So I’m back.
For a little while anyway :-)
So I’m back.
For a little while anyway :-)
Apologies Shifters but real, offline life gets in the way of things sometimes and that needs looking into – Too many energy leakages going on right now, and looking at the balance sheets things are in the red and not in the black and I therefore need to cut everything back, figuratively speaking. Unfortunately, that also includes this blog. So, this blog will be on hiatus until further notice. I’m still reachable by email . To those of you who know me personally, I’m still on FaceBook too.
To those of you who have stayed with this blog since I first started it a little over two years ago, interacted with me here and provided sincere commentary, a giant “Thank You”. To those of you who only recently signed up and started reading this blog, I’m really sorry but on the upside, there are now over 180 blog posts you can read from :-)
Then there is a third group I would like to address, those who read the blog, never interacted with me and yet mined it for ideas which they used in their own writings and work with barely any acknowledgement. You know who you are. While I like writing, it’s also nice to get something reciprocated and I got very little back. Not that I expected anything but right now all it feels like is that there some people who the read the blog because they’re looking for new, interesting, original, obscure facts, which I bring to the surface which they then can add to their bag of tricks. I’m not getting anything back. I need to be inspired and I’m not. As a result, I just don’t feel like writing. If something inspires me enough, maybe I will but if it doesn’t, I may just stop the blog altogether. To paraphrase what a friend said, there are those drawing more than just inspiration from what I wrote and it is quite obvious in places. I wrote something, next thing, a similar version pops up somewhere else.
I’ve been watching this story about shooter Elliott Rodger closely. What I find particularly interesting is that this young man’s neurosis and mental health issues have been documented online and are still there for the world to see. Go over to his YouTube channel and try watching some of his videos without cringing – it’s practically impossible especially when you have someone talking to the camera and saying out loud things like “I’m magnificent” or “I’m so beautiful, how can these sluts not love me, it’s not fair. I’m a supreme gentleman”.
Much has already been written up online about his misogyny, his mental health issues, his involvement with “Men’s Rights Movement” forums, and how misogyny has been woven into the general culture, how some men feel entitled to the bodies of women at any time, any place, any how and the many, many insidious forms it can take.
What I would like to focus on is that I think there are many factors at fault here. Yes, the general cultural milieu we live in IS violent but to some extent I think many women have also internalized it and THAT needs to change.
There are many Elliot Rodgers out there and while I am in no way trying to downplay what happened in California, things like that are a fact of everyday life in other parts of the world. On a visit to my aunt and cousins place in Bangladesh during my teen years, I remember my cousins enthusiastically introduced me, their “Canadian cousin” to all their friends and one friend in particular I still remember very well. She was quite a beautiful girl if you were to look at her profile from her left side, but after seeing her entire face, you would have gasped. Half her face had been practically burned away by battery acid.
The story was that a local boy wanted to marry her (Bangladesh at that time was very, very socially conservative, no pre-marital sex whatsoever, no dating, if you’re interested in someone to hook up with, you have to marry them, arranged marriages were the norm, which is why girls were often married off at a very young age) but she wasn’t interested. Since the rejection or rebuff was not something he could deal with in such a patriarchal culture, he and his friend conspired together, broke into her home in the middle of the night and threw the battery acid on her face while she slept. He figured if he couldn’t have her, no one else could either. It was quite an epidemic for a while and finally when the government of Bangladesh finally criminalized the act with severe penalties, did the practice finally abate somewhat.
People often ask me why I didn’t stay on in Turkey and marry there given that Turkey is known for attracting thousands of women every year because of the availability of very handsome and willing men. The reason is that something like 40% of women in Turkey face domestic abuse. I had enough Turkish female friends there who were social workers tell me as much, that I would have been used for my Canadian passport and citizenship and then discarded. There was no way I was going to get involved and take that risk.
Now, some of you might say that Bangladesh and Turkey are Muslim countries, that’s part and parcel of Islam. Look at those assholes in Boko Haram in Nigeria or Female Genital Mutilation in Sub-Saharan Africa, for instance. That’s just not true. I have a friend who worked as a police officer in Sydney, Australia and domestic abuse is quite prevalent there as well among the Anglo-Aussies. I have another friend here in Montreal who, for a time worked as a 9-1-1 operator and dispatcher and the calls for domestic abuse came in from all quarters and the Number 1 category of domestic abuse incidents actually came from a White male/Asian female partnerships. When I did my stint as a spiritual caregiver in Washington, DC, I saw many, many cases of brutal domestic abuse in the trauma bay among African-American women. Mind you, these are anecdotal examples but it shows how widespread the problem is.
I had a wonderful economics professor in college, originally from the western tribal areas of Pakistan, close to Peshawar. She did her MA and PhD at the London School of Economics, was a devout Muslim, mother and wife, she was also quite a feminist. I used to have long conversations in her office about why men, not just Muslim men, but many men abuse women. Her reply was that those men who brutalize and abuse women, deep down are scared, they’re scared of the day when women realize, that they don’t need these men as much as these men need the women. They’re afraid of being outed as needy, incompetent and therefore “weak”. It drives them crazy to see a woman who is free to make her own choices and doesn’t need or want anyone (i.e him) so the only way they can take back control of the situation is through violence to reinforce that message that the woman is “owned” and under control. Another part of the problem is that women in some cultures, are conditioned to treat their sons like some sort of prince, that the focus of attention within families is always the son, not the daughter (hence female infanticide in places like China and India) but if mothers were to shift or adjust their attitudes just a little, it would go a long way towards enforcing attitudes of gender equality and fostering respect towards girls.
Much of what I see in spiritual literature is about saying “Yes” to life and living our truth. While I don’t disagree with that, I also think part of saying “Yes” to life also means saying “NO” loudly and clearly and without any fear of blowback when the occasion calls for it. To otherwise muffle our voices ultimately holds us all back.
(For those of you new to my blog, I post Carl Boudreau’s monthly astrological outlook videos. When I want warm, fuzzy, super-positive astrology, I go to Kelley Rosano or Karen Lustrup. When I want astrology with a bit of a bite and an edge, I check out the Caustic Astrologer, Steve Judd. And when I want the gentle voice of wisdom, I go to Carl Boudreau)
From Carl Boudreau’s Youtube channel:
“June’s chart indicates a major turning point for everyone that will change their worldview and ripple through all of their relationships, and on out into world at large.
The planets are putting us in touch with our deeper selves, stimulating us to live more authentically. We will strive to be more authentic ourselves and demand greater authenticity from others.
We will all be more respectful of boundaries and expectations and we will expect others to do the same. This radical attitude shift, multiplied 7 billion times will bring wave upon wave of change.
Maybe I should have called this video Attitude Shift. But I called it Relationship Shakeup because most of us will see the effects of this vibe first and foremost in our relationships.”
“Having a taste for things is so much more important than owning them – This is why, for those who lack nothing, it is better if money remains of secondary concern. You can see what life is like for so many business people – all that time they spend in the office and at meetings. When they leave, it is so they can race around from one end of the globe to the other without seeing anything of the regions they pass through or of the people who live there. And that is how their sensitivity to what is beautiful and poetic in life eventually becomes dulled. So, what was the point of amassing a fortune? They cannot even enjoy the advantages it gives them, as they have destroyed that something in them that gives the most exquisite flavour to things, events and people. And that is what is sad: to have the possibility of acquiring anything you want but to feel no joy from it, except the vanity of owning it. So if you have to choose between these two situations – owning a lot but no longer being able to appreciate it, or owning very little and keeping your taste for it – choose the latter, and the smallest thing will give you joy.”
To those of you who follow this blog because of the issues of yoga, accessibility and BS gurus – Listen Up!
Roseanne Harvey who runs the renowned blog, “It’s All Yoga, Baby!” and noted yoga writer Carol Horton Ph.D are hosting two (2) discussion sessions on yoga. According to the Abhyasa Yoga Center event page,
“Yoga today is changing – and fast. Once-powerful gurus are falling. New alternatives are snowballing. Why are these changes happening? What do they matter?
Join Carol Horton and Roseanne Harvey, co-editors of 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics, and Practice, for a provocative discussion of the current paradigm shift in yoga culture. Key topics include 1) representing the “yoga body,” 2) re-envisioning the “guru,” and 3) revitalizing Karma yoga. Come add your voice to what promises to be an important conversation on the cutting edge of thoughtful yoga practice today.
This event will follow a participatory lecture/discussion format and includes no asana. No preregistration required.
Cost: $20 or pay-what-you-can (nobody turned away for lack of funds)”
Monday, May 19th
7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Abhyasa Yoga Center
628 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Tuesday, May 20th
7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
309 East 108th St #1A
New York, NY 10029
Same topics will be under discussion each evening but it will be happening at two different locations. The awesome Yogadork is hosting Monday night’s session in Brooklyn and prominent yoga blogger J. Brown is hosting the East Harlem session on Tuesday night.
If you are in the NYC/Brooklyn area and if these issues mean something to you, I suggest moseying on down to add your voice to the discussion. It would seem both anonymous and non-anonymous bloggers are venturing out to take part in the action. I’m gonna be at the Brooklyn jam if anyone wants to say “Hello” or as Charlie over at Emergency Awesome would say “High Fives”!
