"The glacier knocks in the cupboard, The desert sighs in the bed, And the crack in the teacup opens A lane to the land of the dead."

-W.H. Auden

Friday, June 29, 2018

Twilight Rainbow




Summer twilight, after a storm.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Signs And Symbols

Back in March, I posted about an unnerving dream I'd had. Most of what I wrote then concerned my rather fraught relationship with an old schoolmate who'd appeared in the dream, but in the months since, other elements of the dream have gained prominence. Below, I've excerpted the parts concerning the dream itself. The original post is here.

...


March 31, 2018 

Last night's dream was an unsettling one. Not a nightmare really, but unnerving somehow. I am still unsure what it means.

A winter storm was coming, a blizzard the likes of which we'd never seen. It hadn't arrived yet, but everyone was warned to be prepared. I was at home, alone. Where everyone else had gone I've no idea - it didn't seem to matter. You know how it is in dreams.

I looked around - the house was dark, and not warm, but the walls were sturdy and I figured I'd be all right if I chose to stay. At the same time, I'd had an offer - who knows how it came - from a group of hippies who had set up a tent site on the edge of town. They were nice tents - more like yurts, really, specially insulated and heated - in which to ride out the storm.  There were 200 tents, the hippies said, and they had one for me if I wanted it.

I was doubtful at first. I didn't even know these people, and maybe it was best to keep to myself, but the hippies convinced me it was better not to be alone, especially in a storm like this.

The tents were set up in a field below mission hill, all of them bright white. All the people were dressed in white as well, although there was no obvious reason for this. It occurred to me that when the snow came we'd all be camouflaged, invisible to any predatory eye, though whether this was intentional or not, there is no way to know.

I was shown to my tent, which was indeed very nice, and put on my warm white clothes. I then went out to wander among the people in the field. All of them were strangers, and as usual I was feeling shy. Starting conversations has never been my strong point.

After making a few nodding acquaintances, I was surprised to be introduced to someone I already knew, a woman named Lori.


[...]

I shook [...] Lori's hand and said "I don't know if you remember me." She said, "oh, of course I do" and I replied "well, we have known each other since the age of 7."

Just then, though, my hand began to bleed, ghastly red dripping all over our clean white clothes. I apologized, although I couldn't quite explain it. "It's no problem" Lori was saying, but by then I had noticed that the blood had run into the lines of my palm - the left palm, the lines that mark the potential with which you were born.

That's when I woke up.



...


It was in April that the parent/child separation policy went into effect for migrants on the border, and June when the first tent city/children's detention camp went up in Tornillo, Texas. This has caused an immense amount of distress in the state as well as the country. Indeed, I've had a sick headache just about every day since then. All the same, when I saw the pictures of the tents, I couldn't help but recall the dream. The scenario was different, but the imagery was strikingly similar. 

I found this similarity interesting, but not necessarily relevant, until I learned of all the protest marches being planned. The marchers are requested to wear white. That spooked me a bit. White clothes - was this only a coincidence? Considering this, I became concerned about the final disturbing image in the dream, my spontaneously bleeding palm. 

Today, there was a protest at the capitol, and i happened to see the news footage on TV. There was a banner being carried by some of the marchers - it's the one at the top of the page. It wasn't evident at first glance that it was a small red hand print inside a larger yellow one - it first looked to me like a bleeding palm, outlining the fate lines of the left hand.

I still don't know what to make of this. As a coincidence, it seems vanishingly unlikely. Perhaps these are images that happened to filter back to my psyche from the future, and my dreaming mind folded them into a story. I can't pretend to know. but I confess I am concerned. 

In any case, I expect the road ahead will require courage of us all.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Evil Eye

Votive tree
Amulets to ward against the evil eye. I have the feeling we need all we can get.

My Prophecy

 Mount Nemrut, Turkey

[Note::This is a repost from another site: I wrote it some time ago, but it still feels relevant now]

I've hesitated to write this for many years because it's so strange, but feel it's time to get this out there for posterity. Make of it what you will. Maybe it's nonsense, maybe it's not, but it's the only time I've had what seemed to be a "Biblical" type prophecy. Perhaps some will find it interesting, at least.

On August 31, 2005, I had stopped at a convenience store to buy a few gallons of gas. I'd parked my car at the pump and was about to head inside to pay. I looked up at the sign to double check the price and...something happened.

The sign above the gas station seemed to be wreathed in smoke. There were distant screams and an odd burning smell. The thought came to me, "they're burning the olive trees, they're burning the olive trees." This thought was horrifying, while at the same time I realized that there were no olive trees in the area and I had never smelled one burning before.The smoke was then replaced by what I can only call a "vision" - my eyes were open, but a disturbing mental picture blotted out reality.

I saw the face of an ancient god, who was the Earth. That is to say, God was the Earth and the Earth was God. The face was carved out of stone (which was the planet itself) and the size and age of it was impossible to comprehend. Just trying to contemplate the size and age made me feel helpless and insignificant, as if I simply did not have enough brain to understand.


The god/carving/planet unhinged its jaw with a ghastly roar. It seemed the whole planet would come apart. From the mouth, two demonic or devilish creatures - one red and one green - emerged and flew away. A Biblical-sounding phrase had come into my mind at the same time - "God opened his mouth and roared/And released two devils upon the surface of the Earth." 
A voice boomed the words "seven years". Then the vision faded and the sound of traffic returned, leaving me in the parking lot wondering what the heck just happened.

The overwhelming feeling from this vision was that God was enraged, he had given us human beings plenty of chances and now we'd done it, we'd really messed up this time. Now we would have these devils to contend with, and it was all our own fault. The Biblical overtones of this vision indicated something religious in nature, or at least having to do with the Middle East. Since there was a war on, this didn't seem too far-fetched.


After paying for the gas I rushed home. I wanted to check the news - I felt certain that something had happened in the Middle East. I also pondered the meaning of "seven years". I knew very well that the Tribulation was supposed to last seven years, but having gone to a Fundamentalist Christian school that predicted the Rapture daily, I was inclined to withhold judgment on that one. Instead, my feeling was that something had been set in motion, and we'd have no more than seven years to correct it.

At home, I turned on the news, and indeed, something had just happened. The Al-Aaimmah bridge in Baghdad had collapsed, killing hundreds of people. There had been a stampede because someone had thrown a bomb at the bridge. It was not due to military forces but IIRC the perpetrator was thought to be from another Muslim faction.


I figured this loss of life had somehow registered on my psyche, and years later I saw on the Global Consciousness Project website that there had been a significant spike on their devices that concurred with this event. I reasoned that I had picked up something, along with a lot of other people, and combined with high heat and feeling ill from traffic exhaust fumes had caused this crazy vision.

Still, I couldn't help but wonder about the seven years. Or the burning olive trees. Every so often I'd search Google for news of burning olives and see that Israeli forces would make incursions into Palestinian territory and burn their olive trees - so such things did happen, but nothing that specifically meshed with the date of my vision. Perhaps it was a metaphor, meaning there was no more hope for peace. Who knew? But I couldn't help but keep track of the time.


On August 31, 2012, the seven years were up. The day before, Mitt Romney had been nominated as the Republican candidate for president, but even I didn't think a sign of the apocalypse would be that dorky. Nothing else on my radar at that moment seemed especially meaningful as far as the vision was concerned. It wasn't until some months later that Islamic State began to make the news. As it happened, it was between July and September of 2012 that a series of jailbreaks occurred that allowed IS to become a terrifying force in the Middle East - right on the seven year mark.


I'm unsure if it's ever been confirmed, but the faction that bombed the Al-Aaimmah bridge might have been part of the faction that later called themselves IS.

Could this be the meaning of one of the forces in the vision?


What of the other devil "released upon the surface of the Earth"?

I can't be sure, but have my ideas. Looking at the state of the US and much of the world right now, it's more than a little worrying.

Hopefully, my "prophecy" really was no more than the result of toxic exhaust fumes. Regardless, I thought it was time to write it down anyway.

...

Notes:
I had written this last November and posted it to another site, but since things have continued to worsen since then, I felt I should post it here as well.

To be clear, despite my joke about the Apocalypse, the vision was not explicitly an "end of the world" scenario, but a punishment for our sins if we could not fix the harm we'd done within 7 years.

The photo of the statue on Mount Nemrut is the closest approximation to the god figure I saw in the vision.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Waiting Landscape

There is something eerie about an empty field in the noonday sun. As if it's waiting for something to appear out of the heat shimmer and cicada hum.

Doppelgänger

No, not my Doppelganger - this just happened to be the only picture handy that might illustrate the concept. It was actually my brother's Doppelganger who made an appearance last week.

It's not rare to see (or even more commonly, hear) my brother when he's not there. Flashes of clothes or beard around the corner, his disembodied footsteps in the hall. It's long been a family joke. My brother is so grouchily cynical, yet the paranormal follows him like Pigpen's dust cloud on Peanuts. I swear it's trying to take pokes at him. I'm just surprised it hasn't rained stones or fish on him by now

Even my youngest son isn't exempt from being tricked by his uncle's shade. "Here comes uncle Igneous up the walkway!" he shouts, only to find no one there and that his uncle is out of town. And there was that entire week when we all heard him come in and flop down on the couch every day about noon, when he was really at work the whole time.  It's not a new issue; it's just his thing.

What happened a couple of days ago was new, however. 

Last Thursday, about 6 PM, I see my brother get out of his truck in the driveway and head toward the carport. (yes, by Jove, he is still living in our carport. His latest plot is building one of those tiny houses to move to his land. Anyway...) I was standing on the lawn maybe 30 feet away, wondering who was following behind him. For a moment I thought it might have been my elder son, but that didn't seem right. They have a similar build, but a different walk, and besides, the following figure was dressed like my brother. I blinked. Could I be seeing double? But my vision was otherwise fine, and what's more, the follower was moving at a different speed. That's when things get weird...

My brother was walking the way he normally does, but the figure behind him was trailing much slower. Indeed, I was put in mind of frames of a film being cranked slowly through a projector, with the figure seeming to fade out just toward the end of the frame before appearing in the next. It was very, very odd. I watched their progress into the carport, then had to go think it over. Despite the jokes about my brother bi-locating, I'd never seen anything like this before, let alone the Doppelganger appearing in the same place at the same time.

What to make of this? Well, there is a medical condition that can make things appear in slow motion, but as far as I can tell, it doesn't isolate one object, nor does it come and go in an instant. Not very likely the explanation in this case. No more likely than something popping in from another dimension. Or an honest-to-goodness Doppelganger, for that matter.

To see one's Doppelganger is a bad sign. To see it following your footsteps is even worse. I decided to say nothing to my brother - no sense in alarming him if it did turn out to be some quirk of my vision.  

Early the next morning, though, he had a strange story to tell

About 5 AM, he was awoken by someone opening the door to his trailer and motioning to him to come with them. He thought it must be one of us, but it was dark and he couldn't see well. He told the person he'd be a minute, got dressed and came into the house. But we were all asleep. It was none of us who'd done it. 

Perhaps it was just a dream. 
Perhaps. 

But I have my own ideas about who came to his door that night.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Midsummer's Eve

Tomorrow is the solstice, so I spent the evening making flower garlands. Magic lives in the edges of things, and here is the margin between light and dark.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Among The Grain

Some time ago, I wrote about the country road that led to my grandmother's house, and how some nights, I imagined I might see Mothman there. It was also one the roads mentioned here, that my sister and her friends would cruise, listening to Hypnotized by Fleetwood Mac.

Well, we were out there the other day, for the first time in years. and - wonder of wonders - guess what song came on the radio?

It wasn't at night, no, but I'm not sure I really want to run into Mothman after all.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Wreath Of Roses

Just because it's so beautiful, it blows my mind. Even the statue with its weapon is helpless against a whirl of rose petals in the wind.

Witchy Weather

Recently, I went out to the cemetery where my ancestors are buried, to leave an offering and ask their advice. I'd been seeing such a falling apart of things, a rapid decay of the world around us, that surely they would have something to say about it.

If the world is falling apart, the cemetery was no exception. While the place had changed little in the 150 years previous, it had taken a sudden turn for the worse. Sinkholes had appeared, gravestones toppled by their own weight, statues and vases broken beyond repair. Even many of the enamel portraits marking the graves as seen here had fallen apart completely. It did not look like the work of vandals, but a sudden, unexplained deterioration.

After leaving my offerings, I walked around while awaiting an answer or a sign. I tidied up the best I could, replacing broken tiles and angel's wings. In the west corner, a sandpiper ran down the mounds of dirt, fluting wildly. We are far from the shore, so this was a surprise. I thought it must have a nest there it was trying to protect, but when I tried to investigate, the bird began to make such a noise and flail around so that I gave in and followed. Afterward, I remembered how my husband had once dragged me away from that same corner many years ago, having been overcome by the feeling he must get me away from there immediately

When the sign came, it was a little hard to understand. It was definitely the sign, but what did it mean? I took a couple of days for it to click.Then I understood, much more than I ever realized.

Today I went out to work the spell, in the bright and sunny afternoon. It was a simple spell, of course, because that is the way my ancestors worked. It was so hot and dry that I watered the plants first, and wetted down the area I was working. The ground was as dry as a bone and beginning to crack. Such is the way of things at the edge of the desert.

I was just finishing when the storm blew up, with a black sky and howling wind, so fast I barely had time to gather my things and get the laundry in before it was soaked. I rushed in to check the weather report, but I already knew what it was. There'd only been a 10% chance of rain. You might think a storm coming up during a spell might be a bad omen, but I know my ancestors and I know me. No, it was a roar of approval, a sign that it had worked just the way it should.

The map bore out my theory. According to the time-lapse radar, the storm had developed suddenly, just about the time I'd started, just over the south side of the county line. Right over the cemetery where my witchy forebears reside.

Just a few minutes later, the sky was sunny again, and ground was no doubt thankful for its brief drenching. As for me, I was delighted. It's always nice when the old folks come to call.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Drifting

Steam rising from a hot street after a rain, or restless souls drifting in silence?

There are certain days when one might be convinced it's both.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Milk Moon

A glass of milk, like a little moon in the kitchen to match the one in the sky.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

This and Every Evening

When your hobby is trying to make art out of things that can't be seen, the results are going to be a little...unusual.

By the way, I finally came across the picture that inspired the name of this project/blog many years ago. I'd been looking for it for ages. It was a handbill advertising "phantasmagoria, this and every evening."
I still think it fits perfectly, whether I live in Victoria or not.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Dream Dogs

Every May, as the school year begins to wind down, a memory of a dream comes to me. I don't know why it remains after all this time; perhaps because I've never really understood it. The mind does love a mystery.

It was near the end of fifth grade and I was eleven years old. God, what a wretched year. The teacher was a snob. there were preppies everywhere and when you are the tallest girl in class (again!) there is no way to hide. It was the definition of awkward, and I was glad to see the back of it.

This is where the young adult novel usually begins, I think.

Anyway, it was May, it seems like a Wednesday. It was the day before the class skating party, which would not have been held at the rink on a crowded Friday, and it wasn't piano lesson day, which would have been a Thursday. What I'd been doing after coming home from school is unknown - probably drinking Tropicana orange juice and playing with my hamster. Or scrawling in my notebook and reading Nancy Drew. On my bedside table was a small radio, playing insipid pop, this I know for sure. I wasn't that keen on insipid pop, but I was nervous of FM because every time I flipped the dial, the stations were playing Pink Floyd. There's only so much prog rock an eleven year old can take.

I didn't normally take naps after school (or ever, for that matter) so the very fact I'd fallen asleep was unusual. But it was a mild evening, my window was open and there was a fresh spring breeze.The radio was probably playing something by Paul Davis, as KTSA was wont to do. It was about 6 PM. I slept.

Now, the neighborhood where we lived was an oval shape, crossing a number of undulating hills. It wasn't terribly big, but back then I hadn't been allowed to wander to the far edges, and the hill on the southernmost curve of the oval was too steep for a bike anyway. That sharp curve, looming high over the town, seemed a place of unfathomable mystery to me, and in my dream, I suddenly found myself standing there.

It was dark night, pitch black, as the full moon began to rise. I could feel something about to happen. Dogs were barking in the distance.

Out of the woods beyond the hill the dogs came bounding. First one  - an English sheepdog, if I remember correctly -  then more and more of all kinds, dobermans and St. Bernards and Afghan hounds and golden retrievers. They were all barking and baying as they came over the hill.

I knew - the way one does in dreams - that what I was seeing was a secret ritual, that the dogs had come to gather here under the moon. I knew the ritual occurred only at certain times, for reasons unknown and unknowable to any human. The weight and importance of this secret filled the dream, and I was amazed that I'd been able to witness it, even if I didn't understand.

I woke slowly as the sound of the neighborhood dogs barking merged with my dream. Through the window I could see the lavender twilight sky and the full moon above the ash trees. I knew it must have been the barking dogs that had inspired this mysterious dream, and I felt an uncharacteristic delight. It gave it the ring of truth.

The next day was the class skating party, and then the long memorial day weekend, and sometime during that weekend is when I emerged, imago-like, from my awkward phase of puberty at last.

Perhaps this is what the dream was about, albeit in an oblique way. The secrets and hidden rituals of adolescence. The awkward, plain girl who fell asleep that evening might have been a dog in schoolyard parlance, but perhaps the message was that dogs can be fascinating, mysterious creatures as well. Or something like that. Whatever the case, I will always treasure the dream.

And this is the point where the young adult novel usually ends.


Notes: 
1. I was correct about the day, and the phase of the moon. Am patting self on back, as this was an appallingly long time ago.
2. Despite the variety of dogs in the dream, I have only rendered one type in my drawing, This is  because I'm terrible at drawing dogs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Goddess Of Thorns



It's occurred to me to wonder - many times since I've been back here, in fact - f there is a goddess of this place.

If there is, I can only conclude that she must be a goddess of thorns, spines and stones.

Firewheels And Cat Claws



While I was out hunting for storm clouds this evening, I came across this clutch of firewheels hidden inside a cat's claw acacia.

They reminded me of treasure in old fairy tales, all wrapped up in thorns.

Witchgrass

Witchgrass blowing in the breeze. A sign of the summer to be.

Friday, May 11, 2018

In the Underwood


In the thicket near the bluff, among all the dead wood and cacti, these delicate blue flowers appeared.

Blue curls (Phacelia congesta)
Wildflower org

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Spirit Of The Water

When it's been raining for a while, the sides of the road fill with water, like little flood-meadows.One morning after a particularly wet few days, I dreamt that I went to look at one of these puddles, and saw a golden koi rise to the surface.

I didn't know what it meant, but it felt lucky somehow. After all, what else could a golden koi mean?

The next day, I happened to be next to a murky pond. I didn't imagine there was any living thing there, but suddenly a golden koi rose to the surface, much like the dream.
It's not clear if that week was any luckier than usual, but I felt an uncommon peace surround me.

I suppose luck is in the eye of the beholder.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Rain

via GIPHY

It's strange, the way the past can hold on to you.