horse-washing at dawn...
loving daily offerings...
(this one by Ketut Sumiarti, our homestay hostess. Here's the link if you ever want to stay with a lovely family high in Bali's mountains :)
shrines by every doorway...
a cats-only island...
painting with Mada, Ketut, Wili & Putu...
...and misty mountains beneath us as we flew North again.
Sometimes, the inner truth of a journey unfolds after returning home once more...and, with dreams of flying turtles and extravagantly coloured butterflies, Bali is still working its magic on us as we walk by Rennaldburn's clear waters and frosted swathes of snowdrops. Now is time to get creating again :)
Mada swinging on a vine at sunset
I’ve always felt a rich synthesis between dreams and art; a winding track leads from one to the other through beautiful wilderlands, with infinite unfoldments along the way. The very nature of the fusion, though ~ exactly how each permeates and informs the other ~ is largely beyond words; it’s the images themselves which open a space for a deeper truth to grow.
In an all-encompassing sense, I like to keep the channel open as much as possible between the fertile, star-lit world in which all things are possible, and waking life…in which all things are also possible, but can feel less so.
More specifically, I love to literally create my dreams. Sometimes with songs or through other mediums, but often by painting or drawing them.
Here’s an illustration taking form, of a dream I had in the Autumn. In it, I'm given a choice of tracks to follow through a carpet of young sweet chestnut saplings, and choose the middle, least travelled one. It is a beautiful pathway.
Not long after travelling the sweet chestnut path, I had a dream filled with rich interior imagery. In it, I visit my good friend and fellow valley girl Catkin. She’s absorbed in painting a beautiful miniature arched Christmas painting in a room filled with light, colour and living trees; as well as a Christmas tree, there is a pear and a laurel.
So many kinds of goodness are embodied in this simple dream scene. A verdant creativity; abundance rooted in a deep inner peace rather than merely matter; an all-encompassing sense of a warm and welcoming home; nature as an intrinsic and honoured part of life.
May everyone be blessed with a Solstice and Christmas this bright…and a year similarly filled with goodness, creativity, peace and abundance, with the holiness of nature at its heart.
It's been a long time since I've had a guest post on returntotheway...nearly two years ago, when Cathy van Hoppe shared sketches for a winter's tale.
Here's a recent work coming into being; midnight magic, kinship and starlight born from silence and winter stillness.
It's been a long time since my last blog post. And, for those kind souls who read this blog regularly I am truly apologetic for vanishing without explanation.
Life has its seasons I guess and sometimes a very harsh Winter comes our way. It forces a kind of hibernation, a withdrawal from our normal lives. It can be a very testing time - providing little in the way of nourishment and using up all your reserves. Survival depends on something beyond our control and a kind of surrender begins to develop.
And Silence swam as starlight between the trees
Fairy Tale of Kings by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis, 1909
From now on ~ interspersed with small tales about artwork creation ~ there will be rolling updates about the building of a tiny temple at Rennaldburn.
I've been inspired about the idea of building small, simple but beautiful shelters since I was a teenager. Here's a more expanded version of what I still hope to do someday:
On a part of the earth which expresses many different energies ~ rugged high outcrops, streams running through gentle meadows, woodland hollows leading to open ocean shore ~ my dream is to create a soulful centre of creative, spiritual exploration, an abundant garden of possibility.
Kahil Gibran perfectly expresses what I yearn to embody in his poem, On Houses:
Here, then, is the inauguration of Altair air Abhainn (Gaelic for Alter by the stream). It's on the site of Rennaldburn's hillside fireplace; if you look at the bottom right corner of the video you can just see the final fire burning there as the space is prepared.
This Samhain new moon, as our ancestors are nearer the forefront of our awareness, here's a small tale about a gravestone I made my Great Aunt Ecila this Summer.
She died forty years ago, but ~ having matter-of-factly donated her body to science ~ never had a funeral or grave...and the time felt right for my mother and myself to redress the balance. (Since I carved a stone in memory of my father a couple of years ago, I'm quite the expert now ;)
I decided to try a multimedia offering this time, with a glass rosy cross inset into the sandstone, along with a little metal Scotty dog broach...and we made the pilgrimage down to North Curry, Somerset to sneak it into the family plot.
There we stayed with a family friend who had one of those wild, rambling and chaotically glorious gardens that have a timeless quality to them (you could imagine it being the same in medieval or victorian times)
(The same could be said for many interior views, such as this nook, ode to glass and dragons :)
I spent much of my time filming the abundance of winged creatures who made their home there and on the local waterways...
These sun-infused interactions became this little video, made as an offering to Aunt Ecila ~ and all our relations who are now more winged than earthbound.