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VENUS JPG SC20120324-200905 AUTO2

Leaving Minnehaha Falls At Dusk, Droid Screenshot of the Night Sky, Star
Chart over Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 24, 2012,
photos © 2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




NIGHT VISION


Leaving Minnehaha Falls at dusk,
a woman brushes by in a black beret.
On her forearm, a Libra tattoo.
On her face, the rising crescent Moon.

“Look,” I say, “Venus & Jupiter.”
She pauses, points, “Back there, that’s Mars.”
Seven Sisters, one hundred and eighty degrees—
the astrological Underworld.




After a Pampered Chef party in South Minneapolis, Liz and I stopped to take photographs at Minnehaha Falls. When we climbed the limestone steps to leave the park, a sliver of Moon rose next to two of the brightest stars. When I pulled up the Droid Star Chart app, they proved to be planets. Venus and Jupiter hovered over the waxing crescent Moon with the Pleiades close by. Right behind me, a stranger pointed out Mars.

According to Shamanic Astrology, March, 2012 begins the Underworld Saga where Venus (the feminine) and Mars (the masculine) only meet when they are with the Sun. Mars is always retrograde when it is opposite the Sun. This year it will be retrograde in the sign of Virgo for 81 days, January 23 to April 13, 2012. In 2113, Mars dips below the horizon and into the Underworld, a time of chaos and surrender in service to people and the greater community. Read more about the future at Shamanic Astrology and the predicted night sky at Sky and Telescope.

Star Chart was introduced to my by my brother when he visited last Fall and pulled up the night sky right over our heads. I highly recommend it. My second favorite app of the month is The Photographer’s Ephemeris. With TPE, you can instantly access information on the exact rise and set of the Sun and Moon, your altitude in relationship to the landscape, and times when the Sun and Moon will be at an optimal location in the sky for your photograph. When Liz and I were at the 50-foot bottom of Minnehaha Falls, we saved our location in TPE giving us all the info we need to return at an optimum time to photograph the Moon over the falls. Venus and Mars are alright tonight.

-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, March 31st, 2012

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MANDALA 3 2011-08-06 15.54.26 TRIM c

Labyrinth Mandala At The Aquarius Full Moon – 30/52, based on a Yantra from 18th Century India, BlackBerry 52 – WEEK 30, July 25th, 2011, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Medium: Drawn by hand with a black Staedtler archival pigment ink Fineliner on Canson Mix Media XL Series 98lb drawing paper. Colored & collaged with Caran D’Ache NeoColor II Water Soluble Wax Crayons, Sharpie Medium Point Oil-Based Opaque Paint Markers, Sharpie Fine Point Marker, archival photo corners. Photograph taken with a Samsung DROID.


I am sitting still with the Full August Moon at my back. She is high in the sky and refuses to yield to darkness for the the annual Perseid meteor shower. I am undaunted. I know the light from these stars, guessed to be fragments of Swift’s Comet from 1862, will shoot across the heavens, even if I can’t see them in the night sky. As above, so below.

Aquarius the Waterbearer seems like a good sign for a Full Moon (progressive and objective with a crystal clear antenna-like reception of universal intelligence). When I opened the Boundary Waters calendar I bought at the LilyPad Picnic this year, it said that the August Moon was called Miinike-Giizis by the Ojibway — the BlueBerry Moon. The August Full Moon is also known as the Drying Up Moon, the Grain Moon, the Green Corn Moon, and the Yellow Flower Moon, depending on what part of the world you may live.

The Sabbats Almanac claims that the seasonal Lammas Full Moon in Aquarius reflects back to us our relationship with the collective. It is a good time to focus on community, groups, and our hopes and wishes for the future. Aquarius is also the sign of the rebel or iconoclast, so themes may arise that focus attention on unusual issues or people. At the individual level, it’s an auspicious time to notice what we have to offer to our communities and what we might release in order to fully participate.


Two good questions to ask at this time:

1) How do we allow our own need for space and independence
to not hold us back from connecting more with the group?

2) What can we do to create more space and independence
for ourselves so we aren't sacrificing too much of our
individuality for the sake of the collective?


The Full Moon shines the light of awareness on the answers and helps us to understand patterns and dynamics that we may need to release during the dark Moon cycle to come. To celebrate the individual within the group, it is a time to show gratitude for the qualities that each member brings to the table. How does each person in your community shine? Maybe they have a generous heart, excellent communication skills, clear boundaries, or a good sense of humor. Tell them in an email. Call them and leave a voice mail. Mail them a card. The three-day window around the Full Aquarian Moon creates space to show gratitude for the intricate pieces that make up the circle’s whole.

Circles within circles. I created this mandala last weekend after a full and busy month of July. Some days were filled with joy; others pushed me to the limit. All are necessary to grow beyond who I am. I have been studying the circle archetypes of the labyrinth and the mandala for years. A few weeks ago, Liz bought me a birthday present, a book of Sacred Symbols edited by Robert Adkinson. I was immediately drawn to the chapter on the Mysteries and a mandala from 18th century India, a Yantra for the cosmic form Vishnu.  The script around the circle is from the Dhammapada and states:




In the light of her vision
she has found her freedom:
her thoughts are peace,
her words are peace,
and her work is peace.




Peace. It’s right there, yet just beyond our reach. On a final note, if you follow skylore, there is a tidbit about Perseus at EarthSky: the Perseid shower commemorates the time when the god Zeus visited the mortal maiden Danae in the form of a shower of gold. Zeus and Danae became the parents of Perseus the Hero – from whose constellation the Perseid meteors radiate. Perseus, you are beyond sky worthy, a flying, not fallen hero — I’m counting on you.



-posted on red Ravine at the Full August Blueberry Moon, Saturday, August 13th, 2011, with gratitude to Lotus for her labyrinthian inspiration

Lotus and I will continue to respond to each other’s BlackBerry Jump-Off photos with text, photography, poetry (however we are inspired) for the 52 weeks of 2011. You can read more at BlackBerry 52 Collaboration. If you are inspired to join us, send us a link to your images, poetry, or prose and we’ll add them to our posts.

Labyrinth Mandala At The Aquarius Full Moon (Detail) -related to posts: Ears Still To The Lonely Wind — Mandala For RabbitFlying Solo — Dragonfly In Yellow Rain, Shadow Of A Dragonfly, Dragonfly Wings — It Is Written In The Wind, Dragon Fight — June Mandalas, EarthHealer — Mandala For The Tortoise, ode to a crab (haiku & mandala), Eye Of The Dragon Tattoo

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Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice, Winter Solstice Celebration, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2010, photos © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Sitting, staring out the window. The Hairy Woodpecker has found our suet feeder. This year we moved the deck feeders two feet South to protect them from the squirrels. The rodents can jump about 4 feet from the deck rail to the feeders if they put their minds to it. I love the woodpeckers and am happy they have found a safe place to feed for the Winter.

Last night we celebrated Winter Solstice. Holding On, Letting Go Letting go of what we want to leave in the Dark, making conscious choices about what to bring into the Light. I was quiet, more withdrawn than usual. Liz wore the Bear this year. I loved watching her dance down the path, calmly and playfully.

Ice Candle The night was cloudy, with a frigid West Wind blowing right into our faces. My fingers grew numb; I pulled them into my coat to keep warm. Homemade ice candles lit the path down to the fire ring. We didn’t hear the coyotes. Or the Great Horned Owl from last year. There were times when we stood by the fire in complete Silence. Other moments when drums and rattles were going full force. The drummer in me is happy at these rituals.

Morning finds me tired, sore, smelling like smoke from last year’s Yule tree. Solar Tree It’s 4 degrees as I type. A powerful Solstice is a day away. What makes it so potent is something that has not happened in 450 years — the combination of a Winter Solstice Blue Moon (the original meaning of a Blue Moon was Four Full Moons in one season) which coincides with a Total Lunar Eclipse.

According to NASA, an eclipse of the Moon can only take place at Full Moon, and only if the Moon passes through some portion of Earth’s Winter Solstice Fireshadow. Unlike a Solar Eclipse, it is safe to view with the naked eye. From a Shamanic perspective, the Total Lunar Eclipse collapses time and accelerates what’s already in motion. The rare Winter Solstice Full Moon Total Lunar Eclipse is a time that creates maximum synchronization of Solar and Lunar cycles, strengthening the power and intensity of the Sun and Moon together. When this happens the New Year brings increased understanding of a larger cycle of events at work in the world, and of lineage, the knowledge passed down from the Ancients.


Here are the times for Solstice & Eclipse events in Minnesota (CST):

Total Eclipse of the Moon — Tuesday, December 21st, 1:41am to 2:53am CST
Full Blue Moon in Gemini — Tuesday, December 21st, 2:13am CST
Winter Solstice 2010 — Tuesday, December 21st, at 5:38pm CST


Hours to view the reddish hues of the eclipsed December Moon vary, depending on where you live. In Europe and the eastern United States and Canada (time zones AST, Tiny Solstice MoonEST and CST), the entire eclipse occurs during the early morning hours of December 21, 2010. For the western United States and Canada (time zones MST and PST), the eclipse begins before midnight on the night of December 20, and ends sometime after midnight on the morning of December 21. In Alaska and Hawaii (time zones AKST and HST), most of the eclipse occurs on the night of December 20, but ends early on December 21.

You can find official times in your area at Mr. Eclipse and a detailed breakdown of the phases of this year’s Winter Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse. If you don’t feel like braving the elements, NASA is providing a live webcam at their site.


Another year is coming to a close. The frost on our windows tells me Winter is here to stay. We have had a cold December. One that finds pleasure in mimicking the sub-zero temps we usually see in January. And the snow! Almost three feet of it. Last weekend we were digging out. This weekend, back to the mundane chores of living. Chop wood, carry water. You can’t get away from it. Blue sky peeks over the oaks and ash. The woodpecker has flown from the feeder; a Lunar Eclipse is on the way.


2004 Lunar Eclipse Sequence, (c) 2004 Fred Espenak, courtesy Fred Espenak, Mr. Eclipse at http://www.mreclipse.com


-posted on red Ravine, Monday, December 20th, 2010 , partially based on a Sunday Writing Practice about Frost

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Happy 3rd Birthday, red Ravine!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 7th 2010, doodle © 2010 by Lizzie Bee. All rights reserved.


It was November 2006 when ybonesy and I started planning and writing for red Ravine, fruit from a seed planted in Taos, New Mexico at a writing workshop with Natalie Goldberg. In April 2008, red Ravine celebrated her 1st birthday with the post A Year Of Living Dangerously. When I saw that ybonesy and I were approaching our 3rd birthday, I went back and read some of the comments from 2 years ago. One of the most fun, from Sam, about red Ravine’s Zodiac sign (Aries) sparked a whole conversation:


QM, I looked up a make-shift chart for red Ravine. I went back to the April 7th post, and didn’t see a timestamp, so I used 9am, with San Francisco (WordPress) as the birthplace. That put the Moon in Sagittarius, Mars and Mercury in Pisces, and Venus in Taurus.

But I’m betting that you and YB have more accurate data. You should swing by Cafe Astrology for a free natal chart, AND you can get free compatibility readings while you’re there, too. Then, let us all in on the results.

In astronomy, the zodiac (Greek: ζῳδιακός) is the ring of constellations that lines the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun across the sky over the course of the year. The Moon and planets lie within the ecliptic, and are also part of the constellations of the zodiac. In astrology, the zodiac denotes those signs that divide the ecliptic into twelve equal zones of celestial longitude.

When I was in high school, I belonged to a Tri-Hi-Y named The Zodiacs. My Sun is in Cancer, with Taurus Moon and Taurus rising. My ruling planet is the Moon. ybonesy and I haven’t done compatibility readings, but after 3 1/2 years of publishing red Ravine, I’d say our Gemini/Cancer combination seems to be working.

I thought it might be fun to take this opportunity to poll our readers (as ybonesy mentioned in the comment thread on the 2008 post) and see what signs they are. ybonesy thinks we have a high percentage of Gemini readers on red Ravine. But I’m not so sure. What sign are you?





In Gratitude: Here’s to another year of red Ravine. With much appreciation to our readers and guests. You keep the community energy flowing, and help us keep going. Special thanks to ybonesy, my blog partner, an inspiration. And to Liz, my partner in life (who also created the doodle in this piece). I could never have kept going on this project without the two of you.

-posted on red Ravine, in celebration of her 3rd Birthday & Blogiversary, Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

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Ode To A Crab, mandala created from a blank circle, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Ode To A Crab, mandala created from a blank circle, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.







 

ocean moondancers
sidewinding, hiding in shells
crabs are people, too











  Hello, Cancer!, detail of Ode To A Crab mandala created from a blank circle, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.      Hello, Cancer!, detail of Ode To A Crab mandala created from a blank circle, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Hello, Cancer!, detail of Ode To A Crab mandala created from a blank circle, oil pastels, black Sharpie, Crayola markers, June 2008, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, June 29th, 2008

-related to posts: haiku (one-a-day), Target — May Mandalas, inspired by post, Good-Bye Gemini

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Los Amantes, pen and ink on tracing paper, doodle
© 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





I read horoscopes and obituaries
flip between the future and the past
they share the heavens in common.

I examine, too, Before and After photos
of a plain, some might say mousey, woman who
through something akin to magic
emerges transformed
a lesser Jolie or Paltrow
much lesser, some might say
I suggest we withhold judgment
until we consult the stars.

It is the 50th Anniversary snapshots I love the most
Before: earnest faces, handsome and pretty
every one, without exception, recalls a silent movie
After 50 years and who knows how many dreams
intercepted by crisis
a thousand and one threats
and hanging by a thread
I search for youth (check the brow)
happiness (corners of the mouth)
a singular sign of love (hands, eyes, even skin might give it away).

Gemini is romantic
and pragmatic
Mercury retrograde, it’s said, slows down this mercurial communicator
emphasizes earth
de-emphasizes shattering
illuminates. Claro.

The newspaper says, “Don’t make important decisions
before the 19th.”
Don’t write big checks.
It’s fine to start a new page.
Correction: Your whole life will open up to a new path in the year ahead
after the full moon.
Travel, slow down
tear down what is no longer needed
rebuild a new structure that will be more suitable.

I read my horoscope the way I read the obituaries
Do I know this person?
“Stick to your guns, Gemini,
dear Gemini.”
Did we go to high school together?
I draw down the yearbook from the shelf where it waits
for such an occasion
run middle-aged fingers over cool, smooth paper
feel for a time when I was eager to know
how Pluto and a gaggle of planets
conspired for and against me.

I close the pages on another year
remember fondly my fading Gemini traits
“sex appeal,” “wild child,” “fast not slow”
I hardly recognize myself in daily prognostications

I have to admit
I’d rather wallow with the bereaved and
wonder how the youngest among the deceased
came to meet his end.








As we roll into a new season and a new astrological sign — Goodbye, Gemini; Hello, Cancer — I wanted to visit the notion of horoscopes. I started out in the early days of Gemini wanting to write my own horoscope. A few weeks later, I thought I might create a poem from words and phrases lifted out of the daily and monthly readings found in different newspapers.

In the end I wrote this poem. It does contain phrases that stood out from one of the more interesting June readings for Gemini. ***UPDATE*** — Here is a link to a website called Newspaper Blackout Poems. And I want to give credit to jillypoet and Mariacristina, two poet bloggers who recently tried the blackout method and gave me the inspiration for doing something similar with my horoscope.

I also came across this portal — the best of the horoscopes. I especially enjoyed the first one listed: Susan Miller’s Astrology Zone.

What about you? Do you follow your horoscope? How much weight do you give it? Just curious. (Curiosity is, by the way, a Gemini trait.)



 

-related to posts, Reading The Obits and The Uses Of Sorrow – What Is It About Obituaries?

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Year of the Fire PigGet ready for the abundance of the Chinese New Year beginning Sunday, February 18th, 2007. Writers beware the book buying! And if  you miss Valentine’s Day, you get a second shot at love – Chinese Valentine’s Day is coming up!

Notes below are from this link at Wikipedia:

————————————————-

Boar º¥ Hai February 18, 2007

-The Chinese New Year dates are determined by the lunisolar Chinese calendar, which is also used in countries that have adopted or have been influenced by Han culuture, notably the Koreans, the Japanese, the Tibetans, the Vietnamese and the pagan Bulgars.

-Chinese New Year starts on the first day of the new year containing a new moon (some sources include New Year’s Eve) and ends on the Lantern Festival fourteen days later.

The 1st day is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth. Many people, especially Buddhists, abstain from meat consumption on the first day because it is believed that this will ensure longevity for them. It is also a time where families will pay a visit to their oldest and most senior member of their extended family, usually their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents.

The 15th day of the new year is the last day of the traditional New Year’s celebrations. It is celebrated as Yu¨¢nxi¨¡o ji¨¦ (ÔªÏü½Ú), the Chinese Valentine’s otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei in Fujian dialect. Depending on locality, the same day may also be celebrated as the Lantern Festival, or as the Chinese Valentine’s Day.

————————————————-

Superstitions during the New Year period

The following is a list of beliefs that vary according to dialect groups / individuals.

  • Buying a pair of shoes is considered bad luck. The word “shoes” is a homophone for the word for “rough” in Cantonese.
  • Buying a pair of pants is considered bad luck. The word “pants” is a homophone for the word for “bitter” in Cantonese. (Although some perceive it to be positive as the word ‘pants’ in Cantonese could be a homophone for the word for “wealth”.)
  • A hair-cut is considered bad luck. The word “hair” is a homophone for the word for “prosperity”. Thus “cutting hair” could be perceived as “cutting away your prosperity” in Cantonese.
  • Candy is eaten to ensure the consumer a “sweet” year.
  • Sweeping the floor is considered bad luck, as it will sweep away the good fortune and luck for the new year; in the same way that having a bath will wash away the good fortune.
  • Talking about death is inappropriate for the first few days of Chinese New Year, as it is considered inauspicious as well.
  • Buying books is bad luck, because it is a homonym to the word “lose”.
  • Opening windows and/or doors is considered to ‘bring in’ the good luck of the new year.
  • Switching on the lights for the night is considered good luck to ‘scare away’ ghosts and spirits of misfortune that may compromise the luck and fortune of the new year.

 Tuesday, February, 13th, 2007

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