Mostly Mongolia: Of yurts, horse races, cell phones, and a parade

Note: The Siberia/Mongolia articles will all be archived on this page.

Check this out. First, a photo taken from the air, where I happened, uncharacteristically, to be sitting in a window seat on way back to Ulan Bator from Siberia.

Can’t tell what it is — until you ZOOM IN! All those tiny white dots are yurts. I captured this scene on my phone, and the zoom on camera shows them clearly. Not so here. Please take my word for it.

60% of the suburbs of Ulan Bator (1.5 million people, one-third of the entire population of Mongolia) are yurts, which are, traditionally, dwelling places for nomadic Mongolians. I lived for nearly two decades in a stable, established “Kelly Yurt Park” in the Tetons of Wyoming, and it looks like the yurt suburbs of Ulan Bator are also somewhat stable.

Follow the line of trees in the middle of the photo. Tiny white circles are yurts. Mine is the one lowest down on the right. In the early 1980s, Yurt Park took over an old KOA camp, with a common parking lot, and bathhouse for washing clothes, dishes, showers, toilets — plus a central bulletin board for the ten yurts. The community still exists, though its social evolution has been a constant, and life there continues to depend on the willingness of the owners of the land (worth millions of dollars) to allow the yurts to remain and pay rent.

My yurt in winter.

I loved yurt life. So far, my very favorite way of life on earth.

This drawing was my attempt to capture my affection for the yurt’s wood stove.

Life in the round feels very different. You don’t bounce off the walls, though you do tend to psychically spin! Indeed, to not do so you must remain centered! Moreover, you sense nature all around you, having only a thin skin separating you from what lies beyond. The rain drums down on the roof, the wind howls — and, in Wyoming, deer, moose, bison and bears live nearby; a yearling moose once spent an entire winter next to my yurt, and snored! — none of nature’s drama is avoidable in a yurt. Full Moons light up the interior. Starlit nights are visible through the plexiglass dome from the bed below. Aaaaah. Yurt life!

And BTW: I’ve heard that yurts are the most thermally efficient structure in the world. I usually burned only 1.5 cords of soft wood a year, and in winter it could get down to -40°F (though that was rare).

As far as preferences go, for me, Green Acres Village in Bloomington comes in a close second, and holds promise of even surpassing yurt life in Wyoming, due to the growing closeness of our village life.

Growing up in a large family (first of eight children) I have long been aware of the need for continuous rebalancing of the twin forces of individualism and group life. In Wyoming, I had my own yurt (after a few years joined by my new husband Jeff), and yet our group life was, on the whole, full of drama and conflict. For me, despite my love of yurts, that life would not have been worth it, except that a few dear friends lived in the yurt park as well. Our conflicts usually had to do with the seeming dichotomy between individualism and community. This “contradiction,” this need, ultimately, for all of us, to be able to hold two opposite ideas and values in our minds and hearts at once, recognizing their mutual relationship and interdependency . .  .  It’s never just one or the other. Never just me or them. Never just service to self vs. service to others. Rather it’s always both. Let us hold both ends of any spectrum in mind and heart when we make any decision. In doing so, we learn to see through the 3D illusion which holds us in thrall to having to choose one pole of any duality, for this is the fundamental dynamic that drives the world to war.

In America, we’re all for “freedom,” by which we mean rampant individualism, and give lip service to community. Especially since World War II, when G.I.s returned from the war front, to uproot themselves from extended family networks and strike out for college and new homes on the G.I. Bill. These veterans (probably with PTSD; who knew back then?) set up their own, somewhat isolated, due to all the new, modern “conveniences,” nuclear families, which, sooner or later, would and did explode — as their children began to burst the tight confines of 1950s values.

Meanwhile, life in the U.S. has continued to become more and more expensive, with huge monetary outlays required to “keep up with the Joneses” — what most people still seem to want to do, even though fewer and fewer are able to do it. The “tiny house” movement seems to be a step in a different, more simple direction, as does the new nomadic movement in this country that has a few people  — not just retirees! — deciding to go permanently on the road in their mobile tiny homes. Co-housing, neighborhood sharing and solidarity, and other forms of “intentional community” are also valuable in rebalancing the polarity between individual and community.

All this is reminiscent of Mongolia. And yet not. Not really. Not much. There, the simplicity of yurt life still holds sway, even in the city of Ulan Bator, as do traditional values that hold the extended family clan together in supportive community.

For the most part, that is. On our final afternoon in Ulan Bator, I climbed the hill in back of our new hotel, in a part of the city that is full of new development (I heard later that it’s only been in the past five years), to discover a yurt community just on the other side of the  frantic dust and debris of new construction. One wonders what this same valley looked and felt like ten years ago. One wonders how the yurt dwellers feel about the multi-story corporate infrastructure pressing their fragile edges.

In Mongolia, unlike life in Wyoming’s seeemingly settled yurt park, for the most part, yurts truly are nomadic. Here’s a truck that I happened to capture on camera, carrying a bunch of rolled up yurts.

This scene is from our final day in Ulan Bator, when we happened to be on hand for their national festival, an occasion that lasts one full week, and includes horse races. Not the  horse races we are used to. No. These are Mongolian ponies (about the size of Arabians, they resemble mustangs), ridden by boys and girls five to ten years old who had learned to ride — and run, and race, pell mell — as soon as they learned how to walk .

In fact, Mongolia is the only country in the world that has the horse on its currency!

 

That day we were told the race was 30 miles long, but later heard that it was “only” 18 miles long. Whichever! Either one seems unreal to us in America who have pampered children that we try to keep corralled and monitored, whatever the cost to their innate need to find their own way.

Our little group was present for the finale of that morning’s national competition (all riders winners of local and regional races), about 125 kids on two-year old colts. (The three-year-old race would be that afternoon, and the finale, a race with stallions on Sunday — all with small children on top, and the smallest, lightest favored to win.)

Here’s the setting, ca 20 miles (?) from Ulan Bator,  grazing horses in foreground, and temporary yurt village in the background, set up to serve those present with the traditional meal on race day, a large fried bread pocket filled with chopped meat.

We were in the stands, looking to the west, and soon could barely make out a north-to-south dust cloud . . .

Ah, here they come,  the lead horse clearly outdistancing all the others, and without apparent effort.

Leaving the truck behind, he sprints to the finish!

The others surge by in little clumps, clearly more labored, with their riders yelling and whooping, legs chomping their sides, reins slapping back and forth . . . We whooped and eheered for them all.

Out of approximately 125, four or five horses are riderless, racing along with the rest. Both the three first three riders and the final one receive prizes. The first because of their speed, the last because it was probably the weight of the rider that made him or her fall back.

I presume the kids who fell off are okay? No doubt exhausted. Here’s one of them sitting behind one of his support people afterwards. That palomino sure looks sweaty and tuckered out.

The riders all have mandatory blue helmets, but don’t all wear them. Fox News put out a story in 2012 that called Mongolia to task for their kids’ races. Who knows how much of that story is fear mongering. We Americans are so very unused to kids dealing with risk and danger on their own. What else does this kind of training give these young Mongolian riders? Can you imagine young American children off their screens and into their bodies, at one with their animals, focused, skilled, relentless, going the distance?

A few horses with older riders cluster together afterwards. They are watching a young person trying to ride a mechanical bull.

Of course I would love to idolize the Mongolian way of life. And yet, the modern world does co-exist there. Cell phones are not rare (just like most peasants on donkeys have them on the island of Crete), but given the vast distances between human settlements in Mongolia, we can see why. And I never did see a native, still-nomadic Mongolian  seemingly addicted to his screen. Perhaps they don’t have the internet on their phones? Even so, will their cell phones automatically begin to atrophy their native communion with each other and nature, including, I presume, telepathy?

Here’s a contemporary iconic scene. Taken on Lake Baikal, at a restaurant stop in Siberia. Although there are some yurts for show in that country, most of the ones people actually live in do seem to be in Mongolia. This yurt by the cell phone tower happens to be a commercial yurt, selling tourist stuff. Yes, the market exists there, too. And it shows in various ways.

For example, on the outskirts of Ulan Ude in Siberia, we passed by a gleaming new sports stadium, which, our guide Erjan — who was born in Russia and has Russian citizenship, but is pure Buryiat (the name for indigenous Mongolians who crossed north into Siberia) — told us, her voice wistful and sad, is located on the very ground where her childhood home used to be.

Meanwhile, on that same final day when we witnessed the end of the national two-year old colt race in the morning, we went downtown to the central plaza in Ulan Bator in the afternoon for the ceremonious parade featuring Mongolians in their native finery. I was particularly lucky to be well-positioned to check out the lines of people coming by, all proud to be Mongolian, little kids, teenagers, parents, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, on and on, all those extended families connecting in this way too. Notice the predominance of silk — huge difference from rough-hewn Native American finery here. Remember, Mongolia sits next to China.

 

I cannot help but contrast their beautiful parade that demonstrates such national unity with our “patriotic” 4th of July parades, which usually feature, besides the sometimes wonderful panoply of a vibrant community, the rumbling machismo of heavy military machinery.

On the other hand, even as I experienced the euphoria of tribal unity in Mongolia, I was gifted with a deeper  compassion for us Americans. For all this time — ever since we decimated and otherwise corralled and denigrated our own indigenous peoples, and have been bearing the burden of hidden guilt and shame for that ever since — we’ve been attempting to learn to not just tolerate but truly integrate and appreciate all the various cultures, traditions, religions, and races of the entire world on one continent.

No wonder it’s hard! No wonder we’re so fractious! At least the Mongolians have their ancestral traditions to guide them; plus they are still connected to both each other and their land. We disconnected bobble heads have only our intuition to guide us as to what we might do if we were all striving to evolve the very best that our hidden souls have to offer us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Siberia/Mongolia: Of Purges, Magic and the Mundane

Oops! I notice that, when asked, I’m telling people lots of the stories from my trip to Mongolia and Siberia, rather than writing them down here. And each time I tell one, the unexpected happens. For example, yesterday, while enjoying a birthday call (hers) with Katarina, a young friend of mine, I decided to relate the complete story of my sudden, unexpected trek to the high Siberian portal with a Mongolian guide. (I have yet to tell the complete story here.)

