Category: uncategorised

Taking a Break

I’ve finally made a decision that’s been a long while in coming. I know without a doubt that I spend too much time on social media. I am tracked so I know how many hours I spend on my phone. And the percentage increase. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram has me by the short and curlies. My morning gmail inbox is filled with news, business news local and international. Platforms I follow like academia.edu send me interesting papers that I save to read who knows when. They’re right up my street, psychological, in depth, on point … but the file for them TBR grows and grows. Other platforms I follow I save TBR later … all madly interesting. Brain Pickings, The Literary Hub, articles on Feminism, religion, Jungian psychology – mostly unread except maybe for a quick peek. The books on my kindle remain unread, the promise that I made to myself that I would review them, broken.

The painting on my easel remains unfinished, though I daub at it from time to time. My wardrobe needs decluttering and clothes given away – I’ve been saying this from the beginning of this month.

I’ve had a painful neck for some time now. Occasionally I take a strong anti-inflammatory. I use a heat pad on my neck and shoulders.. I make my own muti using chopped up raw turmeric, garlic, ginger, a few slices lemon, a squirt of apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, powdered turmeric and nutmeg, and a little honey (necessary), steeped in boiling water in a large mug. It helps. I’ve seen a physio a few times for dry needling and massage which helped.

I remember last year when I had a very painful foot in the early days of covid, which I suspect was from using my husband’s gym equipment incorrectly. Eventually, I went to see a GP here in Plett, who requested x-rays, no damage. What was interesting to me, was that no sooner had I made that appointment that the foot pain started to diminish. By the time the x-rays were done, there was no more pain, no treatment necessary. I wondered whether this was because I had made the first step in seeing a doctor, i.e. I was taking care of myself.

I’ve also made a link between sugar and neck pain. I have a very sweet tooth. Plus I have to say there is something rather greedy about my attitude towards food. Anyone who knows me, knows this. Just recently, my husband and I decided not to enable each other by having delicious things like yoghurt covered cashews, and cookies, and nuts and yoghurt covered dates – and almond croissants in the freezer. No more biscotti. No more chips in the pantry. No more delicious rusks (healthy, seeded, wheat free) with early morning tea, in bed.

At pottery classes there are always scrumptious things to eat at coffee break. The other day I took peeled and segmented clementines and sliced apples to the meeting. No doughnuts or chocolate brownies for me. The others also partook of the fruit – and even though the doughnuts and biscotti were staring at me, I wasn’t tempted.

Surprisingly, the neck pain has diminished. I’m stretching a little more, twisting my spine to enliven it. I spend more time in preparing food and enjoying the presentation of it. And the deliciousness of it. Simple. No bread (with oodles of butter) or crackers to go with it, just as is. No snacking in between meals. I’ve been known to demolish a slice of cake just before supper .. and after .. and in between. Snacking all day long …

So, this morning, a new week, a dedication by me to and for me to take a break. I’m sure I will continue reading your blogs, a source of nourishment for me. I’ll have to work out a time set aside for this. Daily? 2 or 3 times weekly? I’m not sure. While I’ve always meditated in the mornings, I can get out of the routine very quickly when the first thing I often do on waking is reach for my phone. Last thing at night too …That’s what I mean when I say I’ve been caught, captivated and captured … I want to break free, buzz like a bee, fly like a butterfly (with apologies to whoever first said this .. I think it was buzz like a butterfly, sting like a bee). There have been too many illnesses and death about and this is something I need to digest. Much saddened by the news today of the recent death of Julian David, Jungian Analyst, founder member of SAAJA (SA Association of Jungian Analysts), peacefully at his home in England and who made a lasting impression on me from a long time ago.

I plan to spend much more time writing … a novel about Lilith. Ok there I’ve said it. Been in the works for a while.

Thank you for reading. My love to you all. May the Force be with you. May Love be your operational word and your guiding star. May you be well, safe and centred.

Spring Day the first of September

I took this photo late afternoon today at my son’s home here in Plettenberg Bay. Friends here in South Africa have been sending messages as I have to them to celebrate the first official day of Spring! Up north Johannesburg way, they started the day off beautifully – warm and sunny. Here down south and across various parts of South Africa, it’s been cold!

I found a packet of seeds yesterday that a friend had given to me when last I was in Johannesburg. As always I admired her beautiful garden and asked about a bushy and beautiful plant among a setting in her garden. She said it was a flower called ‘Cleome’ and we harvested some seeds which she put into an envelope with instructions – plant in spring, sunny, a little shade is alright. Below is a photo I took that day, end March early April.

So, I sowed them today, first day of Spring! I don’t know how they’ll fare down south in our particular climate and soil. We’ll see!

I also planted some aloe cuttings today that I’d taken from my sister’s home in Cape Town. I was there recently. I wish I’d taken photos of my aloe garden garden today. It’s looking so fulsome. But here’s a fairly recent one. Just a small portion of it. I see I took it on 21st June … the solstice – not so recent after all!

The drive from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town was lovely – I set off Monday two weeks back. The canola fields were out in their full glory. Photos below were taken on the way back, this one last week Wednesday when I stopped the car to get out.

canola fields

I had a lovely time in Cape Town, saw a few friends but it was mostly low-key. My sister’s husband was away for the time I was there.

The one day we drove out to Gordon’s Bay where we used to live as teenagers. We walked the naval base pier to the end as we used to do as youngsters. Our parents’ ashes were tossed into the sea so many years ago and we walked it yet again and said a greeting and a prayer of thanks to them. We walked along the road past our house to the nunnery at the end – a cul-de-sac. Sat on a bench, walked on the beach, Bikini Beach, picked up a stone or two. We drove into Somerset West where we also lived and checked out our townhouse from the outside and then drove up the mountain to try to find our parents’ home. We thought we’d never find it but we did. Picked up a little bit of trash that was lying around. Photographed a pretty bush on the sidewalk. We shared memories … my sister’s memory is far better than mine … she always fills in the gaps.

bush opposite parents’ home
my sister, Gordon’s Bay
me on bench Bikini Beach with pier in background
Pier alongside yacht club and naval base

On the drive back last week I stopped in at a place for coffee where I’d had a breakfast before with my husband some few years ago. I’d done about 2 hours driving. Such a pretty place – those mountains! Here’s a photo of those mountains!

Nuys Valley Farm Stall

I sent a birthday greeting this morning to a dear friend in Johannesburg. Also saying Happy Spring Day! She responded by saying ‘I feel that something changes on Spring Day and will embrace it’. For me, that’s a lovely message – ‘something changes’ –

I sent my daughter-in-law a Happy Spring Day message. Including in it ‘a pinch and a punch for the first of the month’ – I don’t know where that saying comes from. She said ‘a first kick boom pow from the boy for the first of the month’ – and that baby had ‘started kicking with some incredibly powerful kicks a few minutes ago!’ So, even Emilio the embryo is responding to Spring Day ..

All is well here – the wheels of justice are turning slowly, but turning they certainly are. As another Johannesburg friend said today in a Spring Day message, ‘Lovely weather for Spring Day. When the sun and blossoms come out it is so wonderful and that even makes the ANC (our governing party) void look bearable’.

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you all well in these troubling times. Be safe. Embrace change.

This is a photo from my garden of our townhouse in Johannesburg. A night light made all those pretty circles of light radiating out. I must get one for Plettenberg Bay – In darkness, be light

This that and the next

I subscribe on Facebook to GBAS – the Good Book Appreciation Society (GBAS.) It has 1000’s of members I believe. Readers post a photograph of the book they’re reading and their review on it. Invariably, there’s a lot of discussion in the comments. It’s a wonderfully engaging link in which I am easily distracted and I occasionally add my two cents worth.

A few weeks ago on GBAS there was a review on Lynn Joffe’s book ‘The Gospel According to Wanda B. Lazarus’. I read all the comments, all wonderful, and because it looked irresistible I added ‘I want, I need, I desire’. Blow me down with a feather, Lynn got hold off me via messenger and the book arrived at my home in Plettenberg Bay, from Johannesburg. A gift! A great big bold bountiful beautiful book.

I thanked Lynn via messenger and said how excited I was. She had mentioned something about Lilith in our previous messenger chats. I requested her kindle address and said I would send her a kindle edition of ‘In Praise of Lilith, Eve & the Serpent in the Garden of Eden & Other Stories’. She already had it. I wanted to gift her something in return so I said I would send her ‘Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’ by Susan E. Schwartz & myself. I had no copies of my own I told her, but would buy author copies from Amazon though this would take time. Shipping etc…

Now, when I opened the box that arrived with Lynn’s book we were out on the balcony having a late lunch. Son Mike said he MAY have two paper back copies of Aging & Becoming in a box at his house. Blow me down with a feather, he DID. When I asked him how come, he said he keeps things in a safe place.

The Aging & Becoming book went off to Lynn a few days days later. I confess I wanted to add a few things to the bag, and I could have done, but didn’t. I would have added chocolate, yoghurt covered dates, some nuts, cookies and whatever else took my fancy. (No doubt my tendency towards being a Jewish/shiksa mother.) I did wrap the book in tissue paper and put it in a bubble envelope into the bag.

She sent me a photo of her with my book in hand (so lovely to see!) and requested I do the same with her book and to send to her to put on her timeline with my permission.

Open Photo

I am so enjoying her book. It is Wanda B. Lazarus’ freewheel romp through the ages.. ‘It is a furiously funny feminist take on the myth of the Wandering Jew’ (back cover). On the front cover, Stephen Fry (yes, THAT Stephen Fry) says ‘Just what the world needs now – a novel charged with music, energy, bounce, juice and joy.’

Something else wonderful happened. My son David & Jüte are pregnant! Family knew before they announced it on social media. They wanted to share the good news after the 12 week period had passed. The link below shows the video they made a few days ago. It’s worth watching to the end.

Jacob Zuma, ex president, was imprisoned some days ago by ruling of the Constitutional Court for contempt of court. This is not for all the other charges he is facing. Just for his blatant disregard for the law. This country has exploded since then, especially over the last few days. A few dozen trucks have been burned on the highways, blocking them. Motorists are being stoned. Across the country, looters have trashed shops and shopping malls, brazenly carrying out TV’s, washing machines, goods of all descriptions, either by hand, on their backs or heads, or in the shops’ trolleys. You name it, it’s been stolen. During the day, during the night. Much captured on video, faces clearly seen. Billows of smoke from shopping centres. Businesses destroyed. Complete and utter chaos. Sugar cane plantations set alight. Not enough police, in fact far too few.

This is the tipping point. I do not know what will happen henceforth. Communities are now barricading their own suburbs and neighbourhoods for fear of these marauding crowds. The president addressed the country last night on TV pleading for calm, and now as I write, the SA National Defence Force has purportedly been called in to support the police.

The photo below is one I took from my study yesterday afternoon. Hopefully some sort of sign that peace will reign.

Well, that’s the news from my side. Wimbledon’s been and gone, the Euro soccer also. The Tour de France still happening. Some good news among the not good news. Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you all well and safe.

May the centre hold.

Solstice

I love this time of year when an imperceptible change of the seasons begin. I was driving to my pottery class this past Saturday morning, and couldn’t help but notice that all was in shade on the road just about all the way. (It’s about a 15 min drive.) I’ve noticed the long shadows all over town and on my walks these last weeks as the solstice has approached.

Although it’s winter here in the southern hemisphere, it hardly feels like it in Plettenberg Bay, in the southern part of South Africa. The days are warm and sunny, the nights are cold. We’ve lit a wood fire on a few occasions, or used the gas heater. I’m sure we’ll still get the bite. There’s been snow on the Drakensberg mountains in the last little while (on the eastern side). Up north in eg Johannesburg, they’ve felt the bite of winter. Real shiver me timbers stuff.

We’re in the third wave of Covid. Some places in South Africa have been hard hit with the rapid uptick of it. Colds and flu are normal for this time of year, but along with Covid, things are not good. This government has been very slack in providing vaccines, much due to corruption, including our Minister of Health, so help me G-d. Many are not playing their part in social distancing, masking, sanitising. Unemployment is at an all time high, the population is frightened and angry, riots and protests are ongoing as is crime, GBV. We have restrictions in place, at the moment Level 3. I know many, family included, who’ve had Covid, and a few friends and acquaintances who have sadly died.

From tomorrow we’ll be in our 3rd week of painting the interior of the house. Last week the painters couldn’t come for 2 days because of riots and the blocking of the national road preventing MANY from getting to their place of work in Plettenberg Bay. There are no curtains in the house as they’ve been taken down. Thankfully, we are not woken in the early hours from sunlight streaming in. I can’t use my study, everything’s covered up. Hopefully, all will be completed by the end of the month – and then it’s July! I swear this year is going faster than previous years.

I asked Mike and Neil on our walk – does the sun rise in the east and set in the west. They looked at me as if I was crazy. Of course they said, surely you know that. I said no, the sun doesn’t rise and set, the earth moves. As the earth continues its tilting, I wish you Solstice blessings in the northern and southern hemispheres and fruitful changes.

Margaret Attwood: “This is the solstice, the still point of the sun, its cusp and midnight, the year’s threshold and unlocking, where the past lets go of and becomes the future; the place of caught breath”.

Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you.

Equinox

from google

Days are becoming longer, nights shorter in the northern hemisphere, the official start of Spring; shorter days longer nights here in the summer hemisphere. So easily noted by the lengthening shadows earlier in the evening, sunrise dawning later and the leaves turning golden …

How quickly everything happens – we arrived in Johannesburg last evening from Plettenberg Bay (about 1300 kms away) after overnighting at our favourite place in the Karoo.

My friend Nicki travelled by car with us up to the highveld (2000 mtrs asl). She’d flown down to Plett from Johannesburg just over a week ago to come and stay. I fetched her from the airport and we stopped in at a nursery for coffee and where there is a labyrinth, which we both walked.

It was wonderful to show her how and where I live and take her to the places I like to visit and to see everything with new eyes. She was the easiest guest. I reckon her gift to us and to me especially is that I felt comfortable with her, I was just myself, peculiarities and all, which she took in her easy-going stride –

a long walk on Keurbooms Strand, oyster catchers having a chat
Keurbooms beach
The Arch on Keurbooms – a long walk to reach, keeping in mind a river to cross there and back –
colourful rocks on a walk

On another day, we went to Bramon Estate, the venue where my son David and his wife were married 5 years ago on her 25th birthday, on 19th March. (Jüte turned 30 yesterday; they are celebrating both events at a very fancy game lodge in the Sabi Sand over this weekend. I will TRY to put up a little video they sent me of one of their game drives). But Nicki and I stopped in at Bramon and had a glass of Bramon bubbly in their honour!

A very full glass in the middle of the day
Nature’s Valley-deeply forested
Another day – Sky Villa, just outside Plettenberg Bay.
The lagoon close to where I live in Plett, the sea on the other side of the dunes.
praying mantis on balcony a few evenings ago

I mentioned earlier in this post that we stopped over last night in the Karoo to break the long car journey. It’s the loveliest place, a working sheep farm in Springfontein. Delicious Karoo lamb for dinner. Those stars were so bright, as was the newish moon. Orion’s Belt and the Southern Cross were practically pumping in their brightness. My husband saw a shooting star as I as was looking the other way. Lucky fish!

We’re staying in our ‘old’ townhouse in Morningside Johannesburg which Dave and Jüte are now living in! They’ll be back tomorrow from the bush. My husband leaves from here tomorrow to go the Drakensberg for an annual golf tournament. Dave & Jüte fly down to Cape Town on Tuesday, my husband back from golf on Wednesday and the plan is for us to leave on Thursday for a private game farm up country. No sooner are we back from this, it will be time to return to Plettenberg Bay with the car loaded with ‘stuff’ that Dave & Jüte want removed. It’s all a little too hectic for me, especially as I write this on the Equinox which is always a reminder of the necessary pause for balance as the seasons change.

Roses picked from townhouse this afternoon – they speak the language of all seasons –

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you all well. May the Force be with you all.

Aging

I do not know why I’ve never noticed this before. My husband bought it some while ago, and since he usually loads the fancy washing machine with all it bells, knobs and whistles, the message in the bottle passed me by.

A very nice organic, locally made moisturiser, affordable. I like it, but why o why anti-aging?

How this fell into my lap the other day I do not know – photo below – I barely remember my 21st. What I do recall is that my mother attended – she had left the ‘family home’ a few months before to live up in Johannesburg, leaving me and my father in Somerset West, in the western cape – about 20 kms from Cape Town. But, she flew down to attend this formal occasion. If I TRY to remember about it, I was probably overcome that my parents were together. It was several months after my 21st that my mother agreed to return home and work things out with my father. On condition that the house was sparkling clean on her return. I’ve never worked so hard in my life. But as soon as I could, I left them to themselves. One day I’ll tell the story in a blog post. I wrote about it in my first book, in an essay entitled “The Opposites”. They were so opposite to each other in all ways …

Time flies. Every day a new day. Life in Plettenberg Bay is beginning to feel more settled for me. My husband is mostly in golf heaven, does Pilates (I think) with his NBF early mornings once or twice a week and goes for coffee and swimming in the sea afterwards. Also gets out and about with NBF on their bicycles in the early mornings, coffee and swimming afterwards.

I’ve had a few swims in the sea … it was two weeks back that the beaches were UNbanned. Such bliss, that sea … of course I get tumbled this way and that – my ways of catching the wave are unique. I must get the body board out and play some more (pretend I’m 10 years younger).

Our art classes re-started at the beginning of February so that’s a real plus. We looked at Miró a week or so back and somehow this style is helpful to me in sketching my dreams –

And pottery is my new love. Very new for me. I wonder if it will become a passion. Creating beautiful objects. I’m very excited to see how my current ‘piece’ will turn out. It’s drying as we speak at the pottery studio. I like my teacher. We wear masks … not so wonderful …

I’ve made one or two friends. I’m not sure any of them enjoy walking, one has a heart problem, the other a tricky hip. The other I don’t know well at all. I like them all. Two are recently widowed. A very good friend of mine does such a lot of travelling, she’s hardly ever here but when she is, we go on long beach walks .. (longer than I would on my own).

My younger son Dave and his wife left Cape Town about two weeks ago and are now in our townhouse in Johannesburg. He sent me this photo while driving through the Karoo.

and awaiting them was a very lush garden. Johannesburg and surrounds have had so much rain in the last few weeks … he sent me this photo –

To keep on topic of aging – is this a dinosaur tree? My husband and I went walking the other evening and took a different route. I’ve seen this tree before quite a long time ago …

On another walk a few days ago we saw this tortoise behind a fence at the nature conservancy down the road from us. I suspect s/he is an oldie – check out its beautiful markings …

The other evening I listened to a podcast in which Laura London of Jung Speaking interviewed Dr James Hollis, Jungian Analyst of his latest book “Prisms’. It was a delight to listen to. He will be 81 this year. He said in the interview that he’s been repeatedly asked to write or lecture on old age, and of course in his books he touches on it, but in the interview he said he’s too busy living and working, learning and loving to worry too much about aging in spite of being on treatment for cancer.

I had to smile inwardly at that. Such a great attitude.

I like this quote from him as it pertains to a widening of the lens as we grow older: ‘Our experience subtly alters, even distorts, the lens through which we see the world, and the choices we make are based on that altered vision’. From: Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life

Another photo or two – the hydrangeas from my son Mike’s garden here in Plett, and the yellow rose from my friend’s garden.

I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, in spite of all the hardships that the virus has brought in its wake. Things are extremely tricky on all fronts here in South Africa. It’s quite lawless, the law and the constitutional court is being shown the middle finger by those in positions of power. Most days, Dorothy Parker’s words come to mind ”What fresh hell is this?” What else is there to do but hope? And pray. Remaining realistic at the same time even if it doesn’t look good. I am not optimistic about the future of this country, very sad to say.

Nevertheless, and this is hopeful for me: there seems to be more of a receptivity of feminine energies being recognised and incorporated into the masculine ones, each to the benefit of the other. The patriarchal reign has been a long one, at the expense of the wisdom of the feminine. Repressed, these energies are now flowering all over. Women’s voices are being heard at last, and women who did not know they had a voice are finding that they do.

Last photo taken yesterday, a walk on the beach, son Mike and the 2 oldies –

A long post I know … thank you for reading. I hope this finds you well. May the Force be with you.

Solstice, travels, lockdown –

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything. I was in Cape Town to see my sister mid-October. I saw a few friends, somewhat curtailed on account of bad flu (was concerned it might have been covid) right in the middle of my 12 day stay. But it was lovely. My sister looked after me so well, chicken broth, just like our mother used to make it. I have to post a photo of Table Mountain which I took while there – an unusual view of it from Rondebosch when I went walking –

We drove up to Johannesburg from Plettenberg Bay at the end of November overnighting in the Karoo to break the trip. We usually stay at the same place, a working farm. It’s the first time we’ve stayed there at the end of November; usually it’s February or June/July/August. All was so green.

Prior Grange Springfontein Nov 2020

The purpose of the Plett-Johannesburg trip was two-fold. One, our corporate rental had come to an end, so we had to consider what to do about the townhouse. The second reason was to see a few medical specialists, all now done and all in order. The amazing thing is that my son David who lives in Cape Town with my daughter-in-law Jüte, both want to come and live here! So they’ll move in at the end of January probably! David was here for several days while we were here – 3 gigs inter alia – and fell in love with the townhouse all over again. Photo below is from my Johannesburg study. I suspect David will turn the study into his studio – and Jüte will make a name for herself as a highly qualified chef, as she already has in Cape Town.

garden lhs, cut roses on rhs which I gave to a friend in the complex

We’ve seen friends and it’s been wonderful to catch up. Neil has golfed his heart out. The other day someone came up to his group who were having a beer on the verandah of the golf course, holding out a hat and saying that he’s collecting money to pay for an airticket for Neil to fly back to Plett asap. Enough already for winning so many matches –

Neil at townhouse as chirpy as anything

I’m looking forward to our return to Plett tomorrow. This time we’ll leave in the early hours and go all the way through. It’s been a good 3 weeks up here on the highveld.

Last Sunday we went to the Wilds Nature Reserve with a friend. Oh it was lovely to walk along this recently restored special nature spot in the middle of Johannesburg. For many years it had been a crime hotspot.

Unbelievably, irrationally, inexcusably, the president and his council have imposed lockdowns on certain beaches including Plett! For the festive season! We are reeling from this – yes, it’s true that covid appears to be in a 2nd wave and most of us agree with some of the measures (gatherings like funerals). But beaches? It’s true that some beaches get overcrowded especially on public holidays but not in the western cape. There’s a big outcry about this. Not only because of the potential effect on businesses, restaurants, but just the sheer awfulness of denying us the pleasure of walking on beaches while wearing masks, keeping social distance etc … It’s true that there are many other lovely things to do in my neck of the woods. Before we left to come up to Jo’burg, Neil and I went to Nature’s Valley, some way away (30 kms or so) and did a lovely hike after we’d had a delicious lunch with the most magnificent view of the crashing waves right in front of us. Urgent applications to the High Court are being made for the government to relax the ban on beaches …


Solstice

It’s a few days until the solstice on Monday 21st December where we will have the longest day and shortest night, and vice versa in the northern hemisphere. I hear that this solstice is particularly eventful and rare. Jupiter and Saturn will be so close together that they form a star, now being hailed as the coming of the Star of Bethlehem.

What a year 2020 has been. May the end of it give us 2020 vision where we see more clearly a 2020 (perfect) vision for a better world, a safer more peaceful one. It is said that healing begins only after the trauma … so it may be a while yet. But with hope in our hearts and a desire for a better world coupled with the ability to make it happen, it is very possible.

To you all, a blessed Christmas and New Year. It’s been a tough year for many of us. I don’t have to enumerate the sadnesses and difficulties we’ve all experienced in one way or another. May you be well and stay well. Thank you all for your support to my blog, I appreciate it more than you could know. My love and good wishes to you all –

Interview with Dr. Jean Raffa

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jean Raffa the other day via Zoom on her new book “The Soul’s Twins ~ Emancipate your Feminine & Masculine Archetypes”. The video is below, and runs for 45 mins. I hope you’ll enjoy it. Jean’s biographical details are below, and also included is the trailer to her launch of her book. The music is lovely as is the content and the graphics. The trailer runs for 7 mins.

Dr. Jean Raffa is an author, speaker, and leader of workshops and dream groups. Formerly a television producer and college professor, Jean changed directions in mid-life to write about her passions:  Jungian psychology, empowering the feminine in all of us, and psychological and spiritual growth.  Her books—The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth, and Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine Through Jungian Dreamwork—have been used in university classes and dreamwork courses throughout the country. Her book, Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World, received the 2013 Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council.

Her newest book, The Soul’s Twins, is about how to create partnership between femininity and masculinity within yourself and in your relationships. It will be launched in November of 2020.

You can find more information about Jean at her website and blog, http://www.jeanbenedictraffa.com, on her Facebook author page:  https://www.facebook.com/jeanraffa. She can be contacted at jeanraffaauthor@gmail.com

Thank you for listening and reading. I hope this finds you all well and safe. Happy All Souls’ Day. May the Force be with you..

A Few Firsts

There’ve been a few firsts for me these last few weeks that have brightened my mood. One adventure was going out on a whale watching boat. O those big wide seas! I swear I could see the curve of the planet on the horizon. We saw seals frolicking in the waves against sheer rocky hills, a few sharks gliding by and then much further out, the spotting of whales!

On another day, I went collecting river stones that have been dumped into an area fairly close by. I’m using them in the creation of my cactus patch. Further along we could see the entrance to Sky Villa, a boutique hotel set high up on the lower hills. So, after picking some up, we went for tea. Beautiful place. Windy, overcast, cool. Magnificent views of Plettenberg Bay. What I did NOT expect to see, on the other side of the glass window was –

I’ve started attending art meetings on Saturday afternoons. Already I feel less stale, less cramped in my withering creativity.

But the real purpose of my blog today is to notify you of a post I’ll be putting up next week. I’ll be interviewing Dr. Jean Benedict Raffa. This is definitely a first for me and one I’m looking forward to, with some trepidation if truth be told. Jean is the author of several books and has one coming out very soon, called ‘The Soul’s Twins – Emancipate Your Masculine & Feminine Archetypes’. I really hope you’ll do us the honour of tuning in – her book is beautiful and the wisdom she imparts is invaluable.

Below, are Jean’s bio and weblinks.

Dr. Jean Raffa is an author, speaker, and leader of workshops and dream groups. Formerly a television producer and college professor, Jean changed directions in mid-life to write about her passions:  Jungian psychology, empowering the feminine in all of us, and psychological and spiritual growth.  Her books—The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth, and Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine Through Jungian Dreamwork—have been used in university classes and dreamwork courses throughout the country. Her book, Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World, received the 2013 Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council. Her newest book, The Soul’s Twins, is about how to create partnership between femininity and masculinity within yourself and in your relationships. It will be launched in November of 2020.

You can find more information about Jean at her website and blog, http://www.jeanbenedictraffa.com, on her Facebook author page:  https://www.facebook.com/jeanraffa. She can be contacted at jeanraffaauthor@gmail.com

One of many early reviews of ‘The Soul’s Twins: Emancipate Your Masculine & Feminine Archetypes’.

‘The author gifts us with practical knowledge acquired from 30 years of inner work and her impressive wisdom and research into Jungian psychology. Readers will find enlightening recognition of themselves and others in artfully told stories that describe the complexity of the male and female archetypes and the vital roles they play in our lives today. Each of us has both within us. By becoming aware of them and their different shades and levels of activity, including the shadow side of each, we can consciously embrace a marriage of the two. This is an important message for modern times. The Soul’s Twin is highly recommended for anyone keen to deepen the dictum “Know Thyself”. It has been a joy to read’.

Thank you for reading. I hope this finds you safe and well. I hope also that you’ll view the Skype or Zoom video with Dr. Jean Raffa that I put up next week. May The Force be with you.

Equinox, tilts, transitions

For a brief moment the sun stands directly over the equator and each hemisphere receives the same amount of daylight (barring clouds), ie 12 hours, each equally illuminated. Then begins the earth’s tilt, ushering in a new season and transitions for both hemispheres. For us here in the southern hemisphere, spring although fickle, is on its way with summer on its heels. For the northern hemisphere, the nights are longer and much goes underground to rest.

I was shocked and saddened at Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, may her memory be a blessing. I know that there are political implications in her successor, who and when. In South Africa we were saddened by the recent death of Mr. George Bizos, who was part of the defence team of Mr. Nelson Mandela in the Rivonia Trial (1963-1964). They were the greatest of friends.

We’ve been lying very low over these times. But we did take a road trip earlier this month and did something that we’ve always wanted to do. It was my husband’s idea. With the help of son Mike we booked a few places to overnight and set off a few days later to visit the flowers up country.

Our first overnight stop was with very dear friends in Wellington, a good 8 hour drive from our home in Plettenberg Bay. I watched her make a vegan lasagne for dinner; o my goodness it was delicious! I’ve made a vegan lasagne a few times since being home and am impressed with my culinary skills (had never made any kind of lasagne in my life before).

This little buck stepped out from hiding into the sunshine as we were leaving the next morning –

at Di & Rob’s home

The Namaqualand flower show and the West Coast National Park is so special. I gather there are about 4000 different species of plant seeds. Visitors come from all over the world to ooh and ahh at the display of wildflowers set against dramatic mountains (not now in these times obviously). And speaking of seeds, we can all plant seeds, whether plant or vegetable seeds, seeds of love and kindness.

some photos en route and during our adventure

not my photo
cold, windy, even statue wearing a mask
Bird Island Lambert’s Bay. Gannets by the 1000’s in foreground
scrambled egg with salmon – West Coast National Park
not my photo

My sister who lives in Cape Town has a holiday home in The Wilderness, an hour and a half drive from me. I visited her last Wednesday, and ooh’d and aah’d at her pretty garden.

Debora’s garden

Although you can’t see it in the photo, she had an airplant hanging on a branch. In fact a few dotted around. She gave me this one below now hanging on a tree in my garden.

random photo, one I took a few weeks ago on a walk
tiny leaf looks like a tree

There is much tension here in South Africa. Every day I acknowledge Dorothy Parker’s words ‘What Fresh Hell Is This?’ Not just here in SA but everywhere. The wheels of justice turn soooo slowly. There are times I feel hopeful, other times not.

But at the equinox, there is a moment when things stand still, as we can too, acknowledging the tilts and transitions, along with change – and embrace all that is good, strong and true –

Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you.

#WATWB

On the last Friday of each month, bloggers from around the world post an item on good news, an incident that raises our vibrations and which helps towards making the world a better place and restores our faith in humanity.

It can be an individual act; a collective act; an initiative that gets off the ground serving the greater whole; it can be a known act, or an unknown one.

