Sunday, 30 December 2018

Word of the Year 2019 : Luxury

Hi dear readers and friends,

I haven't done a word of the year one-word mantra for a couple of years now... But with 2019 just a day away I feel strongly called to set a theme.

I know from past experience how powerful setting intentions are, and what happens when I run with a guiding word for the year. It really does unleash a way to explore my inner and outer life.  Things happen that show me all sides of that word-theme, like a magic spell. So here goes : 2019  - LUXURY

That word, that feeling. It gets me thinking.... What are my own personal luxuries? What feels luxurious to body and Soul? (as self care) What are my 'luxury items'? What feels like a complete luxury to me, decadent, indulgent even? 

In a world where so many are going without daily on even the absolute basics - like clean water, air and basic shelter, the word 'Luxury' also has me also thinking of all the things the rest of us take so readily for granted that could be deemed lavish, frivolous and priviledged from a first world perspective.  It's good to sit with that too and step into the accompanying feeling that can't help but come up for me : GRATITUDE.

To me they go hand-in-hand. I just can't seem to feel into one without the other appearing. I'm finding it's such an important time on Earth to not take anything for granted.

To me, this feeling of Luxury can be anything from a bottle of beautiful Organic Buckwud 100% pure Canadian Maple Syrup, to a Vitruvi essential oil stone diffuser from Goop, to smashing right out through glass ceilings into all kinds of things I never thought possible for myself.

This all started when someone close to me described the Sacred Drumming Practitioner Training course I was taking in 2017 as a 'luxury item'. That really got me thinking. It's something not everyone who would want to would get to do, for sure... and that naturally led me into feeling a huge wave of gratitude for how I was able to allow this and give this to myself.  To work with the drum this way has felt like such a gift - I'm absolutely blessed and very lucky.
And so in 2019, I'm going to be exploring Luxury....while keeping one eye firmly on being grateful all the way...

Love and blessings,
Catherine Athena xo

• • •My journey through the senses• • •
taste::  Tangerine oranges - my whole body is reveling in a good hit of natural sourced Vit. C!
smell::  Dusk essential oil blend billowing from my Vitruvi diffuser
touch:: Strong leather gardening gloves have proved to be a must-have for reclaiming brambley land.
see::  Fanatastic Beasts - The Crimes of Grindlewald - Surprises me to say it, but seriously one of the most magical films I have seen in years!
hear:: "Yes, that is possible."
think:: "I can do this."
feel:: Excited
read:: The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz
intuit:: Another powerful year of changes ahead. Happy New Year 2019! I'm ready for you! 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Birthday Visit to Roald Dahl Museum

Dear Readers & Friends, 

I was blessed to be taken along to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre as part of my Birthday treats this weekend.  I grew up with Dahl's dark humor and quirkily whimsical characters as a child, so to get to visit this museum felt like a fun sort of inspiration as I push deeper into my goals of writing & illustrating published Children's books.

The little village of Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire (England) was the home of Roald Dahl and his family for some 36 years and now it is the site of the museum dedicated to his work.  

As you walk along the High Street you'll come across a tall pastel purpley-blue building adorned with outlines of characters from his famous stories. Upon entering a small entranceway, you'll see the Willy Wonker Chocolate Factory gates, donated to the Museum by Warner Brothers from their film set.

I delight easily, so my smile widened instantly by the zany wrist tag we were given in the gift-shop-entrance, with the quote "Never grow up... always down." along with a little "My Story Ideas Book" and tiny pencil - just in case we were struck by a moment of genius there and then, that needed quickly capturing.

Of course I had to take the height test to see where I measured up against various characters - in the Solo Gallery - which told the story of Dahl's time as a pilot during World War II and images of his family and home life.

I particularly adored the photos of the Gipsy Caravan he had in his garden....

....and the backstory of how he collected photographs of celebrities' and politicians' eyes in cut-out strips and kept them on a scrapbook page to help him describe his characters eyes in detail.  All magic and intention he felt could be seen through the eyes. 

 This idea formed the basis of his short story "The Wonderful Story Of Henry Sugar" about an Indian Mystic who could "see" without his eyes, based on the real-life tale of the Pakistani Mystic Kuda Bux.  This story was first introduced to me by my extremely clever brother Geoffrey back in the 1990's, so it held a special significance to see this book in the display case. 

