International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally

THE DREAMTIME

The terms Dreamtime or The Dreaming are based on a rendition of the Arandic word alcheringa, used by the Aranda (Arunta, Arrernte) people of Central Australia, although it has been argued that it is based on a misunderstanding or mistranslation. Some scholars suggest that the word's meaning is closer to "eternal, uncreated. "Anthropologist William Stanner said that the concept was best understood by non-Aboriginal people as "a complex of meanings".

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamtime

 

In 1996 my husband and I spent our Honeymoon in Australia. Meeting Australian Aboriginal people and hearing about their concept of The World Forever Dreaming Itself Into Being, as an eternal and on-going Act of Creation, "opened a door in my mind". It marked the start of a complete re-evaluation of my own lenses of perception.  

Near the Daintree River we met an Aboriginal medicine man who invited me to come and live with him the rainforest to study plant spirit medicine. This did not seem like the right course of action for a woman who had been married for less than a week (!) Sadly (perhaps) I declined. I have often thought back to his offer...

I often say that I "attend the University of Dreams"! I do my best learning in dreams. My most startling insights come to me in dreams. Spirit teachers and allies visit me in dreams and take me on epic learning journeys in otherworld landscapes.

I invite all my students to pay attention to dreams too and keep a dream journal. On my 2-year sacred program we create Dream Incubation Chambers! 

What I took home from Australia was the ambition to live from a state of consciousness where dreams and everyday reality seamlessly blend into each other...

 Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

The Rainbow Serpent   80 x 100 cm   £785

The Rainbow Serpent first appeared to me in a dream in Australia but, in the decades that followed, has shown me its manifold manifestations in other forms and cultures. I explored those expressions in an art video titled The Woman and her Snake:

 

Australian Aboriginal people believe that before the world came into existence, there was a mass of dark and formless matter, (what the Ngarinyin people call ngallalla yawun, 'everything soft like jelly'). 

The Spirit Ancestors lay deep beneath the surface of the shapeless, nameless world and came forth as Rainbow Serpent Women, Kangaroo Men, Sisters from the Sky, Bush Fig Men, Mulga Seed Women, and so forth.

These Spirit Ancestors became the prototypes of all creatures alive today and established a line of descendants for the human, plant and animal worlds.

Once this way of perceiving the world sank in (about 15 years before I undertook formal training in shamanism!) I started seeing those ancestors all around me, wherever I am. I see the face of giants in the rocks and cliffs of Scandinavia, I see ancestral mothers in rolling hills but also in lakes and the sea. I see mountain mothers deep inside caves.

Once we perceive the world with our (for lack of a better word) "indigenous soul", we cannot harm and pollute the Earth, because we see how it destroys everything that went into the making of us and gave us Life.

I started paying greater attention to the migration paths of birds, the points where rivers meet and the way that star constellations rotate in the sky, rising and setting.

 Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

 

 ALCHERINGA   

Creator Serpent, Mother of All That Is     SOLD

 ALCHIRANGA MITJINA   

The timeless dimension of dreams     SOLD

 BILLABONG  

Waterhole  (81 x 81 cm)  £399   

 

Billabong is the Australian Aboriginal word for a waterhole. It was believed that billabongs (as well as freshwater lagoons and coral reefs) were places where the spirits of unborn babies lived. These are also the places where the souls of the dead will return. Here I have painted the Billabong as a labyrinth surrounded by totemic spirits standing guard over the souls of unborn babies. I do a lot of work with spirit children and this is how I perceive and encounter them: in (often but not always watery) places where their spirit allies and compassionate ancestors watch over them. I chose the labyrinth-shape because birth, death and rebirth are all part of life's great journey.

We have a labyrinth in our London garden which students walk during sacred art workshops!        LABYRINTHS

To emphasize the cyclical nature of this process this painting does not have a proper top or bottom. It can be rotated and viewed in four different positions!

 

 AB OVO     (80 x 100 cm)   Acrylic paint on canvas  £525

Ab Ovo literally means "from the egg" (in Latin), from the beginning, from the word go.

All cultures have myths or religious beliefs about Creation, constituting a cosmology). In Australia it was believed that Ancestor Spirits formed, named and breathed life and language into all that exists in the known Universe. This is the touchstone of all Aboriginal culture and religious practice.

This divine inheritance is known as The Law. It is continuously being re-enacted in ritual and ceremony.

Aboriginal people recognize that they have a spark of their Spirit Ancestors within them and that give them an unbroken link to the Creation Epoch, The Dreamtime or The Dreaming. Every dawn is the Dawn of the Universe!

Western Culture lost a HUGE healing tool, when that re-enactment through ritual and ceremony was dropped. We are collectively sliding into ever greater imbalance. We do not pay the debts of our Ancestors, let alone address the way we ourselves exploit and abuse resources and other life forms. This attitude, some have named it Wetiko or Windigo, is like a virus. It infects everything we do.

We need to 'go back to the egg', or the drawing board if you prefer. In addition to The Law as we know it (a set of rules reinforced by Law Enforcement) we need to recover our Original Instructions and learn to live without cannibalizing the life force of others. Doing this requires fearless use of our imagination!

MEDICINE OF THE IMAGINATION

 Shapeshifting   (80 x 100 cm)   Acrylic paint on canvas    £525

It is a shocking fact that it was only at the referendum of 27 May 1967 (my year of birth!) that Aboriginal residents of Australia were granted full legal status as Australian citizens. This is mind boggling when one considers that Aboriginal Australian peoples occupied the land for tens of thousands of years before white Europeans arrived on the scene. 

Traditional Aboriginal people were multilingual. Originally there were around 300 (possibly even 500) Aboriginal languages. Today these languages face the threat of extinction. Many languages are weakening and no longer spoken to or understood by the younger generation.

Following colonization successive white governments regarded the Aboriginal societies as uncivilized and brutal practices were committed. From widespread (I typed 'whitespread' - a Freudian but VERY interesting slip!) massacres in some regions, to government policies of 'protection', where children were forcibly removed from their parents and relocated in orphanages, missions and foster homes. These children were then indoctrinated in the values of the dominant culture. A handful of these children - now known as 'The Stolen Generations' - have tracked down their parents, but thousands never returned to their homes. This has led to an incalculable loss; whole generations torn from their families and alienated from their own cultures.

SWALLOWING AND REGURGITATING  (61 X 46 cm)   £399 >>

 

Christian missionaries of various denominations played their role in this. They demanded that Aboriginal people drop their 'pagan beliefs' in favour of the Christian faith. Though unspeakable harm was done, some Aboriginal people today have found a way of incorporating their understanding of Christianity into their Dreamtime cosmology in ways they experience as positive and complimentary.

In some places it was accepted as 'Whitefella Dreaming': 'God must have made the Spirit Ancestors because he made everything'...

There is a lot of healing, apology and reconciliation work to be done on these issues. Even when the people concerned die, their children and grandchildren carries these issues, the trauma, the unhealed pain and anger.

I envision a world where this work, on a global and cross-cultural scale, is taken seriously and performed ceremonially, at regular intervals, involving as many people as possible.

TRIBUTE TO THE MIMI SPIRITS    (80 x 100 cm)    £575   

Mimi figures are small stick-like spirits. They are said to live in bush and rock crevices in Arnhem Land, in the very North of Australia. They are regarded as great artists because they like painting their portraits in red ochre on rocks!

Mimi spirits are not Creator Beings, but they taught the ancestors of the present-day Gunwinggu tribe the art of painting, as well as "how to cook and prepare kangaroo meat"!

Mimi spirits can be enchanting creatures, but one must realize they can be malevolent as well as benevolent.

As a painter I wished to create a tribute to the Mimi spirits for giving human beings the art of painting!

Before the coming of Aboriginal people they had human forms. We find similar references in mythology from all over the world: once upon a time, during Mythical Time, the gods still walked the Earth and the boundary between animals and humans was not yet fixed. Shapeshifting was the norm in those days.... in our time it is a rare art!

Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

 

 COMMUNICATING   (80 x 100 cm)    £650

 DAUGHTER OF A RIVER  (80 x 100 cm)   £545

 IMBEROMBERA    SOLD

 

This painting was inspired by being pregnant for the third time and attending playgroups with my two toddlers. Many mums there were pregnant too and the unborn babies seemed to be communicating and become friends well before birth!

(Many of those unborn babies were still friends at secondary school, a decade and a half later!)

Animism acknowledges the indwelling spirits in EVERYTHING and also out non-human ancestors such as animals, trees the elements, or features in the landscape. This painting is about a woman whose mother is a river. 

In dreams I often shape shift and explore such states: I meet my Mountain Father, the Great Forest Mother and I fly around as an Apprentice of the Wind...

Imberombera is the Great Mother, the All Mother. Sometimes she is referred to as Grandmother, because for Australian Aboriginal people to call someone 'old' or 'grandfather' is a sign of great respect. (Not an insult or put-down, as it can be in our culture).

(Read more in the text box below!)

 

Imberombera had a great stomach in which she carried many children. She wore a headband with yams hanging from it. She also carried a digging-stick. As she walked the country, she planted yams and left spirit children (i.e. souls of babies waiting to be born) in waterholes. She told her spirit children where to live and what languages to speak. These spirit children were seen as the ancestors of the different tribes who came to inherit and inhabit the land

One interesting detail is that it was believed that the Rainbow Serpent could take on different guises. And that Imberombera was one of her guises. For that reason my painting is 'framed' by the Rainbow Serpent appearing along the edges of the canvass Another detail is that in the painting I have given Imberombera six fingers on both hands. It was believed that this was a sign of someone being 'not quite human', but an incarnation of the 'Divine'. It is interesting to note that this same idea appears in Mesoamerica. Gods are depicted with six fingers!

THE GULOI TREE OF LIFE  80 x 100 cm  £585

This painting was inspired by rock art made by the Ngarinyin people.  The so called 'Guloi' tree is a native plum tree.

The single footprint at the very bottom has ten toes. It symbolizes the track of an individual ready to journey along the pathway of knowledge.

The foot is attached to the tree by several roots that symbolize family blood and family connections. Education comes from 'climbing the tree' and is represented by rings on the trunk. Rain descends from the sky onto the tree. This symbolises the arrival of monsoon rains, when lightning triggers the ripe fruit to swell and burst, then crack open and release new seed.

For the Ngarinyin people this is the Tree of Life that feeds everyone. It symbolizes the responsibility they have to new life, their duty to set young people on the right pathway to tradition and wisdom. I explored this in a larger series of paintings dedicated to the world tree (or cosmic tree) in all its manifestations.

See the Sacred Trees page:                        SACRED TREES

 <<  JURTUS  (30.5 x 40.5 cm)   £195

Jurtus are tiny spirit children who descent to earth in raindrops, looking for a human mother. Similarly there are Wilmi: spirals of mist are seen as evidence of children to be born gliding along. People living on the coast believed that the spirits of unborn babies reside in shallow waters and coral reefs at low tide. There was a very general belief that spirits of children to be born resided in waterholes (see "Billabong").

SPIRIT CHILD RIDING DREAM SERPENT   SOLD >>

 

 NGALYOD GIVING BIRTH  (61 X 46 cm)   £299 >>

The 'Daughters of the Rainbow Serpent' are not unlike the sirens of European mythology. They are said to inhabit rivers and creeks. They are lovely but can also be lethal! However feminine and enchanting they may look, they are alien and dangerous creatures. Woe betides a man who falls in love with one! Like Homer's sirens they lure men to their death with songs that weave a spell...

For me our Honeymoon was a life-changing event. For a person with a degree in Fine Art & Art History, it changed my lenses of perception forever! 

Recommended book, from which some of the information on this page was sourced: Voices of the First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal Dreamtime by Robert Lawlor, Inner Traditions, 1992

Here is the website of a Local Indigenous Art Gallery in Darwin Northern Territory:

GALLERY

For a thought-provoking article about Australian Aboriginal Art I recommend "10 Things You Should Know About Aboriginal Art" by Jessica Poulter

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