Just a cup of coffee – an amazingly well written post by one of my favorite bloggers about his first reading…
My friend Jim adopted a furbaby, her name is Ali – or, better to say: my friend Jim got adopted by Ali, because that’s how it ends up!
I was a dog person all my life. I grew up with rescued dog Capika who meant the world to me; in Prague i lived with Basenji named Bongor who didn’t bark and who had silently shared his destiny with mine; when i was eighteen i became a companion of a black puddle nicknamed Dobrica – from “dobro” , good.
It’s from Dobrica that i felt for the first time the proverbial unconditional love – and i do believe hardly any living being is as capable of loving as dog is. And puddles are a kind unto itself – extremely intelligent and impossible to train. I would throw a stick to her – and she would bring it back to me, after much hesitation; if i threw it second time, she would just give me that look: it’s not that you expect me to engage into this meaningless activity, right?
She was the dog love of my life and when at the age of fourteen she passed away, i had sworn not to have companions ever again. The pain is excruciating, it is beyond words, all i wanted was to die with her because i couldn’t imagine going on living without her.
Fast forward seven years – i had started hearing some little noises at my place – strange ones, as if something was whining in the night; it was barely heard, yet it was there, the sound, night after night.
No one else could hear it. When i asked my mother to stay overnight and help me understand what was it – she did so and had concluded the noises were in my head. Right…
I live on the first floor of the mansion which is bordered by a cul-de-sac in the front and a park in the back; it is a calm neighborhood with scarce traffic and very little noise; the climate is beautiful around here – Mediterranean – and it’s safe, so the windows are kept opened for the best part of the year.
One room, which meanwhile my collection of books claimed (that’s how we settled at the end – first they wanted the whole place!) – back then was kept for friends and family who were visiting; i seldom went there, except to undust sporadically…
And it’s there, in the closet of the guest’s room which door was ajared , that a stray cat gave birth to five beautiful kitten! It was them who made those little noises in the night!
Mama-cat was absolutely amazing and we wanted to keep all of them, but after two months – she had left while taking three kittens with her and leaving Manya and her brother with us.
I took them for vaccination and as that year the vaccines were spoiled – like many other furbabies in 2006, they almost died; they got so sick that the vet – also a dear friend of mine – told me it was the best to put them to sleep… No way i’d do so! I spent the summer attending to them and a good part of my savings for daily vet’s visits; they couldn’t eat so they needed to be fed intravenously; they had also developed various infections, had to be treated with antibiotics and whatnot… and it’s back then, i believe, that i started perceiving them as my own babies, they were so helpless that my heart was breaking.
Against all the odds, they made it and very soon became two healthy and spoiled little brats who brought joy and love back into our lives.
Sadly, Manya’s brother went missing three years ago – you see – albeit i had thought them to go to sandbox, the minute they could stand on their paws, they wanted out… and i couldn’t keep them in, there wasn’t a way to do so, without causing them big distress. One day, my tomcat didn’t come back – and again i was crying and felt that desperation and profound sadness which we feel when we lose a part of ourselves.
Manya grew up to be a demanding and capricious young lady. She’s an Alpha cat – strong and curious and brave. Oftentimes when i go visit friends who live in a house down the street – when she decides ‘enough is enough’, she comes over to pick me up. She doesn’t mind they have a rottweiler – she sits there, meowing demandingly – until i come out and head towards home.
My parents live next door – and we “share custody ” of Manya, it’s too funny to observe the cats’ politics – how she makes sure everyone is payed respect to and divides time between the three of us; she sleeps in turns with each member of the household while keeping a quite precise schedule… unless someone is sick, then she is there, until all is good again.
When my parents traveled for two weeks recently – she hardly ate anything, lost too much weight and spent all of her time laying down on my father’s bed -mourning. Oy, the quetching she gave them when they got back! You should have heard that!
Also, she has a perfect judgement – she knows exactly at which moment of time whom she can manipulate into attending to her needs – be it the daily combing or feeding her at 5am or something else she needs done; no mistakes there – emotional intelligence at its peak!
From time to time, she gets overbearing – and instinctively she does feel whom of us is on the edge of sprinkling her with water; her tactics and targets are changed accordingly – and immediately!
There is a sentence from Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now’ which stuck forever in my mind: I lived with many spiritual teachers, all of them were cats.
For it’s Manya who thought me to love unconditionally and there is so much about her – and cats in general – that is awe inspiring.
They were considered Deities, in Egypt – and cats never forgot that.
I’ve been pondering over the notorious concept of time management. Can this unseizable human invention be managed in the first place?
Everyone’s favorite blogger and – i believe – as of currently the most popular & widely followed Zen master in English speaking world, Leo Babauta, has written this amazing post http://zenhabits.net/3-day-monk/ where he expands on the ‘3 day monk’ syndrome ie. the tendency to obsess over certain things for brief periods of time; Leo concludes that “the key then is not being a three-day monk, but saying a 20-minute every-day prayer. ”
I can’t do that – for the life of me. Which is, i do meditate on a daily basis for over two decades now, but my interests vary and i really can’t strain myself to do things i don’t feel like doing anymore.
I don’t know about you – but my overprotective parents always pushed me into things they thought good for me, and – heck – choose not only my clothes and activities, but even people i was supposed to make friends with!
Thus i ended up studying subjects i wasn’t interested in, hanging out with people i didn’t really like and – to my teenage detriment – wearing clothes i hated.
God Bless them, but albeit i am 42 now and they are in their mid seventies and early eighties respectively, they are still doing their best not only to influence my choices – but to make them instead of me… and it’s just the way it is in these parts.
Of course, by now it’s down to subtle manipulation, but before it was sheer force – and it’s from there that i developed this utter inner revolt against anything i should be doing.
So, if you feel like being a monk for three days – why wouldn’t you be one?
Who says we need to pursue every single activity persistently and continuously? What for?
There is plethora of methods and techniques out there how to stick with people and things one feels aversion to… Why would we?
I don’t get it. Unrelated to Leo’s post – as he does something very different and quite new – every single spiritual teacher i had met in real life vented against ‘spiritual tourists’; but the truth is that’s against all the spiritual truths! Why would anyone stick to a guru or a method they don’t like – more so for decades?! Enlightenment is a very disputable concept, no one knows what is it and God knows whether it exists in the first place! I’ve met people who claimed to be ‘permanently enlightened’, but i do doubt there is such thing – i saw them being angry and cranky and mean and whatnot… I experienced these exalted states of consciousnesses myself – and probably you have too; when you feel you are one with everything, when it is all peaceful and happy in a calm way and all answers are there and everything makes sense. These are the most joyous moments of my life and yet they never last longer than couple of hours or a day.
I am yet to see an enlightened master who is blissfully happy when driving in a rush hour – or while being involved in any other regular and highly stressful everyday activity; maybe it is possible – to be permanently zen – but indeed only if you are a monk.
But i digress. So you feel like being a monk for three days, and then going bungee jumping and whatnot the next three? Why not?
That’s more or less what i’ve been doing ever since i can actually choose what i want to do and i can’t complain about the results.
It is ok to be a monk for three days and if you feel like being one every third week – or even every third month – for three days; in three years or maybe in thirty years, but certainly at some point of time, you will indeed arrive where you need to be, while skipping the metaphorical everyday self-whipping and wallowing in guilt.
Of course, i can’t attend to my cat every third week, but living with her is a choice i made consciously and i enjoy it – at least most of the times.
I haven’t decided about having children yet and it is definitely not a thing i’ll decide on lightly; i love kids but i am not sure i want such kind of commitment.
I am not sure about marriage either, my rule of thumb is: if i meet someone with whom i am happier and calmer than i am on my own – and it is like that over prolonged period of time – then yes, otherwise i don’t really see a reason to do so.
Both traditions i relate to – Montenegrin and Jewish – are deeply rooted in family values, but i am just not sure it will work for me. I love deeply and feel very devoted both to my parents and to my extended family, but is it what i want for myself – i am really not sure yet.
What i do know is that there wasn’t a way to pursue what i wanted – while being married and having children, at least not where i am from. I do respect every woman who married young and raised a family – and this kind of genetic marathon is strongly encouraged by both traditions to which i belong, but i simply couldn’t see myself in their place; whenever circumstances started to smell of such an outcome, i had run away – and i must confess i don’t regret it the least.
Being married here is somewhat specific; most of the newly wed – at least for the first time – live with husband’s parents; it has nothing to do with material possessions (or the lack of it), it’s simply a tradition and the way it is. Even if the newly wed don’t literally live under the same roof with the parents – the latter heavily involve in their life, on a daily bases and i can’t stand that.
Most of my own girlfriends who are married – no matter rich or not – spent the first five years of their married life with his parents and that’s the part which i know i can’t make. Then, there is the endless promenade of siblings, cousins, godfathers and godmothers – the rule here is that one’s home should be always opened and the family – welcoming. Of course, there is sociological explanations behind it – the institutions here are weak so one has to rely on their network of friends and family for just about anything, from medical appointments to finding a job; but that would exclude me time and to me personally, that is way more important than everything else put together.
I was called selfish – but i don’t think that knowing oneself and putting one’s own interest first is selfish, more so i think that putting extended family’s and tribe’s interest first, especially if it’s done merely due to social pressure, in 21st century is downright stupid.
And the funny thing is – according to statistics, the richer the society – the higher is the number of single households and the other way around; so somehow i feel i am not the only one who sees the tradition shifting.
Also, when we look back – the history of humanity is basically a history of endless suffering, so i am not even sure whether the models we’ve known so far work at all.
Montenegro is one of the most conservative countries in Europe, and according to many – the most conservative one; what i know from first hand experience is that patriarchy and stemming from it macho culture is equally damaging both to men and women – luckily for both it is dying, even here. It is a long-lasting and painful dying, but by now it is obvious; still we are facing issues and challenges that West had overcame back in fifties.
Anyhow, it takes a girl a lot to be in her right to choose what she pleases to do; sadly or not, for many of my generation it also means not marrying because for now it is difficult – if not impossible – to have a family and “to be a monk”, even if for three days only, and even only every third month.
“Strange Times to be a Jew” comes from Michael Chabon’s novel The Yiddish Policemen’s Union which i’ve been reading and enjoying thoroughly, will expand on it soon! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Yiddish_Policemen’s_Union
My heart goes to the families of victims of Aurora tragedy.
I can not stop thinking of Jessica Ghawi, who had escaped shooting by minutes only a month earlier, of Alex Sullivan who was celebrating his birthday and marriage anniversary, of six years old girl who went to the theater with her mother, of three men who took bullets for their girlfriends… I can’t stop thinking of victims and injured and their loved ones and i can not stop thinking of what’s wrong with us and how can we stop the suffering.
