Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Final instalment: quilting and naming

There are many circles, semi or part circles used in the quilting process. The decision to find ways to trace out encompassing circles has been deliberate. The circle encloses a safe, non-hierarchical place, a sacred space in which all have equal rights to be heard, as well as a responsibility to listen to others. It can be formed to reminds us of its qualities by people or by stones arranged in a circle that hold the people in its scared space, who are bound together by the principle of equality and equity. It is also represented by the orobouros, the serpent of renewal holding its own tail in its mouth, and is seen in many natural phenomena, such as the full moon and the curve of the horizon. In its broadest, the symbolism of the circle encompasses the Cosmos, with an unbroken circumference that is nowhere and everywhere… the “big bang” of Creation that is happening here and now, as the lovely astronomer Brian Cox reminds us so eloquently.

As can be seen the first design did a total transformation from a free-form into a frame, well contained by strong black and white border, which seems to demand attention! I feel that it has fulfilled my initial expectation for the quilt being colourful, vibrant, and perhaps even demanding – perhaps qualities that Rob stands for in her life, always has, which makes her so powerful a woman and so precious a friend. I know this applies to many of those she has embraced in life, and I didn’t forget that one her important spiritual (and social) practices in the circle dance in her community. 

In the quilting of the moon phases, the circles overlap, eventually to form another vesica piscis at the heart of the rose moon. The dove Goddess has Her halo of aura, and the heart-dove is encircled by a crescent circle that opens out into a full circle. There is no “power-over”, no hierarchy to be seen here. Only power with.
Coming up with the title
This is usually the last stage in the process of creating, though more often than not ideas for the naming of a personal story quilt pop up during the construction. But that didn’t happen this time, probably because I was constantly struggling with the structure and the placing of images, and also my own ongoing health issues. We get our original names from our parents, but naming is an ongoing process, and sometimes people diminutize or actually change their names as they get to know themselves better or and their friends adjust their names – hopefully with fun and affectuib as the intention.

Then, just in recent weeks, as the quilt seemed to be edging towards a satisfactory conclusion, a meme posted on a Facebook page resonated with me: “hardcore soulful living”…seemed appropriate for Rob’s life. Though I was not sure about the qualifier ‘hardcore’, I thought “soulful living” seemed to fully express Rob’s 'life-style' – to use that word out of the usual context of glossy magazines. Nevertheless, all the descriptors of hardcore seem to apply by virtue of their both positive and negative strengths, and I included them on the dedication label on the back of Rob’s quilt. Here are a few, with the final fanfare: “You got it!”

You soared, you crawled, you laughed, you cried,
You stuttered, you roared, you stumbled, you ran,
You danced, you overcame. You softened, you powered up.
You braved it. You kept on.
You felt. You felt it all.
The true definition of hardcore, soulful living.
You got it!

Some references (others are in footnotes):
Thomas Cahill, 1995, How the Irish saved civilization: the untold story of Irelands heroic role from the fall of the Rome to the rise of medieval Europe, Hodder and Stoughton: London
Claire French, 2001, The Celtic Goddess: Great queen of demon witch? Bell & Bain: Glasgow
Jean Markale, 1993ed, The Celts: Uncovering the mythic and historic origins of Western culture, Inner Traditions: Vermont
Iona Miller, 2016, Ancestors and archetypes, http://ancestorsandarchetypes.weebly.com/dove-goddess.html
Candace Pert, 1999ed., Molecules of emotion: why you feel the way you do, Simon & Schuster: UK
Barbara Walker, 1988, The womans dictionary of symbols and sacred objects, Harper & Row: San Francisco
Barbara Walker, 1983, The woman’s Encyclopedia of myths and secrets, HarperSanFrancisco

Installment #6: the phases of the moon

Rob’s quilt is a celebration of the fullness of her life as woman, daughter, lover, mother, sister, and all her relationships, so the full moon sits at the centre of a ‘mandorla’, almond shaped celebratory garland of roses, suggesting recognition, celebration and honour (‘hacol hakavod’, as it is expressed in Hebrew). Returning to my usual method for creating the face of a full moon, I applied lots of small (pubic) triangles cut from various shades and types of whites from my stash. I overlap them in an attempt to emulate the shining glow of a gleaning, white full moon. Then it occurred to me that a representation of the seasonal cycle of change was not particularly obvious in the quilt – though later I was to make reference to this by attaching the frame to the purple background of an equal black and white surrounding border: summer/winter and day/night. I discarded this first full moon (- it will no doubt be used in a later quilt), and set to work on another, inspired by an image of the full ‘strawberry moon’ seen during the summer Solstice, and posted on Face Book – again providing an interesting source of inspiration!

