The Holly and the Starfish:

PROTECTION, REGENERATION AND RENEWAL

Yes I know we usually think of the ´holly and the ivy´ at this time of year, but having had two dreams pretty much back to back this week, I feel the need to delve deeper into the meaning.
Before I do however – a quick ‘catch-up’.
When last I wrote in September, I was heading back to Barcelona. With Javier being such a big part of my life, this ‘to-ing and fro-ing’, is what I do….Travel, it seems is destined to be on my agenda and as long as I am able, long may it continue. Following his operation this summer he too is facing the usual challenges when it comes to accepting that our bodies are not quite what they used to be, but the good news is that we can grow the brain! We have known each other since we were eighteen years old, when life was full of exciting expectations. Our destinies took us far away from each other, and perhaps that is why now, in our silver years we can look back and appreciate God’s wisdom. It wasn’t always that way, at least not for me, having spent great periods of my life yearning for what I once thought lost. Being the actress, albeit once upon a time, life’s dramas were all part of the grand plan……..(Okay – I’ll stop here as I’ve detailed those times quite sufficiently in And So We Heal.)
Bottom line…..I am no longer yearning for lost love, and am grateful beyond measure…..How´s that for a positive theme to this blog!img_0178
Time for a new chapter!
Back in Barcelona, I was indeed determined to keep the outlook positive. Following on from my Italian journey, I was eager to continue enjoying the ‘living’ as opposed to feeding the ‘worrying.’ Barcelona is such a popular destination with tourists that avoiding them takes effort, so too learning how to defy the callings from the endless bakeries. We are on the doorstep of the amazing SAGRADA FAMILIA, and on any given day one can witness pretty much representatives from all around the globe, so I feel more of a connection to humanity here. It´s a big shift from my more reflective life in the UK with a window on the powerful Irish sea.img_0149

In Barcelona, luckily I have a membership for the local ‘Bicing’ which includes use of electric bikes as well as pedal bikes, so navigating this busy city is made that much more pleasant. In the UK my daily routine includes riding my bike along the promenade. (It’s pretty much overtaken my obsession with the re-bounder, and all beneficial for the lymphedema.) Yes – I still continue with the compression stockings, and no word regarding the possible microsurgery I talked about in the last blog. To tell you the truth, my focus has been on other things, and since I am ‘managing’, I assume that when the time is right a better solution will appear. Needless to say the shock of the USA elections took precedence for a while, just as Brexit did. I am still holding hope that both results are a temporary bleep on the world´s political stage and that common sense and goodness will win in the end! There is only so much suffering that one can bear witness too, and my heart these days is holding so much empathy for the people of Aleppo. Humanities attrocities are endless…I can but pray!

And so……Soon after arriving back in Spain, up came the prospect of driving to the Delta D’Elebro, to document the Shumei EU Natural Agriculture rice project being harvested. Javier and I had been instrumental in finding the perfect place and partnership in Rietvell – http://www.rietvell.com. Fortunately we were feeling well enough to spend a few days in this beautiful area which is much prized for it’s nature reserves and bird life. Meeting the director, Juan Carlos Riera and hearing a little of the history of the land, and the fact that Rietvell is partners with the worldwide organisation of SEO/Birdlife (www.seo.org/catalunya/reserva-natural-de-riet-vell-tarragona/), made them the perfect match for Shumei’s first Natural Agriculture project in Spain.img_0095
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Ironically, having been on a carbohydrate restricted diet since Mexico, one of my favourite foods ‘brown rice’, had become a luxury where once it had been an almost daily addition. Little by little I have been enjoying anew a steaming hot bowl of brown rice, chewing it with gusto and gratitude. Indeed there is an effective macrobiotic cancer diet that uses this world-wide staple, and even though the world seems to be on an anti-grain kick at the moment, I personally am welcoming it back to my table. Rietvell’s organic rice has a wonderful nutty flavour, and I can only hope that Shumei’s crop which did not use any form of fertilizer will prove to be as tasty. (Watch this space)
As fate would have it I found a great deal on a small camcorder to replace the others that have bitten the dust, and my passion for documenting life’s happenings was re-newed.img_4267img_4258img_4159

Returning back to the UK, I forgot to mark October 25th as a landmark 15 years since my cancer diagnosis and that’s a positive thing, signalling that I have other things on my mind and cancer is not the main focus.
Indeed, my creativity has enjoyed a revival and I find myself painting again, including the much loved ‘touchstones’, and angels. DCIM101MEDIA

So too my ability to document a growing fascination with the bird population that bring a daily entertainment to my room with a view. It’s not just the birds. All manner of things pass by ….Dogs especially delight in their walks and runs along the sand; horses from the nearby stables gallup by, and at least once every few days the sound of a flying machine has me running to grab my camera to capture the unbelievable sight of a man high up in the skies, sail billowing and engine propelling him along the shore. All these wonders nurture a continual gratitude for each new day that I am given. And Javier is just the ‘touch of a button’ away with Skype or Google Hangout , so time away from each other is manageable, proving that absense makes the heart grow fonder.
Even the usual three month visit to see my oncologist no longer fills me with dread as I can appreciate the journey and all the people I meet along the way. Since changing oncologists – I am now assigned to Clatterbridge cancer centre which entails a beautiful ride into the countryside. Ironically, it is here that I was diagnosed all those years ago. There were choices to be made then, and I don’t regret choosing not to go the orthodox route, to follow the signs along a road less travelled. Let’s face it, I am a free spirit at heart, and it is my spirit not my physical body that brings me a peace that passeth all understanding. My regime is much the same as before with the addition of laetrile B17, once again,thanks to a friend shipping it from the USA, – with a hefty duty to pay to HMS customs I might add. I have however stopped the Low dose naltrexone – LDN as the liquid version was hurting my teeth and come to find out it has sweetener in it. I still continue with a good sized leaf of kalanchoe which I have written about in past blogs. I have been cultivating little babies of this amazing plant for 2 years now, and am just starting to make poultices with it.img_0091
My latest blood tests show that my hemoglobin is low, with my iron at 3….where the norm is 4.5- 6.5……………I was a little suspicious at first since on asking for a copy of my bloods I was sent home with someone else’s results, which had I not been scouring intently I may have not realised. A reminder to keep vigilant on these things………..The medical profession are not Gods, and are highly overstressed with patient overflow….Appologies were sent and investigations did reveal that YES my iron is low and a supplement is forthcoming – meanwhile I am upping the spinach and beets and all the other dietary alternatives to red meat. Folic acid is back on the menu……And that’s about it!
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Well not quite – The Holly and the Starfish?
Oh yes…..almost forgot. Having dreamt that whilst I was holding two long stalks of holly, I was suddenly aware of a large crowd approaching. In one moment they passed me by almost pinning me to a wall. The next image was of the holly lying on the floor with the stalks crushed, but the holly leaves still intact. So…..as is my inquisitive nature I googled about and found the following :
Dreaming of Holly means you should be mindful of what is troubling you, and picking holly in your dreams means you will have a long life.
Celtic Holly Meaning: Just as the oak attracts lightning, holly repels lightning. It was often planted around homes for protection from lightning, and for this reason it is viewed as a symbol for protection. The ancient Celts would bring holly into their homes for their bright, cheerful disposition. They were also considered a symbol of good luck. Interestingly, science has actually discovered the distinct leaf-shape of the holly acts as a natural repellent for lightning energy, making the holly’s protective significance more than just lore. Holly leaves are very prickly, and deemed another metaphor for protection, vigilance, and stubborn victories won. When you are feeling the walls cave in on you, call upon the holly. Invoke its protective qualities and you will soon find you no longer need be on the defensive. The holly will protect and bolster you to victory.
Let your beauty shine within even in times of dormancy. Rule the day, and let your generosity be your legacy The energy of life is ever-present!
Others believe holly leaves to represent the thorns of Jesus’s crown and the berries to represent his blood.
Tree Magick
by Gillian Kemp
Like the Evergreen Holly tree, or “holy tree” you have divine talents at the root and heart of your being. Your whole world can grow “evergreen” from it. Like the berries or the smooth or prickly leaves on a male of female tree, your life will take shape around its essential nature. The thorny leaves and red berries represent suffering. When the fruits are discovered by patience, what is possibly a test now will prove a credit to you. This is a fresh start, a second chance, or time of renewal and permanence, promising a fortified heart and a happier life.

Phew………a lot to take in but Hallelujah to all that and so much for a short blog…….And more….
A few days later I am awakened with the image of a starfish….Just that a single image jolting me awake as if to say – TAKE NOTE!……
And so I did : In cultural myth and legend, starfish meaning ranges from symbolism of love to superior strength. These creatures have been mesmerizing sea farers and beach combers for as long as they’ve graced the oceans. It’s no wonder. How cool to witness a star in the sea, reminding us of that awesome phrase by alchemist and philosopher, Hermes Trismegistus. He said: “As above, so below.” This is a metaphysical concept. He’s saying that what happens on an energetic, cosmic level – that action is mimicked on a mundane/earthy level. The concept of “law of attraction” illustrates this. What happens in the mind (‘above’ or energetic realm) is manifested in the physical (‘below’ or earthly realm).
So, in my way of thinking, the starfish is a great representative for this concept. They are the stars below, mimicking the stars above. Their remarkable ability to sense, move, regenerate – all that good stuff is available to us humans on earth. The starfish’s ability to re-grow their bits and pieces is also symbolic of healing and renewal. This also ties in with water symbolism. Water is symbolic of healing, purification, cleansing. Water is also symbolic of emotion and intuition which ties in with the starfish meaning of sensory perception.
In terms of healing, the starfish can be a grand ally in your journey of renewal. If you’re struggling with emotional or health challenges… If the starfish can heal and re-grow…so can we as humans. Our regeneration might look a little different. But, through neuro-network patterns (retraining pathways in the brain) we can certainly regenerate new avenues thought that facilitate healing.
Am I saying we can re-grow an arm if we lose one like the starfish can? Well..that’s a stretch. But I will say we can regenerate our attitudes, our beliefs, our mind-sets. We can grow knew limbs of thought that take us to higher levels of experience. We can lop off parts of our belief systems that no longer serve us. We can replace these phantom limbs with higher-minded ideals. We can cut off our bad habits, and regenerate good ones. You get my point.

Starfish Meaning in Myth and Legend
Christianity:
In Christian symbolism the starfish represents the Virgin Mary (Stella Maris which means Star of the Sea) who lovingly creates safe travel over troubled waters and is also seen as an emblem of salvation during trying times. The star as well as the starfish are seen as celestial symbols and as such, they represent infinite divine love. In addition to love, the starfish also holds characteristics such as guidance, vigilance, inspiration, brilliance and intuition.
Roman:
In Roman mythology, the starfish is a symbol of the love goddess Venus. She was born from the foaming tides of the Adriatic sea. Some paintings depict her with a shell in her hand – others with a starfish. Venus shares a connection with the starfish because she is a sensory goddess, and so too is the starfish. Like the waters she is born from, Venus is a goddess of feeling and emotion. She is also a goddess who governs tactile, physical attributes. The five-pointed starfish is a symbol of two arms, two legs and the top limb as the head (think Vitruvian man). Venus and the starfish make a symbolic duo of love, sensitivity, emotion, and physical wholeness.
Tsimshian:
Tsimshian is an order of Native Americans who hail from the Northwest Coast of North America. This order is comprised of Tlingit and Haida, of which are divided into two factions: Ravens and Eagles, respectively. Within the Haida-Eagle faction, there is a sub-clan. The starfish clan. In fact, starfish are sometimes carved into Haida totem poles to mark the lineage of this branch. Haida picked the starfish as an emblem because they observed it to be super-strong. Its ability to crack into a mussel shell proved great strength. Haida also connected longevity with starfish meaning. They observed the starfish ability to regenerate, and deemed the starfish to be immortal.
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Many of you might be familiar with the story of an old man coming to the starfish’s rescue. He encountered countless starfish stranded on the beach. He tirelessly set to work, tossing each one back into the sea. A young man saw this guy flailing about, trying to save all the starfish, and said: “Hey, old geezer…what’s the point? You can’t possibly save them all!” To which the old man responded, “Maybe not. But I can save this one, and that makes all the difference.”

Gosh…………………..These two dreams really cracked my consciousness open.
With it being the Christmas season….nice to feel a sense of protection. Jesus and Mary, showing up is a comforting thought. I was born a christian, and embrace all manner of good faiths – knowing my life and light has been enriched in so many ways by doing so……
May we all then embrace this season with a fortified heart envisioning a happier life for all the world’s brothers and sisters. See you soon for that bright New Year!