Youngblood Blog

Writing weblog, local, topical, personal, spiritual

Satellites and Fairy Lights in Good Old Festive Tradition

SATELLITES AND FAIRY LIGHTS
Seasonal Catch-up Corner for IWSGers & Skywatchers
If you thought Cruithne was archetype king of Picts—check your Histories again.

‘Morsheimer do Cruithne clainn raindset Albain i secht raind; Cait, Cé, Cirig, cétach clann Fib Fidach, Fotla, Fortrenn Ocus is o ainm gach fir dib fil for a fearand.’

‘Seven of Cruithne’s children divided Alba into seven divisions; the portion of Cat, of Cé, of Cirig a warlike clan, the kingdoms of Fife, Fidach, Fotla and Fortriu; and the name of each of them remains upon his land.’
Scots 12thC version of ‘lost’ Pictish Chronicle


21st Century Cruithne Orbits the Sun

Since 1997, Cruithne has been monitored by the European version of SETI—Carl Sagan’s fave extra-terrestrial intelligence search engine—as our closest “near-earth satellite”. [Not including the ICBMs and other space junk we throw up into orbit]. It even has its own space number—3753—though it may take some time to figure out where the other 3752 satellites roam within our inner solar system!

December’s Tree-Popping Moon

Recent volcanic activity in the Arctic threatened unseasonal nesting terns in Franz Josef Land

2017 seems to be going out with a bang. Despite the drawback of Mercury going retrograde for the first 23 days, a Gemini Full Moon—native American ‘Tree-Popping Moon’—brought an atmosphere of unreality—cotton-mouth of the brain—through the season’s open door, with romance, magic, confusion; but look out for deceit. It’s as if we’re already at the party, a fog machine’s running, and we’re wearing novelty glasses with rose-colored lenses.

Smack in the middle of the festivities, illusionist Neptune stands, in an exact T-square to the Sun and Moon. Its force both escalates and forces out fantasy, lies, and fraud, while doing the same with love, compassion, empathy and divine guidance. Because of Mercury’s spin retrograde, communications, transportation and moving around are difficult.

In this atmosphere, emotions may be clouded, confusing, muffled, or blissing us out to an extreme. We IWSGers may be float around in a daze. Our reaction to information may push us to escapism—never a bad thing for a writer—or binging, or retreating into a fantasy land.

Simultaneously.

Don’t Despair, Dragons Are There
Thankfully there is hope for discernment and possible safe passage through the Christmas rush—that single release point to the T-square’s pressure—the empty space in Virgo, opposite Neptune. Virgo, having given birth to Jupiter so recently, is empty: she helps us chew over things, call timeout, redraw boundaries, assist in navigating the haze.

A surprising lifeline to stabilization comes via Mercury. Even though he’s retrograde, he is conjunct Saturn, who brings order and slow, deliberate movement, underscoring the molasses feel of the retrograde station.

Handpainted dragon mask, glued on to brown paper bag, courtesy Ms. Rose

Order doesn’t mean same old, same old, though, as Saturn’s journey in the last year has shown. Innovative perspectives, approaches, and paradigms are all over 2017 Gemini Full Moon activity. They’re coming not just into consciousness, but into being, via a trine from this pair to Mercury’s genius uncle, Uranus. Visionary and radical change agent of the cosmos, Uranus is tossing intermittent lightning bolts, which pierce the fog and illuminate what’s inside. See last month’s excitement with Uranus.

When they hit, we’re not doomed to reacting like a deer in headlights. An epidemic of remarkable emotional flexibility and nimbleness is available, through the Moon’s benevolent trine to Jupiter with his generous powers of expansion. Since the great benefactor is in the intense waters of Scorpio, this connection makes it possible to perceive more deeply, into one’s self as well as others, than our usual Gemini surface-skating mindset.

As old secrets and previously hidden truths surface, we have to face/respond to them.

Doorways are opening; opportunities to move are within reach through the Mercury/Saturn conjunction’s sextile to Mars in Libra. Action in or through relationships is the key, such as discussing terms for structure or commitment, or a close ally offering a helping hand.

Maybe time to set the scene for a new novel, Alex? IWSG-ers all?

As we wander through the fog, it may feel vaguely familiar. Remember the mutable grand cross of June 2016? That sense of watching events play out without our ability to steer or direct.

Are we prepared for a blue moon on New Year’s Day, 2018? Or an extra Cruithne companion, perhaps?
©2017 Marian Youngblood

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December 6, 2017 Posted by | ancient rites, astronomy, authors, blogging, culture, fiction, history, pre-Christian, sacred sites, seasonal, stone circles, winter, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ocean Goddess Hear Our Prayer—TAROT & Numerology for the Insecure

PERSIAN OCEAN GODDESS & TAROT ANGELS come to aid
Those Writing Up a Storm in the IWSG Corner

Patience is a characteristic of writers—even insecure ones like us. We set ourselves tasks and, come hell or high water, we (usually) finish them. Our fearless leader, Alex, does anyhow.

November is NaNo month—thirty days of consecutive writing without let-up—so it’s almost pointless of me to speak to dedicated IWSGers at this time, because they will be setting themselves a goal of 50,000 words on paper—or 1,666 words per day in pixel form—during the month of November.

Instead, a little historical perspective may be in order.

