Posts tagged ancient civilisations

Beautiful Snowdonia – Mountain Photos

Snowdonia from the Isle of Anglesey, St Bodwyns Grave.

Here are some recent pictures of Snowdonia,

just after the Easter snows this April.

Obelisk above Nantlle Valley.

Snowdonia over a 7th century stone circle, Nantlle Valley

Sunsets over the Snowdon Horseshoe.

The Nantlle Valley, the gateway to Snowdon.

The hills of Llyn Peninsula

First blossom on the trees, winter is finally leaving.

Happy Wanderer

Peace, Love and Light from WalesXXXXXXXXXXXX

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Monday Movies – Samsara, Ram Dass and Baraka

Its deep grey outside and the drizzle is in full effect.  The perfect day to reflect and watch something beautiful that inspires.

Thanks to YouTube, here are a selection of very different inspirational movies.  One a wonderful human story, the other an epic love story set in the majestic Himalayas and finally a visual movie with a wonderful soundtrack.

I am coming to realise the importance of YouTube and the like.  I am a little backward with the cyber thing, but YouTube is a phenomenon.  When I think back at how slow wisdom must have spread in the olden days (the 80’s!), YouTube opens it all up.  Immediately.  What do you want to know?

I am selective in what I let in, but what an opportunity to learn and get involved on a global scale.

I hope you enjoy….

PS – Have you noticed that when you watch clips that relate to philosophy, ‘alternative’ ways of being etc, there are always clips of young women with their cleavage out in the sidebar?  Are they trying to distract?  If you watch a music clip, the same clips don’t appear?  With that in mind…..

Here is Samsara, an epic, spiritual love story shot in Spiti Valley, the high Himalayas (you will need to change the subtitles to your language, unless you are Czech, in the bottom right of the screen).  It follows a Buddhists monks quest for enlightenment:

Here is the life story of the wonderful Ram Dass, a lovely soul:

And finally, the second part of the Ron Fricke movie Baraka (the full clip has disappeared) it’s a shame to miss the first part, but it is well worth watching these awesome images and soundtrack.

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The Wisdom of Joseph Campbell

Follow your bliss……………

“If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.”

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.

I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.

Love is a friendship set to music.

We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.

What each must seek in his life never was on land or sea. It is something out of his own unique potentiality for experience, something that never has been and never could have been experienced by anyone else.

When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.

When you make the sacrifice in marriage, you’re sacrificing not to each other but to unity in a relationship.

Your life is the fruit of your own doing. You have no one to blame but yourself.

Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.

Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.

Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It’s as simple as that.

I don’t have to have faith, I have experience.

I think the person who takes a job in order to live – that is to say, for the money – has turned himself into a slave.

Is the system going to flatten you out and deny you your humanity, or are you going to be able to make use of the system to the attainment of human purposes?

It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.

Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.

Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.

One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.

Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.

Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”



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Kumbh Mela 2010 Haridwar – Video Clips

I’m writing alot about the Kumbh Mela at the moment.  After settling down for a while, those wild, mystical times seem to be flowing through my me again.  I imagine my soul is craving a level of chaos and vibrant energy that the grey island will never offer.

I love anything that challenges western sensibilities.  Wakes us to something else.  Another way of existing.  The Kumbh is ancient, holy and still wild.  I can’t remember so much, more a blur of images.  It was a short time, but deeply effecting.

So I thought I’d look on youtube and see what was out there.  I was pleasantly surprised.  These clips certainly jogged my memory.  I hope you like them.

A few of my favourite clips of the Kumbh Mela 2010 on Youtube:

A long video of the festival with the babas in all their glory –

Another good video of a day at the Kumbh –

A day with a Sadhu at the Kumbh –

A short Italian film with nice images –

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2012 – the Mayan Calendar and the Flor De Maize School

A Mayan Calendar

Happy 2012XXXXXXXXXXXX

Whats it all about then?  I hear the world is ending?  What is happening to the Mayan people today?  Where did they all go?

2012 is here, the hysteria grows and the end is nigh! Sounds like the perfect time for a new beginning.  Are we about to start over?

