Category Archives: Bancroft Manor

Once Upon A Time – Not So Long Ago

Bancroft Manor House - a virtual collective for creatives

Perhaps this portal will help you locate Bancroft Manor.

Once upon a time, in this lifetime, participants of the Soul Food Cafe found their way through portals into Lemuria. The portal closed and it became harder to navigate one’s way into Lemuria when the Enchantress took a long sabbatical. The roads faded and the number of travellers passing through this realm diminished.

Bancroft Manor may not be in Lemuria but it is another place for creatives to congregate. For those who remember places like the Lemurian Abbey, the Gypsy encampment, Riversleigh Manor, the Lemurian City of Ladies, The Temple of Solace, White Owl Island or the Isle of Ancestors it is not so hard to envision what Bancroft Manor might become.

Into the Blue
by Lori Gloyd 2007 
a Lemurian Resident

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 Cyberiaand the Taverna. I groaned inwardly as I thought of the condition my establishment would now be in– heel marks on the tabletops, 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 Lysandraholding 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.”

“Excuse me?” 

“I have noticed something. May I tell you about it?”

I stiffened a bit but nodded for her to 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. Lysandrawas deep in thought. 

Still staring at the lake, she broke the silence at last. “When was the last time you wrote?”

“Excuse me?”

“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 Lysandraup to? 

She nodded and gazed at the night sky. 

Finally, she turned towards me, her green eyes looking straight 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 Lysandrawas, 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….” Lysandragestured 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 Lysandrawhispering 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 endeavour. 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……

A Key to a Room at Bancroft Manor

Back in 2014 Thalia found the key that enabled her to enter Riversleigh, a virtual retreat former members of the Soul Food Cafe remember affectionately. This key opened the door to a healing haven where she worked for an extended period.  Spend some time meditating, allow yourself to go through a portal and who knows, you may  just find the key to Bancroft Manor, the newest of  Soul Food’s retreats. It is possible that like Thalia you will establish a soulful healing haven.

A Key to Riversleigh

It was one of those lovely winter days when I was lying on a branch of a tree, content to have shifted into a small female human and be hidden – or so I thought.  Suddenly the raven flapped down beside me and squawked.   I took it to mean “hello” so I responded appropriately.  She muttered as she reached under her wing and pulled out a small key on a string with her beak.

holding out the key

Extending it forward towards me, she nodded and murmured.  I tentively reached out and she nodded in response.  A key!  Whatever for?  As if she could hear my thoughts, she replied, “It is the key you will need as you travel in a variety of ways and many places.  Use it wisely!”

I was already in this realm of Riversleigh, so it wasn’t for me to get in.  Where might I need this?  Always more questions than answers.  As I mulled this over, the raven flapped her wings and took off for places beyond my sight, so she didn’t want me to shift into a raven and join her.  I clutched the key in my palm as I fastened the string around my wrist for safekeeping.  Settling back down to once again to resume my time of being small and hidden, I pondered the nature of things appearing when you least expect.   What was next?

A Room of My Own at Bancroft Manor

When you sign up and join Bancroft Manor the choice is yours. You can work in solitude, post on the group Facebook page or join a tour such as Danse with the Macabre.

While Waiting For Godot

A room of my own at the virtual Bancroft Manor

Since settling in at Bancroft Manor, despite having heard movement through the corridors of this palatial home, a property that rivals the famed Romanov Gatchina Palace, I have mainly been happy with my own company. Mostly I am comfortable to enjoy this room of my own. When I am not on tour, Dansing with Macabre, I enjoy exploring the grounds and gardens with my dogs, going for walks around the estate.

Our host, Georgina McClure, has made sure that we have all that we are well connected to the outside world and I have loved this time of quiet solitude, enjoyed rummaging through Borrow Box. I have been happy to lay on the couch or in the bath listening to a vast range of audiobooks including my childhood favourite, The Magic Faraway Tree.

Imagine my delight when I rediscovered Alexander Mcall Smiths No 1 Ladies Detective Series and…

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A Way to Feel Less Alone

Cartoon by Jonny Sun

Being open and vulnerable with your loneliness, sadness and fear can help you find comfort and feel less alone, says writer and artist Jonny Sun. In an honest talk filled with his signature illustrations, Sun shares how telling stories about feeling like an outsider helped him tap into an unexpected community and find a tiny sliver of light in the darkness.

Being persistent and consistently trying to reach out and be heard can be hard to sustain. Listen to Jonny Sun and you will appreciate how, as a creative who spends a lot of time alone, you may benefit from joining and actively engaging, connecting with others in the Bancroft Collective.

Bancroft Manor is a tiny sanctuary where people can connect and prove that we are not necessarily as alone as we may think we are.

Check the FAQ and consider whether it is worth investing in a project designed to bring like-minded people together.

A Touch of the Macabre

Bone Church Kutna Hora

One of the tours that have left Bancroft Manor involves cemetery hopping. Some of the best travel destinations involve cemeteries such as

1. Highgate Cemetery, London

2.  Cypress Lawn, Colma, California

3. Vysehrad Cemetery, Prague

4. Protestant Cemetery, Rome

5.  Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

6. Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island

7. Sunset Hills Cemetery, Flint, Michigan

8. Zoshigaya Reien, Tokyo

9. Sleepy Hollow Cemeteries, New York

10. Waverley Cemetery, Sydney

I have visited Montparnasse and Vysehrad and can testify to the benefit of using cemeteries as one focus when you travel. Certainly, my day visiting the Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic and another exploring the historic cemetery in the old Jewish Quarter of Prague will be etched into my memory as absolute highlights of my time in Prague.

Loren Rhoads has worked extensively in this field and her Cemetery Tours site provides a wealth of insight into the creative work that simply visiting cemeteries can generate.

Danse Macabre is a site that is a receptacle for some of the work that emerges. If you are interested in joining Bancroft Manor you will find details on this site.

The Hiker and Her Dog

In

In response to a prompt in the Bancroft Manor Facebook Group, Anita Marie went for a walk and found interesting hands reaching out to her.

At The Crossroads

I went on a hike

deep in the woods

I went on a hike

with my dog.

I went on a hike to see a little of the world.

I thought I was so quiet, a shadow among so many others.

I thought nobody knew I was there-

except for maybe some birds

a poet looking for inspiration

Did he really see me?

I didn’t think he did, I did not think anybody did.

I would have sworn to it.

But I was wrong.

They saw me,

the trees

I didn’t see it until later there in the pictures I took the the trees were reaching out towards me,while I was looking through my camera

unaware, preoccupied, vulnerable-

They were so close to catching me

with their dark and twisted hands.

They didn’t hook me with their claws but they followed me home.

I’m looking at them right now.

Just pictures…

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A Writing Residency in Castlemaine

It’s a dream of many writers: to spend time at a quiet colony or residency where they can focus on their work. But all too often the only writers’ residencies we hear about are prestigious and only accept a tiny percentage of applicants who are charged to even apply.

It is true that there are lots of other wonderful writers residencies to choose from, many of which are less competitive, so you’re more likely to get accepted.

Alternatively, you might consider taking advantage of my offer to provide a ‘room of your own’ and mentorship in the heart of Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia. Castlemaine is a town nestled in a region well known for its artistic vibe. My aim is to provide short term residency and to make available a supportive environment which provides writers or artists with space in which to develop their ideas.

Members of the Bancroft Collective and those who were active at Soul Food are eligible for residency. Other applicants will be asked to take the time to communicate and check conditions, expectations and availability. They will also be asked to

  • provide a short biography which provides some background of their creative endeavours
  • present a short project description, describing what they intend to do during the residency, and why
  • a statement outlining the benefit of the residency to either their professional development or the successful realisation of a project (or both).

There is a standard accommodation fee of $50 per person per night, with a minimum stay of 4 nights or $200 for a seven-night stay. 

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