Archive for January, 2015

31
Jan
15

at long last

2000 ford ranger

I have been without a vehicle for over two years—until this week, when I finally took delivery of a 2000 Ford Ranger pickup. And I bought the truck entirely with my own funds; no donations were used.

After such a long time, I hardly know how to behave. You would think I would be partaking in an orgy of driving, but except for a half-day visiting a friend, showering, and doing my laundry, the truck has remained parked in the circular drive in front of the house. Habits die hard.

The feeling of emancipation is exhilarating. Maybe this afternoon I will drive down to the highway to see if I have received any mail in the last week. I’m also about to run out of paper coffee filters.

Pinch me and let’s see if this is real.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to the Kings of Leon performing “Pickup Truck”

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Weather Report

58° and Cloudy

30
Jan
15

syreeta

Syreeta Wright (August 3, 1946 – July 6, 2004), who recorded professionally under the single name Syreeta, was a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter best known for her work with ex-husband, Stevie Wonder, and with Billy Preston.

She got her start in the music business as a receptionist for Motown in 1965. Within a year, she became a secretary, just as Martha Reeves (of Martha and the Vandellas) had done before her. A year later, Edward Holland of the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team noticed Wright’s singing and decided to try her out for demos of Supremes songs.

I have been an unabashed fan since 1974 when she released the album which is today’s Groove of the Day, which I think is some of her best work. I have never before featured an entire album as the Groove; but there are few albums I love as much as this… plus, it’s less than 40 minutes in length. Also, it is a representative window on this particular point in time.

She is probably best-known for her 1979 recording with Billy Preston of “With You I’m Born Again”, which resulted in an international hit reaching number-four in the US and number-two in the UK. The song is a little saccharine for my taste, but I include it here because it was her biggest hit and she looks absolutely beautiful in this performance.

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syreeta05Syreeta was married three times. Her first marriage, to longtime collaborator Stevie Wonder, lasted only 18 months between 1970 and 1972, and ended with an amicable divorce after a troubled marriage. The couple continued to collaborate after the marriage ended.

She briefly lived in Ethiopia in the mid-1970s where she worked as a Transcendental Meditation teacher.

A native of Pittsburgh and Detroit, she lived briefly in South Carolina and then in New York while still married to Wonder. She eventually settled in Los Angeles where she lived for the rest of her life.

Syreeta died of heart failure, a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatments she was receiving for breast and bone cancers. She was just 57 years old.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Syreeta performing the full album, “Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta”

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Weather Report

52° Cloudy and Windy

29
Jan
15

rip-off

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Jimmy Cliff performing “Rip Off”

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Weather Report

75° and Clear

28
Jan
15

elhaz

elhaz 1

Today is the first day of the fortnight (January 28-February 11) governed by the rune Elhaz.

Its form represents the horns of an elk or the defensive gesture of a splayed hand. It has also been associated with a flying swan, whose feathers adorn the magical flying cloaks of the protective Valkyries. Its phonetic value is “Z” as in “buzz.”

Elhaz also has the meaning of elk sedge, a double-edged plant with fibers that can cut like razors. According to the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem: Elk-sedge grows mainly in the fenland, / Flourishing in the water, it gives grievous wounds, / Staining with the blood every man / Who tries to grip it.

In the Norwegian Rune Poem, Elhaz is likened to the claw of a hawk, an image most pictorially close to the runestave itself. Whatever the rune may have originally stood for, it is considered the most powerful rune of protection against anyone or thing in conflict with us.

Unlike its opposite on the circular Runic Compass, Thorn (which provides passive protection in the same way as a barbed wire fence does), Elhaz is a rune which provides protection in an active way as a firearm does. Its symbolic meaning is clear: stay away or suffer unpleasant consequences.

elhaz 5This rune is outlawed in some European countries today because it is used by white supremacists who use it to symbolize the survival of the Aryan race. To be sure, Elhaz saw widespread use in the Third Reich. Here it is seen as a sleeve patch denoting the wearer as a field medic of the Hitlerjugend. It was also used as a symbol of the Lebensborn, a program through which the SS encouraged unwed girls to bear ‘racially pure’ children for Germany. In its regular form, Elhaz was called the “Lebenrune,” or life-rune, and denoted birth on many tombstones. Inverted, it was called the “Totenrune,” or death-rune, and denoted the date of death.

superhumanbalanceLife and death are two aspects of the same thing. The other night I saw a TV program in which a Norwegian athlete named Eskil Ronningsbakken performed an insane balancing stunt with stacked chairs just inches from a 1,000-foot mountain drop. His heartbeat rate was unaffected. He had completely turned off his fear. “When you reach a point in life where you’re not afraid of dying any longer, you really start living,” he said.

Elhaz can be magically used as shield of protection on all levels: physical, emotional, intellectual. Esoterically, Elhaz denotes human aspiration towards divine qualities and light.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Coldplay performing “Warning Sign”

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Weather Report

74° and Clear

27
Jan
15

peorth

peorth

When I wrote my post “Aetts,” I decided to summarize what I had previously written in the Diary about the runes by means of links to those posts. It also gave me a good picture of what I had accomplished, and what remained to be done.

Today is the final day of the fortnight (January 13-28) governed by the rune Peorth. Its symbolism is perhaps the most obscure and contentious of any rune. The shape of the rune is sometimes interpreted (as in the illustration above) as “cornucopia,” a sign of abundance. But my favored interpretation is “dice cup,” a device for casting lots.

Others are “game-piece,” “pawn,” “chessman,” or even “board game.” Many of these interpretations imply an interaction of conscious free will with the structural constraints of the game itself. However, the association of Peorth with a dice cup more strongly implies the interaction of one’s will with chance. It reminds us of the instability, volatility, and changeability of the Regenerative Aett, the “Wind-Water” phase of the cycle.

In all of the interpretations of the rune, Peorth signifies the potency of “Ørläg,” a word which is most usually translated as “fate.” In the Northern Tradition, Ørläg does not carry the connotation of predetermination which flavors the English meaning of the word. Predestination is concept alien to the Northern belief system, which has a healthy respect for the fact that outcomes can sometimes be almost accidental.

Nevertheless, the rune does remind us that one’s future is influenced by the deeds one has done in the past in much the same way as is expressed by the Hindu concept of Karma.

three fates 4In the Northern Tradition, Peorth contains the mystery of the Nornic laws which define cause-and-effect in the universe. The Norns are three mythic women called “the three fates”: Urdhr (“that which has become”), Verdhandi (“that which is becoming”), and Skuld (“that which should become”).

Peorth’s unique power is one and the same with the great pattern of cosmic becoming.

Its magical workings can bring abundance and pleasure even to the point of excess, and the rune is not to be overused. Used with evil intent, Peorth can seduce others to excesses in gluttony, lust, and drunkenness. It can make them spendthrifts.

Says author Nigel Pennick, “Like wine it is delightful in moderation, but deadly in excess.”

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Gotye performing “Giving Me A Chance”

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Weather Report

60° and Clear

26
Jan
15

possessed

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This morning Lone Heron called, and in the course of our discussing a case in which a young person refused to accept my ‘kinder gentler’ view of how things work, she recounted an experience with one of her clients which she believed to possibly be an example of demonic possession. She believed this case to be so beyond her abilities to be of help, she first referred this client to a priest. After visiting her priest, the client was transformed and receptive to the help that Lone Heron could provide.

I don’t believe in demonic possession, but I do believe that people have got to be willing to change before they are ready to benefit from any help that another person can give. Otherwise it is a wasted effort.

So whatever it takes to make the first step.

You want to believe in demons? Okay… though I think it would serve you better in your life if you believed you are the source of the power to change your life, and not something outside of you.

If you persist in believing in your “powerlessness” and can only take the first step by relying on a “higher power,” so be it. The important thing for now is experiencing the relief of making an immediate change.

I am not keen on believing in psychologists who prey on people’s weakness. This is why of all the theories of therapy, I am most enamored with something called “Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy” (REBT).

REBT was created and developed by the American psychotherapist and psychologist Albert Ellis. REBT is one form of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and was first expounded by Ellis in the mid-1950s; development continued until his death in 2007.

The fundamental belief in REBT is that a process of “self talk” based on beliefs takes place between some adversity (or activating event) and the consequence. Contrary to what is implied by “John makes me mad,” one’s beliefs about John and what you tell yourself about John is what makes you feel mad. This is expressed in the A-B-C-model of psychological disturbance and change.

According to REBT, if a person’s evaluative B (belief about the A, activating event) is rigid, absolutistic, and dysfunctional, the C (the emotional and behavioral consequence) is likely to be self-defeating and destructive. Alternatively, if a person’s evaluative B belief is preferential, flexible, and constructive, the C, the emotional and behavioral consequence, is likely to be self-helping and constructive.

In other words, how we choose to think about something is the unrecognized intermediate step in how we choose to react to some external person or event. We are in the driver’s seat, and not a passive passenger constrained or guided by anyone or anything beyond our control.

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Crowded House performing “I Feel Possessed”

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Weather Report

45° and Cloudy

25
Jan
15

thank you

thank you

I’ll need to get out individual thank-you notes later today, but your response to the recent appeal for funds for Austin and Derek has been fantastic.

Two nights ago my fiscal agent, the Juvenile Law Society, notified me of donations received from US contributors and, combined with international donations, the total is in excess of what we needed to reach our goal. The extra money is approximately what we had to pay to liberate Derek’s car from the towing company.

Thanks to your generosity, this has begun for me as one of the most stress-free years in recent history. Working together, I feel that we can help our kids face any unexpected setback.

Thank you!

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Groove of the Day

Listen to Dido performing “Thank You”

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Weather Report

58° and Partly Cloudy