Sunday, June 23, 2013

THE GREEN WONDER OF JUNE, the molten hand of VENUS & "...the covenant of duskbirds..."

I don't think the SuperMoon will be our entree tonight. I'll check it again at midnight.  The sky is like thick custard--I offer you instead some dessert:  the surface of Venus and this exquisite poem by Stacie Cassarino:

The way the sky looked in Charras today

                                                                   Summer Solstice

                                               I wanted to see where beauty comes from
                                              without you in the world, hauling my heart
                                                across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
                                                      my pockets filling with flowers.
                                                               Then I remembered,
                                                      it’s you I miss in the brightness
                                                      and body of every living name:
                                                       rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.
                                                   You are the green wonder of June,
                                                    root and quasar, the thirst for salt.
                                            When I finally understand that people fail
                                              at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,
                                                    the paper wings of the dragonfly
                                         aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?
                                             If I get the story right, desire is continuous,
                                                    equatorial. There is still so much
                                                    I want to know: what you believe
                                                      can never be removed from us,
                                                 what you dreamed on Walnut Street
                                            in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,
                                                      learning pleasure on your own.
                                              Tell me our story: are we impetuous,
                                          are we kind to each other, do we surrender
                                               to what the mind cannot think past?
                                               Where is the evidence I will learn
                                                          to be good at loving?
                                              The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond
                                             for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.
                                                           There are violet hills,
                                               there is the covenant of duskbirds.
                                              The moon comes over the mountain
                                             like a big peach, and I want to tell you
                                            what I couldn’t say the night we rushed
                                       North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers
                                                  and the way you go into yourself,
                                                  calling my half-name like a secret.
                                               I stand between taproot and treespire.
                                                        Here is the compass rose
                                                      to help me live through this.
                                                 Here are twelve ways of knowing
                                               what blooms even in the blindness
                                                  of such longing. Yellow oxeye,
                                           viper’s bugloss with its set of pink arms
                                                      pleading do not forget me.
                                                     We hunger for eloquence .
                                                     We measure the isopleths.
                                         I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.
                                          The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.
                                            Fireflies turn on their electric wills:
                                            an effulgence. Let me come back
                                          whole, let me remember how to touch you
                                                         before it is too late.

  - Stacie Cassarino
A Murmuration of Starlings
Some Doves at Dusk
Created from data from the Magellan Spacecraft -
Space in Space - Sammy Atherton, 2nd

Friday, June 21, 2013

AMOR FATI - Galloping Towards ...

Solstice d'été - Summer Solstice

From "Femmes Eternelle" Jardins du Luxembourg -Weeki Wachee, Fla - Olivier Martel

"I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer."                                  Nietzsche from "The Gay Science"

Weeki Wachee, Florida - Toni Friselle 1947

AMOR FATI - Love of one's own Fate

Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux Maire 1581-1585

After I set fire to the rain it got hotter than blue blazes! So K&I took the train to Bordeaux to celebrate my birthday -- no longer "une femme d'un certain age", rather "a woman of certain TGV réductions."  We often say to each other that we can't seem to wrap our arms wide enough around this country, there is so much to embrace and our arms aren't long enough. But we made a special effort in Bordeaux.  I wanted to visit Montaigne, one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance.
He preferred the stoic "Amor Fati" to religious absolutism, deploring the righteous cruelty of those with undoubting convictions saying:  "It is putting a very high price on one's conjectures to have someone roasted alive on their account."

In her book,  How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer, Sarah Bakewell takes this to be an allusion to the spate of witch-hunting which accompanied the religious wars. Sixteenth century life in Bordeaux was crammed with massacres and vindictive repressions.   As Maire, Montaigne was courageous and somewhat successful in playing a reconciling role.  Wonder what he would make of Guantanamo Bay?

Unchained Catalytic Converter - Memorial Fountain, Bordeaux

There's usually a starchy breeze riffing off the Gironde river & plenty of cafes for desultory people watching.  Plus my favorite fountain:  the Monument Aux Girondins, built in the early twentieth century as a memorial to the Girondists, originally part of France's legislative assembly who supported the French Revolution, becoming political martyrs when executed in 1793. 

Monument Aux Girondins, Bordeaux

Another view of the Fountain

The spray coming out of the horses nostrils was so refreshing.  There were some buck naked kids cavorting in the fountain, but I'm not going to display those shots, just in case the kiddie porn police inspect my laptop at the airport. 

Besides these horse sculptures, I've been seeing loads of real horses and donkeys all over the Charente lately. It began right after my dear friend Jeanne from southern Ca. (an extraordinary artist and resident expert on all things mythic) wrote about EPONA, the Celtic horse goddess, the protector of horses, donkeys and mules.  Here is what she said in part:  "She is the one drinking at the fresh stream's edge at Glastonbury, standing there on the shore.  She is known to travel across realms.  The Romans, the Gauls honored her. The Gemini Moon, Epona's Moon.  A time for playful, delightful opportunity, blending opposites, balancing polarities, walking in balance, galloping toward the coming summer..." J. Benion

Scouring of the White Horse (Epona) at Uffington

Maybe a Celtic Horse Goddess in a field near Marthon

Glastonbury's Temple of the Stars - Landscape Zodiac

 From "The High History of the Holy Grail" - K.E. Maltwood

 " the Holy Thing is here again Among us brother...That so perchance the vision may be seen by thee and those, and all the world be heal'd."
                                                                                       Tennyson's Holy Grail

I grew up with horses. I'm a two-legged horse. I think I was "foaled"-- daydreaming in the hayloft and sleeping on the straw next to my horse Toby.  I wanted to become a jockey when I grew up--to ride like the wind.  The closest I got was working at Arlington Race Track, tacking and grooming & walking the steaming horses after the races, around and around and around.

Horses - St. Laurent des Hommes

Donkey friend - Domaine in Dirac

Epona is also associated with the Welsh goddess, Rhiannon and the ancient Egyptian Goddess Isis

Isis & Epona (sidesaddle) - Pompei, Campana, Italy - Engraving from Wall

It could be a Nereid seated on a hippocamp, but whoever it is you have to be a good rider to ride sidesaddle!  Maybe it was EPONA in the legend of Lady Godiva?

Lady Godiva, John Collier, 1898

No wonder she was so popular!  Her fame spread across Europe, along the Danube frontier, in northern Spain where she was called Epane and all the way to Greece, Turkey and Africa.  Many of her artifacts were found on the European continent and there is speculation that her cult actually began in the lands around northern France.

Epona - Musee Lorrain 3rd c.AD Freyming, Moselle Fr.

The Romans celebrated Eponalia by giving each horse, donkey & mule a day of rest

Ever the guardian and protector she offers passage between the worlds.  Her image appears on ancient gravestones throughout Europe.  Not only the bringer of life, but a "psychopomp" - She and her horses led the souls in the afterlife ride. She also guides soul-flight travelers across the thresholds of the mysterious realms, for purposes of healing or seership.

Two donkeys - Sers, France

Baby Donkey - Feuillade, France
Another passage with Connemara pony, Ireland 

May Epona shower her blessings upon you; be your guide & companion on the journeys that your soul craves.

Epona - Circus Maximus, Rome

Dark Goddess Tarot - Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
Transformational Tarot - Arnell Ando

Ellen Lorenzi-Prince's Divine Dark Goddess deck will be released in the "not too distant future wherein all these Goddesses exist" can visit the website, to pre-order or learn more about this gorgeous deck of 78 cards, each with a mythical female figure.

Arnell Ando's Six of Wands from her Transformational Tarot deck is based on the legendary Goddess, Lady Godiva.  You can go to to order this one and see other stunning decks by Arnell.  There are many glowing reviews of the TT deck, but I especially like this excerpt from Diane Wilkes' review for Amazon "filled with exquisite and cohesive images that allowed you to enter each card wholly. As a lover of Pre-Raphaelite art, I was delighted with the beauty of the deck and bought it for that reason." 

Summer Solstice - Stonehenge 2013, 6 hours ago

This Cherub played a song for me on his lute
June 6th, mon anniversaire:

"For all those who walked this strange road with me, and held out their hands when I faltered. This is a ship of our own making."
--"The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a ship of her own making" -Catherynne M. Valenti. 

Thank you to all my cherished friends & family who remembered my birthday. To be remembered is one of the greatest gifts! 

VI "The Lovers", Gemini's tarot card, this one by Johfra Bosschart.

And these beautiful handmade birthday cards from:

Lisa de St. Croix -

Nerieds Riding the Waves - Jeanne Benion

P.S. Take a moon bath under the SUPERMOON, June 23rd -  Keep your hooves on the ground, but fly with the West Wind & Shine On!