Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Regions of the Homewind (Part 2)

(Part 1 is at the previous post.)

Report recorded by Druid.

The sun has risen and set many times since my last report. My thanks for your communication.

I searched for some sign indicating in which direction Cheroka had been moved, but found none. As darkness was falling I saw a column of smoke rising in the distance, and climbed towards it. As I drew nearer I heard sounds. Silence had surrounded us for so long that even the smallest sound now surprises me.

I imagined human voices. A bird flew over my head, soon, a second one. As I reached a point close to the smoke, the rocks fell away to a deep narrow ravine with a stream of water flowing through it. To my amazement I saw a small group of people sitting on the grassy bank of the stream, around a fire. High above them, with no route into the rocky ravine, I was unable to make contact. These people may have tried to help Cheroka I resolved to find a way to reach them as soon as light returned.

After searching for a route into the ravine during many periods of light, my supply of nourishment and liquid diminished rapidly. Finally, almost exhausted, I came upon a hidden pathway leading downward, winding and twisting to the floor of the ravine. Darkness was falling as I approached the settlement. A group of three people stood close to a fire. I called out to them. The two men and a woman looked frightened.

"I am Druid of Alterion, we are of the same family, you and I".

The group stared, backing away. I held out my hands to them.

"What you want?" One of the men spoke at last, his voice deep and rough, but he was using my own language.

"I am looking for my friend. She fell, on the mountainside."

The woman approached me, long hair flowing over her shoulders, her body displaying exaggerated curves, her dark eyes flashed in the glow from the fire. She looked quite unlike Alterian women.

"We see her. She here."

The woman beckoned and led me to a group of roughly made dwellings. She pushed open the door of one of them. A crude lamp gave enough light for me to see Cheroka lying in a corner, sleeping. Leaning down, I touched her forehead. She woke immediately, jumped to her feet to greet me. Injuries on her legs and arms appeared almost healed. These people had cared for her well. The woman smiled, and returned to her companions.

Cheroka will continue, telling what she learned from these people.

Peace be with you,

Report recorded by Cheroka

After falling on the mountain I was in great pain. When Druid left me I lost consciousness. When I recovered I found myself in a different place, with three people watching over me, tending to wounds on my legs and arms. I was shocked, but not afraid, for they were gentle and kind. Their voices sounded harsh to my ears, but I understood most of the words they used.

I spoke to them, thanking them for their care. This seemed to frighten them. They asked where I came from. My torn space suit must have appeared very strange to them. I tried to explain that I had travelled, with a friend, from a distant star to find the people of our ancestors. They did not understand.

I asked if more people live nearby. The female told me that there are a few others in the mountains. She knows of them, but has not met them. She told me that some have children, and have moved on to live in a different group, where some elders had recently died.

These people have lived on the mountain all their lives, as did their parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and beyond. What little knowledge they have of their past and why their people came to live in this place, comes from simple stories passed from one generation to the next.

They told me this:
Hundreds of Earth years ago their world suffered many bad events: an explosion which caused the whole planet to shake, the waters to rise up and flood the land, a black cloud covered the sky and for a long time there was no light from the Sun. Most people died then, but the ancestors of these people found shelter underground - they describe it now as “a magic place”, where much food, water and medicines were stored. When forced to emerge from the shelter after many years, to look for water and more food, they climbed higher into the mountains and discovered streams and vegetation. The sky had cleared, birds had returned. They have never dared to explore lower reaches of the mountain again, and their descendants have not done so.

These people have been taught that the land at the foot of the mountain is dark and dangerous. They have learned how to survive in their surroundings, building rough dwellings, eating seeds, nuts, roots and leaves. They catch fish from the streams or sometimes birds or small creatures. They cook and eat these, but only at certain times. They respect a strict rule that whenever a creature is killed for food, every part of it must be put to use. They have the greatest respect for living things. Life here is rare and precious. Their clothing is rough, fashioned from material made from dried handwoven roots and parts of plants and trees, mixed with small skins, and pieces of what I believe to be scraps from ancient clothing of their ancestors, or materials from the ”magic place”. They consider these pieces of material to be their most valuable possessions.

I have tried to find more about the “magic place”, but know only that it is located lower down the mountain. I sense that it is important that we search for it.

Peace be with you,

Report recorded by Cheroka

The three Earth people gave Druid and I food and shelter for two more nights (periods of darkness). Their names are Mara (the female), Mos and Ari. Their name for this mountain is "Cristo", they say that it is an old name, spoken by their great-grandparents.

We left, promising to return with news, should we discover their "magic place".

Mara gave us food for our travels, packed inside a bundle of dried leaves. To us, at first, their ways appeared rough and dirty. We are learning now that nothing is unclean, we have found it necessary to adjust our attitudes. Their food is nourishing and tastes pleasant. These people know nothing of sterilisation or refrigeration, yet they survive, and so shall we.

After following the hidden pathway from the ravine, led by intuition, we proceeded downward towards the other side of the mountain. Trees were taller there, more dense, sheltering a variety of bird-life. We looked for a pathway, or a pattern of younger trees which might give a clue to the secret location. From the story Mara told, we imagined the "magic place" could have been some kind of shelter built by those in authority, at a time before the worst of Earth's disasters. A shelter stocked with many essentials for the use of Earth's leaders, who later may have been unable to reach it - or who may have been among the group of original survivors.

Just before darkness fell we saw below us a number of huge rocks forming an almost straight line. These seemed to have been deliberately placed, possibly as markers.

Quickening our pace as much as we dared, we reached what appeared to be the mouth of a wide cave in the mountainside. Once inside the cave it became clear that the back wall was not of rock, but some kind of metallic material. We had portable lights which shone along the wall illuminating a series of handles and buttons. After much experiment and manipulation slight movement was felt, then after a short pause, a section of the metallic wall lifted. We walked inside.

