PLAYING WITH PHOTOSHOP

I’ve been playing around with Photoshop this afternoon and this is the result. 

I’ve discovered tools I never knew existed, had lots of experiments and ended up with a quite different picture to the original which started off in shades of blue and looked very wimpy.  I did manage to get movement in the Photoshop pic but sadly it wouldn’t convert the action to the saved pic. Pity.  But I had a lovely time having fun and wallowing around in my second childhood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the original pic:

THE COSMOS – TRICKSTER REDEEMER

I thought I’d dreamed up the phrase “Trickster Redeemer” myself, but having gone to look up the link to Caroline Casey, astrologer, I found she’d coined it first. Nevertheless, I think it’s a great title so I’m going to pay homage to her by using her words as the title of this blog. I love Casey’s work, by the way, it’s cheerful, irreverent and a call to the cosmic armoury of humour, courage and living life to the full.

“Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto want us, individually and collectively, to become them, or at least to become their agents. “Change! Dissolve! Transform!” they exhort us.

“When Uranus shatters an old pattern of familiar misery, we first become awakened; then we become awakeners, agents of Uranus.

“Neptune dissolves our old visions and values to allow new visions to come alive; we then become visionaries.

“Pluto is the Lord of the Underworld, the domain of death, rebirth, initiation, and transformation. When Pluto works us over, we first become transformed; then we become agents of transformation”.

            – Astrologer, Caroline Casey, “Making the Gods Work for You”.

What got me thinking about all this was someone from my distant past who pops into my life from time to time paying me a quite unexpected compliment. He said I was an “amazing person” which surprised the life out of me. But it came just as I had a rather lovely dream about being handed birthday presents (my birthday’s at the end of September) which included not only amazingly beautiful and unusual crystals but also a handcrafted horn for me to blow. In the dream it was encrusted with jewels at the base and the horn itself was of some material fashioned by the woman who gifted it to meand it made the clearest, most tuneful sound when I blew on it. So I figured perhaps this dream is telling me to blow my own trumpet a bit and not sit around dithering about whether I should write something or not!

And the reason the trickster image of the cosmos as redeemer occurred to me was that I was set to wondering whether I would have created the art I have or the writing I’ve done or the teaching I’ve enjoyed so much if I hadn’t encountered repetitive strain injury in my mid-‘thirties, or my broken leg and ankle when I was 49 or the fibromyalgia I found myself with when I was coming up to 52 or the arthritis in my spine which dogged me for years until I was finally diagnosed in 2004.

I’m not making a song of dance about all these health challenges. If they had not have happened, I would have been likely forging ahead on the way of life I was living in my ‘thirties to ‘forties when I was a driven, rather humourless, somewhat fanatical, Type A pain in the arse, to be quite honest. I always wanted to work in the community, outside the home and I never felt drawn to have children as I realized I didn’t have a shred of maternal instinct in me. So when I had to quit the workforce in my ‘thirties, I was devastated. It came out of the blue, I was in so much pain I couldn’t do the washing-up even, but what it did do was open up the avenues of alternative healing for me. Ditto the broken leg and ankle, when – during my immobilized recovery – I became aware of my affinity with symbols in my creative art (and I never realized I’d had a shred of artistic ability before), and ditto with the fibromyalgia and arthritic spine where I had to slow down, become more patient, and suddenly find the time for on-line writing, teaching and more artistic endeavours.

But for me the most important aspect was delving deeper into astrology. I had a reading with someone when I was around my mid-forties who predicted I’d get into astrology. Unfortunately I’m the sort of person who does the opposite of what someone tells me I should be doing, and I buried the astrology bit until it really forced its way to my surface consciousness. Then I found out that Saturn (which I’ve already discussed), Pluto, Neptune and Uranus had all been dickering around at the time of major upheavals in my life.

And this is where my idea of the cosmos as a trickster redeemer sprang to mind. I read so often of how the right thinking will make life hunky-dory for us, of how we can regain our health if we think the right thoughts, and I suppose the whole gamut of affirmations which we chant with the best intentions but then we run up against the trickster cosmos throwing hand grenades to show us the life doesn’t proceed from go to whoa with lightness and brightness all around us all the time. It’s climbing the mountains of grief, loss, anger, upset, unemployment, health challenges, death and so on which actually challenge us to LIVE life, not to swim placidly in a calm ocean where we get utterly complacent and don’t GROW!

