Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring Has 'Sprung'...

Today was Beltane. May Day to some. It signifies the end of cold weather, and the start of the warmer months. Fertility is a key theme. The spring begins a rebirth. Those things that remained dormant during the winter months, are growing with new life now that the Earth is warming once again. Beltane signifies a renewal. A fresh start. I certainly need one.

Probably the most well known symbol of May Day (May 1st) is the Maypole. The single men of a village would venture out to the forest and bring back a pole fashioned most often from a fir tree. On the first day of May, the villagers would dance around the pole clockwise, to bring fertility and good luck. Over time, there was the addition of brightly colored ribbons that the dancers would hold. The dance represented both the masculine and the feminine energies. It represented the duality of life. Once the May Day festivities were completed, the ribbons were removed from the pole and kept until the next year's celebration when they would be burned. Part of the cycle...the burning of the old to give way to the new.

Beltane begins on the night of April 30th, the eve of Beltane. A Bonfire is erected and lit, and is burned until the sun goes down on May 1st. Historically, the fire is lit with a bundle of various woods wrapped with the colorful ribbons (Maypole ribbons) from the previous year. Once lit, pieces of the smoldering wood would be carried to homes throughout the village to insure fertility for the coming year.

(Walpurgis Night is a similar celebration that is held in a number of places in Europe.)

From the Scottish Fire Festival on Beltane Eve.

During the Beltane festivities, a young woman is chosen to be the "May Queen", a representation of the Virgin Queen passing from Maiden to Mother...all part of the fertitlity aspect.

A man was also chosen to represent the "Green Man", her consort.

From the Scottish Fire Festival Beltane Eve.

Spring. Renewal. We also have the Taurus New Moon coming up on May 3rd...another representation of renewal. I have been working on a personal cleansing...letting go of a lot of mental and emotional baggage. I have needed to for awhile now. The last number of years have been difficult in many ways, and I feel that my mothers passing was kind of the culmination much. There is so much that I have held onto, and stuffed deep down. I've had a tendency to do that for most of my life...self preservation, mostly. The last couple of years brought it all to a head. This spring...this rebirth...well, it's coming at the right time.

Beltane ~ A time for the new to take root and grow.

Taurus New Moon ~ A clean slate; a rebirth. A time to raise ones energies to a higher spiritual level. It offers a centering and a sense of stability.

It's all welcome. I can almost feel the transition. Looking within and feeling contented with who and where I am is key right now. We always have the answers inside of us. Even though I've always known that, I keep having to remind myself.

Happy Beltane/May Day to all.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Shirley & Chakras, Part 2...

( Shirley MacLaine as Ginnie Moorehead)

I have been a fan of Shirley MacLaine's for a long time. Her portrayal of 'Ginnie Moorehead' opposite Frank Sinatra's 'Dave Hirsh' in the Vincent Minnelli directed film, "Some Came Running" (1958) is one of my favorites of hers. It was one of her first big film roles. If you haven't seen the film, I'm going to inject a "Spoiler Alert" here as I'm about to say something about the film's ending. In the original draft of the filming script, Sinatra's character was supposed to get shot and die. Things were not all smiles on the set for the duration of the shoot as Minnelli is said to have been a perfectionist, and Sinatra had his own ideas about "things" on set. One decision that Sinatra drove home was that Shirley's character should be the one to die. I believe he has been quoted as saying something to the effect of "Let the kid take the bullet". So she did, and MacLaines career was made. Don't know how many people are aware of this other tidbit, but Shirley was the only female member of the Rat Pack. She's a very talented lady.

I also have tremendous respect for her in a spiritual sense. I admire her greatly for the self/inner exploration she has done for years. She endured quite a bit of ridicule when she first "came out" about her spiritual/metaphysical studies. When her book "Out on a Limb", and the subsequent mini-series came out, she became the butt of many jokes. A lot of people saw her as being a 'nut'. Not me. She had the resources to embark on a personal journey of self discovery and "enlightenment"...I envied her. I think she's a sharp lady.

The above is an ad that ran for Shirley's video, "Inner Workout for Stress Reduction & Relaxation" (1989). A co-worker of mine in the early 90's gave me a VHS copy of the meditations, and they had such impact on me. It was one of my main introductions to the Chakra system. Well, as we all know, the VHS video tape is pretty much going the way of Beta-max tapes now that DVD (and now BlueRay) are king. My VHS copy of this "inner workout" has degraded quite a bit over the years from age and usage. For a number of years now, I have been keeping an eye out for it to come out on DVD.

