Youngblood Blog

Writing weblog, local, topical, personal, spiritual

Wrapping Troubles in Fog-Ocean Dreams

POWER OF A Piscean Stellium
Monthly IWSG Corner
Many times during a new transition, a house move, rearrangement of one’s life, writing has to go on the back burner. Much though we would like to keep up the pace, our stamina—our ability to get through it—flags and we feel the need to let it all go.

Ocean pulls in her skirts gracefully

Ocean pulls in her skirts gracefully; see poem below

So it seems poignant and synchronous that some of us IWSGers over the last month have felt ourselves swayed, influenced—in our writing flow and in other ways—by a huge swelling wave, a virtual convocation of planets and heavenly bodies in the astrological sign of Pisces, the Fish. It is the ultimate watery sign of duality, emotional excess, unbridled boundlessness—some say chaos. A return to our primeval form.

Stellium in Pisces
With the present swing in public fancy to the ‘Astroview’, it will astonish nobody to learn that we are currently midway through a major stellium in Pisces. For the uninitiated, this is astrospeak for turmoil of the heart/emotional mayhem throughout the run-up to the new moon [in Pisces] March 10-11th, 2013.
On those nights, the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Chiron, Venus, Mars, Neptune are held in a crucible within the bosom of Pisces—the most emotional, watery, spiritual sign of the zodiac. These bodies already stand in close conjunction, waiting for the Moon.

Following in the wake of the recurring potent three-year-long stress of a Grand Cross, it isn’t surprising that we now feel like a wet dish rag.

March 2013: bowl astro-chart: Piscean emotion holds 7 planets suspended in a 'stellium', as Jupiter & Saturn maintain balance

March 2013: crucible astro-chart: Piscean emotion holds seven planets suspended in a ‘stellium’, while Jupiter & Saturn maintain balance on either side

Psychic Piscean ‘Go with the Flow’
Life-affirming Piscean tendencies include:
Compassion, forgiveness and healing without sacrificing your self-esteem
Using the energy of the dream/fantasy to create something that touches people
Faith in what’s healthy for you
Letting go of what drags you down
Seeing what lies beyond the mundane world
Allowing things to happen

Less-than constructive qualities include:
Compassion, forgiveness and healing that drains you
Using the energy of the dream/fantasy to become addicted to someone
Faith in anything/everything, whether it’s healthy or not
Letting go of all boundaries
Denying the mundane world
Passively waiting for things to happen

For those who like specifics,
Neptune entered its watery home sign two years ago and will remain in Pisces through 2024;
Mars moved into Pisces: February 1st
Mercury into Pisces: February 5th
Sun into Pisces: February 18th
Venus into Pisces: February 25th
Moon stood in Virgo (full) on February 28th and
will move (new moon) into Pisces March 11th.

The immediate window extends through March 21st, equinox. So, brace yourself!

Being guided by one’s heart and following one’s intuition seems the only way. Or, to translate that in psychiatric concepts: allowing the left hemisphere to dominate—right handedness—will only lead to grief. By allowing our right hemisphere to guide us—left handed creativity—we may pull through this massive—planet-wide—emotional storm.

Sometimes, during Insecure Writers’ Support Week, we get to throw out a little nugget of a favorite subject—astro being one of mine—and our tolerant Ninja Cap’n Alex allows us the liberty of rabbiting on about matters unrelated to the honored art of writing. Such is this post; but since it DOES have a ‘space’ theme, and gives us a little insight into what we’re currently experiencing, never before having been exposed to such a degree of cosmic force, may I wish us all Godspeed and stamina to sail these choppy waters in uncertain times.

Cassini's fragile image of Venus cradled in Saturn's G-ring

Cassini’s fragile Venus cradled in Saturn’s G-ring


To end on a (positive) romantic note, when in trouble, dream…
… and a poem-let of inspiration by my nine-year old muse, inspired by [Neptune and] her ocean vista, top.

The Ocean by Oriah
The Ocean’s waves gracefully in the sunset
Where the seagulls fly
Pink clouds gently float away while the Moon rises
Then the Ocean comes back

No doubt our SpaceCaptain feels mucho at home in the rarified reaches of planetary atmospheres—Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are all familiar territory; so maybe wishing ourselves well through this emotional roller-coaster is the best support we can give each other. May all our blogs be guided by superlative cosmic forces… sounds like a phrase from his forthcoming CassaStorm.
Thanks again for being there, fellow IWSGers and Alex.
©2013 Marian Youngblood

March 6, 2013 Posted by | astrology, authors, blogging, poetry, publishing, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Land That Time Forgot

Dreams of the Magus takes you on your own personal quest

One of the exquisite delights of blogging is meeting and having open communication with like minds which the internet and personal ‘pages’ afford. Pete Madstone, author of the revealing personal guidebook to opening doors within – ‘Dreams of the Magus’ – says he was guided to write his Great Work after a lifetime walk through most of the world’s religions. His fascination with global spiritual and magical tradition allowed him to emerge as his own spiritual guide and his focus on non-attachment has kept him on the path – which he tries to walk with simplicity. He and his French wife Cathy are currently building their own home in the countryside of southern France.

Pete and I not only share the addiction of writing and love of the printed word, but we both submitted our books in the James Twyman competition (ongoing) to find the ‘next top spiritual author’. It appeared to us separately and together that the contest had to walk a fine line between maintaining energy levels required to bring a thousand authors into the fold – via a series of ’rounds’ – and the competitive nature of eliminating 99 percent of them. We have both completed round one (voting round), but as of today await confirmation whether or not our books have made it over the first hurdle: enough votes!

I want to thank those kind readers – both Pete’s and mine – who voted for us. Watch this space.

Meantime I invited Madstone to contribute here as a guest author in my occasional series – the Youngblood Guest Blog – and I think you will be as delighted as I am by what you read.

The Land That Time Forgot
‘These caverns are paradise to those who secretly dwell in them’ G. Peter Madstone

Today, I find myself living in the southwest of France in a place I could have never dreamed of. It abounds with life — birds, animals, insects and woodlands. There are more trees than people, and many of the inhabitants of these savage lands live just outside the arena of the physical world that we are so familiar with. In spite of the typical challenges that come with life itself, wherever any of us might live, I would have to say this place is simply “exotic.”

So, let’s begin with Webster’s definition of the word exotic

exotic
1: introduced from another country: not native to the place where found >exotic plants<
2: archaic : foreign, alien
3: strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual
4: of or relating to striptease

Let’s take this step by step –

definition 1. With this, it seems that I am the exotic one here, since I was “introduced” here from America — a member of a not-yet-extinct variety of humanity’s transitional sub-species, the evolutionary inclusionist.

definition 2. Foreign, yes — alien, likely. So this would be me, again. I am foreign and alien to this place (or at least its people), since I come from another with different ways — but from my perspective, this place is what is foreign and alien, so all things can, indeed, be seen in more than one way.

definition 3. Okay — now we’re talking, and not about the “famous” French cuisine (though the food certainly fits with this one, as well). Let me repeat this definition — strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual. If I apply this definition to this place, I would have to say that I couldn’t say it any better — it describes perfectly the environment that surrounds me. Because I cannot say things as simply as Mr. Webster, I will devote much more time and effort to describe this place that is far from south Santa Monica, the place where I cut my teeth on a surfboard. But first…

definition 4. This one is pretty much irrelevant, since the kind of place you might find exotic dancers would be in the nearest city – which for me would be a French city called Bordeaux and, like all French cities, this one is terribly intimidating. On the same note, I will mention that it is not unusual for the French female to tan her chest freely on our summer beaches, just as the males do – and so these beaches could certainly be considered “exotic” in this context, but I don’t live on the beach.

I would now discuss just what is strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual about this place, for this is what I really have to share with you.

It is not that what I will be discussing was never available to me in the variety of other places I have lived; it is just that never have these certain exotic flavors been so apparent to me — so evident, tangible or real. Maybe it is me who has changed, but I would have to surmise that it is my environment that has changed me — this exotic environment.

The Path to Never-Never Land

I live on a half-acre of land, 500 meters (3 “city” blocks) from a medieval village in, as I said, the southwest of France. The road to my house is unpaved and few cars pass by on their way to some scattered homes beyond my own. Splitting off this small road by the gate to my land is an entrance to an old path which is used by the occasional equestrian, hiker or nearby resident of the village on an evening stroll. A couple of winters ago, I was walking this path more than anyone, for I had made a discovery that was reliant upon one condition for this peculiarity, or phenomenon, to be witnessed most easily — I had to be present at a certain place accessed by this path at the time of the “crack between the worlds,” the quarter-hour just before and just after sunset.

So it was out my gate just about every evening, and down this path around 500 meters in the opposite direction from the village into a little tree-lined pasture. On the path were two old oak trees that became a vortex, or portal of sorts for me, for every time I walked past these two trees, everything became silent — there was a definite shift. Far away traffic, birds, insects, and the general buzz of life all stopped here. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was passing into a different time, and a different place — into a land that time forgot.

There, at the far end of this grassy field where three hedgerows join is a small copse closing in an otherwise invisible corner of the field. Directly at the entrance of this little secluded corner is an old water well — a well covered and overgrown by years of non-use and neglect. This is certainly a forgotten place.

The first few times I’d gone to this place, I would feel eyes upon me — many, many eyes from behind and in the trees and branches of overgrowth surrounding me — always blinking off and on, twinkling like bright little stars in a woods bereft of foliage. There was something here, and I certainly felt right at home. It didn’t take me long to begin doing sunset rituals of communion wand-less, and without any of the typical tools, talismans or regalia of the trade. There was certainly a bustle in these hedgerows, and well before the time of the May Queen.

My simple but raw ceremonies became a standard for me, weather permitting.

Upon arriving, I would stop to take in the energy and air of this ancient place, and center myself in the open space defined by the leafless trees. Then I began
walking my circles, and defining my pentagrams, hexagrams and sphere of influence/reality. Salutations would be done, followed by invocations of the cardinal’s overseers. Then, simply stillness and release. It wasn’t a few days before I began sitting at the mouth of the old well after performing my ritual. I wanted just to be with the land and its wild life, curious about the abundance of those shy and reluctant, but always blinking eyes. From the first time I sat at the opening of this well, I could sense the presence of our local Undines working in the watery realms directly below me — however, these were not the ones with the eyes in the woods.

These others, I found quickly, were of the earth realm: beings who never ventured into the light of day unless absolutely necessary (invoked), or simply overwhelmed with curiosity or craftiness — these were the Gnomes, working the same caverns below me that the Undines travelled. These caverns and tunnels are abundant in this region of France, with many of them open to the surface, and all of them are crystalline in some way.

All these caverns are paradise to those who secretly dwell in them.

It's not a hat I wear. It's just my head.

So it was at some point just after the winter solstice that I met this local group of Gnomes — builders they are, if you don’t already know this — and here I was getting ready to build a house. Every evening I was there, they would begin to crowd around me, these little Gnomes. Small they may be, but certainly strong and stout they are, for they are rock workers. Masons they are, Stonemasons, the prototypical Freemasons, and the earth they work is their temple.

So, I decided to ask for one of these earth-dwellers to help me with the building of my house, which had been at a standstill for 2 years. I specifically stated my requirements (I thought) that were as follows —

  • The house needed to be done in 1 year,
  • and I needed funds, materials, support from friends as yet unmade, with the actual physical work,
  • plus support from one of the Gnomes who was considered highly skilled at this work they did so well.
  • Of course, it slipped my mind that these beings were best at rock-work, and other than the rock foundation, the house was to be of wood frame/strawbale construction — but Gnomes are builders, and the best in the world, so why would this matter?

    One of the Gnomes did come for me, knowing it wouldn’t be a full-time job. He would only come around when I was actually working, and besides the other events he was to oversee, he still had his own personal time, and life. He was an A-BAR — this is the title of a Master Rocker, and his name was “Ephrana -yam.” He prefered to be called A-bar, or simply Eff.

    A year passed as agreed, and the rock foundation was done.

    So what of the house? Well, it was far from finished, but at least I did have a floor to build the house upon. Apparently, one year was not enough time for me to build a house, even when partnered with a specialist in rock-work. I still had wood frames to bring up, roofing to do, and everything else up to and past the kitchen sink.

    Of course, A-bar did exactly as he understood — it was I who was somehow vague or a little unfocused/misdirected in my desires. So for my little Gnome friend, a year is what it took to complete his part of the job — a year for the foundation.

    Of course, the funding too did arrive for the project within that time, from an unexpected place, and I could not have continued without that, anyway. So Eff did do his job, as requested, and did it to a Tee.

    So what of this exotic nature of the place that I call home (for now)?

    There is something about it that is so pure, untouched — unqualified even. In the history of man, very little has been done to corrupt, or even direct the energy here, and so it can be a little difficult to work with. It is very still and unmoving and it is used to being still — it is an uncertain energy. It is tentative, having had little experience with outside direction or foreign influence.

    But we can both learn — both me and this energy. Some have said the energy is flat here, but to me, its potential is remarkable, for it has been unused for millennia, maybe since the beginning of time.

    I still have to wonder, though – is this a place that time forgot, or just a place that man forgot?

    ©2010 G. Peter Madstone
    Pete Madstone is author of the spiritual handbook to uncovering one’s own consciousness and inner magic, ‘Dreams of the Magus: where Angels Fear to Tread’. In addition to regular ritual reconnection with his earth paradise, he is publisher at Madstone Mystery Labs.

    May 4, 2010 Posted by | ancient rites, authors, crystalline, elemental, energy, nature, ritual, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

    Nirvana & Light withdrawal: chop wood and carry water

    Sunset time in Lerwick is 3p.m.

    Two days to go until the sun stands still for 24 hours! That’s how it looks in the northern hemisphere, in places like Lerwick in the Shetlands; Trondheim in Norway, Reykyavik in Iceland and Juneau, Alaska. Then as if on cue or by some cosmic wind-up mechanism, the solar orb starts rolliing again, adding another four minutes of light to each day once more. It allows us hibernators to come out of our winter caves and surface to the sun. If, like me, you live anywhere above Scotland’s ‘Central Belt’, I can assure you the return of the light is such a welcome curve.

    There used to be legal ‘lighting-up times’ in Britain: this wasn’t a comical reminder to smoke a cigar or kindle the wood burning stove; it was a law that drivers should switch on headlights 30 minutes after sunset and off 30 minutes before dawn. These laws no longer exist. Legally drivers must simply switch lights on in vehicles whenever visibility is reduced.

    snow in time for solstice

    i rather miss the old ‘lighting-up times’. It was a way of keeping us in alignment with the hours of the day, with sun times: it helped us tune into the ‘real world’; you know that one out there that’s chucking down snow at us right now and freezing the pipes and causing animals in fields to die if they don’t have shelter; not really that a motorist these days has much time for such banalities. If you are driving in Sheffield or Sacramento, night time looks the same as day because all the lights are on anyway.

    Just in case no one believes me, here are some sunrise and sunset times for Britain at the moment: if you live in Bournemouth, or the Isles of Scilly, the sun goes down at 4pm: you are blessed to be able to have a whole hour more light than someone living for example on Unst, the most northerly of the British Isles. Sunset there is 3pm. You get it at the other end of the day, too. You have the blessing of daylight as you drive to work in, say, Dover because the sun comes up at 8am. Pity the ferryboat captain in Wick harbor who doesn’t see the sunrise until 10 minutes to 9am and has to have his lights switched on again at 3pm for sunset.

    Sunset at Wick happens at three o'clock

    I started writing this at sunset: on the Moray Firth that’s 3:14pm and the day has ended. Night time activities begin. Living in the country, if you haven’t got all your animals inside, fed and watered, you’re going to have to do it in the dark. This was a way of life for thousands, perhaps millions, in days of yore, but few give it a thought these days. I won’t see sunlight again for another seventeen and one-half hours. That’s a remarkable amount of night time, if you really think about it.

    There are compensations. Aurora Borealis, for one. Displays at these latitudes can last for hours. And, of course at the height of summer this far north, there is the most awesome array of light showered from above in a day which lasts equally as long as this winter night. Seventeen hours of light in summer; seventeen hours of dark in winter. No wonder they say the Norwegians, Icelandic poets and Scots bards have a poignancy in their work like no other, except perhaps the Russians.

    Aurora can last for hours

    Nevertheless, because of the snowstorm, this writer is focused more at the moment on keeping body and soul together and that means the old Nirvana adage: ‘before and after achieving Nirvana, chop wood and carry water’.

    And while that is a really poor excuse for an introduction to another poem about trees, wood, and burning logs; it’s all I’ve got right now. Days are short; birds and animals bring other demands. Night is a hard taskmistress.

    I gave the wonderful wood-burning rhyme in a previous blog ‘for a Queen to warm her slippers by’. This one has slightly different meter, but it includes a more diverse array of woods.

    I am particularly fond of the admonition toward the end. The writer (our perennial friend Anon) is quite clearly a supporter of the ancient Caledonian Pine, Pinus sylvestris now in short supply, although being gradually re-introduced and replanted privately.

    For a country (Caledonia) which the Romans described as ‘thriving in Pine’, because the origial Caledonian Pine Forest stretched from coast to coast, we have been remarkably careless with this beautiful native tree.

    Robert I Bruce, of course, was the main culprit: he burned his way from Kelso to the Comyn stronghold of the Earl of Buchan near Fraserburgh in 1308. This ‘herschip’ or harrying of Buchan was a treatment from which the country never recovered.

    It is encouraging to note that the charity Trees for Life is replanting this and other native trees in considerable numbers in a northerly enclave of the original Caledonian Forest.

    That little divertissement was a mere sidestep for tree-lovers. For wood-burners, here is the rhyme by our friend Anonymous.

    Enjoy.

    Logs to Burn

    Logs to burn, logs to burn
    Logs to save the coal a turn;

    Here’s a word to make you wise
    When you hear the woodman’s cries
    Never heed his usual tale
    That he’s splendid logs for sale

    Scots pine, the 'Scotch log' of the rhyme

    But read these lines and really learn
    The proper kind of logs to burn.

    Oak logs will warm you well
    If they’re old and dry.
    Larch logs of pinewoods smell
    But the sparks will fly.
    Beech logs for Christmas time
    Yew logs heat well
    ‘Scotch’ logs it is a crime
    For anyone to sell.

    Ash worth their weight in gold

    Birch logs will burn too fast
    Chestnut scarce at all.
    Hawthorn logs are good to last
    If cut in the fall.
    Holly logs will burn like wax
    You should burn them green.
    Elm logs like smouldering flax
    No flame to be seen.

    Pear logs and apple logs
    They will scent your room
    Cherry logs across the dogs
    Smell like flowers in bloom.
    But ash logs all smooth and grey
    Burn them green or old
    Because of all that come your way
    They’re worth their weight in gold. Anonymous

    December 19, 2009 Posted by | ancient rites, astronomy, consciousness, culture, environment, nature, popular, seasonal, sun, trees, weather, winter | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment