Saturday, December 31, 2005

Watch the Garden Grow

As the moon rose over the hills that shelter Riversleigh, I made my way down the path, past the grove of silver birches, towards the glasshouses where dream seeds had laid waiting for residents willing to believe that all you have to do is lovingly plant your dreams and they will grow.

The rising full moon shone brightly, filling the glass house with soft, filtered light and I could see that many, trusting people had been here.

As I stopped to look at the tables I could see traces of potting mix everywhere. I smiled, thinking that the gruffy head gardener might not be pleased in the morning. When I checked the wooden box from which seed envelopes had been taken and saw what had been done with them, jade teardrop seeds welled in my eyes.

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I took a jade teardrop seed and gently held it in my fingers, caressing it, talking to it of the joy of nourishing creativity. Carefully I dug a hole with my forefinger and placed the seed in to the rich black soil, aware that this precious droplet of joy would thrive at Riversleigh. Within moments healthy young shoots appeared and began to sing in chorus

le Enchateur's been a planting
le Enchanteur's got green fingers
watch her garden grow

A smile crept across my face as the cheeky plants sang and danced so happily. "This has to be bliss!" I thought.

Holding the dream that I had not vocalised close to my heart, I wrapped my cloak back around me and walked back towards the manor, sure that my dream seeds were going to fill not only my dreams, but the hopes and dreams of many others.

The door to my room

Since the door to my room seems to be quite unusual.
I thought I would share it with you.
the Unicorn seems to speak to me not in words but she
seems to know what I need, and I can here her wisper
conforting thoughts to me.

the door is a piece of leather , I used sharpies to draw the lines. The unicorn is hand drawn using gel pens , I use an ink pad to color the hallway

Butterfly Wishes

I went to the greenhouse tonight to collect my packet of seeds.
It is already dark out. but the path is lite
I walked slowly , enjoying the night.
There are so many sounds surounding me.
Some I know, but many are new to me.
I feel safe, proteceted from all that could harm me.
I soon arrive at the green house,
Inside there are many unusual plants and flowers.
I see the box of blank seed packets , setting on a table.
I choose my seeds, wondering what might be inside.
Being very carefull to steer clear of a plant that appears to be inching closer and closer to my hand I move to the other side of the table.
Watching to make sure that I am not near anything else that might want a taste of me.
I slowly open the package and find 5 seeds shaped like butterflies.
They are gold in color. I have Butterfly Wishes, a very special seed.
These seeds must be planted in the same pot so watching where I am reaching I find a large square shape pot decortated with butterflies. This will be perfect for my seeds.
I gather up some of the special soil from the bag beside the table .
As I carefully plant each seed I must make a wish,
I wished for Joy, Peace, love, hope, and creativity.
I added some water and being careful to avoid the plant that seems to think I would make a tasty lunch . I head back to my room.
I place it on my desk. so that I can see it everyday.
It will need much love and attention to grow throughout the next year.


So early.Why did I wake so early! The roller coaster ride I had been on overtook me again as I struggled to recall what day it was, indeed where I was, and above all what pressing commitments might be on today's agenda. Then, along with the morning sunshing filtering into my window, it washed over me, and I stretchedwith relief and anticipation. Relished the coming day instead of coming to grips with the old and never-ending " shoulds" that had come to relentlessly dictate it.

My only " task" if indeed one could call it that,was to select a seed from the green house, and plant it.Watch over it. Sense it growing and listen as it broke through the soil and sprouted its own tentative contact with the world.

The shed door was ajar and I could see that earlier arrivals to Riversleigh had already been. Several newly planted pots testified to this, and a scattering of compost over the floor. The seeds to choose from were arranged in delightful packets in a quaint old drawer divider. The only dilemma was which to choose from the many on display, and more importantly,and perhaps quizically, why.

Then, in the corner of the shed, I spied what seemed to be a small lemon tree, struggling to survive in apparent neglect. I had always wanted a lemon tree, and this desire had recently been reignited by Lois' evocative description of her lemon tree. It seemed to speak of strength and endurance and courage tempered with its sweet blossom and the joy it could give when it bore fruit. If not for the famed lemon butter, then in the twist to enhance an occasional martini!

