Girls And Their Cats

IMG_9767

Alison, Blixa, and I were photographed by Brianne Wills for her wonderful project, Girls and Their Cats.  I want to be a cat lady when I grow up.

IMG_9708 (1)

IMG_9699

Who are we? What are we?

Carl Sagan, portrait. Photo by Eduardo Castaneda

“For most of human history we have searched for our place in the cosmos. Who are we? What are we? We find that we inhabit an insignificant planet of a hum-drum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions, and by the depth of our answers.”

Carl Edward Sagan

Botticelli’s “Mystical Nativity”

Botticelli's Mystical Nativity

Botticelli’s Mystical Nativity was hidden for many centuries. Once found, it earned its name from both the unusual Nativity symbolism and Greek inscription at the top.

Botticelli believed he was living through the Tribulation, which is clear in the mysterious inscription:

This picture, at the end of the year 1500, in the troubles of Italy, I Alessandro, in the half-time after the time, painted, according to the eleventh chapter of Saint John, in the second woe of the Apocalypse, during the release of the devil for three-and-a-half years; then he shall be bound in the twelfth chapter and we shall see [him buried] as in this picture.

It is the only surviving work with his signature.

Five Ways to Break a Dream Drought

IMG_1444

Have you ever lost touch with your dreams? Is your dream recall limited to fragments that fade away as you hurry off into the business and traffic of the day? Here is some advice from Robert Moss’s book, Active Dreamingon how to give fresh breath to your relationship with your dreams.

  1. Set an intention for the night. Before sleep, write down an intention for the hours of dream and twilight that lie ahead. This can be a travel plan (“I would like to go to Hawaii” or “I would like to visit my girlfriend/boyfriend”). It might be a specific request for guidance (“I want to know what will happen if I change my job”). It could be a more general setting of direction (“I ask for healing” or “I open myself to my creative source”). You might simply say, “I want to have fun in my dreams and remember.”

Make sure your intention has some juice. Don’t make dream recall one more chore to fit in with all others. If you like, you can make a little ritual of dream incubation, a simple version of what ancients seekers did when they travelled to temples of dream healing, like those of Asklepios, in hopes of a night encounter with a sacred guide. You can take a spacial bath or shower, play a recording of sounds of nature or running water, and meditate for a while on the object or picture that relates to your intention. You might want to avoid eating heavily or drinking alcohol within a couple of hours of sleep. You could get yourself a little mugwort pillow- in folk tradition, mugwort is an excellent dream bringer- and place it under your regular pillow.

2. Be ready to receive. Having set your intention, make sure you have the means to honor it. Keep pen and paper (or a voice recorder) next to your bed so you are ready to record when you wake up. Recording something whenever you wake up, even if it’s at 3am. If you have to go to the bathroom, take your notebook with you and practice doing two things at once. Sometimes the dreams we most need to hear come visiting at rather anti-social hours, from the viewpoint of the little, everyday mind.

3. Be kind to fragments. Don’t give up on fragments from your night dreams. The wispiest trace of a dream can be exciting to play with, and as you play with it you may find you pull back more of the previously forgotten dream. The odd word or phrase left over from a dream may be an intriguing clue, if you are willing to do a little detective work.

Suppose you wake up with nothing more than a sense of a certain color. It could be interesting to notice that today is a Red Day, or a Green Day, to dress accordingly, to allow the energy of that color to travel with you, and to meditate on the qualities of red or green and see what life memories that evokes.

4. Still no dream recall? No worries. If you don’t remember a dream when you first wake up, laze in bed for a few minutes and see if something comes back. Wiggle around in bed. Sometimes returning to the body posture we were in earlier in the night helps to bring back what we were dreaming when we were in that position.

If you still don’t have a dream, write something down anyway: whatever is in your awareness, including feelings and physical sensations. You are catching the residue of a dream even if the dream itself is gone, As you do this, you are saying to the source of your dreams: “I’m listening. Talk to me.”

You may find that, though your dreams have flown, you have a sense of clarity and direction that is a legacy of the night. We solve problems in our sleep even when we don’t remember the problem-solving process that went on in our dreaming minds.

5. Remember, you don’t need to sleep in order to dream. The incidents of everyday life will speak to us like dream symbols if we are willing to pay attention. Keep a lookout for the first unusual or striking thing that enters your field of perception in the course of the day, and ask whether there could be a message there.

T.S. Eliot on Exploration

We shall not cease from exploration.

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

And that changes everything.

T.S. Eliot

Edges (Letter Three)

All this solid talk blocks my eyes from the sky. What I really want is watery words. Words that I can swim in. Give me only words that can stir me.  Give me only the thoughts that belong at the edges of minds.  People who belong on the edges of wintry towns. I want to be lost but I am afraid to lose myself.

Yours,

The New Moon On The Edge of Aquarius

Eros and Psyche taken from Pinterest

Love is a trick. Love is a slip. Love is the greatest heist ever known. Love is an abduction. Love is an addiction. Love is the clearest mirror of truth we will ever gaze upon.

If we are lucky enough to get the chance to.

Love is natures way of breaking our egos and getting us to set sail on the great adventure of self-knowledge. Though it doesnt always work out that way, love at least tries to lead us there. Love can be a gateway to our greatest unfolding. Love tests every asset we have ever boasted about and exposes every fear we have ever tried to stow away. Standing in the face of love can magnify our losses, expose our fears of not being enough, and can have grown-ass folks shaking in their booties.

Love isnt soppy or saccharine. Love slaps us awake, turns on the light and reveals every bump and blemish. Love is a journey of self discovery, love is an initiation into adulthood. Love demands an honest answer and call us out on our excuses. Love awakens our desire to be better and arouses the beasts in us that so desperately need healing. 

Love is all we need but in order to have it we must engage in and triumph over the most extreme tests and teachings. Love is a tuff cookie that pulls no punches. Love will set you straight and tell it like it is-if not, it is not love. 

Love is an honest look at our deepest fears and an exposé of our most severe inadequacies. It demands we show up, grow up and stop passing the buck. 

This month’s new moon happens on February 18th at 6:47 PM EST on the edge of Aquariuss very last degree. Both the sun and the new moon will move into Pisces mere seconds after their conjunction. This is the second new moon in Aquarius in 2015. Continue reading The New Moon On The Edge of Aquarius

Three Things Are Missing

(An excerpt from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451)

“Number one: Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You’d find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more “literary” you are. That’s my definition anyway. Telling detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”

“So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. Even fireworks, for all their prettiness, come from the chemistry of the earth. Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding on flowers and fireworks, without completing the cycle back to reality. Do you know the legend of Hercules and Antaeus, the giant wrestler , whose strength was incredible so long as he stood firmly on the earth? But when he was held, rootless, in midair, by Hercules, he perished easily. If there isn’t something in the legend for us today, in this city, in our time, then I am completely insane. Well, there we have the first thing I said we needed. Quality, texture of information.” Continue reading Three Things Are Missing

The Magic

“Take it where you can find it, in old photograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them, at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together in one garment for us.” -Old man, Faber, Fahrenheit 451 

Windows (Letter Two)

We are all so very careful. We mean to close our windows all the way, but it is so unnatural that most of us don’t manage it. I certainly don’t, but I also know that it is those mistakes, those windows left ajar, which lead to all my most truthful encounters. Without them, all I have left is fantasy. Fantasy reveals what is hidden behind any closed window. It reveals what the world has taught us to be afraid of.  

But I am afraid.  I know how fantasy can raid a soul with shame, for nothing feels more shameful than that most uncivilized part of me fighting to be free. You are inside that part of me. I’ve never quite managed to free you.

I suspects these little windows to be not only the most human part of us all, but also the most beautiful part. I suspect it to be the part of me that keeps me from rotting of too much logic.

All this logic everywhere I turn, like a prison! It has to be wasteful to be so polite all the bloody time. To look away when I mean to look. To run away when I mean to stay. To be cool when I mean to beg. We are told that it is for the greater good, but, I ask, for what greater good? For society? Bullshit. I know that it’s bullshit because I can feel it.  Who determines what is good for the society? Who determines what is good for me? Who determines what is good for you? For us?

Imagine how it could be if we were all rude, just walking around staring and begging and crying and being curious. Maybe then I would know where you are now.

Yours,