Swan Blessing Story for the Magical Jeweller – Clearing the Fear to Shine

Artwork: Sidney Sime (1865-1941)

How often do we allow ourselves to not only be seen but to truly shine? What beliefs do we hold about standing out or being unique and different? Through my work with Swan Blessing and our ancestral folklore, I have seen that many people often shield or veil their light so as not to offend others or attract jealousy or believe it will bring dangerous attention. In previous times perhaps this was true but I am happy to see that society is gradually changing and we are becoming much more acceptable of many different expressions of beauty.

Today I share the Swan Blessing story of Camille and her past life memory of a child’s love of adornment and exquisite jewellery that became tainted and damaged and led to a fear of shining too brightly or not being worthy to wear beauty. It should come as no surprise that my relationship to the artist Vali Myers, led Camille to me – Vali is a huge inspiration for Camille and she was the queen of adornment. When I had the pleasure of getting ready to go out with Vali I used to laugh and think of Coco Chanel who said: ‘Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off’ – Vali used to do the exact opposite. She was always adding a flower in her hair, another ring, a scarf… I loved her for this because she taught me that we must dress to please only ourselves. Vali was also one of the only women I ever met who could truly meet her reflection in the mirror and flirt with herself. Oh, and Vali’s jewels were legendary and absolutely they were magical talismans.

And how did we forget the magic and power of a jewel – made from crystals and metals from deep in the earth and worn against our body every day?

Camille’s Swan story brings so much happiness to me because her jewels are otherworldly and full of magic and are the perfect reflection of her heart.

SWAN BLESSING STORY:

“I’m a jewelry designer, and this is the story of how Julia and her Swan Blessing made my wildest dreams possible.

A few years ago, I was working a soul-sucking corporate job and I realized that if I wore all my colorful vintage necklaces to work, I was happy despite sitting in a depressing office doing mindless tasks among old guys in grey suits.

My adornments were my magical talismans against that dreary world – brightening each boring day, keeping me upbeat, reminding me that I too was brighter than my surroundings and inspiring me to get out of there. So I went after my dream job.

When I walked into Harper’s Bazaar on my very first day of work, I was more than a little nervous but I looked down at my colorful necklaces and smiled – I was bright, I was bold, I could do this. And the next year, when I had to go to a friend’s birthday party a few days after getting laid off, I got decked out in all of my necklaces and finally felt ready to leave my sofa and face the world. I desperately wanted share this magic with other women by designing my own necklaces – more wonderfully vibrant and enormous and colorful than any pieces I could find in stores – full on glorious, powerful talismans. But soon I started to doubt myself. “Who would actually wear something this bright and colorful?” I worried, “This is too much, no one else will actually like this, this is too weird.” So eventually I toned down my vision and spent the next few years designing simpler, smaller, more “normal” necklaces that I thought would sell.

Happiness and inspiration and color drained from my life.

Around this time, I came across Julia on Instagram and I immediately wanted to do a Swan Blessing session to see my previous lives, but since I live in New York City and she’s in Australia, I told myself it was something for the future – I thought that doing it over Skype wouldn’t be as “effective” as doing it in-person. But a few weeks ago, I knew, somehow deep inside, that it was time, despite being halfway across the world, despite being busy with life, despite thinking “who am I to do this?” and despite being scared of what I might see.

The moment I connected with Julia over Skype, I felt like I was sitting right across from Julia in her beautiful, peaceful forest home. Her ancient knowledge, deep wisdom and magic shone right through my laptop screen and the city noises outside my window disappeared.

She pulled two tarot cards for me and each hit at the very heart of what I was going through. The Seven of Earth showed that I was beginning to plant new seeds, zeroing in on my true vision. The Shaman card spoke to my power, that I always knew I had deep inside, to share the incredible magic of adornment. I was very nervous and also very excited, because it was actually happening, Julia was going to take me hundreds of years back.

She began guiding me into the journey, telling me of all the grandmothers who were there next to me supporting me, and I saw them and I knew that they had always been there for me. Next Julia guided me through a forest with sun filtering through the tallest trees and I felt the dirt beneath my feet and my arms open in awe as I walked upon the earth, looking up at the dazzling branches so high they seemed to go on forever.