Hoping that Sybil would overlook my deviation from her instructions, I took the little plant, and repotted it into a larger terracotta pot, choosing a sunny spot in the greenhouse until it was strong enough to plant out. What pleasure that simple action gave me. I bedded it down with hope and resolve and watered it with optimism and a firm belief in serendipity both for its future, and mine. Its gift to me already was joy and a New Year of promise.

Planting my seeds at Riversleigh

My attic is a perfect perch to look out over Riversleigh and its grounds. Papered with flower sprigged wallpaper and yellow curtains at the window, it is a sunny, airy room with plenty of floor space. There's a sofa under the window where I can sit and dream and read, and a bowl of russet apples nearby.
I have unpacked a few precious things that I brought with me - the photo album of our children growing up, a handmade little dream box and a lovely plant pot, (Christmas presents from my daughters), an old wooden flute and of course, my travelling art bag with supplies for drawing, painting and collage.
I went down to the greenhouse to collect my seed packet. Inside I found three tiny brown seeds, so small they looked like specks of earth in my hand. I filled the beautiful pot with good rich soil and planted my tiny seeds of hope. I have so many hopes and dreams to feed it with - hopes for a peaceful world for my grandchildren to grow up in, dreams of the art I will create this year with my paints and words.
I placed the pot under the sunny attic window and gave the tiny seeds their first nourishment with my gratitude for this haven that I have come to.

Mystery Acorns

Before starting our quest for the magic Faraway Tree we've been invited to go down to the greenhouse to pick out a blank seed packet from a box on the table there. Our task is now to ponder what sort of seeds are in the packet we choose and to make a graphic and label for the package. Then we are to plant them in the pots we find there in the greenhouse.

I slipped down there this morning after breakfast, the morning mist already burned away in the golden heat of the sun. The greenhouse is like any other, overly warm thanks to the glass roof that lets the sunlight in, and the air is wonderfully perfumed with the mixed scents of a myriad of flowers. Everywhere one looks there are flowers, all different kinds: daisies, foxglove, delphiniums, carnations, roses, snapdragons, you name it. They're in pots of varying sizes, in urns, on stands, on tables in cartons, in boxes. They're every color of the rainbow. One could easily imagine sprites or fairies here darting amongst them.

I went to the old weathered, yet still sturdy wooden table where the box of mystery seed packets lay. They were all a blank white. I picked one up and gently felt it between my thumbs and fingers, trying to acertain a recognizable shape. There were only two seeds in the packet I chose. They weren't tiny, tiny, like I expected, but were big enough to fit easily one in each palm. Upon further fingering I made out the shape of one seed, then the other. Blinking in surprise, my mouth forming a small "O," I realized what I had chosen. Acorns! Mystery acorns.

Opening the package, I tipped the contents into my right palm, looking at the golden brown seeds. Looking at them they looked like ordinary, everyday acorns, but knowing Sybil, the Enchantress, I knew they couldn't be. These were magic seeds. Following her wishes, I found two medium-sized pots, a trowel and began filling the two with the nutrient-rich soil I found in a sack nearby on the floor. Gently placing an acorn in each pot, I covered them with the dark soil and found a watering can which I filled, so that I could water my new seeds. Finding a spare box I gently placed my pots inside so I could carry them to my garret room in the Manor without mishap. Once inside my room, spacious enough and well-lit with a good window to serve my needs, I put the pots on the floor by the window, where the sun slants in for the better part of the day. Then I went to my desk and computer and got to work on my graphic.

This is what I came up with:

Seeds of the Future

The Dandelion is an unremarkable weed with one of the most beautiful seeds that I know. I remember the thrill of watching a little child holding the 'clock' in their hand, blowing and watching the seeds go flying off into the air.

My seed packet carries some seeds such as the dandelion seed. My wish is that they fly off where they need to go, (wherever the wind shall blo') embedding themselves firmly in my pysche, giving growth to the untapped gifts within.
I shall water them with love and care for myself, and the manure......dedication and enthusiasm for the journey to The Magic Faraway Tree and my other creative pursuits.

I have never liked New Year Resolutions or been dedicated to thinking about them. However, I love this idea of planting seeds. Thanks to L'Enchanteur, her inspiration continues to energize me.

Flight Plant seeds

According to the packet, if kept in the sunlight and fed daily
with a good story, this plant will be fully mature in less than two
weeks. The small pink flowers can be made into a tea, and the
drinker of the tea will have the gift of flight for 24 hours.
This plant is a perennial, and the flowers may be dried and stored in
a tin for later use, as well. These may come in handy in a pinch.

Pedalling My Way to Riversleigh

Well, I have arrived. I had wondered if I’d make it, but I did, so here I am. Moonbeam, my favorite donkey, was off helping someone else, and the camels had all gone home to the desert. I didn’t know what to do, so after some thought, I got out my old bicycle, cleaned it, and oiled it up. It would be my transportation to Riversleigh Manor.

I was excited as I started off with my pannier bags packed and my handlebar bell polished and tinkling as sweet a tune as I’d heard in a while. It wasn’t long though before my legs, unused as they were to pedaling long distances, began to complain. It helped to alternate; walk awhile, pushing my two wheeled chariot, and then to ride awhile, until my leg muscles screamed and begged for pity. Let me tell you, I took a lot of rest stops along the way.

My first view of Riversleigh Manor delighted me with its old world opulence, a picture postcard that I could walk into and experience for myself. And I was going to stay here for a while. What could be better?


I was surprised, when I entered and checked in to learn that a room had been reserved for me, and just as I had requested, it had a bay window and right outside, a venerable old oak tree. My dream had come true in that I could step from my room, through the window and onto a sturdy branch. From there, if I wanted to, I could hide in the foliage, and be alone with my thoughts. I tried it and yes, it was an easy step from the window and into the branches. From there, I could see for miles and watch the comings and goings. For as long as I stayed here, this would be my writing nook. It would be from here that the ideas would spring. Down below, leaning against the trunk was my old bicycle, ready to take me away when I was ready. I don’t know when that would be though, because this was to be my Shangri La.

I unpacked my bags and settled in, and right away my Muse tuned in to my wavelength. This was going to be an eventful soujourne.

Elusive Lover
The breeze touches my face and ruffles my hair.
Like the gentle caress of a lover
she soothes and excites.
I reach for her hand,
but shy, she dances away.
Back again, she touches and teases,
playing games with my heart.

I climb back into my room. It’s time to meet my fellow travelers … it’s time to seek the faraway tree.


My New Year Seed

Oh my! What a seed awaited me in the packet I selected. I've never seen one this huge! I hope the pot I put it in is big enough.

The seed I received is perfect for me. It looks like a little clay ball. I have been enjoying playing with clay recently, so this seed will likely be the beginning of further clay adventures.

Being as large at is it, there's so much more it will hold for me in the coming year. Some of which I hope will include:
• Increased time for creativity and indulging my imagination
• A year filled with enough joy and laughter to balance out any pain or sorrow that is inevitable
• Career challenges that excite me rather than stress me out
• Find an in-person community to inspire me and befriend me as well as my online communities do
• More time, and motivation, to get outside and enjoy nature...ever with my camera with me to capture the beauty
• Find a balance between work time, home time, family time, partner time, me time

This is a lot for this seed to accomplish, but I have faith in it. It's a strong seed. I only hope it will sprout. Here in the shade of my treehouse where gentle breezes blow, I'm not sure if the conditions are condusive to sprouting. I'll tend to it carefully every day and adjust its location for the greatest amount of sunshine, warmth, and rain. Maybe under my watchful care, the seed will know it is in a loving home and will easily open up for me bearing goodness, joy, and miracles.

Shirt Pocket Seeds

Packet Dream Seeds

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Christmas is over, time to be free
To join my friends at Riversleigh.

Sybil says my name's on the door-
( Is this the Sybil I met before?)

Will I run into Faucon, Lois and Vi?
Will Gail appear and Imogen drop by?

I throw my bag on the bed with glee
Kick off my shoes immediately.

Stretch my arms towards the tree
Framing my window. It beckons me.

Or so I thought- but who can say,
I'll look more closely another day.

For now I'm just happy to stop. Be me,
And join the gang at Riversleigh!

Friday, December 30, 2005

My Quarters

As there are only 25 rooms in this rambling estate and more than 25 guests, I found my perfect home just outside the Manor. Wandering through the woods, drawn there by the glorious elms Imogen pointed out to me, I found the home of my dreams. Here I can live right among nature. My windows look out upon the birds, squirrels, and other great and wonderful creatures I'm sure live in this forest.

The tree house image I found at
The sunset photo is one I took.

Under The Pepper Tree

I have been wandering around this wonderful old mansion. It has so many nooks and crannies and everyone seems to be settling in very comfortably.

I have been down to the kitchen and experienced the ghostly presence of all those truly comforting women who had controlled the household over the years. They cooked, worked and gossiped their way through the long days, keeping the members of the houshold well fed and nurtured. It looks to me as though Faucon is going to look after us now with his delectable specialities.

Wandering through the gardens, I found my favourite place - a space to sit and ponder.

The Pepper Tree

Memories came flooding back

-The Pepper Tree-

Years long past

The scrunchy feel of the pink paper casings

The fragrance of the pepper corns

The feathery leaves

And weeping branches touching the ground

It was a safe and private space

Where a little girl could play

For anyone who wants to take a rest, to get away and have some space, wander on down and I can promise you it is worth a visit.

Planting Seeds

Now before heading off on any adventures up the Faraway Tree there are some chores to be done.

I want you to slip down to the Greenhouse, near the barn where the Gypsies are encamped. Choose a blank seed packet from the box on the table.

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Have a reflective moment and consider what you hope will blossom from your work at Riversleigh. Design the seed packet, label it and plant one of Enchanteur's dream seeds into a pot filled with some of the composted soil they have down in the greenhouse.

Go out and buy a small pot and plant some seeds. Put this in a sunny spot and ake care of it over the coming months. Keep a record of the seed's journey. At the same time look for signs that the seed you planted in the pot at Riversleigh is flourishing as well.

P.S. This would be a perfect side activity for your Science class Rhonda. They could also plant some of Enchanteur's dream seeds.

A Challenge

Here is a thought inspired my Monica's drawing,
and in tune with my ceiling 'fake' window on a
sloped ceiling at Sakin'el.

It would make an incredible children's book to allow
them to look at the world through the garret dormer
of the Riversleigh Manor. This could be a collaborate
effort of many here, with me [being the only guy ;-)],
assembling and publishing the book.
The purpose would be to encourage kids
to look at the world from a 'different view',
and to write about it.

Imagine a large format, spiral bound book.
Each set of facing pages would be framed
by a six(6) pane dormer window . The left scene
would be a real or imagined view of the world --
some of Monica's tree photos perhaps or one
of Aletta's fantasy scenes of dragons. On the right
page, three of the panes would be filled in with a
variety of items -- quote of the day, a cookie recipe,
a little poem, etc. The other three panes would be
left open for reader entry of 'thought of the day',
last night's dream', a crayon drawing inspired by the
'window' scene. I figure about 180 sets would be ideal,
allowing for an entry every other day -- a living
journal of sorts.

I could use help in collecting thoughts, craft ideas, sayings, etc.
to put on the pages -- hopefully inspired by our days
here at the Manor. It would have to be in B&W, though
the cover can be Color. Hopefully, everyone here could
contribute something -- possible proceeds going to
Soul Food, of course.

Possible title:

"Gable Eyes of Riversleigh"


Sample Cooking

Here is the menu from a little supper
we prepared for a small party last fall:

I will prepare six portions -- bring your own wine

Sakin'el by Twilight

Dinner Menu: [hosted by Papa faucon and Auntie Em]

Goddess Wish
Delicate white fish and green moon pearls
in a scrumptious, piquant white sauce.
An old Spanish recipe with a touch of alchemy
so that there are no carbs, no fat and only 60 calories.
hot fresh-baked bread

Solstice Salad
This and That and Wizard Dressing too
Chicken Sakin'el
Boneless breast braised in Secret Salsa
Tegsh Taters
A whisper of herbs tells of Her presence
Veggies Vlad
Fresh from the garden and flame
with Transylvanian sausage

Desert (choice)
Papa Cake
The simple made cheery --
sure, ala mode'
Emmie's Triple Chocolate Terror
More calories that the rest of the dinner

Assorted beverages

We are Here

Doors and Rooms that move.
Windows that Talk.
Trees that Listen and share
the wisdom of ages.
We are in a magical place
A good place.
All of our needs are met here.
Our rooms seem to change to suite our needs.
and our Emotions.
When we need a calm place to Collect our thoughts
we find it there.
When we need creative ideas and inspiration we find it.
Riversleigh Manor is a good place to be
A safe haven for all of us to grow and learn from each other.
It is our home and we are all family.
Carolyn H

The Holy Grail

I'm sitting in the loungeroom with my family. Some of them I have met for the first time this week. But I feel like I have known them forever. It is a good feeling and I am inspired to be creative.

When I was a small child I used to daydream a lot. Still do. There's nothing the matter with it, just that sometimes I miss important bits of conversations. I need to daydream, the same as I need to breathe.

The Magic Faraway Tree collection was my favourite. I wanted to be there with the youngsters, I wanted to meet Dame Wash-a-Lot and hear her chatter as I climbed the tree to another world. For this world is worthy of escaping...sometimes.

I muse upon the tree, the lands which lie above, the Golden Grove and those who will be travelling up the tree with me.

I know now that I can write.

Thankyou Heather.

Been to the Gypsy Camp with my sketch book

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I have just come back to the house after having spent a couple of hours at the Gypsy Camp sketching. I couldn't wait to show Shiloh that a caravan is camped alongside the White Birch Lady and that a raven perched itself on her boughs while I sat sketching.

Now I think I will slip into the kitchen and see what faucon has brewing. At the very least I expect to be able to make myself a sandwich and sit with a cup of tea in the library. The library is filled with all those lovely old wooden shelves and has ladders that slide along tracks. From what I have seen the collection is just perfect. Lots of mythology and fairy stories to keep me occupied for hours.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Strange Magic - Windows that Talk

This is the oddest, most eloquent
dormer window I have ever encountered
since childhood tales! This one sings, talks, and
tells stories. It even made me get
out my very dusty coloured
chalk pastels and insisted I draw it's
image for everyone!?!?
(Hmmm...not sure
about the art but it sure looks cosy! Must be
something in the water around these parts... ;-} )
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.


I received my invitation from Riversleigh Manor
It came in a nice envelope adressed to
Lois Daley "Port Melbourne Muse"
Alias " Muse of the Sea".
On the return address "If not at home" return to
Riversleigh Manor ( Literary House)
Deep in the English Countryside
Somewhere near Kent

Ok I thought, this sounds nice
BUT...There was a lingering doubt at the back of my mind
The Name Riversleigh...I had heard it before....
BUT where ??????
I thought it over on Thursday night,it wandered around my mind
as I slept....this morning
a late Christmas card arrived for me from a volunteer I had worked
with many years ago.
Her name was Eve ,she was from Poland.she spoke the Jewish language

I had met her when I did a locum position at a care facility
way back in 1990
That was it.....Riversleigh Manor
SPECIAL ACCOMODATION HOME (SAH) they are called in the trade.

Especially for the very very wealthy to have some respite
also for those receiving rehabilitation after an operation.

Now R.M. had every thing laid on
Chef, 5 course meals,hairdresser,massage therapist,wine with meals
separate on-suites with balcony etc etc
Cost then in 1990 was about $ 900.00 per week probably
closer to $1800.00.
This surely had no relevance to OUR Riversleigh Manor

NO servants ...did she say NO servants
NO Chefs.......did she say No chefs
NO one to do any chores...did she really say this.
NO laundry help...did she mean this.
NO Director of Nursing (Thank god) only a Motherly woman, how lovely
Now this Riversleigh bears no resemblance to the one in my story
probably when they named it by this name (the owners had never heard of the one down country Kent way)

So after this bit of prattle
I am off to pack my bag
and find my map to the Enchanted Golden Seed Grove.
Too hot to travel today, I think
So will set off early on Saturday Morning
& meander at my leisure
So looking foward to meeting up with you all,it will be so exciting.
I'm sure Enid Blyton never had this much fun girls.

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 30th Dec 2005.

The Lady In White

We aren't embarking (ha, ha--em"bark"ing) on our tree journey for a few more days yet, but I still want to do a few tree-related entries for my own personal pleasure in preparation and in anticipation for the coming quest. I recently found an old copy of compiled fairy tales on a thick and low tree stump while walking down a narrow dirt path through the Golden Seed Grove not far from Riversleigh Manor. I don't know who left it or why, but I'm glad they did. I've always loved myths, legends, fairy tales and other folklore. And it's always a delight when I discover new tales I've never known about before. I'll take good care of this newfound treasure of mine.

The cover's gone and so is the title page. The pages are yellowed with age and crackle as they are turned, so I had to be careful as I perused the book. I sat down on the tree stump as I began noting the Table of Contents. My treasure, I saw, is divided into national, continental and cultural categories, such as Africa, China, Denmark, Holland and Native America to name several. As it is a habit of mine I turned to the back of the book, being mindful of its age, interested in finding out any other information I could about the author or editor, publisher and the contents. What I found was an appendix of the tales, which further categorized them by the type of tree involved in the different stories. My treasure, then, is a book of tree fairy tales or folklore! I thought excitedly to myself. Never before had I heard of such a thing.

Turning gently back to the Table of Contents, the yellowed pages crackling, I ran my index finger down the first page till I stopped at a title that caught my eye: The Lady in White. A Czechoslavakian children's story. I noted the page number: 213, found it and began to read.

The Lady In White
Every day, from spring until fall, young Bethushka took her flock of sheep to graze near a grove of birches. In her pocket was a spindle for spinning flax into thread. But she much preferred to roam and explore in the woods. Sometimes she went down to see what new wildflowers had bloomed in the meadow. And occasionally she would make up a little dance, just for the fun of it, and twirled about under the trees.

One spring day a beautiful woman suddenly appeared before her. She had long blond hair and was dressed in a silky white dress and she wore a wreath of flowers on her head.

"I see you like to dance!" said the woman.

"Oh yes," said Bethuska, "I could dance the whole day! But my mother had given me this flax to spin."

"Tomorrow is another day," said the lady, "Come, dance with me! I will teach you some steps!"

So Bethushka lept up and joined the lady. Laughing and singing, they danced through the trees and out into the field. So light were their steps that the grass was neither trampled nor bent. Near evening the lady vanished as suddenly as she had appeared.

Bethushka gathered her flock and headed homeward. When her mother asked about her spinning, she pretended to have misplaced the spool. She said nothing about the lady in white.

The next day Bethuska went back to the same place, this time determined to do her spinning. Again the lady appeared. "Will you dance?"

"I cannot. I must do my spinning. Or else my mother will be angry with me."

"If you will dance with me, I'll help you to spin."

So once again, Bethuska joined the lady and together they danced through the day. Near sunset, the beautiful lady smiled, waved her arms and lo!, like magic, the spool was filled with fine linen thread. That evening Bethuska's mother was pleased to see the thread. But still Bethuska said nothing about about the dancing.

The third day the Lady in White was waiting for Bethushka near the woods. They danced as never before--pirouetting and curtseying, skipping and swooping, whirling and laughing, skimming over the ground as lightly as the wind. When the day was over, the Lady in White spun the flax again.

"You are a fine dancer, Bethushka! I have enjoyed myself!"--and she handed Bethusha a pouch with a mysterious pattern embroidered on the outside. "Take good care of this," said the lady. Bethushka peeked inside and saw that it was filled with dried yellow birch leaves.

When Bethuska arrived home, she gave her mother the new spool of thread. This time her mother looked at it more carefully.

"Where did you get this from? Surely you did not spin it yourself?"

So Betushka told the whole story of meeting up with the beautiful lady dressed in the long white dress.

"Why, Bethushka--that was the Wild Lady of the Birch Grove! It's very good luck to meet up with her!"

"She taught me some wonderful dances!" exclaimed Bethushka "And look--she gave me this pretty little pouch filled up with old birch leaves!" But when Bethushka emptied out the pouch for her mother, her mouth fell open in astonishment. The birch leaves were made of solid gold.

Once done and smiling at my good fortune at having found the compilation of stories, I stood and made my way back to the Manor and my garret.

My little corner of the world

Ah, the warm sun feels good on my face after all that gray, cold weather back in Kansas. This looks like just the spot to sit and sort myself out with a hot cup of tea. I will rest a bit before unpacking my art supplies--I've a feeling I will be using them a bit more this journey, and a little less work on the old keyboard...any of you are welcome to stop by for a cuppa and the view, just knock--but if I don't answer, you'll know I'm hard at work or taking a nap on the lovely overstuffed lounger next to the water garden!


Sitting in this room of my dreams at Riversleigh, I meditate on what is, now. Before I go on any journey I must read and I am aware my mind is partly obscured by the crags of superstition. I look outside at green boughs, swaying innocently in the slight breeze, and doing nothing at all but being what they are, shelter for humans and animals, shade from the sun for the earth and its inhabitants. Generous boughs like loving arms, just doing what they do, because that is wise. The boughs bend in the breeze, and only break when they obey the natural cycle. No more, no less. I saw some old despatches pinned to the bark of one tree, "This tree means death! This tree is cursed! This tree must go! This tree is a nuisance! This tree drops leaves! This tree hides the robbers of the wood!" These were ancient signs, on faded paper and animal skin. The ink had faded and run into rivulets, so disappeared just as I read the words. There was no more.
(click for Pan Mythology.)

