Spain visual diary. Part one. Feb 2019

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by Caroline Mellor

I am the dream of awakening.
I am the returning of the light.
I am the tough green shoot pushing up through the pavestones, I am the first kiss of sunlight on the unfurling petals of the snowdrop. I am the wind which whispers the gentle pull of home to the migratory bird.
I am the drop of ice melting on the mountainside with its great dream of the ocean.
I am the sap rising in the blossom tree just before it reveals its sticky buds to the sky; I am the riotous celebration humming away beneath the earth’s mantle of frozen sleep.
I am the rousing of the bee from its winter slumber, and the soft pad of the mother-wolf’s paw on the snow as she prepares to birth her pups.
I am hope, potential, rebirth and promise. I am the kindling breath which transforms the flicker of inspiration in your creative core into a blazing torch.
Give me the silent crescent moon rising over the sea and I will build you a bridge of silver light so you can walk up and lie in it.
Give me the frost-hardened wilderness and I will breathe radiant green life over it.
Give me the healer, the writer, the craftsperson and the storyteller, and I will replenish her essence and make her new again.
I am Brigid, Bast, Inanna and Hestia. I am the fierce protectress of the sacred fire.
Tonight I bestow my gifts of power and courage at the hearth of your soul: power to step out of the shadows of self-doubt and negativity which have held you in darkness for too long, power to shed all that which no longer serves you, and courage to clear your heart and mind for the dawn that awaits you.
I am the time to honor your unique gifts for their true worth and to protect and nurture your creative self as you would a child. I am the deep longing of the spirit which refuses to be consumed by a narrative of fear and chooses instead to place itself vivaciously on the side of love.
I am the stirring in your belly which knows exactly what you are capable of — and that it’s time the world found out.
I am the fire within which will not be contained any longer.
I am the quickening, I am the serpent uncoiling, I am Imbolc.
I am the dream of awakening.

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Rio Chico

Well, the rural idyll which was the beautiful hovel in the campo of Bayacas, situated on a mountainside with only a couple of donkeys as neighbours so intoxicated me, that I didn’t at first notice I was being bitten alive by creatures, ( fleas? bed bugs?) And even the cicadas drowned out the sound of the creatures eating away at the wooden beams above my head.. The beam-eating creatures became so loud that I wished I’d brought ear plugs..I could positively hear them chewing and crunching their way slowly through the wood..Funny sort of life that…at least you don’t need a calendar…I would ponder the existence of a creature whose sole purpose is to chomp through wood day in, day out..

One night there was a thunder and lightening storm and i ran outside arms wide to receive the magic. Never do I feel that sense of freedom and aliveness as I do in these mountains.

I am now here, near friends in a clean house in the wilds of the (currently) dry river bed..The heat makes me feel lazy, so I am not fighting it..

I plan to paint, read and walk a bit..

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Explorations of the Wild Feminine, an Art Retreat.

Explorations of the Wild Feminine, an Art Retreat.

10th – 17th August 2019

With artist Terre Cerridwyn Busse

and Alice Mason.

“We have forgotten that we were born
of celestial cataclysm.”

“We have forgotten how to dance
bare-footed on the earth to the cadence
of our souls. We have forgotten the ritual
fires and the acrid tang of holy smoke
on our tongues.”
― Beth Morey, Night Cycles: Poetry for a Dark Night of the Soul

Explorations of the Wild Feminine through Paint, Story, Ritual and Adventure in Southern Spain

Including a workshop with me, Alice Mason on the Landscape and the Sacred Feminine in Nature.

Cortijo Las Salinas

August 10, 2019 to August 17, 2019

Retreat Description:
Cost $2,300
Early Bird (by 3/1/2019) $2,100

Please use exchange rate conversion into your currency. Cost is via Paypal or bank transfer to Terre.

Cost includes:
7 nights luxury accommodation
Gourmet meals – Chef will cater to dietary needs
Transportation from and to Malaga airport
Transportation to and from Granada
Guided day tour of Granada with writer Chris Stewart, (Driving Over Lemons,) (lunch and dinner is your expense.)
Workshop and Art instruction
Art supplies – canvas, brushes and paints
A day with guest artist and teacher – Alice Mason
Yoga in the Shala – 3 mornings
Dance in the Shala – 2 mornings
An Evening of Flamenco Dancing and Guitar
Use of the sauna, pool, terraces and Moroccan chill out area
Use of a private kitchen near the Art studio
Outdoor bar (additional charge for alcohol & non-alcohol drinks)

Cost does not include:
Flight to or from Malaga, Spain
Lunch and Dinner while in Granada
Cost of alcohol or drinks from self serve bar
Massage or Reiki from Steffi on location if desired

Non-Workshop guests welcome. They can enjoy the Cortijo or day trip while you workshop. They can join us in Granada and during all the meals. Cost is $500 less.

“For some she came in a dream. For others in words as clear as a bell: it is time, I am here. She may come in a whisper so loud she can deafen you or a shout so quiet you strain to hear. She may appear in the waves or the face of the moon, in a red goddess or a crow.”
― Lucy H. Pearce, Burning Woman

To register an interest, please email:




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Why Create?

What was the reason people first felt the urge to make marks?  Some of the first cave paintings were found quite by accident, many metres below the earth, by explorers.  What compelled these ancient people to make images upon the cave walls?  Was it some kind of prayer, or offering to the earth?   Or was it a place where they could dream and bring forth new presences?  14,000-16,000 years ago, before farming, before tools, hunter- gatherers left a trace.  They were ice age artists before there was any idea of an audience, where nowadays we are so involved in our meta language.

In Niaux in the Pyrenees are more cave paintings and Perch Nerle in the Lot valley some even earlier cave paintings dating back 28,000 years, were created by human breath and a spitting technique.  Paintings of horses and stencils of hands created by this technique of spitting pigment in minute consistent quantities around the outline of the hand.  Black dots adorn horses.  Perhaps the black dots symbolise the spirit of the horse.

A Temple of Nature.  An elemental process.  Fire for light, charcoal from the fire made the pigment.  We touch the rock and make the rock eternal by tracing around the hand.   Leaving a trace while we are so lightly here.  We exist in time, we are subject to time and we will not have time.

Art makes us present.  It is the absolute being in the Now.  Here, Now.  Art takes self reflection.  Neanderthal cave art is 66,000 years old, found in El Castillo, Spain.  In Indonesia they were making art at exactly the same time.  A collective unconsciousness.. The same hand stencils thousands of miles apart.  Leaving a mark.

The indigenous art of Australia in Kimberly is possibly the oldest found art in the world.  Their spiritual beliefs governed their relationship with the land.  A moment of lived time.  The Art of Australia is not found in caves, but covered rocks.  The art there is more delicate, complex, pictorial, symbolic.  Sensitively revealing different relationships.  Plants and their relationship to humans.  A celebration.  Images of the Creation Mother.  The Sacred Feminine.

Art is trying to understand our place in the world.  A human need to express the inexpressible.  To go beyond the horizon and leave an ephemeral presence.  A present-absence.  A moment of lived time against the truth of geological time.  In Australia, rock art is still a part of life.

Art is intrinsic to who we are; it is our better self and expresses a joy in being, a connection with all living things and the imaginative, to mark our existence.  Through art, we are being fully ourselves.

We are creating dream worlds, weaving dreams with our hands and eyes.  Our consciousness is expressing a new way, and through the audience or the intention, it is amplified to improve, heal or transmute.  It is alchemy and it is balm.

To be a part of my art workshops in Spain, visit:

Some thoughts on art and creative impulses gleaned from watching Anthony Gormley talk about How Art Began, a documentary of the same name.



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Explorations of the Wild Feminine, an Art Retreat.

10th August 2019 – 17th August 2019

With Terre Cerridwyn Busse

“We have forgotten that we were born
of celestial cataclysm.”

“We have forgotten how to dance
bare-footed on the earth to the cadence
of our souls. we have forgotten the ritual
fires and the acrid tang of holy smoke
on our tongues.”
― Beth Morey, Night Cycles: Poetry for a Dark Night of the Soul

Explorations of the Wild Feminine through Paint, Story, Ritual and Adventure in Southern Spain

Including a workshop with me, Alice Mason on the Landscape and the Sacred Feminine in Nature.

More details soon.

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Poetry Workshops

In the boarding school where I work, I held a poetry workshop with my Chinese teenage students.  To set the tone for their writing, I started by playing them Tarkovsky film clips, playing Bach’s Prelude no 8, talking about stream of consciousness poetry, playing them Mary Oliver reciting ‘Wild Geese’, discussing ideas about what, if anything, poetry means to them. I wrote key words on the board, discussed meanings of vocabulary such as elemental, melancholy, visceral, visual poetry, and ideas about how writing and creativity helps us heal. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I saw potential and vision in them. Some of these kids are just 13 and 14 and the depth of their insights astonished me. Although their English is far from perfect,  somehow this adds to the beauty and enriches the writing.  My intention was to create an atmosphere of freedom; of letting go of expectations, and allowing things to flow.  I didn’t want them to think about rhyming or meter, but about ideas, emotions, inspiration, flow, catharthis and candour.  Some of these kids have been in boarding schools since such a young age and have been under huge amounts of pressure to ‘succeed’ from parents and guardians.

If there is one thing I feel I can do for these kids it is to hold space for them, without judgement, and with encouragement in a safe space to allow them to express themselves.  Here is one example. I needed to keep it.

It’s called Hero.

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Sacred Mountain

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A woman in a blue veil stands in prayer before a sacred mountain.

In my Etsy shop.

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The path knows me so well

I stare through the patterned, cross-hatched twigs and branches

To the horizon

Illuminated by a swathe of pink light

Held up by a blur of grey

The cargo boats travel along the horizon

Like small towns gliding


Walking, I know how much I need this

Somatically,  psychologically

The stillness

No wind or rain


Ice puddles

My foot steps through the thin layer of ice

I enjoy the sound of the splintering


Frost clings to the inert plants


Crows woosh above the layer of trees

that hold up the sea

Crows sound like winter

Their call feels like a slight mocking

A communication of some kind of mission


I see things in layers

Like my paintings



I stare up at the still

Milk-white sky

And I whisper

A benediction





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The Guitar Player

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