Julia led me to the water, and I looked in and saw my own face, and then looked deeper and saw another woman who was so unlike anyone I had expected to see when imagining what this journey would be like (real life is always so much more beautiful than we ever imagine!). She had cloudy blue eyes, she was blind, and her light brown hair was dry and shorn, like someone who didn’t care had cut it off in chunks with a pair of old, rusty scissors. Her clothes were dirty and ripped, but her face was still pure and she was smiling sincerely, and though she was blind, her eyes were seeing and deep – like gorgeous opals. She was so happy to see me, she had been waiting.

This woman who I knew now was me in a past life, was so light and joyful despite the state she was in….She led me through to her world, as Julia guided me, always asking what I saw, and whenever I wasn’t sure, Julia gently helped me look in a way that I could see – so really, there is no way to “not get” or “mess up” this journey as I had feared! We were in Cornwall, England, in the medieval times.

The woman was now a young, eager girl, her light brown hair shining and her face full of freckles, smiling so wide. She was happy and energetic, the spirit of a wild, curious girl, as she pulled me by the hand through a bustling market, full of vendors and the glory of daily life. She was at home here, this was her happy place where she went every day. She was so excited to show me everything there that she loved and I knew the vendors and people there loved her too.

I recognized this feeling as the same excited feeling I had when hunting through my favorite vintage and antique markets for bright treasures for my necklaces, bonding with vendors over the shared love of some incredible pendant, and spending hours just wondering and seeing beautiful things. A Sunday at the market had always spoken to my soul more than any yoga class or other “spiritual” activity, but I had forgotten that…

Next, the girl showed me where she lived, which I immediately knew was a sadder place for her than the market – a light colored stone house with a thatched roof on top of a sloping green hill at the edge of the forest. She lived with her brother, who was only a few years older but who cared for her – her parents were dead. They had been killed in a fire after she accidentally left the stove burning. Everyone told her she was careless and she believed them and blamed herself for their deaths.

Yet her happiness was so strong it still shone through despite this. She would gather bright red berries from the bushes at the edge of the forest, squishing them in her hands and painting her face and running around laughing in the sun with wild abandon, full of so much energy. Watching her, I realized that this was her gift – using vibrant adornment to bring out happiness and joy and inspiration and life.

But then Julia guided me to see this girl when she was a few years older. She was sullen and quiet now, the perfect picture of obedience. Her hair was pulled back, her hands were behind her back, her apron was tied on perfectly over her dress, her eyes gazing down – all the color and life was gone from her face. Her brother and other adults hadn’t seen her gift of joyful, wild adornment as a gift at all – they thought it was simply a silly child’s game and that it was time for her to get serious and do more important things. She automatically believed them – they were adults so they had to be right, right? She was very careful to not be too loud, too outgoing, too wild, too much. She began selling apples in the marketplace every day, the same place that had once brought her so much joy.

She stood silent at the edge of the market in her plain clothes and bare face, looking down at the basket of apples at her feet. She felt so self-concious and small, like she was nothing and so she was and every shopper passed her by, making her feel even more inadequate. Often, her eyes filled with tears.

But there was one thing that made her happy and brought her back to life – a gorgeous, shining gold locket that she secretly wore around her neck under her dress. She would reach up to hold it whenever she felt down and it would bring her so much hope and joy.

“Where did she get the locket?” Julia asked me, and I knew at once that she had stolen it…I saw her opening a wooden drawer, eyes lighting up at the sight of this necklace, like a starving person who finally sees food.

Now I saw her standing at the top of a hill, holding the locket up to the sky, her beautiful treasure, and there were storm clouds in the distance and a band of men wearing black hooded capes approaching her. They were coming for her and she knew it. The leader of the men was chubby and pale with small eyes, a dumb bully. He was laughing at her, giddy in his power over this beautiful girl who would never notice him otherwise. He smiled and said “this is what you get pretty little girl for stealing beautiful things, now you’ll never be able to see beauty and steal it again!” And he laughed more as he slashed her face, blinding her, and the mob of men descended, kicking her, joyful in this act that was just a game for them, their daily amusement, as she curled up in the dust.

The girl was too ashamed and embarrassed to return home to ask her brother for help, so she went to the forest. The trees comforted her and took her in and taught her, she learned their ways and the ways of the glorious plants. She loved her solitude in this forest, where she could finally relax and be herself, and she lived there alone for the rest of her life. I saw her now as an old woman, laying beneath her favorite tree, her tree, arms wide open to the sky, smiling so much and so sincerely and peacefully, happy at the end of her life despite all she had been through. And that is how she died.

Julia now led me back to the water, and I saw that these past experiences had made me doubt the power of colorful, bright adornment and hide my gifts because I was scared of not fitting in, of being mocked, of being judged by my family and others, and being harmed.

I didn’t think it was safe to be myself.

All of these fears had festered in my soul for centuries, creating an iron rope tied around my chest and knotted right over my heart. I immediately recognized this rope and knew it was real – whenever I was designing, I had trouble breathing and literally had to force myself to inhale and exhale. I thought I was just anxious and stressed, or maybe that I drank too much coffee. A water maiden held out a tool for me to use to cut off this rope, and Julia told me that I had created it so I could remove it too. The second I cut into it, it just disappeared, as if it was nothing at all…

I embraced my old self and we smiled at each other – I forgave her for stealing, for thinking she had to be “normal” and “fit in”, for being ashamed of her true self, and I understood why she did it all – society back then (and sadly, sometimes even in our modern society today) saw colorful and fun adornment as inappropriate and frivolous. I realized that her brother was only doing what he thought was best for her, trying to direct her life in a way that he thought would keep her safe.

Now the grandmothers were all around me, singing of my gifts to me – my gift of creating and sharing magical, powerful adornments, the gift that I had doubted was important or even real…and then Julia led me gently back to my apartment and I opened my eyes.

I tried to take off my rings before going to sleep, but they wouldn’t budge – my fingers were swollen like after a long flight. I really had traveled a long way.

The next morning I woke up and began creating the glorious necklaces that I had been dying to share for many centuries and many lifetimes. I know now that it’s true – that what we wear can change our mood, our day, our life, and when we adorn ourselves with all that is colorful, unique, vibrant and wild, we smile more, we have more energy, we remember our own bold power and stay true to our own beautiful unique selves. We’re inspired to share all our colors with the world and go after our wildest dreams.

I am so happy to finally be free of my old fears that kept me quiet and small for so long, and when my old doubts resurface or life gets me down, I know how to lift myself up and re-ignite my joy – I put on one of these talismans. Wear yours every day, you never need to tone yourself down, you are never too much, too bright, too big, too bold, too colorful – you can be your full on, shimmering self every moment of your life, and just smile at anyone who thinks otherwise, because they are the ones who need color most of all.

I am so grateful to Julia and her Swan Blessing, she gave me back my life, my freedom, my happiness. If you feel as if something is holding you back, reach out to her and go on your journey – your true self is waiting for you and Julia will guide you there so safely and gently.”

Love, Camille

 

Thank you Camille for sharing your personal story and folklore of the talisman. I’m so happy that you are shining and creating again. Below is a beautiful necklace that Camille created in dedication to her love for Vali Myers. It’s called the Vali necklace and in real life is so beautiful and huge like a jewelled shield for the heart – not to hide but to illuminate even more brightly.

Swan Blessing bookings link.

Returning Spirit Weavers

Spirit Weavers Mandala

Well I think I’ve finally come back down to earth after my trip to America to attend the Spirit Weavers Gathering in the redwoods. An enormous thank you to Daughter of the Sun for calling in so many talented artisans from all over the world and for the whole Spirit Weavers community for welcoming us and creating such magical spaces to gather and weave in the redwood forest. I met so many amazing women passionate about their medicine and craft and was over the moon to share medicine dollmaking with sisters from different traditions and cultures under the giant redwoods and to find that essentially we are all the same.

A great way to get a feel for the gathering is to have a look at #spiritweaversgathering on Instagram and you will see lots of photos from everyone who attended.

And so I’m off to make a cup of tea and finish our MoonMedicine letter for subscribers this month and share more about the gathering, the artists and the redwoods. I will also write about the beautiful surprise of meeting so many fans of Australian artist, Vali Myers at the gathering and share a tarot spread called Holding the Vision that came to me just before I left Australia. Our monthly letter is a little late due to arriving home after the new moon – I hope to finish and send it out tomorrow!

If you would like to receive our monthly moonmedicine letter you are very welcome: Subscribe to MoonMedicine

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Julia and Talulah Sacred Familiar

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Spirit Weavers teepee

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Redwood medicine doll Sacred Familiar

Vali Myers, Fox Weddings & Stirrings of Spring

Vali Myers and Foxy - Sacred Famliar

Vali Myers and Foxy - Sacred Famliar

Around this time of the year in Australia we begin to feel the earliest stirrings of Spring, I always feel this awakening when I see the fluorescent yellow blooms of the Wattle trees here in the forest. But there is another event that happens in the early days of August that has an equally special significance – on 2nd August is the birthday of my friend and greatest inspiration, Australian artist, Vali Myers. This year Vali would have been 84 years old. It’s easy for me to count because we are 40 years apart in age. In the year 2000 when Vali turned 70 and I was 30, she invited me to travel to her home in Italy to attend the festival of Madonna del Arco and this week whilst searching for photos of my ancestors to show my sister, I stumbled upon the photographs I took on that trip with Vali many moons ago.  I will write about this journey to Vali’s ‘Black Madonna’ here soon as I feel it’s time to get these stories written down before they are forgotten.

I also found the photograph you see above (I have mirrored and edited it). It is a polaroid photo taken in the 70s by Vali herself as she communicates with her familiar, Foxy, a young female vixen who was found orphaned and came to live with Vali in her home in a wild valley in Positano. Foxy became Vali’s daughter and the greatest love of her life. This photo was given to me as a gift for taking care of Vali’s Melbourne studio in 1999. When Vali returned she asked me to choose anything I wanted as a present and I chose this photograph. She gave me a funny look, there were many expensive prints and drawings I could have chosen. But I wanted this photograph. To me it is a clear vision of the love and deep intuition that passes between us and our familiars. Our animal beloveds. And even more I see it as a moment of meeting our own spirits in the eyes of the creatures who have chosen to spend their days beside us.

I feel Vali around a lot. And I have a sense that she can work more deeply and quickly in the spirit world than she ever could in an earthly form. She definitely gets her messages across to me when she needs to! Recently I was asked to create a medicine doll for a young woman who needed to find the courage to leave a dangerous relationship. The first totem that I saw in the making of the doll was the Butterfly to help set her spirit free.

 

 

Fox Wedding medicine doll - Sacred Familiar

I thought the doll was finished but I could sense that there was another element that was missing. I wanted to put something into the doll that would remind this sister to always love herself in whatever relationship she was in, to know her own spirit. And that’s when I felt a little nudge from Vali and I remembered the Fox Wedding, a painting she was working on while I was with her in her studio. Here it is in the book, Night Flower: The Life and Art of Vali Myers published by Outre Gallery.

 

Fox Wedding by Vali Myers - Sacred Familiar

I remembered this painting and the Fox Wedding as I held the doll up to the sunlight to be photographed. As I held her up it began to rain – a sunshower! Vali had told me that when we see a sunshower, a Fox Wedding is taking place. This is from an ancient Japanese legend called ‘Kitsune no Yomeiri’, (the fox’s wedding), a marriage between foxes who sometimes take human form and is seen by humans as a sunshower. In that moment, I knew that the doll should wear Fox medicine to not only help her to leave this relationship but to help her to marry her own spirit, a fox wedding to herself.

This was Vali’s biggest gift to me. I got to spend time with someone who knew her spirit so well and romanced it every day. How can you romance your own spirit today? What do you love to do and how can you do it more? This is how we create beautiful and inspired relationships with others – by first creating them with ourselves. Today we are feeling the first stirrings of Spring deep within the Earth. Even if we cannot see much change above ground at the moment there’s a lot happening just below the surface – so much birth and possibility!

So I blow a kiss to the stars to Vali Myers and the day she was born on the Earth. I hope she inspires you to find new ways to enchant your life, celebrate what is wild and natural in yourself and to remember that love comes in all forms and it may even have fur! xx

 

Vali Myers and Foxy

A Cup of Tea or Three with Me

 

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Hey hey! What’s inspiring you today? That’s what Pip Lincolne has asked me and the rest of the recent graduates from her Blog With Pip course to write about today in a series called A Cup of Tea with Me. Have a look at all the lovely blogs at Pip’s home Meet Me at Mikes. I did this course to help me get my head around technology and instead discovered and learnt so much about self expression and met a caring and very helpful new community. I think you had better put the big kettle on. I am! It’s absolutely freezing here in Sherbrooke Forest tonight and I am settling in to do some long overdue reading of everyone’s Cup of Tea posts from the class. And I’m a tea fanatic so it really rarely stops at one cup.