Pan, the ancient God of eternal youth, the green bough, the song of nature, the bounty of the woods for man and creature. Yet he became the horned one, for reasons that are no longer important in this time and space. All eras have their confusions and oddities. To some Pan might have been a shape shifter, a menace, a conjurer to those who misunderstood the purpose and magic of the God. Green meant "uninitiated, foolish, immature, artless" to those who couldn't sense the meaning. And it's no wonder, when the gap between the sense of life was cleaved, division became the way, not the means. All or nothing, extremes, labels, like those on the tree through the ages, branded it, made it into something it wasn't. Yet the truth was always lying in wait, for those who sought it. And it matters not, just that it be known. Pan is green, piping through the wood audaciously, to those who would see him. To others he is a menace, seen through superstitious, fearful eyes. So much "truth" is just perception. I must ask the right questions and be careful of how I perceive this journey.

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Not The GreenMan

You may see me wandering about beneath the trees,
my restless spirit escaping from the swing or kitchen nook;
but also by habit -- for I would serve to protect all
the maids within the house -- and my staff is more
than just for teasing flowers...

so, I don't wish to be mistaken for the 'greenman',
of which some refer or seek or dream --
and so that you may not be confused,
I offer this from another blog last spring.
Consider a leaf …
a spring gifted green leaf,
one of jillions that grab and tease
the eye and mem'ried soul.
It is difficult not to see green …
but do you understand it?

You do not see the leaf at all,
but the reflection of light energy
gifted by the sun.
The plant absorbs the rest
called magenta in color compliment,
and transforms it into stored energy
for later life and contemplation.
Thus the essence of a plant
is un-green in truth;
a color shadow of what you see.

In the splendor of fall's death
the green seems to disappear,
but it is only changed in nature
such that it is absorbed by the leaf
and the magenta reflects its soul to us
in gold and rust and amber hues.
By this rebirth cycle we can believe
and ever know of the soul hidden
in the blinding light of day.

Now consider Divinity
and soul, mind and spirit!
Need I go on?
The next time you see stranger
do not be blinded by the reflection
of form and angle and pigmentation;
but imagine the soul you cannot see
but know is truly there by inference.

Here too we are blinded by the Light of God
made manifest in thee and me and all,
while only our soul can perceive
the color shadows of infinity.
Imagine with me a vibration in attention
where all you see is this real soul self,
and the mysterious physical being
is hidden and can only be perceived
by becoming human …

and you ask why you are here.

Green Man ATC

Reading the myth about the Green Man reminded me of an ATC that I made a couple of weeks ago.
The image is from the web.

Lovely painting in my room...

Now that there is daylight I see that there is a lovely painting in my room. I would like to share it with you all. It brings a smile to my face every time I look at it.

John William Waterhouse
Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May, 1909

The Green Man: The Spirit of Trees

"To walk among the trees is to reconnect with our deep ancestral roots in the forest. To look through the spiraling branches of a giant redwood is to contemplate a living mandala; to gaze at the colors of a maple in autumn is to witness the ever-changing canvas of a sublime artist. To inhale the fragrance of a pine and cedar is to absorb the essences of nature. Trees can help clear our minds from the frenzy of our fast track lives, inspire our thoughts, calm our emotions, and fill us with serenity. They are elders on this planet who embody an ineffable wisdom that they will share with us if we but seek it out. I have found that just a short while spent in the presence of certain trees can make me feel soothed and relaxed, as if the tree itself is gently helping me put my fears and anxieties into a broader perspective. Recent scientific studies have confirmed what many of us know intuitively--that trees can reduce the stress in our lives. My own research has shown that trees not only take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen; they also act as purifiers by absorbing the negative emotional energy given off by human beings and transmuting it into healthy positive energy. They breathe in noise and breathe out silence; they inhale our pain and exhale peace. They take into themselves all the cacophony of the world of humans and machines and turn it into a dance of wind on branches, the swaying of green canopies, sun dapple on leaves, and all the joyous movement of light."
~Mara Freeman, Kindling of the Celtic Spirit

Come 2006 I'm going on an adventure, one I hope to see through completion at a relatively steady pace. This new adventure is a quest for the Faraway Tree, a magical tree with new and unusual realms and characters found high in its branches (courtesy of the Soul Food Café). I don't know whom I'll meet or what I'll find along the way, but I'm excited to find out. I'm excited to learn more about trees and their mythology. I'm excited to discover what spirits reside within these forest sentinels. I'm excited for and hopeful of finding peace and new wisdom amongst the trees I visit along the way.

