Queen Mab Visits

O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone (60)
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon-spokes made of long spiders’ legs,
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers, (65)
The traces of the smallest spider’s web,
The collars of the moonshine’s watery beams,
Her whip of cricket’s bone, the lash of film,
Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat,
Not so big as a round little worm (70)
Prick’d from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night… (1.4.58-100)

One Becomes Forbearing

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Create emptiness up to the highest

Guard stillness up to the most complete.

Then all things may rise together.

I see how they return,

Things in all their multitude:

Each one returns to its root.

Return to their root means stillness.

Stillness means return to fate.

Return to fate means eternity.

Cognition of eternity means clarity

If one does not recognize the eternal

One falls in to confusion and sin.

If one recognizes the eternal

One becomes forbearing.

From Tao Te Ching as translated by Richard Wilheim

Waldon went off to live deliberately. Joseph Campbell spent years in the wilderness! I have come to Wartook. Here at Wartook I see and feel what these men felt, understand why they stepped off the well beaten path and isolated themselves. They came because you have to come and create emptiness, be still, with nature, in order to fuse with it and liberate creativity, give one’s art life through merging one’s spirit with nature.

Here at Wartook I know that the spiritual plane is not on some elevated platform, far from my grasp. Here, within the shadows of Mt Difficult I know that spirit walks where I walk, sees what I see, breaths the air I breath, communicates with me through something as simple as a blade of grass, a spire of bamboo grass being caressed by the gentle breeze. Here in this quiet space I can hear her gentle laughter, echoing within the empty spaces.

Here at Wartook I gather dead leaves to accelerate the fledgling fire that warms my womb like cabin. I take dead leaves, hold them in the palm of my hand, crush them and feel them disintegrate. It is self-evident that spirit abandoned these leaves, left them to fuse with the earth, to be gathered by me to fuel flames and heat my coffee pot. I look and understand that the dead leaf is nothing but an empty shell, the remains of an organism that once breathed life, danced upon a bough, amid other leaves, drank the sweet life giving oxygen that surrounded it.

Having taken the dead leaves, gathered the brittle twigs, that once carried the tree’s life blood, I stop, quizzically ponder and in doing so, learn that in the same way our bodies, once emptied of spirit, will stiffen and wither.

Ash’s head drooped within milliseconds, the proud body crumpled and curled, his spirit rose within an invisible vapor, like a curl of smoke from a chimney and drifted out into the cosmos. Dog, human, leaves are a part of the great cosmic force and that cosmic force is a part of dog, human, leaf, until it decides to depart, leaving a shell to be disposed of.

How does this knowing affect what I do here in Wartook? Why am I writing about it? I am writing, quite simply, because the spirit of Wartook, the custodian of this remote valley, has taken it in to its head to sit me in class, insist that I observe, sit wrapped within a snow dome, a galaxy of bright stars. Spirit seems to think that I need to understand that, while my ego would like to think otherwise, I have no real existence outside nature, beyond that galaxy of stars that cloak me.

As I sit within the dome of bright stars, I am certain about some things. I am certain that Ash only exists as remains, lying within a grave over which birds carol their evensong, above which magpies call, announcing the arrival of dawn. Yet I am just as certain that a part of Ash came, to greet me, as I entered Rose Gully Road. He lies here now, beside me, tail wagging, adoring eyes watching, protecting.

As I sit within the dome of bright stars, I know that Darryl’s body, dissolved in to ash, was scattered upon the water of the Stony Creek, floated, like a raft, along with the currents and vanished. Yet he exists within memory, within the stories, told of him. He is not with me yet he is always present, a guiding hand, a reassuring voice, a gentle touch. Where Darryl once stood, where Ash once lay, there is a void, an emptied space. Yet this void is not formless, anymore than the heavens that surround me are formless or empty. They are filled to over flowing, bright stars bursting forth light, forming constellations, patterns, pathways to distant worlds.

The void is just another manifestation of nature, another form of energy, and a place I keep returning to, a well from which to drink and replenish.

