The Lion, The Witch, Tolkien and Atheism…We Ponder Into the Wardrobe of C.S Lewis

The Lion, The Witch, Tolkien and Atheism…We Ponder Into the Wardrobe of C.S Lewis

Author C.S Lewis has held my attention and imagination captive for many years. For those who know and love Narnia, a wardrobe will never ever be just a wardrobe. A lion will never just be a lion. Ever.

As a wee poppet, I loved a good story, and Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia is an all-time favourite. The first book in the series of seven was The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe. Set in WW2, three siblings are sent to the home of Professor Digory Kirke to escape the impending threat on London by Nazi Germany. What came next was nothing short of a masterpiece of fantasy, magic, heroic adventure and mythical beasts. The narrative of what lies beneath this formidable and conflicted world endures to the current day, where his books continue to sell millions of copies and translated into multiple languages, movies and TV series. I believe along with the Magic Faraway Tree it started my fascination with multiple dimensions- the portal into places afar is more than a little captivating. 

 

An intellectual herculean of his time, albeit a humble one- Clive Staples Lewis was born in 1898 in Belfast.

Oxford and Cambridge Universities were his stomping grounds along with his friend, JRR Tolkien.  It was actually during a stroll in the September of 1931 along Addison’s Walk in the ground of Magdelen College that a conversation would change the course of the Irish scholar’s life. The passionate and reportedly steadfast atheist chatted with Tolkien and Hugo Dyson about metaphor and myth. After some robust debate, Lewis was challenged by Tolkien that the myth of Christ was real and worth further investigation. C’mon right? More than a little fascinating, there was this one time when Tolkien and I were chatting…  

Forty books later and countless works of literature, both in fantasy and academia, CS Lewis became one of the most prolific writers and lay theologians of the twentieth century. 

The world of Narnia provided more grown-up tales exploring loss, heroism, villainy, forgiveness, faith, siblings, and children’s courage. Aslan, the lion, was as fierce and wonderous as the witch was frighteningly real, the beautiful trickster incarnate! There were life lessons to be discovered and a hankering for Turkish delight. To my fascination, the female characters developed stealthy warrior skills that were to be reckoned with. For a time, the book was banned in several countries for its perceived violence. 

The world is once again in a state of compunction, and perhaps dare I say it; a hue of change?

I pray each day, each of us might find silver threads in the lining of all this; I know many have. In the meantime, Pondering can help us find meaning in a world of disquietude, and so I have found some of my favourite C.S.Lewis quotes to do what we do best – inspire, reflect and prosper. Now as I write this the cool air is coming in, I think I need a coat… time to go to the wardrobe. (wink)

 

Our team has decided a gift is in order, so make sure you access your free subscription to Ponderings– Until June 2020. Normally 4.95 per month. We will choose a lucky subscriber to send this complete Chronicles of Narnia Hardcover collection, beautifully illustrated, featuring all seven books along with an essay by C.S.Lewis on writing. Valued at $89.95 

 

“Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don’t try to get there at all. It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it. And don’t talk too much about it even among yourselves. And don’t mention it to anyone else unless you find that they’ve had adventures of the same sort themselves. What’s that? How will you know? Oh, you’ll know all right. Odd things, they say even their looks will let the secret out. Keep your eyes open. Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools.”

-The Professor”

Clive Staples Lewis (1898–1963) 

 

 

Sources:’

Further reading and sources:
Sources: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/41513-once-a-king-in-narnia-always-a-king-in-narnia

https://www.cslewis.com/us/about-cs-lewis/
https://www.vqronline.org/essay/cs-lewis-and-his-critics

photo credit: creative commons Illustrated by Pauline Baynes 

photo credit: C.S Lewis square- belfast https://discovernorthernireland.com 

 

Win!

We will choose a lucky subscriber to send this complete Chronicles of Narnia Hardcover collection, beautifully illustrated, featuring all seven books along with an essay by C.S.Lewis on writing. Valued at $89.95 

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The Moving Tide of Mama Kin

The Moving Tide of Mama Kin

Photo credit Jarrad Seng | Words Kirsten Macdonald

It’s hard not to pull the lever on the floodgate and release a stream of adjectives to label and describe the flow, ebb and tide that is Danielle Caruana- or Mama Kin as she is affectionately and professionally known. 

There doesn’t appear to be a spectral envelope, no single point or sentence to adequately describe her. There’s no denying the lady is a muse, and so I found myself stumped. There was only one remedy; I pressed play on our sound system in the garden, got my hands deep and dirty in the soil and planted seeds, tending to our veggie patch. 

On the last day of Summer listening to her soulful music, I stopped to sip a well-earned gin and tonic and smiled, remembering exactly who Mama Kin reminds me of! Polyhymnia. 

Yup, I’m on the money. No waxing lyrical here, listen to Mama Kin’s song Rescue (loud) and then indulge in her TED talk or refreshing live performances on Youtube; you will nod and maybe shout me the next round. Yes, I know, I resorted to the Goddess trope, but if you are into ancient mythology- you hear me. 

There’s an intimacy and directness to Mama Kin’s music, poetry and storytelling. Her coppery voice, combined with blues + roots music climbs right into your heart like a bloody ladder. 

She’s an impressive person. Nominated for ARIA Award for Best Blues and Roots Album, she’s a WAM Award-winning TED Talking, and Philanthropic Musician.   

We ponder with Mama Kin.

Often, online performances from artists from their home feel very intimate and connective as an audience, but as the musician, is it difficult to get immediate biofeedback?

I’m not sure I’ve adapted yet, to be honest. I dip my toes in here and there, but I mostly find that what calls me most right now is very up close and immediate. I am more interested in who I am in my own community, with my immediate family and friends. My sense of pace has changed considerably. 

I have lost all romantic notions about travelling around endlessly chasing gigs, and I’m looking for something I can do from home. I have always wanted to write a book! So now I am dabbling, with huge encouragement from my kids and partner. 

I still want to connect with audiences and people in general, so that is the question I am asking myself- How can I connect with the wider world in a meaningful and viable way, while staying connected to home?

 

“They are completely different platforms. I don’t expect the same from one as the other. One is quick and has very little attachment to it. I like their differences. They compliment each other.”

What is the first thing you do when you wake up? 

In my fantasy land I wake and then meditate, maybe some pranayama, chanting, stretch and then go for a walk and a swim before coming home, making a juice and feeding the chickens, all before the rest of the house has woken. At this stage, I would then sit myself at the spotless kitchen table and do creative writing for 30 – 60 minutes. 

In reality, it is a bit of a rolling thunder. Most mornings, I wake and scan my body for where it is at and what I might need to do to kick start it into shape to meet the demands of the day. I then shuffle out to the kitchen and check my phone, I wish I didn’t do that first, but to be honest, I generally do. 

I love not having the phone in my bedroom through the night (except if my kids are out), but I still haven’t broken the habit of waking up and checking it first. Recently I have been trying to get straight out of the house for a walk and a swim in the Woodtichup Bilya (The Margaret River). I then come home and make my juice. I am usually mustering my 14-year-old son into whichever activity he needs to be up and happening for that day while simultaneously checking in with my email world. I am homeschooling my son at the moment, so our lives are fairly tethered to each other. It is kind of like being grounded; it is super grounding. 

 

I squeeze in work in between the cracks of what he needs from me, I squeeze in writing and singing, walks with my dogs, catch up with friends and visits with my horse; I squeeze it all in around him. Right now, he is my key focus, and it feels like a rare and fleeting gift, and I am so pleased I have the perspective to see it for the incredible opportunity that it is.

 

If you had one question you could ask a sage ancient mother what would it be?

 

I think I would like to know how to realise my ultimate potential while still holding space for the people I love, being fully present to them, and helping them realise their own potential.

 

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

“My mum told me never to stop trying. I understand that she means to keep the drive alive in your mind, body and spirit. Embrace life fully with curiosity and wonder. I see that in her, and she is 87 and spritely as a teenager!”

Your contribution to the Music Industry is astounding! Can you tell our readers in a sentence the vibe of the The Seed Fund?

The Seed is a philanthropic fund set up to support emerging Australian artists and arts workers. In its 15th year now (wow), we have distributed well over 1 million dollars in funding and initiatives. Our cornerstone initiative is the annual Future Makers: Management Workshop, where we bring together 30 self-managed and managed musicians for a four day live in deep-dive intensive.

Your music, events, The Seed, Ted x talk etc., the list seems both inspiring and endless. What is next for you? 

My biggest love is the power of storytelling. I’m fascinated by narratives and the power they have to shape the banks of the rivers that they flow through. I love fiction. I love the power of prose. I’ve enjoyed playing with storytelling through songwriting, and now I think I am ready to dabble in longer form! 

Sometimes I would like to create a multidisciplinary theatre piece. I would really like to create a conversation series around obstacles and narratives, but I feel under-qualified. It is just what I am naturally drawn to. So, in summary, I think I’d next like to write a work of fiction that explores narratives within narratives. Hmmm sounding a bit like I have no idea what I am doing, but I am pondering over scraps of clues.

What is your favourite song to perform? What does it mean to you?

Oh, you’re asking me to pick my favourite child! It depends on my mood. The one that springs to mind right now is a song I co-wrote with an artist from America, Aaron Embry, which I recorded on my We Two Thieves project with Emily Lubitz and Dave Mann. The song is called Only For You, and I LOVE the sentiment and the harmonies in it. There is a section that builds and builds, and I can’t sing it without my heart swelling and a huge smile erupting across my face. 

The song is about being loved and embraced by the natural world around you, and when the harmonies kick in, I feel that universal hug resonate, vibrating love in my whole being.

We love your TedX talk about taming “David”, your inner Tyrant. Sharing your story and inner workings, your “David” was vulnerable, empowering, insightful, and so bloody relevant! (not to mention the perfect balance of raw and funny!) We applaud your “surrender muscles” and honest account. (readers scroll to the bottom for the TedTalk) 

 

How is David now?

 

David is a wonderful passenger and a terrible driver. He is a brilliant navigator and can pack the car within an inch of its life. He sometimes tries to convince me to let him drive, sometimes he even tries to execute radical coups to have me forcibly removed, but I know better, and I remind him that I’ve got this, and I need him to stay right where he is, and could he please pass me a drink.

 

What would you be doing right now if not playing music?

 

Well, I am not playing that much music, so what am I doing? I am homeschooling my son, writing small works of fiction, doing some local creative collaborations, preparing my 18-year-old daughter to leave home, trying to learn more raw plant-based meals. I’m in a creative lull of sorts, and I like it.

 

If COVID19 had a theme song, what would it be?

 

Strange Girl by Laura Marling. The album dropped soon into the first lockdown in WA, and that song became a love song to this time and each other. Once the regional borders opened my daughter, and I went on a month-long road trip and that song, and album, was the soundtrack to that trip. I will forever remember her golden hair flicking in and out of the window as we sang along to I love you my Strange Girl, my Lonely Girl, My Angry Girl, My Strange…”, as we rode the white speckled black ribbon through the red dirt country. Heaven.

 

Treehouse or cubby house?

 

Teepee… so I suppose cubby!

 

Check out more of Mama Kin and her latest release on Spender, called Are You Listening available on all streaming platforms. Additionally, this collection of story vignettes which accompanied the release: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuYCFpzEE4M&t=10s diving deeper into the Listening journey.

www.mamakin.com
www.mamakinspender.love
www.theseedfund.org

PS- her song -Rescue- can someone in the Netflix series industry please use this song as a theme? Waiting patiently….

 

Note for the non mythology geeks- (unlike yours truly): Polyhymnia was an ancient goddess, a muse often depicted as pensive, eloquent, wise and meditative-Polyhymnia, the goddess of lyric poetry, sacred music, song, and study the stars, geometry and meditation. 


On behalf of Mama Kin: In acknowledgement of  the Wadandi / Pipelmum traditional custodians of the country upon which I live, love, learn and create. I pay my respect to their elders – past, present and future – and thank them daily for their age-old custodianship of boodjara, and their ongoing generosity and trust in sharing their culture, kinship and language with us all. Always was, always will be.

 

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Get your Scandi On- Insights of Interior Design

Get your Scandi On- Insights of Interior Design

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

 

We ponder with Netherlands native and Geelong’s newest addition to the style scene- Maartje Hartveldt.

 

Scandinavian influence on design, and its persistent popularity make it more than a cultural trend we infuse, copy and paste – but rather an enduring aesthetic that appears to really resonate with those seeking simplicity, elements of nature, light and refuge. Rising to popularity in the 1940’s and 1950’s Nordic clean line interiors have a philosophy behind the style. We caught up with Maarjte Hardveldt from MH Interior Decorating to ponder the intrigue of Scandi design and renovation decisions. 

  

Why do you think the Scandi Style has grown so popular in Australia?

I feel that the Scandi look really reflects the Coastal Lifestyle here in Australia. You see many Scandi styled homes with BOHO influences, a beautiful mix with a true Coastal Vibe.

What are your favourite aspects of the style?

Besides light and airy, the Scandi Style is also characterized by simplicity, minimalism, and functionality, bringing this overall feeling of serenity and relaxation to the space. I love the neutral colour scheme, the whites, the use of lots of natural fibres, the clutter-free aesthetic and clean lines.  

In your field of expertise, how important are ambience and aesthetic when creating space?

These two words are equally important when designing a space. Ambience determines how you will feel in a space, so think about lighting, for instance. I am a big lover of dimmable lights, so you can play with the mood and create the right atmosphere for every occasion. The aesthetics of a space is really the heart whilst designing as that’s the overall style in which you consider balance, shape, colour, pattern, scale and use of material.   

When undertaking renovations, particularly new structures within the house, kitchens, bathrooms etc.- what do you look for in a tradesperson?

That’s a very good question and from my experience in all those years renovating in The Netherlands and Australia, I think tradespeople should be very good at their job. People sometimes don’t consider an essential skillset- Listening! Is your tradesperson a good listener, and do they have an open mind? Being willing to go beyond what they know and visualizing with an open mind focussed on quality will get the best result. 

How can people create simplicity and get that minimalist vibe in cohesion with making a space that reflects your personality?

First of all, I would recommend to see the space as a white canvas and draw up a floorplan in which you choose statement pieces of furniture rather than having too many pieces that will take away the minimalist feel of the space. 

Make use of the natural light, choose muted colours, wood accents, natural fabrics, textures and fibres, greenery and always consider the less is more approach. 

By adding photos of people you care about or moments captured in a photo, grouping your treasures in a cabinet, add your favourite flowers, put some of your best books on display and use a scent diffuser with your favourite smell, you can reflect your personality without ‘destroying’ your new beautiful, cohesive minimalistic space. 

 

What is the most common mistake people make when doing a room upgrade or changing the space?

I guess not looking at the space as a whole but bringing in details they like without considering all elements together.  

What is the first thing people can do to make the process of changing a space less daunting?

My biggest advice would be to start with a mood-board, so you have an idea of what style you like and consider how you want to make the room to feel. 

Key questions you should ask yourself are:

 How will the space be used? 

What are the practical needs? 

Who uses the space, when is the space used and what activities will happen here? 

Set a budget and identify where the most significant impact can be made, so where is it important to spend money and work out to save money. 

Consider what already exists within the space that can be upcycled, repurposed, and decluttered throughout this process. 

Research product prices, check out the portfolios of those you are considering, ask for quotes, make a renovating/decorating plan, and start the exciting adventure.   

My biggest advice would be to really consider The Story that you want your home to tell about you, your family, and life; stay true to your own personal treasures. Sometimes you see these amazingly styled homes, but they lack personality. 

 

‘An interior is the natural projection of the soul’ – Coco Chanel.

so I believe that your home should be a reflection of yourself.

 

What is your background in design and what lead you to design now?

 

My background is basically working for a High-End Dutch Fashion Designer in Amsterdam for over a decade, in which I have been infused with design in general. Every season, creating a new Catwalk Collection always with a meticulous balance between materials, texture, colour, pattern, and shape. Besides this career in the Fashion Industry, I was renovating and styling houses. Creating a collection or creating a space feels very similar as it’s all about completing the puzzle, metaphorically speaking.

To find out more about Maartje and her renovation journey, head to:

insta: mh_interior_decorating (Maartje Design Solutions)

http://www.mhinteriordecorating.com.au

https://mhinteriordecorating.com.au

If you are looking for excellent Cabinetmakers who are open-minded, innovative and quality- go no further than ICM- Independent Cabinet Makers Geelong.

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The Art Of Hygge- It’s A Happiness Vibe

The Art Of Hygge- It’s A Happiness Vibe

Written by Kirsten Macdonald

 

Fancy a cosy corner or a warm fuzzy feeling of contentedness? 

If you love an ambient pub or fireplace chats with warm cookies and great company- there’s an excellent reason! It’s a Hygge vibe. 

According to the World Happiness Report, Finland and Denmark take first and second place as the world’s happiest countries. What’s the secret? Quite possibly Hygge! According to the Danes, our northern counterparts; Hygge- pronounced “hue-gah” or “hoo-guh is a Norweigan word that falls under a cultural category, meaning -a hug without the touch. 

For the linguaphile -the word hygge comes from a Danish word meaning “to give courage, comfort, joy”. Hygge stems from hyggja which means “to think” in Old Norse. Hygge is built from the Old Norse word hugr which later became the hug which means the soul, mind, consciousness. 

Meik Wiking is an expert and author of The Little Book of Hygge. According to Meik Wiking, the practice of Hygge is charming, cosy, wholesome but with a sprinkle of sinful snacking like chocolate. 

“Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to the cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight”. 

Ponderers, there is even a Hygge cookbook – ( I ordered it, and the recipes are most certainly sinful) Click here to check it out  Scandikitchen: Fika and Hygge.  

How do we achieve that fuzzy feeling of Hygge? 

Well there are so many ways to have a Hygge moment or make time for Hygge, but the fundamentals according to Meik are; 

1) Light! Ambient light. Ever wondered why the Scandi style is so focussed on lighting?

The design aesthetic and colour temperature are essential to creating Hygge. Candles are also HUGE; the Scandi countries are the largest consumers of candles in the world. We have some for you here – the wonderful folks over at Angel Sent Candles have a Hygge range and they’ve shared them with us at www.shop.angelsentcandles.com

2) Presence- get off the phones and be in the moment! 

3) Pleasure-

Think cakes, pastries, hot drinks and lollies! Here’s the link to that book again if you didn’t see it already- Scandikitchen: Fika and Hygge  

4) Equality – We over Me

Sharing is caring. Share household chores. Share attention and listening. Share your love for those around you.

5) Gratitude-

 

Take it all in; this might be as good as it gets.

 

6) Harmony,

 

We already like you, no need to mention your achievements or the current political environment. You get the drift.

 

7) Comfort, cosiness, blankets,

 

Take a break and relax. But Hygge is humble and slow, not expensive. Ugly warm socks and homemade cookies are more than acceptable vs champagne and heels. Simplicity and modesty are crucial components.  

 

8) Truce-

 

No drama and a sense of belonging will ensue. No topics of tension and arguments must be put to one side. 

 

9) Togetherness,

 

Build a narrative, play a board game. Do you remember the time we…? Oxytocin is released when we are physically near someone, its called the hug hormone, so Hygge away! Cooperation, trust and love are the buzzwords here. 

 

10) Shelter,

 

This is your tribe and a place of peace and tranquillity. 

 

Sounds wonderful right? 

Every home I have lived in; the first thing I needed was a cozy corner. Always. I love nothing more than snuggling up in my favourite chair, pooch at my side, a candle burning, a cup of herbal tea, soothing music and if it’s winter- that fireplace earns its keep. 

So after reading Meik’s book, I decided to introduce the family to Hygge night- Sunday evenings would be dedicated to pure Hygge-ness. 

We rolled out our new Harry Potter Cluedo game, put the earlier made cookies on a plate, made some dutch cocoa, grabbed some comfy blankets, pillows and dimmed lighting all topped off with the Harry Potter soundtrack playing in the background. Phew. It was pretty magical. A cringe-worthy moment of wholesome indulgence. 

I was very tired, so I snuggled in on the couch with the bunch and watched on picking broccoli seeds and enjoying the merriment. It was beautiful. 

Then the dog farted- no one had explained Hygge to him so totally not his fault. Kind of ruined the vibe. When I looked at the aforementioned hound with a raised eyebrow, he stared at me right back; I imagined a Seth McFarlane Brian Griffin-Esque voice “stupid humans.”  

Have you got the Hygge vibe?

Check out our Pinterest curation of all things Hygge and the video below for further awesome ideas. Go to app.ponderings.com.au to get the Hygge links or check us out on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

We partnered with Angel Sent Candles – here’s their new Hygge range of candles. 

PS- 

“The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The World Happiness Report 2020 for the first time ranks cities around the world by their subjective well-being and digs more deeply into how the social, urban and natural environments combine to affect our happiness.” 

https://worldhappiness.report

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