It seems to me that all this stuff about having a charmed life really reflects the good economic times we’ve had where consumption has become the be all and end all. And as an aside, I get infuriated by that utterly stupid and judgmental phrase: “Poverty consciousness.” Bollocks, my fine friends, that’s insulting to all those people who toil at low-paid jobs and who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, not condescending, insensitive remarks. But suddenly we’ve run aground on the reality rocks of economic crisis, turbulence in world financial markets and the gathering storm of more financial turmoil and upheaval.

As I’ve already mentioned, Pluto, Uranus and Neptune are stooging around in the heavens moving in and out of formations which are energising huge, challenging times ahead of us. In the past decade particularly, since the attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001, fear has been peddled by the powers-that-be. Our freedom of speech has been curtailed. Our civil liberties have been wound back. And those who’ve done this are the ones who prattle on the most loudly about freedom and democracy.

We don’t have freedom and democracy when we live in fear and give our power away to the chi vampires who suck off fear to keep themselves in office, or ever richer or muscling up for more wars to drive wedges between the world community.

That’s why Pluto, Uranus and Neptune stomp into our lives and into the world’s communities’ lives to kick us up the ass, roar at us to get our backsides into gear, to be exactly who we are meant to be – not anyone else, not celebrities, actors, models or whatever – and stand tall on our feet. We need to eschew fear and loathing, and the three Outer Planets are like the coyote who moves stealthily to carry out his tricks – they turn us inside out and upside down, and in so doing, they open us up to our own fearlessness, courage, craziness and passion for life.

Astrology-Crystal Pendant

I recently started wearing again a pendant my aunt gave my mother back in the ‘sixties and my mother gifted it to me.  It has astrology signs around the outside and a stone inset in the middle. It is one of my favourite pieces as it has memories of my mother and my aunt who was more like a sister to me.  Interestingly, it almost seems to presage my interest in and focus on astrology and rocks, stones and crystals. I’m always interested in synchronicity and it’s as if I was getting an early cosmic message about my direction in later life.

I got interested in rocks and crystals when I moved to Boonah, in South-East Queensland, in 1994, and my interest in astrology has deepened since I lived in Woodenbong, in northern New South Wales from 2006-8.  The towns are pretty close to each other, Woodenbong being in the Border Ranges between NSW and QLD, while Boonah lies on the valley floor below the Border Ranges. Interestingly, both towns lie at the end of Aboriginal songlines in that area which link the two areas.

CREATIVE VISUALISATION: LOVE NOT FEAR

For some reason, and much to my surprise, I ended up today doing a creative visualisation about love and the power of the heart. It came about after watching a video about changing times and the power of meditation.  I’ve got nothing against  meditation except that it arises from a religious/spiritual tradition which tends to be a bit male-oriented with the focus on the mind.  I feel strongly that we’re moving towards our intuitive selves and the power of the heart.  So up popped this idea for a creative visualisation and, for once, I didn’t procrastinate, I went ahead and did it. Here’s the link to YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwjgCmw_ZOE&feature=channel_video_title

Have fun and I’d love to hear your feedback.

TIME TO GROW UP

We had the Car International Car Rally in our little town of Bowraville yesterday, complete with racing cars, stewards, police cars, ambulances, tow trucks (one car got skittled), emergency service workers, a Lions catering van, enough visitors to cause a traffic jam on our quiet main road, and helicopters overhead.

I know that this is entertainment and a major event for the participants, and I don’t want to sound a killjoy, but it struck me that I was watching something which is rapidly reaching its use-by date. We know that oil is an ever-diminishing resource yet we continue to behave as if we’re dancing on a merry-go-round which is endless and will never grind to a halt.  But it is grinding to a halt even though it’s not sudden.  Slowly but surely we’re approaching the end-game of the way we live now because it’s unstainable.  Old ways of living are archaic.  The industrial revolution brought enormous upheaval and in much the same way, as we move on from the increasingly outmoded society thrown up from that industrial revolution, new ways of living are being brought into being. We, the people, are the ones who will create those new ways, and the path forward may be complex, but we can do it, never fear.

 If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, it’s the challenges of the era in which we live which are calling on us  to grow up, to face up to those challenges, each and every one of us. It’s no longer enough to put people in office and hope they’ll do the work for us.  We are the ones who are required to get off our knees, stand tall and radiate the Sun which flows from our hearts and souls.

 In the United States, Barack Obama was seen as some kind of saviour when he became president.  In Australia, Julia Gillard was seen as a triumph for women’s status rising in society. In reality, of course, neither of them could live up to the huge expectations laid upon  their shoulders.  They are simply human beings, not miracle workers or gods from the ether.

We look to our leaders because we project our needs and wants up on them. They are the archetypal Father/Sun/King figures onto whom we project our own hopes, fears and wants. And when they don’t behave as we wish or hope, then we see them as having feet of clay.  But the feet of clay are our own.  Within us we have the sun which we hope will radiate from someone else in the hope we don’t have to do the hard yakka ourselves.  But as we head towards enormous global changes  – as the cosmos above, around and within us is demanding – we are being called to be the leader that so far we’ve externalized into the likes of Obama and Gillard.

In saying this, I don’t want to downgrade the significance of these two leaders. For African-Americans, the advent of Obama was a breakthrough in the stifling detritus of racism which has arisen from the history of the US and which still persists today.  Witness the unprecedented hostility towards the first black man to occupy the White House which can’t be explained as simple opposition to his position as a Democrat president.  And never has a US President been treated with such contempt as this man. Likewise Australian Prime Minister Gillard who was praised as the first female leader of this country. But since she formed a coalition with the Greens Party, she has been subjected to a relentless campaign of scorn, derision, hatred and ridicule which is unprecedented.  No male PM has been treated in this way in the past.  As there is a racism no-one wants to acknowledge in attitudes to President Obama, so there is a sexism which no-one wants to acknowledge in attitudes to a female Prime Minister in Australia.

The issue for both these leaders is that they cannot do things differently because they are inextricably linked to the status quo which is being more and more exposed to our eyes – that governments are increasingly bought and owned by the big end of town.  This is far more evident in the US where big business calls the shots in an ever more blatant way. It’s happening here in Australia where a multi-million campaign by the mining giants against a tax on their super-profits resulted in the dismissal of the Labor Prime Minister Rudd.  I’ve made a separate list of climate events, economic events, political turmoil, etc., just to show that, when you keep an eye out in the world, you can see a pattern emerging. What we are witnessing is that government in the old way is falling apart, is unstainable and is crumbling before our eyes.  We need to create genuine government for the people because this is what this era is demanding. Airy-fairy ideas aren’t going to work. Angels, fairies, unicorns and so on are an escape from reality.  We are the human beings here on earth who need to do the footwork of change.

But to get bogged down in the whys and wherefores is to lose sight of the greater picture which is playing out in the great galaxy around us and in which we are inextricably intertwined.  Astrologers have, for a long time, predicted upheaval, revolution and huge changes in present times.  We can see some of the monumental changes gathering force in climate change and in the economic instability which is dogging international financial markets. 

What is happening in the heavens and reflected on Earth is absolutely  fascinating.  I’m not going to go into enormous detail because, frankly, I get a bit muddled myself with all that’s going on.  For the purposes of what I’m writing about, I want to focus on Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries because you  might call these the heavy hitters. 

I’m indebted to Mystic Medusa because, on her blog, she points out that when debt went bonkers from 1984-1998, Neptune was transiting Capricorn.  This, Capricorn, relates to business, governments, plutocracies, commerce, multinational corporations, the arms industry, all those sorts of areas. Neptune is illusion, delusions, grandeur, visions, inspiration, creativity, off-the-planet, and grandiose ideas certainly permeated the economic field in that time.  I know when I was back in the UK in 2002, I was quite taken aback by the ready credit, the huge personal debts racked up, and there was a feeling in the air of “spend, spend, spend” as if tomorrow never comes.

Well, now Pluto is in the same sign, Capricorn, and you  might say we’re being called to pay the piper.  The big thing about Pluto is not just that it is in Capricorn and bringing to the surface all sorts of hidden stuff about the media, governments (think Wikileaks), government debt, etc., it is also squaring off to Uranus in Aries. Aries is fire, new beginnings, revolutionary fervor, leadership, enthusiasm, gung-ho attitude, influenced by Uranus which is about revolution, innovation, invention, the future, collective stuff.  These two formations are bringing change, chaos and transformation big-time as we face up to the fact we can’t live the way we have in the past. They are causing cosmic fireworks as they clash and as their tensions radiate to the earth level and provoke enormous change at all levels.The economic upheavals we have seen in recent years are the entrée. The main course is yet to come.

So how are we going to face the future?  If the powers-that-be had anything to do with it, they’d have us with our heads in the sand, on our knees, cowering in the corner, trembling with fear and trying to hang on to the past (sorry to mix metaphors, but I’m sure you get the picture!). Well, we can do that but that is only going to make life difficult.  Whether we like it or not, it may not look easy but the easy way is to dance with revolution, tap out a hectic tango with Uranus, power along with Pluto, and embrace change.  That’s the grown-up way of doing things. And to really fulfil the destiny to which we committed ourselves when we incarnated on Earth at this time, we need to sing the song of our souls and hearts – our astrological chart with our tripod of Sun, Moon and Ascendant.  These are the fixtures which hold us upright as we progress into this awesome era standing tall, with courage, with love, with togetherness, with compassion, with tolerance,  and turning our backs on the smallness of fear, hatred and division.

CHANGING TIMES

I was watching a TV programme called “Coast” the other night.  It travels around the UK coast looking at different sections with its history, events and geography.  In the episode I was watching, a tragedy was covered in, if I remember correctly, the Fair Isles where a family drowned in a huge storm.  What I noticed was the remark that, with climate change, extreme events had doubled in the decade preceding the creation of this programme.  This past week too, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, has also underlined the seriousness of climate change and the need to take immediate steps to implement measures to tackle global warming.
I find it extraordinary that so many scientists, programmes and leading figures are talking about climate change, its effects and the need to take action, yet there is a climate of hostility and fear in the face of what are scientific facts and evidence to prove the case that climate change is happening. What we are really dealing with is a systematic undermining of the science of climate change and the promotion of ignorance by the big end of town which is dedicated to the pursuit of short-term mega-profits regardless of the cost to the environment, the future of the earth, and the well-being of future generations.  In this anti-climate change action we can include the Murdoch empire which, with its lies and hysteria about climate change, is a propaganda machine the Nazi empire would envy.
So here is a list of extreme weather events which are becoming the norm rather than the exception, as well as a list of other upheavals which are now surfacing in our economic and political lives.  I’d like to suggest that you remain alert and keep an eye out for what is going on around the world, not just in our own backyard, because knowledge can become the gold of wisdom, while fear can become the dross of reactionary activity which hinders our progress to higher ways of living:
Floods in Pakistan; United States; South America; China; Australia; Japan
Earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand, east coast of the US, parts of Australia, other parts of the world and increasing.
Huge cyclonic activity in Australia, East Asia, South America and the Americas
Drought in Somalia
Drought in Texas with huge wildfires
Extreme temperatures in Victoria, Australia, with huge bushfires & massive loss of life, flora and fauna
La Nina weather pattern intensifying instead of the return of El Nino
Coral reefs forecast to be gone by the end of the century
Explosion of huge jellyfish off the west coast of Japan, destroying fishing industry (due to warming waters, could expand beyond to other oceans)
Species becoming extinct as their environment changes due to climate change
Rising sea temperatures with increasing water acidity.
Self-immolation of young man in Tunisia sparking revolution in Tunisia and onset of Arab Spring
Revolutions/uprisings in Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Libya
Student protests in Chile
Anti-austerity protests in Spain, Greece and Israel
Riots in the UK
Protests in Spain at costs of public funding of Pope’s visit for World Youth Rally given austerity measures faced by people
Wikileaks
Murdoch scandal
Revelations about CIA and MI6 in Libya
And so on, and so forth.  There’s probably more to add into this list which I’ve missed. But you get the idea.
This is an adjunct to my next post, Time to Grow Up.