Four-leaved Magic!

•September 9, 2013 • 4 Comments


Moss Garden

 Unrelated coincidence? Deliberate creation? I am well aware of the nuances, however, where’s there’s magic, there’s a story.

Back in February of this year, I had a car accident that was my fault, in which I wrote off both my car and the one I hit. At the time, the very first thing I focussed on was blessings and positive outcomes for all. The harsh lesson in it, for me, was that I had failed to grasp some of the finer details of insurance, and thus wasn’t covered for damage to a third party vehicle.

A month later, the letter from the other driver’s insurance company arrived, informing me that I was required to pay $36 400. To put that in perspective, at the current exchange rate, that equates to about R336 500. Back in South Africa in about 2002 we bought a three-bed-roomed house for R210 000. This sum of money, that I now owed an insurance company, amounted to the biggest financial debt I’d ever faced!

Every day, as I walked to and from the bus stop, I imagined streams of abundance and blessing over the situation. I schooled my mind, as far as I was able, away from the anxiety and inner conversations, and instead conjured images of overcoming obstacles and taming dragons. Finally, by the 19th of June (recorded in my journal), I realised it was time to choose a best possible outcome. I had exhausted the options. There was no way I could pay off that amount on my income, with my family commitments. I decided the best thing for all of us would be to have the whole thing waived – made to vanish. I could have opted for that earlier, but I wanted to be sure I was doing the right thing. Trying to wriggle out of a situation that was my fault, and avoid the consequences, was not my first choice. Seeking a waiver had to be my ONLY choice, a choice that meant that my family would not have to pay a price for my mistakes.

The next morning I followed some useful links kindly provided by my brother, and ended up speaking to a helpful young man at the Consumer Legal and Credit Centre.  I asked if it was worth pursuing a waiver. He requested extra information and said he’d phone back. Half an hour later, I was thrilled as he said not only that it was worth a try, but he’d pursue the waiver on my behalf!

I was entranced by the speed with which help had followed my choice of a specific outcome. On one of my walks I decided that when I found a four-leaf clover outside our home, on our side of the footpath, I’d know it heralded good news. Four-leaf clovers have been my symbol of “abundance-beyond-the-expected” for over twenty years, now. What is more, it was a safe option. I had found a four-leaf clover on the opposite side of the footpath, last year, so I knew it wasn’t an impossible sign. (My mother shakes her head and mutters about fairy blood every time I find yet another four-leaf clover – or several at a time)

The days went by. The clover flourished (along with the other weeds) and, despite keeping a look-out,  there wasn’t a single four-leafer to be found. Eventually, my husband and his friend did some work on the garden, and when I arrived home the clover was gone. I bought a second-hand car with the money I got back after doing my tax return, and the days drifted on into spring.


The four-leaf Oxalis on Thursday 5th September 2013, tender-green and new.

Then, last Thursday morning I happened to check my little moss garden to see if it needed water. Oxalis (sorrel) has grown along with other seeds that came with the moss I’d collected at the side of the house – ordinary three-leaved Oxalis – except – one had grown a fourth leaf! I was astounded. Four-leafed Oxalis growing on a three-leaved plant is far less common than finding four-leaf clovers. (Please note, this is not to be confused with the Oxalis Tetrafolia which naturally grows four leaves.) I went off to an appointment, and when I returned home the fourth leaf seemed a little larger, closer to the size of the other three leaves on that stalk.

The telephone rang. It was my knight in shining armour from the Consumer Credit and Legal Centre.  He was the bearer of good news, he told me. Both the insurance company and the collection house had agreed not to pursue the matter of the money I owed. We were home and dry!


tender green

Now the deeper green of maturity


It’s Simple

•August 24, 2013 • 1 Comment


Regardless of what is, or isn’t, happening in the rest of the world, the magnolias are looking beautiful. No matter what challenges the natural world faces, nature keeps on doing what it does until the moment it can no longer, and then it does something new, or different, or it turns a page in history.


No matter what may be happening in any part of the world, I still have my part to play in blooming and learning, growing spiritually and being all that I am meant to be.


Three times three petals in pristine white tell me it’s simple: don’t focus on all the apparent “impossibilities”, just focus on being what you are, fully and completely.


That is the best gift anyone can give to the world.


shades of the sea!

•August 3, 2013 • 2 Comments

My son reviewed my first self-published book, which is available for sale on and CreateSpace

I originally announced the book here: What’s your Favourite Colour?

shades of the sea!.

The Magic Flute

•July 12, 2013 • Leave a Comment

1-DSCF1207This morning the strains of a flute or recorder drifted up from somewhere outside, and tugged my sleeve, so I wandered down to investigate. I followed the occasional phrases, interrupted now and then with restarts, or shifts to other snatches of melody. A voice joined in singing along from time to time.

Under the eucalypts on the far side of the park, a man stood, flute in hand. A woman, most likely his wife and also the singer, was picking dandelions or roots of some sort– something the rest of us disregarded, but she recognised as good and useful. I passed them and found myself a place in the sun, leaning against a smooth tree trunk, and let his beautiful notes weave around me.

And that was it: a space framed by music, in which so much peace and beauty dwelt. The sun warmed away the winter chill from a sky adorned with a few high, fair-weather clouds. A gentle breeze stirred the eucalyptus leaves and twirled around the children playing on the playground equipment, mingling with their laughter. Down on the oval a father sprinted with his daughter and other children kicked balls or ran races, some serious, some pounding turf for the joy of it. Parents took dogs and children for walks nearby, and further away someone else threw a ball for an exuberant mutt. Noisy Miners tumbled and squabbled, landing momentarily right in front of a surprised toddler sitting on the running tracks, and then flying off again.

The flautist continued playing after his wife had gone, met by a little girl running from the playground equipment. Is this not the peace and tranquillity we all long for? What a gift this man gave us, yet I alone stopped to listen, to enter into the weaving of the dream. I could not give him anything else in return, just my listening.

Eventually I wandered over to thank him and he greeted me with a beaming smile and hearty “hello”.

“China,” he said, proudly showing me his flute – bamboo – which explained the woodiness of its tone, and why I hadn’t been able to distinguish whether I was hearing a flute or recorder at first.

He had no English but tried to tell me about the instrument anyway, clearly delighted by my interest. I thanked him again, although I couldn’t explain that I was thanking him not just for the music, but for the weaving of a vision of paradise across the road from my front door.

What’s your favourite colour?

•June 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment


When we lived in Cape Town for a year and a bit, prior to moving to Sydney, my two younger sons were at that phase of life when they tortured me by demanding to know what my favourite colour was. I usually answered green, and sometimes blue. In the end I settled for revenge. I decided my favourite colour was the sea.

“Oh, you mean blue,” they’d answer.

“No,” I’d respond. “Today the sea isn’t blue, it’s grey and sometimes it’s green…”

In time, with my many walks along the beach and time spent sitting on the rocks in contemplation, the answer became a poem. Once we had settled in Australia I hunted through my photographs and placed them together with the poem into a PowerPoint presentation, which I then printed out and popped into a folder.

There is a subtext that follows the life of this little book. Our move to Cape Town following the sale of our house in Johannesburg was confounded by an inability to obtain bridging finance and a six-month wait for the money to come through. Those six months were desperately difficult as my nursing salary was far less than I’d earned in IT. We struggled to feed ourselves. Those days on the rocks or beach absorbing the colours of the ocean were, for me the peaceful battleground as I learned not to panic and to trust my ability to steer my family through crisis.

Eventually the money from the sale of the house came through, every debt was paid and we planned our move to Sydney. The initial putting together of the poem into PowerPoint was during our time of settling in to a new country and a new life. Again, the budget seemed impossibly tight at times, and I dreamt of the possibility of making a few pennies from my writing. I entered the poem into the Eastwood/Hills Annual Literary Competition and it received a Commended.

This year, once again we face a crisis following the car accident in February and the possibility of bankruptcy following on from that. The poem and photographs have become my learning curve and initiation into the world of self-publishing. This poem not only answers the question my sons asked, “what you’re favourite colour?”, it is also a subtext of life – it’s mornings and evenings, blue skies and stormy days, and all of it is beautiful. All of it is my favourite life.

The book is available via CreateSpace: Shades of the Sea or on

The hope that is in me

•May 11, 2013 • 2 Comments


This last week I had one of those crazy-assed moments that let me know, without doubt, that my life has turned upside-down. No – this is not a reference to seven years spent Down Under, as moving from South Africa isn’t a hemispheric shift. Nor is it a reference to the general chaos of living – five of us – on my nurse’s salary and minus a car since the accident in February. Instead it’s a matter of how I live.

One of my nursing colleagues, a very dear soul, wanted to know if I was a Christian. I told her no, not any more, and explained why.  As we chatted it became clear that the reason she asked was due to what she knows of my circumstances and her experience of working with me. I was reminded of a Bible verse: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15. (NIV)

I asked my colleague directly, “is it because you think I could only live this way if I were a Christian?”

And she answered simply: “yes.”

In all my years as a Christian, twenty-five of them, deeply committed, steeped in prayer, no-one ever asked me to explain the “hope that is in me”.

So I told her how leaving the church wasn’t easy, because I knew it would hurt the folk there who loved me, and I loved them. I told her how, if I continued to follow the Christian way of thinking, believing that my own dear father would be condemned to hell wasn’t something I could maintain. If I were God, I wouldn’t condemn him. How could I be more merciful than God? And I explained that I didn’t believe it was just to deny two people who love each other the right to express that because they were the same gender. God, if this God exists, ought to know better than anyone, why it is that they love each other. With much deep pondering and searching, yes, and prayer, my conscience would no longer allow me to be a Christian, and so I left.

And in leaving, I searched my soul long and hard and found that my values left with me. I kept them all. In leaving, I flung wide the gates to let the rest of the world into my life (no longer “them”, the non-Christians and “us”, the Christians) and I began to truly live.

Now I will give an account of the hope that is in me: I have choices to make. Every moment of the day, every situation that arises, I can choose whether I want to walk as someone overwhelmed and victimised or walk as the hero of my story. There are so many other heroes out there. Some we hear of, many we don’t.

Viktor Frankl said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” (Man’s Search for Meaning)

I do this my way, as an imaginative person. I have long puzzled over the way in which I consistently identify with particular character types in fantasy stories. So I live my life out on two levels: the here-and-now concrete reality that everyone can see and the mythological parallel that I can see – and perhaps those who understand story.

Much of my life has been the journey of the young initiate to the place of learning – the college or temple that trains the archetypes – the wizards, the warriors, the healers, the intellectuals and so forth. That path alone has a series of crises to be contended with, lessons to learn, so by the time the initiate arrives at the place of learning there is already a healthy body of practical knowledge to be organised and shaped. However, in no good story does the student ever get to remain at the wondrous place of learning for long. Instead, the trainee is bundled out into the wild again for challenges greater than ever before. To you it might look like I have a tight budget or an ill family member, or an aching back, but to me I have monsters to fight, folk to rescue, defend or heal, and I might acquire battle wounds on the way.

And that, my friends, is the hope that is in me. I am a hero on a journey. The challenges demand ever more of me, and I learn and grow from them. The more I remember who I am in my mythical world – the sort of warrior-druid I want to be – the more I am able to bring that aspect of myself into my daily life and live the reality. It is an incredibly powerful life force magic I wield.

None so Lucky as “Fortune’s Foal”

•May 9, 2013 • 1 Comment


There are some strange magicks in the world that I’m learning about now, as an adult. They begin in childhood, these ethereal energies, played out with vigorous and passionate imagination. Let me explain:
When I was about seven years old, I saw the film National Velvet. It set me on the path of becoming a passionate lover of horses. While Velvet might have only had one imaginary horse at a time, I had herds. In winter I rode imaginary Lipizzaners to school, and in summer I was the only girl who could commune with the wild horses that travelled everywhere in my imagination. And whenever my friends and I played a game that was set in motion by me, the theme was consistent. It involved horses, and reasonably invariably, one or other horse would become ill or injured and would need to be brought back from the brink of death before the vet put it out of its misery. These games were so elaborate and vivid in our young minds, that we wept real tears over our desperate imaginary equines.

Now, when I look back at that time of my life, in my mind’s eye I see all the little girls everywhere (and maybe some boys, too) who played similar imaginary games. I see, rising from their fervent fantasies, an extraordinary energy and power rising up and gathering together, a potential like a stored up prayer, waiting to be put to use.

I have turned the final page of Anita Bell’s story, Fortune’s Foal, and I have been granted a strange and joyous privilege. I have watched backwards in time, as my childhood fantasy of healing desperately ill horses, after seven years of careful storage in whatever realm such things are stored, found its way from South Africa to Australia. It gathered and coalesced around a teenager who needed all the magick imaginable to live out the story and save a little foal from certain death. Not “almost certain”, please note. There is no “almost” to qualify this. There were no modern stories of horses surviving this disease, because the prognosis was so bad that they would be destroyed to end their suffering. If the disease did not kill them, which, without intervention it would, then humans killed them, out of mercy.

Anita’s account of her journey with her horses, and particularly Lucky, is a page turner from beginning to end. What a young lady (yes – young lady without “listen here” appended) of courage and strength of will! While she gives the credit for strength of will to her colt many times in the story, it has to be noted that she and that colt matched each other every step of the way.

The story stretches out into the community around the unfolding drama, turning strangers into friends, and grumpy folk into angels of kindness. What’s more, the strands of this story have not ended but continue to unfold in every hour of Anita’s life to this very day, for it’s her story. Given that it’s Anita’s story, it is inevitably told with delightful wit and self-deprecation that anyone who has communicated with Anita in any way will recognise.

What I imagined as a child at play, Anita lived in painful and joyful detail, and it is so much more than I imagined, so much bigger, so much more triumphant and far-reaching. All I can say is thank you, Anita, for making my dream a reality, for saving Lucky, and please pass him an apple for me.

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