To Sing with Bards and Angels
A JOURNEY INTO THE CREATIVE HEART
By Iona Jenkins /www.o-books.com
To Sing with Bards and Angels weaves together the fertile worlds of our spiritual and creative lives with the natural world and the realm of Spirit, illustrating with personal stories, poems, and suggestions for practice, how the relationships between these worlds are intimate, inseparable, and life-enriching. Iona Jenkins' gentle wisdom illuminates the landscape of the heart and the song of the soul in each of us. - Eimear Burke, Chosen Chief of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids
I am a spiritual explorer, journeying into the Creative Heart, on a quest to work in harmony with the Creative Spirit. This path of Art and Soul has re-awakened my senses to the empathy I once shared with the natural world as a child when connection to the landscape was automatic, and everyday held a promise of magic.
As a young girl, in tune with the wonders of nature in every season, the countryside around the Yorkshire village I grew up in, offered me a benevolent sanctuary. I found and named wildflowers, located the best elderberries and blackberries. I had a stream full of sticklebacks, frogspawn, tadpoles, even newts. Moorhens swam or patrolled the bank on flat grey feet that looked almost alien. Even when I was alone in the countryside, except for the company of a family dog, I was never lonely. A gentle nurturing Presence always seemed to enfold me, though I had neither inclination nor experience to name it at that time.
Woodland groves in autumn showered acorns, and beechnuts for necklace making, cones for painting gold and silver, horse chestnuts for a game of conkers. There were suitable trees for climbing, and bush den hideaways, in this magical Kingdom, around my home on a National Coal Board Estate. My memory, still vibrant with such images conjures up this old friend of a landscape in the shades of any season, like an oil or water colour on the screen of my imagination. Outside at dawn or twilight, those threshold hours between day and night, I often get the impression I am standing in a painting.
The magical child of my past pressed flowers, read books, devoured knowledge about wild animals, birds, and plants. She wrote journals and stories, sang songs, danced for joy in sunshine, or drew pictures on the backs of old rolls of wallpaper, when it rained. She would often dream up scenarios and characters for play with friends, and it was only after the transition from village junior school to serious secondary school that life began to change.
This was the first time I put my creative life on the back burner. We must be able to deal with life’s practical issues, as we grow, as new patterns emerge, and I am grateful to have inherited this ability from my mother. My father, who could sing, paint, and understand mathematics, was forced to stifle his creativity, due to leaving school at fourteen, eventually working down a coal mine like his father before him, and his Irish immigrant grandfather who had once ploughed the land. All those men, rebellious and hardened by life, had hidden music in their hearts, so who can say what their potential might have been, given the right opportunities. Art rhymes with Heart, and an illuminated Soul finds its own Song.
Through my mid-life years, weekend hours spent in parks and gardens around West London, provided a break from the intensity of working days, returning me to the inspiration of green sanctuary. I began carrying a notebook and pen when the poems and lines of philosophy began to appear. My life in nature became word magical, and writing in a fast flow, was often surprising, because some of the ideas I expressed seemed new to me. I felt that sense of a protective, guiding Presence again, interpreting it as an Angel, sometimes a Druid, or even a blend of the two.
London brought more blessings in the form of wonderful Italian neighbours, whose attitude to celebration, inclusiveness, and family, sparked new interest, with a door of creative opportunity. After work contracts took them home, we continued to exchange visits, and remain friends to this day. In the cities of Florence and Rome, a quality of light, I had never previously noticed in urban environments, opened my awareness to great art.
One day exploring the Eternal City, I sat outside in the province of Lazio, where earth, mountains, autumnal warmth, and garden trees laden with ripe lemons seemed to mingle in sunlight with my memory of Rome’s angelic paintings and sculpture. This blending of nature and sacred art inspired a poem I called The Language of Angels. The natural world, and artistic expression merged for me in a way that, suggested a connection between creative energies and more subtle realms. My journey into the Creative Heart had really begun.
Five years later, following a time of difficult life challenges, I came to this south-western shore of Wales, where I was lucky enough to find a small apartment with a balcony, and a view across the sea towards the Somerset coast. Next, I discovered a spiritual home in modern Druidry. Nature and art were harmonic, as Bards and Angels started singing together in my inner landscape. I looked back over my life, especially the sacred places I had been drawn to in the past, without realising their full significance at the time of connection. My experience rolled out before me like a tapestry, with events, people, and places woven into patterns of light and shade, like an unbroken flow of Celtic knotwork.
In my opinion, human beings form part of the Creative Force, and our creativity is beneficial when it connects to the heart’s wisdom. We have a responsibility to life on planet Earth. The human heart is fashioned in a similar shape to the musical harp. Harps connect me to Druid Bards, whose inspiration enchants with poetry, song, and story, raising awareness, opening doors of possibility, and passing on wisdom. Such inspiration known as Awen (Ah-wen) or Flowing Spirit, is sung rather than spoken, and for me angels are notes in the Great Song of this Celtic Holy Spirit.
One full moon winter’s night, after lighting a candle lantern by the door of my balcony, an image of an otherworldly being formed in my mind’s eye, evoked by the landscape outside, and the moon’s silver path across night rippling ocean. The Presence hovering on the edge of my awareness over the years, had assumed an angelic form of light.
Serene and tall as a tree, he stood upon the moonlight path, pearly white, in an aura of pastel flecked silver. I say he was male, though he exhibited a soft feminine quality. Images and ideas flowed through the voice of my heart, like a colourful musical stream, translated by my descriptive voice, flowing swiftly from pen to paper as a conversation.
“I offer you Creative Wisdom!” The angel floated in an aura of candle glow and pale rainbows.”
Accepting his offer, life became a poem, a song, a story, as Creative Wisdom from an angel I now know as Astariel, illuminated a book I wrote, and called To Sing with Bards and Angels.
Whoever you are, whatever your cultural or spiritual background, the Creative Spirit is there for all, shining through any talent or positive channel that expresses your gifts, be they great or small. And if you should add a cup of love to your creative potion, then you might just discover some notes of angel wisdom and inspiration in the unique song of your own life.
To Sing with Bards and Angels is an invitation to travel through landscapes evoked by beautiful language, into the heart of nature and imagination.
Step into the magic of a creative spiritual journey through the descriptive voice of a contemporary Bard, as she shares her quest to live and work in harmony with the Creative Spirit, writing her way into being, turning her life into poetry and story.
With help from an angel and a full moon shining on the ocean, Iona Jenkins blends this potion of inspiration from a treasury of memories, her love of wisdom, sacred places, native landscapes, legends, the arts and nature, all served in a cup of creative possibility for those aspiring to live with wisdom and soul as spiritual artists. A few sprinklings of practical suggestions, optional meditations and tasks are added to help readers discover inspiration flowing through the unique song of their own lives.
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