It that’s time of the year again – a tilt and a turning –

The earth laughs in flowers: Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was away for 10 days in Cape Town and surrounds. I returned last Saturday evening and was thrilled to see my garden in full bloom. A hanging orchid was showing off –

The yesterday today & tomorrow against one of the sitting room windows and its delicious scent –

The bougainvillea showing signs of recovery and returning to colour

The redness of the bottle brush tree against the greenness –

I took some lovely photos while in Cape Town & surrounds. I didn’t get to see the whales. One day I set off on my own for Hermanus expressly for that purpose. My directions were off and I turned around after travelling for about an hour. My directions were off the previous day too when I went to see a friend in one of the Cape Town suburbs. Was so late. I’ve been there many times – I got lost again when returning to my sister’s home. 

I being me of course wondered about this – my going off in the wrong direction or not following directions or not being attentive enough. Where, why was I off-centre were some of the questions I asked myself. A few days previously I’d gone for a walk in my sister’s very pretty suburb. Lots of roads and streets, avenues and cul-de-sacs and very pretty verges –

Pin cushions – had it been a sunny late afternoon they would have glowed even more – I got a bit lost on my way back –

I took off on another walk another day and found myself at the dam which was a lovely surprise –

I was always very grateful that I returned safely from unfamiliar territory. And, I enjoyed my wanderings as I stepped out of my comfort zone –

My sister Debora and I try each time I visit her in Cape Town, to take a drive to Gordon’s Bay (a good 3/4 hour away), where we used to live as teenagers. Bikini Beach was literally over the road from our old home. Photo is of me standing on the road close to the house with the harbour off to the right. We’ve always walked the jetty to the end. I’d picked up earlier a couple of small yellow daises in a crack in the paving and put them in my pocket. Debora and I always have a chat with our parents for it is into the sea at the end of the jetty that we tossed their ashes so many years ago. We had a good chat with them … and then tossed the daisies into the sea and rocks below –

Another time my sister and I drove out to Muizenberg to pick up Lisa en route to Simonstown to see some friends. While she was attending to curtain people in her house, my sister and I went for a walk on the beach very close by.Debora –

I’ve been thinking about my sweet sister over these days – her kindness, her calm, her ability to be focused and deal with the task at hand. Her nurturing of her lovely garden, hit and destroyed by last year’s drought, now fairly newly planted and growing with indigenous plants, paving, rocks and cactus. 4 rain tanks and her ongoing commitment to conserving and saving water. The lovely dinners she made – like our mother, cooking with love and creativity. She uses recipe books for healthy and delicious eating. Her commitment to gym and exercise. Her ability to be focused when doing a 1500 piece puzzle. Her loving care for her husband and for her 2 poodles. Her wise words about not always seeing the negative but focusing on the positive.

Country-wise, in South Africa that is, it’s pretty painful to witness the commissions of enquiry into state capture. The rot is deep and profound, the impact huge. Media is letting us know – we have already known for quite a long time, but now the festering wounds are being opened even more. This has to happen – the wounds are being laid bare, open and gaping, gruesome in the extreme. A huge percentage of our population because of inter alia illiteracy is entirely unaware, though the word is getting out even to those in more remote areas. There is a ground swell of awareness I like to think, of just how badly they’ve been served by their elected officials. 

Many of us have good reason to believe that the Ramaphoria euphoria (Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa our president) is over – we had hoped for much more from his new presidency, eg getting rid of some his henchmen in the inner circle. I only hope he’s playing a long game – elections are next year. He’s going to have to wave his magic wand – as of yesterday he launched a daring proposal to stimulate the economy and promises much needed fixing where it’s needed. It’s on the table and his delegates will be held accountable. There is so much that is up the creek here in South Africa – yet so much potential – he’ll have to do more than wave his magic wand – somehow we’ll all have to pull together. And return to our sense of hope or possibilities from several months ago.

I sometimes feel adrift with all these transitions. On a personal note Neil, my husband, turns the key in the door in his private practice at the end of next month and officially retires as a medical specialist. His patients are devastated. Some have spoken about flying down to Plettenberg Bay to see him. Who knows, maybe he’ll have a small practice down there. He and I have no idea of how this transition is going to be. We’ll maintain our home here in Johannesburg for a while. Both sons come up from the Cape fairly regularly for reasons of work and use our home as a base. I need to be in Johannesburg next year for various reasons. I imagine there’ll be some to-ing and fro-ing, maybe exploring places en-route, something I’ve always wanted to do. Road trip through our beautiful country. Organising things this end and that end –

In spring time, some homes show their beautiful gardens to the public. We went last Sunday to Neil’s old home where his parents and he lived. The gardens and home were very lovely. It was a trip down memory lane for him. ‘Strathy’ was its name – I remember his lovely home and his parents.  I took many photos but here’s one –

To end – as I write I am full of a virus. We should be leaving tomorrow, Sunday, for Southbroom, on the Natal south coast. We’re postponing for a day or so until I am over this. My husband phoned Rory this morning (our host for several days) to say about a delay by a day or two. He asked him at my request if there were any whales, to which Rory said that as they were talking he could see a whale breeching about 200 mtrs away. So this has lifted me somewhat … or considerably I should say –

The Equinox – when the centre of the sun is directly above the equator and when both north and south hemispheres are equally illuminated.

When we were travelling in June we went to see the Black Madonna in Einseideln, outside Zurich.. We were both overwhelmed at the beauty of her and felt her illumination. As I look at my photos of her on my phone I am again struck by her illuminating light and it is this that I pass on to you on the Equinox. 

The earth will be still for one brief moment tomorrow. May we all feel that stillness – as the wheel of the sun moon and stars and our planet continues turning – and we tilt this way and that –

Thank you for reading!









Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow

Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow –

This is a photo I took 2 years ago on safari in Ngaka Modiru Molema, Botswana. I was hunting through my photos on my phone to see if I had one of wildebeest crossing a river; I‘m pretty sure I do but I reckon it’s in the cloud somewhere.

 I was watching a person on TV speaking in parliament today while having coffee. I missed the beginning so I can’t give his name. He was saying about the absolute necessity of South Africa to use farm land for crops and agriculture. This includes the expropriation of land without compensation. We are able to provide for all, including export he said, if commercial farming (and for personal gain) is properly implemented:a plan for training, machinery, and good living farm conditions with schools and clinics. Title deeds (not leases) to be given for such land, which can be used as collateral for loans from banks – farmers, black and white, men and women, are very eager to farm and be prosperous.

He ended his rather impassioned plea saying he wanted to leave them with an image. He spoke of the wildebeest and their migration.

Imagine huge herds of wildebeest on one side of the river, he said. It is dry, there is no food. They need to get to the other side where the grass is greener and their calves can be born. If they stay on the one side, the lions will eat them. They have to cross the river, even if there are crocodiles in the current. But they can’t just jump into the river one by one – they’ll be attacked by the crocs. The banks on the other side of the river are high; they’ll have to clamber up those steep slopes.

So, there are risks. I saw this as an apt metaphor for today and tomorrow. A raging current to be traversed – 

Last evening I was at my usual Monday night Jung reading group. Sometimes a passage we read is so relevant to the current situation here in South Africa as well as world wide that not much actual study gets done. Last night was just such an evening – we each expressed our grave concerns about this beautiful country we live in. I’m starting to feel like a stranger in my own land. I’ve been feeling uneasy for a long while. We discussed whether it is better for our psychological health to remain hopeful that things will work themselves out and NOT to listen or watch the news.. I’m trying to figure out exactly what my feelings are. I do know that I’m witnessing the dark side of human nature as never before – though as someone said we know of it already as in WW1 & WW2 and the Holocaust and other historical and current atrocities. Yes, this is true. As in the migration of people from Venezuela because of the collapse of the economy. As in people trying to get to Europe as refugees or asylum seekers and the many deaths due to overloaded boats and/or people smuggling. As in suicide bombers. As in elephant and rhino poaching, as in drought, flooding, pollution … do I really want to know all this? I don’t actually – I really don’t. It gets to me on a gut level. We agreed that these sorts of feelings also render us somewhat powerless, if not unhinged. With what’s going on in SA, it feels as if the whole of SA is depressed. The rot is deep. Thousands are emigrating, skilled professionals. I feel anarchic at times.

Today while driving I heard on the news that SA is technically in a recession. Our currency is fast depreciating. The cost of living is already high and the poor are feeling it most. But we’re all feeling the pinch. Less money to spend which affects the economy. Money is now used for basics – not for spending –

What does this all mean we wondered last night? What is the meaning of meaning? But, as always, it is imperative to hold our centre in the midst of it all. The wheel keeps turning. It’s always intensely dark before sunrise –

I’m flying down to Cape Town tomorrow morning for several days. I want to see the sea and mountains and some friends. I especially want to see the whales. To see those great leviathans emerge from the depths that let us know they are there in all their magnificence. My friend Jan who is in our Monday night meetings sent me this little video this morning, of whales in Hermanus, this morning, this day. I’ll be visiting Hermanus, about an hour and a half outside of Cape Town.

Thank you for reading. L’Shana Tovah and well over the fast, Happy Labour Day, and may you all be well.

I’ve removed the whales video – it was causing some problems … Tues 18th Sept


#WATWB Feed those in need


It’s the last Friday of the month. #WATWB We are the World Blogfest puts up a post on this day every month to spread goodwill and to show that amongst the doom and gloom, much good is happening. I must say that for me I wondered where to find some good news; all seemed so dark and oppressive, not just here in South Africa but world wide as well.

The idea is to make a link to a good news story, and say briefly why this of particular interest to you. This one is especially interesting. It highlights how we live (in the western world at least) in excess and how much food is wasted. And what steps can be taken using technology to distribute food to those in need.

Our thanks to our hosts this month; their posts are below. Do pop by and say hello.

Simon FalkAndrea MichaelsShilpa GargSylvia Stein and Belinda Witzenhausen .

Click HERE to be part of the Light. This is a link should you wish to add your name to it and put up a blog on the last Friday of each month.

New tech for feeding the needy launched in SA

Thank you – I hope this finds you all well. I’ve been very slack in blogging lately. I hope to get back to it pretty soon. On a personal front, my son and daughter-in-law have been and are still travelling through Europe. A while back I got a message from Jüte that she’d mislaid her wallet in Germany, I think. I got a message yesterday from her that it’s been found and she now has it! Another bit of good news is that a bill I was ‘dealing’ with, finally got sorted yesterday and I was refunded the money owing! So, yesterday was a good day. Spring is in the air. The photo below is of my orchids, dying down but still a thing of beauty.


International Nelson Mandela Day

International Nelson Mandela Day

We arrived home 2 weeks ago after being away in Europe for just over 3 weeks. Home – the reality was as joyful as the anticipation. All was well on our return thanks to Jane (Kgomotso, her African name) our housekeeper; Angie our ginger cat was happy to have us back home to lord it over us.. The winter garden looked healthy, bright and green though I was warned beforehand that the cold bite was due the next day. And boy did it bite. From the northern summer climes to hard hitting bitter biting cold. Snow all over South Africa. The temperatures plunged overnight … and it is still cold cold cold. Up here on the highveld (Johannesburg, 2000 mts above sea level) the cold is different – the skies are bright blue, so it is deceptive.

Our European trip was eventful and wonderful. There are a few photographs at the end of this post.

As eventful on our return was the rescue of the Thai schoolboys in the cave and the death of the courageous Thai Navy Seal diver Saman Kunan. And learning that their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, taught them to meditate to stay calm in the cave, made my blood corpuscles expand in a good way. The Wimbledon semi finals kept us on the edge of our seats, Kevin Anderson (SA) playing against John Isner (US). The 5th & final set was Anderson’s, 26:24, the longest in Wimbledon history. Anderson lost to Djokovic in the finals. The soccer World Cup was also pretty exciting, some of it we watched while in Europe. The political dramas around the world are worrying, here in South Africa also. Every day our heads spin at the latest uncovering of graft and corruption of those in power. Riots, strikes, violent protests are the order of the day –

Today is Nelson Mandela International Day, a day set up by ‘The Elders’ 16 years ago to honour this man and all for which he stood. Today is the day of his birth, 100 years ago. Yesterday afternoon I watched the live TV broadcast at the Wanderers Stadium, just a short way from where I live in Johannesburg. Persons in the past who’ve been invited to give the annual lecture include Mary Robinson (former prime minister of Ireland);  Kofi Annan former general secretary of the UN; Ellen Sirleaf former president of Liberia; Kgalema Motlanthe former president and deputy president of South Africa and many other dignitaries over the years.

Yesterday’s invited guest was US former president Barack Obama. There were several speeches beforehand, the first given by Prof. Njabulo Ndebele, academic and chairman of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. My heart swelled at listening to him. One of his anecdotes was of Richard Stengel, American editor, journalist and author who collaborated with Mandela’s book ‘Long Walk to Freedom’. Stengel and Mandela were in an airplane over Natal when Stengel saw that the prop of the plane had stopped turning. He told Mandela who merely nodded his head – You’d better tell the pilot, he said. Which Stengel did. The pilot was aware and said he’d alerted ground forces in the event of a crash landing. Stengel relayed this back to Mandela who merely nodded his head and said yes. They landed safely. Afterwards Mandela expressed his real fear of this incident but he also spoke of his fear for humanity. Stengel relayed how calm and calming Mandela was in his ability to suppress his inner fears so as to be brave for other people. 

Mr. Mandela has also said that if the poor and marginalised do not have a future, then those who are privileged also do not have a future –

Patrick Motsepe founder of the Motsepe foundation followed Prof. Ndebele’s speech, then Graça Machel widow of Mr. Mandela. She made her husband come alive for us when she spoke of him. Her essential message was to recognise our common humanity. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa our president then stepped up to the microphone to rapturous applause. It was lovely to see him beaming and looking much less stressed and exhausted than he usually does. He spoke inter alia of the need to clean up and fix our broken institutions. And the need for accountability and responsibility of each and every person.

Mr Barack Obama followed also to rapturous applause. He gave a rousing speech, highlighting many advances in all fields made since 100 years ago and the strides in the last few decades. He spoke of the current danger of going back to the old ways, of authoritarianism, nationalism, restriction of freedom of speech. The more things change the more they stay the same. He reminded us of the value of activism at the grass roots level.

I’ve excerpted a few of Obama’s statements thanks to the FB feed of Don Maxwell Searll.

 “It is in part because of the failures of governments and powerful elites to squarely address the failures and shortcomings of this international order that we now see much of the world threatening to return to an older, a more dangerous, a more brutal way of doing business.”.

“We have to start by admitting that whatever laws may have existed on the books, whatever wonderful pronouncements existed in constitutions, whatever nice words were spoken these last decades at international conferences or in the halls of the United Nations, the previous structures of power and privilege and injustice and exploitation never completely went away.”

 “It is a plain fact that racial discrimination still exists both in the United States and in South Africa.”

 “The politics of resentment and fear and retrenchment began to appeal. And that kind of politics is now on the move.”

 “On Madiba’s 100th birthday, we now stand at a crossroads. A moment in time at which two very different visions of humanity’s future compete for the hearts and the minds of citizens around the world. Two different stories, two different narratives about who we are and who we should be.”

 “I believe in Nelson Mandela’s vision. I believe in a vision shared by Gandhi and King and Abraham Lincoln. I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multi-racial democracy built on the premise that all people are created equal and they’re endowed by our Creator certain inalienable rights. And I believe that a world governed by such principles is possible and that it can achieve more peace and more cooperation and pursuit of a common good.”

BUT what really was heart stopping for me was Prof. Patrick Lumbumba’s (Kenyan legal expert and scholar) speech that he gave on campus at the Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha, Eastern Cape last night. As wonderful and inspiring as the memorial at Wanderers stadium was with its audience of 15000, Lumumba’s speech was much more powerful (not related to but named after Patrice Lumbumba, the first and only elected Prime Minister of the Congo Republic who was assassinated – believed to be by the CIA – a few months after Congo gained formal independence 50 years ago)…The clip below is long. Prof. Lumbumba starts speaking at 59 mins into this video after being addressed by I think a Xhosa headman singing his praises (added after I realised my mistake – not a Zulu warrior) for about 5 mins. He reminded us not to repeat the mistakes of history. It is so worth watching – not the whole meeting but Prof. Patrick Lumbumba’s speech. … what questions would Nelson Mandela have asked if he was alive today? He would have asked questions as in eg ‘how is it that a country’s people (Africa) so well endowed, are still so poor?’ He would not have stopped at that question, he would have asked, ‘how is it that people are still fighting and killing each other?’ He would not have stopped at that question .. Nelson Mandela would have asked ‘are we liberated from the pain of killing our brothers and sisters?’ He would not have stopped at that question, he would have asked ‘how is it that Africa produces what it does, but does not consume it; but consumes what it does not produce?’ … but you can hear him for yourself … he talks for about a half hour … the last 30 mins. He urges us to continue petitions and protests, we need leaders not dealers, we need teachers not cheaters.

WATCH: Prof Lumumba delivers Nelson Mandela memorial lecture

I heard Mr. Mandela’s personal chef Xoliswa Ndoyiya speak today. She served him porridge every single morning for 19 years when he was at his Johannesburg home, with nuts, raisins and currants. One morning he asked for Frosties for breakfast. Ooooo Tata she said, no you cannot have sugar. Why do you want Frosties? Are your grandchildren encouraging you? No, he said, I’ve listened and honoured my mother eating porridge for breakfast for a long time now and now I want a change!

Well, this has been a long post, probably my longest ever. But I wanted to share this historic moment which makes me think and feel that more than ever, we need to find it in ourselves to continue opening our heart, to realise the common humanity we share, to practise kindness and the art of giving, the art of listening, the art of appreciating what we have, to continue to wonder at the small things that bring us joy, to continue to be curious about this strange mystery called life.

A few days in Paris, this one overlooking the Seine, close to Notre Dame Cathedral, before flying to Lisbon to catch a taxi to Sintra –

The villa in Sintra
view from balcony of villa, castles everywhere on the mountainside –
Down the lane from the villa we were staying in, in Sintra, I was admiring the lemons in the garden. This lovely lady picked some for me. They were huge!
family photograph of my sister-in-law Jenny, her husband Mike, Neil, their son Alex and his twin daughters
After our wonderful family holiday in Portugal, we flew to Zurich. There were so many highlights, the ride on the tram to Einsiedeln and seeing the Black Madonna on 21st June which was the solstice or close enough to it. She was magnificent – words cannot describe the emotions that were evoked in both Neil and myself.We went on a boat to Küsnacht and visited the Jung Institute there. I bought this book …
and walked down the road to see Jung’s house…
Our hotel in Zurich was central to much … the restaurant over the road called Tibits was one we frequented often, 100% vegetarian.

From Basel after 4 nights in Zurich, we embarked on the boat for the river cruise up the Rhine. So many photos of beauty, hard to select one … this from the deck in Canal d’Alsace

There were many excursions to places of historical interest when the boat docked. We could either join planned excursions or walk about towns at our own leisure. We did both … I’ll write about some of those places another time –

7 nights later after cruising through countryside of great beauty we docked in Amsterdam where we spent two nights on the boat.  We did a cruise seeing Amsterdam from the river. We also did a lot of walking. The one below is standing outside Anne Frank’s house –

Thank you for reading. May this find you well and may your centre hold.

Travel and Transitions

Travel and transitions

It’s the first time I’m using my iPad to put up a post. Not without difficulty – but I felt that I didn’t want to let the 20th June go by without acknowledging transitions.

We’ve spent a week in Sintra Portugal with my husband’s family from the States – his sister and her husband, their son and wife and delightful 9 year old twins, and their daughter. A very comfortable villa, gorgeous garden and pool, and views of the mountains and castles. I wish I could post pictures but getting them from my cell to iPad is beyond me.

I’m not sure of the exact date of the solstice, whether it’s the 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd but the solstice it is, longest day here in the northern hemisphere, longest night back home in the southern hemisphere – and then a tilting of the earth’s axis – and a seasonal transition.

It’s also 5 years to the day of my car accident, the day before moving from our old home to our new one, the townhouse. I remember my younger son praying over me at the side of my upturned car, and my right hand dangling next to me. The ambulance ride I don’t remember, I remember vaguely being wheeled in for the operation, both sons and my husband there.

We did move the next day, on the solstice which was  also a full moon that night, and which was my plan 5 years ago. I remember learning patience – my right hand was badly damaged and encased in plaster for several weeks … using my left hand to write blog posts and do the usual that had to be done.

We leave Sintra today and fly to Zurich for a few days before embarking on a boat cruise.

It’s been a big year this year. Politically in South Africa where we had a change of president and we’re still battling to emerge from all that was so badly wrong. I know this is true around the world.

My husband and I both turned 70 – he at the end of May and I about 2 weeks ago. (Adding later: NOT 2 weeks ago, it was last week!!!) So this too is a transition. I’m just acknowledging a still point and transitions and I hope that any transitions you are or may be making go well and creatively.

-thank you for reading-








This and That

This and That …

I wanted to write about Jacob and Esau, hostile twin brothers from Genesis in the Old Testament. I wanted to look afresh at this ancient story which has always fascinated me. I wanted to look beyond what we hear on the news of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The Genesis story tells of Esau, the hunter, favoured son of Isaac; and Jacob the diligent student, favoured son of Rebekah. When Rebekah asked the Lord what was going on with all the jostling in her womb while she was pregnant, He replied: Genesis 25:23

“Two nations are in your womb,
    and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
    and the older will serve the younger”. 

Esau came out first, red haired and ruddy, with Jacob holding onto his heel. Later, Esau sells his first born birthright to Jacob for a pottage when he comes in from the fields faint with hunger. Later, their mother Rebekah used deception to ensure Jacob’s ascension as leader of Israel by disguising him as Esau, the favoured son of Isaac, in order for her favoured son Jacob to receive his father’s blessing and thereby the covenant, as he lay dying.

And so, Esau went away and became the leader of 12 tribes of Edom, and Jacob went away and became the leader of 12 tribes of Israel. At war with each other for many a year until such time as they saw each other and embraced each other.


This is a hundred times less than the bare bones of this biblical story.


 Ishmael, firstborn son of Abraham was born to Hagar, handmaiden to Sarah. Isaac was the second son of Abraham born to Sarah. It was Isaac who became father to Jacob & Esau. While there was rivalry and deception between the 2 mothers, their sons and brothers, Ishmael and Isaac lived in harmony. Again, 1000 times less than the bare bones of this story.


Why am I telling so much less than the skeleton of these stories?

There is a part of me that finds some comfort in the biblical narrative. Going back in order to go forward. Like looking in the rear view mirror. As in the Lilith myth of the Dark Feminine inter alia. As In the myth of Oedipus, Gilgamesh, Psyche and Amor, Demeter & Persephone and many others. Stories that tell of complex and conflicting relationships, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, conscious and unconscious agendas, betrayals, deceptions, displacement, dominance and subservience, identity crises, marginalisation and fear of ‘the other’, rejection and many more real ongoing psychological complexes and dynamics that are alive and active in today’s world and continue to play themselves out on the world stage.

I find some comfort in the story in that Jacob and Esau ultimately do find peace with each other, albeit after a very long while and were able to put their fractured history somewhat behind them. They embraced and wept with each other. And the earlier story of Abraham’s sons Ishmael & Isaac who became leaders of different nations, like Jacob & Esau, who lived in relative harmony in spite of their mother’s positioning for each of them.

The question of God’s covenant as to who would be the ‘light unto the nations’, is one that is still grappled with among all those with vested interests as well as those of Islamic and Israeli faith in pre-ordained fate and Palestinian faith in pre-ordained fate …

But the stories tell me of possible reconciliation, that God had or has a plan – I am leaning towards possibilities and potentialities that the divine order will be carried out and that nations can reconcile if they get beyond their tribal, cultural and historical influences –  and vested interests – and that peace is possible. The healing of past wounds CAN be healed even though the task of uncovering them requires courage. Which is why I am telling this story right now, even though I’m barely doing it justice. I’m telling it in my maybe naive desire to *trust* in peace, ultimately, between nations and peoples and our shared planet and I’m sharing it –

There are many links to google if you care to in order to get the fuller story. Many of them are pretty well researched and debated, and endlessly analysed by rabbinical scholars, theologians, historians, Jungian analysts, depth psychologists and the like.

 I remember some years ago being on radio about the murder of Abel by his brother Cain who were the sons of Adam & Eve. And God’s question to Abel – where is your brother? And Abel’s response: ”I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

 I’m preparing to leave for Europe tomorrow 8th June with my husband for just over 3 weeks. We’ll be on our own in Paris for a few days, then flying down to Lisbon where we’ll find Sintra and meet up with my husband’s sister and family who live in California. 4 of us are celebrating our June birthdays. After a week in Sintra, my husband & I leave the others behind and take off for Zurich for a few nights before boarding a boat which will take us up the Rhine.  We disembark a week later in Amsterdam and then fly home in early July.

It’s very cold up here on the highveld, though the skies are blue and the trees are green. In about 2 weeks it will be the solstices again, longest night here in South Africa, longest day in Europe. On the 20th we leave from Portugal for Switzerland … transitions everywhere. I’m hoping to see the Black Madonna in Einseideln, Zurich during the few days we’re there.

Thank you for reading! I hope this finds you well wherever you are, and may your centre continue to hold.


Sing up for We Are The World Blogfest!
We Are The World Blogfest

 A group of bloggers from around the world participate in We are the World Blogfest, (#WATWB) and post once a month on the last Friday of the month. It is our attempt to bring and promote good news: a story of a person, or group, or organisation that is seen to be making the world a better place, in so many ways. The blogging also serves to shine a little light on the dark that pervades our planet, and to show that there is much good in the world whether small acts of kindness or on a larger scale …

I love this story that shows business and community in action, caring for our beautiful planet. We’re all aware of plastic, oil spills and trash that lands up in the oceans and threaten coral and sea life. The birds who use the seas and land for food and breeding also get the short end of the stick. SA Plastic refers to South Africa. We cannot emphasise enough how we absolutely have to take care of our own trash, and minimise it in any way we can. Not only for other living sentient land, sea and air creatures, but for ourselves and future generations. And pick up litter when we see it –

Plastics SA has taken a firm step to prevent plastic in our oceans

*this is a one minute video from a different source showing plastic bottles being used to make art, here in Johannesburg, South Africa http://bit.ly/BNTower

If you’d like to take part in this monthly initiative of spreading good news click Here to enter their link: 

Your posts to be non political, non-religious, non-racist. Please add why you like that particular story and add the link to it. About 500 words or less. And spread the word via social media using the hashtag #WATWB. With thanks to our co-hosts this month: Shilpa Garg, Inderpreet Kaur UppalPeter NenaAndrea Michaels, Damyanti Biswas. Do go by and say hello!

Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful weekend!


#AtoZ Lilith April Blog Challenge Reflections Post

#AtoZ Lilith April Blog Challenge Reflections Post

Firstly, a huge thanks to Arlee Bird and all the hosts of the #April A-Z Blog Challenge for their encouragement and support throughout! 

I’ve been reflecting on this latest April A-Z blog challenge for several days already. I decided only just before the sign-up deadline to take part. I’d known that April was going to be a busy month, what with being away for 10 days or so during April so I thought this time round I’d give it a miss. Plus, there were ongoing travel arrangements to be made for Europe in June. Plus the usual busyness of everyday life.

But Lilith and the Dark Feminine pressed upon me. The #metoo movement when women were speaking up and out, the political dramas here and abroad, the destruction of Mother Earth were also issues that pressed on me, and had me wondering about this missing archaic feminine energy. 

This time round unlike previous April A-Z blog challenges, I created my posts only on the day. In the beginning I’d stated that I would keep my posts to 500 words or less, but this did not happen! 

It was worth the sweat for me … I learned SO much from the comments and the engagement of those who came by and I’m still learning. I was challenged and affirmed, broadened and deepened in ways I could not have imagined. I am deeply grateful to all who came by knowing how time is so precious. The A-Z posts that I did follow were wonderful. If I had the know-how I would provide links to them.
I so appreciated the tweeting that many of you did. I would look at twitter occasionally and be amazed at how often my posts were re-tweeted. Thank you!

I would have liked to get to many more other A-Z blog posts even if they did not come to mine. I failed in that regard. I also didn’t put up the icon for each letter of the day as I have up top – for Reflections post.

 I’ve gathered from the stats site that there were many 100’s of likes even if not comments. Do the stats mean anything to me? I suppose on some level they do; on another level not so much. All I know is that I LOVED the engagement on Lilith and being stretched in so many ways. I have you to thank for that – thank you!

The above photo of a butterfly wing is one I took a year or so ago which I found on the driveway in Plettenberg Bay. Why do I choose this one when I have plenty of other images? Well, it’s beautiful while sad in a way that the butterfly ‘lost’ a wing. I guess it’s a reminder to me to look for all that has been lost, still to be found. And to find the sacred in the mundane –

Thank you for reading – this post is (just) under 500 words!


A to Z Zooming in on Lilith

Zooming in on Lilith

I’ve so appreciated your coming by to the April A-Z blog challenge! Thank you so much! You’ve all helped immeasurably in highlighting the necessity of uncovering the wounds of the rejected Lilith and the Dark Feminine and the need to re-claim her gifts, of courage and persistence and willingness ‘to stand on the edge’ inter alia; and putting into perspective the patriarchal oppression – even by women – of this mythological figure, ongoing today as it is in all spheres of life. Your comments always opened the way for further dialogue, further clarification, further questioning, and a further knowing that our voice counts. Your support was wonderful thank you again!

Ally Bean:  Eve offered knowledge, Lilith offered emotions? Is that how one thinks about these two female archetypes? Just wandering down my own path of musings …

Genevive: we are creatures of habits and once we get accustomed of wearing a skin which makes us feel at home and comfortable, it is not easy to let go of it.

Jean: We need to remember Lilith and the names of these courageous women who carry her spirit. They embolden us to rise above our timidity and complacency.

Sandra: (faerie embassy) sometimes I am so intent on shedding the old and love the exhilaration when it is cast aside and the skin is new to the breeze and life is fresh and a little awkward, and other times I hang on for dear life (of the ego) to the habit not even wanting to peel a little. that both can inhabit me simultaneously is part of the journey …

Hilary: … that puts my present life into perspective … I am shedding a skin to restart anew, remembering myself, yet appreciating what I need to learn in this particular situation.

DonnaIt is the shared discussion that leads to a richness of understanding that we could never have reached alone.

Silvia: I too wonder at all the what ifs. What if, for example, Eve was portrayed as being her own being rather than part of the man? Womanhood as a whole may have had quite a different existence. 

LB: Maybe the dark, solitary journey of the dark feminine begins with the shattering of illusions and ties (to family, tribe, nation, empire), and it’s in this ripping away and apart that our quest and deeper questionings begin. 

Elaine: Looking at recent history, it’s no wonder the Repressed Feminine is enraged. Nature herself is also enraged. This harming of the feminine goes back and back and back. Even with a lifetime of psychological work behind me, I struggle to release myself from my patriarchal values, passed on to me by my mother more than my father. I read this quote from Pema Chodron this week: ““The kindness that I learned from my teachers, and that I wish so much to convey to other people, is kindness toward all qualities of our being. The qualities that are the toughest to be kind to are the painful parts, where we feel ashamed, as if we don’t belong, as if we’ve just blown it, when things are falling apart for us. Maitri, or loving-kindness, means sticking with ourselves when we don’t have anything, when we feel like a loser. And it becomes the basis for extending the same unconditional friendliness with others.”

Andrea Mathieson: (very much shortened) This long conversation that you have initiated, Susan, is part of a larger restorative process; what I’m suggesting is that this opening is not just for personal growth. It is not a strictly human issue. I see Lilith’s presence emerging ever more strongly in our consciousness as part of the primal nature of the earth itself. Call this energy the wisdom of creation, the intelligence of nature, or the lumen naturae (light within matter) Lilith is reappearing and must be welcomed and integrated.

Let us be patient with one another

and even patient with ourselves.

We have a long, long way to go.

So let us hasten along the road,

The road of human tenderness and generosity.

Groping, we may find one another’s hands in the dark.

Green Balch

 Thank you all so so much for accompanying me and others on this journey!

A to Z Y Yes to You Lilith

Yes to You: Lilith Even if the whole earth will fall to pieces, the unity of the psyche would never be shattered. And the wider and more numerous the fissures on the surface, the more the unity is strengthened in the depths’. C.G. Jung

Jean Raffa: We need to see the sacred transforming power of sorrow and grief and rebellion. We need to be reminded that we, ourselves, are sacred beloved souls, loved for exactly who and what we are and were born to be, fully deserving of respect and kindness.

Donna: Retirement Reflections: I agree that we all have a ‘light’ and ‘dark’ side and that the important thing is how we choose to treat each side.

Deborah Gregory: A truly wonderful memorial for Naka and her Ave Maria. What a story, and what a song to sing at the Taj Mahal! Wonderful, much like the lovely choir of voices gathered here in the Garden of Eden in search of the Wild Feminine.

 Pam: pjlazos “The sins of the father” isn’t just a quaint concept. Not only do we pass down our DNA, we pass along our thoughts and feelings and prejudices. If the world is ever to change, it needs to start with each one of us

Donna: It is the shared discussion that leads to a richness of understanding that we could never have reached alone.

Elaine Mansfield: When worship of the warrior gods, including Yahweh, destroyed worship of the Great Goddess, they broke our sense of connection and our roots.

Arti: Nature is never narrow.. It’s Mother Nature’s abundance that soothes us always, without question, complaints or judgement.

Sandra: fairie embassy – for years and still hot on the scent of the feminine … my sense is that women do fear loss of control because we are uncontrollable – wild fey turbulent volcanic surging with grace and eddies of calm.

Janet Givens: May Women the world around discover the power of their voice, even when it shakes.

LB: A more conscious Lilith faces the ‘taboo’, suffers and is transformed, experiences the fullness of a life filled with pain and joy, lived on the edges of societal norms, surrenders to God (or Source, or whatever word we use) and returns to the Tree of Life.

Shilpa Garg: When you mention about integration of the two archetypes, I am reminded of Ardhanarishvara which is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu God Shiva and his wife Parvati. Ardhanarishwar also symbolizes that the male and female principles are inseparable and it conveys the unity of opposites in the universe.

Marian Beaman:Through the women in my family heritage, I saw the feminine face of God, who transcends gender in my opinion. Thus, I was grounded in my ancestry, able to move forward into the light.

Deborah Gregory: Perhaps your “Animus” was out of balance and needed reorienting? While rapt on the wild feminine, Lilith, can be a JOY … there comes a time when the body breaks down, well down to the bone in my case, before we tune inwards. Here’s one of my challenging animus adventures: http://theliberatedsheep.com/animus-diet-part-three/Deborah’s link is pretty powerful, as is all her poetry.

Silvia: We experience her and know her, as we roll through cycles of light and darkness back to light. We owe her more light, more goodness, for she is us, and we are her.

 This is a truly lovely link by Andrea Matheson on The Great Mother – http://ravenessences.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=35_38&products_id=354

Thank you as always for reading! It’s been a joy to use your comments.


#We are the World Blogfest

Sing up for We Are The World Blogfest!

It’s the last Friday of the month in which we post good news from around the world as a way of deflecting from negative news that takes too much space.  Our co-hosts for this month are: Shilpa GargDan AntionSimon FalkMichelle Wallace , Mary J. Giese. Thank you.  Do pop by and say hello. Their posts are sure to be inspiring.

                                              The linky link should you wish to join is: 

http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=277138 It’s a matter of adding your name to the list, adding the badge in your side bar, posting some good news, saying why it inspires you, keeping it apolitical and non-religious, and a post that shows brother/sisterhood humanity in action. Do share on social media using #WATWB.

Today 27 April, is the day we voted in our first democratic election 24 years ago when Mr. Nelson Mandela became our president. It’s a public holiday, known as Freedom Day (still a long way to go though). The video below is so well worthwhile with live footage over the years. The 2 min video brought tears to my eyes. There’s even a moment of Mr. Mandela doing the jive! And our new pres Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa at the end –

Hope Joanna #HopeJoanna

When we have hope. We have everything.

To celebrate Freedom Day, GRID Worldwide have started a new social media campaign called #HopeJoanna… an idea to bring back hope and optimism to all South Africans.

“Let’s not forget about what the cost was. We have had so much adversity and many triumphs. Let’s never forget our struggle for freedom. But let’s love our diversity and let’s move ahead with intention. We are a great nation, never allow insecurity to cloud our resolve. Towards greatness. Share with your own love for our country.”

#HopeJoanna is more than just a campaign. It’s a social movement. And they are inviting each and every South African, to embark on this renewed journey of hope and optimism that we are experiencing in our country.

“We’ve all experienced the highs and lows of our beautiful South Africa. Even through the toughest of times, we have come out triumphant because we as a nation are resilient. And one thing always rings true, that when we have hope, we have everything.

We invite you to share your stories of hope with your fellow South Africans using #HopeJoanna. Let’s remind ourselves of all the wonderful, colourful and diverse things that we love about each other. Let’s come together in hope, because there is no better time than now.”

To kick off the campaign, the team have released an inspirational short film. Watch it below:


A-Z X X Ray on Lilith

I‘m going to post a few of your past reader comments over these last few days of April as a way of putting the X ray onto Lilith. I’ll do that for Y as well, and Z.  They will be short excerpts.

Jean Raffa: ‘Lilith seems to personify the risks one takes when choosing this path away from duality and conformity toward becoming oneself, or as Jung called it, individuation’.

Susan E. Schwartz: ‘When Lilith was banished she still exerted an influence. Even though turned into a negative figure, or they tried to distort her into this, she persisted. It speaks to the value of the one on the edge, the sidelines and the power they have nonetheless. It is a hard place to be’

Deborah Gregory: ‘Yes, I know ‘exile’ of the wild feminine well and resonate deeply as I wandered myself (allegorically) through T.S. Eliot’s Waste Land, alone, shunned, abandoning all my faith and hope … and yet without such a vexing experience I wouldn’t have felt the liberation and joy of ever entering the second half of my life. In pure synchronicity within the poem he writes, “April is the cruellest month.” ‘

Gwynn Rogers: Sadly, we see that mindset in parts of the Middle East and among some religions. Actually, if I think about it, women really have not been able to speak out for centuries.

Silvia (writes): ‘A woman (is) painted negatively enough by the patriarchy, so much so the image was ingrained in our psyche, damaging as it is to women in general’.

Deborah Weber: ‘ She may have been banished, but such treatment was never met with meekness. Brandishing righteous fire is how I love to think of Beloved Lilith, and all the courageous women embodying her spirit in our world’.

Elaine Mansfield: ‘My first philosophic teacher introduced me to the idea of daemon around 1970 as we studied Greek philosophy. He had a positive view of daemon as the inner voice that leads us in the right direction. I’ve held on to that and listened for that quiet voice. I’m always searching for a compassionate response to my demons who get out of control when I ignore their whispered needs. Who doesn’t know that sense that all possible demons have invaded and are running the show?’

LB: ‘As part of her journey, a conscious, self-aware, and intuitively tuned-in Lilith is capable of deep grief and profound remorse, and is far less likely to personally project or be exploited by opportunistic collective movements’… and in another post: ‘At her best, Lilith’s pain acts a catalyst for transforming personal suffering into empathy and compassion for others’. 

Genevive: ‘I think we must learn to acknowledge the demon, address it as it is part of our lives to be able to deal with it’

Susan E. Schwartz: ‘I always find it so intriguing that daimon is so close to demon. We all have to sit and let both seep into our souls and deal with them’… and again in another post ‘It seems the feminine is most pervasive in this story and her search is what brings consciousness. But we also need the relational balance of the masculine and that seems to be also what the myth is telling us’…

Thank you for reading and thank you for your comments!

A to Z W Wandering with Lilith and Eve

W Wandering with Lilith & Eve

I was up early this morning attending to some matters I should’ve done last night. With a mug of hot tea as fortification I accomplished a fair bit. Then I went for a walk – I was in a bit of a day dream and found myself not taking my usual route – I wondered whether to turn back after a while, but I pressed on. It was refreshing. I soon removed my scarf.

While walking, I was wondering what to say in today’s W word for Lilith. She’s around the world in us in one way or the other, we have her in our astrological charts, lunar, her wounds, her strengths, her wildness, and I like that she spent time in the salty Red Sea – salt being one of the three primary alchemical elements, sulphur and mercury the other two. 2 Sundays back when we were at the Plettenberg Bay Nature Reserve I took this short video. My son did the necessary from my phone to put it in a drafts folder for my blog. So, I’m using it today – I like that these hippos were wallowing one moment above water, descending into it the next, not unlike Lilith –

A few women writers from earlier times have defended Eve and her actions. They write from their own perspective and experience and not from that of a patriarchal view. They may not have ‘known’ of Lilith –

Hildegard of Bingen (1098 -1179) was benign to Eve, seeing in her the woman who bestows divinity onto humanity and seeing in her 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 that is born. *

Christian de Pizan (1365 -1430) was disillusioned with the male humanists of the era who had a denigrating view of women. She argues that Eve was made in the image of God and that Adam & Eve’s souls were of equal value. Eve, she writes, since she was fashioned from the rib of Adam, shows that she should be at his side as a companion, not as a slave, and that a master craftsman’s hand must have been at work to make Eve out of Adam. **

Sarah Joseph Hale (1788-1879) contends that Adam needed assistance to cultivate 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’.  Eve took the apple because of her ‘higher faculties of the mind, … 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’. ***

If Adam had not taken the apple that Eve offered, would he still be waiting for his supper?

* Pamela Norris: The Story of Eve

** de Pizan: The Book of the City of Ladies

***  SJ Hale: Womens Record

Thank you for reading! 

A to Z V Voice

V Voice Lilith

It was 25 years ago when I flew down to Cape Town to be with my mother for her 80th birthday. Her cousin Naka Pillman had also travelled to be with us. Naka died last week a little short of her 99th birthday, so it is in honour of her that I’m writing this.

Naka was a larger than life character. A  world traveller, writer, artist, craftswoman, well known in her field and for her contribution to South African history. My mother was looking lovely, happy to have her family with her. Naka was dressed in her usual flamboyant style, wearing cloths from all around the world, bracelets and beads adorning her, wearing a bandana, her wild and curly hair that escaped framing her delicately boned face, her eyes as blue as cornflowers.

One of the stories she told us was of her then recent trip to India on her own. She rose early to go to the Taj Mahal. She said about the early pink gleaming light as she walked. She said that she went to the very top of the Taj. She was aware of the acoustics right at the top. Gripped by a sudden desire to sing, she asked her guide permission. No no he said, no singing. But she got her way, and sang Ave Maria. She said the air was filled with the sweetest sounds – and while singing, completely unexpectedly, she received an answer to a personal question that had been plaguing her for many years. The voice was clear and commanding … and on that she made her particular life decision …

Ave Maria, maiden mild
Oh, listen to a maiden’s prayer
For thou canst hear amid the wild
‘Tis thou, ’tis thou canst save amid despair
We slumber safely till the morrow
Though we’ve by man outcast reviled
Oh maiden, see a maiden’s sorrow
Oh mother, hear a suppliant child *


Since ancient times, countries have been been involved in war. Karen Armstrong in ‘The Axial Age’ (known as a pivotal period in history that dates from 800 to 200 BC) writes how in times of need, forces arise to counter violent times. “One of the things that is very striking is that all the great sages were living in a time like our owna time full of fear, violence, and horror. Their experience of utter impotence in a cruel world impelled them to seek the highest goals and an absolute reality in the depths of their beings”.

Your voices in the comments have made my soul sing, my heart and mind broadened in so many ways, I am so grateful. Thank you so much. You are all sages in our current times, a feminine energy sorely needed as counter-force.

*As sung by Celine Dion. Different renditions use different words. (The Latin is very particular)

Thank you for reading!

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