Huldra's Secret - Carine Thevenau

Carine Thevenau via The Stylesmith
Huldra of the Norse
In her series, Return to Huldra's Wood, Australian photographer, Carine Thevenau explores Scandinavian folklore and the mythic story of Huldra a seductive forest creature whose name derives from a root meaning 'covered' or 'secret'.
from Carine's blog

Carine Thevenau via The Stylesmith
Pine Tree Mary
Carine Thevenau via The Stylesmith
Ulda (The Arctic Fairy)

before they pass away... Jimmy Nelson

Photographer Jimmy Nelson traveled to visit 31 tribes in 3 years to photograph tribal communities in a bid to draw attention to the need to preserve and protect the Earth and her indigenous cultures before they disappear completely. There is such beauty and grace in the images and a quiet message that is keenly felt.  This is who we are as humans we are so beautiful and unique and connected through the fact we are all inhabiting this planet together. What a tragedy it would be to see any of these people disappear especially when we need their Earth wisdom more now than at any other time. I see dignity and authenticity and I long to know more about each tribe.

When he was eighteen, he ran away from life. Two years earlier, Jimmy's world had changed overnight. He had woken up one morning and all his hair had mysteriously fallen out. This had changed him not only physically, but also emotionally. He felt different from everyone else. Not long after, he dropped out of university and headed east for Tibet to figure out who I was.  

’In 2009, I planned to become a guest of 31 secluded and visually unique tribes. I wanted to witness their time-honoured traditions, join in their rituals and discover how the rest of the world is threatening to change their way of life forever. Most importantly, I wanted to create an ambitious aesthetic photographic document that would stand the test of time. A body of work that would be an irreplaceable ethnographic record of a fast disappearing world.' Jimmy Nelson

'If there were no reindeer we would not exist' the Tsaatan (Reindeer People) Mongolia

Vow of Chastity - Sworn Virgins of Albania

albanian women that live as men by jill peters heshehe documentary (1)
He/She/He by Jill Peters

via Twisted Sifter

Sworn Virgin is the term given to a biological female in the Balkans who has chosen, usually at an early age, to take on the social identity of a man for life. As a tradition dating back hundreds of years, this was sometimes necessary in a society that lived within tribal clans, followed the Kanun, an archaic code of law, and maintained an oppressive rule over the female gender. The Kanun states that women are the property of their husbands. The freedom to vote, drive, conduct business, earn money, drink, smoke, swear, own a gun or wear pants was traditionally the exclusive province of men. Young girls were commonly forced into arranged marriages, often with much older men in distant villages. A family suddenly without a patriarch or male heir would find themselves in jeopardy of losing everything.

As an alternative, becoming a Sworn Virgin, or burnesha elevated a woman to the status of a man and granted her all the rights and privileges of the male population. In order to manifest the transition such a woman cut her hair, donned male clothing and sometimes even changed her name. Male gestures and swaggers were practiced until they became second nature. Most importantly of all, she took a vow of celibacy to remain chaste for life. She became a ‘he’.

Sworn Virgins still exist today, but as modernization inches towards the small villages nestled in the Albanian Alps, this archaic tradition is increasingly seen as obsolete. Only a handful remain.”  Jill Peters


Return of the Medicine Women - Women of Power: Katarzyna Majak

Maria Ela Lewanska - a Healer and Visionary
belongs to the 'tribal elders' of the new times

I am so thrilled to see this beautiful photographic work: Women of Power by photographer, Katarzyna Majak a series of 29 portraits of Polish witches, healers, enchanters, visionaries and spiritual leaders.  Thank you Katarzyna for this honest honouring of Wise Women.
See the full project here: Women of Power.

A book with photographs and conversations with the medicine women will be released soon.

"Katarzyna Majak explores the power of women as she searches for female wisdom and plurality of spiritual paths hidden within monoreligious Polish society.  Majak’s Women of Power series turns stereotypical witch imagery on its head and showcases striking images of women ranging from their 30’s to 80's, wearing colorful unconventional clothes, and holding their unique objects of power. When asked what being a witch meant to one of the subjects in the series, she replied ‘A witch is a woman of knowledge who takes a broom and sweeps to cleanse the world.’
The women of wisdom, healers, enchanters, visionaries and spiritual leaders depicted in Majak’s vibrant photographs often facing discrimination, have taken great risk in being photographed. This is the first time many of them owned their power publicly. Majak’s journey with the Women of Power began when one of them accompanied her in a ritual to say ‘good-bye’ to her wedding dress, and the journey continued from woman to woman as the artist became fascinated with their alternative wisdoms on female power."

Ritual Adornment in West Africa by Phyllis Galembo

I am fascinated by these West African Masquerade photographs taken by Phyllis Galembo, particularly the use of plants in the adornment. Phyllis' portfolio is amazing. I encourage you to take a look through her fascinating work exploring the themes of sacred decoration and ritual adornment. This sacred dressing is an important part of Ancestral Medicine and something that all indigenous cultures share. I believe it is a deep and important part of our psyche. We remember this.

This year as we feel so many changes, I am ever conscious of how I choose to dress and adorn myself in my day, in my work. And I am noticing this with other friends and artists and practitioners. It is not to take yourself seriously but to put meaning and conscious awareness into what we are wearing and how we are wearing it. Does it feel authentic? What is natural to you? How does it feel to wear, where was it made? Do you dress in a special outfit to do sacred and meaningful work? 

I believe we will be returning to creating our own clothing - how beautiful it will be to see more people expressing their spirit through their dress and moving away from the mass produced and cheap labour-fuelled 'uniforms' that have surrounded us over the years. The Artisans of Adornment are returning.

Past Life Remembered - Poverty Consciousness

I have been fascinated by the photographs of Jacob Riis for many years. Riis was an anti-poverty campaigner and journalist whose photos are full of emotion and story. At the turn of the century he documented the appalling living conditions in New York City in the hope that they would move people to do something about creating better conditions and alleviate suffering. 

Many of us are carrying past life memories of these kinds of lifetimes and also blood memories - carried in the DNA from our ancestors. If it is strong, or you have made past life vows in relation to creating wealth, it can develop into poverty consciousness - a constant and nagging fear that all will taken away from us again. It does not matter how abundant or rich our lives appear, when we carry this binding fear, it is as if we remember these times like they happened yesterday and like hungry wolves, they wait to engulf us again.

It is important to acknowledge and FEEL the wealth of our current lives. There are many, many people in the world still living in these types of conditions and worse. To fear poverty creates a barrier between us, it makes us want to turn from or push away what frightens us. It limits or crushes completely our creative impulse and trust in our dreams. And worst of all it binds us tighter into the whole obsolete belief of a class system. A system devised to separate us through fear - as if our living circumstances or education were a measure of our worth.

Instead of fearing poverty, we can:
Dedicate ourselves to living simply and frugally while at the same time feeling real gratitude for what we have
Spend long periods in nature and let ourselves remember how to know her intimately again and grow our own food
Enjoy developing self-reliance and making by hand what we need
Supporting our local community with conscious spending and buying locally
Share in times of plenty

We are remembering again what we used to be.

Kings Daughters Tenement Chapter, Kindergarten Games 1897

School 1890s
Baxter Street Court

Earth as Art - Our Incredible Encaustic World

How stunning and encaustic do these photographs of the earth look?! They are part of a series of photographs 'Earth as Art' created by NASA. I began to see very similar images in meditations and dreams years ago and was over the moon to find I could create similar images with encaustic (beeswax) art - now I know that I was envisioning the beautiful Earth from far far away! You can download the free ebook Earth As Art here.

I thoroughly recommend it as a great meditation tool and teacher on the wild natural beauty of earth. How could we ever want to 'blend in' when our Earth is as vibrant as this?! Show your true colours - be SuperNatural.