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 Calendars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Calendars. Show all posts

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Terminalia: Boundaries in Space and Time


Click to enlarge. The Feast Before the Altar of Terminus. (c. 1642) By Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609 - 1664). Print, Italian, 17th century etching. 23 x 18.4 cm (9 1/16 x 7 1/4 in.) B.16. Harvard Art Museums / Fogg Museum, Louise Haskell Daly Fund, S6.97.1 Department of Prints, Division of European and American Art. Image Source: Wiki.

There is a saying in the country that "good fences make good neighbours." The origin of that sentiment comes from the ancient worship of the Roman god, Terminus.

Text Source. From: Samuel Ball Platner, Thomas Ashby, "Terminus, Fanum" in A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (London: Oxford University Press, 1929), p. 512.


Image Source: Particulations.

Click to enlarge. "Terminus is often pictured as a bust on a boundary stone, here the concedo nvlli or concedo nulli means 'yield no ground.'" Design for a Stained Glass Window with Terminus. (31 December 1524) By Hans Holbein the Younger. Pen and ink and brush, grey wash, watercolour, over preliminary chalk drawing, 31.5 × 25 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel. Holbein designed the window for the scholar and theologian Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. Image Source: Wiki.

Today, February 23rd, was once a holiday known as Terminalia, when landowners in the Roman Republic, and later, the Empire would meet at fence lines and renew the boundaries of communities. They would decorate their property lines with flowers and offer food to Terminus. They might also sacrifice a baby animal to him. Accounts of the ritual vary. From Carnaval:
"On this day, landowners would honor the boundaries of their land at the bound[a]ry markers. Garlands were placed over the bound[a]ry stones, and altars were built near them. Offerings of grain and ho[n]ey were given by the children, and the adults would offer wine. Everyone was dressed in white, and were required to keep silent throughout the offerings. A picnic feast was held at the end of the ritual."
From Agile Complexification Inverter:
"The festival of the Terminalia was celebrated in Rome and in the country on the 23rd of February. The neighbors on either side of any boundary gathered around the landmark [the stones which marked boundaries], with their wives, children, and servants; and crowned it, each on his own side, with garlands, and offered cakes and, bloodless sacrifices. In later times, however, a lamb, or sucking pig, was sometimes slain, and the stone sprinkled with the blood. Lastly, the whole neighborhood joined in a general feast."
L'Avenaz Roman boundary marker in La Giettaz - French Alps. Image Source: Savoie Mont Blanc.

Busts of Terminus form a boundary. Image Source: Rome Across Europe.

Hadrian's wall just east of Cawfields quarry, Northumberland, UK in October 2005. Image Source: Velella / Wiki. See also: the Antonine Wall. The Wall in the Song of Ice and Fire books and Game of Thrones TV series by George R. R. Martin is based on these structures.

Public festivals for Terminus marked the limits of Rome, be it the city or the empire. At this point, agrarian life collided with military culture. The offerings were a celebration of division between people:
"The rites of the Terminalia included ceremonial renewal and mutual recognition of the boundary stone, the marker between properties. A garland would be laid on this marker by all parties to the land so divided."
After the offerings, neighbours would sing to the god and hold a feast together. It was a complex set of ideas, honouring being cut off from each other and yet being unified in that experience. The poet Ovid described the solemn atmosphere and the larger Roman military context in his poem, Fasti (On the Roman Calendar; read it here or here), translated in 2004 by A. S. Kline:
"When night has passed, let the god be celebrated
With customary honour, who separates the fields with his sign.
Terminus, whether a stone or a stump buried in the earth,
You have been a god since ancient times.
You are crowned from either side by two landowners,
Who bring two garlands and two cakes in offering.
An altar’s made: here the farmer’s wife herself
Brings coals from the warm hearth on a broken pot.
The old man cuts wood and piles the logs with skill,
And works at setting branches in the solid earth.
Then he nurses the first flames with dry bark,
While a boy stands by and holds the wide basket.
When he’s thrown grain three times into the fire
The little daughter offers the sliced honeycombs.
Others carry wine: part of each is offered to the flames:
The crowd, dressed in white, watch silently.
Terminus, at the boundary, is sprinkled with lamb’s blood,
And doesn’t grumble when a sucking pig is granted him.
Neighbours gather sincerely, and hold a feast,
And sing your praises, sacred Terminus:
'You set bounds to peoples, cities, great kingdoms:
Without you every field would be disputed.
You curry no favour: you aren’t bribed with gold,
Guarding the land entrusted to you in good faith.
If you’d once marked the bounds of Thyrean lands,
Three hundred men would not have died,
Nor Othryades’ name be seen on the pile of weapons.
O how he made his fatherland bleed!
What happened when the new Capitol was built?
The whole throng of gods yielded to Jupiter and made room:
But as the ancients tell, Terminus remained in the shrine
Where he was found, and shares the temple with great Jupiter.
Even now there’s a small hole in the temple roof,
So he can see nothing above him but stars.
Since then, Terminus, you’ve not been free to wander:
Stay there, in the place where you’ve been put,
And yield not an inch to your neighbour’s prayers,
Lest you seem to set men above Jupiter:
And whether they beat you with rakes, or ploughshares,
Call out: "This is your field, and that is his!"'
There’s a track that takes people to the Laurentine fields,
The kingdom once sought by Aeneas, the Trojan leader:
The sixth milestone from the City, there, bears witness
To the sacrifice of a sheep’s entrails to you, Terminus.
The lands of other races have fixed boundaries:
The extent of the City of Rome and the world is one."
There is a sense that in Rome, worship of Terminus's boundaries became more aggressive over time. The boundary line had to be decked with sacrificial blood, whereas in an earlier, gentler period, it was enough to burn grain and honeycombs to appease the stubborn god. Perhaps there is a tiny kernel in the changing mood of Terminalia in the contemporary debate over nationalism and immigration, borders, border zones, and border fences and walls. Perhaps not. Regardless, attitudes to boundaries do vacillate over time, between openness and closure.

The US-Mexico border wall in Tijuana, Mexico. Image Source: NYT.

Hungary's border fence. Image Source: euronews via republic buzz.

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.

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.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Wonders of the Millennial World 9: A New Year's Walk on the Beach


Image Source: Boston Magazine.

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2018. Today, see the creations of Dutch artist Theo Jansen who "demonstrates the amazingly lifelike kinetic sculptures he builds from plastic tubes and lemonade bottles. His creatures are designed to move -- and even survive -- on their own." (Hat tip: The Outer Light.)

Car commercial: BMW (South Africa). Defining innovation (15 August 2006). Video Source: Youtube.

Jansen creates skeletons which walk by means of wind- and solar power. His latest creation in 2017 was called Strandbeest, or 'Beach Beast.' TEDx explains that Jansen tries to invest his creations with primitive intelligence so that they can act autonomously in their own rudimentary self-interest:
"[The artist] builds large works which resemble skeletons of animals that are able to walk using the wind on the beaches of the Netherlands. His animated works are a fusion of art and engineering; in a car company television commercial Jansen says: 'The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.' He strives at equipping his creations with their own intelligence to manage avoiding obstacles, by changing their course when one is detected, such as the sea itself."

Image Source: Web Urbanist.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

An Operatic Death of the Old Year


Bryn Terfel and Deborah Voigt in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2011 production of Die Walküre, on the machine, the 45-ton set of movable planks. Image Source: Andrea Mohin/The New York Times.

To celebrate the death of the old year 2017, and remind us that life is but a play and all the world's a stage, here are some gothic shots of recent opera sets. There is no shortage of supposed Illuminati imagery.

Met Opera 2016/2017 production of Mozart's Idomeneo. Image Source: kreattivita.

"History buffs will enjoy I Puritani, which is set in the English Civil War era of the Puritans versus the Royalists. While this production doesn’t quite stick to script when it comes to historical accuracies, taking a few liberties for the sake of the story, it does stick with a universal idea that was relevant to the time period. Diana Damrau and Javier Camarena star as Elvira and her beloved Arturo. Run dates: February 10—February 28 [2017]." Image Source: City Guide NY.

The Met: Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann (2009 and 2017-2018). Image Source: Opera News.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Luther's Words to Music: From Medieval to Modern


PRAETORIUS [c. 1571-1621] Puer nobis nascitur (22 December 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

For Christmas, we return to Martin Luther (1483-1546). Here is an example of how Luther influenced the incredible evolution of German music. In 1543, Luther departed from the Roman Catholic Latin and wrote German words to the hymn, Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar (From Heaven Came a Throng of Angels), with music adapted from Puer nobis nascitur (Unto Us is Born a Son), a 15th century tune.

In 1609, Michael Praetorius composed music for the hymn, Puer nobis nascitur, which also relied on the medieval tune. In 1688-1689, the composer Johann Schelle (1648-1701), who was Johann Sebastian Bach's predecessor as Kantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, also used Luther's hymn to write a Baroque Christmas cantata, Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar.

Luther's hymn was later one of Bach's sources for the 1714 chorale prelude for organ, Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar, BWV 607, a precursor for the 1734 Christmas Oratorio also by Bach (1685-1750). You can see how the chorale and words were used and reused by different composers in related hymns and pieces over three hundred years, here. Luther's hymn was translated into English as To Shepherds as They Watched By Night, with the commonly used translation dating from the mid-19th century.

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.

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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tweet of the Day: The Solstice



Welcome the Summer Solstice 2017


Image Source: mindbodygreen.

Welcome to Midsummer in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. For a description of the importance of the solstice to ancient people and pagans, go here.

Ivan Kupala Day in Eastern Europe. Image Source: CNN.

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). London Philharmonic Orchestra (David Nolan, Bryden Thomson). Video Source: Youtube.

Image Source: Amy Van Artsdalen / pinterest.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome the March Equinox


From a whole page devoted to dogs with flower garlands on their heads. Image Source: pinterest.

Today is the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere, and the autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere (20 March 2017 10:29 UTC). Above, an Afghan hound modeling Pantone's greenery palette colours of 2017. See my earlier posts, Spring is Here and Equinox Synchronicity.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Bells and Divine Sources


Bells in Nepal. Image Source: Ampersand Travel.

Start the new year in the Himalayas, the world's greatest mountains. They are the source of epics and myths, gods and religions. Temples dot these mountains, decked by bells and visited by pilgrims and tourists. The Himalayas provide the source of the Hindus' most sacred river, the Ganges.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sleepers Wake, Christmas 2016


Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847) Christmas hymn: Vom Himmel hoch (1831). Video Source: Youtube.

Merry Christmas! Above, a Christmas hymn from Mendelssohn, a great 19th century admirer of Bach. See my earlier post on Mendelssohn, here. Below, Bach's cantata 140, Sleepers Wake, is properly played on the 27th Sunday after Trinity, or the last Sunday before Advent, in late November. Given the mood of Advent 2016 - gloom from the liberals, and glee, mixed with conspiratorial paranoia, from their opponents - the message of Sleepers Wake remains relevant this Christmas.

When every news headline today announces catastrophe, and people are bitterly divided over values and politics, it helps to remember what a real catastrophe is. Sleepers Wake is a much-loved piece for a very good reason, and it is not just Bach's music.

Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608), a Lutheran pastor and poet, wrote the chorale upon which Bach's 1731 cantata is based. Nicolai composed the original hymn after falling ill with the plague in the late 16th century. He expected to die, as did most people in his town. Instead, he recovered.

Today, we can cure the plague - barely. It takes all the powers of modern medicine, and weeks on life support in intensive care. How miraculous would it be, then, to survive the plague in the 16th century? Imagine Nicolai, waking in amazement from the bed he thought was his death bed. He thanked God for surviving the Black Death by writing two hymns. They became known as the King and Queen of Chorales: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Awake, calls the voice to us, or, Sleepers Wake; 1599) and Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern (How lovely shines the morning star; pub. 1599).

These hymns became famous, and on penning them, Nicolai entered history. Sleepers Wake has apocalyptic themes and refers to the Parable of the Ten Virgins. But all aspects around the hymn really ask: how grateful would you be, if you faced your greatest fears, the most terrible test, and survived? If you survived the scourge? Sleepers Wake says, wake up, be glad, and be ready not for doom and death, but survival and a happy life instead. If you are so inclined, thank God for it. We live in secular times, when the religious message of Christmas is muted, and the holiday has been diminished by materialism and conspicuous consumption. It was never about that. For millennia, before Christianity and after, it was about the solstice, and reaching past darkness. I will say: thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) - Cantata 140: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140 (1731). Video Source: Youtube.

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.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

All Souls


Image Source: C. Bessich via Adriana Sanchez.

For All Souls' Day today, to remember the faithful departed, see photos from Melaten Cemetery, Cologne, Germany. Although the cemetery is 200 years old, this area has a dark past prior to its current use. In the 13th century, lepers were sequestered in a hospice at Melaten; later, it was a place where witches were burned. Now noted as a conservation area and for its incredible statues, it is the resting place of the city's most famous people, listed here.


Images Source: European Cemeteries.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All Saints' Day


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.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Welcome the September Equinox



Today is the September Equinox (22 September 2016 14:21 UTC); the equinox arrives on 23 September in places at least 10 hours ahead of Greenwich. The day marks the start of autumn in northern countries and spring in southern ones.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Photos of the Day: Particle Detector and the Orion Calendar