dogon, many are now converted to Islam, their scared places have been ransacked and tourism is always threatening to destroy their culture. But some strongholds still remain. Strong secret holders and it would not surprise me if, like my beloved Kalash tribe (North Pakistan whose culture shows some very surprising similarities!), they often lie to strangers in order to confuse and thereby protect their mysteries! And sadly many, now, will have forgotten the original stories, even retelling them incorrectly.
I have taken the liberty of weaving this story from many, many different, often contradictory, sources, into one that makes sense to me….I have done so holding the deepest respect for the tribe.
This general jist is only a reflection of a tiny part of their ritual and complex understanding, so I betray them less than many others, who sell their own interpretations as truth.
When I look at images of the Dogon, I see a graceful and wise tribe. There is a simple visual beauty in their design and manner that is difficult not to see. Their tribal art has had huge influence on our own art history and culture. And I cannot help feeling that they KNOW so much about the movement of energy and DNA.
So much of this tale resonates deeply with me and I have no real idea why although I could talk about this for hours! Sirius has naturally long fascinated me. That loyal hound at the foot of the hunter. That twinkling spectrum low on the winter sky line. It always draws my eye and spirit.
The accompanying illustration is probably the first of many images on this theme. I have called it ‘Nommo Dreaming – On the pad’
The book that shouted ‘Dogon’ was ‘Half Asleep In Frog Pyjamas’ by Tom Robbins. In it, it is the main character, Gwen, who, inspired by free-spirit Larry Diamond, makes several connected ‘leaps’…..not least of which was the likening of Buddha to a frog on a lily/lotus pad.
It just happens that the Dogon also nurture several lakes. These lakes are covered in water lily flowers.
I have always felt in touch with ‘something’ when I meditate…..on my pad.
It amuses my Nommo DNA to dream of coming HOME and talking, through the trees, with the stars, while praying for new and better worlds to come.
Kat Robertson October 2018
The first painting I have done on canvas since I left art college….in fact this was a canvas from back then! My Mum liked it so much she had it on her wall for years!
But those ladies are no more, something else has grown over them!
This was a real birth of a rock baby.
But wonderful! I felt like I was really working again and these mediums of homemade charcoal, local soil pigments and linseed oil intrigue and delight me. I am going to research more organic colour pigments too, instead of using acrylic. It just feels not quite right somehow!
I felt exhausted for days after completing her….although I do not think this painting will ever be complete…it just kept calling for more and more layers of life and lichen….could go on forever! Perhaps I might keep her and do just that this year!? Every now and again just add a wee bit more!? Until she finds a new home?
Inspired by TreeSister’s Inner Journey Meditation ‘Embody’.
The original sketch of a person meditating was used to produce the gif animation previously shared.
This is the resulting last ‘frame’. I coloured it and added a few creatures to bring it to life.
Oh my goodness where to begin!
Here I have been rolling o(m)n.
Creating just because I have to to honor my gifts and to keep me sane.
I live very remotely and my insistent sharing has always been my last remaining connection with the bigger, beautiful, spherical world outside that I used to travel around, before settling and becoming a mother myself.
I believe I have previously mentioned the non profit, women’s reforestation project called TreeSisters in connection with my Treeyes.
Well, they are also ‘running’ an journey of more internal, spiritual, evolutionary nature. Free and open to all that celebrate the Earth and sail in her. I have been following this journey and it has brought about an intense and very wonder full realization in my being.
As a creative I, at last, feel seen and soo appreciated!
For many years now I have been attempting to use the internet to achieve the almost impossible task of carving out an identity as an ever evolving, visionary creative with a message. It seems I have found my ‘tribe’ again, at last. This blog has always been intended as an online gallery for all the tangible, real works that result from my process, but no sales or interest has ever become apparent!
Now, through the support and belief of this organization I begin so understand that all these creations have WORTH! And there is a limit as to how much I can store while remaining a penniless isolationist!
Ironically theirs is not a platform through which I can market these originals and would not want to sully their incredible work by diluting their message with money! But I will be updating the about section of this blog explaining the above and making it clear that all the work here is for sale!
I have my first solo exhibition looming.
I have rented the small hall in our local village for one week and am hosting this totally alone and recruiting other like-minded, talented, local individuals to help make it really special during that week. I will also be posting more information here about that and for one week all my social media links will be devoted to documenting that event, however it turns out! A lot of new work will certainly come into being in a having a space like that to ‘play’ in!
I commit to supporting Treesisters in whatever way I can in return for the worldwide exposure I hope to gain.
Like so many dependencies in nature, I hope I will become just another lichen on their billion trees, while they get on with the important work of reforesting this globe!
I sincerely hope that my art will in turn benefit them.
I will be donating a percentage of all sales to their ongoing mission.
Much of my new work has been directly influenced by this new relationship. None more so than the evolution of this original drawing, used to create the previous ‘Buzzing’ GIF.
This is now called EMBODY, as it is my way of expressing my reaction to the powerful meditation of that name, that Treesister’s CEO, Clare Dubois, shared with the 10,000 strong tribe of sisters as part of her restorer species, Gaia connecting, Inner Journey.
The resulting stills also resonate deeply for me.
The last ‘still’ from this process is now a stand alone work in its own right. Not quite finished as I am intending to add more life and colour to it, but will share again when it is finished!