Friday, 5 August 2022

Shooting star

 I first published this post earlier in the week but then I took it down because I thought it was so awful. I’ve now decided to publish it anyway, good or bad. It was what I wrote at the time.

I would also like to thank my very old friend B (old in the sense that I’ve known her a long long time), with whom I spoke on the telephone last night for the first time in decades, for expressing an interest in my mad metaphysical ideas and saying that she read and liked the blog. Perhaps I’ll inflict my novel on her next . . .

 


As you might have gathered by now, if you’ve read this blog before*, it’s my metaphysical beliefs and experiences that are getting me through the months since Frog’s death in January and giving me hope for the future. Among these are:


-We live more than one life.

-We meet again those souls that are important to us.

-There is relevance to everything that happens and we can learn from it.

-On a higher plane that we’re not necessarily aware of, we choose everything that happens to us. We’re not victims.

-We create our own future through our imaginations. If we visualise what we want and ask providence for it with total conviction – whatever its downsides – we will get it. As they say, beware of what you ask for!

-The world is made up of matter, energy and meaning. Meaning – sometimes called spirituality - is therefore part of what we are too. We deny it at our peril.


Having said all that, I’m not perfect (sadly) and sometimes the whole edifice crumbles and I’m back in the workaday world, tired, cross and miserable. I’m disconnected. I’m overwhelmed by my hard sceptical self.

Over the weekend I was in that sort of state. None of my prayers was answered. I was lost and alone. In the middle of Sunday night when I couldn’t sleep, I went and sat outside and had a bit of a rant, asking God why s/he had been so quiet lately.


    ‘And I’ve not seen a shooting star for months,’ I complained, shooting stars being something I’ve always seen as messages from God. ‘If only you could send me some sort of proof.’

    I know of course that you can’t ask for proof or chase meaning. They come when they want to, usually when you’re concentrating on something else. So I knew what I was doing was useless. So then I started to cry. I’ve been doing a lot of that over the last few months. In fact, crying is what I do most when I’m alone. I like crying. I know where I am when I cry.

    Cheryl, my tarot teacher, had always said that emotions were the gateway to the soul. They certainly are for me, and unblocking my emotions is part of what I’m learning at the moment.

    Suddenly, to my left, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the streak of a shooting star and in an instant, without me doing anything, and before I’d even thought about what had just happened, I was back. I was me. I was whole. The world was once again alive and beautiful.


As I made my way to bed, full of thanks and relief, I realised not only that God had a sense of humour but that the hard sceptical me was only part of me. She might take over sometimes but that didn’t mean she was right. Surely, I could find a way to deal with her.

To be continued . . .

  

*Hello to my two new followers, soleil and Gail. You are very welcome.


 Notes on the pictures

The cards pictured above come from Cosmic Tarot by Norbert L√∂sche. This was the pack with which Cheryl taught me how to read tarot cards over twenty years ago. I still use it. Neither of the people on the cards looks like me and there wasn’t a full moon on Sunday night.

I’ve taken the shooting star picture from Google. Thanks to the unnamed copyright owner.

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

I believe

I’ve mentioned before how I knew when I met Frog (back in 1977) that we’d been together in previous lives. I’ve also said how I heard Frog say to me a month or two ago that he was with me all the time and guiding me. I haven’t mentioned before how every time I pray to God for help (and really mean it), help comes.

These and other spiritual experiences are now forming the basis of a whole new way of being for me and a whole new way of understanding the world. I’m building up a framework of beliefs and practices that hold me together and give me a reason for carrying on.

Because these beliefs – or perhaps ‘knowings’ – are peculiar to me, it’s hard to talk to most  people about them. Either people don’t understand or they think I’m a crackpot. Nor are they something people do talk about. Sometimes, therefore, the whole new framework collapses, leaving me bereft and confused and alone in a meaningless world.

One of the few people – if not the only person – who does know about my new spiritual world, is my counsellor, EH. 

    ‘It’s like a house of cards,’ I said to her when I saw her last week.

    ‘I don’t see it as that,’ she said. ‘I see it as a ‘new house’. It has strong foundations and some rows of brick at the bottom. Higher up, it’s wooden, but you are slowly cladding the wood with brick.’

    That was enormously reassuring, and we talked about how just changing words can help.

    On Sunday, I released myself from my to-do list and wandered with the dog to my secret wood. As I walked and as I sat in the wood and soaked in its beauty, I started to form a creed, and here it is.


    I believe, because it’s mine

    I believe what makes me happy

   It makes me happy because it’s right (for me)

   I believe in myself

   I believe


I hope you understand.


A perfect English summer's day



In my secret wood: a glorious interplay of sun and shade


A spider's web at the base of a moss-covered beech tree.
It's swaying like a curtain of  mist in the gentle currents of air on the floor of the wood.


Sunday, 26 June 2022

A spell in the Garden of England

When I’m with my brothers and sisters, my grief for Frog is not so bad. They seem to fill in the hole that his death has left in my life. Sadly, they all live in the South East, four hours’ journey (at least) from me here in the South West.
 
Ten days ago however, I was lucky enough to spend a week with my brother J and sister-in-law K in K’s family house which happens to be in the same Kentish village as the houses of my two sisters.
 
Actually, it’s not happenstance at all. We were all brought up in that village. K’s house is separated from the house my family grew up in by only a couple of fields and a river, and K attended the same local school as me and my sisters. My brother therefore married the girl next door (and I hope J and K won’t mind me saying that).
 
Whereas Devon is wide open and rolling, cosy in parts and dramatic in others, Kent is unbelievably pretty, more like a garden than working countryside.

Not for nothing is Kent known as the Garden of England.
You can hardly see the village here for its thick cover of trees

K’s house is a mill house dating from the sixteenth century, with uneven wooden floors and a warren of rooms, easy to get lost in. It lives on an island enclosed by three arms of a river. Greenery abounds – both exotic and native, nature rules, and the whole place is full of magic.



The Mill House




The river and the Mill House garden

The village nestles in the chalky North Downs, where we walked most days. We spent nearly four hours in this nearby valley and didn’t see another person, even though from the hilltop the towers of London’s Canary Wharf are visible on the horizon.

A walk in a nearby valley

Parts of the valley are being rewilded.



Shrubs and trees are racing to re-cover what was once agricultural land and then a golf course


The swards were full of orchids and other wildflowers.

Pyramid orchid and Bacon and eggs (Birdsfoot-trefoil),
one of nature's stunning colour combinations



Another sort of orchid. (My sister A would know its name.)

On Friday, the hottest day of the year so far, we took refuge in the Mill House’s shady garden.


Drinks and lunch in the Mill House garden

Another day we walked along the river, past these hop fields, for which Kent is famous,

Hop field

and these lavender fields, which take advantage of Kent’s hot, dry summers as well as the rise in overall temperatures.

 

Lavender field, planted to flower in succession

The scent as we walked past was delicious.

Nearby the council has created a country park with a glorious wildflower meadow . . .

The wildflower meadow with neat paths and signboards (and my brother)


The wildflower meadow with rows of lavender just visible behind trees in the distance



The meadow's wildflowers, including more orchids

Imaginative seats (from handmadeplaces.co.uk*) are placed appropriately: a dragonfly by the river, a grasshopper here by the meadow.

The wooden seat in the shape of a grasshopper
(which has, inconveniently for the photo, placed itself half in and half out of shade)

It was a good place to sit and rest.

Brother J on the grasshopper

Heartfelt thanks to my family for giving me such a wonderful time.



*Blogger not creating links at the moment. Will try and rectify in due course

Sunday, 12 June 2022

Scots pines and leys

Scots pine and Dog (if you can see her), a couple of days ago

The Scots pine is not native to England and some say that the trees that exist are descended from trees planted by prehistoric people. They did this to mark leys, so the story goes. Leys are straight lines that appear to run between prehistoric structures, like standing stones, as well as natural features like ponds and the tops of hills. There are many theories as to what leys are. Some say they helped prehistoric people find their way around; others that they mark ‘energy’ currents.

Several times a week I walk past the wind-blasted Scots pine in the picture above. It nods to another one on top of a nearby hill and I always take time to stand in line with the two trees. There, I imagine the earth’s energy flowing through me and pray for whatever it is I need that day, such as strength, courage, wisdom or trust. I do feel better afterwards. In any case the wind through its needles is beautiful and sounds like the sea.

Friends’ sixteenth/seventeenth-century house stands on the same line, and it has been suggested that older buildings, especially sacred ones like churches, were sometimes built on prehistoric sites. Perhaps my friends live on a ley. Aren't they lucky.

Here is a view of the tree from the ley. I love the shape of its branches. It’s like a heart or a yoga ‘mudra’ (thumb and finger together). 


The Scots pine in March

My friends' house is behind me, hidden in trees, and the tree's twin is in the distance, blocked from view by the tree itself. It always takes me a while to get into the right position, but I think I usually know when I do. Something clicks.

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Guests

I met Frog when I was 24, and we were together for 44 years (until his sudden death in January this year). In other words, nearly two-thirds of my life. Is it any wonder, I keep telling myself, that I’m now struggling? Frog was my life and now I have to make a new one from scratch without him. At the same time, dealing with grief and a host of other emotions brought up by the turmoil.

A friend passed on to me this poem, by the thirteenth-century Persian poet Rumi. I carry it with me.


The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


It’s helpful to me to remember that emotions – even if terrifying and often almost too much to bear ‒ are only guests, that they have a purpose and that each will leave in their own time. Thank you Trish.

Talking of guests, I shall mention again my wonderful brothers and sisters who have been taking it in turns to stay with me. Since Frog’s death, they’ve never left me alone for more than two weeks and each visit is a respite, a chance to catch up with eating and sleeping and – occasionally – to feel almost normal.

Last week it was the turn of my sister A, and we walked together to a nearby Iron Age hill-fort which Frog and I had visited for the first time during lockdown in January last year. I wrote about it in my blog here.

Then it was dusted with snow.


The hill-fort, a circle of banks that once contained an Iron Age village


Frog and Ellie walk to an edge to admire part of the 360-degree view


Frog explores the ditch all the way round the outside



This time, A and I had bright spring sunshine.


Ellie and me at the hill-fort last week


Both times, we had the place to ourselves.

And here, just for fun, is a picture of Ellie waiting for her supper at the end of a hard day's walking.

Ellie, never more intent than when food is in the offing



Thanks to A for the last two pictures and for enabling me at last to update my Welcome picture (top right)