TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

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.



Showing posts with label Astrology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Astrology. Show all posts

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Martian Moment in 2018


Image Source: Strange Sounds.

It may sound odd, but the event that stands out in my mind as encapsulating the year of 2018 was astronomical. Mars was brightest in the night sky from 27-30 July 2018; it reached opposition with the sun, and then shortly afterwards came closest to Earth on 31 July 2018. Mars had not been so close to the Earth since 2003.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Space and Struggle to Become Responsible


Vice President Pence Unveils U.S. Space Force Plans (C-SPAN) (9 August 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

The news is full of space headlines. On 9 August, the American Vice President Mike Pence announced that the United States will build a sixth branch of its armed forces, a "space force" to "prepare for the next battlefield." The full statement is here.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Happy Lunar New Year!


Image Source: Metro.

Just as an Aquarian partial solar eclipse covers Antarctica, those who follow lunar calendars are celebrating the New Year. Happy New Year! In Chinese astrology, this is the Year of the Earth Dog.

直播回看:2018中央电视台春节联欢晚会 | 2018 CCTV Spring Festival Gala (15 February 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

CGTN: Pray for the New Year at the Lama Temple大年初一雍和宫上香 (15 February 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Welcome the December Solstice 2017


Stones of Stenness, Orkney, Scotland, UK. Image Source: pinterest.

Welcome the December Solstice. It arrives at 16:28 UTC, heralding the arrival of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and of spring in the Southern Hemisphere.


Today, the blog belatedly observes this year's 80th anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic, The Hobbit, which was first published on 21 September 1937. Above, for the solstice, hear Tolkien read a section from The Hobbit (hat tip: Brain Pickings via Sound Cloud).

Mystery of the Universe: "This ancient building is called Fornace Penna. It was an ancient fabric of bricks destroyed because of bombing in the second world war. Behind this beautiful historic wreck you can see the milky way in all its magnificence." (Sicily, Italy; 23 May 2015) Image © Salvatore Cerruto via TWAN.


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Look Skyward: December Supermoon of 2017


Image Source: The Old Farmer's Almanac.

Today is the Cold Moon full moon and occurs at 3:47 p.m. London UK time; 10:47 a.m. in New York; 9:17 p.m. in Mumbai; and 2:47 a.m. on 4 December 2017 in Sydney. You can see more time zones here. This moon is also a Supermoon, the only one in 2017, and the first of three in a row, with more to come on 1 and 31 January 2018. The 31 January 2018 full moon will also be a lunar eclipse. A Supermoon occurs at or near perigee, making it appear much larger than usual.

You can watch live footage of the moon on the Slooh telescope below, starting at 9 p.m. Eastern (NYC time) on 3 December 2017. Or you can watch it here.

The Supermoon Challenge (3 December 2017): "At 9 p.m. EDT Sunday (Dec. 3) the astronomy broadcasting service Slooh will air a free webcast about largest full moon of 2017, the December supermoon Cold Moon." Video Source: Youtube. (Hat tip: Space.com.)

I don't read horoscopes to understand history, of course, but astrologers do. It can be entertaining on days like this. For those who follow lunar calendars and astrology, the moon passes through a different zodiac sign every 2-3 days, unlike the sun, which takes a month to do so.

This full moon will be in the sign of Gemini, and astrologers have announced that if you want to shift your life and achieve your highest calling and establish your legacy, you'd better start doing it before the December solstice: "Jump now!" Review and make peace with your past, because the wormhole of opportunity is closing.

We are about to end a period of debates on social roles, personal and national boundaries, borders, immigration, limits, citizenship, and how we perceive those ideas. On 19-20 December 2017, those changes will lead to a two-and-a-half year period of hard work and brutal honesty as we face fears, confront karma from the past 29 years, revamp belief structures, expose secrets, and begin rebuilding reality. Think of it as one prolonged dental visit, but your smile will look great in 2020, if we don't have a world war first.

The last time there were similar aspects in the sky (Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn) was 18 December 1517, almost five hundred years to the day on this solstice. This date in 1517 of course marked the onset of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation. There is an upcoming interview on this blog about that event; previously scheduled for November, it will be posted soon.

Astrologer David Palmer states that the fire is going out before a long winter. The picture he draws resembles Game of Thrones: after ages of warning that 'winter is coming,' in fact, now, 'winter is here.' Those who are resilient, work hard, have planned for the period of testing in the snow and the darkness will achieve great things. The test is spiritual and emotional before it is financial and physical. So 'working hard' implies spiritual work first and how that determines your work in the world. This is not about your work and money coming first and you sort out your emotions and state of your soul later.

