Peter Fannin – Eulogy

Peter passed peacefully on the 18th of June 2017. This is the eulogy I wrote for his funeral:

IMG_1605

Peter’s niece Kveta and the portrait she painted for him

Peter was born in 1930, in a copper mining camp in Tasmania, in one of only 6 wooden houses on a platform built into the side of a mountain. The nearest town was Rosebery. There were no roads leading from the camp into town, so when Margaret went into labour with Peter, her husband Arthur had to run a good long way into town to fetch the doctor, along a dirt track beside a steep ravine. It was pouring rain and he had to use a lantern to light his way in the dark. Peter Evans had a two year old brother named David, and four year old sister called Anne. Margaret umpired hockey games in her spare time, blowing her whistle and running back and forth in a sea of mud covered in handfuls of snow, while Peter watched from his pram, and Anne and David chased each other over the seats.

When Peter was two years old, the Evans family moved back to Melbourne from whence they’d come, eventually settling near Kew Junction, a busy Melbourne intersection. Peter had an adventurous spirit, even at this age, and was renowned for wandering off. One day, when he was three years old, the entire family set out in search of him, calling his name. They found one of his shoes in the middle of the busy intersection, and they went into every shop along the street, asking “Have you seen a little red-haired boy?” Eventually they found him in the barber’s shop, sucking on a lollypop and getting his hair cut. Continue reading

Finding Lothlorien

This is Part 3 of the story about our Wildflower Spirit Journey at the end of 2016 through NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory. In Part 1, we began in Sydney, driving up through the Blue Mountains, and then down the coast to Eden and Merimbula. Part 2 took us into and through Victoria, from the beaches of Mallacoota to the alpine flowers on Mount Hotham, then down out of the mountains and back to family. Here begins the Tasmanian leg of our trek…

img_8656

Kingston

Our first night in Tassie was spent in Kingstown, with a good friend and her two boys, looking over the water from her gorgeous mountain-side view. The next day we drove into the south. As our friend had warned us, some of the tourism treks were run by Tasmanian Forestry, and you didn’t have to dig deep to find the cleared land hidden behind thin strips of rainforest designed to enchant some dollars away from the tourists.

I know we need paper and wood, I just feel a bit more comfortable when it’s recycled or from plantation forest, rather than old-growth forest. My love affair with trees stretches back into my early childhood when I lived in an isolated rainforest in Tassie. There were no other children to play with, and aside from an invisible dog, my best friends were the trees. In spite of this childhood connection, Tasmania was the place I felt most resistant about when my husband first began talking about living somewhere else. Continue reading

From Pelicans to Paper Daisies and Love on the Grass Courts

mePART TWO

This is Part 2 of a 5-week wildflower spirit journey my husband and I went on in December 2016. Part 1 tells the story of our journey through NSW, from Sydney through the Blue Mountains, and then down the coast to Eden and Merimbula. Part 2 continues the journey, taking us into and through Victoria, from the beaches of Mallacoota to the alpine flowers on Mount Hotham, then down out of the mountains and back to family. Continue reading

From mountain devils to coastal pigfaces

PART ONE

In December 2016 my husband and I went on one of our adventures, an epic 5-week journey through five states of Australia. Our last journey before this was an overseas trek through England, Ireland, Amsterdam, Prague, Germany and Austria, a couple of years ago, the highlight of which was a tandem paraglide off the Austrian Alps. As always, I came back from this journey loving my Australian home more than ever, with a strong urge to make our next journey home-based, but a back injury had me grounded for a while.

While we were waiting out my recovery time, Spirit colluded with my great uncle, encouraging me to take a step back from work and focus instead on writing a family history. “Write my story” said my uncle, and in the next breath he asked that the story be not just about him, but my grandparents as well. “Exploring your roots will help you heal your root chakra” my spirit guides explained to me. Continue reading

Update

I just dropped by the site to grab some writing from one of the blogs to help me with my latest book project, and I thought I’d write an update. I’ve been neglecting this site a bit and haven’t written any blogs for ages, because I’m buried in other projects.

I’m pleased I’ve managed a bit more writing on the second wildflower story about my journey into Kakadu, but that particular book has to be written in sporadically, in ‘fits and starts’ (is that the correct phrase?!). Writing it helping me process the incredible experience I had up there on the escarpment, but the very fact that the journey was traumatic means I need long rests between writing. It might turn into a book one day, perhaps!

In the meantime, the family history commissioned by Great Uncle Peter has taken precedence. He has asked me to write not just about him, but also about Grandma Anne and Victor Urban. It’s a mammoth undertaking, and a very emotional one at times, but one I am absolutely loving! My other big mission is getting Grandma’s flower book ready for another printing, with corrections done, and I’m still very new to the publishing world, so it’s a steep learning curve. With these two big projects keeping me busy, there might not be any flower posts for a while, unless I pop in from time to time to share some of Grandma’s photos, as I convert them from slide to digital.

Love and wildflower blessings!

Om

Working with the flowers….

If you have a deck of the Wildflower Cards, spread your cards out in front of you so that you can see the images of the flowers, and notice which one you are drawn to. I’ll demonstrate, showing you how you can work with the flower spirits for healing and guidance, and then perhaps you can try this yourself! Remember to be playful and trust yourself: you will access your intuitive wisdom by allowing your imagination to take you on a journey.

IMG_4200

For me today, it was Tomato Bush, that drew me in, with her beautiful purple petals, and the warm sunset glow cast over her in the photograph.

Holding the card in my hand, I gaze at her image and imagine being with her in the red centre of Australia, surrounded by red sand and open space that stretches as far as the eye can see.

Like two women sitting at a campfire, we sit across from one another. Our ‘campfire’ is the red dirt and the setting sun. As the sun goes down, I feel Wild Tomato Bush drawing me into the wavy lines of the red sand-dunes. It feels like we are travelling, winding along through the sand like snakes. I follow her and she guides me to a hollow in the sand. I curl up in the sand and she covers me with her branches. Continue reading

Soul Retrieval – Falling off the mountain

This is part of the story about my second wildflower journey, a trek through Kakadu that nearly ended in disaster. At times, my re-telling of this story is simply memories being shared, but at times I am called back to Kakadu in vision, as part of my healing journey. This was one of those times. IMG_6566

I am laying in bed, in the room I slept in as a child, in the country I was born in. It is my fourth night here, visiting my family, and I am re-intending and strengthening the psychic dream-catcher I erected over the room on my third night. I am intrigued, because the catcher looks like the dome of a cathedral, and it seems like I am looking upwards at it, scintillating light streaming through stained-glass shapes above me. And at the centre of the dome is a lady standing with her arm raised and her hand resting on the dome’s centre, almost as though she is holding it up, ever so gracefully and effortlessly, with a lazy regal bearing. I don’t know her but her name hovers on the edge of my mind, just out of reach. Lady….. ? Later in the vision, I discover that she is Lady Nada, who is new to me. I haven’t worked with her before.

Lady Nada smiles at me and with her free hand she reaches past me, down to the bottom of the dome where it touches the ground, and lifts a small section of it, as effortlessly as if it were mere tablecloth. I feel slightly miffed and confused for a moment, because these are my dream-catcher boundary edges she is messing with, but I know this is silly, because she is very obviously in charge of the entire dome itself, and I have her to thank for it. As though she has just opened the door to a guest, a see a shape enter under the edge of the lifted dome. It’s orange, long and furry and the word ‘marmoset’ pops into my mind. Pay attention, I hear Lady Nada say.

So I keep my attention very firmly fixed on the marmoset and wait. “Did you know you have four tailbones?”, the marmoset asks, and flashes me a mental image of four tailbones lined up alongside each other.

“Um. No, I didn’t know that.”, I reply, somewhat dubiously.

The mental image of the four tailbones suddenly shimmers with intensity and zooms my focus in on the second tailbone on the left. I can see that it is damaged. Crushed. Earlier this year, on March 1st, the capsule around the cushioning disc between my lowest two vertebrae burst open, and the disc material spilled out, pressing against my spine in one of the most agonising experiences I have ever endured. The entire length of my left leg felt like it was being electrocuted and set on fire at the same time. 8 months later I still cannot walk far without limping, and I have only just begun driving again. The numbness and tingling in my leg and foot is caused by nerve damage that will be slow to heal.

So I knew the ‘crushed tailbone’ image had something to do with this injury, and that I was being invited to do some healing work on myself.

“What caused this crushed tailbone?” I asked, playing along with the story that was unfolding.

