Saturday, December 31, 2005

Seed Furnace - Ancient Memory - Postcard Home

I know Kent is a fair weathered place, but the talking window insisted on taking me back in time. This place glowed hot orange, (much like today @ 43.5 c with acrid smoke in the hot north wind.) yet I was in the greenhouse, searching for appropriate seed packets.

This old packet caught my eye, in an old dusty wooden box, half covered with earth. Inside I found an assortment of age old seeds, their packets only preserved by wood. I think the paper was made out of something I'd never seen before and the writing was primitive and glowed with a volcano's heat. Indeed, when I brushed off the dust, it was volcanic ash, black.

I looked up through the glass greenhouse roof and found the silhouette of a tree mirroring the line of the clouds. The sky was pristine blue like an ancient sea, and the shape was like a strange kind of bay.

When I had finally brushed all the volcanic ash from the seed packet I could see it was a beauty, still aged and browned from the years, but I could see the faded old writing and picture. It was a packet of old Lemurian water lily seeds, from a time that man had long forgot. Hmm...I wondered where to plant these seeds, and wandered toward the lake, back in Kent now, where the manor lay among the trees, its many windows like sleepy eyes, shades half pulled down like eyelids. My dormer window gave a wink, I think, but I might have imagined it...

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Friday, December 30, 2005

In memory of my father,

He’d throw his head back as he laughed, and he laughed often. The telling of jokes was not a strong point, he’d laugh himself into near unconsciousness before managing to spit out the punch line. He was never without friends, something in this unassuming Dutchman put everyone at ease.

There are photos of him clowning on the parade grounds while he was a conscript in the Dutch army. A devout pacifist, he’s reached an agreement to be a medic and not have to shoot except in defense. He did enjoy the shooting and was very good at it.

etching in his 20sHe was born in a small town outside Rotterdam, at the end of a long dijk with some of the most noteworthy windmills, the Kinderdijk. His father was a landlord, a faux painter and a musician. Not surprising that dad was an artist, scientist and inventor, it came with the genes.

He attended art school as well as university to become a spectrographic analyst. His skills in art are well represented in this etching done in his early twenties.

lab inspired guache 1962This tendency to master not one but many disciplines seems to repeat itself in me also. Judging from the family tree (back to 1402) we were never standard types with just one profession under our belts. There were a long line of clock makers, scientists, artists and pirates to name the most interesting ones. There were also the duller professions, the ones to make a living at, just in case, farmer, landlord, house painter.

lab inspired guacheI like my father’s paintings best when the subject was his work in the lab. He took such a child-like passion for the work and this is reflected In his paintings. His laboratories were his own kingdom, where the elements behaved themselves according to the laws of physics. Much preferable to world outside going out of control.

I was fortunate to work alongside him as his assistant whe I was in my teens. It was the best possible place to get to know my father and see him at his passionate best. He had me every bit as excited about every sample burning is a graphite holder cautiously placed in a great big spectrographic
machine. By fifteen I was expert at preparing samples and had the steadiest of hands. Little by little I was able to use most of the machinery in his lab with a good level of competence.

daddy's girlOne cold autumn day, when I was about 16 I was summoned to the lab by my very excited father. I practically ran the five blocks to the basement lab on Queen’s university campus. My father, grinning like a Cheshire cat held out a bit of rock ruble. “Go ahead, said he “Touch the moon”. Wow, I got to touch the moon." My father had been chosen as one of the scientists to analyze the samples brought back from the moon by the Apollo astronauts. This teenager was jumping out of her skin.

How many can say they've touched the moon?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Adventure Calls - Off to Riversleigh Manor

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

In these regions there is a place called

"Riversleigh Manor" with rooms for

dreaming, where the wind hushes

through the elm leaves...

whispering of adventure.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Never Did

"Jack and the Beanstalk" was painted

at girl's college when we were asked to draw/paint

fairy tale characters. From memory I was

13 or 14, and "never did" means I

wasn't honouring what I could do.

This pic is among others that have been

kept by me, in spite of denial. I

have recently taken them all out

and documented them. It's not

the best pic in the world, but it's

certainly not the worst. For me, the

impression I got was that it was never

good enough, even though this one

was marked well. In an old sketchbook

from the same period I wrote "I can't

draw" and I guess that was what

made the thought a reality. We all

used to downplay our natural abilities,

except in sports, like netball during which we were

allowed to win, and while I always

remained "creative" in other ways,

I never saw myself as an artist in any way --

others were always deemed better than me,

or I was never good enough at it, for

it to be worthwhile. So now I

ought to say "I did" rather than put

a value on it. Now the world says: "Doing

is Understanding", and to whatever

degree anything is done, it matters not.

