Spring is Sprung

Happy Spring Day for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere!

orchids

Where did August go? I don’t know – do you?

The last several days have been sunny and hot, unseasonably so.  For some, it’s a ritual to have a swim on the first day of September even though it may be freezing cold; the ritual is performed as a way of greeting the official first day of Spring. Though I heard that from Thursday we’ll have a cold spell with temperatures halving, lasting a while.

There’s a lot of green on the trees and colour on the winter blooms but I’m glad that the jacaranda trees have shed their leaves and they look stark and bare as they should. They usually blossom in their full glory by mid October – they are truly an extraordinarily beautiful sight – I know I’ve posted pics before – probably last year October or November.

My purply-pink orchids on the patio have died down, already a while ago.The beautiful white ones are in full bloom! Photo at top. I’m so tempted to cut a few stems and bring them into our home – but they look so glorious where they are. The azaleas are blossoming (though two other azaleas in another part of the garden look as if they’re gasping their last breath); the clivias are also blooming.. The primulas in front of the azaleas are still looking very pretty and gay.

azaleas

I’ve added two photos I took recently when I was down in Natal to see my brother. My sister flew to Durban from Cape Town so we were all together for several days. Natal is always lush and green – these photos are from my cell phone outside his home. I plucked some branches and brought them home and put in a vase in the entrance where they looked so beautiful.

christopher's home3

christopher's home

The week finally arrived – i.e. this week, yesterday. It’s when I had to realise that this Friday I leave for Turkey. Am I organised? Am I calm? Half-organised in answer to first question. Answer to second one? I’m trying to be – though I am agitated at some real level. Perhaps I’m just being alert to the reality that while I’m busy making proper plans, something can come along and tip the cart. So, where I can prepare, this is what I’m doing. Tomorrow will be a busy day. Today has been seriously busy.  Am making lists of things still to be done – the list grows longer –  

Changing seasons, changing world. Soon, the equinox on the 21st September. The days and the nights will be of equal length a moment before they begin their tilt. The spring gardens here will be in full bloom. There are already early signs of it – jasmine – wafting her delicious scent. And the yesterday, today and tomorrow – strong, delicious, delightful fragrance –

I leave on Friday night, return Johannesburg 16th Sept. Susan Schwartz from Phoenix Az. and I will meet Saturday morning in Istanbul. We’re on a tour – a tour being a first for the both of us. I still have to check quite where we are touring … and to print out the much edited book that we’ve collaborated on over the months and the airwaves: ‘Aging & Becoming’. It’s about 115 pages, we may do more deleting, more adding and amending.

This blog post is my first in many weeks – and it is really just to keep in touch. We’re very aware not only of the changing seasons but also of the worrying times around the world. Fires, droughts, economic concerns, terrorism, the plight of the migrants escaping from war torn countries – the list is endless. 

Keep safe, and be well.

Five Photos Five Days challenge Day 5

Five Photos Five Days Challenge – last day

Gulara at http://gulara vincent.com nominated me some days ago to take part in this challenge. Her recent posts in this challenge have shown her appreciation for Nature which reminds her of the beauty in the world.

To conclude my part in it, I’m showing buds.

Anais Nin: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom –

My gardener Wayne is here today pruning the roses inter alia. I took this photo this morning of the last remaining bud. It’s in a vase now on my desk with the last of the white roses.

rosebud

My American friends were visiting some while back and gave us an air orchid which hangs on a branch of a tree up against the wall. When they visited several months after that, I was so pleased that it bloomed almost in anticipation of them arriving! I watch over it but it hasn’t bloomed in a while. But, it is showing two buds!
bud air orchid

Below is a picture of the air orchid

air orchid

 The orchid plant below was given many years ago – maybe 15 years ago – to my husband as a gift from a patient for whom he provides a pro deo service. It always bloomed prolifically and was truly a thing of beauty. We brought this large pot from our old home two years ago to the townhouse. Last year it didn’t flower, and I was concerned. Now I see 3 huge buds emerging and I am excited.

orchidSo, even though we’re in the depths of winter here in South Africa, and much looks tired and worn in my garden, there are signs of abundant life and a reminder to me that there are times that life must lie fallow and that the seeds will germinate and that this is how it is also in our own lives – cycles, wheels turning, ever changing, lying low for however long, yet ever seeking expression when the time is right –

I’ll be lying low for a while – I have a lot of work to do on the book that Susan Schwartz and I are collaborating on. Thank you for accompanying me on this 5 Day 5 photo challenge! I’ve enjoyed it very much!

I’m  nominating Samantha Mozart http://thescheherazadechronicles.org/in Delaware to continue (when she can). 

Rules for 5 photos, 5 days challenge:-

1) post a photo for each consecutive day

2) attach a story to the photo. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, a paragraph – all entirely up to you!

3) nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the nomination. This is fun, not a command performance!

5 Photos 5 Day Challenge: day 4

Day 4 of 5 Day 5 photo challenge

Gulara of http://gularavincent.com nominated me some days back to take part in the 5 day 5 photo challenge.  Her recent posts in this challenge have shown her appreciation for Nature which remind her of the beauty in the world.

Jüte, my younger son’s new fiancè, always brings us a gift when she comes up to Johannesburg with Davey, home baked cookies, dates balls covered in coconut, chocolate. When she and Davey were here in April, this orchid was delivered to my home the day after they left via courier.

Jute's orchidI’m amazed that it is still blooming; it’s shed a few petals but is still looking beautiful after several months. It’s kept indoors (although I put it outside for a moment to take the photo) and is always a reminder to me of her beauty and kindness.

outdoor orchidThis beautiful orchid above is in a pot outdoors on the patio. It is just starting to bud. I have several pots of beautiful orchids outside and it amazes me that they bloom so gloriously in winter. The purply ones below are starting to fade a little but in its place are these gorgeous white ones. There are a few pots with so many buds. I can’t wait.orchids June 2015These are the purply/pinky ones.

There is another beautiful orchid I have indoors but when I put the photo up it won’t go the right way up, no matter what I do. Somehow I’ve managed not only to publish an unfinished post, I’ve also lost my colour tag. What I HAVE managed to do, is to put the umlaut onto Jüte, and the ‘ onto fiancè … someone on FB said just hold the letter down! Thank you Ashen and Jacqui and Marian for your suggestions in my recent post!

I’m nominating Genevive of http://livealifeofgratitude.blogspot.in to continue the challenge and tomorrow I’ll be nominating Samantha Mozart on my last day.

Rules: for 5 photos, 5 days challenge

1) post a photo each day for 5 consecutive days

2) attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, a paragraph – all entirely up to you!

3) nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation! This is fun, not a command performance!

Day 3 of Five Photos Five Stories challenge

Day 3 of 5 Photos Five StoriesDavey and JuteDavid Scott & Jute Dorfling

This is the photo Davey sent me on what’s app last week when they were in Namibia with the caption ‘Jute & I are engaged!’ It must be a selfie! At first I thought Jute was drinking a cup of tea (because I’ve seen her in her pyjamas before) and was clueless as to what Davey was holding. But when I enlarged it I saw that Davey was holding a small bottle of local sparkling wine and that the tea cup was holding contents of the celebratory wine! And I can view the ring!

We are truly happy and so is Jute’s family. They’ve had a long relationship and met when they were both waitering at The Surf Cafe in Plettenberg Bay 3 1/2 years ago. They are a delight to observe in their interactions with each other. Kind, caring, loving, respectful, amusing –
davey jute

This one was taken in our garden in April this year. They were up from Cape Town to attend a wedding of a school friend of Davey’s (David wearing his father’s wedding jacket). Tomorrow I’ll post a photograph of an orchid Jute gave me in April which is still looking lovely. (Jute’s name has two dots above the ‘u’ but I’m clueless as to how to put them up/on).

Gulara of http://gularavincent.com (whose posts I always enjoy) nominated me for this challenge. She’s been posting beautiful photos of Nature just recently – for the next few days I’ll be doing the same.

Guilie at “Quiet Laughter’ in Curacao http://guilie-castillo-oriard.blogspot.com may I nominate you to pick up this 5 day 5 Photo 5 Story challenge?

Rules below:

1) post a photo each day for 5 consecutive days

2) attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non fiction, poetry, a paragraph – all entirely up to you!

3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation! This is fun, not a command performance!

Five Photos, Five Stories Day Two

2nd day of Five Photos, Five Storiestina's painting

I attend an art group meeting once a month on a Saturday morning. The people are so lovely and warm and real and I always come away from those meetings feeling alive and energised. It’s pretty unstructured – we discuss all sorts of things, from exhibitions seen or upcoming at various venues to critiquing art works that anyone may have done or are in process and which are put up for us to view.

Tina is a dear soul – she recently returned to the group after a very long absence. She left her high pressure job a few months ago and is doing other things, I’m not sure what. But her painting, her first time using oils, that she showed us yesterday morning was so alive – and still wet.  I was in such awe, it was truly vibrant and pulsing. She said how anxious she’d been about trying out oils but somehow she got herself out of her way and with abandon she painted, using different brushes for different strokes. Honestly, my photo does NOT do it justice. It looks brighter on my phone –

The first time I’d seen Tina in a long long while was when she came to the art meeting this past April and brought a fresh radish, the fruits of her gardening – I said to her that one day I would like to use a photo of this beautiful radish in a blog post and now I am!

radish 1

When I left the art meet and attended to my 67 minutes and got home later in the afternoon I attended to emails inter alia. Gulara http://gularavincent.com who nominated me for this 5 day challenge had put up her post yesterday, which was on art! And the necessity for getting out of one’s own way. And late last night I went through belatedly to Samantha’s post (the 3 day quote challenge:http://thescheherazadechronicles.org/) and while it wasn’t on art and painting as such, it was in a way as music is seen as the universal language of the arts. She provided a clip of Leo Ferre singing his composition Avec le temps. The previous evening my husband and I had listened to a CD he had bought that evening which was French music, soulful songs with very little accompaniment (accordion and piano) which added somehow to it’s depth. As Samantha was putting up her post we were listening to French music. A friend was here for supper last evening. We’ve done many hikes in the past, along the coastline of South Africa, Macchu Pichu, Kilimanjaro and we were talking about another hike in the future, somewhere. After she left I attended to more emails and responded to Beth Lapin’s post – which was about hiking. For me, small instances of synchronicity but meaningful.

Danie is part of our art group. He’d recently returned from Rwanda and showed us some beautiful photographs of this archaic land. One of the photographs was of a large sign; underneath and on the ground were instruments of weapons used in the Hutu Tutsi genocide 21 years ago. The sign translated read ‘If you knew me and I knew you, you would not kill me’.

He also told us that the cities are clean, roads are good, no litter and no beggars. He asked a taxi driver about life among the Christians and Muslims in present day Rwanda. The taxi driver replied that the Muslims fear their God, the Christians fear their God, but everyone fears the President. Who, incidentally, I heard recently, actually walks alongside his people in picking up trash.

Now, to nominate another: Marian, please will you pick up the challenge? Your photographs are lovely and your posts always beautifully written and insightful. And it’s ok to decline. http://plainandfancygirl.com (Mine are going to be very short these next 3 days; I’m totally blogged out!).

Rules for 5 photos, 5 days 5 stories challenge

1) post a photo each day for 5 consecutive days

2) attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non fiction, poetry, a paragraph – all entirely up to you!

3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation! This is fun, not a command performance!

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge – Day One

Dr. Gulara Vincent at http://gularavincent.com nominated me for this challenge the other day, 5 photos on 5 consecutive days with or without a story accompanying it. I love Gulara’s posts so much – always understated in their simplicity of compassion to self and others – her posts speak directly to me. And her one put up today as part of the challenge is so synchronistic I’m almost speechless, reading it as I did when I got back from being out the whole morning – actually not on compassion.

Today is International Mandela Day here in South Africa, declared in 2009 by UN Secretary-General Banki Moon to be celebrated on Mr. Mandela’s birthday every year on the 18th July. Mr. Nelson Mandela Mr. Mandela gave 67 years of his life in the struggle for freedom, human rights and social justice. We are asked world wide to give 67 minutes of our time today in whatever way we can to ‘make the world a better place’.

I could write a thousand quotes from this great man but I’ll do one:-

‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear’.

And here’s one other, because it’s Eid Mubarak today – and this is for my Muslim friends, especially Zainab:

‘South Africa’s vibrant Islamic heritage is a valued and respected part of our nation’.

I’ve done my bit already and I’m not sure if this is part of the reason I feel happy today. Yes, the day is gorgeous, bright and sunny though with a distinct winter chill in the air. In part also because of the once a month Saturday art group meeting this morning which was enlivening and animating and had me almost bursting out my skin (I’ll post a photo tomorrow of Tina’s art work she showed this morning – her first time in oils).

I’m happy also because my younger son David announced his engagement the other day to Jute his girlfriend of 3 1/2 years. I’ll probably put up of a photo of these two beautiful individuals the following day, Monday. We are so so happy!

Now, to nominate someone to take up the challenge:

‘Rules’ for Five Photos, Five Days, Five Stories Challenge:

1) post a photo each day for 5 consecutive days

2) attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to you!

3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!

My nomination for picking up the challenge is Silvia Villalobos at http://www.silviatomasvillalobos.wordpress.com. And Silvia, you truly do not have to accept! (but I hope you do!)

 

Day 3 of 3 day quote challenge

Day 3 of 3 day quote challengeroses-with-thornsFrom: Meditations for Women who do too much: Anne Wilson Schaef 1990.

November 22: Wholeness

May Sarton: Women’s work is always towards wholeness

Anne Wilson Schaef commentary: When we women do our work, we move towards wholeness. The world is in need of wholeness. The world is in need of women’s way of working.

Too long we have doubted ourselves and tried to fit comfortably into a male modality. To have wholeness, we need to make our contribution too. To have wholeness, we need to know our values and value our knowing.

We have ‘welched’ on our responsibility to this society and this planet. It is time that we courageously put our thoughts, ideas and values out there and let them stand for themselves.

When I do my work, my work is wholeness.

 with thanks to google images

Day two of 3 Day Quote Challenge

Day 2 of 3 day quote challenge542591_620348161315085_803962571_nSecond day of 3 day quote challenge. Quote taken from ‘Meditations for Women who do too Much’ Anne Wilson Schaef 1990.

September 12: Reaching our Limits

Golda Meir: I have had enough

Anne Wilson Schaef’s commentary: What beautiful words, and how rarely are they spoken by women who do too much. Part of our craziness is not recognising that we have limits and not knowing when we reach them. In fact, many of us may see having limits as an indicator of inadequacy. We cannot forgive ourselves for not being able to carry on when we are exhausted or for not being able to keep going regardless of the circumstances.

Recognising that we are approaching our limits and accepting those limits may be the beginning of recovery.

Every human being has limits, and I am a human being

 with thanks to google images

Day one of 3 day Quote Challenge

Day one of 3 day quote challenge

542591_620348161315085_803962571_nGenevive nominated me to take part in this 3 day challenge. Thank you Genevive! (at http://www.geneviveangela.com/ – she writes from Hyderabad in India and her posts are so inspiring and gentle). I love quotes. I’ve taken the easy way out. I found this little book given to me by a friend many years ago but I hadn’t noticed it in a long long time. It’s called ‘Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much’: Anne Wilson Schaef. 1990. It has a quote for every day of the year by women known and unknown and the author adds her insight to it. I am making random selections for today and next two days.

July 31: Happiness/Depression

Anna Pavlova: When I was a small child … I thought that success spelled happiness. I was wrong, happiness is like a butterfly which appears and delights for one brief moment, but soon flits away.

Anne Wilson Schaef’s commentary: There is no difference between happiness and depression. They both have the same process. It is just the content that is not the same. Both will come and go. The major difference is what we do with them.

We are always seeking happiness. When we see it coming we say, ‘Ah, come here, I see you. Stay with me always’. Happiness laughs and says, ‘Oh, she’s seen me, I can leave now’. And it does.

With depression, we see it coming, and we say: ‘Go away, I don’t want you. Not me’. And depression sighs and says, ‘Here we go again, I’m going to have to get bigger and bigger for her to hear me and learn what I have to teach’. So it taps us on the shoulder and says, “over here, over here!’ until it gets our attention. Then it leaves.

Both happiness and depression have something to teach us. Both will come and go. Both will return. It is our response and openness to learn from both that makes the difference.

My happiness is a gift. My depression is a gift. Both are like butterflies in my life.

I’d like to pass the challenge on to three special people to post 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days. We’ve become very good friends over the years and the miles in our blogging and writing. Their websites are worth a visit! It can be your very own quote, from a book, a poem, a writer, a film, or from anywhere, followed by however you want to do it. What it means to you for example or the how and why you like it. And honestly, more than fine if you choose not to accept. Comments are always welcome, and not just from these three!

 Samantha: http://thescheherazadechronicles.org/.