I am fortunate to have visited Guatemala and Southern Mexico in 2005, the highlight being the ancient Mayan cities and the incredible Mayan culture.  This experience has given me a truer perspective on the ‘end’ of the Mayan Calendar.  This ‘worlds end’.

There are too few Mayan voices, online and in books, that talk of their own culture and its calendar.  Here is a youtube clip of a Mayan elder passing on the true message of our ancestors:

So nothing changes on 21st December 2012 that is not changing now.  5125 years end and another begins.  We are in a constant state of transformation, every moment an awesome shift.  The words of our Mayan ancestor are these:

‘Let the morning come, let the dawn come, do not be afraid, spread this message around the world.’

The 13th b’ak’tun of the Mayan long count calendar is ending, that is what we believe.  One of the first westerners to study this was the brilliantly named Maud Worcester Makemson, who wrote  “the completion of a Great Period of 13 b’ak’tuns would have been of the utmost significance to the Maya”.  Without mentioning an end to this reality.

It seems this concept arose later, a chap named Micheal D. Coe wrote “there is a suggestion … that Armageddon would overtake the degenerate peoples of the world and all creation on the final day of the 13th [b’ak’tun]. Thus … our present universe [would] be annihilated [in December 2012]when the Great Cycle of the Long Count reaches completion.”  Armageddon (something to do with Gog and Magog as I remember!) and annihilation, it seems that Micheal D. Coe had a touch of the Dan Browns.   

Fear is the primary agenda of many of the 2012 ‘experts’ and ‘pseudo scientists’.  They have an alien mind-set to that of the ancient Mayans.  The attempt to fathom the Mayans connection to the universe and earth through the eyes of a modern mind will always fail.  We are too deeply affected by our societies consciousness, which is surely light years away from that of the ancient Mayans, the Egyptians, Hindus etc, etc.  We can only dream such things.

In front of the pyramid of the great jaguar, Tikal, Guatemala

We are left to marvel at their genius when looking at the ruins of their great cities, temples and pyramid sites, now being reclaimed by the jungles.  Many of these sites are still not excavated, covered in roots.  How many are left undiscovered?  How much do we still have to learn?  Surely it’s not about deducing, it is way beyond our system of reasoning.  These ‘secrets’ cannot be found by digging in the ground, but will be unearthed within ourselves.

The Mayans were not using the sciences as we know them, these institutions had not been formed.  The universe was their realm and the mind their laboratory.  The results are there to be seen, one of histories greatest civilizations with complex social structures, huge cities and deep understanding of the universe, nature and the human mind.

2012 has become a commodity, propagating hysteria and money.  Have you seen the movie?  Neither have I, but I get the picture.  2012 has been used as a marketing tool for individuals egos.  The actual date has never been agreed upon, interestingly on stele in Coba the date is 13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.13.0.0.0.0, that’s either 41 octillion years (these are real number) years in the future, or maybe, in the past.  That makes it 3 quintillion (one followed by 30 zeros) times older than the age of our universe according to cosmologists.  That day is floating around within that window of time.  When?  Difficult to be sure.

The shamans that I spoke to in Guatemala had a clear message of peace and global togetherness; a hope to raise our collective consciousness and a return to a higher state of being.  The state of being experienced by the ancient Mayans.  No mention of an end; only a new beginning, the cycle continues.  In fact, it seemed that the Mayan people who are not looking for short-term financial gain by aligning themselves with this ‘phenomenon’ are using the increased awareness of their culture as a platform to spread a the message of unity with humanity.  Replacing a sense of fear with a message of universal love.

Depiction of Mayan God 'Quetzalcoatl'

I think some tend to forget that the Mayan people and culture is still alive today.  The great era, the epoch of the ancient civilization is long gone and the Mayan people have suffered greatly ever since.

The epoch was really over when the handful of Spanish (and Portuguese) Conquistadors arrived and decimated and pillaged the entire continent (that’s Central and South America).  Their work has been continued admirably by the Catholic Church and the greed of man, with a lot of help from the U.S.A.  Amazingly, against incredible odds, the culture lives on.  Mainly in Guatemala, which is over 90% indigenous Mayan.  There are over 6 million Mayans, making them the largest indigenous group in Latin America with roots stretching back over 2000 years.