Movement had activated energy - the space behind the metallic wall was now flooded with light. A broad spiral ramp led downward, we followed it and emerged into an open area, surrounded by many metal doors, most of which opened to empty spaces on two levels, where perhaps, long ago, as many as 200 people could have made temporary homes.

Behind one larger door was a room filled with what we recognised as ancient communications equipment. Behind another, a dark stairway led downward. Using portable lights we made our way down hundreds of steps to arrive in a small chamber containing only a metal cube which stood at eye-level height. A clear window on its side was the only possible entry point. An implement embedded in the metal seemed to be of significance. We detached it and placed it on the clear panel, which caused the panel to open, revealing a metal bar. As Druid pulled the bar towards us the front of the cube opened with a soft buzzing sound. The contents, stored untouched for so long, appeared to be in good condition. Here we shall find many answers.

Report recorded by Druid

The contents of the cabinet include images, maps, documents, letters, and what the ancients called "books". There is also an implement which, if I have understood the markings on its cover, can be activated by light from the sun.

Our first important discovery is that we have landed in a country which was known as North America. These mountains were known as the Sangue de Christo Range in an area known as Colorado. These names are strange to us and convey little. There are maps and documents here showing rapid change in shape of the lands of Earth over a period of fifty Earth years. Many lands became submerged in water, others became uninhabitable because of lack of water. Volcanic activity caused much disruption.

We surmise that these items were brought here, as a place of safety, just before final devastating events occurred on Earth. There is a letter dated December 2045, the writer tells of a violent struggle between the peoples of different areas of Earth, brought about by populations fleeing from continued natural disasters. The writer feared for the planet and its peoples. Threats of enormous force were being made by leaders of lands in conflict. It is recorded that there will be an opportunity for some people to join a mission into space, to attempt to find another habitable planet where they might safely settle. He adds that this carries great risk. Technology for travel into deep space was still in experimental stage. At the time of writing, few were willing to risk such travel, even in the face of Earth's devastation.

A beautiful book filled with images of the peoples of Earth drew our attention. Their appearance varied greatly one to another, unlike the Alterian population. Alterians must surely be a blending of these different peoples, for our skin is lighter than the darkest shown here, but darker than the lightest. Our features reflect many of the traits we see in these images. The females, however, have a distinctly curved outline, quite different from the delicate outline of Alterian females.

Cheroka gasped as she gazed at an image showing a group of men and women wearing ornate robes, decorated with feathers and beads. She read the description. "Cherokee".

"Sounds like my name!"

We went on to read that those people were some of the original inhabitants of this land, centuries before the troubles which caused devastation.

We looked further into the book, my own heart beat faster as I saw among images of ancient peoples of Earth, an illustration of a bearded man wearing long robes, under which was the description " A Druid". Also from Earth's distant past, the book tells us that Druids once lived in an area of the planet known as "Europe."

Exhausted from our excitement, experiencing emotions so alien to us, we lay on the floor of the chamber and slept.

Report recorded by Cheroka

On waking, we continued investigating the newly discovered treasures. Images of Earth's countries and cities, books describing man's history and achievements. Books known as Holy Books, "The Bible", and "Koran" among them.

All of human life on Earth in a single container! We wondered how so much could have become so little, and felt great sadness.

We retained only two maps, and the implement activated by sunlight, then replaced all other items in the container, to await a later visit.

The sun was high in the sky as we emerged from the cave. We decided to continue exploring this side of the mountain before darkness fell. Several small creatures crossed our path as we made our way through the rocks and trees.

We found no other signs of life until, just before the sun descended. A man and a child stood on a rock above us, facing the opposite direction Druid called out to them. The man didn't move, the child pulled at his arm and caused him to turn and see us. They started to hurry away. I called out, asking them to wait, they seemed less afraid of my voice, stopped, and stood watching as we tried to reach them.

"We are friends. We have travelled far to find you", I said as we approached.
"You from dark place down mountain?"
"We have travelled much further than that. There is no need to fear us. We would like to meet your people."

They looked at our clothing, hair and general appearance.

"You strange", the child said, and laughed.
"Yes, we are!"
"Come, We take you to home, see people."

We followed them as the sky grew dark. Soon the flickering of a fire was seen a short way ahead.

A group of rough dwellings stood in a circle by a stream of rapidly flowing water. Ten people sat on the ground eating food cooked over the fire.

"Strange people came", the child called out. The group turned to look.

"Welcome!" A tall young man jumped to his feet, ran towards us. He was beautiful. His rough apparel could not hide the beauty of his face and body.

"I am Roul, son of our elder Feder, who died at the last Moon. I am leader now."

Druid held out both hands to Roul who understood this gesture and mirrored it. I held out my own hands, Roul ignored them but advanced to embrace me, which startled me so much that I fell over a piece of rough ground, to my knees.

"Oh! I will help you", Roul lifted me to my feet, my body felt energised by his close presence. I felt my heartbeat quicken.

Roul and his companions treated us kindly, provided us with food, water and shelter. We were able to converse easily with Roul, who passed on to us much of the information he had learned from parents and grandparents. His family have led the survivors on these mountains from the time they emerged from the "magic place". We suspect that many generations earlier, one of Roul's distant ancestors could have been leader of the great country which existed here before the devastations.

The original survivors from "the magic place" apparently scattered, forming separate settlements within this great range of mountains. Roul told us that the scattered communities come together on two occasions: on the day when the sun remains longest in the sky, and on the day when it lights the Earth for the shortest period. At these times the communities celebrate together. It is common for groups to exchange members, for a variety of reasons: to supplement or balance population levels, and to ensure that the population will not become interbred. Many children die either at birth or soon after. Life-span of an adult here is short. We understand that maintaining even the present level of population is difficult. We were shocked to learn of the primitive method of birth women of Earth must endure, a very different experience from bringing forth new life on Alterion.

From Rethiko of The First City via Starcast

My pilgrims:

I am relieved to know that Cheroka is safe and well. Your latest reports are of great importance. Your news comes as a surprise. I sense a need to discuss a somewhat delicate matter.

Cheroka made mention that the birth process on Alterion is not the same as that you might encounter on Earth. This is an important difference.

As I have explained in earlier communications, and as you are well aware, life on Alterion is tranquil, devoid of fear, hatred, violence .... and one other emotion. In eradicating strong negative emotion from life on the new planet, a side effect occurred. Passion, which can be both positive and negative, also gradually subsided and became buried deep in our psyches. Sexual urges between male and female faded over several generations, until it became necessary to procreate life differently, in order to maintain the level of our population.

The system of gathering eggs and sperm necessary for reproduction from all Alterians of a certain age group, has been used for at least ten generations. New generations are grown in our laboratories, and reared by designated families, who give our new children unconditional love, attend to their needs and education until fully grown. There is no further need for the female to give birth physically - in fact it might now be impossible.

Passion, and the type of love which was not always unconditional, has faded gradually from our way of life here. I believe that Cheroka's feelings towards Roul may be an echo of passion, hidden, but still residing deep within her.

I would advise caution. Your bodies may have evolved much further, and differently from those of your Earthly companions. Bear this in mind. Physical connection with one whose body has not evolved in the same way might be dangerous to your well-being, I cannot be certain, of course. Your situation is new to me also. I am using intuition, and as much insight as my long experience will provide. You must do the same. Your psychic training will assist you.

Go with safety and caution my pilgrims
Peace be with you both.

To be continued

Monday, April 24, 2017

Profiling Writing ~ Regions of the Homewind (Part 1)

Returning to last week's series of posts reflecting the list of my interests - to be found in Blogger's profile, there's one last topic to represent: writing. What follows today, and for the next day or two has never appeared on Learning Curve on the Ecliptic before, though it has been available on an old Blogger blog of mine. I decided to make a little more use of my 2005 writing effort by posting it here, in several episodes. I make no claims for its quality - simply that it was imagined and written, originally on my WordPad, in the days before Learning Curve on the Ecliptic wandered into the curve leading to Blogland.

This was my first, and only, attempt to write a little science fiction, it's from around 12 years ago. It isn't a short(ish) story in the usual format, but is to be read as a series of communications which, taken together, tell a story. An illustration or two might be added here and there. It'll be posted in 2 or 3 slices, probably on alternate days.


"I am going, O Nokomis,
On a long and distant journey,
To the portals of the Sunset.
To the regions of the home-wind"

(From Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha")

Greetings to all who read here. I am Rethiko, Chief Recorder of The First City of Planet Alterion, in the year 800 EA.

The following communications, from two of my former assistants in the Great Hall of Records, have been permanently enrolled within the Central Data Bank of Alterion. Any who read these, in present or future times, will gain important insights which may illuminate a future pathway.

Peace be with you.
Rethiko of The First City.

To: Chief Recorder Rethiko,
It is with the greatest respect, and some regret, that we must inform you of our departure. Our research within the Great Hall of Records, under your tuition, has taught us much. Unable to resist the temptation, in our free time we continued with searches of our own, encompassing materials stored well beyond our designated limits.

We discovered, at last, what we have always instinctively known was waiting to be found. Hidden deep within the data banks was evidence of the origins of our ancestors. This knowledge has been protected and kept a secret from the people of Alterion by order of the Great Chiefs. You may be privy to their reasons.

We now feel a strong urge to act upon what we have discovered. To this end we have enlisted the help of an old friend who studied with us in our youth. Now an Astronaut of chartered craft, he will provide transport for part of the vast distance we must travel, he will also make available the means for us to complete the second part of the journey independently.

Regular reports of our experiences will be communicated to you via Starcast. We hope that you can forgive any wrongdoing on our part, and that you will try to understand what you must surely look upon as nothing but a reckless adventure.

Farewell Chief Recorder. Peace be with you.

First Report

This is transmitted from "Onedin Star", a spacecraft normally used to convey essential materials to Alterion from other planets in the System Ra. On this occasion it travels to a more distant galaxy to collect consignments of rare minerals

We approach the Great Space Spiral, main link from System Ra into outer Cosmic space, once this has been negotiated the Astronaut will navigate through a system of lesser spirals to bring us near to the first point of touch-down.

Cheroka and I both experience feelings of strangeness. We realise that for the first time in our lives we shall be independent. Away from the protective and supportive systems of Alterion, many new and challenging possibilities beckon.

Accommodation inside the spaceship is cramped, the space suits we must wear felt restrictive at first, for these suits are quite unlike our light robes.

Within the Great Space Spiral we experienced brief loss of consciousness, as if falling into a deep dreamless sleep. Wonderful vistas now appear from the observation deck.

The Astronaut warns us to adjust the instruments in our suits and relax our bodies as the spacecraft enters outer Cosmos.

Peace be with you.

Second Report

Now in deep space, the sight before us becomes ever more amazing. Such beauty and vastness, a limitless expanse of stars which shine more brightly than we have ever seen.

We are using the long journey time to study maps and scripts copied from the Great Hall of Records. The planet on which our spacecraft will first land was known in ancient times as "Mars". There we must disembark and detach a lesser craft from the main spaceship. Druid and I will then continue our journey in the small vessel, using programmed instructions, and an Autonaut to assist navigation to our final destination.

Mars is part of a group of planets which circle a star anciently called "The Sun". This group was known as the Solar System, in a galaxy known as "The Milky Way". According to records there was once a thriving mining community on Mars, but because of difficulties connected with the Martian atmosphere, the planet was abandoned.

Counting the passage of time in space is difficult. Alterion time is no longer useful. We have settled upon a method of numbering our periods of sleep. Our bodies are biologically programmed to take regular rest, this is the only reliable method of time-counting we have available to us.

Peace be with you.

Third Report.

After many periods of sleep we are now within sight of Mars, the planet seems shrouded in a dull red glow as we approach. Thoughts of our continued journey into the unknown make us nervous, but excited. Emotions alien to us on Alterion are starting now to surface. Throughout our lives, as you are aware, we have been taught to suppress strong emotion, to remain calm, retain peace within ourselves. Recently we have struggled to understand why these teachings are given such importance on our planet.

Peace be with you,

Rethiko of Alterion to Druid and Cheroka - Responding via Starcast.

Your reports have reached me in Alterion's Great Hall of Records. It is a privilege to share the experiences of your journey. I feel it incumbent upon me to offer some explanations, in light of your most recent report.

The Covenant of Peace and Tranquility was drawn up in the year 01 EA. As you may have learned through diligent research, the Covenant stood as a promise, and a tribute to the strength and courage of the people of a dying planet. A planet left desolate by wars, the after effects of which intensified a wave of natural upheavals which were already occurring. Greed, hatred and the mishandling of the planet's resources were major factors contributing to successive catastrophic events. Greed, hatred and catastrophe are words alien to you, and the people of Alterion. I trust you may never know or experience their full meaning.

The First Great Chiefs were themselves refugees from the dying planet known as Earth. They had suffered equally, or perhaps even more, than the people they helped to escape. Vows made, when a new home for their people was established, reflected an absolute determination that violence between any rival factions must never be allowed to occur again. The Chiefs made solemn vows to protect the new planet home, to educate their people in ways of peace. Meditation, calmness, pureness of thought, and a gradual elimination of strong or violent emotion is the thread which has run through life on Alterion. Many generations have lived peaceful, healthy and happy lives. Issues of conflict, on the few occasions they have arisen, have been taken to The Great Chiefs of Arbitration. Their decisions are never questioned, they are men and women of wisdom, deep insight and psychic powers.

In your present circumstances it becomes necessary for me to break my rule of silence on these matters, to make clear the reasons behind our Covenant of Peace and Tranquility. Neither you nor I know what might await you at your destination. The information I have given may be of help.

And now I take leave of my pilgrims. Go forward in peace and safety.

Rethiko of Alterion.

Fourth Report - recorded by Cheroka

We thank you for your kindness Rethiko. Your words have brought even more certainty that our pilgrimage is essential. What awaits us on planet Earth is unknown. We must summon some of the courage of our ancestors. When first they set foot upon Alterion. What awaited them was also unknown. Their bloodline flows through us, courage is awaiting our call.

The "Onedin Star" has reached the surface of planet Mars. Wearing pressurised helmets we disembarked. Stepping onto another planet for the first time, we felt invigorated. Our spacecraft landed on a plain strewn with large rocks. In the distance stand some ruined constructions which must be remains of the mines and laboratories of which we have read. Scientists from Earth tried to adjust the atmosphere here, but efforts were only temporarily successful.

The smaller spacecraft, in which we are to continue our journey alone, has been detached and prepared. After one sleep period the main spacecraft departed. We have checked equipment stowed on our small vessel. We have portable lights, clothing for a variety of climates, implements of sedation to use should we need to calm any violent creatures, also a selection of medicines.

We shall now continue to our final destination: planet Earth.

Peace be with you,

Fifth Report - recorded by Druid

We have now been travelling towards planet Earth for 10 sleep periods.

This spacecraft, though small in size, is extremely powerful, and has been programmed to find the most rapid route to our destination.

Today, for the first time, a tiny spot appeared on the navigation screen, the instruments tell us that this is planet Earth! We estimate that 30 to 40 more sleep periods will bring us close enough to see the planet clearly.

We meditate to access peace and patience. Our Alterian training helps, but it becomes ever more difficult to remain unmoved at the thought of what lies before us.

30 more periods of sleep have passed. Planet Earth can now be seen clearly in the observation bay. A wondrous sight! She is blue - a beautiful, intense blue, much bluer than the Alterian sky. Powerful ancestral memories seem to speak to us as we gaze upon our destination.

Few outlines of land are now visible, we have, so far, been unable to relate them to our maps. We fear that many things will have changed since these maps were produced. Copies of astronomical charts will be our main guide in calculating direction on Earth's surface.

Peace be with you,

Sixth Report - recorded by Cheroka

On waking we discovered that our spacecraft had touched down while we slept.

We disembarked slowly, wearing pressurised helmets to check the atmosphere. Instruments soon indicated that the air of Earth is clean and suitable for our systems. It was a moment of absolute joy to remove our helmets and take in first breaths of the air of planet Earth, the true homeland of our people. Sweet, clear as the crystals we find in the hills of Alterion. Sharp as the beak of an Alterian Wildjay. Cool as water from the springs of Mount Alteria.

The spacecraft has come to rest in an area of flat ground. There are hills and mountains in the far distance. In the near distance, some mounds of stones. Green vegetation lies tangled all around. There is silence. The sky is deep blue, and the star they called The Sun shines down, just as Ra shines down on Alterion. We feel the heat through our space suits and long to discard them.

Sitting on the ground, feeling the warmth rise through our bodies, we stripped off the space suits and wear only loose, short robes.

Among some piles of stones lying just beyond our craft, we saw evidence of ornamental carving, decoration which must have been made by people of Earth, so long ago. We placed our hands on the stones, allowing vibrations from the minerals to enter our bodies. It is possible that these stones once formed parts of buildings. Perhaps a great city once stood here. These were the kinds of intuitive signals we received. Vibrations are strong on planet Earth, and in tune with our own, giving us confidence for what lies ahead.

Peace be with you,

Seventh Report - recorded by Druid

Near to the craft, we watched the Sun disappear below the horizon. As the sky grew dark, more quickly than on Alterion, stars and planets appeared. The night sky is very beautiful! There is one Moon, somewhat larger than Alterion's two. It shines down very brightly, almost a complete disc. Studying star charts, we have identified what the ancients called "The North Star" or "Polaris". For a temporary method of estimating direction, we noted where the Sun fell beneath the horizon.

Cheroka and I enjoy heightened mental communication here. We know from our studies that few people in ancient times used this ability. The leader of our First Great Chiefs was one of the few. We were fortunate that she encouraged those she led to learn, use, and teach these precious skills to young successors.

The air grows cold quickly as darkness falls. When the Sun rises again we shall note its position, then adjust the craft's controls so that we may hover just above Earth's surface, and begin exploring.

Peace be with you,

Eighth Report - recorded by Cheroka

As the Sun appeared we completed modifications to our craft and began to travel towards the mountains. The Sun was high overhead by the time we approached our destination.

The ground had become softer, less dry, with a regular covering of green vegetation. Small trees, and coloured flowers lined the edges of a narrow stream of crystal clear liquid, which looks like water. We stopped the craft to examine it. The liquid is, indeed, water. Results obtained after testing left us in no doubt. We took our first taste of Earth's water: delicious!

Further into the foothills, small insects began appearing on the navigation screen, more evidence of life here. Druid sped the craft along, higher, enabling us to cover more distance before the Sun once again descended.

As darkness fell we arrived at the edge of the highest mountains. When light returns we shall continue exploring on foot. The temperature has dropped, space suits will be needed, for warmth and protection.

Further evidence of life has appeared in the damp ground on the mountain-side, imprints which may be footprints of a small creature.

In a clearing, surrounded by enormous rocks and tall trees, we saw the ruins of what looks like a roughly-built shelter. There are carvings on nearby rocks. We shall inspect more closely when light returns.

Peace be with you,

Ninth Report.

The clear fresh air and physical exercise have affected our systems. We slept so long that the Sun was already high when we returned to the mountainside to inspect the carvings.

Crudely carved inscriptions appear to be names. There is also a recurring symbol, a vertical pillar with a horizontal pillar across it; we remember that this sign was known as a "cross", and related to what some peoples of Earth called "religion". This was a concept we found incomprehensible during our researches. Perhaps this place marks a location where people died, or were laid to rest in the ground. It was, perhaps, intended as a memorial.

Higher on the mountainside the air became colder. We were amazed to see in the distance, and higher still, what appeared to be smoke. Could it be possible that humans have survived here, and still live in these mountains? A more likely explanation, we thought, was that the hot sun had caused some dried vegetation to blaze.

Tenth Report

Cheroka has fallen onto sharp rocks on the mountainside. Her legs and arms are badly torn. I left her where she lay in order to return to the craft to collect medicines. When I returned Cheroka was no longer where I had left her. She could not have walked unaided. I fear she may have been harmed. I shall search the surrounding area. My heart begins to pump vigorously - this is what I always imagined that fear would feel.

Peace be with you. I hope to return with better news soon.


Rethiko of Alterion responding to Druid via Starcast

Your latest report concerns me greatly. Please feel reassured that if Cheroka has been moved, then it would seem that something, or someone was trying to help her, not harm her. Bear that thought in mind, my pilgrim, as you search.

You mentioned, in an earlier report, the Earthly concept of religion. I will say little now, as I know that your mind must be preoccupied.

For thousands of years, before the migration, most peoples of Earth held belief in a "creator" known by a variety of names and worshipped or respected in various ways in different areas of the planet. Each religion used a framework of rules by which its followers were advised to live. Most retained ancient texts written by their founders.

We have learned from research that religions evolved over long periods of Earth time. They gradually moved away from their original purpose, of promoting peace, harmony, and a healthy way of life. Teachings of two widely followed religions strayed so far from their origins that followers began to destroy each other. This undoubtedly was a factor instrumental in bringing an end to Earth's period of civilisation and, as far as we know, life on planet Earth.

On planet Alterion, as you know, we believe that only life itself is sacred, that it arises from an interconnected universe, of which we all form a part. We are all creators. Peace has enfolded our planet for 800 Alterian years. We flourish, we have created our way of life from a wilderness.

These are matters to keep in memory should you find planet Earth proves still to be populated, however sparsely. The descendants of any who survived terrible destructive events might retain ancestral memories. It is well that you stay aware of this.

Proceed in peace and safety.
Rethiko of the First City.

To be continued.....

For Music Monday - a musical interlude, and a song of the right flavour to match the story being told: a great bluegrass version by Iron Horse of Elton's Rocket Man

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday & Sundries

There's still one topic left to be represented in this week's "profiling" series, it'll be dealt with after the weekend, though a couple of these sundry items do touch on it.

From this fairly recent Guardian piece on that dratted Oxford comma:

Never let it be said that punctuation doesn’t matter.

In Maine, the much-disputed Oxford comma has helped a group of dairy drivers in a dispute with a company about overtime pay. [Detail on this at the link].

The Oxford comma is used before the words “and” or “or” in a list of three or more things. Also known as the serial comma, its aficionados say it clarifies sentences in which things are listed.

As Grammarly notes, the sentences “I love my parents, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty” and “I love my parents, Lady Gaga, and Humpty Dumpty” are a little different. Without a comma, it looks like the parents in question are, in fact, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty.

The Oxford comma ignites considerable passion among its proponents and opponents. In 2011, when it was wrongly reported that the Oxford comma was being dropped by the University of Oxford style guide, there was uproar.

“Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?” opens one Vampire Weekend song.

The Guardian style guide has the following to say about Oxford commas:

a comma before the final “and” in lists: straightforward ones (he ate ham, eggs and chips) do not need one, but sometimes it can help the reader (he ate cereal, kippers, bacon, eggs, toast and marmalade, and tea).

Sometimes it is essential: compare

I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis, and JK Rowling


I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis and JK Rowling

While adding tags I noted that another aspect of the comma was mentioned in a past collection of bits and pieces:

Question: "Will we use commas in the future?" Article by Matthew J.X. Malady at Slate.

Answer: One would hope so, unless civilisation crumbles to the point where no human is capable of writing, reading and constructing an intelligible sentence.

From New Yorker article How to Stay Sane as a Cartoonist in Trumpland
By David Sipress:

Two pieces of wisdom from Henry David Thoreau:

Men say they know many things
But lo!they have taken wings, -
The arts and sciences,
And a thousand appliances;
The wind that blows
Is all that any body knows.

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Profiling the Arty Farty

Still on this week's theme, mentioned in Monday's post:
I'd not looked at my own "profile" on this blog for years. In 2006, when I opened Learning Curve on the Ecliptic, I listed my interests as: "astrology, psychic phenomena, music, politics, art, writing". This week, just for a change from random scribbling, I'm re-airing, at a rate of one topic per day, a past post - one that I feel remains relevant.

Today's topic, because it's Arty Farty Friday, has to be: art. So many artists have been investigated on Fridays, over the years, it's hard to choose just one. How about this somewhat ragged, forgotten post from way back in April, 2007?

Surrealism, Abstract Art and Astrology

Styles of art have always intrigued me, especially surrealism and abstract art, which tend to overlap. These are expressions of the unconscious mind, concepts, emotions and ideas. Some artists who embraced these styles eschewed representational art entirely, in favour of symbolism form and colour, while others retained almost photographic depiction of their subject, but set it in surreal situations.

I wondered whether any indication towards one or other of these styles might be found in the natal charts of some well known artists. Using the "stand well back" approach I concentrated on two generational planets, Uranus and Neptune, along with Saturn. Reason: Saturn represents the establishment, the status quo, and probably representational art - realism. Uranus represents the new, the avant garde, the inventive. Neptune is involved with the dreamy and imaginative. Although Uranus and Neptune are generational, I think that the way Saturn interacts with them might be significant here, in the way the artists gravitated towards two different styles of expression.

Next to each birth date below I've listed the sign positions of Uranus, Neptune and Saturn, in that order. (Harmonious and inharmonious aspects are within reasonable orb/limits.)

Salvador Dali used strange dream-like images in his pictures , yet the figures and objects he used were mainly recognisable and intricately drawn. Likewise in the case of Rene Magritte and Escher.

Dali -11 May 1904 Figueras, Spain. (Sag/Can/Aqua) - Uranus and Saturn in harmony, Neptune not.

Magritte (left) - 21 Nov. 1898, Lessines, Belgium. (Sag/Gem/Sag) - All in harmony.

Escher 18 June 1898, Leeuwarden, Netherlands. (Sag/Gem/Sag)- All in harmony.

Dali, Magritte and Escher are what I'd call "representational surrealists", depicting real people, creatures or objects in surreal situations. In their charts Saturn and Uranus are in harmony, perhaps giving these artists the wish, and the ability to express ideas in new ways, but without fully abandoning the traditional.

Artists such as Klee, Miro, and Mondrian used shapes, symbols, balance and colour to convey their message.

Paul Klee 18 Dec. 1879, Munchenbuchsee, Switzerland. (Virgo/Taurus/Aries) Uranus out of tune with Saturn.

Mondrian 7 March 1872, Amersfoort, Netherlands. (Can/Aries/Cap) Uranus opposes Saturn.

Miro 20 April 1893, Barcelona, Spain. (Scorpio/Gem/Lib) Uranus out of tune with Saturn

Klee, Miro and Mondrian painted in symbols, with forms and colour to get their message across - no hint of realism at all. In the natal charts of these artists Uranus and Saturn are not in harmony. The artists have moved right away from the traditional to new means of expression. There is no merging of old and new.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Profiling Psychic Phenomena

Continuing this week's theme, as mentioned in Monday's post: I'd not looked at my own "profile" on this blog for years. In 2006, when I opened Learning Curve on the Ecliptic, I listed my interests as: "astrology, psychic phenomena, music, politics, art, writing". This week, just for a change from random scribbling, I'm re-airing, at a rate of one topic per day, a past post - one that I feel remains relevant.

Today's topic: psychic phenomena, in particular, telepathy. A post from 2012.

Telepathy ~ Mary Craig Sinclair ~ Mental Radio

On our recent trip, in a junky antique store, I found a copy of one of the volumes from an old Time Life set: Mysteries of the Unknown - the volume on Psychic Powers. I couldn't resist it, marked up at a couple of dollars.

In chapter one, Beyond the Five Senses there's a section on Mary Craig Sinclair, second wife of novelist, muckraker and socialist Upton Sinclair.

Mary Craig believed she had telepathic powers, and was of the opinion that such powers could also be cultivated by others. She recommended a method of training involving intense concentration allied with relaxation. Upton Sinclair's book Mental Radio documents experiments in telepathy he carried out with his wife and presents illustrations of a few of the many sketches she had attempted to telepathically read from his mind. The Time Life volume I have contains 5 examples of those illustrations. Upton Sinclair's original sketches along with his wife's telepathically received versions are shown. The couple claimed, over time, a success rate far beyond what might have been expected by chance.

I do not wish to infringe copyright. A note at the end of the volume states that "brief passages may be quoted for reviews". I will hope that using a scan of two of the 5 sets of sketches can be classed as a quotation for review, explanation, discussion under the Fair Use guidelines.

It'd be interesting to look at Mary Craig Sinclair's natal chart. She was born on 12 February 1882 in Greenwood, Mississippi. No time of birth is available so a 12 noon chart must suffice. Rising sign will not be as shown, nor will degree of Moon, though Moon would have been in Sagittarius.

Sun and Venus in Aquarius, sign of mental acuity, with communications planet Mercury next-door in intuitive Pisces. As I wrote in a post about Sun Aquarius astrologers recently, when Aquarius planets are "assisted" by planet(s) in a Water sign, the mental acuity might take a turn towards astrology; equally, I guess, to other mysterious subjects such as telepathy.

Mary Craig's Mercury is in helpful sextile aspect to down-to-Earth Saturn, and Neptune (ruler of Pisces) in Earthy Taurus. Uranus in Virgo makes an harmonious trine aspect to Jupiter in Taurus. There's quite a strong Earthy feel to the chart, which could indicate that her mental acuity and intuition from Pisces Mercury is being "Earthed" - rather than remaining uninvestigated, unaddressed. Observers can consider, and possibly attempt to emulate Mary Craig's telepathic ability. She was keen to share information on how this might be done - again trying to "bring it down to Earth".

Upton Sinclair's chart, by the way, can be viewed at Astrodatabank HERE. He had a concentration of planets (Sun/Mercury/Venus/Mars/Uranus) in Virgo the sign ruled by Mercury the communications planet. His North node of Moon is in Aquarius.

Comments from Feb. 2012
JD said...Ah, but science has come a long way since then: [updated link].

Twilight - JD ~~~ Good video trailer! Some scientific minds have opened wider since the Sinclairs' experiments, that's true enough. I like the way one of the contributors used the term "supernormal" - it's a much better description than "supernatural".

Anonymous (Gian Paul) said...Super or extra-normal perceptions exist, experience them sometimes myself. Their significance or use? Subjectively (that's most I can say) such occurrences are a wink that other dimensions are, inducing from when and how they happen to me, more or less permanently "at work". Who is not permanently aware of it are we. And that appears meant to be.

Twilight said...Gian Paul ~~I think the significance of these supernormal experiences is that they are an accidental, or involuntary, & hint that "there's more". I suppose that we, as a race, are not yet ready to discover exactly what, and how extensive, the "more" is. We need to grow up, grow wiser, and use what we already know more usefully first.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Profiling Politics

Continuing this week's theme, as mentioned in Monday's post: I'd not looked at my own "profile" on this blog for years. In 2006, when I opened Learning Curve on the Ecliptic, I listed my interests as: "astrology, psychic phenomena, music, politics, art, writing". This week, just for a change from random scribbling, I'm re-airing, at a rate of one topic per day, a past post - one that I feel remains relevant.

Today's topic: politics. A post from 2010 - comments included.

Cameth the hour ~ Eugene V. Debs

"Cometh the hour, cometh the man" - that concept appeals to me. I think it originated, though not in those exact words, in Sir Walter Scott's novel Guy Mannering. There's a wee flavour of astrology about it. It has been known to work too, not always, but on many occasions. It's as though a communal need gathers critical mass and draws to it the right man/woman to deal with a serious or dangerous situation.

In the USA one such guy, in my not so humble opinion, was Eugene Debs. “A dynamic and visionary leader of the 19th century railroad workers; preeminent spokesman for the Socialist labor tradition; beloved by those whose lives he touched.” He came along when things in the USA were getting badly out of balance with the increase in industrialisation. Workers were being exploited, poverty was rife, inequality reigned. Debs didn't make it to the presidency, in spite of running in 1900, 1904, 1908 1912 and 1920 as Socialist Party candidate.His last campaign had to be conducted from behind prison bars, while serving a 10 year sentence for opposing America's entrance into World War I and denouncing the Espionage Act (designed to silence all anti-war sentiment). He was released under under a general amnesty on Christmas Day 1921 by Warren G. Harding.

Eugene Debs' noble ideals were noted and absorbed; some things improved then, and later, because of his efforts.

The late Howard Zinn's 1999 article, Eugene V. Debs and the Idea of Socialism is a good read, I shall take the liberty of using an extract from it here.
Debs was what every socialist or anarchist or radical should be: fierce in his convictions, kind and compassionate in his personal relations. ........................
In the era of Debs, the first seventeen years of the twentieth century-until war created an opportunity to crush the movement-millions of Americans declared their adherence to the principles of socialism. Those were years of bitter labor struggles, the great walkouts of women garment workers in New York, the victorious multi-ethnic strike of textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the unbelievable courage of coal miners in Colorado, defying the power and wealth of the Rockefellers. The I.W.W. was born-revolutionary, militant, demanding "one big union" for everyone, skilled and unskilled, black and white, men and women, native-born and foreign-born.

The following paragraph I found surprising, particularly the part about our state, Oklahoma. Things have changed beyond recognition here. News came yesterday of a plan by the Oklahoma Tea Party to raise a "constitutional" armed militia here to oppose the Federal government: see here:

More than a million people read Appeal to Reason and other socialist newspapers. In proportion to population, it would be as if today more than three million Americans read a socialist press. The party had 100,000 members, and 1,200 office-holders in 340 municipalities. Socialism was especially strong in the Southwest, among tenant farmers, railroad workers, coal miners, lumberjacks. Oklahoma had 12,000 dues-paying members in 1914 and more than 100 socialists in local offices.

And the following states exactly my own view (thank you Mr. Zinn, RIP)

The point of recalling all this is to remind us of the powerful appeal of the socialist idea to people alienated from the political system and aware of the growing stark disparities in income and wealth-as so many Americans are today. The word itself-"socialism"-may still carry the distortions of recent experience in bad places usurping the name. But anyone who goes around the country, or reads carefully the public opinion surveys over the past decade, can see that huge numbers of Americans agree on what should be the fundamental elements of a decent society: guaranteed food, housing, medical care for everyone; bread and butter as better guarantees of "national security" than guns and bombs; democratic control of corporate power; equal rights for all races, genders, and sexual orientations; a recognition of the rights of immigrants as the unrecognized counterparts of our parents and grandparents; the rejection of war and violence as solutions for tyranny and injustice.

There are people fearful of the word, all along the political spectrum. What is important, I think, is not the word, but a determination to hold up before a troubled public those ideas that are both bold and inviting-the more bold, the more inviting. That's what remembering Debs and the socialist idea can do for us.

Eugene V. Debs was born on 5 November 1855 in Terre Haute, Indiana. I can find no time of birth for him on-line, which I find surprising; Astrodatabank doesn't even have an entry for him.
So, a 12 noon chart must suffice. Ascendant degree/sign is unknown as is Moon's degree, though Moon would be in Virgo until 8pm and Libra afterwards.

Debs' natal Sun was in passionate, magnetic Scorpio. I've noticed that Scorpio input can often translate into personality as someone who has an exceptional ability to use words to their most mesmerising effect - Carl Sagan springs immediately to mind. Debs certainly had this very special talent.

Outer planets Pluto (ruler of his Scorpio Sun) and Uranus the rebel planet were both in Taurus and loosely opposing his Sun/Mercury. This opposition reflects a dynamic push-pull between two transformative outer planets in the rather stubborn conservative sign of Taurus against his Sun (self) and Mercury (mental processes ) in passionate, determined Scorpio. Debs, fortunately, was able to harness this dynamic to draw the best from both.

The other outer planet, Neptune (imagination, dreams, creativity) lay in its own sign, Pisces in harmony with Debs' Scorpio Sun, and forming a wide Grand Trine with the addition of Saturn in the last degree of Gemini, about to move into Watery Cancer. The near-trines here are too wide to be strong aspects however, but the planets are in harmony. Neptune and Saturn in harmony bring the stability and common sense of Saturn into the often foggy dreams of Neptunian imagination. That's good! I'd guess this Water "circuit", and the fact that Debs' had no planets in the more potentially aggressive Fire signs, accounts in part for his reputation as a gentle, kindly guy. Howard Zinn starts the article linked above thus:

We are always in need of radicals who are also lovable, and so we would do well to remember Eugene Victor Debs.....Debs was nationally famous as leader of the Socialist Party, and the poet James Whitcomb Riley wrote of him:
"As warm a heart as ever beat
Betwixt here and the Judgment Seat."
These words from Eugene Debs himself are what endear him to me:

"If you go to the city of Washington, you will find that almost all of those corporation lawyers and cowardly politicians, members of congress, and mis-representatives of the masses claim, in glowing terms, that they have risen from the ranks to places of eminence and distinction. I am very glad that I cannot make that claim for myself. I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks."

Back my first thought: "Cometh the hour, cometh the man" - where is such a mortal in 2010? I suspect that "the hour" is nigh!


Wisewebwoman - Thanks for the intro to this wonderful man, T. I was struck, upon reading your thoughtful post, that how little has changed from when he was around. Theocorporatocracy still rules the day and the poor are no longer merely downtrodden, they are without expectation of betterment when there are no fearless leaders like Debs to shine HOPE on their plight. Was it ever thus?

Twilight - WWW ~~~ Yes - that's what prompted me to post about Debs. Things have changed in some respects - poverty in the USA isn't as intense, working conditions aren't as dreadful, in comparison with how they were then. But still the same pattern persists and, as you say, there seems little hope of it changing for the better without the emergence of another strong, sincere leader with no ties to the corporations or religion. I think there will be someone though, in the future, not sure how far ahead. Things are not bad enough yet, the communal need hasn't reached that critical mass.

Valus - Hi, I discovered Debs today (from a Chomsky documentary), and am eating up his quotes wherever I can find them on the internet. Stumbled on your blog post here while searching for his natal chart, and love it, especially the article by Zinn. Thanks for posting this. Oh, but Debs' Saturn does not trine his Neptune or his Sun; only his Jupiter in Aquarius.

Twilight - Valus ~~~ Hi there and thanks for reading and commenting here. :-)
Debs is a political hero of mine. Erm let's the chart aspects you mention that are not as I posted....Saturn trine Neptune & Sun. I do believe the trines are there, but agree they are too wide to be strong aspects. My software lists them, but I've noticed before that this software tends to be too generous with their trines. ;-) 8 degrees is usually max, 10 in some cases. These are more than that, of course, but I guess we could say they are still in harmony. (Saturn does widely trine the two planets, out of sign, Saturn being in the last few minutes of Gemini, about to move into Cancer.)

Thanks for pointing that out - I'll look to amend somehow - possibly by adding the word "wide".

mike - Thanks for providing the link to your Debs post, Twilight...I should have known you had covered this topic! It's interesting that he was not lost in the continuance of it is 2013 and he is well remembered for his efforts. I'm intrigued by his Pluto-North Node tight conjunction...a mark that would indicate influential fate of the masses, possibly, and he has that in spades.

In your post for November 16, 2013, I linked the Wiki quote showing that the younger amongst us are much more favorable to the socialist concept. Any of our contemporaries interested in socialism will find Debs front and center of their research.

Twilight - mike ~ In the floundering boat of US politics, when feeling seasick I always go to Eugene Debs to regain my, erm, composure, when all I've wanted to do is barf. :-)
Yes, a new generation will (I hope) help turn things around, especially when a few of them get their voices. This is exactly where people like Russell Brand can help bring it on.