Casting Spells
Rituals of Approach

Summer morning: hawks over Nattadon Hill

Blue sky above Nattadon Hill

Two hawks

"Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey."  - John O'Donohue (Anam Cara)

A "kindness of rhythm." Yes. That's precisely what I strive for, in life and in art.

Paying attention

But what, exactly, do we mean by "the soul" in relation to creating one's art, or one's life? There are many definitions and opinions, of course, but I like Mary Oliver's best:

"This is the first, wildest, and wisest thing I know, that the soul exists, and that it is built entirely out of attentiveness."

Illustration by Honore AppletonIllustration by Honor Appleton (1879-1951). The Mary Oliver quote above comes from "Low Tide," published in Amicus Journal, Winter 2001. The poem in the picture captions is from New & Selected Poems by Mary Oliver, 1992; all rights reserved by the author.

Comments

Thank you for sharing these beautiful quotes. I'm bookmarking them :)

The Greeks have a word for the essence of yourself/the soul that you put into your work: 'Meraki' (emphasis on the second syllable I think).

I don't know how you actually get it into your work, or into your life for that matter, but sometimes when you step back from the picture or read through the chapter, there it is. If I knew how to get it there every time I'd be ecstatically happy and completely unafraid of the next gas bill(!)

Wonderful quotes, a wonderful response from Stuart, and a wonderful picture of Tilly, alert and attentive. She is clearly full of soul.

I think I'm officially in love with your dog now.

Today I'm feeling very confused, and I'm really touched by this quotes. Thank you, Terri.

Beloved Mary Oliver and thrice beloved John O'Donohue! How beautiful are those hills. All blessings to you this Summer morning Terri.

The more we feed the soul with attentiveness, the stronger and healthier and sparkly it becomes. Thanks for the inspiration!

Another wonderful quote from John O'Donohue, too. Thank you for bringing him into these recent posts. I am blessed to have my origins in County Clare, as did John. Having savoured his words of wisdom over the years, I can never go to Clare now without seeing the mystical landscape in which he lived to the mental soundtrack of his hypnotic voice. For anyone interested in John's work and its inspiration in the landscape of County Clare, I can recommend a wonderful documentary which was made about him not long before his untimely death: also entitled 'Anam Cara', it is now available on DVD. My own personal favourite re John's books is 'Eternal Echoes', with its powerful focus on the meaning of home and belonging - themes which I know you touch on regularly in your blog, too, Terri.

Attentiveness. Yes. I've just spent my entire morning reading and catching up on your work on Myth and Moor. I don't know if you see comments on older posts, and it's absolutely fine if you don't. (Honestly, I can't imagine how you keep up with so much reading and thinking and writing as it is!) The point is just to say that your blog certainly makes me come alive and reminds me, again and again, to pay attention. Thank you and many blessings for a wonderful day (or, er, evening).

Stuart, Jane, Phyllis: I've also left comments for you on your poetry from a few days ago. Just in case you get a chance to go back and see them. Sorry so late!

I understand what you mean, Edith. I had plans to catch up last weekend, and of course something came up. My work schedule has changed a bit so that I'm not able to read M&M first thing in the morning, and if I don't, I end up trying to play catch-up. My journal is missing all of these juicy morsels that I like to fill her with!

Oh gosh Terri, that quote by Mary Oliver speaks such naked truth straight to the heart

Yes! So much inspiration here. Luckily, it will still be here when you find the time. =)

I didn't know that word and I love it, and the concept behind it. Thank you so much, Stuart!

She loves being loved, Lili, being a creature of pure love herself.

I keep meaning to pick up Eternal Echoes, and now I shall. Thank you, Patricia.

Thank you so much, Edith, Cathi, and everyone who has commented here.

I suppose the silver lining in a life-long medical condition is that my "down" days give me plenty of time to read, and I love sharing the books (and art and music) I encounter.

As she does so often, Mo!

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