My Celtic ancestors loved and respected trees. They revered them. Trees or tree-spirits figured prominently in many of their fables and other folklore. Forests were their earliest cathedrals and were places of much sacredness. The druids, the scholars, high priests and judges of the Celtic peoples were also known as "Children of the Oak" because they often worshipped in stands of oak. I'm also excited in getting to know more about my ancestors and drawing closer to them by pursuing this theme.

The Green Man (or Green Woman)--who I know as a Celtic nature spirit--figures prominently in tree mythology everywhere. He/she is a cross-cultural being (from India to Japan to the British Isles and so on) who seems to have had a major significance to the ancients of long ago. He/she was a figure of fertility, of Nature (naturally) and of elemental power. The Green Man is sometimes viewed as the Celtic Holly King who dies during Yuletide to be reborn as the Sun god. He also was thought of as "the eternal male energy in the sacred Tree of Life." (The Tree of Life, of course, is the tree that offers eternal life.) I know the Green Man best from the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

    He was got up in green from head to heel:
    a tunic worn tight, tucked to his ribs;
    and a rich cloak cast over it, covered inside
    with a fine fur lining, fitted and sewn
    with ermine trim that stood out in contrast
    from his hair where his hood lay folded flat;
    and handsome hose of the same green hue
    which clung to his calves, with clustered spurs
    of bright gold; beneath them striped embroidered silk
    above his bare shanks, for he rode shoeless.
    His clothes were all kindled with a clear light like emeralds:
    His belt buckles sparkled, and bright stones were set
    in rich rows arranged up and down
    himself and his saddle. Worked in the silk
    were too many trifles to tell the half of:
    embroidered birds, butterflies, and other things
    in a gaudy glory of green and inlaid gold.
    And the bit and bridle, the breastplate on the horse,
    and all its tackle were trimmed with green enamel,
    even the saddlestraps, the stirrups on which he stood,
    and the bows of his saddle with its billowing skirts
    which glimmered and glinted with green jewels.
    The stallion that bore him was the best of its breed it was plain,
    a green horse great and strong,
    that sidled, danced and strained,
    but the bridle-braid led it along,
    turning as it was trained.
We had to read this narrative poem(?) for my World Lit. class and I quite enjoyed the tale. I loved how, even though it was written for a Christian audience, there were ancient and pagan underpinings interwoven masterfully into it. And the Green Man represented these, all the while reminding people of their ancient roots, of the power and presence the forests and its creatures still possess. I recommend reading it to anyone.

Once again, I'm excited to embark on this journey, to see what and whom I will see and meet, to experience whatever the Faraway Tree and others have to offer. Who knows? Perhaps I will meet and come to know the Green Man himself (or Green Woman herself).

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Riversleigh Manor - Elm Views

The window here affords this
view, a sight to be seen, an
old memory or two --
l'enchanteur says she
will take me to the swing --
I knew in distant memory.
What fun it is to suppose,
and no-one knows what
will be...a lovely place,
a place of imagination and
magic, lands and wonders...
the Manor is green
and full of promise...
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Riversleigh Guest Book

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Settling into Riversleigh Manor

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Riversleigh Manor is a rambling old house with twenty five private quarters. This house was once the house of Lord and Lady someone or other and was later acquired by the Abbess and belongs to the Lemurian Abbey. Paths lead through the Grove Seed Grove to the Gypsy Camp, the Hermitage and the Lemurian Abbey.

Riversleigh Manor is the base home of those who have decided to come and find the Magic Faraway Tree, which is said to be within the Enchanted Golden Seed Grove. Everyone will find Enid Blyton's triology in their quarters and should spend a few days reading.

It feels like we have all arrived in the land of goodies because everyone is choosing idyllic apartments to live in during 2006. A year long project! I am just so excited that Heather is making my fantasy possible.