Spirit thought I needed to know that from voids, shapes rise, that while I have no existence outside nature I will exist long after I am gone, just as Darryl and Ash will exist for many life times. I have listened to spirit, to the custodian of Mount Difficult. I hear and know that shapes rise, return from the void. The shape that is rising is still imperceptible, is barely discernible, but it is taking a familiar form and within that form is life, the one, the very same spirit who has taken me captive here in Wartook.

Ravens Just Wanna Have Fun

Raven Fun

Ravens are a playful, mischievious birds who just wanna have fun.

When you think like a raven you know that having fun is essential.

You only have to look at the Universe and Creation to know that the Cosmic Force has a

strong sense of humour and a sense of the ridiculous.

Heather Blakey – October 18th 2007

Baba’s Broody Hen

 

Broody Hen

It is said that all that you are seeking is also seeking you, that if you are still, sit still, it will find you.
Sometimes you simply have no choice but to brood and wait.
Rest and see what happens next

You can tell when a hen is broody because she sits continually in the nest-box. She will ruffle her feathers when you come close and will squawk loudly, warning you away.

Broodiness seems to be contagious! If a hen goes broody in the hen-house with other hens, the other hens may become broody too, and they may kill the young chicks when they hatch. It is best to leave the broody hen with other hens for only one or two days then, after dark, move both the hen and if possible the nest-box to another prepared house.

bird_hatches.gifThe incubation periods from the time the hen starts to sit to hatching are:

  • Hens 21 days
  • Bantams 19 days.
  • Ducks 26-28 days
  • Muscovy ducks 33-35 days
  • Geese 30-33 days
  • Guinea fowl and turkeys 26-28 days
  • Pheasants and quail 21-28 days

How long does it take a woman to incubate an idea and act upon it?

cheers

Baba

Gardening with Skeleton Women

Skeleton Woman

When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcaste state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries…..

but hark

I work in my garden, meditating as I turn the earth.
What must I let die in order to generate life?
What do I know should die but am hesitant to allow to do so?
What must die in me in order for me to thrive?
What is ugly that I fear that has treasure within?

and then I scorn to change my state with Kings’

apologies to Will Shakespeare
Heather Blakey September 07

In Defense of Insanity

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this is a writer’s story….sort of

When my Grandmother would write, Insanity Jones, her cat, would sit on her shoulder and ” Inspire Her “.

Most of us hated it when she said told that story to the press because Insanity only inspired one thing in our family and that was loathing.

When he walked through a room the lights would flicker the air would turn cold and if  Insanity  looked up at you your first reaction would be to cry.

To be honest, it’s hard to love something that holds you in such low regard. I’m talking about our Grandmother, not the cat.

Or whatever it was.

As I started to tell you our Grandmother was a famous writer in her day and presently if you’ve ever been a student of literature you’ve probably stood in line somewhere buying a copy of ” Cliff’s Notes ” to one of her books.

In case you’re not familiar with them, my Grandmother’s books looked simple they sounded simple but they were far from being considered light reading.

Over the years there was lots of speculation about what inspired her to create her characters and what they really meant and of course she was famous for her ‘unique perspective’ about human nature and relationships.

People took this discussion very seriously.

There are College Classes dedicated to studying the works of Estrella Derrick. I’ve even heard that there are Estrella Derrick Societies and all they do is sit around and talk about the ‘true meaning’ of Grandmother’s stories and they even talk about how her life played a role in her writing.

I wonder then how these diligent students would feel if they were to find out that the reason for ‘unique perspective on human nature and relationships’ was coming from a cat.

It would explain a lot.

But it’s true- every book, every play every lecture ever written by Estrella Derrick- were all authored by a cat. When I started to put that idea to the rest of the family they said I was crazier then Insanity, but I was right all along.

I’ll prove it to you.

Our Grandmother threw Halloween Parties twice a year- one for the holiday itself and the other for her birthday which was actually in December.

Coming in from the outside you’d be impressed- Grandmother was an avid collector of skeletal remains- human skeletal remains and she even had two mummies- one from Egypt and the other from South America.

