6.1 Not Without…

Every writer has essential traveling partners to assist them on the journey: a favourite beverage, pen, notebook, playlist or perhaps something more esoteric. Here are my top three ‘not withouts’.

MY HEALTH

her blood was
red like summer roses
fragrant and in bud

is this the thread that binds me to you
wherever you go

Written on the Body #10 (Jodi Cleghorn)

 

In 2002, I studied medical anthropology and did a major essay on the experience of chronic pain. One of the source materials was a book called The Absent Body by Drew Leder, and his chapter ‘The Dys-appearing Body’ was an eye-opener. For the first time I thought deeply about ‘body as a silent invisible vehicle’ (this was long before ‘body as temple’) and how it is only when we are sick or injured the body ‘dys-appears’. The year previous I had spent more than six months unable to walk. While my ankle and foot eventually healed, it changed forever the way I walked (less of those long sassy strides…plus a mortal fear of walking on grass). The experience of being in my body, in the world, was forever altered.  Leder’s work has persistently called me back into reviewing my relationship with my body, through the lens of physical change and illness.

For the last decade, I’ve been at varying places along the tired-exhausted spectrum—from mildly to completely incapable of functioning.

Even when my son was older and I stopped burning the candle at both ends with eMergent, some level of fatigue became my norm. Over the last decade, fatigue has ridden shotgun with many of my physical and mental health challenges: depression, anxiety, chronic pain and insomnia. I simply got used to not being full of energy and put it down to something that would go away if I mindfully managed the other core issues or was finally spat out the other side of these spiritual upgrades. Like a continually lowering affect (depression/anxiety), I learned to accommodate and habituate to persistently diminishing physical energy. As it lowered, I adjusted and adjusted and adjusted, while at the same time being hyperaware that without my body in strong, healthy functioning order, there was no way I could do the things I wanted to do: the priority of which was always writing. I believed if I kept trying to manage my mental health and chronic physical issues, the fatigue would eventually right itself.

Then it didn’t. In fact, it crashed in the most spectacular of ways over the course of a month, and I have spent the last few weeks rethinking what I know about cause and effect.

The body is an amazing ecosystem. After years of persistently ignoring the gentle (and let’s be honest, not so gentle nudges), it fired an unmissable shot across the bow—I thought I was having a heart attack, and finally I took myself off to the doctor to discover (gratefully) my heart was fine. My ferritin and iron stores, on the other hand, were the lowest my doctor had seen in a patient. “Spectacularly low,” she said to me. “No wonder you feel so rotten.”

This is the start of a new deepening into my body and my relationship with it, and how to be more responsibly* responsive to what it is telling me. Because as I have discovered (I’m actually breaking my ‘no work’ rule to pen this), without this most fundamental level of health and wellness, there is no writing. There’s no anything. In fact, I was hurtling toward something far more significant and life altering than a temporary health crisis.

Without my health—this fundamental foundational wellness—there is no spark, no life force, no impetus to create, be brave, take risks…much less what is needed in reserve to finish what I start.

Writers birth characters and create their lives—we are givers of life. This a sacred transference of life force. Without an overflowing reserve of that essential life force, there is nothing but ever deepening and eroding levels of dead, hardened, creative earth and zero energy to even try to chip into it, much less till, plant, care and prepare it for a coming harvest.

MY SOVEREIGNTY

my life is not my own
I shall have to haggle
over my reality

an ordinary miracle
to believe in the obvious
surprise
deepening, quickening
loving the shell laid out
before me

I’ve been sitting in
my memories
changing

no longer the crude lever
of passion
beginning from a fixed perspective

Written on the Body #2 – Jodi Cleghorn

 

In 2007, I was talked into doing NaNoWriMo for the first time by two amazing women I was completing The Artist’s Way with. My son was 3 ½ at the time, yet to start kindergarten; while I was a SAHM, I was also doing the equivalent of a full-time job for the homebirth association here in Brisbane as a volunteer. The allure of NaNo arrived at a time in my life when there was no space for anything new—let alone a 50K manuscript. I had done nothing more than scribble a few thousand words here and there for the previous three months, and 50K felt like a marathon when I’d only just learned to walk with maybe a few dance steps when I was really brave.

But I wanted to give it a try. I wanted to see if I was up to the task. I sat down and explained what I wanted to do with my partner and son, and we made a deal: if the clothes were laundered every week and dinner appeared every night, then I could ‘clock off being Mum’ at 8:30 to sit and write. It was the first time I had specifically asked for something just for me. It turned out to be the best thing I could have done at the start of my writing career.

