This is the first day of the fortnight (May 29-June 13) governed by the rune Odal. Its phonetic value is “O” and its literal meaning is “ancestral land,” or more specifically the homestead, homeland, or family land.

In early use, this rune indicated the land of birth in the narrow sense of the immediate locality where the tribe or clan dwelt. Land was important to the Germans. Families preferred to live some distance from one another rather than clustered together in villages and towns. So they cleared a wide swath around the house, probably as a defense against surprise attacks. The origin of the Odal rune form may have been suggested by such clearings.

In its form as an enclosure to delimit possession—a boundary to defend the holy family enclosure from unholy intruders—Odal represents the qualities of belonging, togetherness, ancestral heritage, and those family attributes that are passed on from generation to generation. Odal’s meaning is essentially spiritual in origin and is ultimately derived from the divine ancestry and the past actions of the ancestors.

It is significant to note that the enclosure pictured in Odal, like Ing, integrates the rune Gyfu (X), which signifies an exchange of gifts. This perfectly conveys the meaning of Odal as something built upon mutual exchange and satisfaction. This is, of course, the foundation for all happy homes.

trollkors 1The Odal rune may be related to the Trollkors, or Troll’s Cross, a symbol made of iron or precious metal that was used in Sweden as a pendant on necklaces for women and children or carved onto valuable objects. According to rural Swedish folklore, it was believed to protect what was precious against trolls and other malevolent forces.

Odal is linked to a land-ownership concept in Scandinavia which held that certain land was immobile wealth—that is, that the land could be transferred out of the family or clan only with certain strings attached. It took 60 years for property to become Odal land and to be governed by this principle. Even if were sold, the original family had the right to buy back their ancestral lands for an additional 60 years.

Odal signifies the innate material and spiritual heritage of anything, not just land. It is a symbol of resistance against the intrusion of the arbitrary rule of human governments: it signifies integrity, the wise management of family resources, the liberty of the individual and clan within the framework of natural law, and loyalty to ones’ family or kin. Odal is the rune of material prosperity and well-being.

Odal encourages leadership in clan or family matters and, its polarity being male, may refer to an elder or patriarch such as a grandparent, or in business matters, a founding father of the company. The wisdom of Odal encourages teaching, mentoring, or other methods of passing along accumulated wisdom, knowledge, and tradition.

Magically, Odal can be used to invoke a solid and peaceful family or group life. Odal may be used to protect, increase, or establish an inheritance or heritage intended for future generations. Cast with favor, it brings increase; cast with malice, it brings loss. It can also provide a link to ancestral wisdom through inherited natural skills and abilities.


Groove of the Day

Listen to the Carter Family performing “The Homestead on the Farm”


Weather Report

85° and Clear




Tomorrow, according to my Runic Calendar, we will enter the 60.8-day “Fire” phase of the Creative third of the year. I think this may account for an unconscious expectation in the collective mind of this being in a time of significant stress and change.

Runic CompassThis method of delineating the cycle of the year is derived from the Chinese concept of the “Five Elements,” “Five Phases,” or Wu Xing (五行): Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. The Five Elements nest within three phases that appear in ancient Germanic conceptions of cycles, which progress from the Creative, to the Degenerative, to the Regenerative. The yearly cycle is further bifurcated between two poles of full Yin (November 28) and full Yang (May 29), with continuums in between.

(In fact, that the calendar is a presented as a circle signals that all days and divisions should be viewed as being arrayed along continuums in which transformation occurs in a gradual manner.)

In ancient China, Taoist scholars and mystics developed an understanding of life based on minute observations of nature. They understood that everything in the Universe comes out of the Tao, which manifests as dual principles that ebb and flow between Yin and Yang (i.e., heaven and earth, day and night, masculine and feminine, etc.), as well as the Five Elements.

These elements were understood to be the prime energetic building blocks from which all material substance in the phenomenal world is composed. The Five Elements are representations of the transformation which occurs in the world around us; they are metaphors for describing how things interact and relate with each other.

In the outer ring of the calendar, you will note that some of the days are marked in red. These are so-called “Egyptian Days,” which are traditionally believed to be ‘unlucky’ or inauspicious for beginning a journey or embarking on a new venture. I am not one to put too much faith in the idea of luck, but I theorize that there may be something to the tradition. I speculate that these are the more naturally stressful days in the year, and may derive their status from the slight wobble in the revolution of the Earth on its axis. If you count the number of Egyptian Days in each third of the year, you will note that the Creative phase of the year is slightly more stressful than all other phases: Creative (9 days), Regenerative (8 days), and Degenerative (7 days).

As I mentioned earlier, we are entering the period of the year that is designated as fire, and this subject will comprise the the balance of this essay.

In Chinese thought, fire energy is strongest in summer, early June, and at noon time. At this time, flowers show their bright beauty at a maximum level. Fire is associated with the qualities of swelling, brimming with fire and energy, dynamism, strength, and persistence; however, it is also connected to restlessness. Fire is yang/masculine in character, its direction is upward, and its energy is expansive. The fire element provides warmth and enthusiasm. Fire is also an indicator of creativity. This element manifests itself in unique ways, and those in its glow are wonderfully courageous and lively spirits. Those influenced by fire are self-sufficient, spontaneous and possess a tremendous zest for life. Fire is that element responsible for the passionate resonance when you are following your life’s calling. It is the joy and laughter associated with playfulness. Fire-type people are charming, fun, mischievous, easily excitable, and they change emotional states rapidly. In fact, they love change, bright colors, and environments that stimulate.

Fire is the only element which should be used with discretion. It can be overdone easily and then draws in a nervous unstable aspect. In other words, while fire provides heat and warmth, an excess can also immolate and consume. The negative aspects of Fire are the emotions associated with hate, chaos, fear, and destruction. An excess of fire can bring aggression, impatience, and impulsive behavior.

Those born with the Fire Element love adventure and excitement; they have dynamic personalities and can become excellent leaders. They are competitive, though, and may become restless. Fire Elements tend to have a rather magnetic attraction. They don’t like to be secluded away from others. They prefer to form strong bonds with their loved ones. Fire is confident and sure. Fire people like to explore anything new. They are brilliant and warm. They are decisive and dramatic. They may be aggressive about achieving the things they want in life. They are gifted speakers. They are clever and want others to know it.

People influenced by the fire element may become selfish and inconsiderate. They become impatient when they are thwarted in their ambitions. When they try to force their way, they hit more obstacles. They can be hypersensitive. It is best if they can learn patience and compassion.

Fire’s obvious color is red. It is associated with the circulatory system and the heart. Fire people should stay away from too much heat and too much emotion.



Groove of the Day

Listen to the Kings of Leon performing “Sex on Fire”


Weather Report

82° Windy and Rain, then Clearing to Partly Cloudy


do something now


Editorial: Prison rape can’t be tolerated

by the Dallas Morning News


tin foil hat report

foil hat.

I was offended by some reader comments to my post that exposed the military’s Jade Helm 15 exercise. I made an effort to be not unduly alarmist, to present objective verifiable facts, to not draw any definitive conclusions—yet I was accused by some of being a member of the “tin foil hat” crowd. Ouch.

The Internet is going crazy with all kinds of speculations and accusations that may or may not be true—that there are Chinese and Russian troops on American soil trained to be prison guards in FEMA camps designed for the sole purpose of detaining “dangerous” US citizens like Constitutionalists, military veterans, gun owners, etc.; that Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Al Shebaab terrorists are infiltrating our southern borders with the knowing assistance of the Department of Homeland Security; that the land beneath some Walmart locations is being tunneled to facilitate the clandestine arrest of lawful citizens and patriots; that the murder of 20 students and 6 staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax perpetrated in order for politicians to push through gun control legislation; that George Carlin was murdered by the Illuminati because they objected to his views about the “owners” of our country and the untrustworthiness of what our government chooses to tell us; that the Tsarnarev Brothers were set up by the CIA and the Boston Bombings were a false flag attack; that we have spent all our economic bullets, a credit collapse is inevitable, and silver and gold are the only form of money that will survive; that Jade Helm 15 is definitely a preparation for martial law and mass incarceration of people who don’t commit crimes, but merely hold opinions of which the government doesn’t approve; etc. It is very difficult to differentiate the real (or fragments of real) from the fantastic.

Alex Jones recently went on the air and warned that his “sixth sense” is screaming that a big change is imminent, and it is likely to be bad. Another website has fixed a date on this change—late in the day of May 28, 2015—based on planetary alignments. My own son reports that there seems to be a sadness out there, a social foreboding that something’s wrong. (If the shit does come raining down, you’ve probably got only 72 hours to do anything for yourself.)

As I pointed out in the Jade Helm post, a CNN poll from last August said that an all-time high of 87% of Americans simply do not trust their own government nor regard the mainstream media as truthful or credible. This fact alone is a disgrace, and should be seen as a root cause of all the conspiracy craziness. The government has been behind too many verifiable “false flag” attacks and deceptions to ever be trusted again. The government did it to itself.

So for those of us who have learned something from history, for those of us who are determined to be “Good Germans” and not mindless sheep, we must rely on the Internet despite its unsure footing. I have spent the last couple of weeks on the Internet looking for at least three credible stories that I think deserve your attention.

One thing that somehow got by me, and which I found very surprising, is that on December 14, 2013, China landed a robotic lander on the moon—an historic lunar development that makes China only the third nation to make a soft-landing on the moon and the first landing by any spacecraft in 42 years. Maybe I missed it because it happened just weeks after my stroke; some Internet gurus are saying that up-to-date technology is revealing surprising new facts about our nearest celestial neighbor. China is now actively at work on the critical technology required to conduct a manned landing on the Moon, perhaps establishing a moon base by the mid-2020’s or shortly thereafter. NASA has no such plans. But the fact that I missed the landing doesn’t rise to “foil hat” status. It only proves that I was asleep at the switch—and in the light that I had just suffered a stroke, perhaps you will agree that I had a good excuse.

But what is an appropriate excuse for not connecting the dots with the following three stories? Has the entire US population been in a coma for the last few years? These aren’t even the most pressing potential immediate priorities. But as bat-shit crazy as these stories may seem to be, I remind you that we live in a crazy world where the unbelievable should be seriously considered.


“Wacko” Idea #1: Seymour Hersh says the Obama Bin Laden raid was a lie

Seymour Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, said all the details surrounding the 2011 US raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound that resulted in the terrorist leader’s death are completely false. Hersh’s investigations led him to conclude that it was not the CIA that traced Bin Laden to his compound in Abbottabad (as the Obama Administration has claimed), but an officer in the Pakistani intelligence service who gave him up. Hersh’s revelations of White House mendacity suggest that there may be other shoes to fall which reveal that the present Administration is no more truthful than the last. Here’s what he said in The London Review of Books.


“Wacko” Idea #2: The “False Flag” Scenario of 911 is the most plausible explanation

Oh, 911. Won’t it ever go away? It has been fourteen years now. Can’t we just move on? No! This is the lynchpin event that has justified a steady erosion of our freedoms ever since. And then there are all the alleged criminals who supposedly had something to do with the destruction of the Twin Towers. They’re walking free and presumably wreaking more havoc. We must know how the Twin Towers were brought down. We must know who did it and why. Is the government delaying in order for the perpetrators to die first of natural causes before they are brought to account? 911 must be honestly investigated now.



“Wacko” Idea #3:’Embedded’ journalists & controlled media are enablers of endless war

In this film, John Pilger, a respected Australian-British journalist based in London, investigates the media’s role in war. He traces the history of ’embedded’ and independent reporting from the carnage of WWI to the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.



And if there’s any doubt about how this practically played out, see this report by the highly-respected Bill Moyers.

But these stories just deal with the past. Where will the future take us? Can you blame the kooks for entertaining the possibility that the most menacing and outrageous possibilities are true?

Even if the worst should happen, the sun will rise the next day. There is always hope. But I am an optimist, and I do not live in the outer world.

Maybe I’m wrong. As I said before, we live in a crazy world. But I believe that the cycles of renewal will prevail, come what may. Such faith is possibly the ultimate mark of the tin foil hat.


Groove of the Day

Listen to Aslan performing “Crazy World”


Weather Report

81° and Fair


nothing serious


I had a serious post prepared for today, but yesterday I went back into town to do the errands that I was prevented from completing by Friday’s storm, and I became all swept up in the prevailing holiday mood.

The town is filled up with tourists who have flocked here for the scenery and hiking—it is the long Memorial Day holiday, isn’t it? (Seems so early this year!)—the kids in the school had their prom this weekend, the breakfast buffet at the Motor Lodge was crowded, and I’ve realized that no one wants to read a serious post. This is the holiday, after all, that traditionally marks the beginning of summer vacation in America.

Thanks to our recent rains, the pond is full and my water tank is topped off. This morning the batteries of my electrical system were fully charged by 8:30 am. The refrigerator is full of food, too. It is a glorious, clear day. I haven’t got a care in the world.

Last night I talked for a long time with Henry. We spoke extensively about the instability of the outer world, and how Estrella Vista could provide him with a safe haven if needed. He would have to eschew his reliance on air conditioning, but the move would solve all the other issues which presently bother him. Unlike our previous discussions, I am left with the impression that he is seriously considering the option. It made me think of how Mark Twain’s father must have felt: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” Henry is 35, so by now I must be brilliant.

As if to remind me that all the crap I normally deal with is still there in the background, last night I heard from Chris Brown (Jordan’s dad), who vented his anger and frustration at Judge Hodge’s decision, and made me realize that a valuable function I still provide is to offer a patient and receptive ear to people with real problems. That, too, left me with a certain self-satisfaction.

The only regret I have today is that last night I lost an auction for an advertising sign that I really wanted for my collection. I was outbid in the last second of bidding by some wily competitor. But I really couldn’t afford it, anyway. This morning I awoke thankful to that unknown bidder. He had paid top dollar and saved me from months of financial sacrifice.


JD Schuhe cropped

This is the one that got away.

Some of the best things in life are free—or nearly so. Yesterday as I was returning home from town, I heard an early Bob Dylan song on the radio with which I was unfamiliar, and I immediately downloaded several versions of it. My total cost? $0.99. Bob Dylan doesn’t need more money, anyway.


Groove of the Day

Listen to Bob Dylan performing “Baby Let Me Follow You Down”


Weather Report

88° and Clear


richard avedon

vreeland avedon.

It is amazing, really, the things we take for granted in our lives. For example, when I was a boy growing up in South Bend IN, I had a friend whose parents were much more exceptional people than I’d realized at the time. My friend’s father was an executive with Mercedes-Benz of North America, so I was of course impressed with the occasional rides in the limousines and sports cars he brought home from work. I am the only person I know (except my friends’ parents) who has ever gone for a ride in the legendary 300-SL gull wing car.

But of more lasting influence was having access to a portfolio, bound in black leather, of the famous photographer Richard Avedon (1923—2004). Before they transplanted to the “sticks” of Northern Indiana from New York, my friend’s mother had been a sales representative for Avedon, and the portfolio of Avedon photography samples was ever-present in their living room. I remember at least a couple times when I had spent the night at my friend’s, and I awoke before the rest of the household and occupied myself poring over the great man’s photographs alone.

For a young boy of 12 or 13, it was a very formative experience. It instilled in me an appreciation for Avedon’s sophisticated sense of style and approach to his craft, and it created the lasting impression that no one (no matter how famous or celebrated) is beyond one’s reach—if not directly, then at least one step removed.

Between 1945 and 1965, Richard Avedon worked primarily as a fashion photographer, revolutionizing the craft even as he honed his aesthetic. This is the period of his career that was represented by the bulk of his portfolio which I knew. Later, he moved into journalism and the art world, though some of these images had begun to work their way into the portfolio I knew as a boy.

Little did I then appreciate how, by capturing American ideals of celebrity, fashion, and beauty in the 20th and early 21st centuries, Richard Avedon would help establish photography as a contemporary art form.

From the late 1940s, he began providing images for magazines including Vogue, Life, and Graphis and soon became the chief photographer for Harper’s Bazaar. When Diana Vreeland left Harper’s for Vogue magazine in 1962, Avedon joined her as a staff (and then lead) photographer. In 1957, Hollywood presented a fictional account of his early career in the musical Funny Face, starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire (as the fashion photographer “Dick Avery”). In 1992, he became the first staff photographer for The New Yorker. He was also employed by some of the leading fashion advertisers of the time including Versace, Calvin Klein, Christian Dior, and Revlon.

Avedon did not conform to the standard technique of taking studio fashion photographs, where models stood emotionless and seemingly indifferent to the camera. Instead, he showed models full of emotion, smiling, laughing, and, many times, in action in outdoor settings which was revolutionary at the time. However, towards the end of the 1950s he became dissatisfied with daylight photography and open air locations and so turned to studio photography, using strobe lighting.

As his reputation as a photographer became widely known, he brought in many famous faces to his studio and photographed them with a large-format 8×10 view camera. Avedon’s distinct style of portrait photography is nothing short of iconic. While the portraiture of his contemporaries focused on single moments or composed formal images, his stark lighting and minimalist white backdrops drew the viewer to the intimate, emotive power of his subjects’ expressions. By the 1960s Avedon had turned his energies toward making studio portraits of pop icons, models, musicians, writers, artists, workers, political activists, soldiers, Vietnam War victims, politicians, and his family. He began to branch out and photographed patients of mental hospitals, the Civil Rights Movement, protesters of the Vietnam War, and later the fall of the Berlin Wall.

More than anyone, Richard Avedon and his images epitomize for me high-style American culture in an era fissured by rapid change, discord, and violence.









Richard-Avedon-Exhibit-SFMOMA 9.






Richard-Avedon-Exhibit-SFMOMA 14.avedon-fashion-14.




Richard-Avedon-Exhibit-SFMOMA 7.



Groove of the Day

Listen to Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire performing “I Love Your Funny Face


Weather Report

87° and Clear


so many cookies

Cookies For C
by Dave Thomas
A few weeks ago, a friend came up to my wife and asked, “Can I bake some cookies and send them to C?”
Before long church members, friends and others who have been concerned with C’s predicament began to send cookies (biscuits for our UK friends) and treats his way. We suggested they be store-bought and commercially packaged to negate that as a reason for not letting him have them once the cookies arrived.
It is, of course, a jail and not a shelter. We didn’t want staff that oversee the inmates to be concerned that a file or a shank was making its way in.
The outside of all the boxes were marked “COOKIES FOR C.”  Many thanks to all who participated.
The staff at Krause Youth Center, Lawrence County, PA was overwhelmed with the volume that kept arriving. They ran out of space to store the cookies and wanted to know if it would be okay to freeze some of them to keep them fresh! The staff said they had never seen anything like it and really didn’t know how to deal with it.
They told C’s father they have never seen so much love directed at one of their charges, and the obvious support he has.
C was really surprised and grateful. He sends his thanks to you all and is pleased so many showed their love and support for him!
The other evening was the first any were opened as they finally made their way to the detention building and to C. Cookies and treats were shared with everyone in the facility—including staff. C told his father that many of the juveniles incarcerated with him seldom, if ever, get mail or visits from anyone; so they really enjoyed in sharing the treats.
Thank you to all!  You not only made some good days for C to look forward to by having many more cookie and treat days, but also a remembrance for a bunch of God’s kids who have apparently been written off and forgotten.
A simple idea to foster for others.

Dave Thomas is a retired electric utility operations manager, has been married for over 50 years to a woman who has served as a church secretary for over two decades. They presently live in Florida after living in same Pennsylvania community for 33 years. He is a former member of the Rotary International, Chamber of Commerce, and various state and national professional organizations.


Previous installments of this unfolding story can be read here (1), here (2), here (3) and here (4).

Although it is not a part of the story of C, this is another story about the corrupt courts of Lawrence County.


Groove of the Day

Listen to Sugar & the Hi-Lows performing “Sugar Cookie”


Weather Report

72° Rain and Cloudy


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