Between Italy and Ireland

Following an Italian adventure, I had committed myself to an annual return to that most beautiful of places. Back in Ireland, I was changed utterly. I went for my morning run up the roads behind Clonakilty, where I had moved to only a few short months before. I returned to my day job.

I dreamt of nothing and nowhere but Italy. I framed the photos I had taken while there, which to this day are some of my most stunning works. I plastered maps of Italy, Lucca and Tuscany all over the walls in the house. My friends thought I had gone stark raving nuts.

I didn’t care.

My mother had invited myself and my sister and daughter to France for a once in a lifetime trip earlier that year. It was due to be in October to Nice in the south of France and it was the first time the four of us had ever gone on holidays together.

And so the first week of October found us all having a grand old time in Nice, my mother loving every minute of it as it was the first time in her life she had splashed out like this. My daughter, who had just reunited with a former partner, found it difficult, as did I, but the trip was for my mother, not us.


A few weeks after returning to Clonakilty and my uninspiring day job, I had received an unexpected email from my Italian man and we had also spoken several times on Skype. As you do these days.

He was lost, hated where he was in life and wanted me to help him move forward. We started planning to meet when or if I was back in Italy as I now had two back-to-back exhibitions to look forward to.

And so the week after our family holiday was over in Nice, I legged it as fast as possible back to Italy, this time basing myself in Portovenere, a place often referred to as the sixth town in Cinque Terre. From there I went to Cinque Terre both by boat and then by train and bus. The first time I arrived there by boat, it was yet another of those shivers-down-the-spine moments, for indeed Cinque Terre had also been placed on my vision board earlier that year without my fully realising where these stunning cliff-top villages were.



And then came a dramatic text from my Italian man cancelling our Lucca rendezvous at the end of the week. I’m really not sure where my Mars was that day, but I immediately fired back a text demanding to meet up, no excuses.

I still remember the day I arrived back in Lucca. Would it be as beautiful as I remembered? Would it be as charming? As utterly spellbinding?

Oh, and it was. Of course it was.


Astrocartography – the Sun line and the Moon line

All that year, since April 2014, Neptune was trining Neptune in my natal chart by transit. A few years later when I did my own astrocartography for the south of France I learnt that my Moon line, which symbolises home, trined my mid Heaven near Monaco.

The Sun, which in your natal chart represents how you shine, binoviles my IC. Your IC is Latin for home and symbolises roots/family of origin – a binovile is a more minor astrological aspect which represents initiation.

Well, I sure was being initiated into a whole new life!

Neptune also quintiles my IC along that coastline, which represents manifesting creativity. No surprise that this was the part of the world I was most drawn to when my two-year Neptune transit in my natal Neptune started earlier that year!

‘You have left your soul in Italy’

And so under thunderstorms and flash floods, myself and my mysterious Italian were reunited for another tumultuous ‘life changing to the core’ evening. The following morning I flew back to Ireland, this time from Pisa airport. I found myself writing again in my diary for hours, dreaming as I wrote of what I would have to do in order to have a life there.

Somehow. I was never surer of anything in my life.

My beloved West Cork man had quietly reflected on the change in me earlier that summer when I returned in August. I spoke briefly of how Italy had changed me, how alive I felt. Ever sensitive and reflective, he said nothing.

Once again back in Clonakilty, like Ruth in John Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, I found I was that Ruth

Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;

I rang in sick to work, then rang in again the following day for a week. I went to my doctor who told me this was a recurring pattern and that I obviously suffered from depression and needed either counselling or medication.

Deep inside me I found myself thinking ‘I don’t effin’ think so!!’.

An hour later I was sitting in the office of my business coach who listened to my woeful sorry saga, then just looked at me and said: “Well, you have clearly left your soul in Italy. You just have to go back there and rejoin it.”

My jaw dropped.

She then said briskly: “So, what’s stopping you?”

I replied: “Nothing.” My jaw dropping even further as I replied.

Oh feck! Now there were really no excuses. None feckin’ whatsoever!

What did I do next?… find out in Part IV here, Part V here, Part VI here and Part VII here!

Main image – Portovenere, Italy © Martha Clarke
Cinque Terre image © Matt Twyman/Unsplash

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