The Golden Dragonfly: What did she say?

That touch of Gold:
That brings joy to our being:
That brightens up the dark spaces:
That Golden Dragonfly: That Summer. ~Ally.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. ~Rumi.

First glimpse of the Golden Dragonfly.

In my previous article: The Golden Dragonfly the lake on the local golf course and its marshland surroundings were described. I also recalled my first glimpse of the Golden Dragonfly at the lake, after seeing a tiny flash of gold coming from the reeds: Where all I could do was stand perfectly still and breathe in her golden beauty.

The symbolism of Gold.

I almost rejected the image above as the dragonfly didn’t seem to have enough contrasting colour to bring out her magical sparkle.

However in contemplating the rich symbolism of gold, this image simply couldn’t escape being included.

Gold in its material form can convey affluence and social standing and is usually associated with great wealth and extravagance, elegance and prosperity.

Yet beyond the material, gold relates to the power of the sun, higher ideals and wisdom: Inspiring one to reach a deeper understanding of the Self and the Soul.

I was dead, then alive. Weeping, then laughing. The power of love came into me. I became fierce like a lion, then tender like the evening star. ~Rumi.

Absorbing the energy of Gold.

Absorbing the colour gold, which you can do by wearing gold or bright yellow ~ Visualizing gold or yellow or even looking at a golden image such as these dragonflies, can open your solar plexus centre to accept more abundance, love, compassion, courage, wisdom, creativity and magic into your life.

The energy of the solar plexus is about your personal power and honour, where taking care of yourself encompasses caring for others as well.

When the energy of this area is flowing unrestricted, a clearer sense of self can be felt, with the resulting improvement of self worth and self confidence and the ability to ‘manifest’ not only in a financial sense, but in your overall well-being, relationships and abilities.

Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. ~Rumi.

Collecting stray golf balls?

I visited the lake on the local golf course several times a week, for just on 4 months, attempting to capture different aspects of the beauty of this exquisite creature.

Every day was different so that unless you knew what you were looking for, you would have an extremely difficult time seeing the Golden Dragonflies.

Recalling now how the occasional curious golfer would stop and ask what I was looking for amongst the reeds ~ Collecting stray golf balls? They would be so astonished when I was able to show them ~ The Golden Dragonflies that they had unknowingly been walking past so often.

Not only the thirsty seek the water, the water as well seeks the thirsty. ~Rumi.

Postures of the ‘Golden Dragonfly.’

In the same way that a dancer expresses a story or emotions through posture and gesture, I could see that the dragonflies were also expressing something through their ‘body language.’ Looking at the image above, it was as if the Golden Dragonfly was bowing in respect to the energy of water and so I called it: Prayer for the water.’

You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. ~Rumi.

Shamanic symbolism of Dragonfly.

The Golden Dragonfly reminds us that we live in a world of never ending mystery and magic and that life is never what it may appear to be.

She whispered to me to allow her essence to fill my being, and to know that once having been touched by her light and beauty, I can be more open to my own light and beauty.

In this way I felt that the essence of the Golden Dragonfly was to perceive ALL beauty ~ Becoming aware that I am only able to perceive this beauty because it is within me as well.

Something opens our wings, something makes boredom and hurt disappear. ~Rumi.

The ‘Energy of the Golden Dragonfly.’

It may not be possible for you to go to a place that attracts different varieties of dragonflies ~ Let alone the Golden Dragonflies. However you may be able to visualize a dragonfly and/or feel its energy. Simply looking at these images of dragonflies, can initiate this process.

You have seen your own strength. You have seen your own beauty. You have seen your golden wings. You are in truth the soul, of the soul, of the soul. ~Rumi.

A new beginning.

The Golden Dragonfly appeared, physically at a very significant time for me: After not doing any major art work for 5 years, I was accepted by Sculpture by the Sea (An international environmental art event, held annually at Bondi, Sydney) to install an environmental sculpture. More about that in another article.

Dragonflies also appeared in my dreams at this time. In my next article I’ll describe one of the dragonfly dreams that I recorded and the insight I gained from it.

This article was originally posted at my Steemit website and titled: The Golden Dragonfly: What did she say?

All photographs: ©Alison Lee Cousland.

Articles about the Golden Dragonfly.

1. The Golden Dragonfly.
2. The Golden Dragonfly: Dream of the Rainbow Winged Dragonfly.

The Golden Dragonfly.

In dawn’s new light:

Dew laden wings dry in the sun:
I leave the memory ~ A flash of gold:
Of astonishing beauty ~ Of Earth and Heaven:
Before I fly into the space ~ Of the ‘Light Bearer.’ ~Ally.

If you could untie your wings and free your soul of jealousy, you and everyone around you would fly up like a ‘Light Bearer.’ ~Adapted from Rumi.

The Home of the Golden Dragonfly.

I often walk barefoot over the local golf course early in the morning ~ Before the first players arrive. A majestic ‘manor estate’ of hills and valleys, on an ancient sandstone escarpment ~ All to myself.

At the highest level of the course is a huge ‘lake’ ~ A 25 million litre man-made dam that collects stormwater from the creek, running through the course on its way to Sydney Middle Harbour, as an alternative watering source for tees, greens and fairways.

The lake, surrounded by a host of indigenous reeds, bullrushes and grasses, is now home to native ducks and frogs ~ And a favourite mating ground for many varieties of dragonflies.

First sighting of the ‘Golden Dragonflies.’

A glint of gold ~ Flashing from the reeds in the marsh-like surrounds of the lake, about 10 metres away. Keeping my eye fixed to where I’d seen the golden light, I slowly walked up to it ~ Along the pathway beside the reeds.

What I saw, an impression I’ll always remember ~ One of the largest and most beautifully winged dragonflies I’d ever seen. I didn’t have my camera with me ~ I just stayed motionless ~ Breathing in the beauty.

In the photograph above, I initially thought the lime green ball/sac was an imperfection in the image ~ However it became a fascinating feature, which to date no-one has been able to tell me what it is. Do you know?

Moments like this, I can feel your heart beating as clearly as I feel my own, and I know that separation is an illusion. My life extends far beyond the limitations of me. ~Cloud Atlas: Andy and Dana Wachowski.

Photographing the ‘Golden Dragonflies.’

From that Spring morning, I spent the next 4 months visiting the lake about 3 times a week for a few hours at, or as close to dawn as possible ~ Photographing the Golden Dragonflies.

As Spring turned to Summer, there were so many dragonflies around the lake, almost invisible amongst the grasses and reeds ~ And as I’d move through the reeds, they would fly out from no-where (not unlike the bats that fly over the lake at dusk.)

Most would fly completely away ~ But some would fly just a few meters away so that as I moved towards them, extra, extra stealthily ~ I could be that close to them, that my camera was literally only a few inches away from them.

The mud beneath my bare feet was black and squelchy ~ A perfect swamp for mosquitoes and spiders. If I’d allowed my thinking to have its way, it was also the perfect quagmire for more harmful creatures as well ~ Snakes and crocodiles.

Fortunately I had to be so mindful and present to my environment that the fantasised thought of snakes was replaced by the wish to capture the beauty I was in touch with.

Shamanic symbolism of Dragonfly.

There were actually three dragonflies close together when I took this photograph above, but then one flew away. I was told later that the number 2 relates to the Shamanic symbolism of Dragonfly ~ Providing just one more example to me that everything is as it needs to be?

Just as light can bend and shift and be adapted in a different ways, so can the archetypal forces associated with dragonfly. Dragonfly yields the message that life is never what it appears to be. ~Shamanic Journey by Ina Woolcott.

Understanding a little more about the shamanic symbolism of the dragonfly and tuning into the ‘Energy of dragonfly’ I sensed was allowing the dragonflies to assist me to photograph them ~ After all why wouldn’t they want their beauty to be shared with everyone?

In my future articles about the Golden Dragonflies, I’ll explain a little more about my understanding of the Shamanic symbolism of Dragonfly.

And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself? ~Rumi.

My camera? 

My first digital camera: An inexpensive Traveler DC 140 ~ Without a zoom or macro lens and virtually no depth of field. And the only way to capture the Golden Dragonflies was to BE: BE with my breath, BE with the sensation of mud squelching through my toes, BE with the stillness and gentle breezes of dawn, BE with the morning light, BE with the chill and warmth in the air, BE with the sound of rippling water and the songs of birds.

Postures of the ‘GoldenDragonfly.’

In the photograph above, I see the posture of ‘Humility.’ A quiet reflectiveness. Coming to see that although my existence may be a relatively short one ~ In whatever time I am granted on this Earth, it’s up to me to shine my Light and Beauty, in a way that only I can do.

The most amazing aspect of these images is that to take them, I had absolutely no choice but to be so up close ~ And to be so up close, I had to be so still when I moved towards them. And being so still allows us to take in so much more of the wonder of it ‘all.’

This article was originally posted at my Steemit website and titled: The Golden Dragonfly.

All photographs: ©Alison Lee Cousland.

The Secret Garden of Wendy Whiteley.

Moreton Bay Fig trees: Majestic Boabs:
Patterns of light flit through palms:
Bird’s nest ferns: Statues: Seats:
Flowers edge upon winding:
Walkways: An OASIS:
It is called. ~Ally.


The  spectacular view from the Secret Garden: Lavender Bay spanning from Luna Park to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the city skyline. The garden extending all the way down to the railway siding.

And we shall walk and talk in gardens: All misty and wet with rain. ~Van Morrison.

Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden.

About a year ago a friend invited me to have lunch with her at Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden in Lavender Bay, Sydney.

It was a week day as we sat on a seat, quietly, in a protective grove of bamboo absorbing the atmosphere: Joyful: Peaceful: Nurturing: Healing. Watching couples leisurely strolling through the garden, mothers with their boisterous pre-school children and the occasional business attired person, escaping from the bustle of North Sydney.

Top Entrance to The Secret Garden.

The garden is terraced on an extremely challenging steep site, with many of the trees and plants, sculptures and other objects of interest holding a personal meaning for its creator, Wendy Whitely.

All the plants used are ideal for the Sydney climate and combined to provide harmony and contrast of colour, shape and texture. Dramatic bold leaves contrast with lacy foliage and brightly coloured flowers with various tones of green.

Moreton Bay and Port Jackson figs, jacarandas and boabs, palms and bamboo, ferns and flowers come together in artistic harmony.

Visitors can also sample edible plants as they meander up, down and along the pathways following the line of the escarpment. No harmful chemicals are used in this garden.

The view from the top entrance of the Secret Garden, leading down to an enchanted open space from where pathways wind up the steep incline in all different directions.

And we shall never never grow so old again. ~Wendy Whiteley.

Wendy Whiteley.

Wendy Whiteley was wife, muse and model to Australian artist, Brett Whiteley. When Brett died, followed by the death of their daughter Arkie nine years later, Wendy threw her grief and creativity into making an enchanting hidden oasis out of derelict land owned by the New South Wales Government. ~Janet Hawley.

Brief History of the land. 

The Secret Garden was once a picturesque harbour beach surrounded by sandstone cliffs but then in 1890 the inlet was buried in landfill, to enable the railway line to travel across the mouth of Lavender Bay.

The resulting ‘rubble valley’ became an unusable wasteland for the next century, overgrown with weeds and lantana: Until in 1992, Wendy Whiteley awakened its new incarnation when she began making her Secret Garden.

Aesthetically combined trees and plants ~ Many of them indigenous to Sydney/Australia ~ Have now attracted a wide variety of birdlife that was previously unknown to the area. If you love kookaburras and magpies this is the special place to be, early in the morning.

Loss is something all people end up dealing with one way or another. Sometimes loss can seem too much to bear, but we must allow ourselves time to get through the stages of grieving. I’ve never owned it (the garden) but I do feel as if I am its mother. ~Wendy Whiteley.

Future of the Secret Garden.

The reclaiming of the land for public use is a tribute to Wendy’s creativity, passion and tenacity, the delightful working relationship she has with her four gardeners and the volunteers who have continuously supported her project.

At considerable personal expense, Wendy initially reclaimed the derelict land, strewn with items such as discarded old train carriages, abandoned refrigerators and children’s toys ~ A tricycle was converted into a featured piece of garden sculpture.

The artist was then able to treat the garden as if it were a giant painting ~ Structuring, planting, pruning, moving things around, and letting nature do its work.

But until recently, the future of the garden had been extremely precarious, as Wendy initially created the garden without acquiring ‘permission’ to do so ~ On what is now regarded as ‘prime real estate.’

Thankfully in 2015 the Secret Garden was granted a 30-year lease by the New South Wales Government, with a 30-year renewal option.

Pathways converge ~ Handrails of twirling timbers ~ Railway sleepers border pathways. MAGIC lives in this garden. Let yourself be guided on the pathway you will take.

I’ve loved making this garden. It’s been a great gift to my life. It let me find myself again, and it’s my gift to share with everyone. ~Wendy Whitely.

My own Secret Garden.

The garden I have created in my own backyard over the past 8 years, pales in significance to Wendy’s Secret Garden ~ Although there are similarities in our stories.

In a future article I’ll illustrate the transformation of what was a pile of rubble (including discarded furniture and screen doors) covered with wandering jew, bordering a council storm water drain, into a thriving mini-rainforest oasis. I will also describe the nature of healing that working barefoot ~ Once all the glass and rusty wire had been removed ~ In a beautiful garden can bring.


Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden by Janet Hawley:

New battle over Secret Garden by Nicole Hasham:

The Healing Power of a Magical Garden: William Yeoman:

This article was originally posted at my Steemit website and titled: The Secret Garden of Wendy Whiteley.

All photographs: ©Alison Lee Cousland.

Contemplation of Earth’s Beauties

I am alone ~ I come to know:  
Earth’s beauties ~ I enter with love:  
A calmness settles me ~ I come to know:
I am never ~ And never will be ~ Alone. ~Ally.

A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. ~Rachel Carson: The Sense of Wonder.

Yet, does it always have to be this way?

Our sense of childlike curiosity and awe of the smallest ant, may be hammered out of us at a very early age ~ Or so it may seem.

Yet with an undeniable acceptance of ourselves: Who we have become to meet the outside world. as well as who we are in those moments of total solitude ~ We CAN ‘turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties, reclaim the sense of wonder and humility we had as a child.’ ~R.C.

It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility. ~Rachel Carson. The Sense of Wonder.

Can you remember your early childhood ‘dreams?’

Prevailing conditions in our environment, social and financial, health and relationships, will take our life’s journey in directions that we could never have believed as yougsters. Some beneficial ~ Some that may not seem like it at the time but in retrospect were needed to shape us.

Often it’s a challenge to recall our early childhood ‘dreams’ and our lives just go on ~ Albeit somewhere between a little lack lustre or so demanding we become overly anxious and stressed. However at critical times in our lives and often when we least expect it, life may make us STOP: An ordinary ‘cold’ or a separation from a loved one. And if we are fortunate, we may be given a wake-up call to come back to venerating our ‘dreams’ once again.

Our core ‘dreams’ will always there. We only need to pause long enough to catch hold of them once again. ~Ally

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will ensure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature: The assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. ~Rachel Carson. Silent Spring.  

Rachel Carson. 1907 – 1964.

Rachel Louise Carson was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement. ~Wikipedia.

Silent Spring meticulously described how DDT entered the food chain and accumulated in the fatty tissues of animals, including human beings and caused cancer and genetic damage. A single application on a crop, she wrote, killed insects for weeks and months. Not only the targeted insects but countless more and remained toxic in the environment even after it was diluted by rainwater.

Carson concluded that DDT and other pesticides had irrevocably harmed animals and had contaminated the world’s food supply. The book’s most haunting and famous chapter ‘A Fable for Tomorrow‘ depicted a nameless American town where all life, from fish to birds to apple blossoms to human children ~ Had been ‘silenced’ by the insidious effects of DDT. Ref:

The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (RCC) was founded in 2009 in Munich, Germany. The RCC is an international, interdisciplinary center for research and education in the environmental humanities. For more information visit:

Process of this work.

1. Glass stones under a thin layer of ice. Crystal tumble stones and a phalaenopsis orchid resting upon the ice.

2. White chrysanthemums added.

3. Another phalaenopsis orchid and more chrysanthemums.

About my work.

Relatively small assemblages are built from flowers, weeds and plants and combined with other natural materials that I find in the local  bushland or surrounding urban streets.

During the creation of these pieces ~ The process is incredibly magical. Thoughts of anything else are silenced.

I  literally fall in love with individual pieces of nature that I’m using, as well as how the different elements greet, merge, compliment and/or contrast with each other.

Hundreds  of photographs that can’t possibly capture the beauty I see with my eyes are taken at different stages of the arrangement. Then ideas/thoughts/words that come to me, as I look at the resulting images give form to a new expression ~ Short ‘poems.’

I really enjoy receiving comments and questions about my work: From people who may see and add another dimension from their own reality. So if you have another layer to add ~ Please do.

This article was originally posted at Steemit: Contemplation of Earth’s Beauties: To know the sense of Wonder and Humility.

All photographs: ©Alison Lee Cousland.