FIELD NOTES blog » Archives for Sheridan Kennedy

Author: Sheridan Kennedy

I'm Doctor Jewels, creator, writer and practical mystic...
I believe that when we embrace our materiality and own our innate wisdom and joy, we access authentic well-being for ourselves, those around us, and for the planet.
Ultimately everything I do is centred around a simple desire... to restore a sense of magic, mystery and wonder to the world.

How to spend less time fixing yourself & more time being perfect

(Or: how jewellery, astrology & bodyfulness fit together)

 

Greg Rahkozy and Elizabeth Gilbert

 

I’ve finally faced the fact that I’m the kind of person who can’t just do one thing, because I end up being bored witless.

The reason I decided to do a PhD was because hours at the jewellery bench had my thoughts wandering into ‘bad neighbourhoods’, and I realised that the devil makes work for idle minds, just as he does for idle hands.

When I popped out the other end of the PhD mincer and felt nicely squeezed into the sausage skin of academia, I had this niggling feeling in my bones, little whispers of resistance. After all there was some kind of deep irony in the fact that I’d just written a thesis on conspiracies, wrestling so hard to tame far-fetched ideas into acceptable forms. I had mustered together the wondrous and inexplicable, working hard to rationalise it and reference it to voices more authoritative than mine.

There’s always been this rebel in me who’d go against something just ’cos everyone else was going for it. It’s something to do with the Aries part of my nature.

Actively resisting anything mainstream was a 30 year habit. But then I spent 5 years shaping myself to fit academia. And yet, as my mind and my words had submitted to the requirements of being a ‘doctor of philosophy’, my body fomented a quiet resistance.

Oh blessed relief that, buried under ‘appropriate’, was still some wildness, some aching to roam freely!

I hadn’t entirely smothered that love of wonder and magic and mystery that had followed me around all through childhood. So I stepped off the gravy train and went back to being an artist.

But there was something else calling to come in, this urging to make my work a more wholistic practice. To bring in all the things that fascinated me (which I managed to tidily boil down to three. Because I do love trinities).
This is the practice of blending astrology, bodyfulness and jewellery.

So now I work with all three to cultivate the art (and the science) of embodiment.

Often a jewel will already whisper its need for a body, for fingers that appreciate its fluid curves, or that indent at the throat where it may comfortably nest.
This seductive relationship between jewellery and wearer is a theme in everything I’ve made, from the elaborate glamouring of costume jewels to the private intimacy of the amulet.

The ancient history, the social power, the talismanic magic of jewellery has inspired me since the beginning.

That certain materials contain an intrinsic energy we can acquire through wearing; that a jewel can hold our desires and memories, or remind us of promises and intentions; these ideas are as old as humans.

When we wear a piece of jewellery it takes on our warmth, it breathes with us.
It becomes a secret extension of ourselves, revealing something to us.
An essence that might otherwise never have been visible.

Of course not to romanticise it too much because there’s that other face of jewellery too. The hard and glittering gems, with absurd price tags, whose cold perfection (if we are fortunate or wealthy enough to wear them) draws attention away from our own inadequacies. Or that ‘high street’ junky stuff that dazzles us when all shiny and new, then breaks and blackens and disappoints within months.

I believe in jewels that tell their own stories but don’t leave us out of the picture.

Instead of being glittery and hard, they collude with us, and whisper of that deeper essence we sense inside.

And it’s this same essence that astrology can show us, as it opens a window onto the soul. Or gives us a map to navigate the path to becoming more completely who we’re here to be.

But all that ‘being who you truly are’ stuff can feel clichéd and airy-fairy if we don’t bring everything down to the body.

To get our toes into the dirt. To be OK with ourselves when we laugh with crazy joy, or cry like our guts are being torn out. Or wallow in the swamp of numbing depression. Or become livid with anger and do stupid things. The whole point of ‘being who you truly are’ is to live everything like this is the only chance you’ve got.

The astrology chart decodes the soul, but until we embody this it’s simply an abstraction.

It’s only by coming deeply into the pleasure and the pain of this whole experience of ‘human’ that we have any real understanding of all that esoteric knowledge.

So here we’ve come full circle. From the ancient stories that bodies and jewels tell together, to the soul’s mirror – that old symbolic language of the stars – and then back down to earth again. Back into our bodies.

There’s a variety of ways we can feel purposeful and make a positive contribution, but ultimately, whatever it is you’re here to do will only come into focus when you recognise the quiet perfection of being yourself. And accepting there’s nothing that needs to be ‘fixed’.

Like jewellery, there are many types of astrology. I’m only interested in the one that helps us decode and navigate the soul’s living experience.

It’s astrology that shows us the simple truth: we just have to seek out what makes us feel alive.

Because, as Howard Thurman says, the world needs more people who have come alive.

Bodyfulness is the practice of that deep aliveness.
And when we wear the jewel that tells our story, it reminds us that this is what really matters.
Unsplash image by Rokslana Zasiadko

Read this next time you’re longing to feel beautiful

Are you beautiful? Do you find that a provocative question? Perhaps it hits a nerve that has you listing the ways that you’re not, yet, beautiful. Or perhaps you shy back due to modesty…

We don’t go about openly declaring ourselves beautiful in this culture. And yet we’re obsessed by it!

It’s difficult not to be obsessed considering that we’ve been indoctrinated from a young age, even if simply from watching movies and music videos.

As a maker of jewellery, and a first-house-Venus-in-Taurus, beauty has always held a certain prominence for me. And yet, like many, at the same time I crave beauty, I’ve also felt there was something self-indulgent, frivolous and ultimately irrelevant about it.

But then I started to dig into why beauty is high on my list of values. So I decided to do this series of explorations on beauty and what it really means…

What if beauty is not what you think it is?

Do you recognise that deep longing for beauty that you can feel in your heart and your belly? Do you crave beauty and yet sometimes have this jealousy, this feeling that sneaks up on you, that it’s something ‘out there’ that other women have but not you?

Are you the kind of woman who gets caught in comparisons? Not enough of this, too much of that? I know I am. It’s hard not to in this society where everywhere we turn we see a parade of Hollywood beauties, airbrushed to perfection – or the ‘ugly’ counterpart much used by checkout magazines splashing pics of ‘stars without their make-up’ across their covers.

Remarkably, I notice that whenever I read one of those mags (and only because I’ve been waiting too long at the doctor’s surgery and I’m desperately bored), I feel drained of my energy. Robbed of it, in fact.

And this drained feeling comes from the simple truth that these magazines are stealing my beauty by making it impossible. Since I can only ever be myself, not some copy of a celebrity or supermodel.

What are you allowing to steal your beauty?

In modern times it’s easy to believe that beauty is about a narrow range of visual criteria, because way too much energy is spent trying to convince us of this fact in order to sell us a product or service!

And thus we’ve been trained to forget what beauty really is. We mistake beauty for appearance, or rather we think beauty is in how we appear, when it’s actually an energy.

This is why we can meet people who have perfect faces and bodies, and yet something feels like it’s missing. This seemingly perfect beauty is an artifice.
It’s beauty that does not believe itself because the woman (or man) is not connected to that intangible vitality that energises her from within.

This isn’t just an experience we have with people either. Although the “beauty” industry works very hard to suppress our natural and uncanny ability to detect when something is ‘all surface and no substance’.

Beauty is the vitalising energy of life pulsating through us.

And it’s an energy that can be ‘stolen’… or more precisely it’s an energy that can be diverted or suppressed.

For example, whenever you look in a mirror and critique yourself for not meeting beauty standards, you’re giving away a little of your life energy to some social dictate about what beauty is supposed to look like.

It’s the same when you’re ogling makeup displays in department stores, or poring over the images of Vogue, and you feel this ache for the possibilities promised.

In each of these actions, beyond, around, behind envy is that little delicious scent of potentiality. When we pause a moment to recognise that sensation we’re seeking, when we really feel into the potency of beauty, we get to claim it for ourselves.

Because it doesn’t live in magazines or products, it lives within  our own vitality.

So even if you’re struggling to see it in yourself – or most importantly when you’re struggling to see it in the mirror – seek it not in magazines and advertisements.
Look for it in life. In gardens and galleries, in pets and sunsets.

Just because it seems to be ‘outside’ you doesn’t mean it’s not yours to experience. Beauty is not something we can own. And it’s ironic that the billion dollar industry so effectively keeps us chasing the possibility of it, by promising we can own it via a particular product. Even as we know this beauty is never permanent!

We can’t own it and it’s not permanent, but not because someone else has what we don’t, or time and age take it away from us – but because we can’t own an energy.

You can’t own vitality. You have to let it flow through you if you want the experience of it.

The ancient Greeks thought of the beauty we see as a manifestation of some ideal ‘off-world’ pure essence. But beauty is not abstraction, it’s of-this-world, available through the deeply embodied experience of life pulsating through us – in response to the vitality of a flower, or the energetic presence of the artist in an artwork.

Or the clear expression of our own real-ness in a world accustomed to artifice.

 

Unsplash image by Rokslana Zasladko

 

Beauty is an experience of energy, not a specific thing.

If you want to feel beautiful than dip into your own vital life force and feel it express through you. In laughter, or sadness, or calm. In all its forms.

Every time you see something that is naturally beautiful – flower or sunset, kitten or baby – it’s because there is a pure energy expressing through these.
Accept that energy as a gift, letting it enter your senses, feeling it infuse your body with whatever ‘feel-good’ chemicals that happiness and awe and joy evoke (and there are a bunch of neurotransmitters connected to these experiences).

And then just let that sensation fuel your own beauty, your own deep and vital essence.

Receive the beauty the world is offering everyday. This most simple of actions fuels your own beauty.

Some days you may have to ‘work’ on seeking it out, especially in a chaotic, cacophonous modern city. But whether it means flowers that make your heart sing, or a delicious fabric that enlivens your senses, or the taste of something amazing, let it all in.

Get excited about being alive. Because this increases your reserves of beauty.

And we need to continually replenish these in a world that seems constantly at work attempting to steal the beauty that we naturally have.

Stop hoping for that “One Defining Moment”

“If it would only take one word, perhaps one wise phrase to make us change, heaven would be easy to reach, here on earth.”**

How often have we heard the story that every transformational book, every life-coach loves to tell? That one moment when something clicked and everything changed. The lightning flash of enlightenment that comes from reading a phrase, a sudden revelation while in a state of crisis, or an epiphany in the midst of some everyday activity. And this defined THE moment when they were on the path that lead to success, and the realisation of dreams.

Everyone loves a miracle. I’ve done my share of chasing after them, listening to those lectures, reading those books, waiting for it to happen to me.

But wherever I look, there I am – and where are the miracles that just don’t seem to be happening?

But the real truth is that I’m sitting in the midst of continual miracle making – an aggregation of moments.

There is no single defining moment – we are actually in the midst of making miracles all the time.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had revelations that changed my world. Eye-opening or gob-smacking or rapturous moments.

But what followed on from there? It wasn’t that everything suddenly got easier. It wasn’t that one decision, one insight changed everything else. Did that mean I was some kind of idiot who just didn’t get it???

 

The truth is, these stories of Defining Moments are simply a dramatic device. It’s the archetypal hero’s adventure. 
Everyone loves a hero, or wants to be one. Hollywood and transformational coaches have taken up where myth-telling round the fire left off.

A sudden message or a stroke of synchronous luck, that culminates in a turning point from which you (the hero of the tale) never look back but surge ever onwards, no longer daunted, or taunted by demons.

 

This is the story transformational coaches love to tell, standing on stages in front of hundreds. I’ve fallen for this stuff, dreamed of having such a transformative experience, the moment that makes all the difference.

 

When I recognised they’re just retelling the ‘hero’s journey’ it became clear that it’s all just ‘backtelling’. Telling the story with the hindsight that helps us pick through the plethora of our lives and pluck out The One Defining Moment.

The key. The singular revelation that has made all the difference.

‘From that point on I stared success in the eye, and I became a winner.’

 

When I look back at my life for that crux point, I can’t pick just one. Does that mean I haven’t had a big enough revelation?

Instead what I see is a collection of revelatory ideas, experiences, feelings – small, almost insignificant, large and loud – all of them building on what’s gone before, and each slightly morphing and reshaping the others as I go along. Outside that reality trick that tells us time flows in a straight line, how can I untangle these moments from each other?

It’s not that One Thing breaks through, it’s that I never could have known or experienced ‘this’ if I hadn’t known or experienced ‘that’.

 

Let’s be clear that this story of the One Defining Moment is just a myth.

Which is not to say it’s untrue. It is simply the format of an archetypal story that snatches our imagination and carries us along on a wave of entheos – all infused with divine hope.

 

The reality is much more prosaic. It’s an accumulation of wisdom, an aggregate of revelations each building on what already exists. We don’t need to have that old-testament-style blinding flash so we finally wake up to our own wisdom and divine guidance.

If you haven’t had that One yet, it’s OK. You still know where you’re going, you’re still being guided. You’re not forsaken. Even your current crap-storm is not something working against you. You don’t have to solve a series of life issues and problems in order to be more ‘ready’ for the One Defining Moment.

This One Defining moment of the hero’s journey is simply an effective symbol of the overcoming of fear. But the overcoming doesn’t happen in the instant.

Maybe it’s true for some people that their fear is overcome in a flash, just as the Archangel Michael slays the Dragon.
Let me know in the comments if that’s the case for you…

I reckon the act of ‘slaying the demons’, however inspiring the story, isn’t the moment when everything changes.

For the vast majority of us it’s incremental steps, it’s recognition put into practice, evaluated and tweaked and practiced again.
One step after another. It’s the ‘chop wood, carry water’.

It just doesn’t make inspiring copy.

Don’t fall for the rhetoric that you need that Moment. In the midst of preparing ourselves for that One we’re not seeing the aggregate of moments, all those minor revelations and miracles which bless – and direct – our life every day.

We simply have to look for them in the dross. Because there’s not One Moment, there’s many.

(**these are the opening words of a song by my gorgeous and wise husband… who like you is a channel helping others recognise they are also channels.)

Zodiac illustration of Aries

What astrology has taught me

I first discovered astrology at a time in my life when I was stuck.
For one, my obsessive desire to be a successful artist seemed to have run aground and I wondered was the Universe working against me? Was I just unlucky? Or just plain ‘not good enough’? Was it a sign that this wasn’t meant to be?

Can you relate to that kind of situation where it feels like an uphill battle and things we have no control over keep blocking the path?

Ah, such a human dilemma! As a species we’ve been chasing that elusive control over our fate since the time before time. Whether it involved inspecting the entrails of chickens, or visiting the priestesses at Delphi for some incomprehensible gibberish, we’ve pursued this hope that if we could just unravel the signs they would reveal the secrets of what the gods had in store for us.

Astrology provided fuel for my obsession to decode the mystery of who I am. (Notice this theme of obsession running through my oeuvre?? And yep, it can be seen in my astro-chart). I’ve always felt different – you know, the weird kid at school, the oddball who didn’t know how to do things right – and I desperately wanted that difference to make me distinctive, instead of a victim of ‘not good enough’.

So initially, like many others, I was drawn by astrology’s promise to reveal destiny.
And I had really high hopes of what I would find – although I confess I was a bit disappointed. It felt like Alice’s rabbit hole and I could keep digging forever without finding definitive ‘answers’…

Now, 20 years later, and with the comforting retrospection that only time affords, I recognise that astrology doesn’t hold all the answers, but it does give us the ability to develop tremendously useful wisdom of the most practical kind.

In fact, there are 4 very useful things that astrology has taught me.

1. Perspective.

Or what I like to think is ‘the God’s-eye view’ – that view from a great height or depth or distance.

What the soul knows that the brain doesn’t.

When we understand how certain qualities we possess create our expectations of what we’ll meet in the world, we can cultivate the ability to ‘step outside’ of the frame and get that ‘big picture’ view.

Astrology gives me perspective on how I ‘operate’ – not only my character traits, but also what my soul is learning in this lifetime.

Ironically, I only developed perspective after I stopped relying on astrology for all the answers to even the little things. Because astrology’s greatest promise is to be a map for the soul, and maps give us a perspective we don’t have when we’re on the ground with the road in front of us. That’s why I refer to the astrology sessions I offer as soul-mapping.

If we start to believe astrology offers all the answers we lose the ability to access the truth it really does offer.

So now I think of our charts as our own personal sacred geometry, a map we can use to navigate life.

Capricorn and Sagittarius
from: Constellations of the Zodiac, Atlas Maritimus by John Seller, 1679

2. Compassion.

With perspective comes compassion. Too often in the age of psychiatry we’re fond of blaming others (especially mum or dad) for our foibles and failings.

Astrology shows me I’m not a victim, and what I’ve experienced is what my soul expected to experience.

It also shows what’s to be learned through having that experience.

I can’t tell you how huge a leap this enables. It helps move me move through resentment and blame, even in the most challenging experiences.
And so perspective has helped me cultivate compassion – for myself, for my parents, or for anyone who’s presented me with challenges  – in way that is completely natural, not forced or obliged.

3. What to do when things get challenging.

Perspective and compassion underpin the ability to know when to act and when to wait patiently. (Or in my case, as a rampant Aries, how to learn patience!)

Astrology not only reveals where I need to be paying attention when the proverbial hits the fan, but also the nature of a challenge – and it’s ‘reason’.

It provides the shortest route to the heart of the matter.
And shows how this challenge fits into the much larger play of time, and my own personal mythology unfolding over a lifespan. It’s even possible to see where it fits the collective challenge of a generation or an era.

4. Repetition is necessary

And in respect to the ‘play of time’ – do you find yourself still doing things that you think you should be over by now? Like perhaps you’re always ‘choosing the wrong man’. Or you could be in a work situation and suddenly feel like you’re reacting in a way that takes you straight back to some high-school horror story…

We think we should be past that by now, but repetition doesn’t mean you’re stupid and you’ve learned nothing.

Astrology has helped me to be OK with repetition because I recognise that when I’m repeating myself it just shows where I’m not really awake yet to what I’m supposed to be learning about this particular theme that keeps recurring in my life.

So that means I really know I’ve ‘got it’ when I don’t repeat it anymore. And maybe that’ll be never!!

 

Aries the ram
from: Constellations of the Zodiac, Atlas Maritimus by John Seller, 1679

 

Essentially, astrology shows me a more wholistic picture of who I am, and how to be more of me – to accept myself as I am.
It helps me get comfortable with being both the shadows and the light.

I don’t need to ‘overcome’ some bits of me in order to be a better human.
Because in every quality there is an advantage and a hindrance.

Of course developing the above skills doesn’t mean life is easy… but it sure makes it easier to deal with.

(P.S. If you want to know more about my astrology technique check out the Body + Soul Code sessions.)

7 tips for the perfect engagement ring

Do you have a special woman that you’d like to gift a piece of jewellery like an engagement or anniversary ring? And you really want that piece to reflect her individuality, that certain something you know makes her unique?

If you already know exactly what would be perfect for her, you can skip this post and head straight for the jeweller…

But what if you have a secret fear you’ll make the wrong choice?
Getting a bespoke piece made for someone can be a big decision especially if you’re fretting: “What if she hates it?” Your instincts already say there’s no-one else like her – but how does that translate into something solid like a ring?

It’s stating the obvious to say you’re going to have to be a bit of a detective about this.
But even knowing what to notice isn’t always easy.

It’s not that hard if you follow these 7 steps. You’ll be able to decide just what details matter.
The pressure will be alleviated and you can get on with making tangible what you already love about her.

1. Watch, listen, take notes. What is she drawing your attention to?

Prick up your ears when she talks about stuff she likes, because that could be useful information.

When she points out something in a magazine, in a shop, or anywhere make a mental note.
Maybe casually ask her what’s so appealing about it. But don’t rush out and buy that thing.
Women aren’t really that literal – we like to allude to qualities in things rather than to the actual thing. (Unless she repeatedly points out the same thing, then you better get on it!).

2. Does she want what everyone else is having?

If you’re contemplating having something specifically designed for her, get clear how far she would want to go with ‘uniqueness’.

Is she’s the kind of woman who prefers things that are different to what you see everywhere?

Or does she need to have one of those handbags, a pair of earrings or gadgets that are the latest fashion?

Is she really the bespoke type? Or does she get excited when she sees Michael Hill ads on the telly?

Does she love it when people pay attention to what she wears? Does she go out of her way to stand out in a crowd? This is where you’ll have to zero in on the detail because how she dresses has much to say about who she sees herself to be. (By the way, we’re not talking the “I have nothing to wear” syndrome – that’s about women wanting to dress to suit a specific occasion.)

18ct gold, emerald, sapphire and diamond engagement ring
Allison’s emerald ring was inspired by the renaissance rings she loves.

3. Gather evidence.

Ah, how much easier is life with your smart phone camera within easy reach! Take photos of her – and her jewelry so you can show your bespoke jeweller.

Get photos of her in work outfits and play clothes. Shoot details like the rings already on her fingers, or her earrings. Just be subtle about it, like pretending to be goofing around with your phone…

Take photos of some her favourite things – you know that stuff she pays attention to and likes to be around. (More ideas below…)

4. Note the details about her appearance and what she’s already wearing.

If you’re thinking of getting her a coloured gemstone then the colour of her hair and skin, as well as the colours of her clothes will help you choose the right stone.

Is she a black, white, ‘angles and sharp lines’ kinda girl? Or does she love floral prints and soft fabrics? Are her clothes bright colours or neutrals? Does she prefer ‘pared back’, or are her clothes a riot of colour and texture?

Is she short or tall? Small women usually need more subtle and delicate jewellery – except in the case where she’s a bigger personality and likes to stand out in a crowd.

5. What she surrounds herself with is also important.

I’m talking about the objects she owns: paintings, furniture and decorative objects. And don’t forget to take some pics!

Perhaps she has a collection of objects from her travels around the world. Perhaps her house is completely pared back and minimalist. Does she choose to drive a distinctive car?Any of these can be super important detail when it comes to the kind of ring she’d like to wear.

Along with the clothes we wear, what we live with not only shows what we like, it helps to define the way we want the world to see us.

Also the magazines and books she reads will give you much insight into what she really craves. Does she drool over Vogue or prefer Country Style? Does she read about gardening, or health, or is she more entranced by articles on business & finance?

6. Let’s not forget what interests her.

Does she play the guitar in her downtime, or is she an avid horsewoman? A dog lover? A knitter or a craftie? A keen frequenter of art galleries – or sporting events? A voracious reader of novels, or more focused on serious non-fiction topics? Does she have an unusual job? Is she passionate about the work she does?

Put simply, is she obsessed with something?
Does she care deeply about a cause? Does she love to talk about big ideas and dreams?

Is she focused on fun, or more inclined to be serious in the way she approaches her life and what it means for her?

Platinum, diamond and sapphire engagement ring based on constellation Delphinus.
Justine’s platinum, diamond, and sapphire ring reflects the constellation Delphinus.

7. Finally, and most importantly, What’s the vision you share?

A relationship is always more than the sum of two people. So what is the future you’re shaping together?

When I create engagement rings for people it’s always as much about meaning as it is about making something beautiful and unique. It can be the distillation of something essential or magical about the woman you love, and it can also be about the essence of the vision you two share.

And if it’s an anniversary ring you’re seeking then there’s an opportunity to distil something of what you already are, as a couple, into this piece of jewellery.

Imagery or symbols you both love can help shape the design of the ring. It’s not even necessary to know what a symbol means to you in order for it to continue to resonate with who you are, together.

One couple who were clients of mine had a mutual fascination for the constellation Delphinus and asked that he asked that I map the pattern in sapphires. Another of my clients and his wife-to-be shared an interest in alchemical symbolism and roses leading to a very unique design. Yet another client wanted to transform her mother’s engagement ring into a modern talisman for themselves as a couple.

Rings have a rich and ancient symbolism. It makes perfect sense that you want her to have the kind of ring no one else is having. And, by the way, it doesn’t even have to involve diamonds.

Long before DeBeers trained everyone to believe ‘a diamond is forever’, and thus the only choice for engagements, people had been exchanging betrothal rings as signs of dedication and future promise.

Much of this information, that you’re on a mission to collect, you probably take for granted. But it’s what shows she’s unique. And it’s not like all of it can be incorporated into a ring, but it can very useful intel that helps your bespoke jeweller to zero in on the perfect jewel for your lady.

 

rubies, diamonds and white gold engagement ring
Amy’s Ourobourus Ring: 18ct white gold with diamonds & rubies

 

So now you can feel confident on how to get that dream ring into a solid form rather than it just being a fancy idea in your head.

The next step is to find the perfect jeweller to create your masterpiece – and you’ll find tips on how to find that person over here.

 

P.S. Ring sizing tip: you want the ring to be a surprise but the size needs to be accurate? Here’s some ways to do it. Try her rings on your fingers and make notes about how these fit you – sometimes it may be a case of ‘second knuckle, pinkie finger’. You can also put one of her existing rings on a piece of paper and draw around the inside (and outside) with a sharp pencil. Take note of what finger she wears it on too. It’s not the most accurate of methods, but can be used as supplementary information. The best way of course is to sneak out a ring that she already wears on one of her ring fingers and present it to the jeweller for sizing.

The pleasures of bodyfulness

3 things I no longer believe about my body

From when I was a teenager until well into my thirties I believed the usual amount of guff we women are fed about our bodies and their general unworthiness. Too fat, too skinny, thighs too big, breasts too small, hair all wrong etc, etc. I’m betting you know this story, because you have one of your own.

Simply enough we learn we are supposed to be worried about our bodies and their general lack of perfection in comparison to some ideal. And then as we get older, it’s time to start worrying about how our bodies are letting us down, as we begin the apparently inevitable decline.

Basically, we’re encouraged from a young age to be at war with our bodies.

And ultimately this means we are at war with ourselves.

We force our bodies into shape with diets and the gym, and eye them in bathroom mirrors with unconcealed disgust!

Yet as a jeweller, the body is my gallery. And the more fascinated I became with the way that bodies and jewels work together (indeed, conspire together – but that’s another story), the more I decided that as a society we just have it all screwy when it comes to attitudes around and about ourselves.

I had an inkling there was something way more mysterious and wondrous about bodies.

And not just the female body which has the ability to actually create a new life (dismissed by the powers-that-be as merely ‘reproduction’). But all bodies, everywhere, of all shapes and sizes and genders.

Curiously, I’ve started to find that the frontiers of science increasingly support my suspicions.

And fundamental beliefs that underpin ideas of our self, and ideas about our health, are being shaken loose and discarded.

It can happen with these 3 small shifts in what we currently believe about bodies.

1. That the body works like a machine.

Humans started building machines, then thought “hey, what a great metaphor for how the body works”. But somewhere along the line the metaphor became the fact and now this meme shapes everything from medicine to physiotherapy and how we train. Then physicians realised that it’s not just fluids being shunted from here to there, and joints grinding away from wear and tear, there’s also lots of electrical activity going on. So now the computer has become the new analogy for body functions.

But despite comparing bodies to things that humans have built, science still cannot fully explain how it works.

We’re only beginning to understand that it’s not a computer, or a mechanism, it’s a living eco-system.

To describe it as mechanical is similar to saying a rain forest is like a machine. Because, we’re more like the rainforest with an extraordinary complexity of things going on in our bodies.

And while all the cells are producing energy and vitality, this is also being translated into emotions, ideas, and dreams.

Scientists have dealt with this complexity that is life by considering all the stuff of mind (visions, language) as separate to the stuff of the body (blood flows, cell divisions), and then confounded themselves with questions such as “how does consciousness arise in the brain?”

Which brings me to the second thing I no longer believe.

2. That the brain is in charge

In fact, the mind is not the brain. Plenty of scientists continually refer to the brain as the mind, and they keep looking in the brain for how consciousness can exist in ‘grey matter’. So far, no success in locating it.
Because they’re looking at consciousness the wrong way.

Neurons that produce the neurotransmitters associated with emotions and thinking are also found in the heart. And in the 2-way communication between heart and brain, the heart sends more information to the brain than comes back in the other direction.

We humans love hierarchies. It’s a tidy way of organising things to have a simple centralised control. And so we’ve come to believe our brains operate rather like a monarchy, where a single boss tells everyone else what to do.

Aside from all that information our hearts are constantly sending to our brains, there’s plenty of other bodily systems ‘thinking’ for themselves and influencing what the brain does.

You may have heard of ‘the second brain’, the digestive system, with it’s superhighway of nerve cells making judgement calls about whether what we’ve just eaten is useful and nutritious, or needs to be sent off to the garbage. And then there’s the community of microbes in our guts that are actually impacting the thoughts our brains are busy creating.

Our body is not controlled by our brain just because it’s ‘on top’.

While language and thinking are shaped in the brain, everything we know comes through our body and our presence in the world.

Without your body you can’t know anything.

The parts played by all the elements, cells, organs and systems in the body are relevant and equally important.

Think of it like a movie. Even though the director and stars get top billing, there is a plethora of worker bees without whom that movie would never exist. And these people bring their own skills and imagination to creating the whole.

Once we move away from the meme of the singular “I” (or brain) at the centre of things it’s necessary to let go of another belief.

3. That I am an individual entity

There’s a multiplicity of ways in which I am not a single, individual entity held in place by my skin. However the simplest example is found in the ‘human biome’ – the colony of microbes, viruses, macrophages and what-not that live with us, in and on our bodies.

Depending on how you run the stats each one of us humans is only 40% to 10% human*.
The rest are the kind of creatures we’ve been fighting against since Pasteur invented germ theory. (*If we count the red blood cells we’re 40% human. The reason some don’t count them is that red blood cells have no nucleus. That’s a lot of cells being ignored…)

Since most of these trillions of cells aren’t ‘human’, how can you be an individual?

You’re actually a collective. And the story of life is the story of the triumph of the collective.

It was the banding together of those original life-forms, single celled organisms, and their decision to co-operate, which created the more complex life forms and eventually the complex life form that is the human. For example, mitochondria in your DNA are an early bacteria that agreed to help out. They now shape genetic destinies.

Therefore, strictly speaking, ‘self’ is not an ‘I’.  It’s a ‘we’. A confederate of us. A united states of being.

Because there’s the percentage of us that is ‘human’, and then there’s all the microbes that are not ‘us’. But they live with us, inter-dependently. Bringing the outside world inside, the ‘other’ into ‘self’. Basically you and I are composed of multitudes: 10 trillion+ cells, all working together.

 

You’ve heard that “the way you do one thing is the way you do everything”.
In the same way, how you think about one thing (like your body) reflects how you think about everything.

You might consider these little changes of perspective I’m talking about as just mind games.

And yet they have the potential to create a social revolution.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that how you’re trained to hate your body’s imperfections and fear its potential for disease is your own problem, disconnected from the larger story that creates inequality, violence against others and destruction of our environment.

When we recognise that our body is not a machine but an eco-system it erodes the modern idea that we humans can just live in an urban bubble separate from nature. (So no, Stephen Hawking, moving to Mars is not the answer to the environmental mess we’ve made).

The natural world lives inside us as well as out. Our health depends on it’s health.

When we understand that intelligence isn’t located in brain or language, it’s diffused through our whole body, this sets in motion a new meme of co-operation.

A meme with the potential to dissolve old authoritarian thinking currently running the world.

And once we recognise what we consider as ‘self’ is actually a collection of diverse beings not an isolated ‘I’, it allows us to see difference in a new way.

Xenophobia no longer makes sense.

Thus, a few small shifts in how we understand our bodies create ripples that begin to re-weave the defining elements of our current reality.

About symbols. Or, why I’m so over jewels with words stamped on them.

I’m prepared to admit that I’m a jewel snob. And I’m also going to be a cranky pants.

I’ve had enough of bracelets stamped with your ‘bespoke’ word, like ‘love’ and ‘peace’ and ‘harmony’. And maybe your children’s names (like, really? are you going to forget them?).

I love words, but I also know the limits of words. Not only for the constraints on what they can express to other people, but also on what kind of meaning they can create for ourselves.

Oh, and while I’m on the topic of pet peeves, I’ve also had enough with $20 pendants of chunks of crystal wrapped in some cheap industrial metal and being sold as a ‘symbol of spiritual abundance’…. So ‘fast food’.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for symbolism.

But there’s something out of whack here.
Words only represent ideas in very limited ways. While symbols, on the other hand, are so much more than what most people think… So, warning, soap box ahead!

Words are stand-ins for ideas. They hold the position of the main actors, in their absence from our minds. This is what makes them so extraordinarily useful. And seductive.
You don’t need the real thing to be always present if a word can recall it at will.

It’s the power of grammaring!**

That’s why the Word of God worked so well for Christians, evoking the presence of the divine authority without him actually having to be there, in church and so forth.

It’s also why words play such a huge part in magic rituals – abracadabra and all that.

I don’t, by any means, underestimate the power of words.

However the symbol offers us so much more. Layer upon layer, we can peel away meanings to reveal new vistas, like the difference between binoculars & the Hubble telescope. Which is why I am so irritated by the ‘fast food’ version of the symbol. Like the news story in a tabloid, it’s designed for easy sales, easy digestion, and it offers no real insight.

The thing about symbols is that they’re not immediately understood.
You can still be chewing over their resonance and meaning long after the first encounter. Despite what dream dictionaries and Dan Brown would have us believe, they aren’t about attaching clear & precise meanings.

This makes them very different to words. So when you use them like words, to ‘represent’ something, you’ve missed 90% of the story.

Representing is what ‘signs’ do – they spell stuff out, sometimes with pictures.

When I was a (very bossy) lecturer it would so get up my nose when one of my jewellery students started talking about her project: ‘Well, this symbol represents my love for…’.

Go beyond representation I always say, keep following the idea down rabbit holes.

Find out something entirely new, or unexpected, or paradoxical.

Symbols open portals to meaning, they don’t close them down.

Words take care of clarity. Symbols reverberate & resonate & expand continuously into new, deeper, wider understandings.

Symbols follow a similar process to manifesting. There’s been enough out there about manifesting, so that you know by now that manifesting is not about writing the list and handing it over to the Universe to do your bidding. It’s about the feeling, and about being present in that feeling.

Symbols open vistas along the road of continual becomings.
They accompany us into wordless places where meaning is in our being.
It happens regardless of whether we’re even thinking about it.

A symbol is a material (i.e. visual, aural, tactile, sensorial, perceptual) key that unlocks a door into a greater reality. It’s a tele-portation device through which the numinous manifests. It takes the vast power of the cosmos (untrammelled by thinking) and it brings it down to earth, and holds it against our breast, or wraps it round our finger, or sits it on the table in front of us.

It brings the inexplicable into experience.

A piece of jewellery doesn’t have to be symbolic, although there is something about jewellery that means it is perfectly primed to be so.

Why is this? Perhaps because we wear it, maybe everyday, and like any well-loved object that we live with, it becomes part of our definition of self. It’s a familiar presence with us, giving reassurance or succour to our in-conscious self. (The conscious rational self is probably taking no notice, or else it dismisses the effect.)

For a symbol to ‘work’ for you, you have to become present with it. You live with it. You wear it. It sparks off whole flights of thoughts, ideas, dreams taking you to new lands.

And the most fascinating part – we probably never had intended this when we first saw it, purchased it and started wearing it.

This is one of the things that makes a piece of symbolic jewellery so magical.

 

[**Piece of trivia – because I just love this stuff, and maybe you’ll find it as scintillating as I do: the witch’s Grimoire (aka the Spell Book) has a connection to the word ‘grammar’ via the Scottish word ‘gramarye’ which means ‘occult learning’. And the word ‘glamour’ is also derived from ‘grammar’. Who would have thought something so dull could have such a secret past???]

But you ARE your body. Here’s why.

I’ve heard a few people comment lately, following a period of challenging illness, that in the end they discover they are not their bodies.

They are something more transcendental, more unfettered and free.

I always feel a visceral reaction to statements like this. Maybe it’s the Taurean archetype coming out…
While I get what they are saying – we are a soul that lasts beyond the mortal flesh and so forth – to me there is something fundamentally wrong with this attitude.

Think I’m being a materialist here? Maybe I am, just not in the way you are imagining it…

It’s in moments of illness and suffering that we get to feel completely alone.

And we mistakenly think that being ‘trapped’ in an individual body is the reason we are alone, because we really crave the connection, the sense of belonging, the feeling of oneness with a divine source that we know is the cure for any dis-ease.

I say ‘mistakenly think’ because this is a social training. It sneaks in as we are learning how to speak, and as we grow older it becomes more and more the way we think about ourselves – isolated entities, separated into our own individual bodies.

While this appears to be true on the surface (according to visual logic), it’s patently not true on any kind of fundamental level. Molecules, cells, the colonies of bacteria and parasites in our bellies and on our skin, all ensure we are always multiples, never singular.

Each of our cells is a tiny intelligent system, banding together with every other cell to create an “I”.

This apparently singular body is actually composed of trillions.

And do we end at the edges of our skin? It’s a big question, just the kind I like to get lost in.
But don’t worry – I’ll stick to the point.

Which, succinctly, is that when we blithely mouth the cliché ‘you are not your body’ we are throwing the baby out with the bathwater, exacerbating, even perpetuating the split between body and mind, body and spirit.
It’s a dangerous attitude. And sooo old school.

If you’re having a hate relationship with your body – stop!

If you think you have to control your body – stop!

In fact, you are your body, and your body is also so much more than what you think it is.

Your body is a vehicle for soul, sure. But it’s not like getting in your car & driving somewhere.

Our soul (and mind, for those who feel a little uncomfortable with soul stuff) completely permeates our body.
It lives in every cell & molecule. Yep, mind also lives in the body. It doesn’t depart until you die, when everything breaks down & recycles into new form.

When people say “I realise I am not my body” what they are really trying to say is:
‘I realise I am not the body that has been proscribed by medicine, and materialism, and prudish Christians…”.

And what they have actually realised is that they are not what is represented by the concept of ‘body’.

This is the difference between the representation (what we think it is: the concept of ‘body’), and the reality – what is real, what exists despite and outside of the understandings given to us by society, by medicine, or by spiritual systems.

So the problem is not our bodies, per se, the problem is what we think our bodies are…

Because whether we think that the body is the limits of the self, or whether we think that our bodies trap us in a world of matter and separate us from spirit, these are simply ideas we have about bodies.
This holds true whether we’re talking the ideas that science has about bodies, or what spiritual disciplines tell us about bodies.

When we say “I am not my body” we are really trying to escape the constrictions and limitations in our own thinking.

May as well say “I am not my mind”.

So, if you think your body is a dumb lump of flesh, that’s just a concept you learnt somewhere. It ain’t the truth.

We wouldn’t even be able to have a concept about a divine life, or a dull life, without our body.
Any inspiration, or pleasure, any intelligence of any kind comes through perception.
This is the ability of your brilliant physical form to pick up transmissions and translate them from the imperceptible to the tangible.

Beauty, joy, love, all are found in form. And only possible by living it.

The physical body does not make us separate from the great divine web of life – it is our ticket to this glorious event.

Don’t try to get out of your body – try to escape your narrow concept of self.

Your mind is actually your problem, not your body.

5 steps to your perfect custom-design jewel

So you’ve been looking for a very special ring but nothing you’ve seen is really grabbing you and screaming ‘I’m the one!’

Or perhaps you have just decided that you deserve that fabulous piece of jewellery you’ve been promising yourself for a while.

And yet, you’re feeling less than excited about all the prospects that have presented themselves as you’ve browsed shops and websites and galleries and anywhere else looking for that piece that will precisely express all the deliciousness and value that you really want to express about yourself.

It could be that you have inherited a pile of rings and things from your grandmother, and its just not quite your style. Or you snapped up gold when your saw it in antique and pawn shops because you love the idea of wearing it, but the designs are less than exciting.

Any of these symptoms are a sign that you need a bespoke jeweller who is going to transform your ideas, your intuition, even just the scent of what you’re wanting, into a piece of jewelry that is perfect just for you, totally unique and it just ‘feels’ right.

But imaybe you’re wondering just how you go about finding someone who can translate your idea, your inkling, maybe even your Frank-Gehry-style-sketches-on-a-serviette into a divine jewel that you feel is “you”.

So how to find the right jeweller? And how to communicate this vision in your head into something tangible so that they can create it for you?

You see, while I make jewellery, I’m not saying that I’m the one for you. That’s up to your intuition.

But I’ve got some suggestions about how you can be sure you get what you want, when you find the ‘one’.

1. Get clear for yourself on the outcome you really want.

I don’t mean that you need a design sketch or a photo of what it should look like. Maybe it’s about the way you feel when you wear it. Or the impact you want to have when others see it. Maybe it’s a metaphor: “like a galaxy of stars”, or “a renaissance princess ring”.

If you are thinking: “I don’t know what I want but I will know it when I see it” you will greatly increase your chances of getting the result you’re after if you can clarify some things for yourself first.

Some questions to help you brainstorm:
How do you want to feel when you wear this piece of jewellery?
“Special”, “powerful”, “loved” are useful descriptions, but try to get inside these sensations as well: what exactly will make you feel that way? Your bespoke jeweller may not ask you these questions but if you work through these yourself you can clarify some things before you even start to look for a jeweller.

If you say ‘I want to feel sexy and sensual when I wear it’, how does that translate for you? For one person ‘sexy’ is burlesque glamour, while for another it can be a particular texture or form. Perhaps red is your favourite colour and when you wear it you feel powerful. Or maybe you will feel the love between you and your sweetheart if you have have matching bands, or have the ring engraved with symbols that are deeply meaningful to you.

What materials appeal to you?
Do you want diamonds for your engagement ring, or something different? Are you interested in the properties of different kinds of gemstones? Do you want precious materials? Or perhaps you love the idea of something made from wood, or from steel.

What about colours, textures, shapes? Start to collect imagery. These might be imagery of existing jewels – you like a bit of this one, or a bit of that one. Or perhaps something more abstract – a photograph, a piece of fabric, a pattern.

Are there particular symbols or visions which you’d like to incorporate?
One of my clients requested a ring where the stones were set in the pattern of a particular constellation of stars that held real significance for her and her husband-to-be.

Collect visual information, of jewellery, or anything else that relates to what you want. This way, when you meet with the jeweller you’ll immediately give them a sense of where you’re wanting to go.

2. Find a jeweller that fits your vision.

Got some clarity? Its time to find a jeweller. Even if you don’t feel your vision is really clear, recognise that you’ve set your intention in motion by teasing some definites out from daydreams. This will greatly help any jeweller who is going to translate these ideas into a piece of jewelry.

Do your research.
Try word of mouth – like someone’s jewellery? Ask where they got it.

Spend a bit of time googling jewellery websites until you find the jewellery that sings to you.

Visit jewellery galleries and single out the pieces that appeal. The gallery can tell you if the jeweller will custom-make pieces to order, and may even organise this process.

Or just collect names everywhere you go, then head for the internet and research what the person does, what people are saying about them, etc.

Be endlessly curious until you find someone whose aesthetic and skills feel like a good fit.

A word of caution: DO make sure the person has experience with custom-design work.

Look for a jeweller who has a portfolio that already appeals to you – or a track record (again here’s where personal testimonials help).

3. Don’t ask your bespoke jeweller to copy something.

I can tell you from experience that “Tiffany’s without the price tag” is an awful brief! Do you really want a cheap imitation?

However, you can offer references to a bespoke jeweller: “something like this” or “a bit of this ring, and a bit of that ring” to give them some starting points.

Working from reference points helps, but when you’ve done you’re homework, and allow the jeweler space for their own imagination you’re on the path to something unique.

4. Get clear on the process your bespoke jeweller uses to translate your ideas into reality.

Expect more than one consultation where he or she will ask lots of questions, show you examples of their skills, discuss their techniques and the design ideas. If you come to them with some clarity (see point no 1) that increases the chance of you getting a jewel that’s perfect for you.

Expect to see design drawings, and perhaps a model of the work in progress. ,
Or a jeweller may use other techniques to communicate to you a clear idea of how the finished piece will look.

If you’re not sure ask for more clarification.
Don’t go forward with the piece until you feel confident that you’ll be very happy with the end result.

Most importantly, if you’re feeling any doubts about the design, how willing is the jeweller to keep working through the issues with you?
You need to feel confident about the outcome. If not, perhaps the 2 of you aren’t a good fit, and its best to know that before you progress further.

5. Get clear on the contractual details – even if there is no formal written contract.

Each jeweller has a different approach, and depending on how complex the piece is you may get an initial quote or ‘ballpark’. This will be close to the final price with a few provisos: eg: market fluctuations with metal prices, a given number of design consultations before arriving at the final design, etc.

Or save yourself the worry and tell them your budget upfront.

If in doubt, like the design, first rule is to ask for clarification.
After the design elements are finalised and before the production starts you should be told the final price.

Check the jeweller’s guarantee and after care.
Is your satisfaction guaranteed? If you’re not happy with the outcome, what’s your recourse?
Will the jeweller work with you until you are satisfied?
Be aware that once you’ve given your consent on viewing final drawings, you may be committed to the pay the balance.

Once you have the jewel – do you know how to look after it properly?
Have you been given care instructions for the lifetime of the piece? Can you bring it back to the jeweller to have it checked and cleaned?

A custom-design jewel can be a significant investment, but the experience should be exciting not scary.

If you follow these tips you can be pretty confident you’ll get what you really want.

And if you have any tips to share from custom-design experiences I’d love to know – leave me a comment.

Interested in my custom-design process? Find out more on the custom design page.

The Solstice Gateway

[this post relates to the astrological phenomena of Uranus square Pluto that was active from 2013 to 2015. What happened then is still relevant now].

There’s a revolution underway.
Can you feel it – the pressure of forces beyond our control?

If it’s something you sense, it’s likely that the Uranus/Pluto square has laid siege to some of your personal planets…

Those with birthdays in early April, July, October and January know what I mean.

And for any of you with planets in the mid degrees of the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn), Uranus and Pluto have been playing rough on your turf too.

Pluto moves with tectonic slowness.
It unearths the deep psycho-social forces that underwrite human lives.
Its urge is to break down, to split apart the old and the outworn (ideas, behaviours, realities). Things past their use-by-date.

Not destruction merely for the sake of it, but as a necessary natural force, using this energy of entropy to generate new life. Just as soils are made fecund, and seeds are sprouted by the action of earthworms in shit and decay.

Pluto could take 20 years to move us through this elemental regeneration.

Until Uranus steps into the mix, says ‘ready or not’, lights the fuse.

Pressure builds to critical, forces beyond our control push us forward, outward, in any direction.

Even though we want this revolution, because we know it’s the fast track to that re-formation we’re craving, still we respond with fear and resistance.

It’s been going on for a while in fact. Since June 2012, the revolutionary forces have been stirring up the safety and security of position ‘normal’ (if there ever was such a thing).

Seven times they’re squaring off, over a span of years. Not that it’s been a non-stop ride since 2012 – there’ve been months of respite when we get to relax and take in the view.

Even to touch, for long moments, those potentials that we feel coming into form.

 

This week we’ve entered the 6th pass of Uranus square Pluto.

We approach the seventh and final gate in March 2015.

Seven is a curious and unruly number, a prime number (in other words, indivisible).

Not comforting like 6 or 8 which make perfect structures, complete unto themselves.

Apparently, when we’re asked to ‘pick a number between 1 and 10’, the majority of us choose the number 7.

The number has always seemed a little mystical to me. I once made a rather complicated contraption called the Gyromancer with seven rings, one inside the other, all about the revelatory qualities of the number 7.

Seven is the number of process.
The steps towards a goal, where each stage is a challenge that reveals a little more of what needs to be known by the seeker.

Seven is the number of initiation.
Salome removes her 7 veils of illusion, Ishtar passes through 7 gates on her descent into hell to rescue her son-lover.

(A quick aside: this holy incest is not some archaic paedophilic fantasy but rather a symbol of the mysterious and mystical union of creator and creation).

Lately, as the 6th gate approached I’ve been feeling the pressure rising again. Off kilter, out of balance, in my pushing to complete everything before I could start a new year…

While I’m in the thick of pushing to get things done, pushing through difficult moments, it just feels like I am up against an immense and resisting force. Rather like being under siege.

Until I sit back and realise that I am the resistance.

Out there fighting on the frontiers (of my own mind). Recognising that I have fallen back into old patterns. Of using work to feel deserving.
Of trying to control everything by working on it.

It’s the classic response – we cling to the old ways and habits, even if we actually can’t stand them anymore. Because at least they’re ‘comfortable’, and safe. We know them, and when we know something we can feel like we’re in control. Even if it makes us feel slightly ‘mangled’. That’s the funny thing about addictive habits.

Then this week the harmonic balancer in my car’s engine broke. Haha – how’s that for a cosmic joke – a serving of Jungian co-incidence?

The 6th gate was exact on the 15th when a crazed gunman trapped 17 people in a chocolate cafe, dubbed #SydneySiege.
A harrowing event that lead to the sudden deaths of two people in addition to the self-styled revolutionary with the shotgun.

Then days later in Cairns, eight children are inexplicably murdered – perhaps by the very woman who cared for them, in a Medea-like slaying of all that is dear to her.

The gate remains open until the Solstice on Monday the 22nd (AEDT), when there is a conflagration of cosmic events.

Uranus goes direct (the revolution goes full steam ahead).

The moon starts its new year cycle, in rare coincidence with the solstice.

And the sun basks a moment in its longest day (on our side of the world) before turning around and heading north again on its next cycle.

Hanukkah completes, Christmas looms.

All of these events are only significant from our earthly human point of view, of course.

The sun does not go round the earth, the retrograde motion of planets is only apparent to the human eye. Even the cycle of the moon is a symbolic construction.

Yet they’re also perceptible. We experience them.

We’ll notice our days getting shorter and the angle of the sun will change (my good washing days when the sun fills the whole of the back-yard are on the wan). The moon will slowly light up the night sky to it’s fullest over the next few weeks.

And the real power of any act of transformation or revolution occurs on both the perceptible and symbolic level.

Media whipped up a frenzy of fear post the Sydney Siege. Yet, people responded with so many flowers that florists sold out, and the tweet phenomena #IllRideWithYou went round the world.

It appears that still the revolution will not be televised. Only the fear of change gets air-time.

Each day we make a choice about the meaning we give to what we perceive.
To the information coming in, to the emotions we wake up with, to the events which carry us through the day.

Yesterday, I just happened to be listening to a podcast by Walter Makichen, a podcast so ancient it was from 2008 but I hadn’t heard til now. More Jungian coincidence.

I was musing on his theory of 4 levels of spiritual practice.

The first level is when we find a way to make sense and meaning from collapse and chaos – religion, or yoga (real yoga not that stretching at the gym), or meditation, etc – whatever your flavour.

Then it can become a tool for clearing out the karmic dross of psychological wounding; for calming the mind and heart.

After this we discover that spirit is in the creative act, and we begin to understand the power we have to generate our own reality, to bring things into being.

The trouble is that we can get stuck there, and forget that the source of creativity is that energy which is so much greater than ourselves.
We think we can control everything, we get caught up in hubris ( I love that word – the arrogance that challenges the Gods, to which the only antidote is humility).

Walter describes the 4th level as transcendence, the moment when we step out of trying to control everything and we just let it be.

I have an issue with the concept of transcendence – I’m sure we can still be on and of this planet without getting caught up in that particular human need to identify with what gets created, and destroyed.

Instead I prefer to think of this level as what Tosha Silver describes as ‘offering’.

It’s the handing over. It’s surrender.

Not a very appreciated quality in our culture. Suggesting loss and failure.

And so we struggle to find a way to win the revolution, not realising that we’re buying into the very mindset that we are fighting to bring down.
And, ironically, the fate of most revolutions is to replace the ousted oppressor with another form of oppression.

This morning I realised that when I surrender, the revolution is truly underway because the struggle, the resistance is over.
Blockages fall away. The wheel turns.

So this solstice I’m ready to drop another veil, to burn what needs to be burnt, to open up to the future.

I’m asking myself: what revolutionary act, or thought, or feeling, do I want to make a reality, today?

And you, what is your solstice act of release? How are you answering the challenges of the 6th gatekeeper?