Category Archives: Abbey Life

Magical Abbey

My home base in Lemuria is the Abbey. Although my cell was sparsely furnished when I arrived, it was all I needed for writing and art. To my amazement, the wide slit of a window that gave perfect light, but had been totally unreachable, lengthened and lowered as creativity blossomed.

Yesterday after I returned from visiting the Abbey garden, a small, but perfect circle appeared on the wall above my cot. I hoped it was not mold since my window overlooks the beach and the Lemurian Sea. Too busy to investigate, I retrieved my colored pencils and continued the drawing inspired by the garden roses. This is what I drew. This is the stain glass window that the circle on the wall became. 🙂 Barbara-Believer-porsitter
abbeywindow

Into the Darkness

I picked my way along. The path was obscured by overgrown shrubs and fallen leaves and I had a hard time seeing it. The dense forest canopy kept out not only the sun but the breeze as well, and the air was completely without movement. It was like being covered by a heavy blanket, and I had difficulty taking a breath.

It was also quiet. There were no birds calling. I would expect in a tropical jungle like this to hear shrieking monkeys and see them swinging from limb to limb, but there was no movement or sound of any kind except those of my trudging feet. My heart began to race, which was odd since my pace was slow, and I felt the hairs an my neck standing up.

“This is ridiculous,” I said. I hoped the sound of my own voice would alleviate my increasing apprehension.

“There is no reason to be scared. Look, this is just a forest — a bunch of trees– and this is Lemuria, for goodness sake, and this forest is just… it’s just a representation of your unconscious.” I tried to remember what I had read in the past about Jungian archetypes and dream interpretations. “Yeah, the forest represents your unconcious and you’re just dreaming. You’re probably asleep right now back home and you’ll wake up any minute.”

I heard a rustle to my right, about ten yards away. I stopped dead and stared at a large bunch of giant taro plants. Their waxy green leaves were still.

“It’s okay, it’s okay. Just the sound of an animal. Finally, some normal jungle noises.” I took a step forward but kept an eye on the place where I head the noise. Then I heard the snap of wood to my left.

“Who’s there!” I spun towards the sound.

A figure leaned against the mottled gray trunk of a banyan. I could not see the person’s features. In fact, he — or she — was completely black and had a fuzzy quality as if it was not altogether materialized. Before I could say another word, the shadow figure disappeared in front of me, seemingly downward into the immense bulging roots of the banyan.

I gasped and tensed to run. Then something occurred to me: I had run from the faceless conductor at the train station on Temple Island. I had tried to escape from the megalodon on Cetea’s Revenge. I seemed to be always trying to evade the dark parts of my psyche. Not this time. I turned towards the place where the figure had disappeared.

“Excuse me. Can we talk?”

There was no response.

“I know who you are. You’re the Dark Stranger. You’re part of me. I know that whenever I see you, then I’m about to move up to a new level of understanding. ”

I heard a rustle in the brush.

“Yeah, c’mon on out. I’m on way to the Shrine of Wandering Poets. You wanna come? It’ll be fun.”

I heard a soft ping followed by a swoosh. An arrow rushed past my ear and lodged with a quivering thunk in the tree behind me.

I’m being shot at? Holy crud! No, no, no, I will not be afraid. I can’t be hurt here. I raised my arms half-way up in front of my body and took a step towards the place where the arrow came.

“Look, dude, let’s just talk about this, okay? No need to shoot at me. How about I buy you a cup of coffee. I hear there’s a great little cafe next to the Shri—”

I felt the impact of the arrow before I felt the pain. I fell back a step and reached my hand to my shoulder. Blood was already oozing out of the gash and a searing pain radiated down my arm.

“What are you doing!!!” I don’t know if I got an answer because I was already on the run. Instinctively, I headed for cover and tore through the thicket of giant taro leaves. Another arrow swooshed by. I heard movement behind me. I pushed through the low hanging vines and branches wishing that I had brought a machete with me, if not for the brush, then at least as a weapon.

My foot caught on the bulge of a tree root and I hit the ground with agonizing crash. Blood from my wound was flowing freely now. I rolled on my back and saw blue sky through a break in the canopy.

Then the loud crack of gunfire erupted out of the darkness. I covered my head This is too much. Then another volley of fire thundered. I knew I had to get out of there. I struggled to my feet but I felt weak and swooney. I’m loosing too much blood.

Then a firm grip caught me under under my armpit and I heard a woman’s voice.

“C’mon, we gotta get out of here.”

(to be continued)

Text and image: L. Gloyd (c) 2009

Arata, arrata, Dig… for the Hidden

Angel Panel

The Godess Inana

“Do you think they are hidden in nature, because they formed into dragon flies?” Kiona mused as she ate her fruit and home made toasted muesli.

“That would make sense but where do we start” I replied.

“Maybe they are hidden in a spider’s web like that in Charlotte’s web, where words woven made a pig famous so he was not eaten?” added another of the blanket making sisters, the nun who I had first met,who quietly joined us.

“Are they somewhere in the song of a nightengale?” asked the young girl from India, who I now knew as Shruti, as she skipped up to our table.

“Arata, arata” – I recalled outloud the ancient tongue of the Elder who had given us our visions.

“Maybe” said the Nun who I’d first met, Sister Abigal, “we need to unlock the meaning of arata, arata- does it really mean dig…”

Sister Abigal continued “Maybe it could be an acrostic for something else, dreams can be riddles.”

“We could consult a dream dictionary of some sort too” said Shruti.

“Yes but dreams have personal symbols too.
We need to know what these things mean to Unity,” added Kiona.

So Shruti, Kiona and I headed off to the library of the abbey to find a dream dictionary. Sister Abigal, excused herself, saying she had to attend to the garden, but she would keep a look out for things in the garden that might help in my quest. Sister Abigal said she’d keep thinking about that “arata” thing too.

As Kiona, Shruti and I made our way to the library I told them about my heart map.

“Oh let me see” begged Shruti.

She didn’t see what I did, but instead said “I see a Japanese actor, and an ancient city. ”

“Oh the ancient city is from Sumeria, there’s a Godess there.”

Shruti peered deeply into my heart map. She seemed lost in a some epic story. From time to time she would add more to it for us. We had stopped in awe at her tale and were seated at the feet of Shruti who had turned into a masterful storyteller.

“There was an epic battle and a godess was lost to Aratta. Aratta
was supposed to send treasures to Enmerker, but he did not. He also suspected that Enmerker was after the godess Inana.

He tried to win a battle of champions by the trickery of a sorcerer, but he was not successful. The Godess was lost, his treasures were lost too.

There is another hero, his name is Lugalbanda, a holy man, who prays in a cave and he wins the battle against the angry Aratta. He bring peace to the land, and I think he helps Enmerker and Inana… Although Inana also helps too, she is one intelligent lady.”

Shruti started, “Oh she wants to speak to you..”

“Who? ” as she handed me my heart map. I saw the traces of a Inana. Her eyes looked deep into mine, as if trying to dig a meaning out. “Do not be Aratta…” she said softly.”Then you will find the Hidden Words meaning and keep it in your heart forever.” I had to look away the light from Inana was so bright and was flooding all the space around us.

Kiona did not seem at all perturbed by the events unfolding before us. She was calm.

“Look once more”

I did, and this time I saw a young girl with what appeared to be a giant serpent or an eel.

“Look again” she said

This time I saw the bread, the nail, the rocks and the candle..

I relayed this to Kiona- who became rather thoughtful.

“We’re going to have to swim for it…there’s a well where a young girl who disappeared many years ago on the other side of the island. I read a story about her in the library. They say she swam away with an eel.. I think she knows where your Hidden Words are. I think perhaps we must free her.”

Shruti, had something to add,
“As for the other three images I think that maybe they are in one of the Hidden Words,and you need to find that Hidden Word and place it into your walnut.”

“How did you two become so wise,”

They laughed and I had that strange sensation of seeing the light of the two angel sisters reflected in them, yet they were not those sisters, and yet they were.

So it was off to the other side of the Island for us, first we collected our provisions from Sister Abigal, who was pleased we had unlocked the meaning of the words. “Ah Sumerian, I should have guessed.”

to be continued.

(C) June Perkins, all rights reserved.

Girl and Serpent

The Girl and the Serpent

For more of this adventure visit Unity’s Cabin

G is for Grail, Q is for Quest, R is for Runes

I have spent my days at the Abbey sitting in the orchard with books I have borrowed from the vast library, sharing apples with Tinker and feeling at peace with the world. This is such a beautiful place. A stream runs through the orchard, where I bathe my feet and dip my hands and watch the minnows darting around my fingers.

fishesinthehand2

I have been rereading Arthurian legends, and I also found a couple of books about runes. Runes are fascinating. I like to make my own out of pebbles, clay, crystals – something in these ancient symbols is so mysterious and bewitching.

My favourite is Raido, which means Wagon, and to Ride, and is a general symbol for travel. If I add Raido (R) to my own name, it becomes Grail, and I am indeed a questing soul.

The cup I seek is the Cup of Creativity. Is this the true Grail, from which all things flow, the Cup which holds the secrets of creativity for all who dare to drink from it?

The runic equivalent of G is Gebo, the Gift – the Grail is the Gift, for those who seek it, your own unique gift, for we all have one. To seek the Grail is to seek your gift, your true self. The runic symbol for Gebo is a cross – a kiss, a symbol of faith? The Holy Palmer’s Kiss was exchanged between souls who knew each other as they passed.

A is Ansuz, which means God, Creativity – so as I seek my Gift, as I travel in quest of the Grail, I am seeking God – the wellspring of creative fire.

I is Isa, Ice, a cold little rune frozen in time. Isa is said to be derived from the Germanic word Isan, meaning iron – but it is also the Muslim equivalent of Jesus, and is believed to be the name of a Finnish Goddess. Wherever it came from, in the runic alphabet it means alone, standing still, frozen in time. Sometimes that is just how I feel. I know my quest is often lonely, and I have often felt cold and frightened.

But finally there is L, Laguz, water, flow, the endless flow of creativity, running like water over rocks, flowing like rivers to the boundless ocean…

So when I feel alone I go back to the source, as I have come back to the Abbey. I drink deep of the waters, feel refreshment running through my tired body and mind, listen to the voices of my companions rippling like water over river stones, and know that I am not alone anymore on my quest. As the minnows gather around my hands, I remember that others have gathered here as well, seeking the Grail, as I have done.

In my cupped hand, the water sparkles…perhaps I had the Grail all along.

Abbey’s Secrets Revealed

I wandered slowly through the abbey grounds smelling the musky scent of the flowers and bushes as I did so, and hugging a tree here and there. The grounds would be considered by some as overgrown and untidy. True, they weren’t the manicured gardens one might expect. But they exuded a wild beauty that did justice to the abbey itself. The structure soared skyward, its spires punching holes in the fluffy white clouds that drifted slowly across the sky, their shadows following like puppy dogs on the ground.

I stepped inside and was greeted with a draft of cool air. High above, stained glass windows brought in the sun to shine as spotlights on the stone floor. It was an eerie sensation when the saints whose images were cast in the glass looked down on me from above, and up at me from their reflected images on the stone paved floor. I wandered the length of the nave. Hard, uncomfortable chairs replaced the pews I remembered from my local church back home in Wales. A scattering of the faithful kneeled with heads bowed. I felt as a stranger, probably because I had not stepped foot in a church for more years than I care to think about. I had long ago lost my faith in organized religion when I saw all the graft and greed of those so called good people around me. Men who confessed their sins every Sunday, then, on Monday, went right back to their lawless ways. I had worked for men like that. One in particular I remember. He attended mass every day but refused to treat, he was in the medical field, sick people who could not pay top dollar. When he asked me to help doctor the books come tax time, I’d had enough. “Have at it,” I said to him, and walked out of the office leaving him stranded until he hired someone else…someone who I hoped would not be intimidated by his overbearing manner and who would not be a willing participant to his less than ethical ways.

Just before the huge altar with its monstrous Christ on the cross statue, I turned to the left out of sight of the worshippers. I gazed at the stone work and wondered how in the world people managed to build such palaces of God without the heavy machinery and cranes that we would use today. I started to turn away and head back to the sunshine lit nave when I caught sight of three stone steps leading to a tiny door. I looked around for a sign that would indicate it was a restricted area. Seeing nothing that would indicate I wasn’t welcome, I tried the door. It opened, the hinges groaning as if they hadn’t worked in a long time. I was greeted with a musty, not altogether unpleasant smell, but not pleasant either. A narrow, low passage led off into the gloom. The passage was lit by oil lamps set so far apart that the light from one barely met with the light from the next one. The flames flicked slightly so I assumed there was a draft coming from somewhere, perhaps the passageway led back to the gardens. I jumped when the door slammed shut behind me. When I saw that the door could not be opened from the inside…there were no latches or door knobs, I knew I was in trouble.

Vi Jones
©March 10, 2009

A Circle of Sisters in the Abbey Garden

journeys of feet

From Series Walk in My Shoes

I touched down and placed my wings in my walnut. I came to what initially looked like a large ornately carved door, but as you looked closely at the door it appeared there was a much smaller door within the large one and that was the one I had to open.

As I went through it I came to some stone arches which curved over soft grass. I took my shoes off and felt the soft mossy grass through my toes. It was comforting to feel land again after being in the sky and on the ferry.

I pulled my tiny map out of the walnut and tried to make out its details. I wonder if it might hold clues to my grail, after all it seemed to have both the universal and my individual heart beat etched into it.

I could see a loaf of bread, a candle and a rock with nails on it. I touched the map and then the images vanished. What could this mean? Were they clues to my inner grail?
I continued to walk under the endless row of arches until I came to a cloister.

A nun was sitting on a stone bench, her fingers thumbing furiously through a book. She came upon what she was looking for in the pages and a deep sigh emanated from her.

As I went toward her I paused, maybe I shouldn’t really bother her, but as that thought entered my mind she looked up.

walk in my shoes

From Series Walk in My Shoes

“Ah, Unity, we’ve been expecting you.” She motioned to me, “This way child, you are to come to our area for inter-spiritual dialogues. They’re waiting.”

I followed her into the Abbey and now the archways covered cool stones that felt smooth under my feet. I saw arched windows that had tiny splinters of light peering into the large room. We didn’t stop there though.

We passed through the abbey it seemed to an outdoor area, with the most exquisite flowers, almost every fragrance and colour you can imagine. Roses, hibiscus, wattle – oh it was just so vibrant and lush. The scent of all the flowers rushed out at me and I took in the sound of hummingbirds and honeybees.

thankfulness. . .
From Series Walk in My Shoes

We came to a circle of people. I think there were nine or ten there.

A Buddhist nun in a humble orange habit clapped her hands
“Unity has come,”
They all jumped up and came to welcome me.
There was a slender Indigenous women from the Americas. She wore a dress with intricate geometric designs,
“The Great Spirit welcomes you,”
Then a young girl from India, with a red dot on her forehead came forward
“Hare Krishna.. and then Om….” Came from her as she bowed to me and to all gathered.
A small lady with large eyes and a simple white habit came forward.
“It is all in the actions what you do, that we will know if you can carry on the work we need done.”
The little girl from India, pulled at my sarong (“She speaks like that because she’s one of the nuns that worked with Mother Therese”)
Another woman with a long veil draped around her came to greet me next.
“We come here to remove all the spiritual veils we place around ourselves,”
She lifted her veil “I am in the company of women and so I will remove this for now.”
Another woman, who was I realized, the Angel of Water, but who was now young and dignified, came over to me.
“Unity please take a seat by me, my sisters we must begin. We can have any more introductions later.”

And so we formed a circle amongst all the brilliant flowers, in the simple garden in the inner sanctum of the abbey.

“And now sisters,” Angel of Water continued

“Consider the beauty of this garden, as diverse as we all are, combining for your enjoyment… what does it say to us?”

It was the first of many precious dialogues that were to take place in the Abbey, although sometimes we were left to take a place by ourselves and contemplate something set for us by the Angel of Water and sometimes other women in the group.

Such a radiant place, and such women I will never forget. They especially came to my aid when I was climbing a staircase that disappeared into nowhere. I had grown restless saying prayers in my cell and had gone for a wander and then climbed and climbed until there was no staircase below me or under me . . .

(to be continued)


believe in the possibility - dream

“I have a Dream,” From Series Walk in My Shoes


This post was inspired by J in A-Z Alchemy Soul Food Prompt

For Walk in My Shoes series

Also go and see this for great images of Abbeys

© June Perkins, all rights reserved images and words.

For more of this adventure head to Unity’s Cabin

Early Morning

It’s 5.30 am and I’m heading down to the garden.  This is my favourite time of the day – just me and the dawn chorus.  No people; no extraneous noise.  Peace and tranquility.

The gardens are beautiful.  Not regimented like the gardens of large buildings usually are, but rambling and cottage-like, and are obviously very well tended.  There are little grottos made of stone dotted about, and some delightful statuary, and not all of it religious in nature either.  There is a beautiful bronze mermaid laying languorously on a large rock, with her fingertips in the fishpond.  The fishpond is only small, and is home to a few goldfish and a frog or two.  It is surrounded by a variety of ferns.

Through a very ornate iron gate is the abbey’s walled kitchen garden.  Every variety of vegetable and herb is here, and all grown on sustainable, permaculture principles.  Every inch is used.  There are compost bins in one corner and I can hear the steady buzz of a beehive somewhere.  Espalier fruit trees – apples, pears and stone fruits – stretch their limbs across the faces of the walls.  This all accounts for the delicious flavour and quality of the meals served to us.

I’ve wandered around, sniffing the flowers and herbs and I’ve made myself a small posey to put in a glass in my room.

I can hear movement now, so I will go and wash and make my way to the refectory for breakfast.  I have no idea what the day will hold; I’m not sure if activities are organised or if you can wander at will, but I can ask someone.

Ah, there’s Woody and Sal, coming down the stairs.  ‘Morning, you two.  I’ll join you in the refectory in a few minutes.  I just have to have a wash.’
‘Did your bed soften up after you got in it?’ said Woody.
‘Yes, I had a wonderful night’s sleep.’
‘Well, we’ve discovered another bit of magic. We were having a wash in that ice-cold bathroom, and I said ‘I wish this were warm water’, and, just like that, it was!’
‘Oooh, thanks for telling me. I’ll be down in about five minutes.’ And I headed towards the bathroom. I think I might risk a bath after breakfast if I can have warm water.

Through the Mist

The next day, I boarded the ferry to Lenora Island.  I thought it was unusual when we entered a bank of swirling fog as I did not think this was a natural occurrence in tropical waters.   Perhaps I had really passed through a veil?   

As I pondered this, the mist began to lift and I could see the Abbey at Gilead in the distance.

Text and Image:  L.Gloyd (c) 2009

Abbey Alchemy

AbbeyAlchemy

While you are cloistered in the Lemurian Abbey you might like to practice the Soul Food Way and making writing and art a daily practice. Take the time to explore the A to Z of Alchemy. Simply randomly click on alphabet letters and find activities.

Refectory Dinner & Tim Tam Straws

I left my room a few minutes before seven and, just outside my door bumped into Woody, a friend from the ship.  ‘I didn’t see you on the ferry,’ I said.
‘I was in the wheelhouse, chatting to Ishmael, and I didn’t get off until after the first carts had left. We have a friend in common and were having a good old natter.’
‘How’s your room?’
‘Cosy, seems an appropriate word.’ she said, ‘ Have you tried your bed?’
‘Mmm.’ I replied, ‘I don’t think I’ll be able to get out of it in the morning and if I do, I will be walking around like Quasimodo until at least lunchtime. My days of being able to sleep anywhere are long gone.’
‘I know, I like a soft mattress too. Maybe we’ll be able to get an overlay or something.’
‘Perhaps there’s a pea hidden underneath, to see if we are really princesses,’ I said, grinning.
‘I know this abbey’s order advocates austerity, but I didn’t think it would apply to the guests,’ said Woody, ‘We’ll probably get gruel for dinner!’ We got the giggles going down the stairs, but managed to get ourselves under control before entering the refectory.

On the right, as we entered the doors, was a wall of the most magnificent stained glass windows I’ve ever seen. They must have been about eighteen feet tall and were set off in all their glory by the setting sun. On the wall opposite were portraits of past Abbesses dating from about the mid fifteen-hundreds to the present day. The vaulted ceiling was high and made of stone, with gargoyles featured on the tops of the pillars. Along the short end wall opposite the door, was a huge and old wooden crucifix, and beneath it a long table spread with a white damask cloth and laden with a variety of foods and bottles of wine.

Several of the guests were already seated at the tables, and we joined them. All the nuns were seated together on one, very long table.  At 7.00 pm on the dot, the doors were closed and bolted. (Mental note) Tardiness for meals is obviously discouraged. The Abbess stood in front of the food table and asked us all to join hands for the benediction, which we did. Thanks were offered up in Latin, which is not in my repertoire, so I just waited and joined in with the ‘Amen’.

‘We would like to welcome you as our guests.’ she said, ‘While we observe vows of poverty and austerity, our guests are not expected to do the same. Please, help yourselves from the buffet. We take our meals in silence, and would ask you to respect this. We hope you will enjoy your stay and take advantage of all the island has to offer.’  Woody and I were elbowing each other like kids at school camp. ‘Please, don’t make me laugh,’ I whispered, and decided to avoid eye contact until the meal was over.

The fare was delicious and far from the gruel we were expecting. There were tender, spring lamb chops, steaks and shepherd’s pie and a wonderful range of vegetables. The bread and the wine were products of the abbey, and there was a bottle of the famous abbey liqueur Liquid Velvet for us to taste after the meal. Apparently it’s made from roses, blueberries, mead and spices and has been made by the abbey for four centuries. I was so hungry I was really looking forward to the meal until I glanced over at the nuns and saw that they each had a bowl of thin soup and a roll. This took the edge right off my appetite, and I just chose a couple of chops and a few veggies.
The wine was excellent – very smooth and fruity. When everyone had finished eating, the nuns served each of us a tiny glass of the liqueur. Oh, it was ambrosia! I’m definitely taking a few bottles of that back to the ship.

We approached the Abbess with our concerns about the firmness of the mattresses, but she told us not to worry, all would be well, and that we would sleep soundly. We left the refectory and looked at one another with raised eyebrows, saying nothing.  On the way back to our rooms, I asked Woody if she fancied a wander into the town of Gilead, which was situated a couple of miles inland from the abbey.  ‘Sounds like fun,’ she said, so we grabbed a couple of cardigans in case it turned chilly later.

The roadway meandered through the woods and down to a sheltered hollow containing the town.  No motorised vehicles are allowed on the island, but we saw a few bicycles and donkeys.  There were also several people on foot.  It was twilight by the time we reached the town and lights were beginning to appear.  We wandered around the streets and gazed into shop windows.  Lenore is noted for its artisans and there were some beautiful items on display.  The shops were all closed, of course, so we decided to shop for souvenirs the next day.

The strains of cheerful music and laughter wafted towards us on the gentle breeze, so we went to find where it was coming from.  It was a small cafe on the edge of the town square.  Obviously a popular place, as it was quite crowded.  We waited for a table and then sat down and ordered coffee.  ‘Do you have Tim Tams?’ I asked. ‘My friend here has never experienced the delights of Tim Tams.’
‘Certainly, ladies. Coffee and Tim Tams it is,’ and he returned a few minutes later with our coffees and half a dozen of the delicious biscuits.
‘Now, Woody, I am going to teach you the fine art of Tim Tam straws.’
I showed her how to bite of diagonally opposing corners of the chocolate covered biscuit and then suck her coffee through it. Oooh, decadence!! The hot coffee melts all the inside of the biscuit and makes it all soft; but you can only do two or three. Any more than that and you would be sick.

Woody was delighted to have mastered the art, and we sat laughing over the mess the warm chocolate made. We sat and talked for an hour about our various experiences on the cruise, and then took a leisurely walk back to the abbey.

I think I’m going to have to check out if there’s anything in my magic walnut shell that can have some influence on that mattress.

*Postscript – Having found nothing appropriate in the walnut shell, and having no other option, I lay down on the bed.  As I lifted up my feet and pulled them onto the mattress it suddenly became soft.  Yet another amazing happening.  That must have been what the Abbess meant when we spoke to her.  I hoped Woody’s was nice and comfortable, too.