Writing Creatively With Spirit

A journey of psychic discovery


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Love is Not a Reward

The long silence has been the result of getting my head down and focusing on completing 3 major pieces of writing.

Love is Not a Reward - Stories and Sourcebook

Love is Not a Reward – Stories and Sourcebook

I’ve come up for air. I’ve been going through the proofs of the two Love is Not a Reward books – text and source books. They will be available for sale soon, just a few more corrections and they’ll be on the shelves.

Also, I’ve just completed the first draft of a play. I won’t mention the title at the moment because it might change. It’s out to readers so I can breath for a few days. Initial responses have been very favourable, though the indications are that more work will be required to make it ready for stage. 

I am, however, very excited by suggestions that it would work as a radio play, and also as a book (narrative). One person even mentioned film.

Does the spiritual work affect my writing?  Absolutely!! Particularly the subject matter. Even the colour of the cover for Love is Not a Reward was shown to me in a shamanic journey.

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Cameroon Experience – Take care the juju man

Sunday 22nd September 2013

Where to begin? Start at the beginning, go to the end and there stop! Can’t remember who said it but it’s probably the best plan for this blog.

My escort

My escort

I went to church. We were a little late getting there as my escort was on Africa time, but we were only ten minutes late due to some gentle prodding from me. I think they’d just sung a song and said a prayer by the time we arrived, and were splitting into seminar groups.

Young people had a choice of four as did the adults. I attended the one entitled ‘no limits with faith.’ I think the title ‘seminar’ was misleading. My understanding of splitting people into seminar groups is that they can explore a topic in a more interactive way than in a big group.

Not so here. It was 30 minutes of mini preaching by a young woman with a round, well scrubbed face, sensible clothes and the mandatory head wrap. I was the only woman in the church who didn’t have her hair covered. Also the only one wearing jewellery and make up. Of the 60 or so members the women out numbered the men by 3:1.

About ten minutes into the seminar my mind began drifting and I looked around at the other groups. (We were in different parts of the room). Pretty much the same thing was going on in the other groups, and I noticed a number of members who wasn’t even trying to hide their boredom.

I was thinking that at least it was only 30 minutes and that we must be coming near the end when the pastor announced that there was 15 minutes left. I almost groaned out loud. As he announced the 8 minutes left mark I wondered how seven minutes could have gone by so slowly.

That torture ended only to be replaced by a televised sermon, beamed live from Nigeria, by the founder of the ministry. Two hours was more than I could stand. After the lengthy testimonies I tried to keep up with his sermon with the many Bible reference, before consciousness abdicated and I drifted in and out of sleep.

It wasn’t that I disagreed with anything he was saying. I believe that if God is protecting you nothing can harm you. I believe that if you surrender your life to spirit that you will be provided for in every way possible in order to fulfil your life purpose. I just didn’t need to be told it in so many different ways in two hours.

After the sermon I was invited to stand and be welcomed to the church formally. I was also invited to meet the pastor after what turned out to be three hours and twenty minutes service.

‘How was it?’ he enquired as I sat opposite him as if being interviewed.

‘Long.’ I replied.

He seemed a little taken aback and said that today was a special meeting; normally they finish at 11 a.m. which would have shaved a whole hour off.

I couldn’t promise that I’d be coming back, but said I’d think about it.

Rick, my escort, invited me to have lunch with him. I got to try the local dish that I’d heard so much about, cornmeal fufu. I was convinced it was going to be like Jamaican turn cornmeal, but alas it was a much stodgier, more tasteless affair.

I enjoyed the pumpkin leaves it was served with though. So much so that I bought some in the market later to use as part of the meal I cooked for the house.

He’s part of the housekeepers household and gave me the opportunity to ask if there was a picture of the man who is buried at the front of the house we’re living in. I was curious to see if his was the face I saw on my drive into Kumbo on my first day.

The man in the photo they showed me didn’t have a beard, and the face I saw definitely did.

‘Did he ever have a beard?’ I asked.

