Monday, September 26, 2011

New Moon In Libra ~ The First New Moon of Fall...

(Artist:  David Palladini)

We are about to experience the first New Moon of Fall on Tuesday, September 27th, at 7:09 AM/EST.  This particular New Moon is under the sign of Libra, and the key themes are 'Balance' (no shocker there, Libra being the sign with the scales) and 'Relationships'.  What follows is my own summary forecast based on my various readings.  Sometimes it is necessary to inject a bit more detail in relation to the positioning of the planets, and being somewhat of a lay-person on those aspects of Zodiacal charting, I have included some definitions of terms in what I have written below for those who read this who are also Zodiac lay-people.  Those defined words are marked with an asterisk, and are in bold italic type.  The definitions are located at the bottom of the post.

As always, a New Moon is a time of new/fresh beginnings.  In this instance love and romance are a strong component, and Libra will get us more in touch with our connections to a current significant other, or it will help in starting and nurturing a relationship with someone new.  An upcoming *transiting Mars in Leo making a *square to Jupiter in Taurus *retrograde is a signal to not over-do or over-extend things.  With this all taking place in the background, there is potential to feel frustration at not getting things in exactly the way we want.  Whatever your situation, don't let these possible feelings discourage you.  The over all outlook on the whole is quite positive, so focus on that.

There will be positive energy to strengthen current bonds.  Spend quality time together, and open up/communicate about the relationship.  If you are not currently in a relationship, this time will have great energy for setting your intentions for new love.  Collect your thoughts on what you want in a partner, and then put it out into the Universe.  Then channel positive vibes into any choices or actions you take in line with your intention.

This will be an especially strong time for Libra as this New Moon is part of a large *stellium that includes the Moon, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Saturn.  This Moon will cast positive and new beginnings energies on relationships (romantic, familial, business, etc.).  This Libra Moon also makes a tense aspect to a transiting Uranus-Pluto square, which indicates strong energy for a push for positive balance and relief from any existing conflict or stress.  Relationships are a strong focal point, so as Saturn continues to transit through Libra, relationships can experience major growth and maturity.  If you have been experiencing anything negative in your relationship(s) as of late, then this is the time to take responsibility for any past choices or other actions on your part that helped create the situation.  It is a time for taking advantage of the strong energy present during this New Moon cycle to rectify may find it possible to heal a relationship you thought to be non-repairable.

The other key theme is 'Balance'.  Focus on any areas of your life that are unbalanced, including subjects of a personal or business nature.  Moon cycles have a great effect on the emotions.  During Full Moons emotional influence is very high, so reactions and responses can be very emotionally charged sending objectivity right out the window.  On the other hand, New Moons are when emotions influence us the least.  This New Moon in Libra is the optimum time to focus on those areas of your life that are unbalanced, as you will be able to look on things objectively.  Libra brings  sense of harmony and co-operation.  Look at otherwise highly emotionally charged situations with a more balanced and detached approach.

  • *transit / transiting:  The daily movements of the planets.  These movements influence a person's mood or decisions.  Transits contribute to personal growth.  These daily movements are recorded in a book called an Ephemeris.

  • *square:  An aspect representing harsh energy.  It creates stress, conflict, intensity, the sense of being out of balance.  It promotes self growth.  This aspect can be negative.

  • *retrograde:  The appearance of a planet moving backwards.  It creates delays, frustration, nervousness, and the feeling that the same or a similar experience is being repeated.

  • *stellium:  A multiple conjunction of planets.  A close cluster of 3 or more planets in one sign and/or house. Puts an energetic emphasis on a sign and/or house.

Friday, September 23, 2011

And The Winner Is...

(My winning was taken at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee)
I finally received my copy of the horror magazine whose photography contest I am the winner of.  This particular issue is their first anniversary issue...they started publication just a year ago.  They are a quarterly publication (4 a year for those that need it spelled out), and this is their first photo contest.  And I won.  The first time I have ever entered any of my photos in a contest, and I win.  How cool is that!

It's actually a really nice magazine...or I think it more appropriate to call it a "book" as it is more of a bound volume rather than the flimsier magazine cover.  The cover price is $7.95.  Of course, my copy was complimentary as winner of the contest.  There are a number of short stories in it, but then that's what the predominant contents are.  They take written submissions, so I think I might give that a go, as well.  Who knows...maybe I can get something I have written published, too?  Anyway, back to the photo...

The publication is called "Dark Moon Digest: The Horror Fiction Quarterly".  The contest I entered was officially called the 'Cemetery Cover Contest'.  All indications were that the winning photo would appear on the issues cover...but, it didn't work out that way.  Initially, I was a bit bummed, but that feeling didn't last very long. After all, it was the first contest I have entered.  I have no complaints.  I received my copy yesterday.  After leafing through the majority of the pages, I found my photo and the announcement of my win buried (*grin*) on page 117, of 124 pages.  The blurb is below:

I still have as yet to receive the other half of my glow in the dark 'Ouija' board.  What a hoot!  It has been many years since I have owned one.  I had one as a kid, but have no idea what happened to that particular one.  Then, some time in the mid-1990's, I received one as a gift.  I had mixed feelings about it.  Spirit boards can be tricky things.  Anyway, I expect the box of the board that's coming to me will look much like this one:

It is quite energizing to win a contest the first time out of the gate.  Winning this one has motivated me to enter a couple more I found via Google.  Both deal with weather and nature, which describes almost all of my photos.  

Knocking wood...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Autumnal Equinox & Mabon...

I am thrilled to say that Autumn is officially of 5:04 AM/ they say.  The air will get crisper. The leaves will turn and fall.  The mood will calm.  The over all energy will shift into a state of creative inspiration...wrapped in a comfy sweater.  It will for me, anyway.

Different countries the world over have festivals on the Autumnal Equinox, but I'm going to make mention of a couple that relate to pagan celebrations, the main one being the celebration of Mabon.

During each year, we have two Equinoxes and two Solstices.  The Autumnal and Vernal Equinoxes signal the beginning of Fall and Spring respectively.  There are also the Summer and Winter Solstices.  Friday, September 23rd, is the official first day of Autumn in the northern hemisphere, as it is the day of the Autumnal Equinox.  (The southern hemisphere will be experiencing their Vernal Equinox, with the first day of their Spring.)

What is an Equinox...what happens at an Equinox?  Hopefully I will be able to explain this without causing major confusion.  The Sun crosses the 'Celestial Equator' (an imaginary circle in the sky that sits directly above the Earth's equator), and moves southward.  When looking at the Earth (see above diagram), when the sun is directly overhead at solar noon, this is known as the 'subsolar point'.  This occurs on the Equator during the September/Autumnal Equinox.  Earth's axis of rotation is perpendicular to the line connecting the centers of the Earth and the Sun.  This causes a long day, and long night.  (Throughout the year, the Sun moves between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, creating longest and shortest days.  The Spring Equinox also has a long day and night.)

(This is a Pagan "Wheel of the Year"; please note that the dates for most of these celebrations shift within the span of a few days from year to year...ex:  one year the Autumnal Equinox might fall on September 20th, then the next year fall on the 22nd)

The Equinoxes and Solstices are an important part of the Pagan/Wiccan 'Wheel of the Year' calendar.  The 'Wheel' is comprised of eight festivals spaced evenly over the year.  The Autumnal Equinox is called Mabon on the Pagan 'Wheel', which means "son" in Welsh.  Mabon refers to the son of the Welsh goddess, Madron. The term of 'Mabon' was started in the 1970's by a man named Aidan Kelly, as part of a religious studies project.  How Kelly was able to influence Neo-paganism as a whole to use the term, I couldn't really find anything about that.

Mabon is the second of three pagan Harvest Festivals. Lammas (the beginning of the time of harvest) precedes it, and Samhain (the pagan New Year) follows it.  It is the pagan time for Thanksgiving, and a time for sharing so as to insure the blessings of the Goddess and God during the winter.  It is a time of balance, with equal daylight and darkness.

While giving thanks for what the earth has given, it is also acknowledged that the crops are becoming dormant/dying.  The days will start to transition from warm to cold.  Some symbols of Mabon that can be used as decoration for the special day are apples (and anything made with apples), gourds, squash, grapes/wine, seeds, baskets to symbolize the gathering of crops, and sickles or scythes.

