Sunday, April 30, 2006

Maybe we'll find an enchanted place...

collage by Lani

They walked on, thinking of This and That, and by-and-by they came to an enchanted place on the very top of the Forest called Galleons Lap, which is sixty-something trees in a circle; and Christopher Robin knew that it was enchanted because nobody had ever been able to count whether it was sixty-three or sixty-four, not even when he tied a piece of string round each tree after he had counted it. Being enchanted, its floor was not like the floor of the Forest, gorse and bracken and heather, but close-set grass, quiet and smooth and green. It was the only place in the Forest where you could sit down carelessly, without getting up again almost at once and looking for somewhere else. Sitting there they could see the whole world spread out until it reached the sky, and whatever there was all the world over was with them in Galleons Lap.

Now I must go reread Chapter 10 of A A MILNE's THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER

Then I'll pack.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

More contents on my "to see" wish list...

Searching for treasure and brownies. (click on the image, can you find the brownie?)

Here's more wish list stuff to see:

1. Carmarthen (Caerfyrddin in Welsh) where I might find the cave and hill where Merlin was reputed to reside. (Caerfyrddin can be translated as "Merlin's Fort.")

2. Llandovery where I might find The Lady of the Lake or Twm Sion Cati, the Welsh Robin Hood.

3. Pentre Ifan, a burial site that is as old as the Pyramids, built from the same "bluestone" as Stonehenge possibly transported, though no one knows how or why, from Ireland's "boggy wastes."

4. Nanteos Mansion in Rhydyfelin, to look for the holy grail, which was supposed to have been brought there by Joseph of Arimathea. The cup itself was removed from the house, placed it in a bank vault in Hereford for safe keeping although the cup was said to have been brought back to Aberystwyth by the family in 1992. The current whereabouts are unknown although it is certainly not at Nanteos which is now a hotel. The owners of this healing cup do still make water from the cup available to the sick and those seeking the long held miraculous properties of this legendary object.

Of course most of this is legend although the cup itself and the testaments to its healing powers are real enough. (Although the Holy Grail legend dominates today there was once also speculation that this healing cup was manufactured from the wood of the True Cross and brought back to Britain during the Crusades.) Legendary Landmarks

5. Ancient Llantwit Major was home to Wales' first school, whose graduates included Saint Patrick of Ireland and Saint David (Dewi), patron saint of Cymru (Wales).

6. The witches of Llanddona.

7. Craig-y-Ddinas to look for treasure under a big stone.

I started looking up tales of treasure which are discovered through bravery and hard work and listening to your dreams:

This website is a treasure trove in itself. So many stories, so little time...

In this one I found a wonderful story of a Welshman, a fine hazel staff, London Bridge (London Bridge is often involved in these stories), and an English wizard. The wizard had seen the hazel staff in the Welshman's hand flex as it passed over the water on London Bridge which was a sign that the tree from which the staff was cut, grew over great quantities of treasure.

They traveled to Craig-y-Ddinas, which is now in the county of Glamorgan (I wonder where it used to be). Here the Welshman showed the wizard the tree from which he had cut the branch. The wizard gripped the tree with both hands and uprooted it, disclosing a large stone slab, which was lifted to reveal a passage leading into the dark depths of the earth. They entered and found stone steps leading down a stone passage. Above the steps, hanging on the roof of the cavern was a large bell. They had to squeeze past this and carry on until they reached a huge cavern full of brightly armoured warriors, sleeping in a wide circle, with their heads towards the middle. One of the warriors was more splendidly attired than the rest, and had a bejewelled golden crown lying next to him. In the centre of this circle lay two separate piles of gold and silver, the wealth of which they had never seen. The wizard explained that the Welshman could take as much treasure as he could carry from either of the two piles but not from both and that he must not touch the bell on the way out. "If you accidentally ring the bell, the knights will ask if it is the day. To that you must reply; No sleep on!"

The wizard said he had no need for worldly goods, so the Welshman gathered up as much as he dared, and heavily burdened he joined the wizard in ascending the stairs. The wizard passed the bell easily but the Welshman brushed against it, releasing a thundering sound. One of the largest warriors stirred and asked "Is it the Day?" but the Welshman replied "No sleep on" and the warrior closed his eyes and resumed his slumber. They then continued their ascent, through the opening of the entrance, and out into bright sunlight.

The years flew by, and he never saw the wizard again, and when he had spent all his gold the Welshman returned to the cave for more of the treasure. He found the slab easily enough, and went down once more into the cavern. He crept past the circle of warriors, and filled a sack he had brought with him till it nearly burst. Toiling up the stone steps he tried to squeeze round the bell, but his immense sack of treasure caught it, and its thundered around the cave once more. One of the knights awoke and asked if it was the day. The Welshman, who had grown soft of mind and body in the years of "squandered wealth," fumbled for the answer but couldn't remember what he was supposed to say.

Suddenly, in a tumultuous sound of crashing armour, all the warriors awoke and caught hold of him, they beat him to within inches of his life and cast him from the cavern. He remained lame and poor for the rest of his life, and could never find the cave again no matter how hard he tried.
The full story can be found in 'The Recollections and Anecdotes of Edward Williams, London, 1850, by Elijah Waring.

This site has the story of Upsall Castle in England

This one has a dreamer who listens to his dreams and goes to London Bridge where he meets someone who also dreams. The second dreamer laughs and tells the first dreamer of an extraordinary dream of treasure buried in a specific spot next to Upsall Castle which of course was where the first dreamer was from. He immediately went home and dug up his treasure and found some strange writing on the lid of the treasure box. The box was preserved in the village inn, where one day a bearded stranger made his appearance, saw the box, and read the inscription, the plain English of which was:

Look lower, where this stood
Is another twice as good.

The dreamer, hearing this, returned to the spot, dug deeper, and found another treasure more valuable than the first. Encouraged by this, he dug deeper still, and found another yet more Treasure.
From: Eliza Gutch, County Folk-Lore, vol. 2: Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning the North Riding of Yorkshire, York, and the Ainsty (London: Published for the Folk-Lore Society by David Nutt, 1901), pp. 408-409.

The Isle of Man also has one of these magical treasure stories, in which London Bridge is featured. Swaffham of Norfolk has a Peddler dreamer who was directed to go to London Bridge. There he was directed by a second dreamer to look for buried treasure in his home. He became a very wealthy man and had his church refurbished with the money (very different than the Welshman who went soft in the head from his greed). To this day (supposedly) you can see a statue inside the church of a peddler with his pack on his back and his dog at his heels. (Pretty neat) Source: Edwin Sidney Hartland, English Fairy and Other Folk Tales (London, ca. 1890), pp. 76-77. Hartland's source is the diary of Abraham de la Pryme, Nov. 10, 1699.

This website has a story of the Witches of Llanddona:

"Long ago a boat came ashore in Red Wharf Bay, without rudder or oars, full of men and women half dead with hunger and thirst. In early days it was the custom to put evil-doers in a boat to drift oarless and rudderless on the sea..." And the story unfolds of a brave man and how he outfoxed the witches so that now the descendants of both witch and villager live peacefully together. (And you can tell the descendants of the witches because they have extra digits.)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Heading towards the UK, Wales, & Ireland

Oh boy oh boy oh boy. In a few days we'll be flying to see Edward's family and the home of some of my dearly departed ancestors.

Here is my wish list of things I'd love to see:
1. Beddgelert (the grave of Gelert ) a truly righteous dog.
This village owes its fame to the story of Prince Llewelyn who left his infant son in the charge of his faithful dog Gelert. On his return, the Prince was greeted by Gelert, who noticed the dog's muzzle was soaked in blood, and his son was nowhere to be seen. Llewelyn beat the dog, and it fell to the ground gravely injured. However, Llewelyn then heard a cry and stumbled through nearby bushes to find his son, safe in his cradle. Beside the cradle lay the body of a giant wolf covered with wounds, the result of a fight to the death with hound Gelert. Llewelyn strode back to his faithful dog and watched this noble creature die.

Modern folklorists say that this story was made up by local traders some time ago in an attempt to lure Snowdon's visitors to their village. It appears the place name actually refers to Gelert, a sixth century saint from the area. This legend was well known by the time George Borrow visited Beddgelert in 1854 as part of the journey through the country the results of which he published in 1862 in his book tilted 'Wild Wales'.

The tomb of Gelert supposedly stands in a beautiful meadow below Cerrig Llan and consists of a slab lying on its side, and two upright stones.

2. Brownies
A widespread name for a fairy or supernatural creature, they were small in appearance and wore brown coloured clothing.

Like many mischievous spirits they were thought to be attached to houses or families and could be helpful in menial household tasks. If offended they became malignant and mischievous, creating poltergeist activity and generally making a nuisance of themselves.

3. Will o' the Wisp
Some Regional Names for this phenomenon :

Hertfordshire and East Anglia: The Hobby Lantern
Lancashire: Peg-a- Lantern
Cornwall: and Somerset: Joan the Wad
East Anglia: The Lantern Man
Somerset and Devon: Hinky Punk
Shropshire: Will the Smith
Worcestershire: Pinket
The West Country: Jacky Lantern, Jack a Lantern
Lowland Scotland: Spunkies
Wales: Pwca and the Ellylldan
Norfolk: Will o the Wikes
Warwickshire Gloucestershire: Hobbedy's Lantern
North Yorkshire, Northumberland: Jenny with the Lantern

Other names:
Corpse candles - related to graveyards and funeral processions.
Ignis Fatuus - the Latin name which means foolish fire.

Wirt Sikes in his book British Goblins alludes a common story about a Welsh Will o' the Wisp (Pwca); a peasant, who is travelling home late in the evening sees a bright light travelling before him, looking closer he sees that the light is a lantern held by a "dusky little figure" (a brownie?) which he follows for several miles, suddenly he finds himself standing on the edge of a great chasm with a roaring torrent of water rushing below him. At that moment the lantern carrier leaps across the fissure, raises the light over its head and lets out a malicious laugh, after which it blows out the light leaving the unfortunate man far from home, standing in pitch darkness at the edge of a precipice. They were not always so dangerous, and there are tales told about the Will o' the Wisp being guardians of treasure, leading those brave enough to follow them to sure riches.

I will be brave and maybe I will find treasure!
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

We are no longer tame...

Portrait of Prospero the Bergamasco with 3 little friends by Lani

Visiting my friend eloqui's playroom I discover an amazing self portrait and the reminder that we are wild at heart. She quotes Clarissa Pinkola Estes,
"To repair injured instinct, banish naivete, and over time to learn the deepest aspects of psyche and soul, to hold on to what we have learned, to not turn away, to speak out for what we stand for... all this takes a boundless and mystical endurance. When we come up out of the underworld after one of our undertakings there, we may appear unchanged outwardly, but inwardly we have reclaimed a vast and womanly wildness. On the surface we are still friendly, but beneath the skin, we are most definitely no longer tame."

Thank you eloqui.

From Marney of Artella came this idea:
Find an email buddy to share "Joy check-ins", where you send one another emails with quick lists of what you've done for Joy on a particular day.
Like the artist's happiness challenge #1 ( Monday, September 19, 2005 right here) It helps you to remember to pay attention to Joy throughout the day and to make opportunities for Joy throughout the day.
You start to feed it energy with your attention and it grows. Try it.

And remember to feel beneath the skin that you too are definately no longer tame!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Links and Inspiration

Collage by Lani

Now here's an idea, a place on the internet where people put their favorite links and books and images. It's called squidoo and the people who have spots in this space are lens masters. Lens master and art journaler Zura Ledbetter sent out a heads up on this.
(If you are interested in art journaling, Zura is giving a free teleclass on Creative Jouranling on May 4th at 7 pm central time. If you'd like to find out more about the class, or sign up, please go to Artella Artella and scroll down to the bottom of the page to find out about Zura's FREE class.)

I thought, hey, let me try this. So I'm a lens master of Art and Happiness! To visit my little corner of the squidoo world (which is just developing of course) you can click here.

Another good thing about this squidoo world is that it's closely linked to Cafe Press where you can have pdf files turned into hard copy books and booklets, on-demand publishing. And of course Cafe Press is not the only one to do this, AND there are folks out there who do color. I hope to work on this and make all the zines available in hard copy on demand.

Some other interesting links I've stumbled across in the last little while:
The Touchstone Center for Children, a nonprofit educational organization founded in New York City, was established in the belief that all people have natural creative, imaginative and artistic capacities, which of course they encouraged and find ways to allow for development.

Do you know The FlyLady? She has an amazing FREE program to get your stuff organized. One of the downsides of being a part of such a materialistic culture is we tend to collect too much STUFF. Let the FlyLady help.

After you've organized your stuff then find comfort and nurture with Jennifer Louden's mood changer. You will find essays on feelings, instant soothing suggestions, bibliotherapy, and comfort crafts. This last one is a wonderful list of craft ideas for every artist, art therapist, and art educator! Wonderful stuff here! Dream pillows, Magic Wish Box, Healing Blanket, and so many more!

Have fun, go wander, make some art and tell me what you think.

Umbrellas won't stop the rain, but they will keep you dry and if they are pretty they might bring a smile to someone's face.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Beautiful things...

collage by Lani

I was looking on the Reflective Happiness WebSite yesterday, when I found a virtual partner, Loretta Nutumya, (Is she a virtual person, I'm not sure) but she said (virtually) that when she was a child, her grandmother taught her how to make pottery and jewelry. She loves making beautiful things that express her cultural traditions. It makes her feel connected to her people, her grandmother and to her past, and it allows her to support herself. She said her grandmother taught her about making beautiful thoughts as well as beautiful things.

Although she may be virtual, her statement struck me as marvelously true. How many wonderful things have we learned from our grandmothers? It is something which Edith Kramer (grandmother of Art Therapy) suggests to her students, to create art as much as possible, as often as possible and to be very careful how you furnish your mind.

Do you furnish your mind in a careful way? Do you read things that will exercise and nourish it? Do you take in sounds and sights that are rich and inspiring?

While I was on the road, Adela (Artella's resident grandmother) sent me an email suggesting I re-visit "resilience" in terms of "valor" and the blogspot of Riverbend.

Riverbend is a 26 year old Iraqi blogger who along with 18 others has been nominated for the Samuel Johnson Prize for contemporary non-fiction which is £30,000 award. The winner will be announced on June 14 in London.

Riverbend's blog, Baghdad Burning, quickly became one of the most read Iraqi blogs, because she offers a very clear Iraqi woman's perspective on life in Baghdad and the US invasion and occupation. Because it comments on daily political and sectarian strife and "life under occupation" so articulately the blog was adapted into book form by UK-based publishers Marion Boyars and New York-based Feminist Press. In March 2005, the blog was adapted into a play by a New York-based theatre production company, and has also won third place in the 2005 Lettre Ulysses Prize for Reportage and a 2006 Bloggie award.

Baghdad Burning is full of day to day resilience and valor. Thank you Adela for reminding me. Riverbend was asked in an interview if she was unabashedly biased and anti-American, as some of her detractors have suggested.

She answered: "Unabashedly biased towards what? Iraq?"

Of course! We are all unabashedly biased towards the place where we live, our communities, and our families. It would be odd not to have a biased towards the things we know best.

But she goes on to explain, "One thing that bothers me is that many people equate being anti-occupation with anti-American. I am not anti-American - I know many wonderful Americans and correspond and communicate with them regularly. I am, however, anti-occupation."

Now that makes so much sense. If you are interested in Riverbend's life please take a look at Baghdad Burning or better yet, buy the book! Here's the link to Feminist Press.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home
Back home in Prospect, laundry done, things put away, mostly, I can now play with the some of the highlights of our adventure.

We stopped in Glover, Vermont for a pilgrimage to our favorite puppets in the whole world, Bread & Puppets!

In Hardwick, Vermont there's a story-teller drive through! How cool is that? They were closed for the season, so we drowned our sorrows in french toast and maple syrup!

The Vermont workshop was marvelous. Creativity spilled out everywhere!

The NYU workshop was also amazing. Here are some students making their paper puppet people fly.

We stopped at Rob and Randy's to see them and the Bergamasco flock. Had a wonderful time and could see clearly the genetic traits handed down to our puppies!

Here's Emma wearing a scrunchy and looking down on the rest of us. She was amazing, what a fun dog. No wonder Prospero has so much fun in life!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006