Monday, November 30, 2009
The gloriously coloured ancestor of the Domestic Chicken, Red Junglefowl is from the forests of South and Southeast Asia. Wary and shy, He prefers life there in the underbrush where He is safe. A nimble flier, Red Junglefowl will escape from a Predator by chimneying (flying upwards in a circle) through in an opening in the forest.
Life for Red Junglefowl revolves around establishing his place in the Flock. As a Chick, He spars with the other Males while Female Chicks spar with each other. Later He will spar with the winning Females. Every place in Red Junglefowls flock is earned. However when He perceives weaknesses in any of the other Birds, He challenges Them.
The most abundant Bird in the world, Domestic Chicken is even more prolific than people. First domesticated in the Indus River Valley between 3200 and 2500 BCE, Domestic Chicken spread to Persia and Mesopotamia, finally reaching Egypt in 1500 BCE and China by 1400 BCE. The reason for Chicken’s popularity was his ability to fight well. (Cockfighting once had religious overtones.)
An important aspect of Red Junglefowl’s life is defining his place in the social pecking order of his Flock. Constantly vying for leadership, each Bird knows when to fight, when to back off, and when to stop. In each case, Red Junglefowl ably demonstrates the many aspects of competition. Never settling for the status quo, He challenges it. Just remember like Red Junglefowl to back off when your endeavours seem futile.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
While researching the Platonic and Archimedean Solids, I saw them manifested in crystals. Perhaps this is why many people think of crystals as having special properties. The Crystal System of Classification makes it evident that crystals reflect the sacred patterns of the Universe. Since Sacred Geometry comes naturally to them, this is why we seek healing from crystals. They connect us to the Sacred Order of the Universe, which soothes us.
Two things came from the exploration of these Mysteries. I want to know even more about Sacred Geometry – circles, triangles, and squares -- and why we are drawn to them. A circle (a line that meets itself) is complete. For this reason, many people have their sacred space be a circle. Triangles, the most stable shape, appear in building structures. Squares comfort us with their neat understandable boundaries.
Now I understand why I am in awe of The Pentagon. For years, I commuted to Washington D.C., changing buses at the transfer station located at The Pentagon. All major roads in Northern Virginia converge at The Pentagon (formerly called the “Mixing Bowl”). This low concrete building is the power center of the region.
A pentagon consists of three generating triangles, which form a triad. The mystic numbers of five and three combine to form eight which is divided into four and two, which added become six. As each number weaves in and out with the next, they add their special magick to The Pentagon, the building. What emerges from the dance of the numbers is a fortress of strength and resolve.
Coppens, Philip, “Salvador Dali: painting the fourth dimension”, Philip Coppens: The Official Website, 2009, 20 October 2009, http://www.philipcoppens.com/dali.html
Crystal, Ellie, Numbers and their Meanings, Crystalinks, 2009, 26 Sept. 2009, http://www.crystalinks.com/numerology2.html
DuQuette, Lon Milo, Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, Destiny Books, Rochester Vermont, 1999
Hall, Judy, The Crystal Bible, Godsfield, Alresdord, UK, 2003
Hart, Francene, Sacred Geometry Oracle Deck, Bear and Company, Rochester Vermont, 2001
Howard, Mike and Darcy, “Introduction to Crystallography and Mineral Crystal Systems”, Bob’s Rock Shop, 1998, 10 November 2009, http://www.rockhounds.com/rockshop/xtal/index.html
Morningstar, Sally, The Art of Wiccan Healing, Hay House, Carlsbad, CA, 2005
Zell-Ravenheart, Oberon, Grimore for the Apprentice Wizard, New Page Books, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, 2004
Friday, November 27, 2009
When I first read a book on Sacred Geometry, I became easily bored as well as hopelessly confused. However, when I learned the Pythagorean Mysteries step by step, I rediscovered the Sacred Patterns of the Universe. For me, the Universe is alive with order if we can only pierce our veil of ignorance. The Pythagorean Mysteries offers us a map to go forth and discover. Through the language of mathematics, I could now explore deeper into how the Universe constructs Itself.
To discern the Fibonacci Sequence in nature, I found out that pigeons landing and acorns falling both followed the same pattern: 1-1-2-3-5-8-1-1-2-3. While I was in the hospital recovering from my brain bleed, I counted the pigeons landing and taking off from the roof. I also noted how they grouped themselves when they roosted. This may seem to be a strange thing to do while recovering with a traumatic brain injury. However my wounded brain fell in sync with the birds. As I counted the pattern of acorns dropping from the nearby oak trees, a soothing pattern emerged. The Universe reassured me of its Sacred Order.
In studying the Golden Mean, I discovered magick. Wizards, who explore and exploit the little corners of the Universe, can bring forth wonderful things. For example, the Golden Rectangle offers a subtle wholeness to buildings and art. As the Universe makes itself known to us, it offers surprises such as the Mobius Strip which transforms a two dimensional world into a one dimensional one.
Salvador Dali explored the Pythagorean Mysteries in his art. Referring to himself as a Master Alchemist, Dali ably demonstrated this in his paintings. Going beyond the limits of the two dimensional canvas, He offered us a glimpse of the fourth dimension of time. (One example is his painting, “The Persistence of Memory” (1931).) In doing so, he transformed our perceptions of the dimensions. Using Platonic solids, he represented God with the Octahedron in “The Sacrament of the Last Supper” (1955). Many may consider Dali to be mad, but for me he was the Master Wizard who inducted me into the Pythagorean Mysteries.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Well-known for his metallic rainbow of feathers, Turkey was called the “Jeweled Bird” by the Aztec, Maya, and Toltec peoples. The largest and showiest of Game Birds in North America, He also has a bright red snood and throat wattle. For the peoples of Mexico, the Jeweled Bird was a Gift from the Gods. For offering to Chalchiuhtotolin (“Jade Turkey”), they would cast solid gold ornaments of Turkeys.
Meanwhile among Native Americans of the North, Turkey was known as “the Earth Eagle”. Because He was close to the earth, Turkey represented the Earth Mother. As Eagle brought messages from the Sky Father, so did the Turkey from the Earth Mother. Other peoples called Him, the “Give Away Bird” because Turkey fed so many. Only the Dakota regarded Turkey to be a stupid Bird.
Domesticated by the Aztecs, Turkey took Europe by storm as the Bird to be served at feasts. In the 1500s, the Spanish Crown required their traders to return from the New World with Turkeys as part of their cargoes. Meanwhile, King Henry VIII served Turkey at his festivities. Turkey was such a major part of European diets that the Pilgrims brought these Birds with them to the New World. Little did they know that Turkeys were native to North America.
Turkey eats what He can find on the forest floor whether it be acorns, beans, Crustaceans, Insects, or roots. This hardy Bird is able to withstand the bitter winters of the North Woods. In the spring, his breast sponge stores fat so that He can court Hen Turkeys without stopping to eat. Often He and His Brother will court a group of Hens together to form their Harem.
Hens who want either Tom Turkey will lie down in front of one of them. Later She will lay Eggs, usually in a common nest. Otherwise, Hens and Toms live separate lives, even roosting in separate trees.
As the “Jeweled Fowl”, Turkey brings blessings to all, for He can feed many at once. Prolific in his life, Turkey brings bounty to all who will share. He only asks that they live abundantly and give to others.
1. The Pheasant grouping of birds is a large family. Phasianidae includes grouse, jungle fowl (chicken), Old World quail, peafowl, pheasants and turkeys. New World quails belong to the Family of Odontophoridae, which are distant relatives of Phasianidae.
2. The two species of Turkeys are Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) and Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata).
3. Australian Brush Turkey is a member of the Family of Megopodiidae (birds that build mounds to bury their eggs). Although they are both land fowls, Australian Brush Turkey is only distantly related to Wild Turkey.
4. Australian Bustard sometimes called Scrub Turkey belongs to the family of Gruiformes (crane-like birds).
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The only Spoonbill in the Western Hemisphere, Roseate Spoonbill is also the only pink one as well. Her stunning pink colour comes from the Shrimp She eats. Although She usually congregates with Egrets and Pelicans, Roseate Spoonbill often stands out in the crowd with her vibrant colours and distinctive bill.
A sociable Bird, Roseate Spoonbill lives in large colonies with Egrets, Herons, Ibises, and Storks. While the other Birds feed on Fish in deeper waters, She is content to remain in the shallow areas. Sweeping her distinctive bill back and forth in the muck, Roseate Spoonbill discovers many tasty Insects and Crustaceans to eat.
Once hunted nearly to extinction for her beautiful feathers, Roseate Spoonbill has made a dramatic comeback. The irony was that her pink feathers used on ladies’ hats faded to a dull white over time. Today, watching Roseate Spoonbill take flight delights many tourists who come to see Her.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder teaches Roseate Spoonbill. As She brightens the skies and gladden the hearts of those who glimpse Her, so can you. Remember not to be so taken by beauty that you desire it only for yourself. Beauty hoarded will fade like Roseate Spoonbill’s feathers on hats.
Friday, November 20, 2009
NORTHERN BALD IBIS (WALDRAPP, KELAYNAK): Call to Action
Unlike other Ibises, Northern Bald Ibis does not wade in the water, since He prefers life in the semi-arid places of the Middle East. In rocky places, He likes to nests on the cliff ledges. In former times, Northern Bald Ibis often used castle battlements to nest in.
With his red face and curved bill, Northern Bald Ibis is quite an ugly bird. Adding to his weird appearance is his metallic green and purple glossy feathers. Resembling a monk, Northern Bald Ibis also is called “Hermit Ibis”. (Although He prefers life in remote places, Northern Bald Ibis is actually a gregarious Bird.)
A holy Bird to the Ancient Egyptians, Northern Bald Ibis represented the soul to them. Meanwhile in Turkey, this charismatic Bird was regarded as one of the first Birds that Noah released from the Ark. For Moslems, mystical Northern Bald Ibis migrated so to guide pilgrims on their Hajj to Mecca.
Northern Bald Ibis calls us call to action. One of the first officially protected species in the world, Northern Bald Ibis has spurred peoples and governments of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa to save Him from extinction. (In 1504, Archbishop Leonhard of Salzburg declared protection for this Bird.) Because of his specialness, people of Turkey managed to maintain a small but stable flock of wild Northern Bald Ibises for a long time. Everywhere, Northern Bald Ibis leads people in defending what is truly important. Let Him spur you to action.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
IBISES AND SPOONBILLS: THRESKIORNITHIDAE
Relatives of Pelicans, Ibises and Spoonbills are large Birds who thrive in the world’s marshes and wetlands. Seen together, these Birds will often nest with other water Birds notably Herons and Egrets. The major difference between an Ibis and a Spoonbill is in the shape of their beaks. Ibises have curved bills for probing in the soft mud. Meanwhile, Spoonbills have bills are spoon shaped. They catch their food by swinging their bills back and forth in the water.
SACRED IBIS: Pursuit of Wisdom
Sacred to the Ancient Egyptians, Sacred Ibises were mummified and often buried with the Pharaohs. For them, this Bird represented Thoth, their God of Wisdom. The Egyptians believed that Thoth hovered over the people in the form of a Sacred Ibis offering them protection and guidance.
Important to local ecosystems, Sacred Ibis preys on Snakes and Insects. (In fact, Ancient Egyptians thought of Her as a protector against Snakes.) An adaptable Bird, She can be also found at landfills near towns and villages looking for Worms and Grasshoppers. While migrating, this white Bird with a black head used to visit the banks of the Nile. (Sacred Ibis are now extinct in Egypt because of habitat loss.)
As Sacred Ibis probes the soft earth for tasty Mollusks and Crustaceans, so you can probe deeper beneath the surface of daily life for wisdom. In your pursuit of knowledge, let Her be your guide. Like Thoth, Sacred Ibis will watch over you as you seek the truth. Pursue all wisdom with a passion, but try not get stuck in the muck and the mire of unsavory facts.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Composition: C (Carbon)
Colours: clear, white, yellow, blue, and pink
When subjected to high temperatures, carbon under immense pressure in deep volcanic pipes will form into diamonds. For this reason, diamond is the hardest substance known today. However, since diamonds are brittle, they will cleave when struck. (This is why large diamonds are rare.) Because they sparkle when polished, diamonds have become a symbol of purity and power. Today, diamonds also symbolise love.
Composition: Na8(Al6Si6O24)Cl2 (sodium aluminum silicate with chlorine)
Hardness: 5.5 - 6
Often mistaken for lapis lazuli, this deep blue stone has white inclusions instead of gold. Relatively rare, sodalite is found only in silica-poor igneous rocks. Its high sodium content places this crystal in the family of aluminosilcates. Used in beadwork, sodalite’s blue colours add to the beauty of jewelry. For New Agers, sodalite is used to clear electromagnetic pollution in homes.
Taxonomy: Group IV ((+) ssRNA): Picornavirales: Picornaviridae:
Rhinovirus (Genus): Species: 100 types
One of the most common viruses known to people is the rhinovirus. Growing best in hot environments, this virus thrives in people’s noses, hence the name “rhino” from Greek: meaning “nose”. Because this virus is highly adaptable, developing a vaccine against it is quite difficult. Transmission of this virus is through sneezing, and touching surfaces. Since rhinoviruses are sensitive to acidic environments, washing with soap is effective in stopping their spread.
Bergmann, Rolf, “Viruses with icosahedral capsids”, 2006, University of Hamburg, 10 November 2009, http://www.biologie.uni-hamburg.de/lehre/bza/virus/introicos.htm
Cunningham, Scott, “Crystal, Gem, & Metal Magic”, Llewellyn, St. Paul MN, 2002
----, “Methane”, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2006, 10 November 2009, http://www.epa.gov/methane/scientific.html
Hall, Judy, “The Crystal Bible”, Godsfield, Alresdord, UK, 2003
Howard, Mike and Darcy, “Introduction to Crystallography and Mineral Crystal Systems”, Bob’s Rock Shop, 1998, 10 November 2009, http://www.rockhounds.com/rockshop/xtal/index.html
Lilly, Sue, “Crystal Decoder”, Quartro, London, 2001
NNadir, “On Symmetry: Platonic Solids and Ugly Wastes, Lampblack, Coal and Carbon”, Daily Kos, 2007, 10 November 2009, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/1/5/161753/7263
Permutt, Philip, “The Little Book of Crystal Tips & Gems”, Cico Books, New York, 2008
Sorrell. Charles, “Rocks and Minerals”, Golden Press, New York, 1973
-----, “Virus Structure”, Virology, MicrobiologyBytes, 2004, 10 November 2009, http://www.microbiologybytes.com/virology/3035Structure.html
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Platonic Solids: Finding Perfect Bodies in Nature
Finding Platonic Solids (perfect bodies) in nature was for me an exercise in creative thinking. How early philosophers like Plato came to theorise about them still mystifies me. Still I did find examples of perfect bodies in chemistry, mineralogy and biology.
In chemistry, many chemicals form covalent bonds in the form of the tetrahedron. These bonds have a base atom surrounded by four others. One example of this bond is methane (marsh gas). Because tetrahedrons abound so much in chemistry, chemists have named one of their periodicals “Tetrahedron”.
In mineralogy, crystals are divided into seven systems. Each system is derived from how the imaginary axis of a crystal intersects with its center. The length of the axis and the angles determine the “perfect” shape of each crystal. The Isometric Crystal System contains crystals with the highest degree of symmetry. Platonic Solids formed by these crystals are the hexahedron, octahedron, and dodecahedron.
Within viruses, the proteins of animal and plant species will stabilise into icosahedrons. With only a minimum of free energy, a protein can easily bond into a triangle. The most stable and energy efficient form for these viruses is the icosahedron.
Discovered in 1776 by Alessandro Volta, methane became known as marsh gas. Since then, methane was found to be the principle component of natural gas as well. Besides being abundant in the earth’s crust and on various planets, methane is also continually being created by landfills and cows.
Since methane violently reacts with oxidizers, it is dangerous in closed spaces. Highly flammable, methane will explode. Because this gas displaces oxygen, methane will also asphyxiate any living thing nearby. Moreover, its green house properties are problematic. Methane has a warming potential of 25 (averaged over 100 years), which means that this gas traps heat at a higher rate than CO2.
Composition: CaF2 (calcium fluoride)
Colours: purple, blue, green, yellow, clear
Formed when a mineral vein come into contact with hot water, fluorite is often found in deposits of silver, tin, and lead. Since this crystal comes in many colours, fluorite was formerly used as an ornamental stone. Because this crystal melts easily at low temperatures, it now has many industrial uses. Since fluorite emits different colours when light is shone through it, fluorescent lights replaced incandescent lights in many modern offices.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Loon’s primal call beckons us to wander deeper into our trackless wilderness. Hauntingly, her cries expose the lonely places of our hearts. Sending shivers down our backs, her mournful wails disturb our serenity. Suddenly breaking into our reverie, Loon fills the skies with her insane laughing.
Irrespective of how we may feel about Loon, She does have an important place in the universe. According to the Norse, a flock of Loons calling overhead are following souls into heaven. The Siberians believe that Loon escorted souls to the heavens. However to the Abenaki of North America, Loon mourns for the return of Glooskap who left them when the White Man came.
Unlike many other Birds, Loon has heavy bones. Similar to Penguins, She can swiftly sink into the water without any problems. By squeezing air from her feathers and wings, Loon easily dives deeper into the water. To hunt for fish, She holds her head just under the surface, avoiding the water’s glare. Her ability to dive quickly earned Loon, her other name of “Diver”. So well adapted is Loon to the water that her Chicks can dive when They are only two days old. Afterwards, They spread their nights on their Parents’ backs.
Let Loon be your guide to the between times. When we are hopelessly confused, She calls to us to climb on her strong back. Loon takes us through our unexplored places of loneliness to serenity. But do not get so lost by yourself that all you hear is her cackling laughter.
Friday, November 06, 2009
KINGFISHER FAMILY: Live a Mythic Life
All over the world, Kingfishers delight people with their bright colours and diving feats. What people may not know is that this family of Birds consists of three groups. Often seen near lakes and ponds, the Kingfishers of the New World are the Cerylinae (“Water” Kingfishers) group. The “Fishing” Kingfishers (Alcedininae) of the Old World are usually found near rivers. In contrast, “Forest” Kingfishers (Halcyoninae) live in the forests and hunt Lizards. However, all of Them perch in trees, waiting patiently for their Prey to appear. Swooping down, Kingfishers will spear Minnows with their pointed beaks, while Kookaburras will go after unwary Bugs.
Although regarded as “flying jewels”, Kingfishers also quite persistent in their endeavours. These small Birds will excavate their nest cavities with their beaks. At a river bank, Kingfishers will stab repeatedly at the dirt with their bills. Kicking out the debris with their feet, both Kingfishers then build a long burrow into the bank.
The Ancient Greeks tell how Kingfishers came to be. Upon finding out that her husband Ceyx (the King of Thessaly) had drowned at sea, the Goddess Halcyone threw herself off a cliff. Her father, Aeolus (the God of Winds) turned both Halcyone and Ceyx into Kingfishers. According to the Greeks, the days just before and after the Winter Solstice are the Halcyon Days. The winds are calm at this time so that the Kingfishers (children of Aeolus) can nest and raise their young.
For such small Birds, Kingfishers live mythic lives. Unlike other Birds, Female Kingfishers are more colourful than their Mates. Laughing Kookaburra is known in song for his “laughter”. Common Kingfisher and his Mate will chisel out a six foot (two metres) long burrow into a river bank. Belted Kingfisher will dive from great heights for a tasty Minnow (even though She cannot swim). Learn from these remarkable Birds how to have a storied life. But do not become so self-important that you become a legend in your own mind.