AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books


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Hooray say the people, it’s the Solstice!

Today in the Northern Hemisphere we round the corner on darkness.  It is the Hibernal solstice when the sun is near its greatest distance from the equatorial plane, standing still as it were.

Today Marduk tamed the monsters of chaos and for one more year we are safe as we move back into the light.

Today we light candles and keep them lit.  Though darkness is already on the run, we must continue to chase it away so spring can come faster.

Today the Oak King is apparently dead, his branches bare and cold.  We thought the Holly King had won, as he remained green,  but long live the Oak King as he returns to rule us into Midsummer!  Go, hang the holly, let it catch bad spirits on it’s tiny horns, protecting us in the months of darkness when the border with the shadowlands is permeable.

Today is the Saturnalia where we eat and dance and decorate the evergreens with red berries.  We will reverse all our roles, switch with our opposites and see the world from the other side, through other eyes.

Today and for the days to come, find joy in each other, celebrate, kiss beneath the mistletoe, feast in the light of candles.  Celebrate the darkness and the joy we have as  it washes away.  Tonight we breathe and meditate on our lives.  We breathe out the things we want gone, we breathe in our wishes for the coming year.  Tomorrow life begins again.


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Summer Begins

Scrolling back through entries here I see I’ve often posted at length on the Winter Solstice, but not for the Summer.

Summer begins at 6:09pm.  In Middle Tennessee, the sun today rose at 5:30am, then sets at 8:07pm, giving us 14.6 hours of sunlight.  The longest day of the year.

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with the Summer Solstice.  Here in Tennessee I feel a little cheated, perhaps because of our latitude.  If I was in Seattle today I’d have a full 16 hours of daylight, being so much further north.  It is one of the glorious delights of the North, the drastic changes in the amount of light make you value the seasons.  It somehow gives you more visible seasonal drama beyond mere temperature changes and plants returning to life.  And yet, even in the Great North I always felt the Summer Solstice to be somewhat bittersweet.

The light diminishes after flaring it’s brightest on this day.  In Tennessee it means less in than it does in the North, as it will never get as dark in winter, so there is less burden to bear on that end.  Indeed, the longest days of summer are still ahead of us, if we are measuring by heat, laziness and availability of good food cooked outside on a grill.  But the light passing has always felt like loss to me.  A downward journey that eventually ends in the darkness of winter.  The beauty of autumn is joy to behold.  As is the desolation of winter in it’s own way.  Still today feel like an ending, a turn we took, walking away from spring. Fortunately spring will return next year, no matter what we do, and on the Winter Solstice we can look longingly at the slow the return of the light,  knowing that spring must come on the heels of the sun’s return.

I don’t know the origins of my dark view of midsummer.  Perhaps growing up so far north, where the loss of the sun means so much darkness.  Perhaps it’s burned in genetic memory from my Scandinavian and Scottish ancestors.  It’s no mystery that the Scandinavian cultures, and for northern European ones, celebrate Midsummer as a massive festival.  Because indeed today feels massive, like the most there is, the best you can have, ALL the sunlight.  And yet it is only today, quickly fleeting, like everything in life.


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April is surely not the cruelest month, everyone knows that’s February

April begins BIRTHDAY MONTH.  I would love to say it’s all a celebration of me, from beginning to end, but indeed many of my most loved friends share this month for their own celebrations.  I’d say a good dozen or so of you are already, or gearing up to celebrate your own births.  Let’s all do it together!  HOORAY!

The April birthstone is diamond and the flower is Sweet Pea. Which seem some how at odds with each other.  Like at what point is someone going to be like, ‘say, baby, I got you some diamonds and this Sweet Pea bouquet’? It seems simultaneously weird and actually just like something I’d want, so maybe it does make sense for April after all.  Though I prefer amethysts to diamonds, partly over the whole blood diamond and hideous over hype of them and mostly because everyone knows anything purple is superior to anything else!

March has wound down being grim and grey, despite some thrilling spring sun there in the middle and I have high hopes for April. A little more sun and fewer days I have to put on gloves in the morning to keep my hands from stiffening up on the drive to work.

April also brings an awesome surprise visit from my cousins at the beginning, a long anticipated visited from good friends at the middle and my birthday at the end, so I surely couldn’t ask for more goodness from this month!  It should be calm, wonderful, joyous friends and family love all the way through!  Everyone should have a month like this occasionally.

April is also National Poetry Month for which I shall share some of the poems I carry around in my handbag at all times:

Three Crepuscular Poems
Federico García Lorca

[1]
The evening is
penitent,
still dreaming about
noon.
(Red trees & clouds
over the hills.)
The evening, loosening green
lyric hair,
is gently trembling
… vexed
to be the evening having once been
noon.

[2]
Now the evening starts!
Why? Why?
… just now
I watched the day droop down
just like a morning flower.
A day lily
bending its stems
… just now …
the roots of evening
rising through the gloom.

[3]
Adiós, sun!

I know for sure that you’re the moon,
but I
won’t tell nobody,
sun.

You sneak
behind the curtain
& cover your face
with rice powder.

By day, the farmhand’s
guitar,
by night, Pierrot’s
mandolin.

I should care!

Your illusion,
sun, is to make
the garden
turn Technicolor.

Adiós, sun!

And don’t you forget who loves you:
the snail,
the little old lady
on her balcony,
& me …
spinning my heart like a …
top.


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Annual ‘The Solstice is JOY’ post

Today the solstice coincides with a full lunar eclipse, the first total lunar eclipse to occur on the winter solstice since 1638.

Today in the Northern Hemisphere we round the corner on darkness.  It is the Hibernal solstice when the sun is near its greatest distance from the equatorial plane, standing still as it were.

Today Marduk tamed the monsters of chaos and for one more year we are safe as we move back into the light.

Today we light candles and keep them lit.  Though darkness is already on the run, we must continue to chase it away so spring can come faster.

Today the Oak King is apparently dead, his branches bare and cold.  We thought the Holly King had won, as he remained green,  but long live the Oak King as he returns to rule us into Midsummer!  Go, hang the holly, let it catch bad spirits on it’s tiny horns, protecting us in the months of darkness when the border with the shadowlands is permeable.

Today is the Saturnalia where we eat and dance and decorate the evergreens with red berries.  We will reverse all our roles, switch with our opposites and see the world from the other side, through other eyes.

Today and for the days to come, find joy in each other, celebrate, kiss beneath the mistletoe, feast in the light of candles.  Celebrate the darkness and the joy we have as  it washes away.  Tonight we breathe and meditate on our lives.  We breathe out the things we want gone, we breathe in our wishes for the coming year.  Tomorrow life begins again.


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Not from my own head

A few recent things I’m reposting here mostly so I’ll remember, but also a little bit for your edification.

From my mom’s Facebook page this past Monday:

MLK: “I am in _____ because injustice is here… I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in _____ and not be concerned about what happens in _____. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a sin…gle garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

and

MLK, just before midnight: “We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in _____ and justice throughout the developing world — a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who pos…sess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

Seen several places, grabbed from http://www.christyfrink.com

Brezsnyscope 2010 forecast for me.  Brezsny is both sensible and, I think, completely out of his mind.  If you aren’t already reading them, his horoscopes give excellent meditation fodder, even if you don’t believe in astrology.

Good commentary on the news out of Mass. today.

Today’s picture was taken on the Olympic Peninsula in July 2005.  I think it was from inside a cave at the far south end of Ruby beach.


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Everyone rejoice it’s the SOLSTICE!

Because I am on vacation and also not inclined to do work I’ve already done, I will simply re-post last year’s post:

Today in the Northern Hemisphere we round the corner on darkness.  It is the Hibernal solstice when the sun is near its greatest distance from the equatorial plane, standing still as it were.

Today Marduk tamed the monsters of chaos and for one more year we are safe as we move back into the light.

Today we light candles and keep them lit.  Though darkness is already on the run, we must continue to chase it away so spring can come faster.

Today the Oak King is apparently dead, his branches bare and cold.  We thought the Holly King had won, as he remained green,  but long live the Oak King as he returns to rule us into Midsummer!  Go, hang the holly, let it catch bad spirits on it’s tiny horns, protecting us in the months of darkness when the border with the shadowlands is permeable.

Today is the Saturnalia where we eat and dance and decorate the evergreens with red berries.  We will reverse all our roles, switch with our opposites and see the world from the other side, through other eyes.

Today and for the days to come, find joy in each other, celebrate, kiss beneath the mistletoe, feast in the light of candles.  Celebrate the darkness and the joy we have as  it washes away.  Tonight we breathe and meditate on our lives.  We breathe out the things we want gone, we breathe in our wishes for the coming year.  Tomorrow life begins again.


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I could definitely use a new set of questions right about now

FREE WILL ASTROLOGY
Week beginning June 18
Copyright 2009 by Rob Brezsny
http://FreeWillAstrology.com

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your education is about to take a curious and interesting turn. During the coming weeks, I expect that you’ll upgrade your street smarts and explore a whole new meaning for the term “hands- on experience.” You’ll find out about an area of ignorance that was so deep and dark you didn’t even know about it, and you’ll take aggressive steps to get it the teaching it needs. Congratulations in advance for being brave enough to open your mind so wide, Taurus. I’m glad you’ll be hunting for a fresh set of questions.