While recounting this tale (which already feels legendary), I noticed myself feeling somewhat nauseated. Then, I suddenly needed to go to the bathroom, and did so, a gushing diarrhea that went on and on, followed by, astonishingly, by vomiting, my entire breakfast gushing out the other end. (Vomiting is something I NEVER do!). For a few minutes there, I scurried back and forth between sink and toilet, stunned by what seemed to be my body’s response to the story, and couldn’t help but feel that this was some kind of purge. Of what? Of the “spirit of the place” that had contacted me that day? Of my primal fear of its undeniable power? Who knows! Meanwhile, I was both keeping Katarina apprised of what was going on with me, all the while continuing to tell her the story! At one point, reasonably enough, she asked if she should call me back.

“No.” I responded. “This is all part of it.

What?

After this tremendous gushing forth of what no longer wanted to harbor itself in my body, I went to bed. And slept. For four hours. 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Then I got up and went to Bloomingfoods Co-op for some probiotics, came back, ate an entire avocado, and worked with Rebecca and new resident Sam for two hours getting ready for the local permaculture guild work party and potluck to be held here this evening.

Let’s face it. I’m still not fully re-acclimated. Tend to wake up after two hours sleep at 11 p.m., and then remain awake for three or four hours before falling back to sleep for another three hours. The result: NOT enough sleep.

It all makes me so much more aware of how our bodies are accustomed to a certain, unnoticed, invisible, and yet very very strong space/time framework. That our bodies establish their circadian rhythms within this framework. Our time in Mongolia and Siberia felt like “time out of time” in an endless space. And believe you me, the space did feel endless there. As did time felt infinite, each day a new eternity.

Here’s some Mongolians, on horseback, perfectly at home in that endless infinity. When asked, they agreed to pose for a picture.

So, let’s wind back into this life here and now for awhile, not tell any more significant stories from the trip, lest my digestion “lose it!” — and instead, speak of other matters — on the one hand magical, and on the other hand mundane.

THE MAGICAL

It turns out that Erjen (who doesn’t want her photo on any social media), our multilingual guide in both Mongolia and Siberia (one side of her family is Russian, the other Mongolian), received her doctorate at Indiana University! She worked with Elinor Ostrum (the Nobel Prize winner in Economics who was not an economist: she is famous for disproving the so-called “tragedy of the commons.”), and studied Public Policy. As near as I can ascertain, Erjen is dedicated to assisting Mongolia and its peoples to continue and revitalize all aspects of their magnificent heritage.

It turns out that Erjen was still living in Bloomington during the first few years after my arrival here from my yurt in Wyoming, though of course I didn’t meet her then. Now don’t you think it amazing that she and I met, over a decade later, in the context of a shamanic trip to yurt-filled Mongolia and wild Siberia? She has been working with Bill Pfeiffer, the founder of Sacred Earth Network, who has led, so far, 46 trips to Russia!

Bill, at the falls that we experienced high up in the Sayan mountains, after treking upwards for maybe 1/2 mile. A beautiful day, as usual. Bill is not nearly as “grim” as he appears here. I have another photo somewhere, that shows him about to eat an eagerly anticipated “Omo,” native trout-like fish of Lake Baikal.

This was Bill’s first trip to include Mongolia, at the urging of Erjen, who wanted to showcase ancient spiritual traditions of both her native homes.

I discovered Bill’s work when he contacted me, as a result of a post on Joanna Macy that I had put up on this blog. That contact put me on his mailing list. So when he announced an upcoming trip to both Mongolia and Siberia, after deliberating for two years, I took the bait and plunged in. At the time of my decision, I had no idea why this trip was important to me; but now I do. More of that in coming posts. Let’s just say here that my journey to a land where the primal relationship between nearly pristine Earth and her indigenous peoples is still largely intact impelled me to understand at a much deeper level how the entire Earth is sacred, and that we human beings who live upon her must and can return to our original communion with both each other and the land, if we wish to save ourselves from a digitized, robotic, simulated, transhumanist future. This, folks, is the antidote, this recognition that we are of the Earth, this vast conscious intelligence, itself in communion with the entire cosmos; that once we attune to Her mysterious ways, she will offer us a direct link to Source. “Source” is not just “out there” in some heaven beyond. “Source,” folks, grounds itself right here, under our feet, inside our feet, pumping through our hearts, pulsing through our brains and souls. We are Earthlings! Let’s celebrate this intimate, sacred connection!

Rebecca, hard at work.

Okay, so back to Erjen, and the strange synchronicity of going with a Mongolian guide who had received her doctorate at the university in the town where I now reside. That synchronicity happens to be matched in intensity, or perhaps even surpassed in intensity, by another one. And this is that Rebecca, the other “old woman” who with me anchors this Green Acres Village and Urban Farm, gasped when I started to tell her tales of my adventures. At the mention of the phrase “Lake Baikal,” she looked utterly startled.

