paganism · visual art

Sidhehound

“Sidhehound” (2020)

Digital art

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I’m still having fun playing with Photoshop. Today I thought I’d try to create something that looks like my recent canvas paintings. This is far from perfect, but I love it. This is the representation of my shamanic clan name, Sidhehound (Hound of the Sìth). I will draw her again.

visual art

Rabbits (Hello Neighbour)

“Rabbits (Hello Neighbour)” (2020)

Digital illustration.

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I’m teaching myself how to use Photoshop. It’s a lot of fun! I’m thinking of making a zine about my non-human neighbours who live in the park next to my home. The rabbits are a firm favourite of my my partner and I. I love to watch them hop away, flashing their cute little bun bums!

journal

Making the best of it

“May you live in interesting times”

Curse of unknown origin

I often wondered why that phrase was considered a curse, but now I know. The world is upended at the moment due to Covid-19, and I don’t even know where to begin.

My isolation/social distancing began unintentionally on the 11th March, as soon as I returned home from my therapy session. Later that evening, I developed a scratchy throat, so I decided to keep to myself just in case. It was only a regular wee cold thankfully. During my self-isolation things in the outside world got worse, and by the time I was well enough to go out, it was advised that everybody self isolate. Things are continuing to get worse, quelle suprise.

I’ve been trying to make the best of it, as we all should.

For a long while now I have been trying to create a workspace for myself at home, but it has been a bit tricky due to my chronic procrastination and my propensity for having multiple ideas on the go at the same time.

A photograph of my workspace. A PC connected to a monitor and graphics tablet, with a seperate laptop.

This is my workspace for the moment, while I try to focus on digital content creation for the time being. I have to give a massive shout out to my long-suffering partner for loaning me his old PC for my photoshop work as my laptop was trundling a fair bit. The space is a bit messy, but I have been able to make stuff. I’m currently looking at making a wee zine about The Mony, the park next to my home. It may or may not happen.

I had been putting off trimming my garden hedge for some time (possibly a year?), so I had some fun doing that while preparing for the oncoming Purge.

A photo of me posing with a hedgetrimmer and a scary rabbit mask.

While I was out in the garden, I breached the social distancing rule to help a drunk who had fallen over. It might not have been an intelligent choice, but it was a compassionate one. That is something I will get into later.

Now feels like a good time to learn new skills and find new hobbies. With my art, I am teaching myself photoshop. To keep active, I am taking up juggling and poi spinning. Both are skills I tried to learn over a decade ago, but set aside when I broke my collar bone and I never picked them up again. I’m also thinking about trying to crochet again too as I still have a massive stash of yarn.

Thankfully, I have yet to feel trapped or confined by social distancing. I can still go out and about within reason (there is a deadly virus on the loose after all), and most people are only ever a PM or email away. Stephen and I have our own rooms within the house, so we aren’t annoying each other too much. I guess I am lucky; being chronically ill has limited my life for so long, things haven’t had to change too much.

However, last night my anxiety started to kick in thanks to social media. I had been reading post after post after post about people not social distancing, and treating the whole thing as a long holiday. Gathering in parks, partying in pubs, and travelling to remote (and vulnerable) parts of the UK … all while spreading the virus. But it’s not the virus I am worried about; it’s the government’s response to people not following the guidelines set out to stop the spread of Covid-19.

If people can’t do the right thing on their own, in light of how serious things are … then what will the government response be? I imagine it will be using the police and military to force us all to stay indoors, draconian laws limiting the number of people who can go outside and where they can go outside, and a general loss of liberty. That frightens me so, so much. I was unsettled for most of last night. I don’t want to be trapped.

But for now, I can still move.

A photograph of the Vale of Leven, taken from the west of Dumbarton.

I do hope all of you are well, and keeping safe. The world has changed and we can’t go back.

paganism

Join us for the Winter Solstice!

The Winter Solstice is soon approaching, and I invite you to join us in a ritual exploring the two sides of Wolf – The Lone Wolf and the Pack Wolf. Together their magic will see us into 2020.

The ritual is taking place with the support of Green Tree Remedies, and will take place at Strathleven House, Dumbarton on Sunday, 22nd December at 10.45am. It’s free, but ticketed. Tickets are available at Eventbrite [click here].

We will be outside for the duration, which will be around 2 hours, so dress for the weather!

activism · self-improvement · zero waste

Doing something

“Someone should really do something about that.”

Be honest, you have probably said this at some point in your life. Some thing isn’t the way it should be, objectively or subjectively. Our worlds are never what we feel they should be, but how often do we step up to make a change? I rarely do.

One of these things is the rubbish littering my local park. The Cunninghame Graham Memorial Park, known as “The Mony”, appears to be nothing remarkable, but is thought to be the site of Cardross Castle where Robert the Bruce died. The park is named after Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, a wealthy socialist. I don’t know enough about him to comment more. I do know that his actual memorial was moved elsewhere due to vandalism, which doesn’t surprise me at all.

Back to the litter. There is always a trail of litter along the footpaths, and clusters amongst the trees. You can see where folk “hide” to drink, or do drugs. Now, it used to be worse when the local secondary school was open, but it moved to the other side of town taking with it the majority of takeaway cartons, energy drink cans, and cigarette butts left behind by the pupils and staff. The Mony is still an unecessary mess though, and everytime I would walk through it I would find myself getting wound-up. Why do people drop litter in the first place? Why was nobody clearing it up regularly? Why did nobody seem to care?

I can’t answer the first question. I do not understand how anybody could drop litter at their arse. As a child I used to drive my mum bonkers because my pockets were always full of rubbish. I was very good at not dropping litter, but I was pretty rubbish at remembering to put it in a bin later!

As for the second and third questions, they come from a place of expecting other people to take responsibility for things. They could be rewritten as “Why should I clear it up regularly? I don’t drop litter!” and “Why should I care about it? Nobody else seems to.” As I am learning through my current Mindfullness CBT course, that is not how the world works. Waiting for other people to change is not a productive use of energy. It has been better for me to work on the things I can change for myself, and that means that I can take some time out of my life to clear up the park.

I started today, Samhain, as it felt like a meaningful way to celebrate the holiday. It also gave me a socially-acceptable excuse to do my litter-pick while wearing my fox onesie. I took my foxy self, a bin bag, some gloves, and a litter-picker out to The Mony and got stuck in.

I was underprepared, as I filled my bag super quickly and only covered about 1/6th of the park. In the mix was the traditional bottle of Buckfast, fizzy drink cans, polystyrene takeaway food cartons, and dog poo bags. Fucking dog poo bags. What’s worse than leaving dog shit lying around? Wrapping dog shit in plastic and then leaving it lying around. It boggles the mind. My most interesting find was the handlebars from a child’s bike.

As I was finishing up, I met a dogwalker who handed me some glass she had collected. We chatted about doing what we can, and I made the decision to go out a few times a week and focus on filling just one bag with rubbish. I have a habit of trying to do Big Grand Gestures that I cannot sustain, and eventually have to give up. But one or two bags a week? That is doable for me.

I can’t stop people from dropping litter, but I can do a bit it mitigate it, and after speaking with a dogwalker I realise that people do care, they/we just don’t really know to show it. Maybe we have to stop waiting for other people to tell us what to do, and what we can do, and just do what we can by ourselves.

journal

I should probably write something

Cat tax.

I’ve been stuck in a bout of depression for months, but I only just realised it after I was nearly run over last week. That rattled me enough to shake loose some dark emotions, and I’ve spent the last five days hiding in my house with the curtains closed. I’m doing all the things that don’t help, like isolating myself, eating junk and oversleeping, even though I know better.

My depression goes hand-in-hand with inactivity. Sometimes I don’t want to do anything, and sometimes I avoid doing things I want to do. The results are the same, and my days drag on. I even quit my day job in hopes that my mood would improve, but it didn’t.

Now that I recognise that I was depressed, I can make an effort to get better. I have been attending a Mindfulness Cognitive Behavioural Therapy course, and as that winds up I should be starting an emotional skills course designed for people with BPD. I want to get my sleep sorted, though I need to accept my chronic fatigue. My friend, a healer, has been offering me advice in managing my digestion which is helping my physical symptoms. There are a hundred and one other things I could be doing to feel better, but I don’t want to overwhelm myself.

I hope to do lovely things before 2020. I have been slacking on my self-employment as both a creative and healer. I want to create a portfolio of artworks, make some bags for retail, and organise a Winter Solstice ritual before the end of the year. I want to return to the local litter picking group, and seek out opportunities to serve my community. Writing it down. that might be too much to try and complete in two months.

I hope you are all well, and I will try to update more often.

visual art

A long overdue update!

Hello m’dears and m’deers!

I hope you are all safe and well. Life has had a low vibe for me recently as I work though some health issues, but that hasn’t stopped my creativity. 

First of all I completed a portrait of “Earth Deer Spirit”, my main guide at this time in my life. He revealed himself to me on a rainy afternoon, while drumming under a young Oak tree. He smells of rain and earth, is as dependable as a Yew, and speaks with the voice of the land.  

A high resolution download is available to my patrons over on Patreon.

Prints, cards, and other goods are available on Red Bubble.

I will have a selection of prints and cards to buy in person soon.

I was asked by a friend Martyn to create a custom piece of art for his new business, “Green Fuse Garden”. Following on the popularity of grow your own veg, Martyn is wanting to encourage people to grow their own cut flowers. This will be of benefit to our local ecosystems, and bring beauty to our doorsteps.

You can learn more about the project here:  https://gardenfuse.wordpress.com/growing-a-vision/ 

Finally, I am happy to announce that my “Milk Comes From Mothers” design is available to buy on apparel from Bohemian Hippy. 100% of the profits go to establishing Lotus Heart Sanctuary, a safe place for cattle. At present the design is only advertised on a small number of items, however you can email Bohemian Hippy to choose any style of t-shirt or hoodie. 

You can buy my design here:  https://www.bohemianhippy.com/product/womens-rolled-cuff-muscle-shirt-milk-comes-from-mothers/ 

other arts · paganism

Roses and Thorns – w/b 13/05/2019

It will come as no surprise to you that I am not very good at blogging. I spend too long overthinking topics and eventually the inspiration leaves me. To keep me writing regularly, I am going to try and write a bit about what happens during my weeks. Roses (the good stuff) and Thorns (the meh stuff).

Roses

Land healing WIP

As some of you may know, I am training to be a shamanic practitioner and that involves a lot of work. One of my tasks is to perform land healing at the Notre Dame Convent Chapel in Dumbarton. It is an abandoned chapel, formerly a listed building, and was linked to a teaching order of nuns. I spent an afternoon there conversing with the spirits of the land, trying to understand their needs.

First soul retrival

Another part of my shamanic training is to offer services to friends and family. This week I was able to try out my soul retrival technique for the first time away from my classmates. My friend suggested we work outside, which was a wonderful idea. She chose a beautiful spot amongst some trees and bluebells.

Trace

Another friend was performing in a work-in-progress puppet show called TRACE, which explores the long-term impact of childhood abuse. It was harrowing, but shares an important message. that could benefit people (if a group discussion followed). I hope to see it fledge into a full show.

Thorns

This week’s thorns are the same ones I experience near constantly: pain, fatigue, and depression. I had great experiences this week, but aside from these few hours I spent the majority of my time bedbound.