Category Archives: Writing for Wellness

Lived Life Experience – Memoir

I could live in a treehouse. I mean it, I really could! It would be like being on a permanent camping trip. I could fish for trout, hike in the woods and sleep under the stars every night. Of course, it would have to be a treehouse with a fast Internet connection and a kickin computer setup, or all bets are off. A girl has to have her standards you know. *wink* Diana Adams

I have no idea what has got into the drinking water of the Bancroft Estate but whatever it is I have decided it should be bottled. Heather Blakey, one of the creatives who has taken up residence here at Bancroft Manor, claims she has always wanted a treehouse. She says that when she realized that, as Diana Adams suggests, she could dream like a child and create the treehouse of her dreams here on the estate, she leapt at the opportunity. When found the picture of the one shown here she knew she had found just the right place. Happily, because anything is possible on the Bancroft Estate, Heather could click her fingers and the treehouse of her dreams materialized.

Now she has set up workshops out there and other residents are clambering up to join in to sit around yarning and working on Lived Life Experience projects. 

Of course, when she is not here on the estate, she does also run these workshops in Castlemaine and is prepared to work with those who take the time to contact her. She also finds time to work with Anita Marie Moscoso and Danse with the Macabre. As I said “something has got into the water. Perhaps the water is somehow connected to the magical waters of Castalia.”

Diverse Creative Projects at Bancroft

We have wandered roads together
played and learned and found each other
hand in hand the journey winds
through the back roads of memory
through the pathways of new learning
up the stairs where magic beckons
into caverns dark
and to the morning.
Waking we have joined the circle
glowing dawn forever holds us.
Fran Sbrocchi

Anita Marie Moscoso and Heather Blakey, each of whom have established themselves at Bancroft Manor, have been working collaboratively and spending some time Dansing with the Macabre. If you visit the site you will find that it is full of interesting stimuli and has lots of prompts that folk can work on in their journals.

When she is not off ‘Dansing with the Macabre’ or running a creative Lived Life Narrative course in Castlemaine, Heather Blakey is working in her apartment at the Manor, wandering down memory lane, remembering the times she travelled with a host of Soul Food patrons. She is busily putting together a retrospective of the decade when she created and managed the Soul Food Cafe.

Suzanne, who revels being in nature and had recently made Descansos, inspired by all the talk about visiting cemeteries “had the compelling urge to stop and take photos of stone angels“.

There are diverse spaces available at Bancroft and you certainly do not have to confine yourself to the Manor House. She hasn’t revealed her location yet but I assume that Raven’s Apothecary is located deep within the woods that are a part of the estate.

If you established yourself in space at on the estate what would it be like? What projects might you be inspired to undertake? Check out the Artist Loft in the Soul Food Cafe to see just what an interesting group of creatives found their way into the site.

Residing at Bancroft Manor

Are you brave enough to go into the woods at Bancroft Manor and meet with some of the darker residents who talented artists such as Brian Froud so imaginatively capture.

Perhaps you will join in and Danse with Macabre and use information you glean to write a dark dark fairy story.

All associated Bancroft Manor sites are free of pop-ups and advertising. Perhaps you will join, help to promote this creative collective and help us keep the sites free of corporate advertising. Or maybe you would like to extend the reach of your creative endeavours, whatever they may be, and, upon subscribing, secure a link featuring an image of your work. For details about joining check out the FAQ page.

Warm the Stone Artist

To highlight the therapeutic power of creativity

When you look for the person inside do you see a living, vibrant being or has your creative side been calcified and turned to stone by the ‘White Witch’. In The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe it is Aslan who miraculously revives the statues and infuses them with life. At Bancroft Manor, like its predecessor, the Soul Food Cafe, it is art and writing that warms the stone artist

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?

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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