A previous similar astrological crossroads in the sign of Capricorn occurred on 19 December 1284, a time which marked the end of the Crusades in what is now the Middle East, and led to the suppression of the Knights Templar in the early 1300s.

On today's full moon, the way to prepare for the upcoming period and how to do your best work in the coming years may not be evident. When seeking the big picture of your situation, it may look like you are trapped in a rat maze and facing brick walls. If you are scientifically minded, logical, and always want reasonable answers, you're advised to chill out and let the answers come to you. Astrologer Timothy Halloran: "Be like a flower that opens up to the sun to receive that information, without trying to grab it."

In the first week of December, be careful when driving because people will be tense. Avoid arguments, coffee, and Facebook.

For today, the following meditation is suggested at Om Journal:
"The Moon is in its maximum power. The best meditation for this day is silence. Either early in the morning or in the evening time, sit in a comfortable pose and listen to the silence of your mind. Try to stop your thoughts, so they won't disturb you anymore. Your thoughts are like clouds, flying by the clear sky of your mind. Try to keep this balanced feeling as long as possible and don't strain your body. Rejuvenation procedures are favorable today; ideal places for them are natural bodies of water, where you can swim along the moonlight."
If swimming in a large body of water under the moonlight (!) is unavailable, or just too cold, I checked Youtube, which has over 13,300 results (and counting) on videos for meditations just for this full moon of December 2017, here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Interstellar Hystery


"This artist’s impression shows the first interstellar asteroid: `Oumuamua. This unique object was discovered on 19 October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawai`i. Subsequent observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that it was travelling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. `Oumuamua seems to be a dark red highly-elongated metallic or rocky object, about 400 metres long, and is unlike anything normally found in the Solar System." Image Source: ESO/M. Kornmesser; image published 20 November 2017.

Since the end of October, astronomers have been buzzing about the first ever observed interstellar visitor to our solar system. Jointly confirmed by ten observatories as it was momentarily captured by the gravity of our sun, this asteroid has arrived from elsewhere in our galaxy. The International Astronomical Union has now given this rock a name, 1I/2017 U1 ('Oumuamua - pronunciation here). The name is a Hawaiian word meaning “a messenger from afar arriving first.” The asteroid was spotted on 19 October 2017 by Robert Weryk with the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) telescope at the University of Hawaii.

Video Source: Guardian.

What struck me, looking at its path, is how strict and staid the average person's view still is of the cosmos. That is, on the unconscious level, our view of reality is shaped by the order and predictability of our tiny solar system - sun plus planets on a plane, the night sky punctuated by familiar constellations. The visit of 'Oumuamua is a reminder of the scope of space and its unpredictability. Of course, thousands of these interstellar objects regularly enter our system, and our limited knowledge of them is symptomatic of our level of science and technology, rather than their absence.

"A/2017 U1 is probably of interstellar origin. This NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech diagram shows its path of travel from above the plane of our solar system, around the sun and past earth at 44 kilometres per second. It was closest to the sun on Sept. 9." Image Source: NASA JPL/Caltech via Weather Network.

"This diagram shows asteroid 'Oumuamua's path through the solar system. An analysis of its path shows that it is coming from the direction of where the star Vega is now, although Vega would not have been at that location millions of years ago. Now that it is leaving, it is headed for the constellation Pegasus. A new report, written using observations made using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, is now providing even more information about this asteroid." Image Source: ESO/K. Meech et al. via Weather Network.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

America's Total Eclipse of the Sun


Image Source: Travel and Leisure.

Other countries have solar eclipses cross their territories all the time. But America never does things by halves, and 21 August 2017 is no exception.

Jalu, Libya: 2006 Total Solar Eclipse (29 March 2006). Video Source: Youtube.

Total Solar Eclipse in Svalbard 2015 (Crowd Reaction) (20-21 March 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Alaska Airlines Solar Eclipse Flight #870 (8-9 March 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

This is the first time a total solar eclipse will exactly span the United States in nearly a century; the last such eclipse took place on 8 June 1918. The moon’s penumbral shadow will produce a partial eclipse visible from most of North America. The most recent total solar eclipse prior to this one, which crossed parts of the USA and Canada, occurred on 26 February 1979.

Video Source: The Weather Network.

To celebrate this Monday's eclipse, there are family road trip eclipse maps; viewers which fit over your iPhone; shades and special eclipse binocularsglow-in-the-dark t-shirts and other appareltote bags; travel mugs; and commemorative Californian wines called Umbra and Totality. The company Possets released a dedicated perfume:
"On a bed of gentle sandalwood rest two softly animalic musks that encompass a suggestive intermingling of a spot-on lilac accord and a measure of sweet hawthorne. This is one sexy and classy perfume that will invite dimming of the lights..."
There is even a 2017 book about the 1878 solar eclipse: American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World. Bonnie Tyler will sing her 1983 pop classic, "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas off the coast of Florida.

A total solar eclipse sweeping across the US- BBC News (21 August 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Image Source: NASA.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Millennial Extremes 13: Reach the Summit of Summits


On 25 May 2014, Sandhana Palli Anand Kumar became the first Dalit (India's lowest social caste, the 'untouchables') to scale Mount Everest. He accompanied Malavath Poorna, then aged 13, the youngest girl ever to climb the mountain. Image Source: Youtube.

The blog started this year in the Himalayas, and returns there as we just passed the year's half-way point on 1 July 2017. This day, 23 July 2017 (9:45 UTC), is also a new moon in Leo, which if you believe in astrology, marks a huge shift in everyone's lives.

After 18 months of slogging, the astrologers declare a big door has opened, and the period from today through to the 21 August 2017 solar eclipse is symbolically the end of past difficulties and the start of the story of why you were born to live on this planet, no matter how old you are. One astrologer worked himself up into hysterics and yelled: "It's going to be a wild ride. ... Stop thinking about the world. ... Don't f**k this one up!! ... You rarely get opportunities like this!"

However, one must act under guidance of the heart, against mass conformity and reject preconceived ideas of the way things should be (south node in Aquarius). Dark Star Astrology calls it "tribal shock"; one must act as an authentic, genuine individual. There is a choice between leaders and groups, between individuals and collective social conditioning.

The last time we saw similar aspects (north node in Leo) was before the tech boom in 1998-1999, which defined the way the world came to look - but what was subsequently created was not as planned or prescribed; nor was it expected, given the way things were in the 1990s. It is a time of huge creativity, combined with uniqueness, individualism, and unpredictability.

Sandhana Palli Anand Kumar's selfie video from the summit: Amazing video from top of Mount Everest: Anand Kumar on peak (June 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Symbolic this new moon may be, but no summit can be scaled without initial resolution and Mount Everest provides the best example.

At 8,848 metres (29,029 feet), the mountain, half in China, half in Nepal, is of course the world's tallest. It has other names: Chomolongma (in Romanized Tibetan); Sagarmatha (Romanized Nepalese); Qomolangma (Romanized Chinese). Its Old Darjeeling name is Deodungha.

Here are some new videos of people who successfully scaled this incredible peak. The most recent examples involve people who use the summit simultaneously to break social barriers, while overcoming tests of personal physical endurance and possibility. The latter have always been so. Only two people have ever scaled the mountain solo: the Italian, Reinhold Messner and the Swede, Göran Kropp (1966-2002). But today's mountaineers challenge the mountain, as well as barriers of age, gender, and social class.

After two years' preparation, Russian Valery Rozov set a record base jump off the mountain in May 2013: Mount Everest Wingsuit Jump Video: Man Jumps Off Peak With Wingsuit (May 2013). Video Source: Youtube.

Climbing Mount Everest is a deadly prospect, and there are a lot of videos about the dark side of these expeditions. The mountain is littered with tonnes of human waste and garbage and is the gravesite of unrecovered climbers' bodies. Over 290 people have died trying to climb the mountain. Nevertheless, the expeditions have continued and increased since 2000:
"With 2016 in the books, there have been 7,646 total summits by 4,469 different climbers. 1,105 climbers, mostly Sherpa, have multiple summits. The south side (Nepal) remains more popular with 4,863 summits while the north (Tibet) has 2,783 summits."
Those numbers come from The Himalayan DatabaseSpaniard Kilian Jornet accomplished the fastest ascent to the top in May 2017, without bottled oxygen or fixed ropes. He managed it in 26 hours. By 2012, Apa Sherpa - whose nickname is 'Super Sherpa' - had climbed the mountain 21 times.


Images Source: Alan Arnette.

Indian Girls On Top Of The World! Mt. Everest next door!! (June 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

The National Cadet Corps (NCC) of India has intenstive mountaineering programs, and on 21-22 May 2016, a team of ten female cadets, aged 17 to 21, climbed Mount Everest. Their climb is documented above; they were honoured in New Delhi on 10 June 2016, below. Then-Army Chief General Dalbir Singh declared the girls would be considered to become officers in the Indian Army.

Army chief praises girl NCC team which scaled Mt. Everest - ANI News (June 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Awaken the Amnesiacs 7: The Economist Predicts the Year 2017


The Economist predictions for 2017, released November 2016. Image Source: The Economist.

When I saw that The Economist's tarot spread cover for its special issue predicting next year, my heart sank. After the American election, #proofoflife at WikiLeaks, and the impeachment of the South Korean president, I did not want to think about any more political weirdness. In case you have had enough too, here is my TL;DR on The Economist's message:

The cover may or may not predict a terror attack in Europe or a nuclear threat in Asia in the first quarter of the year, cementing Trump's presidency in the second quarter. Despite the fact that Trump will backtrack on promises, his ability to mesmerize the populist masses will grow. A huge upheaval is expected in the third quarter, with Merkel likely to lose the German election and Wilders and LePen gaining in earlier elections in the Netherlands and France. A divided body politic must find middle ground. After watching this unfold, the globalist liberal establishment will renew itself by December through the debut of exciting new technology, increased connectivity in developing countries, and a redoubled effort to control the public space, both online and off, with figures from government, banking, entertainment and academia entering online discourse in earnest. They will absorb formerly independent Internet enterprises, recapture lost ground, go on the attack, and flip the populist script.

On Youtube, I sensed the alt-right, alt-media types didn't want to look at The Economist. They are weary. "They do this to us every year," sighed one Youtuber after making three videos on the subject. Even the conspiracy theorists are sick of conspiracy theories. They only reviewed this Planet Trump thing out of a dogged sense of obligation to keep up their end - New World Order, Illuminati, Trump, Pizzagate, yadda yadda. They were all sure about one thing. The cover contains a hidden message.

I envy the flat rationalist, who would scoff before imagining anything arcane here. This is merely an illustrator's whimsical reference, as though the editors had chosen a picture of a woman reading the future in a crystal ball. I hope it is true.

Perhaps the editors did this as a tongue-in-cheek layout to bait crazy conspiracy theorists. Actually, I think the editors at The Economist do not care how the cover is received by the alt-media, who are beneath their contempt. If so, then this is another tone-deaf, top-down misconception of the impact of the Internet on the public debate. On the Internet, mimetics, semiotics, virality and truth excavations rule the day, not inside jokes and polished arguments to a select audience. A tarot spread confirms the worst conspiracy theories about magic infecting high politics. To give evidence of this - straight from the horse's mouth - strengthens the alt-media, which cannot be good for The Economist.

In an earlier post, Magic, Numerology and the IMF, I observed that Christine Lagarde did not realize that she now had to speak to two audiences. Every speech she made would be channeled into the old MSM theatre, as well as the alt-media. She plainly did not understand the latter at all. Her clever asides would be taken the usual way by the old establishment, but on Youtube, they would feed the independent machine of conspiracy theorizing and populism.

To make matters worse, she seemed to confirm the conspiracy theorists' fears about a magic-obsessed establishment. Lagarde was making predictions for the year 2014, peppering her predictions for the coming year with numerological nudge-nudge-wink-wink-hint-hints, which promised (precisely, down to the day) the manipulation of oil prices to hurt Russia. To the alt-media, this made it look like her policy speech had a magical subtext and potency. The liberal democracies are supposed to be secular, humanist, and rationalist; they should not be run by the rules of parlour games, or by people who believe that parlour games are real. I argued that parlour games should stay in the parlour.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Look Skyward: The Supermoon of Supermoons


Image Source: Science Alert.

On 14 November 2016, at 13:52 UTC, the moon will come the closest it has been to the earth in nearly 70 years. It is the second of three consecutive supermoons closing the year 2016. EarthSky:
"November 14 presents the moon’s closest encounter with Earth in over 68 years, since January 26, 1948. The full moon on November 14, 2016, will feature the closest full moon (356,509 kilometers) until November 25, 2034 (356,448 kilometers)! Maybe this helps you see that supermoons – while interesting – are fairly routine astronomical events."
Telegraph:
"The moon will come 221,524 miles from Earth - almost touching distance in space terms. ... The closest full moon of the whole of the 21st century will fall on December 6, 2052. Make sure you don't forget."
Another supermoon follows on 14 December 2016 at 00:05 UTC. You can see information on viewing these full moons here, here and here.

NASA's science cast on the unusual, last three supermoons of 2016. Video Source: Youtube.

The Farmer's Almanac explains that the full moons which bring the year to a close are known in Native American or First Nations' traditions as October's Hunter's Moon; November's Beaver Moon (which sounds rude to Brits - it is also called the Frost Moon); and the Cold Moon of December.

Moonrise behind the Taj Mahal. Image Source: Condé Nast Traveller.

A supermoon over Himeji Castle, Himeji, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. Image Source: The Mirror.

Supermoon in Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona, USA (5 May 2012). Image Source: Dave Seibert/The Republic via AZ Central.

The supermoon in the Sultanate of Oman (June 2012). Image Source: Priya Kumar via EarthSky.

A supermoon rising over the ancient temple of Poseidon in Greece on 23 June 2013. Image Source: National Geographic.

Miami Beach, Florida, USA (September 2015): this supermoon was also eclipsed. Image Source: CNN.

Scientists deny this, but people believe that supermoons cause earthquakes and tsunamis. Conspiracy theorists are in uproar over November's supermoon because it seems to mark a full circle with the supermoon of January 1948, and the state of Israel was founded on 14 May 1948. Some say November 2016's full moon also relates to the fate of Israel and world affairs because of President Obama's Israel Surprise. Fundamentalist Christians believe that this supermoon confirms the Second Coming of Christ. Others believe that this full moon is a sign of the end of times, or apocalyptic war. Perhaps not apocalypse, although I have started a series of posts on this blog to research and explore World War III projections. This post asks how the symbolism around the supermoon can help us cope with change.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Hallowe'en! Soul Cakes and Trumpkins


In England, people originally carved faces in turnips, not pumpkins, on All Hallows' Eve. English colonists began carving pumpkins in the New World. Image Source: Telegraph.

Happy Hallowe'en! Today's post is dedicated to Samhain soul cakes, and how Donald Trump made Jack o' Lanterns great again. Below the jump, see some pumpkin carving competition winners before - and after - The Donald announced his presidential candidacy. The whole nation is carving Trumpkins in 2016.

Soul cakes and pumpkin-carving are offshoots of cooking, preserving and baking which are part of harvest festivals in the northern hemisphere. To absorb the power of Gaelic Samhain (October 31; pronounced SAH-win), the Catholic Church combined harvest festivals with pagan funerary rites and ancient spring death rituals. In the 5th century BCE, Greek women visited graves with libations and cakes; the Romans adapted that custom to placate lemures, or ghosts, with beans and salted flour cakes during the festival of Lemuria in May. Later traditions from Ireland, to Germany, to Jamaica, to colonial America, buried the dead with small cakes, scones, or biscuits, while mourners drank liquor or port; graveyard ceremonies in Hungary and Estonia also often involved drinking special fortified wines. All of these traditions combined to inspire the American trick or treat candies, chocolates and potato chips. You can see modern recipes for Samhain soul cakes here, here, here, here and here.

The graveside consumption of cakes and wine may have led to the term 'cakes and ale' coined by William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night (1601-1602); merry-making and a wanton good life symbolized by cakes and ale defend us from death. But they also remind us that death is never far away and bring us closer to it:
"Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?"
With one line, Shakespeare summarized the religious injunction against the pleasures and temptations of mortal life when one contemplates mortality. Yet contemplating mortality makes us want to indulge. This time of year is about losing and rediscovering a balance between life and death, light and dark. Cakes and wine ease the grief of the living, and calm the spirits of the dead. Overindulge, and religious authorities warn, you will find yourself possessed by forces beyond your will.

My friend C. suggested the BBC Radio 4 recording from 2011So You Want to Be an Exorcist. Other BBC shows on exorcism are on Youtubehere. The exorcists interviewed for the BBC Radio 4 show claimed nearly anything can open you up to demonic possession, including ouija boards, street drugs, sexual immorality (which can be code for homophobia), astrology, yoga, New Age spirituality, and tarot cards. Apparently, the Anglican Church now has an official exorcist on call in every diocese due to rising demand, which I find hard to believe.  It sounds like they realized the Catholic Church has cornered the market, and they want their own Indy 500. I can just see the C of E promotional television series about an Anglican exorcist, starring Helen Mirren. That doesn't exist yet, but you can watch the terrifying new American television FOX series, The Exorcist, online here or here. The trailer is here. In 2010, The Daily Mail reported here on 21st century exorcists.

Samhain soul cakes. Image Source: My Witch's Kitchen.

The Starbucks seasonal pumpkin scone with spiced glaze follows the ancient soul cakes tradition. Image Source: Starbucks via pinterest.

To celebrate the pumpkin harvest, here is a pumpkin scones recipe, inspired by Starbucks. I checked the best cookery book which collects the historic recipes of colonial America, and offer this pumpkin pie recipe, altered and adapted from: Helen Duprey Bullock, A National Treasury of Cookery, vol. 1, Early America (New York, New York: Heirloom Publishing Company, 1967), p. 54.

2 9-inch unbaked pie shells
2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin
3 eggs, well beaten
1.5 cups heavy cream or 1 14-ounce tin of sweetened condensed milk
3 tbsp. rum
0.5 tsp. vanilla extract
0.25 cups granulated sugar
0.25 cups brown sugar
0.18 cups molasses
0.5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground mace
0.5 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. finely-grated candied ginger or fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground cloves or allspice

Make the pie shells and refrigerate them, or thaw frozen commercial pre-made pie shells in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, cream or condensed milk, rum and extract, sugar, salt, spices. Blend well. Pour into chilled pie shells. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Reduce heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 45 minutes.

Best pumpkin spice latte you can make at home. Video Source: Youtube.
Different pumpkin spice latte recipes are here, here and here.

History Channel's history of Hallowe'en explains the origins of Jack o' Lanterns. Video Source: Youtube.

A pumpkin carved by Scott Cully, "the Northwest's legendary pumpkin carver," Parkplace Mall, Kirkland, Washington, USA (2008). Image Source Mickeleh / flickr via Daily Picks and Flicks.


Cully's 2010 lantern, lit. Image Source: pinterest.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Time and Politics 20: Brexit


The statue of Winston Churchill at Westminster. Image Sources: The Atlantic and The Telegraph.

Although the blog is on a break, Brexit is a momentous historical event. It made me think of a quotation* from the Younger Pitt: "Depend on it, Mr. Burke ... we shall go on as we are to the Day of Judgement."

Perhaps. Although the UK will not leave the EU for two years, Irish and Scottish support for the European Union may lead to the reunification of Ireland, the separation of Scotland, and the break-up of the United Kingdom. Because the campaign became so dark, ugly and tragic, culminating with MP Jo Cox's murder, I will not comment at length on the arguments for one side or the other. I can see both points of view, because the Brexit debate confirms trends I have observed here while researching posts on the economy and the cultural impact of technological change.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Look Skyward: Total Solar Eclipse


The 2012 total solar eclipse as seen from Queensland, Australia. Image Source: EPA via Daily Mail.

On March 8 and 9 there is a total solar eclipse. It begins on 8 March 2016 at 11:19 p.m. UTC. It reaches its maximum point on 9 March at 1:59 a.m. UTC. The full eclipse will end in its range of visibility on 9 March at 3:38 a.m. UTC. The totality will be visible in Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi and the partiality in locations across the Pacific.

Visible area of solar eclipse, 8-9 March 2016. Image Source: Time and Date.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Anniversaries: Venera 3 Landing on Venus


Venera 3 did not gather information due to a malfunction, but it still made history when it crashed into the planet's surface on this day in 1966. Image Source: NASA.

Today is the 50th anniversary of Venera 3's crash landing on Venus on 1 March 1966. Venera 3 was the first human-made object to make an impact on another planet's surface. The site Russian Space Web gives a great chronology and details of the development of Russian rockets and space programmes from their earliest days.

Location of the Soviet Venus landers (1961-1984). Image Source: Wiki.

See my earlier post on Russian space art, here. The 2004 BBC television series, Voyage to the Planets, depicted what a manned mission to Venus would look like (previously mentioned in this post). On 17 November 2015, Ars Technica reported that the Russians and Americans are going to cooperate to explore Venus with landers in the 2020s:
After more than a year on ice due to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, NASA and Russia’s Space Research Institute has resumed discussions about a joint exploration mission to Venus, which could include a lander. NASA hasn’t flown a mission dedicated to Venus since its Magellan probe, from 1990 to 1994, which mapped 98 percent of the planet at a resolution of 100 meters or better.

So far NASA has only committed to talking with Russia about its Venera-D mission, which could launch in the 2020s. The space agency has agreed to perform a year-long feasibility study and several meetings during the next year. After that time NASA and Russia’s Space Research Institute, or IKI, will decide whether to continue its partnership, according to a report in Spaceflight Now.
For more information on the planned Venera-D mission, see here, here, here, here and here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Aquarius Season


Image Source: Archillect.

Your Aquarian blogger is on a birthday break until 20 February 2016. The post featured for the interim on the right-hand sidebar covered the 600th birthday celebration of Prague's astronomical and astrological clock in 2010. The Aquarian season is associated with several festivals which anticipate spring, renewal, and an awakening of the mind after winter's sleep and constrictions. The Gaelic Imbolc, the Celtic Brigid's Day or Saint Brigid's Day, together reflect a fire festival marking the halfway point on 1 and 2 February 2016 between the northern winter solstice and the spring equinox. The Christian Candlemas, a ritual for the purification of Christ's mother Mary on 2 February 2016, is represented in secular form in North America as Groundhog Day (in French Canada, it is known as Jour de la Marmotte). And the lunar new year on 8 February will be observed in Asia in 2016 as the start of the Year of the Yang Red Fire Monkey. You can find your Chinese zodiac sign here, although that gives only the simplest idea of the Chinese astrological system and another calculator is here. The celebrations run until the Lantern Festival on 22 February 2016.

Below the jump, see some tarot Star cards associated with the sign of Aquarius. Leigh McCloskey explains the archetypal message of the Star, which liberates people by encouraging them to consider their smaller values and concerns in terms of ever larger perspectives:
The Star archetype is concerned with the gradual emancipation of personal awareness by offering it a greater field of vision which evolves into a more impersonal or universal understanding of the self and its proper role. Existence begins to be viewed as inclusive rather than exclusive, other people's beliefs, traditions, and religions begin to be seen not as wrong but simply different and appropriate to their needs. This new tolerance ushers in a flow of potential, which was impossible, as long as former emotional patterns and thought structures remained crystallized.
In the Major Arcana deck, the Star card follows the Tower card; the latter symbolizes harsh, rapid collapse, change, and lessons. Thus, the Star card indicates deeper wisdom after trials, disappointments, and hardships, and a phoenix-like light from the ashes. The American film, Groundhog Day (1993) was admitted to the United States National Film Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" in 2006. It depicts the cyclical learning curve and mental and spiritual awakening symbolically associated with this time of year.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Neptune the Mystic


Neptune's moon Triton is a dwarf planet, a captured body from the Kuiper Belt. The moon was photographed by Voyager 2 in 1989. Image Source: JPL/NASA.

Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft ever to visit Neptune and reached its closest point on 24 August 1989. The eighth planet was discovered on 23 September 1846 and was named for the Roman god of the sea. This gas giant has fourteen moons, all named after water nymphs and lesser sea deities. It has six rings, some of the fastest winds in the solar system, and a dark storm spot on its surface large enough to swallow the entire Earth. For the sound the planet makes from space, see my earlier post here.

Even today, astrologers maintain ancient religious values in their notions that Neptune dominates sleep and dreams, the imagination, ecstatic visions, mass entertainment, news as political theatre, and the 'eternal everything.' The planet can positively inspire the arts or negatively spin dark, mad fantasies. In his First World War Planets suite, composer Gustav Holst dedicated his musical poem to the planet as Neptune, The Mystic.

Image Source: Ruby Slipper.

Image Source: Illume Astrology.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Awaken the Amnesiacs 3: The Hermetics


The hermetic principle of silence. Image Source: Lilipilyspirit.

Dark days behind us: today is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere (04:49 UTC). The December solstice refers to birth or rebirth of the weakened sun in northern countries, often described in allegorical terms, as one New Age writer puts it: "The sun is dawning after the increasing darkness of winter. The Winter Solstice is nature’s physical equivalent of a spiritual awakening and enlightenment." From Theosophy Northwest:
At the winter solstice the universal currents of life help human consciousness to enter divine spheres. At the same time spiritual energy can descend from higher worlds into the human arena: the gods "descend into hell" to garner experience in their underworld -- our own world -- thereby bringing inspiration and enlightenment to humanity. At this time each of us also may undergo a new birth. Nature has opened the door, and it is up to us to recognize this and take a step further.
For denizens of the New Age Internet, this solstice is the culmination of 2015's online spiritual awakening, perhaps a Fifth Great Awakening in the United States, occasioned by a proclaimed end to the war between the sexes. When combined with hermeticism, discussed in today's post, the gnostic truce between the sexes attacks all polarized categorizations of identity. Online gurus argue that only hardened egoists prosper in an environment where inflexible categorizations of identity are the norm. Spiritual commentators prefer to cultivate a continuum of identities and they expect that spectrum to expand social compassion.

The winter solstice at Stonehenge. Image Source: Stonehenge Trips.

In the aftermath of the supposed collapse of egocentric western dualism, hermeticists pick up the pieces, to recover cultural memory and allow their amnesiac followers to 'remember' earlier ways of identifying with the physical, rational, emotional and spiritual aspects of existence. The hermetic part of this phenomenon makes the now-gender-neutral collective unconscious 'conscious' in practical senses, as with the establishment of new political movements. Of course, the shift in values is not widespread or universal. Nor are gnostic-hermetic solutions necessarily good ones, whatever their devotees may expect.

One must step back from the arcane language and beliefs to observe the actual trend behind them. Online debates on these subjects in mid-late 2015 indicate a tipping point, wherein interaction in virtual reality has begun to change behaviour and awareness on deeper levels. The Internet is breaking down and synthesizing demarcated experiences, whether between mind and body, between the genders, between the individual and the collective, or between the local and global. Perhaps hermeticism and gnosticism are the most durable ideas available in western culture to describe flexible identification, as individuals find themselves simultaneously immersed in virtual reality and 'real' reality.

China's One Belt, One Road Initiative (2015). Image Source: Roman Wilhelm/MERICS/The Diplomat.

One may ask how spiritual issues pertain to hard reality. Why does the New Age Internet matter, when China is building naval bases in the South China Sea, the Red Sea, and on the west coast of Africa? These online trends matter because societies rise and fall according to their adaptability when confronted with jumps in technology, social changes, and ensuing geopolitical conflicts. World War III, when (or if) it arrives, and everything that leads up to it, will depend on global connectivity. How our brains respond to connectivity and the ideas we discover or rediscover through that response may be essential to cultural resourcefulness and survival.

To ask these questions about western values now is akin to asking how the introduction of the printing press in Germany (1439-1440) led to the Protestant Reformation (1517-1617) and the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). The spiritual and moral outlook of a society is indexed to its level of technology and prosperity. When the latter two factors change, so does the former. Anomie and aporia, experienced then as now, will lead to experiments to develop values better suited to new ways of living. But that process emerges through trial and error. Societies sometimes depend on war to determine a new dominant narrative.

My treatment of these topics comes with a caveat. While I may comment on unusual online material here, I do not personally identify with evidence I uncover. Hermetic traditions and politics can be weird, occult, radical, fringe or extremist. My comments in this series of blog posts do not constitute my endorsement of these beliefs. They are presented here as part of an examination of the cultural historical impact of the Internet on western values, under increasingly universalized, yet decentralized and chaotic conditions. I also do not personally agree with conspiracy theories mentioned here, but rather regard them as signs of contemporary mentalities.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Awaken the Amnesiacs 1: The Gnostic-Hermetic Synthesis of 2015


Image Source: Spiritual Unite.

Western culture is undergoing a shift. New Age circles have been buzzing about it for the past few years, especially since the recession and 2012. Their chatter is now reaching a dull roar. For skeptics who want the TL;DR version, here is the

Executive Summary.
Several online movements are currently combining hermeticism and gnosticism to realign western values.

What this means.
Hermeticism combines monotheistic arcane traditions to inspire blind leaps in how we understand the world. Its early triad of alchemy, astrology and theurgy were termed as the 'three parts of the wisdom of the whole universe.' These translate in our terms into three aspects: first, science and rationalism of the mind; second, politics and emotions in the physical, the choices made to change the "life of matter and material existence"; and third, spirituality, our grasp of the relationship between the soul and what we define as divine. Sometimes associated with old Arab mysticism and the Kabbalah, sometimes with the occult, the Tarot and astrology, sometimes with Freemasonry, hermeticism is prevalent in popular culture today. This syncretic practice is being applied to gnostic philosophical unions of masculine and feminine principles to enable a shift in western perspectives. Much of this combination is due to the aftermath and reappraisal of 1960s' social revolutions, playing out during the Technological and Communications revolutions of the 2000s and 2010s. The philosophical synthesis also shows the next level of western engagement with virtual reality. Surging in the latter half of 2015, the trend may constitute a Fifth Great Awakening in America, but it is also evident in other western countries.

From September 2015. Image Source: Power of Consciousness.