Women will draw doors where there are none, and open them and pass through into new ways and new lives.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
The Soul Food Cafe was born ten years ago when Heather Blakey, who built it and went on to found Lemuria, suffered from ‘starved creative soul’ syndrome. She began by writing The Princess and the Muse, ran Writing for Well Being courses and created the House of the Muse, a website that is now housed within the walls of the labyrinthine maze that is Soul Food.
Today the Soul Food Cafe is an international group of writers and artists whose global mission is to promote writing and art-making as a daily practice through the use of interactive web-based technologies, such as e-mail groups and blogging. The main website of the Soul Food Cafe provides a multitude of writing prompts and creativity stimuli and also serves as a portal to the series of blogs, collectively called “Lemuria”, where participants can post their creative works and responses to projects like this.
The first Lemurian forums were established in 2001 prior to Heather and Darryl Blakey leaving for a six-month tour of Europe. Heather had made a visual journal to record her travels to find ‘Ithaka’, the Greek home of Ulysses, made famous by Cavafy in a poem by that name. She created Lemuria as a place for those Soul Food participants who were left behind to journey and discover their own Ithaka. Heather had learned about Lemuria from her great grandfather, George Chale Watson, who wrote ‘The Mountaintops of Lemuria’ in the late 1800’s and decided that this lost continent was the perfect setting to create a sense of place in cyberspace.
The seed that was planted grew slowly but surely and in 2005, long after her return from her pilgrimage to be with her muses, le Enchanteur (Heather’s online alter-ego) took a group of travellers through the portal and into the Cave of the Enchantress. It was all about guiding people and orientating them to the world of Soul Food, a non- linear world that is hard for some linear-thinking people to navigate.
As a result of these guided tours, the Soul Food Silk Road and Lemurian AdvenTURE calenders appeared to preserve the adventure that travellers experienced. This Bumper Catalogue of Creativity has emerged and is a special Soul Food feature which provides, not just creative stimuli, but a guide to using Soul Food and helping to populate Lemuria. The Catalogue provides a series of activities to accomplish this. Let this be your jumping off place for adventures in Lemuria!
Now it is Heather’s passion to have artists and writers explore and populate Lemuria. Lori Gloyd entered Lemuria in 2006 through the Soul Food Cafe’s portal. She is embarking on her latest adventure utilizing the activities in the Catalogues. In her piece below Lori captures the essence of Lemuria.
To participate and explore Lemuria with le Enchanteur, open the pages in the right hand column and post your responses in your personal workbook, blog and here on this blog using the categories listed as archives. But most importantly!
Enjoy the journey and come back with your unique voice.
Into the Blue
It was still dark when I rose from bed. I slid open the doors to the balcony of my room and stepped into the pre-dawn chill. Before me was a lake as flat as glass and mirroring the blazing vault of the heavens.
I had come to Madame Lysandra’s lake-side home in the Mulberry Highlands a few days ago to participate in her annual viewing of the cherry blossoms. A number of poets and artists from all over Lemuria were there as well, and Lysandra’s gracious hospitality, once again, was praised and lauded by all.
But as much as I wanted to stay and enjoy her company, it was time to depart. I was all packed and ready to return to the City of Cyberia and the Taverna. I groaned inwardly as I thought of the condition my establishment would now be in– heel marks on the table tops, the rum supply utterly depleted, and the staff– oh dear, the staff. I could only imagine what kind of trouble Maximo, my bouncer, and Hans, my chef had gotten into by now.
I heard a quiet knock on the door. I returned to my room and opened it. It was Lysandra holding a folded blanket.
“Good morning or good night,as the case may be,” she said in a hushed voice. ” I heard you moving about and thought you may be looking for a comforter.”
“Oh, thank you, Lysandra. In fact, quite the opposite. It was a bit stuffy and I needed some cool air.”
Lysandra smiled as she usually did when she had something more to say. “Are you enjoying the starshine?” she asked.
We both strolled on to the balcony to survey the sky. “Yes, it is truly amazing. You don’t see this in Cyberia– too many lights.”
“Too much of many things, I should say.”
“I have noticed something. May I tell you about it?”
I stiffened a bit, but nodded for her continue.
“You rushed to get up here. Now you are rushing to leave. You seem restless and pre-occupied.”
“No, not at all. I just needed a few days away from the City…to recharge… now I need to get back to the Tavern. You know… responsibilities and all?”
“Yes, I understand.”
We stood for a moment watching the stars pulse and twinkle. Lysandra was deep in thought.
Still staring at the lake, she broke the silence at last. “When was the last time you wrote?”
“When was the last time you wrote a story?”
“A few weeks ago– well, maybe it was longer– why? I’ve been busy, you know– with the Tavern and the Kitchen–oh, and the Atelier– yes, I’ve been focusing on art-making at the moment….” I shifted uneasily on my feet. What was Lysandra up to?
She nodded and gazed at the night sky.
Finally, she turned towards me, her green eyes looking square into mine. “Yes,” she said with a bit of sharpness in her voice. “You need to leave here now.”
“Yes, I’m packed and I’ll leave after breakfast. We’re having French Toast, right.” I wanted to change the subject.
“No, you need to leave now. It’s time for the Journey.”
“Journey? What journey?… You don’t mean THE Journey, do you? I’ve done that already. I told you all about that, remember? How I got Syren and found Cyberia and the Taverna……”
“You need to go on The Heroine’s Journey.”
“But I’ve done that once. I found my voice. I don’t need to do it again.”
“You found your voice, my dear, but what have you done with it lately!”
I faded into a stunned silence. As gentle as Lysandra was, she could lance a person with just the tiniest shard of the truth.
“But I can’t do the Journey twice,” I whined.
“Who said you can’t? This is Lemuria– nothing is linear. Everything spirals and comes back around again. You’ve come back to a beginning and need to go again.”
“But the Journey is about entering Lemuria. I’m already here!”
Lysandra looked at me with bemusement. “Yes, this is Lemuria, but there are many layers to it–layers that take your farther, deeper, higher– wherever you NEED to go.”
“You sound just like Enchanteur!”
Lysandra chuckled. “Yes, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed and I go a long way back. And she as well as I want you to step through the Portal and journey again. And you need to go NOW.”
“How can I go now? The Portal is miles and miles from here, in the Murmuring Woods!”
“The Portal is wherever you want it to be. Just look….” Lysandra gestured toward the sky.
I squinted my eyes. Something was moving. A speck of blue seemed to be spinning. It grew larger and larger until it filled all the night sky. A wind off the lake picked up and began to blow across the balcony. I wanted to run away but I could not move.
I heard Lysandra whispering in my ear, “Step into the blue, my dear, and go deeper into yourself, farther into Lemuria. Find out what you need to say…..”
My mind was spinning. My first journey had been an amazing yet terrifying endeavor. Now I was being asked to go again. I did not want to go. If the first time had been hard, what would the second be like?
But I could not resist the Call. Enchanteur was calling again, through my friend Lysandra. I sighed. With my eyes on the swirling blue vortex, I began to climb over the railing of the balcony……
Text and digital constructions by Lori Gloyd (c) 2007