We’re flying down this Sunday to Plettenberg Bay where we’ll be for a week. I’m having a few girlfriends this Saturday morning for breakfast. Although plans for the ‘menu’ are in place, I decided this morning to stew some fruit, something I’ve never done before. It tastes quite nice, both bitter and sweet. I thought I’d warm it slightly on Saturday when every one is here; they can add it to the full cream greek yoghurt I’ll put out. That will be the starter.

I peeled naartjies (clementines), removing as much of the pith that I could, cutting in half, ensuring no pips and adding to the hard pears that were already softening in the pot. I also added a little muscavado, a little balsamic, shake of cinnamon and ginger and some dried out prunes.

I thought how the times we are in, are times in which we are all metaphorically stewing.

There’ve been dreadful storms in Cape Town since Tuesday night, lives lost, a huge amount of damage, thousands displaced. Poor communities frightfully affected. The western Cape has been in severe drought for the last long while … water rationing is in full force. The storms and very high winds are expected to quieten down today. Cape Town has been battered and ravaged.

Then, as of yesterday, huge fires cut through Knysna. Knysna is 30 km away from Plettenberg Bay, approx 550 kms from Cape Town. Very high gale force winds caused immediate spreading to surrounding areas. Evacuations again of thousands were effected, brought to safe places like schools, yacht clubs and churches. Infernos cut their flaming swathes through the land. Elephants and horses needed to be evacuated. That fire raced to Plettenberg Bay’s surrounds where my son lives. It’s been a nightmare for all – many homes, farms, wild life and vegetation lost. Mike has been racing around just about all the time helping where he could. Arson in some cases is suspected. Earlier this morning he was washing his car because of all the dust, muck and grime and it started to rain – slightly –

Extreme and troubling times indeed. Labour vs Tory vote in the UK today. James Comey testifies before Congress in the US today. The political situation in South Africa is totally haywire and unbelievably corrupt. The DA (Democratic Alliance, main opposition party) Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, has been suspended as of yesterday for a tweet she made in March and hung out to dry after the knives have been plunged into her. 

So much else world wide – hence my circle of light photo. Fire storms, rain storms, political storms, snow and ice; internal and external conflicts everywhere. I was going to blog from Plettenberg Bay next week but today I feel a sense of urgency. The photo helps me stand still in the centre of the storm and I hope it helps in some way for you too ..

May we bathe in the healing energies of the full moon tomorrow night – even as we know that the full moon can result in extreme weather and affect us in other ways –

 http://www.grahameb.com/pinkola_estes.htm – this is a link to Clarissa Pinkola Estes – her words on “We were made for these times”. With thanks to Deborah Gregory.

49 comments on “Circle of Light”

  1. I love the picture – and the knowledge that where there is chaos, there is room for change. Hopefully, some good will come of all this and patterns will shift more toward the light.

    • Thanks for coming by – I appreciate this! Let’s hope that from the chaos comes meaningful change –

  2. Your post is comforting, Susan, comforting coming from the center of that circle of light. What else can we do, but stand still in that place until the storm passes. The area around Cape Town reminds me of Southern California — both in appearance and with those awful firestorms. Usually in the SoCal mountains it’s a carelessly tossed cigarette or an unattended campfire, the dry vegetation and then the hot, dry Santa Ana high winds. I stood once and watched a fire within a mile of my home race down a hill towards us. Fortunately, firefighters arrested it before it went farther. But, the experience was utterly frightening. It is utterly devastating for those affected. So glad Mike is helping. I hope your stay in Plett is a pleasant one, nonetheless, and that the smoke from the fires has dissipated.

    Wishing you peace, light and love amid this dark global age.


    • Thank you Samantha for your comment – on my birthday! Yes, fires are often caused by carelessness and then the winds – the effects of the fire have been utterly devastating. I’ve seen the movie clips and it is simply horrifying. You’ve had the experience of watching it race towards your own home. We need winds here in Plett to blow the lingering smoke away – it’s been very still today and yesterday. But all is on high alert – embers can smoulder and a gust of wind can blow them to who knows where.

      Thank you for your lovely wishes for peace light and love – may these wishes carry over to you …

  3. Thank you, Susan. I hope the fires are out and the floods receding in South Africa. It feels we all live in a world of psychological flood and fire–and often physical, too.. How we need to create these moments of calm for ourselves, to experience the quiet alchemy of cooking and be with close friends, to admire a circle of light within the dark. I engage in the troubles of our world in many ways, but more and more I need to care for myself because my health suffers from the stress. It takes faith to place these huge problems in the Divine Mother’s hands. Watering the vegetable garden this morning, a Monarch butterfly floated by. I’ve seen them for 5 days now after seeing none last year. A touch of grace in a troubled world.

    • On my birthday, yours and Samantha’s lovely comments. Thanks Elaine, so much! Today here in Plettenberg Bay, we had a lunch time braaivleis (barbecue) and twice I saw a sunbird alight on a branch – so tiny and such beautiful colours! I also am realising the necessity and urgency of taking more care of myself if I am to be of any use in the world – there is simply too much stress about which affects one’s health. Moments of grace help lift the darkness. I hope this finds you well and may more butterflies flutter by …

  4. Susan, Thanks for sharing the plights in your country. I wonder about our globe and all the negativity — you know how I like to look for the good — and I can’t quite make sense of this all. It cuts deeply into those of us who care.

    • Thanks Beth for coming by … things are sure to lighten up. The pendulum must surely swing. Hope you have a good weekend. Ir’s freezing here in SA!

  5. Amidst the gloom and sadness, you have learnt to deal with your emotions. I admire the way you are responding to the situation we are in right now. Despite whatever happening I am glad for the time you have taken to be with your girlfriends…. I am sure this will be refreshing experience and thanks for inspiring, I not only liked your post but even enjoyed reading every comment…. which are so deep and provoking me to think. I even read the article suggested by deborah… its a beautiful one and I am happy for surrounding myself with so many inspiring persons here… thank you and be assured of my prayers 🙂 Love and hugs

    • Thanks Genevive for coming by and I’m sorry to hear of similar events in India although I am aware of them – amazing that no-where seems to be untouched. Glad you read Clarissa Pinkola Estes … thank you dear friend for your prayers and I send same to you and family. In haste, and with love, Susan – I look forward to reading your latest post soonest …

  6. Hi Susan – life has changed here as of this past 11 hours … but we go on – the wind of our ancestors … lovely phrase and idea – I could do with some. The moon woke me up last night – full and bright as it ‘steamed’ in my window … gorgeous .. but only lasted a short while before the clouds closed in.

    We’ve been having lots of rain too – but nothing like the Cape storms or your fires … at times I got really worried out in SA – and in fact on occasions here in the past.

    Certainly we are living in interesting times – and I must not get sucked in to listening … it will happen and doesn’t need to be in viewing site, or my hearing line! It’s important to ignore what’s going on around one – if there’s nothing that can be done and making sure our own life is safe and stable for the now and future … so I’m off to do that!

    Cheers – your fruit sounds delicious – enjoy tomorrow with your friends … and then that lovely time in Plett with the family … I shall be in my circle of peace – have fun – Hilary

    • Thanks Hilary for coming by. Were you expecting the outcome? I won’t ask if you’re pleased or shocked although I am of course curious … 🙂 Theresa May will I know be meeting with the Queen to form a new government ..

      I agree it’s essential to keep our own circle safe. I know you have and do much for others in many ways. Thank you for your good wishes re time away in Plett, although it may be busy in the mopping up, if not at our or my son’s home, then elsewhere … Susan

  7. What a fascinating report. I felt like a TV newscaster had come to my house and directly relating the story to me. What a bunch of stuff going on. Yes, it’s a curious and sometimes foreboding world.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    • Thanks Arlee … even though we’re not in the eye of the storm up here in Johannesburg, it feels very close. As no doubt same for you re the US and all that is going on …

  8. Wow, Susan, these are SCARY times! I saw your wildfire on TV. I hope you and your children stay safe. Your stewed fruit describes our times well… bitter and sweet.

  9. These are unsettled times. I don’t read news of Africa in a provincial newspaper, but I could identify with the fires you wrote about. We had some bad ones last year in the mountains of North Carolina. I hope your upcoming trip will be very pleasant and relaxing for you.

    • Thanks for coming by Anne. Yes I’ve seen on TV about the dreadful fires that the US experiences from time to time …in Australia too. The power of destructive fires is completely scary. Thank you for your good wishes. Mine to you.

  10. Thank you Susan and all the commentators……. this has lifted my heavy heart and soul somewhat – we must see beyond the dark and heaviness that hangs, I am sure, over many of us in this beautiful world which we – mankind – are destroying physically and soulfully – the circle of light is a good image to keep…. it is full of hope

    • Thank you Sis for coming by and glad your heavy heart and soul has been lifted somewhat. The photo incidentally is from the garden – a little solar lamp. Do read the link for Clarissa Pinkola Estes .. it is lovely. Hope to see you down there next week?

  11. “Fire storms, rain storms, political storms, snow and ice; internal and external conflicts everywhere.” That about sums it up for me! Most of us in the U.S. are horrified and embarrassed by the shenanigans playing out in the white house. Wind and rain storms have assaulted the east coast, south and midwest for most of spring. Call it a freak of nature. I call it the growing effects of climate change. So sorry to hear about the fire storms and potential arson. How terrible! Your luncheon with yogurt and stewed fruit sounds wonderful. Wish I could join you!!

    • Freaks of nature, freaks of much else. I’m sorry to hear of the wind and rain storms in the US Sharon – may all be as safe as possible. I’m sure people come out in their 1000’s to assist where they can. Those acts of humanity when people pull together and do what they can to assist are always heart warming. Tomorrow’s breakfast is taking shape … we’ll have the fire going and heaters in this very cold weather … it would be lovely if you were here!

  12. Tempests both physical and political rage. I am sure they echo each other, and are all connected. Raging winds here in the UK, flooding and a night dreading the trickle of election results. Read about the goings on in SA everyday. In both cases it seems nothing shames, nothing brooks, and Apocalypse rides.It is quite extraordinary.
    Worrying for you re Plet and your son. I think of all those noble trees in Knysna and wonder?

    Love P

    • Phillipa you echo what I haven’t been able to put in words…..political and physical rage.. it is difficult to comprehend

    • Thanks Phi for coming by. No doubt there is shock in the UK as a result of the vote. I am quite surprised at the outcome but I thought it would swing that way. No judgment – I just thought it probably would. Tempestuous times indeed. Life imitating art …

      We’ll see Mike on Sunday when we fly down. I like that you use Plet instead of Plett. Many do. Our younger son will be driving from CT on the weekend so he and my daughter-in-law will be with us. We’ll do what we can. Much to lament – and wonder … Love to you, Susan

  13. In times of storms, we must hold on to what we believe and act accordingly. It seems like you’re doing just that and this is good. Enjoy your breakfast with your girlfriends. That’s important and take the time to relax while you’re away in Plettenberg Bay. That is also important. Take the time to get in touch with yourself.

    Love you, Lady.

    Shalom aleichem,

    • Thank you dear Patricia … wise words from a very wise lady … and a reminder to get in touch with self. The walks on the beaches will be replenishing as they always are …Love to you, and shalom aleichem, Susan.

  14. HI Susan, It definitely feels lately, as if the whole world has gone crazy and we are all being swept along in a turbulent river with no control over anything. Have a wonderful time in Plett.

    • Hi Robbie, a turbulent river indeed … thank you for your good wishes re Plett – yes, looking forward to it, in spite of the destruction …

  15. You’re the second person to mention the full moon on Friday. Usually those come and go without much attention, but like you explain in your blog post there is so much off-kilter in the world right now that I suppose we’re all looking to the moon to heal us. Enjoy your weekend away, enjoying friendship and fruit!

    • Thanks Ally Bean – the fruit and breakfast is for this Saturday here at home in Johannesburg for local friends. It is only on Sunday we go away for a week … 🙂

  16. Your awareness of, sensitivity to, and willingness to fully face the troubling times you and our world are in, while yet tending to your relationships with such a generous, warm and open heart is an inspiration. I’m reminded of the Buddhist goal of “joyful participation in the sorrows of the world,” and see an embodiment of this in you. Thank you for this inspiring post. Sending you love and light. Jeanie

    • Those are such lovely words Jean thank you … ‘joyful participation in the sorrows of the world’. Believe me, I sometimes wish I could bury my head in the sand, but I’m not an ostrich. Thank you for your kind words about me, it is so personally gratifying and heart expanding, and a very valuable affirmation coming from you. May love and light continue on its path towards you – and every one and thing … Susan

  17. Dear Susan, Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful circle of light once more and your rich, illuminating article. I agree, extreme and troubling times indeed, and just about everywhere we look too! You’ve gone and put into words that which many are failing to find language for … as just about everything that could go wrong in the world in the last few months feels like it is and more. At times it feels so overwhelming! I’ve yet to go to our (UK) polling station but I will, I must, in order to use my vote wisely. The outcome? I’ve no idea and will have to wait like millions of others until tomorrow alongside the Full Moon, hmm, maybe She already knows.

    Just now I read, in deep gratitude, “We Were Made For Times Like These” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, it’s awesome and so relevant to your words. If you haven’t already read her article I urge you to do so: http://www.grahameb.com/pinkola_estes.htm She concludes, “When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.” Well that just about took my breath away! She believes there are many “able vessels” in the water across the world right now to steer our little boats in the direction of the Great Mother(Ship) herself, for every fleet of ships has one, here on Earth.

    Even though we often have no idea where we’re heading in life, I feel that She (the Great Mother) knows why we’re even here in the water in the first place, even though we seem to regularly forget! I believe She knows why we encounter these destructive storms, vicious fires, and the sheer bloody horror of terrorism … when we haven’t got a clue nor can we even begin to understand … and yet, only with personal meaning that we give to these events do we find that that meaning will then become our inner compass, the one that aligns itself to the Great Mother(Ship) as we finally learn to sail in Her direction. Blessings always, Deborah.

    • Thank you Deborah for your lovely comment. I know that many moons back I used some of Clarissa Pinkola Estes words in a blog post. Maybe earlier this year, maybe last year. I thought of looking the post up to include those words but I didn’t. I think I used that excerpt about ‘able vessels’. I hope that others who read this and your comment will make the link to you so kindly provided. I’ll see just now if I can copy your link and post it to this blog post, in case anyone else comes by ..

      As I write, it is fully dark outside though I can see the moon rising from where I sit in my study. I’ve been tracking her appearance from just over the tree tops to where she is now – floating freely and nearly full. Your most recent post on the Tarot of the Moon says so beautifully about her.

      I guess compasses can get knocked out of whack from time to time. More necessity to keep the inner one aligned as much as possible to the Great Mother and learn to sail in her direction. Inspiring words dear poet thank you so much.

      Good luck for outcome tomorrow for the vote. This is a seriously tough one.

      Blessings to you, Susan.

  18. Our Western leaders to a (wo)man seem challenged by the times. I’m not sure they know what to do. I may follow your example and go on a vacation.

    • I’m afraid that this latest development may have something to do with her being a (white) woman .. thank you for saying so Jacqui …

  19. “We need light when gloom darkens our life! To whom shall we turn if not the Creator of Light!” (Gates of Prayer).
    Enjoy the day with your friends, Susan!

    • Thank you Stephen – perfect words from the Gates of Prayer … to whom indeed? Thank you for your good wishes for the morning on Saturday ..

  20. Hi Susan,

    Thank you for your post. Stewing fruit, both bitter and sweet seems like such good metaphor for life.

    The wind can -symbolically- be seen as the voice of the ancestors. How they rely on our strength to honour them.

    The Moon, and how she blesses us with dreams. I am quite sure you will tune into some comforting dreams this night. You have this tendency, no this ability to reach deep into that well of wisdom that is filled with the water of dreams.

    Have fun on your days in Plettenberg Bay. I’ll miss you. But I know you will have fun.

    blessings as always,


    • Thank you Susanne for your lovely comment and reminding about the wind as being the voice of our ancestors. Ra, or ru, or rah is the biblical term from what I remember being the wind –

      Now, as I write, the moon is rising – I can see her from my study above the tree tops. It is already dark outside. May your full moon dream workshop go very well. I know that I’ve been dreaming a lot lately – not to recall unfortunately. Hopefully tonight.

      Thank you for your good wishes re Plettenberg Bay. It will be lovely to be with my elder son Mike who lives there, and I know that younger son Dave and his lovely wife Jüte will be motoring from Cape Town on the weekend. So we’ll be together en famille …

      (I added some dried cranberries which I bought this afternoon to the bitter sweet stewed fruit).

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