Goddess

Sometimes creativity can be a random, spontaneous event. But having a focus helps as well, I find – in the act of creation, yes, but also in the plotting. From a mind-map or ideas board, to the subtle cogitations of your subconscious as the planning gets under way, that key theme is always present, as a North star to steer by.

Synchronicity is good to listen for, too. I’ve found that the right topics come along at the right times. Ideas which tend to fizzle out or frustrate might just not be what’s needed – or not just yet. But they’ll wait, if you bear them in mind and return later.

I know many creative people who use their Paganism as a helpful aid in seeking inspiration for their work. From paintings and sculptures to stories and even clothing, images of deity in particular stand out as focal points – very much helped by those individuals often stepping up and demanding you pay them attention! The Muse is not always gentle in such cases, and it’s up to us to hear and act.

I’ve made a few knitted creations over the last year which have been Goddess-centric – sometimes by chance, sometimes by intent. The first came about with a yarn find that reminded me of a painting of Oshun which I’d seen. Then the right pattern arrived. A beautiful wavy shawlette resulted.

And I’ve written about my adventures with Brigid earlier in the year (see here), which resulted in one of the most synchronous creations I’ve ever had pass through my fingers!

Now I’m beginning another, with the guidance of one of the darker goddesses. It’s already coming together beautifully, from the right pattern (again), to the perfect colour and texture of yarn. Now the Lady is guiding my hand as I get on.

I’m reminded of the very humanness of creation, the knowledge that my ancestors sat and pondered, planned and then made things as needed, with purpose and guidance. I’ve seen shades of Her in recent days, like a wise grandmother at my shoulder, keeping an eye to make sure everything is ok. My fingers move the tools but She is always in my mind as I work. I learn so much during these times, as it’s impossible not to become involved, to investigate and explore history, mythology… and manifestation into reality.

Sometimes Deity influences our Awen. And judging by the results, that’s no bad thing,

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Giving

Sometimes, people can be hard work. I love to spend time with others, but due to the nature and variety of People, there’ll be those who have alternate/opposing views, those whose understanding is very different to your own, and those with different ideas about what’s acceptable.

Broad terms, obviously. Sometimes, people can be frustrating, belligerent and stupid. Or just too ‘in your face’.

I’ve noticed this more since my books came out. People know me, but I don’t know them. They approach me to chat, which is wonderful, and I love it, as that’s where new friends are made. But sometimes, it can be rather overwhelming.

More often lately, I’ve felt the need to retreat, either to my own space or with those who know me well and provide company without demands. But too much of that can be unhelpful as well – the world seems even stranger when only viewed through the lense of the Internet.

Today, I worked hard. Lots of writing, making things, and generally Sorting Stuff Out. As I went, I realized – it was all for others. Everything I was doing for intentionally for a specific person. Which felt rather wonderful. I do my best, hoping that they’ll like it. It raises the bar.

And then the postlady arrived with a mysterious package. From one of my students – a beautiful image of a guardian that she’s spoken of often, drawn so evocatively that I was awed and deeply touched.

I think many creative people devalue their own work because they’re so close to it – there’s nothing special about something when you’ve spent hours swearing to make it just so (although the opposite is clearly true, artistic perspective can be warped and crazy).

But I came to a total full stop today, just gazing at this picture and feeling that connection with the lady who created it… words of thanks just aren’t enough. The work is unique and beautiful, because of the meaning behind it as well as the subject, the effort that’s gone into it, the intention and heart.

This is why I work. Not for the Stuff, or the thanks (although those are lovely!). For the relationship, the appreciation of what I’m doing and return of similar – the sharing of creative magic. My little community gives as well as takes. Overwhelming maybe – but generally with goodness, on a true and heartfelt level. That can be hard to grasp in this cynical world.

When those moments of connection come, I do try to hold on to them. I’m so glad that I have such good friends, that we work together to inspire each other. Know that you are honoured, truly.

I look forward to seeing what the Awen brings next, from within and without.

Brimming Over with Wrongability

Like everyone, I’ve been told throughout my life when I’ve been at fault, whether it be by family members, teachers or friends. Nothing wrong with that – it’s how we learn, after all.

Except… for those times when your secret self cannot possibly believe it. Even if you can see why the other would call your thoughts, words or actions ‘wrong’, the determination rises to prove yourself right. Sometimes this is a battle. There can be casualties.

I’ve been seeing evidence of this in various places lately, contemplating the balance that is needed but often thrown askew by limited perspective or information. Notably in the rhetoric of politicians versus the op-eds of the Press, and the sound-bites of social media. Those who don’t want to see the full picture, because it would clash with their agenda – far easier to call ‘true/false’.

But it’s the voices of the artists that resonate most strongly with me. Those with fire in their heads, often called mental illness; I recall hearing once that the poor man is mad, while the rich merely eccentric. I may be somewhere in the middle, myself.

My fire isn’t stoked by madness – the black dog drags me away from the creative flame. But then from that darkness comes the determination once again, to strive forward and prove myself. I might not be ‘right’ (I’ll be the first to admit that!), but I want to explore the journey, the reasoning, the full story in each of its’ multitudinous hues. By burning your hand, you learn not to touch… but you learned this yourself, through truly feeling, experiencing, knowing that truth.

I’m not advocating attempts to fly by jumping off a roof to see if you can. As the late, great Bill Hicks said, ‘Start from the ground!’ But do start… and keep striving on. Because if we don’t, if all we do is believe the voices of others, then we surely lose our own.

‘Some day I must make a list of the reasons for which I have been thought mad and by whom: it would make such an amusing medley.’
(Explorer Dame Freya Stark, writing in 1930. From ‘Passionate Nomad’, by Jane Fletcher Geniesse)

‘The contrariness that others saw was really just the persistence of longings too important to let go of: images in his head kept alive by a fierce imagination that overruled an increasingly contrary world.’
(From ‘Van Gogh: The Life’, by Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith)