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All the Numbers for the Fourth—Maybe a Few Special Ones?

ALL THE NUMBERS FOR THE FOURTH
Monthly Corner Hideaway for Insecure Writers—and others

Royal Bedchamber has not changed much since Domesday 11thC England, courtesy HM The Queen

Back in the ‘Nineties, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar noticed a remarkable correlation between primate brain size and the social groups they formed: His theory was simple—the bigger their brains, the larger their social groups—because animals with bigger brains can remember, and interact meaningfully with more of their peers.

Dunbar’s famous prediction achieved by correlation of his extrapolation curve to the size of the human brain, stated that humans could have no more than about 150 people in their social sphere.

Recent research has since found more evidence for Dunbar’s Number, from the size of hunter-gatherer societies, Roman legions—130-145—to effective modern businesses.

Dunbar’s Number—backed by recent internet/iCloud/social media statistics is even more apt for modern exchange via social networks, where we humans gravitate to a natural limit of meaningful relationships we can sustain—around 150.

Dunbar is Director of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology—the study of how we evolved as modern humans—at the University of Oxford and author of How Many Friends Does One Person Need? (Faber). His research has gone on to find ‘Dunbar layers’, from family intimacy—five—outward to once-a-year contact with the acquaintance layer—beyond 150.


Social Behavior Rooted in Human Biology and Layers in the Digital Age

Mediaeval Warrington & Cheshire villages, on banks of River Mersey, map courtesy John Speed

The way in which our social world is constructed stems from our biological inheritance. As primates, together with apes and monkeys, we have developed a general relationship between brain size and size of our social group. There are social circles beyond the group and layers within—but there is a natural cluster of 150.

This is the number of people you can have a relationship with involving trust, obligation—and usually—some personal history.

That’s the Dunbar number.

In updated research in the digital age, other patterns emerge for the average human—most people have a small group of three to five very close friends. Various layers of friendship – which increase in number but decrease in intimacy and frequency of contact are on average:

Dunbar Layers
Layer 0. Nucleus/very close friends—those you turn to in a crisis, ask for money, lean on for support—on average 3 to 5 people. Likely keep in touch once a week.
Layer 1. Close friends/sympathy group—12-15 people (number of Apostles, members on a jury). Contact once a month.
Layer 2. Distant friends—45 to 50 people
Layer 3. Maximum number of friends/acquaintances: 150 people (Dunbar’s Number)
Layer 4. 500 people
Layer 5. 1500 people
Layer 6. Plato’s ideal size for a democracy—5300 people

Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything… number according to Douglas Adams

“I was working on the arcane question of why primates spend so much time grooming one another, and I tested another hypothesis–which says the reason why primates have big brains is because they live in complex social worlds.

“Because grooming is social, all these things ought to map together, so I started plotting brain size and group size and grooming time against one another. You get a nice set of relationships.

“It was about 3a.m., and I thought, hmm, what happens if you plug humans into this? And you get this number of 150. This looked implausibly small, given that we all live in cities now, but it turned out that this was the size of a typical community in hunter-gatherer societies.

“And the average village size in the Domesday Book is 150.”
Robin Dunbar

“It’s the same when we have much better data–in the 18th century, for example, thanks to parish registers. County by county, the average size of a village is again 150. Except in Kent, where it was 100. I’ve no idea why.”

The number evolved as tribal societies did. Dunbar believes his Number probably dates back to the appearance of anatomically modern humans, 250,000 years ago, from Australopithicus to Neanderthal. Prior to that, by estimated brain size, community size declined steadily.

A key evolutionary adaptation of primates facing survival out there on the plains and in the forests was group living within a hierarchy, with explicitly communal solutions to living as a unit—an ape strategy, evolved very early in the timeline.

Most species of birds and animals are not as intensely social. Socialability for them hovers around pair-bonds, which is as complicated as it gets. But the species with big brains mate monogamously.

Has the Dunbar Number Increased with the Internet?
“We’re caught in a bind: community sizes were designed for hunter-gatherer societies where people weren’t living on top of one another. Your 150 were scattered over a wide area, but everybody shared the same 150. This made for a very densely interconnected community, and it also means the community polices itself.

“You don’t need lawyers and policemen. If you step out of line, Grannie will wag her finger at you.”


Rôle of the Internet, Smart Devices, & BFFs in the (Wired) Generational Divide

Can we extend deep relationships beyond the old numbers?

Magdalen College Oxford Prof. Robin Dunbar

Dunbar says he can find out what you had for breakfast from your tweet, but can’t really get to know you better. Digital developments help us keep in touch over distance, when in the past a relationship might have faltered and died. Now it can be extended. But we can only maintain Five Close Friends

Current statistics compiled by consumer research specialist, Paul Hudson point to a generational divide—younger teenagers aged thirteen to sixteen–the fastest-growing social media generation—have an average of 450 social network “friends”.

Figures rapidly reduce between decades—people in their thirties have on average between one and two hundred friends; those in their forties between fifty and 100; and over-fifties—if they are internet-savvy—form the lowest stat-curve, the majority having fewer than twenty friends.

Seventeen Hugs a Day—the Touchie, Feelie Solution
Dunbar stands by his ‘grooming’ theory: that we actually have to get together to make a relationship work. Tablets, iPads and smartphones still haven’t figured out how to do virtual touch, which humans rely heavily on—the ape hug, the elephant caress, lioness’s kiss, dolphin’s smooch.

In a widening social network, intimacy becomes more important—and apparently less available, considering the number of dogs in the United States equals the human population! That, my dear Virtual Cap’n and fellow Insecure Writers, must hold for another day.

One hopeful statistic: Writers—as we IWSG-ers all know—are mostly introvert, so we keep our BFFs forever!

Words are slippery. A touch is worth a thousand words—always.
©2018 Marian Youngblood

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July 4, 2018 Posted by | ancient rites, art, authors, belief, blogging, culture, Doomsday, fiction, history, publishing, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping it Light: Learning Games when Dark (Vog) Clouds Loom

KEEPING IT LIGHT: LEARNING GAMES FOR INSECURE WRITERS
Monthly Catch-up Corner for IWSGers & Insecure Historians 😉

Big Island’s southern sector smothered by lava, now adds VOG to the mix, photo USGS

While volcanic mayhem continues to play out in fresh ruptures around Hawaii’s Kilauea fissure zone, see last month’s blog update, below, our Insecure Writerly hearts go out to a duplicate blast from Mother Earth in Guatemala.

It seems superfluous to remind ourselves that the hurricane season officially kicked off June 1st—conveniently “tropical storm” 2018 Alberto already gathering speed—when devastated homeless Puerto Rican refugees from last year’s hurricane Maria still have no dependable electricity (a public service in U.S.) or back-up power source.

Meanwhile, half an ocean away, another volcanic tragedy strikes Guatemala where hope in the search for survivors underground is waning. In Central American Fuego—as with Pu’u-O’o—there is VOG—unbreathable air formed when sulfur dioxide SO2 and other gases/particles emitted by an erupting volcano react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight—to add to the mix.

Rescuers in Las Lajas, Guatemala search for survivors under the lava from Fuego volcano

It bears remembering that when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2011, all trans-Atlantic flights were cancelled.

My intention here is not only to draw attention to severe gaps in this Administration’s compassion for human suffering—California went to the polls tonight—but to highlight past ways some of our ancestors used to make light of the heaviest subjects—including death, famine, sickness.

Our learned chieftain Alex would have a sci-fi solution, unleashing from his fantasy bag of tricks a plethora of goodies to feed our imagination—and lighten our spirits.

Science Fiction or Real Earth Scenario?
We insecure writers know that sci-fi only came to the world of literature with ‘Forties /’Fifties greats like Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert [“Dune”], Heinlein, Vonnegut and Clarke—unless you count Jules Verne and H.G. Wells’s 1895 “The Time Machine”.

