Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Still Not Halloween



Well, no, and it's still not Halloween in a few days.

It's still Beltane, here in the Southern Hemisphere, but I've just about given up pointing that out to most people.

I've had to conclude that either South Africans of the middle-and-upward classes don't know what season it is, or they're unaware of the significance of the ages-old celebration of the start of Winter.
(Or they just don't care and are just doing shit because the Americans do, and I must say I find this parenthetical reason the most compelling of the three).

So, OK, a quick run-down of what Samhain, also known as Halloween, has meant to humans for thousands of years:

It's the start of the Winter season. The Celts only recognised 2 seasons, Summer and Winter. Summer started on the first week in May and we celebrate that as Beltane in the Northern Hemisphere. The start of Winter was the first week in November, midway between the Solstice and the Equinox.

It marks the beginning of the period of cold and dark, the time by which all harvests were to be safely gathered in and shelters made proof against the gathering loss of sunlight.

At this time, the ancestors and the little folk - those of other realms and dimensions - would take advantage of the liminality of the environment and draw nearer to humans. It thus became necessary for us to devise strategies to keep them from our doors, our stored crops and our livestock.

You can very easily see how the spooky motif and the tradition of Trick-Or-Treating became established out of these mass subconscious workings.

 The problem comes when you try to apply these venerable rituals to the start of Summer. It won't work, and you end up playing the absolute fool across all worlds, dimensions and realms.

Good luck with that, as ever, South Africa.

Pic: May Queen from the Beltane Fire Festival, 2012

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Escape From a Schwarzschild Radius of Insanity


I have finally become a refugee.

From Twitter and Facebook, that is.

Last night I deleted both accounts before I went to bed and woke up this morning with such a sense of relief that I knew I'd done exactly the right thing.

I started out years ago on Twitter with 40 followers and ended up with over 1.5K of the buggers. This is not a good thing, as anyone conversant with the horrific phenomenon of Twitter can attest.

Twitter. It's a great tool for keeping up-to-date on whatever news you're interested in; you get the latest breaking stuff first, plus much of the as-yet-unverified speculation. But with that comes a clamouring clinging of hanger-on demons which will eventually deeply wound your sanity if you're even halfway in your right mind to start with.

Some issues, let's face it, are bound to be emotive. Transgender Rights, the Patriarchal control of the globe, Donald Trump...So you make a resolution to rise above the gutter-wiping of the basest Tweeps. I'll just observe, you tell yourself, and take in arguments from both sides - to which end, you include a broad spectrum of class, race and political affiliation in your Follow list. Sounds about right.

But gradually, over months and possibly years, you find yourself taking sides. taking umbrage at the others. Taking seriously the emotionally immature rantings of a faceless archon who uses 140 characters to inflict as much pain as possible. And you find yourself doing this, too; becoming habituated to being as pithily nasty in as short a text as humanly possible to someone you don't even know.

This is the template for all 9 rings of Dante's Hell to coalesce and eventually collapse into a screaming, barking mad black hole of insanity.

And Facebook? With even the best of intentions of keeping it confined to family, you find yourself scrolling through endless reams of photographic saccharine memes, brain-deficient repetitions of somebody else's endless idle time...nope. Just Nope.

And so I left those places. Threw them to the West, iconic icons and all, turned on my heel and walked away.
Because I can't be having with this any longer.

Pic: Paul Kidby's rendering of Esmerelda Weatherwax

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Time Traveller


My Pitbull boy, Taranis, huffling by my side of the bed just before midnight caused me to get up,wander through the dark house to the kitchen and open the door to let him out.
The back garden was lit in that specific way that lets you know the Moon is high, so I could see the fur-boy casting back and forth along the grass near the washing line.
The air was chill but not as freezing as we'd been promised, so I stood in the door waiting for him to finish.
It was then that I moved in Time and Space.
I am 15 and just about to step out onto the flagstoned patio at my Garlands Ride home in Salisbury, Rhodesia.
The time is somewhere between midnight and dawn.
Two telescopes stand waiting for me - a 3" refractor and a 6" reflector named "Slubbitygullion".
More importantly, the deep space galactic clouds and star clusters are up there, waiting forever.
The Yugoslavian-printed book of constellations crackles open in my hands, I feel the slick cover and well-thumbed pages under my fingers and thumbs as I bend the spine of the little book back at the place I need tonight.
I smell the chilly night air. I see the patio illuminated only by starlight.
I breath into and out of a body 40 years back in time and a few thousand kilometeres away in space.
I was there.
And I am still, and can always be, there.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Returning?



I might be returning to this blog - more later.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

'Bye Bye Blogger

'Bye Bye Blogger.
You have become too hostile even for me.

My blog has moved to Aquila ka Hecate, here.
Update: Ooops, seems I spoke too soon.
Bloody WordPress has suspended my blog, for violating their T & C.

I have contacted them, but I'm seriously wondering if I want to use such a glitchy service now.