I knew that Rebecca’s ancestry was Siberian, but Siberia is a large territory; and guess what: Rebecca’s family is from the Lake Baikal region that we visited!

It turns out that her great grandfather, Gleb Lubatovitch, who was beheaded around 1916-20 for being a “White Russian Aristocrat,” was the Governor of Muir Province who lived with his aristocratic French wife in a castle near Ikurtsk on Lake Baikal. Might our rubber catamaran raft have motored by his castle on our last day in Siberia when we left our lunch spot on the Lake heading for Ikurtsk and our plane to Ulan Bator the next day?

I told Rebecca that one purpose of my trip there was so that I could absorb inside myself some of what she holds inside her. For I have never met anyone who naturally carries the energy of the Earth around with her as does Rebecca. So grateful!

So there you go, two bookends of synchronicity magic for this trip, Erjen (and Bloomington) and Rebecca (and Lake Baikal).

THE MUNDANE

But not really mundane. This is a funny, very human story. On our final day in Siberia, when we were at the Ikurtsk airport, having gone through security and checked in, the dozen of us happened to be milling about in a large room with what seemed like hundreds of Chinese. (Most tourists who visit Siberia and Mongolia are Chinese).

Having checked in earlier than others, I heard about a drama involving Erjen and some of us who were lugging large rocks from the lakeshore and other sacred places in our suitcases (not me!). (Forbidden! Who would have known? My small rocks made it through.) This caused a jam in the security line, so massive that a frowning Chinese man just behind our group got furious and tried to push in front. Our guardian Erjen, of course, would have none of it; stood like a mountain preventing that from happening.

Interesting, that of all the people in the world, Chinese and U.S. citizens are probably the most pushy.

About an hour into what turned into a three-hour stay before the plane arrived, I asked my new friend and dear roommate J.K. (a brilliant, eccentric, artistic, bohemian New Yorker who lives in the East Village), if she wanted to practice chi kung (I had been teaching her a few poses every day on the trip). She did. So we went to one end of the great hall and began the slow, fluidic movements of this ancient Chinese exercise system. I heard later that our practice caused the energy of the room to completely change. Kind of hilarious: Americans practicing chi kung in front of Chinese tourists!

A few minutes later, Erjen joined us for yet another round, in the corner, in full view of the entire room. Afterwards, Erjen said that now she’s determined to learn chi kung.

Still later, I heard from roommate J.K. that she had made it a point to subtly befriend the wife of the still angry Chinese tourist (reached out to her with food.) And that, after a while, she had reached out her hand to the husband — and he sighed in resignation, as if to say, “Well, okay,” and shook her hand.

After our practice (I also did taiji solo), the two sweet Mongolian(?) girls who ran the Subway (Subway! in the Itursk airport — serves both Mongolian and American dishes) pantomimed that they wanted to take a “selfie” with me, they were so impressed by the taiji. Well, okay.

J.K. and I had already noted that below the counter of this “Subway” station was a series of maps that represent the boroughs of New York City! Why New York City maps in Siberia? Well, “Because,” said Mark, an particularly astute member of our group, “those are the subways”!

So much incongruity when we travel to distant places. So much good will, mostly, on all sides. So much fun.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Re-Entry Blues: Militarism vs. Mother Earth

I admit: I’m having trouble re-adjusting to life in the U.S.A. Having just returned from two week shamanic journey through the Lake Baikal region of Siberia and northern Mongolia, where BTW, I saw no evidence, none, of chemtrails poisoning their glorious 360° skies, I am plunked back into the strange, crazed, complex conundrum of  contemporary American life, where, despite the gradual militarization of local police forces, most citizens (read: consumers) still seem to be willfully ignorant of the hell that “our” Military Industrial (plus Medical Agricultural Academic) Complex Empire continues to perpetrate upon people and planet. (Or might this be what the current opioid epidemic is about? The intense need NOT to know, instead to numb ourselves to ghastly reality?) Given that so many “jobs” depend upon raging American militarism in one way or another, I guess I should not be surprised. And yet I am. Over and over again. Always surprised. All my life, surprised. Perplexed. Stunned. Crestfallen. 

Will I “get over it?” No. I will not. Though the gift of being temporarily in a place where militarism is NOT the overriding atmosphere has deeply affected me, given me respite, it has also made me even more decisively aware that what we must do is to create real value — value that lies underneath the scrim that so-called “money” has overlaid upon the natural world. 

Here is another person who has also realized that the one obvious way we, as individuals, can shift our attention from destruction to creation is to re-enter our original communion with the land — and, I would add, in concert with each other. I find it gratifying that this post has been widely shared. Thanks to Darvesha.

Frida Berrigan: Growing My Way Out of Dystopia

Meanwhile, the latest:

House Passes $700 Billion Military Bill Sure to Make ‘War Profiteers Rejoice’

Which of course, leads once again to that old, fundamental question:

Is There An Alternative to Plundering the Earth?

