Conversation with Zenith Virago – Deathwalker – part 2

“Byron Bay is cutting edge for doing death well. Just as people moved here to do yoga, meditation, and lifestyle, I wanted to continue that into the death.”
Zenith Virago

Zenith Virago - going within
Zenith Virago: “…in this moment my whole life changes.”

(From Part 1 of this conversation, posted Monday 22 August 2011 @ 10pm)

Your son Tane… you say he has been your biggest lesson …. in what way?
As I mentioned, when Tane was born, he lived with his father while I carried on exploring. I was a serious party girl. When Tane was 13 and a half, his father, Johnny, took his own life. They were living in Brunswick Heads and I was living in Byron. Tane had always known I was his mother, but we were more like friends. I was a Godmother of sorts. On the morning of the day Johnny died I was having breakfast with friends when I received a call to say what had happened and could I get to his house before Tane got home from school. By the time we got to Brunswick, Tane was sitting in the garden next to his father’s body. He looked at me and said ‘am I coming with you?’ In that moment I said, “Yes”. I looked at the boy, I looked at his father’s body and I looked to the heavens and thought, in this moment my whole life changes.

Continued ….
By then I had been doing death for five years so I understood. So we lived together and he behaved appallingly … thrashing around in grief. For every one of his bad actions, I would react …. badly. I learnt much about myself in this warzone, such as apologising and taking time to understand. I finally realised, via a Brandon Bay session, that all the things driving me mad about him were all the things I loved. I just didn’t like them from a parent’s perspective. Continue reading


Very Byron Very Broken

Recent adventures inland to interview another fab local took Melinda and Prue along St Helena Road. Now we all know this road is a pothole ridden disaster and we do promise, we were driving very byron, very slow… but alas our first love (Prue’s newly acquired VW Golf) fell victim to one of them. STOP!!!!… well the car did of its own accord and left us stranded. A knight in ‘not so shining’ four wheel drive armour, aka Matt the turkey man (from the Byron Farmers Market), thankfully stopped to give two bloffers (fluffy bloggers) roadside assistance. A few hours later, with lots of laughter, we bring you a bit of video fun and our first You Tube post. (Note… the delicious muffins were from Byron Muffin Men)

Conversation with Zenith Virago – Deathwalker – part 1

“If we don’t own aging we are never going to get it together on death.”
Zenith Virago

Zenith Virago pt1
Zenith Virago – Deathwalker extraordinaire!

On browsing Zenith’s website prior to our meeting we noted the title ‘Deathwalker’. Hmmmm. What is a Deathwalker? We couldn’t recall it as a career option in High School. All kinds of images flooded the senses… from the bizarre to the most sacred. Not surprisingly, this lady of intrigue has lived a fascinating life, a life of many ‘moments’ as she prefers to call them. Death for Zenith will merely be one more moment. Read on…

Zenith Virago - Byron home
A view from Zenith’s room to her favourite place in Byron – the beach

What brought you to Byron Bay?
In the early 1980s, when I was 25, I came to Australia on a working holiday from the UK. I worked in Sydney for five months before hitching to Cairns. I was travelling with another woman and when we got to Grafton this guy in his fifties and of Italian descent says “I’ll take you to see Byron Bay”. It was a magnificent day and yet when we arrived the main carpark and beach were deserted. I took one look at that beach and felt my heart burst open. I couldn’t have imagined anything as beautiful. I carried on hitching to Cairns but thought, one day I’m going to live in that little place. About a year later I agreed to have a baby for a male friend who happened to live in Byron. He wanted to learn some of life’s lessons through having a child and since I believed a child only needed one loving parent, regardless of gender, I was ok with that. I lived here for six months to make sure it was a good idea before we became pregnant. After the birth of my boy, Tane, I left them to live together while I travelled Australia for a short time before returning to live in Byron. Continue reading

Belongil Dogs at Play

Steve Gwynn

Photo: Steve GwynnRecent visitor to Byron Bay, Steve Gwynn, shares these photos. At sunset the dogs  take their owners for a walk on Belongil Beach. Continue reading

Conversation with Reine DuBois – Integrated Medicine Pioneer

I think Byron calls you in… I remember being on Belongil beach and having this sense that I was home. I’ve travelled all around the world and have never been anywhere like Byron. – Reine DuBois

Reine du Bois - Naturopath
Reine du Bois has a vision for the future of medicine… it’s integrated!
Reine’s vision for iMedicine Hospital is part of her home altar.

‘How does someone who oozes lightness and playfulness also exude a sense of fierce determination? Tepee ‘lover’, dedicated mother and naturopathic wiz , Reine DuBois, treated us with two hours of her precious time this week, relaying a fascinating Byron story. Softly, yet quickly spoken, she generously shared her passions and vision, leaving us to walk away exhilarated and in awe of the concept of motherhood.

 We started our chat with the usual curiosity of what brought her to Byron?
It was what my partner, Simon, referred to as ‘the breeding program’. It was 1999 and we were living in the West End of Brisbane. I had just finished my Diploma in Naturopathy at ACNM and Simon had just recently divorced. We were both at a loose end with our lives. We knew we wanted to have babies, healthy babies, and since we had both been to Byron before and loved it, we thought it would be a great place to raise a family. So we moved, set up a tepee, did yoga, meditated, swam, ate healthy food for 12 months and prepared for pregnancy. (As you do!) Continue reading

Conversation with Stephanie Dale – Award Winning Author + Book Giveaways

Well if we were presenting an award to this woman it would go something like this… Please put your hands together for the mother, grandmother, vegetarian, radical feminist, free spirited, Byron transient, inspiring and highly engaging award winning self publishing author – Stephanie Dale. Recently returned from New York with a big gold medal around her neck… we found Stephanie not short on a word or thought provoking opinion. We loved every minute of it. She shared some of her valuable time with us prior to the Byron Writers Festival where she continues her path of helping others pursue their passion for creative writing, along with insights and tips on the world of self publishing.

“I am at the edge of my own existence” – Stephanie Dale

Stephanie Dale - My Pilgrim's Heart
Stephanie Dale promoting her first book ‘My Pilgrim’s Heart’ at the Bangalow Markets

So Stephanie, what brought you to this area?
I’d been living in Adelaide for seven years and then Lismore for three years in the early 90’s. I loved Byron but it was too much of a party town back then, and whilst I was happy for the kids (teenage daughter and son) to party, I didn’t want them to be living with the distraction and lack of accountability. I wanted them to be able to escape it and have somewhere to come home to. So I chose to live in Lismore.

So you’ve been here since the early 1990’s?
On and off. It’s my place of return. It’s the place I come back to when I can’t think of anywhere else to be. Also my daughter lives on the Gold Coast and has two children 12 & 14. After raising a generation and a half of children I feel like I can finally leave home myself. They have been too precious for me to do anything like leave. Continue reading

Pitching at the Writers’ Festival

Pitching to the big guns
Left; Patt Gregory, author of Woodwork for Women and
Right; Stephanie Dale author of My Pilgrim’s Heart

Previous Very Byron interviewee, Patt Gregory, and forthcoming interviewee, Stephanie Dale, both local Byron authors, were selected amongst many to pitch their self published books to the big guns in commercial publishing at the recent Byron Bay Writers’ Festival. The big guns were Sarah Jane from Murdoch Books, Fiona Henderson from HarperCollins and Bob Sessions from Penguin Books Australia. Our interview with Stephanie on her self publishing journey will be posted later this week and if you missed Patt’s inspiring story click here.