Saturday, December 12, 2009

Legend: Alabama Vixen



January 31, 1902 – December 12, 1968

I read Shakespeare and the Bible, and I can shoot dice.  That's what I call a liberal education.

She had a mouth like a sailor, a wit as keen as a rapier, and an accent that sounded like the love-child of Lady Bracknell and Rhett Butler.  On December 12, 1968, Tallulah Bankhead died at the age of 65.

Born in Alabama in 1902, she was the daughter of a United States Congressman who also was Speaker of the House (William Brockman Bankhead).  The southern upbringing served her well, no doubt, in one of her most memorable stage roles - Regina in The Little Foxes.

Legendary for her irreverent wit and refreshing candor, backstage tales and quotes attributed to Ms. Bankhead abound.  Apparently she and a male co-star were concluding the final scene of a play (not for certain which that was), and happened to be on a bed, embracing.  As the last lines were spoken, and the "the end" kiss happened, the lights were supposed to fade to black.  For whatever reason, it didn't happen that way - lines, kiss, no lights fading.  After the kiss ended, and a brief awkward moment passed, Tallulah is rumored to have said, "Well, I guess you'll just have to fuck me."

She brought the house down.

Brava, Miss Tallulah.  We're raising a julep to you today. 


Friday, December 11, 2009

Verse: Yeats

The Cold Heaven
William Butler Yeats
Suddenly I saw the cold and rook-delighting heaven
That seemed as though ice burned and was but the more ice,
And thereupon imagination and heart were driven
So wild that every casual thought of that and this
Vanished, and left but memories, that should be out of season
With the hot blood of youth, of love crossed long ago;
And I took all the blame out of all sense and reason,
Until I cried and trembled and rocked to and fro,
Riddled with light. Ah! when the ghost begins to quicken,
Confusion of the death-bed over, is it sent
Out naked on the roads, as the books say, and stricken
By the injustice of the skies for punishment?


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oz in Georgia


Amazing story.  It makes me want to jump in the pen and play with them.  Humans - take a lesson!

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears - Oh My!

Thursday, with hammer...


Tors strid med jättarna
Thor fighting the giants
1872

Mårten Eskil Winge (1825-1896)




Thursday derives its name from the Norse deity, Thor.  Swedish painter Marten Winge beautifully and boldly illustrates the battle between Thor and the Giants in this painting, so much so that it makes me want to grab my hammer.


Since this blog is still brand new, and I'm just finding my way, I'm still not sure what the overall "purpose" (what a daunting word) is yet for this little corner of the web that I weave.  Right now, since we're living in a world with so much ugliness in so many forms, I think I'm just trying to create a refuge of beauty and wisdom; a place where I (and hopefully others) can visit to reduce our blood pressure after watching the news (How many think a 24-hour news cycle is too much?) and focus on some things that seem to be neglected:  beauty, wisdom, art, and imagination. 

I guess Thor got me on my own wagon, swinging at the Giants, this morning.  I watch the news and get so very angry at ignorance and stupidity, so prevalent across the globe.  I thought we were past living in a world where people actually try to legislate death as a punishment for loving someone. 

I encourage each of you to pick up your hammer today and whack something - a nail to hang a photo of a loved one or a painting you've done; an old way of thinking that isn't serving you well, or have a pillow fight with your partner or kids.  We all need to bring as much goodness into this world as we can, and it's not a matter of being "fluffy," it's about bringing balance back into our world.  We're out of whack.  So to speak.

Have a great Thursday.  Stay warm.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Galaxies far, far away...


The Hubble Space Telescope has taken the "deepest" shot of space ever captured.  These photographs were taken in August of this year, and are just now being released to the public.  More photos and lots of cool information can be found at HubbleSite.

Ironically (or not), this happens to be the anniversary of an infamous UFO sighting and crash incident, which still remains a mystery.  I had never heard of this one, but it remains one of the most curious episodes in the ever-evolving story of unidentified flying objects.

The Kecksburg, Pennsylvania UFO Incident

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday in New York: Wonderland


New York City is truly a magical place during the holiday season, and this year is no exception.  Bergdorf Goodman's window displays pay tribute to Alice in Wonderland (her legend and that of Wonderland has been surfacing in all sorts of places lately) complete with Cheshire Cat, flamingos, and The White Rabbit. 

Danni at The Whimsical Cottage took these wonderful photos on a recent excursion in NYC, and is letting me post them here (because they are such eye candy).  Danni (a multi-media artist) creates art dolls, sculpture, ornaments, jewelry, wands, and more - all beautifully handmade. 

Hope you enjoy...



du jour: Feast of the Immaculate Conception



La Inmaculada de Soult
The Immaculate Conception of the Venerable Ones (Soult)
1678
Bartolome' E. Murillo

(A late post for a "du jour," granted.)

Today is the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, observed by the Roman Catholic church.  In the "you learn something new every day" file, I just discovered that "immaculate conception" doesn't refer to Mary becoming pregnant with the Christ child; rather, it has to do with Her lack of "original sin."  The Feast falls on this day because it is exactly nine months prior to the Feast of the Nativity of Mary (Her birth). 

I find it interesting that she has the moon at her feet in this painting, and in many depictions actually.  In fact, the moon and much of the "Queen of Heaven" symbolism, Goddess symbolism, is preserved in Mary's catalogue of imagery.