(Mabon altar)

There are various rituals and ceremonies one can do to celebrate Mabon.  One of the more popular ones is to create a Mabon altar.  Use symbols of the season:  the colors of autumn leaves-orange, red, yellow, and brown; use cloths to cover the altar base; place root vegetables, wheat, corn, on your altar;  add a basket, sickle, etc.;  include something to signify the balance of light and dark (long day and long night) by having two candles, one white and one black; use scales to show balance.  Be creative and add other items that pertain to the harvest, the balance, or even the Goddess.  Maybe a tree branch, some autumn scented incense, etc.

(A burning wicker man at a UK equinox celebration)

Bonfires are also a tradition, as is the burning of a wicker man.  The Celts would dress the last sheaf of harvested corn in clothes, or would weave it into a wicker-like man or woman.  The wicker man represents the sun/corn spirit.  When the woven figure is burned, it is said to release the trapped spirit.  The ashes are then spread over the fields.  (Some believe that this practice is behind the misconception that Druids engaged in human sacrifice.)

(The Goddess, and the crone)

Wiccans celebrate the Goddess as she passes from mother to crone.  They also celebrate her consort, the God, as he readies for death and rebirth.

(Green Man)

Druids celebrate, and they call the day "Mea'n Fo'mhair".  They worship the Forest God known as 'The Green Man'.  Libations are offered to trees in the form of herbs, wine, cider, and fertilizer.

Whether you celebrate in some fashion by way of a bonfire or altar, or you are just a fan of Autumn...

Wishing everyone a lovely Equinox!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lazy Friday...

(Magnolia seed pods) 

The day is muted.  A soft gray veil diffuses the sun's light giving today a lazy feel.  A glimpse of days to come.  Days that are set to arrive at month's end.

Autumn has been inhabiting my mind a lot lately.  Today reminds me of an autumn day.  Almost like a gift to tide me over until the Equinox arrives on the 23rd.  I decided to take the short drive over to the produce stand.  Just another way to make today feel like a cool Fall day.  It is cool outside.  Cooler than it has been in quite awhile.  Another sign of the impending seasonal shift.  When I walked out the front door, I noticed that the seed pods on the magnolia tree (there are magnolias all over the condos) were maturing.  Bright red seeds were being pushed out of the drying pods.  I was ecstatic to find that the squirrels and birds hadn't started their usual looting and pillaging.  A couple of nearly mature pods were within my reach, so I harvested them.  I plan to try and get a few more of them later as I want to let them fully dry so I can use them in an arrangement of some kind.  After I stowed the pods away, I headed out.

(Large squash/gourds) 

Since today is Friday, I figured that the stand might be brimming with stuff in preparation for the busy weekend (it gets really busy, especially on Saturday). It seemed that I was right.  There were small bright orange pie pumpkins, and some of the biggest squash and gourds I have ever seen in big bins in front. One particular gourd (?) I had never seen before.  The gray outer flesh was bumpy and dimpled.  It made me think of elephant skin, for some reason. Inside the small cinder-block building, squash continued with what looked to be a couple of cousins to acorn squash.  Ever since I was a child, I have never liked acorn squash.  I love other types (butternut, especially), but acorn squash has remained repugnant.  My mother would bake it in the oven with lots of butter and brown sugar in it.  My theory was that it must not taste very good if you have to put all that butter and brown sugar in it.  Kids...

(Corn stalks and dry cotton) 

They had tall green corn stalks tied together in bunches next to dried cotton bushes, the big white puffs of unharvested cotton popping out of brown husks on the gnarled and dry twig branches.  The autumnal goodies examined, I moved on to the other veggies.  I left with white potatoes, green beans, mushrooms, and bananas (I am on a banana kick right now).  On my way home I decided to stop at the corner store and satisfy my current addiction.  A tall and icy frozen coke.

Today has been a good day...autumn is definitely near...

(Dry cotton and pie pumpkins) 

(Small squash/gourds)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Autumnal Interpretations...

Autumn is waiting just around the corner.  I am looking forward to the Autumnal Equinox and everything it brings with it.  The mood shift of Fall.  The air begins to cool, the leaves begin to turn, and the days begin to shorten.  An energy resides there that is unlike any other the year through.  I am ready to say farewell to Summer, and greet my favorite time of year...Autumn.

During these early morning hours of the long night, I usually spend some quality time online.  Most times, working on something for my blog.  Tonight I was looking up an image for a post, a painting by John William Waterhouse.  There are so many of his works that I love, but this particular one has always reminded me of Autumn.  While I was looking for that particular image, I decided to look for some other paintings by famous artists. There are so many beautiful pieces, so I decided to post a number of them.  So many artistic representations of an artist's autumn.  Actually, there are many times that I have been looking at an autumnal setting and have thought how much it looked like an oil painting.

I'm going to start off with the Waterhouse...

(John William Waterhouse, "Boreas" c.1902)

"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn."
~ Elizabeth Lawrence

(Vincent Van Gogh, "Autumn Landscape" c.1885)

(Frederick Hendrik Kaemmerer,  "Tea In The Garden, Autumn"  
~ I couldn't find a year for this one, but I would guess it to have been painted in the late 1800's; Kaemmerer lived between 1839-1902)

"Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns."
~ George Eliot

(Claude Monet, "Harvest Autumn"  c.1890-91)

(Winslow Homer, "Autumn"  c.1877)

(John Otis Adams,  "The Closing Of An Autumn Day"  c.1901)

"I have come to a still, but not a deep center,
A point outside the glittering current;
My eyes stare at the bottom of a river,
At the irregular stones, iridescent sandgrains,
My mind moves in more than one place,
In a country half-land, half-water.
I am renewed by death, thought of my death,
The dry scent of a dying garden in September,
The wind fanning the ash of a low fire.
What I love is near at hand,
Always, in earth and air."
~ Theodore Roethke, 'The Far Field'

(Alphonse Mucha,  "Autumn"  c. 1896)

(Isaac Levitan,  "Autumn Day, Sokolnicki Park"  c. 1879)

(Hans Anderson Brendekilde, "A Wooded Path In Autumn"  c.1902)

"The leaves fall patiently
Nothing remembers or grieves
The river takes to the sea
The yellow drift of leaves."
~ Sara Teasdale

(John Everett Millais,  "Autumn Leaves"  c.1855-56)

(John Atkinson Grimshaw,  "Autumn Morning"  c.1864)

"I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand, shadowless like Silence, listening
To Silence."
~ Thomas Hood

(Georgia O'Keefe,  "Autumn Leaves, Lake George NY"  c.1924)

(John Otis Adams,  "Autumn On The Whitewater"  c. 1901)

(Giuseppe Arcimboldo,  "Autumn"  c. 1573)

"Withered vines, gnarled trees, twilight crows,
river flowing beneath the little bridge,
past someone's home.
The wind blows from the west
where the sun sets, it blows
across the ancient road,
across the bony horse,
across the despairing man
who stands at heaven's edge."
~ Ma Chih-Yuan, 'Meditation In Autumn'

(Wassily Kandinksy,  "Autumn In Bavaria"  c. 1908)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"The Lantern" By Deborah Lawrenson...

It has been awhile since I have read a book that pulled me in to the point of complete absorption.  Until I cracked open my copy of 'The Lantern'.  It is an engaging 'sensory' experience.  Through the written word, Deborah Lawrenson pulls us into a well crafted story peopled with full and vivid characters.  Her environmental descriptions (from rooms and landscapes, to accompanying scents) made it feel as if I were actually there witnessing it all first hand.  It kept me involved from beginning to end...and it ended well.  *grin* For those that have read other reviews of mine, how a story ends is important to me as a reader.  I do not want to be left hanging, whether the book is the first in a series or not.  'The Lantern' did not leave me hanging.  It is a very satisfying read.

The story begins in Switzerland when Eve (whose perspective the majority of the story is told from) meets handsome Dom.  Their romance is the definition of 'whirlwind', and Dom's need to own a certain bit of property takes them to Provence, France and the Luberon.  On the property is their new home, an abandoned house called Les Genevriers. Living in her new environs, Eve is thrust into a world of mysteries where she discovers that Dom has a lot of mystery and secrets of his ex-wife that he refuses to talk about is at the heart of it all. Rachel, the mysterious ex, rapidly becomes Eve's obsession.

A peripheral story runs alongside Eve's.  Benedicte Lincel, the former owner of the house, has her own story of life at Les Genevriers in years past.  She was surrounded by mysteries of her own.  As both stories unfold, they become enmeshed.  'The Lantern' is interesting and engaging to the very end.  

A major player throughout the book is the South of France.  From the hills, to the abundant fruit trees, to the fields of lavendar, Deborah describes everything in vivid focus.  Fitting that the perfume industry enter into the mix.

I will say I did get some small tastes of what was to come upon the release of 'The Lantern'.  Months ago, I became...I guess you could call it 'Blog Buddies' with Deborah. *grin*  Her blog is really lovely, she shares a lot about her experiences and her life in Provence.  Much of her personal experiences (including the house) are the setting for 'The Lantern'.  When we first became acquainted, I didn't know she was a published writer.  I have since discovered other titles of hers I plan to check out.  'The Lantern' is her first US release, her others being european releases.  During the time that I have been reading her blog, Deborah has posted snippets from 'The Lantern' salient to the place/event she wrote about.  I was very excited to read the book in its entirety, and now that I have, I am not disappointed in the least.  Beautifully written, and highly recommended. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What The Hell Is Burton Doing...

This just appears that Tim Burton is tossing out a flaming bag for us to step on, once again...sigh...

I am a Tim Burton fan.  He has designed and directed some of my favorite films.  When I heard he was going to be doing a film remake of 'Dark Shadows', I must admit that I met the news with a bit of trepidation.

The chief reason for my unease is his attempt to remake the cult family favorite 'Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory'.  At that time when news broke about his new project, Burton said that he was never happy with the Willy Wonka film with Gene Wilder, and his goal was to make a film that was more true to the book.  He didn't feel that the original production did it justice.  At first I was pretty excited, especially when I heard Johnny Depp would be donning the hat of Mr. Wonka.  In the end, the result was beyond disappointing.  Depp's portrayal of Wonka was interesting from an acting standpoint, but when relating it to the film, book, and original production, well...let's just say that Burton tossed us a goose egg.  Very disappointing, and pointless.  Another example of why I think remakes of well received and good films should never be done.  From the beginning, Burton had his work cut out for him.   In the end, he didn't deliver.

Now he is making a film version of one of the most popular series/soap operas to ever hit television.  To this day it has one of the bigger cult followings, and it's unique bent/subject matter, when looking at the world of the soap opera has never been matched.  Wonka had me disappointed, but Burton came back with a vengeance when 'Sweeney Todd' came out (love that film).  It was Todd that had my hopes slightly up when news came out of him making a 'Dark Shadows' film.  Then I saw these photos...

What is Burton thinking?!  What is this get-up he has on Depp?  And what about the white clown make-up? If anything, Burton's biggest hurtle on this project is the huge fan base of the original show.  If these photos are any indication as to what he's doing, I think he's going to end up with egg on his face.  I am trying really hard to keep my jury out until I see the actual film, but photos like these can make it really hard.

I guess we will just have to wait and see...

(Here is a link to my previous post about the Dark Shadows film.)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Shine On Harvest Moon...

Tonight's Harvest Moon won't reach it's full state until 5:27 this A.M. (Monday the 12th), but I wanted to get some photos while the sky was still at full darkness.  Because I have such an erratic sleep schedule that has lately had me napping during the day, I made sure to set my alarm in case I fell into a deeper state of slumber than usual.  It turns out that I did.  I even turned off the alarm when it sounded...while I was still asleep.  Luckily, I woke up only an hour and half later than I planned.  That put me at about 8:30 PM.  After taking a few minutes to re-enter the realm of the living and alert, I grabbed camera and tripod as I headed out the front door.

I couldn't see a thing.  The sky was not quite as dark as other nights, the brighter moon making it's presence known, but...the culprit was a cloud cover that obscured stars and moon like a curtain.  There was a hole here and there that let vestiges of moonlight through, but other than that, nada.  Rather dejectedly I went back inside.  Then I had the thought that it might be hanging out a little north of us beyond all of the trees that blocked my view.  Glenn and I hopped in the truck to go check it out.  We thought it might be visible from the docking area of the gambling boat that travels our neighboring river.  Hopping into the truck, we hardly made it a couple hundred feet from the  parking space when the moon peeked out from behind the clouds.  It was brief, but I now knew that it was completely viewable from the condo...if the clouds would cooperate.  Unfortunately, they didn't.

Not until later...

I was able to get about a dozen shots of the 2011 Harvest Moon before the clouds became a nuisance again.  As a general rule, moon + clouds = great pictures.  I did get some beautiful and eerie photos in before the clouds covered things over again.  Mission accomplished.

Full Moon, September 12, 2011...There's Something Fishy About This One...

(Artist:  David Palladini) 

This month's Full Moon in Pisces falls on Monday, September 12, 2011, at 5:27 AM/EST.  The closest full moon to the Autumnal Equinox of September 23rd, this is also the Harvest Moon.  The setting of the Sun and the rising of the Moon will seem to segue seamlessly from one to the other.  Appearing at the time of harvest, this bright moon extended the farmer's day, giving the moon it's name - Harvest Moon.

note:  If you are like me and love to take pictures at night, this would be a good time to have your camera nearby.  Unless you have an extremely steady hand and/or a camera well suited for night photography, I recommend having a tripod handy.  For me and my shaky hands it is a must.  *grin*

The Moon will be in Pisces, and the Sun will be in Virgo.  Both signs of integration, they are both considered female signs (Pisces - Earth; Virgo - Water), and they are both mutable (flexible) signs.  During this phase/cycle, the Pisces Moon brings a connection of creativity, and the power to empathize with our Earth bound force and our connection with a higher spiritual plane. The Virgo Sun brings it's organizational abilities into the mix to unite the mind, body and spirit.  Working in tandem, Pisces offers up a wealth of inspiration and ease, while Virgo as a grounding force provides the space.  This Moon urges you to look inwardly and deeper at things that you have been purposefully ignoring.  The stage is set that provides you with the power for's up to you to embrace it.  Long dormant emotional issues and points of suffering will bubble up to the surface - face them and deal with them in a peaceful manner.  Forgive the parties concerned, with special care and attention to forgiving your self.  Find the balance between everyday life on Earth, and your life on Earth with a connection with a higher spiritual self. Face the hurtful/painful issues of the past, acknowledge, forgive, and move forward.  As always, a Full Moon is a culmination of what was started at the new moon.  A personal house cleaning is in order, and the time is ripe for it.  Get rid of that negativity/trauma that is weighing you down.

That's my Reader's Digest length amalgamation of my readings on the Pisces Full Moon.  The following excerpt is from The Farmer's Almanac web site, regarding the Harvest Moon:

  • "Full Harvest Moon - October  This is the full moon that occurs closest to the Autumn Equinox.  In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, bit in some years it occurs in October.  At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this moon.  Usually the full moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe.  Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice, the chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering."

September 11th...Remembered...

It was a Tuesday morning.  Like many other weekday mornings.  I was lying in bed, pseudo-awake, anticipating the annoying bleat of my alarm clock which wasn't going to happen for another hour or so.  The ringing of my phone in the living room beat it to the punch.  I rarely got calls at home, but it was usually from one of the people in my department calling to let me know that they were sick and wouldn't be in.  As crabby as I can be early in the a.m., I never minded them calling me because it gave me time to prepare.  This time, however, I answered to hear the voice of the company president's assistant, Barbara. She sounded numb...if that makes any sense whatsoever.  I was to shut the office down for the day.  Something had happened in New York.  I immediately thought of the corporation offices that are located in New York.  Before I could even ask if everyone was okay, Barbara told me to turn on the news.  I punched the button on the remote as she told me that my boss wanted the voicemail changed to say we were closed, the elevators needed to be on security lock out, etc.  I said I'd take care of it all.  Then we hung up.  Then I had a chance to really focus on what was unfolding on the TV.  There are a number of words I can think of to describe what I saw that morning of September 11, 2001.  The two that jump out are 'horrifying' and 'surreal'.   I had worked in Hollywood for a number of years by that time, and...well, that most definitely was not a product of Hollywood.  It was real.  As real as it gets.