There are sixty different dialects being spoken, traditional dress is worn and ancient traditions practiced.  This, like in most areas of our increasingly homogenized world, is under threat.  The neon, modern world is encroaching and many young Mayans are disillusioned with their heritage and lack of material opportunity.  They are enticed by the flashing lights of the capitalist dream, many selling their ancestral lands to rich Mestizo and U.S. land owners to squander their inheritance on motorbikes and modern clothes.

Colourful dress of indigenous women

Some Mayan villages I stayed in still had a matriarchal ruling structure.  The Mayan women are incredibly resilient and are holding the communities together.  It seems again, like most places in the world, the men generally lack intuitive wisdom, are racked with greed and are easily led and manipulated.

There are high rates of alcoholism and domestic violence.  All over Guatemala, I witnessed mothers and daughters helping their staggering men back home.  If money came into a family, it soon disappeared in a drunken binge.  The life of an indigenous man is tough, the plight of an indigenous women is tougher.

The Guatemalan government, with U.S. support, has committed acts of genocide against the Mayan people for over a 100 years.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guatemalan_Civil_War, but this is only a small reflection of the atrocities that the Mayan people s have had to face.  I have never been to a country where hope has been so close to fading out (I did visit in 2005, just after the tragic hurricane that claimed hundreds of lives, this will have had a huge effect on my experience).

This general air of hopelessness is only heightened by poor inter-tribal relations and a terrible history of violent crime within communities.  Without a common language, many elders do not speak Spanish, a cohesive civil movement has been impossible.  This leaves a tiny minority of mestizo (normally of Spanish decadence) to rule and oppress the masses.

Then, some light, I met Javier and Jose in the village of San Pedro on Lago Atitlan (“the most beautiful lake in the world” Aldous Huxley).  Two Tzu’tujil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tz%27utujil_people) brothers who were running a small Spanish language school named Flor de Maize.

They are not only great language teachers but are real activists for social, political and ecological change.  They are offering hope for the new generation of Mayan children in the area.

Here is the website: http://fdmspanishschool.org/main/?page_id=14

Javier and Jose are incredible, a true inspiration.  Taking on the dangerous and corrupt Guatemalan system requires huge amounts of dedication, bravery and strength.  Their methods are diverse social projects.  Organic gardening helps to set examples for and educate local farmers on traditional practices. moving them away from slash and burn practices that leave the land infertile and people hungry.   Reforestation, replacing logged trees and educating people about local ecology.  They also arrange for greater exposure of the Tzu’tujil culture via homestays and special events.

With friends and Javier (in red) above Lake Atitlan 2005 (that is the bald version of me with the crew cut and green vest)

Javier and Jose have also started projects to raise money for the schooling of local children.  They help the children daily with their homework and provide all uniforms and resources needed.  School fees are also taken care of.  There have been many success stories, I regularly receive photos of children holding certificates alongside proud parents.  Without this level of secondary education in Guatemala, you have little chance of escaping the hard life of a poor subsidence farmer.  Basic education is very poor and does not teach the children of their own dialect or culture.  As usual in San Pedro, this is where Javier and Jose step in.

Flor de Maize receives no grants from the government and it relies on tourists to enrol for Spanish language classes, or to get involved with one of their social projects.  They run hiking and camping trips up volcanos (http://www.trekforkids.org) or prepare family dinners (with the lovely organic veg) open to all comers in their home.

Javier and Jose's family

I have fond memories of the guys at Flor de Maize.  Demis taught me Spanish under a tree near the lake (he tried his best anyway!) and Jose and Javier invited me each week to their family home for dinner.  Javier took the students for an overnight camping trip to a peak overlooking a row of simmering volcanoes (there is a fault line running straight up the country).  The sunset and sunrise up there will always colour my mind.

I lived with the local mayor, Joseph and his family in the village. It was a special experience.  They treat me like a long-lost son.  The family spoke mainly Tzu’tujil, but we muddled by with my broken Spanish.  We ate black beans and gorditas (small fat maize tortillas) which Josephs wife Rose and I hand rolled and toasted every morning in a lean-to.  Their son was a moody teenager, who listened to a lot of Eminem at full volume.  The family was completed by old granddad, who shuffled around the place chuckling and a blind cocker spaniel who wanted my blood.

