My House Is Tokyo, and My Children Are Godzillas!

“All things incline to worse, and foundering backslide, back like one who oar can scarcely thrust his skiff upstream; if perchance he slack his arms, sternward the coursing water drags him down the rapids.” – Virgil, Georgics, lines 197- 199. Translated by Kimberly Johnson The tendency of all of our work to degenerate is relentless…

“All things incline to worse, and foundering backslide, back like one who oar can scarcely thrust his skiff upstream; if perchance he slack his arms, sternward the coursing water drags him down the rapids.” – Virgil, Georgics, lines 197- 199. Translated by Kimberly Johnson

The tendency of all of our work to degenerate is relentless and never-ending. For example, today, my wife and I cleaned our house. No matter how many times we clean it, it becomes messy again. This is partly due to four children, under the age of six, who play with toys, change into costumes, create art projects, take books from shelves, build huts, wet the bed, go through 3 pairs of clothes a day, and dirty dishes. These are just the regular things. There are also times of wanton and unexplainable destruction.

The house can become a disaster area within a few minutes. Clean-up may require a few hours. On some days, keeping up with the house feels like fighting the mythological hydra. The hydra was a dragon with multiple heads. Brave warriors who bought the hydra found, to their dismay, that two heads would grow to replace each one head that they severed. In our house, it's four against two. When I'm at work, it's four against one. For each mess my wife and I clean, two more may be made somewhere else in the house.

The kids try to help clean, and they succeed sometimes, but they are physically small, mentally immature, and quite a few of the messes are more than they can realistically handle. We try to create systems, schedules, and commitments to make cleaning easy for ourselves and for our children, but consistently applying our plans requires immunity diligence. If perchance we slack our arms, “sternward the coursing water drags (us) down the rapids.”

Even in my intellectual and artistic pursuits, I find that progress is fleeting. I might be able to miss a day or two of guitar practice, but, even after twenty years, fingers start to stiffen up if I miss a week. Admittedly, I've accumulated a lot of guitar knowledge and skills over those two decades, and certainly that progress does not go away in a week, but, based on what does happen after a week, I would bet that what has taken twenty years to develop would require much less than twenty years to lose.

I have read many works of literature in my life. I like to think that I am full of things to write about, but when I sit down in front of a blank page, or a blank screen, I often find myself unable to write. When this happens, I get out a book and read, looking to prime my proverbial pump. Progress has happened over the years, because I find the pump can easily be primed, but I feel fairly certain, based on those minutes spent in front of a blank screen, that if I stopped reading, the pump would run too much more quickly than that it filled. I know that I do not remember things I read a few years ago, and that I repeat mistakes that I once had eliminated.

Entropy, bitter entropy,
Works against all our work.
A horizontal hour-glass
Teeters on a fulcrum,
Between two precipices.
We stand in one side,
Shoveling sand to the other,
Switching when necessary.
When we get old, and tired,
We lay down, and then …..

Historic Headlines

Birthday news – sometimes referred to as birth date newspapers by dullards – are one of those rare birthday gifts that transcend age barriers. What we're saying is that birthday newspapers in the UK appeal equally to the young, old and those heading full steam into middle-age. But why? The most obvious argument is that…

Birthday news – sometimes referred to as birth date newspapers by dullards – are one of those rare birthday gifts that transcend age barriers. What we're saying is that birthday newspapers in the UK appeal equally to the young, old and those heading full steam into middle-age. But why? The most obvious argument is that of history. Because these are 100% original newspapers, as old as the date on their cover, they really are your own little slice of history. So here, we take a look at some of the most monumental headlines to have graced our nation's newspapers over the years.

Daily Herald, Monday 16th September 1940

175 NAZI PLANES DOWN

RAF Triumphs In Biggest Air Battles Of War

Goering's air force had lost 175 machines up to ten o''clock last night following a day which saw the furthest air battles of the war. Fighters brought down 171 and AA fire four.

Interestingly, and perhaps predictably, these figures were not accurate. In an effort to maintain the nation's morale, the Daily Herald very much fell in line with Britain's propaganda policy, with the true figures actually nearer 56 downed German aircraft and 27 from the RAF.

Daily Mirror, Monday 21st July 1969

MAN ON THE MOON

And the message from earth: we're breathing again!

Man has landed on the Moon. A new era in his history began at 9.18 last night when the lunar module Eagle settled gently on the dusty surface of the Sea of ​​Tranquility. Inside it – astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin, destined now for a permanent place in history. They immediately began to prepare for their Moon walk. There are still great perils ahead. But these are truly great achievements. America, the land of frontiersmen, has opened up a new frontier.

Some 40-plus years later and America's space program is slowly grinding to a halt. Yet for all its challenges, disasters and accomplishments, there's no doubt this moment irrevocably changed the world we live in. And if nothing else, it cave the conspiracy theorists something to get their teeth into.

The Sun, Wednesday 17th August 1977

KING ELVIS DEAD

A massive heart attack at mansion

Elvis Presley, the rock n 'roll king who thrilled millions died alone yesterday, aged 42.

For arguably the biggest Rock n 'Roll star to ever live, dying from a heart attack on the toilet was not the most dignified way to go. Sadly, it was not a huge surprise. In his final years, his weight had ballooned to just under 19 stone, while the last things he ate pretty much summed it up – four scoops of ice cream and six chocolate-chip cookies.

Daily Mail, Wednesday September 12th 2001

APOCALYPSE

New York. September 11, 2001

The Sun, same day

DAY THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

Suicide hijackers blitz America: Special Edition

Not sure we need to say anything more about these two, so we will not.

Daily Mirror, Saturday 30th April 2011

'Let's give them another kiss … I love you'

The whole world rejoices … well mostly!

Only the most cynical republicans begrudged Wills his big day. For the rest of us, whether generally Royalist or not, it was something to look forward to – not least because of the extra day off work! And so it was, with the whole world tuning in, that Catherine looked beautiful, while Wills looked bald … but handsome.

Human Rights and Iron-Fisted Leaders

What was that great quote, you know when Caesar said; “The first thing we do is kill all the lawyers,” and often people use that quote out of context, remember at the time of Caesar wanted to take over, and he knew he had to eliminate all the lawyers to do so. Indeed, any studier…

What was that great quote, you know when Caesar said; “The first thing we do is kill all the lawyers,” and often people use that quote out of context, remember at the time of Caesar wanted to take over, and he knew he had to eliminate all the lawyers to do so. Indeed, any studier of Machiavellian Rule would realize that when you take over another country, the first thing you need to do is get rid of the intellectuals, lawyers, educators, leaders, and then lead the masses by fear.

Now then, I am certainly not one is to believe that in the present period, Machiavellian Rule should be the order of the day. However, I also realize I am not alone in this world, neither is the United States of America. Many of our trading partners do not think the way we do, do not have a capitalist slant, nor do their leaders needlessly believe in personal freedoms, liberty, or democracy. A case in point could be China for instance.

Here in the US we do not know much about what goes on in China, as they are careful to censor the news coming out of that country, and definitely the news coming in. But we know they are often up to what we might consider from our perspective as Americans; no good. Last month there was an interesting piece in Sino Daily Online News titled “China cracking down on rights lawyers: Amnesty,” written by the Staff Writers in Hong Kong (AFP) and published on June 30, 2011. The article stated what many people have feared would happen;

“Beijing has unleashed an” uncompromising “assault on China's legal profession, targeting human rights lawyers in an effort to head off social unrest, Amnesty International said. in the Middle East and North Africa could take root in the world's most populous nation, the rights group said in a new report. ”

The article speculated that this was being done by communist leaders to silence dissent, and revoking licenses, harassment, random disappearances, and torture had been reported. As much is it displeases me to say anything good about lawyers, the Chinese people need someone on their side right about now. Yes, with 1.4 billion people China has no chance but to enforce their laws. The question is; are they reinforcing the right ones.

On one hand there is severe corruption on the side of government, and yet it sees the ruling party is slow to enforce those issues, but they will go after any citizen who calls out any of their dastardly deeds, or any lawyer who goes to defend a citizen who speaks out, or any group that comes to their aid. There will always be challenges with human rights when leaders have absolute power. China needs checks and balances, and the United States should be careful what it associates with. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Does It Really Matter Where You Come From?

I think it might just so. Every region in the world has its own individual characteristics but also includes the attributes of the wider area that is influenced by the history and how their ideology actually evolved. It does depend on from where you come … as people in different continents have very significant values…

I think it might just so.

Every region in the world has its own individual characteristics but also includes the attributes of the wider area that is influenced by the history and how their ideology actually evolved.

It does depend on from where you come … as people in different continents have very significant values ​​and approach to life.

In the Third World Countries; no matter which country or continent, there is a lack of basic systems that are essential for survival. There are rising gaps in the rich and the poor, unjustice prevails in all walks of life. For an average person even to enjoy the benefits of a normal life feels like a mission. The ones who have the money have the power, those who have the power, have the control.

But when you think about it, these systems just do not emerge like that, they are a result of the wider world domination which we will come to later.

So with the constant struggle to get the basic necessaries, such individuals get into the mode of dealing with the situation and moving on. The struggle to get a home, to get food, clean water. Luxuries (for them) like Education, electricity and gas then became very low on their priority list.

In the Eastern / Asian Countries, Southern European / American, African Countries one can see some strong family support systems with strong ties and relationships. These ties come naturally and are embedded within most and individuals feel obliged to help each other. These values ​​may come from when these countries were invaded and ruled by either the British, French, Romans or Spanish (- list goes on)! When countries are invaded and conquered, the victims then strive to retain their values, identity and culture and can do so by staying together and keeping their own support systems going.

It is not to say that other factors are not involved in the evolution of family systems. But the idea is to understand why it is so strong in these countries rather than the North Western Countries.

Western Countries have their very own values ​​and thoughts, most of them based on 'individualism'. And one can see similar effects of such values ​​in the society. Family systems are not strong enough currently and every member sort of does his / her own thing, that is not to say that all are similar in their function. There are still some very strong value based families that follow the traditional English etiquette and manners and seem to be successful.

But on the other hand, 'majority' of the people in the West take everything for granted. Home, education, health care, social care, food, water running from the taps and strive for luxuries – a vital difference between the rich and poor.

The point I'm trying to put across is that if someone migrates from a certain area, they will bring the full wealth of background with them. For instance if a family has moved to the UK from a small village in India, they will not be able to settle in, adapting the norms of UK immediately. They will live trying to retain their culture as much as they can in the new place, as if trying to cling on to their identities. And I have seen that sometimes these families try so hard to retain their culture that they forget that the people and the place they left behind, have steadily moved on.

So yes it does depend on where one comes from, what background, what experiences and what coping mechanisms people acquire.

Cultural Perspective

There are many ways to look at cultural differences in an organizational context. The individual's orientation to the world is an important component in determining how that person will view other cultures. An ethnocentric orientation, most often associated with Americans, views the world as being similar to the home country. Thus centrists assume that all…

There are many ways to look at cultural differences in an organizational context. The individual's orientation to the world is an important component in determining how that person will view other cultures. An ethnocentric orientation, most often associated with Americans, views the world as being similar to the home country. Thus centrists assume that all people think and act alike, or at least that people from other cultures should think and act like the centrists. In essence, centrists significantly undervalue the importance of cultural differences in conducting business outside their home country.

The polycentric perspective is one that views every country or culture as unique. This orientation operates with the motto of Think local, act local, where cultural differences become exaggerated and there are few if any opportunities for developing regional economies of scale. In his orientation, cultural differences are over emphasized. Orientation is the perspective, where the individual recognizes similarities and contrasts between and across cultures.

Centrists none underestimate nor exaggerate the challenges that cultural differences present in conducting business across national boundaries. It is a world-centered perspective that is important to develop in managers who seek an international business career. Using a geocentric orientation, the noted Dutch social scientist has developed the most widely accepted framework for understanding the organizational impact of cultural differences.

His data came from an analysis of cultural differences among groups of employees from different nations who worked for the same global business IBM. Identified four principal components to use in comparing and contrasting cultures as means of analyzing the impact of cultural differences on organizations:

1. Power distance. In cultures that have high power distance, there are large gaps between the haves and have-nots when it comes to career opportunities within business and professional fields. Power distance also explains to the gaps in power and influence within an organizational setting between the executives and middle to frontline managers. In societies that have high power distance, the workers and lower-level managers would have expected to simply follow the orders of the executives without having much empowerment for decision – making at their level.

2. Uncertainty avoidance. Describes cultural differences related to ones need for structure and ones level of comfort with ambiguity. Cultures that are rated low on uncertainty have non structured societies that operate without a high level of formal rules and social norms. Those that are rated high in this dimension reflect people who have a strong need for social order and are uncomfortable with uncertainty.

3. Individualism-collectivism. Reflects the continued of cultures that, on one end, highly value individualism and, on the other end, place a premium on the collectivist needs of the group as a whole.

4. Masculinity-femininity. Those rated low in this dimension, reflecting more attributes, value relationships, harmony, and caring for others more than performance.

Clodius Albinus – The Emperor

Clodius Albinus was born in Africa rather aristocratic family. His father decided to invite him to Albino pale as he was when he was born. One might think that his father had been abusive, but the white was a prestigious Roman society. Politicians in their togas bleached white as possible, when you ran for office.…

Clodius Albinus was born in Africa rather aristocratic family. His father decided to invite him to Albino pale as he was when he was born. One might think that his father had been abusive, but the white was a prestigious Roman society. Politicians in their togas bleached white as possible, when you ran for office. So maybe it was a compliment. Yet, strange name, I think.

He joined the army in early life. Marcus Aurelius (emperor of the time) hired him to help him a rifle. Marcus said that without the legions of Bithynia Clodius would have joined the urgency and have had problems.

Rebellions and revolutions in these days were mostly on the number of legions you can get on your side. Sometimes a well done speech could tip the balance in that that would become the next emperor or remain on the throne.

Now, here's a curious chapter in the life of Clodius. Coldius has received an order in Britain by the Emperor Commodus then. Now, when Commodus accused killed Clodius began to deny their troops. He said the chest had been a tyrant (probably true – most of the emperors were tyrants) also said the Senate should have more power. In fact, if Dresser had not died, had been just a rumor. Clodius was so respected at the moment, however, came almost with impunity. Although the emperor is furious.

Clodius is the time when the Emperor Pertinax is assassinated. Pertinax was unpopular with the Praetorian Guard (the emperor's bodyguard.) Because he had not paid them enough. Now of all people to be unpopular with guys who are supposedly to protect you. In fact, they have nothing but. They killed the emperor Pertinax, because they hated so much.

This was not the best thing to do, but something really stupid what he did come. Because we do not have a replacement lined up to Pertinax, who just decided to give the position of the emperor who wanted to pay more. Actually auction.

Didio Juliano was the man who won the auction. But it would be so easy for him. In the Roman provinces were powerful men who have vast armies under his command. Frankly, the way it all went down was very civilized, even by his standards. They were not happy.

While challengers to the throne was Pescennius Niger in Syria, Septimius Severus in Illyricum and Pannonia and our hero Clodius Albinus in Britain and Gaul.

Clodius Albinus

Clodius Albinus was born in Africa to a pretty aristocratic family. His father decided to call him Albinus because of how pale he was when he was born. You'd think that his father was being insulting but whiteness was prized in Roman society. Politicians bleached their togas as white as possible when they ran for…

Clodius Albinus was born in Africa to a pretty aristocratic family. His father decided to call him Albinus because of how pale he was when he was born. You'd think that his father was being insulting but whiteness was prized in Roman society. Politicians bleached their togas as white as possible when they ran for office. So perhaps it was a compliment. Still a weird name in my opinion.

He entered the army early in life. Marcus Aurelius (the emperor at the time) praised him for helping him with a rebellion. Marcus said that without Clodius the legions in Bithynia would have joined the rebellion as well which would have been trouble.

In those days rebellions and revolutions were mainly about how many legions you could get on your side. Sometimes a well done speech would tip the balance over who was to become the next Emperor or who would stay on the throne.

Now here's a funny chapter in Clodius's life. Coldius was given a command in Britain by the then Emperor Commodus. Now when Commodus died Clodius started denouncing Commodus to his troops. He said the Commodus had been a tyrant (unduly true – almost all Emperors were tyrants) he also said that the Senate should be given back more power. In fact, though, Commodus was not dead it had just been a rumour. Clodius was so well respected by now that he pretty much got away with it. Despite the Emperor being furious.

Clodius's time came when the Emperor Pertinax was assassinated. Pertinax was unpopular with the Praetorian guard (the Emperors bodyguard.) Because he was not paying them enough. Now of all the people to be unpopular with, the very people who are supposedly to protect you. In fact, they did anything but. They killed Emperor Pertinax because they hated him that much.

That was not the smartest thing to do, but the stupid thing was what they did next. Because they did not have a replacement for Pertinax lined up, they just decided to give the post of Emperor to whoever would pay them the most. Effectively auctioning it off.

Didius Julianus was the man that won the auction. But it was not going to be that simple for him. Out in the Roman provinces were very powerful men who had vast armies under their command. Quite frankly the way everything had gone down was very uncivilized even for their standards. They were not happy.

So the challengers to the throne were Pescennius Niger in Syria, Septimius Severus in Illyricum and Pannonia and our hero Clodius Albinus in Britain and Gaul.

Exploring the English Village Church

Travel to any rural locality in England and you can automatically guarantee to be within sight of an English church. Whether high on a hill or squat-towered nestling in a secluded hamlet, English churches are fascinating places to visit for their historical merit alone. Each is a time capsule of treasures; a tantalizing glimpse into…

Travel to any rural locality in England and you can automatically guarantee to be within sight of an English church. Whether high on a hill or squat-towered nestling in a secluded hamlet, English churches are fascinating places to visit for their historical merit alone. Each is a time capsule of treasures; a tantalizing glimpse into the past.

Pushing open the heavy wooden door, that could well be as old as the church itself, the first thing you will probably see as you step into the nave is the baptism font. Some examples are plain, smooth-sided Saxon or Norman survivors, (such as those at Eardisley in Herefordshire, Walsoken in Norfolk and Clifton Hampden in Oxfordshire), while the majorities are from a later date.

Unlike today, where only the sign of the cross is traced on the forehead with holy water, in the early days of baptism people stood inside the font while the water was scattered over them. This explains why the earliest fonts are deeper than those followed afterwards.

These later fonts are noticeably smaller and smaller, often elaborately carved and standing above the floor level on a plinth or short pillows. Some examples still retain their original wooden covers, or holes in the stonework where the fixing ring for the cover had once been.

It was common practice in the Middle-Ages for superstitious healers to steal small amounts of the holy water to use in their treatments and potions, and for those working on the land to sprinkle some on the fields believing it would guarantee a good crop at harvest time.

At the opposite end of the church, near to the altar and above the heads of the congration, stands the wooden or carved-stone pulpit for the priest to preach his sermon.

During the reign of Elizabeth 1, sermons were of interminable length, reflecting anything from two to four hours. With the absence of clocks in churches at that time, (although a 17th century clock is on display in Grendon church, Northamptonshire), the priest regulated the duration of his sermon by means of an hour-glass (similar to a domestic egg-timer ) filled with sand. Sadly, many of these glasses have not survived the centers, although a few do exist, such as those at Amberley in Sussex, Bloxworth in Dorset and Compton Basset in Wiltshire. The brackets however in which they were once held are more common and can sometimes be discovered, fixed to a wall or pillar within arms length of the pulpit.

Before the 1400's, seating in churches was virtually unheard of, except for a few stone examples set against the wall for the sick and infirm. It was from the use of these seats that the common English saying “the weakest to wall” originated.In the mid-15th century wooden benches began to appear which incorporated carved ends. These bench end carvings, known as 'Poppy Heads', (from the French word 'Poupee' meaning puppet or figurehead), have full control of the local wood carvers to display their art. An infinite variety of beautiful and intricately carved Poppy Heads can be found through a large number of English village churches.

Nowadays the records of births, deaths and marriages are stored by government departments, but prior to this church records relating to a particular village were kept in the church chest . Although they may look alike each chest is exclusive, with the major being hundreds of years old and constructed by the village carpenter.

The earliest chests, known as 'dug-outs', (as at Curdworth, Warwickshire), are literally just that. A large rectangular hollow was dug out of a 'squared off' single log of hardwood such as oak, a cut was sliced ​​through the full length near the top to form the lid, and hinges added. Later chests however were slightly more sophisticated. A lock, and in many instances up to five locks, was fitted with the front panel often decorated with iron scroll- work by the local blacksmith.

Throughout history it has always been the responsibility of the church to help the poor of the parish in whatever way they can. As a result it is quite common to find an alms box in many village churches. A particularly beautiful and original example can be found in the Northamptonshire village of Welton. Hand carved in a rich, warm, dark-brown wood it is a hand outstretched resting on a wooden box. A slot in the palm enables the donated money to drop into the alms box.

Bread was always needed by the poor in English villages, and for this reason a 'dole' cupboard can sometimes be found attached to an inner wall of a church. An excellent example of such a 'dole' cupboard or 'bread rack' as they are also known, is on display in the church of All Saints in the Bedfordshire village of Milton Ernest. An open-fronted cupboard, installed in the church in 1726, it contains twelve loaf-shaped recesses to hold the bread that was 'delled' out to the poor every Sunday.

With relatively plain white walls, the village church of today may appear to some to be bland and sombre, but centuries ago the opposite was true. In the Middle-Ages their interiors were once an inspirational riot of color. Looking like huge picture books, virtually every free space on a wall was covered with murals depicting a wide variety of religious scenes and themes. Professional traveling painters went from village to village, church to church, covering the bare walls with pigments made from natural substances such as iron oxide, candle soot, malachite and lime putty. The brushes they used were handmade. For the larger areas of an illustration they were made from hog's hair, while the more detailed, intricate areas were painted with brushes made from squirrel-tail hairs.

The demise of the era of the medieval wall painting began around 1547, a direct result of the 'Reformation', when the “obliteration 'of all' popish and superstitious images” was ordered. But, the final death knell for these beautiful paintings sounded one hundred years later in 1644 during the English Civil War.

Unbelievably, Parliamentary authorities appointed a 'Commissioner for the Destruction of Images'. Although a large number of wall paintings were totally destroyed, others were covered up with nothing more than layers of whitewash. Many historians and preservationists are of the opinion that instead of destroying the art, the layers of whitewash may have in fact preserved them. It would be interesting to know how many 'lost' medieval wall paintings still remain to be discovered.

In the scope of this article it would be impossible to highlight every interesting and historical item to be seen in the average English village church. However, here is a short list of unusual things to be found in some village churches.

Leather fire buckets dated 1743 – Kislingbury, Northamptonshire, an old manual fire engine of 1760 – Worlingworth, Suffolk, six popgun cannons – Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire, a huge leather mastiff dog collar – Selborn, Hampshire and village stocks at Alwington, Devon.

Although many churches may look similar in design, each building is in fact unique. For this reason alone every church is worth a visit. Whether large or small, plain or prioritize, each village church contains one or more items of historical interest simply waiting to be discovered and explored.

The Validity of Your Argument Must Have Gotten Lost in Interpretation or Multiple Translations

It's very difficult to try to bring humans together in the world. There are different cultures, different forms of government, and different religions. And making it even tougher we have a communication issue, as there are different languages, with different alphabets, symbols, and things that look like hieroglyphics to each of those different groups of…

It's very difficult to try to bring humans together in the world. There are different cultures, different forms of government, and different religions. And making it even tougher we have a communication issue, as there are different languages, with different alphabets, symbols, and things that look like hieroglyphics to each of those different groups of people and their perception. Further, there are different dialects of the same language, and different sects of the same religion. You can understand why there is political impasse due to misunderstanding, mistrust, paranoia, and culture.

One thing I find very interesting, is that each country, religion, and culture seems to have their version of the moral high ground. And yet when you look at it closely, much of the moral high ground is nothing more than an overblown state of hypocrisy. And no, I am not going to pick on Islam in this article, nor do I wish them to pick on my culture, which I admit is not always perfect. However, it is what I know, and I derive my morality, and sense of honesty and integrity from my own culture, as do they from their. Okay so, you're beginning to see my point.

There seems to be a fear in the United States that Islam is going to try to take over our way of life, and there is much conspiracy theory, and paranoia in Middle Eastern nations that the Western world is trying to induce Western culture, Western laws , and a Western way of life on their culture. It seems to be the same argument from an opposite view. The other day, I was having a debate, between myself and someone from the Islamic world, however I was not talking to a real person, I was trying to have this argument in my mind.

Indeed, I created a character based on the books I've read, and the articles that I've perused, and for every argument I can come up with, I came up with another rhetorical argument thinking it through the other's perspective. Eventually, I came up with this statement;

“The validity of your argument must have gotten lost in interpretation or multiple translations, which has now led us to political impasse.”

Do you see how I derived that statement, and really is not that the problem that we face in the world. The concept of winning someone else's heart and mind, when they do not want to have it won, do not necessarily trust you, nor you need them, is really akin to holding up a mirror, albeit a cloudy one to one's own reflection .

Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it from a philosophical perspective. If you have any ideas or real life solutions to the challenges we face as our world comes closer together, then please shoot me an e-mail.

Did a Fragrance Really Trigger the Events That Led to the Infamous Beheading of Marie Antoinette?

Jean-Francois Houbigant launched his famous perfume atelier and shop on the Fauborg St. Louis. Honore in Paris in 1775. This was during the gilded age of French royalty and of the elite that parasitically clung to the Court. Luxury, hedonism and sensuality were the cornerstones of life for these denizens of hedonism. Mr. Houbigant opened…

Jean-Francois Houbigant launched his famous perfume atelier and shop on the Fauborg St. Louis. Honore in Paris in 1775. This was during the gilded age of French royalty and of the elite that parasitically clung to the Court. Luxury, hedonism and sensuality were the cornerstones of life for these denizens of hedonism.

Mr. Houbigant opened his shop and carried a beautiful basket of flowers over the threshold on its first day in business. The basket of beautiful flowers drew very favorable commentary from his initial clients, so, being a clever Marketer he commissioned a sign to be painted representing the bouquet. This sign was hung over Houbigant's shop door at 19, Fauborg St. Louis. Honore and became indelibly identified with the success of the Fragrances and Soaps produced therein. For decades Houbigant advertisements and handbills copy began with “At the sign of the Basket of Flowers”.

The list of clients who frequented Houbigant included everyone who was anyone in pre-French Revloution Paris. Only the finest, rarest Toiletries were produced and made available at Houbigant. Dandies, church prelates, government ministers and military officers and their wives were listed on preserved invoices as having been customers. But it was the Royal Family and their Court members that delivered a special patina on Houbigant.

Alas, the glow of the royal life would be sundered by the violence and anarchy produced by the outbreak of the French Revolutionary. The rich and luxuriant class associated with all that was wrong in France was hunted down by the mob, instilled with the lust to remove those whome they perceived had caused their impoverishment and servitude.

The Empress Marie Antoinette was certainly a prime target for revenge. Her ladies in waiting knew that she was a highly prized object of derision by the mob and that violence would be done her if caught. The Empress was purportedly bundled into a carriage and surreptitiously led away, hopefully to safety.

The escape was foiled, however, when the carriage carrying Marie Antoinette became bogged down in the confusion of peasants fleeing the violence in all directions. There was a maelstrom of mob activity, noise and mistrust around her. Then someone sniffed an elegant scent emanating from a carriage. Only a person of real wealth and refinement could wear such a Fragrance. That person would normally be an enemy of the enraged proletariat.

And so, Marie Antoinette was captured by the mob. Her beautiful, refined Houbigant Perfume had signaled that she was definitely not one of the masses. This story has taken hold and become part of the legend of Houbigant. After the spouting the infamous quip, “Let them eat cake”, the Empress Marie Antoinette was unceremoniously beheaded. Houbigant survived the French Revolution. It seems that the new non-bourgeoisie rulers of France loved luxury Perfumery too.

For the next 200 years Houbigant prospered, introducing over three dozen unique Fragrances including such classics as Quelques Fleur (1912) and Chantilly (1941). The luxury and exclusivity that Houbigant represented insured that stores around the world pampered the brand.

Unfortunately, as so often happens when classic family nurtured brands come under the control of asset managers, Houbigant declined in the late 20th century. By the 1980's Houbigant products were only to be found in mass merchandise merchandise. The Company was acquitted out of bankruptcy by a start-up; Renaissance Fragrance. Renaissance itself filed for bankruptcy in 1999.

By the beginning of the 21st century the venerable House of Houbigant was no longer producing Perfume Products. The reverted Brands that the company had launched, nurtured and pampered had been watered down, diluted and were sold in deep discount chains. The Luxury Scents that had enchanted Marie Antoinette, and is said to have lead to her capture and consequent execution, also has disappeared forever as a harbinger of beauty, quality and exclusivity.

by: Geoff Ficke

You Can’t Save a Fish From Drowning and You Can’t Save People from Slavery Who Are Indoctrinated

Sometimes it looks to me that humans are just a glutton for punishment. Let's take the crisis going on in the Middle East and North Africa. People have protested, and some regimes have fallen, and now those countries are in total chaos. One country is now at war, a new war, along with NATO, yes…

Sometimes it looks to me that humans are just a glutton for punishment. Let's take the crisis going on in the Middle East and North Africa. People have protested, and some regimes have fallen, and now those countries are in total chaos. One country is now at war, a new war, along with NATO, yes I speak of Libya. Tunisia is in real financial trouble, and needs United Nations aid, and without it there may be few countries with uprisings overthrowing their illegitimate governments because they will see all the chaos and economic the crisis which ensues.

In other words they will be taught that a ruthless or illegitimate government is better than none at all. Perhaps this is why the G8, UN, United States, and international monetary fund, along with the world bank has pledged between 20 and $ 40 million which would include Tunisia, and Egypt to help those populations get the government back on its feet, and run as more of a democracy than a republic in name only, and extremely dictatorial.

One thing we have to worry about is that as we promote democracy, and populations overthrown their government, that they do not turn everything into total chaos and anarchy. In other words be careful what you wish for as we see more radical elements rising to the occasion taking advantage of the situation, and claiming that they will solve all the problems, but in doing so this creates a worsened problem than those people and populations had to deal with before.

And unfortunately it becomes the world's problems for instance if let's say; a radical Islamic organization or even a terrorist group became the interim government. And you can not say it has not happened before, because it definitely has, and it is a real possibility, which gets back to my original statement that sometimes it looks as if humans are glutton for punishment. It also reminds me of a Chinese proverb; “you can not save a fish from drowning,” and in that regard you can save people from slavery, indoctrination, or economic enslavement.

It's too bad, because I truly believe that anyone who has ever been free wishes to remain free and have liberty, and a sense of justice in whatever society they live in. I also know from experience and observation that once you are free and have lived in a free country, with liberty and democracy as a sentient being that you wish other people could be free as well. Unfortunately, it seems that humans are irresponsible with their actions when they get into big groups and mobs.

Once that mob mentality sets in, and common decency is thrown out the window, it's amazing what a few turn of events can lead to – indeed, I guess that's my comment here today, and I'm willing to discuss this further with you if you'd like to shoot me an e-mail.

The Cele Kula: The Last of the Skull Towers

Duke Stevan Sindjelic sacrificed his life on May 19, 1809 battling for Serbian independence against the Ottoman Turks, and in the process attained the status of an almost mythic national hero. The three thousand troops under his command were attempting to hold the hill of Cegar in the city of Niš against vastly superior forces,…

Duke Stevan Sindjelic sacrificed his life on May 19, 1809 battling for Serbian independence against the Ottoman Turks, and in the process attained the status of an almost mythic national hero. The three thousand troops under his command were attempting to hold the hill of Cegar in the city of Niš against vastly superior forces, and were born to the point of exhaustion. According to the legends surrounding the battle, Sindjelic realized defeat was inevitable and set fire to a large ammunition dump, forfeiting his own life and those of his troops. Sindjelic's act ensured that the Turkish victory was Pyrrhic-it cost the Turks more than they earned-and in an attempt to terrorize the local populace and break any further resistance the bodies of the Serbian soldiers were decapitated, and their heads sent to Istanbul as trophies . The Ottoman sultan, however, returned the heads to Niš, deciding they would be more effective built into a tower by a busy road to serve as a permanent and highly visible symbol of the futility of rebellion.

The resulting Skull Tower of Niš, or the Cele Kula as it properly called, was barely a novel idea. In fact, it represented the last-and today the only surviving-example of what had been a long-standing Middle Eastern and Central Asian tradition. Monuments which commemorated military victories by displaying the remains (usually the heads) of vanquished enemies dated back at least the fourteenth century, and most frequently took the form of a tower or pyramid. The most infamous were constructed by Tamerlane, who identified them outside of both Baghdad and Isfahan; one was supposedly built out of 100,000 skulls. Such structures were considered the most effective means to simultaneously celebrate a victory and break any remaining morale among those who survived the defeat. The tradition spread as far east as India-one, built by Akbar, is known from Mughal miniatures.

Even before the Cele Kula, Europeans were familiar with this tradition, primarily because of the Burj-er-Roos (Tower of Skulls) on the island of Jerbeh off the coast of Tunis. It was a conical masonry structure about 30 feet high, set all around with the heads of Spaniards who had been massacred by Saracens in the late sixteenth century. The exact history of the Burj-er-Roos is murky, but the story as it was most commonly told involved Spanish troops landing on the island en route from Malta to Tripoli, under a commander whose name is usually given as Juan de la Saera. The Spaniards made their way up from the beach and sacked the nearest town, raping and pillaging at will. The locals, meanwhile, bided their time for a counter attack-they waited until night, when the Spanish troops were drunk and the high tide had cut them off from their vessels on the beach, and slaughtered them to a man. The tower constructed by the victors was topped with the head of de la Saera himself, and reasonable estimates are that it contained the heads of perhaps 800 Spaniards. The Burj-er-roos was a popular site for travelers along the southern coast of Mediterranean Sea through the mid-nineteenth century, but it was finally dismounted in 1848 by Christian inhabitants of the island, who wished to bury the skulls in a Catholic cemetery 1

The Cele Kula is the last skull tower ever constructed; in fact, it was archaic even at its conception since the practice had long been out of style, but was intended to shock the Serbs with its anachronistic display of Old World barbarity. While it may have succeeded in that aim initially, in the end its value became something very different-it wound up being seen not as a mark of humiliation, but a symbol of brave and heroic sacrifice, and when Niš was liberated in 1878 the decision was made to preserve it as a patriotic monument. The tower proved to be such a potent memorial that was sanctified in 1892 when a chapel was built around it. Still enclosed in the small domed chapel, the Cele Kula has become a curious nexus in the cultural life of Niš. For some it holds the status of a sacred relic, for others it is a bizarre curiosity; it attracts serious students of history, but also people with entirely different interests-including a local man who owns a white goose which he claims can commune with the souls of the dead soldiers whose skulls are present in the tower, and pass on messages to their descendents.

Those who visit the Cele Kula now are seeing it in a very deteriorated state. The Turks intended it as a warning to rebellious Serbs, not as a monument that would last for two centuries. Technically its construction its crude, and exposure to the elements during the nineteenth century caused the mortar to deteriorate to the point that large numbers of the skulls had come loose, or simply fallen to the ground. Many were taken by locals, either because they wanted to bury them or because they wanted them as mementos. From afar, the stories told during the nineteenth century of the Cele Kula conjured fantastic visions of a gigantic edifice stacked with crania, but this was a far cry from the reality of its condition. The tower was originally composed as a square with 14 rows of 17 skulls per side, for a total of 952, and it quickly fell into disrepair, even as its myth became increasingly glorified and its size and condition greatly exaggerated. A traveler in the 1830s published an account claiming there were 600 skulls on each side, which would be a total of 2400.2 That number was bettered considering by the Frenchman Alphonse de la Martine, who also visited in the 1830s and published a memorandum in the 1840s which declared “there may be from fifteen to twenty thousand” skulls present.3 Both accounts were dumped by an 1854 book which inexplicably described “a pyramid of 30,000 Chistian skulls (Servians), victims of the Turkish sword.” 4

Such outrageous accounts caused visitors to the site to be bitterly disappointed. A traveler in the 1830s expressed his disappointment, calling it a “petty affair,” and reporting that in reality there were only a few skulls still remaining.5 By mid-century it had fallen into such disrepair that it was being openly mocked by visitors . An Englishman reported that he found birds nesting in the holes where the skulls had once been, and that a “sparrow's eggs were being hatched in the brainless peri-cranium of an ancient Serbian patriot.” 6 The decline block currently holds some 60 skulls, but since more forthright reports indicate that some of these were returned during attempts to rehabilitate the structure, the reality is that visitors to Niš in the late 1800s arrived to find the tower almost completely denuded of skulls. Efforts to restore the Cele Kula began with the recognition of its patriotic value in the late nineteenth century. The decision to enclose it in the chapel was in part made to help protect what remained, and the tower is now enclosed behind a glass wall so that visitors are unable to touch it, and help ensure that this unique monument-the last of its kind -will be preserved for future generations.

Notes

1. See Thomas Kerrich, “Some Account of the Island of Jerbi, and the Tower of Human Heads, From Information Obtained on a Visit to that Island in the Summer of 1833,” in The Amulet: A Christian and Literary Remembrancer, Ed. Samuel Carter Hall (London: 1836), 9-37; Major Sir Grenville T. Temple, Excursions in the Meditterenean: Algiers and Tunis, vol. 1 (London: 1835), 156-157; Jamrs McCaulley, Wonderful Stories of Daring Enterprise, and Adventure (London: 1887), 100 ;; “Jerbeh's Tower of Skulls: A Grim Monument to Saracen Vengeance,” New York Times, 6 Feb. 1881 p.10 .; Robert Sears, ed., Sears' Wonders of the World. Second Series (New York: 1856), 63-64.

2. Richard Burgess, Greece and the Lecvant, or a Diary of a Summer's Excursion in 1834, vol. 2 (London: 1835 revised), 272.

3. Alphonse de la Martine, A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land: Comprising Recollections, Sketches, and Reflections Made During a Tour in the East, vol. 2 (New York: 1842), 266-267. The account was originally written in 1832.

4. Ivan Golovin, The Nations of Russia and Turkey and their Destiny (London: 1854), 41.

5. Francis Herve, Esq., “A Residence in Greece and Turkey with Notes on the Journey Through Bulgaria, Servia, Hungary, and the Balkans, in Waldie's Select Circulating Library, vol. 12 (Philadelphia: 1838), 169.

6. James Henry Skene, The Frontier Lands of the Christian and the Turk, Comprising Travels in the Region of the Lower Danube in the Years 1850 and 1851, vol. 2 (London: 1853), 401.

Don’t Fence Me In

WONDER WHAT'S ON THE OTHER SIDE? Ever had the experience of where you realize that something you used to make you feel good … an outfit, a place or even a person … do not seem to fit right or feel as good as they once did? What happened to it while I was not…

WONDER WHAT'S ON THE OTHER SIDE?

Ever had the experience of where you realize that something you used to make you feel good … an outfit, a place or even a person … do not seem to fit right or feel as good as they once did? What happened to it while I was not looking?

I have been having that experience laately.

When this happens, I usually try to deny it or try to make it work by putting in lots of effort to recapture what I am losing. I will make it work, I say … which of course is just asking for more frustration but then, I'm a slow learner.

Often I felt naked & vulnerable as it feels like things that have changed things are the things make me feel secure. I resent that I did not have a choice that my “blankness” are going w away.

With lots of resistance …

It started to happen last fall when I had some health challenges and was advised to slow down some and not work so hard. I knew it was good advice and despite difficult to put into practice, I liked the idea. And thought it would be great to have more time for myself.

So with some (lots) of resistance, I began to let go of some projects and obligations.

When winter came, I enjoyed some hibernating but still kept my long list of “to dos”. The quiet voiced coup asking me, “Who would you be without all the doing?” It was scary to think of that.

But by spring, I began to get restless and felt “fenced in” by all the “musts & shoulds” I had built around me.

With reluctance, it began to occur to me all the “duties” gave me some identity as well as kept me very busy with no time to look around.

The “safe places” no longer fit or felt as good.

And while that was very good for a long time, I could also see that it also kept me in one place. My protection “masks” had, in some ways, become barriers. The “safe places” no longer fit or felt as good.

I began to see that I needed to slow down so I could pay attention at first. But now I needed to clear some room to grow …. I needed more wide open spaces and fewer fences.

If every day is filled, it leaves little room for creating & exploring.

What would my life be like if I could let go a little and open space for new and old dreams to appear? And if I could allow myself to feel unsure and naked a bit, maybe I could take down some of my “fear fence” … and I might have a great new view!

So now as I take baby steps in exploring some new areas, I like playing the old cowboy song, “Do not Fence Me In” and the Dixie Chicks wonderful song celebrating “Wide Open Spaces.”

They remind me that it is only in outgrowing our gaps, that we are truly free

The Magnificent Gallery of Chinese Art

The famous University of Oxford sponsors the Museum of Art and Archeology in the new Ashmolean building. This is a famous place to view some of the greatest artifacts ever placed together for display. Between the lower ground level of thematic galleries and a top floor suite of galleries are three levels. These levels are…

The famous University of Oxford sponsors the Museum of Art and Archeology in the new Ashmolean building. This is a famous place to view some of the greatest artifacts ever placed together for display. Between the lower ground level of thematic galleries and a top floor suite of galleries are three levels. These levels are generally devoted to the ancient world, the medieval world, and the early modern world. China has artifacts on display on all three of these levels. What the ancient artifacts seem to suggest to us is not very easy to notice when one begins to observe the displays. After all, these are important pieces from the ancient to pre-modern worlds which even Asian people living today have little personal connection to. However, when a closer observation and careful research are conducted the implication of the collection is quite provoking for thought.

On the ground floor gallery China's artifacts are displayed up to 800 CE. These include a magnificent collection of bronzes, jades, and early ceramic pieces. Sir Herbert and Lady Ingram presented this excellent collection to the museum in 1956. Their collection contains several thousand Chinese and Japanese works of art. The gallery itself is long and narrow. On one side is the line of cases displaying ordinary bronzes of the Shang period (circa 1600-1100 BCE). Western Zhou (circa 1100-771 BCE), Eastern Zhou (770-250 BCE), and Han (206 BCE-220 CE) dynasty artifacts are part of the collection as well. On the other side is a display that documents the development of formal writing in the Middle Kingdom. It starts with what are called “oracle bones.” Then it ends with well-defined Chinese calligraphy. Next to the oracle bones and bronze jar, with a single character written opposite its handle, is a small scroll which reproduces in red ink a scapula shaped bone and its inscription. These pieces tell a fantastic story of the development of art and writing in the ancient world of the East that is informative and revealing. It also demonstrates that civilization developed to a high level in China.

The calligraphy at the bottom is signified by a person named “Dong Zuobin” (1895-1963). It turns out that Dong was one of the primary excavators of Anyang. He records his own inscription to confirm that the scroll was a gift to Dr. Homer Dubs on his departure from China in 1947. He left China in order to take up the chair in Chinese at the University of Oxford. The writing display continues with Zhou bronze inscriptions. It is present with Zhou and Han dynasty coins, clay sealing, roof tiles, and mirrors which bear different categories of functional text.

The early China gallery certainly demonstrates the drawing connections between the pieces on display and the scholarship that they inspired. However, it also shows how writing and artifacts from ancient China have reverberated in dynasties which followed earlier ones. As an example, one can look at the bronze gui on a square pedestal base. This is a rare and excellent piece of mid to late Western Zhou bronze casting. It is additionally distinguished by its often published inscription, but also by its ownership history. The early China gallery proceeded with a noteworthy display of Tang (618-907 CE) sancai wares linking back to the Central Asian and Indian collections. This is also a theme developed on the next floor up in a gallery entitled “Asian Crossroads.” This theme explores the connections, mainly through trade, between East and Southeast Asia. It then reaches across the Indian Ocean to Africa, and even to the Mediterranean. If this theme has historical validity (which according to the evidence it appears to), then occasionally the ancient Eastern world was not as isolated as the modern observer today might think?

Furniture and tapestries, including Japanese and Chinese lacquer chairs, and a beautiful Coromandel screen are complemented by smaller displays of ceramics. The ceramics come from Japan, China, Southeast Asia, England, France, and Germany. However, the most direct example of trade between England and China in the gallery is a mid 18th century porcelain plate with a simple border of pink flowers around an image of the gate to the Oxford Botanical Gardens. This is another evidence of the theme of “West Meets East” as a historical event. It describes to be directly considered with an open mind. The bold suggestion from the later ceramic pieces looks hard to avoid. Namely, trade between the West and East has been going on for a long time. How long exactly is uncertain. It may be impossible to ever know with any inaccuracy accuracy. However, it may also be longer than we had previously thought!

The Great Astrological End-Time

The Apocalypse is upon us, a part of a great astrological end-time cycle that is impacting humanity today. Global warming is now a reality. Devastating climate changes, including earthquakes and volcanoes, have been getting worse since 1970. We have also seen an epidemic rise in depression and suicide in this same time period. And we…

The Apocalypse is upon us, a part of a great astrological end-time cycle that is impacting humanity today. Global warming is now a reality. Devastating climate changes, including earthquakes and volcanoes, have been getting worse since 1970. We have also seen an epidemic rise in depression and suicide in this same time period. And we are heading for a Sixth Big Extinction of almost all life on earth.

The astrological signs Virgo and Pisces sit in opposition to each other across the zodiac, creating an axis that acts as a trigger for end-time energies. Virgo rules disintegration and extinction, and Pisces rules dissolution, giving to the times occupied by these signs the quality of dramatic change. The table is cleaned and washed in order to create space for a new feast to be set.

In addition to ages, there are twelve eras (my terminology) in every age, and twelve phases in every era. We sit at the beginning of the Pisces Era of the Age of Pisces, 1980 to 2160. This is a doubly intense Pisces / Virgo bath of dissolution and disintegration adding greatly to the end-time quality of this time.

Since the Pisces Phase (1965 to 1980) of the Aquarius Era (1800 to 1980) of the Age of Pisces, our history has taken on a decidedly end-time flavor. Toxic industrial and nuclear pollution made headlines after 1965. A sudden rise in species extinctions became a major concern. International and domestic terrorism exploded onto the scene in Europe and America. Welfare dramatically dramatized, and inflation began to tear at the economic fabric of our lives. Depression and suicide rates began to climb. And these trends have continued to today. Since 1970 weather patterns began to change, and earthquakes and volcanoes began to increase in frequency and intensity. Global warming is now a scientific fact with devastating projections for our future over the next century. And many researchers say that we have just now entered a Sixth Big Extinction event that will affect all life on earth.

We can look at history to get a perspective on this. The Virgo Eras of the last two ages reveal a history of social and political separation resulting in periods of feudalistic isolation. The Virgo Era of the Age of Aries, from 1080 to 900 BCE, witnessed the internal social and political separation of the Egyptian Empire, the breakdown into warring feudalistic city-states of the First Assyrian Empire, and the establishment of the feudalistic Greek city- states as Greeks moved into their present homeland.

The Virgo Era of the Age of Pisces, 900 to 1080 CE, saw the same fragmentation of culture. Europe disintegrated into small, isolated cities and manors in a system known as manoralism. The Islamic empire fragmented into three separate Caliphates. The Tang Dynasty in China devolved into a fragmented feudalistic system where local warlords ruled the country in the name of the emperor. The Mayans in Central America suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from their homeland after 900 CE.

The Pisces Eras also reveal histories of social and political confusion and breakdown. During the Pisces Era of the Age of Aries, 180 to 0 BCE, the Late Republic in Rome after 200 BCE, entered a period of severe internal violence and social dissolution. There was a massive rise in the number of slaves imported into the city. Citizens were pushed out of their jobs, and a huge welfare state was created. Gladiatorial games were created to keep the people occupied and off the streets. Huge slum tenements were built on the outskirts of the city to house the poor. A widening division between rich and poor split the city as the middle class dissolved and slid into poverty. Politics became a path to wealth and power as greed replaced civic responsibility. Similar trends of social dissolution and internal violence are also seen in the Early Han Dynasty in China between 200 and 0 BCE.

It is easy to see the beginnings of these same trends in our modern world over the last few decades. Welfare and entitlement programs have become a necessary part of the political landscape. Global warming and climate changes are marks for something dramatic that is happening today.

Is this something to be worried about? The smaller Virgo and Pisces Eras create times of social and political breakdown. The longer ages would be times of major end-time scenarios. The Age of Virgo from 12,960 to 10,800 BCE, sets opposite to our present Age of Pisces in the zodiac. At approximately 10,000 BCE, there is evidence of a huge global extinction of large animals, the Pleistocene Extinction, possibly caused by some type of cosmic cataclysm. This is very close to the end of the Age of Virgo, close enough to fit this end-time cycle.

The Beresovka Mammoth was found flash frozen with fresh undigested buttercups in its mouth and stomach. To keep food from the continued process of digestion, the mammoth would have had to flash frozen to -150 degrees Fahrenheit almost immediately. Also found in Siberia are temperate trees frozen with fruit still on the branches. The muck pits of Alaska reveal many thousands of large animals killed and instantly frozen, torn apart and mixed with the torn trunks of trees, as if they were all violently thrown down with some superhuman force mashing them all together in a single cosmic event.

There was a sudden rise in the level of the world's oceans at around 10,000 BCE as well. Since the 1950s there have been numerous reports of finding underwater manmade megalithic stone walls, stone roads and temples in the Caribbean. More recently a city was discovered under 100 feet of water in the Indian Ocean off the coast of northern India. A recent NASA satellite photograph shows an underwater manmade stone bridge or causeway running from southern India to the island of Sri Lanka. These were all above water prior to 10,000 BCE.

Worldwide, over 500 myths and stories remember at least one such catastrophic world ending tragedy in the past. A grateful of them remember more than one such destruction. The ancient Egyptians, who cave to us our ideas about Atlantis, say that there is a regularly recurring cycle of end-time destructions. This is in line with what this astrological end-time cycle reveals.

Now that we are in the Pisces Era within the Age of Pisces since 1980, this could all get worse. The doubly strong astrological energy bath of Pisces dissolution and Virgo disintegration and extinction right now promise apocalypse prior to the promised golden Age of Aquarius, the Millennium of Christ. So, how do we survive into the next age as a species?

The astrology that says that we are in trouble, also tells us to embrace the best of the astrological energies involved. This means embracing the highest Pisces energies, deepening our Pisces spirituality as the best way through this. Pisces rules spirituality. The planet Venus is exalted in Pisces, giving to the religions of this age the heightened impulse to emotion, and expressing selfless and compassionate love to everyone around us, without judgment. We meditate or pray, a Virgo mental technique that allows us to get past our fears, and which helps us to align our personal energies with the spiritual energies of Pisces and with God or Goddess. Expressing these energies in our lives enlivens them for the collective, allowing us to direct the output of these times to our own ends.

While the Age of Aquarius is still a good ways off, Pisces rules contact with other worlds, higher worlds. Following the Pisces spiritual path can help us to contact and create heaven on earth right now, without waiting for the golden Age of Aquarius. Pisces rules dreams. We can choose to dream a new world, free from poverty, crime and suffering, and free of destructive prophecy, or at least the more devastating aspects of prophecy. Meditation and prayer in the service of our dreams supports the Aquarius energies of utopia. The planet Mercury, the mind, is exalted in Aquarius. Through positive thinking and affirmations, we can learn to manifest our hopes, dreams and wishes, and create a new utopia, all Aquarius qualities.

The Apocalypse is indeed here. It is riding the wave of an astrologically enlivened end-time cycle. The Golden Age will follow. The astrological qualities of these times, of this end-time, is asking us to become the sons and daughters of God, as Christ foresaw, and take for ourselves the ability to perform all the miracles that Christ performed, and more, in fulfillment of Christ's prophecies regarding us during this transition.