Mushrooms

photo courtesy of sunipix.com
photo courtesy of sunipix.com

I love eating mushrooms.  Cooked or raw, mushrooms are a staple in our home.

This stems back to my childhood, when my mother took us mushrooming.  Whenever we visited relatives living on farms in the countryside, we took buckets to gather mushrooms.  Often, the best ones grew in fields near cow pats.  They were big brown ones with huge caps.

( Thinking of cow pats reminds me of the car song I made up for my kids to sing when they were little – ” Ten cow pats sitting in the field, ten cow pats sitting in the field, step in a pat it will stick to your heel, there’ll be nine cow pats sitting in the field… and – When you have all ten, you are knee deep in @#$! )

When we went mushrooming, I thought my mum knew a lot about them.  She certainly gathered with vigor, but when the evening news had a story of people eating poisonous mushrooms that looked like the ones we gathered, only they gave off a yellow stain when cooked, we stopped going mushrooming so often.  It was only then that I realized Mum didn’t know enough to really tell the good ones from the bad.

Today, if I see mushrooms growing in a paddock or on the verge beside the road, I get a bit wistful but won’t touch them.  I, too, just don’t know enough to tell the difference and don’t want to get sick or die.

My adoptive Dad told us plenty of stories of how poisonous mushrooms work.  ( He was always good at regaling us with horrific details ).  Apparently, you can enjoy a good meal of poisonous mushrooms and not realize there is anything wrong at all, but a couple of weeks later your organs begin shutting down and there is no antidote to fix that.

So I stick with the mushrooms I figure have been sorted, that I can buy from the supermarket, the green grocer, or the open air markets.  There’s certainly a variety to choose from these days!

A friend of ours used to work in a mushroom factory.  It was in dark tunnels underground, and had rows of racks full of soft logs stuffed with special soil and moss.  The mushrooms would sprout until the logs were fully covered.  He took home a box of mushrooms to his family each week, as an employee bonus.  His wife ended up hating mushrooms.

I tried to grow mushrooms in a box a couple of times.  You know the ones you can find at the gardening center ?  The trouble was that the instructions say to stow it away in a cool dark space, but once it was stowed away I promptly forgot about it, and mushrooms actually do need some water to grow…

My grand-daughter hates mushrooms, though she knows she has to eat them in our house.  I tell her they are full of vitamin B12 and good for making brains work better when they need to concentrate, but it makes no difference.  She still thinks that eating them is like eating a slug.

I thought I had her figured when I cut a whole lot of mushrooms up into the tiniest slivers to add to a meal, recently, thinking that if she couldn’t see the mushroom shape she wouldn’t know… but she still managed to find them and pick them out to lay on the side of her plate, and would not believe me when I said they were egg plant.  She knew the taste!

There’s something fascinating about mushrooms and toadstools, puff balls and lichen, and fungi in general, though.  Consider that the part you can see and eat is really only the flower of the plant, that contains the seeds.  All the main part of the plant is hidden away, either in the soil, or in the wood of the plant it has taken up residence in.

Sometimes, where you can see bark pieces and leaf mulch on the ground, you can kick it away and uncover a gossamer network of white threads that reveal the actual body of a mushroom or toadstool.  It reminds me of the neural network in a human body…

I knew kids who tried ‘magic mushrooms‘ when I was young.  They never offered me any, so I can’t tell you what they were like, but I’m told you have hallucinations and really ‘trip out‘.  I was glad I didn’t try any when I discovered later that they can ruin your kidneys and other organs, permanently.  Why do people take things that can hurt them so badly?  (Says she who scoffs chocolate regularly, despite knowing that it has theobromine in it that kills dogs and probably builds up in our body cells, too).

When we bought our first home, there were large pine trees growing in our backyard.  At the foot of the pine trees were those red mushrooms with white spots on them, called Amanita Muscari  (I only know that one because it is easily recognized…).  They often had pieces picked out of them, that the birds had eaten, revealing the white flesh ( not the natural spots )  beneath the red surface.  (Obviously, birds like a bit of ‘magic mushroom’, too).

I warned my kids not to touch them, but I didn’t get rid of them.  There is something about those mushrooms that triggers special memories of fairies and the ‘otherworld’, especially when they grow in groups and rings.  At the time, the blue ‘Smurf‘ doll craze was turning my children into collectors, and Smurfs lived in mushroom houses.  I knew my kids would not be happy if I removed the Smurf houses…

When I was young, we lived in a Naval housing commission house for a while.  The lawn was riddled with puff balls in spring  ( and prickly bindis in summer…).  My sister and I loved to jump on them and make them burst.  Dust would spurt everywhere.

Stink balls were similar to puff balls, only longer, but you were game if you jumped on one of those.  When they burst they smelt like rotten eggs and if you got that on your clothes, it lingered.

I remember watching ‘Lost in Space‘ on television after school one day and the young ‘Will Robinson‘ character found some giant puffballs on a planet they visited.  When those balls exploded, they were deadly.  It’s funny how such things embed themselves in your head.  I didn’t jump on puff balls after that.

You know the saying, ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover‘?  Well, mushrooms and fungi are like metaphors of that to me.  Knowing that so much of the mushroom is hidden away and that only the frontispiece is on display is kind of creepy to some.  Until I found that out, I thought that mushrooms and toadstools were beautiful just as they are – but then that simplicity was taken away because so much is actually secret.  Not that being secret put me off.  I’ve always been a person who likes finding hidden treasure…

In a way, people are like mushrooms.  What we show to the world is only a fraction of who we really are inside, or away from the world.  So much of us is never exposed to others.  It remains secret and hidden – a grand neural network of ‘stuff going on behind the scenes‘.

Most others tend to see us in the same way that kids see mushrooms – just for the first impressions and for what we put on display.  When they get a hint that there is a lot more hidden, that we have apparently kept secret from them, their first response is often to actually begin treating us with caution and wariness.  It’s like we should put our whole self on display or we must have some hidden agenda, but the truth is that we most likely didn’t keep anything secret.  They just never really looked or asked.

If you think of how delicate the ‘neural network‘ body of fungi is and use that as a metaphor for what we keep inside ourselves, it’s no wonder we don’t blithely share it around.  Such states of being are fragile.  We only want to let those who are tender and sympathetic have contact with our vulnerable inner selves.  There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s not bad or secretive.  It’s just self-protection.

My favorite dish of mushrooms is extremely simple.  I pull out the stems to make mushroom cups, fill them with grated tasty cheese and grill them in the oven.  The cheese melts and the mushrooms soften and ooze with very tasty juice that drips down your chin when you bite into them. Yum!

I’m hoping that my grand-daughter grows up to like mushrooms.  I hated brussels sprouts when I was young, and my mum made me eat them at dinner, too.  Today, I love brussels sprouts.  So, you just never know what the future holds… 😉

Blessings!
Lianne

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine

 

 

 

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Blackberries

photo courtesy of freepixels.com
photo courtesy of freepixels.com

Summer is already sending heat into our house this year and on occasion we’ve been running air-conditioners to get some sleep.  What did we ever do without air-conditioners?

When I was a kid, we never had one.  My mother would put a bowl of ice in front of a rotating desk fan sitting on a chair and we would all try to find the ‘ sweet spot ‘ for the slightly cooler breeze it produced.

Later on, she purchased a water cooler, and despite warnings to the contrary, she would put ice blocks into the water reservoir.  Again, we would fight for the ‘ sweet spot ‘ where the air was coolest.

Mostly, though, all these solutions did was to push around hot air and raise the humidity in the room.

In my Nanna’s day, ( before I was born ), they didn’t have refrigerators and relied on air cupboards with mesh doors, that they hung wet cloths over to keep food and meat cool on hot days by evaporation.  (I don’t think they kept food too long, then ).

I don’t remember my Nanna ever owning a fan when I lived with her as a kid.  On hot nights, we stayed up late, sitting on the front porch trying to catch a breeze.  Nanna would fan herself with a folded newspaper and we kids would play ‘jump over the sprinkler‘ on the tiny city suburban lawn.

Water was pretty much the only coolant we had, then.  If you were hot, you either ‘flaked‘ with exhaustion, or you diverted yourself doing something else.

Going to the beach was always a great diversion, ( after my mother moved us close to one ), but that really only happened on weekends and holidays.  Plus, if the sand was hot enough to fry an egg on, it was an ordeal to run fast enough over it to get to the water in bare feet  (and thongs/flip flops did nothing to really keep the scorching sand off your feet ).

There were other diversions for the hot days of summer.  At night, (as pre-teens ), we spent hours playing in the street with the other local kids, long after it was dark.  We made up great games and had a lot of fun.

Summer was the time when parents let you stay up late even if there was school the next day, because they knew they had a hope in hell of getting you off to sleep unless you were exhausted !

One of the nicer diversions was going black-berrying.  That only happened on weekends, though.

I find it sad that you can’t really think of going black-berrying today, for fear that the wild canes have been sprayed by farmers who consider them a weed.

Going black-berrying was an adventure.  My mother would always warn us not to step too deep into the bramble because red-bellied black snakes liked to hang out in the shade, there.  We were also told to tread hard and regularly, so that the snakes did not get frightened and attack, but would instead slither off with the warning our solid footsteps gave them.

We would take lots of buckets and fill them all.  The blackberries often grew along the roadside near where we lived, then, ( on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria ).  There was a lot of farmland bordering the roads leading out of towns like Frankston, and the blackberries seemed to grow along the barbed wire fences of their borders.

There was also a lot of vacant land surrounding the Navy barracks at Crib Point, where we lived in the marriage quarters with other Naval families  ( after my mother remarried ), and that also had a lot of blackberry brambles on it.

I liked those best, because you didn’t get cars swooshing past behind you as you picked, and sometimes you’d find a ‘secret place‘ in the bramble, where the canes had formed a ring around a bare patch of grass.  When you went into those places, it was like being in another world…

We ate about a third of what we picked – my mother, my sister and I – and the rest we took home so that mum could make jam.

By the end of the day, clothes were usually torn somewhere, arms were full of scratches, and fingers had pricks or sometimes thorns that had to be removed with mum’s sewing needle  ( burnt at the tip in a match flame before digging out the thorn, so that no germs got into the skin ).  But we never remembered the heat of the day.  All we remembered was the fun of going black-berrying.

Mum would then fill her big  boiling pot early in the morning on jam making day  ( though it didn’t really stop the house getting hotter on already hot days ), and would make enough jam to last for months and still have some to give away to the relatives at Christmas ( which falls during a hot summer, in Australia ).

The trouble with my mother’s blackberry jam, though, was that after making her first batch and deciding that straining the seeds out was too much effort, she left the seeds in after that.  So when you ate her jam, you always had to pick seeds out of your teeth.

The jam was good, though, and kept hungry kids from starving at breakfast when slathered on toast, or after school in a snack sandwich.

Mum’s blackberry jam became as famous in our family as my Nanna’s apricot jam, ( but Mum’s jam didn’t have the kernels in it like Nanna’s did, which we discovered many years later had cyanide in them, so Nanna’s jam was infamous, as well ).

I can never have either blackberry or apricot jam today from the supermarket without thinking of these special jams from my youth.  Nothing has ever compared to them… not even the home-made ones I have since bought from the stalls of others.

Sadly, I was never taught the recipes – not that I really have much time for jam-making, these days.  ( My Nanna is now long gone, and my mother is no longer in my life, so these memories will be all I ever have, now ).

Instead, I do spend  a lot of time investing myself in positive activities when my days get ‘ long and hot ‘,  ( whether that is in weather or through events…)

When life is full of ‘ hot spots ‘ and you can’t  ‘ get cool  ‘,  the best way to deal with them is diversion… Don’t let being in the ‘ heat ‘  sap you of whatever energy you have.

With diversion, you can spend enough positive energy and action so that the results can bring lasting boons… ( like a belly full of blackberries, and enough jam to last through winter…)

Every experience in life is a lesson, if you remember it clearly.

Blessings!
Lianne

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life , Connect with the Divine

Beltane

photo courtesy of cepolina.com
photo courtesy of cepolina.com

Living in the southern hemisphere, our seasons are opposite to those cycling through Europe and America.

The ancient Celts worked their calendar cycle of events according to the seasons, not dates, so the fire festival of Beltane  was celebrated at the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.

In Europe, the May Day event sprang from the rituals of Beltane.  For those living in the southern hemisphere, Beltane falls in the first week of November.

Many here, however, still follow northern hemisphere traditions, so we are in a complex situation where, as we prepare for a season of fertility, the local children are knocking on our doors in Halloween costumes on the eve of October 31 with death and ghouls and shadows on their minds.

Pagans celebrate Halloween as the festival of Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-wen’), also called the ‘Feast of the Dead‘, and that is actually a time of joy since it is about being with deceased family and friends, and honoring their memory – but even though my grand-daughters know that, and know that this is the wrong season for Holy Eve, they still want the gory darkness of the popularized commercial Halloween with their friends, where spooky witches dress in black and purple, cobwebs and spiders adorn perfectly lovely spaces, and blood and gore, skeletons and monsters prime the day.  Kids will be kids, after all.

For my family and pagan friends, though, our real celebration on this coming weekend will be for Beltane, and we will gather on Sunday the 2nd of November for our annual ritual of putting up and decorating our Litha  tree  (Litha is the mid-summer or summer solstice celebration for the Season of Love).

Like the old nursery rhyme, ‘Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick‘,  we’ll be  jumping over a candle on the day instead of dancing around a bonfire, because the days are already so hot here in sub-tropical Australia that no one would want to light a bonfire.

As well, instead of the ancient mode of dousing all candles and fires, and relighting them from the bonfire, we’ll just turn off all the electric lights and switch them them back on, ( as well as lighting other candles ), as we carry our Beltane  candle through the house.

You get a small idea of what this picture entails in that process.  It’s sort of an ‘out with the old, in with the new‘ ‘breath of fresh air‘ ritual.  It’s about renewing energy and reaffirming the life force.

In that same mode, as new age pagans in a small suburban home, we’ll pick flowers from the garden and drop them into the fish pond and swimming pool as gifts to the ‘otherworld‘, asking for life-refreshing rain.  (We got a bit recently, but the drooping leaves on our trees say we need more…).

It all sounds a bit quiet when compared to the rowdy and full-blooded events that are celebrated for Beltane  in Europe, today, but for us the ritual is about connection and reconnection.  It doesn’t have to be rowdy to be relevant.

The ancient traditions also see a mating of the Green Man and the May Queen (Green Woman) on this day, and in those olden times young people not yet wedded could partake in temporary conjugal bliss in the name of the God and Goddess, and any babies born from those unions were said to have birthed from divinity.

The concept of this mating was, however, the fertility that comes from Father and Mother Nature, and the burgeoning of their offspring.  It was an acknowledgement and celebration of the powerful blessing of life in this garden of Earth.

All spiritual faiths and religions have their own modes of celebrating and honoring the divine.  Pagan modes are not that different to the expressions of mainstream religion, despite whatever long term propaganda has been perpetuated.  The only differences, in truth, are in the concepts and names shaping the mythologies behind those expressions.

Paganism is an inclusive spirituality, and accommodates all other religions and faiths.  Even among celtic themed pagans, there is a wide variation in expression, including of the concepts and names.

Our own expression is not so much about the ancient traditions, mythologies and names, ( which may be partly because of a disconnection from them due to our southern hemisphere locale ) but is more about the themes and rites of passage these celebrations evoke.

Not all my children are pagans in their religious modes, nor are all our friends or workmates, yet they do understand the neutrality we bring to our ceremonies, and the wide scope it has of encompassing all life, in all its forms.  They can partake in our rituals and celebrations without feeling that their own modes of worship have been maligned.

As suburban pagans in Australia, we don’t dance around bonfires ( at least, not in our backyard ), and we don’t go off into the garden to have sex.

Instead, we decorate our tree for the next big ritual at Litha (it stays up until the New Year), sending blessings back to the divine for all the blessings given to us through the year so far as we hang each bauble on the tree.

We turn off and turn back on our lights in the presence of the blessed Beltane  candle.  We jump over that same candle for good luck in the coming year.  We throw flowers into our ponds and pools to encourage rain.

If the night gets cold enough, later, we may light a small brazier and toast some marshmallows on sticks over it ( but with the night heat already lingering in our locale, I’m doubtful that will happen this year…)

…and while I’m no longer a ‘spring chicken‘ and will never bear more children, if I’m lucky, sex might be a ‘ fountain of youth ‘ bedroom event after all have gone home… ( oh…my…god…)

Check this YouTube video clip of a recent family moment, when possums came visiting on our upstairs balcony.  This is for us an ultimate expression of Beltane…

Blessings for Beltane, and may life continue to bring you gifts and especially the ability to enjoy them !

Lianne

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine

Starting Blocks

Photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net
Photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net

The first time I realized I could run was when I did sports at school.  Before that, I did a lot of walking, and maybe ran around the backyard with my sister and cousins as we played ‘chasey‘ and ‘hide and seek‘, but it wasn’t until I got older and involved in school sports that I discovered the delight of a ‘real‘ run.

What I loved about running wasn’t that I was able to beat anyone else who ran with me in getting to the finish line first.  It was the way the wind whistled in my ears, the way the coolness of it flowed over my face, the way the blood pumped so hard through my body, and the way my whole body exerted itself to the utmost to try to find its very top speed.

Most of all, I think I was fascinated by the way I could create the wind by running, that the whistle in my ears came from me moving at speed through space, rather than me standing still as air moved past me.

My mother was soon impressed by my running.  She came to watch my races, and loved to brag about my wins.  I did love getting ribbons but they weren’t my reason for running.  I just loved the opportunity to do it.  You couldn’t go running along the streets in those days like you can do, now, without people thinking you were ‘loony‘.

Not that I was ever that sort of runner, anyway.  Once I started running, my mother regaled me with all sorts of stories about my relatives.  Apparently, my biological father was quite a runner, especially in cross country events, though I never really knew him.  My great-grandfather had also been a marathon runner who won a lot of races.  (This only came out after I began to run).

I wasn’t a marathon runner, though.  I wasn’t a long distance runner.  Later on, after I joined an amateur athletics club, my coach tried to get me to do longer runs, like 400 and 800 meters, but I wasn’t so good at those.  I was a sprinter.  I ran 100 and 200 meter races.

Now, being a sprinter means that you have to go as fast as you can in a very short time, to cover that actually very short length.  When I was in school, I used to stand at the starting line, and I ran in bare feet.  I liked that sort of running.  It agreed with me.  I liked the contact with the earth that my bare feet had.

After I joined the amateur athletics club, my mother bought me ‘spikes‘.  I loved the way the soft, thin leather hugged the shape of my foot, but the undersole of spikes was hard plastic, so you could screw the metal spikes into the embedded holes.  They were actually hard to walk on, at least on floors or pavement.

It was a fascinating set up, and I loved the little tool that came with them, that allowed me to tighten the spikes up, or remove and replace them.  Having a little tool of my own somehow made me feel important.

Spikes did help me run faster, especially on grass or gravel, or tarred lanes, but they weren’t the same as bare feet.  There was no sensual contact with the earth.  (Even though you tend to run on your toes and the touch is light at speed, it’s still there and registers in your mind when you run in bare feet).

The other tool used to help me run faster were starting blocks.  Most athletes running races, then, used starting blocks.  My coach insisted that using them was the only sensible and correct way to go.  But then, she was trying to get our club to be the top club amongst those competing  at the inter-club meets at Royal Park in Melbourne on the weekends.

Starting blocks, to me, were like braces on teeth, or even perhaps those metal gadgets dentists used to use to hold your mouth open so they could work on your teeth.

For me, they were clunky.  I never really got the hang of them.  While I could position myself well, put my body over my arms, raise my hands on their fingers, arch my bum into the air and look to the lane ahead in anticipation of the starting gun going off, when I jumped my body out of those blocks I was always the last to leave…

My coach tried to train me on exactly how to do it.  Apparently, it all happened in the first three steps.  If you couldn’t push those first three steps into the ground hard enough to break turf you were never going to be ahead of the crowd.

My Dad got a Navy friend to come give me extra pointers.  He had trained recruits at the Naval depot my Dad also taught at, then.  Naval recruits had to be very fit and did a lot of exercise.  My Dad’s friend had some very good lessons to teach me, but it made no difference when I encountered the starting blocks.  And with the ‘lost ground‘ from being last out of them each race, it was a miracle that I won any at all.  It was only by sheer determination and from pumping my arms and legs as fast as I could make them go that saw me pass my competitors to actually win some races.

My coach shook her head, though.  All she saw was how many more races I could win, if only I could learn to use the starting blocks effectively.

My time in amateur athletics brought me in contact with many great racers.  In my own club at Frankston, the future Olympian, Debbie Flintoff King, was my peer, only a year or so younger than me.  When I was there, I actually ran faster than she did.

I also met the Olympian, Raelene Boyle, when I went to the weekend meets.  She belonged to the Brunswick club, which my cousin also belonged to (though she was a swimmer).

I used to wish I could win the Olympics.  I think it was more of an attraction to Raelene, who cut a tall, willowy figure, just like her two afghan hounds that she paraded on a leash around the outskirts of the Royal Park oval.   She seemed so self-assured as she stopped to talk to people.   I was always a bit shy with people, then, so maybe I thought that being an Olympian meant you could smooth out and be more interactive.

Of course, I know better today.  Olympians are as human as the rest of us.  They get stressed and break down, too.  Plus, the hard work of pushing their bodies so much to be top athletes in their youth often rebounds on them in old age, with arthritis and all sorts of health disorders.

My ideas of being an Olympian were short-lived, however, once my asthma set in.  It was undiagnosed at the time, but I got very frightened by the level of ‘no breath’ I had after each race, so in the end I chose to not go any more.  Luckily, my future husband came along by the time I was sixteen, anyway, so I had plenty of diversion and didn’t really miss it.

Today, there are many life experiences that I can measure in terms of those starting blocks.  At the time, I really thought that athletics was the path for me.  It certainly ate up a lot of my energy and focus, then.  But not being able to handle the starting blocks, and not being able to figure out how to use them effectively, made me doubt my ability to ever achieve the same levels as the heroes I dreamed of becoming.  It got under my skin, that sense that I could not amount to ever fully being a winner because I could not master those starting blocks.

My life took quite a divergence after I met my future husband and not only my athletics but a lot of other things I had been invested in were set aside to follow him.  For a long while, people shook their heads and thought I had given up too much, and wasted too many natural gifts.

What actually happened, though, was that I found new directions.  The same creative energy and will to enjoy life to the fullest (which was what running actually was for me) just came out in other ways, later on.

I ended up achieving a heck of a lot with my life, after quite a hiatus of bringing up my family (well, it actually began while I was bringing up my family).  I just did things my way, and waited till my time was right, though I didn’t know that was happening at the time.

For a while, I let my doubters and naysayers get under my skin, (the starting blocks were happening all over again), and I lost faith in myself and my life.  But it didn’t take much to get me back on track, finding other things that were just as fun and fulfilling to do, and that also tested my skills to their limit.

What I learned was that I’m a slow starter.  I don’t like forced beginnings.  I am never going to be able to do three hard paces to the ground at the beginning of anything.  I like to stand and feel the earth beneath my feet, get a sense of my surroundings, and then shoot off when my heart feels ready.

Once I get going, though, watch out!  If you’re already on the track, I just may pass you by…

My motto?  Never let a poor start stop you from winning, and if you can’t win, at least enjoy the race.  It can be quite a breeze.

Blessings!
Lianne

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine

 

 

A personal story about Ganesh and my son, Sean.

Brass Ganesa Statue owned by SeanMy son, Sean, is disabled.  He was run over by a van at the age of thirteen, when he ran across a busy road near his school, after playing games with his brother when they were coming home one day,.

Sean spent eleven days in intensive care, fighting for his life, and ‘died ‘ thirteen times as his organs kept shutting down.  My family spent every moment by his bedside during that time, and were shocked to see the awful green liquid the nurses regularly pumped from his stomach – the color of spirulina.  Apparently, that’s what poison looks like in the body, and his body was being poisoned by the trauma of what happened to him.

Sean was in hospital for many months after he left intensive care (and spent years in rehabilitation ).  During that time, he emerged from a vegetative coma state, to slowly learn to manage his body and mind again.

He had to learn to move himself, and was at first like a new born baby with a floppy head and limbs that he had no control over.  He had to learn to not only eat, but also to swallow.

(He’d forgotten how to do that, and it was only then that we realized how much people learn as a baby.  Babies often have trouble swallowing their first solid foods, making their limbs work, and forming their first words).

He had to learn to talk again, and even today finds that hard, sometimes, because his tongue is always partially paralyzed – but we made him signboards so all he had to do was point at letters and words to get his message across.  He also got pretty good control over his thumb, and the ‘thumbs up‘ sign was often his response to people, as well as his smile.

When Sean smiled, his whole face lit up, along with his eyes.  It was amazing to see.  You’d think that what had happened to him would have set him back, or made him afraid of or angry at the world, but it didn’t  Instead, the energy that came from him was positive and glowing.  So, later on, we took to calling him our Ganesha.

Ganesha is a Vedic god who was the son of Shiva and Parvati.  He had an elephant’s head on a human body, but it’s how he got his head that aligned his story to Sean’s.

Ganesha’s dad, Shiva, was the god of yoga and meditation, as well as being the creator and destroyer of worlds.  Basically, he was/is among the highest hierarchy of the gods.

Shiva fell in love with Parvati  (also called Uma)  when he was already a very old man, so he was quite set in his ways by then.  Even though they had a great love match, Shiva still liked to get away on his own and would spend months, and even years, apart from his beloved as he went on solo meditation retreats in the mountains.

During those times, Parvati became quite lonely, so one day she formed a little baby out of clay and breathed life into it.  That baby was Ganesha.

Parvati and Ganesha had a great time together, and Ganesha did not meet his father until he was much older.   By then, he and his mother had some daily rituals, such as Parvati taking herself off to bed for an afternoon nap, and Ganesha guarding her door whilst she slept so no one would disturb her.

It was during one of these siestas that Shiva finally came home.   As usual, the first place he headed to was his wife’s boudoir for a bit of ‘meditation-breaking love-making ‘ – but when he got there, Ganesha was guarding the door.

Ganesha didn’t know who was being so aggressive about getting into the room and so he defended his mother’s door.  Shiva got angry that he wasn’t being allowed to see his own wife ( and he didn’t know Ganesha was his son ),  so a sword fight ensued, and during that fight Shiva cut off his son’s head with such force that it was flung into the cosmos and was never seen again.

Parvati was woken by all the hubbub, of course, and arrived just in time to see Shiva do the dastardly deed.   She burst into tears, telling him that he had just killed their son.

Now, Shiva is not only the ‘Destroyer‘ but also the ‘Creator‘, so he could make Ganesha live again.   What he couldn’t do was find his head to put it back on, so instead he went out into the world, declaring that he would bring back the head of the first baby born that he found.  That baby happened to be an elephant.

( Let’s not get into the awful feeling the mother elephant must have had to see her new baby decapitated… or why an omnipotent god like Shiva couldn’t find his son’s own head… this is a story, after all).

So Ganesha had an elephant’s head after that, and all the family reunited in love and happiness.

We thought this story fit with our son, Sean, because Sean was also disabled in a terrible accident, and Sean was also a beautiful kid who loved his mum, and who still smiles and dances and spreads delight in the world.  He once told me that it’s his mission to try to make everyone smile, so he bales even strangers up to smile at them, and if they smile back, he believes he has lightened their day.

I think that is a pretty good mission to have !

Like Ganesha, Sean is never going to not be visibly disabled, now – but he is still intelligent, perceptive, kind, charming, and extremely considerate and loving.

So, we have kept the god, Ganesha, close to us to remind us of our miracle, and our home is full of statues ( the picture at the top of this blog is of a statue only recently acquired by Sean ),  hangings, and tapestries of this lovely Vedic god, who is known today for his intelligence, for writing the Vedic scriptures, and for his ability to remove all obstacles, and to bring blessings and good fortune.

(I actually believe that ‘gods’ can manifest in human form, and in multiple humans at the same time, so who knows if Sean could perhaps actually be manifesting a piece of Ganesha?)

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you how Ganesha has brought brightness to our lives, and how much his spirit lives in our son.

If you’d like to know more about Sean’s story, see some of his hospital photos, read the “God” poem he wrote about a year after his accident, and read the story “I Don’t Know” that he narrated to me as a six year old (I was the shadow writer), visit this link and click on the other links you find on the page as you explore.

Sean (nicknamed ‘Pumpkin’ as a child by me) did grow up to be a very fine man, and was once married long enough to have two beautiful daughters.  When I look at them today, and see the wonderfully happy relationship they have with their loving father, I am reminded that Ganesha also had two consorts, Riddhi (prosperity)  and Siddhi  (spiritual power).  Sean’s daughters also attract attention wherever they go, and I’m looking forward to seeing what their future holds…

Blessings!
Lianne

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine

Pendulum

Clock Pendulum

The energy of life oscillates like a sine wave, going up and down in peaks and valleys similar to the line seen on an ECG (electroencephalograph) machine.

The wave can be erratic, spiking to high peaks and plunging to low depths.  Sometimes, it can smooth to an almost flat line.

This energy is expressed in metaphor by the physical engine of a pendulum.   The pendulum swings from one extreme to the other, as it goes from side to side.

(Going round in circles is not what I’m describing right now…That’s another story).

In metaphysics, this metaphor is used to describe the active and passive phases in the expression of ‘life force‘.

As the ‘pendulum‘ swings to the extreme of one side or another, we enact periods of greater activity and expression of dynamics.

As the pendulum moves toward the lowest point of its swing, we spend less time being outwardly active and more being inwardly active, (which is physically passive but may not be so passive mentally or emotionally).

The natural law of this energy in the physical world is to maintain momentum.  So that once the energy reaches its peak on the outer edge of the swing, it is meant to change direction and move through the lower part of the swing (and through the passive energy phases), until it begins to swing in the other direction, into outward and dynamic activity again.

Amid this motion, we do have some control over what happens.  Therefore, we can push the active (at the side, or peak) energy or the passive (at the middle, or valley) energy phases to stay far longer in those positions than they should naturally be doing.

This causes imbalance, and when imbalance happens during the swing, it takes some effort for the ‘pendulum‘ to re-establish rhythm.

Try using a real pendulum hanging from your hand.  Set it in motion until it’s swing is going well, and then try to keep pushing it to one side.

Yes, I know this is nigh impossible to do, physically.

(In metaphysical terms there is no such thing as ‘time and space’, so try to think of what happens as if it is showing up more effectively than the fraction of a second it actually seems to do).  

You can, however, see the effect I’m talking about when the pendulum breaks from the harmonious swing it had, jerks about and becomes erratic in its swing, because of your forced interruption.

In the terms of our own lives, spending too much time being active and dynamic, and pushing ourselves beyond a need for rest and rejuvenation, can cause physical, mental, or emotional imbalance and setback.

Then ‘something happens(the ‘law of consequences’) to force us to regain balance (and to get the pendulum swinging properly again) – like illness or accident, quarrels that ‘let off steam’, or even dramatic life changes that we didn’t expect.

Getting stuck too long in the passive middle phase of the ‘pendulum swing’ and barely moving at all – perhaps because of fears and worries, lethargy or apathy – can also cause ‘something‘ to happen to establish harmony and balance, as the ‘pendulum‘ tries to get swinging properly again.

The way to avoid these problems and difficulties is to learn to ‘go with the flow‘, to let the ‘pendulum’ swing as it needs to, change direction as it wants to, and to spend only so long at the bottom as it must to get through to the other ‘side‘.

That’s not so easy for most of us to do.  It takes a lot of discipline and presence of mind to not only allow yourself to adopt a ‘go with the flow‘ attitude, but to actually do it – to not resist, react, or assert. 

It’s human nature to be all or any of these modes at times (resistant, reactive, assertive).

When we are ‘on a roll‘ and in the midst of dynamic activity or thought processes, we don’t always want to stop or change direction.  We want to complete the tasks we have set ourselves, finish the projects we began, or resolve a train of thought.

We thus ignore the warning signs and keep on going.  That’s when the ‘law of consequences‘ sets in.

I’ve been ignoring my warning signs for some time…

I ignored being tired so I could keep working on my list of tasks.  I ignored pain and bruising (I couldn’t even remember how I got it), so I could keep pushing through my work load.

I even ignored the signs that were more ‘in my face’, such as my computer persistently ‘jacking up‘ when I wanted to be doing tasks on it – and such as the damage to my toe after I dropped a lump of roasting meat on it from the fridge (noted in a previous blog) in my hurry to move through a break period to cook a meal and get back to work…

Things came to a head last weekend, when we had our market stall.  It’s only once a month, but is always a ‘difficult slog‘ when you’re already taxed by the normal running of things, and because it demands different sets of muscles to be put to work…

(Hiking those heavy marquees and tables in and out of the trailer is quite different to dealing with stock on our shelves).

My hubby was already tired.  My son was busy with his lovely daughters for the weekend.  So I pushed myself to the limit (or actually past the limit, as it now evidences) by getting only two hours sleep before socking myself into preparation – packing, hauling, setting up, and then ‘spreading the light’ by being engaging with our market visitors all day long.

I made it through the day okay, but by pack up time my brain was in ‘freeze’ mode.  I couldn’t remember what went into which box, and could only be thankful that my efforts had given my husband a rest because he was able to take over from that point.

All has come to a head.  I was forced to take some time off work.  That’s why my blogs came to a halt.  Pure exhaustion!

Right now, my pendulum is barely swinging at all…

(Don’t worry, it will circle for a while and come back swinging again, once it has a firm direction in mind.  This blog, methinks, is the beginning of that…).

I’m not going to promise I will be as prolific in writing this blog as I have been.  (I may or I may not, depending on my ‘swing’).  Because, for now, I think it’s far more sensible to ‘go with my flow…

Even healers need healing.

Blessings!
Lianne

Lianne in an Earth Magic Sun Hat
Lianne in an Earth Magic Sun Hat

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine

Prayers

Prayer Flags
Personal photo by Lianne

The celtic New Year begins with the festival of Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-wen’), also known as the ‘Feast of the Dead‘.   The ancient Celts, Druids, Picts, and Vikings,  believed that since in darkness we are born (from the womb) so is life renewed each year amid the season of darkness. (Samhain is celebrated at the half-way point between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice).

In Australia, where I live, Samhain is celebrated in April.  (It is celebrated very close to A.N.Z.A.C. day, which is interesting because that is also a time of remembrance and the honoring of our deceased defence force members).  This is because celtic paganism does not follow a calendar for spiritual events but instead follows the seasons.

In the southern hemisphere, the seasons are opposite to those in the north.  So Australian celtic pagans have their New Year, then, whereas northern hemisphere celtic pagans don’t have theirs until October 31.

(There are many non-pagan people in Australia who follow the American tradition of ‘trick or treat’ on this date, so we do answer the door to costumed children with bags to fill on that same October night, though Australians don’t celebrate with the gory exuberance Americans do).

The festival of Samhain (also known as Holy Eve, All Hallows Eve, and Halloween)  is celebrated in much the same way as the ‘Day of the Dead‘ is in Mexico.

For celtic pagans, it is a time when the portal between our physical world of Earth and the ‘otherworld (where spirit and the supernatural resides)  is open – sort of like having an ‘open day‘ for visitors.

During this time, humans can interact with deceased relatives and friends, place plates of food for them at their table and drink toasts in their honor (as if they are still alive).

Like the ‘Day of the Dead‘ celebrated by christians in Mexico, it is a lovely day for expressing love and affection for those who are no longer able to be with us on a daily basis.

Even before christianity overrode celtic paganism and plied superstitions of ghouls and demons being out and about on Halloween, ancient celtic pagans acknowledged that when the portal between worlds was open, darker and mischievous entities could come visiting.

Celtic pagans don’t believe in ghouls and demons the way christians do, though.

The word ‘demon’ is derived from a word describing demi-gods (partial or lower realm gods) and the word ‘devil’ describes similar by referring to devas or devis  (gods of the spiritual stream of Vedism, in Hindu culture).

There are no demons or devils in celtic pagan lore.  There are only people, from our physical realm, or from the ‘otherworld‘, behaving badly.

So such warnings like the jack-o-lanterns and sigils carved in doors were basically ‘stay away if you can’t behave yourself’ signs.  Any ghoul (or spirit ‘yobbo’) would be challenged if they wanted to cause mischief.

(The halloween pumpkin or jack-o-lantern, carved to become a candle holder to warn off unwelcome visitors at the front door, was once a carved turnip or swede in times of yore.  They didn’t have pumpkins back then).

In celtic paganism, there was an acknowledgement that, even in the supernatural realm, people with bad character traits existed who you had to be careful dealing with.

On the night of Halloween, those people could be partying in your vicinity, and their parties could be of the ‘smash ’em up’  kind.  (Mischief makers are not just human).

The ancient world was, however, an unsafe place, in general.  Anyone who took a fancy to what you had could forcibly take it from you, if you weren’t careful to make sure you could defend it.

Often, such defence could mean the loss of your life, or of your loved ones lives.  So it’s not surprising that when faced with supernatural entities who could cause trouble, people found a need for a different kind of protection.

It’s not surprising that they put out jack-o-lantern warnings, that they invented magical sigils, or asked their spiritual leaders for metaphysical methods to protect themselves, to thwart bad influences, and to ensure that their lives continued to thrive.

Nor is it surprising that they learned to pray for blessings and protection.

For ancient celtic pagans, the ‘otherworld‘ not only contained their deceased, but every type of supernatural entity, both good natured and bad.

It was only a small step to think that if the good natured entities lived in the same realm, they must have found a way to handle the bad natured entities.  Therefore, calling upon their help was no different to calling on the help of anyone who has more skill handling a particular situation.

I am a great believer in the supernatural.  My own experiences have come into direct contact with the supernatural and its entities throughout my life.

While I do believe in the basic ‘god essence of the cosmos‘ and its detached ‘in a dream‘ point of view, I also believe that what god ‘dreams‘ manifests as ‘reality‘ for us, and that what can be manifested does not just pertain to the physical level of existence we inhabit as human beings.

Therefore, I do believe in all manner of supernatural entities – ghosts, spirits, angels, demons, devas, and others.

For me, all manifestations are divine elements from the ‘mind of god,’  even supernatural ones.  All manifestations are basically avatars enabling the ‘divine elements of god’ to experience relationships, of one kind or another.

That’s the bottom line for me.  There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad‘ in that equation.

On the other hand, in the ‘pre-programmed laws and codes defining existence’, both in our world and in supernatural realms, all manifesting elements are given ‘in-built modes and mechanisms’ of expression.

If an ‘avatar of god‘ is in-built with certain modes of behavior and attitude, then they can express ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on their ‘purpose in the mind of god‘.

For me, what god thinks or dreams, manifests. (This is how I believe the coding is embedded).

As well, as a manifesting element of divine energy (albeit in human form), if I believe angels exist, then they exist.  Then, whatever form I wish to see them in is the way they will manifest to me, and whatever powers I give to them, they will have for me.

You might say that this is a very powerful ability indeed, but it has its drawbacks.  The drawbacks come from being incarnate in a human form, living a human life, and being embedded with the same ‘in-built modes and mechanisms of expression’ that other human beings are embedded with.

This means that my thoughts are not always as pure as they should be, that old conditioning from my earlier life on planet Earth is still hovering in the background, and that association with others and their less salubrious ideas still overshadows even my best intentions or alignments.

(That’s why ascetics do their best to overcome such weights, and to purify themselves of the past, so they can see the truth clearly).

In some ways, this ‘in-built mechanism‘ is a good thing. Imagine if a child thinks there are monsters under the bed.  With the ability of their divine self, in thinking there are monsters under the bed, they could actually manifest them!

The mechanism of ‘clouding divine abilities‘ enables us to live a human life with less confusion.

(Ancient spiritual streams believed that only those who can accept and manage both good and bad, light and dark, equally and without fear should be free in their ability to manifest their thoughts).

During the festival of Samhain, I hang buddhist prayer flags in my yard, stringing them between my upper balcony and a tree in my garden, as well as on my front porch where people enter my house.

(Prayer flags are traditionally hung during the buddhist New Year, but since my New Year is celtic oriented, I hang mine then).

I follow a self-styled form of celtic paganism, including rituals aligned to neo-druidic modes, but because my spirituality is extremely eclectic so is my expression of it.

It therefore doesn’t matter to me that these prayer flags are tibetan or buddhist.  (I am also buddhist in many of my spiritual modes).  What matters is the feeling that the flags manifest in me.  What matters is the concept of reaching out into the cosmos and asking for help where I am unable to help myself so effectively.  What matters is what the flags symbolize.

By using such symbology (or rituals) to foster correct modes and feelings, I am able to override the embedded conditioning long enough to seed better elements in my life.

Like many others, I also often pray to god and my angels (supernatural helpers and mentors), asking for help, advice, and guidance.

This is not a denial of the ‘basic truths of existence‘ I have defined in the ‘seeder‘ god and the ‘illusions of reality‘.  It is just an acknowledgement that I am incarnate in human form, beset by the conditions of ‘physical reality‘, and that sometimes in this ‘game of life‘ I don’t have everything I feel I need to ply it effectively.

When that happens, I call on those I think can help, in much the same way as others call on friends and relatives, mentors and patrons for opinions or assistance  – only, via prayers and rituals, I am calling on my ‘supernatural peers‘.

People often find themselves uplifted when gathering en masse in churches, temples, or at other spiritual events.  In those moments, the spiritual focus is intensified and miracles can happen.  This is because, with so many elements gathered together focusing on the same thing, ‘god’s mind’ becomes more focused on that same mode.

You can think of that with an image of neurons firing in a brain.  The most activity and thoughts occur where most of the neurons are firing.  So, if you can think of human beings as being ‘divine neurons in god’s brain‘,  then you can see how what those ‘neurons‘ are focusing on becomes a ‘center of activity in the mind of god‘.

Prayer is like that, too.  Through prayer we call on the help of supernatural entities, like angels and guides (or the over god, itself.  The over god or ‘oversoul’ is different to the ‘seeder’ god, but that’s another story).

With their assistance, more ‘divine neurons‘ are fired in the same area, and with that focus ‘miracles‘ can happen – e.g. things occur that don’t normally occur within the ‘coding‘ embedded in our physical realm.

Such beseechments don’t always work, just as asking for help from others in our human lives doesn’t always get us the help we need, or in the way we feel we need it.

Not getting the full help we need from others in our physical lives doesn’t stop us from capitalizing on it when it is available, though, even if we do have to ‘push on‘ and ‘do so much stuff by ourselves‘ until we get that relief and help.

Nor should any concept of ‘having to do it all by ourselves‘ stop us from reaching out to whatever help is available in the supernatural realm for us.

Just as our human friends and family don’t always know what needs we have, or won’t step in uninvited out of respect for our personal choices, so does the supernatural realm often behave.

We have to express a great desire for that help, either through the emission of misery and sense of loss, or through prayer.  (I know which I would prefer to invite with).

After all, being a level detached from our physical realm, supernatural entities know very well that what happens to us here only pertains to us here.

After death, we are with them – still alive, still thriving, but in a different layer of existence.  So of course, they will only respond to a direct request of some kind, or because their sympathy is aroused by our misery.

Samhain is not just about honoring the deceased.  It is also about honoring the supernatural, and all the ‘invisible‘ help available to us.

It is a way to give thanks for the help we have received in the past, and to give respect to those who answered our prayers.  In the ‘cosmic scheme of things‘, they didn’t have to.

As spiritual beings like them when we shed our ‘body coats‘,  our problems and assails are proven to be only temporary (in the cosmic scheme of things).  What brings them to our aid is their empathy and sympathy for our travails.

For me, they are my family and friends as much as any living being in the physical realm.

Blessings!
Lianne

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine 

 

Injury

photo courtesy of www.sunipix.com
photo courtesy of http://www.sunipix.com

Just over a week ago, I took a defrosted piece of roasting meat out of the fridge to cook. (It was in a sealed plastic bag). It slipped off the plate I’d defrosted it on and dropped onto my bare foot.  (I’m often barefoot at home).  I thought nothing of it.  The meat was soft.   It only caused a bit of pain.

Quite soon, the nail on my big toe turned grey-blue.  I knew then that the meat had caused more of an injury than I had realized, but I still thought nothing of it.  I just assumed that the injury would process, that my nail would go black and fall off, and that I would be in pain for a while but all would be well.

I haven’t stayed off my feet since then.  I’ve kept working.  I’ve been going out, and walking around, albeit with shoes on that were comfortable for my sore toe.

I didn’t give myself any healing energy because I thought all would be okay.  Such things are part of the normal processes of life, I told myself.  Accidents happen and we deal with them.  Nature has it’s own healing processes and all we need is time to allow it to do its job.

All hasn’t been okay, though.  My toe has got worse.  It is now twice the size of my other big toe.  The nail is trying to delaminate but is still held firmly in the quick.  I’ve got extreme redness in the flesh of the toe at the base of the nail and it’s developing darker tinges that have me concerned.

I finally decided to give my toe some healing energy last night… I used a piece of black tourmaline to boost the energy and take the poisons/inflammation out.  The tourmaline got so hot I was surprised.  I got a whiff of flesh that was not nice at all.  (Then I really got concerned…)

This morning, I picked up the tourmaline to try again, and the lump of pyrite that has long clung to the outside of the shaft peeled off.  I was so surprised.  It has been well melded to the tourmaline since I first got it.  I thought it was actually embedded in it.  The funny thing is that the pyrite piece now looks like a delaminated big toe nail…

Today, my foot began to feel stiff and achy.  I realized that something much more is going on with my toe than I thought at first.  When I massaged my foot, I found a large swollen area in the underarch.  I thought, the lymphatic system is trying hard to move the bad elements out from the toe to recycle them.

I gave the foot more healing, this time without the tourmaline.  The extreme heat from my hands meant to me that this injury really does need attention (and so I felt a bit foolish because I have pretty much been ignoring it).

My great grandmother died when my Nanna was only 13 years old.  She got septicemia (blood poisoning) because of a scratch she just ignored. (Admittedly, she was a scotswoman living on a pioneer farm in rural Australia, where doctors were a rarity).  It’s not something I really want to be doing to myself, though.  I had to shake my head.

When others need healing, I am always there for them, trying to make things feel better and to speed up the healing process.  When it comes to myself, I am not so assiduous.  I’m not sure why.  It’s not like I don’t have the knowledge, or the tools to help myself, but I tend to take things on as being ‘par for the course.’  I tend to think of illness and injury as being ‘part of life’.  I tend to take on such suffering as a normal process that I have to be philosophical about.   (At least, when it comes to myself).

I probably have very bad habits, therefore, when it comes to my own healing.  My body is assailed by so many disorders (‘par for the course’ with many healers and empaths, since so much is absorbed from surrounding environs), that when a new one comes along, I just ‘pop it in the basket‘ with the others and ‘keep on keeping on’ living.

I don’t like going to the doctor.  Most often, in the past, when I did go, I was told I was already dealing well with the issue, and to keep on doing what I’d been doing.  (I used to be very good at treating my health when it was out of balance and I do keep a well stocked medicine/herbal cabinet, not just for me but for all my family). It was rare that I needed further help, (other than an occasional prescription for antibiotics when all else had failed).  So in the end I just began to think that I should just accept the things that happen, and deal with them.  I told myself that if an emergency came along, then I would go to the doctor.

The trouble with that is that sometimes you’re not sure exactly what is an emergency, and when you start embedding the attitude that illness is ‘par for the course’ in life, you can start forgetting to look after yourself effectively.

In my instance, it gets hard to know if my natural healing energies will bring about the amazing turnarounds that have often happened in the past if I just wait things out, or if I should be getting concerned enough to seek the help of others, now… (Is a whiff of smelly flesh an emergency or will the flesh heal itself given time?)  I don’t like bothering doctors when I can heal myself.  They’re busy helping those who can’t help themselves…

Okay, so this time I think I will go see the doctor, after all – at least to make sure my toe is not gangrenous or causing a blood or lymphatic infection.  Metaphysical healing is not always the answer, and not when I left it this late to do something about the problem. Even metaphysical healing needs time to be efficacious.

Perhaps there is a reason that I have not healed so well this time.  I haven’t seen my doctor for ages and she knows I have lots to ‘keep an eye on’.  Sigh.  The universe is probably just making sure I keep in touch.

Blessings!
Lianne

Update: It’s the same day, and because it is a public holiday right now, my doctor is not available. I’ll still go to see her tomorrow, just to make sure all is okay, but an interesting thing happened tonight (I wrote the main body of this in the morning). My foot was aching, so I took another look at it. The nail had lifted even more, so I gently pressed on it and tried to ease it out from the quick.  I was able to get a toothpick underneath at the top, and pricked it just enough to make it bleed.  The blood has poured out.  The pain has eased, and my nail is no longer black. (I left the nail alone after it bedded down again and started looking pink). While the toe is still red, all is looking suddenly good!  So I put calendula cream (for the bruising and inflammation) on the skin surrounding it, along with some methyl salicylate (for pain).

As usual, the healing sped things up.  Time still needed to pass, but I can tell you I’m feeling a lot happier now.  I suspect that by the time I get to the doctor, there will be little left to do but wait for Nature to finish the job… (Ah, the human condition gets to us all… I should have known better, since the energy was so blazing hot.  Thank you for your help, dear angels!  I have no doubt that this time I was assisted.  My own energy is not usually that fierce…) 

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine

Marriage

Photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net
Photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net

I was married at the age of 18, after having run away from home to live with my future husband and surviving nearly two years together. That seemed a very long time for a relationship, then. Today, the saying goes “You don’t get that long for murder...”

Actually, I still love my husband very much. We have a relationship that is a tad volatile at times, but only when either of us are pushing a point. Most of the time, we have pretty much the same views on life, and we have a very great intimacy and friendship. I think those last two qualities are what gets any marriage through the long years.

When we first moved in together, no one expected our relationship to last.  When we did get married, there were many people who thought we only got married because I was pregnant, (…and yes, I was pregnant when we got married but we actually didn’t know that, then. We only discovered it when I was sick every day on our honeymoon, and were actually engaged and had set the date of our wedding for months before I got pregnant).

That’s not to say that the going has not been hard at times. We had separations in our past, trying to see how we could live without each other. We just couldn’t. When we were separated, something sort of died inside us. We had a far better life together than apart.

I have come to believe that my relationship with my husband was destined or fated. He’s also a Capricorn and I’m a Leo, and astrology says that such relationships are toned with kismet.  We’re both very strong-minded individuals and sometimes it can be a case of ‘too many cooks stirring the pot‘, as the saying goes, but if we hadn’t been able to work as a team we would never have made it this far.

My husband’s parents were married until the day his father died, well into his 70s. Twenty years later, his mother still considers herself to be married and expects to meet his father in the afterlife. Yet during the course of their long marriage, her husband was not particularly faithful.

That’s an interesting word, faithful.  In marriage, it pertains to the sexual content, but if you were to take that word in its context of commitment and deep attachment and intimacy, my father-in-law was extremely faithful to his wife. He was there for her in all ways a husband should be for his wife. (He just shared around a part of himself).

My mother-in-law knew what she was getting into when she married him. (She adored him, anyway). They also lived together for many years before they married, and had children during that early relationship. My father-in-law had been married previously and was a widower when he met my mother-in-law. Even so, his family did not approve of her because she came from peasant stock in Austria, whereas he was his uncle’s ‘considered heir‘ of a manufacturing business. He gave up all that for her. (I’m not surprised. She was ‘Heidi of the Mountains’, all grown up).

My own mother’s second marriage is still thriving today, too. She remarried when I was eight. My sister and I were flower girls at their wedding. It was an extremely volatile relationship in the early years. He was a sailor and spent long months at sea. I’m not sure they really had time to sort things out properly between them in the periods they had together before he had to go away again. They were also very young and she had been married before. She came to the relationship with two children who were no longer toddlers. It must have been hard.

In the early years of their marriage, we all suffered – my parents, my sister and I.  A lot happened and it was quite traumatic, but today I can look back on those times with maturity and experience, and put those events into perspective.  They really were just silly kids, at 23 and 24, and my sister and I were just ‘caught in the flak‘.  It wasn’t a good situation to be in but if you saw them today you would never believe they ever did the things they did then.  They are extremely devoted and committed to each other.  They are best friends.

All my children also married fairly young.  When my daughter married, we didn’t have a lot of money for a wedding.  All our savings had already disappeared in caring for our disabled son.  So I cobbled together a wedding dress for her out of my old ivory wedding dress and a beautiful gold ball gown that had belonged to my mother. (She was a larger girl than I was when I got married, though I’ve outstripped her, today).

The material was so delicate after so many years of storage that I had to sew every stitch by hand.  I also made her slippers out of leftover scraps, pricking my finger many times as I sewed on the harder soles. With a veil made out of my old veil and a new donut shaped head-dress covered in dangling fake pearls, she looked like a medieval princess.

I also made the wedding cake – not baked it but decorated it.  I was no cake maker, so instead we sampled dark fruit cakes from the supermarket for weeks before the wedding. Then, after finding the most delicious selection, I began basting it with brandy and later put on the traditional blanket of white icing with a marzipan underlay.  Having been heavily involved in theater in earlier years, I knew how to stage a production and make it look superb – and it was. (I later found out that many wedding cakes have flaws on the inside, that are cut away when they cut the cake into pieces. It is the outside of the cake that has to look superb).

The wedding was held in a garden rainforest, on an outlook dais near where two small waterfalls poured into a stream, creating a ‘lucky horseshoe‘ shape, and my years of singing in musicals paid off when I sang the medieval ballad of  ‘Where’er She Walks‘ as she and her bridesmaids traveled the path to the dais, and then the song of ‘Tara‘ from the movie ‘Gone with the Wind‘ after their vows were finished. (The words begin with ‘my own true love…’).

They had an afternoon tea reception at the gardens restaurant and their bridal waltz was a maypole type affair, with the bridesmaids and groomsmen binding the couple in white paper ribbons as they wove their dance around them.  It was a magical day, and encapsulated the bright spiritual moments that I believe a wedding should be. (My sons had different types of weddings, but each began with such hope and promise, bright smiles and commitment).

Sadly, not one of my children are still married today.  I know there were problems in each relationship but I thought that they suffered nothing worse than what my husband and I ever went through – upon reflection, though, I knew that it wasn’t easy to walk away from marriage.  Even if you are the one choosing to do so, it’s not an easy path.  Even if you know its the best thing for you and that your life thrives much better apart from the relationship, giving up on a marriage still leaves a mark. It still hurts.  While I never actually stayed separated from my husband, years ago, the separations we did have showed me just how much they hurt.

My children never had the opportunity to reform their relationships.  Their partners all moved on fairly quickly.  It was really awful to see the pain they went through, the loss of faith in themselves and in their world, and that awful sense of loneliness even when they were with others.  It hurt, too, when my divorced daughter saw myself and my husband holding hands, (even after our arguments), and said that we were lucky to have that sort of intimacy.  I may be old-fashioned, but I did wish my children a lifetime relationship of similar devotion – someone they could always rely on, no matter what.  Doesn’t every parent?

(I was glad that my children had a strong connection with the universe, at least, so that even as their hearts hurt they were able to keep aiming for fulfilment. The pain never kept them down for long).

When I consider marriage, I think of the vows taken. I’m not sure that some people take those vows seriously. It seems that for some it’s like signing a waiver on a contract that they know they have to sign if they actually want the goods being provided, but where they don’t really read the words of the contract and just ‘go with the flow‘ in order to get those goods.

I view marriages like adoptions. If I adopted a child, I would not turn my back on the child because it didn’t turn out the way I liked it, later. You don’t divorce your children. (Although this metaphor may not be completely sound, when you consider how many children ‘divorce’ their parents, today). So I believe in always trying to make things work out in my marriage.  For me, it really is the vow of ‘for better, for worse.’

This is just me.  It is part of the modes I have chosen to express in my lifetime.  I believe in love being able to conquer everything, and when it doesn’t quite get there, commitment will at least do the trick… In the cosmic scheme of things, however, I’m not sure that such intense commitments really matter.  After all, I also believe that we are only individuals because divinity chooses to create us that way.  In my view of spiritual truth, none of us are really separate from each other.  We are all ‘one in god‘.  We are all ‘connected as spirit’.  We are all ‘one spirit‘.

So why is it so damnably hard to let go?  Why is it so hard to give up on the old hopes and aspirations and expectations so that we can move on to something or someone new?  Why do we hurt so much when relationships end?

I think it is because of that sense of ‘coming home’.

In life, whenever we find a person who makes us feel comfortable and connected, it is a spiritual experience.  In that experience, we feel as if we are ‘more than ourselves’.

The same can happen from creative processes like forging a business or a project but those don’t always have the same intensity that a relationship brings to the equation.

I believe that in such relationships we find a memory of what it is to be completely ‘one with the divine‘. That is why it is so hard to let go and move on.  As individual human beings we often yearn for that ‘greater connection‘, to experience ‘oneness‘ again, and when we find someone who makes us feel ‘as one‘ with them, that relationship sparks off a deep internal memory of the ‘interconnection between all divine elements‘.

Wherever you connect with the divine, it’s not easy to let go.

People do move on with their lives after relationships have failed, though.  Yes, that is a matter of ‘have to‘ in many cases, but I believe it is also because of another divine truth – we are ‘all one‘, so others can actually fill in the gaps and make up the differences, too.

I’m not a great believer in singular pairs of ‘soul mates.’  I don’t believe there is only one person who can do that for us in any lifetime.  While we may be limited in time, scope, and circumstance in finding someone else to meet the need for partnership, I don’t believe that means that when the person we thought we would live the rest of our lives with (and imagined was our one and only ‘soul mate’) is gone, there can never be anyone else.  Being ‘one with the divine’ and therefore with each other, means that opportunities for ‘soul mateship’ are actually many.

Moving on effectively, and finding someone else (or something else), can only happen, though, when we let go of the old attachment so we can actually see the worthiness of new ones.

In a universe founded on the attraction law of ‘love’, it is obtainable anywhere and everywhere – so long as we are open to it.

(For me, love in this sense is the ‘energy of divinity’, which holds the universe together even through the dark and invisible – hence it is ‘attractive’).

I’m not looking to move on from my own marriage, these days. I long ago figured out how to live with my man, flaws and all. I realized that I can retain my individuality, my own opinions and attitudes, and forge my own path, even whilst staying married. The key for me was to remember that marriage is a friendship, my spouse is my family, and that it’s not just about attraction and not just about sex or procreation. (Although, both of those are wonderful, too!)  The latter elements can disappear over time, but commitment to friendship and family are as lasting as my decision to be committed.

Blessings!
Lianne

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine

Delphi

Personal photo by Lianne
Personal photo by Lianne – Theater at Delphi, Greece

Having grown up in Australia, I never got to see much of the rest of the world until I was an adult. It’s not like you can jump on a bus and travel across the continent to see so many ancient cultures like you can in Europe.

The most ancient civilization we have in Australia is that of our aboriginal natives and, while seeing where and how they lived and listening to their legendary stories of ‘dreamtime‘ is wonderful, it didn’t have the variety that could be found overseas. I often dreamed of visiting the places I saw in history books or connecting with the ancient spirits written of in stories, but money was tight and there were other priorities to attend to.

Even then, it wasn’t until my 25th wedding anniversary that my husband and I decided it was time to at least go see the place where he was born.

For ten months of his life, he was an Austrian.  His dad was born in the now defunct country of Sedetenland (Bavaria) and his mum was an Austrian. Their love match was unapproved by his dad’s family and eventually they traveled across country to the Swiss border with the three kids they had already sprouted, birthed my husband in the border town of Hohenems, and then immigrated to Australia on a big ship (upon which my future mother-in-law spent a lot of time trying to prevent her children slipping out from underneath the deck railings into the wide blue sea. Apparently, they didn’t have the safety barriers they do now).

Since we took out a mortgage on our home to pay for our trip, and because it was so far away, we decided to take in some of the lands I’d wanted to see for so long, as well – like Italy and Greece. One of the places that thrived in many of the fantasy-adventure-historic novels I read as a young adult was Delphi.

Having had experiences of my own of a prophetic nature, I was really interested in seeing the place where priestesses would reveal their oracles to those who asked. I was so excited about actually being in that place, and was sure I would feel a presence and a connection, just as I had often felt such things in places in Australia, man-made or natural.

Our trip to Europe was wonderful and glorious, and full of history, color, and texture, but in the main the only spirit I felt throughout our travels was that of human beings, alive and thriving. (I had an experience at the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi, but that is another story).

When we did get to Delphi, the ruins were amazing, but not for any life in them (apart from the plants taking root) – for the mark that people leave behind them.

I did see the place where the priestess gave her oracle – an overgrown rock that once had sulphuric gasses leaking out from a long crack over which the priestess sat.

To a degree, it was disappointing to me that the priestess needed a stimulant to produce her oracles, though I knew that many spiritual cultures around the world used stimulation of one form or another to produce shamanic vision.

The rock didn’t even have a temple surrounding it any more. (Although it did have modern scaffolding around it on the day we visited, as Greek ruins are always in a long process of management and excavation).

So I was brought to reality with a thud. The romance in the novels I’d read had done what they were supposed to do – stimulating desire and inspiration – but faced with the current facts, I felt somewhat let down.

(Looking back on the photos I took at the time, it seems that I thought the rock so un-scintillating that I didn’t even record it!)

That was, until I looked out onto the view. What an absolutely amazing place to build a city of temples, so high in the mountain with the shimmering air hovering over the valley. The hillside snakes with stone steps that lead to everything. I’m sure the ancient inhabitants must have been very fit.

There were lots of other temples in Delphi, and not just the rock where the priestess sat. It was a thriving religious community and pilgrims came from far and wide to worship. The steps now trod by modern tourists were trod by ancient tourists long ago, and shopkeepers thrived on commerce as much as they still do in places like the Vatican City, today.

Amidst the expansive religious community buildings, a wonderful theater was a focal point. It was the most intact building in the place, with rows of stepped seats climbing the hillside. I wondered how anyone could focus on whatever played there, with such views forming a backdrop behind the stage.

The beautiful valley below Delphi was also once full of a bustling tourist city (yet to be excavated), full of accommodation choices for weary travelers.

In the end, it was these elements that re-inspired the romance of Delphi for me. Not the ancient priestesses who had long taken their spirit into the ‘otherworld.‘  Instead, it was the markers of bustling, thriving human life, and the knowledge that people are still doing the same things, thousands of years later – praying, hoping, wishing, making money, capitalizing, providing, gathering, eating, drinking, surviving, and having fun.

I came away from Delphi and all the other ruins we saw on our travels, (and even from the modern cultures we experienced along the way), with one thing in mind. I felt a great respect for the human race.

Listening to the different languages in different countries, yet watching similar lives play out in each, I was impressed that often the only differences between humans across the planet, modern and ancient, is their language, the names of their gods, their clothes, the food they eat, and the places they live in.

In all, across the breadth of time, I saw the wider view of their adaptability, their flexibility, their persistence, and their ability to reform, reshape, and survive whatever wears them down. People are indomitable.

Blessings!
Lianne

Lilipily Spirit – Empower Your Life, Connect with the Divine