Over the last couple of days, 'friends' and 'friends-of-friends' have been posting various status messages on Facebook regarding today's anniversary of the tragedies of September 11th.  The one I noticed most was "where were you when it happened?".  I had been planning to post something here on my blog relating to the tragedy at the Twin Towers.  It was something I had been working over in my mind for a few days, but those Facebook posts helped me think of what to write.  So...that's what I did.  I wrote about where I was when I first found out.  The only thing left was to find an appropriate picture to head my post.   That was proving to be a bit more difficult.

Don't get me wrong, there are many photos from that horrible day.  Most of them are of the towers in various stages of fire and rubble, several with one of the planes pre-impact.  Others had workers from the towers in free fall as they plummet to their deaths stories above the ground.  Just so many many horrifying was ten whole years ago that the events happened, and I find them as repugnant today as I did back then.  As I quickly scanned another section of photos, I stopped on the one above.  A business man, briefcase in hand, handkerchief held over his nose and mouth against the particle filled air.  True, most of his face is covered, but even with the distance of the photographer I can see pain in his face.  It makes me wonder what this man's story was.  Did he work in the Towers and was able to find safety?  Did he work nearby?  Did he have friends or family in the Towers? Whoever he is, this image really touched me.  It just really encompassed the pain, sadness, and horror of it all.  How anyone anywhere on the planet could carry out and justify the killing of so many innocent people is beyond my comprehension.  Where ever those cowards are, I hope it's hot.

Update to Post:  A friend of mine shared this link with me regarding the above photo.  The man pictured is Edward Fine, who was photographed after escaping the North Tower to safety.  For more information about Mr. Fine and his ordeal, visit the link.

Stone Tiger's Eye...

(Tiger's Eye marbles)

Filled with layer after layer of rich browns, varying shades of yellow from lemon to honey, and hints of red, Tiger's Eye shows continual pattern variety from stone to stone.

('Rough' example of Tiger Eye)

It is a member of the quartz family, and is a part of the quartz group known as chalcedony's (made up of micro-crystalline or crypto-crystalline structures; variety of quartz whose crystalline makeup is only seen through high magnification).  It is primarily mined in south Africa and Australia, but it can also be found in India, Burma, China, Brazil, Spain, and the US.  (Some other interesting notes on quartz: it is any type of stone that is oxidized; quartz makes up 12% of the Earth's crust.)

I have always loved Tiger's Eye, and have had a number of jewelry pieces with stones inset/inlaid.  Jewelry is the most popular use of Tiger's Eye, but it also has a number of metaphysically based uses.

(Australian Tiger Iron)

Before I get to some of those I want to mention 'Tiger Iron', a multi-layered stone that is related to Tiger's Eye.  Tiger Iron is made up of Tiger's Eye, red Jasper, and black Hematite.  From the information I read on it, it looks like Australia is the chief producer of Tiger Iron.  It's quite beautiful.

(Tiger Eye Worry Stone, with triple moon design)

Now to the more metaphysical properties of Tiger's Eye.  It is the planetary stone for Gemini.   It is used as a talisman to protect from evil and illness. Need to make some changes in your life? Hold it for focus and grounding. This stone will help you to be practical, and it helps bring order from chaos. The beautiful warm gold of the stone signifies the ability to manifest, and the deep rich browns represent the energies of the Earth.  Thus the Tiger's Eye helps translate ideas into physical reality.

Tiger's Eye is said to be beneficial to the over all health and spiritual well being of the wearer.  Some specific healing effects are to night vision, to general wounds and bruises, various ailments of the digestive tract, and it is said to alleviate pain.

(Solar plexus Chakra)

The Chakra most closely associated with Tiger's eye is the Solar Plexus Chakra.  The soothing gold resonance of the stone works with the yellow of the Chakra to balance mind, body, and spirit.  When placed in the area of the solar plexus, tiger's eye stones can help release mental blocks and ease stress.  It can promote clarity of the mind.  It is also said to shield the aura from negativity.  Tiger's Eye imbues the wearer with the traits of the tiger:  courage, strength, agility, nobility.