So when sci-fi seems to be playing out around the Earth in new and unimaginable ways, it may serve us well to revert to childhood games we used in those times to learn what we didn’t feel like learning seriously.

Grandpa’s Alternative Method of Learning History
Hold on to your hats, IWSGers, and watch as the alternative learning rhyme unfolds.

This beauty has particular attraction for those hundreds-of-thousands who may have watched the British royal family parade through May, also below. And wondered where all the names came from. In Brit kids’ speak, these monarchs date from 1066. And we’re all heard of that. The English try NOT to remember that before the Magna Carta, there were other kings and queens of far greater lineage. Save that for another time.

Willie, Willie, Harry Stee

Elizabeth Tudor’s embossed signature, c.1589

WILLIE, WILLIE, HARRY, STEE(V)

HARRY, DICK, JOHN, HARRY THREE

ONE, TWO, THREE NEDS, RICHARD TWO

HARRY FOUR, FIVE, SIX AND WHO?

EDWARD FOUR, FIVE, RICHARD THREE,

2 HENRYS, EDWARD & BLOODY MAIREE

ELIZABETH, THE VIRGIN QUEEN,

TWO JAMES WITH CHARLIES IN BETWEEN

WILLIAM & MARY, ANNA GLORIA,

FOUR GEORGES, WILLIAM & VICTORIA.

NED, GEO, NED, GEO, LIZ.

William I 1066-1087 William II 1087-1100 Henry I 1100-1135 Stephen 1135-1154 NORMAN

Henry II Plantagenet 1154-1189 Richard I 1189-1199 John 1199-1216 Henry III 1216-1272

Edward I 1272-1307 Edward II 1307-1327 Edward III 1327-1377 Richard II 1377-1399 Plantagenet 245 yrs

Henry IV Lancaster 1399-1413 Henry V 1413-1422 Henry VI 1422-1461

Edward IV York 1461-1483 Edward reigned a few days Richard III 1483-1485

Henry VII Tudor 1485-1509 Henry VIII 1509-1547 Edward VI 1547- 1553 Mary I 1553-1558

Elizabeth I 1558-1603 Last Tudor Sovereign

James I 1603-1625 Charles I 1625-1649* Charles II 1660-1685 James II 1685-1688 Stuart

William III Orange 1689-1702 & Mary d.1694 Anne 1702-1714 last of Stuarts

George I 1714-1727 George II 1727-1760 George III 1760-1820 George IV 1820-1830 William IV1830-37 House of Hanover

Victoria 1837-1901

Edward VII Saxe-Coburg 1901-1910 George V 1910-1936 changed name to Windsor Edward VIII abdicated

George VI 1936-1952 Elizabeth II 1952-present

Length of Dynasties

We all know who he is—six wives later—

Norman Kings 88 years

Plantagenets 245 years

House of Lancaster 62 years

House of York 24 years

Tudors 118 years

Stuarts 97 years

Orange-Nassau 13 years

Hanoverians 187 years

Saxe-Coburg 9 years

House of Windsor current, adopted by Geo.V

* between 1649-1660, England was a “Commonwealth”, Oliver Cromwell & son Richard Cromwell, Protectors
In 1660 Scotland enacted the Reformation—all worship to be Protestant; Roman Catholicism outlawed.
Hope you IWSGers survived your history lesson. Thanks for your patience. You will be tested next month—lol.

©2018 Marian Youngblood

June 6, 2018 Posted by | astronomy, authors, belief, blogging, earth changes, environment, history, nature, ocean, publishing, rain, seismic, traditions, volcanic, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Royal Line of Succession—All Change

ALL CHANGE—FOR ROYALS AND INSECURE WRITERS
Early Catch-up Corner for IWSG-ers and Wannabe Royals [like Meghan]

HRH Duke & Duchess of Cambridge with newborn HRH Prince Louis, 23rd April 2018

Brand new Prince Louis of Cambridge has become the fifth in line to the British throne. Born Monday April 23rd, in London’s St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, the newborn infant
returned home to nearby Kensington Palace hours after birth. HRH Prince Louis Arthur Charles becomes the Queen and Prince Philip’s sixth great-grandchild.

He follows his father and two siblings in the line of succession as the great-great-great-great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

New Rules of Succession
His uncle, HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York is the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s third child, but when Andrew was born in 1960 he leapfrogged his older sister, Princess Anne, in the line of succession. Little Louis bumps his uncle down a notch, sliding into his (5th) spot, after elder sister Charlotte and brother George.

Under new rules of succession, below, the Cambridges’ third child although a boy, will no longer be allowed to jump ahead of older sister Charlotte in the line of succession.

Previously, under the ancient rules of male primogeniture, royal sons took precedence over their female siblings, even leapfrogging first-born royal daughters.

But a radical shake-up of the royal succession rules removed discriminatory male bias and came into force in March 2015, affecting babies born after October 28 2011.

The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 has already affected the Duke of Gloucester’s granddaughters, Senna Lewis and Lyla Gilman, whose younger brothers, born in 2012, now follow them in the line of succession.

The “new” Royal Line, HRH girls included, gives Prince Louis status of five-times great grandchild of Queen Victoria

William may need to adjust to caring for a newborn once again.

Kate joked in the months leading up to her due date that her husband was ‘in denial’ about having a third.

And the social whirl is hotting up.

Little Louis and Big Andrew
By having more than two children, William and Kate are following in the footsteps of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who went on to have four children—although there was a gap of ten years between their second child, HRH Anne, and third, HRH Andrew—now bumped a place in the hierarchy.

As a sibling to both future king George and ‘spare to heir’ Charlotte, new prince Louis is unlikely ever to be crowned sovereign.

The new infant is already a prince, thanks to HM the Queen, who stepped in ahead of Prince George’s birth to ensure all William’s children would become HRHs, with fitting titles.

The Queen issued Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm in December 2012 when Kate was just a few months pregnant, declaring ‘All children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of Royal Highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour’.

Royal line of succession places new Prince Louis’ status above that of his uncle Andrew, far right


A Letters Patent in 1917, issued by George V, limited titles within the royal family, meaning daughters born to William and Kate would not have been an HRH but Lady (Charlotte) Mountbatten-Windsor instead and second or later-born sons would also have lacked the HRH title and become Lord (Louis) Mountbatten-Windsor, rather than a prince.

Royal Social Calendar getting crowded
With more British royal engagements coming thick and fast—another royal wedding in the offing for May 19th—the little prince might be seen to upstage his uncle Harry and his new American bride, who will wed in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. Prince Louis’ mum, HRH Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, has not been asked to be maid of honor to Ms. Meghan Markle, as according to Buckingham Palace sources, “it is not appropriate, having so recently given birth.”

Among Royal circles, the choice of names for little Louis reverberates in history.

HRH Prince Louis is first seen to commemorate Prince Charles’s mentor and great-uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten, killed by an Irish Republican Army bomb in 1979. Arthur and Charles are also names in honor of the infant’s grandfather Charles, who was unable to see his grandchild for more than a week because of State appointments—of which the Heir to the British Throne has over 600 this year, having relieved his mother, HM the Queen, 92, of most of them.

Insecure royal chroniclers and other writers will await developments in the run-up to the royal wedding in May, when more than half of Hollywood is slated to descend on London. 😉
©2018 Marian Youngblood

April 28, 2018 Posted by | ancient rites, culture, history, popular, ritual, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Epiphany—the Twelfth Day of Christmas

EPHIPHANY—APPEARANCE TO THE MAGI OF THE CHRIST
Happy New Year to all Insecure Writers in the IWSG corner

The festival of Epiphany is a Christian holiday celebrated on January 6 in Western Churches. It marks the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas starting on Christmas Day. Protestants and Roman Catholics agree on the date as the time when the Magi, or ‘Three Wise Men’, followed the Star and brought gifts to Bethlehem to the babe.

Partridge in a Pear Tree

GreenMan, pagan ancestral tree spirit, is allowed to flourish from Christmastide to Epiphany

Defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as: “Greek: manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12)”, the OED doesn’t give the whole picture.

Epiphany Eve—Twelfth Night—is the time when families across Britain and some Americans traditionally take down their festive lights, decorations and fir trees.

This follows a 19th-century Victorian tradition where it was considered unlucky to keep up Christmas greenery, like holly and ivy—associated with pagan ritual—beyond this day: the belief itself a pre-Christian relic of Saturnalia, which rivalled Christmastide until the Middle Ages.

Pre-Christian tradition believed that tree spirits sought protection from winter in the trees and must be freed before the start of Epiphany. Nowadays, many European peoples still follow the custom, to avoid bad luck.

Parturit in Aperte—
He appeared through the travails of labor [in the labor within giving birth]

But it took twelve days and nights for the Magi coming from the East, to ‘follow the star’ until they got there—late. Their ‘revelation’ or divine appearance came to them, but they arrived twelve days after the divine birth. Gk. Epi- = after the event, late; -phanos = vision, appearance. Implication is that the wise men were late to the party celebrated by the rest of the [early Christian] world.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, My True Love sent to me. . .

Traditional rhymes to rival the Pokemon version, December blog below


Twelve drummers drumming
Eleven pipers piping
Ten lords a leaping
Nine ladies dancing
Eight maids a-milking
Seven swans a-swimming
Six geese a-laying
Five Gold Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves and
A Partridge in a Pear Tree—parturit in aperte
—Frederic Austin, 1780 Festive song

May we IWSGers and our Cap’n Alex all agree, despite our theological and other differences

And may we enter 2018 with all our spirits protecting us through the maze, so that we emerge—where? when?— in one piece.
©2018 Marian Youngblood

January 4, 2018 Posted by | ancient rites, Ascension, astronomy, birds, blogging, festivals, history, pre-Christian, seasonal, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

The Nuclear Option—Above or Below Ground?

DEALING WITH CATASTROPHE—DEATH-or-LIFE UNDERGROUND
Monthly Drawing Breath Corner for Insecure Writers

Bruno Groth’s Pelican—a remarkable bird that may survive ocean mountains of nuclear waste

It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe
Mohammed Ali

Doomsday ‘Preppers’ have been getting ready for Armageddon-aka-nuclear misfire—cultural breakdown—since the Cold War; but in Silicon Valley they have made it into an art.

One tech company C.E.O. told the New Yorker
“It’s still not at the point where industry insiders would turn to each other with a straight face and ask what their plans are for some apocalyptic event.”

But, having said that, he believes it’s logically rational and ‘appropriately conservative’ to ‘manage the risk’, i.e. plan for the eventuality.

Vulnerability of the United States was exposed by the Russian cyber-attack on the Democratic National Committee during the U.S. election, and by a large-scale hack on October 21st, 2016 which disrupted the Internet in North America and Western Europe.

World food supply is dependent on GPS, logistics, and weather forecasting, which are generally dependent on the Internet. On the Peninsula, every geek knows the Internet is dependent on D.N.S.—the system that manages domain names.

“Go risk factor by risk factor by risk factor, acknowledging that there are many you don’t even know about, and you ask, ‘What’s the chance of this breaking in the next decade?’ Or invert it: ‘What’s the chance that nothing breaks in fifty years?’”

The Final Frontier
Exactly how many wealthy Americans are really making preparations for a catastrophe is difficult to tell; a lot of people don’t like to talk about it. “Anonymity is priceless,” according to one hedge-fund manager.

Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and a prominent investor, recalls telling a friend he was thinking of visiting New Zealand. “Oh, are you going to get apocalypse insurance?” the friend asked.

In the event of civil disorder, these items can be stowed in an overnight bag or go for Dome Living

“I’ve wrestled with alligators / I’ve tussled with a whale / I done handcuffed lightning / And thrown thunder in jail.”
Mohammed Ali/Cassius Clay

New Zealand, it seems, is a favored refuge in the event of a cataclysm. According to Hoffman, saying you’re ‘buying a house in New Zealand’ is kind of a wink, wink, say no more. Once you’ve done the Masonic handshake, they’ll be, like, ‘Oh, you know, I have a broker who sells old ICBM silos, and they’re nuclear-hardened, and they kind of look like they would be interesting to live in.’”

Dr. Robert A. Johnson, a graduate of Princeton, working on Capitol Hill, before entering finance—M.D. at Soros Fund Management—describes himself as an accidental student of civic anxiety. After the 2008 financial crisis, he became head of a financial think tank, the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

He grew up with financiers, company chairmen, hedge-fund managers in Greenwich, Connecticut.

“They all lived within fifty yards of me. From my own career, I would just talk to people. More and more were saying, ‘You’ve got to have a private plane. You have to assure that the pilot’s family will be taken care of, too. They have to be on the plane.’”
Robert A. Johnson, Ph.D.

Silver Better than Gold
Essentials in the Bug-Out Bag, along with the hatchet, have to include a parachute (from the private plane), foldable canoe (to cross that river of disaster) collapsible tent or Bucky Dome—Buckminster Fuller would approve.

One interesting fact is consensus that small is better than big when the S–t Hits the Fan—it even has its own acronym—TSHF—i.e. silver in small coins beats large pieces of gold jewelry when it comes to trading for food and other life essentials.

Not a happy scenario for a beautiful autumn day, perhaps?

But you know what they say about Silicon Valley—way beyond the Capitol Hill wall: always leading edge.

Will we Insecure writers follow? We IWSG-ers are mostly introvert—according to Myers-Briggs—that’s how we pop up after it’s all over and ask “wot hoppen?” because we’ve been so head-down in the rabbit hole.

Such a tactic could serve us well this time, or we might, like Mohammed Ali/Cassius Clay proclaim:

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
©2017 Marian Younbgblood

October 4, 2017 Posted by | art, authors, birds, blogging, culture, Doomsday, energy, fantasy, history, nature, ocean, publishing, seasonal, seismic, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rockin’ the Boat to Save the Lighthouse

Rockin’ the Boat to Save the Lighthouse

Former coal-oil-burner Trinidad Light shone out to mariners headed for home port

PETROLIA might RATTLE
McKinleyville may prattle
But in Trinidad they battle
To save the Lighthouse dear

Eureka dredges Humboldt Bay
While Arcata rescues Market Day
Weaverville firemen clear the way
So folks can go back home dear

One-lane traffic on 299
Get your gear packed well before time
You won’t get much of a warnin’ sign
Tsunami incoming, dear
Sidereal Musing 2017

Trinidad Civic Club’s Memorial Lighthouse site is a sacred one, erected on a small piece of land donated to the club in 1948 by Earl and Neva Hallmark, who in 1946 built the redwood pier at the Harbor. It was to play an important role in the lives of commercial and sport fishermen, and supported the ocean-going life of Trinidad until its steel replacement, which handles marine traffic today.

Synchronously, the Memorial Lighthouse stands on an overlook of the Bluff down towards the sacred burial ground and Yurok village of Tsurai—home to generations of First People—on Old Home Beach. The Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse and the ancient village setting are a reminder of how preservation of sacred places can exist together. The Yurok Tribe are supportive of the Lighthouse preservation fund.

Lighting the Way for a Future of Memories

WWII Danforth anchor, 1898 decommissioned bell—which strikes every day at noon—flank the endangered Lighthouse

Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse, constructed in 1949 to house the 1912 coal oil lantern, was decommissioned by the Coast Guard when the electric light was installed at the Trinidad Head Lighthouse in 1974. The area also accommodates the two-ton 1898 bronze bell decommissioned at the same time when automation came to the Bell House on Trinidad Head, pictured below right.

Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse, a replica of the 1871 Trinidad Head Lighthouse, was built by Trinidad Civic Club on a 45ft. x 50ft. parcel of the Bluff donated by Earl and Neva Hallmark in 1948 and dedicated on June 26, 1949. The lighthouse contains a 1912 coal oil Fresnel lantern, the last one of its kind, decommissioned from use by the United States Coast Guard on the Pacific Coast. It was previously installed in the Trinidad Head Lighthouse.

Later, the World War II USS Danforth anchor, recovered from the bay, was added to the site, and a bronze plaque reading “In loving memory to those who perished at sea. They shall live forever in our hearts” was dedicated May 30, 1970.

The site on the Bluff at Edwards and Trinity Streets also holds the 1898 4,000-pound bronze fog bell moved from the fog Bell House on Trinidad Head, pictured below. It also serves as a Memorial Wall engraved with the names of 238 individuals Lost or Buried at Sea. An annual Memorial Naming ceremony is held on the last Sunday of May commemorating and honoring those named, since 1995.

Lighthouse & former Coastguard cottages on Trinidad Head—foghorn & automated light remain

TRINIDAD City leaders and Civic Club have agreed in principle to raise $40,000-$50,000 to move the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse a few yards away, outside the threatened landslide area.

Council and Civic Club are working together with professional geologists to complete the move by October 2017, before the onset of the rainy season.

Foundation Realignment or Shoring Up?

Civic Club President Dana Hope informed the City Council that her group would accept any stopgap financing, to be secured via fundraising which included online solicitation. $40,000-$50,000 in ‘seed money’ is contingent on how much more Trinidad Council can secure in financing from California’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

OES funding is reckoned likely, but FEMA’s response is ‘pending’—an understandable statement, given their current clean-up operations in Florida and Texas after two hurricanes.

Tiny Trinidad Head Lighthouse, left distance, with functioning foghorn, foreground

The slope underpinning both the Lighthouse and Edwards Street, town thoroughfare that passes just north of the lighthouse steps, need long-term reinforcement. Construction costs range from $100,000 to $1 million, according to a recent engineering report, based on drill borings, readings from slope inclinometers and aerial and field mapping, compiled over last six months by SHN Consulting Engineers & Geologists, Eureka.

Plight of the Lighthouse has attracted national and international attention and that interest is starting to pay off.

A Preservation Fund has already been set up and gifts and donations of any size are flowing in here. U.S. taxpayers may make tax-deductible donations by check for the Lighthouse Preservation Fund to

Trinidad Civic Club
for The Lighthouse Preservation Fund
P.O. Box 295
Trinidad, CA 95570

Those wishing to add a named donation, or gift on behalf of a loved one already buried at sea may wish to use this avenue of funding.

If you want to give anonymously, or make a large (private) amount, you may email for more information to memoriallighthouse@gmail.com.

Trinidad Civic Club, in cooperation with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Coast Guard, arranges free tours of Trinidad Head Lighthouse throughout the year—a strenuous walk around ‘The Head’, but worth it. Discussion is ongoing to find the most reasonable and cost-effective solution before the rainy season.
©2017 Marian Youngblood

September 15, 2017 Posted by | authors, blogging, culture, earth changes, environment, history, ocean, rain, seismic, traditions, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What the World Needs Now…is Love—and Water

The TURN OF THE SCREW
Changing Times call for Change of Tack

Diana Ross in her heyday—’sixties queen of rock and soul

Diana Ross, Jackie deShannon and others sang—

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.
Hal David and Burt Bacharach, 1965

Only fifty years later, we could change the word ‘love’ to ‘water’ and be closer to what this speeded-up world has become—July 2017 hotter than July 2016, which went down in the record books. Water in some places more precious than gold.

Essayist and Kentucky farmer, Wendell Berry [Another Turn of the Crank, 1995] is convinced that organic/sustainable farming in the developed nations ended with the end of World War II. He maintains carefully-managed farming and forestry—as currently practised by the Menominee tribe, can still save agriculture and world food crises.

Another Diana, Princess of Wales—in iconic dress—stunning a nation then & now 20 years ago today since she died

1. FORESTS
Sustainable forestry—as Berry suggests—currently seems a contradiction in terms. Lumber companies like Green Diamond who own 393,105 acres of redwood and Douglas fir forest in Northern California view small local donations as a way of avoiding huge public outcry in their continuing unsustainable forestry practices in Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity counties. They have been donating ‘donor rock’ monuments, courtesy benches, in Saunders’ community park within their tree-felling domain—Trinidad, CA—a small town park overlooked by a fifteen-acre scar on the hill behind, where Strawberry Rock forest has been hacked into hatchet-shape profile by past, poorly conceived clear-felling operations. Local opinion strongly encourages them and their subsidiary logging companies—including California Redwood Co.—to give back to the community—without strings—the Strawberry Rock ‘trail’ which was a logging road through their near-400,000 acres of Northern Humboldt forest. Local Yurok and Tsurai tribal communities who formerly occupied some of the parcels, urge them to GIVE BACK THE LAND.

2. FISH
Klamath River Festival of 2017 imported/purchased salmon from Alaska, after removing it from the menu altogether last year. Concern over hatchlings is supreme with many of local tribespeople actively introducing protective measures.

Hatcheries on nearly all western rivers are in crisis: either banned (legislation) or unmanned (poor management)—a zero percent return at Oroville has stunned the Central Valley; Jefferson county/Del Norte tribes are now actively managing their own fish.

Mendocino water towers from frontier times could return to former use

3. WATER
Not just California’s Central Valley—whose water supply is still funneled south to the Greater Los Angeles basin—but, in common with many less affluent countries in the world, water is becoming more precious than food.

The world is getting thirsty.

Waste water in many cities is still flushed down the drain instead of being collected as rain and storm water in reservoirs—as was the norm until late 1960s—see Mendocino town water towers, still standing though not in use, right.

Time to conserve ‘Waste’ WATER, not flush it into an already-polluted ocean.
Even the smallest reservoir could prove invaluable in ever-present occurrence of forest fire.

4. POPULATION – 7 BILLION & counting
‘Sixties belief in having no children or only allowing oneself one child is now a past pipe-dream. While there are baby-boomers of the ‘Sixties who resolved not to add to the population, their group [and laudable ideal] are far outnumbered by mindless generations since who have no concept of self-control in the genetic department—not a popular subject. It is not p.c. to say no more babies, but we are sensing a call for Moderation/BALANCE in all things—including procreation.

Larsen-C Iceshelf finally broke off from Antarctic peninsula, July 2017—sea-level rise expected

5.CLIMATE
California government initiatives are already in place for the State to act on its own to steer a corrected course through a mire of climate and emissions’ blunders, to lead Washington in showing the way to conserve resources while reducing impact on climate change. Governor Brown’s administration is prepared to go it alone without federal intervention. California is also already ahead in preparedness for natural disasters, fire, earthquake, flood, tsunami warning system and the anticipated sea level rise —c.f. Larsen C shelf break-off 2017, left, during Antarctic ‘winter’. Meltwater is expected to affect the South Pacific in particular, but islands in north Pacific are already seeing the rise.

Remembering Diana, Princess of Wales
While this blog edition is a poor commemoration of that beautiful creature who was Diana, Princess of Wales, I like to think she would have supported all the above points of crisis affecting her/our beloved planet. From that perspective, I believe she is looking down today on us Insecure Writers and at what the world has become. She affected the lives of those who knew her. I believe her charismatic and generous approach may serve as an example to us all, as we face the autumn of 2017 in a changed and changing world.
©2017 Marian Youngblood
p.s. Forgive me Alex and IWSGers for my five-month absence and ‘early’ return 😉

August 30, 2017 Posted by | authors, blogging, culture, earth changes, energy, environment, history, New Earth, ocean, publishing, seasonal, traditions, trees, weather, 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