The doing alone provides the

understanding, and the impressions

of the world change like the shifting sands,

unable to be relied upon for

consistency. So it is the "doing", just for

the sake of expression that is important,

not the "loaded" expectation... The teacher

simply provided the seed and the painting

was done, according to my own

impressions, and only now I can see that,

only here, now...

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.


The 5th Day

Solstice is now past, forever lost, forever yet to come. Soon will arrive that special day when it is said a man's blood sings with the knowledge that the days are growing longer -- that Spring's rebirth is guaranteed -- that the primordial fear that darkness and frozen despair will reign again is buried beneath the tarnished leaves of Autumn. Only then it will be believed that the gnash of Winter's teeth will be but an angry cry against the claim of chaos on the Soul.

"I must believe -- must be true to hope." The shriveling woman shuffled aimlessly through the snatches and patches of crusty snow. The thought stiffened her resolve and spine such that no one could see the shriveling, for it was inside and of the spirit. One more day to find the secret. One more chance to present the gift. The keening wind scrambled her sunset cry, "All I need is to find that which in all the world my Lord treasures the most." A birthday gift that could be her salvation.

It mattered not to her that a medieval Pope had decided that the magick 5th day after Solstice be proclaimed the official day of the Savior's birth. Anyway, the specific date mattered little -- the commitment -- the promise was everything. The messenger that had come to her dreams scant months gone could have been from Buddha, Mother Theresa, Chief Joseph, Mohammed or the Divine Mother, for the voice was not of any identity remembered or imagined -- yet all, and above. A 'gift for the Lord's birth' was forged by childhood fancy and years of fumbled religious practice. For another the image might have been different. The voice more resonant or sublime. The power more gentle -- and forgiving. What she heard was the mirror of her own anguished heart. What she saw was the chime of heaven's stairs. What she felt was sorrow's joy and surrender to a choice of everpath. By agreement Christ's Charism became the condition and the test; and his celebration the limit of her search. By this gifted covenant she would either grow to the Light in eternal ecstasy, or return to the human state to complete her original committed bond on earth. Ellie was in a comma and hanging on life's edge.

Over the months she had searched her past, and eventually located the ancient bible containing her family's Christian legacy. This she placed on the altar in her tiny room. Nothing! She wrote down all of the thoughts of great teachers, poets, preachers and folk heroes. Not a whisper! She gathered petitions from the poor and the grapes of the earth and songs of nature. Nothing! She collected dust from the steps of every place of worship she could find and burned it with incense. Silence. She recorded the first cries of the newborn. She read great books and listened to tapes and burned up the Ethernet for a single clue. She spoke with oriental mystics and Wiccan Priestess and cloistered nuns. In all the world, what would her God and Ultimate Being, treasure the most? Time was almost gone.

As she stood calmly by the edge of a pond -- so lively in Springtime to be, now dead in the clutches of death black ice. Yet there was singing and laughter as children skated by, finding joy in even this. In the shadows she noticed a man silently watching too. His shoulders seemed slumped, but not from life crushing work. His fine features were deeply lined, but not with age. He shook slightly, as if the wafting laughter would knock him off his feet. "Oh, that I could return again to childhood -- to find the simple innocence of my life!" His moan was heard by no one save she, and she noticed a single tear begin to slide down his cheek. Instantly she expanded into the space of the meadow and found there a flower still in bloom. She plucked a vibrant petal and thereon captured the falling, spinning passion prayer of this tortured soul. She rushed toward the nursing home more in leaps and springs than stuttered steps.

When the man caught up with her, she was alone on the bed, covered only with a slight golden spread. The pale blue petal still held the teardrop, set on a small stone on the altar's rise. He lit the waiting candles and staggered back at the eruption of swirling light caught and spun by the jewel there. Impossible rainbows swirled and chimed their way across to the frail form. He sat and held her hand as her breath became less rushed -- then faint -- then gone. Still he sat throughout the night, caught in a mystery beyond understanding. As the first rays of sunrise gloried the day he felt a warmth in his hand. Within his grasp was a tiny hand -- within his gaze the most beautiful little girl he had every seen -- ever conceived. His Spirit nestled close unto his Soul.

