Saturday, June 26, 2010

Partial Lunar Eclipse

Weird, but I went out late the evening of the Summer Solstice just this last Monday and looked up at the Moon and the strangest thing popped into my head: There is going to be a lunar eclipse.

So I went inside and thank google, there it was:
Detail on, what is really for those of us in North America a very early Saturday morning, lunar eclipse.

Message posted on the Traditional Stregheria Yahoo Group
Total Solar Eclipse of the 11th of July, 2010
By Rev. Ariana Darci Clausen – VĂ©lez

Monday, June 21, 2010

Starting again...

June 21st the Lunar Informer gadget on the blog says:
"An auspicious time for affairs and businesses which are at an expansive stage of development, as well as for new beginnings. A growth phase: stimulate the growth of plants which bear fruit above the earth now, and cut hair to accelerate its growth."

Strange how I felt like The story line was building up again and today I just had to write another chapter. It had been months since I worked on the story. In February I lost the flash drive with the drafts of many chapters not posted on the blog on it and had to start again. I was heartbroken. I felt like a friend had died. Thankfully the characters and what I had written were still in my head, along with some new stuff that must have been germinating all along. Today the energies lined up and out came chapter 17. Well actually it's Chapter 22. I had a number of Chapters or training sessions lined out between the the First Full Moon and Planning Lupercus. But these were unfinished and lost on the flash drive. I've since reworked the story and will be adding to it. For anyone out there who is bothering to read the story, I recommend rereads and back tracks occasionally. If not then there may be things that don't fit as well together. It's only fair that the reader have fair warning.

This spring after while I was still recovering from loosing the flash drive I was also kept busy taking a doctoral level course at a local university on the Anthropology of Religion. It was quite challenging and interesting and eye opening about the "uses" of religion. I'm pleased to say that many years since my bachelors and 4 years since last taking any college level classes I got a B. I did not think it was possible read so many books and articles. The stack of hardcopy books was a foot & a half tall. If I have printed all the stuff I read online using the university library the stack would have been twice that.  Perhaps its time to go back and get a Masters. I have many graduate credits already. They tell me all I need to do is retake and pass the GRE, again. My old scores, while just fine, are too many years old.

Add to this mix of creative energies the fact that the neighborhood community service work is picking up again now that the regime change for our Mayor and City Council representative is over and well, it seems that the Lunar Informer gadget was right.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Rite of Spring & Stravinsky

Last year on June 17th Google's changing display honored Stravinsky on his birthday. This made me do some reading and listening.

One of Stravinsky's best known compositions is the Rite of Spring. I freely admit that my personal introduction to The Rite of Spring was Walt Disney's Fantasia. The music is moving. Apparently so moving that it caused a riot when it first premiered. Perhaps it was more than the music. There is a ballet that goes along with the music. Although while I've heard the music performed I've never seen the ballet. Just looking at the Wikipedia article which lists the scenes I'm sure that the scene names alone, like "The Ritual Abduction" and the "Sacrificial Dance" could have caused some consternation. When I listen to the opening strains, without the burden of the ballet I can feel the world awakening. But the juxtaposition of the softer strains of the awakening against the more insistent rhythms can be jarring. But then again perhaps we don't have the saying about the spring equinox month of March, "In like a Lion, out like a Lamb" for nothing.

Our family video shelves also hold Fantasia 2000 which features Stravinsky's Firebird. This video does have aspects of Spring's awakening. And is beautifully done.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Dress

Taken directly from Internatinal House New Orleans

For generations New Orleanians have upheld the tradition of altering their homes for summer and winter in response to climactic conditions. As winter gives way to summer, wool gives way to sisal rugs and cotton slip covers, which allow furnishings to breathe during the months of heat and humidity found in this semi-tropical climate.

With the advent of summer, International House enters the season with a change of light, design and rituals. In an effort to fulfill this hope, International House transforms its lobby by dressing it for summer and the more relaxed, languid lifestyle, which accompanies it. Guests will discover cotton slipcovers with mocha piping on the furniture and sisal rugs in place of formal upholstery and throw rugs. Likewise, the lobby is accessorized with indigenous banana leaves, palms, fragrant floating blossoms and spiraling topiary. This soothing, relaxing environment is sure to induce most guests to spend at least a portion of their day happily lounging. International House not only looks outwardly to create the ambiance within, but also inwardly with the furnishings designed by local artisans.

In keeping with this time, staff members add to the mix by dressing in taupe and cream colored seersucker suits, which may be recognized as a sartorial statement honored by most New Orleanians. Seersucker is arguably the most unique fashion statement in the city. It is common to see a veritable pilgrimage of businessmen dressed in the more traditional blue and white seersucker meandering around CBD streets at lunchtime.

Guests may discover the depth, diversity and beauty of celebrated traditions related to African-American and folk communities. Beautifully, they have given us jazz, ragtime and blues music. They have given us that rich culinary delight which is Creole cooking and they have provided us with intriguing days of observance, rooted rituals known to locals International House proudly shares these celebrations with their guests. Whether it is the RaRa festival on April 2, or a festival steeped in Voodoo lore, St. John's Eve, June 24, or Louis Armstrong's Birthday, July 14, guests can peer into these longstanding rituals. Each night, a hotel staff member places a "picayune card" at each bedside to not only wish pleasant dreams and a good night's rest but to explain the current ritual. It is not uncommon to stumble upon a jazz funeral with its famed second-line or spontaneous parade of the Mardi Gras Indians.