Category Archives: Archetypes

Standing on The Shoulders of Titans

Cedalion standing on the shoulders of Orion from Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun by Nicolas Poussin, 1658, Oil on canvas; 46 7/8 x 72 in. (119.1 x 182.9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art

The metaphor of dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants (Latin: nanos gigantum humeris insidentes) expresses the meaning of “discovering truth by building on previous discoveries”. While it can be traced to at least the 12th century, attributed to Bernard of Chartres, its most familiar expression in English is found in a 1676 letter of Isaac Newton:

More details This picture is derived from Greek mythology, where the blind giant Orion carried his servant Cedalion on his shoulders.

In ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’ Clarissa Pinkola Estes shares a numinous dream in which she finds ‘someone patting (her) foot in encouragement’. When she looked down she saw that she was “standing on the shoulders of an old woman who was steadying her ankles and smiling up” at her. In the dream Estes protested that it was her who should support the older woman on her shoulders but the old woman insisted that this was “how it is meant to be”. It turned out that the old woman was standing on the shoulders of an even older woman who was standing on the shoulders of… and so the line continued.

Modern story tellers are, as recent articles about the long history of Fairy Tales testify, “descendants of a very long line of people, troubadours, bards, griots, cantors, traveling poets, bums, hags and crazy people.”

Story is  very old art. It is good to stop and do a stock take of just whose shoulders you are standing upon, to take the time to express gratitude to those who have, through their work, nurtured your creativity.

Listen to the Trees

Stately-ConiferThe sprawling cypress trees that hid me and provided protection when I was running, terrified, live in my memory, along with the listening trees that Archie Hair talked about.

“In shamanic cultures all over the world this crucial relationship with trees is recognised and cultivated. In some villages of the Huichol Indians of Mexico, young men and women “wed” a tree for four years before they are considered ready for marriage. In this four year relationship, they pour out all their desires, their longings, their successes and failures, during regular visits to their tree. In this process of working out projections, they mature and are able to come to their human partnerships with a remarkable soulfulness and equanimity”. (Source)

The Golden Seed Grove at the Soul Food Cafe holds some lovely pieces revealing the connection some artists and writers have with trees. Baba Yaga insists that participant of Travels With A Donkey spend at least half an hour communing with one of the nearby trees. Ideally they should spend more than an hour with a tree.

According to Narrye Caldwell  “trees speak so much more slowly than we are used to.” She says that “it takes patience to sit under a tree for hours, and listen to its wisdom. It takes time to pour out your heart to a tree”.

Are you willing to spend the time with a tree and listen to its wisdom? Check this guided imagery.

Confidante

Peggie
confidant
ˈkɒnfɪdant,ˌkɒnfɪˈdant,-dɑːnt
noun
noun: confidante

a person with whom one shares a secret or private matter, trusting them not to repeat it to others.

Vasilisa had a doll! I have Peggie!

Peggie and I communicate at least once a week! She knows me better than I know myself, doesn’t spin me any nonsense or spare me truths. I trust her completely! She acts as a guide when I am not sure what to do.

But enough said! What goes on between Peggie and I stays between Peggie and I.

How do you make space for intuition?

Singing Over The Bones

 

I have excavated the skeletal remains
Of the child I was
Before my childhood was unceremoniously snatched
Before betrayal stole joy and eroded the flesh
Before the burdensome grief of another
Weighed down my shoulders
stunting growth.

I look at the remains and remember
that I knew who I was
all those long years ago.

I was a happy carefree child with a sunny disposition
Who played practical jokes
Whited all the sand shoes
Lined dolls up
Made tea on the back verandah
Taught French from dusty texts
Was infused with the magic of treasure hunts
Played in a cubby house
under the shelter of majestic Pussy Willow trees
that lined our back fence.

I remember that I was
the gentle, studious one
steeped in mythos
who loved the library and
her own company
causing barely a ripple to family life

I look at the skeletal remains and ever so carefully
Place them in my saddle bag
to carry and sing over
to bring flesh to
and discover joy, in simple things
all over again.

Heather Blakey 2005

Consider the following

In her book, ‘Caravan of No Despair’, Mirabai Starr tells us that “you cannot succeed in mourning your loved ones. You cannot fail. Nor is grief  a malady, like the flu. You will not get over it. You will only come to integrate your loss…”

In the introduction of ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’ Clarissa Pinkola Estes introduces the notion of Singing Over The Bones. Later in the book she presents the idea of Descansos and talks about descansos being symbols that mark a death, not just of loved ones but of hopes, dreams and potentialities. She shows her clients how to look at their lives and mark where the small and big deaths have taken place.

Watch this video featuring Dr Kim Bateman and consider ways of singing over the bones of small and bigger losses.

There are many ways to make descansos. This is an example of making descansos! But do remember to take care of yourself while you Sing Over Your Bones.

