Youngblood Blog

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Solstitial Heat, Third Lunar Eclipse Open Doors to Solitary Creativity

SOLSTITIAL HEAT, THIRD LUNAR ECLIPSE OPEN DOORS TO CREATIVITY
Monthly Writerly Corner Catchup During Troubled Times aka Doing Solitary

Letting off steam—before orders for isolation were introduced, July 4th fireworks display at Mount Rushmore was dramatic event, 2020 now cancelled

Against a dark sky, all flowers look like fireworks
— G.K.Chesterton

You have to find what sparks a light in you so that you—in your own way—can illuminate the world
― Oprah Winfrey

Despite its name, the Roman Candle—beloved of every generational member of the family, bar the dog—was not invented by the Romans.

By the time the nations in their vast Empire blanketing Europe began to fight back, forcing retreat and eventually bringing down their civilization, the most volatile explosion in the entire region was the sputter of temple oil tended by virgins.

Around A.D.1,000 Li Tan, a Chinese monk, stuffed a stalk of bamboo with a saltpeter-based gunpowder and launched it into a fire. Present-day Chinese major festivals shoot fireworks to celebrate New Year (February, Candlemas) and at the autumn Moon festival. Before global fascination with nuclear energy, it was commonplace for street children in (former) Shanghai to set off homemade ‘sticks’ (Chinese firecrackers) made from a hollow bamboo filled with powder, and lit with a tissue-paper taper. Light the touchpaper and stand back—literally.

After fireworks took hold, ammunition immediately followed, as did black powder bombs and mines. The first fire arrows (rockets) and fire lances (early proto-guns) were used in the Chinese Song-Jin wars at the Siege of De’an in A.D. 1132. Hand canons, developed from fire lances, were in use in China by the late twelfth century.

Pyrotechnics and Letting Off Steam

Fireworks satisfy human desire for sparkly things or to express release of inner explosive emotion

When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes

Calpurnia to Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare

Inside info on manufacture of bangers and fizzers notwithstanding, youngsters in most countries are limited to enjoying fireworks at preordained times: most famous, British Guy Fawkes Day, November 5th—often held as municipal gatherings around Hallowe’en, old Samhainn. In the American continent, all celebrate the calendar date of the Declaration of Independence July 4th, not only for lighting up the sky, but for giving the nation a national holiday.

Sadly, this state, city and even village custom seems to be missing in 2020. But desire for it—blasting off in some form—has not.

Illegal Roman candles after midnight may seem the answer to some, but law enforcement agencies are waking up from their own ‘solitude’ and lack of call-outs—so johnny-come-lately Guy Fawkes behaviour not encouraged.

Distraction in the Skies—Read A Book Outside at Midnight
Looking upwards for entertainment? or for inspiration—July 4th penumbral lunar eclipse of a full Buck Moon should help; though its best visibility is the middle of the Atlantic ocean. But it’s a start.

While evening skies (in Northern hemisphere) may be very bright right now—in Scotland and Northern Isles sunset 10:30p.m., “read a book outside at midnight” time—most of the planets deck the pre-dawn sky. But both Jupiter and Saturn will appear very bright by July 24th. And two comets currently cornering the Sun will reappear—if they survive the ordeal—for naked-eye observation by end month.

Calpurnia Caesar was always right. Well, in the words of her husband Julius, Caesar’s wife was ‘above reproach’. Her prophetic statement, over, may be seen by us writers as predicting great change to come; or supreme assistance (from the heavens!) in completing our current WIP. Fear and doubt begone. I believe celestial help is being offered. Insecure Writers or not, we shall overcome.
©2020 Marian Youngblood

July 1, 2020 Posted by | art, authors, blogging, culture, environment, festivals, fiction, history, Muse, publishing, seasonal, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Were You…? Mystical Journey Generations Will Look Back Upon

WHERE WERE YOU IN LOCKDOWN…? OUR MYSTICAL JOURNEY—GENERATIONS WILL LOOK BACK & REMEMBER Monthly Writerly Corner for Introverts Coping in Extremes of Isolation and Self-Exploration

Members of Corvidae family overseeing this human crisis—they’re taking the long-sighted view

Entering Lockdown versus Leaving—What Have I Become?

We all have our doubts, failings, even fears—for family and others—yet we have an inate ability to control that fear, and help ourselves stand up to what makes us feel less than we are. In moments of solitude we are able to breathe in a healing calm. In times of stress we can call on that calm to help us accept and flow with change.

Because Change there Will Be
Is this the Doorway to the New Earth? they ask.
Boomers remember where they were on the night John F. Kennedy got shot 11/22/63. Hippies’ Counterculture memory-mark is Woodstock, NY, August 1969 (or Altamont, CA, December 1969, depending on your coastal affiliation). Brits of all ages remember where they were the night Diana died 08/31/97. Millennials like to think they survived Apocalypse already—when the Calendar of the Maya ended on 12/12/2012. Even iGens—they are a fatalistic lot—believe they are the Chosen Ones to lead us through what comes next.

All of them are trying to persuade their still-living great-grandparents not to remember World Wars I, II and/or III. They forget that those of the ‘twenties generation—last century’s version, not the 2020s—are the ones who know what community is all about. And 2020 lockdown has strengthened bonds in small western bloc communities which haven’t experienced such close camaraderie since 1945.

Mother Earth has responded to human isolation from her wild places, by taking over human spaces and making them more wild.

Reason We Have to Be Here Now on this Mystical Journey
Bestselling author and speaker on human consciousness and transformation, Caroline Myss says we have help—guides from our ancestral archetypes, who hold our hand through traumatic change.

Getting through transformation—with help, courtesy Sistine ceiling by Michelangelo, 1475-1564

This experience we are sharing has all the elements of that larger context of mystical transformation. 1. the nature of a shared journey is we never get to decide when it will start, how it will start, or what will be asked of us. We don’t get to make that decision—it simply ignites. 2. we never get to choose the components—they just arise out of the setting of our lives. 3. transformation accompanies some kind of trauma. There is something that has to be changed
—Caroline Myss, psychic intermediary

Through transformation, we are as beautiful as we allow ourselves to be—Venus emerges from ocean shell ©Uffizi Galleries, Florence, Botticelli 1477

What is it in you that needs transformation? Personal Transformation, Ms. Myss suggests, is the Sacred Topic we should all be talking about.

We have now to go into deep reflection and ask:
What is it within myself that I need to transform?
What is the person I need to be as I move forward for the rest of my life?
Instead of wanting to be first, can I embrace being second?
Instead of being impatient, can I be a better listener?
Is there a part of me that, instead of being a hoarder, could I be more generous?
Caroline asks: ‘What is it in you that needs transformation? Because there’s something in all of us that needs transformation. Otherwise we wouldn’t need to be here now.’

Venus, Goddess of Beauty, and Transformation Go Hand-in-Hand
In the classical tale, based on Ovid’s mythological masterpiece Metamorphoses, A.D.8, which recounted Roman history from year dot—aka birth of the Universe—until Julius Caesar’s death, 44B.C., Venus/Aphrodite sprang naked from the ocean, symbolic of change—metamorphosis—perennially beautiful and supported by the winds. She represents spring, new life, fertility and growth—her meadow is sprinkled with violets, a symbol of modesty but often used in medieval love potions. Her purity and chastity are seen as her maintaining a centre of calm through tempestuous times.

Ovid’s masterpiece on transformation inspired Florentine artists Botticelli & Michelangelo, into changing 16thC Roman metaphysical thought

In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas / corpora: “I intend to speak of forms changed into new entities
Publius Ovidius Naso [Ovid], Metamorphoses

Many aspects of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus are in motion—leaves of orange trees in background, ringlets of her hair blown by the Zephyrs, roses and violets floating around her, waves gently breaking, with cloaks and drapery of her supporters blown and lifted by the breeze.

The winds blowing Venus towards the shore are Zephyr and Aura—and the handmaid who receives her is one of the Three Graces, or Hours. Knowing the Ancients’ love of calendar synchronicity, it is tempting to think that tomorrow’s Full Flower Scorpio SuperMoon signaling crop planting and waxing growth, was predicted to occur during Beltane week, when Venus stands 90º at maximum brightness—with added perk—Aquarid meteor showers.

Transformation, Transfiguration and Winds of Change

Both Botticelli and Michelangelo were indebted to Ovid—as were Shakespeare and many authors-artists of the period, for speaking out about human transformation.

Remarkably, Ovid’s pre-Christian vision took its characters through psychic and corporeal change which Botticelli and Michelangelo translated into images commissioned by powerful [Christian] Medici overlords, giving glory to the Roman—and Orthodox—Church, rather than the Titans of Greek mythology.

In our new world of change, we are all beginners. But we’re free to make our own choice: pagan, Christian, Born Again, multi-platform, Judaeo-Muslim, Klingon or Supermortal. Enlightenment was never easy. But we do have help with our mental anguish and through physical stress. In our writing family on social media, we (Insecure) writers have only to reach out virtually, and answers and support are there for us.

Amid worldwide trauma, let’s not forget scenes of buffalo roaming the streets of Buffalo, NY; of storks nesting in Sussex for first time in 200 years; of flamingos dancing in Central Park, goats frolicking in Cardiff. The Ancestors: our Archetype Angels are psychically holding our hands, willing us to survive and succeed.They know we have a future and we will have learned—a little—about how to CHANGE and care more deeply for our planetary home.
©2020 Marian Youngblood

May 6, 2020 Posted by | Ascension, astrology, authors, belief, birds, blogging, culture, fiction, history, New Earth | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Barons of Scotland Pave Way for Declaration of Independence

Seals of Scotland’s bravest & finest: crests shown: Cheyne of Duffus, Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, and Gilbert de la Hay, Baron of Errol in Gowrie

BARONS OF SCOTLAND PAVE WAY FOR DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
700 Years since Declaration of Arbroath 1320: Food for Writerly Thought in 2020

For so long as there shall but one hundred of us remain alive we will never give consent or subject ourselves to the dominion of the English. For it is not glory, it is not riches, neither is it honours, but it is liberty alone that we fight and contend for, which no honest man will lose but with his life
Barons of Scotland, April 6th, 1320 Aberbrothock

Arbroath, former Aberbrothock, is an historic royal burgh (town), North Sea fishing port, and holiday resort in the county of Angus, Northeast Scotland. Dundee, home to RSS Discovery (Capt.Robert F Scott’s frozen Antarctic vessel),jute, jam and journalism, lies 15miles south. Aberdeen 50 miles north.

It is famous today for Arbroath smokies—or smoked haddock ‘kippers’. And for its mediaeval Abbey, once foremost (richest) cathedral church and chief Benedictine monastery in the realm.

Founded 1178 by King William the Lion for Thomas à Becket, Arbroath Abbey served by 14thC as both secular parliament and most revered religious hub


Arbroath Abbey, the richest and most influential religious center in the North, was founded in 1178 by King William I, the Lion, of Scotland, who chose to be buried there. The Declaration of Arbroath, asserting Scotland’s independence from English rule, was a letter written 700 years ago this week to the (French) Pope by Bernard de Linton, Abbot of Arbroath and Chancellor of Scotland.

It is one of the great icons of the Scots, written in Latin to the Pope in Avignon, and signed by eight earls and 31 barons of Scotland. They plead with him to rescind excommunication—which the Roman Catholic church had just imposed on the King of Scots along with his earls and nobles, based on claims by the English king Edward. They ask him to acknowledge Scotland as an independent nation—which eventually he does.

It has been claimed to serve as model for slave-owning American landowners in their 1766 Declaration of Independence, but history may dispute that.

It was signed by Nobles and Parliament at Arbroath Abbey—richest and most elite religious and secular center of the land. Those nobles unable to attend sent their seals by messenger to the Chancellor to be affixed to the final document. The Declaration was then sent by sea from the small fishing port to Pope John XXII at his court in Avignon. It left the harbour—looking much as it looks today—in a small fishing vessel on April 6th, 1320, headed for Provence and the Mediterranean coast.

By then, as the nation’s supreme cathedral church, the Abbey was enlarged through 14th-16th centuries inkeeping with its grandeur. The Abbey church at that time boasted the nation’s largest known stained glass windows—in the south transept. It replaced nearby St.Vigean’s (Pictish 8thC heraldic/religious stone center) and was briefly home to Aberdeenshire‘s Monymusk Reliquary, believed to hold relics of St. Columba, now housed in National Museum of Scotland.

Cancelled Celebrations and Call for Loyalty in 2021
It is no surprise to learn that the City & Burghers of Arbroath have announced cancellation of their long-awaited “700 Years” Festival for this year, but have rescheduled festivities for 2021. Hurrah for the smokies!

Signatories included the Earl Marischal Robert Keith, Gilbert de la Hay Constable of Scotland, the Earls of Mar, Fife, Ross & Sutherland, & Lords of Brechin, Kincardine, Lovat & Saltoun. No seal represents the Comyn Mormaer of Buchan

Scots, wha’ hae wi’ Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome tae yer gorey bed,
Or tae victorie

Now’s the day, an now’s the hour:
See the front o’ battle lour,
See approach proud Edward’s power
Chains and Slaverie

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha will fill a coward’s grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn an’ flee

Wha, for Scotland’s King and Law,
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw?
Freeman stan’, or Freeman fa’,
Let him on wi’ me…
Robert Burns, 1793, recently used as SNP anthem

Words put in the mouth of Robert I Brus, self-proclaimed king of Scots, on eve of Bannockburn, 1314. Reason for papal decress: Bruce, a west-coaster claiming royal lineage, had murdered last Pictish Earl and Mormaer, John “Red” Comyn of Buchan, 1306 on the altar of Greyfriars church, Dumfries. His army of followers subsequently put torch to all Comyn hunting lands in N.E.Scots landmass: Buchan——modern Aberdeenshire——and the people spoke of the Herschip o’ Buchan Caledonian hunting forests,”burning for 30 years” i.e. fires were still smoking during Bannockburn; Comyn’s descendants did not sign the Declaration, above left; no signature represents Buchan or half the landmass of NorthEast Scotland on the document.
[caveat:In 242 sq.miles of Buchan ‘Broch loons’ and ‘Doric quines’ still feel this way aboot R the B]

The Round O and Reid Lichties
We sympathize with all Scots at this time, particularly celebrants in the coastal town—so-called Reid Lichties*—for their temporarily-suspended Festival because of Corona virus precautions. Councillors and festival organizers have proposed April 2021 as the month they will be “ready to roll” once again.

Distinctive round window high in the 15thC south transept, top, was originally lit up at night as a beacon for mariners aiming for the North Sea port. It is known locally as the ‘Round O’. From this maritime tradition inhabitants of Arbroath are colloquially known as *’Reid Lichties’ (Scots reid = red). Not to be confused with any other red light district.<3

Earth Week now Earth Month
April, as we writing fanatics know, is A-to-Z Challenge month—2020 Challenge sign-up closes April 5th. So my writing cohorts, Insecure or otherwise may forgive me for sidestepping our usual first Wednesday blog-hopping ritual—and daily wordcount—in order to give precedence to Scotland’s historical milestone. I feel Arbroath deserves the mention. There are many American descendants of those noble families whose seals deck the document who may feel inspired to visit the great Abbey after all this medical stuff has blown over. I hope they will.

And we writers KNOW—when the Muse speaks, we listen. We ignore her at our peril. So what’s a few missed sentences between the centuries?

Post scriptum: On Christmas Day 1950, the Stone of Destiny—used in recent centuries for royal coronations—was removed from Westminster Abbey, London. On April 11, 1951, the missing stone was found lying on the site of the Abbey’s altar at Arbroath.
©2020 Marian Cameron Youngblood

April 1, 2020 Posted by | blogging, culture, history, sacred sites, traditions, 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

Pictish Inheritance in an Ancient Land

Herschip o’ Buchan and Caledonian Forest
After the 1308 Herschip o’Buchan by Robert Bruce, whose firebrands scorched their route from ‘Burgh to Broch'(Inverurie to Fraserburgh), Aberdonians recall Caledonian forest trees burned for fifty years. Centers of power shifted south, taking with them Rhynie gold and Ythan pearls—both still shine in Royal Regalia of Scotland, alongside stylized Pictish beast-dolphin in Edinburgh Castle vault. Nevertheless, Scots Pine replanting has begun!

Devorguilablog: view from the Pictish citadel

promontory stronghold on the North Sea, Dunottar dates back to Pictish era It is a little-known fact that the area surrounding the Buck of the Cabrach was celebrated in early-historical times and up to the late Medieval as a source for gold.

Kings of Picts used the resource centred on what is now called Rhynie in Aberdeenshire and much gold used for the crown jewels, prior to Robert Bruce’s takeover, was Aberdeenshire gold.

Scots regalia held in Edinburgh Castle Pearls were also sourced in Aberdeenshire from the River Ythan and the pearl in the Crown of Scotland (now in disuse) is from the Ythan (Buchan, outlet into North Sea north of Dee and Don). Kings prior to the Scots takeover AD843 had landholdings in Cé (present Aberdeenshire) and it remained one of the richest areas for royal hunting (Royal Forests of Derley, Deer, Gight, Garioch, Insch, Forgue, Cabrach, Letter (Ladder), Mar, Stocket and Udny & Dudwick); farming and artisan crafts.

The most influential ‘Celtic’ earl before Robert I…

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February 29, 2020 Posted by | ancient rites, art, authors, blogging, culture, environment, history, traditions, trees, 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

The Carnyx, the Games—Aberdeenshire’s Royal Farewell to Summer

THE CARNYX, THE GAMES—ABERDEENSHIRE’S ROYAL FAREWELL TO SUMMER
or The Royals know where to Party for End of Summer Fun

First Wednesday IWSG Party Time for Insecure Writers and other Scribes

March of the Lonach Men recalls the 1745 Rebellion, when wearing of the kilt was outlawed for 100 years

This Saturday, September 6th, 2019 finds the human Scots-Collective rallying at Braemar in extreme-inland-and-upland Aberdeenshire for the ‘Games’—the Braemar Gathering and Highland Games—in the 12-acre Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park in the town, attended by HM the Queen and her immediate family. It is her last (holiday) appearance in Deeside—and Scotland—before her return at the end of the month to business-as-usual in London.

Aberdeenshire’s Other Summereve’s Celebration

Braemar, on the river Dee, follows a rival tradition—over the mountain and through the pass to Donside—where the (178th) Lonach Gathering and Games was held last Saturday, August 24th in Bellabeg, on the banks of the Don.

Beloved of Lonach fans, Robin Williams at the 2001 Gathering at Bellabeg, Strathdon Aberdeenshire

Known as the Alternative Gathering because of its attraction for Hollywood stars and in-the-know Royals, the Lonach is more of a society promenade than a competitive event. Yes, caber toss, hundredweight lugging and tug-o’war with dainty Highland dancing are all going on within the stadium enclosure, but the action is where international alliances are being forged on the ‘champagne picnic circuit’ ringing the field. Scots actor Billy Connolly is not alone in having a gracious country house within spitting distance of the grandiose Beer Tent; and his international guests are legend—Steve Martin and Robin Williams among them.

It’s an excuse for the remote glen to entertain as many famous international guests as they can squeeze into the valley for their last summer party—and the noble families of Donside hinterland open their houses in force. Sir James Forbes, Bart, cousin to Lord Forbes, head of clan Forbes, leads his green-kilted warriors to pipe and march from 8a.m. until they reach the field at 11a.m. Other pipers and pike-carrying members of the Wallaces and former rival-clan Gordon—join them, swinging in down the winding track.

No Historial Reenactment—Lonach Men March Three Hours through the Glen

Sir James Forbes of Newe, Bart, Patron of the Lonach Highland & Friendly Society, Bellabeg Strathdon

“Scotland in 1823 was on the cusp of monumental change, finally emerging from the bleak post-Culloden years to resume her rightful place in the World. With so much change in the air our ancestors saw the need to preserve their heritage, whilst still embracing the new.

“This is no historical re-enactment. The Lonach March represents an unbroken link from our forefathers to the 21st Century. Encountering the Lonach Highlanders for the first time takes you back to pre-1745 Scotland.”
Sir James Forbes of Newe and Edinglassie, Bart.

The Forbeses were once premier barons of Donside and Mar. Today, despite dwindling fortunes and a rich, punishing history—but unlike rival Gordons—a Forbes remains in possession of the clan’s oldest stronghold, Druminnor—the original 1429 Castle Forbes, seat of Chiefs of Forbes for 500 years. The Gordons rose to become Marquesses and Dukes, lording it over Strathbogie and the North, but Huntly Castle is a ruin and the feud has gone into the history books. Nowadays Lonach Men march together as one.

Flying threadbare standards gifted by Queen Victoria (tattered replaced by new, 2011), the Lonach Men stop at several remote dwellings on their way through the pass, each marcher toasted in whisky, given a dram and ‘haste ye back’, before the next halt. By the time they reach the playing field three hours later, they are in fine fettle.

Drunk or sober, it is the pipers’ duty to play after the day is done, too. They beat the retreat at 5:30p.m. when everybody—upwards of 8,000 souls—starts packing up champagne bucket, shooting stick and cucumber sandwich leftovers, to drive home. There have been years when it took four hours to reach Aberdeen and the coast—42miles away—in single-track traffic from Newe. [For perfectionists, it’s pronounced N-y-ow, like Meow with an N].

Rallying Call to Battle Gathering—Pipes or Carnyx

Celtic continental influence in Roman Scotland, Deskford’s Carnyx battle horn rallied Caledonian troops to march—as haunting a sound as Lonach bagpipes

On a magnificent cloudless late August day, it is tempting to compare the faint haunting call of the pipes as the Lonach Men march into the valley with the battle cry of Pictish hoardes described by Tacitus in A.D.79 at Mons Graupius.

A recent collaboration by Aberdeen and Euro continental archaeologists, comparing the few examples of bronze-cast sacred battle horns—Roman carnyx—allowed a replica to be made which sounds authentic—John Kenny plays, photo left.

