Time Travel and Taratara

I woke up at 2.30 am bounding with energy and listened to the sounds of the night. The wind was rising and swirling outside.

I intended to go out for a little walk in those gusts, I usually love the feeling of swirls and flapping clothing against my skin but once I got out on to the lawn I suddenly started to shiver and feel a chilling cold (it is the middle of summer!!) …so I scuttled back inside.

….yesterday was so unusual.  I took my father to see a urologist in Whangarei, two hours drive away.  This drive…. I have done it a hundred times.

 I usually find the trip quite boring because the scenery is mostly farmland with rolling paddocks for miles topped with grazing cattle and sheep.

The trip started the same as every other one….onto S H 10 and drive drive drive past Taipa, Coopers Beach, Mangonui, past Paradise Bay (it is!) . 

Then we got close to Taratara which is a towering rock jutting up from the middle of someone’s farm a couple of kilometres from the road.

This is where things started going strange. 

I looked at Taratara.

 It was about 11 am but the light had the quality of very early morning, that soft and subtle softness that allows for little details in colour  to show up and shimmer.  This is what I saw, very sublte colour variations shimmering. A palette of browns shimmering, and greens and golds…..  

I looked at this beautiful sight and  thought, this looks just like the south of France. Which is also strange since I have never been there…in this lifetime anyway. 

And…more strange… I have never liked this prominent rock feature before….somehow it scared me.   The energy felt closed, hidden, do not enter, it said.  It  also felt heavy and masculine, even though the  name Tara is the alchemists word for the divine feminine.                         

    Anyway, all that changed in the blink of a eye and I suddenly found I was besotted with Taratara. It looked…straighter, like it was standing up straight, not hunched or burdened with whatever worries or concerns it used to have. It looked awake, like it had awakened and was aware.

I said to my father, doesn’t Taratara look different, amazing.  He said, no…it looks the same it always does.

He does not read poetry!!

Then I got to Totara North and looked over to Whangaroa (these are locations along the coastal route on the east of the Far North of NZ by the way) . 

There is the most magnificent rock towering above the little settlement of Whangaora called St Pauls Rock.  I have never looked at this rock before.  In all those over 100 times I have driven past this bit of landscape I have never once I considered this  rock beautiful….  I didn’t even know it was called St Paul’s rock until I googled its name  10 mins ago.

St Paul’s had the same enticing light quality as Taratara.  It said come dance with me. 

 And I saw, felt,  that a line could be drawn between Taratara and St Pauls.  There was communication lines going on between the two of them.

You know what I really felt?  I felt that one of the great masters had got out his/her paint brushes and, through sheer infatuation with the word ‘beauty’, had sat down and painted the scene of Taratara and the scene of St Pauls that I had just gawked at.    

It really felt other dimensional..like I was not in 3D but somewhere else.  While this experience was happening….. time slowed down.

  I said to my father…man, this trip is taking sooooo long, we haven’t even got to Kerikeri yet.  Kerikeri is an hour in driving distance but it took an extra 20 mins  and it seemed like we’d been travelling for 2 hours.  My father felt the same way.

Okay, so we tick off Kerikeri on the road map  and then we are supposed to turn left  a little while past the Paihia turn off so that we get onto State Hiighway One to Whangarei.

Except I suddenly found myself turning right, not left.  If you turn right on to SH One, you, um, end up back at home via the other route!!

At the same time, while making this extravagant manoeuvre (extravagant because we were going to be late for the Drs appt if the trip took any longer) I thought, something is so wrong here.

We got,  say, five mins up the road and when the road signs clearly told me I was heading north I stopped and my father said…you know you’re going the wrong way don’t you?? 

I said to him, laughing my head off…. it was so funny….. I don’t know where I am!!

He said, just go the opposite way to what you’re doing now…which I have to say  was good advice.    

So the trip was hilarious and amazing and stupendously interesting.  We just made the appointment on time even though we left home with an extra hour to spare.  Somewhere a whole hour disappeared.  That was the longest trip to Whangarei ever!!

I got home feeling refreshed and like I say, I woke up at 2.30 this morning feeling so amazingly awake and aware.  Just like my friends Taratara and St Pauls. 


Bird on a Wire

I am waiting for a book to arrive in the mail about bird watching. It’s called How to Watch a Bird.

 I have never been much of a bird twitcher but then, I didn’t used to like dogs either until  I met Eddie Wilson recently and took a fancy to him  ( I wrote about this attraction a while back.)

  Eddie Wilson is a dog, not the owner of a dog who you might be thinking I fancy.  Just getting that bit straight.

I was reading Matariki’s blog recently about her encounter with a blue tit at the window (A Nest with a View).  She named birds like muntjac and ptarmigan. I have never heard these words before.

I love words…the sound of them.  These ones she listed….I Ioved the look of them and the arrangement of consonants.  Like, the letters looked like they were about to fly off to distant shores, to migrate for the summer so I wouldn’t be able to feast my eyes on them until they returned months later.   

The bloke who wrote this book I was telling you about, the one I’m waiting for. His name is Steve Braunias.  He wrote for the Listener magazine which used to be a very cool weekly must-read in the old days, back in the early 90s – full of great writing.  Not so much these days.

Anyway, he used to write a column down at the bum end of the magazine.  I used to always start reading from the back and flick forwards. His column was called The Second to Last Page.

When I would read his pieces it would be a bit  like scoffing lamingtons with a piping hot cuppa tea.  This is because he used to often wax lyrical about a certain little moist and delicate morsel of a pink or chocolate dipped sponge cake he’d just found off the main street in Havelock North…. or Kaikohe…. Gizzy. 

  His was a very romantic view of New Zealand food…because we were all scoffing paninis and brioche at the time and trying to forget our ’embarrassing’ culinary past.

Most of all, what I loved about Steve’s writing was the joy that exploded from the pen….or keyboard.. I could tell he loved to write, to arrange the words into melodies…sometimes I could even sing whole paragraphs in tune.

So I don’t know what this post is about…except I had a toning session with a friend earlier this evening.  She threw sounds, tones, down the phone wire from deep in the south island of NZ to high up in the north island NZ where I am.

My body sang to those sounds.

And I can’t wait to get my book this week…it will be bird song.


‘Uncovering’, that’s the word that is coming up me right now.  It’s got to do with uncovering the moon and uncovering me. 

It’s weird….strange… a couple of days ago I was personally ‘uncovered’ on blogs .  I mean…I’m called Starzinski on this blog and another blog because that’s how I’m signed in with WordPress. 

I tried to use my own name, Denise, when I first entered blogosphere but I couldn’t seem to do that so I had to dream up something else… like stars in sky – Starzinski. 

Anyway, a few days ago I got a different command when I logged into another blog site and then suddenly I was signed in as Denise and I’ve been her ever since. Which is wonderful ‘cos I was getting mighty sick of this name Starzinski…I was thinking, how can I dump that name. 

Up until now I have never liked the name Denise….I always thought… why Denise? That’s not a name I would choose for myself.  My mother once told me I was going to be called Paulette (cos my mother’s name was Pauline) but then some little kid who was called Paulette  got run over by the family car and died just before I was  born…so I didn’t get Paulette on my birth certificate.  I did not like Paulette for a name.  Me and Paulette would not have got on.

My family call me Din and I really love that name.  I feel like a Din. My friends can’t call me Din though…it’s only family who can do that. This is how it’s been up until now anyway.  Me loving Din, but not liking Denise much at all.

Except when I started showing up  in blogosphere  in the last couple of days as ‘green’ Denise (that particular green is my colour and vibration…) I suddenly thought, what a cool name.  I… like… it.

My middle name is Marie which was always one of my favourite names. I like the French pronouncation sometimes (it’s my south of France other life hehehe), I like the root of the name being Mary as in Mary Magdalene and the Order of Magdalenes and the connection to the Maori word Marie, pronouced Maa-ree-air.  It means peaceful. Which is a word I have been working to become all my life.

So I feel like I am uncovered now or uncovering parts of me that I have not loved…what an interesting way to do that.  Because not being able to love myself has been the big thing I have identified in the last 10 days…and then this thing happens with a log-in glitch and suddenly I discover I love a bit more of myself.  Yep… I feel really good about being called this name Denise. That’s a completely new feeling.                                                                                

Back to the moon.

 It was a few days ago on Matariki’s blog, she posted a photo taken in Hungary at sunset. It was a  spectacular pic of  Jupiter, Venus and a supposed to be ‘crescent’ moon lined up in the evening sky. It was a bit weird though, the moon looked full in the photo.  A couple of days ago there was no full moon, it was definitely a crescent moon so the wording was correct but the photo wasn’t.            

 I’m going to email someone on the website that the picture comes from and ask about it.  Just cos I’m nosey and I wanna know….how come the words and photo don’t match ??? 

Ya see….last night as I went to sleep I got these words…what if there are real moons and false moons.   I don’t know what that means to me right now.  It definitely means ‘uncovering’ though. 

And it is something to do with the words I got before, a while ago, ‘the time is coming, the tide is turning’.  And interesting that the moon controls the tides, so I get the moon in those words.

About a month….or six weeks ago, I was looking at a nearly full moon one night in the dark from the bedroom window and honest to God…the moon moved a bit to the right, right in front of my eyes.  I thought it might have been the clouds moving in front of it…you know how clouds can move and it looks like a stationary object is the one moving…well, I accounted for that but no…it actually did go…zip zip…a bit to the right.  It wouldn’t do it again after that.  It remained stubbornly stationary.

Last summer something else weird happened.  I think it was Jan 2011.  I watched the full moon come up and said to someone, crikey (not actually the word I used but I like crikey now) the moon looks completely different.

I’ve been looking at the full moon for five or six years. It looks a particular way, the texture of the humps and bumps on it and what I see as shadows, I don’t know what they really are…but the moon always looks this particular way every time I see it at its fullest.

And then suddenly it goes and looks different!!!  The humps and texture and shadows…they weren’t in the same place.

The person I said this to changed the subject, after looking at me like I was a luna-tic. Cos I was, talking about, um… luna tec-hnical issues eh.  

Anyway, who knows, but definitely something is going on with the moon….ooohh and I just got another word….transformational or transformation.

See you tomorrow.

Moon Shots

A while ago a friend sent a photo of what appeared to be the moon.

It is a picture of what looks like a very  beautiful and full moon nestling alongside Lion Rock on the west coast’s popular beach Piha.  

But this moon shot is not normal, there is something  very very strange  about it. 

When my friend captured the image, she was not taking a picture of the moon, ….because there was no moon.  She was just pointing the camera at the sea  at twilight. 

The first picture was taken at 7.44 pm on 14 Dec 2011.  When she looked at the screen after taking a few frames over a couple of mintues she saw all these moon shots.

She says she’s found ‘moons’ in pictures before, up and down the coast.  She’s never seen them with the naked eye though.

Here’s the thing…the actual moon rose at 22.04 that night. And it rises on the east west….. Piha is on the west coast.  December’s moon was full on 10th so this photo was taken four days later.

See what I mean…..strange.

I went down the flash-photography-on-digital-cameras road because these photos were taken at twilight and flash photography  can produce dust orbs that might look like the moon.

Nothing I found was remotely like these ‘orbs’.

A couple of years ago a friend and I took some photos of Aoraki/Mt Cook at twilight with flash photography and caught a moon-like image on the  camera.  A few actually appeared.  We thought they were a bit strange but we figured they could have been dust particles in the air.

But these ones, the ones at Piha I’m telling you about now…they’re unbelievable, you gotta see them to believe them.

For some reason I can’t drop the photos into this post so if you would like to see them email me d_richards@slingshot.co.nz and I’ll forward them on.




She sent some other pictures later to show this ‘orb’ in different places within a minute or two of the previous photos.  

She said she’d photographed it up and down the coast before.  I mean, she never did see it with the naked eye…it only ever turned up on the screen of the digital camera.

The first picture she sent though, it looks like a perfect full moon, beautifully positioned  beside Lion Rock at Piha.  Like I said, it can’t possibly be the moon for the two really good reasons I’ve given, it doesn’t rise on the west coast and it hadn’t risen at the time the   photo was taken.

I went down the road of looking at ‘quirks’ with flash  photography on digital cameras.  I read about dust causing orbs and other images.  This was nothing like that.  It was, is, so far, unexplainable.

My girlfriend and I captured a moon type image as we took photos at Aoraki/Mt Cook at twilight a couple of years ago.  Actually it was a few moon looking orbs…we didn’t think they were that unusual though, we thought these ‘bright spots’ could possibly be dust.      

But this other moon I’m telling you about…wow…you’ve got to see it to believe it.

Now….for some reason I can’t seem to drop these pictures into the blog so you can see them.  If you like to though, email me d_richards@slingshot.co.nz and I’l foward them on.

Joao de Deus (cont)

….pray for us sinners – I kept coming into the meeting room every morning just when everyone was mumbling these words.  It felt like the dead talking – this monotone, lifeless drone…like I had turned up to a zombie convention.

On the afternoon of day three I got into the line to walk past Joao.  He scans each person for illness and they go into the healing room with lots of other people to sit for awhile.  

I did have a minor health issue. I had floaters in one eye…they were driving me a bit crazy. So I focussed on removing them when Joao pointed me to the healing room that aftenoon. 

I sat quietly and still with everybody else and it was quite nice.  I really focussed on these floaters.  At the end of the session we were given a typed sheet that told you all the things you couldn’t do for 42 days.  If you did them, I guess the healing wouldn’t work.

The things I can remember were, you couldn’t eat pork and you couldn’t have sex.  

What has  pork and sex got to do with any of this?  Pork…the Jewish dietary law…Sex….well, sex is a way the church gets to control its flock, by telling them when they can have it. My thoughts were sex has greater control over people’s bodies than the church has over people’s minds….so no wonder they’re always on about it.   

I went home after the Joao experience and didn’t think anything more about whether my floaters would be ‘cured’ or not.  Thing is….they actually did disappear.  I haven’t had them since.  I was pretty amazed.

So  I’ve had Brazilian and Aztec and Timaru and Oamaru Catholic experiences and I’ve told you all about them.  I’m sure now, that isn’t  any more to tell you on the subject…..     

Next time…The Kaitaia Library

Joao De Deus

Hey, guess what?

I’ve remembered one more Catholic experience.

That last post about the basilica in Timaru and Oamaru…I thought I had pulled out the last remnants of Catholic encounters… and that no more about Catholics would, burp, come up.

In bed this morning I thought….hang on…..there’s another one!

This one is about Joao de Deus.  Maybe it was seven years ago… I wanted to experience energy in many forms. John of God or Joao de Deus as he is called in Brazil came to Lower Hutt New Zealand.

He is known as a healer or a hoaxer, a miracle maker or a charlatan.  Media write and screen polarising pieces about him.  I don’t care either way…I just like to experience what’s available.

So I drove from one end of the North Island to the other to see Joao. It was a three day thing event.  People came in droves on planes from Australia.  When you attend these Joao things you have to wear white….you couldn’t just turn up in a pretty pink top and outrageous purple pants.  Apparently it’s got something to do with scanning the body for ‘illness’.  It can’t be done if you wear coloured clothing.


The event took place in the Lower Hutt town hall.  It was packed with people on that first morning because it was the only time that Joao actually spoke so people wanted to hear him.

He seemed perfectly normal.  I couldn’t detect a big male ego.  He only spoke Portuguese so it was a short talk. 

I was also, as well as a paying participant, a volunteer.  On the first day I had to stand outside beyond the town hall area directing traffic where to park.

It was an interesting place to be positioned, being able to neutrally observe what was going on.  

What first struck me was this moving sea of white.   A woman with little kids, who was not part of the weekend, suddenly found herself next to me and all these white wearing ‘weirdos’ (cos that’s what I was picking up too) and said to her kids, hold my hand darling, let’s get out of here! 

I went into the meeting room later in the morning where people had gathered for something or other. I had already lost the plot of what was supposed to be going on. But I heard this thing murmuring through the crowd… Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  This is the Hail Mary prayer I have just learnt…when I googled the words I heard for this post  and found the whole prayer.

Well, honey, this is a ridiculous statement.  Pray for us sinners…. I thought, piss off you ratbags. Pray for us sinners…sinners…. Do they mean the Catholic paedophile priests, which at the time was quite heavily in the news.

I am not a sinner.  But if I accepted this term I would neccessarily become very quiet and cowering and very small….a lot like that children those priests abused sexually.   Easy to abuse sinners (they deserve it) and easy to keep them under the thumb. 

Shit, is what I thought. 

whoops, gotta go temporarily to make a hot steaming coffee. Be back soon.

Don’t Call me Darling, Darling

Yesterday I went to the chiropractor.  I sprained my lower back four days ago and was slowly getting better every day. 
A friend came by two days after the injury and insisted I go to the chiropractor.  She is a bit scary when she insists…I do what she says when she’s like this.
So yesterday  I went.
I’ll call this chiropractor bloke Jake Burke. That’s not his name. But I quite like the name Burke in this instance.  I didn’t like him from the start…he spent 10 mins explaining the joys of manipulating the spine without actually clearly defining what my injury was.  I heard ‘sprain’ jumbled up among the…yeah….sales pitch he was spinning me.  Sale pitch like, our purpose is to empower you…this amazing this called Chiropractic Care  (capital Cs), thank you for ‘partnering’ with us.  Partnering…blimey.
He referred to himself twice as Dr Jake.  As in, if you have a question….just ask Dr Jake.  At first I thought, who’s that? Then I realised it was him…he was speaking in the third person.   
At the end of the session…after he had explained that I’d probably have to come back often and then after that, quite often…I put my shoes on to leave and said….”thanks darling.”
I forgot that’s how I talk to my friends and girlfriends…and I’m in the wonderful situation where every day is pretty much just talking to friends or people who I see as friends……so I  just dropped him into this category.
He had a pink fit about ‘darling’.  ” I am either Jake or Dr Jake ”  He said it with vehemence.
I thought, it would be cool if he’d said something like call me sweetpea, darling, honey….just don’t call me a bad chiropractor.
I had hurt his ego…where his sense of identity is tied up with his need to know his position on ‘the ladder’ of ‘success’.  The energy was:  I am the Dr….you are the patient.  I know….you don’t.  Please respect the professional distance inherent in the hierarchy I hold dear…. and  please always remember  your place in it.
That sort of energy….which I accepted maybe a few years ago as (sigh) a fact of life….just drives me to distraction now.
I thought more about that encounter later.  I thought, how would I like it if I, as a woman, was working in a chiropractic centre and a bloke or a woman said that to me.  Thanks Darling. Well, I really wouldn’t give a fig.  I probably wouldn’t even really hear it, it wouldn’t register with me.
That need to define and calculate  where you fit on the ladder of success.  Like…what ladder, what success? What does any of that old paradigm mean…what did it ever mean?
Being called Dr is the only way he thinks he can win respect.
He thinks he needs to ‘win respect’.
I don’t do respect these days. Respect, that word has so much  judgment in it. And duality.  It’s awful, it swirls around my brain and makes me swoosy.
I did get good medicine during the course of my rehabilitation though.  I got wonderful Reiki from a dear friend and lots of laughter (which hurt a bit) from ‘that insisting friend’ who told  funny stories while she visited made me feel delighted all over.
Thanks for being there and listening to me sit on the couch and moan.
What great healing therapists you are.

Holidays and Holy Days

Last night in bed I remembered my most recent experiences with the Catholic Church.

  Every year my girlfriend and I go for a quick trip around the South Island of New Zealand.  We love it down there.  It’s a different land and I feel different too. I am so full of joy and every day is anticipated and lived as if I were a child again…this is not because I am on holiday….it is something else…the energetic hold of the place. 

On the last trip I was ‘directed’ by messages  to go to two Catholic churches; one in Timaru and one in Oamaru. Don’t ask me why.  I have not stepped into a Catholic church since 1987 when I went to Mexico.  It didn’t do anything for me then…it was more of a curiosity…visiting Our Lady of Gualalupe on Tepeyac Hill was an opportunity to see something different….an Aztec slant on Catholicism. How did that look?  (oh well, I did anthrology at University…that sort of thing interested me then).

So on our last trip  south, my girlfriend Thelma (she’s becomes Thelma, I’m Louise…I know, obvious joke….. and we are) was surprised when I told her our first stop would be the  Timaru Basicilia. 

  Ah huh…..

She’s good like that….no questions asked, willing to give anything a go.

The building is quite beautiful…New Zealand doesn’t have the grand structures of Europe so this church ranks as a must see for Kiwis.  It’s  a majestic Roman style building with twin towers and a massive dome.  Its got a cheery exterior – all white stone, red brick,  topped  with  metallic green copper roofs.

It’s got a few  fine stained glass windows –  and it was one of these that has become a memorable experience. 

There we were, Thelma and I, having a look around in the late afternoon and I spied a stained glass portrait of Christ on the cross high above the altar.  Something about it ‘struck me’.  That’s the only way I can explain it.  I stood looking at it.  Thelma came up beside me and I was, well, I was ‘moved’ to say to her…just imagine if the light burned up all that colour.  A moment or two later light streamed through the glass and the purity, the brightness, the light….burnt through Christ’s body until all I could see were the ribs.  I mean…it was like looking at an x-ray.

It was weird…. It was memorable.  I felt I had seen something…part of a miracle.  I didn’t know what the miracle was but I felt like I had ‘witnessed’ something.

Next stop was Oamaru.  It’s cute, holds a  sense of playfulness…this is the energy I pick up there. People are quirky, they love Steampunk, Victoriana, penny farthings. There are gorgeous creamy white Oamaru stone buildings down the main street, generously built and decked out in fat columns and cornices. And one of the world’s greatest creative writers of the 2oth centrury, Janet Frame grew up here.

This isn’t supposed to be a tourist brochure. 

The St Patrick Bascilia is just down the road from Janet Frame’s house. Inside there are diaramas of The Stations of the Cross.  So that’s what The Stations of the Cross mean. Ooooookay.

In a little alcove away from the main area was a beautiful statue of Lady Mary, that’s what I call her.  I knelt before her and actually felt her presence…this…is it agape?  This benign love that does not grab and hold you close but permeates your being almost in a disengaged way.  Like, it’s up to you whether to choose to feel her love, she is unmoved either way.  Love is love.  Unmovable.

It was quite a beautiful experience.  I knelt beneath her gaze and thanked her for the blessing she bestowed on me…which was..you know…that love I just described.       

And that was my last experience in a Catholic church.

…and Jesus Winked (cont)

I couldn’t wait to get out of that hospital…felt like running away from the nunnery when I got outside, outside where you could breath the air.

But before all this experience with Crosses…I had an experience at the beach.  When I was about 18 I drew a cross with a stick in the sand. I was led to put an arrow at the end of each of four the lines.  This was a relevation to me….the upright cross, from a central point, showed me infinity.  All around this central point, which I could see as ‘me’, was infinite….possibiites.   It felt like I had happened upon some esoteric knowledge. 

It felt and feels like the cross has meaning….not with people pinned to it obviously…but the actual symbol.  Like a maths symbol.  A quantum physics symbol. 

But to access its knowledge…well it feels like first you have to go to that central point, that circle where the four lines meet….and call that a sort of ground zero.  The heart centre.  Then you radiate out your truth through the horizonal lines that you could view as the arms and down also though the vertical line – your legs.  

There is huge power in this ‘symbolic’ way of gathering Truth….and the way the arms are held too, is interesting.  Not like we usually do in prayer, hands held together  but arms flung wide open – to the extremities of our being.

Well, it’s just a thought…..it’s an infinite possiblity anyway.

Off to Matariki’s blog to enjoy a Reiki empowerment.  Go to her site… Matariki Dimension I think will get you there. 


And Jesus Winked

I’ve been thinking about the Cross, as in Jesus on the Cross.
I didn’t have any feelings about it until I went to Italy in the early 1980’s and saw Christ on a Cross with blood all over the show in ‘some churches’.  The churches were probably really famous. I don’t remember any of the details of Italy…it looked like a dead museum to me…Florence and Rome.  My  Aussie ‘bloke’ at the time who took me on this romantic holiday called it ‘cultural’ but it was to me it was just called bloody boring.
I liked the food though. Yum.  And some of the waiters…um….nice shoes.  
The only bit I remember about the religious part of the trip was a postcard for sale outside the Vatican.  It was Jesus on the Cross and when you turned it a on a certain angle, he winked.  
A winking Jesus on the Cross….outside the Vatican.
When I went to Mexico  a few years later I ended up one day in the grounds of the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Guadelupe in Mexico City — also called La Villa de Guadelupe. It’s the site of the largest pilgrimage to the Virgin Mary in the world, an estimated 12 million people each year, according to Google.This visit didn’t do anything for me…I mean the actual viewing of the portrait of the Madonna (which you looked at by getting on a conveyor belt and whizzing past her. )

The bit that did ‘move me’  (it amazed me and then amazed me some more) were the women who got down on their knees and made their way to the entrance of the Basilica by rubbing their knees along the concrete…until they were bleeding.

I’m not saying this is a particularly Catholic thing to do…it’s probably an Aztec thing to do.  But it reminded me of those Christ’s dangling in European churches…same weird energy.  Same blood worship, same sacrifice

Later when I was working as a news reporter for a regional paper in New Zealand, and I had health insurance through my work….and I had to have an ovary removed….I went to a private hospital through my insurer.

The hospital  turned out to be run by nuns and there were bloody, yep bloody, dark and dingy portraits of Christ dangling on Crosses all over the place. The last thing you want to see when you’re crook in hospital is some coot looking even worse than you feel.  

A beautiful sunrise over Piha…that’s gonna make me get through my operation with a bit more psychological backup. There was a Cross directly in front of me as I sat up in bed.  That was the last thing I needed.

The place smelt like that church I used to go to as a kid with my Catholic friend.  It felt oppressive.

When I had a muscle spasm after the operation, which really hurt by the way, I shouted shit! The nun who had come to see what the problem was, heard me swear and pretty much buggered off then and there. A really lovely young nurse rushed in right behind her and gave me a muscle relaxant …bliss.  

I’ll get back to the rest of the story later…gotta have a cuppa tea now.