Saturday, 20 June 2009

You are an ocean wave my love

On 27/3/09 my daughter, Nina, was stillborn 27 weeks into the pregnancy. She had been diagnosed with Edwards Syndrome 6 weeks earlier and we had been advised she was unlikely to survive beyond the womb. She should have been born alive and healthy on 27/6/09.

As you can imagine, the last few weeks have been unbearable and I find myself a different person seeing the world through new eyes. My priorities have changed and where I once sought out excitement I now seek solace.

I buried my daughter in felt in a nature reserve. The artist who made the felt burial shroud has also initiated an art project making feet felt. I bought one of these kits with the intention of making molds of our feet to place as temporary markers above Nina's grave. I liked the imagery of the feet naturally degrading into earth around Nina's grave symbolising our unity, her place in our hearts, family and minds that will hold us together indefinitely.

In the early throws of our grief we did not have time to make the feet. Later, our grief caught our tongues and our flow of communication became blocked. We did not know how to express ourselves or make ourselves understood. I began to internalise my pain and my partner externalised his.

I began to write, seek out out distractions and creative prompts, my world fleetingly took me away from my family offering me a way of numbing this pain. I began Mother Henna's 'heART of the Hero' workshop (although I am disgracefully behind schedule).

I accepted the invitation to the Blog Festival: Solstice Hero Dance, Light on Shadow. I needed a way to reach out to my family and include them in my distractions and creative therapy and bring us back together and thought that making the feet felt kit together would be a symbolic way of doing this.

We went to Wales with my father to visit my grand parents. Over the course of 5 days we dyed wool, made wet felt patches, dressed feet, walked, collected drift wool, played on the beach, enjoyed the company of family and absorbed the beauty of the nature around us. There were many stages and processes to this feet felt project all of which were soothing to the soul.

During the Heart of the Hero workshop, I have been asked who my spirit guides are and what I would ask them. I have discovered that my guides are Sheep and Puffin. Right now I have no questions, instead I will listen and observe.

This morning I looked up the totem medicine of sheep:

Sheep can show how to maintain balance and have confidence in situations and abilities, teaches how to move in the physical with agility, camouflage and blending with surrounding, teaches a sense of togetherness and community along with showing how to make life easy and promote serenity. Sheep instills a sense of protection and alertness with peace of mind and heart. Are you protecting yourself enough and/or remaining centred in peace? Sheep wisdom can help in understanding your place and perceptions within the scheme of things.

Having read the medicine of Sheep it is no surprising that I have encountered so many people along my journey who find comfort and peace in felt making.

I the looked up the totem medicine of Puffin:

Those with this medicine would benefit by living near large bodies of water, particularly the ocean. Without water in their immediate environment they could have difficulty finding their equilibrium in life. Because water is associated with the intuition and all things hidden those with this medicine make excellent psychics and therapists.

Puffins rely on body language to convey messages to other puffins. Puffins are masters of disguise and teach those with this totem how to disguise their true feelings and use body language to their advantage. After all actions can speak louder than words!

Through out this project I have had the 'All About Eve' song 'Martha's Harbour' repeatedly playing in my mind. I'm not sure where it came from a I have not listened to 'All About Eve ' in more than 15 years, but it feels right. One of the meanings attributed to the name 'Nina' is 'goddess of the ocean'. So for now, Nina is my ocean wave lapping over our feet on the Welsh Island shores and can be seen with our feet in the beach photographs above.


ArtSparker said...

Those felt steps suggest a fairytale journey.

Ter said...

thank you for the comment you left on my blog. I agree, I have also found my creative side since the loss of my daughter, but like you said, it always returns to the loss. It's always about the loss. (or losses). My heart never stops thinking of them.

Jane said...

Oh my, Jasmine ... oh my. I can't convey the sweetness and sadness and wonder I felt as I viewed the felt feet in the waves, on the shore ... mother and daughter. Dear Jasmine, my blessings to you and your husband and your sweet one. I felt shivers as I read about your trip to Wales .... Wales as long been at the heart of my mythic landscape, and I have spent some time there in the past. I'm woefully behind in the Hero's Journey myself. But it's ok, as you know. I find that whenever we engage with a Journey, it engages us, whether we tend to all the details of it or not. Your post here reveals the magical steps of your journey indeed ....

Jane (the Dragonsinger :-) )

Manya Maratou said...

Jasmine, once again, thanks! Looking at these a song came-traditional- it says that "some call her bee, some call her wasp", the sting, the pain is sometimes all pain, or it can bring honey..
of course it is about love

Kara aka Mother Henna said...

Jasmine, thank you so much for sharing this with our Solstice Hero Fest. The photos are so moving...I feel like I am stepping into your Hero's Journey, seeing what you see, watching what you watch. So interesting to hear about your guides, too. After Kota died, I had many dreams about going to creeks all over the world, and at every single one, there were wisdom fish would would come to the surf and give me pearls. Thinking of you and Nina so much this coming week, too...

yvette said...

Jasmine, what a good thing you share this with us. Felt is such magnificent healer. I read your post with tears in my eyes. I have to follow your links to fully understand...This week especially i think energy and good thought for you and yours.
and miracle's indeed

Jasmine said...

Thank you all for your kind responses and keeping me in your thoughts.

I'm sending hugs to you all xx

Tammie Lee said...

Hello Jasmine,
First I saw your photos, the amazing felt feet that walked the world and I was enchanted. Then I read your post and my heart leans towards you wanting to offer you energy, a loving energy that you can use how ever you wish.
with warmth,

Jasmine said...

Thank you so much.

I had a lot of fun making the feet felt and the whole process was very peaceful and soothing. So although there is a sad story behind the making of the feet felt the process and activity of the project was a happy comforting experience. Very calming. A lovely group activity or equally would be a magical solitar experience. Much recommended :-)

Nao Sims said...

You words reach into the depths of what matters. The felt feet are a beautiful symbolic and soulful ritual~

ruthie said...

as part of my "day" job i paint onto granite memorials, peoples requests for images that will help them remember their loved ones, angels, loved pets or favourite things, i love this part of my job as i can see it helps to heal their hearts, but of all the work i have ever done, your beautiful felt feet & the meaning of togetherness, touched me so deeply, what a beautiful idea.

Needle Woven Studio said...

(((Beautiful You, Jasmine.)))

TMCPhoto said...

just beautiful, the act of the felt making, the images that came from the making, the thoughts and the poetics of your final paragraph.

I can only imagine the pain of losing Nina. That you can translate your grief into such a breath taking work of art is such a touching memorial.

Thank you