Then gone -- fairie dream or divine vision? Now only peace …

A much younger man walked out and turned to stride into the blazing Christmas sun.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Seed Intelligence

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.
{Australian Native - "Tuckeroo"}
Seeds are food.
Seeds nourish and sustain.
Seeds grow,
Seeds have their own

Effortless Beauty - The Allure of Red

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.
{Canna Lilies}

the seed exercise

I have just finished reading 'the pilgrimage' by Paul Coelho and the following exercise struck a chord with me. It seemed to me that it was something that could be done in the Golden Grove.

“The first RAM practice will help you to achieve rebirth. You will have to do the exercise for seven consecutive days, each time trying to experience in some different way your first contact with the world. You know how difficult it was for you to make the decision to drop everything and come here to walk the Road to Santiago in search of a sword. But this was difficult only because you were a prisoner of the past. You had been defeated before, and you were afraid that it could happen again. You had already achieved things, and you were afraid you might lose them. But at the same time, something stronger than any of that prevailed – the desire to find your sword. So you decided to take the risk.

I said that he was right but that I still had the worries he described.

“That doesn’t matter. The exercise, little by little, will free you from the burdens that you have created in your life”.

The seed exercise

Kneel on the ground. Then seat yourself on your heels and bend forward so that your head touches your knees. Stretch your arms behind you. You are now in a fetal position. Relax, releasing all of your tensions. Breathe calmly and deeply. Little by little you will perceive that you are a tiny seed, cradled in the comfort of the earth. Everything around you is warm and delicious. You are in a deep, restful sleep.

Suddenly, a finger moves. The shoot no longer wants to be a seed, it wants to grow. Slowly you begin to move your arms, and then your body will begin to rise, straightening up until you are seated on your heels. Now you begin to lift your body up, and slowly, slowly you become erect, still kneeling on the ground.

The moment has come to break completely through the earth. You begin to rise slowly, placing one foot on the ground, then the other, fighting against the disequilibrium just as a shoot battles to make its own space, until finally you are standing. Imagine the area about you, the sun, the water, the wind, and the birds now you are a shoot that is beginning to grow. Slowly raise your arms toward the sky. Then stretch yourself more and more, more and more as if you want to grasp the enormous sun that shines above you, giving you strength and attracting you. Your body begins to become more and more rigid; all of your muscles strain, and you feel yourself to be growing, growing, growing – until you become huge. The tension increases more and more until it becomes painful, unbearable. When you can no longer stand it, scream and open your eyes.

Repeat this exercise for seven consecutive days, always at the same time.”

Monday, December 26, 2005

Leaning Toward Trees - Ancient Memory

{Magnificent Beech}

It's no wonder trees attract us, they have been on the earth,
evolving for millions of years. In a period called "Cretaceous",
according to this link on prehistoric times:

"the fig, magnolia, sassafras, and poplar were among the earliest to evolve.
mid-Cretaceous fossils include remains of beech, holly, laurel, maple, oak, plane tree, and walnut. "
It's hard to believe we are talking about 65-135 million years ago,
and their evolution co-incided with the ending of the era
of the dinosaur.
{No wonder we are drawn to trees and ancient flowers.}

{Ancient Cycad Shadows}

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Prehistoric Treasure - Quiet Mystery

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Quiet Time


Kiyan did not know that he was chosen,
nor did anyone in the village
cast a pebble in the Fountain Bowls,
or add a prayer to the wisp-smoke of Nettle Flame.
The birds knew, though –
and ceased their chattered symphony when he passed.
The scurrying smalls understood
and climbed on dawn-lit rocks to watch
and wait.
Scattered leaves of fall’s sorrow
shook off the kiss of frost to swirl
in dance and settle
in eddies of guiding paths.
“Awake – awake,”
pulsed the life-flow in each man’s chest
blood and God-speak and remembering.
Each by each, by smile and nod –
shuffling feet and close-drawn cloak –
they withdrew to silence.
Kiyan entered Vigil.
It had begun.

The bound ritual had no name,
but those from the southern inland sea
called the day Brumalia.
Yet their calling did not make it so –
did not command the ritual --
the sense of birth came from the stars.
Know that the lad
had not been taught the ritual,
for this then would require belief.
He was chosen because he knew.
He knew because he was chosen.
Such is the nature of the Day –
such is the way of Light.

It took full day and dusk to prepare.
Only special trees held a ‘nestle tip’,
still pale green in Spring’s blessing –
never grown – just held.
The fire would be of oak alone –
of branches retrieved from the lairs of wolf and bear.
The tinder was of feather-down,
caught in the pricking of the Hawthorne.
The pit was hollowed within new earth
brought with the Summer’s rain.
The passion was his alone.
The yearning came from all.

Within the shallow pit the raked fire
reduced the twigs to glowing coals –
gleaming eyes of souls unknown.
The carpet of fir tips both hid this dying pain
and gave up their seed of life and hope.
The mist pulsed low above the bed thus formed –
heat to sustain – an enclave alone in all the world –
a haven suspended in evertime.
Late snow swirled aside
to fall in ridges and shield the wind.
The updraft drew and caressed a hundred falcon wings
to guard and protect the coming.
The boy lay naked.
The night became still in the glasp of ice –
and the world as known before ended.
Only in this singular spot was there life
and warmth and defiance –-
waiting in gentle slumber.
From the simple fire-bed would tomorrow come.

The first rays of Godshine
touched the toes of morning.
Kiyan rose
as if with the whispers of the waning embers –
tiny puffs of earth-breath about his feet.
It was thus that he greeted the new day –
one person for all –
one statement of being –
one claim on creation.

The Sun laughed.
Another year was granted.
Another man was born.
It was done – begun.

Prepare yourself, my child.
Next year you may be called.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Reflect and Recover - The Gift of Yellow

It's quiet now -- a pause in
festivities --
to reflect,
the breeze is fresh,
the colour high,
just right for
what is necessary...
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Visit...

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Oh Come all Ye Travellers

If the day has been stressful
If the day has been long
If the day has been unfullfilling
If the day brings some pain
If the day has not brought hope
Then, fill your before bedtime hours
with the beautiful enchanting floral emblems
Those which Imogen sees within the soul
then from the eye ,she captures all
with the camera at her bidding.

The heart is gladdened
Sleep will be peaceful
Dreams will be gentle
One will know she will be there
to help soothe the soul of many
I salute Imogen of the Hermitage
I will call her friend
For it is she
who calms my sometimes sad heart
at this time in December.

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 22-12-05

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Season of Renewal - Christmas Wishes

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Wishing all travellers in this realm

the best of the season,

Imogen Crest, Hermit - Lemurian Hermitage.

Desirable Colour - Christmas Wishing

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Hello Janie

Embrace the child in frilly white,
caref'lly pacing the candle delight --
do not drip nor breathe too deep,
or loose your place in line again.

Oh Light of Light so portrayed,
ever fragile 'neath angel wings,
and only seen in celebration
of man's birth or death or joining.

We oh and awe at the flick'ring,
reminded some of the flame within;
but also know it is too much work
to keep it lit on lesser days.

Yet, if we know in truth beheld
that all is of birth and joining --
then where is your candle, my friend,
or least a hand to shelter mine?

I Don't Want To Go


Don’t want to go to the ball. Just want to stay here. Perhaps I have a social phobia. Everyone else is so excited about the ball. What is wrong with me? Embarrassed to be myself because it means I have to be different. But I want to be that way. I’ll force myself to choose a dress and a mask anyway – perhaps that will get me in the spirit of things.

I’ve found a beautiful red dress. It is made of the finest silk and has tiny green flowers embroidered around the bottom. It’s pagan. It’s feminine. Beautiful. There’s a label on the inside of the dress. It says ‘social butterfly’. What a promise. Don’t think I’ll bother trying it on.

What a fantastic collection of artwork these masks make. I like that one. It represents distortion and retardation. Reminds me of my insides. Yes I like that one. It would reveal me rather than hide me. A pretty face is deceiving. In the place where my people come from an individual is judged on her looks. This creates a whole lot of complication for everybody, really.

One of the travelers said how beautiful the Sheik’s wife is and how much the Sheik adores her. It would be ice to be loved for who you are. Does the Sheik really know his wife? Does she know who she is?

I’m going to tell the others that I’m not coming. What will be the price of that? It will take that bit longer for me to fit in with them. And I must also forgo a ride on the magic carpet. I had so wished to do this. Being truthful is not easy but surely is more rewarding.

I want to stay here in The House of Solitude occupied by a Hermit, Imogen Crest, who welcomes guests. The tree of hearts. Fragrant colours for the soul. Green is for the heart. I smell apples, cinnamon and cream. A fresh heart, warm and rich. Pink is for connection. So so beautiful. So delicate. So pretty. So feminine. I am soothed. Healed. I will take my time here.

Imogen Crest, I will be quiet whilst the others are gone. You will not even know I am around.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Deck the Halls - Native Christmas Bush

(direct link)
Australian Native Christmas Bush

Divine Natives

Monika Roleff 2005.

Violet Dreaming

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Monday, December 19, 2005


orginal artwork by aletta mes

Making Music and Celebrating

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As travellers arrive for the Abbey banquet to celebrate this year's calendar, le Enchanteur and the Abbess are making music in the Abbey gardens. Join them to make music and tell stories from the road.
All Hermitage dwellers are welcome to join the celebrations.

Reaching Skyward - Season of Light

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Tree of Hearts

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Illuminated Manuscripts - St Catherine's

Fellow travellers and I joined together to visit St Catherine's Monastery.
Our magic carpets took us effortlessly to this place of wonder.
The library there was vast and whisper quiet. I looked
particularly at the illustrations in the aged volumes,

Then the magic carpet arrived, magnificent in splendour,

to take me off to the Sheik's Masked Ball. Over sights

and scenes I flew, trying to imagine the

splendour ahead, and thinking

of colours...

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Archeaological Treasures Returned to Hermitage

magenta - connection

violet - higher thoughts

blue - communication

green - heart

yellow - personal power

orange - creativity

red - survival/passion

These precious objects were discovered at Suakin and have

been carried back by camel to take their place

in the safe fortified walls of the Hermitage.

Their colour and scent makes

everything come to life...

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Welcome Weary Travellers!

The Lemurian Hermitage Welcome Mat
is out and the beds are turned down,
the people set to serve! Food is
laid out, and preparations are
made for the carpet ride. The
magnificence of the Masked Ball awaits!
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

T'is the Season...

... to run yourself raggged. If done right a smile should be firmly placed on your face until mid-January.

orginal artwork by aletta mes

I've been going full tilt on my latest project, The Twelve Days of Christmas. I've also managed to set up a full fledge website with all commercial privileges. Lots of work getting it set up again. Those of you wanting a peek :

Phew, now back to an ordinary day tomorrow. Dismal level of housekeeping around here lately. Kudos on the calendar, Heather. It's a real joy, a warm place to spend some me-time.

I've a few more seasonal items to post on my site, last year's little kiddie book and the past five years worth of Christmas cards I'd illustrated. Found it an interesting journey backwards for myself, hope others enjoy it too.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

belated birthday wishes

with love and best wishes for this and many more to come

Postcard Home - Bazaar at Suakin

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Green Elm Boughs

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pink and Green Tapestry

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Happy Birthday

Thought you'd like some of our famous wattle blossom for your birthday. The quote is from a beautiful song called Cootamundra Wattle by Australian folk singer John Williamson.

Pink and Green of Hearts

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Feast of St. Nicholas

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St. Nicholas lives in Spain with his steadfast companion, Black Piet. Every December for as long as anyone can remember, the old bishop and his friend take their boat to the Netherlands.
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During the long trip preparations are made. Letters are written, gifts wrapped, and rows of burlap bags full of candy are stored in the cargo hold. Black Piet brushes the beautiful white horse, and the Saint checks one more time, who gets gifts and who gets a lump of coal.
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After the long trip they finally see the Dutch shore. It is much colder here than in Spain and the Saint and the Moor pull on warm woolly underthings. His horse gets a warm blanket, and an extra thick layer of hay.
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For several days they make stops all along the shores of towns in the Netherlands where cheering children have gathered to welcome the Saint.
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Black Piet throws handfuls of candy and traditional pepernoten into crowds of delighted little children. Children have the chance to see and speak with the Saint and ask special favors. Black Piet can sometimes be talked into performing magic.
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From one town to another the Saint travels, hearing the songs of children. Before you know it it is the Eve of St. Nicholas day, the feast that honors the Saint for being the patron of all little children everywhere.
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This is the night the Saint, with the help of his good friend Black Piet and his faithful horse, travel from house to house leaving gifts and candies to good children and lumps of coal to bad children. He moves so fast he cannot be seen except if you are lucky a brief flash of his gown, his horse's tail maybe?
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All in one night, from town, to village, to farms and apartments, they travel as can only be explained by magic, to each and every child's home. Where a treat has been left alongside a waiting shoe, a shoe is filled with goodies or a lump of coal. Sometimes the Saint leaves a letter asking for improvement, or remarking that good effort has been made, and other comments he wishes to make.
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The snacks, suck as carrots, cookies, apples and warm milk, are much appreciated, as they work the long night at magic speed so no child shall be disappointed. Even the poorest child shall have some chocolates, and maybe a new pair of socks or small toy in the morning.
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As Children everywhere delight in finding gifts in their shoes that morning, the Saint is already arriving back in spain for a well deserved break on the day that bears his name.
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His gift is knowing that there are children who, thanks to his efforts, are just a little happier this day.