So along with the bones she had body parts in jars and lots of candles and lots of photographs of people all over her house.

Those photographs weren’t of us (of course). They were all dead people in coffins so I guess that looking back on it now it’s a relief that we weren’t in any of those pictures.

So anyway, Grandmother’s house was dark and moody and on the surface you’d think she went all out to welcome her guests.

Really, all she really did was to bring in a cleaning staff to dust and polish and she brought  caterers in to do the food and  the serving because domestic things had never been Grandmother’s ‘thing’. I mean her house always looked like Halloween anyway so it wasn’t a lot of work on her part.

But it certainly was on everybody else’s.

Just last Halloween it became pretty obvious that Grandmother and Insanity Jones were getting along in years. They both slept a lot and they both seemed too quiet and when they walked that Pirate Swagger they both had was gone.

I figured this conversation had to happen now because time was obviously working against us. So that evening I waited for Grandmother to go into her study and when I heard her chair slide up to her desk I went in without knocking.

She was reaching down for Insanity and she carefully put him up on her shoulder. When she saw me standing there and realized I had seen her lift Insanity up they both looked like the cat that had eaten the Canary.

Or the Eagle as it was in their case- neither one of those two ever did anything small.

” He’s the writer here, isn’t he? “

” Excuse me? ” my Grandmother snapped- and I do mean snapped I could hear her teeth click together and no- she did not where false ones.

” Don’t be an idiot, he can’t write, for Pete’s sake Akela he can’t even read.”

” So that line about him being your inspiration…”

” That is true. Insanity if very inspiring, or haven’t you noticed that yet?”

“So he didn’t tell you what to write.”

” He most certainly did not…the idea”

I guess I should have known better, my Grandmother who loved herself way more then anybody else ever did simply because she thought no one else could do that as well as she could was not exactly a candidate for the role of being a Ghost Writer.

” So a cat didn’t write your books…” I said as my face turned hot.

Suddenly I could see how foolish I must have looked to everyone I’d been talking to. On top of that my dear Grandmother would probably find a way to work my idea into one of her stories and now anyone I hadn’t got around to telling my idea to would know how nuts I was.

I figured on my way home tonight I’d take that Bridge, the badly lit one home and the next day they’d find me…

My Grandmother turned around in her chair and looked up at me with the perpetual smile that she always seemed to have on her face, even when she was angry. Then she turned around and went back to her writing and she said with that smile in her voice:

” I never said that Akela.”

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Resting Place

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Helen, Greg and I took Darryl to the place he had asked to rest in. The Stoney Creek, within an hour of Melbourne, gurgles through remnants of old Lemuria. We all agreed that this is the perfect resting place.

Fly free Darryl!
September 5th 2007

Lightning Bolt

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Lightning, whose electricity,
Held the universe together,
Scowled malevolently
Through sword shaped eyes
That pierced the void as
Ravenous Raven, lady of birds and beasts
Erotically danced with promiscuous Wind

Emboldened
Charged by atoms, electrons, protons
Lightning hurled a bolt along a wire of air molecules
That collided upon earth’s stage
At the very spot in Dodona where
a single oak tree stood
Igniting fire.

Raven who lived on peaks of mountainsides,
Who lived in caves
Who rested on the boughs of this very tree
Looked up in wonder
Captivated, mesmerized by
Capricious Lightning’s audaciously bright, flashy show

The gift of fire, of electricity
Bought by Lightning to this most sacred place
His fired passion for Raven
Lives on in the bowels of
the mountains, the caves, the trees
Is told by birds and beasts
Lightning man’s imagination

Metaphor Seeds Imagination

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From the formless void
Motes, particles, miniscule molecules of matter
Slowly began to stir
Drawn by an invisible procreative,
Primordial force
They gravitated
Clinging together tenaciously
Swelling into a giant cluster
A sensual shape with
Dark raven wings

Inflaming, arousing desire, Raven
Spread her wings
Dancing, gyrating provocatively
Upon Wind’s fingertips
Wind and raven’s coming together
Borne of frenzied passion
Was a union, an act of love?
From which was birthed
An exquisite silver, moon egg
Swollen with life.

Curled within the silver womb
Amid deep silence
Lay the Goddess of Love,
Goddess of erotic love, fertility
Wrapped in the very wings
Upon which would ride, ravenous
Procreative inspiration
The all powerful
Creative energy
That fuels the universe

Visiting the Isle of Ancestors

Fallen

The Fallen by Heather Blakey January 2007

I had let the others go to the Isle ahead of me, had deliberately lingered in the Tavern of the Inn, sharing a night cap with the old woman who ran the place. We talked about the group I had bought to Duwamish and she marvelled at their implicit trust. “You do have a gift child” she said as she poured me a smooth musket. I laughed out loud and cynically told her that I most certainly had a gift for waxing lyrical. She looked at me with knowing eyes and said that she thought I needed to take the trip to the island instead of sitting here by myself trying to avoid truth.

So I got up from the bar stool and as I rose I heard footsteps behind me. As I turned I gasped. There, right before me was Dad, looking just as he had looked when he last stood at my door with his basket of homegrown vegetables in his hand. I dropped my glass as I stepped forward to greet him and glass splintered across the floor. I hugged him and held him tightly for ages.

“Come Heather! I have come to take you to the ferry woman. My grandmother will take you across to the island.”

“But Dad! Can’t we spend some time together?” I pleaded.

“Shush little one” he smiled, putting his finger to his lips. “There will be time for that later, after you have been to the island.”

With that my father led me to the quay to journey to the Isle of Ancestors, led me to the boat my great grandmother steered. It came as no surprise that her boat was shaped as, was in fact a black mare.

Dad gave me a leg up and my great grandmother and I rode bareback without speaking to the Isle of the Ancestors. I knew that she would be by my side while I completed the journey, that she would witness a rebirth. She smiled, nodded in agreement with my thoughts and led me through the moonlit apple orchard towards the stone doors, carved curiously in the shape of a vagina.

The doorway was open and we walked together down the labyrinthine passage way. Memories of Chartres Cathedral swarmed back. Memories of walking the labyrinth gripped me.

On we walked, my great grandmother and I, her warm hand guiding me until finally we entered a space that looked like it had been woven by a raven. A raven’s nest? But then, as we circled and approached the hooded figures who were waiting for me, I realised that this was the womb I had lain in all those years ago. For a moment I thought I could hear my mother’s voice, feel her movements, hear her feel the quickening as I moved. But then there was silence and I looked at the women who had gathered to greet them and gave them the raven feather I had had tucked in a pocket for protection.

As I sat tears welled and I began to sob in the arms of my great grandmother. The tears I shed were tears that I have resisted shedding. They came in torrents, flooding, drenching us.

“Why?” I blurted almost incoherently. “Why have I had to carry such a burden of grief and loss? Why can’t I know unbridled joy?”

The women rose as a collective, revealing themselves to be my grandmothers, dating back centuries. I had never known one of them in my physical life yet I knew them to be my grandmothers. These women embraced me, as a collective and held me until I stopped crying. No one spoke. I felt their empathy, their knowing and I knew that they knew my agony of isolation.

It is a blur now but at some point I realised that they had wrapped me in a cloak of their collective knowing, that they were the cloak, that they had transformed themselves and were a part of me. My great grandmother, the Ferry Woman, sat me on a throne, wearing my specially woven coat.

Bells sounded, announcing that it was time to lead and my grandmother led me out of the throne womb, back up the labyrinthine passage, through the stone vulva and we rode on her mare back to Duwamish.

I held her warm hand briefly, pulled the collar of my new coat up to block the dawn chill and, singing with joy danced towards the inn. The Innkeeper told me the others had been down at the bathhouse and hadn’t noticed my absence. So I slipped quietly to my room and slept, still wearing my coat, a coat that will always distinguish me and name me wounded healer.

The agony of isolation is over. Praise be!