Sunday 30 June 2013

Crystal Healing Wands

Yesterday, I bought some more leather for wand making:

Crystal Wands

I started making wands in the early 1980s and wrote a booklet about how to make and use them:

Crystal Wand Healing book

I began experimenting with healing in 1981 after combining breathing and 'Chi' energy techniques from my practice of Kung-Fu with information I had started to gather on healing and crystals.  Throughout the 80's, I attended talks and workshops relating to healing, including a weekend workshop with healer, Matthew Manning when he visited Newcastle.  (Matthew was in some ways the English Uri Geller - but devoting his abilities to healing).  The information Matthew shared on healing was very much inline with my own philosophy at the time and it was good to know that I was having parallel thoughts on how healing could be most effective.

In 2006, I published the book shown above.  By that time, I had already fine-tuned my own technique and received positive feedback from a number of friends and clients - many of whom commissioned their own wands.

Each wand takes me between 1 and 2 hours to make, depending on the time taken for preparation of materials and setting up of work space.  The wands are then programmed for general healing use, activated and tested.  (Individuals who buy or make their own wands are encouraged to program (or reprogram) them as described in the book).

The healing wands have some interesting properties.  In addition to speeding up the natural healing process, they are particularly good at:

  • alleviating rheumatic pains 
  • ending bone aches (my term to describe what feels like a persistent ache inside a bone)
  • preventing raw blisters after receiving burns
  • preventing the development and/or spread of infection - acting as an antiseptic
  • quickly reducing many injury pains

The wands may appear to be rather plain-looking, but it is important in their design that they are kept simple.  Users are free to embellish their wands on the outside (if they really want to), but should leave an area untouched where they intend to hold or grip the wand.  The regular wand shaft is 12 inches in length with a diameter of approximately 1 inch.  Variations on this are available, but for most purposes, these are the preferred optimum dimensions.

You can read more at Richard Gentle and Hand of Light.


Saturday 29 June 2013

An evening of conversation with Yinka Shonibare MBE

Over the past couple of weeks, I've attended a number of talks.   Sunday 16 June - a talk on Tom Hudson (influential Art Teacher and Artist during the 60s and 70s) arranged by the National Arts Education Archive at the YSP; Sunday 23 June - a talk by artist Miro's grandson, Joan Punyet MirĂ³  about Miro's life and most influential works.  Joan was an excellent speaker who brought new understanding and clarity to Miro's work; and then on Thursday 27 - a conversational talk with Yinka Shonibare MBE in the YSP's Visitor Centre restaurant.

Previously, (Friday 1 March 2013) My friend Helen and I attended the private View of Yinka's exhibition, Fabric-ation:

My friend Helen with Yinka in the background

As a 'Friend' of YSP, I get invitations to events and Private Views and Helen is often my 'plus 1'.

I had never come across Yinka before, but I liked his work, its incredible richness of multicolour and its quality of production.  My first impression, looking at the exhibition, was one of two messages: quizzical enjoyment and playfulness; and an underlying current of subversive darkness.  The work, much of it based around Middle Class Colonialism, was easy for me to identify with, coming as I do from a similar MC background - a background of pretension and lies wrapped in a veil of unquestioning social acceptability.

Here is a flavour of Yinka's work.  (One of the good things about Private Views, is the allowance of public photography in the gallery areas:

Yours truly standing next to 'Earth' - coincidentally, the Astrological sign of my father.
Clare Lilley (Curator of YSP) interviewed Yinka in front of a paying audience of about 100 or so people.  Peter Murray (Director of YSP) was also, and unusually, in the audience.  At previous events he has always introduced the speakers with an opening talk of his own.

Yinka's social background is not unlike my own and I think for this reason, I saw aspects of his life mirrored back at me through his conversational comments and amusing asides as he navigated the proceedings like a tightrope walker balancing between authentic rebel and respectable socialite.  Sometimes appearing quite materialistic and selfish, but underlying this, tremendous insight and wisdom, rarely witnessed in a public arena outside of a 'mind, body, spirit' convention.  I wondered how much of this glimpse into the understanding of human nature anyone else was appreciating.  The open audience Q&A session at the end qualified my thoughts: many seemed confused.  I wish I had written down what he said - not because it was new to me, but because it was one of the best descriptions of personal power versus victimhood that I had heard in a long time.  Essentially, it was a version of 'turning the other cheek'; calmness in the midst of conflict; mindfulness applied in daily life situations; reclaiming personal power in adversity.

So cheers, Yinka - here's to you!

Monday 10 June 2013

Education - Who Needs It?

A chunk of my life (between 1984 and 2012) has somehow always been connected with educational environments - whether working for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park as Information Officer and later, Archivist and Photographer; being an audio-visual technician in the education faculty at Bretton Hall (when it was a College); teaching on supply in schools in West Yorkshire; working as an Instructor at Bedford College; developing e-learning at Cranfield University; and more recently, working as an e-Learning Manager for Kirklees Council's Learning Service.

So then I get a notification mailing from LinkedIn, offering up groups that may interest me.  Quite often, I think twice about joining groups - particularly education-related ones, since I feel I am [at the time of writing this] no longer directly involved with schools and colleges - these days preferring to focus on my writing.  Having said this, I continue to run a resource site for schools and colleges: eLearning Central. The problem (figuratively speaking) is that I'm not sure, despite a strong underlying interest, whether I really want to be involved anymore!  So then I look at the groups and I can't stop myself from joining them all... then I see a thread title that draws me in further... and the next thing I know, I'm chatting on Skype with someone with a similar educational philosophy to my own... he mentions some other people... I add him and some other links to my website for other people to access... and then I email a woman who has been mentioned, Tracy Hanson (Founder of Next Generation Global Education) and switch off the computer for the night.  She's emailed me back by the morning and suggests Skyping - at which point I'm thinking: "I don't know what I can say about anything!" and "I don't know if I want to get involved in education stuff again." I looked at a video link she sent:

A couple of hours later, and we are chatting over Skype and it's evident we share a lot of similar views on education.  Tracy (based in America) has also been working with a teacher and his school (based in Nairobi).  Next thing I know (after about 2 hours chatting already) I'm invited to join her 'now due' lesson.  So suddenly, there we all are and I'm viewing quite a dark image of a little classroom in what is described on their own website as being:

The Cheery Children Education Centre (CCEC), located in the heart of Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya at Mashimoni.

I'm introduced to the class and among a few intermittent technical problems, a short lesson takes place, ending with the children singing a number song.

Here's a visible image taken from their website:

It's now that I am brought face-to-face with who needs education. They have one laptop, plus  initial financial help setting up an Internet connection, courtesy of Tracy Hanson.

There is an obvious need for resources and when Tracy asked if they could access a ball of yarn or some string for a project idea based around a spider, none was available.  They also really needed some more laptops, or at least a projector so that everyone could see Tracy's lesson more clearly. Of course, they needed quite a few things more basic than laptops, but you have to start with what is around or can be found.  Feel like helping?

The children like singing and dancing and the school sent me this link:


Friday 7 June 2013

My Old School

My first childhood recollection of school was of Jesus being put to death by crucifixion on a green hill far away without a city wall. Hardly surprising when you appreciate I was here:

Yesterday, I rediscovered the website of that first Primary School and looked through the various slide show galleries.  What held me most, were the external images of the building and the interior shots of the main hall. Notice the height from ground level of most of the windows - that no 5 to 9 year old could ever hope to see into or out of. The surrounding exterior of the school has changed quite a bit since I was there (between 1968 and 1972) but the main brick buildings remain largely unchanged. When I was a child, the part of the building shown below was for class one (left two arched windows) and class two (right two arched windows): 

Ignoring the pupils, the floor has not changed - albeit much lighter than it used to be: 

The PE aparatus (back wall) is new to me, but originally, on the left wall, was something similar made of wood - but two separate units.  From left to right on the ceiling was a slide assembly and a set of about 4 climbing ropes were pulled from the left wall to hang down in the centre of the hall. It was always very exciting when we had the opportunity to use that equipment.

The photo below is of me (right) and my brother (left). I endured a certain amount of teasing at school and to be honest, I might have teased myself with that look!

I made a couple of return visits, but never went in. I think it was probably during school holidays when no one was there - or I felt too shy to knock on the door. (The first 3 photos shown above were taken off the school website. The images with the cars were taken by me. The image of kids in the playground may have come from an original version of the school's website).

Going by my [at the time] wife's Astra Belmont, I'd say this visit was around 1999. When I attended the school, the field to the left (the big recky) was only ever used on very hot summer days and sports days. At other times of the year, we played in a smaller field (the little recky) behind the school at the end of the playground area (mentioned later). The green doors to the field were only ever opened on [memorable] special occasions:


I took this next photo (below) when I made my second visit. (The inclusion of my car dates this around 1998). This view (minus the flat-roofed porch) is pretty much as I remember things. The far right shows the entrance door to the then top '3rd year' classroom and you can also see the playground leading to the 'little recky' field. Just to the left, behind and out of site, were the outside school toilets. Popular school playground legend, when I was there, said that a witch used to live in the top attic room (small arched window above square window - tallest part of building in the corner). The windows with the pointed tops look into the main hall:

And here's another view in more recent times (from the school's website): 

In July 2008, I was contacted through Friends Reunited by someone else who went to the school and was in my form. I laughed when she started her email with "you probably don't remember me..." since at age 9 I was head over heels in love with her! I will not mention her name, but for those 'in the know' there is a clue in this sentence:

During the course of our correspondence, I sent her a copy of the school photo I had with my brother. She replied with this one:

I couldn't believe we were seated in front of the same bookshelves!

The only other thing that occurred to me, when comparing our photos, was that as an adult, I couldn't see what I saw in her physically. I don't mean that in a horrible way - what I mean is, that as a child, I was in love with her as a whole person.  As an adult, I have grown far more conscious of women who appeal to me visually and not just psychically, so-to-speak. Quite frankly, also comparing our photos, it wouldn't surprise me if she felt the same way!

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Disappearing Dentist

The day started normally and I left the house just after 11am to go for my yearly dental check-up in Holmfirth.  I parked in my usual car park and walked around the corner to the dentist.  However, when I reached the door, it looked a bit dark inside and a notice on the door declared:

"We have moved"

Well, thanks a bunch for telling me!  Since I am not that familiar with place names in Holmfirth, I wasn't sure where the new address was.  I walked back to the main road and turned towards the town centre.  Coming towards me was (I assumed) a local and I asked him if he knew the new location.  He was as uncertain as I was, but we both thought I was heading in the right direction. 

After a few more steps, and realising it was now 5 minutes before my appointment, I suddenly remembered my mobile.  I phoned up, only to discover that the dentist was now behind me and actually the same distance in the opposite direction to the path I had taken, from their old premises.

An innate sense of direction isn't something I was ever blessed with, so it was no surprise that I intuitively set off in the wrong direction - and don't think I haven't tried playing with this by having this internal conversation:

"Which way shall I go?  I think I should turn left.  That means I should probably go right, since I usually get direction wrong.  But if I turn right instead of left, perhaps I should go left anyway..."

What was actually more interesting to me, was that my dentist had moved.  In terms of spiritual development and law of attraction - and all those things connected with 'creating our own reality', I have to say that at no time, past or present, had I ever entertained any thought or expectation that my dentist would not be where I left it last time!  My complete 'knowing' expectation was that I would arrive at my dentist in the usual way. 

As Spock from the old Star Trek series would say: Fascinating...