Moths… and Moving On

19619903_153063195248888_642738850_oA beautiful Brimstone moth

When I was a little girl, I had the most magical experience which has stayed with me in clear and vivid detail, right to this very day.

It was when we lived in the cottage in the country, and we had the typical garden that goes with those types of converted cottages, flowers, bushes, a lawn, a pond… I was playing outside, lost in a world of my own imaginings, watched benevolently by Nikki, our German Shepherd at the time, and my black cat, Snoopy. They were often drawn into my games, and participated, bless them, with good heart.

In the rich brown earth, like crumbled fruit cake, under the bush near where we were playing, lay what looked like a curled up dead leaf. I prodded it, experimentally, as you do, and it wriggled… I was quite a curious and gentle child, and I wanted to prevent Snoopy from showing too much interest, so I picked it up and put it in the palm of my hand to examine a little more closely.

It wriggled again, and then, perhaps encouraged by the warmth of my hands, little splits appeared in the leaf-like surface, and a milky fluid started to seep out. The thing wriggled more enthusiastically, and then, before my enchanted, entranced and totally disbelieving eyes, a little miracle happened.

Slowly, a damp, crumpled creature emerged, and I recognised it as a moth… but what a moth! It sat, quite happily, in my hands, drying out and letting its wings dry and spread. Beautiful creature, I was amazed – I’ve never been able to repeat this experience, even though I’ve found other moth chrysalises.

As it dried, Mother Nature touched it with her delicate palette, borrowed from a sunset sky of pink and gold, each tiny hair on its body drying and fluffing, each miniature scale on its perfect wings powdered with gilt and rose. Antennae, as fine and sensitive as cats’ whiskers, quivered, and two tiny glowing eyes looked at me.

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I must have sat for about half an hour holding this little wonder, until it was dry enough to fly away. I later found out that this amazing creature was actually an Elephant Hawk moth… I have retained a fondness for moths of all variety of moths, from the slender brown ones and delicate white Plume moths to the flashy red Burnet moth to the cuddly brown furry ones, the Brian Blesseds of the Lepidopteric world… I try to prevent my cats from eating them, as they do a valuable job of pollinating night opening flowers…

Recently, I have been blessed with moth appearances from all branches of the family… to such an extent I wondered whether there was actually any symbolism attached to theses little night-fliers, and whether someone was trying to tell me something. I duly Googled “Moth Symbolism.”

In brief, although moths are more usually night time creatures, they seek the Light, consequently they symbolise determination, attraction, psychic abilities and faith. Intuition, higher awareness and psychic enhancement are all mentioned too. I don’t make any claim towards psychic ability – although I can sometimes freak my son out by my uncanny awareness of what he is doing… but despite, or perhaps because of, various things that have happened to me in my life, I have tried to maintain a path, a striving towards the Light – I’m nothing if not determined!

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Coincidentally – or maybe not – I have always felt spiritually drawn towards India and her mysticism… as I mentioned to a friend, in the past week I have met two men who have looked at me and said I should go to India… one man had just come back from Kerala and perhaps saw the interest in my eyes and said; “Go. You know you have to…” And then I had a very interesting conversation with a wonderful man who had the kindest and most peaceful blue eyes…

One final little gem… if you pardon the pun… the novel I’m writing is set in India…

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Petalite and Pets

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An irresistible alliterative title there, as inevitable as my interaction through my life with various representatives of the Animal Kingdom…otherwise known as pets.

Perhaps as my father was a vet, my upbringing with animals was inevitable really, to some degree, but on the whole, animals have brought a lot of love, joy and loyalty to my life. When I was a little girl, I was quite solitary, but never lonely, as I lived in a magical world where animals could talk and were a lot nicer than people…

And of course cats. Always cats, and apart from a sad time in my life when I was homeless and when my old cat Walter died, I have always been accompanied by a cat, or two…or three… or even four.

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Not all my pets have been feline though… my parents tried very hard to get me to like ponies, and although I re ad all the right books, like “My Friend Flicka”, “Black Beauty” and “Flambards” I maintained a polite distance from them, even, to my mother’s immense mortification refusing a ride on Paddy McMahon’s great showjumper, Penwood Forge Mill.