The full moon, waxing and waning
It is interesting that the full moon as a ‘rose’ moon a-rose for the quilt! It appears in the same month of the Summer Solstice. The Indigenous Peoples of North America name it a “strawberry moon”, since it coincides with the harvesting of strawberries in the month of full summer, June in the northern hemisphere. Delicious strawberries surely remind us of the fullness of the seasonal cycle, from rebirth at Winter Solstice, reaching full expression in earth’s fruitful harvest at the Summer Solstice, (which is for us in Australia is in December). Apparently the indigenous peoples of the Americas have names for each of the full moons as they relate to the annual cyclical earthly food production and availability. This rose moon has an Australian inference.

The presentation of the full golden strawberry/rose moon in the quilt shows it triumphant, in partnership with the white crescent new and waxing moon,which heralds a coming into fullness; and an ‘old’, waning moon. Though we don’t actually get to see the full dark moon over the last three days of waning part of the cycle as black (as the moon waxes form the left across to the right in the Southern Hemisphere, so does it wane in that direction with diminishing light after fullness. These phases are of course also redolent of the three phases of woman: maidenhood in readiness, mothering in nurturing, and croning by reminding us the cycle will continue.

Below is how the four corners of the "Earth" as represented here in Rob's quilt and according to her story have come together, and how they sit within the frame that insisted on coming first!

Instalment #5: the hands

While I was wondering what might be appropriate for the two corners at the bottom of the quilt, the raised hands of the Dove Goddess came into consciousness.  I remember symbols of a persons actual hands used by indigenous peoples as a symbol of identity, particularly to mark a rite of passage such as initiation, to adorn, and to recognize being in the presence of the sacred, embodying the ancient idea of being able to see” the invisible and inexplicable with our hands. It occurred first to use my own handprints on fabric, then perhaps to ask Rob to put hers onto fabric for the quilt, not an impossible idea but messy! Im thinking back to the activities done in pre-schools of little children making handprints; I still have the one from Leo, which is kept in my treasure trove of childhood memorabilia.

Instead, I send a message to Rob, asking her to draw an outline of her two hands and send them to me. After they arrive by post, simple pencil outlines (I suspect made with the help of her precious young grandson, Zaimiri), it is up to me to decide how to represent them in fabric, and transport them into the quilts space. They are obviously traced with palm down, but Im now wondering about the possibility of inserting them palm up. The palms facing out represent welcome, peace and openness. This way they would replicate the position of the palms of the Dove Goddess, giving honour to the phases of the moon, thereby to herself and herself in others. And I am beginning to feel there might be need to include further symbols.

Choosing the fabric by which to best make the hands manifest was the next issue (manifest being a word formed as a conjugate of the Latin for hand’). I didn’t want anything connected to racial/skin colours. A lovely pale green floral that continued the theme of flowers looking almost like henna designs seemed perfect. I had thought I might draw the symbols by hand onto the fabric with oil pastel (a technique I had learnt from a recent DVD by Sue Dennis), but decided in the end to go the perhaps more laborious way of making paper stencils from which to print. It would be the first time I had used this technique of priniting on fabric.

Hands as symbols
Apart from being a means for confirming personal identity, hands hold the energy centre of the chakra points in the palm, connecting the hands to the heart of the healer, and therebyconvey the wisdom and energy needed for healing’.[1] They also contain the all-seeing, compassionate eye in the Hindu and Buddhist practices. Palms facing up indicate to the beholder that there is no weapon – the origin of the friendly wave. Palms opened in such a way are welcoming, inviting and accepting of the other, offering a listening to and understanding of shared experiences, and inviting peaceful and unconditional friendship. A friend who looked at the quilt, hands included, said that they reminded her of a menorah. Considering the hands of the Dove Goddess, open and raised in worship, could she have been bearing in a gesture of her body, the ‘menorah’ that represents light and wisdom gained through divine (intuitive) inspiration. It may assume such significance for some. (This is also far too big a topic to pursue here, but an interesting enough comment to include here, I thought).

When I check online, the image that attracts my attention is that of the healer’s hands, of the shaman’s hands, consisting of a spiral in the palm, representative of curative powers. Envisioned as being embedded in the hand, the energy of the triple spiral emits healing energy to others through touch, such as in the healing practices of Reiki. It seems appropriate for all these reasons that hands be included on Robs quilt as a very powerful symbol of that part of her lifes journey: that of the bringer of peace and healing. Just as the roses I have cut out make me think of all the people she has touched in her life with loving, caring and healing energy, hands provide the means to show respect and offer an expression of sharing.[2]

Symbols on the hands
On the left palm there is a single spiral. The single spiral is one of the most common symbols of the Celtic culture. This symbol stood for the radiation of ethereal energy. This single spiral is also the symbol of the healing hand. The power of the spiral as a symbol that aids inner gnowings, an intuitive way of experiencing our own truths and healing has been passed down over millennia. To me it represents the admonition of the Delphic oracle to “Know thyself” - really a life-long journey. There are however many different meanings of the single spiral. Some of the most prominent ones are: expansion of  (self)consciousness, through both its perseverance and the gaining of personal understanding and knowledge…not so different to being true to yourself, which was the way my father interpreted the Delphic oracle.
On the palm of the right hand there is a triple spiral. Believed by many to be an ancient symbol of pre-Celtic and Celtic beliefs, the triple spiral appears in various forms in both pre-Celtic and Celtic art, with the earliest examples having been carved on Neolithic, pre-Celtic stone monuments. Sometimes known as the ‘triskele’, the symbol can be found on a number of Irish Megalithic and Neolithic sites, most notably inside the NewGrange megalith, on the entrance stone, and on some of the curb stones surrounding the mound. The three-way design of the Triskele (or Trefoil, as it is variously called), allows for multiple interpretations for making meaning and seeing the cyclical nature of life in process: mind, body, spirit; creation, preservation, destruction; past, present, future; father, son and holy ghost…and so on. It can also be read as the inter-relationship for life, between earth, sky and water. In Celtic tradition has been understood to represent the threefold stages manifest in life of childhood, adulthood and the wisdom gained by age – or perhaps the triple aspects of the life-force as physical, emotional and spiritual. For the Celts it represented belief in the interconnectedness of life and maybe the future as eternity. For me, it represents the three stages of a life for women: maiden, mother and crone, ever repeating through each generation. They are interwoven inextricably, because although we do separate them out according to the menses cycle, they are intimately connected through stages of change, progression and repetition.

[1] Rachel Naomi Remen M.D., 2002ed, Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that heal, Pan Macmillan: Australia
[2] http://www.ancient-symbols.com/ http://www.ancient-symbols.com/symbols-directory/healer_hand.html

Instalment #4: the doves

During her time of retreat in Iona, Rob told me that sitting on the window ledge in her little attic room that overlooked the bay of Mull, there was a Columba (dove). There are several representations of doves in the quilt: the dove at the top right hand corner carries a heart. The first drawing of the dove concerned me a little, thinking it resonated too much with the ‘Twitter” symbol, but on second thoughts that didn’t seem to be such a bad thing, since doves have long been connected with communicating and making connections. I also know that the first sketch is just that, and will continue to morph during the process as more ideas and connections are made.

By serendipity, at the ready I had a photocopied image printed on fabric (thanks to Sheila for printing them). It was one of the Goddesses that had appeared in the previous quilt of thea Gaia’s “Swinging Bridges”, a presentation of ancient images of women. It is usual that something from the previous quilt makes a demand to be included in the following quilt.  And, here She was: a small Goddess statue from ancient Crete wearing a dove crown.[1] Apart from resonating with Rob’s Ionian dove, I instantly knew that Her place was at the base of the mandorla of roses. There was no hesitation in this decision. It had been lovely placing the roses, and attaching them to the jacaranda background, and it felt very comforting to have the Dove Goddess ‘at home’ in the garland, holding the future of the quilt in place with her upraised arms. I read somewhere that upraised arms (and possibly by extension, wings) have long been the indication of worship in our human story.

The Dove Goddess sends out more doves from her hands to all corners. The four small doves rising from the hands at the bottom of the quilt came into place as a last minute addition. They are placed radiating outwards towards to the four corners. The small doves fly skyward, or to the four corners of the Earth maybe carrying messages of hope and love as does the heart-carrying dove, or giving back into the future with equal measure?

Symbol of the dove
The symbol of dove goes back a long way as indicating the spirit of a divine presence among us by which I understand, something yet to be known fully about within ourselves, not something that it exists outside ourselves. The dove, or pigeon was the first domesticated bird, and was believed to be a messenger, a go-between for communicating with divinity (the divine in ourselves), destiny with a strong association with wishful prayer for taking charge of our destinycommunications occurring on many levels. The description of this little Cretan representation of Goddess assigned to her by Swinging Bridges goes: “She flies to the centre of being and connects with the infinite within.” In the image it can be seen that doves fly out from Her hands - so she also gives back what she has found within.

On the quilt, the four small doves had me in a conundrum as to the practical means to ensure they would not flying off’, since they are attached with an adhesive medium that needs stitching down to keep it in place, the medium all the symbols have been worked with.[2] Initially I felt reluctant to cover them with netting because of negative connotation of binding or entrapment, but did so with two of the little doves when I remembered from earlier research the net is a symbol of order, of weaving in order to keep the order of the Universe and the unfolding of human lives by weaving together the dark and the light. Knots and the nets they form are very important in this process. This interweaving is what Simone DeBeauvoir has succinctly described as the “unresolveable, ambiguous drama of freedom and contingency”… a condition weaving pleasure and pain, health and disease, life and death.[3] The other two small doves have been hand-stitched into place. In the original card, the doves eventually shapeshift into the labrys, the double-headed axe of justice held sacred in ancient Crete.

Doves were associated with oracular divination, often in the context of romantic relationships and fertility. The power for creation by women, represented by Canaanite, Sumerian and Israelite and Mediterranean Mother Goddesses known by various names in various locations as Ishtar, Inanna, Asherah, Tanit, Shekinah, Astarte, Anat and Aphrodite, was symbolically envisioned as the dove, with many of her dove symbols adorning images, temples and shrines. We now also recognise the dove as a peace symbol – a state of being so important to find within and among ourselves.

Many other Goddess images from antiquity have wings. Im thinking particularly of Isis, who shelters all and sheltered her beloved son, Horus, beneath her wings (a myth that later morphed into the Mary and Jesus story). In Hebrew the word for spiritis in the feminine form (ruarch), and Goddess embodiment in the religion is known as Shekinah, Queen of Wisdom. Many aspects of these earlier ancient stories have been incorporated into Christian symbolism as the symbol of the dove: for the immaculate conception of the godhead by mother Mary; and the dove hovering over the head of Jesus at his baptism, for example.[4]
I have also read that there are images of a dove being re-born from the mouth of a dolphin, later transposed into the story of Jonah being ‘born’ from a whale, his name meaning dove in Hebrew.Ionahis a cognate of the Sanskrit word ‘yoni’, which later became known in Latin as the vesica piscis. The root form ‘io’ has connotations with and means moonin the Egyptian lexicon, providing yet another connection to the monthly blood ritual that is the basis of continuing human life.[5] The yoni of course represents the female pubic area (often referred to as a woman’s ‘sexuality), but it is much more importantly the sacred site in a womans body, through which life is endlessly renewed, symbolizing the faith, hope, joy and love that is at the heart of the lived human experience.[6]

Needless to say there are too many historical and cultural associations to explore here. What is important here is Robs association through the time she spent in retreat on the Island of Iona, the abbey of St Columba whose name means dove in Latin. It is difficult to be certain about the reason this person received his name, and how the symbol of the white dove relates to him (apart from his name). Maybe because he brokered a peace with the story of Jesus among the feuding barbarian tribes of the place the Romans called Hibernia and had long wanted to conquer, by building on existing pagan rites and symbols a common approach to the process of colonising, even today. Since his name Colum-cille (kille) means Dove of the Church, it may be another appropriation of womens reproductive power for renewing life to fertilize a spiritual renewal in pagan lands, though the symbol is normally attributed (perhaps in hindsight) as being a messenger of the Christian God of peace to a violent environment.

[1] She can be seen in my PhD thesis on page 154, and is taken from the Awesome power series, 1989, published by Swinging Bridges Visuals, Australia, produced by Rosanne DeBats & thea Rainbow/Gaia.
[2] It is with thanks to Kerry Beaumont that the rose mandorla has been given more detail through stitching into them using the free machining technique.