‘Collateral damage’ is a phrase which was thrown around a lot during wars in ex Yugoslavia, but i think very few among us could ever think of death of another human being in such terms, we perceive others as individuals with their dreams, fears and hopes, as someone’s child, someone’s friend, someone’s neighbor.
Yet, it’s somewhere out there – the line – which if crossed – can lead to tragedies, such as shooting in Colorado.
Media is covering extensively the fact that James Holmes, the alleged killer, was a PhD student with enviable scientific achievement – ABC News has even obtained a video of his speech at the science camp.
In the video, James Holmes states he’s been working on the Temporal Illusion – “an illusion that allows you to change the past” in his words and further on expands on his mentor’s interest in subjective experience in reality as juxtaposed to fantasy.
All of these are subjects of definite interest to the majority drawn to philosophy and art, these are some of the ideas i explore in my own writing; but where exactly James Holmes has lost it?
He comes across as sane and intelligent in that video, how is it possible that he dismissed the fact that people in the movie theater were someone’s children, someone’s brothers and sisters, someone’s friends and significant others?
When was it that he, to the detriment of all, stopped perceiving people – as people – and began thinking of others as a part of some delusional pseudo scientific experiment or a video game?
I presume that the assigned public defender might claim insanity – but the suspect gunmen does not come across as psychotic, he seems to have planned the tragedy thoroughly and executed it with blood-chilling precision.
University of Colorado which he attended has made very few disclosures in these three days and the suspect himself, according to CBS News, does not speak, but even little that we know so far should make us all think deeply.
I believe it’s a warning not to ever think of others in any other terms, then as of fellow human beings, individuals and our own extended family; it’s dangerous to think of others in any other way – even in terms of their nationalities and religious affiliations – because that too is a halfway to generalization and there we are already on a shaky ground.
And we’ve seen it all, or have heard of it – of religious leaders blessing the killings of those others for they call their God another name; we know of monstrous tortures being executed in the name of science – of diabolical Nazi human experiments and Japan’s notorious testing of biological weapons in China, to name only a few.
I can’t wrap my mind around it, how is it possible, how can a human being deliberately cause such suffering, but sadly it is obvious there are those of us who are incapable of empathy.
I was thinking of what can be done to stop them and to prevent such tragedies. It seems the logical first step would be gun ban – albeit Colorado governor has claimed it wouldn’t have prevented the massacre… we can’t know that.
How could someone described as ‘weird’ by his former colleagues and as ‘recluse’ by his neighbors, someone rejected from a gun club – be allowed to purchase tactical gear and “drum magazine” which fires 50 or 60 rounds per minute?
If there is one thing for which i’d applaud our own government – it’s the systematic implementation of the gun ban ever since the campaign in 2004 – regardless of the centuries long predominance of the gun culture and widespread sentiment that ‘house is not a home without a gun’.
Of course, it’s of help that – being a small country with service based economy – we don’t have a gun lobby, or any other industrial lobby per that matter, but i believe it has to be done in States too.
In today’s New York Times op-ed film critic Roger Ebert says he is not sure ” there is an easy link between movies and gun violence.”
The link is obvious to me – we are living in a culture where violence is promoted even to toddlers, where even children’s TV programs, cartoons and video games are filled with violent content. How can there NOT be a link?
Also, James Holmes, like most mass murderers From Columbine to Virginia Tech, was on prescription drugs at the time of the massacre. Mood altering psychiatric drugs taken every day by tens of millions of Americans, including millions of children, can and do push some users over the edge.
I can’t recommend strongly enough Generation RX – a documentary about pharmaceutical lobby which sold an entire nation a scientific hoax: that millions of children have “chemical imbalances” in their brains and require treatment with profitable pharmaceutical drugs.
Behind all of it – behind violence in movies and games and behind the industrial lobbies – is greed and lack of empathy.
Prosecutors are considering pursuing death penalty against James Holmes; i believe that those who – even if indirectly – have enabled such tragedies by engaging into corrupt business practices and marketing of violent entertainment, should be brought to justice too.
the video obtained by ABS news http://www.youtube.com/watch?v47DpqTZoBw
Generation RX trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xehHwkPpevk
Friday evening, when i am at home – and that’s most Fridays when in Montenegro – i pull randomly five cards from one of Tarot de Marseilles decks and i lurk at the cards while listening to weekly Kabbalah classes.
I was going to title this essay Scattered thoughts on TdM and 3 Negative weeks when it dawned on me that apart from most zealous Tarot enthusiasts – hardly anyone would know what is it about.
My beloved Tarot tribe has developed its own lingo which would take an expert in military ciphers to decode – unless one is socializing with other Tarotists on a daily basis and hanging out on Tarot forums and facebook groups.
When you say Tarot – most non-connoisseurs vaguely recall the artwork of Rider-Waite tarot deck, the best known deck in English speaking countries.
I was for a decade or so in “monogamous” relationship with it, that was the only deck i read – and even now, after having learned other traditions and acquired over hundred of exquisite decks, it would still be the deck i’d take with me to the desert island.
Arthur Edward Waite was a member of the Golden Dawn – a magical order which probably had strongest impact on Western occultism – a Freemason and scholarly mystic whose work was well received in academic circles; yet he is most known as co-creator of Rider-Waite-Smith deck. Genius artist and fellow Golden Dawn member Pamela Colman Smith illustrated the cards for Waite, and the deck of deceptively simple artwork, one of the first with 78 cards fully illustrated, was published in 1909.
If you look at attached scan of 7 of Wands, you see a man who seems to be defending himself. Look closer, pay attention to his different shoes. From there, Dan Pelletier – one of the most interesting and original contemporary philosophers of Tarot – makes connection with what’s known as Levirate marriage and The Book of Ruth and there your mind starts to boggle.
For we know Ruth, traditionally, is the first convert in history – albeit she is Moabite and it is said (Deuteronomy 23:4) An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation shall none of them enter into the assembly of the LORD for ever.
Not only she becomes an Israelite, but she’s also great-grandmother of King David!
How did that happen? Is there some mistake in the scripture?! Not really, because when read indepth, The Book of Ruth is not merely a story of the first convert, also described as first gold-digger in history – but a manual on how to transform the darkness in each and every one of us – into the light.
Stuff like that.
But, back to different Tarot traditions, which i like to compare to what’s known in linguistics as proto-languages… For Tarot is a language, albeit constructed one, a code if you like, not a natural one – but still a language in its own right.
In the same way the known languages which are believed to have descended by slow modification of the proto-language into languages that form a language family – most of the thousands of contemporary Tarot decks ascend to the three proto-traditions: Raider Waite, Thoth and Tarot de Marseilles.
Aleister Crowley, Waite’s fellow initiate of the Golden Dawn and his fervent opponent, in partnership with Lady Frieda Harris created Thoth Tarot.
Crowley – a ceremonial magician, prolific author, mountaineer and the founder of religious philosophy of Thelema, together with Harris seem to have crammed into this pack of cards all occult knowledge in existence; thus 7 of Wands here stands for Netzach (Victory) in the suit of Fire and is also attributed to Mars in Leo.
I know very few readers who can make sense of the card as it is (without recalling Pam’s depiction of “Defendant”) – and albeit Thoth can give amazing readings, it is basically a part of initiatory system of magical fraternity Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), or better to say – of its several competing fractions who claimed to be legitimate heirs to Aleister Crowley.
Basically you need to un-learn the RWS system in order to learn Thoth, and – albeit some respectable Tarot thinkers and practicioners have quite different opinion on the matter – in my view, Thoth deck, taken out of Thelemic context, makes very little sense.
But, let us go to the grand-daddy of both decks – Tarot de Marseilles and its depiction of Seven of Wands ie. Le sept de Bâton :
No Kabbalah here, no astro glyphs, levirate marriages or whatsoever – simply seven wands crossed in a particular way and some vegetation growing from it.
Yet this too will send you tripping if you focus on it.
Yes, of course it can be read traditionally – all sevens are related to the Chariot and Wands are work, so the card would on the most basic level denote something to do with hard work which results in success, but…
Apply to it Enrique Enriquez famous “Eye Rhyme” method, try reading card’s rhyme, rhythm and resonance – for this genius artist experiences tarot reading as an act of visual poetry – try hearing what song this card sings to you personally, all magical orders, ceremonial magicians and traditional meanings aside…
That’s what i tried to do this night and here is my reading with Jean Noblet deck:
On Fridays i read from right to left. Nine of Swords – first card from the right – to me is quite an ugly one; the eight swords (Suit of Air/ Thoughts/ Ideas) locked in a circle are cutting off and propelling out four identically shaped buds; to me – it can be about some kind of vicious circle, cliche thinking, speech patterns and so on.
The shortsword in the middle seems to be a Gladius – the primary sword of Ancient Roman foot soldiers.
As a side note – other words derived from Latin noun glădĭus are gladiator (“swordsman”) and gladiolus, the sword lily.
So, let’s presume the shortsword here represent some idea – could be”pure”, lily-like one – that has pierced some repetitive negative thought pattern; that idea is then excruciated on the Weel of Fortune, tempered in the fire of the Tower, and finally buried… Before it becomes a weapon in the Queens right hand – her left, significantly smaller hand being laid on what seems to be baby bump – that idea needs to ‘raise from the dead ‘ in the Judgement card, then to be internalized in the guarded Queen’s stomach – before it becomes the weapon of protection in her right hand.
It’s a long way to go – but probably the only one by which repetitive negative thoughts which lead to self-sabotaging behavior patterns – can be transformed into one’s advantages.
The so called Three Negative Weeks – the interval of “Bein HaMeitsarim” (between the straits) in which we are now according to kabbalistic calendar – seem to be the ideal timing to do so – we are propelled to go within and prevent situations that might bring self-destruction.
In words of one of the leading Kabbalists of our times, Shaul Youdkevitch: “We often forget that we are the master of our body and soul, and have the right not to let in emotions which don’t serve us or our purpose. We must hold on to the belief and knowledge that we have the power to redirect our fate, as the alternative is to be “bnei beliya’al” (evil-doers, lacking conscience), useless in the ability to rise above emotion, thought and misery that overwhelms us… it is this time, during the three weeks, that we fight these negative forces with tolerance, open-heartedness and unconditional love.”
Absolutely amazing interview of Dan Pelletier by Enrique Enriquez http://tarology.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/a-conversation-wit-dan-pelletier/
Jean Noblet Tarot http://www.tarotpedia.com/wiki/Jean_Noblet_Tarot
The 9th of Av According to Kabbalah http://www.livekabbalah.org/index.php/home/gates-in-time/holidays/the-9th-of-av-tisha-beav/
Weekly Zohar Study (Matot) http://www.livekabbalah.org/index.php/home/weekly-zohar/numbers-bamidbar/matot/
Weekly audio Zohar Study (Matot-Masei) with Shaul Youdkevitch http://www.livekabbalah.org/index.php/home/download-studies/
I would like to express my gratitude to REALMANURE for nominating my blog for Inspiring Blogger Award – thank you from the bottom of my heart!
By the rules, once you are nominated , you need to list seven things about you, before listing your own nominations; given that i’ve been going on and on about my own self, i’d like to introduce bloggers i am nominating – they speak of me and my choices better than i ever could:
(in no particular order)
1. Bonnie Cehovet, an amazing mystic and author of some of the best pieces of flash fiction in history
2. Alison Cross, one of the wittiest and most inspiring bloggers on www
3. Lisa Frideborg Lloyd, Holistic Tarot Healer and Reader, author of one of the best Tarot blogs in existence
4. Arie Moyal because he has a vision i support wholeheartedly (and because i hope this nomination might inspire him to post more often )
5. Managua because he puts his heart into what he writes – and he does write well!
6. Russel Ray because he takes amazing pictures of animals, is a dad of a wonder-cat Zoey who is first to approve all of his work -and because he writes interestingly and engagingly!
7. REALMANURE, because she makes us think, re-think and then think some more!
So these were mine seven ‘shots’ and here are other blogs i find amazing and follow with great interest:
Now for the RULES to follow when nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:
- Display the award logo on your blog.
- Link back to the person who nominated you.
- State 7 things about yourself.
- Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
- Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.
If being born in former Yugoslavia has thought me anything – it’s to be ready to lose everything in a blink of an eye. I can’t even count how many times i started all over again – at some place where i never thought i’d be living and having only personal belongings with me. That life of a perpetual wanderer had thought me many things – and placed all of my views on life in general in quite an ephemeral and illusionary framework.
In the first place – it thought me never to identify with what’s temporarily in my possession; we are not what we have and whatever it is that we have can be gone overnight, if not sooner.
In Epistulae Morales 9.18-19, Seneca tells story of philosopher Stilpon, whose homeland was captured; as he was walking away from conflagration by himself, he was asked if he had lost anything. To that he replied: Omnia mea mecum porto – all my goods are with me. By doing so, he made the enemy doubt whether he actually won as his goods were with him – justice, virtue, prudence and the very fact that he considered that, which could be snatched away – worthless.
It was somewhere after 11pm the other night when we felt the smell of smoke and heard the noise of firemen’s cars running somewhere in the distance. I ran to the balcony and someone in the street yelled: it’s burning near the railway ! The railway is in some 1km/ 0.6 mi from our home – and with the crazy wind, it was a question of minutes until it gets to our houses – it’s woods and we are in the first line.
The shock came only after it was all over – now that i look back, i am somewhat scared by my own lack of any sort of panic or upset in the midst of the chaos; this is what i did: taking care of my parents (who happen to be my next door neighbors as well) and cat first; the medicines they need, documents, cash, everyone’s clothes for couple of days; then jewels and my books – something we could sell and live of at least for the first time; my prayer book, Russian ID , I Ching and several Tarot decks.
One of the mistakes i made was that i kept Manya’s carrybag in the storage room behind the house – the fire was at the reach of my hand when i ran to get it and my mother was screaming from the balcony that i will catch fire; the thing is that my fur baby is used to this bag – it has openings so she can see through it, otherwise it’s too traumatizing for her and she was too upset already. The other mistake was that the gas in my car was on reserve level, i i didn’t tank it last time, so in case we needed to – we wouldn’t be able to get further then 50km/ some 30 miles – and the traffic was crazy and gas stations were closed of course. I had also took a wrong passport – i keep several old ones because when you go to an Embassy of a country for which we still need visas – like US or UK – they ask you details of previously issued ones, that’s why; so that’s something i need to sort out too, otherwise i end up AGAIN with a passport of no longer existing country… and i have had several of those.
The fire was tamed some four hours later and everyone went back to their respective homes, but Hexagram 56, The Traveler has been on my mind ever since…
When a man is a wanderer and stranger, he should not be gruff nor overbearing. He has no large circle of acquaintances, therefore he should not give himself airs. He must be cautious and reserved; in this way he protects himself from evil. If he is obliging toward others, he wins success.
A wanderer has no fixed abode; his home is the road. Therefore he must take care to remain upright and steadfast, so that he sojourns only in the proper places, associating only with good people. Then he has good fortune and can go his way unmolested.
For no matter what, aren’t we all merely travelers in this life?
Laudator Temporis Acti: http://laudatortemporisacti.blogspot.com/2007/07/omnia-mea-mecum-porto.html
FOCUS News Agency: Montenegro: Wildfire breaks out near Podgorica http://www.focus-fen.net/?id=n283295
I-Ching Hexagram 56 – Lu – The Wanderer http://theabysmal.wordpress.com/2006/10/27/i-ching-hexagram-56/
Can someone of my wise friends enlighten me on what’s so fascinating about Slavoj Žižek to Western taste? And what’s the guy’s problem with Buddhism? It seems to me he is simply trolling and i find him to be an attention HO, quite unattractive one too.
I went to his lecture here in Podgorica and i really don’t get it – first and foremost, because he simply doesn’t make sense. His are ramblings, literally.
Is it that he is the first smarta** from Balkans who learned English properly and took Balkan bluntness to an all new level?
Check out this infamous article: http://cabinetmagazine.org/issues/2/western.php
Firstly, it is built on false premises , secondly – even if this idiotic hypothesis was true – what’s exactly Žižek’s problem with Tibet and its religion?
(Tibet, rest assured, won’t be ‘assimilated in couple of decades’ – and not because US gvmnt’s heart bleeds for Tibetan cause, so they won’t allow it – but because it is one of the hot spots where US can pressure China’s ruling party – and in that way exercise some, even if minimal, upset – if not some control over it.)
He is not known to have spent any prolonged periods of time in Tibet, he doesn’t speak the language, probably does not hang around ethnic Tibetans either and certainly does not practice Buddhism – on what exactly he based his opinion? And why does it matter? Except that it’s funny – a somewhat typical Balkan gastarbeiter thing to do – dismissing the things you don’t get with an arrogant attitude which only an utterly ignorant person can permit themselves. There are countless jokes on gastarbeiter still circling all around ex Yugoslavia – it was mostly the uneducated work force that filled positions with minimal wage in Germany, where the word for ‘guest worker’ originated. Being incapable of learning the local language and integrate – “guest workers” of first generation had developed a cultish mentality of their own: they gathered in “Yugoslavian clubs”, eating their own food and listening to Serbian folk music ; from the heights of hills of grilled meat stuffed with onion and hypnotized by the two accords of the turbo-folc music & rivers of slivovitza, they disdained the culture of their host country – because they didn’t know any better.
That’s exactly how Slavoj Žižek’s verbal escapades come across to me.
If you want an intelligent reply to this verbal diarrhea of his – read Nathan, he explains it step by step: http://www.ethannichtern.com/tag/slavoj-zizek-buddhism/
But in Balkans you don’t get such detailed explanations under pretense that you misunderstood something – here you get punch in the face & i believe that’s the only reason Žižek choose to go ballistic on Buddhism and not on Christianity or Islam for example.
Or the other, in my view, bully – Chomsky. You’ll hear that he alone started the new shift of the scientific paradigm – if one has the slightest idea what is a shift in scientific paradigm – that immediately sets off the BS alarm; he certainly did not.
What he did is the following: having overdosed on Bakunin, an anarchist of times long gone and militant antisemite, about whom best part of contemporary anarchists don’t care the least – Chomsky thought that , given that he has Jewish blood, he’ll manage to get away with BS with which Bakunin, a CO Russian could not… well, next time he wants to enter Israel (and is not allowed into the country) he can indeed try “one of the tunnels connecting Gaza and Egypt” as he was recommended by MP Otniel Schneller.
Here is what some intelligent people have to say about Chomsky:
“Even on the rare occasions when Mr. Chomsky is dealing with facts and not with fantasies, he exaggerates by a factor of, plus or minus, four or five.”
Walter Laqueur, The New Republic, March 24, 1982
“After many years, I came to the conclusion that everything he says is false. He will lie just for the fun of it. Every one of his arguments was tinged and coded with falseness and pretense. It was like playing chess with extra pieces. It was all fake.” Paul Postal, The New Yorker, March 31, 2003
And here it is – exposed lie by lie, if you can stomach it: http://www.paulbogdanor.com/chomskyhoax.html
(I can’t, his discourse simply makes me sick.)
How he rose to academic prominence in the first place – is indeed beyond my comprehension. Except that – imho – he’s an attention HO too. As per the imaginary shift , here on what it comes down to, explained clearly: Noam Chomsky, America’s Village Idiot http://theanti-chomskyanredoubt.blogspot.com/2006/07/noam-chomsky-americas-village-idiot.html
(I disagree only on one count – with author’s derogatively use of sophistry – which in academic circles is passe.)
I do know that if you posted hate speeches like that on any internet forum in English language – except the supremacist ones – you’d get banned promptly; how come these two, in my opinion, pretenders made it – is a subject for careful analyzes and a wake up call to us all.
Basically, what Chomsky has been screaming from the top of his lungs is DIE, DIE AMERICA – his hatred for Israel is secondary ; Žižek calls for return to bolshevism – and not to mild Leninist kind, but to the hard’core Stalinism. And the latter probably doesn’t even mean it – it’s merely bluffing and a publicity stunt. And even if you bother to understand what he is trying to communicate in between tirades about Marx, Lacan and bashings of Shunryu Suzuki – even if his faked or not neurotic tics don’t bother you – there is very little to hear. Simply, in my opinion, he is fake.
There can’t be any wisdom, not even in disguise, where there is hate – and especially where there is ‘hate for no reason’ which Kabbalists happen to consider the root of all evil.
Haaretz Article on Chomsky being denied entry to Israel: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/noam-chomsky-denied-entry-into-israel-and-west-bank-1.290701
Slavoj Žižek: A Radical Critique http://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/slavoj-zizek-a-radical-critique/
Žižek, the Borat of philosophy http://www.newstatesman.com/film/2007/04/slavoj-zizek-intellectual
My country today celebrates its Statehood Day – on July 13 1878 Berlin Congress recognized Montenegro as the twenty-seventh independent state in the world; on this day in 1941 Montenegrins sided with the partisan movement and raised against Nazi occupiers.
‘Am I in paradise or on the moon?’ George Bernard Shaw famously quipped from the top of Mt Lovćen; to its west – Adriatic sea stretches to the horizon and on a clear day you can see Italy; to the south is Skadar Lake, beyond it – the dark, mysterious hills of Albania; to the north is Kotor Fjord…
To arrive from historical capital Cetinje to Kotor Fjord – once the only way was through the mountains, via a steep, narrow and somehow unusually curvy road… When you look at it from the top of the mountain – you clearly see a capital letter M which seems to be engraved into the landscape by the road – the legend says that French architect commissioned to oversee the construction in this way declared his love for beautiful Montenegrin Queen Milena – and had ran away from the country for his life! Whether the story is true we can not know, but Montenegrin women are indeed known for their beauty – King Nikola and Queen Milena’s daughters had married into the most influential European dynasties and our King will be nick-named “the father in law of Europe”!
Elena of Montenegro (born Princess Jelena Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro) was wife of Victor Emmanuel III and Queen of Italy from 1900 until 1946; by Italians she was named “La Bella Elena” – beautiful Elena.
Two of our other princesses, with keen interest in the occult, Milica and Anastasia, had married into Romanov dynasty and it was them who later on introduced mysterious Rasputin to the Russian Court.
It is difficult to speak realistically of this country – not only because it immediately gets under your skin and you become overwhelmed by its beauty and allure – but because traditionally here myth and history go hand in hand.
If you read serious historical sources – you’ll learn of False Tsar Stephen the Little; for my PhD thesis i studied carefully archives of Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the diplomatic correspondence exchanged between two courts – Montenegrins were fully aware that their ruler had a false identity; but did they care? Not the least – he was a great ruler and that was the only thing that mattered; where he came from and who he was in reality – nobody knows until today.
Do you know which was the longest war in history? Montenegrin – Japanese war which lasted from 1905 – 2006! When Russia declared war to Japan, the teeny kingdom sided with its ally and also proclaimed war to the Country of the Raising Sun! Albeit the answer was never received – Montenegrin gesture was not merely symbolical – the best warriors chosen from the most reputable of the tribes, along with Russians went to war, fought bravely, won victories and received medals! Again, all of it is documented in the archives of Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs where the names of these people who fought against Samurai and the awards they received are meticulously listed!
Then super powers got busy with their own business – and the war was almost forgotten… Still, in Montenegro a story is told how group of TV journalists from Japan came to film the customs of these intriguing highlanders – one elder in the village high up in the mountains, upon hearing which was their country of origin – got his riffle and held everyone hostage until much later local police released them, but not without long negotiations with the old man!
And it’s only in 2006, when High Representative of Japanese Government traveled to Montenegro to recognize our regained independence – that the truce was signed!
Circumstances were such that I returned to my country only when i was in my late twenties; for you, here is an excerpt from my memoir on how i imagined it, while growing up far, far away from it:
I would wake up to the repetitive, dull noise of tennis balls bouncing off the paved court in the immediate vicinity – it was placed just across the narrow chestnut alley from our house. It is the only noise i can recall in the Prague’s residential area where we lived, the cars had no business in our one-way street and the whole neighborhood had an aura of a creepily silence.
The lack of noise matched the reserved and distant attitude of the people i’d occasionally meet in the street – albeit they were few; this was a residential area, historical villas were placed in a resigned distance from each other, like estranged spouses – still vaguely familiar, as the houses were built in the same period and quite alike – yet by choice alien to each other.
I never knew who lived in other houses with flamboyantly decorated facades, residents would come and go by their big black cars and only by small silk flags with golden fringes i could guess which country they came from – so far – while looking through the rounded window of my room – i had recognized French tricolor and red Turkish flag with its white crescent moon and a star.
I’ve seen many Turkish flags – in centuries long, fierce battles with Turks, the highlander warrior tribes – ancestors from father’s side of the family – had seized numerous Ottoman army flags and had brought them to the capital of the small country high in mountain wreaths of Balkan Peninsula, the former Kingdom of Montenegro. I counted them, in the museum which used to be the court of our only king – Nikola, they were forty four, forty four torn and soaked in blood flags seized in battles which small nation had won against the big and evil empire which wanted to enslave us, or so i was thought… Prague, a coming of age story; Copyright©2012 Lena Ruth Stefanovic, All Rights Reserved
This essay was inspired by a great article Barbara Moor wrote for Llewellyn – “Vacation with the cards”: http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2012/07/vacation-with-the-cards/comment-page-1/#comment-40587
I hope all of you will one day come to visit Montenegro – until then enjoy Tarot of the Black Mountain which genius artist Emily Carding devoted to this land and its people: http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/black-mountain/
The Sun card is from amazing Tarot of Venice (G. Berti, A.Wauters, D.Tonato; Dal Negro 2007, All Rights Reserved) – over years, as many had heard of my country but didn’t know exactly where it was, i got used to explaining our geographical location in the following way: JUST ACROSS THE SEA FROM ITALY!
“The case with the hidden treasure” hosting the Lovers card is made by amazing German artist, mystic and a friend of mine – Morwenna Morash, you can see some of her other artwork here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/morwenna_art
Are you one of those venerable spiritual
tourists seekers who, like me, somehow doesn’t happen to have at their disposal four to five years which should be spent in self-imposed isolation, studying some ancient texts and awkward illustrations coded so heavily that all of it seems to be a rather impossible mission?
Do you really believe something, anything can be turned into gold? Bupkes, neither do I! And even if it could be – i mean, really, there are several easier ways to get gold, especially for a girl, if you know what i mean!
Why bother? Why turn your place into some medieval laboratory and cramp your head with weirdest of formula? Nah, i don’t get it either! Except if, like me, you happen to hang around some knowledgeable folks where you sort of feel that your thorough ignorance on the matter is rather inappropriate AND/OR you overdosed on Gustav Meyrink‘s novels and now wonder what is it all about?!
I hear you, but i am equally lost here! One way around it is to get yourself The Taoist I Ching translated by Thomas Cleary and start from there; MA in Chinese Philosophy and fluent Mandarin are not obligatory – but indeed are recommended.
Or you can always get yourself a proper Alchemical Tarot , created by someone as wise as Robert M. Place and – after taking 3 to 4 years to learn Tarot itself, you can launch full frontal attack on Alchemy from there. (That’s what i tried to do, yet Alchemy resisted by completely defending itself!)
You can also get Adam McLean’s fantastic courses on Alchemical symbolism, but i’ve done courses with Adam and he means business – no patting on the back from him, no ‘alchemy for dummies’ stuff – so this alternative, i believe, is filed as a part of those initial 4 to 5 years, which, as it is, i don’t see myself devoting to Alchemy!
But, if seriously, why 4 to 5 years? Well, it’s the 10000-hour rule. In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell goes in-depth into how successful people become successful and the 10,000 hour rule refers to the fact that most people get really, really good at something after 10,000 hours.
That’s about 3h a day for 10 years – or, if you are ambitious, 6h per day, during 5 years. Right. I know many will scream: it doesn’t take that long! It does. Try a foreign language, Kabbalah studies, violine, anything; if you want to be good in it, that’s what it takes (if not more).
The way i am wired, i hate things superficial – think of Stellium in 8th house, my natal Sun, Moon and Mars being in the house of occult – and you get an idea where i am coming from.
There is that famous kabbalistic story of a newbie who, having been dismissed by other sages, approached Hillel the Elder asking him how to learn Kabbalah while standing on one leg – which is in briefest possible period of time (there is also a more religious version where it’s a convert asking about Torah); and the answer was: “Love thy neighbor as thyself, now go and learn!”
So it’s the intent that matters in the first place. I can’t recall misers who got great at something. Right, we are all human and there is, as they say, ‘plenty of good in the worst of us and plenty of bad in the best of us’, but i really don’t remember encountering a mean person who achieved impressive knowledge; it seems that latter requires a kind of thinking which, in its turn, somehow includes love for the proverbial neighbor. Or something like that.
I read numerous hostile texts where various authors – who presumably achieved greatness in some rather obscure by ordinary criteria fields – were going like: don’t think you can achieve this and that without the metaphorical blood spitting! Oh, yes, you can. Not that every path doesn’t have it challenges – of course it does, but if it’s meant for you, you’ll somehow have all the endurance it takes.
I am all for free will concept and although, obviously, absolute freedom is an abstract category – i am keen on Swedenborg who, for what i know, was the only philosopher/ mystic who claimed we keep the free will even after physical death.
That being said – nobody knows exactly where desire arises; discipline is great, but on it alone, without the desire no one arrived too far. Who or what grants us the desire – is another topic.
I had that desire – and still do – for several (for the lack of better wording) ‘occult’ subjects, but sadly, Alchemy per se doesn’t seem to be one of them.
I meddle with all the Alchemical sources i listed above – but not on a regular bases and while lacking that drive, that incapability to be get busy with anything else – except the chosen subject.
I pulled a card randomly from the Alchemical deck, which was gifted to me by an amazing author and one of the most popular figures in the worldwide Tarot tribe, my dear friend and spiritual sojourner, Frances Ajamian Ktenas.
Here is what the accompanying book has to say on the Nine od Stuffs: “A wolf is sacrificed in a fire. This is an alchemical symbol representing the restoration of the king, who was devoured by a wolf.”
Hmm, knowing Robert’s work, i am certain he does know what he is talking about – but i certainly don’t! I have a vague feeling it has something to do with restricting one’s negative impulses and, like, “sacrificing ” those for personal empowerment which – inevitably – has to go together with the highest good of everyone involved.
But then, that’s Kabbalah and the story of Binding of Isaac when read in-depth, where the horror-like depiction of the presumably capricious and potentially cruel Deity who commands the poor guy to slaughter his own son – turns into a manual on keeping cool and tempering one’s desire to receive for the self alone with the desire to receive for the sake of sharing, if you know what i mean.
Further, the book says: “the message also suggests sacrifice, especially for a higher purpose, like suffering for the good of others, or being a martyr, or subduing the animal passions for spiritual purpose.”
Right, so my intuition was not all that off! But, if you are counting on me to come up with Philosopher’s stone – please, don’t hold your breath!
Adam McLean’s website : http://www.levity.com/alchemy/
Bonnie Cehovet’s excellent review of newly relesed book by R. Place: http://theworldoftarot.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/review-alchemy-and-the-tarot/
Alchemical Tarot: http://alchemicaltarot.com/
Frances Ajamian Ktenas’ website: http://www.nineofcups11.com/