“You fell off the edge of a cliff”, the marmoset replied. And certainly, the injury itself had occurred when my heel slipped off the edge of a step and came down hard on the ground. I ‘missed my footing’ so to speak, a simple misstep that had me screaming in rigid pain on the ground, unable to walk or move for 6 hours. But this isn’t the memory the marmoset’s reply stirred in me. No, the memory I found myself revisiting took place on a very real cliff, much grander in scope than a mere step at the bottom of the stairs: Kakadu escarpment, with cliffs stretching 50 metres above me and Goddess knows how many metres below me.

18 months before my tiny slip-up on the stairs, I was perched perilously on the side of a mountain, waiting for my two girlfriends to return from their mission on higher ground. I remember it took me quite some time to find a stable position, wedging myself safely above a small tree so that I wouldn’t slide down the sandy slope we had been climbing. In a way, it was easier when you had to keep moving, because the activity kept the adrenaline pumping, and now I was feeling dangerously tired. But I couldn’t afford to doze off when I needed every muscle in my body to focus on keeping me safe.

Finally the call came from above and I could hear one of the girls returning.

“What’s happened?” I asked. “Did you find a way out?”

“Sorry Om. We let the e-perb off.”

“So there was no way back to the escarpment?”

“Possibly. But it didn’t feel safe. We had a conference, and decided as mothers we couldn’t do it. We let the e-perb off for our children. Alex set it off at the top of the scree slope.”

I nodded. I understood what she meant. As a mother, you don’t take the kind of risks you might otherwise take.

The loose rocks on scree slope above us were bad enough, and I wondered how Alex’s hands were faring, because the rocks were covered in a vine with sharp thorns. Even if she had been able to climb the large rock faces above the scree, there was no guarantee she would be able to find a safe way down off the escarpment to get help, and besides, we were out of time. We were expected home within hours. It was horrible to think of the fear and worry our partners and children would go through if dusk came and went without any sign or word from us. A search party would be sent out so we might as well stay alive and tell them where to look by setting off the emergency device.

Jo explained to me that she and Alex would bring my pack back down to the waterfall ledge by lowering it slowly and carefully on ropes. This would free me up to descend quickly, so I could get started on lighting a fire to attract the attention of the helicopter that would be sent out. There was a panicky moment between us when Jo rummaged in her pack and couldn’t find the lighter and then we remembered it had earlier been transferred to my pack. Relieved to finally have something to do, I happily inched my pack off my back, retrieved the lighter and carefully wedged my pack above the tree I had been using as an anchor. Jo threw me down the rope which I attached to my pack, the other end held firmly in Jo’s steady grasp.

And finally I was free from my tiny perch on the mountain side! Without the pack on my back I could slide down this loose sandy stretch of slope on my bottom, shredding my trousers even further to shreds, using my feet to steer and brake. The urgency I felt made me go faster than I should have. Finally the e-perb had been let off! I had been fantasising about this for hours now, wishing for all of this to be over. Help was coming!

Sliding pell-mell down the mountain slope at break-neck speed, I could hear shouts coming from above me but it took a while to make out what they were saying. When I did, my heart leap up into my throat and I couldn’t breathe. Of course! We had veered left the first time we came down this mountain, and I was heading downward in a straight line, my urgency driving me blindly towards the cliff’s edge. For a long panicked moment my feet couldn’t find anything firm to break my slide and then finally they found purchase and I came to a shuddering halt.

“I’m okay!”, I called upwards to the girls with a shaky voice, feeling awful for causing them so much distress. A few shouts back and forth between us and they were reassured that I had my bearings again, and was safely veering left.

I might not have fallen off the mountain that afternoon with my physical body, but later when we got home, and every time I have dared think about it since, the feeling and vision of falling off the cliff’s edge feels more real to me than the memory of stopping my slippery slide towards death. My body physically jolts when I think of it, as though recoiling from the inevitable fall that is about to come. For the first few nights after we got home, I had to sleep with the light on, and I had to hold onto my husband because everything kept moving. The ground wouldn’t stay put. I felt like I was constantly falling.

Now I understand that I need to rescue myself from this vision, this haunting; I need to stop the falling for my spine to heal.

The marmoset is talking to me again, showing me a psychic image of hanging off the edge of the cliff-face by my tailbone. As I Iay here in bed, my physical body is aching around my tailbone. I can feel my energy body instinctively pulling myself away from the fall, pulling back towards the mountain, but not knowing how to set myself free. “Help me!”, I cry, and suddenly a male energy is approaching me, from within the mountain itself. I recognise him: he is the cave spirit I worked with in Kakadu, two days before ‘the fall’.

“Come to me”, he says. “Lean back into me”.

I am overwhelmed, so grateful that he should come.

“Why are you helping me?”, I ask him.

“Because you helped me”, he replies.

“But how?”

“You stopped me from feeling lonely”, he replies, and now I am weeping, tears streaming silently down my face as  I attempt to manoeuvre my falling energy body back into the safety of this solid mountain spirit. I feel his gentle hands wrapping around me and suddenly I am safe. I know I need to stay connected with him and my male energy to be whole. He is showing me the vision of the four tailbones, merging together as one.

“Come with me”, he says, leading me into the stars above, and I feel starlight knitting my fractured tailbone together as he holds the four pieces together as one with his hand. But the starlight isn’t enough. Strangely, I am drawn to the image of a tree. It seems familiar. I feel like I have climbed this tree, been carried by it, revisited it many times as a child. And then I see an image of my mother and my aunt as children and know that this tree is an old friend for them too. It’s a river red gum, from this country here where my physical body is now: Alice Springs. I feel like it’s sending a stream of river-sand up from its roots, up into my tailbone to help it knit together.

The mountain/rock spirit man talks to me, whispering knowledge to me. He tells me this healing could not have happened until now. My physical body needed to be here in Alice Springs, exploring my roots, my family tree, my family history… which is exactly what I have come here to do. The pieces of sand are placing themselves very precisely, weaving themselves in a perfect pattern between the cracks between my tailbone fragments. Strangely, I see each sand particle being placed, and colourful, like the dots in a dot-painting. I keep seeing my uncle’s smiling face as he teaches me how to paint. It was the seven sisters I was enchanted by, and one that he had me paint over and over again. I could feel stories from the stars in each individual dot.

“Our ancestors…”, said the rock spirit. “….all the stories come from the stars. All the stories are inside you. Your roots are spreading deep.”

He touches me on my fourth eye, pushing me backwards, and suddenly I am home in my body, typing this story, home in the country I was born in, putting down new and old roots.

Blessed Be

Daisy Bush

Screenshot 2015-10-08 08.28.28Given the connection I made with Utju, I’m embarrassed to say this was the one community where we got into trouble for going into the wrong area while looking for flowers. The two young men who told us we were heading into sacred men’s territory were very patient and polite. We quickly turned around and headed back out on to the main road. Seeing a variation in leaf colour amongst the trees, I wondered if it might be a mistletoe, so we pulled over and I went to investigate.

I had to scramble through a narrow, dry streambed with steep banks and weave my way through a maze of spiky spinifex to reach the nearest tree. Unfortunately the mistletoe wasn’t in flower, but as I stepped back from the tree, I looked down and discovered a magnificent daisy bush at my feet. Daisy bush belongs to the Olearia genus. In her book, Grandma says: “Olearia are perennials, and are only found in Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.” Continue reading

Courageous Soul-retrieval.

FullSizeRender-3In 2013 I went on a wildflower spirit journey through Kakadu and almost didn’t make it back alive. For a while, writing the story was good medicine. That was, until I got to the part of the story where we were about to climb down off the escarpment onto the cliff face. The writing stalled for a year and just recently I’ve been re-reading, editing and reflecting on what I had written. The fact that I’ve been able to read it without nightmares makes me think I’m ready to pick up where I left off, but I can feel myself skittering around it nervously, so I’m backing off and looking for safe ways to re-enter.

Why do I think this story needs to be written at all, given that it could simply be a fruitless exercise in re-traumatising myself? I instinctively feel as though it may be an integral part of my recovery from a large disc-extrusion 6 months ago that has left me with numbness, tingling and altered sensation in my left foot and leg. And the following words, channeled through to me from Spirit during a healing from a friend, keep resonating in my mind : “I will help you down the mountain”.

I have the sense that part of me is still up there somewhere and I need to write my way down the mountain to bring her back. Real or not, this idea holds powerful healing possibilities for my psyche, but I also know I need to be gentle and careful with myself. It struck me recently that I need to revisit the cave I entered while on this journey, where spirit showed me stories and called me a ‘wildflower brujio’ or ‘wildflower spirit walker’. I have two strategies in mind for the writing/healing process:

  1. Write backwards, starting at the end of the story and working my way back to the worst bit on the cliff-face.
  2. Lean on the flowers for support. It’s time now to let them do their healing work. Between them and the spirit in the cave, I know I will be guided safely. I’ll use my imagination to revisit the cave so I can be guided from there.

Continue reading