Here in Plettenberg Bay where I live, there are so many people and organisations that help feed the needy, and do much else besides for many communities who live on the fringe of this town. This one took my fancy, this young lad who lives in the UK, and whose grandparents live in Plettenberg Bay

This young hero, 7 yr old Bradley Watson who lives in the UK, decided during lockdown he wanted to raise money for hungry children in Plett where his Grandparents live. He told his family he wanted to run a marathon over 7 days, but with their support completed the marathon in just 4 days. (5 hrs & 32 min). He raised R6000 and chose the Plett Meal Centre as the recipient, who feed 350 children & adults daily from Faris Rd in the Industrial area. Bradley, you are an absolute star. Thank you. #plett_volunteers Knysna-Plett Herald CXpress Garden Route Newspaper

Image may contain: 7 people, outdoor, text that says "UNITED Kingdom King Day Finished 29 July 2020 12,7 kms Ashtead urrey ΑΙΑ DAY 12.7km MARATHON Bradley Watson yrs old- Ran 42 km for Charity-Completed/in 4 days Day 2 27 27July 10 kms FINISHED Start Day 1 13 Kms 26 July Finished Marathon: 42 Km Day 3 28July 28 7 kms AIA SupportTeam Support eam The Plett Meal Centre Eyethu Educare PE MEAL CENTRE &EYETHU EDUCARE"

Our co-hosts this month are below. Do pop by them to say hello and get a shot of good news to set you sailing through the weekend.


Lizbeth Hartz
Peter Nena
Shilpa Garg
Roshan Radhakrishnan and
Sylvia Steyn

Please share on social media. It’s nice to share good news.

September is around the corner – hard to believe. Here in the southern hemisphere, we’re turning towards Spring and you in the northern hemisphere, towards Fall, or as we call it here in South Africa, Autumn.

But wherever we are, whatever season approaches or recedes, things are changing. Day by day. There’s pretty much upheaval here, there and everywhere.

Keep safe, thank you for reading and may the Force be with you.

beauty

There is so much that is unpleasant around the world, it can really get to me. I sometimes feel I have compassion fatigue, empathy fatigue, donation fatigue and wish I could be like an ostrich and keep my head in the sand. I feel sometimes that I’ve forgotten how to pray or meditate and that I don’t know how anymore –

But there is so much that is lovely, and softening, and beautiful.

Please go to 2nd page of this post for reading – it’s truly lovely –

Closer to home on my walks, or up early in the morning to see the sunrise, to see a flower in bloom, the sky and strange cloud formations. The night sky and stars, the bird calls, butterflies, bees …

from my bedroom balcony
pincushion from my son’s garden
candle on my study desk which I light every now and then for loved ones and for the world
rainbow over there from my balcony
different rainbow, different day on sea from my balcony
red plant on sidewalk
strange plant on sidewalk – reminds me of praying, or like the Buddha touching the earth or is it like an ostrich –
strange person on beach (me)
flamingoes on lagoon
quote on sugar pack at coffee shop
laughing buddha on my dressing table (I think it was my mother’s)
my husband’s spinach patch
owl in tree on my son’s property here in Plett
other-worldly markings on tar road outside my home
This is NOT my photo of the Robberg. Taken by Carol Main who I gather is resident here in Plettenberg Bay and posted on one of the Plett feeds –
full moon a while ago

Dr Ian McCallum is a South African psychiatrist, Jungian Analyst, ecologist and poet. The link I’ve given is a wonderful and fierce read and I felt uplifted reading it. He notes ‘How ironic that 2020 is the symbol of perfect vision. If we had such vision, then we must have seen it coming’. What will we do with this ‘perfect vision’? He writes about the earth, society’s and the individual’s response to ‘I can’t breath’ and much else besides ….

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/ecological-and-psychological-perspective-year-coronavirus-reflections/

Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you.

Solstice, synchronicity, stars, sunrise, seven

Longest night, shortest day here in the southern hemisphere and then from tomorrow the days begin incrementally to lengthen. The opposite happens in the northern hemisphere. But for both, there is a moment of balance before the tilt towards a new season either way begins – Solstice –

It’s amazing and affirming to me when synchronicities happen. I take it as a message that I must perk up, notice and take in its meaning. In the last three days I’ve been exposed by 3 other writers to Jonah being in the belly of the whale. Each speaks to the powerlessness and vulnerability we individually experience and now, also collectively.

Deborah Gregory put her poem up on Thursday. Here is the link, do read it. http://theliberatedsheep.com/belly-whale/

below are the last two verses excerpted with her permission –

Below is the Facebook post from the other day.

And lastly Dr Deon van Zyl’s newly published book which I’m slowly reading on my Kindle –

Are we in the Belly of the Whale right now, those great Leviathans of the deep? How long do we have to sit in it and experience the Dark Night of the Soul? Is it a death-rebirth cycle? When we are finally spat out naked, will we face a newly ordered world, one we do not recognise? Will our experience in the Belly change us? Will there be a re-orientation of attitude, a willingness to re-engage in a more real way, one that recognises that some attitudes that we previously had no longer serve us, or anyone else for that matter. Will we take to heart a little more ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ and ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you’ …

A few mornings ago I stepped out onto my balcony – Venus.

followed by a few hours later –

Today, the 20th June, is the day seven years ago when I had a terrible car accident. It was the day before our final move to our new home at the time in Johannesburg. The 20th June is a day I always acknowledge and give thanks that it wasn’t worse. Both sons were up in Johannesburg to help with the move and the final move was done on the 21st June, 2013. That day then was the solstice and with a full moon to boot. Tomorrow will be a new moon.

All is well in Plettenberg Bay. Our son David and his lovely wife Jüte returned to Cape Town today after spending 2 weeks with us. We had such a lovely time with Mike our older son who lives in Plett in his own home. The brothers spent useful time making new videos, shooting the breeze, being creative. We’ve played Scrabble, discussed much about ongoing politics, eaten like kings and queens thanks to Jüte who’s training to be a chef. I’ve been walking a fair bit, upping my steps and looking for a sighting of whales in the bay. We’re STILL not allowed to walk on the beaches in Plett for exercise.

Covid-19 wise our number of deaths are rising daily; as of today we’re under 2000 deaths country wide. Deaths are expected to rise as the winter months continue and business, restaurants, salons and travel open up. Full release of lockdown is some way away. We practise wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands etc. when shopping or out walking in public. And while we’re living in historical times, we’re paying attention to the history that has gone before locally and internationally and being well and truly stretched out of our comfort zones. I think so often of white privilege – I want to do a blog post on this one day – but in the meantime, this is an audio clip from several years ago, of Mr. Nelson Mandela’s words as voice over –

 ‘No one is born hating another person for the colour of their skin, religion or background. Never, never, never again, shall it be, that this beautiful land will again experience oppression of one by another’ –

Thank you for reading. Have a lovely weekend. May the Force be with you all.

Black Swan, Birthing and Betrayal

Reposting –

On a walk a few days ago, my husband picked up this pod on the roadside and said it reminded him of a swan. Which reminded me of a post I’d written at the end of January 2017 on the ‘Black Swan’. It was apropos a birding walk we’d done one morning on the grounds of the Johannesburg Country Club. I photographed a black swan on the lake though with my phone it was barely visible. In my post at the end of January 2017 I wrote about the ‘Black Swan’ as a phenomenon – i.e. that all of a sudden an entirely unpredictable and improbable event occurs that upsets the apple cart hugely, and has enormous effects in many ways, geopolitically particularly.

So, above are photos of the pod, picked up on the path. The top one, looking a little swan like; the next two where the same one faces left and then right, one looking up one looking down (the same pod, just at different positions). I like too that it also looks boat-like, or leaf-like, with an indentation, or container –

Excerpt from my January 2017 post. “The importance of the metaphor lies in its analogy to the fragility of any system of thought. A set of conclusions is potentially undone once any of its fundamental postulates is disproved. In this case, the observation of a single black swan would be the undoing of the logic of any system of thought, as well as any reasoning that followed from that underlying logic”.

In that particular Wikipedia article, mention is also made of the necessity of being able to withstand the fall out.

I see these days as unlikely as a black swan.

I’m reminded of the words of Julian David, Jungian analyst from Devon UK who was visiting South Africa many years ago in which he gave a lecture. In that lecture, he stressed the importance of sitting in the fire when we are in it, and not leaping out of the flames to escape being burned even if that be our inclination. We have to sit in it, he said, and be burned. I think of today, when we want redemption and renewal/resurrection, now. But this is a long process, one that will be keeping us in limbo and uncertainty for who knows how long.

The first photo below is the one I took with my cell phone a few years back of the swan. It is in the middle. The one below was taken by someone who was on the bird walk with us and took the photo with a telephoto lens and forwarded it onto me. What is not visible is just as real though –

Can anything be birthed from this time we are now in? We’ve been experiencing birth pangs for a long time already. Is this going to be a long gestation period in which the process cannot be hurried much? Will we be able to be stretched and sit in the discomfort? Are we flexible towards the unknown? Are we adapting as we go along on this seemingly treacherous road, as we face upheaval, betrayal of all that we held dear? Will we honour the dark, like the embryo in the womb? Will we somehow remember the grace of the swan? Our confidence in our governments who gained our trust when we thought were acting in our best interests? In what way were we complicit in allowing matters to come to this sorry pass? Civil liberties slowly being eroded? Lives at risk? The grief we experience on all levels, deaths, illness, isolation, uncertainty. Fear. Betrayal. Will we emerge from the ruins? What will be acceptable or more noble to us as individuals and collectively some years ahead? Will the black swan effect help us towards a brother/sisterhood of humanity? Will be still be Waiting for Godot, waiting for tomorrow?

Can we look up and down, like the pod of the swan, left and right, and sail serenely like the swan from my friend’s photo? Do we need a telephoto lens to see what is not visible?

I don’t know what kind of lens I use to see while in this zeitgeist. All I know is, is that this time has to be endured and that patience in the waiting is needed, at the same time always questioning the information we’re fed. Much of the time I feel and am unproductive and slothful. Questioning the information we’re fed from various sources is exhausting, yet in my view necessary. Hard science vs contrary information which is sometimes compelling. The moments, few and far between, when I get my hands into the soil are good, or paint, or play with clay (after great resistance). Baking – I also believe that our old way of consciousness has to give way to a renewed one and that it will take time. What can kill can also cure. We’re in both an individual & collective ‘dark night of the soul’ –

My thoughts are with you all and with those on the front line who meet this virus head on to best assist us all. May the Force be with you. May we withstand the fall out. Thank you for reading and have a good weekend. Keep safe and well.