They held up their end of the deal. I held up mine. Despite all manner of trials and tribulations (including taking my partner to emergency with a suspected heart attack two days before the end of NaNo), I crossed (crawled/staggered?) over the 50K mark on the final day. It was a minor triumph in writing: a pretty average draft and story idea which I never returned to for completion. However, it was a major triumph for me as a writer. It cemented within my family dynamic the importance of writing, and while my family have felt abandoned at times, they have never begrudged my creativity and have always made space for me within it. No one has ever dared suggest that maybe it is getting in the way or that I should give it up (if we discount my MIL in the early days who was adamant it was getting in the way of taking ‘proper care’ of my family).

That first NaNo showed me writing and the mundane could be complimentary to each other (and we all laugh that when I am in full writing swing, the domestic landscape is a far more organised affair than usual because cooking and pegging clothes on the line are essential thinking spaces for me). It showed me that ‘writer’ was not mutually exclusive to other parts of my life.

Writing is the one aspect of the last 12 years which has been absolutely non-negotiable. It has given me something important enough to learn how to create boundaries and stick to them. It has given me a barometer for what is healthy and what is detrimental in my life, i.e., anyone or anything impeding my ability to write nor misaligned with my creative pursuits. (My former boyfriend managed to find a loop hole in the ‘limited shelf-life’ for the non-aligned…and I let him. I’ve learned the hard way, detrimental is detrimental—period!)

 

MY EARBUDS

unreconstructed as I am
I’d rather walk through the damp
outer layers of movement
when movement indicates life
and life
had a hole that let the rain in
because my love for myself
let the rain in
to make something
entirely new
by the fire

Written on the Body #10 – Jodi Cleghorn

 

Stephen King talks about two types of doors in his book On Writing. There is the metaphysical door—you write with the door closed and edit with the door open. Then there is the more obvious physical door; the one to the room you write in that you shut to the world as a psychological prompt to the self to say: right, now it’s time to write. Plus, it is usually an effective way to signal to others ‘do not disturb’ (but for anyone with experience of small children, they will know a door is only a momentary obstacle to your full attention, even in the toilet).

For years I yearned for a door. If I was still writing letters to Santa for Christmas, a door would have been the top of my list for years. My at-home writing space was in a weird alcove corner of our writing room, and my away-from-home space was often a loud and crowded indoor playground. My earphones/buds became my doors. Nothing has changed, even though I now have a writing room, and it’s been years since I last graced Lollipops Indoor Play Centre.

My earbuds are essential. All the best playlists in the world or access to favourite writing music on a fully charged phone are useless without something to listen to it with. I have arrived at my favourite cafe, more times than I care to admit, to discover they’ve been left behind, destroying a much anticipated writing session. I have two pairs now in an attempt to avoid this happening.

I’ll push them in even if I am at home and everything is quiet. They are like my essential Pavlovian prompt ‘now, write’; who am I to argue with classical conditioning at its best?

 

*Please please please—if you have been experiencing persistent, long-term fatigue/exhaustion or generally low physical functioning without a known contributing condition, please see your doctor. It is not normal. We are here to thrive, not merely survive. The world needs us right now. Our vitality. Our equanimity in a world thrown into extremes of polarity. And as always, our words as beacons of hope in a pervading darkness.

5.1 The Next Story

I have been plotting the next story (or stories as the case may be here) since June last year when I decided I wanted to invite a small number of friends, former collaborators, readers and creatives into an intimate group which I ended up calling The Belief Trust. I wrote to them all and asked them if they could provide an energetic net of support for me while I worked out how to be a writer again. It was an enlightening process — handwriting the 13 handmade bi-fold postcards — which helped me to better understand what I was actually asking for.

This year when I wrote my update, I included a blank handmade postcard; these postcards were the backbone of my FireStarter Project. I asked each member of The Trust to send the postcard back with a set of prompts: a song, a year and a socio-political-cultural event. These would be the catalyst of a new set of short stories.

A week later, the Australian cards began to land in my post box: my next stories were arriving!

I was so excited reading what I had been sent. And then nothing else happened. The prompts flatlined.

I am being a little bit of a drama queen. They didn’t so much as flat line but were given a number and asked to stand in the very, very long line with other stories waiting their turn at the counter.

As it turns out, it has not been such a bad thing. The slow maturation of these postcard prompts is allowing something far juicier to emerge.