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We have had rats, mice, hamsters and gerbils – I love rats, they make wonderful pets, clean and intelligent and far less aggressive than hamsters. We briefly had terrapins; I remember my mother rescuing one, quite a large one, from miserable circumstances in a pet shop. Amusingly, it bit her – I’m usually the one who gets bitten – and was soon re-homed at a petting zoo, where our pet sheep lived.

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Cats and dogs stay though, in our lives and hearts and remain in my memory as beloved family members. Presently, we have our four girls and Lucky the budgie…

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As well as assorted fish and frogs in the pond outside… still petted and cossetted though, as unbeknownst to my partner I spent an entertaining half hour watching him dig up worms and feed them to our frogs.

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But there is an honesty and openess about how animals deal with us, of which humans all too often take advantage, of how they co-exist with us and which really, as we are all children of Mother Earth, we should learn to respect. Petalite has a fitting vibration for this day and age.

Sometimes known as the Angel Stone, its pure high, vibration raises the consciousness and opens the path to higher communication. Its wonderfully pale, yet vibrant colour can be used to enhance the experience of meditation.

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Petalite is both protective and uplifting, taking you to a higher spiritual dimension where there is emotional safety and insight. You can review your ancestral and family relationships and ascertain whether they need healing.

As a high vibrating crystal, Petalite opens the doorway for you to enhance your own self-knowledge, honestly and without pretence, cleansing your aura and detaching negative emotions.

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Live in truth, love and friendship. Now, more than ever.

That Awkward Moment When…

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You realise you’ve been staring intently at the person talking to you and yet you have absolutely no idea what they’ve been talking about….

You’re in a crowded room, when everyone around you suddenly falls silent and your stomach chooses that particular moment to do the most awful roar of hunger. Like a lion.

You’ve been going into one room to fetch something… you know you can’t remember what it was, the person watching you knows you can’t remember what you wanted so you have to try and bluff it out…

When you have a massive uncontrollable attack of sneezing, and people around you look at you as if you’ve taken leave of your senses…

A man you’ve never seen before in your life puts a dead fox head on your counter and asks what crystals you recommend for its eyes…

When you’re away with the fairies and you fall over for no apparent reason… and no one believes you… not even the fairies…

When you are genuinely pleased for a man who was in the public eye and underwent trial by media who then appears in various films and television documentaries and you happen to mention how pleased you are for him that he seems to have these nice little acting jobs coming in and then the person you are talking to points out that the person getting the acting jobs is, in fact, an actor, while the person who underwent the trial by media returned to his normal, everyday life…

Just out of interest, who thinks what experience from the above list has happened to me? Does anyone else have any similar experiences they’d like to share, so we can laugh – I mean commiserate… !!

Opals And Obedient Cats

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There is a phrase… “like herding cats” which is generally taken to mean a frustrating and pointless task, as cats are notorious for wanting to do their own thing, and responding unwillingly to any form of training.

My partner was not a cat person… until he met me… and he was fascinated to see how first Walter, then the girls, learned and responded to us and their environment. They all know their names and answer to them, and I said to him:

Well, what do you expect them to do… ignore you?”

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Which they do, actually, as he is definitely Number Two Cat Parent.

Like any responsible parent, I have tried to teach my girls the basics: “No,” “Sweets,” “Down,” “Come”, “Up” and so on, as it is useful to have them understand some basic manners too – entirely another matter as to whether the choose to comply or not.

I have come to the conclusion that cats understand extremely well the actual concept of obedience… if what you would like them to do coincides with their intentions at the moment, then all well and good and everyone is happy…

Opals are traditionally associated with bad luck and unhappiness, although it’s really a beautiful crystal and the highest grade is used in jewellery.

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My son bought me this green Kiwi Opal, and it is one of the kindest crystals I have encountered, encouraging spontaneity and creativity, whilst gently releasing inner conflicts and inviting spirit and body to work as a united whole.

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Thus it is a useful stone to possess and use if you feel repressed or confined. The opal nurtures and makes the owner aware of the benefits that come from being nurtured, a calming, caring and co-operative stone.

19369060_141704846384723_1802846821_oFire Opal – helps initiate new ideas and stir enthusiasm, Yellow Opal – for emotional stability, called the ‘Stone of Hope’

Opal contains more water than most crystals usually do, which is perhaps what aids it attune its own vibration with its owner, as opals quickly synchronised with their owners. Of course, Opal comes in various forms (thank you Lizian for letting me play with the pretty stones…) but the underlying crystal properties are the same.

19250084_141705089718032_55389870_oPink Opals to help heal emotions, bring compassion and ease painful memories…

Its varied and beautiful colours awaken the spirit of creativity, while its gentle, almost motherly vibe encourages us to communicate honestly and kindly with one another, helping where we can and caring too. Always.

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Mates?

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He took the misshapen little hand-rolled cigarette his mate offered him and eyed it doubtfully. He had smoked before and quite enjoyed it- all his mates did – but this was something new. He’d nicked cigarettes out of his mother’s packet and lied about it and when he stayed at his grandmother’s she was stupid enough to give him money to buy his own, but this was something new.

Go on, yer pussy! Just take a drag!”

His mate jeered at him through a haze of smoke.

Well, because his mate was doing it too – he put the soggy tip to his mouth and inhaled…

The cares he thought he had and that had threatened to swamp him floated away on a cloud of fragrant smoke that stung the inside of his nose and invaded his lungs. Life suddenly seemed so much easier – pleasant, almost.

And that was just the first.

What a crutch, what a pleasure, what a blessing! It dulled the girlfriend’s nagging voice, muted the grandmother’s sycophantic pleas and wiped his mother off the face of his earth.

You don’t know what I’m like when I’m with my mates!” became the call to arms.

He did, however, find he needed the special smoke a little more each time to reach the place where calls went unheeded, tears could be ignored and job abandoned.

His grandma’s house became his refuge as he found he no longer cared what his mother or his father thought. His grandma’s purse became his bank or he punished her with silence and absence. The rare family get-togethers were punctuated with cries of “What’s the matter with you?”

He chanted his battle cry in reply:

You don’t know what I’m like when I’m with my mates!”

He got nervous, stressy, thought people were following him.

Those handy smokes from his mate just took the edge off, eased things back a bit’ and if he had to pay a little more, well, it didn’t really matter, because they were mates, after all, and he was doing him a favour.

He didn’t want to see his mother, blamed her really, it was easier that way, as he didn’t have to see the disappointment in her eyes. He didn’t want that sort of help.

One day, his mate didn’t want him staying in the house while he smoked. He took his stuff and found a nice quiet place in the park, rolled up and floated… All that promise, all that hope and love, gone in a cloud of sweet, sweet smoke.

When he woke up, he was cold, he was hungry, he was afraid, lying in a pool of his own piss.

Alone.

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Gardening… With Cats…

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1. Quietly ascertain the exact location of each cat (two younger ones on bed, small black cat lying on laptop, tabby asleep on chair.)

2. Stealthily open shed and collect trowel, seeds and clematis that really needs planting out.

3. Turn to shut shed door and jump in fright, dropping compost, as four pairs of eyes watch you… accusingly.

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4. Sigh in resignation and walk to spot in garden where you intended planting clematis, first removing small black cat from shed and seeds from Siamese.

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5. Observed by cats, dig hole for lovely new clematis plant.

6. Turn away to retrieve plant then shriek in horror as you see small tabby princess squatting elegantly over hole, preparing to… um… christen it.

7. Wait until tabby has finished and fetch watering can to rinse hole out, only to find Siamese using new, conveniently dug hole, while the two black cats look on, politely waiting their turn.

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8. Comfort clematis – it is visibly shuddering in horror.

9. Find nice clean ceramic plant pot.

10. Abandon idea of planting clematis directly in garden, instead filling previously-mentioned pot with compost, placing clematis carefully within, watering and removing to an ideal location on the patio.

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DUCK! No, really… 

dav

I don’t usually post midweek, but I saw this group of ducks… at the foot of this tree, a single solitary white duck, and what amused me was that every so often, it would open an eye suspiciously and look around… Of course, the grouping, he exchange of suspicious looks all lent themselves to some mental captioning…

Here’s my efforts, I found them quite funny… Happy Wednesday!

dav

“Looks like someone didn’t get the memo about fancy dress…”


Have you ever heard the saying: “Let sleeping ducks lie…?”


Everybody knows an odd duck.


Cedric never really felt like he fitted in with the rest of the group…


“Look at her! Turning up to her own daughter’s wedding wearing white!”

 

 

 

 

 

Flat Stones and Fluffy Cats…

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Flat stones, or palm stones as they are more commonly known, have a satisfaction to them inherent in their shape and a comfort all their own, that can be immediately felt as soon as you pick one up.

Being flat, they are obviously a lot easier to transport in pockets. They are lovely to balance in each hand during meditation for convenience as well as reaping the benefit of the crystal’s own individual properties; likewise, they are ideal for using during a session of Reiki or crystal healing.

mdeMoss Agate… calming and empowering, connected to Mother Earth

Again, as they are polished and shaped, the crystal energy can be contained and directed. A little exercise I like to do in times of stress, not mindfulness exactly, more like giving yourself space to breathe and time to collect your thoughts…

19074484_137204760168065_305902843_oJade for wealth, wisdom and peace…

Hold your palm stone, and just have a quick look at it, to fix its visual appearance in your memory. Then just hold it in your closed hand and re-trace, in your mind, every aspect of its appearance, every little inclusion, every flaw, every irregularity and travel the landscape of your stone in your mind.

mdeFluorite is protective and calming and varied in colour…

Just really, as I said, a little exercise to give yourself a moment’s pause. I found out something lovely the other day – (I’m really sorry, but I can’t remember where it came from, so thank you unknown knowledge benefactor…) – that all these little chips and cracks in your crystals are called empathy flaws, and are said to mirror your own emotional journey.

These palm stones have a lovely, tactile comfort to them as well… just like cat fur… My four girls all have different textures of fur, none of them really have the long coat that I would call fluffy. Their fur is still wonderful all the same! Much to my regret, I am allergic to rabbits, event though I had them as pets as a little girl…love fluffy bunnies…

Tooty has a very thick undercoat to her fur, with a sleek black overlay, and just the one spot of white…

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Ting has wonderful shades in her fur, ranging from from coffee through to mud, even though it is quite coarse to the touch on her back, her tummy fluff is quite soft – even her whiskers are bi-coloured!…

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Lily has fur like a little fire demon, soft black and glossy, yet when the sun catches it, shades of burnished gold and chocolate.

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And of course, Madame La Princesse. She has the softest, most delectable fur… if Keats were still alive, I’m quite sure he would write an ode entirely devoted to the quality of her covering… it’s soft, it’s silky and if I could bottle the way it smells, I’d make a fortune.

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Like the palm stones, there is a comfort and warmth in the very shape of a curled up fluffy cat; a continuity symbolised by the roundness of their shapes, flowing and infinite.

mdeMulti-layered Red and Golden Tiger’s Eye for courage, determination and protection

Wardrobe

mde

She hated that wardrobe. It stood, hulking and ugly, in their small bedroom, occupying nearly all the wall it lay against.

It was fatly encased in ugly faux-pine veneer and had a mirrored double front – he’d insisted on that – and he would often stand before it, with his shirt off, pulling what he considered handsome faces and sucking in his enormous gut.

She hated it. She remembered the day it had been delivered. He had summoned her to help construct it and in his wisdom, he never bothered to read something as basic as instructions, preferring instead to get her to read them out so he could then shout at her for her stupidity and slowness in not passing him what he wanted before he even knew himself.

He made her cry about it, so she hated the wardrobe with a passion, its smirking ugly veneer and harsh mirrored surface intruding on her sleep at night times. It loomed threateningly over her while she tried to sleep and made ominous creaking noises. The mirrors showed the smallest blemish and were often covered in strange smears that she had to polish away.

He loved to open the wardrobe’s sliding doors, like great jaws, and admire his collection of clothes, running his hands lovingly along the carefully ironed shirts on their padded hangers, relics of a youth when he was thinner.

Yer can ‘ave all these when I die,” he’d say to his son, caressing one particularly vile embroidered shirt that was still in its wrapper, twenty years after its original purchase.

His son nodded politely, a bemused expression on his face as his father started pulling out heaps of musty woollen jumpers, never worn, shirts that were so out of fashion they wouldn’t even qualify as vintage and trousers that were a record of the old man’s ballooning waist.

She watched, and burned, hating the way he ran his hands tenderly across the piles of decaying clothes, the jeans and expensive trousers, when he was so fat now he could only just manage to pull on tracksuit bottoms. With a curt order to her to put everything away, he left the room.

The wardrobe squatted malevolently in the corner. She hated it. The clothes inside were musty, the shoes decaying, the trousers dusty. There were sweaters in there older than their son, that had never seen the light of day, much less been worn. Her own humble collection had been pushed into drawers, shared a small space of her son’s wardrobe, while his wardrobe spread and dominated.

She yearned for something small and elegant, an antique, bow-fronted graceful piece of furniture, perhaps, with a kind mirror, one that complimented, rather than sneered, that co-existed pleasantly, rather than dominated.

Then one day he died.

After the funeral, she and her son came home, and there was a lightness in the house, a lessening. She turned to her son, and with a smile, she said:

Fetch me some large plastic bags and the screwdrivers…”

She kicked off her shoes and cast off her coat and set to: the musty jumpers, the faded shirts, the rotting trousers and frayed t-shirts were all ruthlessly pulled from their hiding places, the guts of the wardrobe stripped out, and stuffed into bags.

Carefully and skilfully, she dismantled the wardrobe, and her son helped her to carry the pieces downstairs and into the garden. It didn’t go easily – oh no, it put up a fight and she had several bruises and a broken fingernail to show for it, but she was determined.

The far wall of her bedroom – for it was hers now – stood naked and honest. She would need to re-decorate.

She returned downstairs to her son and together, they fetched the petrol from the shed. Carefully, they piled all the old clothes on top of the wardrobe pieces and baptised them with petrol. The son struck a match, and dropped it on to the pile, stepping back to put an arm around his mother’s shoulders.

Fat billows of greasy black smoke rose into the sky, chased by red-gold flame; and much badness and ill-feeling was cleansed away that night.

sdr

Umbrellas…

dav

I have a love/hate relationship with umbrellas. I adore the concept of something that can keep me dry and shelter me from rain, especially during the British summers; but I am engaged in the perpetual search for one that will withstand the blustering gales that usually accompany the rain.

Conversely, I resent having to spend a lot of money on something that will keep me dry, especially during the British summers… as wet and bedraggled is not a good look for me.

I tend to batch-buy umbrellas from the Pound Shop, when really I should just invest the money in one decent umbrella. My son was blessed by the Umbrella Fairy, as returning from his interview at Loughborough University. On the bus back to the train station, he found an umbrella. It was quite a special one, heavy duty, automatic opening and black, a suitably masculine colour. It appeared unaccompanied – indeed, rather lonely, sat, as it was, by itself in the seat nearest the window. So he did the only thing he felt he could do and re-homed the umbrella, with himself.

Sometimes, my son would let me share its shelter, watching as I struggled grimly with yet another Pound Shop umbrella that turned itself inside out and fought like a wildcat, ripping out chunks of my hair as I gave up and forced it into a rubbish bin. Once, I bought a particularly nice Pound Shop umbrella, in zebra print – I got outside, opened it up as it was raining, of course… then watched in disbelief as the waterproof covering ripped itself free of the stem and cartwheeled off merrily into the sky.

I was left with a bemused expression and a metal stick, which was, quite frankly, neither use nor ornament…

sdr

My son’s umbrella, however, gave noble shelter to all who asked, until one day, tragedy struck. He left it on the bus. He was very sad, as was I, but sometimes these things happen for a reason. The umbrella graced us with its presence for a short while, to show us the error of our ways, and then it left, in much the same manner it had arrived.

We never saw it again…

sdr