Category Archives: Animal totems


Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity to describe a series of coincidences that are experienced by various people. Yesterday began with a challenging decision to make. It ended up being a magical day where the Universe conspired to provide some memorable moments.


I’m a great believer that the Universe sends us inspiration in various ways. I’ve found that random songs on the radio will be played to help with mindset.  My mind was on my decision,  when a song came on the radio. It was upbeat and lifted my energy.  I mentioned the name of the song to the participants in the Mental Health workshop and they all knew the words.

The afternoon Art Therapy workshop.

After the introductions we did an exercise with eyes closed to help with mindfulness. A few moments passed and time to open their eyes.  There was much merriment when one of the group discovered that she had been drawing with the blunt end of her pencil!

Just as the group had started to share their individual experiences a large dragonfly flew in through the open door.

Dragonfly is a symbol of transformation, change and new beginnings. A perfect visitor to the Art Therapy room.

Many cultures celebrate the symbolism of Dragonfly.  In India, it is thought to represent intuition, which is something that Art Therapy helps to develop. Japanese people believe that the Dragonfly represents courage and rebirth.

The visit tied in with the intent of the activities and the group members in sharing their own interpretations of their work, and how they have started their transformational journeys.

The two hours always seems to pass so quickly. We finished off the session with an oracle card from the Spirit Warrior deck. Each person got a card and again the Universe dealt a card that had meaning to that person as well as resonating with the whole group. Random events? I’m sure that the Universe has a message for everyone. You just have to be listening.

Time to go home and prepare for an evening client. Yet another song on the radio helped me to centre myself. Things will be alright!

Well, it’s alright, ridin’ around in the breezeWell, it’s alright, if you live the life you pleaseWell, it’s alright, doin’ the best you canWell, it’s alright, as long as you lend a hand
Travelling Wilburys
And the day ended with a message from the evening client to say how much they appreciated me. Truly a magical day!




EcEchidnahidna crossed my path – actually the road on the way to the retreat on Saturday after a challenging Friday evening that saw me getting home around 3am. We stopped to take a photo, but after scurrying into the scrub on the side of the road the Echidna did what it does best….. it curled up into a rather large and spiky ball. I took a photo, jumped back into the car and we continued on.

Thoughts of the Echidna stayed throughout the afternoon and I decided to research more about it. I found that it is closely related to the platypus and lays an egg in its pouch. After hatching, the young one stays in the pouch for some time. I love to discover the metaphysical or spiritual messages that come from random encounters like this one.

Scott Alexander King says Echidna is a symbol for Rebirth and Personal Protection. He goes on to say that Echidna warns us not to be overprotective to the extent that you shut everyone out. Be aware if you are closed to the possibility of change and the distinction between denial and determination.

Ann Williams-Fitzgerald and Karen Osborn in Wisdom of the Australian Animals entry for Echidna gives the following information. Echidna is about Persoechidna crossingnal Boundaries  and Comfort Zone with Echidna urging us not to be like him. The shadow side is suggesting that we have become unapproachable and do not welcome change into our lives. Time to move out of the comfort zone perhaps to learn something new, join a new group and become more involved in life. Tear down the brick walls that keep people out, but use the boundaries for your own protection.

I also spent some time looking up Dreamtime stories for how Echidna got his spikes which you can also do if you are so inclined. The stories are quite varied and different regions of Australia have different stories. All of them are worth a read!


Every so often you get to have an unforgettable experience.  Just about every visit to the retreat provides a different kind of experience and there is a wonderful opportunity to learn from each of them.

With the warmer weather, one keeps an eye out for reptiles but I haven’t seen any for some time. Over the nearly two years, I have seen just two, a black snake and a brown snake – neither close to the cottage.  With that in mind, I was sitting near the fire pit reading and enjoying the spring sunshine  when a movement caught my eye.

Immediately, the primal instincts kicked in and yes, I froze.  Having had a meter long snake slither under my chair at Mataranka, I was hoping that this was not going to be a replay.

I looked up. Two beady eyes were fixed on me. A long forked tongue darted in angoanna snipd out of the mouth and then I noticed it had legs…… a Goanna!

A mental sigh of relief and keeping as still as possible, I reached for the camera in the chair pocket. It turned its head to look at me and we sat and stared at each other for what seemed to be an age. Keeping in mind that goannas have been known to think humans are trees and climb them, I decided to remain still and wondered how long we would stare at each other…

Breathe…… that’s what I tell clients to do all the time! Then curiosity got the better of me, I started to wonder about the metaphysical message of Goanna, knowing that I would have goannato wait until I returned to the city for reliable internet access. We continued to stare at each other for a little longer and I thanked it for coming to visit, whereupon it got up and ambled off, looking very much like a small crocodile, and disappeared under the fence into the bush property behind the retreat.

The message I took from that encounter, before I looked up the symbolism, was the need for stillness.  Having spent the previous 6 weeks or more with pneumonia, I had been in an altered state of consciousness for some time. Priorities have changed and I am again drawn back to the metaphysical and energy healing that has been a part of my journey this far.

It was to be a couple of weeks before I could return and with high temperatures forecast for the next week or so, it was important to help the oak tree seedlings with their survival. Deep, slow watering every couple of weeks will help to encourage them to do their best.  Each tree is planted in well aged compost from the toilet and the sawdust will help to break down the heavy clay as well retain some moisture around the roots.

Shepherd Crook labyrinthWith energy levels a little higher on this visit, having had some acupuncture and homeopathic treatment, I managed to tidy up the little labyrinth in no time at all.

This is a “Shepherd’s Crook” labyrinth and what I love about it, is that there is a choice of how to get to the centre. This allows time to ask a question and instinctively take the right or left path. I didn’t have the heart to remove the pigface or trees and one has to maneuver around them.

Later that afternoon, I took my book to the fireplace and settled down to catch up on some esoteric reading, when I heard a whoosh and looked up to see a wedgetail eagle swooping into the tree above me. The feathers on its belly and the detail on the wings were clear as it flew out of the sunlight….. Eagle flying in from the sunthen there was a little thud as it seemed to crash into the canopy above and then it was gone, but continued to circle.

I quickly got my phone out and pressed video…… trying to capture the moment but unable to track it properly because of the position of the sun. It made several circles and it was then that I realized that it was looking for the bird that had fallen but would not land because humans were there.  A sudden movement caught my eye and I found a tiny pardelote fledgling in the leaf litter with the bull ants already sensing this was their next meal. IMG_3629

I caught it and pulled the ants off, but there was no hope of getting high enough to put it back into the nest. It hopped around for some time and I did put it into a tree, but it soon fluttered back down to the ground. All I could do was to leave it and hope that it developed enough strength in its tiny wings to get back to the nest.

Whilst all this was going on, various small birds gathered, including this robin who perched about a metre away and kindly stayed still long enough for a photo to be taken!

There is a great sense of wonderment with the metaphysical meanings of the various creatures that appear at the retreat and combined with the strange and often historical nature of the dreams that occur whilst there, I am curious to find out more about the history of the area. Watching the seasonal changes is a great lesson in awareness and whilst it would be easier to use chemicals to control some of the weeds and artificial fertilizers to enhance the soil, I remain committed to organic  or permaculture practices.




Building the labyrinth

This is the fourth labyrinth I’ve constructed – each one has been constructed a little differently, but all have been started using the Easter energies.
I wasn’t going to get too carried away with string lines or marking paint, so it was started by laying the rake down on the ground and digging a shallow trench along side and a little past it, until the central cross was formed. 
I started fairly early in the morning (of Good Friday) and the outline progressed reasonably well as the soil was still a little soft from recent heavy rains. 
Stopping every so often to observe the traffic passing by, presumably others on their way to camping in the local state Forest, gave me some rest time. As I continued digging the outline, it became obvious that it was going to be a little larger than the previous efforts and I did consider stopping at 5 rings…but then I thought “Why play small? There’s a whole 40 acres to play in!!” 
It’s a 7 ring left handed labryinth….. Left sided entry as that is the feminine side .. and to the East is a small circle of trees, where I plan to put some seating so that people can reflect on their experience.
Being a little larger than I expected, a couple of young gum trees were on the path & I haven’t the heart to cut them down. I will prune the lower branches so they don’t intrude too much as people walk past. I was hoping to finish the outline in one day, but the heavens opened up and I dashed for shelter in the cottage. Shortly afterwards, visitors arrived and with plans to go into Rushworth to see the Easter Parade on Saturday, it would have to wait. 
In the end, I had to wait until Monday, as when I had a little time to myself on the Sunday, the dogs were intrigued by the digging activity and were more of a hindrance than a help. The south eastern side was a little difficult to dig as I struck gravel and I had some time out to chat to the neighbour and her daughter as they came to the boundary fence with their dogs, curious about what I was doing.
With more visitors arriving sometime over the following Anzac Day weekend, I took some more lavender up to plant in the soil turned over by the outline. Work also started in raking up the remnants of slashed scrub off the pathway and removing a fine layer of topsoil in order to level the pathway out. I started in the centre, but decided to work where the whim took me… Having counted out the steps from the start to the centre the previous week, I knew I was in for a big job. 
Using the pedometer on the smart phone, there are 514 steps from entry to exit. I calculated that I would have put the shovel into the ground over 2500 times to mark the outline!