Well it’s deep deep winter in the forest and it’s really hitting most of Melbourne and Victoria. There have been whispers that it might even snow up here on the mountain this year and I’d love experience that. I find winter a very creative and beautiful season but it doesn’t always have a positive effect on everyone. When I lived in Scotland I would go to work in the dark and come home in the dark and when my sister came to visit it had a terrible effect on her spirit. I think the land and the seasons are so important to our wellbeing. I think this is something we need to think more about rather than where it is convenient to live – where do you feel at home? Where does your heart dream? Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved dark green forests filled with mist. And sometimes the forest has a flash of red and white spots – faerytale mushrooms! Or if you want to be very specific and with mushrooms you absolutely have to be, they are Amanita Muscaria. I want to say first up that these mushrooms are highly poisonous and toxic and not to be handled by the inexperienced. But they are an absolute feast for your eyes and spirit. I think they bring out the child inside us all. I found the exquisite mushroom teaparty in the photo above in the Arboretum on top of Mt Dandenong about one month ago. And I photographed it exactly as I found it. How is that for an enchanted encounter? Autumn and early winter are the seasons to come and find these beauties in Sherbrooke Forest but I was surprised to find one more blooming all on her own 2 days ago – surely the last of the season for this year.

Amanita Muscaria - Sherbrooke Forest
Amanita Muscaria – Sherbrooke Forest
Last bloom of the season
Last bloom of the season

Another magical creature that has been sighted and spoken about quite a lot this week is the Lyrebird. Early this morning I heard one calling right near our house. This is new! I heard him calling last Sunday and he has returned today. Lyrebirds are such ephemeral beings. Even their feathers are fine and if you are lucky enough to photograph them they are almost always blurry because of they move so quickly and lightly. In photos it looks like they are emitting a kind of etheric energy. They feel like creatures that can move between the worlds, seen and not seen. When you see them they are always darting back into the ferns or flitting across the road and you almost have to question it – did I just see that? And I love that about them, that they are here and not here. Last week at our winter solstice doll workshop, one of the women brought along lyrebird feathers to put in the headdress of her doll. Wow – I’d never touched one before. She also told me that the males drop their feathers around this time of the year and that I should keep my eyes open on the Lyrebird Track in Kallista for them. I’m so excited I have to stop myself going out right now but of course, it’s freezing and the kettle has just boiled, so I think I can wait. Here is a photo that Tony and I took up on Mt. Donna Buang on the full moon 2 weeks ago of a male lyrebird doing a mating dance-off with another male for the affection of a female who was quietly watching from under the trees. This was an amazing moment because they were so engrossed in their own performance that they didn’t care that we had come so close to watch them. Such ancient and tribal moves.

Lyrebird dancing

Lyrebird is the totem of Sherbrooke Forest. I was told that it is such an ancient creature that they have dated fossils to 15 million years ago. Because of this their medicine is that of the ancestral record keeper. They remember the sounds of the creatures that no longer exist on this earth.

And finally, I am in the process today of dreaming in a new medicine doll for a woman of Afro-Cuban heritage who celebrates her ancestors in the Yoruba tradition which is more well-known as Santeria. She has asked for the doll to hold the medicine of the gypsy and ancestral wisdom of both Africa and Spain. I feel honoured to help create a doll to hold these ancient traditions. Each doll births differently and today I felt an urge to be inspired visually while I worked on her. When I first dreamed the doll, all I could see was that she had such dark skin that she looked almost blue. I began looking at photographs and kept being drawn particularly to a Berber tribe called Tuareg. It became clear that this was to be the medicine of the doll, she was Berber – and I am happy that the client understands. She knew that the doll would teach her about her a new way. The Tuareg are a nomadic tribe and something in the women’s faces is so mysterious and wise. I was fascinated to learn that it is not the women that wear the veil but the men. And then I found the key : the Tuareg are often referred to as the Blue People because of indigo used to dye their purple and dark blue garments. Because of the scarcity of water, the dye is beaten into the fabric and rubs off on their skin turning it metallic blue. The fact that these nomadic tribes have moved through not only Niger but also in Spain confirmed that this was the perfect spirit to hold the wishes of the doll’s new owner. Here are the photos found of wise women that inspired the early weavings of this new medicine doll.

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I even discovered I had the perfect colours for her – a couple of months ago I purchased the most beautifully hand dyed silk merino wool from FibreArtemis in New Zealand. I love the combination of these colours against the forest ferns.

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As I began felting I revisited Tony Gatlif’s film, Latcho Drom, an ode to the spirit and journey of the Romani people from India to Spain. This film brought back so many memories for me of spending time with one of the most influential and inspiring people I’ve ever known, Australian artist, Vali Myers. We used to watch this film often in her adorned jewel of a studio in the Nicholas Building in Swanston Street. The scene below of the Bedouin girl spinning as she dances has always remained with me. When I first saw it I went into a strange awe because it felt like a memory I had forgotten. I felt such joy watching her spin and spin – when I was a little girl I used to ask my mother to dress me as a gypsy and I would spin like that for hours. I still think this young dancer is one of the best I have ever seen. And so that is the inspiration that is finishing my day. Remembering how it feels to dance! I am going to clear a space tomorrow to let the spinning child in me come out to play again. I think my body knows that moving in this cold weather is really important. Our spirits have memory beyond our current geography.

Where does your heart go to dream? What does that place look like for you?

Vali-amp-Moby-Dick

 

A Doll for Alice Savage

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I have just finished weaving a medicine doll for Alice Savage. Alice is an Italian illustrator and spirit sister and she has been creating illustrations inspired by my dolls. The illustration above is of the doll, Heart of Fox – with a little Vali Myers inspired moustache no less! I am so excited and honoured by this collaboration and I couldn’t wait to create for Alice a doll to hold her very own personal medicine. Alice and I have spoken about the intention and healing wishes she would like her doll to hold and I came to feel that it was important for Alice’s doll to be both strong and soft together. As I began I kept envisioning deep blue oceans and the creatures that journey to the deepest depths. When I looked into my medicine box, which is actually a very old hat-box, the first beauty to catch my eye was a cuttlefish bone.

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I found the cuttlefish a few months ago on a foraging trip to Phillip Island in part of Cat Bay. That’s a lovely weaving already as I know that the Cat is sacred to Alice and are her dear familiars. What I didn’t foresee was that the doll would ask for a chestnut to be placed with the cuttlefish and at first I questioned the paring in my mind. Yesterday Alice told me a story of beautiful chestnut grove that she used to love to visit and hopes to return to it again. I love that the doll knew what medicine was needed. This information cannot come from the mind as it is unknown but by listening to the doll with your own childlike heart, you get a strong urge or pull towards what is needed. Alice’s medicine is also linked to crystals and stones and she felt complete with the placement of a seed pearl in the centre of her heart. She is a beauty! Just like you Alice. Blessings on your journeys to the deep blue together.

 

And here is one of the latest medicine doll illustrations by Alice: Heart of Fox – complete with her own Vali Myers inspired spirit moustache! LOVE HER xx

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Meeting My Medicine Dolls through Alice Savage

StagWoman Sacred Familiar doll drawn by Alice Savage

‘I believe in beauty.

I love animals and think they are the best part of us.’  

Alice Savage

I find it very hard to explain to people the full magic of the medicine doll because they are so personal. Each doll has her own personality and medicine and it is so unique and authentic to the doll herself that it will be felt by everyone differently. Just like meeting someone new – we aren’t all going to get along in the same way. If I have to put it in a nutshell or acorn shell! I would say that they are magical friends. They are wee medicine women who come to walk beside you for a little while in your life when you need a friend. It sounds simplistic and it is but it is also essentially very true. What I didn’t know when I began opening this ancestral medicine again 12 months ago was how many new friends the dolls were going to bring to me.
Last month I was contacted by Italian artist, Alice Savage who told me she was inspired by the dolls and asked me if she could make a drawing based on one. I was so honoured that an artist as skilled and talented as Alice would be inspired by the medicine of the dolls. And I was excited to see through Alice’s eyes the spirit of my own dolls. I see the personality and spirit of the dolls clearly as I am making them but I do not put a deep or outlined expression into their faces because I want the new keeper to see her as she needs to see her. The faces are there but they are more etheric, ephemeral – as if behind a veil.
When Alice began to send her drawings through to me by email I was astonished because they had the faces that I had already seen but were also interpreted through Alice’s own spirit and because of this they had become a new being at the same time. I don’t see them as separate from my dolls but as seen from a different realm and sometimes it’s very helpful to me to understand their medicine even more. This happened particularly when Alice drew the DeathDoula as a figure in a madonna-like pose. I was touched that she could feel the grace and compassion that this doll carried in her sacred medicine as midwife to the dying. Alice told me that the dolls were doing their healing on her own spirit as she drew them. They are speaking to her and I love that because they speak to me as I weave them too.