Gwynn: http://gwynnsgritandgrin.com

Patricia: http://www.patgarciaandeverythingmustchange.com

And, I forgot to mention – please nominate three others to take up this challenge. Thank them and nominate three others!

 with thanks to google images

Some words on Lilith, Adam and Eve

Some words on Lilith, Adam and Eve

serpentimages (1)

I did it again – I put up a post earlier that was not fully edited. If you receive it twice I am sorry.

Firstly, thank you all who’ve been with me on these posts over the last several weeks. I’ve so appreciated you stopping by and adding valuable comments. I would love to think that others also stop by and read others’ comments – I know that my learning is enlarged so thank you again.  

I thought I’d add this – maybe it could have been used when I introduced Lilith in the beginning with the following, but whichever way –

Lilith first came to my attention many many years ago when Dr. Susan Schwartz, Jungian analyst from Phoenix, Arizona, gave a talk to the Jung Centre here in Johannesburg on ‘Marriage and Divorce and the Nature of Unresolved Psychological Issues therein’.

She said and I quote from her transcript:

‘The Adam and Lilith story represents a stereotype of the masculine and feminine in relationships we see today. Adam expresses no curiosity about Lilith’s needs. He complains to God the authority to correct Lilith and make her obey him (italics mine). The two never work it out, learn nothing about communication skills and separate in mutual frustration. Later, God gives Adam another wife and we see the same unresolved issues  of the original situation appearing again. Ignored, psychological elements tend to return – Eve also thinks for herself and challenges the masculine status quo by listening to the snake, eating the apple and encouraging Adam to do the same’.

Thus began my research and study and fascination with the biblical story. I was aware that Eve had rebelled by eating the forbidden fruit and the dire consequences of that, felt to this day. But, a wife before Eve? I was intrigued to say the least. I was also much intrigued by the role of the serpent who seemed to be a significant cause in Adam and Eve’s banishment from Paradise.

So, the first two women banished – Lilith to the underworld of the depths of the Red Sea; Eve banished with her partner into another world – all in exile.

I wonder if Adam mourned the loss of Lilith. I think he did in some way. She was after all the feminine side of him – his other half – which he rejected, which even today man tries to find within himself if he wishes to be whole. Women too – He must have felt the loss of her keenly and no doubt felt very alone until God fashioned his second wife. I wonder if he pondered Lilith’s dark chthonic powers and whether that energy that they had between them could have been transformed into something more loving and compassionate. Is it a reasonable hypothesis that he saw Lilith as someone to be tamed, much like mankind has an agenda to tame nature and make her subservient to his demands? –

It is said that Adam and Eve left the Garden bore their expulsion with humility and dignity. Adam had his arm around Eve as if to protect her. As they left the Garden, Eve’s tears fell onto the ground up from which sprung lilies.

I’m concluding this with a recent comment from Deborah Weber on a recent post. 

‘I think of integration, of the light and dark, the divine masculine and divine feminine, as the life-long work we’re here to do – to move ourselves (and our societies) into wholeness. And every time there’s a new reminder of how to look at this, a different avenue to approach this, it feels like a blessing to me. It brings us back front and centre. Wholeness/holiness’.

They are powerful archetypes which can be used as stepping stones and do the work to bring the masculine and feminine into harmony …

with thanks to google images for the caduceus

 

The Art of the Dark Feminine

The Art of the Dark Feminine

yinyangimages (3)

The Dark Feminine is alive and well and living in our psyches in some shape or form or manifestation. Adam’s rejection of Lilith, the female part of him, is indicative of the historically rejected feminine, the female energy within men and women which is still a recurring theme in today’s world to the detriment of us all. The dark and light battle it out on the world stage as well as within individuals. As above, so below. It is necessary it seems to me to reconcile the two. Not necessarily to reach a truce but for each aspect of light and dark (energies) to be acknowledged and fully integrated, male and female, within and without. Let go of attachment of one over the other … they need each other. Marry those energies so that they complement each other and are not in opposition to each other. 

