TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pictorial Dreams


Artist's muse (2015) © Thom Buchanan.

Thom Buchanan, phenomenal artist and blogger at The Pictorial Arts, is putting together an art book of his drawings. Its publication is being funded through a Kickstarter campaign. Mr. Buchanan was interviewed on this blog in 2013, here, about his vision of Millennial humanism. He imagines a rarely optimistic, and yet non-tech-driven, future. Please take a moment to look at Thom's campaign page, here, and support him with a dollar or two if you can. Crowd-funding is one of the more hopeful innovations of our time, enabling smaller producers and creative people to find consumers or an audience in a marketplace increasingly dominated by marketers and corporations.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tibet's Lost Time Capsule


The Lost World of Tibet (2006) © British Film Institute. Video Source: Youtube.

In the interim while this blog is sleeping, see a beautiful film about pre-occupation Tibet, with rare historic footage from the British Film Institute. Before the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950, Tibet's situation in a bowl in the Himalayas ensured that the great powers left it untouched, a medieval time capsule preserved across centuries. The most distinctive aspect of that time capsule was the persistence of a living state religion, in which 20 per cent of the male population became monks. The current Dalai Lama, Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, born Lhamo Dondrub,  was chosen as the state's God King.

Present-day autonomous Tibet. Image Source: Rolf Gross.
 
Tibetan cultural area. Image Source: Tibetan Trekking.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Frozen in Time


Frozen in time: abandoned Riverside Hospital: "North Brother Island is a small island in the East River of New York City, just a short distance from the Bronx. It is now an uninhabited bird sanctuary but between 1885 and the late 1930's it was were patients of the Riverside Hospital were kept in isolation. The ... [h]ospital, built first as a smallpox hospital but later expanded to other quarantinable diseases ... [was opened on] North Brother Island in 1885." Image Source: Deserted Places.

The blog will be frozen in time until 14 February 2015, while I am away due to other work commitments.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Freezing Time Before the Watershed


The Ballad of Narayama (1958) concerns the Japanese legendary practice of ubasute, or, abandoning the elderly in the mountains to die. Different characters obediently accept the practice or violently reject it. Image Source: QBranch.

In story-telling, there are several famous characters who try to freeze time before a watershed moment changes everything. They are traumatized by the moment of change and their rigid attachment to the past is almost always self-destructive. Perhaps this is a way of defining a ghost, someone who acts against the course of the world's destiny and becomes trapped in one frame of time, rather than moving along through many frames of time.

The need to accept change  in order to live in a healthy manner is the larger reason for the ancient injunction: Don't look back. This is the message in myth and religion, as with Orpheus and Eurydice or Lot's wife. Fables, ghost stories and superstitions are full of warnings against mirrors that can capture a hostile past, reflect it back at you, and trap you forever.

"Lot's Wife" pillar, Mount Sodom, Israel. Image Source: Wiki.

Sodom's destruction. Lot and his daughters escape, while his wife turns to a pillar of salt. 12th century mosaic, Duomo di Monreale, Sicily. Image Source: Wiki.

Lot leaving Sodom, with his wife looking back. Woodcut from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) by Michel Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurf.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Time and Politics 13: Je Suis Charlie: Blood and Silicon


#JeSuisCharlie became one of the most popular hashtags in Twitter's short history, according to The Telegraph.

In the past days, photographs were released of the murder scene at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

Charlie Hebdo offices murder scene. Image Source: Mirror.
Also, a Saudi Arabian blogger was flogged with fifty lashes for criticizing Islam on his liberal blog. He will receive 20 weekly whipping sessions until his sentence of one thousand lashes is carried out. The Canadian Press via Yahoo:
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - A Saudi blogger convicted of insulting Islam was brought after Friday prayers to a public square in the port city of Jiddah and flogged 50 times before hundreds of spectators, a witness to the lashing said. The witness said Raif Badawi's feet and hands were shackled during the flogging but his face was visible. He remained silent and did not cry out, said the witness, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity fearing government reprisal.

Badawi was sentenced last May to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes. He had criticized Saudi Arabia's powerful clerics on a liberal blog he founded. The blog has since been shut down. He was also ordered to pay a fine of 1 million riyals or about $266,600.

Rights activists say Saudi authorities are using Badawi's case as a warning to others who think to criticize the kingdom's powerful religious establishment from which the ruling family partly derives its authority. London-based Amnesty International said he would receive 50 lashes once a week for 20 weeks. Saudi Arabia's close ally, the United States, had called on authorities to cancel the punishment.

Despite international pleas for his release, Badawi, a father of three, was brought from prison by bus to the public square on Friday and flogged on the back in front of a crowd that had just finished midday prayers at a nearby mosque. His face was visible and, throughout the flogging, he clenched his eyes and remained silent, said the witness. The witness, who also has close knowledge of the case, said the lashing lasted about 15 minutes.

Badawi has been held since mid-2012 after he founded the Free Saudi Liberals blog. He used the blog to criticize the kingdom's influential clerics who follow a strict and ultraconservative interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism, which originated in Saudi Arabia. He was originally sentenced in 2013 to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in relation to the charges, but after an appeal, the judge stiffened the punishment. Following his arrest, his wife and children left the kingdom for Canada.

Ensaf Haidar, Badawi's spouse, was devastated after learning the flogging had gone ahead, a person close to the family told The Canadian Press.

Haidar was so distraught she couldn't send her kids to school in Quebec, where she is currently living with them, the person said in an email exchange.

She fled to Egypt in April 2012 with their two daughters, Najwa and Miryam, and son, Tirad, according to Amnesty International Canada spokeswoman Anne Sainte-Marie. The family moved to Quebec in November 2013.

Rights groups argue that the case against Badawi is part of a wider crackdown on freedom of speech and dissent in Saudi Arabia since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. Criticism of clerics is seen as a red line because of their prestige in the kingdom, as well as their influential role in supporting government policies.

According to Amnesty, the charges against Badawi mention his failure to remove articles by other people on his website. He was also accused in court of ridiculing Saudi Arabia's morality police.

In a statement after the flogging, Amnesty called the flogging a "vicious act of cruelty" and said Badawi's "only 'crime' was to exercise his right to freedom of expression by setting up a website for public discussion."

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has called the punishment an "inhumane" response to someone exercising his right to freedom of expression and religion.
The Charlie Hebdo murders and Badawi flogging reconfirmed a radical Islamic mandate to kill or destroy blasphemers. These are not just attacks on freedom of speech. This censorship is different from violent censorship in oppressive régimes, where state critics might disappear, be tortured, and be silenced in a prison work camp or mass grave.

These acts of censorship are broadly theatrical (as are others). They seek to enforce surreal new boundaries of a community using brute force and fear. These were town-style enforcement performances, projected on a global scale. Like the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the murder of Theo van Gogh, and the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack particularly presented the world with a grim future plan for society. And, MI5 states, more attacks are to follow.

Before the murders, the last Charlie Hebdo cover featured French novelist Michel Houellebecq. Houellebecq's latest book predicts a future arch-Islamic France and was released on 7 January 2015.

The most recent Charlie Hebdo cartoon before terrorists murdered the newspaper's main staff - poked fun at a novel about a future radically Islamic France, written by novelist Michel Houellebecq's: In 2015 I lose my teeth. In 2022, I celebrate Ramadan. Image Source: Gulf News.

Caption for the above image from Reason.com: "On the day of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the magazine's cover featured a caricature of controversial French author and provocateur Michel Houellebecq sporting a wizard's hat. 'Predictions of the seer Houellebecq,' reads the cover copy. The Houellebecq cartoon offers a pair of predictions: 'In 2015, I'll lose my teeth,' and, 'In 2022, I'll observe Ramadan.'

What's going on? Houellebecq's new novel, Soumission (Submission) is set in a near-future France ruled by a Muslim political party. Scheduled to be published in France on Wednesday [7 January 2015], it had already inspired some highly charged controversy over whether its message—and its author—was Islamophobic. According to Laurent Joffrin, the editor in chief of the leftist paper Liberation, the book's publication 'will mark the date in history when the ideas of the far-right made a grand return to serious French literature.' (Joffrin refers to Houellebecq as 'serious' because he is the winner of several French literary awards.)" [See the Guardian's review of Soumission here. It is available on Amazon here.]

When it comes to tyranny, you don't need to fear jihadists to fear the future. Globalization, combined with communications innovations, created vast new potentials for authoritarian power and profit. The Internet could become the skeleton of a totalitarian superstate or superstates. It is not a question of fearing only jihadists. It is a question of fearing the potential for tyranny everywhere, whether it comes from extreme traditionalists, from radical progressives, or from the middle of the road.

The Web could still remain a seat of freedom. But from the point of view of future authoritarians, initial freedoms on the Internet gave anyone online enough rope with which to hang themselves. Everything you write on the Internet, reacting in the now, can be dredged up and used to judge you later.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Wrong Side of Enlightenment


"A Japanese student was allegedly kidnapped and gang raped by five Indian men near the Buddhist shrine Bodh Gaya for a month." Image Source: Daily Mail.

If you want a cataclysmic, in-a-nutshell example of what is wrong with the world today, read the news item from a few days ago about the Japanese student who was kidnapped and gang raped for a month near the site where Buddha attained enlightenment in India. Or: follow today's coverage of the Charlie Hebdo al Qaeda terrorist murders in Paris, in which twelve people died, including a policeman who was shot in the head at point blank range. The summary of those events is here. The two outrages bookended Christmas in December and Orthodox Christmas, which is celebrated on 7 January in the Julian calendar.

Al Qaeda terrorist murdered a policeman in Paris on 7 January 2015. Image Source: Mirror.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Colour of the Year: Marsala


Images Source: Pantone.

Global cultural uniformity derives from marketing decisions which dictate the aesthetics of our lives. One such decision is the colour of the year, determined by New Jersey corporation Pantone, which tells all interior, events, makeup and clothing designers what palettes to use in the coming months. 2015's hue sits somewhere between cacao nibs and oxblood and is called 'Marsala.' Pantone has been choosing the colour of the year since 2000. You can see a video (here) of Pantone executive director Leatrice Eiseman describing why Marsala was chosen, mainly to answer a 'public need for nurturing and earthy rootedness.'

2014's colour: Radiant Orchid. Image Source: Pantone.

2014's Radiant Orchid palette supposedly drew from Indian influences. In fact, this purple palette is not typical of many Indian regional traditional palettes: see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Image Source: Indian Wedding Site.

Image Source: Lamps Plus.

Last year's colour was 'Radiant Orchid.' In December 2013, polls greeted Radiant Orchid with mixed results. One poll respondent commented: "Let's just say subtlety is not Pantone's strong suit. No interest in using either of [Radiant Orchid or the 2013 colour of the year, Emerald Green]." And another: "How do they determine the color of the year? It never seems to be that popular in the Midwest. I remember a few years ago honeysuckle was the color of the year. So I stocked my store with honey colored accessories. Had to clearance them out. :)" Yet another: "Not a nice color. Can't imagine where I would use it." Another: "I'd like to be part of the panel that picks these 'color(s) of the year'. It appears the criteria include ... 'what is the craziest thing we can come up to see how many sheep follow us over the cliff.' In my mind, the color of the year should be one that is either (1) a color most used in the paint industry or (2) an innovative but usable combination for the majority of the populace. I realize that home décor colors typically follow fashion trends but I'm not quite ready to 'wear' my clothes on my walls."

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ursula Le Guin's New Year


Image Source: South Willard.

The new year celebrates new beginnings as one casts the past aside. It is a difficult to judge how to do this. With every passing year, Millennial conditions diverge more radically from the past. Perceptions must expand to deal with the global exchange of knowledge and technological and scientific advancements. We must find new ways to understand the world, to interpret the cloud of data.

Reality and the larger reality: courtesy of Graham Hancock's Daily Alternative News Desk, recent headlines herald one discovery after another. Every day, new boundaries are breached. Scientists explore the mysteries of matter to the point where matter disappears. Look again at something mundane, and it reveals a trove of secrets, while past certainties crumble in confusion:
  • Russia Today: 'Noah's Ark': Russia to build world first DNA databank of all living things (26 December 2014)
  • Hurriyet Daily News: Massive ancient underground city discovered in Turkey's Nevşehir (28 December 2014): "With 2014 soon coming to an end, potentially the year’s biggest archeological discovery of an underground city has come from Turkey’s Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir, which is known world-wide for its Fairy Chimneys rock formation. The city was discovered by means of Turkey’s Housing Development Administration’s (TOKİ) urban transformation project. Some 1,500 buildings were destructed located in and around the Nevşehir fortress, and the underground city was discovered when the earthmoving to construct new buildings had started. TOKİ Head Mehmet Ergün Turan said the area where the discovery was made was announced as an archeological area to be preserved. 'It is not a known underground city. Tunnel passages of seven kilometers are being discussed. We stopped the construction we were planning to do on these areas when an underground city was discovered,' said Turan. The city is thought to date back 5,000 years and is located around the Nevşehir fortress. Escape galleries and hidden churches were discovered inside the underground city."
  • Newsweek: The campaign to prove Shakespeare didn't exist (29 December 2014)
  • PhysOrg: Scientists race to save 'books' in the burning 'library of life' (29 December 2014)
  • Wired: Machine intelligence cracks genetic controls 29 December 2014): "Most genetic research to date has focused on just 1 percent of the genome—the areas that code for proteins. But new research, published Dec. 18 in Science, provides an initial map for the sections of the genome that orchestrate this protein-building process. 'It’s one thing to have the book—the big question is how you read the book,' said Brendan Frey, a computational biologist at the University of Toronto who led the new research."
  • The Independent: Large Hadron Collider ready to delve even deeper than 'God particle' as it switches back on at double power (29 December 2014)
  • PhysOrg: Study reveals new half-light half-matter quantum particles (29 December 2014): "In a pioneering study, Professor Menon and his team were able to discover half-light, half-matter particles in atomically thin semiconductors (thickness ~ a millionth of a single sheet of paper) consisting of two-dimensional (2D) layer of molybdenum and sulfur atoms arranged similar to graphene. They sandwiched this 2D material in a light trapping structure to realize these composite quantum particles. 'Besides being a fundamental breakthrough, this opens up the possibility of making devices which take the benefits of both light and matter,' said Professor Menon."
Technocrats and scientists are blindly confident as they manipulate and extend our knowledge of reality. But they often lack the training, intuition or perspective to assess the human consequences of their protean experiments.

The tools we use to understand the expanding world are out of date. The best of the past departs in the blink of an eye. Yet the worst of the past lives on, zombified, in political ideologies, pop philosophies, corporate strategies and contemporary world views. How did this mismatch between reality and perception happen? In the latter half of the 20th century, reality became a commodity, subject to the demands of corporate profit and organization, of advertising and of disaster capitalism. Marketing agendas restrict reality's accepted boundaries and punish activity which defines reality beyond those agendas.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Snow Queen


Video Source: Youtube.

This is the Snezhnaya Koroleva [The Snow Queen] a 1957 Soviet animated film directed by Lev Atamanov. It was produced at the Soyuzmultfilm studio in Moscow and is based on the story of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen (Hat tip: Gina Theou).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

World War III of Material Consciousness


Image Source: Astroquest Astrology.

Some think history repeats itself; some think that it is a progress. Sometimes it involves transformation. Astrologers believe that we are undergoing the second last of seven fateful revolutionary celestial events, which have been jarring the world's destiny from 2012 to 2015. Specialists in this esoteric field refer to a so-called 'square' between mighty planets Pluto (underworld, reforged power, control, epiphanies and metamorphoses) and Uranus (invention, innovation, sudden change, surprises), which occurred on 15 December 2014.

Skyscript describes Pluto's symbolic energy as follows:
Sometimes considered a 'higher octave' of Mars, Pluto is similarly powerful and penetrating, but on an unconscious and psychological level. It gradually permeates the subconscious with its drives, leaving the conscious unaware until suddenly and explosively it emerges in an instinctive response that brings sweeping and often devastating change in the psyche and way of living. It can thus be a force for great personal good or ill. It evokes the principles of resurrection and determination, which when positively expressed bring resolution; when negatively expressed, coercion.

Pluto governs the conversion of apparent lost causes into successful projects, but at times the receding of objectives when their point of realisation seems imminent; cycles of death and rebirth; disregard for vested interests; extremes of good and bad (including luck); the frustration and annihilation of plans; idealistic socially motivated organisations; ideas ahead of their time; the inspiration to put an end to failing conditions; involvement in organised groups and movements desirous of social reconstruction, which may include altruistic interest groups, political parties and think tanks, professional associations and trade unions, and also gangs and underground organisations; the negation and transformation of conditions; non-recognition of the legitimacy or impositions of officially established authorities; righteous indignation on behalf of social causes; and the voluntary relinquishment of worldly interests in order to advance spiritual development, or of home, country or fortune for marriage. It manifests in writers and dramatists who seek to inculcate reformist doctrines into their literary works. It is compulsive, intense, and sometimes manipulative.
Click to enlarge. Image Source: Tarot.com.

Skyscript describes the significations of Uranus as follows:
Seen sometimes as a 'higher octave' of Mercury, Uranus enables communication without the conventional mechanism of speech and physical conduction methods. It is therefore associated with radio waves, electromagnetic radiation and electricity, and nuclear radiation. It evokes originality, which when positively expressed manifests as inventiveness; when negatively expressed, as deviance.

Uranus confers contempt for conventional conceptions of morality; distaste at being controlled and at arbitrary forms of outside authority; executive ability; flashes of intuition; perspicacious and reliable insight into others' personal motivations; interest in the principles of religion and science, and in scientific investigation of material phenomena; an inclination to part with customs; and mechanical ability that favours engineering. It is aloof; altruistic; cool; critical; crushingly assertive; conscious of personal authority and power; directed by inner impulses; eccentric; erratic; firm-opinioned; frequently fatalistic regarding personal destiny; heroic; iconoclastic; illuminating; imaginative; impersonal; impulsive; ingenious; insistent upon independence; innovative; inventive of new ideas, methods, moral codes and occupations; liberating; moved by new circumstances; off-hand; organising; peculiar; positive; persevering when faced with obstacles to surmount; power-conscious; promoting; prone to sudden changes of mind and view; prophetic; revolutionary; romantic; self-centred; self-reliant; spasmodic; spontaneous; unbendingly willful; unsentimental; variable; and violently reactive against potential privations of freedom of thought and action; but when restricted, potentially anarchistic; bohemian; eccentric; fanatical; and invective and sarcastic without provocation.

Uranus signifies everything anomalous or unconventional; and the sudden smashing and transformation of outdated established Saturnian structures and restrictions. It also signifies bereavements, blind impulses, catastrophes, changes (especially sudden changes), constructive and mechanical ability, enemies, estrangements, exiles, people in power or authority, public affairs, romances, sudden events, sorrows, suicides, tragedies, and uncertain fortunes.

The glyphs for Pluto and Uranus are noted at 90 degrees to one another in this depiction of the planetary square. Image Source: Lunar Planner.

Astrologers believe that the same aspect - a conflict between power and innovation - affected other revolutions in history: Latin American independence in the 1820s; the 1848 revolutions; the Boxer Rebellion in China at the turn of the 19th-to-20th centuries; the first airplane flight of 1903; the founding of the Bolshevik Party, 1903; the Theory of Relativity of 1905; the first IBM computers of 1965; the social revolutions of the 1960s. It also appeared during the 1929 financial crash.

Image Source: Astroquest Astrology.

The astrological aspects are the same today as they were during the onset of World War II. However, the conflict now takes place in the realm of money and material consciousness, and governments are related insofar as their power hierarchies and economic systems are concerned. FemCentral considers the 2012-2015 Pluto-Uranus squares to be a World War III of finances, economic systems, our whole way of understanding money, materialism, and from that - our encrypted consciousness of the dividing line between the material and immaterial, which can involve religion:
Uranus was last in Aries from 1928-1935. This was the time of the Great Depression. Hitler. Rumblings of World War. During that period, Pluto was also square Uranus, as it is now. However, at that time, Pluto was in the sign of Cancer. It is currently in the sign opposite Cancer, which is Capricorn. ... I’m not predicting World War III. Yes, Uranus is in the same place it was in World War II, and it’s square Pluto, as it was then. But, Pluto was in emotional Cancer at that time. Now, it’s in the sign of tradition. Establishment. Money. This is what people are rebelling against. This is what will change.
From Astroquest Astrology:
I would suggest that by the time Pluto leaves Capricorn in 2022 we will have witnessed an entire change in our understanding of what it is that defines us and what it is that we hold dear and give 'value' to in life. This is the time when decadent regimes collapse and new ruthless regimes rise from the ashes. In the business world, many upheavals take place, as new business strategies replace the old economic models and business practices.

Uranus another outer planet, impersonal and inevitable in Aries will in 2012 be moving in and out of a square with Pluto, triggering many changes on a global level. ... Uranus and Pluto last squared each other in 1929 and we all know what happened in Wall St. then. Interestingly Uranus was also in Aries while Pluto was in Cancer, the sign opposite Capricorn where it is now. The Great Depression of the 30's had its biggest impact on families (Cancer) the concerns this time round are about governments defaulting and perhaps more banks collapsing (Capricorn). Interesting times!
There is a 2012 book on how the square pertains to the early teens of the 21st century: Uranus Square Pluto by Wendy Stacey. You can see the financial crash of 2008 further related to the square at Astroquest Astrology, here. Tarot.com comments on the 2012-2015 series of squares:
Some large institutions may fail, while other big corporate interests may consolidate and increase their power. We may witness political uprisings and social and religious revolutions. It could, in fact, mark an evolutionary leap for our entire species in terms of social and technological advancements.
Image Source: Universal Life Tools.

Universal Life Tools speaks similarly of this revolutionary aspect:
PLUTO in CAPRICORN is about inspiring major transformations in the hierarchical structures of governments, corporations & all those in places of power. ... ‘Pluto holds the vibration of transformation and evolution and Capricorn is about rolling your sleeves up and getting down to work… and together they influence the very foundations of governments, financial institutions, medicine, education… structures are/will break down in order to be rebuilt through evolutionary change’.

URANUS in ARIES is about rebellion against old paradigms and revolutionary change. ... ‘Uranus is the shake up planet governing revolution and evolutionary change…. exhilarating people to rebel against old fear based paradigms’.

When both PLUTO in Capricorn and URANUS in Aries square each other (sit at 90 degrees of each other on a 360 degrees astrological wheel ...) we are feeling an intense desire to rebel, revolt and not sit back and take it anymore.  We are so dissatisfied with the lies, deceit and propaganda, we just want to jump ship and start a new.   Yet at the same time, we know from a higher consciousness that running away is futile, as we need to work pro-actively to dismantle & tear-down and then rebuild, restructure and transform from the ground up.

In Addition to the Pluto/Uranus Square, on the 15/16 December 2014 Uranus is in opposition (180 degrees) to the MOON in LIBRA, and hence Pluto in Capricorn is SQUARING the MOON in LIBRA which together creates a Cardinal T Square. ... [T]he 15/16 December 2014 Cardinal T-Square will potentially create much emotional volatility and a strong impetus to break free from the perceive limiting restrictions of our social, political, hierarchical structures.  It may feel like a volcano is building inside of your as the intensity of the T-Square peaks on the 15/16 Dec. If you can hang in there and focus/build this intensity within, as we then come into the Summer/Winter Solstice on 21/22 December as the Sun moves into Capricorn,  combined with Uranus moving direct in our celestial skies, this will be the most effective time to channel these newfound inspirations from the T-Square and implement authentic steps in your life for personal and evolutionary change.
Wisdom of Astrology comments on the personal impact on individuals here, claiming that this 6th square and the December solstice will call on people to find balance in this conflict. We have to change, but what does that mean, exactly? The astrological predictions are fanciful and symbolic ways of describing the social, political and economic processes of change as well as individual experiences of those processes. We are confronted with the question: are we puppets fated by the universe, or agents of our destinies? How we transform ourselves will begin with a challenge to the financial system, and end with a personal exploration of the transition from the material and immaterial. This marks a realignment of priorities and approaches to material problems. Wisdom of Astrology argues that the end outcome of these speculations must involve an individual adoption of responsibility, a broad atomization of leadership:
This is the challenge of our times—to open to our own brilliance and re-create the world.  We have to become conscious co-creators of life—we have to consciously evolve ourselves and our society to the next stage of human awareness.  Facing what’s going on can’t make us so depressed that we give up and opt out.  That’s what patriarchy hopes we’ll do.  That’s a failure to evolve, because the next step for humanity is conscious community in the Age of Aquarius. We have to be living examples of those principles for the future good of our world.

... We have to face what’s happening in our world—face our collective choices of war and fear and of giving over power to our ‘new kings’—the corporations and banks.  If we withdraw our support from those corporate entities as much as possible, they will die out from lack of life.
To live our spiritual values means that we have to become social activists and live out our beliefs.  And so we become leaders in our own small way.  That is the Aquarian ideal, you know—everyone at the Round Table is equal, free and responsible for the collective welfare.
Image Source: FemCentral.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Look Skyward: The Geminids


Image Source: Space.com.

The nights of 12-14 December 2014 will see the height of the Geminid meteor shower, a brilliant display from an extinct comet, named for the son of the ancient Greek sun god. For a complete worldwide guide on watching these falling stars, go here.

A Geminid fireball over the Mojave Desert (2009) &copy: Wally Pacholka. Image Source: AstroPics / TWAN via Scibuff.

To see the meteors, look for the easy-to-spot constellation of Orion. The constellation of the twins, Gemini, is nearby, to the left of Orion. The meteors appear to originate from Gemini. The shower is known for its slow moving meteors and exciting fireballs. Space.com: "If you have not seen a mighty Geminid fireball arcing gracefully across an expanse of sky, then you have not seen a meteor," note astronomers David Levy and Stephen Edberg." NASA:
Geminids are pieces of debris from an object called 3200 Phaethon. Long thought to be an asteroid, Phaethon is now classified as an extinct comet. Basically it is the rocky skeleton of a comet that lost its ice after too many close encounters with the sun. Earth runs into a stream of debris from 3200 Phaethon every year in mid-December, causing meteors to fly from the constellation Gemini. ...

On Dec. 13, Cooke and a team of astronomers from Marshall Space Flight Center will host an overnight NASA web chat from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. CST, answering questions about the Geminid meteor shower. The Geminids are expected to peak just before dawn on Dec. 14, with a predicted peak rate of 100 to 120 meteors per hour.

To join the webchat on Dec. 13, log into the chat page at: http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/geminids_2014.html

A few minutes before the chat, a chat window will be active at the bottom of the page.

In addition, a Ustream feed from a telescope at Marshall will be available: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc
Space.com:
Even if you can't see the meteor display from your part of the world, you can watch them online. The online Slooh Community Observatory will host a live webcast of the Geminid meteor display on Saturday night beginning at 8 p.m. EST (0100 Dec. 14 GMT). You can also watch the Slooh webcast directly: http://live.slooh.com/. NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke will also host a live Geminids webchat on Saturday night from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. EST (0400 to 0800 GMT), as well as a live webcast.

You can watch the webcasts of the Geminid shower live on Space.com, starting at 8 p.m. EST, courtesy of Slooh and NASA. The Italy-based Virtual Telescope Project will also host a Geminds webcast, beginning at 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT).

Although the bright moon will be high in the sky by 11:30 p.m. local time Saturday (Dec. 13) (during the shower's peak), skywatchers can still catch a potentially incredible show before the moon creeps above the horizon, washing out the sky. Stargazers might be able to see an average of one or two Geminid meteors per minute Saturday before the moon rises.

By around 9 p.m., the constellation Gemini — the part of the sky where the meteors seem to emanate from — will have climbed more than one-third of the way up from the horizon. Meteor sightings should begin to really increase noticeably thereafter.
Be ready to make a wish!

See all my posts on Astronomy.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mars Colonizers and the Secrets of the Universe


Image Source: BBC.

Space exploration will tell us the secrets of the universe. This is because space exploration is a synthetic act. It demands a united vision from, and intense cooperation among, diverse experts. It will require a Millennial convergence of many fields of research and knowledge, which have been divided and sequestered through overspecialization over the past two hundred years. No matter the focus - from cryptocurrencies to the relationship between anti-ageing and cancer - every area of human endeavour and study seems set for epiphany. We are coming from many different paths to a higher consensus of understanding which we cannot yet see.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Cultural Footprint of Jodorowsky's Dune


Image Source: Amazing Stories.

For every generation, there is a window of opportunity to create what Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky's son Brontis called, "a dreamed life." This is the Beautiful Alternative, the path not followed, the epitome of achievement not attained due to failure, impediments, lack of resources or similar circumstances. In cinema, Jodorowsky's 1970s' adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune (1965) is considered by director Richard Stanley as "the greatest movie never made." A 2013 documentary on the subject argues that, at a critical time in the 1970s, this film marked the dividing line between what really matters artistically and real world limitations. And the fact that this particular film was not made because of monetary problems, and the unwillingness of the studios to bring such a radical vision to popular audiences, changed Hollywood and the entertainment industry forever.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tomb of a Sleeping Queen?


Image Source: AP via National Geographic.

From Marie Antoinette, a modern Austrian princess, we go back through time to another queen, Olympias. We go back through Austria, or Österreich (the 'Eastern Reich,' the modern remnant of the Eastern Roman Empire), and before Rome, back to Greece. In Greece, archaeological circles are buzzing about a newly-discovered burial chamber from the time of Alexander the Great (Hat tip: Graham Hancock). It is 2,300 years old and is the largest ancient tomb in northern Greece.

The burial mound stands near ancient Amphipolis, 600 kilometers (370 miles) north of Athens. The tomb inside the mound is massive, marble-walled and ornately decorated, and must house the body of a royal personage, perhaps Alexander's mother or wife.

It is unlikely to be the tomb of the famous king himself, whose grave is lost somewhere in Egypt - another mystery waiting to be solved. The site is dated after his death, in the latter quarter of the 4th century BC, approximately between 325 and 300 BCE. Alexander died in 323 BCE. A member of the Argead dynasty ('from Argos'), Wiki describes him simply: "The most notable ancient Greek King and one of the most celebrated strategists and rulers of all time. Alexander at the top of his reign was simultaneously King of Macedonia, Pharaoh of Egypt, King of Persia and King of Asia." Because of his blinding legacy, still evident today, Alexander's impact arguably surpasses that of any other leader of the ancient world, including the Persian kings, the Egyptian pharaohs, and successive Roman emperors. Unsurprisingly, that interpretation is disputed by modern Iranian scholars. Legacies aside, the tomb dates from ancient Greece's highest moment of glory and power before the flowering of a multicultural Hellenistic imperial culture, which eventually led to the emergence of the Roman Empire after the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE.