101 Nights at Soul Food

“Alice is bored sitting on the riverbank with her sister, who is reading a book. Suddenly she sees a white rabbit, wearing a coat and carrying a watch, run past, lamenting running late. She follows it down a rabbit hole and falls very slowly down a tunnel lined with curious objects. She lands in a long hallway lined with locked doors. She finds a little key sitting on a glass table. Behind a curtain on the wall, she finds a tiny door that opens with the key and leads into a beautiful garden. The door, however, is too small for Alice to fit through. “

By Natalie Rak

When Alice followed the rabbit down the hole into Wonderland she found a fantasy world populated by peculiar and anthropomorphic creatures. When some people stumbled upon The Soul Food Cafe they discovered that the Cafe was actually a ‘front’ disguising an entrance to the fantasy world of Lemuria.

The Soul Food Cafe was bought into the world by Imagineer, Heather Blakey. In its heyday, between 2004-10, Soul Food attracted over a million visitors a year. The majority of visitors never did notice the little key sitting on the glass table near the bookshelf. They never realised that the key triggered a mechanism designed to open the bookshelf, filled with the works of people like Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell.

However, some intuitively knew that there must be a key that would open a portal. They persisted and found their way down the spiral staircase, crawled through the tunnels that meandered underneath the Cafe and eventually arrived in the Cave of the Enchantress.  Enchanteur (one of Heather Blakey’s alter egos) remains, to this day, an ageless Lemurian Priestess. She gave pilgrims a small bag filled with talismans, told them they must never relinquish the bag and magicked them into Lemuria.

When they recovered from the shock of being teleported into a new, thinly populated world, most of these pilgrims found themselves at Duwamish Bay. They invariably stayed at the Duwamish Inn, ate and drank heartily and full of trust joined a Gypsy caravan and wandered semi aimlessly around Lemuria with a host of donkeys.

Time moved on, the world of the internet changed. Travellers were drawn to the lights of Facebook, Heather Blakey’s life had been turned upside down and she needed to go away and reinvent herself. The world of Enchanteur drifted, like Avalon, into the mists. With Enchanteur gone, Soul Food has lain silent for over a decade and the door to Lemuria has been closed.

True wealth is not measured in money or status or power. It is measured in the legacy we leave behind for those we love and those we inspire.
Cesar Chavez

Over the past decade, Heather Blakey has successfully reinvented herself and is about to graduate as a Masters of Social Work. During her final placement, inspired by the children at Winters Flat Primary School, she messaged Enchanteur. Imagine her delight when she heard the rustle of E’s gown and the giggles of her entourage. Everyone agreed that it feels right that the main way into Soul Food is now through the Wayback Machine. They decided that, for the moment, it is enough to find a way to celebrate and preserve some of the memory of those heady days.

If you love the expressive arts and understand their power to heal you can try to launch yourself through the cobweb filled back passage that leads into the vast halls and vaults of Soul Food. Heather and E have at least 101 stories to tell about Soul Food’s origins and the glory days of Lemuria. 

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