Category Archives: metaphor

Glass butterflies II

Glass Butterflies is a growing collection of photographs depicting butterflies in juxtaposition with glass: under frames, next to windows, inside glass houses…a metaphor that has deeply informed my painting, writing and thinking for a number of years. As well as taking me on a journey of deeply personal exploration, these synchronistic experiences have everything to do with releasing the Sacred Feminine from her “box” whilst learning to appreciate how that feminine aspect can be allowed to settle upon a much more equal and balanced relationship with the male-oriented, left-hemispherical “structures” of our three-dimensional reality. In a sense, the butterfly learns to work with “the box” on her terms and in ways that enhance her innate qualities; which is the very marriage of fluidity and form that underpins the art-process, taking “inspiration” through the journey of the creative act to where we have something tangible that we can interface with as a three-dimensional form of expression. As you can tell, the metaphor has many layers and continues to develop as one of the long-running themes of my experience. Continue reading

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Fire and water

It was just a little bit magical to find butterflies “fluttering” inside the vast spaces of the abbey I know so well, like a potent metaphor made manifest. Their colour and variety seemed to flutter new life into torpidity, as though the leaden religious narrative of so many quite massive stained glass windows had been exploded into shards then grown wings before hitting the ground; so, not the end of the world, just a fresh new beginning that had required the courage to break with old ways. Their unexpected presence there above my head seemed like a breath of fresh air sweeping through those unreachable spaces from one arched window to the other, stirring up the dust motes of heavy tradition. The reaching and arching endlessly higher and higher of all those immense gothic ceilings that speak of always striving, never quite getting there, seemed to be brought down to attainable height, their pristine stone made mortal yet in no way trivialised by fragments of coloured paper that could have been cut-out with scissors by a child. It felt like a sacred marriage to witness the two side-by side; both aspects made “better”, somehow more whole and perfect, by the collaboration of art installation and its most ideal space; in fact, I realised I had never seen the space look better than it did on this day… Continue reading

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When trees talk

There was an undeniable metaphor in this gnarly old lime or “linden” tree with its so-called deformities, an ugly tree you might even say; in spite of which every square inch of it was bursting with new life. Burls (of which this tree had several) are odd-shaped bulbous growths, often caused by illness or stress; though they are highly prized by artisans for the intricate beauty of their grain. This tree seemed to assert that, out of the most unlikely, distorted and tired-seeming old structures, some of the freshest new shoots often sprout. It’s as though all these shiny and bright new growths, asserting all the promise of regeneration, are super-propelled to come out through (and perhaps because of) the unappealing old structure that held them in potential; as though it is the thick-skinned distortion through which they have had to assert themselves that reinvigorated the organism’s fundamental ambition to thrive. From deep inside, all these tender new growths summons up all the necessary courage to show themselves en masse, in spite of the inclement season, and so the whole organism is renewed in exact proportion to what looked most unpromising with the eyes; as is often Nature’s way. Continue reading

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Don’t give it your power…and then paint it the way you like it

When these apparent tumbles in our circumstances happen, it hurts with all the betrayal of thinking that all the glories we have gathered along the way were false signposts, conjurings, mistaken glimpses through the mist. The pain comes from feeling our power taken off us – all over again (or that’s how we feel) but, really, it is because we have forgotten who we really are for long enough to give our power away…again. Its death of a thousand cuts comes from the handing over of our power to outside circumstances at the first sign of “here we go again”, making our joy conditional like we are sheep resignedly walking back into the same-old fold. The shock to our system can be profound after living it large for so long. We allow ourselves to go back to that cramped little world where we “can only be happy if” such and such thing happens or is a certain way, having come to know how expansive it is to live way beyond that. It is not so much that we are disappointed by this thing as in ourselves…for freely handing over our sovereignty to the “stand and deliver” of outside circumstance all over again, having told ourselves we were beyond all that. If there was one week when I needed to easily demonstrate to myself that I was capable of flight…whatever the outward circumstance…this was that week yet the learned behaviours of lie down and succumb can be powerful pattern-makers and they play out even now, in the swan-song of their era; for we are way beyond going back into the small places we have lived in for so long. This week has felt like the death throes of old reactions that hold us small…while we catch our breath…before throwing them over for ever. Continue reading

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Uncommon alchemy: a Glastonbury tale

Repeatedly bumping into one or two people that you feel that you know and yet never saying a word to them (except with your eyes), knowing that they feel it too…these are the kind of clues to your own experience that present through the layers of Glastonbury. This along with so many signs and synchronicities that it is is quite possible to feel like you are entering a theme park dedicated to all of your own thematic threads, which gives it an air of detachment from everyday life that starts delivering as soon as you arrive. For this reason, I suspect, Avalon can only really be found through the portal of your own heart-journey, not somebody else’s route, so be prepared to give yourself up to this as fluidly as your timetable allows (preferably, having no such schedule). For my own part, I was struck by my choice of a week in October; an interesting choice, just before All Hallows and yet, I already suspected, going there when Somerset’s dark-pagan underbelly was closest to the surface was part of what was held in store for me…and it was.

Sharing an exceptional few days of pure alchemy working with the ancient landscape of Glastonbury…. (read on). Continue reading

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Spinning light

Many of us are natural-born spinners and don’t even know it; we spin stories around the fireside of our blogs or when we meet people who seem ready to listen and, of course, there is already so much “spin” in the world but then why should the big-manipulators, the game-players, have all the use of that skill set out there in the world? There is another “story” to be told about what is currently happening in this world and I know I am here to tell it; me as only one voice amongst so many others forming a chorus and so many of them the women who are finding their voices after eons of needing to be seen and not heard. Women have often spun together in groups and spinning our version of truth to each other and to our organically grown audience is a way that we get to revive that activity in a way that truly makes a difference because, together, we are spinning a brand new reality. Inspired by this and many others outlined in this post, I have decided to change the name of my blogging and social media “brand” from Scattering the Light to Spinning the Light (read on…) Continue reading

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Choosing a trajectory

Does a butterfly, on the brink of that first flight, with nothing but an instinct as her guide to something she has never done before, suddenly decide not to jump? Could anything persuade her that there was no point to it, that she might as well curl up and pretend to still be a caterpillar down there on the ground? Launching ourselves at that “future” version of ourselves (rather than harping upon the experiences and limitations of the past…as we have learned to do so very well) is exactly like being a butterfly that must first try out those newly unfolded wings without having a clue what they were intended for and yet we are at that point as soon as we say we are ready for it. My writing and painting is all about encouraging that next forward-leap and tuning into what is truly possible around the edges of what “seems” to be our world (click on the link to read so much more…)

This is a milestone post exploring the WHOLE journey I have been on and what motivates me as an artist and writer. Continue reading

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When cracks start to appear…and light comes pouring in

This was one of the most powerfully apt metaphors that had ever presented itself to me. When this everyday domestic appliance upon which we “relied” for sustenance formed a crack and “broke down”, I realised the issues here weren’t so much the fridge or the deteriorating food, the corporations I was dealing with, the real people on the end of the phone or even in my household as the strings pulling them all and the beliefs about life holding them together, including fears around such heavy-old-pieces of life-furniture as lack and survival, made themselves suddenly very obvious. Once we see how active our beliefs are in this world…far more “solid”, in a way, than the three-dimensional objects that come to represent them…then we start to see how powerful and necessary it is to place ourselves as heart-guardians of that domain, choosing which belief-systems we actually want to maintain in order to manifest the solid realities we really want to experience “at ground level” as it were. Importantly, we learn not to leave it up to other people, with other priorities and agendas, to determine what those belief-systems look like.

We are all seeing that system breaking down before our very eyes, its long-preserved contents quickly purifying – again like my fridge – but as I’ve learned this week, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Maybe we didn’t need such a “great big monster” to serve our basic needs. Maybe its time to get closer to what we really want. Perhaps the wonderful new silence where that huge machine used to hum and churn in my house is a timely reminder of how we hardly detect some of the base rhythms that provoke our disquietude until they are suddenly switched off! (Read more…) Continue reading

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