In 2014, I wrote a short story for the Strange Little Girls anthology. It didn’t make the cut and when I shopped it around, one of the rejections I got said I had to make the story shorter, or longer; at the current length of 4500 it didn’t work. I knew I could not make it shorter and I was at a complete loss at how to make it longer. Sometimes you have to be patient across years and wait for a homemade Velveteen Rabbit postcard to arrive with the year 1961 and Wanda Jackson’s Funnel of Love nominated on the back, to know what to do with a story.

And I loved that the first song I was gifted was Funnel Love as it is on a playlist I made for The Starling Requiem (the cover from the Only Lovers Left Alive). Little moments of synchronicity like that light me up.

When I get to my next story is debatable because while The FireStarter project is my next story in spirit, I first have to complete the current revisions of my birthpunk novella ahead of passing it to Rus for editing mid-month and its publication in December. Then there is the completion and editing of The JAR Story novel, ready for March 2020 publication. Plus Rus and I are both seriously drawn back a story we started in 2017 called The Glass Marionette.

However…

There are no tumble weeds rolling through my creative life. There haven’t been for a quite while. My creative life is the most fertile, expansive and actionable it has (perhaps) ever been. I look forward (rather than backward) knowing that everyone has their time and my time is now and there is never a time that is not now. The Next Story is really this: living my best creative life every day with the JAR Writers’ Collective at my back, making it all possible.

The JAR is Back in Town

The JAR is back after two months of intense activity behind the scenes. As the photo below shows – it has been stacks on!

Adam and Jodi’s debut epistolary novel Postmarked Piper’s Reach launched on the 21st July (through Vine Leaves Press). Rus and Jodi were busy completing the edits on Fossil Five, the collective’s debut novel, and generally getting the manuscript book-shaped ahead of its September 23rd release (or 21st of July if you are in the Baltimore area and keen to be part of the in-person launch in Ellicott County).

Fossil Five is accompanied by A Reader’s Companion, which includes behind the scenes interviews, questions and journal space for processing what surfaces after the novel. We are also ecstatic to share the news of Pattie Lin’s single, Pulse, inspired by the novel. It is due for release on the 7th of the month, the same day we email out the prologue and opening chapter.

Keep abreast of everything Fossil Five by signing up for our newsletter or pre-order your copy of Fossil Five*. We are also active on Facebook on the Fossil Five page or through our official account. We also hangout on Instagram if that’s your preferred platform.

Blogging returns this Friday, with our usual weekly schedule staying the same, though from here on in Small Rebellious Acts of Creativity will be a monthly prompt and we will be partnering with someone outside the collective to bring you the fruits of our explorations.

We hope this finds you well and as excited as we each are for the final months of 2019.

Home Grown by Jodi Cleghorn, Alchemy by Oracle (The Daily Breath)

* Fossil Five is currently only available in Australia via hand delivery. It is an epic tome of 630g/420 pages and currently costs over $10 to post out. Once it reaches our favourite online bookstores, with free postage, we will let you know the relevant links. We will be organising signed book plates for those in far flung places.

 

4.1 The Way of the Black Sheep

In husbandry, when farmers raise sheep for commercial wool production, any sheep less than pure white is cut from the flock so as not to taint the clip. Just one strand of non-pure white wool can decimate the price of a bale, jeopardise an entire shipment and a farm’s projected income.

If I look at my natal astrological chart, without being fatalistic or deterministic about it, I was always going to be happiest living on the perimeter of my family, society and anything that vaguely hinted at conformism. To look at me you’d have no idea that I am a homebirth mamma, that non-monogamy is my preferred relationship dynamic, that I am aphantasic and psychic. Yet these are all profound and life-changing aspects of who I am. They shape the way I see (or in the case of aphantasia – don’t see!) and engage with the world, what brings me joy, expansion, opportunity and authenticity. They also have a major of impact on what I write and how I write.

Yet I was slow in coming into my Black Sheep Self.

UNATTACHED

Christmas Day (1995) delighted with glow-when-you-press-his-belly Barney,

If I had the opportunity to send one simple message to Younger Me it would be to simply revel in being single; to hoover up every opportunity not being attached to someone afforded. Because what happened was, Perpetually Single me was Perpetually Miserable™ because I was absolutely positive I was missing out on something, that I was less than because of it and I was sick of being the brunt of jokes – my family referred to the men whose spheres I shifted in and out of as ‘flavour of the month’ (I guess it could have been worse; one of my friends had a mother who told her point blank she was nothing without a husband!). That’s probably when the cracks with conformity really started to shift through me, as  in my early 20’s, friends met the loves of their lives, got engaged, married (and divorced three years later). I couldn’t keep a man if I bolted him to the ground (and let’s be honest, when you live on a house on stilts, that’s not even really an option). Later I stayed in an abusive relationship to prove I ‘could do a relationship’.

I’ve never married, and I quite likely never will. There is something about the institution of marriage that just doesn’t appeal to me (nor my partner) and a friend who is an astrologer took one look at my chart years ago and said: wisest decision ever! That’s not to say I’m anti-commitment or anti-responsibility. My life-partner and I will celebrate 17 years together this August. We have a 15-year-old son. A 30-year mortgage. I just don’t need to publicly declare my love once and get a certificate to prove I turned up and said the right words. I try to live it every day, instead — for better or worse!

 

HOMEBIRTH MAMA

‘Oh, you’re so brave. I could never do something like that.’

Nearing midnight and not far from welcoming our son into the world. (June 2004)

The biggest leap into the ‘fuck-you’ of the path less travelled was choosing a homebirth in 2003, to welcome our son in 2004. This was the first time I confronted the emotional cost of doing something outside of the expected. I was blasted with fear – standard assumptions that childbirth is inherently dangerous; childbirth outside of a hospital was tantamount to infanticide and a woman who took this route was ill-informed and not fit to be a mother. Family, friends and strangers all projected their own trauma stories onto me. I had no idea at the time, just how deeply this was important for me.

It turns out my own birth story from 1973 is littered with human impatience, medical negligence, two nights of heavy sedation drugs, and obstetric ego resulting in a caesarean section when major abdominal surgery accounted for less than 2% of all births. My Mum almost died of septicaemia post-surgery and carried horrific deep scars from what was meant to be a joyous and empowering experience. In stepping outside mainstream perspective and what ‘everyone else did’, I found a new strength and conviction, an inherent trust in myself, my body, and my ability to make life-affirming decisions. The unexpected expansion from this was I became part of a rich and vibrant transgenerational community, and through that I became an editor of the state homebirth magazine. It was the skills and experience gained here, collecting and publishing birth stories and women’s wisdom that ultimately lead me to taking the risk of starting my own publishing house. It was also a continued commitment to birth activism that inspired me to first write #birthpunk.

PUBLISHER BE THY NAME

My first foray into the Literary Mixed Tapes imprint, in its beautiful final iteration. Cover illustration Andrew McKiernan (June 2012)

“I couldn’t do what you do.”

When I started to meet other small press owners at conventions and we shared stories, they were all aghast at how I went about putting together anthologies, and just generally running the business. I was not interested in reading slush. And not surprisingly – open submission and slush piles were not even congruent with the way I wanted to do business or grow creative projects.

The conceptual anthologies I envisaged required a small group of people who believed in the idea and lots of trust in growing, developing and weaving the stories in terms of Chinese Whisperings, and later working as a group toward a quality publication via Literary Mixed Tapes. And as the years and the anthologies unfolded, I was very clear that I wanted to invest my time in helping writers forge brilliant stories, in supporting writers to be the best writers they could be and fostering projects that had a deep base of community. As Tom Dullemond said to me years ago: what you do is collective submission, not competitive submission. To me, slush pile reading was wasted time.

I’M NOT A VISUAL WRITER

‘If you close your eyes, and I say dog, what do you see?’

Walking the beach of my soul, unstoppering psychic channels and making peace with aphantasia (May 2016)

I had been saying for years that I wasn’t a visual writer without really grokking what it meant. It was a random text message in 2016, from one of my oldest friend’s Kim, that brought the word Aphantasia into both our worlds. Aphantasia means ‘blind in the mind’s eye’ which in essence means when I close my eyes I can’t visually imagine anything. I also can’t conjure the taste of garlic, or the smell of roses. I can’t imagine the soft plush of velvet. Even the voices in my head have a somewhat monotone (I’ve heard it referred to as ‘milk voice’) cadence to them. When my psychic channel opens, it is the enunciation of the message, rather than a distinctive voice, that tells me who I’m connected to.

I will be honest. When I realised that most other people (it is estimated that around 2% of the population have aphantasia) could actually visualise memories like movies, or had an imagination that visually fleshed out dreams or fantasies, I felt utterly ripped off. People ask how I read a book. I guess it is like a lot the whole aphantasia experience – I engage via concept – and I can probably hear rather vividly the dialogue (I prefer books with a fast pace, lots of dialogue and minimal description). It is what it is, and until someone pointed out that my experience was somehow ‘wrong’ or ‘distorted’ or fundamentally ‘less than’ I had never thought to consider it that way. My experience was just my experience.

My suspicion is that my short- and medium-term memories are a little on the fucked side because my memories are stored more like a ship’s log; like rows of code. I might be able to tell you that earlier, when we had lunch, you were wearing a blue dress, but I can’t for the life of me bring that up and see it when I close my eyes. I will be able to tell you what we spoke about, ate, who else was around, but it is all coming from that list, which pretty quickly disappears and is lost.

This means several things for my writing. It possibly accounts for my fascination with concept (I joke that I ‘see’ in concept; Kim says she sees in a spatial way, using gestures and her hands as a way of kinesthetically navigating out what she can’t see; another writer I know ‘sees’ via emotion.) It has meant the heart of my writing is dialogue – I hear the story, transcribe it, and then over successive chapters flesh out the visual aspects. When I see something incredible in the real world I always stop and try to work out how I would convert what I see into words, often leaving fragments of observations in my phone’s notes app. It is something I have had to work hard to master, and it is something I do truly celebrate when I nail it. Diversions into poetry and screen writing have strengthened the visual part of my writing, by offering new ways to engage in visual/imagery-heavy mediums. As has working with people who have provocatively inspiring use of visual elements in their writing.

POLY-PSYCHIC

There is still a weird little tic when I refer to myself as psychic. By flip, I almost never refer to myself as poly.

‘What is that?’

My spiritual awakening came in two parts beginning in August 2015 with an energetic healing a friend shared with me after she’d come back from a spiritual retreat. She brought through a message for me that said to ‘trust your heart’. Ten days later the doors of my life were flung open when a man arrived serendipitously via a mutual friend’s birthday party. In fact, I almost missed him – it was only the fact I was very slow at drinking my final beer that I was still around when the booth seat emptied out and I slid in and sat next to him. This was the start of a very rough eight-odd months, where everything I thought I knew or felt was turned on itself head: what I thought about intimate relationships and societal expectations of them; my relationship with honesty and speaking my truth came up time and time again; what it meant to love and be loved, to surrender and have faith.

Healthy, happy and utterly in love with life and the two men in it (May 2017)

In September 2015 I asked my long-term partner if we could open our relationship, if we could ‘practice polyamory’ (consensual multiple committed loving relationships of which there are as many different iterations and configurations of as the imagination has breadth to create!). It had been on my radar for several years, but I was afraid to venture any where outside an intellectual exploration of it. To do so risked everything. At the same time, I knew there were parts of our relationship that were unable to be healed by couple counselling. I had entered into our relationship with deep wounding and considerable trauma, which in turn damaged certain parts of our relationship. Asking someone you love to commit to celibacy for the term of the natural life of your relationship is no better than forcing your partner into a sexual relationship. Telling someone you love that you love them but are no longer attracted to them – it is honestly the hardest thing I have ever done (in the real or fictional worlds I reside in).

And so my view of the world – of how people interact with each other, engage in deep connective relationships, open to love and communicate fiercely – has transformed wildly in the past few years. And now I don’t see myself or my experience represented anywhere in everyday media. In novels. In movies. There was the incredible Wonderlust last year on Netflix with Toni Collete, focusing entirely on a couple’s journal into the ecstasy and pitfalls of opening a long-term relationship, and there have been passing positive mentions of polamory on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but it is something that’s just not part of mainstream consciousness, much less open to conversation (though there are more and more articles appearing about non-monomagy,  like this article in the New York Times magazine). People are afraid of it though. It is one of those things that people take genuine personal offence at. People worry it is viral; and I think there is definitely something in that as we are raised to believe there is only one path to relationship – to share your life with one person (even if it’s less ‘until death do us part’ now than it has even been). And so my writing is changing to be authentic to my experience, to be representative of the life I live (chuckling here a little at ‘write what you know’) and to bring something in the shadows, out into the light, in a healthy and positive way.

I always joke that people are okay (side-show curious at their most ambivalent or throwing air crosses at you at worst) with anyone being psychic, but please don’t talk about being poly! Being psychic is far more acceptable than being intimately in love and committed with more than one person is. Being honest about being poly (especially when our son was younger) risked him being ostracised from his friends by their parents, and on the subject of parents, not all our parents know about our non-conventional relationship because of what it is likely to bring up for them and then projected onto us. Everything around poly feels like a calculated risk, so when someone in a group I am part of was open and honest and said they were, it gave me an opportunity to do the same. I have always been brashly honest about my parenting experiences and how much of the path of mothering I have hated, and I hope that being honest about the warts and all experimentations on this path will give others the opportunity and courage to talk openly about their relationships and what they really want (and could actually possibly have!). To ask: are there other ways in which we can love authentically? And to extend the very narrow definition society clings to as love.

‘I don’t read futures or tell fortunes.’

In the same way poly opened out my world, the second part of my spiritual awakening in April 2016 showed me a world I had almost been curious of – but felt removed from. I bought my first set of tarot cards to celebrate my first Mother’s Day and immediately loved them dearly, but they always felt a little distant for someone reason. I felt I needed to have memorised the entire book to be proficient at using them ‘properly. I had been drawn to goddess work, had a life-long love of astrology, been fascinated by aliens, time travel and history. In April 2016 a door opened and I felt and heard clearly something for the first time which was quite obviously not of my world or the fictional worlds I was used to tuning into.

Cards as soul calling. Cards as doorways to transformation. (And yes, these were just randomly drawn to flesh out the photos for the article!)

And it turns out all the listening, all that transcribing, all those easily evocated conversations in stories, of writing from a heart of dialogue, had developed a strong clairaudient channel in me. And, as I investigated further, there was also a proclivity for claircognizance (which is beautifully expanding and blossoming the more I open to it). What really changed for me, though, was not stepping up into the role of a tarot reader and teacher, or even into the space as oracle. The game changer was beginning a life-long commitment to heal myself, to deepen my understanding of energy and its influence on the world and to be an emissary for Love and Light. To welcome in the truly deep soul work and to be in service to others who want to do the same. Time will tell to the degree it flows on into my writing, but from what I’ve seen (it has been a major evolution in my poetry) I imagine it will have a deep impact but perhaps not be so obvious on the surface. I have seen how it’s shown up in what I have been writing with Rus and Adam – who to their absolute credit – they have always followed when I have beaten down a crazy path narratively. It turns out when you are personally prepared to take risks – and then actually take them – it is both encouragement and an invitation (permission if we want to be really blunt!) to do the same.

THE PATHS I MIGHT NOT HAVE TAKEN

My creative space is filled with fragments of wisdom (April 2019)

Without the experience of homebirth I would not have had the real-world experience, nor the passion to create #birthpunk. Without the powerful grassroots experience of community, I may not have seen the delight and joy in collaboration and collective endeavours. And from a purely practical level, without the opportunity to produce Down to Birth magazine, I’d have missed out on the publishing and layout experience as well as the confidence to have the audacity to seed what ultimately became eMergent Publishing and it’s three imprints. Without that early cynicism of love and relationship, I may have written less complicated and tangled narratives or not been drawn at all to the darker side of humanity, where I found so many other incredible authors to create and learn alongside. Without aphantasia I would undoubtedly have written very differently and that bridge between worlds would not have been formed. The additions of a spiritual perspective on life and an expanded intimate world provide the same future opportunities, as those earlier decisions to walk less conventional tracks. Without these two awakenings, I may not have been able to turn up to be one third of what we are creating here in The JAR. The further I go through shadow work, in seeking joy and authentic expression, I see the artificial divides in life closing and how closer everything becomes to being One. I feel in throwing our lot in here, at The JAR, several of those divides are disappearing.

RETURN OF THE BLACK SHEEP

People generally think of sheep as stupid creatures. Herd animals without the capacity to think or care for themselves. This is perhaps the case with domesticated animals. In the wild they have an incredible capacity for survival. They are known for being sharp, hardy and very adaptable.

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law’s Three of Wands in the Shadowscapes Tarot (2010)

Any of us who have been on the ‘wrong side’ of convention will know there is a certain type of survival-will needed to navigate to, through and beyond the electric fence of conforming, to find somewhere to roam with freedom and ease. Perhaps those of us with the black sheep gene know we can ultimately trust ourselves to provide the exact circumstances to not just survive but thrive.

Standing on the cusp of it now, it is so deliciously exciting and terrifying, which means I am exactly where I am meant to be in this moment. Like the three of wands in the Shadowscapes deck – I step into the void knowing faith will put solid ground beneath my feet, and the land bridge created from this faith will extend a little further into the unknown for those who follow.