The only English Rose spoke, always followed by a huge guffaw, was ‘Hello Lee Majors, the bionic man!’  This was her regular greeting for me, I was known around the streets as the bionic man.  I still have no idea where Rose got this from.  I can remember her in a traditional, brightly coloured dress, four feet tall, laughing her heart out at this.  I didn’t mind, I have been called worse.

It seemed that no matter what happened, Javier and Jose would manifest their dream of a brighter future.  Their regular emails show to me that things have certainly developing, a new premise has been moved into and the comments from students remain as positive as ever.

Flor de Maize is always struggling for funding and you will find opportunities for  donating on the websites.  A few pounds go along way in Guatemala and it will always benefit the children.

I am approaching 2012 with an open heart, mind and soul.  Wishing for an end to all suffering throughout the world and a greater understanding of each other; our planet and the universe, following the example of my Mayan friends and the words of our ancestors, “Let the morning come… do not be afraid.”

The first few minutes of this video are quite Hollywood, but I thought the Quiche shaman, Wandering Wolf’s, words are a fitting way to end:

To learn more of the 2012 phenomenon look here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon

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Gobekli Tepe – 12,000 year old civilization

Human history jumps back 7000 years.  A short clip, bit Hollywood, but fascinating content.

Who done it?

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Greetings Samhain, Happy Halloween. 31/10/11

Samhain night with its ancient lore

was occasion for new and merry custom;

it was learned in the wilderness, in oak-woods,

from spirits and fairies.

The Metrical Dindshenchas

Dear Apple Bobbers,

HAPPY HALOWEENXXX

Seeing kids run around dressed as undead chainsaw wielding zombies demanding sweets seems a little disturbing.  The Co-op has been selling jelly eyeballs to squeeze as a stress reliever that ‘feel like real eye balls’.  Crazy times.  I wanted to know where this all began, what have we lost along the way?  What did the Celts, our pre-Christian heritage, make of this eve?

Celtic wisdom regards the passing of the seasons as a bearer of great insight and wisdom.  The sun controls the cycle of day and night, the moon the cycle of the months and the wheeling stars rule the passing of the years.  For ages, we have looked to the night sky in wonder and astonishment.

Our ancient Celtic traditions would have tonight as the festival of Samhain (SOW’en), the start of winter.  A time of great peace, reflection and contemplation.  Samhain was a time when the living and ancestral overlapped, a time for remembering our ancestors with lit candles in our windows, to welcome loved ancestors and shine light on their way.

This evening we also say goodbye to the season of Lughnasadh (Loo’nasa, Autumn) a time of physical harvest and spiritual garnering.  In the human growth cycle Lughnasadh has represented a period of maturity, adulthood with a certain sense of stability and responsibility.  A time to celebrate the harvest and all those who have upheld the noble values of life.

There has always been a sense of fear and trepidation about this night, the eve of Samhain, and also one of expectancy.  The night was one when young people disguised themselves and played pranks on the community.  Trick or treating is based on these traditions of ‘mischief night’.

Commercialisation has brought about a focus on the ghoulish elements of this night, rather than communal reverence and honouring of ancestors (the Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ mixes them both brilliantly).

Here is a little something to read out tonight:

Greetings Samhain

Threshold Invocation (to be said at your front door)

Grandmother Wisdom, open the door,

Grandfather Counsel, come you in.

Let there be welcome to the ancient lore,

Let there be welcome to the Winter of the Year.

In the cold and darkness you are travelling,

Under crystal skies you will arrive.

May the blessed time of Samhain

Clarify the souls of all beings,

Bringing joy and wisdom to revelation,

From the depths to the heights,

From the heights to the depths,

In the cave of every soul. 

Heres to a happy pilgrimage through the seasons of our lives and peace to all who no longer walk on this world.XXXXX

If you like this, I have been reading the books of Caitlin Matthews ‘Celtic Devotional’ and ‘The Celtic Spirit’ http://www.hallowquest.org.uk/hallowquest-caitlin-matthews.html, helping me to get tuned into the Celtic vibes and history of my new Welsh homeland.

 

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