[3] http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/webs-and-nets. Shared by many cultures in different ways through their stories, the weaving of warp and woof into net and fabric seems to have the common thread of fate and destiny.
[4] Iona Miller, 2016, Ancestors and archetypes, http://ancestorsandarchetypes.weebly.com/dove-goddess.html
[5] Barbara Walker, 1988, The womans dictionary of symbols and sacred objects, Harper & Row: San Francisco. For me personally at the moment ‘IO’ stands for immuno-oncology, which has been my treatment for advanced melanoma over the last 9 months.
[6] Barbara Walker, 1983, The woman’s Encyclopedia of myths and secrets, HarperSanFrancisco

Instalment #3: the background colour and the 'vesica piscis'

The problem was that by creating the frame first, I had inadvertently given myself serious design challenges – unseen in advance, like putting the horse before the cart. I had never worked this way before, usually working from the centre out, or at least having a background to work on. The frame always came last.  And it presented me with quite a conundrum. So I started working on the symbols that would fill the space. I’d already drawn up designs for the Celtic knot and Ionian dove, (though had to play with the latter in order to come to a pleasing design - I didn’t want a “twitter” bird, and the earlier one I’d chosen seemed to give this impression). I knew that they could float on top of the background, placed in the either corner at the top. But first the roses, the moon, and the ancient Dove Goddess image I had chosen to include needed a firm and clear position in the whole, requiring a choice of colour for the background. Looking around at where the blooms were showing in the natural world, with the stunning Jacarandas in full bloom, by serendipity, I had a piece of hand-dyed fabric just that colour in my stash, which was just enough fabric to fill the frame - if I was careful.

I was keen to place the many individual roses, cut out months before and still arranged around the candle on my coffee table, into position within the frame. I often lit this candle, looking for inspiration on how these many roses might be positioned on the quilt. Many people liked them on my coffee table, but I knew they were destined for Robs quilt! I needed to give another dimension to the stark rectangular frame with its as yet blank purple canvas, and dividing up the space with the roses seemed like a pleasurable thing to do. Trouble was, how to arrange them? In a circle? In a ’bunch’? In each corner? One morning I went back to bed with my cup of tea, and as I stepped on the little Afghan carpet beside the bed I noticed the elongated square, a square pulled into a lozenge or diamond shape, and overall design for the holding space of the background fell into place, leaving the four corners for the symbols hovering to find their place on the quilt. Strange where inspiration comes from! Another serendipity came from reading a story about a woman who saw her inner self as a rose (Rachel Remen, Kitchen table wisdom). Forming a perhaps rather angular and stylised mandorla shape, this was the first representation of the vesica piscis symbol, which continued to become manifest in other places as the creative process progressed.

The vesica piscis in the Celtic knot
The first symbol to come into form, and waiting to be placed, was the Celtic knot. Robyn had visited the Findhorn Foundation on the island of Iona to do a week-long spiritual retreat, called "Birth of the Undivided Self. During her time there she had felt the place itself had given her a sense of the veil between the worlds being thin, connections with the other world tangible, especially in the case of her grandmothers presence, who had visited Iona when Rob was 10 years old. While the interlaced triangle is linked to this visit by her Grandmother to Iona, who brought back a souvenir of a silver serviette ring with a Celtic knot engraved on it, the image has no doubt great significance in Rob’s own personal spiritual journey. 

On the quilt, the symbol of the Celtic knot (or ‘triquetra’) is composed of three overlapping vesica pisces, which I have coloured white, red and black to signify the triple Goddess and three stages of a woman’s life: maiden, mother and crone. Unlike most images I’ve seen of this knot, however, I have positioned the ‘triquetra’ with the base at the top, and the red vesica of motherhood pointing downwards (rather than the more usual upward pointing orientation) because I feel this gives emphasis to the power of womanhood in bringing forth and nurturing life. It is placed inside an inverted triangle, traditionally representing the fertile pubic triangle.

Interlacing in design is, of course, so beautifully executed in the Book of Kells, and these designs also embody story, with perhaps some evidence for an overlap between indigenous understandings entwined with the imported stories of the Christian Gospels. In the art of story telling, interlacing was a common way of communicating traditional tales and familial connections, in the sense that the audience at a telling could make connections without the need for specific or detailed explanation. These days of digital communications we might say they could pick up on the thread. The interpretation of course relies on familiarity with the story and characters involved, especially in reference to binary complementarities, such as war and peace, love and hate, life and death. Further to this, the interlacing in stories was about endless games containing riddles, hidden omens concealed in the story tellingthe more such inferences, the more entertaining, erudite and educational, it was. But, perhaps most importantly for our forebears,it (interlacing) attempts to symbolize the intricate patterns of destiny which none can avoid.[1]


[1] Claire French, 2001, The Celtic Goddess: Great queen of demon witch? Bell & Bain: Glasgow, p.17

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Instalment #2 in creating Rob's quilt: the frame

The frame becomes manifest
After month upon month of little productive creative activity, I was feeling frustrated by the many false starts, and tired of waiting for inspiration. The many attempts to bring the background into satisfactory visible form seemed futile. So, I decided to act in a rather ruthless fashion for me. I made a promise to myself: to start and finish something in the one sitting! I had cut the chosen floral fabrics into 8-inch squares as described previously. Next I decided, quite impetuously, to cut the squares into 4-inch rectangles. By joining them together along the long side I was able to cut through the middle again and create a border four inches wide, each the same. With the second half I could complete a border-frame with the chakra colours in descending order, thus completing the cycle. After all, the chakras are hardly independent of each other, nor have any distinct hierarchy the way I see it! There it was: a floral frame for Robs quilt! I had both started and finished it in one sitting! Of course, it had to remain in four pieces until it could be attached to the central panel, the heart of the quilt, which would display Robs requested motifs: the Celtic knot, the Ionian dove, the vesica piscis – and, all the roses I’d cut out in preparation. The moon would be there too.  Finally I felt more confident, now that the colours of the chakras had been represented.

Significance of the Chakra: colours of the rainbow
The significances of the meridian points on the body known as the ‘chakras’ goes back countless millennia, crossing many geographical areas, showing up as religious and spiritual signifiers in many different cultural contexts. In that way it is universal and why wouldnt those colours be for anyone looking at the natural phenomenon of a rainbow found everywhere on Earth? It separates white light, the stuff we don't tend to see, because ‘that’s just how it is’, into the spectrum of multiple colliding colours, revealing the full glory of white light and at the same time, its hidden dimension. For scientist, Candace Pert the rainbow is about both hope and truth, reminding us  ‘to pierce through the layers of everyday reality and penetrate to the truth’ (p118). She was referring in particular to the domain of scientific discovery of course, but that’s not the only way to view her comment.

After checking the significance of the chakra in Barbara Walkers two tomes, reference to the chakras appears under many different entries.[1] Everyone is familiar with the Tantric meditation of the ascending stages of wisdom represented by the snake goddess Kundalini uncoiling herself from the base of the spine towards the crown of the head. This meditation is done by visualizing the intertwining of an ascending double helix (of the DNA?), which unites one thread representing the moon with the other representing the sun. Candace Pert, using impeccable scientific techniques identified these bundles of receptors and associated peptides residing along either side of the spinal column. She was perhaps among the first to show that the chakra points, the centres of “subtle energy” that influence the body’s function on all levels, physical and metaphysical, identified thousands of years ago in Eastern holistic health practices, aligned with this ancient version of understanding body-mind integrated functions.[2]

Rather then enjoying these subtle energies in a motion of ascent, the circular motion of group interaction in coming together to deeper understanding is the one that appeals to me (and it appears to be more accurate physiologically). In the circle there is no beginning and no end. Walker refers also to Sufi practice (‘halka’ in Arabic) and a magic circle whose members cooperated in the effort of comprehension(p.160). And of course it is evident in the practice of traditional circle dances central to so many cultures, and which I know to be part of Robyn’s spiritual practice.
Flowers around the border frame, representing the chakras:
Red colours are represented by the chillies (I know, not flowers, but red hot!), warratahs, kangaroo paw, and Sturt dessert pea. The reds then meld into the orange and yellows of poppies and daffodils, intermingling with sunflowers and the pale yellow flower of the Tasmanian Blue Gum. The various blues and greens of foliage surround them, and finally, the purples and mauves are blended in the patches of pansies and primroses to represent the sixth and seventh chakras.

Other breakdowns of the significance of the chakras can be found in many online sites. This is what I have gleaned from several, (which I haven’t referenced because I made a sort of composite, as it felt right for me):
At the root is red, which represents groundedness through connection to Earth as Mother Gaia. Orange is about pleasure and the sex organs, represented by the Middle Eastern Goddess, Anat. Another Goddess from the Middle East, Tanit, sits at the juncture of our claiming our personal power, the yellow representing the solar plexus. Green for the heart chakra is of course the fecund power of love, as represented by the mother Goddess, Isis. While another Egyptian Goddess, Neith, as the blue centre of the throat, is the speaker of truth. At the centre of the forehead is the third eye, represented by the purple for our intuitive psyche, our soul, and at the crown is the reason for all the others: being in community!

[1] Barbara Walker, 1988, The womans dictionary of symbols and sacred objects, Harper & Row: San Francisco
Barbara Walker, 1983, The womans encyclopedia of myths and secrets, HarperSanFrancisco
[2] Candace Pert, 1999 ed, The molecules of emotion: why you feel the way you feel, Simon & Schuster:UK