Anahita—Persian Ocean goddess c.200-100BC. found modern Sadak, NE Turkey, courtesy British Museum

In Persian mythology, Anahita was ‘Goddess of all the waters upon the Earth and the source of the Cosmic Ocean’. She drives a chariot pulled by four horses: wind, rain, cloud and sleet; her symbol is the eight-rayed star. She was regarded as the source of life. Before calling on Mithra (fiery sun), a prayer was offered to the sea goddess Anahita, whose name means moist, mighty, pure, Immaculate—the Virgin Goddess. Herodotus and the Babylonian writer Berossus (B.C.3rdC.) both equate Persian Anahita with Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and procreation, emerging from an oyster shell. Other Greeks equate her with virgin goddess Artemis—synonymous with Roman huntress Diana. Venus was her Roman name.

Roman legions marched under protection of Mithras, spread pagan belief from Rome to Scotland

In Zoroastrian-Persian mythology, Mithras was born of virgin goddess Anahita. Mythologist Caitlin Matthews—in her Mysteries of Mithras:the Pagan Belief that Shaped the Christian World was boldly described as “supporting paganism, witchcraft, the supernatural and Wicca”, and that (Matthews’) book offers keen insight into a very old religion that Christianity was (eventually) able to subdue, absorb, and eliminate as competition.

According to Roman historian Plutarch (c. A.D.46-120), Mithraism began to be absorbed by the Romans during Pompey’s military campaign against Cilician pirates around 70 B.C. The religion eventually migrated from Asia Minor with the soldiers, many of whom had been citizens of the region, into Rome and on to far reaches of the Empire. Syrian merchants brought Mithraism to major cities Alexandria, Rome and Carthage, while captives carried it to the countryside. By the third century A.D. Mithraism and its tarot mysteries had permeated the Roman Empire, and extended from India to Scotland.

Abundant monuments litter military routes in numerous (European and Mediterranean) countries, with over 420 Mithraic sites so far uncovered.

Anahita was also a goddess of magic, served by the Magi, priest-magicians whose name gives the root for both magic and magus. These ancient heirophants would meet at her shrine, to read their sacred texts among assemblies of worshippers and offer ‘holy spells’ to Anahita, on the tenth day of the New Moon or during the eighth month—Roman Oct-ober—which were her sacred times.


OURANOS, NEPTUNE and SATURN Cycles Assist in Human Affairs

And God created Adam—Michelangelo’s Creation on Sistine Chapel ceiling has inspired mortals for 500 years

Neptune is currently in a position to deliver some water to help extinguish disastrous widespread California fires in Santa Rosa, according to Sidereal astrologer EmmaNation. From its position in air sign Aquarius the Waterbearer, it stands at 17º degrees sextile to both Pallas Athene at 16º Aries and Kaali at 16º Sagittarius. Kaali is Hindu goddess Kali, ‘she who is dark’, spirit of death. In Vedic belief, she is hard to appease.

Neptune, ruler of the watery depths and mysterious beyond measure, can be appealed to, if you feel you have a psychic connection via your ancestors, or if you have strong ocean energy in your own life. Anahita—or Aphrodite—hear our prayer.

Uranus, on the other hand, may hold the key. With his 84-year orbit around the sun, he has just returned to fiery Aries. Greek ‘Father Sky’—Οὐρανός—was both son and husband to Mother Earth. Killed by his own son Kronos/Saturn, he turned in revenge on the puny human race. The last time Uranus stood in this position in the zodiac was eighty-four years ago, when Adolf Hitler came to power as Kanzler-Chancellor of Nazi Germany.

Ending and Beginning on a Positive Note

IWSGers & NaNoWriMo

As humans, we are progressing from a Saturn-cycle life expectancy—approx. 30 years—to a Uranus-cycle life expectancy of 84 years.

Saturn is in power now, along with his sidekick frozen-ocean moon Enceladus, sidebar below right. Gliding into Sagittarius during the Hallowe’en/All Saints Samhainn season, he is Kronos, Lord of Time. Despite media focus on ghoul star Algol passing through the Veil, our appealing to Saturn renews our past, envisions our future in a changing world.

This Celtic New Year—Samhainn—we IWSGers are asked if we have tackled/completed a NaNo in the past. I can admit to two completions, see sidebar right. And while not competing this year, for family reasons, I shall return!

I hope this helps fellow insecure scribes to make a go of it this November.

Bonne chance, as Gaulish legions would say.
Or, in Roman idiom: Benediximus.
©2017 Marian Youngblood

November 1, 2017 Posted by | art, astrology, authors, blogging, culture, festivals, fiction, history, Muse, novel, numerology, ocean, pre-Christian, sacred geometry, sacred sites, seasonal, sun, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Rough Seas We Need A Little Help From Our Friends

WHEN TIMES GET TOUGH, WRITERS GET TOUGHER
Monthly Tough-it-Out Corner for Insecure Writers

I like to think that we (Insecure) writers have a little extra ball of energy we hold in reserve for exactly that moment when the rest of our world is collapsing or about to do so.

Graces three—embodied joy, beauty and mirth—as well as  social ease

Graces three—embodied joy, beauty and mirth—as well as social ease


Now seems a good time to remind ourselves that, however insecure we may feel about the work we continually produce—the writing we LOVE—if we continue to brave it out through any storm, the rough seas will eventually bring calm.

And we may live through it!

ENTER GRACE—Or in Aegaean terms, THREE GRACES, daughters of ZEUS and EURYNOME

In Hellenist mythology Three Goddesses called the Graces represented grace, charm and beauty. Other qualities associated with them—
Aglaia represented elegance, brightness and splendor.
Thalia embodied youth, beauty and good cheer.
Euphrosyne encouraged mirth and joyfulness.

The KHARITES were conceived in Greek mythology as goddesses who brought festive joy and enhanced mortals’ love of life though their refinement and gentleness. Gracefulness and beauty in social intercourse are attributed to them. They are usually seen in the service or attendance of other divinities, as real joy exists only in circles where the individual gives up his own self and makes it his main object to afford pleasure to others.

“The less beauty is ambitious to rule, the greater is its victory”

The Three Graces, from an Ionian fresco, A.D.1stC

The Three Graces, from an Ionian fresco, A.D.1stC

Qualities embodied in the Kharites. Graces, are that the less homage beauty or grace demands, the more freely is it given.

Interestingly, these same traits were imported en masse into the Christian ethic and named Hope, Faith and Charity—from Gk.KHARITES—Catholicism in particular emphasizing ‘charity’.

I mention these lovely beauties at this time as, in the midst of world events where ladies’ sovreignty is paramount, it may be our GRACE which will see us through the storm.

Moving Beyond the Masque to Face Reality
Also, coincidentally in traditional Roman Catholic calendar—still calculated by the Moon—we have only just emerged from the Fire Festival of Fat Tuesday—Mardi Gras—Festern’s E’en. We are now entering a time of human restriction—in Church timing 40 days of Lent—where our resources and resourcefulness will be called on.

We IWSG-ers know how to pull in our belts, don’t we? If our Cap’n.Alex can do it, so can we.

Therefore, Angels of Grace, Beauty, Patience, bless you—we are calling for just a little help from our friends. Thank you for being here.
©2017 Marian Youngblood

March 1, 2017 Posted by | ancient rites, art, belief, blogging, calendar customs, culture, fantasy, festivals, fiction, history, Muse, pre-Christian, ritual, seasonal, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feline Intelligence to Encourage Insecure Writers

MONTHLY MOAN CORNER FOR INSECURE WRITERS—
IWSGers and Others who Care to Join Us

Smilodon not smiling—after his experience at the Library

Smilodon not smiling—after his experience at the Library

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea—Robert A. Heinlein

TRICK OR TREAT—Ultimate Hallowe’en Trick
Smilodon is a very educated cat. He has been to the Library.

The chief librarian has even taken out an honorary library card for him.
“She is a wewwy kind lady—cataclysmically cat-fwendly. I knowz zat cuz she shared her sangwitch wit’ me,” he confided after his experience, licking his curvaciously-dentured lips at the reminisce. His saber tooth gleamed.

I asked for more information after he went missing last week, during a fairly heavy crowd of visitors driving by his beach-front yard.

Whether he was kidnapped—as he breathlessly claims—or his exuberance in someone’s back seat got him turfed out at the next stop—the town shopping plaza—may never be known. But it is reported that he was chased by a homeless dog from the bus stop, ran for the museum and library buildings, as nearest and safest and found a safe haven. One assumes. He is not sharing his scaredy-cat-ness ;(

“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly”
Kurt Vonnegut Cat’s Cradle

“It’s a very inconvenient habit of kittens,” Alice had once made the remark, “that, whatever you say to them they always purr.”
Lewis Carroll

Ahhh—The Lib-erry—A Cat Port in a Storm

After it was explained to him that he was welcome at the Li-berry, Smilo consented to being interviewed

After it was explained to him that he was welcome at the Li-berry, Smilo consented to being interviewed

A sharp-eyed gardener heard him meowing loudly and discovered him hiding at the library back door. He ‘rescued’ him inside until next morning, when the head librarian showed up for her duty and immediately ‘rescued’ him even more. She gave him a tuna fish sandwich.

He draws breath between bouts of explanation, on his return to home ground.

“She is a wewwy nice Li-berrian. Wewwy nice,” he keeps muttering between gulps of tea, milk, ice water, while topping up on dry cat food.

“No, you can’t have tuna fish sandwiches every day,” I try to tell him when he gives me that Smilo smile. “Normal cats eat this.” I repeat.

“Li-berrians haz nicer stuffs”, he meows. But tucks in anyway, between purrs.
Even prehistoric cats knowz when to quit complaining and appreciate the status quo.

Cat Lives: One Down—Eight to Go

In short—or rather in human reportage—last week, unfortunately for him, because his demeanor is friendly—Smilo’s smile will even get to doglovers—as a pre-Hallowe’en prank he traveled all the way to Saunders Plaza in Trinidad, CA. He was dropped off, after the joke failed. In a blinding storm, he made his way to or was chased by a dog to The Li-berry where he sheltered from the lightning.

Depending on whose story you are listening to—the people at the bus stop or Smilodon’s own version, the dog was wewwy large. And not on a leash.

We won’t go into the leash part, because Smilo doesn’t have one either ;(

Back to normal—the writing cat

Back to normal—the writing cat

‘You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? Radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat’
Albert Einstein

Smilodon agrees with Mr Einstein totally. In his world, EVERYthing is cat-related.
And, now that he is a true blue intellectual—card-carrying, no less—his conversation has become incessant. I, like Einstein, Carroll and Heinlein, have no problem with that. But his brothers—and no doubt all his feline neighbors—are getting a little tired of the story.

Perhaps he should write a book.

All my fellow IWSGer cohorts in this group would surely agree.

Meanwhile, now that Celtic New Year—Samhainn—is upon us, the rest of the cat population is wiping brow, thanking lucky stars that they can get back to normal trick-or-treating.
©2016 Marian Youngblood

November 2, 2016 Posted by | authors, calendar customs, culture, fantasy, festivals, fiction, seasonal, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oster Toaster—Our Weather Woes Won’t Disappear

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS CATCH-UP CORNER or
Even Scatty Writers Plan Ahead

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by”
Douglas Adams

Stepping out of the Pool—Plan Ahead

Stepping out of the Pool—Plan Ahead

With a whole *two month* chunk already bitten out of my twelve month schedule, planning ahead doesn’t always do the trick for me. But in a group of writers, where advice and help are freely given and nobody (hopefully) takes offense—our Insecure Writers Support Group I was thinking of specifically—there seems no place to cower in fear. We’re all encouraged to step up to the plate and at least try. With the third month of my year already begun, I’d better think of something.

Insecure Writers stick to the Grand Plan
Insecure Writers Support Group now has its own website, thanks to our Ninja Cap’n Alex who is always ahead of the game—comes of being constantly immersed in “future speak” and (successful) Space trilogies, ahem.

Stepping out of the Pool— into the Next Phase—Plan Ahead

Stepping out of the Pool— into the Next Phase—Plan Ahead

While 2016 may bring major change to us all—February has already broken historical temperature records worldwide—it’s sometimes comforting to believe we might all already be on a trajectory which could end on one of Alex’s famed remote star systems.
First we have the cyclical calendar anomaly—leap year adding a mandatory day to February or we’d all land back in the Middle Ages.

Southern city guarded by angels—Rio de Janeiro hosts 2016 Olympic Games

Southern city guarded by angels—Rio de Janeiro hosts 2016 Olympic Games

Then there is the four-year culmination of super-athletes preparing for Olympic Games in Hispanic Heaven—Rio de Janeiro. You thought the Super Bowl was huge, set for the first time in the brand new Levi stadium, south of San Francisco. Brazil will pull out all the stops for August. They’ve already had a mammoth Carnival—their Fat Tuesday equivalent of Mardi Gras. This year they’re speaking of its continuing right through Easter—the German Oster of my title.

Meantime loads of attention will be focused next week—particularly in sea-level-rising Indonesia—where they will have an uninterrupted total solar eclipse March 9th, that will effectively black out the entire Pacific Ocean—for a moment of cosmic time—four minutes totality at zenith. Sadly it reaches mainland U.S. at dusk, and therefore we miss it. But writers in Alaska will be fortunate to see it as partial.
.
Only by cosmic accident do we hear that Alaska is importing snow for its famous dog-sled Iditarod race

The Irish Input
Amid all these cosmic happenings, does it seem a little tame of me to mention the second annual Dublin Writers’ Conference June 24-26, 2016? Judging by last year’s sell-out crowd—it has some kind of Irish spell it casts on us pen-wielders, because when we get together, all kinds of literary explosions are possible. My rationale for bringing up the June date now is that many U.S. IWSGer travelers make plans for Europe months ahead of time when airline deals can still be made. Just sayin’.

St Patrick’s Day, March 17th, will be here in two weeks to remind us!

Dublin was home to James Joyce and still holds the treasured Book of Kells at Trinity College.

Meantime the plethora of Space movies which began with Ridley Scott’s The Martian, continues in remakes—don’t you adore Superman vs. Batman?—and as yet unreleased alien adventures even Mr Spock might show emotion for.

March came in like a Lion in my part of the world. Weather patterns influenced by a strong El Niño produced the hottest February since historical records began.

Climate will no doubt be the focus for 2016, if we can all think simple earth thoughts in between our rages and/or love affair with our Muse. Whichever takes root in our consciousness, I suspect we IWSGers will still find a bolt hole here—along with a phalanx of other Insecure companions.

May we survive the Ides of March, the heat of Equinox and the onset of an early spring with typical writerly calm. It is, after all, our metier, our trade, and it should remind us that, even if/when our world changes beyond recognition, our Muse, our inner writerly urge will still be there to pick up the pieces…

…And put them down on the next available sheet of paper 😉 No wonder writers alone understand writers. How boring we can seem to the rest of humanity.

All the more reason to keep it coming.
©2016 Marian Youngblood

March 2, 2016 Posted by | authors, blogging, calendar customs, festivals, fiction, Muse, publishing, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Reality Looms Too Large, Dive into Fantasy

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ SHARE-A-THON CORNER

WHEN YOU RUN OUT OF AVENUES OF ESCAPE, Don’t Panic*

Don't Panic

Don’t Panic

—the greatest motto in the galaxy— featured in the adventures of Douglas Adams’s Arthur Dent, the last human to hitch a ride off Earth, moments before it was destroyed—to make way for an interstellar bypass.
*Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 1979.

…the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything...

…the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything…

I think our revered leader, Alex Cavanaugh, would agree:
Fantasy—reading it or writing it—fills a certain hole in our psyche, a niche in our comfort zone. It gives us a reason to keep on going, even when the real world seems to have gone awry.

Groundhog Day and the 2016 Monkey Year
The Groundhog knows best. He—and the oriental Monkey who shares his calendar start date—figure if humans have generated global warming a.k.a. climate crisis and he sees his shadow on February 2nd—too much sun too soon—no wonder he goes back in his hole for another six weeks.

What the Monkey does is a whole ‘nuther story!

Metal Monkeys possesses character traits like curiosity, mischievousness, and cleverness. Forever playful, Monkeys are the masters of the practical joke.

And disguise.
For us as a culture, as this year unfolds, traits to prepare for—expect the unexpected.

Finding our Own Space
Forget the Primaries, Climate Crisis Summit, our involvement/warring with so many other countries, somewhere in there we are trying as individuals and collectively to halt our mad rush toward planet instability. Somewhere in the madness, we writers are supposed to find a place of calm—a refuge—usually littered with piles of loose papers and junk—but a haven nonetheless—where we can sit down, (metaphorically) put our feet up, drag the keyboard closer——

Insecure_Cover——And write.

Many of us have previously admitted to being recluses—Myers-Briggs psychic make-up, above.
For me to allow the creative flow to come through, I have to have my filing system (kind-of) manageable and I crave a space where I won’t be barged in on by the (real) world.

Says a lot for our partners/spouses/spice that they put with us, doesn’t it?

I should have had more respect for the Groundhog. His timing was superb.

Happy New Writing Ideas, IWSGers.
Keep it coming.
©2016 Marian Youngblood

February 3, 2016 Posted by | ancient rites, authors, blogging, calendar customs, culture, fantasy, fiction, publishing, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Drawing Breath—Speaking up for Lungs of the Planet

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ ENCLAVE—
IWSGers Speak up for the Planet

Thanks 2Alex for getting on our case—writing-wise

Thanks 2Alex for getting on our case—writing-wise

Happy New Year to all Insecure Writers! And to the world at large.
Mostly, thanks to our prolific host and Ninja Cap’n, Alex, for allowing us crazies free rein on his excellent forum. It opens writerly doors, and allows us to vent, when things go wrong. May we all survive—nay, plunge into—this year and follow our dreams.

Sore Patch hidden by powerful local  'Resource company' under umbrella of social conscience offer to 'open woodland to public'

Sore Patch hidden by powerful local ‘Resource company’ under umbrella of social conscience offer to ‘open woodland to public’

2015 saw many changes in awareness of common responsibility for our country’s finite resources, both nation-wide and internationally, bringing accord which would have been impossible a decade ago. Politicians are—with careful research—actually clearing desks, allocating reserve funds to deal with the atmosphere-environment.

It is no longer an ‘issue’. Climate has become real time—Western nations’ new goal—to do good by the planet, our only home.

But don’t hold your breath.

Rattle in Seattle as Farewell to Old Ways
West Coast shakes over New Year ranged from Mag.4.7 in Seattle through M.6.2 Nevada/Utah border, to M.4.1 off Ferndale, CA. Judging by whale movement—on late migration south delayed by warm northern waters—quakes and movement are happening on the coastal plate, where the Gorda fault fissures to join its subterranean sisters under (human habitat) the land. Several landslides along the coastal Scenic Drive route north of the Eel and Mad Rivers—in Humboldt County—have made travel ‘difficult’—official sources.

Once again we realize our Earth Mama is shaking her feathers—a little ruffled by now with all the oil extraction and fossil burning we’ve been up to.

Seattle, Nevada, Baja Mexico echo New Year Mediterranean quakes

Seattle, Nevada, Baja Mexico echo New Year Mediterranean quakes

Lieber kleiner blauer Stern [Pale Blue Dot auf Deutsch]
Menschen habt ihn endlich gern
Tut ihm nun nichts mehr zu Leide
Nicht den Bergen, nicht der Heide
Nicht den Wiesen, Mooren, Flüssen
Nicht den Wäldern, Vögeln, Fischen
Liebt den kleinen blauen Stern
Pflegt und schütz ihn
Habt ihn gern
courtesy M.Asgardh

Snakes, ants, beetles, redwoods and humans—we all travel the Milky Way together and share the planet’s blessings
John Muir, founder of Sierra Club

Volcanoes, dormant since the dinosaurs, generating lightning storms in Nevada-Utah

Volcanoes, dormant since the dinosaurs, generating lightning storms in Nevada-Utah


Latest round of seismic unrest included quakes in Oklahoma, causing power outages, and widespread flooding damage in Mississippi basin.

In Pacific NW, several dormant volcanoes shook over New Year, alongside multiple larger (Richter Mag.4.2 or more) earthquakes rippling along faults extending N-S along West coast United States. Authorities remain vigilant, with such heavy movement currently underway.
If Mama is shaking us, what is it we’ve done to get her so annoyed?

Well, let’s take breathable air, for a start—yes, we decimated Earth’s fossil trees—so, what are we doing about it?

Headwaters Forest—Tragedy of 1990s

Trying to measure up to 1000-year Old Growth Redwoods is harder work than forestry companies imagined

“Standing among these ancient trees, a thousand years old perhaps, I am humbled by how long it takes to restore these forests. As I take one last look up into the stratosphere of canopy before heading back into the glaring light of second-growth, I wonder at the rôle of restoration in recreating the beauty I see before me. I think it will be a very long time before our forest will be what it once was”
David LaFever, Bureau Land Management Ecologist, after 2001 restoration attempt

Headwaters Forest was purchased in 1999 by State and Federal government agencies, and put under permanent protection. Clear-felling practice was legally reduced to a 20-40-acre maximum.

The logging industry finally sat up and paid attention. Its own resource was decimated; salmon runs and ecosystems had suffered in a mindless race for economic gain, with only table scraps left, in the view of Humboldt State University forest scientist Steve Sillett. ‘The challenge now is to improve management on the 95% of redwood landscape (felled) that is just starting into regrowth.’

Old Growth Sequoia Groves
Old-growth redwood forests are structurally diverse, with a range of tree sizes, reiterated tree trunks—high tree and stand biomass—and with complex canopies. Headwaters old-growth is characterized by a mixture of redwood (Sequoia sempervirens, 50-70% of overstory) and Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga Menziesii, 30-47%) with a density of 70-80 trees per acre. Conversely, unthinned second-growth stands are dominated by Douglas Fir (60-80%), with density of over a thousand trees per acre.

Sequoia sempervirens, redwoods as big as a Boeing 707

Growing trees like a crop of grain is no longer the enlightened view. Scientists from HSU have discovered that the older the redwood, the harder and more disease-resistant is the wood, and the tougher its ability to withstand weathering, damage. That there is more life-support value in one 1000-year old Sequoia, than in a thousand 10-year olds.

Forestry attitudes are changing too. Heavy Caterpillar earthmoving tractors, that caused such erosion—skid trails—with consequent pollution to streams and spawning pools, are being replaced by smaller, lighter shovel loaders on tracks that leave the forest floor intact. State law now enforces a mandatory buffer zone of trees now, along streams and rivers.

Finally the salmon and other native fish are returning.

Forestry business mantra is that they are ‘on target to create new forests’ (in one hundred years), like the ones protected in the Redwoods National and State Parks, begun by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1875-92. He and John Muir should by now roaring with delighted laughter in their (redwood) coffins.

At the time Headwaters was established in 1999, 60% of the area had been logged. In some areas, forests were only beginning to regrow from clear-cut harvests of the 1980s and 1990s. Inheriting unnatural second-growth forests dominated by Douglas Fir, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began restoration thinning in 2004. Goal of restoration was to accelerate forest development towards old-growth conditions, and restore a more natural species mix to each area—by cutting Douglas Fir and leaving Redwood and other less common species. From 2004 to 2013, BLM thinned 1,600 acres—approximately 21% of Headwaters Forest Reserve.

Thinning Understory in Attempt to Mimic Old Growth
In 2014, BLM began a second round of thinning with an idea of introducing more ‘spatial complexity’, to mimic conditions found in old-growth forests within Headwaters. BLM workers created a mosaic of tree density across second-growth stands, by building off recent restoration work completed in Redwood National and State Parks. They also completed their research project in partnership with Humboldt State University. Their report, published 2013: “Modeling Young Stand Development towards the Old-growth Reference Condition in Evergreen Mixed-Conifer Stands at Headwaters Forest Reserve, California”.

‘This study helped us understand the conditions in old-growth stands and allowed us to model trajectories towards old-growth under various restoration scenarios’
BLM ecologist D.laFever

Life without trees—lack of breathable air—would be a scenario more appropriate to Star Trek, CassaStar, or in our sci-fi leader*, Alex’s new ‘geek stuff’. But we breathe on, thanks to the lungs of the planet—threatened, decimated—broken but unbowed.
*If Alex can branch out into short stories—’geek stuff’—I can face the bureaucracy with a little non-fiction of my own—lol. Thanks, Alex and fellow IWSGers for listening.
Happy Epiphany!
©2016 Marian Youngblood

January 6, 2016 Posted by | authors, birds, blogging, consciousness, culture, earth changes, energy, environment, fiction, nature, rain, seasonal, seismic, trees, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Below the Parapet*—Writers’ Safety Zone When All Around Are Losing Theirs

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ SAFETY ZONE orInsecure_Cover
What I Should’ve Done B4 All This Holiday Madness—IWSG CatchUp Corner

*parapet, ‘protecting the breast’—from Latin
pectus-i (m) breast, chest
paries-etis (m) wall, rampart, bulwark

All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch, we are going back from whence we came.
~John F. Kennedy, Newport speech before America’s Cup Races, September 1962

Trouble of the World

Fracking in Oklahoma or spontaneous cracking on Tex-Mex border—it's all the same to Mother Earth

Fracking in Oklahoma or spontaneous cracking on Tex-Mex border—it’s all the same to Mother Earth

‘There is so much going on–so much that could make a person just want to run away.
‘Our lives on this Earth are relatively short, so we shouldn’t get too overwhelmed by all the troubles we face while here’
Arlee Bird

Thank you, wise ole Bird, Arlee, for putting some of our anxiety into perspective. We writers tend to be head-down anyway—well below parapet level—and it takes some “venting” by a fellow scribe—wot knowzzz—to keep a calm ‘sough’. That was good old Rabbie Burns‘s word for the windchill factor
“November chill blaws loud wi’ angry sough

We might also try looking at the way our world appears to be fighting back, after all the trouble and toil we’ve levied at her.

Some of my generation believe we still have a chance to right the ‘wrongs’ we initiated. Our attitude to confronting our errors—from nuclear power to trashing earth’s resources—has made us cautious, nay, appreciative of finding the best in what’s left. This (antiquated?) belief may not go down well with the Millennials—a generation who inherited our mistakes, but who prefer to smile and slide on through—but, as even they know, this is the only home we’ve got. So why not pull together on a few issues?

Robert F Kennedy jr. confronts climate control last weekend in New York city

Robert F Kennedy jr. confronts climate control last weekend in New York city

Weather—the great Leveler
While December traditionally finds a way of leveling—wind, rain, hail and snow being not particularly creature-friendly—it can be a gift of time for us scribblers. Above or below the parapet, we can wield a computer (or ice-pick) to hack out a story. No pun intended. Sometimes that’s just what we have to do.

So to all my fellow moaning Minnies in our tight little IWSG corner, keeping head down can be a VERY GOOD THING.

We may have to leave the concept of climate control for another season—when life begins anew and buds start to bud again…and we catch a whiff of w-a-r-m
But meantime, why not allow our ever-fertile Muse to raise her head above the bulwarks. We might be surprised by her dexterity.

p.s. Ninja Cap’n: my preference is for Dragons

“When a dragon offers you a helmet and a parachute, put them on. “

Unknown

©2015 Marian Youngblood

December 2, 2015 Posted by | authors, blogging, consciousness, fiction, publishing, seasonal, weather, winter, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting Back on the Horse—Insecure Writers Are Survivors

REFLECTIONS IN THE AFTERMATH OF AFTERLIFEInsecure_Cover

Monthly Insecure Writers’ Reassurance Corner

or
Is there Life for Writers—aka IWSGers—After Hallowe’en & Before Onset of the Festive Season?

Subterranean rumblings from Yellowstone's sub chamber don't deflect Old Faithful from his regular spout, courtesy National Parks Service

Subterranean rumblings from Yellowstone’s sub chamber don’t deflect Old Faithful from his regular spout, courtesy National Parks Service


For centuries humans have dreamed of inner worlds. Numerous writers, inspired themselves, have embedded the idea in our human subconscious. Those—like Tarzan’s creator Edgar Rice Burroughs (At the Earth’s Core, 1914), Edgar Allen Poe (The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, 1838) and, most famously, Jules Verne’s 1864 novel A Journey to the Centre of the Earth have been adapted for film, and are an integral part of our now Culture. They continue to inspire our own Inner Search.

Many of us IWSGers are voracious readers—even expanding our horizons beyond the beloved sci-fi kingdom of our Dear Ninja Leader, Alex—into the realm of the…b.e.y.o.n.d.

Losing the human form brings the freedom to remember your self.
Losing the human form is like a spiral.
It gives you the freedom to remember.
This, in turn, makes you even freer.
Don Juan

www.cartoonstock.com-cartoonview.asp?catref=wmi100811

A [spiritual] Warrior knows that he is waiting.
He knows also what he is waiting for.

And so while he waits, he feasts his eyes upon the world.
The ultimate accomplishment of a Warrior is joy.
Carlos Castaneda The Eagle’s Gift

I recall reading every one of the Castaneda series—Don Juan’s wisdom in small snacks—from Journey to Ixtlan through The Eagle’s Gift, and never once seeing a resolution to the cycle. It’s probably a good technique for retaining one’s readership! But recent love-hate guru Dallas Thompson—given his modesty of transmission and innocence of presentation—gets to the (spiritual) point in one book.

Dallas Thompson’s The Cosmic Manuscript lit a few media fires when it first came out in 2002. Since then, it has relaxed into a semi-oblivion of those who have read and those who refuse to read him.

Today I see butterflies dancing by my window, playing in the sunlight,
lilies in my garden, stars shining so bright in the sky, as I learn to usher
the Cosmic water. Meditation has helped me calm my mind and get in touch with the wonder of Celestial Creation – the colors, the light, the peace and the love. And I feel beautiful, I feel transformed as the darkness recedes. I do not really understand it all yet, but the discovery is so exciting. I feel like a new born baby – struggling to breathe, kicking, screaming – and yet so happy to be alive and play in the light. In your words like a celestial butterfly learning to fly, and dance to Eternities Tone

Earth's polar vortex, according to several famed fantasy authors, pulls on our Solar generator for power

Earth’s polar vortex, according to several famed fantasy authors, pulls on our Solar generator for power


According to several meditation enthusiasts, Zen Buddhists, and Tibetan mystics, all these fancy accoutrements are useful for Life on Earth.

“If you have attained noble titles at your University, and have not in the process built a relationship with your Spirit, you are not complete”
Sufi wisdom

Essentially we’re in for a shock when we show up at the Pearly Gates and they ask us if we’re ready to transfer to the Other Side. If you and your Spirit aren’t one by then, it will come as a bit of a surprise that your triple Ph.D. won’t wash.

Like a BoyScout: Be Prepared—or
How to Make Your Chosen Comfort Zone Comforting

For that eventuality, Dallas has a solution—prepare ahead of time! Get with the spiritual program before you need your arsenal of warrior gear.

We are all in spiritual flight in our Inner Worlds

We are all in spiritual flight in our Inner Worlds

Thompson is writer-recluse—we IWSGers know ALL ’bout that—keeping his (sorry, proverbial) light under a bushel in SoCal. He prefers not to be interviewed. Following initial best-seller status of his 2002 Manuscript, he attracted major Media attention to hype a near-death experience. His NDE, combined with an earlier gift of a “Speaking Stone” by a Hawaiian Kahuna, gave simple steps to everyday enlightenment, lovingly laid out for all who wish to imbibe. He promises inner joy, focus, and gentle guidance along a sometimes painful path.

Postscript for IWSGers—Sharing Insecurities Can Brighten Your Day 😉
Bottom line—According to the Cosmic Script, the more you share, the more comes your way. Or
The Better it Gets, the Better it Gets. Apply pressure on the Arm of the Muse, and she may grant us a ‘festive’ audience.

After all, when the Year starts winding down—when the clocks fall back—we writers know we have to hit the keyboard.

In other words—another deadline awaits.

Thanks for listening, fellow scribes~~~ Arlee Bird, Alex, Hart et al. beloved IWSGers.
Keep on writing.
©2015 Marian Youngblood

November 4, 2015 Posted by | authors, blogging, calendar customs, culture, fantasy, festivals, fiction, publishing, seasonal, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Autumnal Angst—Getting Even the IWSG Way

INSECURE WRITERS’ MOANING MINNIE CORNER

Arctic Cathedral of light, Tromsø, Norway, triggers communications blackout , courtesy SpaceWeather

Arctic Cathedral of light, Tromsø, Norway, triggers communications blackout , courtesy SpaceWeather

While my heart goes out to all those East Coasters who have been suffering in their recent bout of inclement weather, –hurricane Joaquin notwithstanding: I believe “he” did a 360º turnaround and headed not for Britain after New England, but back to Bermuda!—I have to claim extenuating I.T.-related circumstances, as this monthly missive has had to be hand-written, agonized over, and finally in frustration thrown into the mix unedited, unpolished, and under-quota for IWSGers’ standard of writing… ;(

I am clearly in the minority here, at least six hours behind schedule—plus the extra three hours all good (true) Californians steel themselves to be in the office by six a.m., because that’s 0900 hours New York City time— well, I’m well over that.

So, my abject apologies to our ever-indulgent, forgiving and forgetting—but also hugely talented when it comes to such sci-fi antics in the fantasy world—Ninja Captain Alex, who is ALWAYS on time.

When it happens in the “real” world, however, I’m not sure anyone on the East Coast feels suitably badly-done-by to send condolences. But I need something.

I am told it is a total communications blackout—Pacific Northwest-wide—emanating from a small C.M.E. alongside a man-made under-the-R.A.D.A.R. [i.e. undisclosed] microwave blast centered on our ozone layer over Nevada-Arizona, to induce RAIN. But it caused other disruptions. RAIN did not fall, guys of NOAA persuasion. We are still arid here.

Don’t get me started on weather manipulation and climate control…

More alarming—solar unrest is just revving up. There are more solar disruptions to come. Don’t blame me. Blame SpaceWeather, see sidebar right.

Oldies But Goodies Going in Style

Veteran actors Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin toast each other in Brooklyn Park movie set

Veteran actors Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin toast each other in Brooklyn Park movie set

Instead, let those of us of elder persuasion—no, not all you young IWSGer-chicks—take heart from three—nay four—veteran actors, and plod on regardless. It’s called “being a trooper”. Michael Caine would know the phrase. He has over fifty movies to his credit and, at 82, isn’t thinking of holding back now.

According to studio release from the set of director Zach Braff’s remake of 1979 George Burns movie, Going in Style, the comedy presents Morgan Freeman, 78, Alan Arkin, 81, and Michael Caine as desperadoes. Braff, huge on laughs, has ‘Scrubs’ to his television credit. He’s cleverly persuaded Ann-Margret, 76, to perform as well.

Yeah-h-h for us oldies-but-goodies. UR not old, Alex 😉

Getting the cops steamed up: Michael Caine takes Morgan Freeman to hell in a basket

Getting the cops steamed up: Michael Caine takes Morgan Freeman to hell in a basket

“Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, the three risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.”

Braff says Going In Style is about three seniors who lose their pension, because the company they worked for their entire lives sold overseas, and all of a sudden they have no money at all to live off, and they’re barely scraping by as it is.

‘And even though they’re older guys, they decide they’re going to try. They’re going to attempt to rob the very bank that’s withheld their pension money.’

Sometimes I wish life were as easy as robbing a bank—to get even.
But it isn’t easy to get even with a hurricane, floods in the basement, or a blanket communications blackout. SpaceWeather usually covers it: solar flares—CMEs—incoming.

May I send my fellow IWSGers a token solar flare—just so you know I’m late, but—like Baba Ram Dass—I’m still here.

Post-scriptum: Thanks to Alex for such a l-o-n-g list of links to us IWSG not-so-moaning-minnies on his new all singing dancing website, and for allowing me this time for ‘getting even’.*
*I so love your critique on Matt Damon’s The Martian. Evokes memories of Bruce Dern’s ‘Silent Running’, my fave sci-fi-realism fantasy.

When all around are losing theirs, give up.
And laugh.
©2015 Marian Youngblood

October 8, 2015 Posted by | authors, blogging, fantasy, fiction, rain, sun, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments