13 January 2011

The Passing of a Celtic Amazon

On Wednesday, 12 January 2011, after many months battling cancer for the second time, the Goddess Brighid gathered Lynne Sinclair Wood to her breast, freeing her from pain and taking her to the Summerlands.

Lynne was born in New South Wales but made Adelaide her home since the 1980s.  She held a Master of Arts from the University of Adelaide, a Fine Arts degree from the University of South Australia and a Diploma of Art Education from the National Art School, Sydney.  Her painting was largely influenced by her "life long spiritual journey as a Celtic Australian woman searching for her own sacred space: here in Australia, in her ancestral lands of Scotland and Wales and within her own mind, spirit and imagination" (source: Lynne's web site). 

Lynne on Grandmother Turtle
It was through her teaching of Celtic myth that I first met Lynne back in the early 1990s.  Enrolled in a course about the Celts, I recall this Amazon like woman, with blonde hair flowing down her back, striding into the classroom with a bundle of books under her arm.  From that point onwards, she parted the veils and fed my own passion not only for Celtic mythology, but mythology in general.

In 1994 I partook in her first of many organised tour of the sacred sites around Britain.  Despite British Rail strikes, the overbooking of hotel accommodation and some members of our travelling party not grasping the idea that this was a "budget" trip (ie, only take what you can carry),  Lynne passionately guided us up and down the length of the country - introducing us to her contacts and generously sharing her wealth of information about the sacred sites, their commonly associated myths, and her interpretation of them.

From London to the west of Wales, from Plymouth to her beloved Callanish stone circle on the Isle of Lewis .... this trip changed my life as it opened many a door way into both the seen as well as the unseen.  But there was more to Lynne than that.

She had spent time with inland Aboriginal peoples partaking in part of their culture and sharing with them part of hers.  I recall her mentioning playing a tape of Celtic "waulking" songs (songs that were sung whilst performing daily chores) from the Isle of Lewis and despite the language differences, the Aboriginal women "knew" what their Celtic counterparts on the other side of the world were singing about.

In 1999 Lynne published Creating Form from the Mist: Wisdom of Women in Celtic Myth and Culture (Capall Bann Publications) as well as having many articles in newsletters, magazines and anthologies on topics ranging from Celtic culture, women in Buddhism and Goddess traditions and religions.

Bones in the Stones - Callanish
Lynne was a storyteller, a gifted artist, mentor and author; a wise woman, teacher, and a much loved and highly respected elder.  Her knowledge was amazing and it was a simple joy to be able to sit with her and listen to her readiness and willingness to share this knowledge.  She possessed a wonderful sense of humour however it was her feisty Celtic temperament that I admired the best.  She did not suffer fools easily, and if her blue eyes started to show a glint to them, you knew that she would be expressing her displeasure about something very soon.

She fought bravely and won the first battle with her illness.  Her spirit and passion for live was too strong for it to get the better of her.  During this time she continued to gift her knowledge, her art and her expertise to many more people.  But sadly, even the bravest and strongest of warriors must one day make the journey to the Otherworld, and in true Amazon fashion, Lynne fought to the end before her illness took over.

Even though she may have thought some of us had abandoned her because we had not been able to visit more often, she was and still is very much in our thoughts.  It was difficult for many of us of watch what this terrible illness reduced our beloved Celtic Amazon, our mentor, our wise woman, to and my indebted gratitude goes out to those who were stronger than I and who did.

A light was extinguished Wednesday afternoon with her passing, yet the memories will remain with those whose lives Lynne has touched.

Goddess bless you, Lynne, my friend and mentor.  May Brighid now free you from all pain and guide you in your passing from this mortal world to the next.

Adapted from a tradition Irish blessing ...

May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow
May the soft winds freshen your spirit
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
And may Brighid hold you in the mantle of Her love.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your lovely tribute for my friend Lynne - from art school days!
    I have put a link to this on her website www.lynnesinclairwood.com