body mind & psychic expo 2008

zuluMan... I've been hanging out for today for like a whole year! Actually, probably the last two years... but mostly since last year...

Yep, the Body Mind & Psychic Expo rolled around again (they really do need a better website though)...

And I finally got one of the guide/angel portraits done... that's him over on the right there... but I'm getting ahead of myself a bit...

Like I said, I've been hanging out for today for a while, and the closer it got, the more excited I got, and the more I couldn't wait... I made sure that Ma was going to come down really early this morning so we could get all our shopping done and come back here to unpack my stuff and everything before we headed off to the Expo. And we did... we actually had heaps of time and got to do a bit of wandering about before heading back here.

And we made it to the Showgrounds, found a free park on the far side (which meant we had to walk all the way through, which possibly wasn't the best idea, but I'll live) and made it to the door with about ten minutes to spare before they opened. So basically we were among the first half dozen people through the door, which is exactly what I wanted.

Like I did last year when I was flying solo, we headed straight over to where the two women who do the spirit guide portraits are, and yet again they were in exactly the same spot as previous years... like I mentioned after last year's visit, there were a number of stalls in the same place, so whether they just have a prearranged booking, or get in nice and early, or what, I don't know... but all I really cared about was that the two "Visionary Artists" were in the same spot.

However, even though we couldn't have been any earlier, there was already somebody booked in (maybe somebody who was actually working at the Expo) with the lady I wanted to see, Shiona, so I had to put my name down for the second session of the morning, and Ma and I wandered around randomly before it was time for my session.

As lame as it sounds, I'd chosen my outfit so that it wouldn't give her any "clues"... I didn't chose anything with text or any animal designs or anything, instead going for my red tee with the big lightbulb on it... and I didn't "give" her anything, lead wise, when we were talking... I just let her do what she was going to do.

Anyway, when I got back to the booth she greeted me like she recognised me... whether she actually remembered last year, or just recognised my face (because, you know, I'm very recognisable) and she thought maybe she'd done a reading for me before, or she greets everybody like that, or what I don't know... but I sat, she sat, she asked me what I was looking for, to which I told her I just wanted to see "whoever's making the most noise" (which I realise now is something of a leading statement, but it was the only one I gave her... oh, that and if there was an animal that presented itself I'd be interested to know what it was), she touched my knee (the good one, fortunately) and "listened" (and part of me was wondering what would have happened if she'd suddenly gotten a look of horror on her face and then run off screaming... hehe)...

She told me that there were a number of guides around me (which isn't really a surprise, but also could have come from the fact that I'd said the "most noise" comment... see, I'm equal parts skeptic and believer), and the two that were the noisiest were a Zulu warrior with an old lion... and a Native American with (at the very least) an eagle and a wolf... the second one wasn't really a big surprise... it seems like EVERYBODY has a Native American spirit guide...

Then she asked me which one I wanted to see... and you know, I honestly wasn't sure... I mean the Zulu warrior sounded interesting, but so did the Native American, but then, like I said, Native Americans are like a dime a dozen... so she got me to choose my paper colour (indigo... instead of purple... or the other one that really drew my eye was the "earth" colour, but I kind of picked the indigo out of nowhere)... and finally I went with the Zulu warrior... which she agreed with (I said "I'm thinking the Zulu" to which she replied "Me too").

So I sat while she drew... and man, she drew fast... I mean normally she's not exactly slow, but this just seemed to throw itself on the paper... and she kept nodding (to him, to herself, I don't know exactly) as she drew. But it was cool to see it all come together... a random line in a strange colour that I wasn't sure about resolved itself into part of a cheek or a lip or whatever...

The most interesting part was when she drew the lion... firstly because just before she started, she looked down to her right (and I thought she was actually going to say something to me, but it was like she was looking at the lion) before she started working. And I couldn't actually see how the lion was going to come together, it all seemed a little vague... I could see the ear, but the face didn't really seem to have a form... then suddenly she flicked in like three or four lines in black, and suddenly there were the eyes and the nose.

As I said to Ma, I didn't actually see the lion coming, which I guess, for a lion, is a good thing...

Actually, the lion is kind of interesting for other reasons... both Ma and I think it's a very "wolfy" looking lion... I mean I can see it's a lion, but there's this undertone of wolf in it too... so maybe the wolf couldn't keep it's nose out...

I'm still not happy with the photo I took of the finished artwork... it looks much better in person I think, not as bright and "bitty"... but for some reason I can't come up with a decent photo... maybe I need to rope Stu in, see if he can take something better...

When she was finished drawing I asked her if he had a name... because with the piece before me she'd written in a name at the end (and she did it again later when we saw her finish another piece)... but she said she wasn't actually getting a name, he was giving her the image of walking over coals, so possibly the name he was giving was Firewalker...

Which very nearly made me laugh, because in some of the "fan fiction" stuff I used to write, one of the minor sideline characters was actually called Firewalker (and the whole hot coal thing was how he got his name)... and I couldn't quite resolve the two images in my brain, so he remains officially unnamed...

I did look up a Zulu dictionary when I got home, and while there didn't seem to be an actual word for "firewalker", I did find the words for "fire" and "walk", and while I was there I also looked up the word for "lion"... and I quite like what I came up with... Umlilo Hamba & Imbube... it seems to fit somehow...

Anyway, she sat down and gave me my reading... which was interesting in itself (and after we were done I went and sat in the cafe for a couple of minutes to jot down some notes so I could remember everything)...

One of the first things that she said was that he'd been giving her the image or the information or whatever it was really fast, he didn't let her stop, he was just bombarding her... which actually is very me... that speed thing again...

She said he was something of a father figure (and had actually been my father in a past life... I was Zulu once... who knew!)... and was a very protective energy. And that I was blocking him a little bit because in that past life he'd been very harsh with me, but that was because it was all about survival, but now he was just giving me the protective energy.

Also in that previous life he'd been very much about "making me a man" (which I will admit, made me smile), but now he was actually here to help me with the opposite kind of stuff, intuition and spirituality (although when she initially said about the "opposite" thing, I thought "great, I have a big gay Zulu spirit guide")...

She also said that part of his guidance was not to worry about how to get from A to Z, just to get into a groove at A and that routine and groove will get you where you need to go. Hell, that's the story of my whole damn life... the routine thing and getting into a groove and ending up somewhere that I didn't expect just because I was in the groove...

As far as the lion is concerned, she said that the cat energy is about "feeling things coming"... which is also very me... and feeling things before you actually see them. And if you think about the more general attributes of lions (or maybe lioness specifically) you get that protective vibe again...

So I paid my money, she covered the sketch with a piece of tissue so she could roll it up, I got a hug (and the rolled up sketch, obviously), and then Ma and I went on our way...

I can see now what the attraction is for the guy I mentioned last year who comes along every year and gets three readings done... it's slightly addictive... I'm already planning next year's trip (I want to ask for my "calm center", plus animal maybe, see what she comes up with from that... something Eastern hopefully, but something to balance against my Zulu would be good)... and Ma and I had a conversation later in the day about both of us paying half of the other one's session (which I realise pretty much works out the same as if we both just paid for our own session) and calling it "birthday"... I'd actually be really interested to see what she comes up with for Ma...

Then, with the main task done, we just went a-wandering...

We looked at all the jewellery stalls, a lot of the crystal stalls (most of which had jewellery anyway), and pretty much everything that didn't look dodgy or else have somebody hovering and waiting to pounce (the two groups of Thai massage people were really bad for that kind of leaping out at you)... and I made sure I pointed out anything seahorse related to Ma (she's so damn fussy about her seahorses though, and didn't end up getting anything seahorsey... not that I blame her, some of them were kinda nasty)...

Interestingly, because I'd had my spirit guide session, I didn't really feel as much of a need to keep hanging around and watching what was going on at that stall (although that could have been a combination of the whole knee thing, plus the fact that I wasn't there alone)... if we happened to go past we stopped and looked (there was a very South American type native, a "Lady of the Water" and something very Angel-like), but only for a little while each time...

I also kept my eye out for anything African or lion related... not so much around there I have to say... Native American stuff coming out of the woodwork, not so much African stuff... well, there was one specifically African stuff from Africa stall... and another stall that had some little statues, which were fairly cheap too... but I just didn't like them when I looked at them close up...

After we'd wandered pretty much all over everywhere we stopped off at this cool little pizza stall (I can't remember the name of the company, something like Wild or Wicked or something) that had set up in the back corner... I'm not sure what sort of ovens they were using... some sort of super fast, super hot thing obviously... and while the pizzas were a little light on the toppings they were really, really tasty...

Because we'd walked all over everywhere, and I hadn't strapped up my knee (which was possibly a bad idea, but at the same time it was feeling better... and the workout might have been good for it) so I was starting to feel a little achy, we decided to call it a day (we did end up spending a minimum of three hours there)... but there were just a couple of spots we both wanted to hit on the way out... specifically fudge, feng shui, African stuff and jewellery...

I picked up another Ganesha at one of the stalls (not the feng shui one as it turns out, there was some nice stuff there, but nothing I liked had a price on it, which is always dangerous)... so now I have three Ganeshas on my teevee (as opposed to two Ganeshas and a Buddha), one orangey, one grey and gold and one terracotta... oh, and a pink net shawl/scarf thing for Ma's birthday next weekend...

Then we hit the fudge stall... mmmmm fudge... I got Turkish Delight, Malt and Honey (or Malt and something anyway) and something coffee flavoured... yummy...

The African statue stall (or African stuff from Africa) was a bit of a washout... sure they had some really nice giraffe things, but that's Mrs Stu's thing, but they didn't really have any lions... bummer...

While Ma was looking at our last stop, the same jewellery stall she'd looked at about three times (okay, maybe it was only the second time) I suddenly had a flash that one of the crystal stalls had some little carved crystal animals... and they probably had lions... so I left Ma to her accessory indecision and hoofed it (as much as I could hoof by that stage) down the other end of the building in search of a little lion. I found the stall, I found the little teeny tiny lions, but they only had three types of crystal (one gold and sparkly which just looked fake, one milky clear and somewhat iridescent which was interesting, and a third one I don't remember)... so I asked the oddly cute but slightly docile boy behind the stall if they had any other types... specifically I would have liked one in Hematite, but alas they only had Tiger Eye and Red Jasper... three or four in Tiger Eye actually, but only one in Jasper.

Now, usually I would have gone with Tiger Eye... I quite like it, it has that really cool look when light shines on it... but for some reason, whether it was because it was the only one they had, or whether Umlilo was whispering in my ear, I don't know, but I bought the Red Jasper lion. And the way he's carved he does look like an "old lion"... he's got this great stylised look to him, but he looks old, which is perfect...

When I got home I checked up on the "properties" of Red Jasper... and while there were a few descriptions that seemed a little vague, I did come across one that seemed very appropriate...

Metaphysically, it is purported to have a stabilizing effect, and help one take all one's energy and use it in a balanced manner. It is also said to be a stone that helps in all areas of survival, and is a very protective stone.

Protective again...

And it helps in survival... and one of the places that Red Jasper comes from is Africa... so yeah... it's one of those things that was obviously meant to be...

That's about it more or less... we did flit around a bit so I could get some fixative to spray on the picture, and we also tried to find some sort of plastic sleeve or something that I could keep it in until I work out what the hell I'm going to do with it (and I got some gel stuff to rub into my knee)... part of me wants to get the picture laminated, but it's totally one of a kind, and if the laminating doesn't work or doesn't look as good once it's been laminated or whatever, then I'll be sad... so, for now, I don't know what the hell is going to happen to it...

All I do know is that I'm pretty damn knackered...

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