Monday, 31 December 2012

Party On!

"Fast away the old year passes" and all that, so it's time again for a New Year's Eve party! We'll be kickin' it old school tonight by having a bunch of friends over for snacks, beverages and board games. Haul out the old favorites!

Bring yer pennies too cuz there'll be rummoli!

Hopefully, everybody will be able to last until midnight so we can turn on the TV and do the countdown to 2013 -- I know that's way past MY bedtime. Oh, we are such wild 'n crazy gals!

Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve, everyone!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Edmonton Tarot: The Lovers (VI)

Interpretation: It is often assumed that The Lovers card simply denotes love and relationship issues. But actually, this is a card about making a difficult choice between two attractive options. Those options are often diametrically opposed. Must one option be chosen over the other or is it possible to reconcile the opposites and thereby choose both? The Lovers card is all about figuring out what your heart truly wants and then following it.

Image: This image is a detail from another epic native-themed painting by H.G. Glyde located at the University of Alberta; however, this one is mercifully free of racism. This mural depicts a loving native couple living in the midst of all the creatures of the wild. Painted in 1952, it is a visual retelling of a traditional Cree legend.

[Photo by My Rare One]

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light . . . .

Christmas blessings to everyone!

Monday, 24 December 2012

A Blogging Milestone

Woo hoo! I've now officially posted 1,000 times! And it seems like only yesterday that I started . . . .

Blogging is such a great way to let off steam and give the world the benefit of your opinions!

Everyone in the blogosphere is friendly and encouraging, for the most part.

And you know what they say: Blogging is cheaper than therapy!

After all, you don't want to keep everything all bottled up inside. That can only make you grumpy.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

You Disappoint Me

Happy Festivus, everyone! You know, I bet even Grumpy Cat would enjoy Festivus or at least, the Airing of Grievances part.

And who doesn't have grievances to air at this time of year? The mistake that Christmas makes is trying to paper over resentments, anger and petty jealousies. "Let's all be nice -- it's Christmas!" The genius of Festivus is that it ritualizes the whole ugly process. In fact, maybe things are now getting a bit too bureaucratic. Check out this official notice form, LOL! (click on it to embiggen).

My major Grievance this year is not against any family member, friend or blog buddy. Nope, I'm going full-on Big League. I'm calling out the most hated man in North America, the one who is currently denying us Canadians our very birthright: *snarl* Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the NHL.

Oh yeah, I know exactly where I want to stick that aluminum Festivus Pole, Bettman, you feckin bastid. Settle already, fer Chrissakes!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Winter Solstice Blessings

So today will tell whether we survive another predicted End of the World. But while we're waiting to find out what happens, let's all have a nice eggnog with rum and celebrate the Winter Solstice, shall we?

May the Holly Goddess shower an abundance of Solstice/Yule blessings on you and yours! And always remember . . . .

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Edmonton Tarot: The Heirophant (V)

Interpretation: The Heirophant card is all about obeying rules and regulations, the status quo, conventional morality and conformity. The Heirophant is an authority figure who sets and enforces these rules. This card can indicate an external controller like a priest, judge, doctor or parent (for example) but can also represent our internal voice of control. What do we really believe?

Image: In the Rutherford Library at the University of Alberta, there is a huge mural painted in 1951 by H.G. Glyde, one of Alberta's most prominent artists. It focuses on the history of Fort Edmonton and the fur trade in the early 1800s. Unfortunately, the mural reflects the racism common to earlier eras by depicting a Catholic priest "civilizing" the indigenous natives with the Christian religion. It perfectly illustrates a controlling Heirophant who arrogantly imposes his beliefs and opinions because "he knows what's best for you."

[Photo by My Rare One]

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Silent Monks Do the Messiah

There are several examples of this crazy version available on YouTube. Pretty inventive, isn't it? Must take a lot of practice!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Hallelujah Jingle Bells Mashup

This crazy mashup is performed by the choral group called Chicago a cappella. It was written by the group's founder and artistic director, Jonathan Miller.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Messiah Flash Mob

Continuing on with my celebration of Handel's Messiah, this week I'm going to feature three very different versions of the Hallelujah Chorus. Here's the first one:

Wouldn't you love to have been part of this? I would!

This 2010 video is the most viewed flash mob video of all time -- it has received almost 40 million views.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Edmonton Tarot: The Emperor (IV)

Interpretation: The Emperor card represents the Divine Masculine, he who is the quintessential leader, doer and creator of worldly success. A wise Emperor creates stability and peace for all. He uses his dominance to advance well-being. This card very much denotes "Reason over Emotion." The Emperor is concerned only with external reality. He does not delve beneath the surface to explore what is there.

Image: Mighty Caesar once ruled over the known world. Now he rules over a tacky food court at West Edmonton Mall. Oh well, at least it's North America's largest mall. That's still something.

[Photo by My Rare One]

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Sankta Lucia's Lussekatt

Today is the Christianized feast day of Sankta Lucia (St. Lucy), the ancient Scandinavian Goddess of the Winter Solstice.

When dawn breaks after the longest night of the year, the eldest daughter traditionally has the honour of wearing Sankta Lucia's Crown of Light while awakening her family with coffee and sweet buns.

These sweet buns are called Lussekatt which means St. Lucy buns or, more literally, St. Lucy cats. Saffron makes the buns golden like the returning sun. They are shaped like an "s" and have raisins at the centre of each sacred spiral. Is the "s" meant to stand for sun or solstice? Or is the shape actually meant to represent a curled-up, sleeping cat?

I know which theory Her Royal Highness subscribes to.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

All Rise!

