Friday, June 29, 2007

Mid Summer Kinky Pagan

I am not a pagan, per se, but I do believe in rituals and definitely have some pagan belief systems. Always have, always will.
Summer solstice was yesterday. This is a traditional holiday celebrated around the world. Midsummer, when the North Pole of the earth is tilted toward the Sun. In Europe thousands of Pagans and non-Pagans go to places of ancient religious sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury to see the sun rising on the first morning of summer. We in the northern hemisphere receive more sunlight and it's summer. It is a time to celebrate growth and life but for pagans, who see balance in the world and are deeply aware of the ongoing shifting of the seasons, it is also time to acknowledge that the sun will now begin to decline once more towards winter.
Many more people throughout the world hold small ceremonies in open spaces, everywhere from gardens to woodlands. Bonfires are lit as darkness comes and effigies and fireworks are thrown into the fires.For many years,in the same spirit of pleasure and fun, our family carried out summer solstice on the beach below our home in northern California.
During the day, we would gather dried brush and leaves to make a Jack Straw man. Formed out of two strong tree limbs, we would wrap the dried hay and brush around the frame, making a scarecrow type of figure. That night the kids and their friends and my friends too, would haul it down to the beach and place it in a deep hole dug in the sand. Little slips of paper, with our worst fears written on them, were tied onto its frame. In the spirit of madcap revelry, the kids would really get into it.
Nothing was too bizarre to write down. “Don’t let ‘Ratigan’ (a Disney charachter) ever come into my room at night,” said the youngest.
“Make my teacher pick on someone else,” says middle daughter.
“ Don’t let mommy divorce daddy” one of their friends wrote.
“Allow my money worries fade away” I write.
“Release me from doubt about making all the house payments” from a girlfriend. and “Help me not feel alone all the time”
Finally, when the sky turned dark, usually, a match was taken to the Jack Straw guy. I would turn the portable tape player on and crank the music up. David Bowie was always a good one.

'Let's dance put on your red shoes and dance the blues.
Let's dance to the song they're playin' on the radio
Let's sway you could look into my eyes
Let's sway under the moonlight, this serious moonlight '

As the Jack Straw figure caught fire, our little heathen group swirled in the sand, mesmerized, by the light and the heat. Afterwards, more logs were thrown on the remains while we sat around the fire talking about what fears we burned and why. A storytelling night, each one more extravagant and rich.We learned a lot about each other especially when we then talked about our hopes and what we wanted instead. Each year was different, a new group, new friends. So many memories.
Sometimes, like yesterday, I remininsce about that other life and that other time. I called my son in Texas last night. “It is solstice today, honey.” After a long pause he laughed. “Gee mom, you don’t still burn the Jack Straw guy, do you?”
“No, I don’t think the Czechs would like a burning cross on their river,” I replied. “Probably remind them of some Nazi torture ceremony.” He seemed relieved. “Yeah, my friends thought you were some kind of witch back then. But they always wanted to go back to the beach with us. It kind of embarrassed me, to tell you the truth. You were such a kinky mother.”
“Still am, honey, and I don’t think I will ever change.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Happy Birthday to me

It was raining yesterday morning when I woke up. Darn it! Another birthday bust with not much planned and the weather was not cooperating. In a funk, I called darling daughter Lily.

"Mom, just come down to my flat, " she said, "I have something planned."

Well least she remembered my birthday.
Soon she and her dog, the wily Lex Doberman, and I were on a train to Kutna Hora. Though we got a late start, and the train was delayed, we journeyed for just over an hour and landed in this medieval town late in the day.

The guide books called it pitcuresque. I would say it is on the splendourous side as the wealth of the town was mining silver ore in the l4th and l5th centuries and was once one of the richest places in Europe.

It's big claim to fame, besides the remarkable villas and chateaus set in verdant forests, is St. Barbara's Cathedral, an early monumental baroque building with its filigree reticulated Gothic supporting system. Just below and down a winding street, we found a leafy cafe terrace, encircled by stone statues overlooking the old and wealthy complexes of ancient burghers and tradesmen.

Lily, lex and I, tired from hiking up through the town on this hot summer day, rested there for a few hours, eating a cheap and delicious lunch, having birthday desserts and lots of beer. Most czech restaurants welcome dogs and this place did as well, bringing him bowl upon bowl of H20, which we often laced with a little beer. It mellowed him out considerably and he snoozed the afternoon away.

At lO months, now he is still a canine wunderkind, pulling me, his "grandma", up the steeper hills, always raring to go.

We could have spent a week there, and found many little quaint hotels and boutiques that would suit both dogs and traveling girl shoppers . There were parks and forrests to roam, chateau gardens with hidden obelisks and glades for Lexie, the dog who loves to sniff about.

We will go back, I think, another time this summer. The total birthday expense was just under $30 via train for one day in Czech paradise. The happy birthday to me was simple, elegant and perfect. Thank you Lily!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Surrealism 101 at 1 am

Last night was free museum night in bohemia and it was surreal. Over 50 culturally gothic places stayed open until the early hours of Sunday morning attracting thousands, who wandered through this ancient city, never opening their wallets, much.

Choices ranged from Spanish synogogues, Baroque concert halls and hip hop galleries with vaulted ceilings and turreted balconies. Our plan was to hit some of these places, chauffered around on free buses and end up at the 1000 year old castle on the hill. Though the plan changed frequently (there was just too much to do) and though my feet were willing, we finally just made a beeline for the castle.

It was a balmy night and there were hundreds of people milling about, the party atmosphere thick with locals who wanted to see the castle rooms that are often under lock and key. It took 800 years to build the cathedral and castle complex, a jig saw of old stone and marbled complexes. Palace intrigues and palace plagues along with the history of baroque lives lived so long ago. Its a wonder that humans are compelled to build huge gothic edifices, storing the treasures of their age, and here we are so many hundreds of years later, getting a glimpse of
high culure, knights and their ladies, in modern times.

We came out and strolled into the old city of Mala Strana, a soft summer night, with hordes of revelers still out and about. We found a many floored nightclub below the castle. Sitting there drinking martinis high up on the terrace, illuminated by the turrets above, I remembered the story that it was the Rolling Stones who paid for the castle to be lit from below when they played here in l990. Now it sits like a crown jewel, an ancient silouette in the summer night sky.

Funny thing - old Mick was singing 'little red rooster' on the big speakers behind us, as we quaffed down vodkatinis and marveled once again that this place is such that you can have the best of both worlds, old and new in one cultured place.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Maybe you can go home again

I was 12 or 13 in l967 and my cousins took me to the original event. My mind was blown (as they say) by the people, the good vibes and by lots of great herbs. I don't think I have been th same since then because it indeed showed me another lifestyle and way of thinking.

So, here it is 40 years later (gasp!) coming around again. And I think the timing is right. Perhaps it will kick in the old way of protest, the protest of love over greed, as it was for me and so many others back in l967. I think there will be a lot of people at this thing.

Maybe they will cal it "GREYSTOCK''


SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May. 23, 2007 - The Summer of Love 40th will
be held Sunday, September 2nd at Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate
Park, from 10am to 6pm. ADMISSION IS FREE.

CONFIRMED ACTS INCLUDE: Ray Manzarek (the Doors), Country Joe McDonald(Country Joe and the Fish), Canned Heat, Michael McClure (Beat poet),ruth weiss(Beat Poet), New Riders of the Purple Sage, Nick GravenitesBand with David Laflamme, Alameda All Stars (Gregg Allman), MerlSaunders (supporting the effort), Terry Haggerty (Sons of Champlin), DanHicks, The Charlatans, Essra Mohawk (Mothers of Invention), Barry "TheFish" Melton (Country Joe and the Fish),,

You cant go home again

Apparently, once you leave AFF and start blogging on another site you are then banned. I just was checking over there to visit my friends' blogs and was told that I am now suspended, because I advertised this blog to them.
Maybe they will lift the ban in time, but for now, I will be excommunicado. Too bad as I was not ready to leave there

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What about me?

This is one of my favorite videos. I show it to my students and it always sparks a good discussion. What do you think?

Denver Airport and the Continuity of Government

Continuity of Government in the United States

For years there has been a buzz about the billions of dollars cost overrun and strange goings on at the Denver International Airport (l5 billion dollars over budget). Rumors have it (by the original builders and contractors, airport personnel) that massive tunnels have been built underneath the airport that actually crisscross into New Mexico and the Rocky Mtns.

There are many esoteric symbols, panels and statues there.Military personnel are seen to go down through the elevators and never reappear. Electromagnetic flux in the area may come from a massive underground systems although there are no power lines about. I have felt this myself when I flew there freqently over the years. It is as if you are emotionally wired and you dont know why.

There are lot of things that have happened that people will not talk about. Like who funded it and why did they construct it when they had a more than adequate airport (Stapleton) that was more central to Denver.

It has been suggested that it is part of the existing plan to build structures that will house l00,000 people in case of apocalypse. The Federal government is funding this scenario may someday unfold (2012). Somehow the Denver Airport is part of this plan.

The main points of such a plan(Contingency of Government) in the United States are to suspend certain parts of the United States Constitution and to allow the alternative use of federal land and buildings (including use as internment camps) by FEMA for the housing/detention of US citizens as required, as well as any rescue/recovery operations.

It also allows for power in the US to be centralized to the White House and "appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments and declaration of martial law.

The Federal government is funding this scenario that may be about to unfold (2012). Somehow the Denver Airport is part of this plan.
Anyone know more about Denver?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Truely Unbelievable

Just as Goebbels said, some lies are too big to be disbelieved. It is this lack of disbelief that is so dangerous. The inability of Americans to see through the Big Lie to the secret agenda allows the neoconservatives to escape accountability and to continue with their plot. There is no longer a government for the American people.
This paradigm shift has utterly destroyed the foundations our national and humanistic identity has been built upon.

Instead we have a police state controlled by mentally unbalanced fascists, headed by an ex-cheerleader with alcohol and substance abuse problems. For more on how the shift happened, check out the blog link below.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Old stories made new

I am going to post some old stories on this new blog. So some of you have read them before. I am still trying to find my way here. But already, I like the ability to post a little easier and the quality of the pictures are better.

The Majestic

What follows can be read as an extravagant thought experiment – a kind of poker gamble played in the realm of ideas. To take the wager, no belief is required. All I ask from readers is an open mind and a willingness to consider things in a different light. Can you do that?

The story begins one Memorial Day about ten years ago, on a journey down to California from Oregon. As a traveling researcher on a government project, I had been swamped with logical details and supervision of a multi state research team. I was worn out and needed rejuvenation before the next phase began.

Headed down Hwy 5, each kilometer takes you past another view of Mount Shasta. Shasta is a mountain of extravagant beauty and many moods. It dominates the landscape in Northern California and parts of Southern Oregon. You’re on the north side of the mountain, so there’s a lot of snow up there, but as you curve around toward the west, the ridges begin to peek out of the snow and subtle textures of rock appear.

Driving down into the valley, I saw a large alpine pastiche of pines, tilled fields and hillocks plopped down by one or more of Mount Shasta’s volcanic convulsions. I couldn’t help wondering what it was like when this mountain was emerging. It had such an imposing appearance, rising more than 10,000 feet above its base. It rose like a colossal cathedral spire at the head of the Central Valley, a dazzling devastating face whose after-image stayed burned on my consciousness like a dose of snow blindness. I noticed the little town of Weed and being dusk, decided to stop for the night and rest.

That night in my motel room, I dreamed of a great white pyramid of shimmering snow. In my dreams, I felt the tingling feeling of the wind on my cheeks even when there was no wind. Waking with the lingering memory, I decided to investigate the mountain’s allure.

Over coffee and a lumberjack breakfast in the two diner town, I read about the numerous mysterious legends that spoke of the significance of Mt. Shasta as a place of powerful earth energies. More than any other mountain in North America, Mt. Shasta is a focal point for contemporary spirituality, attracting individual seekers as well as a variety of religious groups.

