Monday, January 15, 2018

some are left unfinished

It's kind of funny to consider the fact that our species, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, is roughly three hundred thousand years old, and possibly even older if recent discoveries are true. Yet for all but the last three centuries of that span, predicting the future was fairly easy: other than natural disasters, everyday life in fifty years time would resemble everyday life fifty years ago. For 99% of human existence, the future was static (or so we're told). Then something happened, and the future began to change, increasingly rapidly, until we get to the present day when things are moving so fast that it's barely possible to anticipate trends from month to month.

Of course it's easy to romanticize the past - largely because many of us are able to remember our own. Life was perfect when I was a child even though I know I recall it imperfectly and the same goes for those more recent past decades. When I was young I romanticized the future.  Now it frightens me - not so much for the fact that there's only just so much time allowed to me personally, but because our race in recent history has caused and continues to cause such damage to our biosphere. The planet will continue, no doubt of that, but so much of what makes our lives beautiful is at risk.

I like to imagine a more equitable future for us and all the other species with whom we share the world. Yet I dare not envision some particular utopia - a word that translates from the Greek as 'no place' - but simply to hope for a larger world less driven by greed. I know things were different once and perhaps they can be again.

The fact that there is a highway to Hell and only a stairway to Heaven says a lot about the anticipated traffic numbers.
~ Anon


Monday, January 8, 2018

great minds Don't think alike

Whereas I don't participate in any social media circles (other than this one) what I do love about the internet is all the information to be found. The news is generally depressing but I do my share of 'witnessing' since I believe it's the responsible thing to do - with the caveat that it's necessary to exercise some judgement and discernment. In other words, I read but don't believe everything that passes by my sight.

Then there are all the other odds and ends - the latest news about discoveries, scientific, archeological, historical and too, some hopeful and some intriguing. I will read anything that catches my attention.

Many of the blogs I enjoyed during their heyday are gone now and while I regret having lost access to the ones that were deleted I'm happy some are still here to be read. One such was called 'The Big Study', a blog that proved to be a treasury of carefully collected anomalies and ideas hosted from 2009 to 2015 by 'The Professor'. If there was ever any solid information about his personal history I missed the post but it appears he is/was a teacher of physics. The following is an introductory one posted in August of 2009.

The Professor:

The old people have always known that there was more to reality than the stone which hits you in the face. There was the Self. There was the Soul of the friend, the lover, the child, the Other. There was GOD. There were the Spirits, the nature beings, even the things that "go bump in the night".

The foundation of this blog is that they were usually smarter than we are. They were generally right. All these were real. All these ARE real. We are letting them slip from our consciousness, and we are losing touch with half the world. You will not want to read this blog if you cannot stretch your universe to include the possibility that such things can be true. The Soul who writes here believes in Soul, believes in a Great Maker, believes in a many colored array of wonders, both material and spiritual. This soul believes that there are (often) factual events within which this "lost" part of our reality strongly shows itself.

There are "encounters", there are "anomalies", there are inspirations and guidances. They are all there, but rarely to the mind closed to them. The mind of a scientist can be a very productive thing. It usually knows a lot. It can analyze certain things amazingly--I once did a little of that myself. But the mind of a scientist (if that's all it is) has come to live in a very small world. It is a paradox. The culture's (alleged) truth-seekers are occupying boxes so small that the big study of what is has ended up outside their walls. And they ARE walls. They are walls that so forbid the exploration of "dangerous" areas (even of conversation let alone active seeking) that most of these powerful IQs are ashamed to speak of them.

This writer is an old retired member of that mistaken and wandering tribe. It's too late to care what the dogmatic tribal elders think. It's time to call out for the things that are, but which they say cannot be. And just breathe the free air. What will these topics be? GOD, Spirit, Free Will, Afterlife, of course. Angels, devils, spirits too. Nature entities, what the old folks called "the good people" and "the middle angels"--well lets at least see. Encounters with the strange, the weird, the "impossible". Lets forget the sayers of "can't", relax, and let be.

Posted by The Professor at 11:04 AM No comments:
Labels: Spirituality; Anomalies; GOD

Here is another favorite of his posted topics.

The picture at the top is from this past weekend. Yes, it's been very cold and while the ground is still free from snow (likely not for long) everything is hard and colorless. Meanwhile, I continue to read.. and consider the possibilities.

Monday, January 1, 2018

back away from the future

I suppose yesterday, or should I say, last year, was more the time for looking back than today. But this afternoon when all is quiet here and it's still far too cold to go out for a walk I found myself thinking about decades ago when the world was a different place.

What came to be known as the New Age movement was still in its early days and generally unknown outside the occult and metaphysical religious communities in the 1970s and ʾ80s. It looked forward to a 'New Age' of love and light and offered a foretaste of the coming era through personal transformation and healing, a religious perspective that is based on the acquisition of mystical knowledge. Many people, particularly young people, gathered together to live in urban and country communes where they made an effort to practice more Earth friendly lifestyles than the ones offered by the larger society. Some worked better than others, true, but the longing for a return to the 'Garden' was real enough even though the trappings were easy for the fashionable to latch on to - which they did and 'New Age' became a pastime for bored suburbanites.

While there are any number of web sites and periodicals that still advance the goals one very important aspect, its saving grace really, seems to have fallen by the wayside. Transcendence: the sense that entering into relationship with the spiritual realm is about stepping into a wider world, waking up to the things that really matter - walking through the walls and into the Fire.

Now it's all about soothing your nerves, boosting your health, managing your career and your love life, making your life bland and safe and predictable. Take up meditation, so you can lower your blood pressure and smooth out your wrinkles. Practice t'ai chi or hot yoga - it's so very relaxing, and it makes your bowels regular! Go listen to a trance channeler to get advice on your relationships. Here are some tasty vegetarian recipes you can share with all your friends...

Back in the 70s it wasn't like that. There was plenty of nonsense and plenty of deception and a ton of babble, but in there with all of that you found a lot of people who wanted to tear open the sky and step into the luminous Beyond. People meditated and did rituals and practiced martial arts and did all sorts of other things to become something more than they were.

That's still a worthy goal -
even for someone like me whose resolutions generally add up to a list of things
I'll never accomplish. Where's that mandolin I never learned to play?

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Yes, Virginia

In 1879, eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial*.

Dear Editor:

    I am 8 years old.
    Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
    Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
    Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon
115 W. 95th St. NY

    “Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible to their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

    Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus? It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

    Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

    You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

    No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”

    Merry Christmas, and may this new year bring you joy, laughter, and prosperity.

*The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Crow and the Druids *

Late autumn being a changeable season here Crow and I spent a recent afternoon reviewing his archives while a drenching rain spattered the tall arched windows that overlook his terrace. Just as I was about to pour the tea he thrust an old picture between me and the Royal Albert saying, 'Aha! I've been meaning to show you a picture of Gaith, my old Druid friend, and here is one of both of us scratched upon this piece of bark. Amazing how well this stuff keeps, isn't it?'

I've long stopped being surprised at the immensity of Crow's historical social circle, but he'd never mentioned Druids before. I made myself comfortable in my favorite of his wing back chairs, took a sip of Oolong and sat back to listen:

'It probably won't surprise you to hear that even in the dim, dark past there were crazy, power hungry male persons who made a general nuisance of themselves by making up excuses to kill their neighbors and take their land. The first thing they always did was to demand that the young men in their kingdoms supply themselves with pointed sticks or whatever, swords being both rare and expensive, and join in the battles. Some young men who weren't pleased with this mad idea ran away to the forest.

'The forests of Europe and old England were very large indeed. Still, it wasn't easy to get by on your own and certainly there were no modern conveniences like waterproof shoes and tents - never mind nicely packaged emergency food supplies.

'On this particular fine morning, Gaith and I had been strolling along a path overhung by the branches of sacred oak trees when we came upon a weary looking but handsome youth sitting by a brook. After mutual greetings we sat and shared some food and listened to his reasons for preferring a life of peace. Rather than going to war he had run away to a place where he hoped to enjoy life and creation, learn its wonders and strive for answers to the big questions. My friend Gaith, being a Druid, one of those rumored to have strange powers, invited him to join his band as a junior member. 

'Whether they were called Yogis, Magi, Lamas, Monks or Druids, all of them strove to learn. They developed techniques and applications; they dreamed dreams and studied nature intensively. As it took a very long time to become a Master Druid, perhaps twenty years or more, they arranged their membership into sections (like colleges) that depended upon knowledge and individual attainments. They also developed a brilliant plan designed to lessen the violence of the crazy men. What was it? First, you have to understand they already had much to offer by their abilities with Astrology and calendars; they knew much about plants and the healing arts. They also knew how to manipulate materials and some, like my friend Gaith, were experts in speaking the Language of the Birds. That's how we first became friends (he told some excellent people jokes). What the Druids offered freely to the crazy men who ruled at that time were the members of their lowest college, the Bards.

'Our new young friend who was called Oisin would be trained as one of them, a singer of history. From what I heard later he did well and even stopped a war or two by singing Sagas of previous encounters between the combatants. Of course, the other king also had a Bard and the two likely collaborated to mold a peace. This was the foundation of Diplomacy vs mindless War.'

Rocking back on his perch, Crow snagged a piece of fruitcake, arched his brow and remarked, 'Aren't you glad to know there are still Druids in the world today?'

Yes, yes I am, but we could always use a few more. The rain having stopped by then, we went for a walk by the sea.


* Despite the fact this was originally posted several years ago it seemed worthy of another look. Besides, on a recent rainy afternoon Crow remembered the words of another of his old friends:

St. Thomas Aquinas raised the question of why there are so many diverse forms of life on Earth, and answered by saying, "It is because of the desire of goodness to share itself and so the Divine wished to reflect and share Himself in a created world. Because of the inadequacy of any one species to fulfil this role, the whole of creation participates in and represents the richness and splendour and majesty of God more than any single creature."

The response of some human beings to this has been to go to war against this diversity. Making war on creation you become the enemy of the Creator. There will never be peace between humans until you have peace with the Earth and the wider Earth community.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

negatively positive

This is a pretty odd picture for me to have painted - no people, no animals, no creatures at all for that matter, and neither is there a landscape or a comfortably furnished space. It came about because I felt like painting something just to watch the colours develop in negative space. I didn't stop to save the in-between bits but the idea is to lay down some background colours then draw some shapes on top. Then paint around them using slightly deeper shades of the background hues. Then you draw more shapes under the first lot and continue doing so until you get bored. It took me four layers to get bored. I think next time I'll go back to drawing (and painting) more story-like pictures - like this one:

no woman no cry

You might enjoy watching the most bizarre musical performance I've seen recently. The song, released in 1974 by Bob Marley and the Wailers, addresses a poor woman growing up in the Jamaican slums, promising that things will be “alright” and asking her not to cry.

This version is Bahraini - not Saudi - nevertheless it's a country whose policies regarding women is very similar to other Gulf monarchies, ie, women there can vote and run for public office but very few have been allowed to exercise those rights.

What a world, eh? You have to laugh.

Then there's this one:

Monday, November 6, 2017

every picture tells a story

pic 1

pic 2

pic 3

pic 4

pic 5

pic 6

pic 7

 pic 8

pic 9

pic 10

The first three were drawn on a sketch pad.
Transferred to watercolour paper by number four.
Then ink.
Then base colour shading.
Adding colour washes.
What's outside the window?
Good enough.
Time to start another.

Even simple things aren't always easy, are they?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

life is short, fashion is eternal

When Hallowe'en comes around and we have time to think of such things most people agree that the belief in ghosts stems from the ancient concept that there is a person inside the person, some type of animating spirit. In other words we think of ghosts as being people without bodies. Now if this is the case it's not much of a jump to reverse the logic and say that people are just ghosts who do have physical bodies. Of course this leads us to imagine all sorts of fascinating possibilities about the essential nature of life, the universe, and everything. But that's a discussion best left for another time. What I'd like to do this time is to share the Victorian tale of Mrs. Butler.

It seems that in 1891 a certain Mrs. Butler, who lived in Ireland with her husband, dreamed of finding herself in a very beautiful house, furnished with all imaginable comforts. The dream made a deep impression on her mind, and the following night she again dreamed of the same house and of going over it. And so for many nights in succession, until in the family circle she and her house of dreams became the subject of gentle raillery. In 1892 the Butlers decided to leave Ireland and take up their residence in England. They went to London and procured from various agencies lists of country houses. Having heard of a house in Hampshire, they went out to see it. At the gate-keeper’s lodge Mrs. Butler exclaimed, “This is the gate-house of my dream!” And when they reached the house she affirmed the house to be that of her dreams. The woman in charge proceeded to show the premises, and Mrs. Butler said she recognized all the details, except a certain door, which it turned out had been added to the place within six months. The estate being for sale at a very low price, the Butlers decided to buy it.

When it was bought and paid for, the price had been so extraordinarily small, that they could not help a misgiving that there must be something wrong with the place. So they went to the agent of the people who had sold it and said, ‘Well, now the purchase is made and the deeds are signed, will you mind telling us why the price asked was so small?’ The agent had started violently when they came in, but recovered himself. Then he said to Mrs. Butler, ‘Yes, it is quite true the matter is quite settled, so there can be no harm in telling now. The fact is that the house has had a great reputation for being haunted; but you, madam, need be under no apprehensions, for you are yourself the ghost!’ On the nights when Mrs. Butler had dreamt she was at her house, she - her ‘astral body’ - had been seen there.


The pictures I've posted this time are two of a group of similar ones I painted in the mid-80s that were given as presents..

back in the days when the saying went:  Grrls just wanna have fun. :)

Speaking of which:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

at home with Crow

When I brought Crow and his friend their afternoon tea I heard them discussing one of those irritations of modern life that drive me crazy too. Why is it that grocery stores announce with pride they have no plastic carry bags to hand out to customers but just about everything they sell is encased in layers of the stuff? Cosmetics, personal care items, toys, eggs, chocolates, produce, cookies, snack foods, tools and appliances are just a few items that create packaging discards we all deal with. A single purchase can mean bringing home more packaging than product.

Since 1960, the use and disposal of single-use plastic packaging has grown from 120,000 tons to over 12,720,000 tons per year today. It used to be the idea that packaging protected a product from damage but nowadays it's just another marketing tool to get us to buy things. Apparently the manufacturers think items packed in hard shelled, difficult (and possibly dangerous) to open plastic packages appear to be more attractive. Whatever happened to cellophane and cardboard? What makes plastic packaging worse is that it raises the cost of every item covered in the stuff by about 10% and then we have to find some way to recycle the stuff.

No wonder Crow prefers the comforts of the 19th century.

“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos”
– E.O. Wilson