Great White Owl Prayer

The Great White Owls Prayer

Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world – hear me.
I come before you, one of your children.
I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever
Behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made,
My ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise, so that I may know
The things you have taught my people,
“And Let Me Learn With Wisdom
The Things You Wish Me To Know From Nightingale
To Understand That Which Is My Task
And That Which Is The Duty of Others
To Measure A Spirit With No Bigotry
To Do All These Tasks Led By Your Hand
To Complete These Tasks For Thy Purpose
And let me know”
The lesson you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength not to be superior to my brothers,
But to be able to fight my greatest enemy,
*MYSELF*.
Make me ever ready to come to you,
With clean hands and straight eyes,
So when life fades as a fading sunset,
My spirit may come to you without shame.
“Let Me Cross Over To The Meadow
To Greet My Ancestors With Tears Of Joy”

Equa Unega Wahuhi, The Great White Owl

Adapted from The Native American Prayer of : Yellow Hawk, Sioux Chief

Visit White Owl Island

A Myth To Live By

towerhill.jpg

When Lemuria perished by volcanic fires it left but scattered fragments to mark where once it spread. For us it will be enough to trace the Divine Wisdom from the beginnings…to carry on the teaching of the divine instructors.”

Gathered around a cradle, rocked beneath the shelter of the Himalayan peaks, the divine initiates, guardians of an ancient teaching, ancestral members of the divine sisterhood, gently prepare a girl baby for her earthly journey. This child is destined to protect the ancient teaching and bring it to humanity, wrapped in brown paper.

Silently, speaking only with actions, the sisterhood perform rituals, passed on by initiators before them, initiators whose strong hands carried the divine science safely through Lemurian fires and Atalantean floods.

A guardian, with long, luxuriant red hair, wrapped in a sapphire, brocade trimmed robe, steps forward and speaks.

“Lone Warrior Maiden. You must take this ancient teaching and go forth to a corner post of the old Lemuria, our homeland. The law we have given you will direct your life. All your actions must be in accordance with the law, which will in turn protect and preserve your destiny. You will be a member of an earth family, a citizen of the great universe, a part of the whole. You must not forget that you are a part of a circle and over time you will form a circle with other initiates who follow. They will gather with you in an eternal, spirit garden.”

Soft red light, like that emanating from a legendary Lemurian sunset bathes the crade and infuses the baby with a gentle warmth that will linger, fills her with a dynamic life force.

Quietly the Goddess lays down gifts beside the cradle.

There is a stylus, tablets, a loom and golden thread to weave, to hold for others to follow, a mirror carved with the words ‘to thine self be true’, a golden badge of honour to preserve dignity and last but not least, a treasure box to store the treasures of life.

Now to find the right womb…

From The Wintered Womb

Underneath the thrice ploughed, fertile, fallow field
Impregnated within a wintered, woven, womb
Of richly composted humus
I lay seeking sustenance, nourishment from
The oxygen filled wintered mist that
Drizzles, seeping, replenishing the amniotic fluids
That trickles through the membranous umbilical cord
Fertilizing, greening,
Ensuring a bountiful spring harvest.

Voices on the wind, drift through the chosen womb, throught the richly composted humus… a mother crying… she has three children already… how will she manage. Dr Salvaris reassures her. They will do a tubal ligation at the same time as this child is delivered, to ensure that her womb will lie fallow from this time on. What does this mean for me I wonder? ‘Prove your worth that’s what you will do….’ more words come filtering into the womb filling me with apprehension. Will I ever be good enough?

Heather Lorraine Blakey
born 27th August 1950
St David’s Hospital
Maffra, Victoria, Australia
daughter of Colin James Goodwin and
Dorothy Jean Goodwin

Born in the ward
giving precedence to
Graeme Chirpig who
tried to take
all the attention.

Born in time
for an extra slap
on the bottom
for so unceremoniously
disrupting Sister Cameron’s morning tea.

With a deft knot in her mother’s tubes
Dr Salvaris
ensured she would be
the last divinity to slip
unexpectedly
from her uterus

They said
the room filled with
radiant heated light
on that August morning
when she
triumpantly
entered the stage
looking radiant
brown eyes glowing
expectantly

It was perfectly evident
To all with eyes to see
And ears to hear
That this quaint child
Sheltered by the Great Dividing Range
Wore the mark of teacher
Emblazoned on her brow.

Her mother knew
That this child of her womb
Would be her last
that this child of Clotho and Laschesis
Was to be shielded from Atropos’s scissors

Her mother knew that this child was to be
Sheltered, protected, within the isolation of a remote outpost
That sacrifices had to be made to
Nurture, nourish and encourage her
To live out her carefully measured destiny.

Golden Days in Lemuria

Remembering those heady days travelling with Enchanteur!

The Goddess Isis Offers Counsel

In ancient Egypt Isis was amongst the older of the goddesses, the mother and giver of all life. A moon goddess, she gives birth to the sun, creates and sustains all life, and is the saviour of all people. The teacher of agriculture, she is also the goddess of medicine and wisdom.

Osiris was her brother and husband. When Osiris was murdered by his brother Set, Isis searched for and found him, revived him, and conceived their son, Horus. When Set again took Osiris and scattered his body in fourteen pieces, Isis hunted down each piece, except for his reproductive organs, which she was unable to locate, in order to give each piece a proper burial.

Isis is the universal goddess, representing total femininity. She can overcome death itself, yet she is not above grief: one of her tears, wept when Osiris was dying caused the Nile River to flood. She underscores the depths of emotions that even a goddess must feel.

Text by Michael Babcock

Susan Seddon Boulet

I feel that I have not been as good a friend to my creative self as I might have been. I called for a goddess to come to guide me and it is Isis, the goddess of medicine and wisdom who has responded to my call. As soon as she appears I know that she understands the pain and grief, the deep yearning! Her understanding and reassurance that even powerful goddesses have deep emotions that bring them to their knees, silences the critical voice that speaks of having wasted time. There is no criticism in her voice. Instead she points to all that I have done while living with Hel.

She holds me as she held Osiris and I am so grateful to see that my raven has come to offer a wing of comfort as well.

For now, in order to be a loyal friend to myself, Isis and my Raven insist that no magic is required! They will attend to and care for my dead. I can live! I simply need to take things slowly and gently and spend time in this sanctuary. Isis tells me that even if my creative energies have been fallow, in comparison to when they were at their height, this does not mean that they have been extinguished or that she and Raven have to search for scattered pieces. She points to my body of work and reassures me that the creative flame is still very much alive. Raven promises to keep fanning the flame with his wing!

Fallow
adjective
(of land) plowed and left unseeded for a season or more; uncultivated.
not in use; inactive: My creative energies have lain fallow this year.
noun
land that has undergone plowing and harrowing and has been left unseeded for one or more growing seasons.
verb (used with object)
to make (land) fallow for agricultural purposes. Source: Dictionary.com

For the Present

The priestess is the direct representative of the goddess on earth. She has direct responsibility for functions that ensure fertility and ongoing creation. Priestesses often were responsible for ensuring rain, for the goddess was the giver of dew and of rain. They often tended a sacred flame, the embodiment of the creative spark of life.

The High Priestess is the Great Goddess herself, a universal figure found in such diverse guises as Isis in Egypt, Kuan Yin throughout all of Asia, Athena in Greece, and Rhiannon among the Celts. This goddess is all-knowing and all-wise; she creates life out of herself and bestows lifegiving waters. At the proper time she takes life away so that the divine spark in each person may be freed to continue on its journey. The High Priestess is a reminder of the innate wisdom in each of us. She demands that we connect to the divine spark within and manifest it in the world.

For now it is enough to attend to the sacred flame that Baba Yaga gave me, to connect with the divine spark within.

Residing with Hel

‘Hel is the Norse queen of the underworld, a mother goddess in her underworld guise. She rules over the fiery womb of regeneration and is especially responsible for those who die of disease or old age. Her underworld, unlike the Christian hell, which received its name from her, is simply an otherworld, a place of renewal rather than a place of punishment and misery. When northern shamans visit her realm, they put on a helkappe, a magic mask (sometimes a helmet) that renders them invisible. It is possible that the masked harlequin, a standard character in commedia dell ‘arte, was originally one of the kindred of the goddess Hel. Hel is an embodiment of the divine mystery, a challenge to look behind the mask of appearances to see things as they really are.’

Hel by Susan Seddon Boulet

I have been in the underworld with Hel alongside those who died for long enough! It has not been easy to leave the fields lying fallow but how could I live when they had died?

I have not resisted being here for the past five years! I have needed to stay awhile with the dead. It is only now that I understand that this was as it has had to be. Time here has enabled the regenerative process and I am drawn by the light Hestia is luring me with.

womb

Underneath the thrice ploughed, fertile, fallow field
Impregnated within a wintered, woven, womb
Of richly composted humus
I lay seeking sustenance, nourishment from
The oxygen filled wintered mist that
Drizzles, seeping, replenishing the amniotic fluids
That trickles through the membranous umbilical cord
Fertilizing, greening,
Ensuring a bountiful spring harvest.

by Heather Blakey

Hel was the Norse goddess of the dead, daughter of the trickster god Loki and the giantess Angrboda. Shortly after her birth, Hel was cast out of Asgard, home of the gods, by Odin*. He sent her to Niflheim, the underworld, and made her queen of all who died from old age or sickness.