Forever, the feminine has been suppressed. Yes, strides have been made in many spheres in today’s world at least in the western world. Equal rights previously denied are in effect. But I’m not talking about equal rights. We’re aware of man’s inhumanity to man. And woman to woman. Man to woman and vice-versa. Activism is alive and well; the struggle continues. We continue to roar like a lioness for the conjunctio of female and male energies. We want the world to be a less confusing and fearful place in which to live. Can each individual contribute to peace? Can we work through our disillusionment of inter alia governmental, religious, education institutions, systems with which we are so familiar and thus slide into numbness without even realising it? Disillusionment is hard work, yet it serves in getting to the core of who we are. We’re much more than the ideology shoved down our throats. Wars are not representative of the ordinary person, neither is desecration of nature. We can find our own authority in our disillusionment. In bringing the Dark Feminine out from the shadows we can find the Sacred Feminine and the Sacred Masculine – and ultimately freedom from the ties that bind us. What is hidden will be revealed and from the two emerges the third – 

With all the murder and mayhem around the world, from terrorist groups to oil pipelines bursting, sewerage spilling into rivers, drought and deluge, rain forests plundered for palm oil, GMO and pesticides causing havoc in agricultural lands causing declining inter alia butterfly and bee populations, poverty, genocide, rape, corruption, coverups, we have to admit there is darkness all around. I for one am extremely troubled by all of this. I’m almost inclined to stick my head in the sand, get on with my life, and hope for the best. Look for beauty and to hell with darkness – let it take a hike – stay in the comfort of my cocoon –

But –

‘Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people’. (C.G. Jung, in a letter to a student).

What does this mean? It means to me that I acknowledge that I can be very dark indeed when I’m angry, sad, beyond irritated, morose, despairing, murderous, if not in real life then in my dreams, difficult, one-sided in my attitude – the list is long. I can’t just reject and disown the darkness in me – it is alive and well and is possibly in part because of my rage at the suppressed feminine. It is part of my struggle in ‘knowing myself’ and to which I try to be compassionate and thereby compassionate towards others.

And when I reflect on all that is beautiful and comforting, true and real, visible or invisible, whether in Mother Nature, friends, family, I see art in the impressions of the dark feminine and I allow her penetration.

Some sources say Lilith means ‘night’, others say Lilith means ‘light’. She contains both night and light, two lovely opposites belonging together, side-by-side, wonderfully paradoxical.

‘Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got’: Janis Joplin. 

Tonight Venus (female) and Jupiter (male) will be extremely close, shining brightly in the night sky. I saw them last night – they were so vivid and beautiful. It’s being referred to as a conjunction – I’ll be looking up again tonight

‘The secret is that only that which can destroy itself is truly alive’. C.G. Jung (Psychology & Alchemy)rainbow

with thanks to google images for above images

Eve part 3

Eve Part 3

Eveimages (2)

Many women writers have defended Eve and her actions, and have wrestled about possible interpretations of Adam and Eve and their ‘fall’ from grace. Their fresh perspectives on Eve and her submission in eating the fruit has allowed womens’ voices to be heard from their own experience and not from that of a patriarchal view. Women throughout the ages have tried to reject the projection of sin put upon them by their male counterparts. Women are able to bear the burden of sin on their own if need be but having to be patriarchy’s scapegoat is not acceptable. Sadly, many women have accepted their ‘inferiority’, and this can be seen for example by the ambivalence with which many women and even young girls view their bodies.

Abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) spent much of her life meditating on Adam and Eve and the meanings to be gleaned from their time both within and outside Paradise in terms of person to person relationship; relationship to God and relationship to Satan. Hildegard was benign to Eve, seeing in her the person who bestows divinity onto humanity and seeing in her also the prefiguration of Mary. Pain in childbirth is not seen as inevitable or a curse. Rather, each time the mother gives birth, the hidden God is revealed. By giving birth, God’s image is revealed in every child who is born.*

Christine de Pizan (1365-1430) became a writer to avoid destitution after the death of her husband and father. She exchanged letters (Querelles des Femmes) with the male humanists of the era, arguing for equal status of women.  She was disillusioned by the male writers of the time in their denigration of women. She rehabilitates Eve (The Book of the City of Ladies), arguing that Eve was made in the image of God and asserting that Adam and Eve’s souls were of equal value. She states that Eve, being fashioned from the rib of Adam shows surely that she should be at his side as companion, not as slave, and that a master craftsman’s hand must have been at work to make Eve out of Adam.

Sarah Joseph Hale (1788-1879) prefaces her book ‘Woman’s Record’ published in 1853, with her understanding and interpretation of the fall. She contends that Adam needed assistance in cultivating his good qualities and, ‘left to himself, his love becomes lust; patriotism (becomes) policy; and religion, idolatry. He is naturally selfish in his affections and selfishness is the sin of depravity’. She also contends that Eve took the apple because of her ‘higher faculties of her mind … (her) desire for knowledge and wisdom …(and that Adam ate with) compliance (typical of a person of a) lower nature … (and motives no higher) than gratifying his sensuous inclinations’.

Richard Lewontin of Harvard University tells us that according to the Haggadic legend, the celestial cloner put a great deal of thought into technique. In deciding what of Adam’s organs to use for Eve, He had the problem of finding tissue, what the biologist calls ‘totipotent’ i.e. not already committed in development to a particular function. So He cloned Eve-

”not from the head, lest she carry her head high in arrogant pride, not from the eye, lest she be wanton-eyed, not from the ear, lest she be an eavesdropper, not from the neck, lest she be insolent, not from the mouth, lest she be a tattler, not from the heart, lest she be inclined to envy, not from the hand, lest she be a meddler, not from the foot, lest she be a gadabout. But from the rib, a ‘chaste portion of the body’. In spite of all the care and knowledge, something went wrong, and we have been earning a living by the sweat of our brows ever since”.

And I read this somewhere – if Adam had not accepted the apple from Eve he would still be waiting for his supper –

* Pamela Norris: The Story of Eve. Picador 1998

Next week I will wrap up with Lilith & Eve

with thanks to google images for above image ..

Winter Solstice

  Winter Solsticesunrise plettSo sorry about my faux pas last night but thank you to those who read my unfinished post! And added comments!

The winter solstice happens tomorrow June 21st at around 18.39. The significance of the solstice is always very real for me. It marks the anniversary of our moving from our old and lovely home to our townhouse 2 years ago. It also marks the 2nd anniversary of my dreadful car accident the day before our move (today as I write)..

In the southern hemisphere the winter solstice marks the longest night and shortest day. Winter has seemed a long time coming this time round – just last week we were in Plettenberg Bay, in the South Western Cape at the tip of South Africa. The days were very warm, the nights cold, made even more so when we had load shedding (black outs) when our electricity grid was shut down. Thank heavens for gas heaters, log fire, candles and solar lamps. This has been happening for several years now much to our dismay and the fault is well and truly laid at our inept government and their handling of the parastatals. Our electricity supplier wants a further R50 BILLION from the government to bail them out … which means the tax payer will pay …

But when in Plett at 8.00 p.m. like clockwork we were plunged into darkness, it was thrilling to look up at the night sky. Those stars so bright, the milky way so pure. It was heart warming to see the magnificence of the skies and imagine the earth slowly turning.

The approaching solstice makes me think both backwards and forwards. Backwards when I reflect on that car accident 2 years ago the day before the big move when I learned how quickly these things happen. Smashed in by a truck who overshot the stop street, car turned upside down. I learned about impermanence and patience first hand, even right hand as my right writing hand was out of action for about 6 weeks  – I am constantly grateful that the accident didn’t render more dreadful injuries –

In thinking forwards I will as always plan a ritual for the day/night tomorrow. It is a sacred time, that time when there is a momentary stillness before the earth turns yet again and the Sun is re-birthed. Solstice comes from the Latin sol:sun; sistere:to stand still. It is the time in winter when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest from the sun. We don’t say goodbye to winter, as it’s only just begun it seems. But I do know that from the gloom, darkness and dormancy of winter the light and warmth of spring will follow. And my orchids out on my patio are a delight! Why and how they bloom in this freezing cold weather is a mystery to me but they are such a joy and brighten my day every day in these winter months. There are many more buds still to open. The freeze is only just beginning.

orchids June 2015

From my garden taken this afternoon –

It is lovely to have glimpses of beauty, most often in Nature as in the photograph at the top that my younger son David took this past Monday morning of the sunrise from the balcony in Plett before he drove back to Cape Town. He totally surprised me last Friday around noon when he pitched up at the doorstep to spend my birthday and the weekend with us. I could not believe it and my heart was just about bursting with happiness. There is beauty all about, in friendship, love, compassion, even amongst the horrors all around. 

We are shocked at saddened by the dreadful shootings in Charleston 2 days ago and I/we stand with you in America in your sadness.

May your solstice be joyous and the turn of the wheel keep you in touch with all that is good and true and valuable.

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