Friday, August 31, 2012

Coffee, Photos & Stormy Days...

(The marsh in one of it's moods)

Isaac didn't head my way, but he sent me some rain. A few showers from his periphery. It may sound crazy, but I was actually hoping that he would have shifted to the east coast and paid Savannah more of an official visit. Past experience has shown me that the more serious weather just passes Savannah by, for the most part. This small and historical town sits in an indentation at the base of the coastline, just above the Florida - Georgia border. The last hurricane to come by was Hurricane Irene, and she just kind of waved at us as she blew past. For that storm the radar on television showed the usual map of Savannah and its surrounding islands, the Atlantic ocean meeting the shoreline with its big blue self. To the right of the screen there were bands of green rainy weather swirling past. Close enough to raise one's hopes, but having no intentions of a visit. SIKE! 

I know that storms of that kind are known to often cause any number of problems...I just happen to be someone who likes intense weather. Yes, I could be asking for trouble, but there is something so exhilarating and fascinating about inclement weather. After last year's fairly rain-free season, I have been loving every moment of 2012's wetter rainy season. More would be greatly appreciated.  We do need it. 

The last few days have been filled with overcast skies, thunder, and showers ranging from a sprinkle - to a drizzle - to a steady rain. Sandwiched between the periods of rain were peaceful interludes, perfect for a stroll of picture taking. This post is a collection of some of the shots I took. I have a few forms of therapy I use to relax...I am putting one of them to use right now. Sitting at my computer, cup of strong black coffee, new pictures downloaded, and a fresh blog post primed and ready to come out.

The air here in the south is rather thick, and rainy weather amplifies the sticky factor. The air during my outings was no different, but there were breezes here and there that made the humidity a bit more bearable. 

A sky blanketed over with storm clouds produces my favorite type of natural light. Not too dark, and not too bright. Colors are richer. Patterns created by the various types of flora are seen in their matter-of-fact state. No bright direct/indirect light (i.e. the sun) casting shadows and such that distort the pure state of an image. 

There is something so soothing and peaceful about walking around in nature when it is wet with rain. There is a 'clean' quality to sound that is so distinct.  Everywhere I went on my walks, there was always the patter of collected rain dripping from leaf and limb, down to other limbs and the drying bed of twigs, pine cones, and needles on the ground. 

Rainy weather...the great stress reliever.

"It was raining in the small, mountainous country of Llamedos. It was always raining in Llamedos. Rain was the country's main export. It has rain mines."

~ Terry Pratchett, 'Soul Music'

"The Rain" (excerpt)
By:  William Henry Davis

"I hear leaves drinking rain;
I hear rich leaves on top
Giving the poor beneath
Drop after drop;
'Tis a sweet noise to hear
These green leaves drinking near."

"Rain clouds come floating in, not to muddy my days ahead, 
but to make me calm, happy and hopeful."

~ Rajuda

"Outside the drizzling rain had begun again. It pattered around the house, and on the roofs and eaves, like a million, tiny, stealthy feet: softly, as though the night were teeming with a host of minute, dark beings."

~ Evangeline Walton, 'Witch House' 

"Oh, Gray and Tender is the Rain"
By:  Lizette Woodworth Reese

"Oh, gray and tender is the rain,
That drips, drips on the pane!
A hundred things come in the door
The scent of herbs, the thought of yore.

I see the pool out in the grass,
A bit of broken glass;
The red flags running wet and straight,
Down to the little flapping gate.

Lombardy poplars tall and three,
Across the road I see;
There is no loveliness so plain
As a tall poplar in the rain.

But oh, the hundred things and more,
That come in at the door! --
The smack of mint, old joy, old pain,
Caught in the gray and tender rain."

"Why the Egyptian, Arabic, Abyssinian, Choctaw? Well, what tongue does the wind talk? What nationality is a storm? What country do rains come from? What color is lightning? Where does thunder go when it dies?"

~ Ray Bradbury, 'Something Wicked This Way Comes'

"And in this moment, like a swift intake of breath, 
the rain came."

~ Truman Capote, 'Other Voices, Other Rooms'

(A forest trail I keep meaning to explore...)

"Secondary Rain"
By:  Raymond A. Foss

Huge droplets explode in the puddles
small lakes in the uneven surface
craters in the alley, rivulets connecting them
giant bubbles bursting in great pops
rain falling from above, not reaching the ground
secondary raindrops swell,
coalesce on the oak branches, the broad leaves
on acorns and wires
turgid droplets, bombs
hurl themselves to earth
erupt in final glory

"I, too, seem to be a connoisseur of rain, but it does not fill me with joy; it allows me to steep myself in solitude I nurse like a vice I've refused to vanquish."

~ Julia Glass, 'Three Junes'

(Top Left: Pampas Grass; Top Right: Crepe Myrtle blooms;
Bottom Left: Trunk of a Palm tree; Bottom Right: Young Magnolia seed pod)

"Sitting on the porch alone, listening to them fixing supper, he felt again the indignation he had felt before, the sense of loss and the aloneness, the utter defenselessness that was each man's lot, sealed up in his bee cell from all the others in the world. But the smelling of boiling vegetables and pork reached him from the inside, the aloneness left him for awhile. The warm moist smell promised other people lived and were preparing supper.

He listened to the pouring and the thunder rumblings that sounded hollow like they were in a rain barrel, shared the excitement and the coziness of the buzzing insects that had sought refuge on the porch, and now and then he slapped detachedly at the mosquitoes, making a sharp crack in the pouring buzzing silence. The porch sheltered him from all but the splashes of the drops that hit the floor and their spray touched him with a pleasant chill.  And he was secure, because somewhere out beyond the wall of water humanity still existed, and was preparing supper."

~ James Jones, 'From Here To Eternity'

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Full Moon In Pisces...August 31, 2012...

It’s time for the Pisces Full Moon, Friday, August 31st, at 9:58 AM/EST. This Full Moon is special as it is the second Full Moon within the month, which makes it a “Blue Moon”. No, the Moon isn’t actually ‘blue’. Why is it called a “Blue Moon”? I couldn’t find any definitive information to explain why. The only reason I found that seems plausible is that it relates to an Old English word, “belewe”, which means “to betray”. The thought is that the occurrence of two Full Moons in a month ‘betrayed’ the usual one Moon per month perception. “Blue Moons” only happen every 2 ½ to 3 years, so the next one isn’t due until July, 2015.

When you look at a Full Moon in a clear night sky, you see its brightness, and how it illuminates things around you that otherwise would be hidden in the darkness. This Pisces Moon is all about shining through the haze (created by Neptune) surrounding deep seated issues. It is a time for focusing and healing. Clean out your inner attic AND basement…get rid of the old ‘garbage’ that you’ve been storing up. This lunar cycle is all about the “one”, the “self”. Work on squashing the tendencies we have to stay closed off in our inner space, and acknowledge the interconnection we have with all life. Let the moonlight guide you to open yourself, to open your heart. Allow some healing to begin.

Is it going to be an easy time? Not exactly. Things could be a bit turbulent, but said ‘turbulence’ can be quite productive in a healing sense. Things may not be as they seem, so caution is recommended. Expect an amplification of feelings. The smallest and subtlest will be felt in a stronger sense, for good or bad. Pisces is ruler of the 12th Astrological House, the “House of Self-Undoing” or “Self-Imprisonment”. Don’t be surprised if you feel left ‘in the dark’ about certain things. You could find yourself in a space of self-imposed seclusion, on a conscious or subconscious level. Others could very well see what’s going on, when you don’t. When we retreat inwards to the place we feel isolated and/or severed from everything, we exhibit behaviors and make choices that effect so much…every type of relationship from business to personal. We can find ourselves not seeing the forest for the trees. This Pisces Full Moon can help us transcend these self-imposed limitations.

A big theme for this lunar cycle is being of service to others, as is represented by the Virgo-Pisces axis. The lunar axis is the base of a pattern connecting the Pisces Full Moon, Mars in Scorpio (both water signs), Sun in Virgo, and Pluto in Capricorn (both earth signs). Pluto and Mars are sextile, which will create an opportunity to dredge up some long hidden information pertaining to personal matters. With Mars in Scorpio’s strong energy getting helped along by Pluto, Scorpio’s ruler, the truth is out there…and it will come out.

Mercury in Leo will be harmoniously sextile Saturn in Libra. Mercury can be a bit dramatic at times, but Saturn tempers things causing a great atmosphere for creativity. A square between Saturn and Venus in Cancer is another story. If you have someone new in your life on the romance front, the wind could get knocked out of the relationships sails. Don’t give up on things though. Sit back and wait things out a bit until they right themselves.

(Artist: David Palladini)
Uranus in Aries is a bit of a trouble maker this go round. Uranus is delivering a small dose of unpredictability, which could cause problems in the form of dramatics. Don’t be surprised if scheduled plans over the next few days get derailed. Have a ‘Plan B’ waiting in the wings, as a “just in case”.

The Moon will be conjunct Chiron in Pisces. Some deep and painful issues could be revealed, and rise to the surface. Situations could occur that will make you feel the victim, or make you want to be the rescuer…to one extreme or the other. Wallowing in self-pity or over identifying with another’s pain is never healthy. With the amplified energy present, you could feel torn to the point of madness. Reach out to someone you trust for counsel.  It’s very important to not disregard any uncomfortable issues, as they need to be confronted and dealt with. Others will be part of the equation, so they should be a part of the solution.

The lunation axis is widely squared by Jupiter in Gemini. The message here is to use your brain before you speak. Anyone born under a water or earth sign should really take heed. Sharing too much information about oneself is rarely a good thing, and the atmosphere under this influence is ripe for it. Take a moment…if it doesn’t feel right to share something, then definitely don’t. Listen to your gut.

With all of the potential for turbulence during this lunation, healing is woven throughout. If you are feeling isolated and closed off, open up. Open your heart and mind. On a personal level, feel the pain you are dealt so that you can forgive and move on. Be compassionate to yourself, and if others are involved be compassionate to them, as well. It’s difficult to avoid the inevitable, and some issues will have to be dealt with whether you like it or not. Having time for you is always important, but what will help you open up is finding ways of being of service to others. 
See an astrological word you don't know the meaning of? Follow this link for an astrology dictionary.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Origins of the Days of the Week...

The days of the week. Everyone is familiar with the seven day names, as we use them constantly for various reasons. They help us to schedule our lives, as we use them (among other methods) to help chart the passage of time.

("Thor", Chris Hemsworth)
Lately, I have learned that what I deemed to be pretty common knowledge, doesn’t appear to be that common at all. I, like most computer users, spend my fair share of time on Facebook. Most days (when I think of it) I will post well wishes for the day…”Have a great day”; “Happy <insert day name here>”, etc. A month or so ago, I started referencing the day name origins in my posts. These references started on a Thursday, or “Thor’s Day” to use the traditional name as influenced by the Anglo-Saxons pulling from the Norse Mythos. I posted “Happy Thor’s Day”, and uploaded a picture of Chris Hemsworth as ‘Thor’ (from the Marvel films). I’m a fan, so I figured why not? Just me sharing a chuckle with myself. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that several of my friends were unfamiliar with the history of the day names. They just thought I was making a clever play on words. I was a bit surprised at first. As I said before, I thought this was common knowledge, but it appeared to be a case of me assuming that everyone knew the origins because I knew them.

The naming of the seven days of the week goes back to the ancient Romans. As with the majority of the days we celebrate, the day names have pagan origins. Originally the days were named for planets in the Latin language (ex: dies Saturni = Saturn Day = Saturday). Well, actually (if you want to get technical) they were named after a star, a satellite, and five planets. Their order was based on their presumed distance from the earth.
  • Saturday:   dies Saturni     Planet:   Saturn
  • Sunday:   dies Solis     Planet:   Sol  (Sun)
  • Monday:   dies Lunae     Planet:   Luna  (Moon)
  • Tuesday:   dies Martis     Planet:   Mars
  • Wednesday:   dies Mercurii     Planet:   Mercury
  • Thursday:   dies Iovis     Planet:   Jove (Jupiter)
  • Friday:   dies Veneris     Planet:   Venus
The names we use today are from the Germanic Calendar. It’s basically the Roman calendar with the Old English/Norse mythos of Anglo Saxon times being used instead (practice of 'Interpretatio Germanica'). Well, all except for Saturday…Saturn is the only holdover from the original calendar. What follows is a list of the days with the bulk of the historical breakdowns being based on the Norse based names. I have also included a little background on the Norse gods associated with each day. In a few of the background descriptions, I reference the Poetic and Prose Edda's. These are collections of Old Norse poems and prose that still survive. They are seen as the two primary source materials on the Norse Mythos.

(Note: All of the collages in this post were pieced together by me with items I found online. The collages are of my making, but the original elements are not.)

“Sun’s Day”
“Day of the Sun”

Old English:  sunnandaeg   
Old Norse god:  Sol (Sunna), Goddess of the Sun 
Ancient Roman:  dies Solis   
God:  Sol Invictus, Sun God


The sun personified, she was sister to the personified moon, Mani. Wife to Glenr (the one who drives the horses of the sun across the sky), she gave birth to a daughter who would carry on for her in the heavens after her death (I couldn't find anything regarding the daughters identity). A death foretold in both the Poetic and Prose Edda’s. It is foretold that she would be killed during the events of Ragnorak, by a huge wolf.

(Goddess Luna)

“Moon’s Day”
“Day of the Moon”

Old English:  monandaeg     
Old Norse god:  Mani, God of the Moon

Ancient Roman:  dies lunae     
God:  Luna, Goddess of the Moon    


The moon personified, he was brother to Sol, the personified sun. There is mention in the Prose Edda that Mani was followed through the heavens by two children, Hjuki and Bil.

(God Tyr)

“Tyr’s Day”
“Tiw’s Day”

Old English:  tiwesdaeg     
Old Norse god:  Tyr

Ancient Roman:  dies lunae     
God:  Mars, God of War


Known as the Norse God of War & Courage, and said to be son to Odin the All-father. Tyr was believed by some to be the precursor to Odin. That belief states that he stepped aside during the time of the Vikings to make way for Odin, who assumed the position of god of War.  Tyr was most recognized for the story of how he lost his right hand. A story found in the Poetic Edda. 

According to the Edda, a time came when the gods decided to put shackles on the Fenris wolf, Fenrir (known as the king of wolves). Fenrir broke through every chain he was bound with. The gods then turned to the dwarves, asking them to craft a magical ribbon that the wolf couldn’t destroy. The result was the ribbon Gleipner, crafted from the beard of a woman, bear’s sinews, the sound of a cat’s footfall, roots of a mountain, fish’s breath, and bird’s spittle. (The crafting of Gleipner is said to be the reason that none of those things now exist.)

Fenrir suspected the gods were up to something. He would allow them to bind him with the ribbon under one condition. One of them would have to put their hand in his mouth. Courageously, Tyr agreed, placing his hand in the wolf’s mouth. Fenrir was bound, and was unable to break free from the ribbon.  All the gods rejoiced…except for Tyr, as his hand had been bitten off. Tyr was then known as “Leavings of the Wolf”, which is meant as an honorable title.

(Odin All-Father)

“Odin’s Day”
“Woden’s Day”

Old English:  wodnesdaeg     
Old Norse God:  Odin

Ancient Roman:  dies mercurii     
God:  Mercury, Messenger of the Gods


The most important god of Norse mythology, Odin is a member of the Aesir, the major pantheon of the two Norse pantheons (the other being the Vanir). He is associated with a laundry list of things, some of which are war, victory, death, magic, wisdom, and prophecy. He is written about extensively in both the Prose and Poetic Eddas. Odin rules over Asgard, the city/land of the gods. It is also the site of Valhalla (the hall of the slain), where he receives the souls of those who have died in battle. Wielding his spear, Gungnir, Odin never misses his target. He has several animal (magical) companions: the eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, the best of all horses; his two ravens, Huginn (Thought) and Muninn (Memory), who fly the world by day, and report back to Odin by night; his two wolves, Geri and Freki (both meaning “the greedy” or “ravenous one”) – Odin would give all of his food to the wolves, and he would only drink wine and mead.

(Yggdrasil & the 9 Realms)
To gain his vast wisdom, Odin sacrificed an eye at the Mimir’s Well, located beneath the world tree Yggdrasil. He approached the master of the well, Mimir, wishing to be granted but one drink from the well so he, too, could partake of the vast wisdom and intelligence of the ages. Odin was granted the drink, but not until he pledged one of his eyes…which he did.

With his wife Frigg, Odin fathered many son’s. The best known son is Thor (however, Frigg is not his mother). There is quite a lot about Odin that I won’t be mentioning here, as I am simplifying things a bit for the sake of the post. His background and exploits are quite complex, and all interesting. If you find these tidbits interesting, I recommend you Google more of the tales of Odin, et al.


“Thor’s Day”

Old English:  thursdaeg, thunresdaeg
Old Norse God:  Thor

Ancient Roman:  dies jovis
God:  Jupiter, King of the Gods


Thor, one of the better known Norse gods, was also known as “the Thunderer”, as he was the god of thunder. Thor was also associated with lightning, strength, oak trees, healing, and being the protector of mankind. He was the most popular of the sons of Odin All-Father, and his mother was the personified earth, Fjorgyn. Throughout the history of Germanic civilizations, Thor features prominently. He even surpassed Odin in popularity. Married to the fertility goddess, Sif, he fathered several gods with several different goddesses.

Thor possessed various magical items, most notably his powerful hammer, Mjolnir. When thrown, Mjolnir never missed the intended target, and it always returned to Thor, acting on his commands. He also wore the belt, Megingjoro, which doubled his already massive strength; and the iron gloves, Jarngreipr, which he required to handle Mjolnir (it is said that the dwarf working the bellows when Mjolnir was being forged, was bitten in the eye by a gadfly, which was thought to be the mischievous Loki in disguise-this resulted in the hammer handle being shortened). Thor could also throw lightning.

(Tanngnjostr & Tanngrisnir)
Thor drove a chariot pulled by two goats, Tanngnjostr (Tooth-gnasher) and Tanngrisnir (Tooth-grinder). During a thunderstorm, it was said that Thor was driving his chariot across the sky. He would get sustenance by eating the goats, and then resurrecting them.

("Thor Battering the Midgard Serpent"
Henry Fuseli  c. 1790)

Like Odin, there is a lot written about Thor and his many exploits. Probably one of the best known tales of Thor is the one about his battle with the giant sea serpent, Jormungandr. Also known as the Midgard (earth) Serpent, he was so big he could encircle the earth and grab his own tail…if he let go, the world would end. There are a few meetings between the arch-enemies, with their final meeting predicted to occur during Ragnarok. (Ragnarok is foretold to be a great battle where a number of the gods would die, the world would be struck by numerous natural disasters, and it would be covered by water. That would be followed by the world being reborn, as well as the old gods. The earth would be repopulated by the only two human survivors.) It is when Jormungandr leaves the ocean to poison the sky, that Thor kills him. The god of Thunder then walks nine paces before falling dead, poisoned by the serpent’s venom.


“Frigg’s Day”

Old English:  frigedaeg    
Old Norse God:  Frigg

Ancient Roman:  dies veneris    
God:  Venus


Frigg (which means ‘Beloved One’) was wife to Odin All-Father, and Queen of Asgard. She was the only other god permitted to sit on Odin's high seat, Hlidskjalf, and look out over the universe. She held the power of prophecy, but never divulged what she knew. Frigg was mother to god, Baldr, and stepmother to a number of gods. Her appearances in Norse mythology were primarily as a wife and mother. She was the patron of marriage and motherhood, goddess of fertility and love, and goddess of the sky (the air and the clouds). 

The star pattern known as Orion’s Belt was called “Frigg’s Spinning Wheel”. She enjoyed sitting at her wheel in the Palace "Fensalir" (Marsh Hall) in the realm Asgard, spinning golden thread and colored clouds. The Norse name for Venus was “Frigg’s Star”.


“Saturn’s Day”

Old English:  saeternesdaeg

Ancient Roman:  dies saturni    
God:  Saturn (Titan), God of the Harvest & Agriculture


Saturday is the only day of the week where the original Roman character is used. Saturn was the god of agriculture, and time. Saturnalia, the holiday that Christmas is attributed to, is in celebration of him. The Romans combined Saturn with the Greek Titan, Chronus, who in turn was associated with time, his devouring of his children seen as allegorical symbolism for the passing of generations.