‘This one so far speaks to me of the circle of time. It’s like if she told me that she is very ancient, that she saw all the ages, and knows everything – she is fierce, not scared, not worried, because she saw all the seasons happening. I put a symbolized moon with the rays of the sun on the corners of the drawing to depict it. There are also some drop shapes (something I use often) to express the tears, but she is no more touched by them. She is sweet, and with the power of survival’. Alice’s conversation with MossWitch

As the drawings have grown, I have fallen more and more in love with this collaboration of medicine with Alice. We have had lovely chats about Vali Myers, our love of animals – especially Foxes! We are now creating a project together to raise money for the Koalas at the Southern Ash WIldlife Shelter. I will have more information about purchasing prints of the medicine dolls for the koalas as the collaboration blossoms.
Dear Alice, thank you. It’s such a delight to be weaving together across the oceans.
MossWitch medicine doll
MossWitch by Alice Savage
Stagwoman medicine doll by Sacred Familiar
DeathDoula – midwifing the dying

I’ll Be Your Mirror

Vali Myers and Foxy – Polaroid self portrait




I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR

I’ll be your mirror
Reflect what you are
In case you don’t know
I’ll be the sun
The wind and the rain
The light on your door
To show that you’re home.
When you think the nights as in your mind
Bent inside, you’re twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands, cause I see you.
I find it hard
To believe you don’t know
The beauty you are
But if you don’t
Let me be your eyes
A hand to your darkness
So you won’t be afraid.
When you think the nights as in your mind
Bent inside, you’re twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands, cause I see you.
I’ll be your mirror 

lyrics by Lou Reed

heart of a Fox

The honourable Fox has been demonised for too long. I loved watching this true story of the Fox tonight, true because it tells of the honest spirit of the fox and the depth of feeling between this beautiful old man and his Fox companion. And yes I thought of my dear friend, Australian artist Vali Myers and how she would have loved this too.

Vali told me once: ‘I like dogs and cats but a fox… a fox is like my own spirit’.

Foxy, the orphaned vixen who was brought to Vali after her mother had been killed, became Vali’s deepest love. Vali called Foxy her ‘daughter’. The last time I visited Vali’s home in Positano, Italy it was after Vali’s death and I returned with some of Vali’s ashes to give to Gianni Menichetti, Vali’s companion and friend who cared for her animals and home. Gianni, Tony and I sat up on Vali’s tiny bed built up high in the roof of her domed stone home and Gianni spoke beautifully about Vali before placing her ashes into a small wooden box that contained the remains of Foxy. And in that moment I felt a sense of calm and release. Like someone or thing had exhaled and relaxed.

‘Now mother and daughter are reunited’, Gianni said.

Such love, such spirit. Are we really so crazy to discount the meaningful relationships between human and animal? As I write this, my own familiar, Rory sleeps beside me. He will stay up as late as I do and I am an Owl. He is almost 18 years of age now and yet he still will wait for me to finish so that we always go to bed together.

Give the animals in your home and life an extra kiss and squeeze tonight. Our familiars, our children, our teachers. Wise beings of fin or feather or fur. We are the lucky ones they have chosen to share their whole lives with.

Vali and Foxy by Rudi Rappold
Self portrait with Foxy taken by Vali with a polaroid

Happy Friday 13th

The Fortune Teller by Loretta Fasan

I have always felt Friday 13th to be a lucky day and so did Vali Myers. I remember Vali used to always try and book her flights to travel on Friday 13th because she knew that the planes would be almost empty and she would have the pick of her throne and space to stretch out. Did you know that there is a Vali Myers exhibition starting next week in Melbourne?

13 Moons to a Lunar Year – 13 Bloods to our Lunar bodies. The femmina is 13.

‘The Black Madonna of Sicily’
crop from the painting Guiliano by Vali Myers