Last week on the night of the Full Moon, my partner and I joined Christine Farrow-Noble and her husband Chris at their home in Brooksville, Maine where a group of people were gathered to walk the Noble’s labyrinth. This particular labyrinth is carved out of a tall grassy meadow and its un-seeable until you are actually walking the path which is mowed down following a classical labyrinth pattern. Christine told us all the story of this particular labyrinth being constructed for her wedding to Chris in 2005. They were married in the center of the labyrinth among the wildflowers and the transformative magic that comes with ancient symbols like this one.
Christine is an expert on labyrinths and has studied them, written about them, and created them in places around the globe. When walking a labyrinth, the idea is to walk within silence and reflect on what it is you would like to release from your life at the center of the labyrinth where you can discard your troubles as an offering to the universe. When you return on the path, you focus on what you want to receive from the universe and bring back with you. What’s interesting is that labyrinth patterns have been discovered in nearly every human culture across the world, making it a truly universal symbol of life.
Walking a labyrinth is not the same as a maze because the maze will take you on false turns. A classic labyrinth will take you to the center while turning and walking the entire design. It’s a truly meditative experience and I felt recharged when I completed the journey.
This weekend in our small fishing village of Stonington, Maine we hosted the annual Lobster Boat Races. Lobstermen from all over compete with their boats—some of them put in special engines just for the occasion and then remove them for regular fishing—crossing the harbor at full throttle while people watch from other boats, dinghys, islands offshore, and from the harborside restaurants and the hillside homes. It’s a sport roughly equivalent to NASCAR but on the water and attracts a similar spectator (with beer as much on the mind as racing).
Lobster Boat Races
We went out in our double kayak into the relative safety of the harbor spectator boats to watch the races this Sunday. The waves generated by the racing boats made for an exciting couple of hours for us in our little craft. We did endure a few jibes from people on lobstering boats but we had expected it since kayakers are also known as “speedbumps” in lobstermen parlance.
Out in the harbor at sea level you notice details you might otherwise miss. Symbolism is a big part of feng shui and lobster fishing culture. Many of the lobster boats have incredibly creative and often humorous names. Size Matters, Pound a Pot, Wet Dream, Foolish Pleasure, Underdog, Joyful Noise, MyGraine…to name a few.
The Stackhouse home (photo courtesy HBO)
If your grandmother had been murdered in your home would you still want to live in that house? If a pagan goddess had held orgies and human sacrifices in and around your property, would you slap a coat of new paint on it and say ‘good as new’ and carry on with your life once the trash was removed? If you spent 5 minutes in the faery realm that was equal to a year in human time and came back to find people thought you were dead so they sold your house to a vampire while you were away would you fight to keep that house–the same house with all this negative history? That’s what Sookie Stackhouse of HBO’s “True Blood” series is doing.
I am a big fan of this show–it’s a hoot and a half–and if I were invited to Bon Temps to do a Feng Shui By Fishgirl consultation for Sookie I think my advice would be to move! There’s only so much a space clearing smudge can do when there is excessive residual build-up from horrific events. Now she’s got a vampire living in her basement (okay so Eric’s a hottie vampire but he’s still an unwanted guest at this point in the series) and that is causing her stress.The place has been renovated (a big feng shui plus) but her brother who lived there with her has been kidnapped by Cat People (a big feng shui minus) so the makeover hasn’t changed the weird ch’i much, it seems.
Sookie, you can do better, girl! Take the money from the sale of the house and go get yourself a condo with a pool so you can soak up the sun while the vamps are asleep. What do you think? Should Sookie stay or should she go? Are you a True Blood fan?
This is a painting I did of my brother's farm house.
When my brother was renovating an old farm house he bought that was 150 years old or more, he discovered an antique woman’s shoe concealed in the wall. We heard that people used to do that for superstitious reasons but I didn’t find out why until today when I was at the Castine Historical Society in Castine, Maine. They had a number of shoes on display that had been found in the houses around the area—some date back to 1600’s as this yankee New England historic town is that old! It’s said that they were thought to ward off evil spirits while building a house. June Swann has written a wonderful article about the practice and I read here that it may have replaced an even older superstition of human sacrifice used in foundations of buildings! Why shoes? Shoes take on the shape of the wearer and are as close to a body as one can (legally) bury in the walls of a house. Usually children’s and women’s shoes are what have been discovered and that may be because they were less expensive than men’s shoes or were replaced more often so would not be missed. While feng shui is not based on superstitious belief, the idea of protecting a home from negative energies is very much a part of the practice. I can’t imagine stuffing a pair of Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos in the chimney flu for good luck, can you?