Excerpt:

One thing remains generally overlooked: the abstract wealth created for accumulation implies the destruction of nature as concrete wealth. The result is a “hole in the ground” and next to it a garbage dump with used commodities, outdated machinery and money without value.[37] However, once all concrete wealth (which today consists mainly of the last natural resources) will be gone, abstract wealth will disappear as well. It will, in Marx’s words, “evaporate”. The fact that abstract wealth is not real wealth will become obvious, and so will the answer to the question of which wealth modern economic activity has really created. In the end it is nothing but monetary wealth (and even this mainly exists virtually or on accounts) that constitutes a monoculture controlled by a tiny minority. Diversity is suffocated and millions of people are left wondering how to survive. And really: how do you survive with neither resources nor means of production nor money?

The nihilism of our economic system is evident. The whole world will be transformed into money – and then it will disappear. After all, money cannot be eaten. What no one seems to consider is the fact that it is impossible to re-transform commodities, money, capital and machinery into nature or concrete wealth. It seems that underlying all “economic development” is the assumption that “resources”, the “sources of wealth”,[38] are renewable and everlasting – just like the “growth” they create.[39]

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Initial notes on upcoming New Moon Solar Eclipse, August 21 2017

Update, same hour as published: Immediate correction, according to a long term friend of mine who also witnessed the solar eclipse back then in Idaho and also found the Harmonic Convergence one of those times that she remembered where she was. I suspect that those of my vintage (born in ’40s and ’50s) who were “New Age” at the time, also remember . . .

Here’s the note from Ellen:

Hey Ann,    the total eclipse that passed through Idaho was In Feb of 1979.  Chuck, Margie and I drove to the middle of Idaho, Lewiston, to experience it.   We even made the Idaho Statesman’s with pictures and story.    A very memorable time. Still have the newspaper from that date.
The Harmonic convergence in 1987,  I was in New Mexico up at the edge on the Sandia Mountain over looking Albuquerque,  was quite a sight.    I hopeful time.
I can’t help but yell at the television like Trump.  Yep,  it is in us too.
love,  Ellen

I happened to be traveling north from Twin Falls to Ketchum through the southern Idaho desert in March 1987 (but see note above; I wondered also about the date, and saw two possibilities; picked the first one for its 30 year symmetry — one of those “alternative facts”!) when the intense shadow of the last full Solar Eclipse to cross America moved across the landscape. The feeling was unmistakenly eerie. I will never forget stopping my car, getting out, and remaining there, transfixed, by the side of the road, for its duration. That was 30 years ago, one Saturn cycle!

Also, in 1987, if you recall, we experienced the first global meditation event, during the much anticipated Harmonic Convergence of August 16-17. During that event, I was the invited astrologer for a group of people in the Tetons who were up from California with Gay Luce, a spiritual teacher. This happened to be another significant event for me personally, because, at around midnight, when a group of us had been twirling like Sufis in a giant ceremonial yurt for what seemed hours, I suddenly received an internal message, via “the voice” that has instructed me at rare, crucial, crossroad times since I was 26 years old. This time the direction was unmistakably clear.

“YOU MUST COMPLETE YOUR PERSONAL KARMA BY THE END OF THE YEAR.”

What did it mean? I knew what it meant. And shuddered in the recognition. I would have to return to Massachusetts, for an encounter with my first husband, the father of my children. Why? Because, due to the terrible rift between us, I had not seen or heard from my two sons for six long years. And at the moment when the voice came in, I knew instinctively that until I worked consciously to dissolve their father’s terrible frozen hatred for me, I would not be able to heal the estrangement from my own children.

The story of how I did that, and the fact that he and Patrick were able to do that, despite all the obstacles lining up against our fated encounter, is for another time. Here’s a photo of me with son Colin Cudmore, our reunion lunch taken two days ago, after my Siberia/Mongolia adventure (more on that to come). Colin moved from Massachusetts to Bloomington nearly seven years ago; one year later, he invented the Garden Tower. BTW: Yes, I did give him one of my tacos!

I mention these two occasions (the last total solar eclipse and my experience at the the Harmonic Convergence), because it appears to me that collectively we are due for another big wake up call. On August 21, only days past the 30 year (Saturn cycle) return from the Harmonic Convergence, we are to endure/enjoy an unusual Total Solar Eclipse that will cross the entire land mass of the United States.

Eclipses are mysterious events that signal the fact that there is an apparent very precise design to the cyclic interrelationships among Sun/Moon/Earth so that, at regular, predictable times, the Sun, Earth, and Moon line up in a straight line. What makes eclipses astonishing events, is that when the solar or lunar eclipse is “total,” we recognize that the rims of the Sun and Moon exactly match! This, despite the fact that the Sun is so much larger and so many millions of miles farther from Earth than the Moon. How could that be? What kind of design is this? And just who or what is responsible? And why? Much to ponder here. (Check out David Icke on this subject, for example.)

Meanwhile, let us remember the traditional symbolic meaning of eclipses, that they are portentious, inauspicious events.

In terms of a Solar Eclipse, remember that this occurs when the Moon passes over the Sun at a New Moon, ordinarily the best time to initiate something new. Not so when the New Moon is also an eclipse.

Now to the point I want to make.

The Leo Ascendant/Mars of Donald Trump’s natal chart (on the left, at the horizon, below) happens to coincide with the degree area of the coming Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017. Remember that this late Leo placement is that of the royal star Regulus, King of the Heavens.

Also of interest, this August Solar Eclipse will feature a grand trine in fire with Sun/Moon/Mars, the nodes, plus karmic Saturn (Sagittarius) and disruptive Uranus (Aries). This grand trine echoes a similar but more massive grand trine, also with Saturn and Uranus, that was operating 30 years ago, in mid-August, during the Harmonic Convergence!

 

 

Amidst all these weird “coincidences” in timing of events and the resonances among their astrological configurations, let us also note that a long-standing trine between Saturn/Uranus has been trying (Saturn), and failing (Uranus) to control/corral/assasinate Trump’s natal bull-in-china-closet Sun/Moon/Uranus opposition since December 2016, even before he was inaugurated. This unremitting vitriolic opposition from what seems like all sides continues full-on until the end of October, trailing off  by year’s end. Plus, Saturn, now retrograde, turns to go direct on August 25, just four days past the upcoming Solar Eclipse.

If Trump is to be “taken down,” I imagine this time period will prove significant. And if the “exceptional” U.S. is due for a reckoning, I imagine this time period will also prove significant. It’s as if Trump’s future is ours; as is his larger-than-life, bloviating personality symbolic of the U.S. Empire’s longstanding larger-than-life winner-take-all attitude towards the entire world. Trump IS us.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mongolia!

This is my second post (here’s the first) since returning home. Still haven’t been able to sleep. Feel moved to put out at least this one post on our other destination, Mongolia, a land of drought-stricken grasslands, hills, mountains — and yurts, everywhere yurts! As a yurt dweller for nearly two decades in the mountains of Wyoming, I was interested to see that they used them in a very nomadic manner, setting up five for our three-hour journey and overnight from Ulan Bator to Deep Goose Lake, so that we might witness the annual Ceremony of Mare’s Milk that brings together shamen and shawomen from all over Mongolia, chanting and drumming in costume with eagle feather headdresses.

We were all baking. In the intense heat, without shade, for hours, enchanted by ancient ceremonial rhythms.

We hardly noticed. Time had slowed, stopped. We were immersed in the eternal now, in this extraordinary land where the vast earth mingles with the infinite sky.

More on this  ceremony, sacred to a culture that lives with the horse, later.

Here’s the head honcho shaman, himself son of another, well known, very revered shaman who is no longer alive. His son is a beautiful being, gracious, generous, lively, and with a wicked sense of humor. He runs  “The Association of Magistic Heavens of Shamanism of Mongolia” in “Cooperation with foreign and domestic associations” (from his brochure) that brings together and enlivens shamans and their practices from all over Mongolia.

 

Meanwhile, here’s our sleeping yurt, inside and out, set up especially for us, on this great ceremonial occasion.

 

And our dining yurt, where we were served three large, meat-filled meals.

All from  (and I presume, cooked in) the solar-powered yurt next door by two sweet Mongolian maidens who, the shaman told us, had volunteered for this service to the gringos and their guides.

That night, after the ceremony and bonfire, a magnificent thunderstorm crashed down upon the camp for several hours. Exactly what was needed and prayed for. Coincidence? The head shaman doesn’t think so, and credits us, the gringos! with helping to bring the rain.

On the day of the ceremony, they had driven the horses into the drought-shrunken, increasingly salty lake, to cool off and drink.

Hours later, the horses had moved in deeper.

Later, they drove the sheep and goats into the water too.

By the morning after the storm, all was serene, in this land where we are informed,  there are “99 levels of sky, 77 levels of earth.”

This overnight excursion to witness the Ceremony of Mare’s Milk was our initiation to Mongolia. Our gratitude to its indigenous people and their nomadic culture on this beautiful Earth knows no bounds.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Siberia!

Just returned from two week adventure (plus travel time) to Mongolia and Siberia. Still jet-lagged. Here are a few photos of the extraordinary beauty, wildness, and magnificence of this vast heartland that we Americans tend to associate with “gulag”!

As in, “You’re going to Siberia?!? But why?”

One Siberian afternoon we (ten gringos, three to five Mongolian guides, depending on the day) took a day trip from Ulan Ude to an old rutted dirt road, traveled some bumpy miles on it to the source of a sacred spring, then visited the site where Bronze Age grave sites have been discovered, and finally, climbed to the ridge where Genghis Khan is said to have laid in wait to ambush the man who had stolen his wife years before. Afterwards, heading up a tiny canyon on that same road, and following an enormous lunch cooked by our Mongolian guides, we started climbing to the site of an ancient portal. For some reason, I was impulsed to go further, and started up the trail. One of the guides followed me, then cut in front of me, and led me higher and higher and higher to the saddle of that ridge and beyond, up into the gigantic rocks. That is how, thanks to my guide, who is also a mountain climber, I turned out to be the only one of our group to reach the highest and most sacred portal. Much more on that story later. Meanwhile, here are two views of the southern Siberian steppe; the first from the ridge where Genghis Khan laid in wait, and second, from the journey higher into in the rocky hills of that powerful place.

Earlier, we had camped for two nights on the shore of Lake Baikal, the source of one/fifth of the world’s fresh water (we drank from it without filters). Sacred to the shamanic culture of that region, Baikal is the world’s deepest lake (over one mile to the bottom); 390 miles in length and fed by 330 rivers, it exits via just one river to the Arctic Circle.

One of the magnificent rivers that feeds Lake Baikal:

Next, from the same location, another view of that river, this one with ribbons,  attached by indigenous peoples in gratitude to sacred sites.

A few photos of Lake Baikal, so clear and pure you can see to the bottom close to shore.

We had planned to reach the camp site by hiking in. But the path was blocked. So we took a boat instead. Another long story. Here’s me, all decked out to board the boat. Over my shoulder, mesh bag with camping plate, cup and spoon, which, BTW, I never used, because it turned out that gear was supplied! So I stuffed the bag and its contents back in my overstuffed pack afterwards and carried it all the way through the trip, until the final night, when in a fit of pique, I unloaded it in the room of our hostel next to the Ulan Bator airport.

Held by my right arm, what looks like a pillow in a pillow case is actually my sleeping bag. I had searched frantically for its stuff sack on the day before the trip, and even tried, to no avail, to buy a new stuff sack —along with searching frantically to buy an appropriate (metal) camping dinner set (and yes, found only plastic). Until I told each one otherwise, everybody on the trip assumed I was carrying my pillow! My  “pillow” ended up as “the mascot” for the entire trip.

So that’s one of the silly little human stories that accompanied this grand trip to remember our communion with Mother Nature as guided by beautiful, gentle, kind indigenous tribal peoples who live with Her inside them always.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

On my way outta here for “the time being”!

So. As I head out to never never land (Siberia/Mongolia), a bit of gallows humor is in order. Especially since I’m 74 years old, and about to embark on a mighty trek!

I drive to my lifelong friend Mary’s house north of Chicago tomorrow morning. Fly out with five people, including the leader, of our ten-strong shamanic group, Sunday just past noon. Back to Chicago July 11. Drive home July 12. Not sure how long it will take me to reconnect here since, after all, this mighty journey, like nothing else, will check my screen addiction at the door!

Thanks for all the well-wishes. And thank you Rose, for the $100 donation to the cause of this blog! The cause of all of us opening our minds and hearts, shaking ourselves free of the stuck little demons of be-LIE-f systems of all sorts and flavors that keep us apart and feeling superior/inferior — so that we may meet each other, greet each other and the whole wide world round, eye to eye, soul to soul, bathed in the Love of the universe.

Yes, Let us turn our fear into fascination. And what more perfect a fear than Death itself?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Green Acres Village and Friends: Solstice Gathering, Photos

Green Acres Village and friends took ourselves to Eva’s house out in the countryside for Summer Solstice Ceremony and Celebration this year, telling friends to meet at 6 p.m., with ceremony at 6:30, and dinner at 7:00.

Well, I, for one, got lost (even though I’ve been there before) — by the way, spacey, confusing Neptune turned to go retrograde on the 18th, so it’s been a strange time all around — and luckily, former podmate Briana was in the car with me. We pulled off to the shoulder, Briana found the address, and then directed me with her phone down many narrow, winding back roads to Eva’s house  Meanwhile, the poor people who were gamely following us also stopped, waited for us to go again, and then followed us as we made a quick right turn to all those back roads.

So we didn’t get there until around 6:30, and it turns out, that’s when everybody else started to show up as well — all except for one neighbor who emailed me yesterday to say she had arrived on time, and when she saw no other cars, sat in her car awhile, then saw my son Colin come out of the house and drive away (P.S. he left to get wine), and without speaking to anyone, just started up her car and drove home! So Kathy had her own weird Neptunian experience.

Oh yes, and podmate Dan tells me that our builder, Shy (David) Bunge, all dressed up in his best tie-dye,  sat around here, somehow not having heard where the party was and wondering what the hell happened.

Meanwhile, inside Eva’s spacious house, immediately as I opened the front door, I encountered an amazingly high, loud, excited energy — nearly, but not quite chaotic.

Hmmm, I wondered, and I’m sure Mariella was also wondering . . . will we be able to do our ceremony now, before dinner? And could we do it outside, rather than in the air conditioned living room? After all, it’s Summer Solstice! We should be outside!

Well, no. Right at the moment of wondering, it started to sprinkle outside — and who knows what that will turn into.

Okay. So the living room it is. We cleared the furniture to the sides, and then Mariella called everybody in, asking us to gather in a large circular pattern. Then she turned it over to Brian, our taiji teacher “in real life,” who had also come to the party!  And believe you me, he IS a master teacher. Quieted that unruly crowd right down like magic, and took us through a short five minute taiji form twice to remind everyone of the nature of “tiger” — the fiery energy of the Sun, at its highest in the sky during Summer Solstice.

I think we were all astonished at how we all moved, within a few minutes, thanks to Brian’s invocation and intonation, into an entirely altered energetic: focused, slow, intense, and yes, very moving, all of us moving as one.

I was so taken with this phenomenal energetic shift that I forgot to ask Briana to read us one of her poems, and my “talk” on the astrology of the moment was a bit lame. . .  but it really didn’t matter. We did it. We ceremonied. And then we celebrated. Lots of food, of course, and afterwards, as we had announced beforehand, the instruments came out, for singing and dancing with drums and guitars.

I did dance, in fact one might say that I started everybody dancing, for about 30 minutes, and then, as usual, left the party early, around 9 p.m. I heard that it continued for nearly three more hours.

Here are some pics of the dinner while everybody was eating, all taken within about two minutes . . . I noticed later, how many multigenerational connections are here, especially Moms of adult children. YES!

Mariella’s Mom, on the left, is currently visiting her daughter from New Jersey.

A few people tried out the piano DURING dinner . . .

My son Colin Cudmore on the left. Aaron in back, with Logan just sitting down.

Brian, our magical taiji teacher, on one end of the couch, Mariella on the other. Aaron’s Mom on left.

Mariella’s mom, again.

Our hostess, Eva, with Bryn and Duncan’s new puppy. Thanks, Eva!

Eva’s Mom Wanda, in summery blue dress.

Briana, down at the left end of the table. So good to see and be with her again!

So there we are! And though it’s “summertime,” and “the livin'” is no longer “easy,” we do manage to corral the phenomenally polarizing energies currently bombarding this beleagured planet anytime we clearly do set and hold that as our common intention.

Let us learn from this experience, eh?

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Pedogate Researchers: It’s time “to heal the soul of this nation.”

Dear Briana is visiting over the Solstice; late this morning she and I compared notes on 2 a.m. “anxiety.” Me: “It feels like icky static throughout my body. When I’m able to be fully present to each and every second of it, I do fall back to sleep. But usually, the mind keeps interjecting, trying out different “reasons” for the anxiety. At least I no longer describe it as “dread.” And you know, it really does feel as if this malevolent energy is being beamed throughout the atmosphere to drive us all crazy. You know they have the technology to do it. As well as the intent, as far as I can tell. And without the capacity for full, centered, continuous presence, it really does drive us crazy.

So, if instead, I choose — that’s a loaded word; actually, if I let my addiction to screens and the constant stream (scream) of info/disinfo get the best of me — then I turn on the damn ipod and find a youtube video or podcast to listen to. Last night, this one, starting around 4 a.m. when I gave up trying to “remain present” to the awful, yucky feeling. Finally fell back to sleep around 6 a.m.

BTW: when a podcast or video does not allow me to go back to sleep, then it’s worth paying attention to. That’s my criterion for telling you about it.. And this one, which featured three committed pedogate (child trafficking, child organ harvesting, etc.,) investigators with Hagmann and Hagmann, had my full reluctant attention all the way through. As someone said there, fully 75 to 90 percent of government is implicated, and they keep each other in line through MAB (Mutually Assured Blackmail). So yes, it’s time, way past time, to “head the soul of this nation.”

It’s really unfortunate how many people still haven’t awakened to this cancer that infects all levels of our civilization — including, and especially, the “upper crust.” From these citizen journalists’ point of view, only three people currently in power are trying to cleanse the world of this menace: Trump, Jeffrey Sessions, and Vladimir Putin.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

As I prepare for lift-off to Siberia/Mongolia . . .

I find myself less and less able to focus here on this blog. And in fact, may stop altogether after taking pics from this evening’s Solstice event and posting them tomorrow. And, BTW: Happy Summer Solstice! It’s already happened folks, at just past midnight, last night, EDT.

 

Meanwhile, here are a few zingers for you to contemplate:

First: Michael Snyder appreciates Ron Paul’s attitude towards the IRS.

Ron Paul: “When I say cut taxes, I don’t mean fiddle with the code . . .”

Next, courageous Amber Lyon (former CNN reporter), says CNN provides “advertorials for dictators.” Whooee! Great line!

And to top it all off:

BTW: I’ve finally managed to watch the first of Stone’s hour-long interviews with Putin, and find it fascinating. To actually see/feel the Russian heartland and its peoples from a loyal Russian servant’s point of view — plus what happened to this vast land during the early ’90s (something that we in the U.S. may be facing soon, unless we turn the situation around now — see Steele’s proposal above), then the seemingly miraculous, gradual improvement of desperate living conditions after Putin came to power in 2000. The other three interviews will have to wait until my return. 

The Putin Interviews

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment