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Saturnalia, a Saturn-Jupiter Conjunction—Feasting & Ritual 2020 Solstice

SATURNALIA and SATURN-JUPITER CONJUNCTION

December 2020 will not disappoint. Hard on the heels of celebrations for Hallowe’en, Thanksgiving and Diwali by a world weary of restrictions, comes Greek/Russian Orthodox Advent and—back to our pagan roots—Roman Saturnalia.

You thought Hogmanay in Scotland (December 31st) was wild, unruly and, like the people, friendly. We’ve a whole gamut of cultures to wander through before the month is out, and that happens.

Saturn-Jupiter 20-year ‘Collision’: Giant Conjunction on Solstice

Meantime, astronomers and astrologers are scanning the evening skies and their charts in preparation for Solstice, December 21st—the longest night—and the moment before dawn aka 10:20a.m. PST when both giants, Jupiter and Saturn, come to within one-tenth of a degree (6.1 arc minutes) of each other. So close, they will look like one bright star.

Nightly, the gap is rapidly closing between the two, as worldwide telescopes—except the sad, abandoned Arecibo— pictured below after collapse—are nightly trained to watch the northern heavens. The Great Conjunction happens when both planets’ orbits appear to intersect from our Earth view. Jupiter’s orbit round the Sun—’sidereal period’—is 11.86 years. Saturn’s is close to 30 (29.65 years).

They met in 1980 and 2000. But, the last time they met this close was 1623.

‘A sidereal period is defined as the time required for a celestial body within the solar system to complete one revolution with respect to the fixed stars. Saturn’s period of 29.65 years multiplied by Jupiter’s period of 11.86 years amounts to 351.65. Dividing this value by the difference in their sidereal periods gives us 19.76 years.’ Space.com 

Roughly every 20 years, Jupiter and Saturn have a rendezvous. Photo NSF Arecibo after second cable snapped, November2020

Coincidentally, that Great Conjunction of 1623 was 20 years before the Great Fire of London which destroyed and incapacitated the Great Plague. Shadow phantoms surfacing for 2020, amid medical excitement at the prospect of a new vaccine.

Roman Saturnalia Pulls out all the Stops

The ancestors knew how to handle stress, chaos, the unknown. Prior to the darkest times, even before all our Solstitial shenanagans, there’s that time of anticipation in preparation for Yule, and the 3-day ‘standstill’ of the Sun. When time appeared to stop, the Ancients gladly rejoiced at its return, rebirth, reincarnation. Romans chose to celebrate (Julian calendar, December 17-23) in all-out chaos-defying orgiastic manner. Feasting, baths, Games, entertainment. With loads of wine.

By late Roman times (early Christian era), the Circus Maximus was alive with events, chariot races, slave gladiator hand-to-hand combat, spilling blood in the day, and wine at night.

KRONOS (Roman Saturn) was the primordial Greek god of time. In the Orphic cosmogony he emerged self-formed at the dawn of creation. He was seen as discorporeal, serpentine in form, with three heads—of a man, a bull, and a lion. He and his consort, serpentine goddess Ananke—Inevitability—enveloped the primordial world-egg in their coils and split it apart to form the ordered universe of earth, sea and sky. After this act of creation the couple circled the cosmos driving the rotation of heaven and the eternal passage of time

Khronos, Father Time—in his human persona Aeon—holds zodiac wheel in balance for human race

Khronos, Father Time—in his human persona Aeon—holds zodiac wheel in balance for human race
Kronos in Greco-Roman mosaic is Aeon—Eternity personified. He holds a wheel inscribed with zodiac signs and Gaia—Mother Earth—reclines at his feet, c..5thC Nonnus of Panopolis described Aeon as an old man with long, white hair and a beard, but mosaic-shows a youthful figure

The figure of Kronos was essentially a cosmological double of the Titan Kronos/Cronus—Father Time. Confusing the heirarchy, Hellenist culture sometimes merged Kronos with creator-god Phanes, and occasionally with the Titan Ophion. He became Saturn, Roman god of agriculture and abundance.

Saturn metamorphosed for Rome, as god of regeneration, dissolution, plenty, wealth, agriculture, periodic renewal and liberation. Saturn’s mythical reign was depicted as a Golden Age of peace and plenty.

At some point after Circus Maximus became such a success—Bread and Circuses appease the masses—the god of a successful harvest (including grapes) and bountiful year-end had focus of his celebration enlarged to include gifts from Bacchus, Dionysus, Cupid. Latterly c.4thC it was a necessary therapeutic year-end party for the people that lasted six days. Rich and poor alike, all work ceased and the rich reclined in their triclinium, and the poor reached over laden tables and drank themselves into oblivion.

It was not unknown for rich Romans to have their digestive systems soothed and enhanced by addition of hemp to the communal wine decanter.

Ladies were not immune to the charms of triclinium dining, top left. They usually ended in a drunken orgy or were spirited off by a faithful servant to attend the Games while sobering up. A week of solid eating and drinking, attending the vomitorium and returning to the table, plus attending Circus gladiatorial displays or chariot races must have been a punishing schedule. But, as they say, it’s only once a year! Carpe diem.

Celebrate Last Dark Days & Return of the Light

Writerly Shoutout to Celebrating NaNoWriMos

Once that Saturnalian party atmosphere begins to illuninate your dark days, and remembering we Space Age writing revellers-in-Lockdown are able to find ways to celebrate nobody ever thought of, there are a few signs.

Saturnalia: Time of MisRule and Synthesis

Romans decorated their houses with wreaths & seasonal greenery, shed traditional togas in favour of colourful clothes called synthesis. Slaves especially didn’t have to work during Saturnalia. Their servant’s cap was removed, & they got to share in the festivities, sitting at the table while their masters served.

No work was undertaken, law courts were closed, They spent 17 days & nights (extended late A.D. 2-3rdCC to Jan.6 Epiphany) drinking, gambling, singing, playing music, feasting, vomiting, bathing, socializing and giving the gods and each other special gifts e.g.wax taper beeswax candles—cerei— seasonally symbolic of return of the light after the solstice. Circus Maximus entertainment was high on citizens’ social calendar. Think Gladiators & free food.

Snow, Hail or Lightning, Keep on Writing thru the Storm

Venus balances Mars’ fire as the Sun stands still on cusp of Capricorn for three days. Its rebirth is heralded by Saturn and Jupiter conjunct, both at 0º Aquarius midheaven with Mercury direct. All go for new beginnings.

For those fellow scribes who just completed their writing marathon at NaNoWriMo, bet you’re glad November is over. Breathe. There, that brief rest was short-lived—look out here comes Saturnalia—then Christmas: another pagan tradition reworked to fit in admirably with human need for ritual—for beginnings and endings. Interesting that Mithras, Dionysus, Horus and Krishna were born at Midwinter. Happy Solstice.

Post scriptum—with the heartening news of a British-International vaccine, we can all give a sigh of relief. ©2020 Marian Youngblood

December 2, 2020 Posted by | ancient rites, astrology, astronomy, authors, blogging, calendar customs, culture, festivals, history, pre-Christian, publishing, sacred sites, seasonal, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Algol ‘Ghoul’ Binary Star Sacred to Ancients—Secret Eclipses Regular as Clockwork

ALGOL ‘GHOUL’ BINARY STAR SACRED TO ANCIENT EGYPTIANS

Eclipsing binary star Algol in constellation Perseus causes larger magnetic star to eclipse its smaller brighter companion every 2.8 days -periodicity repeats three times over two-month span

Dia de Muertos Festival not just for Writing Ghouls in Masqued Gowns November is also NaNoWriMo Month

Perseus stretches over celestial sphere with his Gorgon prize—decapitated head of Medusa β-Persii—whose fixed gaze stilled ocean monster Cetus and saved Andromeda from sea death

November means much to so many people. For Writers, it’s the start of NaNoWriMo—wish you all well on that prickly writing path—yeah NaNos!

ECLIPSING BINARY SYSTEM FORECAST ‘AUSPICIOUS’ & ‘BAD DAYS’

First day of the ancient pre-Celtic calendar, Samhainn, revealed by the Thin Veil of what has gone before: Many ancient cultures began again at this time, believing winter will bring return of the Light. Nature will endure. Earth Mother descends into Hades, the Underworld, held captive till spring.

For a full list of the Celtic Calendar months see here.

Others—Arab, Assyrian calculated by the stars. But it’s Egyptian priests we have to thank for tracking the blinking, eclipsing, metamorphosing Star of Darkening, Algol, the ghoul, phantom, Raging One.

Cairo Calendar used Algol to Predict Good and Bad Days

Egyptians were first to record the wobbly nature of Algol, making nightly observations for religious purposes over several generations from approx. 1224B.C. They used its apparently chaotic cycles as markers in annual day reckoning—The Cairo Calendar—of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days. In three thousand years, the orbit/eclipse cycle of Algol has varied from a 2.850 day cycle to 2.867-day—approx. 2days 20hrs49mins. That always ensures ‘good’ for Roman Kalends (first day of cycle) where last (20th day of three decans month) was traditionally not fortunate for any activity.

Excerpt from Cairo Calendar, with July New Year significantly orientated to the heliacal rising of Sirius, believed to cause inundation of Nile, season of abundance, 1st of 3 seasons

Traditionally Day 1 of a new month (three week cycle of ten days) was always GOOD. The twentieth day always UNLUCKY—bad bad bad.

First season: New Year July Akhet, flood or inundation, lasted thru October always began with heliacal rising (first sighting before dawn) of Sirius, Sothis, god clothed as brightest star in Canis Major, dog star following Orion

Second season – winter November-February: Proyet, emergence. Algol at brightest—and dimmest ;)—at zenith in Northern skies, linked to death

Third season – Summer Shomu=low water March to June. Names of its months were Hnsw, Hnt-Htj, Ipt-Hmt, and Wep-Renpet or Opening of Year Harvest celebration and festival for Rebirth of Osiris ensured much feasting

Almagest, Claudius Ptolemy’s Mathematical / Astronomical compendium of apparent planetary & star positions relative to Earth, c. A.D.150 was unsurpassed until 17thC. Fifteen crucial stars form the secret Behenian cluster, sacred to alchemists from antiquity to modern times

Each month consisted of three ten-day’ weeks’ called decades or decans. Although months were individually named, they were commonly referred to by the name of the festivals held in them. The last two days of each decans were considered holidays and ordinary Egyptians didn’t work.

Algol the Inauspicious Ogre

Twentieth day was always a no-go day-—inauspicious, linked to Algol. And on a New Moon day one was forbidden to go outside to see the darkness.

Historically, the binary star had strong associations with bloody violence across a wide variety of ancient cultures. In the Tetrabiblos, the 2nd-century astrological text of the Alexandrian astronomer Ptolemy, see above, Algol is referred to as “the Gorgon of Perseus” and associated with death by decapitation: a theme which mirrors the myth of the hero Perseus‘s victory over the snake-haired Gorgon Medusa. Astrologically, Algol is considered one of the unluckiest stars in the sky, and was listed as one of the 15 Behenian stars used by ancient an modern alchemists..

Raging One

Wedjat Eye of Horus

رأس الغول Arabic Raʾs al-ghūl 

The Cairo Calendar describes a repetitive transformation of the Eye of Horus, usually called Wedjat or the Raging One, from a peaceful to a raging personality, with good or bad influence on the lives of men. A legend existed in which the enraged Eye of Horus nearly destroyed all mankind. Ancient Egyptian scribes were in awe of Algol‘s strange behavior and linked it to this prominent legend

As ancient scribes recorded eclipses, it seems odd there are so few texts on Algol from other ancient cultures, bar Arabic, head of the Ghoul, above. The CC crew argue that temple scribes did not speak the sacred name of Algol for religious reasons, but used indirect mythological references. It explains lack of notation on the star itself. Indirect mythological references to Algol in other ancient cultures—Arab and Hebrew—give it ‘untouchable’ status.

Keeping Temple Records Straight—and Counting According to Algol

Temple scribes, professional in astronomy, mathematics & medicine whose duties included measurement of time by day with obelisks & sundials, star charts by night, simultaneously held sacred traditional nightly rituals to protect Ra, the Sun during his journey with Nut, left, goddess of Night, across the Underworld. Timing had to be exact (below left) to appease terrible guardians, who opened a new gate to the Underworld each hour. Ra was reborn at the 12th hour, if rituals went smoothly. Risk that the Sun would never rise again was believed imminent.

Algol’s eclipses always occur exactly at the same modern hour after 57 nights. Ancient Egyptian hours were of relative length, so in winter the day hours were shorter than in summer, and for night hours the reverse. Also measurement of time was not precise. If an eclipse was observed in Deir-El-Medina at the end of the night, the next eclipses would occur after three night intervals, but always about three and a half hours earlier, until they could not be observed during daylight.

Dr. Jaana Toivari-Viitala, CAIRO CALENDAR, Deir El-Medina

Nineteen Night Cycle—Algol’s Good and Bad Days

This sequence of nighttime eclipses repeated every 19 days. The eclipses also returned to the same part of the night after 57 days. That periodicity occurs with modern or ancient hours. Whatever Algol “did” (blinked or not) on D ≈ 1 (always GGG)*, it always also did on D ≈ 20 (always SSS). There are nearly 300 clear nights a year in the Luxor area. Evidence of star clocks, which ancient scribes used to measure time from stars, spans over a millennium from the First Intermediate Period (ca. 2181–2055 B.C.) to the Late Period (664–332 B.C.). For this purpose, they devised star tables to help with time keeping. *GGG= all good day SSS=(schlecht) very bad day.

Algol Binary Interaction Transfers Mass to its Companion

Astronomically, the binary star components of Algol appear to have formed at the same time, with the more massive star evolving much faster than its less massive star companion: the more massive companion Algol Aa1 is still in its main sequence, but the less massive Algol Aa2 is a subgiant star at a later evolutionary stage. The paradox can be solved by mass transfer: when the more massive star became a subgiant, it filled its Roche lobe, and most of the mass was transferred to the other star, which is still in its main sequence of development. In some binaries similar to Algol, a gas flow can be seen. The gas flow between the primary and secondary stars in Algol has been imaged using Doppler Tomography.

The system also emits x-ray and radio wave flares, captured on earth by both types of receiver dish, from Puerto Rico to Hawai’i.

Algol’s—and Our Writerly— Good and Bad Days—thru November

Algol’s 19-night cycle (periodicity) repeats at the same time on November 19th, and according to 3,000 years’ calculation, that’s an auspicious day. The following day—11/20/2020—is NOT. Be forewarned; writers, NaNo-ers and readers all, stay in the cave that day.

Promise we can all come out in time to celebrate the madness of Saturnalia. Auspicious days to come. ©2020 Marian Youngblood

November 4, 2020 Posted by | ancient rites, Ascension, astronomy, authors, belief, blogging, calendar customs, culture, energy, festivals, history, pre-Christian, ritual, sacred sites, seasonal, sun, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Space Message-in-a-Bottle has Alien’s Return-to-Sender Address

SPACE MESSAGE-IN-A-BOTTLE BOUNCING 45 YEARS ON
First Wednesday Writing Tank taken over by Sagan & ?ETI et al

When Carl Sagan and his fellow pioneer spirits sent a message in November 1974 to star cluster M13, on the edge of the Milky Way galaxy, they chose the biggest radio telescope in the world to transmit it: Forty-nine miles outside San Juan, Puerto Rico in the Greater Antilles and sixteen hundred feet up in cleared Caribbean island rainforest, Arecibo’s TFT Radio Telescope stood tall.

Snapped cable sliced through 1000-ft. radio telescope’s 60-year-old dish, August 2020, Arecibo Puerto Rico

Since it was installed in 1963, the gargantuan Arecibo Observatory has played a key role in the study of the universe. Formally known as the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, (NAIC), the thousand-foot wide radio telescope dish in its 20-acre hole-in-the-forest is a huge hybrid wood and synthetic saucer-like construction, suspended by cables 500 feet above a 1,000-foot-wide dish, all overlooking a panoramic view of the Puerto Rican Rainforest.

In 1974, the most powerful broadcast ever deliberately beamed into space was made from Puerto Rico. The broadcast formed part of the ceremonies held to mark a major upgrade to the Arecibo Radio Telescope. The transmission consisted of a simple, pictorial message, aimed at our putative cosmic companions in the globular star cluster M13. This Great Cluster in Hercules is roughly 21,000 light-years from us, near the edge of the Milky Way.

SETI, Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, was Sagan’s and Cornell University‘s brainchild. They worked closely with an Arecibo team—which was at the time funded by Cornell*—because the miraculous reflective dish spanning twenty acres of deep cleared forest was capable of collecting/receiving distant radio waves, but also to ‘bounce’ or send the same frequencies out. A major upgrade in 1997 was widely funded. In addition, a message engraved on copper plate accompanied Pioneer 10 spacecraft launch March 1972 and is now 7 billion miles into deep space.
*Facility now run by University of Central Florida.

Forty-five Years Since the Message was Sent
SETI’s November 1974 message was transmitted on a frequency of 2380 MHz. It consisted of 1,679 binary bits representing ones and zeros, sent by shifting the frequency of the signal up and down over a range of about 10 Hz. This method is known to geeks as one used by computer modems to send binary code over a ‘telephone line’. Ones translate into graphics as characters and zeros as spaces, so that the message forms a symbolic picture 23 characters wide by 73 long.

Arecibo message-in-a-bottle 1974

Our broadcast was particularly powerful because it used Arecibo’s megawatt transmitter attached to 1000ft./305m antenna. The latter concentrates transmitter energy by beaming it into a very small patch of sky. Our emission was equivalent to a 20 trillion watt omnidirectional broadcast, and would be detectable by a SETI experiment just about anywhere in the galaxy, assuming a receiving antenna similar in size to Arecibo’s
SETI official statement 1974

?ETI’s Arecibo Message
“Our message consists of 1679 bits, arranged into 73 lines of 23 characters per line (these are both prime numbers, and may help the aliens decode the message). The ‘ones’ and ‘zeroes’ were transmitted by frequency shifting at the rate of 10 bits per second. The total broadcast was less than three minutes. A graphic showing the message is reproduced here. It consists, among other things, of the Arecibo telescope, our solar system, DNA, a stick figure of a human, and some of the biochemicals of earthly life. Although it’s unlikely that this short inquiry will ever prompt a reply, the experiment was useful in getting us to think a bit about the difficulties of communicating across space, time, and a presumably wide culture gap.” ?ETI, 1974

The 20-acre dish structure also supports the Gregory Dome control center and access via ramps. The remote facility still runs all operations with use of generators which are considered more practical to reboot after extreme weather—e.g.hurricane Maria September 2017.

Despite ongoing maintenance, the miracle reflector dish is beginning to show her age. The snapped cable was the last straw.

World’s largest reflector of radio waves, the dish serves as rain collector during hurricanes

Twenty acres of mirror receiver needed skyline cable support. It was one of those supporting cables which snapped. The cable flailed around wildly, damaging the telescope’s Gregorian dome and slashing a 100-foot-long gash through the dish below. The three-inch-wide cable damaged the reflector dish and also the platform used by scientists to access the main dome.

Binary Message from (near-Earth) Space
Early February 2020, radar images from Arecibo pre-crash, revealed a new near-Earth potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA)—2020-BX12—incoming. It turned out to be binary 2020-BX12—two asteroids in one.

Its smaller orbiting moon is tidally locked to the larger asteroid. So from the surface of Asteroid 2020 BX12, you would always see the same face of its moon; as we do with ours.

Images were created by bouncing radio waves off the asteroid as it passed nearby Earth. Studying returning radar echoes—received by the giant dish—Arecibo astronomers could formulate the binary asteroid’s shape, surface features, size and ‘image’. The larger or primary asteroid was discovered on January 27 by the NASA-funded ATLAS survey, on Mauna Loa, Hawaii. Based on its size and minimum separation of BX12’s orbit from Earth’s orbit—188,000 miles or 302,000 km—it was classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA). And Arecibo was bouncing the signal.

Binary Asteroid’s path is steeply inclined to our neighbouring planets, image NASA-NAIC

‘If 2020-BX12 ever does collide with Earth far in the future, it’ll be a classic one-two punch’ AstroBob prediction 2020

Arecibo’s apparent demise is a tragedy under any circumstances. But its unique ability both to send and receive makes it o priority for repair and refunding. Since NASA and Washington have stepped aside, it is up to universities in S. Florida and So.Cal to carry the can.

Binary 2020-BX12 may have missed us this time. Yet those messages ARE coming in, nonetheless. Carl and SETI are indeed receiving.

Writing Encouragement from the Stars
I hope my fellow scribes are as inspired as I am by the brave Big Dish and her island stalwarts.

Surviving sixty years of remote rainforest maintenance, Caribbean hurricane volatility and changing fortunes—not to mention alternative use as a rain-collector—are all laudable achievements for the World’s Largest Radio telescope.

We may also be showing our age, but hopefully we writers will not be besieged by such insuperable odds. And yet, like Arecibo, we will soldier on.

Sinister dexter, sinister dexter.

And, may we request our Space-friendly Muse to guide us, as ever, through 2020’s trials.
©2020 Marian Youngblood

September 3, 2020 Posted by | astronomy, blogging, crop circles, culture, environment, festivals, fiction, history, Muse, novel, space, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bread-and-Circuses Loosen the Reins, Have Mass Appeal

Bread and Circuses to Appease/Subdue the Masses
Monthly First Wednesday Call from IWSG Isolation Ward

Tiers of spectators cheer death by chariot or lion, gladiator or slave, Circus Maximus precursor to Colisseum entertained & controlled Roman crowds

Romans knew how to entertain bigtime, providing literally Circus Maximus-size entertainment and free bread to the populace when the abundance of August filled their granaries and storehouses. Like all early societies, they attributed such bounty to their gods. Have we grown any “wiser” with our tech and space view?

Social Distancing in the Nevada Desert for Burning Man
Given vast acreage used for annual Burning Man—young America’s pinnacle location for letting off steam—the 2020 festival—sadly cancelled—should have been a roaring success. Combination of artistic frustration, human desire for self-expression, and a need to celebrate when the worst looks over—all fulfill our ancient cultural seasonal need for celebration.

Lammas harvest-weave in final July crop circle Vorderfischen nr Munich Bavaria S Germany

Feasts and gladiator combat shows entertained the common folk who year-round served the Roman elite. As in most original cultures, at harvest time, the bounty was shared.

Grateful for a good season, all early cultures from Mediterranean through high Kashmir to the Orient and in both North and South America and the Arctic, would have some kind of harvest time ceremony, giving gifts back to the Earth in gratitude for their survival another year. Corn dollies are reminiscent of European carefully-woven sacred dolls, placed on the feast table at Lammas/Lughnasadh. A corn dolly was usually woven in straw from the first cut of the sickle of this year’s crop (northern territories).

The ALOHA Factor

In the Hawai’ian Island chain (mid-Pacific 21ºN-18ºN) seasonal and festive celebrations traditionally include weaving necklaces of fragrant blossoms—leis—with headbands and hat gear woven from coconut palm fronds.

Original Beaux Arts 1925 Palace Theatre in Hilo, HI seats clients in orchestra stalls, dress circle & the ‘gods’

Is a Circus Maximus Drive-In an iMax?
Do you remember when everyone WAS #retro and we featured in those lovely outdoorsie kissing-by-the-stars Drive-In Movie Theaters? They call them ‘retro’ because most moviegoers today—iGens—have no idea what the ‘fifties or mid-20th Century style entailed. We vintage era connoisseurs would love to show them. Visions of cozy little backyard single-lane access loud speakers handed thru open car window—versus its successor, e.g. the lone multi-access, viewers boxed up in tiers too close to an iMax screen to focus on the actors. I recall in a moment of distraction, being coaxed one evening into one of those steel derrick desert billboard son et lumière machines, while on a visit to the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Sun had set, so it seemed the thing to do.

Post-trauma 21st Century Style
American moviegoers are not far behind! Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Enterprises announced midsummer their opening various drive-ins across the U.S. Running every weekend until August, the Tribeca Drive-In summer series will screen over thirty classic and independent films. Participating venues include AT&T Stadium Arlington, TX; Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Stadium; others in Nassau, NY; Orchard Beach in the Bronx and the Bel Air Diner in Queens. County fairgrounds in various states have taken up the idea. As has the out-of-work football stadium or two.

There are Auto Pop-Ups from Virginia and Maryland to New England and the Midwest. But Auburn, NY’s FingerLakes Drive-In claims to be the Empire State’s oldest, operating non-stop since 1947. Naturally it is featuring classics like “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

Heart throb Will Smith Men-in-Black icon, 1997

The Miami Dolphins’ football stadium turned the field into a drive-in.

Hard Rock Movie Theater has room for more than 200 cars to take in classic films. Two theaters available from June to moviegoers are a socially-distanced open-air theater and a drive-up theater. Hard Rock Stadium will show a diverse array of movies, such as “Knives Out” and “Men in Black.” Masks must be worn in common areas, and all spots are assigned beforehand. HRMT

Retro among Retro experts is one of the oldest on the National Register of Historic Places—NRHP. With its supreme retro look, Missouri’s Route 66 Drive-In is a historic site located on the former Mother Road, U.S. Route 66 in Jasper County, Missouri.

Letting Our Creative Insecure Writer Tap into the Infinite Flow

Much kudos to Roman ingenuity for providing mass entertainment—and free food—when abundance came their way, provided, it was believed, by their gods. Celtic and other northern people believed in similar deities, their harvest festival, Lammas, most potent of the year, a time when food was plentiful.

Summer 2020 Jupiter Saturn conjunction completes another 20-year cycle, Venus dances with Earth & Mars

All early societies shared the belief that what you gave in gratitude would be returned to you one thousandfold.

Nemo knowz…

Similarly, I believe we insecure (and usually introvert) writers seem able to call on our Muse, our angels, our inner guide to help us out in a tough spot.

Now is a good time. Full harvest moon lights the way. Thank you Angels—and my co-Space Capt. Alex—for always guiding the ship through stormy seas to calm waters.

Nemo me impune lacessit.*
*Warrior cry of Scots men & women—Scots translation: Wha’ daur meddle wi’ me? English translation: ask an early American. No, nothing to do with cartoon fish.
©2020 Marian Youngblood

August 5, 2020 Posted by | ancient rites, art, Ascension, astrology, astronomy, authors, belief, blogging, calendar customs, crop circles, culture, festivals, fiction, New Earth, novel, pre-Christian, ritual, seasonal, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mad Dogs & Englishmen—in Solstice 2020 Heat, Invoke Water, Rainbows

MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN…SOLSTICE 2020 HEAT, INVOKE WATER, RAINBOWS and IRIS
First Wednesday Monthly Writing Corner for Writers Unlimited, IWSGs, NaNoWriMoers, Indies et al

They say astro signs show portents of changes before they occur. We humans are often slow to comprehend.

Iris, ancient Greek, Egyptian, Sumerian goddess of the Eye & the Rainbow, daughter of the West Wind (Zephyr), she joined ocean and sky, sending healing messages to earth’s creatures

With a significant lunar eclipse coming to occult the Full Rose Moon this Friday, June 5th, and despite challenging earth changes flourishing through rapid temperature rise worldwide, we writerly brigade feel it necessary to inject a positive attitude—and some long-forgotten traditions—into the pastry mix before we all stir the recipe into oblivion.

Venus, ancient love symbol, lately gloriously brightest in our evening skies, is now retrograde, tonight drowning in the Sun, and about to enter the Underworld.

She will emerge later this month as a ‘morning star’. This is a time of wild emotions, but inner beauty can be expressed, too. Venus, Aphrodite, Ishtar, Isis were all facets of goddess of love capable of helping the human race.

MesoAmerican study of Venus cycles provided help to ancient races transfixed by Venus’s precision in the sky. Modern man could use such help.

We need it. There’s currently no help from the Crop Circle brigade unfortunately—As of June 1st, there had been total ONE Crop Circle in the so-called 2020 Season—and that in Belgium!

So—to Ancient Greece—and pre-Roman, hereditary Arabic star clusters and constellations for inspiration and sky-watching between sporadic bouts of earthbound television [not advised]. There we find hidden in myth, but shining in light elusive Iris who gives us the word iridescent—the word itself brings sparkle.

Brief background on this tiny reclusive spirit:

The goddess Iris, using her rainbow bridge, linked the sea and the sky, and she was allowed to enter the underworld and dive in the depths of the sea. The oldest Greek tradition imagined her as the goddess who supplied the clouds with water she scooped from the seas using a golden amphora or storage vessel aka pitcher, and thus stimulated the rains that brought growth and fertility to the earth. This originated from observing actual rainbows, whose one end can hide deep beyond the horizon, often in the sea or a body of wate, with its other end reaching for the heavens. She is responsible for healthy summer fertility and growth.

In Roman tradition (often similar to Greek), god Mercury is Messenger to the Gods. Not so in earliest tradition in ancient Greece and Egypt:

Iris alone was Messenger to the Greek gods and goddesses at first. Child of the West Wind—father Zephyr— and her mother Electra, a cloud nymph as well as one of the seven Pleiades, she could bring and deliver messages to all corners of Ocean and Sky. The Pleiades themselves were associated with water in all forms—rain, frost, ice, snow, lakes, rivers, and oceans.

Iris was the rainbow bridge.

Maiden Goddess with Iridescent Golden Wings
In some texts she is depicted wearing a coat of many colors. With this coat she actually creates the rainbows she rides to get from place to place. Iris’s wings were said to be so beautiful that she could even light up a dark cavern, a trait observable from all her stories.

Her cult held her as goddess supreme of communication, messages—exterior and intuitive—and her appearance was believed to mark major cultural change and new endeavors.

Though Iris was principally associated with communication and messages, she was also believed to aid in the fulfillment of humans’ prayers, either by fulfilling them herself or by bringing them to the attention of other higher deities.

In some texts she is depicted wearing a coat of many colors. With this coat she actually creates the rainbows she rides to get from place to place. Iris’s wings were said to be so beautiful that she could even light up a dark cavern, a trait observable from in the story of her visit to Somnus in order to relay a message to Alcyone.[9]

Though Iris was principally associated with communication and messages, she was also believed to aid in the fulfillment of humans’ prayers, either by fulfilling them herself or by bringing them to the attention of other deities.

Because no place in Creation was forbidden to her, she was delegated to carry water which she dived to collect from the River Styx [mythological river division between living and dead] and fly with it to Mount Olympus for the Gods to use to swear their oaths by.

Pleiades ocean sky nymphs reflect earth’s fairies/elves in many traditions

In Aboriginal & European mythology the Pleiades are often referred to as ocean or sea nymphs; as water girls and ice maidens. Their relationship with water is multi-layered and multi-faceted and we see numerous connections of the Pleiades with the weather, agriculture, navigation and sailing
Munya Andrews

In earliest Hellenist tradition, Iris monopolized the function of Messenger to the Gods. In early records, like Homer’s Trojan War epic the Iliad, she is the only one allowed to relay messages from Zeus–and, once, Hera–to other gods or mortals, with Hermes being given the much smaller rôle of guide and guardian.

Sit Arthur Rackham, 1867-1939, pictured young Iris as the embodiment of a mystical rainbow bridge between heaven and earth

Like the part of the eye named after her, she was the Kore, Virgin, or Female Soul, a form of the Great Shakti who was both the organ of sight and the visible world that it saw. Her spectrum spanned all possible colors
Barbara G.Walker

It is only in later proto-Roman Greece that Hermes becomes the ‘official’ messenger to the Gods, aka Roman Mercury. By then Zeus relied on Hermes; but Hera continued to rely on Iris because she could manifest, transmit her message and disappear instantly.

No known sanctuary exists where Iris’s cult was held. However, in the lion-ramparted island of Delos, however, annual feasts were prepared in June with offerings of wheat cake, honey and fig delicacies for the youthful idol.

Rainbow appearance and disappearance is still viewed in some cultures as a ‘magical sign’. And many traditions view a double rainbow as double good fortune.

Greek Constellation Cepheus Shelters Iris

Iris appears from Mediterranean skies as far as the Equator as a Nebula within Cepheus, itself a member of the Perseid group. Cepheus is named for mythical King Cepheus of Aethiopia, husband of Cassiopeia and father of Andromeda, all represented by neighboring constellations. Like other constellations in the Perseus family, Cepheus was catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.

Iris used rainbows to travel phenomenal distances at the ‘speed of the winds’

The constellation is home to VV Cephei and the Garnet Star (Mu Cephei), both among the largest known stars in the Milky Way, and to several well-known deep sky objects: the Wizard Nebula, the Iris Nebula, and the Fireworks Galaxy.

According to Space.com, Cepheus is the 27th largest constellation in the night sky, occupying an area of 588 square degrees. It is located in the fourth quadrant of the northern hemisphere (NQ4) and can be seen at latitudes between +90° and -10°. Neighboring constellations are Camelopardalis, Cassiopeia, Cygnus, Draco, Lacerta, and Ursa Minor.

Cepheus belongs to the Perseus family of constellations, along with Andromeda, Auriga, Cassiopeia, Cetus, Lacerta, Pegasus, Perseus, and Triangulum. Sky Map here.

Almost all this group can be seen close-to-overhead in Northern night sky around summer solstice—even with the full moon.

[Insecure] Writerly Benefits of Lockdown—Keep On Writing
While looking skyward in the next few weeks may just take our (introvert writing) minds off forced re-entry into normal world affairs, I am the first to encourage the habits gleaned from social isolation to get to the old computah—or manifest a brand new one—and write it all out before anyone outside our charmed inner sanctum gets in and tells us it’s all a dream.

No, it’s not a fantasy. Life, writing and speaking daily to one’s Muse are part of the Dream we signed up for, didn’t we? And a little background levity alongside learning never went amiss. Check back here when summer’s over and we’ll see how we all fared. And keep those fans blowing. ‘Cos it’s hot out there.
©2020 Marian Youngblood

June 3, 2020 Posted by | ancient rites, art, astrology, astronomy, authors, belief, blogging, calendar customs, consciousness, fantasy, festivals, fiction, nature, New Age, New Earth, novel, ocean, publishing, ritual, seasonal, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Names and Name-Calling—Generational Giveaway

NAMES AND NAME-CALLING—A GENERATIONAL GIVEAWAY
Attempt at Humor in Monthly Writerly Cave, When All Around Are Losing Theirs…

Parrot GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Lavendar’s blue, dilly dilly
Lavendar’s green
When you are King, dilly dilly
I shall be Queen

Don’t Despair—Humor Crosses All Borders

Roland, der Riese am Rathaus zu Bremen… North German iconic past

Traditional girls’ and boys’ names seem to be in disfavor at the mo—both with Millennials and with their offspring—iGens. Who these days would name their child Guinevere (Wessex-Saxon), Marian (Anglian Northumbrian), Marjory (last Pictish countess of Buchan), Eric (Viking), Roland or Norbert (Norddeutsch, with appropriate refined accent)? Or even Eve or Luke (multi-purpose Biblical)? unless to commemorate a generational icon within the family.

Roland, der Riese, am Rathaus zu Bremen
Stand er ein Standbilt, standhaft und stark*
North German medieval icon in Bremen marketplace, used to teach ‘correct’ purist pronunciation in Hansestadt accent

Saturn Return (30) and Uranus (86) Cycle
Experiencing the joy of knowing a friend from Old School times—he’s on his third Saturn Return while I am delicately navigating the waters towards my Uranian first; it occurs to me that iGens and their offspriing (yes, it’s happening) may be missing a huge opportunity, nay, treasure trove of centuries, in calling themselves Lavendar or Thyme (‘Sixties and ‘Seventies cool); Bron, Zion or Dwayne (‘Eighties/Nineties) or (Noughties) Star, Elf, Lake.

I met a man the other evening calling himself Vivid. As a token Boomer, I am now almost totally deaf; so I heard him call himself Ribbit. Like the frog, I thought; and enjoyed repeating it a couple times, until a sensitive friend gently corrected me. Guess if you are Vivid, all the world must look bright to you—or at least rainbow-hued. I kept the Ribbit joke to myself.

In 1969, when the Hippie Generation resolved to have only one child—or fewer—world population was 3.6 billion souls. In 2020 we have reached a staggering 7.8 billion. I register astonishment that we have doubled in my lifetime; but wonder how Mother Earth can sustain. [Coronavirus and Gay/Lesbian marriages notwithstanding, perhaps we have some responsibility to curb our enthusiasm for progeny]. Imho.

Days of Week, Months show Opposing Ancient Traditions

Brigantian bronze mirror, AD600-900, found 2019 in elite grave Birdlip, Glos. Brittonic-Pictish women made all tribal and lineage decisions

If Roman names were still with us, we might name a child Mars, Venus or Cupid. Where English and German went Viking/Saxon, weekdays in France still recall Roman gods. Lundi is Monday/Montag for the Moon, jeudi for Jupiter; where in the Saxon world, Thursday/Donnerstag god Thor (thunder) is in charge, with Freya, Norse goddess of Love and wife of Odin, giving her name to Friday/Freitag. The French venerate the same goddess but with a Roman name: Venus = vendredi. Saturday, Sunday and Monday align both calendars: Saturn-day, Samstag; Sonntag for the Sun; Montag for the Moon.

Name-calling Reaches New Heights
I laughed a little when I first heard that for iGens, Stoopid is considered almost the worst epithet you could use. For us Star Trek generation, it’s like using the F-word continuously, or Mr Spock’s version of a ‘Colorful Metaphor’. I don’t get it. There are some doozies out there—Oxford dictionary, Wikipedia, take your pick—and yet that’s all they can come up with? Nothing personal, but poor show, Drama-ah, Lagoon and Racie: your expletives seem lame.

I’m not complaining. My fellow writers’-cave IWSGers probably agree the English language is a source of untold wealth, maintaining an open door—through time, culture and imagination—to whatever the next generation devises.

What we may be seeing is the cultural influence of Smartphones and, with instant messaging, a dwindling of tradition in the written word.

I hope I’m wrong.

Language has so much to offer—it influences a whole half hemisphere of our brain. Without it, the human race rushes towards what? A bunch of Lefties with Right-hemisphere conceptual retention and overloaded emotion without words?

All this—and what currently serves as World News—may make us Bring on the Budgerigar, top, or any current fave instant laughter-producing image. My fellow generational writing stalwarts*, like Space Capt. Alex, will empathize if I quietly hum the 1948 Woody Woodpecker Song.
*Just happens stalwart is North German standhaft 😉
Spoken so initial ‘s’ is pronounced pure ‘s’, not (lower German)’sch’ Translation:
Roland, the Giant, at the Town Hall in Bremen
There he stands, a statue, stalwart and strong.

Guess what? Maybe they need us Oldies after all—if only for our mental filing system.
©2020 Marian Youngblood

March 4, 2020 Posted by | art, astrology, astronomy, authors, belief, blogging, consciousness, culture, environment, fantasy, history, Muse, nature, novel, popular, publishing, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auspicious Beginnings to the New Decade—Written in the Stars

AUSPICIOUS BEGINNINGS TO THE NEW DECADE—WRITTEN IN THE STARS
Looking to the Future: 2020 Corner for Insecure Writers in all Dimensions

Glancing Briefly Backwards…

‘Diamond Ring’—old NASA-speak for moment solar orb reappears after annular eclipse December 26th 2019

The Sun provided the Indian sub-continent and all Southern Oceans with a dramatic solar eclipse on (British Raj) Boxing Day, December 26th, 2019, triggering a trend for skywatching with special protective glasses. Totality—which reached a maximum duration of four minutes in the “total zone”—attracted one million youthful observers, allowed out in school playgrounds across the Asian archipelago for the event. A solar eclipse occurs when the (new) moon passes in front of the sun’s disc. Lunar eclipse happens when Earth’s shadow passes over the moon. First of four lunar eclipses in 2020 will occur (visible Europe, Asia; not America) night of January 10th.

Solar Eclipses are often dramatic when they occur close to Winter Solstice and this event was spectacular in that the new moon happened so close to Christmas.

Last solar eclipse of the decade—December 26th path of visible totality

Quite charismatically, Captain James Cook, during one of his Pacific navigational/discovery voyages witnessed a famous annular eclipse on December 29th, 1777 between the Hawai’ian Island chain and present Guam.

…Glimpse of Future
Summer Solstice, June 21st, 2020 miraculously will provide another annular eclipse of the sun—again delighting India, Pakistan, Arabian continent and Southern Oceans. No hint in the northern hemisphere. And to complete the 2020 trio, December 14th 2020 brings a third (northern-invisible) eclipse.

There has to be a moral in there somewhere for us (northerly) Insecure Writers!

Jumping Time Zones and a British EarthShot for Humans
As the New Year and new Decade start to unfold—twenty-three hours ahead of time for us (northern) slug-laggards—and remembering that U.S. legislation bans public sale or explosion of fireworks, except on July 4th—it is fascinating to watch some of the fun & fireworks go off live—and virtually—in New Zealand, Thailand, Taipei, Pakistan, and Ceylon in good olde British style and tradition.

Earthshot Prize British Royal Initiative

Up the Khyber—HRH Prince William climbing in the Hindu Kush—2019 Royal tour of Pakistan cemented relations

“The earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice: either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve”
HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Earthshot Founder

Prince William’s inspiration for a new decade is world-changing. Literally. Cooperating with octogenarian broadcaster-naturalist Sir David Attenborough, the 37-year-old Prince’s initiative is to heal the planet, one annual award at a time. His Foundation is shared by his eco-planting nature-loving consort, HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who made strides last year to bring focus to human damage to our changing earth, and our duty to do something about it. Her own nature-driven remedies for mental health have been widely copied.

“The next ten years presents us with one of our greatest tests—a decade of action to repair the Earth”
HRH Prince William, Patron Earthshot Prize

Prince William’s clarion call to British, Commonwealth and international entrepreneurs, influencers, and innovators is to “remember the awe-inspiring civilizations that we (humans) have built, the life-saving technology we have created,” and that “inspired people can achieve great things.”

Clavie King & Crew hoist burning tar barrel for annual parade round Pictish fort of Burghead on Aul”Eel—old Yule 6th January—Julian calendar

He aims to build an international coalition of scientists, economists, activists, government leaders, businesspeople, philanthropists, cities, and countries worldwide.

The Prize will be run initially by The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with first annual awards announced in 2021. Long term plan is for it to become an independent organization.

The charitable trust has already received financial commitment and logistical support from a global coalition of philanthropists and fund-raising organizations.

Earthfirst and Nature non-profits have heralded the new initiative as a brilliant coalition of the world’s best minds.

‘In just ten years we can go from fear to hope, from disaster to discovery; from inertia to inspiration’
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

So when all the Highland Reels, Roman Candles and Midnight countdowns have spun off into an alternative Universe and we emerge in the moment of now: 2020—it helps us (insecure but determined to be brilliant writers) to remember that we, too, have a part in contributing to our own healthy future; that one-word-at-a-time is like planting our own future forest.

Only the writer knows how rejuvenating it feels to ‘put a story to bed’. Shake out the red carpet. Roll on the new decade. And, with gratitude, let us put our best first-foot forward.

Let the new era begin.
©2020 Marian Youngblood

January 1, 2020 Posted by | ancient rites, astronomy, authors, belief, blogging, calendar customs, culture, festivals, fiction, Muse, nature, publishing, sun, weather, winter, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Splash of Light on Long Winter Nights—Comet joins Festive Show

SPLASH OF LIGHT ON LONG WINTER NIGHTS—COMET JOINS FESTIVE SHOW in December Skies
Winter CatchUp Corner for IWSGers, NaNoWriMos and All Writers

Comet 2I/Borisov, discovered by amateur Crimean astronomer in October, is being monitored by Hubble Space Telescope as it flits through the solar system

Firstly, most important—and also because we writers are an insecure lot—I want to say ‘well done’ to all writers, great and small, of any age and persuasion, insecure or self-assured, who completed their NaNoWriMo W.I.P., and who may now be editing! their next world-famous novel.

Next: how do we WRITERS intend to face the world through the winter, after keeping ourselves hidden from political mayhem on all continents, down in the dungeons and self-imposed depths of computer/typewriterdom?

Voilà, Comet Borisov to the rescue.


Comet for Christmas—Southern Hemisphere Style

Comet 2I Borisov is interstellar. Not one of our own Oort Cloud near-solar system (domestic) comets that take a quick dip around the sun—perihelion—and back home to the Cloud. Borisov has more hyperbolic ‘orbit’, merely grazing our solar system, scheduled for its closest solar approach in one week’s time—December 7-8th, 2019—a mere couple of AUs* distant, roughly on the inner edge of the Asteroid Belt, between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars. Its closest approach to the Earth—perigee—is 29th/30 December at a safe distance of around 2AU, just in time for Earth New Year. Sadly then only visible in Southern ocean skies.

*Astronomical unit (AU): unit of length used in astronomy equal to the mean distance of the Earth from the Sun—or about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers).

Crop Circle predictions, summer 2019 leading to December sky dynamics, graphic by Jonas Passos

“A comet with a parabolic trajectory (with an eccentricity of 1) would leave the Solar System in the direction it entered, having had its path altered by 180°. 2I/Borisov, with its higher eccentricity, has a more open trajectory and will have its path altered by only 34° as it passes through the Solar System” Gennady Borisov, comet discoverer, Black Sea.

Borisov entered the Solar System in October from the direction of Cassiopeia, near its border with Perseus. This direction indicates that it originates from the galactic plane, rather than from the (nearby) galactic halo. It will leave the Solar System in the direction of Telescopium, southern hemisphere’s Telescope constellation. In interstellar space, 2I/Borisov takes roughly 9000 years to travel one light-year, relative to our Sun.

Tree-felling in the Christian Tradition
How does this fit in with our OTT fixation on Christmas Trees? I hear you ask.

Don’t get me started on the Victorian encapsulated tradition of Tannenbaum in the English-speaking world. British Royals do it; Slavs & Lats do it; Niggas in their boats upon the Flats do it. Let’s kill another conifer for Christmas. With apologies to Cole Porter.

Oops. Just slipped out.

It’s the tree-planter in me waving an olive branch. Eventually, I hope, our 200-year-old heavily Germanic ritual of felling and decorating a live conifer for (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) Christmas Eve festival of light may be replaced by fairy light branchlets and garden strewn sparklers. But that’s a future possible. Not an immediate likelihood. December is fairy light time, virtual or actual, worldwide.

Same old, same old: Laysan Albatross Wisdom, and her partner, sitting on the same old nest again this year, Midway Island Refuge

Thus we enter the Season of Goodwill and Peace to all Men, women, children, dogs, cats, wolves, whales and albatrosses.

I need to bring in my friend Wisdom from the Midway Island Pelagian Wildlife Refuge. She and her 64-year old mate have just flown half-way across the Pacific to return to their nest. Both veteran Laysan birds come zooming in—with their 12-foot wingspan and impressive haunting call, tidying up, preparing and then sitting on their nest for another year. It’s like two giant desks perched on top of a pillar of guano, their magnificent wings tucked in for comfort and warmth.

They already have one egg they’re taking turns hatching. Albatross monogamy is supreme in birds—64 years is a long time to be together.

Thanks for an inspiration to all of us to be faithful and true to our (writerly) selves and keep on keeping on.

Write-Edit-Publish Footprints

And if you still have energy and can’t wait to write, there’s the IWSG December W.E.P.Challenge—Write, Edit, Publish in 1000 words—and the theme is Footprints.

Footprints in the sand…Footprints in the snow—they don’t have to be human—alien, monster, unknown creatures all in 1000 words. Details here.

May I offer you my own compliments of the season.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

December 4, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, art, astronomy, authors, blogging, calendar customs, crop circles, culture, festivals, fiction, nature, novel, popular, publishing, seasonal, sun, weather, winter, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hoisting the Happy Flag—Intergalactic Mission to Overcome November Neurosis

HOISTING THE HAPPY FLAG—INTERGALACTIC MISSION TO OVERCOME NOVEMBER NEUROSIS
Monthly Hideaway for Writers, Insecure, Self-Motivated or SuperGalactic Success Stories

Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated in towns all over Britain on ‘Bonfire Night’ with sponsored firelighting ceremony and fireworks, a tradition going back 420 years.

Guy Fawkes, 1605 plot failed to blow up parliament buildings for English pro-Catholic James VI & I restorationists

Remember, remember the Fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot;
I know of no reason why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions did a scheme contrive
To blow the King and Parliament all up alive.
Threescore barrels laid below, to prove olde Englande’s overthrow.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
English Folk Verse, 1605; Victorian version 1870

His Gunpowder Plot failed. He got caught.

Just before his execution on 31 January, 1606 Fawkes fell from the scaffold where he was to be hanged and broke his neck, thus avoiding the agony of being hanged, drawn and quartered. He became synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot, the failure of which has been commemorated in Britain as Guy Fawkes Night since 5 November 1605, when his effigy is traditionally burned on a community-sponsored bonfire—usually with a finale of fireworks.

While in the U.S.A. setting off fireworks around the All Hallows season is illegal, for Brits and some Commonwealth nations it has come to mean an explosion of national last-gasp celebration/pride before the onset of winter. Plus a twinkling of folk memory buried somewhere in the magic pagan pot. A closely comparable U.S. ceremonial/celebration is the mid-August madness in the Nevada desert known as Burning Man.


Kickstarting the Happiness Curve

It all has to do with joy and ways to achieve that calm place in our mind.

According to Prof. Sanam Hafeez, neuropsychologist at New York’s Columbia University, during REM—rapid eye movement experienced in sleep—our serotonin levels decrease. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter best known for encouraging human feelings of calm.

We are superhuman superheroes & heroines, once we lock into our neurotransmitter serotonin levels, SuperMan the Original courtesy CBS

“I close my eyes and open them. Who is this body—and this mind? Why am I thinking these meaningless thoughts that seem to be causing me pain?
“I have a mission: to calm this body down and do some good today.
“And then I’m gone tomorrow. On another, intergalactic, interdimensional mission.”
“I am a multi-dimensional, multi-verse superhero, on a mission for billions of years and this is just one”
James Altucher Four Rules for Achieving Happiness

Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins are the quartet responsible for our happiness. Many events can trigger these neurotransmitters, but rather than being in the passenger seat, there are ways we can intentionally cause them to flow. Dopamine motivates us to take action towards goals, gives us pride in ticking our boxes. Serotonin flows when we feel significant, or important. Depression comes when serotonin leaves. Oxytocin—so-called cuddle hormone—is present in intimacy, trust, continuity, childbirth, breastfeeding and sex. It creates fidelity.

Coincidentally, sleep and happiness studies have found the actual physical weight of (light) bedding causes deep pressure stimulation that activates the parasympathetic nervous system, potentially increasing dopamine*—as mood-boosting transmitter—and serotonin levels—according to Ellen Wermter, Sleep Therapist.

Endorphins, Mind-Body Joy Triggers of Calm
Dopamine, serotonin and other pleasure-producing mind-body feelings were unknown until a series of 1975 groundbreaking studies by University of Aberdeen (and Nobel-prize-winning) professors John Hughes and Hans Kosterlitz* published in Nature, suggested a relationship with opiates and calm-inducing drugs.
*Dr Kosterlitz, a refugee from Nazi Prussia, and a family friend of my father’s, called the newly-discovered brain chemicals Enkephalin, aka Endorphins. He was among the first to link mind-body pleasure centers with neurotransmitters. I am delighted to acknowledge his work along with that of his Nobel-winning son, Michael, in a related mind-body-spirit arena. It only took forty-five years for the happiness ‘drug’ to become a conversation piece; a household word. Sorry if you don’t need the applause, Michael! Well deserved.


Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) began in the early 1970s as a thesis project at Santa Cruz, California, home of the original (and unique) award-winning U.C. History of Consciousness course. Richard Bandler and his professor, John Grinder, wanted to develop models of human behaviour, to understand why certain people seemed to be excellent at what they did, while others found the same tasks challenging, or nearly impossible to do.

Inspired by pioneers in fields of therapy and personal growth and development, Bandler and Grinder began to develop systematic procedures and theories that formed the language of NLP. They studied three top therapists: Virginia Satir, the extraordinary family therapist, who consistently was able to resolve difficult family relationships that many other therapists found intractable; the innovative psychotherapist Fritz Perls, 1893-1970, who originated the Gestalt school of therapy; and hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, 1901-1980.

They developed a more personal interactive approach with patients/clients, using encouraging gestures and language to open doors otherwise relegated to psychotic or barricaded emotional realms.

Fall Back—Self-Doubt and Writerly Insecurity Begone
Perhaps our Intergalactic Space Commander Alex would have a better perspective on the whole Superhero satisfaction thing, continually venturing out there with his success, CassaStar series.

Finding a pristine shell while beachcombing brings enormous pleasure, raises oxytocin levels

Ticking the box of achievement—and the joy it brings—gives us feelings of self-reliance, increased confidence—self determination, even. Guy Fawkes, above, paradoxically, has been described as orchestrating his own death—by breaking his neck—rather than endure the triple ritual death by hanging, drawn-quartering.

We can alter our path any time, with a little help from such wellbeing enhancers as yoga, brief meditation and physical exercise—and a lot of writerly moral support.

And we can always fall back on our Muse—November being not just a reminder to change the clocks—Britain last week October; U.S. first November—but crucial writing month for brave NaNoWriMo wordsmiths.

I admit I prefer my pheromone-diffusing area of expertise, e.g. gardening, planting, encouraging bees and birds. With the occasional venture into blogdom. They say—apart from sleep—that our back-to-nature activities are by far the most effective in dispelling anxiety, depression and self-doubt.

I take heart that our best therapy has always been doing what we love the most: aka writing. Joy from that does feel empowering.

As Aristotle 384–322 B.C. said: You are what you continually do. And enjoy doing. Happy writing this November.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

November 5, 2019 Posted by | art, astronomy, blogging, calendar customs, consciousness, culture, environment, festivals, history, Muse, nature, novel, popular, pre-Christian, Prehistory, publishing, ritual, seasonal, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Like Lightning Conductors & Orbiting Spacecraft, Let Writing Ideas Flow

LIKE LIGHTNING CONDUCTORS & ORBITING SPACECRAFT, LET WRITING IDEAS FLOW
Keeping the Insecure Writerly Mind Active thru Tricky Times

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin sets up solar wind sail experiment on lunar surface July 1969, photo Neil Armstrong, moondust footprints, right

Many of us writers think ‘something’ is pending: that summer feeling of the unknown hanging over us—as a species or is it just me? Are we IWSGers—or is everybody—for the first time in a long time–an Age–are we beginnning to think as One Planet?

What do oil executives, vampires and NASA bureaucrats all have in common? They fear solar energy.’ Michio Kaku, Japanese American theoretical physicist

We are–through our younger generations—perhaps thinking quicker. Also, is it imaginary? or is Time–along with our learning curve–speeding up, too?

It is possible that, with current seismic catalysts—deep Pacific trench high-magnitude shakes, and unrelenting eastern California faultline displacement (Ridgecrest Naval Base China Lake, CA), we are becoming, what Nikolai Kardashev via Michio Kaku calls a Level One Civilization.

Sunset at full moonrise—& eclipse Hampshire crop circle Rodfield-Tichborne July 16th, 2019, photo Nick Bull

Nikolai Semenovich Kardashev (Никола́й Семёнович Кардашёв) (1932-2019) was the Russian astrophysicist, and director of the Russian Space Research Institute (Institute for Cosmic Research) at Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, who died last week. He authored a (1964) paper in Soviet Astronomy “Transmission of Information by Extraterrestrial Civilizations”. He devised a scale of three categories by which a civilization is classified, by the amount of usable energy it has at its disposal–plus a degree of space colonization. Others have added two higher categories.
Kardashev Type I civilization is one able to harness all the power available on its (single) planet. The implication is that in so doing, it is able to function as ‘one’ and therefore to have mastered the supreme mark of a self-realized group: peaceful interaction.

Kardashev Type II civilization is able to harness all power available from its star.

Kardashev Type III civilization can harness all the power in a single galaxy. With the power of an entire galaxy at its disposal, a type III civilization would be able to come up with radical new power sources.

Abandoned Russian Space vehicle, Buran (Blizzard) on launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome, destroyed when roof collapsed 2002 due to extreme temperatures in Kazakhstan steppes

By extrapolation, a Kardashev Type IV civilization would have access to the power of an entire galactic supercluster. Kardashev Type V would be a civilization that occupies the entire universe.

Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist at New York’s City University, instigator of the Big Think discussion thinktank, and author (2011) of ‘Physics of the Future‘, suggests that, even with an African-Asian-Pacific food crisis (eliciting world humanitarian response), the Earth is as yet not a Category One civilization.

Rusting in Russian Space Hangars
Carl Sagan estimated that Earth qualifies as a Type 0.7 civilization. Before he died in 1996, however–and in spite of his agnostic view–he had hopes that we might overcome our aversion to living in harmony–or rather, to lay down our weapons of war, and interact peacefully with one another. “Decency,” he said (and humility and community spirit) “in this demon-haunted world may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness.”

Russian spacecraft—created during the Soviet era 1957-1988, using confiscated German WW-II V-2 Rocket technology and designs, were capable of sending human operators to the Moon, Mars and beyond. With the fall of the regime, and creation of Russia and Ukraine as separate countries, former vast treasuries became unavailable, leading-edge technology languished, and amazing space vehicles were left to rust in their hangars.

Abandoned on outskirts of Moscow, an original Tesla generator-conductor still capable of producing enough electricity to run all of Russia’s power grid

Throughout space there is energy. Is it static or kinetic? If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic—and this we know it is, for certain—then it is a mere question of time before men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of Nature. Nikola Tesla, Croatian-US physicist (1856-1943)


Lightning as Power Source

A similar fate seems to have befallen Tesla’s unprecedented invention using unlimited solar—and cosmic—sources of power to run Earth’s machinery.

Still operating—but in infrequent bursts—the Marx Generator at Istra on Moscow’s fringe is a Tesla-designed instrument creating (unlimited) electrical power when fully operational—now all but abandoned. Unlike the U.S.’s High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility, the Marx generator in Istra was not constructed to modulate the weather. But, like HAARP, it did help design weapons for the future.
*Photo courtesy http://www.4turista.ru

Soyuz TMA-11M rocket 38 rollout to Baikonur launch pad by train 2013, photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls

If all of this space voyaging is too much for you and you need real inspiration—take an early morning walk before dawn to see the Perseid Meteor shower, peaking this Sunday.

Otoh, if you feel like some high-powered relaxing in a Hilton twin-tub while attending this year’s Annual Writers’ Digest Conference, then go —August 23-25 New York Hilton—have fun!

I, for one, count on our revered Space Capsule Commander Alex Cavanaugh to steer us through (muddy) orbit trajectories into shiny solar re-emergence, like a rotating moon capsule revealing a new Earth dawn, but it’s still up to each one of us to do the right thing, isn’t it? If a Writerly Share is what you need, Now’s the Time:

And keep on writing!
©2019 Marian Youngblood

August 8, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, art, Ascension, astronomy, authors, blogging, environment, history, nature, sun, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment