Travelling – The spiritual experience that was Crystal Castle

046 Crystal Castle - Copy

Sharing something special with someone special, makes that something special all the more special.

My daughter and I spent the day at Crystal Castle on the north coast hinterland of NSW, and it’s hard to find a word to describe the experience – beautiful first and foremost, absolutely splendid plants adorning a misty mountain setting surrounded by natural rainforest. And crystals; stunning huge and ancient crystals on paths and clearings. Mossy stone statues, bamboo groves, sacred spaces. Seats amongst the garden for solitude. A truly special place.

We started the day taking part in a ritual offering to deities that are ‘simply’ universal energy. It was moving and enlightening. After tea and cake in the cafe overlooking the forested slopes, we wandered at leisure, taking in the beauty and abundant positive energy.

Group meditation with the hauntingly soothing sounds of Tibetan singing bowls, and a crystal workshop, delicious vegetarian food, and peace and quiet. We both took away wonderful memories, love and warmth, and a new perspective on some very old traditions.


053 Crystal Castle - mandala that the meditation class made, including Gaye and Tracy - Copy

Travelling – The beach of the balancing stones

Balancing stones beach cairns 1

It’s like the peace hidden and lying in wait in every person’s heart has emerged, just for a few moments. I wonder if they felt it? And I wonder if they experienced a connection with the other travellers they wandered amongst? And I wonder if any person leaving the beach was changed forever?

There are no directional signs, and it’s not an official tourist attraction, yet the beach is obviously visited by thousands of travellers who contribute to the impromptu art. Balancing towers of rocks and stones against a backdrop of tropical ocean, on the road from Port Douglas in far north Queensland to Cairns. I guess it’s rather unique.

Just picture: all cultures, all religions and all faiths, all political persuasions, all sexual orientations, and a full spectrum of social standings mingling, admiring, and feeling part of something simple that is also something special. And knowing that this simple natural expression of cross-cultural creativity is special. Boundaries have been crossed and walls have come down, and everyone is part of a whole. There are no officials telling dark-skinned people to go there or rich people to go here or heterosexuals to go there. Every person is equal and one with everyone else. A celebration of humanity. That’s how the world should be.

I’m disappointed to find, a few months later, that most of the stone stacks are gone. It doesn’t appear to be an act of wanton destruction by humans, but rather, I think Mother Earth has claimed the stones with boisterous stormy seas. More towers of balancing stones are starting replace those washed away, and I hope the process will be repeated so that people from all over the world and from all walks of life can once again leave their positive energy and creativity for all to enjoy.

I sat on the beach this morning amongst the new art pieces to write, imagining cultures mixing, and all going away with a smile in their hearts.

Balancing stones beach cairns 2


Winter solstice 2017

Winter solstice 2017 01

A table with a water view as darkness descends over the ocean. A seaside restaurant. Alone. This is how I chose to celebrate the winter solstice. I plucked a few delicate pink daisies from the garden at the caravan park where I’m staying, and picked some dandelion seed heads from the park as I walked to the beach. And I asked the waitress if I might have a little candle for my table and a tiny bowl of water for my private solstice celebration. She was happy to oblige.

Earth, fire, wind, water – all Universal elements decorate my table for my solstice ritual.

Just look at me go. Confidence and love for the being that I am, without the slightest look sideways to see if there are any strange looks from others. This is ME. And this is also a celebration of the ME that I have become. Living authentically.

Winter solstice 2017 02

My day began at dawn, on the beach with the sliver of moon and morning star shining down on me, walking alone. The pre-sunrise sky was brilliant, fiery, and I felt so blessed to be amongst the beauty of nature. My being infused with joy. I AM joy. I sat on a cushion of seaweed, contemplating.

[At the restaurant it is now dark, and in my view I can see an elderly white-bearded man riding his ‘gofer’ with a pizza box on  his lap. I LOVE that. I love to see people enjoy life ‘their way’, not giving up when all seems lost. Smiling happily, I send my love to him, and he’s gone.]

Contemplating where I’m at and where I want my journey to go. Only briefly though, because I’m at a very good place in my life, and my immediate future needs are simple: ie continue on my path of inner growth and awareness. It’s exciting, fruitful, satisfying, and a warm loving place to BE.

Traditionally and historically, the winter solstice recognises and celebrates the season of change on the shortest day of the year. A time for spiritual transformation, turning inward for quiet introspection. New hope. Fresh plans. Feeling and expressing gratitude for the life-giving light and warmth that is the sun.

My meal of local calamari with local wine has been my celebratory feast for one tonight, followed by a scrumptious ice-cream and chocolate dessert (why not?). I voice my prayer of thanks privately, but out loud:

Thank you for the warming winter sun; thank you for the knowing darkness; thank you for the ocean view as I celebrate; thank you for the fresh local produce; and thank you for the growing awareness that is now Me.

Winter solstice 2017 03

As I walked back to my cabin under a black moonless, but starry sky, I blew the dandelion seeds to the breeze.

Gratitude. Namaste.

A ritual in a paddock

1 Ritual fire and stone ring

I hadn’t performed or participated  in a ritual before. Rituals are a regular part of my daughter’s life, so I enlisted her help.

Generally she coincides  her rituals with the appropriate moon phase or her solstice feasts. The moon emits powerful energy, and if harnessed for the greater good of all, can enhance your life. In simple terms, the full moon is for releasing unwanted energy, while the new moon is for drawing desired energy to your life.

The moon was not in the right phase, but as I regularly celebrate the changing of Mother Nature’s seasons, I planned my ritual for the transition of autumn to winter. Change.

My aim was to send entrenched detrimental behavioural patterns off into the infinite expanse of the Universe so that I have room to adopt healthful and rewarding practices which I can develop into habits.

We prepared our sacred place. A tiny fire surrounded by a decorative ring of Earth’s treasures – pebbles and shells – all enveloped in Tracy’s circle in the paddock. Trees and grass, amazing clouds. A magical setting amongst nature.

A candle, representing fire, faced south. Incense burned to the east, symbolising air. Water was sprinkled to the west, water being the third element in Creation. And two crystals pointing north, representing earth.

2 Ritual fire in sacred circle

Earlier, we’d both written out negative issues that we’re both passionate about working hard to replace with positive behaviour. We wrote them with intention and love. As we spoke out loud our written words, we offered them to the fire. The fired took them, reducing them to a grey ashy veil. The breeze lifted them from the flames and carried them off into the wilds. The Universe claimed them, and we requested they be transformed into energy to be used for the benefit of all.

We prayed. We expressed our gratitude. And then we meditated.

We hugged, and walked home, leaving the beautiful stone circle as a gift to the Universe.

Magic. A totally beautiful experience.

3 Ritual fire spent