I love the Messiah tradition that everyone in the audience must stand while the Hallelujah Chorus is sung. Two explanations exist about why this is so. Both are likely apocryphal but are still entertaining.

The "official" explanation is that when King George II of England first heard the Hallelujah Chorus, he was so emotionally overcome that he leapt to his feet in a spontaneous show of religious devotion. Of course, everyone else had to stand too while the King was standing.

The "unofficial" explanation is that the King simply stood up because he thought the oratorio was over and he was preparing to leave. When he realized his mistake, he stayed standing to give the impression he had meant to do so all along.

Kings hate looking foolish, just like cats and the rest of us!

[Photo of Messiah audience at Carnegie Hall is from the internet. Painting of King George II is by Thomas Hudson, 1744.]

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Music and Spirituality

As I inquired in yesterday's post, how can a self-respecting Goddess-worshipping pagan love the musical monument to patriarchal Christianity that is Handel's Messiah?

Although I have not been a believing or practising Christian for 35 years, I still often find great beauty, spiritual meaning and emotional poignancy in selected Christian stories, music and art. Even if I am no longer a literal believer, Christianity will always remain my cultural heritage. It is inextricably tied up with my childhood memories and personal spiritual development. When the right note is struck, it can still have profound resonance for me.

Sam Keen, in his book Hymns to an Unknown God, really captured this lingering connection of the heart when he wrote:

The truth of the spirit . . . is better conveyed in song and poetry than by propositions. The best of the Christian tradition, which continues to nourish me, is expressed in the music it inspired. Often, my mind is uncomforted by any set of beliefs that can stand the test of doubt, but when I listen to Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze," my soul lies down beside still waters and a mysterious Lord is still my shepherd.

Monday, 10 December 2012

I Love the Messiah!

Oh don't worry, I haven't converted to Christianity.

For the past 25 years or so, I have attended a performance of Handel's Messiah every Christmas. It's one of my most favourite seasonal traditions. Musical snobs sometimes turn up their noses, sniff disdainfully and call Messiah an old chestnut. And indeed it is! But old chestnuts attain that status for a reason -- they touch something so deep in so many people that they become a beloved musical icon. Nothing wrong with that!

Even if people don't know the full oratorio, everyone knows the Hallelujah Chorus. Here's a cool video of it with colour-coded lyrics to visually demonstrate the complexity of the choral arrangement:

This month I'm going to feature several Messiah-related posts on the blog. Tomorrow -- how can a self-respecting Goddess-worshipping pagan love this musical monument to patriarchal Christianity?

Sunday, 9 December 2012

All I Want For Christmas . . .

. . . is this awesome Grumpy Cat tattoo!

There's just one little problem with my wish list, though --

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Happy Hanukkah!

The Jewish Festival of Lights starts this evening at sundown. May all who celebrate this holiday have a wonderful eight nights of peace and joy! Get out your dreidels!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Edmonton Tarot: The Empress (III)

Interpretation: The Empress card represents the Divine Feminine, the Great Goddess as Earth Mother, source of all fertility, creativity, abundance and life. She is the dynamic force of creation. Drawing this card promises all those gifts if you let your heart lead the way, not your head or intuition.

Image: Located in Edmonton's beautiful river valley, the Muttart Conservatory consists of four glass pyramids surrounding a central atrium. The Muttart is one of Edmonton's most iconic structures. Three pyramids feature various plants native to different types of climate-controlled environments -- arid, tropical and temperate. The fourth "feature pyramid" changes its floral and plant displays several times per year and often has spectacular holiday displays. This sleepy mossy green Earth Goddess was the star of a feature pyramid display a few years ago.

[Photo by My Rare One]

Thursday, 6 December 2012

She's Ba-a-a-a-ck!!

So last night when I least expected it, my cat Her Royal Highness nonchalantly strolled in through the door and meowed "I'm back, human!"

Yes, patient readers, she is finally home after competing in the London Cat Olympics, being jailed with Pussy Riot in Moscow and working off her parole at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.

And HRH didn't arrive empty-pawed either. She brought home a beautiful old oil painting from the Hermitage. A parting gift from her good pal Putin, she told me. Apparently, it is the official state portrait of Her Royal Highness's ancestor, Her Royal Tsarina of all the Russias.

This exquisite work of art was painted by one of Russia's greatest 19th century artists, Bryanovitch Pedaski. A true renaissance man, he was also the co-author with the Russian literary genius, Brandonslav Meyerskov, of a famous book of comic stories called A Vodka for the Bidet or something to that effect.

But anyway, isn't it cool that the nameless Russian serf holding up Her Royal Tsarina in the portrait is wearing purple fingerless gloves just like mine? What amazing synchronicity.

Oh sorry, pardon me for a moment. The doorbell is ringing.

Jeez, why the hell is Interpol on my front steps?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Monday, 3 December 2012

It's the Grump-Grumpiest Time of the Year!

Don't you just love Grumpy Cat, the latest internet meme sensation? Oh, that sour little face!

Grumpy Cat is not impressed by the upcoming Christmas season of happiness and good cheer. Grumpy Cat is determined NOT to enjoy the month of December in the slightest.

Of course like everyone else, there's only one thing I want to know --

Grumpy Cat's real name is Tard -- short for Tardar (Tartar) Sauce. She is a female mixed breed of uncertain origins. Her grumpy face is entirely natural, not photoshopped. Tard lives in Arizona with her family. They are busily cashing in on her current fame by selling Grumpy Cat merchandise (click here) and really, who can blame them? Internet notoriety is so fleeting.