"The flow of creativity feels like an avalanche of joy and wonder. Being open to that possibility creates connections with everything." - Feline Dreamers

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action!

On Friday night, the kids had some friends here for a sleepover. ElvenTiger and her friend A. wanted to sleep in a tent in the backyard and we decided to have a fire in our fire pit. We had the ingredients for s'mores and once it started getting dark, the adults started the fire and gathered the camp chairs.

The kids had been playing together over in the softball field then they came back and sat by the fire. Dryst was lagging behind and we soon figured out he had circled around to sneak through the woods to startle us. He gradually lured the other kids out to find him and, from this game, an idea surfaced.

They got out the video camera and decided to make a short horror video to put up on YouTube. Soon they were in full production. Costumes were quickly designed (luckily we had leftover fake blood from Halloween), scenes planned, and extra lighting found. Dryst was the director and they recruited BlackLion to film the scenes (he's also helping with the editing process). I did some drumming for the soundtrack, at their request. Rehearsal was done on the fly, so there are probably more "blooper" tracks than good takes. We all laughed a lot.

I'll post the final results when the film is done. This was a spontaneous project that they were all excited about and focused on. It was inspired, planned, and carried out by the kids, with adult involvement when they asked for it, but led cooperatively by all four friends. A fun time was had by all!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Love Is Action

“I’ve heard people say that they cling to their painful thoughts because they’re afraid that without them, they wouldn’t be activists for peace. If I felt completely peaceful, they say, why would I bother taking action at all? My answer is, because that’s what love does. To think that we need sadness or outrage to motivate us to do what’s right is insane. As if the clearer and happier you get, the less kind you become. As if when someone finds freedom, she just sits around all day with drool running down her chin. My experience is the opposite. Love is action. It’s clear, it’s kind, it’s effortless, and it’s irresistible.” – Byron Katie

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Quantum Metaphysics

Quester came up with a saying that he wants to have made into a bumper sticker: “Now that science has proven that magick works, I’d like an apology.” The particular science he refers to here is the non-linear behavior of photons in quantum mechanics. I’ve been studying the intersection between the discoveries of quantum physics and consciousness, from a spiritually-minded layperson’s perspective, for quite a few years. If you’ve ever experienced mysterious synchronicities or phenomena unexplained by conventional Newtonian physics (no matter your belief system), it might interest you to know that science is still in the process of learning how the universe actually works.

Many scientists in quantum physics and related fields describe the non-causal behavior of tiny particles, with the caveat that atomic events don’t apply on a macro level, such as in our daily lives. Just recently an experiment at the University of California showed the laws of quantum mechanics at work on an object visible to the naked eye, but this new and controversial research is an exception. There are some leading-edge rebel thinkers, though, who have opened their minds and are exploring the possible ways our non-linear experiences might be operating under quantum-type principles.

I recently finished reading a couple of books that fit in this category, both published in the 1990s. The first is The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World by Amit Goswami, Ph.D. The author, after exploring the history of quantum physics and detailing many of its basic theories, posits a philosophy that encompasses quantum mechanics as well as classical physics. Called monistic idealism, Goswami’s proposed philosophy posits that “both the world of matter and the world of mental phenomena, such as thought, are determined by consciousness.” He goes on to detail a fascinating story of hard science woven with discoveries of mystics throughout the ages.

The other book is The Dreaming Universe: A Mind-Expanding Journey Into the Realm Where Psyche and Physics Meet by Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D. I was first introduced to Wolf as the crazy professor who appears very entertainingly in the DVD “The Secret.” I wasn’t surprised to learn that he’s a friend of Robert Anton Wilson, another pioneer in consciousness studies. In this book, Wolf takes us on a journey of discovery that ranges from quantum mechanics to neurological experiments, sleep studies, aboriginal beliefs, and near-death experiences. His ultimate conclusions, or perhaps questions, center on the imaginal realm, which lies between conscious awareness and the world of physical matter. Materialist philosophy says that consciousness arises from matter, yet there has been no satisfactory theory about how this happens. Wolf comes up with some thought-provoking ideas about how the universe dreams itself into existence.

Both of these books begin with explanations of significant research and experiments in the field of quantum physics, written such that a non-scientist reader can grasp the implications. The authors then proceed to pose more questions than they answer (which for me is a good sign), making tentative connections between quantum principles and many aspects of human consciousness. The most interesting part for me, however, is the speculative material. Each author describes his ideas of how the universe might operate, being clear that they are just theories. There is much delicious and satisfying food for thought contained within both texts.

If you haven’t explored the world of quantum metaphysics and would like to dive in, here are some books I’d recommend to get you started:

The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav
The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra
The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot

On the other hand, if you’re a fellow student of this line of thought, please suggest your favorite books in the Comments section.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Proud Mama Moments

Last weekend we attended an annual Pagan event - a Beltane ritual and celebration, held on the beach at a state park. This was the 28th year! We haven't been attending quite that long, but we've been going as a family for the past several years. There were probably about 150 people there this year.

At the beginning of the day everyone gathers in a big circle for the ritual. The leaders of the ritual cast the circle, other Pagans help by calling the quarters, and the ritual basically gets everything magickally prepared for the main event, which is dancing the maypoles. This year there were 4 maypoles, with about 10 percussionists providing the music.

As head of EarthTides, I was asked to call North, and a few of us gathered before the ritual started, to make sure that we were all on the same page. The High Priestess for the ritual, a well-known and respected witch, decided she needed a bit of a helping hand to mix the salt and water and then sprinkle it around the circle. I did what we usually do in our community, which is to ask a young person to lend their aid - I asked if the Priestess would like ElvenTiger to come up and help out. I knew ElvenTiger would be glad to, and sure enough, when I asked her, she readily agreed.

ElvenTiger has been a Pagan since birth, and has worked with a few different circles, as well as apprenticing with a local Priestess of Brigid. So of course she did a great job, and had fun, too.

My proud mama moment happened after the circle, when the High Priestess thanked me for lending her my "wonder child." She had worried that ElvenTiger (who is 11) might be uncomfortable being up in front of such a big circle, in a setting with adults and kids of all ages. But when she asked ElvenTiger about it, she said calmly "it'll be fine." And when they walked around the circle, sprinkling the blessed salt water on the participants, the Priestess lost her place. She asked ElvenTiger if she recalled where they had started, and her reply was "oh, yes! I'll tell you when we get there." ElvenTiger later told me that they had started with the person next to Dryst, so she knew her brother would be the last one they sprinkled!

I'm so happy that ElvenTiger has matured into a graceful young woman who enjoys being helpful to people of all ages, and is comfortable in many different settings. She is unafraid of being in front of others, this child who was once very shy and seemed velcroed to my hip in social situations. She is beautiful and wise and kind, and I'm so proud and lucky to be her mother in this lifetime.