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!

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Woodpecker dreaming

My night dreaming brings powerful messages and symbolism, continues to fascinate and helps me bridge across into other worlds, drawing new characters into my consciousness. I am beginning a practice of painting the animals and people that are appearing to me.
In my dream last night two black woodpeckers had gotten into the house. Quite big birds (more like the size of crows) completely black with a red stripe right across the top of their heads. I have never seen woodpeckers that look like this before and I wasn't even sure they exist…I am only familiar with green woodpeckers and the small black and white woodpeckers, with banded stripy chests I've seen here in England….
A quick Google search this morning and yes! There they are. There are my birds. I particularly adore these lines from Wikipedia : "The piercing yellow eyes and manic, high-pitched calls of the black woodpecker have made it the villain of fairy tales throughout its range. Their voice is remarkable in that it has two different calls. One is a short single high-pitched note, a loud, whistling kree-kree-kree, done only twice in a row. The other is a screech-like shrill while in flight."
I can completely relate to the fairytale element around these incredible birds… They are rather elusive and a little bit mysterious. 

From Ted Andrews "“Sometimes the woodpecker will show up just to stimulate new rhythms. Rhythm is a powerful means of affecting the physical energies. Sometimes it is easy to get so wrapped up in our daily mental and spiritual activities that we neglect the physical. This can be when the woodpecker shows up. It may also reflect a need to drum some new changes and rhythms into your life. The woodpecker has strong hooked claws for firm holds upon a tree. Its tail feathers help to prop it upright. It also has a peculiar up and down flight. It will fly, coast down, fly and then coast down. It flies in a manner and rhythm unique to itself. All of this serves to emphasize the fact that it will become increasingly important for you to follow your own unique rhythms and flight. Do what works for you in the manner best for you. When woodpecker comes into your life, it indicates that the foundation is there. It is now safe to follow your own rhythms.”  ~ Ted Andrews, "Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great and Small."

And in the second part of my dream I saw a horse give birth to a foal so quickly, literally shot out of the womb and into the world, with such dramatic speed that no one watching was even really certain it had just happened! A very hasty birthing of something new indeed. 
Catherine Athena

Monday, 8 February 2016

Two Little Words 2016 -- When One is simply not enough

Dear readers and friends,

If you've been following me for a while, you've probably noticed I like to chose a one word mantra as each year begins that acts as a guiding light and brings a certain energy and intentional flow in for that whole year… It's often referred to as 'One Little Word' and was launched by Ali Edwards back in 2006.

And so rather than setting resolutions for the New Year,  I have found I much prefer this way of 'dreaming out loud' as it sets a clear theme and focus for my 12 months ahead.

I've been doing this since 2012 when I launched in on a mission to be 'Brave' (blogging and sharing my art online), then 2013 saw me being 'Expressive',  2014 was a 'Happiness' revolution that didn't go quite as expected, and in fact turned into a year where I got to see my shadow up very close.  Last year was 'Enjoy'

This year I'm encircling my Soul and life with Two Words -- because one just simply wasn't enough! ….and I've really taken my time this January and early February to just 'be' and sit with these words, journaled around them and about them, letting their power wash over me, before I share them openly with you all.

Miracles and Sovereignty.

And so far, already, just one month in, I'm enjoying a close encounter with the Miraculous… all sorts of things I once thought would be Impossible have begun to be 'I'm Possible' and I'm really learning more and more about what it feels like to be in my own power, self sufficient, self reliant, under my own self-rule and guardianship, holding a space of clear and healthy boundaries.  

Today just happens to be Chinese New Year and we welcome in the very 'yang' year of the bold and super intelligent Fire Monkey… a year that promises to be exciting and spontaneous for those who are willing to put themselves out there and stake their claim on the world and in their Life.  S/he who dares wins!

Be bold, be daring, be uncompromising in your joy!

Blessing of mystery,
Catherine Athena xo

• • •My journey through the senses• • •
taste:: Wild Flower Honey -the perfect remedy-treat for a sweet toothed me
smell:: Sandalwood incense cones
touch:: My feet on the floor - fully embodied, fully present.
see:: 'Milk' ~ Sean Penn as Harvey Milk - completely incredible. A must see film!
hear:: David Bowie - all his albums
think:: The tide is turning (in so many ways)
feel:: Deeply inspired to follow my own path
read:: C.G. Jung ~ 'Memories, Dreams and Reflections'
intuit:: A life-changing adventure is just days away