Its weird high-pitched call (to battle) is hauntingly similar to the sound of the pibroch from a single piper’s drone on a high mountain pass. The Deskford carnyx , found in 1816 Banffshire (now Aberdeenshire) was ritually buried (on a battlefield?) with gold, silver, bronze bell, the battle horn itself a stylized boar’s head with upturned snout, signifying bravery of an indomitable superior race.

Sacred to the Picts, carved Boar stone from Donside, Aberdeenshire approx. A.D.420-700—earliest clan animal of Forbes and Gordon, courtesy National Museums of Scotland

Pictish Symbols Distilled into Clan Heraldry
Roman legions called them the painted people. In A.D.4thC Ammianus Marcellinus’s historical accounts Dicalydones were northern tribes: one of two branches of Picti, Picts, Roman chronicler Tacitus’s Caledonians who inhabited modern-day Moray, Banff and Buchan. The second group were the Verturiones who occupied southern territories of modern Fife, Perthshire, Forfar (Fortriu) and Lothian. Carnyces have turned up in sacred settings along Roman routes through France to northern Baltic. There is a famous carnyx series embossed on the silver Gundestrup cauldron found in 1891 in a Baltic peat bog in Jutland, dating to around 2nd Century B.C. Its boar-headed shape has the same curvature, and was the work of Iron Age Celtic Franco-Germanic artists.

My fellow IWSG-ers and our Cap’n at the Helm, Alex will agree that we writers who have the advantage of Space-Time awareness, courtesy of our ancestral lineage, know how the power of sound/music—certain plaintive notes—can trigger a rush of joy, inspiration, fresh creativity.

Danzig Willie’s Craigievar William Forbes, creator of Craigievar Castle in Upper Donside brought the style of France to the Aberdeenshire hinterland, 1686

It may be my historical-fantasy-bias that drives me to compare the pale single note of an ancient Pictish battle horn against Roman battalions in rural Banff, with an even fainter soul-wrenching skirl of bagpipes played on a high mountain pass in Corgarff, but the heart beats faster when both are sounded.

Is my historical desire to link the fantastic Pictish family of animal symbols with the conquering (Scots) lineage A.D.845 so farfetched?

Forbes tradition has it that their ancestor, Pictish chief Ochonochar, trapped a boar which was terrorizing the neighborhood. Their emblem shows stylized muzzled boar. The House of Gordon has a similar legend for their boar crest worn by the Cock o’ the North. Pictish Class I Boar stone, as late as A.D.700, above, was a Donside symbol—just as the Pictish Bull is mainly associated with Burghead and Moray.

IWSGers with Scots-Irish ancestry, even when writing deadlines hover—today is Anthology Contest—know we all enjoy a dip in the gene pool.

Have fun. Take a last wild plunge before summer ends. Let me know how it feels.
Thanks for listening.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

September 4, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, authors, blogging, culture, festivals, history, popular, 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

Royal Prerogative—Generosity of the Monarch in a 21stC World

Generosity of the Monarch in a 21stCentury World
Monthly Pointers for Insecure Writers and other Wanderers in Time

Generosity was historically how a Monarch was judged by her people. Nobles who usurped their position—or took handouts—didn’t make it into the history books.

HM the Queen shares a smile with POTUS her guest at State Banquet in the palace ballroom

The bard was asked who of the kings of Prydein
is most generous of all
‘And I declared boldly
That it was Owain’
The Gorhoffedd, 12thC Brittonic heroic poem

We in the known world have this week been treated to a vision of the splendour and magnificence which comes out when great dynasties meet. A State visit by the president of the United States of America to Great Britain—regardless of decade or political swing—is not taken lightly in royal circles. When Her Majesty the Queen decides to commemorate a ‘special relationship’ with military undertones, nobody born in the last hundred years is going to stop her. Her generosity shows.

The Palace knows how to pull out all the stops—and last week they did.

Buckingham Palace ballroom was setting for State Banquet for 170 guests given by HM Queen for President Trump and First Lady of USA, June 2019


June 6th marks seventy-five years this week since the Allied forces of Europe and America made D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy. The second world war (WWII) ended one year later in 1945.

During President Donald Trump’s visit, HM the Queen presented him with a gold leaf embossed first edition of Winston Churchill’s Second World War 6-volume set. And she will also attend a ceremony with him in Portsmouth—English channel coast—to mark the D-Day event, before he leaves.

If anyone can carry off a grand banquet, a major wartime memorial, inspecting four ‘Trooping the Colour’ Royal Guards Birthday ceremonial parades with two 41-gun salutes, on three cups of tea, this beloved monarch can. She also celebrated the anniversary of her own coronation and accession to the throne of Great Britain [Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland] this week.

HM the Queen’s coronation took place on June 2nd, 1953 in Westminster Abbey*, when she was 25 years old. Her father, George VI, died on 6 February 1952. She has reigned for 67 years and has been visited by all but one of thirteen U.S. Presidents—Lyndon B. Johnson—during that time.
*Foundation of the abbey church laid by Edward the Confessor in 1065.

Buck House to Kilt-buckled Deeside

Both HM Queen and her son Charles are reputed Beatles’ fans, seen here pretending to ignore Macca, right

“English winter—ending in July,
To recommence in August”
Lord Byron, Romantic poet and satirist, 1788-1824

Most of the month of June is filled with high profile royal engagements—a time in Britain when the weather has been known to improve. One high point of June is Derby Day at Epsom Racecourse—her Majesty making it a twofold party last weekend, June 1-2, 2019, while she enjoyed this year’s equine lineup from the comfort of her Royal Box.

Often considered a high point of the fashion year, Ladies’ Day at Epsom is outclassed and outshone only by Royal Ascot, this year’s five-day event spanning solstice from June 18-22, 2019. The Royal Box will be filled to capacity, with aristocratic fashion statements being made all over the place.

By end July, nearly every royal—except Prince Philip, who turns 98 on June 10th—will have performed multiple civic and charitable duties around the country and—for Commonwealth interests—around the globe. All without assistance from the former Civil List, cancelled with Royal consent in 2011.

August brings recreation and rest.

Ultima Thule provides Country Retreat

Balmoral castle, half-way between Ballater and Braemar Aberdeenshire, Royal Deeside retreat from London

The Sovereign—and significant portion of her household—decamps for Balmoral—a baronial hall rebuilt by Victoria and Albert in rural Aberdeenshire at the least-accessible tip of the Royal Deeside Railway Line, plus a six-mile hike in the direction of the Cairngorms beyond.

That’s mostly accomplished by helicopter, these days.

Her Majesty’s sole duty during her month in Scotland—and it is said, she looks forward to it—is to attend the last highland games of the Season—the Braemar Gathering—always held first weekend of September. That’s before the mountains close in and Ballater and the Highland passes become impregnable.

We recall how unprecedented was the upheaval—upon the death of HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, August 31, 1997, of rearranging the Royal household for an emergency return to the capital, with the royal vacation technically still in effect centered within the sight of Glen Shee, Ben Avon (pron. A’an) and the Devil’s Elbow—escape route to central Perthshire.

Abandoning Aberdeenshire—at 57º05’N latitude—c.f. Juneau, Alaska—to prepare for its ski traffic and winter sports, the Royal household’s return to London and their extended autumn schedule signals resumption of an English way of life.

I suspect our Insecure Writers’ self-appointed Commander-in-Chief, Alex—along with some other urban Americans-of-that-Ilk—may resonate with the excitement of urbane Kensington or with Kentucky’s Derby millions, but my country origins leave me with a fondness for Braemar.

Romans termed any territory North of the Highland fault line, running West to East from Argyll to Inverness, Ultima Thule. Some of us locals call it affectionately the Back of Beyond.

This rural backdrop, however, with its pristine breathable air, is just the place for our future forests, protected fishing rivers and World Heritage sites to coalesce and bring new hope and vital regeneration to a marginal agricultural economy.

God Save the Queen.
©2019 Marian C.Youngblood

June 5, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, art, authors, blogging, culture, fiction, history, ritual, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Earthquake Survivors—Bronze and Beyond

IT’S ALL ABOUT LOCATION, LOCATION
Monthly Grounding of Writerly Antennae for IWSGers and Other SpaceTimers

Arcata Plaza, site of Saturday Farmers’ Market, presided over by McKinley bronze—before last week’s removal


Having been assassinated in 1901, one would have thought that statesman, lawyer and (Republican) 25th President of the U.S.A., William McKinley had paid enough for his sins…

But his century-old bronze effigy—which survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire—will be changing locations once again.

The story goes of philanthropist Georg Zehndner, immigrant merchant in frontier Weaverville, seizing an opportunity presented by the late 19thC Gold Rush boom in northern California, to become (wealthy) Humboldt County rancher and (Arcata) citizen. When the 25th President was shot in 1901, Zehndner commissioned Armenian-American Bay Area sculptor Haig Patigian—also an immigrant—to create the bronze casting of the downed statesman.

Market Street, looking west to Twin Peaks. Both sides of street lined with ruined buildings Battery-to-Powell

Arcata Plaza was chosen as a suitable site in the growing town—although currently lauded northernmost campus of Humboldt State University was not founded until eight years later. Yet it is HSU academic/radical protests of ‘settler colonialism’ and damaged Native American tribes which resulted in the statue’s removal at dawn last Thursday.
Arcata is Yurok/Wiyot = place of the Lagoon*
*Yurok oket’oh = “where there is a lagoon” (Humboldt Bay), from o- “place” + ket’oh = “to be a lagoon”. Same name given to Big Lagoon, ten miles North.

Neighboring unincorporated township of McKinleyville, CA has more claim to the beleaguered effigy than the University town, having willingly changed its name to mark its namesake’s death in 1901. Previously called Minor (aka Minorville), it was settled in the late-19thC logging boom. After the president’s assassination it joined with (unincorporated) townships of Dows’ Prairie (settled by Joe Dows, 1860) to North and Calville, settled by employees of the California Barrel Company, South, taking its new name in his honor. McKinleyville post office opened in 1903. The town remains unincorporated, and is home to California’s certified “foggiest” airport—Eureka/Arcata, ACV.

Abandoned and Pointing to the North
Downtown San Francisco was on fire, consuming trolleys and neighborhoods, with horse-drawn water carts unable to dowse the flames.

No melt-down—McKinley found undamaged after 1906 San Francisco fire, his finger pointing North


Coming full blast after the deadly earthquake, many residents ran—sculptor Haig Patigian among them. He saw the bronze casting works go up in smoke and thinking all was lost, fled.

“‘Come on, boys, let’s save the statue of Bill McKinley,’ he cried and under his inspiration the workmen bore a ready hand.” San Francisco Examiner 1906

A passing worker—employed by the Ironworks—saw that the statue would be ruined if abandoned, and called to his co-workers who were saving their own belongings. The Examiner wrote: “They dragged the heroic figure to the center of the street and there it remained unharmed, resting on its back”, with an outstretched hand pointing to the sky.

Returning to the scene, Patigian noticed a crowd gathering near the Works. He hurried over to find his art piece lying in the street—the rescue vehicle used to haul it to safety a charred wreck. Twelve days after the great quake, George Zehndner, Arcata businessman and benefactor who ordered the bronze, received a telegram from Patigian stating the effigy had been saved.

San Francisco City Hall’s surviving dome, 1906, McAllister Street and Van Ness Avenue in charred ruins

Haig Patigian was a respected artist in his day, at the time of his death called by the San Francisco Chronicle “one of the giants of San Francisco’s Golden Age.” Many of his works survive in San Francisco, including one of Abraham Lincoln outside City Hall, itself regenerated and reconstructed after the demise of its iconic predecessor, Chronicle Archive picture, right.

Zehndner paid $15,000 for the original sculpture in 1906—lost, mourned and then recovered unblemished from the glowing coals of the surrounding foundry.

One hundred thirteen years later the now-politically-incorrect statesman found a new home—in Canton, Ohio—where the local residents appreciate his other works—including a McKinley Memorial Library and Museum. The statesman’s 8-1/2foot 800-lb bronze likeness will find a public stance nearby.

Fickle Finger of Fate and Finance

Last week brought some kind of closure to the beleaguered bronze. Through fire, earthquake, flood and (occasional student) harassment, the skilled lost-wax bronze rendering of the late 19thC politician will not bite the dust.

East along Market Street after 1906 Mag.7.9 earthquake—lavish art-deco Call building burns to ground

This time it will rise again on another plinth in another guise: Canton was McKinley’s chosen home town. He had planned to retire there. Now he will.

In Canton, the townspeople have $15,000 to spend. That’s exactly how much its benefactor Arcata resident Zehndner paid for the sculpture in 1906. And Arcata has accepted.

Insecure Challenge and Update
We IWSGers know how Fate—and our writing Muse—tend to travel hand-in-hand. But there’s no telling how fickle financial finagling will affect any outcome.

IWSG question for March

Synchronously, we may therefore empathize with our fellow Insecure Writers in our March IWSG challenge/question

[choose one] Whose perspective do you like to write from best: the hero [protagonist] or the villain [antagonist]?
And why?

Now there’s something to get our [insecure] teeth into.
In McKinley’s case, he is both bad guy and good guy—depending on our —writerly/historical— perceptions.
Which would you choose?
Thanks, blog-Cap’n.Alex for allowing me such digressions 😉
©2019 Marian Youngblood

March 5, 2019 Posted by | art, authors, belief, blogging, consciousness, culture, elemental, environment, fantasy, fiction, history, Muse, nature, novel, popular, publishing, seismic, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment