The sea, as nature as a whole, is a vast reserve of life, in all it's moods, and has a cleansing effect on visitors who spend time there.
1. Wander down to the stream of Mnemosyne and drink from the sweet waters. Tell us about how you found Soul Food and about the appearance of Imogen Crest.
A few years ago I had been meaning to go to classes Heather was taking, not knowing of course, that it was the same Heather who runs Soul Food Cafe. They were called "Writing for Well Being" and I was going to attend these with a friend, but due to work and other study commitments, it didn't happen. So the finding of Lemuria some years later proved very fortunate -- a creative journey that led to group blogging about art and creativity, and uncovering skills I did not know I had, and developing my writing. Imogen Crest came about one afternoon, when we got tired of the doom and gloom on the news, so the idea of a Hermitage, a refuge from the clamour and noise of the outside world surrounded in nature was born, in online form. The Hermitage
had to have an occupant, so "Imogen Crest" the female hermit, came into being. She teaches the value of solitude, a kind of ageless muse, balanced with everyday challenges. It is this perpetual return to solitude that maintains the balance of busy lives today.
2. Tell us about the sea and what influence it has on your writing? Your nature photographs are favourites of many at Soul Food. Talk about nature and Sustainability City and why you feel so passionately about the earth.
When my late partner of many years saw what I was doing online, and came to know Heather and Soul Food through this practice of daily posting, he bought my first digital camera for me. He did this because he had always encouraged my photographic work. We loved the sea and nature, and loved to spend time in these surroundings. Through the learning of online techniques which were new to me, I developed a collection of images which take people back to their connection with nature. The sea, as nature as a whole, is a vast reserve of life, in all it's moods, and has a cleansing effect on visitors who spend time there. The Hermitage is near the sea, and there is a "Cypress Walk" which can be completed to meditative words and pictures. People have often reported on feeling calmer just from looking at the images. So nature and the sea have a lot to offer, by way of helping people to centre back into balance.
3. Dreaming tracks in Australia trace the creative journey of the Spirit Ancestors as they formed the land and laid down the Law. Dreaming tracks are sometimes called 'songlines' and record the travels of the Spirit Ancestors who 'sung up' the country into life. Map some of the dreaming tracks that you have followed at Soul Food.
By participating in Soul Food, it has been possible to explore nature, and all it's wonders and themes. Often we work with myths, and archetypes to create stories, and this often brings about surprising new ideas. For instance, the Temple of Solace was born at a time when Heather and I saw a need for people to understand grief and have a place to go to read inspiring words and express their feelings. It has become a very popular destination worldwide, seeded from this idea, and grows in importance each day. The Murmuring Woods
were dreamed up out of Riversleigh Manor, when the history of its mistress became apparent. She had not lost touch with her wild nature connection, so there the seed to this magical place was born. Imogen Crest, the very good hermit she is, presides over these Woods, and makes sure everything is in order. The themes of magical Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night take place there, among others. In this way, the connection with nature, with all its colour and diversity, is restored through daily practice.
4. I know you are familiar with voice dialogue Imogen. Take a seed pod and talk to it about abundance. Share any fresh insights that you glean from her today.
It must be too late in the year, but all I can think of is that crazy quote about the acorn, so "The oak tree was once just a nut that held its ground". The seed holds the promise of growth, and contains its own intelligence, no matter what. I think this is important to seeds, to grow, and flourish. So the message is to have faith, hold your ground, and keep growing, no matter what.
5.. Despite transient plenty the modern landscape can seem bereft of promise and creativity. What antidotes have you found to protect your creativity.
Daily routine and practice, as recommended by Heather Blakey at Soul Food, really is the key. If you don't have an interest in what you are doing that makes it difficult, so do what you love. You have to be able to get to it, in any way, shape or form, daily. When you don't love it anymore, don't do it. Make changes, and be inspired by many things, and the world grows in fascination. I recall once Heather had us do studies of manhole covers and drains, and we made them into art. Before this I had never noticed the interesting designs and symbolism that could be put to these in a creative setting. So I think the most important thing is to be open to explore new creative things, and tend to this practice daily.
The seed holds the promise of growth, and contains its own intelligence, no matter what. I think this is important to seeds, to grow, and flourish.
When Monika Roleff arrived at Soul Food she had little idea that she was to become Imogen Crest, the female Hermit who would preside over the Hermitage and the Murmuring Woods. True to her role Roleff works quietly behind the scenes and has been responsible for the archives that fill the Global Mouseion, the rich resources in the Temple of Solace and the bounty in both the Hermitage and the Murmuring Woods. It is people like Imogen who are the life blood of the site and who keep it functioning on a daily basis.
Monika is a visionary, a child of the earth and her Sustainability City
is the place where she can truly be at one with nature and lead the way for others.
The Life of Imogen Crest
¥ © Ô
Incense mystified the enigmatic
halls where I once roamed,
a novice, dressed in
By book, my scroll,
my pen and dark ink,
my wayward hound and cat,
my pillow of spun silk in red,
rose of lavender.
I am a frieze on a
in my halls and alleys,
to surmise, not judge.
I am neither you
nor I, cast of
You might see me in
a tapestry of days?
I saw the rose beginning to
I saw the stone on the
I saw my knight laid
Tonight I think
to spin straw
and drop my silken
poor merchant’s sill.
- Imogen Crest.
copyright Imogen Crest 2005.
The Murmuring Woods were dreamed up out of Riversleigh Manor, when the history of its mistress became apparent. She had not lost touch with her wild nature connection, so there the seed to this magical place was born. Imogen Crest, the very good hermit she is, presides over these Woods, and makes sure everything is in order.