Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween! Samhain Blessings!


Welcome, my pretties, to our haunted mansion! Bwahahaha!

While this fabulously decorated house is (unfortunately) just a photo from teh interwebz and not our real home, I can assure you that the following pumpkins were actually carved by my Rare One and me last Halloween to decorate our front steps.

I chose to carve a bubbling cauldron of witchy goodness . . .


. . . while my Rare One went for a celestial look featuring a lovely translucent Crone Moon with completely cut out stars!


Here's a shot of our pumpkins together. Alas, it's too dark to see our black rubber rats (Cardinal Ratzinger and Archbishop Fang) but I assure you they're there too.


Don't be scared by any rustling or yowling you may hear as you walk up our sidewalk . . .


. . . because our cat, Her Royal Highness, will protect you. Either that, or kill you and eat your eyeballs with her ghoulish friends. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Duty Calls!


So I'm off to a work-related conference next week. With nose to grindstone in a foreign city, there'll be no blogging until I return, alas.

But I'll be back for Halloween/Samhain so see you then, my pretties! *cackle!*

Thursday, 21 October 2010

World-Wide Labyrinth Locator


Want to find a labyrinth near you? Simply click here and type your city, state/province and country into the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator. If you're in the U.S.A., you can also search within a selected radius of your city. The Locator lists many labyrinths around the globe.

But don't stop just at the Locator! Some labyrinths aren't listed there because, for whatever reason, their owner/operators have not registered their information with the Locator. For example, when I search my city of Edmonton, the Locator lists 8 labyrinths but I know for a fact there are several more.

So it's also worthwhile to do a google search of your city's name plus the word "labyrinth." As well, take a look at advertisements in local alternative or New Age magazines and monitor bulletin boards found in spiritual bookstores or shops in your area (both New Age and Christian). They're all a good source of info!

Who knows what wonders you will find?


[First image by Tony Demille. Second image by unknown source.]

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

HRH Behind the Wheel

Her Royal Highness, my beloved cat, insists on driving the car whenever we go out to buy gushy food and kibble. She swears that she has a valid driver's licence but personally I've never seen it. However, I am sure she wouldn't lie to me about something like that.

Unfortunately, HRH is . . . hmmm, how can I put this? . . . a very aggressive driver. She tailgates, weaves in and out of traffic, leans on the horn constantly and keeps up a running barrage of abuse directed at other drivers.


When I implore her to calm down and take it easy, all I get from her is Major Attitude (or should I say Major Cattitude?) Sometimes I wonder if she's not high on catnip when she's behind the wheel . . . no, no, not even HRH would be that foolish.


And when I finally insist on taking over the driving and make her sit in the back seat, she keeps up her obnoxiousness unabated. If anything, it's worse because she tries to get me to do likewise!


I'm just dreading the day when we get pulled over by the police. HRH will undoubtedly try to claw her way out of the situation. Then we'll both end up in the hoosegow cooling our heels/paws (as the case may be).

Note to self -- remind my Rare One to keep bail money on hand at all times, just in case.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Prairie View Labyrinth


Another terrific Saskatchewan labyrinth is found on the grounds of the Prairie View Chapel and Crematorium about 30 kilometres south of Saskatoon. There's a lovely memorial garden and tree-lined walkway that leads to the labyrinth in a nearby clearing. The labyrinth is a Chartres model laid out in white rocks on a crushed red gravel base.


The Chapel, its accompanying grounds and labyrinth are located right beside one of Saskatchewan's busiest highways which connects that province's two main cities, Saskatoon and Regina. Consequently, there is an almost unceasing roar of traffic noise. At first, I found this to be extremely distracting and annoying, even to the point of ruining my labyrinth walk. But after a while, I developed a new perspective . . . .


The noise and speed of the nearby highway represents the frantically busy world in which we must live and operate every day, while the inherent peacefulness of walking a labyrinth represents how we should slow down and seek serenity even in the midst of our fast-paced existence. The juxtaposition of these two ways of being provided much thought for meditation as I walked Prairie View's unicursal path.

By the time I was done walking, I didn't mind the traffic noise at all.

Friday, 15 October 2010

St. Michael's Labyrinth

In 2001, I visited a very simple but lovely rock labyrinth at St. Michael's Retreat Centre in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, a small prairie town about 30 kilometres north of Regina. At one time, St. Michael's was a Franciscan monastery but today it operates as an ecumenical retreat centre.

St. Michael's Cretan-style labyrinth is located in a nearby field and looks somewhat wild and free with all the prairie grasses growing up around the rocks. On the day I was there taking these photos, it was a hot and perfect summer day. I had the labyrinth all to myself and basked in the sunshine as I slowly and meditatively walked its path.


The labyrinth has a large granite boulder sitting in its centre. Sort of like a mini-megalith . . . hmmm, perhaps this is the Stonehenge of Saskatchewan!


Sometimes labyrinth walkers leave small gifts or tokens of appreciation in the centre to mark their passage through the sacred circuits. Small pebbles, tea light candles and scattered coins were piled on this centre rock. Also a black cassette tape, significance unknown. I noticed a couple of scraps of paper tucked in among the offerings which probably contained written prayers or requests.


I haven't been back to St. Michael's since then but I hope the labyrinth is still there in that quiet, peaceful field, offering its contemplative path to all seekers, pilgrims and wanderers.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Prolific Blogger Award!


Thank you so much, Laura of Shine the Divine: Creativity Is a Spiritual Practice, for considering me to be a prolific blogger! When I first started blogging, I tried to post every day. But that's hard to keep up. So now I've moved to weekday blogging but that's still 5 posts a week! I'm pretty regular in my habits *cough* OCD *cough* and I guess that goes for blogging too.

This award has a few rules attached to it:

1. Link to the blog of the person from whom you receive the award -- see above.

2. Link to the blog of the person who created the award -- Hazra of Advance Booking -- where the origins and motivation of the award are explained.

3. At the Advance Booking blog, enter your blog name in Mr. Linky so that there's a complete list of recipients.

4. Pass the award on to 7 other prolific bloggers. (As always, participation is completely voluntary -- if you don't feel like accepting or passing it on, don't feel obligated to do so!)

Okay, here are 7 of my favourite bloggers who can ALWAYS be counted on to have at least one new post to read most of the time. Plus each post is sure to be thought-provoking and entertaining, whether they've written it personally or reposted some interesting item from elsewhere. Please check out their blogs -- you won't be disappointed!

1. Brahm at alfred lives here


3. Rayna M. Iyer at Coffee Rings Everywhere

4. Mother Moon at Mother Moon's Message

5. Laughingwolf at paws and reflect

6. rose is a rose at ravings of a semi-sane madwoman

7. Mary/mxtodis123 at Moontides

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Penelopiad

Continuing from yesterday's post about Jacob/Israel wrestling with the angel, I love modern re-interpretations of old myths and classic stories which explore ancient issues in light of today's sensibilities and experiences. Far from being disrespectful of the originals, modern re-visioning shows that these myths are still alive and relevant to our times.

One of my favourites in this genre is Margaret Atwood's 2005 novella The Penelopiad. It re-tells the myth of Odysseus from the point of view of Penelope -- faithful wife, abandoned spouse, single mother, a girl and woman surviving in a man's world. I read the book shortly after it was published and highly recommend it. It's a complex re-examination of perspective, guilt and the often difficult nature of causation.

In 2007, Margaret Atwood adapted The Penelopiad for the theatre. It was first staged as a co-production by Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company and Canada's National Arts Centre. This autumn the play was restaged by Calgary's Alberta Theatre Projects. We saw it when we were in Calgary at the end of September and enjoyed it immensely!


The play has an 11-woman cast -- Penelope and her 10 maids. Most of the maids also have dual roles as other characters. All the male roles are played by the maids (Odysseus, Telemachus, the suitors, etc.) -- and the women did a good job of projecting believable male mannerisms and appropriate butchness. Jamie Konchak as Odysseus was especially good.


[Jamie Konchak (in green) as Odysseus and Meg Roe (in blue) as Penelope. Photo by Trudie Lee]

To date, all productions of The Penelopiad have been underwritten by fundraising campaigns among women to help cover the enormous cost of such a large cast. It's money well spent! The Penelopiad brings a much-needed balance to Homer's traditional, testosterone-driven Odyssey.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Wrestling with an Angel

I'm absolutely crazy about this song/video right now! I saw it on our Canadian Bravo TV channel last weekend and it just knocked my socks off!

In ancient times, when Jacob wrestled with the angel and wrung a blessing from him (as well as a new name -- Israel), did he really get a good deal? The Flying Bulgars of Toronto give this story some thoughtful reconsideration in light of a few thousand years of subsequent Jewish experience . . . .



I love contemporary music with a deeper spiritual sensibility. Not to mention that wonderful klezmer influence! This video was directed by Bruce McDonald, one of Canada's best film/TV directors. I think he did a terrific job.

And ooooo, that black angel's long false eyelashes! Sexy!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Happy Thanksgiving


Yes, today is Thanksgiving -- we celebrate early here in Canada! In the spirit of the day, here's three favourite quotations about gratitude:

How many gifts and graces You have given me! How many favours You have fed me from Your hand! I look for Your love in all directions, then suddenly its blessing burns in me.
--Rabia Al-Adawiyya

The grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.
--Thomas Merton

ThanksGiving is good but ThanksLiving is better.
--Matthew Henry

Enjoy your Thanksgiving turkey, tofurkey or what-have-you, fellow Canuckians!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Botero's "Woman Smoking a Cigarette" (1987)


A large nude sunbather, she reclines elegantly while smoking a cigarette. She is a huge work of art in every way. Personally, I think she is Botero's masterpiece. I was thrilled to see her in the flesh (so to speak) at Calgary!

Oh, those impossibly perky breasts!


And those mighty buns of bronze!


A glorious close-up! Be still, my heart!


Is not her chubby foot daintiness itself? *Swoon!*


You can keep your skinny Aphrodites and Venuses. Botero's "Woman Smoking a Cigarette" is the true Goddess of Love!

[These photos come from teh interwebz, not the Calgary exhibit. No photos allowed there, of course.]

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Fernando Botero


At the end of September, my Rare One and I went on a little weekend road trip with friends. Destination: Calgary. We were keen to take in the Glenbow Museum's major exhibit of the works of Colombian artist Fernando Botero. We were not disappointed -- the exhibit was fabulous and it was a much larger retrospective than we expected.

Botero's style is pretty unique -- all his creations are large, rotund and fleshy. Men, women, children, animals -- in his art, not a single one is skinny, angular or sharp-edged. In a culture that worships thinness (especially in women), his work is very subversive.

Botero is essentially a modern Rubens. And I luuuuvs me a beautiful Rubenesque female form!


Botero's work encompasses both paintings and sculptures. The three paintings in this post are among his most famous. But I love his sculptures even more, because the voluptuous female form is portrayed in gorgeous three dimensional bronze.

Tomorrow's post: my favourite Botero sculpture!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Parachute Labyrinth


There's another unique labyrinth in Edmonton that's fun to walk. It is a Chartres labyrinth painted in lovely lavender on a parachute, which is of course naturally round, nylon and portable. The parachute is held in place by large plastic milk jugs full of lavender sand (I love colour coordination!) It is the creation of members of Edmonton's Southminster-Steinhauer United Church, a very progressive and lesbigay friendly Christian congregation.

When I first came to the city, I used to go to the parachute labyrinth walks held in the church's sanctuary. As we walked the labyrinth in silence, a recording played of traditional Christian chants by the women's a cappella group Anonymous 4. It was a beautiful and peaceful experience!

Since then, Southminster-Steinhauer has built a permanent outdoor Chartres labyrinth on land adjacent to the church. They did a great job, as shown in this photo taken during the construction process.


I believe that the parachute labyrinth is still being used for indoor walking during the winter months when it's too cold and snowy to walk the outdoor labyrinth.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Happy 101 Award!


Recently, Faerwillow at ~serendipity~ gave me this wonderful Happy 101 Award! Thank you so much, Faerwillow -- I'm very honoured that you thought of me for this! To receive the award, I'm supposed to list 10 things that make me happy -- good thing that's easy to do!

1. My partner, My Rare One
2. My cat, Her Royal Highness
3. Autumn leaves
4. Labyrinths
5. Nutella
6. Baroque music
7. Drumming and singing with my circle
8. Traveling to new and interesting places
9. Collecting Goddess statues
10. Last but not least, blogging

And now I get to pass this award on to 10 other bloggers -- like all such awards, it comes without any obligation to participate but if you choose to do so, I look forward to reading what makes YOU happy!


2. Mistress Maddie at A Day with The Mistress Borghese

3. Sandy AKA Doris the Great at Aging Disgracefully

4. Suzie8-Track at I Got Stuff on My Mind

5. Little Messy Missy at Little Messy Missy


7. Lyn at Witch Blog


9. Diandra at That witch is true

10. Dana at The Stone Rabbit

Monday, 4 October 2010

Sunshine Award!


Last month, Edain from English, Pagan and In Canada! blessed me with a Sunshine Award! Edain and her blog are always bright, sunny and entertaining so it's a real honour to receive it from her.

I'm a big believer in the power of positive thinking, optimism and looking on the bright side of things. Of course there's a lot of crap in life -- I know that perfectly well. Sooner or later we all have to walk a dark path into the forbidding abyss. But then, like Persephone returning from the underworld with Spring in tow, we will rise and walk in the sunshine once more.

And walking in the sunshine is what this award celebrates! So now I'm passing this award on to 10 bloggers whose positivity and creativity are inspiring! Some of these bloggers seem to be naturally chock full of sunshine while others work darn hard at it -- but they all make the blogosphere a sunnier, happier place!

(And as always, blogger buddies, don't feel obligated to accept or pass this award on unless you want to!)


2. Sophie at from sophie's view

3. Judy at JudysPhotos

4. Lynette at Imagination Lane

5. The cats at Pi┼či & Squeak


7. Suzie at Suzie Ridler


9. Heidi at twelve18


Friday, 1 October 2010

Unicursal


Someone
is shedding
STARS
in the labyrinth!

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Which one?
Which one of these women,
silently walking?

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Which one?


© Debra She Who Seeks 2006