After years of not finding anything on DVD, I found the above DVD on Shirley's official site. It has been 20+ years since her Chakra tape came out, so I was thrilled to see this new disk. My fingers were crossed in the hope that there was at least some of the original meditation included. I ordered "Guided Meditations For Inner Power", and was thrilled when it came in the mail (it arrived while I was in Nashville picking up the car my mother left me in her will). Once I got back to Savannah and settled back in, I popped the DVD in during a sleepless night. Figured there might be something on it that would help me relax, and maybe catch a few "Z's".

It turned out to be the exact meditations I had done for years. The quality of the recording isn't pristine, but I'm thrilled to have it in the DVD format. I can't recommend this program enough. There are two meditations included (one is an open-eye meditation, the other closed-eye), and a few minutes of instruction from Shirley on the Chakras. I did post a blog entry awhile back that has the 'open-eye meditation' in three can check it out here. It will give you an idea of what that particular meditation is like. (I also wrote a bit about Chakras in my post, if you are wondering what they are). I did spend quite a bit of time trying to find the closed-eye meditation and the Chakra instruction portion from the beginning of the video online, but had no luck.

I can't recommend this DVD enough. If you enjoy meditating, or are looking for a good introduction to meditating, these are wonderful. The impact they had on me the first time I used them was incredible. I have turned several friends on to the meditations over the years, and all have raved about them. The disc costs $29.95 on her site. I would post the contents of the DVD here, but I am going to honor the copyrights (the meditation videos from my other post were posted on YouTube by someone else). If you want to get a copy for yourself, or check out her site, you can find a link on my 'Links' page (go to the top of this page, and click on 'Links').

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Morning Sky...

An overcast morning. Stepping out onto my front porch to retrieve the paper, I noticed a hint of an orange glow burning intermittently through the skies moody blanket of clouds. I was moved to venture down by the marshland to see the skyline in broader scale.

After throwing on jeans and sandals, I headed out with camera in hand. A cool breeze stirred the trees. It being quite early, there weren't many signs of life. A car passed me carrying it's driver to work. Various unknown types of birds filled several trees...they were heard and not seen. Buddhism talks about the connection of all life. The energy that flows through all living things being one. Although, I am not a fully realized Buddhist I have spent some time exploring that realm of spirituality. It's times such as the natural world of that morning that make one truly feel connected to things. Connected, and at peace.

As I reached the skeletal dock remains by the cul de sac, I was able to see the clouds roiling above the horizon. The beauty of them was both eerie and mesmerizing. We were supposed to have overcast skies for a good portion of the day. In the slow moving waves of unproductive storm clouds (we wouldn't see any rain...unfortunately) there were sections where the sun fought it's way through to make it's appearance for the day. It was like a battle of wills.

When I rounded the building by the marsh, I was met with a spectacular scene. The photo doesn't do it justice. With the dramatic coloring and texture of a painting, I half expected to see members of the Greek pantheon lounging in the clouds. Stunning.

What a way to start a day...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Walking Among The Dead...

While I was north of home visiting with relatives and taking care of some personal business, my aunt and uncle were kind enough to take me to a couple of the cemeteries in Nashville. Since moving to Savannah, I have developed a new interest. A visit to the Bonaventure Cemetery breathed life (as it were) into a recently found (a year or so old) hobby of taking photographs in cemeteries. The older, the better. There is a peaceful energy that exists in cemeteries that can't be found anywhere else. There is also a beauty. Never have I felt 'alone' while taking pictures on hallowed ground. I'm always respectful, and have only felt a tad disquieted once. (It happened at the Bonaventure. I don't think there was any malevolence present. My 'feeling' at the time was that the people buried within the mausoleum just didn't want to be bothered by strangers. Needless to say, I went on my merry way. Quickly.)

The first cemetery we visited was the Calvary Catholic Cemetery. There were many statues. Most were angels. I hopped out of my uncle's truck here and there when I saw a good photo. There were several times I got out and wandered a bit, perusing the various stones/statues. My aunt and uncle preferred the air conditioned truck, and would follow along the cemetery road(s) when necessary. On one of the stops I snapped the above photo. There were several of the marble etched stones in the same general area. Not only was the stone a unique shade, the etchings weren't like anything I had seen before. They looked fairly recent (Calvary is a 'working' cemetery). As I was snapping the above picture, a young guy approached and asked me what I was doing. The brightly colored flowers flanking the stone looked newly placed...he had apparently put them there. It was Easter weekend. Then right after him another older gentleman approached, asking me if I had taken a picture of the grave. I got a little nervous. The last thing I ever want to do is make someone feel I am being disrespectful by taking a picture of their loved one's grave. People do photograph graves all the time. I told him that I thought the stone was beautiful, and that I had never seen anything like it. The older gentleman seemed to brighten up a bit and explained that the grave was his mother's. Before she died, she hired an artist to design the various characters on the headstones. Kind of an early preparation for when she passed. He then said I was welcome to take all the pictures I wanted. We shook hands and I went on my way. Unintentional disrespect averted.

The above slide show is of some of the photos I took at the Calvary Cemetery. To watch the slide show with the accompanying music, just scroll down to the bottom of my blog page and click the 'Pause' button on the player.

The second cemetery we visited was right next to the Calvary. A bit older, Mount Olivet holds many burials from the Civil War era. My aunt has family buried there (it's also still a working cemetery), and had told me on a number of occasions that I should check it out if I liked old cemeteries. Olivet definitely did not disappoint.

The weathering of age was everywhere. Far more ornate than the stones and statues of the Calvary, I saw a lot of unique headstones and structures. Took a lot of pictures. When I got around to the pyramid shaped tomb, I encountered a couple of young gals setting up to take panoramic photos. More people taking pictures for much the same reason as me...because we enjoy it. In our short conversation as I passed, I mentioned that I was visiting from Georgia. One of the girls asked me what part. When I said Savannah, she started chattering away. She had lived in Savannah for three years, and loved it. Then she proceeded to list a few of her old haunts that I would have to check out. It didn't get mentioned, but I'm rather certain her time spent in Savannah was as a student at SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design ~ it's quite reputable).

I wouldn't mind revisiting Olivet at some point in the future. There is a little more to see. I still have a cemetery or two here in Savannah to visit. One I just happened to see out of the corner of my eye on the way home from a dental visit. It was at the end of a short side road, and the arched sign at the entrance looked old. A thick forest of trees covers it. Me thinks it might be a bit eerie back in Hopefully there won't be any 'No Trespassing' signs. I do love my hobby, but I have an aversion to buck-shot...more to come...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Home Again, Home Again...

Thursday morning I caught a plane to Nashville. I was en route to get the last portion of my inheritance from my mother. She left me her car, a 2001 Audi TT Quattro.

My brother and I have been going around and around with our respective state motor vehicle departments, and it has truly proven to be the proverbial nightmare. Georgia (where I live) and Maryland (where my brother lives) were "passing the buck" to one another. I did my homework on how my brother and I should proceed a couple of months before probate ended, and we followed the instructions I got to the 'T'. It turns out that the woman who gave me the instructions was wrong. It resulted in an absolute headache for my brother and I. We truly didn't know where to turn. Moving forward hinged completely on our ability to get a clean copy of the title, and Nashville (where our mother lived) appeared to not be cooperative since our mother was deceased...sigh...

The morning of my flight north, my uncle made a trip to his local DMV office and found an answer to our dilemma. Well, hopefully he has. At least we seem to be moving forward on the issue again. If all goes well, I should be the legal owner of the car in a month or so. Yes, I wish it could be resolved quicker than that, but the majority of the time will be spent waiting for copies of titles to be printed and mailed. The time involved doesn't bother me as long as things get rectified.

(Pink Dogwood Blooms)

Nashville is a beautiful place, as is the southern United States as a whole. As I mentioned, I arrived on Thursday, and Friday was spent engaging in fun activities. In the wee hours, my uncle and I dropped the car off for a couple of new tires, and then he, my aunt, and I, checked out an estate sale. There wasn't a lot to be had. At least not from my perspective. I did get a few items. A couple of southern novels from the early 1900's (which I'm looking forward to reading); a bound set of vinyl records containing excerpts from Shakespeare's Hamlet as read by Maurice Evans (he is a classically trained actor, but most people will most likely know him as Samantha's father on the TV show "Bewitched"); a large mortar and pestle made out of rough stone that I think was of Indian...feather not (I plan on using this to aid me in a new interest ~ making loose incense).

(Immature Blossom From a Tulip Poplar)

I was originally going to be making my 9 hour (roughly) drive from Nashville to Savannah on Sunday, but certain factors influenced a decision to head back on Saturday. I have rheumatoid arthritis and Friday night it started flaring up considerably. I figured it was better to get my drive over with Saturday while I still had some use of my right hand.

My drive was uneventful and enjoyable. Other than a pocket of a couple of miles just south of Atlanta, I didn't hit any traffic of note. The majority was filled with great music I listened to in the 80's...much of it from my time spent as a college disc jockey. It wasn't music I supplied by way of CD. It was music I found on the radio. I considered it a 'score'. Great music, and my own was peaceful and nice.

The last week or so I've been kind of out of my rhythm with my posts here...this car nonsense has been eating a bit of my 'mental' time. I have several posts to follow. Soon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


(Roman Goddess of the Moon, Luna)

To say that I am fond of the moon, well anyone who has looked at my blog knows that to be fact. Night is my favorite time of the day. There is an energy and mystery that pervades the dimness...the darkness. Once the sun starts it's descent and dips behind the horizon line, everything shifts. A sense of peace...of calm, falls over the world. Well, my section of it anyway. At the same time, I become alive. Night has always brought me motivational vibes.

The moon observes it all. Like a friend I can count on, it's always there. It might be obscured by clouds, or reaching a darker phase closer to the New Moon, but I know it's always a quiet and non-judgemental witness. This past weekend saw the most recent Full Moon in Libra. Balance. Calm. Things I regularly feel when night falls and the stresses of my day aren't as strong. This Libra Moon came at the right time. I've been experiencing quite a bit of stress at the moment, and it has been a true exercise in keeping my cool. I need all of the helpful energy I can get. Finding a balance is essential. Full Moon's signal the culmination of things. I hope to have my current frustrations ironed out by weeks end. Keeping my cool is the key.

The following pictures are over a couple of days including the Full Moon of Sunday.

(Saturday, April 16, 2011)

(Saturday, April 16, 2011)

(Sunday, April 17, 2011 ~ Full Moon in Libra)

The night of the Full Moon, there were some really interesting eerie cloud formations. They looked more like spider webs than clouds. Most of the pictures I took look to be of a painting rather than a real, natural scene. It was really beautiful.

(Sunday, April 17, 2011 ~ Full Moon in Libra)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sleepless in Savannah...

Computers...for their many wonderful uses they sure can be a pain in the neck. This computer is heading south, I think. Having monitor and graphics quality issues. Unfortunately, it's not something as simple as a problematic monitor. The problems we're having are more about the graphics card and/or the mother board. On no particular schedule, the monitor will go to black and say 'No Signal'. The only way to get things back up and running is to cut the power on the CPU, and reboot the system. Not the best thing to do to a computer. Thankfully, this one is getting replaced in the next few days. I've noticed a definite degradation of the graphics quality on here, so hopefully the random photos I stuck in this post look okay. I am having trouble getting a proper read on them. At any rate, this narcoleptic monitor has kept me from writing any posts. Once I get writing, I don't save as often as I should. The chances of losing something because the monitor took a sudden snooze are great. (Excuse me while I go 'Save'.)

Insomnia is visiting my house again tonight. I wish I could go to black and say 'No Signal'. Suppose I eventually will...

The photos I included in this are from various short walks around the condo here. I look at any foray into the world outside of our abode as a photo op. Don't always remember to grab the camera when I head out, which usually results in a colorful word or two because I will inevitably see at least one thing I would like to photograph. In any event...

The picture at the top of the post is the moon. Sort of between 'fingernail' and half-mast status. Not the best, but I do like the blue hue that showed up in that one shot.

A trip to the mailbox was where the next two were snapped. The rose was along the bank out back of the building. The photo below is of a Dogwood tree. Didn't catch the blooms at their best. Not 100% sure if their ragged appearance was due to them being past their prime, or the strong winds we've had lately. Most likely a combination of the two.

This last photo is from a trip up to our local watering hole, 'The Islander'. Glenn and I go there every once in awhile to "shoot some stick". I was quite the good pool player in college, but it's not like riding a bike. Oh, I have periods where it comes back to me a bit, but pool skills have to be exercised for them to remain sharp. We'll go up there for a few games. There is also a bit of 'laughing and scratching' with Rudy (the owner), and Aaron (one of the bartenders). We usually see at least a few of the other regulars we know. I guess you could kind of call it our "Cheers"...

I am in the process of gearing up for a trip north to Nashville to pick-up the last piece of my inheritance from my mother's estate. She left me her car. I am thrilled to be getting it as I need my own wheels, and I'm currently...wheel-less. It's an Audi TT...vroom, vroom! My trip is slated for next week, and I've got quite a bit to do between now and then.

It is roughly 10 days until this retrograde cycle is over. This coming Sunday, the 17th, marks the next Full Moon. This one will be in Libra. More on that to come...when the new computer arrives. Maybe tomorrow.

Think I will go see about some shut eye (knocking wood).

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Retrograde Mercury in Aries...Oh My...

Mercury is currently in retrograde for the first of 3 for 2011. We are just a few days into the 3 week duration of this one. Typically, I don't look forward to the unpredictability of these retrograde stretches. Things don't really go as planned, and walking on eggshells is always necessary. One of the usual recommendations is to not start anything new until it's passed. No projects, nothing that deals with finances...ya know, "Life". One can't very well put their life completely on hold for 3 weeks. (Think I just heard the crunch of more shells...)

This Mercury retrograde is in the Zodiacal sign of Aries. Confidence and enthusiasm are strong with Aries. The ram likes to act and show initiative, so it's no surprise that Aries is all about moving forward and doesn't like looking back to past events and actions. I can be impatient on a good day, so I expect to feel a considerable amount of it over the next few weeks. This retrograde period started on March 30th and will run through April 23rd. Buckle up and hang prepared for anything.

It is said that retrogrades are a time for "do-overs". Okay, so maybe it's not all problematic. There's just so much uncertainty and chaos that usually bubbles up around me during these times. I know I'm not alone in that. So...3 weeks for reconsideration and re-evaluation with the potential for communication malfunctions? Sounds about par for the course.

One thing to clarify...there's nothing that says that a good thing can't happen. This is just a time for personal transformation. It's just not an ideal time for starting anything new. Focus on things you might be able to put right. Most importantly, be prepared for communication malfunctions because they will happen.

Our universe is geared towards the Sun. Mercury upon occasion jumps ahead a bit and throws the timing off. The retrograde periods are when Mercury gets back in step with the universal timing. Mercury gets reined in, which signifies the period of reflection and re-evaluation. This year's 3 are all about fire signs:
  • March/April ~ Aries
  • August ~ Leo (I am a Leo...not sure what that means yet in relation to the retrograde...)
  • December ~ Sagittarius
So...if between now and April 23rd you feel frustrated, or experience some 'static' in communications, just remember...Mercury is retrograde, and this too shall pass.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thar She Blows...

It was a Buster Keaton kind of day here in Savannah. The wind was quite gusty. I usually don't mind a brisk breeze every now and again, but I had some errands to run and it proved to be a little chillier out there than I thought it would be. Basically, I didn't grab a jacket on the way out. Not a very good call...

There were a few errands to be run, my main destination being the produce stand around the corner from me. I'm starting to feel a tad spoiled that I have fresh fruit and veg nearby. During the colder months, the stand closed for a bit due to the bulk of what they sell being out of season. Now they are back every day except for Monday, and I'm a happy camper.

While living in Los Angeles, I did visit the occasional Farmer's Market. There were various set-ups all over town, but they occurred one day here, another day there...the ones close to me at that time weren't always 'do-able'. Now I have an honest to goodness stand...if you would call on open air cinder block building a "stand" buy my farm fresh produce. The goods and prices are far superior to the grocery store. Plus, it is really off-putting to read the articles I have about tomatoes being gassed so that they turn the more appealing red color we see in stores (no wonder those pretty fruits were always mealy when I would cut into them), or the fact that they spray apples with some unhealthy concoction to make them shiny. When I go to my stand, their wares look just as pretty by maturing the natural way. I also dig the element of feeling like I'm cutting out the middle man and buying from the farmer in a more direct manner. So much is being flown in from other countries these days. An act of insanity if you ask me. I have four words of advice: Support your local farmer.

I took my camera along. I've taken pictures in there before for other postings I've done. Pumpkins at Halloween. That kind of thing. Two factors kept me from taking more snaps this go round. First, there was the wind and the chill. Second...other shoppers were giving me odd looks. Normally, an odd look or two hasn't ever really stopped me from doing much in the past, but...

Since they deal in produce direct from the farm, they don't always have some of the same stuff when I go. Today they did. My boyfriend doesn't really do vegetables. Lima Beans and Brocolli. That's it. I, on the other hand, love veggies. My purchases are comprised of things I eat, so I only get what I will consume. This go round? Red potatoes (I'm a potato addict), scallions (they get monster scallions that look like leeks), green beans (I cook them in olive oil, garlic, and lemon-another addiction), and tangerines. To quote one of my favorite TV cooks and fellow Georgian, Alton Brown..."GOOD EATS"!

Will we have more wind tomorrow? Maybe. Haven't heard the reports yet. I do have a return visit to the stand scheduled. The gal there said that they might be getting some blueberries in. I have a Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffin recipe I've been dying to try. Hopefully they will get some in. One thing is for sure the event of more wind, I'll be sure to take a jacket.