The lavender seemed to have survived transplanting and the kangaroos, so I gave it a drink of water and hope that it continues to thrive.

The visitors arrived Friday and we spent time catching up on the news of their exploits and travels over the last 2 years.

Saturday was another fine day and whilst the men rode their motorbikes over to Maldon to meet up with old friends attending the All British Rally, I headed into Rushworth to pick up some bread and milk. Couldn’t resist stopping at the local plant nursery and checking out their plants. 2 punnets of sage caught my eye and I was given both for the price of one as they looked a little sad. Back at the block, they were removed from their pots and the pot bound roots meant that they could be cut into 2 …. now I had 4 plants!
On waking Sunday morning, I was able to see a large family of kangaroos feasting on the grass in the paddock.
I did wonder if their taste ran to either lavender or sage, but on getting to the labyrinth to do a sunrise walk, found all plants intact.
Setting the intent to allow answers to a problem that I couldn’t seem to resolve, I began my walk.
I got to the centre and spent some time there in contemplation… it didn’t seem like the answer would come, so I began my walk out, thinking to just enjoy the moment.
A wagtail caught my eye as it danced around the surrounding bushes.  
Wagtail meaning …Extroversion. Cheerfulness and gregariousness. Anger and irritability. Friendliness. Curiosity. Socializing. Appealing to others. Effectively maintaining your space and home.

 As I made my exit from the labyrinth, I realized that the answers had come… so I began my return to the cottage and thoughts of breakfast… when I turned and decided to take a photo of the labyrinth. There seemed to be something that caught my eye, but gone when I focused….Returning to the cottage, a flash of red, then 2 more…. red capped robins were in the trees at the front of the cottage.
Red-Capped Robin meaning …The best and brightest, wariness, setting boundaries with other people, inflexibility, faring better in more open environments, preferring to stay away from the hustle and bustle, needing quieter spaces, staying grounded.
Only when I was uploading the photos did I find that I had some orbs in the photo. 

Interesting energies

Recently, I was fortunate to spend some time alone at the block… more of a spiritual retreat than “doing stuff”. With the 2nd New Moon in March creating some interesting energies leading up to the astrological events in April, I did a lot of Reiki and meditation.
Vivid dreams, as always, while I am up there and after discussion with a friend who is a gifted psychic and medium…. a tapping into the past……. remembering that the area was very busy in the 1800’s during the Gold Rush.
The weather dictates when the physical chores are scheduled. Too hot (& with the bushfire risk) and we will stay home and likewise with a recent week of rain forecast for the area, it seemed prudent to stay home and out of the mud!

This trip was very much a “might have a day trip or might stay overnight” ….. & ended up an overnight stay.
Time to clear the front fence of fallen trees and prop up the aged and rotting wooden posts in some semblence of order.
Michael manned the chainsaw and I stacked wood as we drove along the front fenceline.
Lots of wood for the wood heater yet to be bought!
There had been a lot more rain than we thought and both dams were full to capacity and had been flowing down to the neighbour’s across the road as well.
Both dams had a chorus of bullfrogs and some other frogs as well …. always a sign of a healthy dam, except that frogs often mean snakes….which we didn’t see!
We did throw in the yabby net and caught 2 large yabbies, which were put in a bucket overnight to purge themselves of the mud…..
and in the morning  there was one……
overnight there had been some ferocious yabby wars and the victor had completely severed the claw off its companion and had started feasting on it.
The bucket was taken back to the dam and the remaining yabby returned to it’s habitat for another day …until we work out how to catch and purge multiple yabbies without them killing each other before they get to our cooking pot!
The net was brought in and four more large yabbies were released and returned to the water.

Those who know me, will be aware of my interest in orbs.
I’m slowly building up a collection of photos as they reveal themselves to me.
Occasionally I catch a glimpse of “something” without the camera, but down at the bottom dam a series of photos managed to capture a few images, whilst the following photos taken immediately afterwards, show nothing.
 To me, these images are special – a confirmation that the spiritual energy of the land is happy. I feel very comfortable in this place and was further delighted when, on my wanders to find the most suitable spot to build the labyrinth, a large hare jumped out of the bushes!

Stepping off the merry go round

There is the Zen parable that tells of the young monk who stumbled and as he fell, caught hold of some bamboo to steady himself. The Zen Master accompanying him asked if he noticed that the bamboo bent, yet was strong enough to support him. He also asked the novice if he had also noticed how bamboo gets pushed around by the wind, yet always grows tall towards the sunlight above….not snapping… a most resilient plant…..

It took quite a lot of courage for me to finally say “No – I’m not going to that function” & I did it with the help of the grief counsellor that I’ve been seeing this past year. Not reaching snapping point, but that stillpoint inside where there is a knowing that it is time to do the “right thing” for myself.

Girls are raised to “do the right thing” and for many years, I’ve acquiesced and gone along to functions where I haven’t felt comfortable. One girlfriend laughed many years ago, when I told her of the story of bending in the wind like the grass or bamboo….. she suggested “doormat” would be a better description.

I’ve never really enjoyed the hoopla and razzle dazzle of tinsel and false bonhomie…The over indulgences in the senses with food or the misappropriation of sacred music that has been turned into Musak for the masses long before Advent starts. I’ve long thought that Christmas really doesn’t suit the introverted empath!
This year I wanted to experience some peace and serenity on my own …. not long … a few hours would suffice.
My soul needed some lush, green energy to repair.
Sunday morning saw some chores completed and then I set off on my adventure. Fully intending to go to the beach, not that I really enjoy the beach, I started to drive. I asked that I be guided to where I needed to be, (& please include an Oak tree!) I took familiar roads and realized that I was near a pretty picnic spot in the Dandenongs. No room in the carpark… full! Not what I wanted at all even though the tree ferns looked spectacular….. Then I saw a side road, it looked as if it might be interesting and made my way along that. Lots of tight curves and it required full attention to drive…. nothing like mindfulness and being in the moment!
As I emerged to the top of the hill a sign caught my eye… some Memorial Gardens….. a little further down the road I decided to go back and investigate. I parked, wandered in a little hesitantly as the place seemed deserted….and read the sign….

You really do have to chuckle at what the Universe throws up at you!

 I was born a Harper (not the same family that developed the gardens). It seemed that this was just the right place to be…. I wondered if there was an Oak tree……
 Following the meandering paths, I came to a small clearing and there was a majestic Oak tree.. with a bench nearby to sit on and contemplate the surrounds.
 It was time to just “be”. As another saying goes, “we are human BEings, not human DOings”.
Curious about the rest of the gardens, I set off to explore… masses of Hydrangeas starting to flower… a few months ago the Camelias and Azaelias would have been centre stage.
So many varieties of Japanese Maples, their delicate leaves providing texture and colour to the backdrop of so many interesting plants.
Another strategically placed bench and contemplation of the Foxgloves for a few moments.
Observing how the Currawong family were playing in the branches of tall trees.

Before I knew it, a couple of hours had passed & I had a phone call from my son wondering if I was OK.

Yes I was…. better than I have been for some time…. a combination of the energy of the gardens and finally stepping into my integrity.
Walking back to the Oak tree, I noticed a couple of brightly coloured butterflies, dancing in the sun and the dappled shade.

Symbols of transformation, of finding joy in life and a symbol of the soul….

Dear me…..

Preparing for the forthcoming Southern Hemisphere Spring Equinox, I did a meditation in which I asked to see my animal guides.
I was surprised to see a young female deer, she was wild, but physically similar to the deer I encountered on Miyajima and Nara.

 Questions came up, such as “Am I standing in fear?”

The rational mind immediately thought of the saying “like a startled deer in the headlights”.

But the sensation within my body was not of fear, it was of calm and peacefulness.
Other questions that came up were:
“Where am I?”
“How is the deer related to me?”

We walked through the meditation together and the next image that came to mind was that of a circular clearing in a woods, surrounded by white trunked trees, just starting to sprout their soft green leaves. We rested together for a while and left this place separately and in our own time.

Coming back to the office, I took a while to review the meditation in light of my recent journeyings into the world of spirit awareness and the questions that came up.

Consulting Dr Google, I found that the meaning of the deer was quite different to what was expected and very interesting. Reflecting on the questions that came up, helped to clarify thoughts about my business direction and motivation.
More questions arose.
Am I coming to terms with the intuition that is becoming stronger?
Am I ready to leave behind what no longer serves?

All these are to be pondered over the next few days as we are in the energy of Ostara .
Not only does this equinox energy start from when it is marked on the calendar (September 21st) but the actual crossing of the sun over the Equator happens on September 23rd at 0.49am EST. Interestly, September 20th marks the last 100 days to the end of the year as well!
Another challenge!