Dahl was interested in how to portray magic and the unknown, and was greatly influenced by the folklore and fairytales from his Norwegian parents' lands, where he holidayed every year during his childhood.

I couldn't wait to see the famous chair.  I was thoroughly charmed by this video which for me, portrayed what a wonderfully British eccentric Roald Dahl sounded to be, as he talks about his work space and his daily routine / ritual (the sleeping bag, chair, the thermos) :
[these are Facebook videos - but I don't believe you need to be a Facebook member to view them - simply click on the link]  

(way to work in his hut)

The entire interior of his hut has been carefully moved into the Museum gallery.  Including pieces of geode agate crystals, photos, notes and memorabilia from family, the heavy molten-pewter, silver ball of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate inner (wrappings) he had squished together - he ate one chocolate bar a day, every day, while working. 

Here is an amusing short clip where Roald Dahl talks about chocolate - he is known as a 'Chocolate Historian' in his author bio and clearly it's the kind of impassioned obsession that made Charlie and the Chocolate Factory so beloved.

Then, finally, it was my turn.

... not for the chocolate, but to sit in the replica chair. 

This wonderful box set was gifted to me for my birthday (along with paints and red roses) How lucky am I?  And so the magic and the stories continue....

Till next time...... Catherine Athena xo

Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Bach Centre Part 3 :: Meaningful Pilgrimages and Healing Journeys

Dear Friends,

This is the final part of my three part blog-journey, around the garden and home of Dr.Edward Bach, creator of the World renowned Bach Flower Remedies.

For the links to the two earlier posts - please visit here: Part 1
And here for Part 2

So on we go….
As you come through the front door of the cottage, there is another room off to the right (the staircase in the middle divides them - and leads up to an office and space that is now a small museum displaying Dr.Bach's belongings. At the time of my visit this museum was being prepared but not yet open to view)  

This room on the right is the lounge or sitting room, leading through to a small shop and administration office at the back of the house. 
The room has a small fireplace, some glass cases on the wall showing some older Bach flower bottles and a book case full with many different books on the remedies.  Most of these can be purchased from the shop, along with wall charts, boxed kits of the remedies and other gifts. 

Some Vintage Bach Flower Bottles

No pligrimage to learn more about a beloved 'teacher in Spirit' would feel complete without seeing where he rests eternal. I heard that Dr Bach is buried in the village churchyard, 50 yards or so from the Bach Centre. 

I was the only person in my class who took the opportunity to wander the lanes and seek his final resting place. This I must admit surprised me, as there were many other like myself from other parts of the world, some having travelled in from as far away as Canada and parts of Eastern Europe to be here.  

After wandering the churchyard I found him.  His headstone reads 'Edward Bach 1886 - 1936    Behold I am Alive for Evermore'  - and with the legacy he has left us, yes, that is indeed the case.  

I stayed there for a while musing the impact on my life this man's work has had, the debt of gratitude I feel for this alternative healing method (that in in such ready harmony with my body and mind) for the sacrifices he made, which were not inconsiderable,  to commit to the creation and public use of these remedies - no small thing in 1930's England.   

I placed an Apple beside the candle I found already there. A biodegradable offering befitting of one now in the Otherworld. 

…And lastly,
My books and Certificate…. And my own set of boxed remedies

Having my own remedies to hand has allowed me to go much deeper into experiencing the healing levels of these plant spirits.  I have found many ways of applying them - internally, and externally on pulse points, and on meridians and acupuncture points like *Floral Acupuncture* - psychic healers have described 'seeing' the changes to someones' aura after a remedy is placed on an acupuncture point… watching the change in color and the sealing over / healing of tears in the subtle body. Using the flower essences this way begins the healing of the etheric field - the energetic body where illness and disharmony enters into the physical body, working inward through a blockage imprint in the luminous light body. 

Bach Flowers are a beautiful and holistic way of taking charge of our own healing and emotional, spiritual, physical wellbeing

Me, wrapped in winter coat on the path to Mount Vernon.

I hope you have enjoyed this tiny window into the Bach Flower Centre.  Perhaps I will visit it again one day in the high Summer when the garden is at its zenith of color and radiance. I am told it is a very different garden when all the plants are in bloom and full of life-force and vitality! 

If you would like to learn more about the Bach Flower Remedies I highly recommend these books:
and this wonderful book (an essential guide!):

Blessings of Beauty and Mystery, Catherine Athena xo

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Bach Centre Part 2 :: Meaningful Pilgrimages and Healing Journeys

Dear Friends,

This is Part Two of a Three part blog-journey, where I visit the garden of the internationally famous Bach Flower Remedies, and the last home of Dr Edward Bach who created them.

In todays post, we are outdoors in the rustic, untamed garden surrounding the cottage, where some of the actual plants and trees that are used to make the remedies are grown.

Walnut - The link breaker that helps you move forward in times of transition, adjusting to life changes
- helping protect against sensitivity to outside forces and influences.
The sky suddenly clouded over, not unusual for this time of year, serving only to further imbue the silent, still garden with a deeply introspective feel. It was like all the plants and trees were continuing to dream even after the end of the long, cold winter months. Their vital energy pulled inward. Resting, waiting for the tide of new life to begin rising in them again. 

Clematis - the fuzzy-headed scatterbrained daydreamer, (just like the plant seed heads) - refocusses attention and connection to the real world of here and now.

Aspen - Vague fears of unknown origin, anxiety and apprehension.  

Cherry Plum - Fear of losing control, losing one's mind, having a breakdown, doing something terrible you can't come back from, fears own actions in desperation, sudden uncontrollable behavior.

Mimulus growing in the pond. 
Mimulus - for fear of known things and hypersensitivities of all kinds

The gardener showed me another pond, located at the back of the garden, and carefully lifted the plastic covering to show me several species of rare newts hiding there… (I didn't take any photos of them to show you sorry… They are Salamanders, like small black Axolotl-like creatures - some crested with red bands on their tails) 

           Holly - For anger, jealousy, revengefulness, envy and feelings of hatred and suspicion - opens     the heart back up to Love

Elm - temporarily feeling inadequate and overwhelmed by responsibilities  

I must say, it is a wonderful feeling to see these plants and trees, to touch them - the actual ones - here in this garden. To know that their energetic stories and healing help go out from here, to people all over the World. 

The Litre-sized bottles used to store the Mother Tincture. 

The tinctures themselves are produced by placing pieces of the plant material (usually flowers) in a bowl of distilled water, set out in the sunlight.  The suns rays allow the plant to 'discharge' it's subtle innate, energetic wisdom - the vegetal vibrational frequency into the water.  
Water as we know, is a wonderful conductor and conduit of energy and storehouse of memories, and used in this way, it holds the vital imprint of the plants code (healing signature) within it. 

Science is only very recently (in the last few years) starting to acknowledge and agree with this fact…already known to shamans and herbal healers for thousands of years.   

To learn more about the vibrational changes to water (effected directly by our thoughts and words, which are extremely powerful) please look at the works of Dr. Masaru Emoto  - 'The Hidden Messages in Water' , 'The Healing Power of Water', 'The True Power of Water; Healing and Discovering Ourselves'.  

Please call by here again tomorrow, for our final part in this series…

Blessings of Beauty, 
Catherine Athena xo

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Bach Centre Part 1 :: Meaningful Pilgrimages and Healing Journeys

Dear friends,

I had dreamed of visiting the Bach Centre near Oxford for many years… I first learnt about this beautiful healing modality back in 1994 (in New Zealand) and I started working with and benefiting from the remedies straight away.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Bach Flower Remedies, they are 38 individual plant essences that help treat health problems by getting to the root of the emotional cause. They come in little dropper bottles containing the vibrationally charged essence of various plants, trees and flowers (more on this later), utilizing the delicate -yet powerful- and soulful grace of the plant realm. 

The most commonly known remedy is probably the combination essence "Rescue Remedy" which contains 5 of the individual remedies together, and is used especially to bring calm to traumatic and stressful situations. 

And so it was….. on a chill Spring morning in March that I made the journey over to the little cottage in the tiny village of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Wallingford - about a 45 - 50 minutes drive south of Oxford.

Luckily it was a sunny day with a clear bright blue sky above, as I arrived at the cottage called "Mount Vernon" surrounded by its wildish English garden.

This was the rented home and workplace of Dr. Edward Bach (for those interested, his name is pronounced correctly as Bach, as in Johann Sebastian Bach - as he is of Welsh ancestry, and not Batch - as in *small seaside cottage*) - this quiet and humble man, whose life's work and contribution was to bring these incredible plant treatments to the world. 

The sign on the door speaks of those who used to work here.

As you enter the front door, the room directly off to the left is Dr Bach's treatment room where he would see patients.

Dr.Bach's original hand-made furniture is a feature in the room - the sturdy armchairs and desk, the corner where he worked complete with his typewriter and set of treatment bottles.

A wonderful old Grandfather clock lends an atmospheric feel to this room-full-of-memories too...

Please call back here tomorrow, for part two of this three part blog-journey, where I'll show you the rustic garden and some of the actual plants and trees used in the making of the real 'Original' Bach Flower Remedies.

Till then... Blessings of Beauty,
Catherine Athena xo

Monday, 28 November 2016

Upcoming Blog Series : The Bach Centre

Dear friends,

I've gotten out of the habit of blogging of late, for two reasons really...  Firstly because iPhoto on my computer hadn't been working, and so it was making it much more complicated to move images across from my phone for blogging purposes, and also because I've been focussing much more of my energy on my deep healing this year. Really, really going within…and away from the distractions and chaos of the world.

I'd been looking at how art-making heals emotional blocks.  How using all sorts of different media in whatever way feels right and good, can help express what words alone just cannot explain.  How rest and slowing down had become necessary.

My art took a darker turn, which was in direct reflection to my inner world.  There was, and is, much I feel I cannot voice…and so I am looking for other ways to speak.  

Now I'm circling round once more, figuring out what comes next. Where is my art journey going? What feels light, and fun and joyful?

And in the meanwhile, tomorrow I begin a 3 part series here on my blog sharing my many-years-in-the-making pilgrimage to the Bach Centre (near Oxford, England) from a visit earlier on this year… Come join me! 

Catherine Athena xo

• • •My journey through the senses• • •
taste:: Crisp apples and sweet Medjool dates
smell:: cedar and piñon pine needles heady in my burner
touch:: paint marks from fingertips and brush-strokes on paper
see:: Surviving Picasso
hear:: Justin Timberlake on headphones while paining
think:: the season is beautiful and I'm enjoying a ray of sunshine
feel:: very quiet
read:: notes on story plotting
intuit:: Nightfall just up ahead 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Painting Dreams

Dear friends and readers,

My deep love of fairytales goes on.

Having let the image of my dream-visitor, the Black Woodpecker (whom I wrote about in this post) integrate fully with me, having taken in his gifts, I felt strongly compelled to call him deeper into this world through a painting, so that he now exists for me here too... brought to life and now living within a fairytale landscape I see in my mind's-eye.

Initial sketch up. 

In process. Me at work in my studio.
{click on image for full view}

This felt like such an important and empowering way to work with dreams I receive like this... To acknowledge them and bring them into form somehow, giving them a voice and honoring them. Opening the door and inviting further dialogue.

For those of you who also adore fairytales like I do, archetypal landscapes, little cottages in the woods and mysterious dark visitors who come knocking, I now have art prints of this painting available in my store >

If you click on this link HERE you can get FREE worldwide shipping on anything in my store {for a limited time -- through till  Sunday May 8, 2016 midnight Pacific time (USA) } 

Thanks for stopping by and visiting me today. 
Here's to dreaming strong! 

BlueSky Blessings, 
xo, Catherine Athena

• • •My journey through the senses• • •
taste:: Fresh Blueberries and cool water
smell:: Rose incense giving me a lift of the Spirit
touch:: A beautiful Turquoise stone set in silver
see:: The sun setting through my window beyond my desk
hear:: Lana Del Rey
think:: Healing starts on the inside and I am always willing to show up and do the healing work
feel:: Life is reflecting back some wonderful new affirmations
read:: Grimm's Fairytales - edited by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
intuit:: These 5 planets in retrograde right now are giving me valuable time to reassess my life!