Elemental: One Wet and Windy July in Ireland

monochrome image of trees blowing in strong wind on a widswept hillside

Image citation https://www.flickr.com/photos/euanzkamera/7916292824 Euan Morrison (September 2012), Trees in the Wind II, Lomond Hills

Many ancient traditions, as well as some modern belief systems, view all life and existence as being made up of five elements: earth, air, fire, water and spirit. While each element brings unique qualities to the mix, they all blend together to create the dynamic manifestations of our perceived reality and experiences.

It is, perhaps, in the midst of nature that we humans sense our existence most deeply, feeling connected to the planet while we walk our gardens and even to the wider Universe as we gaze at the night sky. I believe that these sensations happen through direct contact with elemental aspects.

Think of a windswept hillside or rustling trees; a loud downpour of heavy rain or a silent fall of light, fluffy snow; a golden sunrise or crimson sunset; sand sliding through your toes or waves splashing around your ankles; the emotions of relationship and the inspirations of spiritual practice, whatever you perceive that to be. The list of possibilities is endless. I’m captivated still by the Louis MacNeice poem The Sunlight on the Garden, particularly when I look out at the pale streaks or sunrays across our hedge on a winter morning.

Though sun basking is a favourite activity when I get the chance, today I am a little more fixated on wind (air) and water, both very powerful yet both also capable of being soothing and gentle. In the part of Ireland where I live, weather is relentlessly changing and notoriously unstable. Rainfall levels are at the higher end of the spectrum and seem to be living up th their reputation as July progresses; winds bluster and blow from the Atlantic Ocean or North Sea and most winters involve some snow, although we are considered a temperate clime.

Many friends and neighbours complain about the weather and understandably so – I have done my fair share of moaning about it too, especially when it becomes necessary to drive in poor conditions in order to get to work or school. But in recent years I find myself less likely to resist the wearisome weather and more inclined to accept and see the beauty in it all. I find wet, windy days exhilarating now; cold, crisp nights uplifting; frosty mornings enchanting. While I love summer, Autumn gives me some kind of earthy pleasure. It is all so elemental.

Here’s the band Earth, Wind and Fire singing September.

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Fascinating Mythical Creatures: Proteus

An amazing blog has come within my radar and I feel moved to share just one of the many fascinating posts from ‘Symbol Reader’. Capturing the depth of insight and inspiration that is possible when the symbolic aspects of life are delved into, this post on protean fluidity is particularly mesmerising. I hope you enjoy it and get as much out of it as I have. Thank you Symbol Reader 🙂

symbolreader

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image via http://www.deviantart.com/morelikethis/artists/244344135?view_mode=2

Proteus was a wise Greek sea god, a shape changer and a prophet. Pictured as fish-tailed, he was able to change himself into a lion, a serpent, a panther, a wild boar, a tree and flowing water. In order to get answers from him concerning the future, it was necessary to wrestle him and bind him, then wait patiently through all the transformations for the voice of prophecy. He is an image of something elusive, flickering and ineffable that wriggles shakes and transforms many times before it stabilizes as an image that can be comprehended by consciousness.

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Proteus is a great metaphor of working with archetypes and symbols. They are creatures of the deep ocean of the collective unconscious and this is where they feel best. They do not fare well in the world of hard matter or clear-cut mental distinctions. Out of water they may get…

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Opening up to your Full Potential

Image of lavender flowers in a small vase

Lavender (image author’s own)

Over the past few weeks the garden has shed much of its glory and I have been doing a few odd jobs around there, clearing leaves from the patio and into the hedgerow  where decay will, in the long term, produce new life. I do love this time of year though, around Halloween, when everything feels very elemental.

In all aspects of life, plant or animal, including the human kind, each season has its own unique charm and beauty and Autumn is for me a time of peace and contemplation. I was, therefore, delighted to find Mary O’Connor’s beautiful image this morning on her blog Life Is Full of Sweet Spots, 

A book I read recently also inspired me a great deal. By Eoin McCabe, ‘Open: How Learning to Live from the Heart Changed Everything’ is a treasure for anyone struggling with anxiety, depression or just plain bewilderment. Through his own life experiences and a kind of trial and error process, the author shares ideas and techniques that helped him deal with upheavals and crises, with loss and change. I couldn’t put it down and I know it is one of those books I’ll keep going back to again and again, probably for life! Highly recommended. So, until next time, believe in yourself, stay focused on your goals, keep creating your dreams and hang on in there!

Sunshine

image of yellow sunflower representing sunshine blogger award

Sunshine blogger award

What a treat and honour to be invited by my fellow blogger Mary O’Connor at the lovely blog Life is Full of Sweet Spots,  to participate in this sunshine award. I so enjoyed Mary’s post on her nomination, check it out here.

So Rule 1. Link back to your nominator: Life is Full of Sweet Spots blogger Mary O’Connor.

Rule 2. Display the image, as you see to the left. Sunshine carries so many connotations – energy, life, brightness and light. Here it seems to be represented by the deep yellow of the flower and by the delightful blue sky.

Rule 3. List ten random things about yourself…I’m stumped! But following Mary’s lead, I allowed my mind to wander through all the links to sunshine that cropped up in my mind. Unsurprisingly, the first batch were songs, poems or images that mean a lot to me or that have made an impression on me throughout life. The rest are random and started to spin out as I went along. So, here goes….

ONE: A wonderful Poem by Irish poet Louis McNiece. Sunlight on the Garden

This poem starts sad but reminds us that no matter what happens, nature is there. Here’s a link to a post I did on the poem, with some photos from our garden in winter.

TWO: Sunshine on my Shoulders by John Denver

The simplicity of this song belies its strong message, like many John Denver songs. Perhaps somewhat misunderstood and under appreciated as a singer songwriter, John Denver has been a favourite of mine since schooldays. This youtube video with wonderful images was compiled by Greg gts.

THREE: We have been loving the unusually long sunny spell in Ireland and the UK for most of July. Getting used to it! No doubt it will end soon and we’ll be brought back down to earth.

FOUR: My favourite destination is Greece and the very sunny island of Antiparos. Though enjoyable times were spent way back in the eighties with my husband to be, the more recent trips with our daughters were absolutely delightful. Retirement, bucket list, walk there….who knows?!

FIVE: Can’t wait for the Avatar sequels as I was totally carried away by the first movie. My all time favourite is DUNE though, Arakis, desert planet, spice….

SIX: Blogging has become such a wonderfully social event for me. I love the opportunity to get to know fellow bloggers and read their brilliant posts. Ten links coming up soon….

SEVEN: Blown away by the courage and creativity of people I’ve encountered during my work in mental health recovery, some of whom will be on my nominee list below.

EIGHT: Rollo May has gripped my interest of late, especially his work on the search for ourselves through claiming our freedom and by making meaning, learning how to allow ourselves to shine.

NINE: Hooked on Anthropology since 1997 when I took it as a subsidiary module, loved it so much I had to change my degree pathway.

TEN: The Sun Up image in the Australian Aboriginal Flag.

Red and Black bars with yellow circle in the middle - Australian Aboriginal Flag

Australian Aboriginal Flag

Thanks for dropping by and taking time to look through the post. Now please check out my friends and nominees at the following blogs:

Social Bridge

Beyond Meds

Matrignosis

Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking

Bell Night

Folio and Ink

Roz Morris

Mommy Mystic

Zen Mandala

Chasing Avian Voices

Thanks and enjoy your blog tour 🙂

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