‘He did once,’ said the housekeeper who knew him well.

His was exactly the type of beard I’d seen, and I was convinced it was the same man. Maybe he was just welcoming me to his house in the way everyone keeps welcoming me to Cameroon generally, and Kumbo specifically.

We spent a while talking about his mother who is a visionary, and why Christianity is on the rise in Africa, yet declining rapidly in the West.

Prison shop and disused hen house

Prison shop and disused hen house

He then took me on a mini tour of Kumbo. I fell in love with and bought some material from a seamstress who will make me several garments as soon as I can tell her what I want.

We had an impromptu tour of the prison grounds with its farm, fishing lakes and pig farm before heading to the administrative centre, and the town hall which guarded by a lion. Pleasant as it was it was nowhere near as interesting as seeing Squares in the daytime (where we had that delicious fish on my birthday).

Lion like

Lion like

My treat was seeing some juju dancers and getting to dance with one of them. The bells on their ankles reminded me of Morris dancers, but that’s where the similarities ended. They were masked and remained so throughout. They danced to drums and xylophones, big wooden ones that I realised were the ones also used in the funeral rituals Malidoma Patrice Some writes about.

When they finished we wandered down to the palace which was fairly quiet as most people had been watching the juju dancers.

Juju dancers

Juju dancers

Rick pointed out a doorway with many symbols around it and said it was the home of the jujus. I took a picture and was trying to peep into the dark cave- like room when I heard someone shouting at me.

I looked up to see a man running towards me.

‘You can’t go in there?’ he said sternly, and said something to Chima that I didn’t understand.

‘Why?’ I asked curiously.

‘Because it’s secret. You shouldn’t be taking photo or going in there.’

‘I was only looking,’ I protested. ‘Why is it secret?’

Dancing with the juju man

Dancing with the juju man

He just repeated, ‘because it’s secret’ and spoke to Rick again. Chima later explained that he was asking him why he hadn’t explained to me that I couldn’t take pictures or go in there.

‘So why can’t I go in there?’ I wanted to know.

‘Because that’s where the serious juju men live. The ones who can say some words and disappear in front of your eyes. The ones its best to run if you see them. They’re the ones that can do serious things to you.’

2013-09-21 21.07.00‘But I was dancing with them just now, they didn’t seem that scary,’ I protested.

‘They are the ones in training. They haven’t been initiated yet. Once that get initiated things change, they learn how to do some serious magic.’

The interesting thing is that just a few doors down from the juju house is a mosque. Religion and magic side by side.

It was getting close to the time when the market would close so we headed back on a bike, our third of the day. I’m getting used to them now. After haggling over a whole hand of plantains we went back home where Rick proceeded to kill the chicken we were going to have for dinner.

Killing the chicken for dinner

Killing the chicken for dinner

A day-to-day thing for him, it was pure drama for us. I passed on choosing which one of the hens to kill. I didn’t want to look into its eyes and risk seeing it pleading for its life.

It’s such a long time since I saw a chicken being killed that I asked if I could film it. As Chima pulled the knife across the chicken’s neck a cock crowed. As if it knew one of its kind was laying down its life to feed some hungry people.

As I was up to by elbow in frying chicken someone said, ‘This is Banner. He’s the natural medicine man we told you about.’

Nearly ready for the pot

Nearly ready for the pot

He was apparently in a bar across the road and wanted to meet me, but as I couldn’t go to him, he came to me. There I was, hugging this man in my own kitchen and arranging to meet him tomorrow.

It’s been a long time since I ate chicken so fresh. Chima and the housekeeper joined us for dinner. It was a real community affair. It fed eight of us comfortably.

Tomorrow I begin my first day of teaching.


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Countdown to Cameroon – 7 days to go – Mapping the way

Wednesday 11th September 2013

A few weeks ago I did a shamanic journey in which I was told to always carry a cloth map (among other things) with me. I pondered this for a while and did a bit of research. I discovered that silk maps were made for the armed forces in both the UK and US during World War 2, but they were of specific places to help pilots and others negotiate their way out of enemy territory. There were no world ones.

World map

World map

I found a few world maps on beach towels but they were too large to consider popping into my handbag. A tea towel would have been fine but I couldn’t find any, and so I forgot about it as other things quickly rushed in to fill the space. That was until a few days ago when I had one of those Amazon ‘would you be interested in this’ emails.

It was for curtain fabric with the world map on. Doing a quick reccie on delivery dates I realised that the guaranteed date was the 17th, a day before I flew out. I ordered it. Lo and behold it arrived today. I am exceptionally pleased with it. It’s lightweight enough for me to carry in a largeish handbag, and will fit easily into a rucksack.

I’m not sure yet of the significance but I trust that all will be revealed in time. I’m totally loving this spiritual journey.

Citronella oils

Citronella oils

As mosquitoes generally want to be friendlier with me than me with them I thought I’d get some insect repellent. In the spirit of natural remedies I headed to Holland and Barrett to find citronella oil. Oh joy! They had a buy one get one half price sale. I’ll mix it in with my home-made body lotion (cocoa butter, olive oil and aloe vera gel) to make a cream that I can apply all over. Mossies – be warned!


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Countdown to Cameroon – 17 days to go

Sunday 1st  September

It should have been a day of bee-like activity of preparations for Cameroon. I was awake at 5.45 a.m. and raring to go. I did my cards, A Course in Miracles lesson, journal and a 30 minute shamanic journey. And was in the gym by 8.30 a.m.

Not having been all week I gave 100% in a 45 minute spin class followed by abs and upper body work. A quick blast in the steam room and I was ready to pick two pounds of blackberries from the grounds at the gym.

The healing Wisdom of Africa by Malidoma Patrice Some

The healing Wisdom of Africa by Malidoma Patrice Some

After making a crumble from the blackberries with apples and plums from my garden, I was just fit for a snooze. I resisted, however, because my attention was completely caught by Malidoma Soma’s third book which arrived a couple of days ago.

The Healing Wisdom of Africa – finding life purpose through nature, ritual and community is providing many answers to the issues that are arising in my shamanic journeys. It was probably the best preparation for Cameroon for today.


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Countdown to Cameroon – 18 days to go

Saturday 31st August

Already it’s the last day of August and my journey is becoming more real. I have little flashes of excitement but I know more of that will kick in once I’ve completed all the paperwork.

I posted my visa application on Thursday afternoon, so theoretically it should be ready for collection on Tuesday. I haven’t decided which day to go down to London yet.

Next week will be shopping for the essentials such as wellington boots and a mosquito net. I think I’m going to need a bigger case than the one I usually travel with.

I’ve started getting my audio visual equipment together but I need to do a couple of practice runs with video blogging. I may have a go tomorrow.

I have to confess to being fascinated by the book on IBOGA – The Visionary Root of African Shamanism. Maybe my preparation would be a bit further on if all my spare time wasn’t spent with my head in the book.

Somehow it feels more important that I learn about the properties and effects of this power plant than about the geography and customs of Cameroon. (I guess in learning about Iboga I’m indirectly learning about the customs and beliefs of Cameroon).


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Countdown to Cameroon – 23 days to go – Iboga

25th August 2013

Iboga - The Visionary Root of African Shamanism

Iboga – The Visionary Root of African Shamanism

The more I’ve researched shamanism the more I’ve come to realise that each area has its own power plant. A power plant is one used in ceremonies to alter states of consciousness and helps to speed up the healing process. Having read a book on ayahausca, the power plant of Amazonian shamans, I wondered what the African shamans use. A quick look on Google revealed Iboga, used primarily in Gabon and Cameroon.

I ordered a book which arrived on Friday, and I’ve had my head stuck in it ever since. Iboga – The Visionary Root of African Shamanism is translated from French so is not as easy a read as Malidoma Some’s books, but it’s full of interesting facts about iboga’s origin and how it’s used with modern initiates.

It also has a substance, iborgaine, which has been proved to break powerful drug addictions. It’s effective even with long term heroin and cocaine addictions. As a consciousness altering substance iboga ‘opens areas of perception that are usually closed.’

New career as drummer?

New career as drummer?

However, in the early afternoon I took a break to go to the food market at Cannon Hill Park. Despite the park being taken over by EID celebrations there were a group of drummers who meet every Sunday in the park to play.

They invited me to join them. I did for a few minutes. On the way back I stayed for longer, sharing a hammock with the guy on the left while he told me how to feel the drum beat, how to experience them till they become a part of me. Told him I’ve felt that from time to time.

Not exactly what I’d planned when I left home. Sorry I couldn’t get a picture of me and him in the hammock laying head to toe like old friends (or new lovers).


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The Way of the Shaman – Journey to find my life purpose

Saturday 3rd August 2013

Of Water and the Spirit by Malidoma Patrice Some

Of Water and the Spirit by Malidoma Patrice Some

I’d just finished reading Malidoma Patrice Some’s book Of Water and the Spirit and was so envious that he knew what his life purpose was so early in life that I decided to do a journey to try and find mine. I’ve been asking since January to be helped to remember what it is.

I set the intention three times – ‘my intention is to journey to the lower world to meet my animal guides and to ask them to show me my life purpose.’

I felt very apprehensive as I walked to my usual axis mundi, and the journey down the roots of the tree was slow and laborious.

Both the eagle and the jaguar were waiting for me. They bowed to me as before and I told them why I’d come. I began to gibber away about what I’d been told before about being a high priestess in Egypt, about being a writer, a healer and a shaman. I rattled on for ages while they patiently listened and didn’t interrupt.

‘So can you tell me,’ I ended.

‘You said you wanted to be shown,’ jaguar reminded me.

They both looked kindly at me, before eagle flew off.

‘Where’s she going?’ I asked jaguar.

‘To keep watch,’ he replied and indicated to me to follow him.

I was expecting something akin to what I’d been reading in Malidoma’s book – some kind of initiation. We walked through a clearing, through a forest and past the mouth of a cave. All these things are in Of Water and the Spirit.

Each time I thought the jaguar was going to show me something, but he just kept on walking till we came to another much bigger clearing.

It took me a while to work out that we was standing in the middle of a massive heart. Gradually the outside of the heart filled with men of all different shapes, sizes and ages. Although of different races they were predominantly black.

‘You are to heal men my opening your heart to them,’ the jaguar said.

I wanted to scream ‘NO! NOT THAT! THAT’S TOO PAINFUL!’ I looked around at all the men and began to cry. I wasn’t just crying in the journey, I was also crying into my blindfold. I felt as if my own heart was breaking.

All I could think of was that it would mean no happiness for me – men constantly coming and going in my life. The jaguar tried to reassure me that all would be fine.

‘But what about the women?’ I asked, ‘Don’t the women need healing too?’

‘When the men are healed, the women will be healed too,’ he carried on in his soothing way. ‘The women are strong but they look to the men for leadership, they look to the men for love. The men need to heal. It’s why you came.’

All I kept thinking was, ‘what about my own happiness,’ while the jaguar went on about the importance of the men healing.

Then all the men disappeared and were replaced by prepubescent boys. My heart went out to them and I sobbed (I must find a less clichéd word) literally and figuratively. Then they were replaced by the men, then the boys. They kept interchanging.

‘How am I going to do this?’ I asked the jaguar.

‘That’s for another journey;’ he answered softly, ‘this one was about your purpose.’

‘Where’s the eagle?’ I enquired.

‘She’s gone to check out the way,’ he said before the call-back tempo made me realise how quickly 30 minutes had passed.

I was still crying when I returned, with a heaviness that made it difficult to move. It wasn’t really what I’d wanted to hear or to see. It felt (feels) like too much at too big a personal cost.