For Lonnie

There is hope in care

There is hope in

The discarded things

This is your Earth

This is what you have

To learn and to care for

Wake up one thing

Respect

show love

give love

through

your creative power

To the discarded

Things, People

Earth

This is your Earth

“…the harvest is plentiful

The harvesters are few….”


In respect and honour of a beautiful soul,
Lonnie Holley

Creating with Gravity Waves – Saturn trine Neptune

…..what would you do if your computer started printing out your innermost thoughts and feelings……

If images sometimes say what cannot be said in words then the sculpture pictured below is perfect for the reflections and intimations that it brings up at this time. It is both ancient and contemporary, has a philosophical edge and embodies an harmonious marraige between technology and poetry, between rigorous process and unremitting humour – qualities that may well be our saving grace as things progress in the coming times. It has an edge that allows the frisson of paradox to energise rather than confound our sensibilities, and it oozes beauty and charisma…..this is the sign of a living symbolism at work and, for me at least, Joshua Harker’s ‘Crania Anatomica Filigre’ (1) achieves all of this and is a powerful, poigniant and provocative symbol well and truly belonging to our times…..

When I first became aware of this image it had an immediate impact, instantly spoke to these qualities and, serendipitously, captures the essence of a very intriguing astrological alignment that has been building for some weeks now, and which is exact as this article is published – Saturn trine Neptune. It is an alignment that, like the sculpture, I feel, brings an underlying flavour of our current paradoxical nature into much needed focus.

The link above will take you to Joshua’s website where you can find out more about his work and how this piece in particular came into being – it has been made through computer generated 3D printing and this makes it reproducable. Infact, the process itself, could also be the perfect exemplar for the alliance between Saturn and Neptune. In this article we’ll look more at the personal aspects of these planets and their current influence………but, first, lets put this in context.

The current planetary climate tells us there will be plenty of time and opportunities to dive down the particularly interesting rabbit hole that is opening up in our patch of the universe…..watch this space. And, we’ll come to that part soon enough!…..all in good time, all in good time……

…..which is very much the positive spin on the message from Saturn and Neptune right now. The planet Saturn has been slowly turning the amplitude up on the trine with Neptune over the last couple months.

They are now both in the first degree of Scorpio and Pisces respectively…..and they will be revisiting this aspect in six months time, so, not only does this meeting effectively frame the upcoming eclipses, the cross-quarter fire festival of Samhain as well as the December solstice, but, whatever is set in motion now will revisit us around Beltain, by way of these two great planets influence. All the more reason to get real about whats happening now…..

….the question is, ‘who’s to say whats real?’. If it seems like this is a time when ‘the reality principle’ itself in the dock and, no matter how much we agree or disagree, no matter how emotional our testimonies are likely to become, and by all acounts, they will, every individual’s testimony counts. But, how to speak of such things?!

Where Neptune dissolves and diffuses Saturn concretises and defines. Poetic licence rules with an iron fist when they unite their energies. ‘Holding it all together’ and ‘going with the flow’ are no longer hippy mantras but mutualy bound neccessities that must find a synthesis. For us the computer screen world has become a worm-hole into the universes of the imagination and these in turn become real by virtue of the underlying force of their emotional impact – every IT savvy advertising executive knows how this one works.

In their current relationship and positions within the tropical zodiac these two great planets are holding court behind the scenes as the world becomes synthesised within liquid crystal manifestations of constant change awash with emotionally charged gravity waves emanating from deep within the ocean of primal consciousness…..Neptune is, at time of writing, stationed in the first degree of tropical Pisces and is about to go direct just as the ringed planet has entered Scorpio. Saturn will be residing in Scorpio for a little over two years, so we are sure to be hearing more about his presence in the eighth sign as time progresses, especially in the coming months. The trine may well have already shown signs of its influence – its something hard to pin down, not least for the polarised nature of the two planetary influences, and I have been wondering just how the trine would become manifest.

The relationship between these two powerful planets is often flagged up as difficult and fraught with an underlying emotional intensity, but, it can also be incredibly creative,  with the necessary awareness, intuition and resources to hand in negotiating the undercurrents – and there are plenty of those around at the moment.

The meeting of their seemingly polarised energies  has complexity, in a psychological as well as an intrinsic sense, and, while its qualities may well evolve slowly enough to become tangible in the mundane world, Saturn and Neptune’s collaboration is often one that ‘defies the definitive’ and operates through psychological and emotional dynamics. It can, if not registered consciously invoke a kind of archetypal torque that manifests as a feeling of creeping inner overwhelm, but, there is a positive spin to this as it is also a feeling that benefits by expressive release, as it is essentially a root force of creative energy. The predominance of one planet over the other will determine how this manifests, so how they fall in your charts is key to how you will experience this phase of planetary evolution. Either way, it is bound to be an emotional experience, especially with both planets in water signs now.

Whether focusing on inner work, world work, letting off steam or channeling the archetypal into creative work, care must be taken in how we respond to the pull of the emotional charge and how we translate it into our thoughts and actions. Neptune can stimulate the former and induce powerful sea-changes in our lives, Saturn can provide the latter by contextualising and bringing these changes into focus. Collectively, the combined energy could see concrete expression of powerful emotions en-masse, and this would benefit most from the discipline and focus that Saturn can bring – but, thats often a hard call and requires strong leadership.

The symbols thrown up from the deeper areas of consciousness throw an arc of numinous life force between the personal and the transpersonal realms, and these carry the charge safely, providing a live container that shields and translates where otherwise we might become swamped, over-identify or become contaminated with the archetypal force and its numinous influence. Many artists work naturally with this connectivity, especially where their work is both deeply expressive and symbolic by nature, but, being connected with the transpersonal realms and how they shape up in the personal, a true test of our boundaries and psychological integrity, with Saturn and Neptune at work in unison the simple answer is to lighten up and play – as the old saying has it, ‘kiss the Devil on the mouth and he turns into the Sun’.

The strangest of bed-fellows at the best of times, there is always that uneasy tension between Saturn and Neptune – their’s is a fertile paradox of a relationship. Astrologers, I have noticed, tend to come down on the negative side when describing the qualities and effects at work here. But, the positive side, if emphasised with the trine, is one that embues reality with a transmutational  numinousity and requires direct encounter with symbolic power to become graspable – in other words its perfect for engaging in some in-depth therapeutic artwork! The effects can be both powerfully and beautifully creative, not to mention a little surreal…..but, lets see if we can further flesh out Saturn first, without breaking into too disrespectful a smirk……

……no, Seriously! Saturn is serious business. He is a kind of hardened patriarchal chief exec. amongst the planets, not necessarily top of the heap, even if he’d like you to think otherwise, but, to extract the goodness of a smile from his dour demeanour requires work, hard work, of the kind that delivers never to be forgotten experience; there are no free lunches at Saturn’s boardroom table and we should never expect there to be – no matter where you sit at that table, no matter whether you are faced with questions of your own mortality, the residue of your own past actions or the challenge of building something of consequence in this lifetime, you are there to learn……..Saturn holds the key that winds up this mortal coil and, as guardian and arbiter of the incarnate branch of its sacred laws, is the disaffected mentor of soul making experience. Standing at the threshold, between the personal and transpersonal realms, the incarnate and dis-incarnate, Saturn does not suffer fools gladly, which is a challenge here because……

……Neptune, by contrast appears the complete anathema of Saturn – defying containment and holding court at the  edge of our solar system to galactic energies and interstellar space, Neptune is really ‘out there’, almost recklessly affected to the point of being without substance. This planet, attributed the heart of the mystic and the eye of the dreamer whose reach knows no boundaries, is wayout beyond the personal homelands of the inner planets – this is a planet of the greater community of spirit, by effect on earth ‘the holy ghost of the Great Mother’, which may surprise some – Neptune is, not in effect alone, but, by all accounts and without a doubt, predominantly a feminine planet, and we’ll expand more on this symbolism another time as it is such a commonly held misconception.

There are, of course, masculine and feminine attributes to all the planets, however, astrologically, its the effects that matter. Where Saturn concretises, Neptune pervades and, as such, Neptune’s power resides in the numinous realms out of which the power within symbolism itself has its roots…..oceanic, atmospheric, archetypal, relating to the sub or unconsciousness, Neptunian influences, being transpersonal by nature, bring us into contact with qualities, values and experiences that wash away boundaries and allow a flow of both undercurrents and rip-tides to pull and push on our emotional bodies, operating beyond the physical realms that are Saturn’s domain of manifest power. Where Neptune and Saturn meet though is in their fundamental nature. Where power wells up, connecting us with the primal matrix of creative energy and processes, both of their attributes apply……and, within the individual, both planets offer the keys to individual freedom, delivering through their own dissimilar archetypal qualities and the manner in which these give access to greater wisdom through experience and self reflection. And theres something of the universal and the personal melded in the symbolic valency of the skull.

The skull, in true Saturnian manner, delineates our physical frame in a manner afforded by no other bone in the body. While our brain, the immensely powerful processor it houses, impresses its shape and volume from within the matrix of bone, the mind that percieves and thinks by virtue of its ‘in-house’ processes is by no means either defined or de-limited by the skull’s physical boundaries, far from it – and, likewise, the fluid imaginative patterning of the skull in this sculpture is true to Neptune’s qualities. Our personality too may well have its physical countenance molded and present to the world for all to see by virtue of the underlying bone structure of our face, yet, it is the flesh that ages and changes with the vissisitudes of life, is the expressive map of our life journey – Neptune reveals the illusiory nature of appearances through the metaphysics of Saturnian time. Yet, even with the most vivid imagination, stripped back to the bleached and stark ‘death’s head’ reality of the skull, we are hard put to ‘envisage’ the countenance it might have supported. That is nominally a physiological skill reserved for the pathologist sculptor (an astonishing example of which you will also find on Joshua’s website) – a typically Saturnian application of Neptunian attributes.

……look more closely at this image and you will notice an inner level at work, suggesting the embodyment of this skill at another level – within the skull is yet another smaller one, suggesting an in-dweller, one who observes the observer, who ‘sees with other eyes’ and this is also a skill afforded the shaman and seer, whose inner eye is alive to the world beyond the world…..but, well be taking that particular route next time…….this is a great time for otherworldy art to be birthed, and given that it is also a time in which life may well be seen to be imitating art, also gives us much food for thought…..what would you do if your computer started printing out your innermost thoughts and feelings……

For now, dwell on this image – it has much to say that cannot be said by words alone……

(1) Many thanks to the artist Joshua Harker for the photo of Crania Anatomica Filigre which was supplied by him and is reproduced here with his kind permission.

owlmirror arts

A few months ago I decided to begin putting together an arts blog and online portfolio – I am happy to announce this is now up and running and can be accessed via the ‘Artwork’ tab in the crossbar  above. Also, if you click on the images below they will  take you directly to the relevant articles and pages about the artwork in each image. These range from sculpture and image making, including antler carving, healing tools and ‘power-objects’, to digital and conventional illustration, and mixed media work – there will also be pieces about site specific artwork, a line of healing work that can be both nature and community orientated that I have not documented before and I will be covering some of this particular kind of work here at Owlmirror too. Infact, as well as some of the familiar images already seen at Owlmirror there will be a lot of new work, as it arises, and, some of this will be personal work, as well as including some archive pieces never seen before. Its still in the early stages at this time of writing, but, there are already ten articles and pages to visit and read, looking at many of the above subjects.

Although I have had a conventional arts training, as well as a long apprenticeship in medicine work, these twin rivers have found a deepening confluence in time. Infact, my divining and artwork have always gone hand in hand – much of the creative work I do is commissioned by healers these days, creating a strand of work now going back 20 years or more. I also want to provide a space at the arts site for articles and images touching upon some of the specialist techniques I use – I do a lot of work in antler for example, which ties into the shamanic traditions and carries a very long history amongst indigenous healers. I’ve been lucky enough to be commissioned by people from every continent and from many diverse traditions, including practitioners and teachers from Indonesian Silat and Siberian Buddhist shamanism to European Druids, Taoists and medicine people from Africa and the Americas to the Antipodes. Examples of some of this work will be found at the new site, but, what I really wanted to do is begin talking about the experiences I have in making things. This is an opportunity to look into how these twin paths cross-over and intertwine, especially  where the work is spirit led and belonging to ‘medicine work’, but, also simply exploring the twists and turns in finding a creative path in the world….there’s much to talk about, so watch out for upcoming articles on these subjects and more.

You’ll also find details of how you can contact me – whether its to ask about having something made for yourself or as a gift, or to explore the work and its possibilities at another level, you’ll be most welcome – Owlmirror will be continuing as usual, in the meantime, enjoy the first fruits of the new sister site…..

……in peace, Rob

OWLWOMAN

owl goddess owlmirrorThis lady has been a great guide and talisman over the years – one of the very few pieces of antler work I have made for myself, she came through into the physical with real purpose, beyond the sheer joy of making and dreaming from which she emerged……

Fact is, ironically, Owlwoman has spent more time with other people than with myself, and, in the course of time I have come to see how that purpose of hers is working in the world.

Being a figure of only 18cm, she is intimate and tactile and is carved in Pere David deer antler, a material that is a good ivory substitute. Pere David is a-typically solid through to the center so this kind of antler can be carved in deep relief and in the round. Owlwoman also represents the kind of work that I am most commonly commissioned to undertake as a carver.

On reflection, Owlwoman’s role, her particular medicine, carries a call to find powerful centering and to get in touch with the inner stories, the ones that we have come here to tell, that only we can tell – I guess thats why she came to me as, after I had finally set aside the carving tools, I felt protected and ‘on track’…….she also helped me to understand, on a more personal level, that it is the story in the art that pushes it into manifestation. It needs to be told……

The whole idea that stories might need us so that they too may have their life helps to deepen the connection between medicine path and arts practice – within this is an honouring of the duende, the living spirit within the story being told through the art – the artists role is that of the carrier and courier, functioning as a gatekeeper.

With spending so much time out there in the world, Owlwoman has always brought back stories to accompany her return – people with whom she has spent time tell of re-finding their center, their power, and of renewal – she has brought courage and calmness in the face of adversity, the feeling that we are never so far from home as our challenges might have us to believe – others have said she has brought a wild wisdom, a spur to move forward with energy and dignity, trusting in their own vision, a powerful and steady wind in their sails.

Owlwoman does have a deeper level too – woven into her are symbols that have their own story, that connect to navigation and orientation on the earth plane – these tie-in to ancient methods of keeping track with natural cycles, angling to the directions and the stars in time and space – they also connect with the tracks of ancestral knowledge that reach back more than 10k years into Eurasian indigenous culture, with the seeds of dreaming that they have sown in our times.

She is enigmatic for all this – a gate keeper at the portal of death/re-birth and a magical envoy carrying a pilot light for the soul. She is still out there in the world…….