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 Pre-Raphaelites. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pre-Raphaelites. Show all posts

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Artificial Intelligence Nemesis

Image Source: thebodhitrees.

The creation of AI is a story of humanity. It will end where it begins, with a nemesis that will test humankind. This is because human beings grapple with inner knowing on ever more profound levels, driven by self-engineered crises.

Artificial Intelligence: The Nemesis in the Mirror

Anonymous - This Shocking Footage Should Worry You! (2018-2019) (13 January 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

AI is a big mirror. As Google's Cloud Lead Dr. Fei-Fei Li stated, AI began with the question, "Can machines think?" Engineers began building machines to mimic human thinking, to reason, see, hear, think, move around, manipulate. That was AI's foundational dream. In the 1980s, machine learning was born, followed by deep learning, which is rooted in neuroscience. This young discipline is set to explode, due to the exploitation of big data, harvested from around the globe. Thus, no matter how the machines end up evolving, it is worth asking now what we are doing with AI and why we doing it. There are unconscious human impulses that are informing AI design.

Find your museum Doppelgänger: some people have found themselves in paintings at art museums. Image Source: Kottke / My Modern Met / Davidurbon.

This mirror will test a psychological mode which human beings have used to build, change, create: the obsession with the nemesis, the other, the twin, the Doppelgänger.

The nemesis psychological complex works by externalizing something we cannot manage inside our own natures. Once the thing is externalized, we interact with it to create new ways of understanding and operating in the world. One of my posts, I Will Teach You Infinities, described how the nemesis complex informed the structure of language, because language progressively builds away from the starting point of selfhood, or 'I.'

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Figures and Fantasies

Congratulations and props to Thomas Haller Buchanan, who crowdfunded USD $19,343 on Kickstarter in January 2015 to publish his book of art and illustrations, Facts. Figures. Fantasies. His book arrived today in the mail. Thom was valiant through the whole huge journey, starting with the funding campaign, when some big backers pulled out at the last minute. On Kickstarter, if you do not meet your goal, you lose all pledges. Other donors stepped in to ensure the campaign was successful and Thom's sketches and personal story as an artist, along with his finished Pre-Raphaelite- and Art-Nouveau-styled works, saw print. This is what the Internet was supposed to be about.

Renpet - Egyptian Goddess of Eternity.

Thom runs the beautiful blog, The Pictorial Arts, which follows the fin-de-siècle style, circa 1890-1930, through the 20th century and into the 21st century. In reading Thom's blog, I have better understood the historical continuity in illustration. Images from 19th century artists like Arthur Rackham and Henry Justice Ford became the dominant visual style in marketing and mass media, and influenced architecture, interior design, automobile design, garden layoutsfashion, magazine ads, calendarscomic book art, cinema, photography, sculptures - and even stylized popular behaviour - up to the present day.  In 2013, I interviewed Thom (here) about an arts and culture journal he is developing. Thom was the second person to become a regular follower of Histories of Things to Come, for which I am most grateful.

Allegory of Conscious Time.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

All Hallows' Eve Countdown: The Curse of the Purple Sapphire

The Delhi Purple Sapphire, in an arcane setting designed by one of its owners to contain its maleficent power with binding spells. Image Source: Live Science.

Today's Countdown to Hallowe'en post is about a curse of imperial plunder. Above, a gemstone with a reputation for leaving disaster in its wake. The gem is in fact an amethyst, stolen by a British soldier from a Temple of Indra - Hindu god of rain and thunderstorms - around the time of the 1857 Indian Mutiny. The current owner, the Natural History Museum in London, claims that it was stolen in 1855. From Kanpur, India, the stone made its way to Britain in the hands of Bengal cavalryman, Colonel W. Ferris. According to Live Science and The Indian Express, the gem spread misery to all who possessed it.

Monday, August 5, 2013


Image Source: Donna McGee Fine Art.

The year is more than half over. The summer of 2013 will never return.

Emma Powell, Against the Storm. Image Source: The Independent.

Star Trail. Image Source: Kristen Fox.

Ernest Jackson, The Lovers (ca. 1917). Image Source: The Pictorial Arts.

Edward Robert Hughes (1851-1914), Twilight Fantasy. Image Source: Illusions Gallery.

Edward Robert Hughes (1851-1914), Night. Image Source: Art Magick.

Monday, May 20, 2013

So Near, And Yet So Far

"The Lady of Shallott [1905] by William Holman Hunt, painted from 1888 to 1902." Tennyson's 1842 poem was a speculation on entrapment inside one's own subjectivity. Image Source: Wiki.

Who would you be, had you taken a different path? The road not taken. The road less traveled. The one that got away. The grass is always greener. The missed opportunity. Cheat fate. Dodge a bullet.

The world's moral and philosophical systems sit at the crossroads of destiny and contingency. Moral values grow from the question: do we have any control over the passage of time? Perhaps the idea of fate stems from a subliminal awareness that time is self-enclosed, finite, already a done deal, or otherwise complete or looped back upon itself. In other words, perhaps 'god' or 'destiny' relates to our sense that the past and the future are the same, cyclical or related, as if time were a Möbius strip. A recent speculation on how ancient times, myths and sensibilities relate to those of the future - a favourite trope of the new Millennium - can be found here.

A belief in fate, destiny and higher powers can provide some comfort. If your life is predestined and is simply part of the universe's great unknowable, inevitable equation, then the weight of your responsibility to yourself is lifted. In Old English, this idea was called the Wyrd, a force that could not be changed or challenged. This is the story of the person who vows never to make the mistakes his parents made, and then, despite everything he does differently, find he follows in their footsteps. That is the Wyrd.

In the early modern period, John Calvin developed the notion that followers of his Christian interpretation were members of God's 'Elect' - predestined from creation to be saved at the end of time. To prevent this idea from cultivating arrogance, Calvinists developed a corollary that the Elect could not rest on their laurels. You could never be sure you were one of the Elect. And if you were really one of the Elect, your predestined status would shine forth through your daily words and deeds.

Conversely, if the universe is random, and you are at the mercy of blind luck, you are off the hook for your own actions. In chaos, you live in the moment and take life as it comes. Actions carry no inherent meaning, other than to deliver pain or pleasure. If that is the case, you are no longer responsible in any grand way for what happens to you. However, the quality or depth of your perception at least affords you a degree of awareness or wisdom about what is going on. That said, perception is infinite, meaning there is no objective truth or larger consensus to which we can refer to find the difference between right or wrong. This is the standpoint taken by countless Millennial individualist, solipsistic, videotastic libertines, whose sole source of moral restraint is their own subjectivity - boundless, intersecting egos.

This is the endgame of the "I'm OK, You're OK" 1969 motto. This was the win-win psychological message of mutual self-interest that dovetailed neatly with the Boomers' sexual revolution: anything goes between consenting adults. There was no worry that "I'm OK, You're OK" could end with: "We are all not OK." In other words, the limitless indulgence of personal freedoms led to mirrored personal enslavements, masquerading as liberations, which had a detrimental effect on the common good. This moral confusion emerges when the sensibility which time grants to a stream of events (an approach toward an objective perspective) is denied in favour of the eternal now of personal choice.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Strange Tales from a Seaside Town

Babbacombe in 1905, postcard. Image Source: Babbacombe and St Marychurch.

Here is a tale about how things can go wrong, and change the fate of a town - Babbacombe, England - over the course of a century.

In late 18th century England, attitudes changed toward the environment. Where the sea had once been seen as a source of danger to be treated with caution, it slowly became perceived as a place of wild beauty. This was part of the trickle-down effect of Romanticism, a reaction against the Enlightenment, against the Industrial Revolution, and against the scientific rationalization of nature.

Under the influence of this shift in attitudes, the village of Babbacombe near Torquay in Devon, England, began to prosper. It sits on a bay on the southern coast of the country, around a cove once known for fishing, smuggling and nearby quarrying.

By the early 19th century, however, the houses huddled around the bay under remarkable rust-red cliffs acquired a new reputation. From A Guide to the Watering Places on the Coast between the Exe and the Dart: including Teignmouth, Dawlish and Torquay, published in 1817:
‘you ascend on the down, overhanging those stupendous cliffs, which terminate in the pebbly beach of Babbicombe (sic), on which, and amidst the cliffs of the beetling rocks, stand some picturesque cottages, which the romantic situation of this hamlet has induced the owners to build for their summer residences; but the most beautiful is that of Mr. Cary, constructed of the rudest materials … The two sitting rooms are ornamented with highly finished sea views in one and landscapes in the other;…The summer residences of Mr Cosserat, Mr Hubbard and Mr Atkins are laid out with much taste, but though they tend to embellish the spot, they take away from the wilderness of the scenery, which has constituted its most attractive feature. It is difficult to find a view more pleasing than that of Babbicombe; the bold projecting rocks around it, which terminate in the Ness, and afford a partial view of Teignmouth, the line of wavy hills that stretching from the mouth of the Exe, and reaching the white cliffs of the Dorset coast, in one glance portray the most frequented and most beautiful part of the south west coast, whilst the shingle beach beneath, glitters with the broken fragments of the marble rocks.’
Over the next few decades, Babbacombe became popular with Romantic tourists. The site Babbacombe and St Marychurch quotes: "The Teignmouth, Dawlish and Torquay Guide: 1829 by Carrington and others [which] says,
‘Proceeding onward we reach Babbicombe, a romantic rocky glen, twenty years since there were only a few fishermen’s huts, but the beauty of the spot having excited attention, several ornamental cottages have been built, and gardens formed along the steep sides of the hill and amongst the rocks, which have to great degree destroyed the beauty of the scene, depending as it does on its wild secluded character’."
So far, so good. Ironically, the very tourists who came seeking seclusion began to ruin that mood with their presence. But for a time, Babbacombe struck a Romantic balance. An annual regatta was founded there in the early 1820s. The village had a few ornamental houses on the bay, along with some fishermen's huts to lend a (genuine) air of authenticity. The allure lasted at least up to the time of the post-Romantic Pre-Raphaelites at mid-to-late century.

Drawing Room at The Glen around the time of royal visits to the house. Image Source: Torbay Library Services via Bytes of Torbays Past.

Perhaps the nicest house built on the bay was 'The Glen.' It so exemplified the aesthetic of the time that it and the wild little fishing village attracted royal notice and eventually several royal visits. This was also partly due to the fact that the Glen was occupied by the Whitehead family, one of whom had been a lady-in-waiting:
Mrs Whitehead attended the baby princess Victoria and was a lady in waiting to the princess’s mother. The young princess was driven out from Torquay to visit her in 1833.

While she was queen, Victoria visited the bay twice, once in 1846 when she did not land and again in1852. This time the queen was taken close to the shore in a rowing boat so that she could admire and sketch the scenery.

Prince Albert with their sons Edward, Prince of Wales and Prince Alfred went to visit Mrs Whitehead. Edward came to Babbacombe twice more, in around 1856 and again in 1878. He was staying at the Imperial Hotel and was driven to Oddicombe and from there was rowed across to Babbacombe bay, he met Emma Keyse, the niece of Mrs Whitehead at the Glen and was invited for tea.
When the Royal Yacht sailed into Babbacombe Bay in 1846, Queen Victoria recorded in her journal:
'It is a beautiful spot... . Red cliffs and rocks with wooded hills like Italy, and reminding one of a ballet or play where nymphs appear - such rocks and grottoes, with the deepest sea on which there was no ripple.'
According to local accounts, Victoria's son, later Edward VII, was again received at The Glen in 1879 and visited Babbacombe once more in 1880.

The Glen and its boathouse (right) in 1870. Image Source: Murder Research.

By 1884, Emma Keyse, niece of the original owner, had inherited the house. Then the fate of the locality changed: on 15 November of that year, she was found in the house with her throat slit and several stab wounds.

Her servants' versions of what happened that night were inconsistent. The only man in the house, John Lee, was the half-brother of the cook. The cook was pregnant and Keyse had had angry altercations with the cook over the pregnancy. The picture - described at length here, here and here - is one of a bad atmosphere at The Glen and restive servants leading up to their mistress's murder. Keyse, a gentlewoman, also had had conflicts of some kind with local smugglers. The most thoroughgoing analysis of what happened is at Murder Research:
Emma Keyse was broke and wanted to sell the property. She was in a constant battle with the local fishermen at Babbacombe, who were trying to make a living. She was definitely witness to the thriving smuggling industry at Babbacombe Bay over the years. I think the thorny issue of money (of which Emma had so little) had been the main topic that day. I have a feeling the ‘staff’ were on notice anyway. I believe Emma discovered on the night of the murder who the father of her cook’s child was. I think the general atmosphere in the house with the servants was not at all good. All these issues had been building and building in this stuffy claustrophobic community at The Glen.

So, on that dark Victorian autumn night on Babbacombe bay, Emma Keyse came face to face with her murderers. More than one person was directly involved in assassinating Emma Keyse – one of them tried to hack her head off and the other(s) started to attempt to destroy some evidence by lighting fires around the property. ...

The identity of the man responsible for Elizabeth Harris’ pregnancy and another, probably, embittered person, killed Emma Keyse – whether one of these was John Lee is now the issue as is the other person. And it’s the ‘other person’ that’s so intriguing. The young fisherman, Cornelius Harrington or the youthful Solicitor Reginald Gwynne Templer immediately come to mind as do the numerous other local characters who provided their evidence at court.

After spending so long trolling through so much archive and exploring every avenue I have come to the conclusion that John Lee was, at the very least, somehow involved in the killing of Emma Keyse.
In the midst of the murder, The Glen caught fire. Two of the servants continued to live in the burned out husk of the building - crime scene, charred sections and a missing roof notwithstanding - for the next two years.

The Glen in ruins (right) after the fire. Image Source: Babbacombe Beach and The Glen.

Despite the likelihood of the murder having involved another man or other men who fled the scene, Lee was found guilty of the crime and sentenced to death on 23 February 1885. Lee became famous when the trap door on the gallows at Exeter Prison failed to open, despite three attempts by the executioner. After this bizarre malfunctioning of the gallows mechanism, Lee's sentence was commuted by the Home Secretary and he spent the next 22 years in Portland prison. Oddly enough, Lee's second lawyer, Herbert Rowse Armstrong, was later found guilty of murdering his wife in 1921, and was executed in 1922.

When Lee emerged in 1907, he became a minor celebrity in the press - feted as the 'man they could not hang.' (See 1910 reports: April 23, April 30 Pt 1, April 30 Pt 2, 7 May Pt 1, 7 May Pt 2, 14 May, 21 May, 28 May, 4 June, 11 June, 18 June.) Shortly after this flurry of attention, he emigrated, apparently to the United States under a different name. Researchers who have tried to trace his fate believe that he ended his days, sometimes known as 'James' Lee, and is buried at Forest Home Cemetery, Milwaukee. His life became the subject of a play, a song, a 1912 Australian silent film (The Life Story of John Lee, or The Man They Could Not Hang - it is considered a lost film), a folk opera, and a teleplay.

The cook's lover, Gwynne Templer, who may well have been the actual murderer, curiously represented Lee in court, and did little to defend him. Templer died at the age of 29 on 18 December 1886 at Thomas Holloway’s Sanatorium in Surrey: "the cause of death was 'general paralysis of the Insane – 1 year.'" Murder Research points to another mysterious possible perpetrator, cited from a contemporary source:
About the year 1890 there stood at the side of an open grave, in a South Devon town, a well-known and local resident and his two sons. The man who had been buried was a public man of the town who had been very well-known, highly respected and very popular throughout South Devon. The young men were, also, in their turn, to become public men in the area. As they were moving away from the grave and the mourners were disbursing their father turned to them and said “we have buried this afternoon the secret of the Babbacombe murder."
Whatever murderous violence dwindled down to ugly secrets in this little cove, most researchers focus on Lee and leave the story there. But what happened to the town after this dark twist of fate?

After the murder, the attractiveness of the village slowly declined from its Victorian heyday. The 'Garden Room' at the Glen was bizarrely transformed into a 'beach cafe'' by the local council. The cafe was "destroyed by fire in April 1928." The spot that The Glen occupied became a parking lot.

In 1926, a cliff railway was built so that tourists could ride up the cliff and see the view of the sea. The area still attracted those seeking holidays from the cities from the 1930s up until the 1950s; but by the 1960s, Babbacombe gradually became run down. In 1963, a historic model village was built nearby to attract tourists.

In the early 2000s, there was a concerted effort to beautify and refurbish the area with footpaths and similar wild garden attractions. Now the town invites Scuba divers, anglers and boating enthusiasts. Those Romantic Victorian ornamental cottages have been renovated into B&B's. The local theatre, built in the 1930s, was finally renovated in 2009.

But there is still a darker current here, some odd echoes of the murder case at The Glen. Perhaps it is just the bad economy, or maybe some uneasiness persists between those who appeciate the local wild area and those who seem shaped by it. In the 2000s, areas of planted woodlands were cut down without permission. There are ongoing problems with vandalism, sexual activity and syringes on the footpaths, such that the council decided to wall off the footpaths to prevent access from the surrounding brush. The old cliff railway was covered with graffiti in 2006. In July 2007, vandals destroyed traditional wattle fencing constructed in a nationally funded garden project. In July 2010, vandals destroyed a local garden, pulling up 300 flowers, amounting to £3,000 of damage for the disabled owner, who had spent years carefully cultivating the much-photographed site.

This dark theme has appeared in local fiction. Torquay is the birthplace of author Agatha Christie. The area is not so far from Daphne du Maurier's famed Jamaica Inn. There are Babbacombe roots in Edgar Wallace's The Law of the Four Just Men (read it here), a 1921 vigilante story, "the prototype of modern thriller novels."

Babbacombe's red cliffs. Image Source: Panoramio.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Harvest Moon Myths of the Past, Present and Future

Image Source: Crystalinks.

Tonight there is a full moon, known in northern climes as the Harvest Moon or Full Corn Moon in North America. It rises at 11:19 ET (3:19 GMT). Seemingly this is a harmless good old full moon that appears closest to the September equinox and has shorter rising times; under this moon, farmers work into the night bringing in their crops. Oddly, a great deal of online chatter casts this moon in a different and frightening light.

Psychics and spiritualists worry (in very unusual ways) that the full moon may spark castastrophic earthquakes. Astrologer Susan Miller calls this full moon a 'Monster Moon.' Miller's Twitter feed and other astrologers' remarks confirm that many people who are already stressed are reading into the stars around this full moon to support their sense of uneasiness about their private concerns, politics, the environment, world affairs and the economy. Miller suffered personal bereavement on 27 September and read it as part of the full moon's influence. Her fellow astrologers believe that this full moon in Aries is the most powerful full moon of the year; Anne Reith explains their reasoning:
I have spoken to so many people during the past week who are going through MAJOR shifts in their lives, both externally (e.g., losing jobs, death of loved ones) and internally (e.g., major insights, emotional breakdowns leading to breakthroughs). ...  
This is the most powerful Full Moon of the year because it is connected to the ongoing square (90°) between Uranus (the planet of change revolution) and Pluto (the planet of transformation and deep healing). As with any Full Moon, the Sun and the Moon are in opposition (180°) to each other. But the Moon is also conjunct Uranus, and both the Sun and Moon are squaring (90°) Pluto. This forms a very powerful astrological configuration called a T-Square (with very tight orbs). And all of these planets are in cardinal signs, which heralds in new beginnings and new energy. Overall, the wheels of change are turning, and this change can be revolutionary. This energy is so great that it can topple governments, shake up corporations, and be the catalyst for major personal transformations. On the one hand, this energy can evoke insecurities by washing away well-laid plans; but on the other hand, it can be seen as the inspiration for breakthroughs that will shape individual and collective visions of the future. It is riskier now to stand still than it is to move ahead. It is important now to make smart decisions regarding the concepts and values that are worth fighting for and which are best left behind. Adapting to uncertain circumstances and avoiding overreaction will help all of us to ride out these storms in relative safety.
The moon's aspects will primarily affect the sun signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.

While some see the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement as indications of larger rebellion, other chatter focuses on radical individual change and personal transformation; Alexis Mincolla wrote: "uninstall your bullshit this saturday and be cleansed by fire." Sherene Schostak feels that this Harvest Moon is about personal revolutions:
On Saturday, September 29, the full Moon in Aries could be one of the most explosive lunations of the year as it stands right on the precipice of many incendiary factors. For one thing, the Uranus-Pluto square becomes activated by this full Moon, setting off the urgent need for cataclysmic breakthrough. 
Mars, the ruler of Aries, is incredibly strong at the moment in Scorpio, which makes our determination to break through stagnation, denial and repression a do-or-die situation. The time is right now. It is a time for action. We are feeling the dire need to change and let go of what no longer serves the authentic “I am” self -- even if it kills us (or before it does). 
If that isn’t enough of edge: Serious Saturn is about to change signs next week after spending two-and-a-half years in the opposite sign of this full Moon (Libra). The cosmic taskmaster will be moving into the same sign as Mars: Scorpio. So again, the theme of letting go, shedding skin and killing the killers in our lives becomes extremely pronounced. 
Aries (Mars) is about bringing out the big guns and taking no prisoners. Don’t ever ask an Aries or person with heavy Mars in their chart to wait patiently. You get the idea: this full Moon is screaming at us to wake up and stand our ground. If we’ve been too nice and people-pleasing (Libra) at the expense of honoring our true self, this full Moon will light the fire needed to burn that nonsense down to the ground.
On the other hand, some astrologers think that this full moon is about history repeating itself, from 1933 to 1966 to 2013. They claim that this moon is influenced (so to speak) by the second of seven ominous and revolutionary confrontational squares between Uranus (electric change) and Pluto (death, the Underworld and transformation), an aspect last evident between 1932 and 1934. By contrast, the two planets entered into a synod, or synthetic conjunction, between 1964 and 1967, often deemed to be a positive revolutionary trend. You can read an astrological geometry and history of Uranus and Pluto interactions here. This interpretation suggests that we are somehow entering a celestial time loop, or perhaps a symbolic period of déjà vu, in which the conditions of the 1930s are being revisited in order to deliver a harsh karmic response to the revolutions of the 1960s.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Look Skyward: Ring of Fire Eclipse over the Ring of Fire

Image Source: What's On Xiamen.

Today, a rare annular solar eclipse will occur over China, Japan, the Pacific Ring of Fire seismic zone and most of North America. It is the first central eclipse over the North American continent in the 21st century. It is called a 'ring of fire' eclipse because the moon will not quite block out the sun, creating the appearance of a burning ring in the sky. It starts on May 21st in Asia, then crosses the International Date Line and loses a day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Retro-Futurism 17: Pre-Raphaelite Arthurian Korean Girl Band Mash-Up

Image Source: Tumblr via Il Bonito.

Here's another image for my series of Retro-Futurism, redefined on this blog as a Millennial phenomenon, wherein images and symbols from the past are reworked through digital tech into futuristic settings.

This image comes from the blogger at IlBonito, who found it on Tumblr: "Here is Taeyeon, singer of Korean girlgroup SNSD (aka Girls' Generation) re-imagined as a lady of the Round Table, knighting her squire with a light sabre." The Photoshop mash-up is taking Pre-Raphaelite imagery, which was in its time a 19th century look back on early medieval Arthurian legends, adding a Star Wars light sabre, and of course, Taeyeon. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Wedding List

The Uninvited Guest (1906) by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale.  Image Source: Goodart.org.

There's something Narnia-esque about William and Kate. Their wedding must be more understated than the incredible wedding of William's parents in 1981. After Charles's and Diana's wedding, we won't believe in living fairy tales again.  At the time, it looked like the dawning of a new age. In fact, it was the last gasp of the Victorian era. There's still something to Kate's and William's story about romantic fantasies coming true, but tempered by compromise and practicality.

Marriages of royals to commoners are the biggest indicators that an über-democratic approach to royal affairs has been established by the Windsors and other surviving royal houses in Europe.  It's a big trend (see here, here, here, here, here and here); it's also occurring in royal houses outside Europe and marks a huge shift in values. One of the oldest human institutions is radically changing. The lead-up to the royal wedding today weirdly involved royal snubs to assert the new order of things, making space for celebrities and  new favourites. Yet some of those decisions were - odd. The Obamas not invited? Oh, to be a fly on the wall to hear what they said in the White House.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Welcome the Autumnal Equinox

Pomona. Tapestry designed by Edward Burne-Jones and John Henry Dearle, 1890. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The Autumn Equinox begins on September 23 at 3:09 A.M. UTC (or Coordinated Universal Time, which is like GMT, but isn't).  That means it arrives10:09 PM EST on September 22. 

Timeless Myths explains the origin of the Roman goddess of orchards (depicted above in tapestry), Pomona.  It's the usual cheerful harvest story: "Vertumnus was the Roman god of garden and orchard. Vertumnus was probably a god of Etruscan origin, named Voltumna. His consort, named Pomona had similar functions. Pomona was the goddess of garden and orchard. The two deities had their festival on the same day, August 13. Ovid tells of how many woodland spirits and gods, including Pan and the satyrs, wooed Pomona, because of her great beauty. Pomona would have nothing to with males, mortals or immortals. All she cared about was orchard and her apples. ... Vertumnus tried various disguises to be near her and to win her love, such as ... farmer, vineyard worker, soldier ... . Finally he ... changed back to his normal form, and was going to force himself upon her. It wasn't necessary, since she had fallen in love with him in his true form."