The waitress had another take. “Everytime I turn around, I expect to find another ‘woo woo’ coming through here. Bunch of pod people.”

But she did rave about the other legendary place nearby, The Living Memorial Scultpure Garden and gave me a brochure. Set at the edge of the Valley northeast of Mt. Shasta, it was dedicated as a war memorial with larger than life metal sculptures depicting figures from a multitude of wars.

Too tired to climb a mountain that day, but intriqued by the idea of large sculptures in the desert below the mountain, I drove out there to see for myself. The father of my oldest daughter had been a L.E.R.P in Vietnam. Many of my lovers had been Vietnam vets. It was Memorial Day and I could pay homage with a little ritual to them if nothing else. Since I travel with a sage smudge (for cleansing hotel rooms) and candles among other assorted ritual tools in my suitcase, I brought those along too.

I drove out to the place marked on the map. The sculpture garden is high on the Modoc Plateau, twenty three miles from Weed. Somber, haunting and spiritual, the site had a surreal beauty. Fifty-eight thousand pines, a living memorial to the 58,000 American dead in Vietnam, also grace the site. Although it is dedicated to veterans of all conflicts, the site has been developed as a park for everyone.

There was only one other car there as I began to walk through the desert where the sculptures were placed. The only sound was two sets of wind chimes in the trees, softly ringing in the wind. Immediately, I felt a sense of timelessness.

Maybe it's because I'm Irish, and my Celtic heritage, with its belief in "thin places," has seeped into my imagination "Thin places" are those places where the everyday world and the realm of the divine meet, where the walls that we normally experience as solid, dividing one reality from the other, are permeable. They are places - or even the moments - where God leaks through, where the divine peeks in and waves at us. In these holy places, extraordinary things happen.It was hot and there was no wind, yet the chimes fluttered a sweet tune as I began to see the sculpture groupings.

Each of the ten larger-than-life-size metal sculptures depict the passions of war, portraying themes such as Those Left Behind, POW-MIA, The Nurses, The Refugees, and Coming Home.

They were arranged within walking distance of each other with the stark landscape and distant view of Mount Shasta as a backdrop. The series of huge metal sculptures, the beings, were beautiful, simple, arranged to memorialize the veterans in each war.

They evoked a powerful emotional sense of homage and peace and anguish of those for whom there was no homecoming.

I sat, with my ritual materials, beside The Nurses and cried - cried for the sheer horror of war and its violence against innocent persons and for those who try to muffle out faith and love.

The sun was blocked by clouds and the wind picked up. As the soft breeze dried my tears, I began a ritual of renewal. For me, for for the earth, for truth and beauty.

Just a simple ceremony, burning sage, calling in my guidance, the four directions, to heal the wages of war, to heal the destruction and the scorched-earth effects of globalization and to remember that another world is possible. I began to sing softly, my lone voice in homage to the beings and what they meant.

I felt at peace, and slowly rose up, standing below a grouping of three metal beings with their arms raised toward the mountain. Standing below them, I began to swing my arms too in a circle, from side to side in windmill fashion. My eyes swung with them, focusing on the mountain, then the beings, then the remote desert all around me.

Suddenly, a brilliant shaft of sun pierced the clouds. It illumined the statue and the bright beam traveled downwards into me. With it came a feeling of bliss, a sudden movement of energy up my spine, along the arms and shoulders, giving the sensation of lightning throughout my body. Wind blew across my face, just like the dream of the night before.

I stood paralyzed by such a feeling of love, an intensified understanding and sensitivity of love, and a deeper insight into direct knowing of so many dimensions. It was a transcendent state of joy. Indescribable really, it felt like liquid fire and liquid light. Far richer, deeper and body encompassing, and better than any orgasm I have ever had. I didn't want to come back and kept looking straight at the mountain in the distance, realizing its mystery had claimed me.

Every Memorial Day where ever I am, I remember the gift I received at the Memorial to those who never come home. It is my psyche that determines that this event revealed a deeper order of signficance, a resonant phenomena akin to turning a lock to a more conscious state. It was then and always will be, an event that was both numinous and inexplicable.