“True initiates, true disciples present themselves in a simple, natural manner and are always approachable. Why do you wish to impress others and attract their attention with superior airs? You will say: ‘But are we not to manifest our spiritual accomplishments?’ You must not hide them, and you must not display them either. Since you are working on yourself and are busy modelling and sculpting your inner being, let this show in the features of your face, in your behaviour, and in your gestures. But you yourself, stay simple and natural. Why demand recognition with affected behaviour? Since you follow a spiritual teaching, know that your qualities of wisdom, purity, and nobility will show through your expression and your attitude, without any need on your part to assume all sorts of poses to advertise it. Allow your inner work to speak for itself, and even without your realising it, it will bear witness to you. In your wish to help others, you are probably going to absorb some impurities, but do not worry. Think of water and tell yourself that you can follow its example. Yes, water, which is so transparent, so innocent, comes down to earth to absorb all the impurities of the creatures here. Then, one day, it merges with the ocean, and recovers its original purity. If you complain of being defiled, taken advantage of, and diminished, it is quite simply because you think of yourself as a pond, or even worse, a small puddle. Instead of identifying with a puddle, identify with the ocean and you will feel that nothing and no one can soil you. Then, in time, you will be seized by the rays of the spiritual sun which will take charge of your purification, and by rising into space, you will leave behind all the impure elements you have absorbed on your journey.”
- Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov
[To my batch of new readers and followers, thank you and welcome. Also, get used to the Aivanhov quotes in this blog. Aivanhov was a Gnostic, Bulgarian mystic and spiritual master and I'm a huge fan of his teachings.]
Those people you meet at either some spiritual group, New Age gathering or at a yoga studio/mala who boast about who is more spiritually advanced than you, who has had more spiritual experiences that you, who has more spiritual faculties awakened than you and then use that as a selling point to make you feel bad about yourself and lure you into their own cult of personality. Unfortunately, many so-called teachers and gurus also display this stupid tendency, and in my book that’s an automatic red flag and a sign to stay the hell away because it’s ego-driven, not based on anything compassionate or genuineness.
One thing I learned with my time with some of the First Nations Native tribes is that genuine and authentic Elders and wisdom keepers work with absolute humility. Humility in this sense is not about putting yourself down and thinking less of yourself but rather thinking about yourself, your issues and your stuff less. They don’t say very much, they certainly don’t advertise themselves online or put out brochures and they don’t really boast about their abilities on Facebook or Twitter. Rather, once they’ve accepted you as a student or feel you’re ready to receive teachings, little by little, in their actions, you start observing that they may actually know some really neat stuff worth knowing.
Hindu lore especially around the sadhus, or the Muslim Sufi ascetics known as fakirs are rife with stories of supernatural abilities, like levitation, the ability to prognosticate the future, forcing a mango tree to grow in front of your eyes from seed, mental telepathy, telekinesis, tricks like producing ash out of thin air like Sathya Sai Baba used to do or walking on water (which is why the story of Jesus walking on water isn’t such a big deal in India). Native American tribes and Siberian/Mongolian shamanic tribes talk about people with the ability to be skin walkers. Practically every culture in the world has stories of people who display what we would consider to be supra-natural ability.
Much of the spiritual literature in Hinduism, Sufism, and Buddhism are unequivocal about these abilities which they call “siddhi” and say that should you develop siddhi along your path to Enlightenment/Oneness, don’t pay any attention to them. These are just the little foothills of distractions on the way to the real mountains towering behind them.
So in case you ever meet someone who does have siddhi, like bending spoons or knows how to see your future on a polished fingernail and uses that ability to somehow convince you to join their group or follow them, I would just quietly suggest to give them a pass. Most of them are just trying to distract you. If you’re hunting for big game, this is just small fish in comparison.
Also, the next time you encounter someone who boasts about being “more spiritual” and tries to come across as more special than you, don’t say anything. Instead, just watch their actions closely because that’s where you’ll find your answer and find out everything you need to know about that person.
As for real teachers and real spiritual masters, I can only speak for myself and from my own experiences but I find the legit ones, their words have a consistent ability to almost have an immediate effect on you. They consistently have a knack for getting to the heart of any matter, quite often using simple words, not complicated jargon, which then resonates on such a deep level with you that you just automatically “get it”. Quite often, you’re not the same afterwards or you start looking at the world in a different way completely, and usually for the better.
Teachers and teachings are everywhere. You just got to know how to look and pick up what you need for your journey. They show up in unexpected places and ways and it’s up to you to pick up the trail of cosmic breadcrumbs.
I had written about a little-known Canadian seeress named Alma Rumball about two years ago. Alma is an example of someone whose works have much to teach us should we want to listen. Recently a documentary about her extraordinary life story was finally uploaded to Youtube and it is well worth a watch.
For those of you who don’t know anything about Ayn Rand aka Alisa Rosenbaum, settle in.
As I wrote earlier, I’ve been on a film kick lately. I’m usually attracted to stuff which explores metaphysical themes anyway so I struggled with writing this blog post and whether to publish it or not. I then decided, that as disturbing, ugly and painful as some aspects may be, in the end, the message is too important to pass up.
Pier Paolo Pasolini was a bit of a genius polymath. A writer, journalist, art critic, poet, painter, actor, novelist, philosopher, intellectual, political commentator, and finally, film maker and director, there was not much on the creative side of culture he did not study or work in. More than a little ahead of his time, Pasolini often stumped or enraged the critics of his day and nearly 40 years after his death, people are just starting to understand him and his work with a deeper appreciation, mostly because for his uncanny foresight and prescience of the world to come.
Pasolini had made a trio of films called the Trilogy of Life, which included “Decameron”(1971), “The Canterbury Tales”(1972) and “The Flower of the 1001 Nights”(1974) which in themselves were bawdy, lusty but joyful depictions of human sexuality. There is a joy and playfulness in the Trilogy which is pretty obvious to anyone who takes the time to watch them. Pasolini was no prude. He was openly gay in a time and culture when that was socially unacceptable and no doubt that bled into his work.
His next and final film was the mother lode.
In 1975, Pasolini did Salò, (or The 120 Days of Sodom), based of course, on the notorious book by the Marquis de Sade. Only Pasolini changed the setting completely and placed it in the final days of Fascist Italy in the 1940s. (Before I go any further, I should warn anyone who wants to watch this film or take it lightly that this is a VERY disturbing film, and not in a slasher-horror film kind of way. Even if nothing is real in the film and props and fakes were used, the content is very troubling. You have to be very, very , very strong to watch it and should weaker, more delicate souls watch this, it will affect you on a subconscious level so you’ve been warned and need to take personal responsibility if you decide to watch it.)
The film instantly was banned in practically every country in the world because of its graphic depictions of sexual mutilation, sadism, mental and physical torture and coprophagia. It remains banned in Malaysia and Singapore even now. There’s not much to the plot, only in Republic of Salò, the Fascist-occupied part of Italy, in 1944, four wealthy men of power, the Duke (Royalty), the Bishop (Religion/Clergy), the Magistrate (the Law), and the President (the Leader/Executive), agree to marry each other’s daughters as the first step in a debauched ritual. They recruit four teenage boys to act as guards and four young soldiers (called “studs), who are chosen because of their large physical genital endowments. They then kidnap nine young men and nine young women and take them to a palace near Salò. Accompanying them are four middle-aged prostitutes, also collaborators, who recount arousing stories for the men of power, who, in turn, sadistically exploit their victims.
The story depicts some of the 120 days at the palace, during which the four men come up with even more abhorrent tortures and humiliations for their own pleasure. The film follows four different segments inspired by Dante’s Inferno, the Anti-Inferno, the Circle of Manias, the Circle of Shit and the Circle of Blood. I am not going to recount what happens in the film, you can read that elsewhere, but rather focus on what the film and it’s aftermath really shows up.
Reader, this film will break your heart and your shake your will to live.
I had to force myself to watch it through and had a good cry afterwards but as horrific as the scenes and actions are, there is a method to the madness here and I understand what Pasolini was trying to warn us of. Pasolini understood what market forces ultimately do to human beings, human souls and human bodies. When life becomes commoditized to market forces, that’s when the real torture begins. When you lose respect for life and look at it as a commodity, you lose your ability to feel any empathy and start treating others as objects to your own whims and inclinations – and the results often do end up becoming horrific.
Pasolini saw the writing on the wall back in 1975, before globalization really took hold of the world, before drug cartels controlled economies and before Banksters, Royalty, Religion, Law and Political Leaders hoodwinked the public to pay for their gross ineptitude and greedy appetites. He understood and saw all too clearly what the final outcome was going to be and started to ring the warning bell in the most brutal, urgent way possible. Unfortunately, he paid the price for it with his life. Shortly after production wrapped, Pasolini was brutally murdered in what many suspect was a Mafia hit. He was run over by a car, several times in a row, and pictures of his mangled, crushed body were published in the newspapers, shocking the Italian public even more. Somehow man and myth became one.
The antithesis of “Salo”, a film which argues very well against this materialism, I think is “A Canterbury Tale” (1944) by the dynamic duo of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Set in wartime England, and like Geoffrey Chaucer’s original story of a group of eccentric pilgrims on their way to Canterbury Cathedral, it follows three young people: British Army Sergeant Peter Gibbs, US Army Sergeant Bob Johnson (played by real-life Sergeant John Sweet), and a land girl, Miss Alison Smith.
The group arrive at the railway station in a small Kent town of Chillingbourne, near Canterbury, late on night. Peter has been stationed at a nearby Army camp, Alison is due to start working on a farm in the area, and Bob left the train by mistake, hearing the announcement “next stop Canterbury” and thinking he was in Canterbury. As they leave the station together, Alison is attacked by a mysterious assailant in uniform who pours glue on her hair, before escaping. The remainder of the film is about the three of them sleuthing to find out who is”The Glue Man”.
That’s just the plot. It’s also a meditation on why nature has to be protected at all costs, the true cost of war and technology in human terms, the joy of childhood innocence and that miracles do happen. Chaucer’s pilgrims travelled to Canterbury to “receive a blessing, or to do penance”. It’s really at the end which brings the film to a glorious, spiritual conclusion where each of them receives a blessing. (If you’re feeling lost or adrift, watch “A Canterbury Tale”. It will help you find your bearings. )
The film also highlights The Pilgrims Way, an often-forgotten walking pilgrimage route which still runs through the English countryside ending at Canterbury Cathedral, and not unlike Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain. The route is actually far older than the medieval pilgrimage route we know it as today and dates back to the Iron Age. (Quite often people doing the Pilgrim’s Way looking for blessings, end up doing penance and those looking to do penance end up with blessings. In other words, the route is some sort of karmic balancer and that is why I strongly suspect there’s a very powerful and still-pure ley line along that route.)
Powell and Pressburger may have made the film in 1944, far earlier than Pasolini’s film, but I’ll leave you with the words of Sergeant John Sweet who played Sergeant Bob Johnson in the film. Sweet died in 2011 but he gave an interview in 2001 which is on the Criterion DVD of the film, when he returned to Canterbury for the first time after 57 odd years.
“When I say heads raised in the film, I do mean the spiritual, I mean that very much. This is about the human spirit. Indeed. I realized it yesterday. I saw it …clearly on the film, but I’m a little older and I know a little more than I did when I was 27… And today we’re hungry for this, without knowing how to move on it. …We’re hungry for something… For meaning. We’re talking about meaning… And we’re all short of it. We’re all trying to get it from science or from technology or…or mobile phones. And that’s… that’s silliness. There’s no spirituality in it or in the internet or facts or mobile phones…. It’s a poor, poor substitute for the spirit.”
Hope many of you Shifters rode out the Cardinal Grand Cross in an OK fashion?
I have not been writing lately since I’ve been busy with another project and it kinda requires much of my attention. That’s not to say that I haven’t noticed a couple of things happening which I think merits a good pointing out.
From where I stand
You are home free
The planets align so rare
There’s promise in the air
And I’m guiding you
John Pilger belongs to a rare breed of journalists and documentary filmmakers who, whenever they do something new, it’s worth giving up a couple of hours of your time to just drop everything and go read or watch their latest offering because you’ll learn much more in those hours than you ever will watching the news or reading the newspaper. Pilger is one, the BBC’s Adam Curtis (i.e The Power of Nightmares, The Century of Self) is another as is the CBC’s McKenna brothers, Terence and Brian (i.e The Valour and the Horror, Big Sugar, The Secret History of 9/11).
As many of you know already, from a spiritual point of view April 2014 is a real doozy.
With a Cardinal Grand Cross, Carl points that a positive new paradigm is now on the horizon. The 99% are going to gain ground finally. On an individual basis, it may mean that plans and dreams which you may have secretly been working on may gain some traction. The name of the game here is that a change in direction is in the works. What direction you take it in is up to you but one thing’s for sure: the 1% are losing their grip and THAT is a good thing. There is finally an opening. Even when things fall apart, that is still an opening nonetheless for something new to emerge. Use it to your advantage.
I remember back in college and the university, sitting in my first microeconomic and macroeconomic classes, learning how price and quantity affected Supply and Demand and vice versa. I also remember clearly the professor saying how humans had unlimited wants and needs. It struck me, even back then, that that wasn’t a given, but a bold assumption, and that it was something we were conditioned into, not something based on truth. The professor only said that one sentence and moved on quickly, while in my opinion, a statement like that merits further discussion and examination before moving on because I think it is a dangerous assumption to base any sort of narrative on.
Walk around so cold so cold and lonely
Or lay in bed wondering what to do with time
You’ve got no sense of fun until you know you’ve won again
And yet you feel so much you feel so much inside.
You want to rip off the jewels off all the idiots backs so badly.
You scream give me what I’ve always missed, give me a good time.
But if you look into your mirror you’ll see that nobody
Has ever ripped you off it’s all in your mind
Her beauty can only ever be skin deep
But if I’m honest that’s all I ever really need
So throw us some flowers and we’ll give you some songs and sunshine
And if you give me an hour I’ll show you how you feel.
– Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov
Eleven prominent bankers have committed suicide in the last 3 months.
Under normal circumstances, you could easily dismiss it as either a spate of bad luck or unfortunate coincidence but since I have a naturally suspicious outlook on things, I think the timing is extremely eerie. Not unlike the number of bankers who killed themselves in the immediate aftermath of the start of the Great Depression of 1929, things literally did not start to look up economically until after World War II in 1945.
War, unfortunately has always been the economic engine which keeps things humming along. I have a feeling those bankers saw the writing on the wall and decided to do themselves in and I DON’T find it coincidental in the least that suddenly the war drums are drumming vis-a-vis Russia over the whole issue of Ukraine and the Crimea.
In short, they are using war to save the economy. Again.
If Crimea goes the way the US wants it, Venezuela will be next on the hit-list and after that…well… the list is pretty obvious by now, no?
I like this Aivanhov quote because it shows up the real stupidity behind politicians, industrialists, businessmen, bureaucrats, technocrats, professors as well as many mainstream artists and performers. In short, just about every acting party who is part of this reality hack. True, they may very well be the smartest minds in the room, and usually coupled with charisma, talent and good looks, that makes for a potent and heady mix, but not a single one of them, for all their knowledge and talent ever demonstrates any selfless kindness, wisdom and above all, humility which is the level where the real problem-solving will happen.
When someone does, you never hear about it, mostly because I think we live in a world where those aforementioned qualities are not celebrated and therefore doesn’t sell print or generate hits and internet revenue. There’s no place for wisdom and humility when you’re on a world stage which is all about ego, vanity and control.
Some of you may laugh at me or dismiss me as a flake for following the lives of old Hollywood actors and rock musicians like I do, but I have found that there are many lessons in examining some of those lives.
It’s no secret to my regular readers that I intensely dislike Madonna. True, she is an extremely shrewd business-woman and she has achieved more than any of us ever will in our lives with respect to the music she has made, the revenue she has generated, the number of albums she has sold and how she was one of the first artists to publicly embrace the LGBT community. However, I find her to be an ugly human being. It’s her character. Her calculating nature, arrogance, attention-whoring and unending vanity which does it in for me.
Whenever I look at her, all I can ever think about is Oscar Wilde’s book, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” where Dorian makes a deal with the devil and stays eternally beautiful and youthful on the outside, all the while committing heinous acts. Meanwhile a true image of him hidden away, shows up his real reflection and visage, aging and becoming the beast-like character that he really is. It’s not *just* Madonna, practically everyone in the public eye is like that, particularly in professions like politics, sports and entertainment.
On the other hand, there are a handful of artists who I’ve noticed seem to become better and better at their craft as they age, and in some cases, even become more beautiful and graceful (minus plastic surgery) and about whom I’ve never heard bad stories or gossip.
They may not have been the smartest, most talented or even the most good-looking persons but they often demonstrated kindness, humour, wisdom and generosity. They usually led low-key lives, didn’t seek the limelight too much, and seemed to be very happy in their personal lives.
I think of Audrey Hepburn,
Sir Alec Guinness…
and Paul Newman….
I don’t understand why people don’t talk about and celebrate common sense and common decency more often. I think if the general culture was infused with more of those qualities and made THAT the new normal, we’d have less to worry about in places like the Crimea and Venezuela and it would expose these narcissistic power hungry freaks in Washington DC, Brussels and London for who they are to everyone.
“Each day you hope and pray for the best conditions for your evolution, for the good of your friends, and for the whole world, and you ask what you must do in order for your hopes to be fulfilled. I will give you a method: write these things down and entrust them to the Angel of Fire. Fire is a messenger between the visible and the invisible worlds, and the moment these papers are burned, entities on high take notice of them and begin to study how their requests might be satisfied. Of course, you must not expect these requests to be granted immediately. But if you are patient, if you continue to make efforts and to work in the direction of the hopes you have expressed, you will one day see them realized; for when fire takes part in something, there are always results. In initiatic science, fire is considered the most powerful means of entering into communication with the spiritual world, because it represents the frontier between the physical and etheric planes. If, before beginning a work of any importance, initiates customarily light a candle, it is because they know that fire will introduce them to the subtle regions where their thoughts and their voices will be heard and where they will find the conditions for achieving their goals. All true magi have a very powerful bond with fire. Even though religion has gradually lost the meaning of these initiatic practices, the tradition of lighting candles or lamps in churches continues; this proves that human beings unconsciously preserve the ancient knowledge that the presence of fire promises fulfilment.”
P.S Never leave fires or candles unattended!
How many of you are Fixed Signs (i.e Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius)?
Do you remember anything special about that time period back in July/August 1999? That was when the Fixed Grand Cross took place along with some very powerful eclipses which coincided with it and it hit those signs hard, in good and bad ways, depending on what you were personally working on.
Well, it looks like April 2014 will be a powerful month in more ways than what I posted earlier.
There will be a Cardinal Grand Cross taking place most of the month but hitting it’s sharpest angles on April 23/24. According to British astrologer Steve Judd, this is going to be a tsunami of sorts (and it’s not hard to believe that given what’s happening in the world these days…) so all I can say is keep your noses clean, Folks. It’s time to get real with yourself and with others around you.
Eyes open, no fear.
“According to the alchemists, the preparation of the philosophers’ stone must begin when the Sun enters the constellation of Aries and the Moon enters that of Taurus. Why? Because the Sun is exalted in Aries, and the Moon is exalted in Taurus. The sign that follows, Gemini, is ruled by Mercury. Now the symbol of Mercury is formed , from top to bottom, by the crescent of the Moon the disc of the Sun and the sign of addition (+). Therefore the symbol of Mercury expresses the union of the Sun and the Moon. Mercury is the child of the Sun and the Moon; it is the philosophers’ stone. This philosophers’ stone that the alchemists seek is, in reality, a symbol of the transformation of man. The alchemist works with the Sun and the Moon, that is to say, with the two principles of the will and the imagination; and thanks to this work he eventually transforms himself, becoming like the Sun and the Moon, radiant and pure.”
-Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov
As per Aivanhov’s quote, and according to astrological calendars, the Sun will be entering Aries this year on March 20, 2014 at 12:57 PM, GMT, which is the official Spring Equinox time. The Moon will enter Taurus on April 1, 2014 at 5:20 AM, GMT. I should add also that Mercury rules Gemini and the Moon will be entering Gemini on April 3, 2014 and remain there until April 5, 2014.
In other words, with the Sun in Aries, the moon in Taurus and then Gemini, that week of April 1-5 will be a very potent time for anyone wishing to do serious earth-healing work, light work, meditation, prayer or any other form of serious white magick.
Just sayin’ ;-)
“Sometimes, while in the mountains, we see on the edge of a precipice a tree whose trunk and branches are oddly twisted. This tree has had to withstand bad weather, and the struggle is reflected in its trunk and branches. In the same way, in life we meet people whose faces are tortured and asymmetrical, but what gifts, what talents! This proves that they too have had to endure very difficult conditions, which they have overcome. But in order to do so, they have often developed their mind and will to the detriment of certain qualities of the heart, and these efforts, these tensions, have eventually deformed their faces. Beauty in human beings speaks more of the qualities of their heart than of their intellectual faculties or their will. This is why very beautiful people are often predestined to be victims. Because beauty, true beauty, has a much greater affinity with goodness than with intelligence, they often lack adequate means to defend themselves against the desires their beauty arouses in others. To ‘stay young’ has now become an ideal, and yet our contemporary culture teaches people to age as rapidly as possible. Oh, not physically, to be sure! Everyday, quantities of products and methods are invented to keep the body fit, to maintain the figure, to smooth away wrinkles and so on. But inwardly, psychologically, men and women age earlier and earlier, because it is earlier and earlier that they forsake simplicity, spontaneity and confidence to become suspicious, calculating, blasé and dull. Do you want to stay young? There is only one way: remain young at heart, forever alive, loving, interested in everything, quick to forgive, delighted by the slightest thing, and ready to forget insults, sorrow and failure. Maintain a heart that is always ready to love and embrace the whole world, a heart that does not shrink and grow cold. As long as you maintain a warm heart, you will never grow old. …We all like to give or receive flowers, to put them in our houses and plant them in our gardens. We go to admire them in parks or in the countryside and are enchanted by their forms, colours, and scents. But we consider flowers primarily as decorative elements which help to make life more agreeable, and as such, our admiration remains superficial, and we gain very little from their presence. In actual fact, flowers are living beings with which it is possible to relate. Yes, a flower is not simply a morsel of coloured, scented matter, it is the dwelling place of a spiritual entity who has come to speak to us of heaven and earth. If we know how to look at a flower, how to create a bond with it, we enter into relationship with the forces of nature, and with the entities who work to render it such a vibrant and poetic presence.”
- Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov
LENGTH OF VISIT: 10 minutes
MARITAL STATUS: Widow
RACE: African American
RELIGIOUS PREFERENCE: Baptist
ADMITTING DIAGNOSIS: Pancreatic cancer
NUMBER OF VISITS: 1
WHICH VISIT IS THIS? : 1st
CONSULT PLAN: This encounter happened during one of my cold-call visits. I asked the clinical manager for a list of patients she thought would like a visit, this patient’s name came up. Usually during cold call visits, I often visit the patient first and then check the chart afterwards. Most of the time I usually do not know what is going on until I get there.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (FAMILY, STAFF MEMBER, CHARTS)
The patient had her daughter and granddaughter present when I entered the room. Her attending nurse later told me that the granddaughter, who must be in her early 20s, has literally been there beside the grandmother the whole time.
I was surprised to learn that the patient is 83 years old because she looks unusually youthful, I would have guessed in her late 50’s or early 60’s. She was extremely alert and other than the tubes in her arm, she looked quite vital, robust and healthy. The granddaughter was in the corner observing and listening to the visit while the daughter came in as I was leaving.
EER: Ms. Smith?
Ms. Smith: Yes (she nods)
EER: Hi, my name is EER, I’m one of the spiritual caregivers here, I’m just coming by to see how you’re doing…
Ms. Smith: Oh, Hi! Thank you for coming by, come in…how are you?
EER: I’m fine thanks, but more importantly, how are you?
Ms. Smith : Oh, I’m doing fine (smiles) ….(slight pause) Now, did you come here on your own or did someone send you?
EER: (I smile because I know what she’s getting at) No, no, no Ms. Smith, No one sent me here, it’s part of my job to go around and see how patients are, we’re mostly here to offer and provide support to patients and their families.
Ms.Smith: Oh! (Now, she and grand-daughter both chuckle heartily)…I thought someone may have sent you to tell me “something” because quite frankly, I feel just fine.
EER: No, no, no. I’m not the harbinger of bad news. I’m just here to see how you are and what I can do to help.
Ms. Smith: Oh, good. (she settles into her bed and pillows a little more) Now…what religion do you practice?
EER: (This one always is a test to answer so I try to give one that’s as diplomatic as possible.) Well, it’s not so much religion that’s so important here, the caregivers here come from all faith traditions and we try to address the needs of all faith traditions, so you can kind of say it’s non-denominational. That’s my approach also.
Ms. Smith: Why, that’s lovely because I believe in the same.
EER: You believe in a non-denominational approach?
Ms. Smith: Yes, you see I grew up Baptist but what I really believe in is in the beauty and hope of God and that it extends to everyone.
EER: (I realize that she may be a bit of a universalist but continue listening.) That God is for everyone?
Ms. Smith: Yes…you know, most people think that God and religion is some building but I really think faith is something inside (touches her heart area). All our journeys, our paths, our reasons are different which is why I don’t believe in denominations and all that. What I believe in is beauty and that we are all to share in it. That we should live for and in beauty. What I really enjoy is talking about it with people who understand. You know… most people don’t get it…
EER: (I nod)
Ms. Smith: I can tell that you get it, you’re very beautiful, that understanding is in your face. You can tell, especially in the eyes.
EER: (I smile) How?
Ms. Smith: Well, life experience mostly, you know 83 years ain’t just a snap of the fingers… I’m no spring chicken…. You see lots of things in that time…. you learn over time from folks and from things…. You learn over time we’re like different flowers… different colours, smells, shapes and all, but still… flowers.
EER: (I smile) It’s a beautiful thought. (I’m thinking about her present illness and wondering what does this illness mean to her). You seem to be a very strong lady. (Here, her grand-daughter just chuckles and nods). I guess what I’m curious about is how does this illness fall in with your faith?
Ms. Smith: What? This? (points at the tubes) It just one of those things you have to go through in life. You get old, the body breaks down. It doesn’t affect my faith too much… I know I’m in the palm of God’s hand, I’m only here because of His will. I feel fine… I feel safe…(And indeed she speaks this very peacefully and knowingly, I don’t detect any fake bravado or sense of dismissiveness.)
EER: You sound very peaceful with the whole thing…
Ms. Smith: I am.
EER: You also seem to have the support of some good people around you (motion in the direction of the grand-daughter)
Ms. Smith: (Smiles) I do.
EER: I can see that you’re a woman of faith… If there’s anything we can do, the nurses here know me, they can call me.
Ms. Smith: Thank you (she takes my hand). Really, thank you. I really do appreciate you coming up and seeing me and for your concern. Thank you.
EER: Thank you for letting me listen. I learned something new from you today (she leans over and hugs me, I hold her hand and gently squeeze it and take my leave)
I experienced this visit more as an exercise to just listening to a person and of being present. I think what made it easier was that this woman is an uncommon Baptist and holds a more universalistic stance theologically than those of her brethren. The patient was initially hesitant and suspicious of me but once it was clear that I was not being sent to her to tell her something bad, she became very forthcoming with me and that made the visit easier.
I experienced the visit as initially amusing but listening to her was encouraging in several aspects. She really did seem at peace with the whole illness and she seemed so abnormally alive and alert, it served as a testament to faith bringing peace, true peace in the midst of physical and medical turbulence.
I’m not sure if the visit did anything for the patient but I tried to echo back to her what I was hearing. Maybe somewhere along the line having that reflected back to her, that maybe something encouraging was heard but I could not tell.
With respect to inclusiveness, the patient and I are both members of visible minorities and both of us are female. The patient is suffering from pancreatic cancer. The patient is a Baptist, however she is not active in her church or faith tradition. I consider myself more of a secular Muslim. Perhaps because of some of these inclusiveness issues, she was able to open up very quickly with me. She definitely changed in demeanor and attitude when she learned that I had a more non-denominational approach.
My main concern was to listen to the patient and help her be aware of our presence here in the hospital. As the conversation between us developed, I was able to see that this woman lived her faith. This woman’s spirituality was not based on a single figure or book or label, but rather, was based on a theme of respecting differences and seeing the beauty thereof. The interaction between us was very open and jovial.
I think the peace the patient was feeling came in the realizations she has made during her long life and that these realizations are no doubt assisting her in her present circumstance.
Like I posted earlier, I had a feeling something was about to go down soon. Initially I thought it would involve the Olympics, but it turns out the event may have been wrong but the neighborhood is correct.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock it’s hard not to notice what is happening in the Ukraine these days. America and Russia’s Cold War antics have been resurrected…again. There are tons of websites, blogs and news outlets which are providing very insightful commentary on the situation but it should be obvious that the United States is trying to begin regime change…again. Putting in a bully leader of their choice in a different country…again. It certainly doesn’t help matters when the US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, was caught saying on a recorded phone conversation “Fuck the EU” which Russian authorities promptly released to the world. It doesn’t help matters when it’s also come out that the US has invested over $5 billion dollars to start regime change in the Ukraine. (Look who is sponsoring the video event below as evidenced by the logo on the screen)
Imagine the impossible.
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