Visionary



Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

John Lennon
(October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Artist Spotlight: Ciro Marchetti


Ciro Marchetti is responsible for three of the most beautiful Tarot decks I've ever seen, as well as a body of artwork that is a feast for the eyes and imagination.  His Gilded Tarot sold over 200,000 copies and was translated into 9 languages; his Tarot of Dreams is now a collector's item (a modified version is available at his website); and his recently-released Legacy of the Divine Tarot, which he purports to be his last, is another study in opulent color and striking imagery.

All these, as well as his full catalog of work, can be found at his website (which features a gift shop, if you want to give the gift of art this holiday season):

Ciro Marchetti Official Website

I'm honored to be able to feature the above image, Spirit of Winter, with Mr. Marchetti's permission.

Cups Running Over

I woke up early this morning, just after it began to rain. This is a cold, slow rain that seems to be sent to cool down the Earth. "Relax," the Sky Goddesses sing, "slow down and be still and silent."

I smiled when I then drew the Ace of Cups for my daily card. Water again. Great to draw this card on a Monday. Good signs.

I have virtually no Water in my astrological chart. My chart, rather, is like a bonfire - all fire and air, with a little bit of earth thrown in to prevent a whirling dervish situation. Maybe that's why Water is both extremely attractive and terrifying to me. I don't know it intimately, and the hardest thing for me to do is obtain tranquility; it's hard for me to become the still, glass-surfaced lake.

Learning to swim was difficult, even now I hate for my head to be submerged in any sort of manner, and the closest I ever came to actually dying in the wild was a near-drowning in the waters of New England. As soon as my past lives begin to reveal themselves, I'll wager there's an experience with water in there somewhere that probably didn't end pleasantly.

But the rain has always seemed to calm me, except when it's at its most furious; the poetic, mythic part of me thinks that it's my connection with Air and the Sky, and that rain is comfort from the Queen of Heaven (call Her what you will). That's my rationale, anyway.

My garden loves it, too.

I've been struggling with a head-cold for about a week, very minor, but I've been blowing and coughing out of proportion with my overall feeling: I haven't "felt" bad physically, at least not as bad as I have sounded (the blowing and the coughing). A dear friend said to me the other day, "well, you know mucus is supposed to represent unshed tears." That statement hit so close to home. Literally.

I've been releasing so much hurt lately, from both the recent past and long past. Mourning things that needed to be mourned and letting go of things that have long been holding my spirit down. I've done my share of crying, and I suppose my psyche is letting go of more tears than I realized. A true sense of home and family is only now returning to my consciousness after a long, long hiatus; so whether I'm purging unshed tears of pain or unshed tears of gratitude, it doesn't matter. Getting rid of them is a good step. Water eternally flows.

Today I'm thankful for the Water in my life -mysterious, frightening, healing and loving.



Ace of Cups from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Verse: Invictus


I just heard a television movie critic, while praising Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon's new movie Invictus, call the poem upon which the title is based "corny." I couldn't respectfully disagree more. Perhaps, mercifully, he has never been in a "place of wrath and tears" and therefore cannot appreciate Mr. Henley's sentiment. I have, and can.


Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.


In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.


Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.


It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.


William Ernest Henley
(1849-1903)
English Poet


Invictus was first published in 1875. The title is Latin for "unconquered."




Visionary

A religion without a Goddess is halfway to atheism.



Dion Fortune
December 6, 1890 - January 8, 1946

du jour: St. Nicholas Day

This morning I learned that it happens to be St. Nicholas Day. I've always been fascinated with "gift-bearer traditions" and might make this a recurring focus during the holiday season.

If you would like to make a gift to the children of the world this Holiday, check out these websites. Every little bit helps.

DonorsChoose.org - for directed donation to classrooms

UNICEF - for information on global children initiatives and charities

Ronald McDonald House - provides assistance to families facing medical and healthcare-related challenges

This information comes from Wikipedia:

The tradition of Saint Nicholas Day, usually on 6 December, is a festival for children in many countries in Europe related to surviving legends of the saint, and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts. The American Santa Claus, as well as the Anglo-Canadian and British Father Christmas, derive from these legends. "Santa Claus" is itself derived from the Dutch Sinterklaas.


In the US

While feasts of Saint Nicholas are not observed nationally, cities with strong German influences like Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and St. Louis celebrate St. Nick's Day on a scale similar to the German custom.[5] On December 5, the Eve of St. Nicholas Day, each child puts one empty shoe outside their bedroom door or on a staircase before they go to sleep. The following morning of December 6, the children awake to find that St. Nick has filled their footwear with candy and small presents (if the children have been good) or coal (if not). For these children, the relationship between St. Nick and Santa Claus is not clearly defined, although St. Nick is usually explained to be a helper of Santa. The tradition of St. Nick's Day is firmly established in the Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Cleveland and St. Louis communities, with parents often continuing to observe the day with their adult children. Widespread adoption of observing the tradition has spread among the German, Polish, Belgian and Dutch communities throughout Wisconsin, and is carried out through modern times.

St. Nicholas

Gratitude



If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.

Meister Eckhart (c. 1260–c. 1328)
Eckhart von Hochheim, German theologian and mystic

Image: Kenneth G. Libbrecht, SnowCrystals