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Sing to me the music of the stars

The eighth book in the Legendary Women of World History series will be “Hypatia of Alexandria” about one of the greatest astronomers of the ancient world.  Her murder, along with associated burnings of ancient libraries, plunged the West into the theocratic dark ages where Church dogma silenced scientists and endangered the lives of anyone who dared read scientific discoveries made by non-Christians.

Here is my first poem dedicated to Hypatia:

 

Sing to me the music of the stars

How the wanderers dance around the Earth and moon!

Show me the geometry of the heavens and of the Earth,

Polygons and polyhedrons in all their glorious splendour!

Let the secrets of Nature reveal themselves to me

Let my mind never falter to perceive their Mysteries.

For herein lies the true genius of the Divine.

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Medieval Beltane Music

All Wiccan holidays are based on the seasons.  That means that witches in the northern hemisphere celebrate the opposite season holidays as those in the southern hemisphere.

 

As European and American Wiccans prepare to celebrate Samhain, the last and final holiday in the Wiccan calender (the new year beginning on November 1st), let’s turn our thoughts to spring — and our southern neighbors — with this look at Beltane and Beltane music.

 

Medieval Beltane Music

It’s almost Beltane, also known as May Day, a day known for its flowers, picnics, and of course, the May Pole Dance.

Like many festivals, music is an essential part of worship, even though many, perhaps, do not process Beltane celebrations as a form of religious worship. Yet through the ages and into today, songs celebrating spring, the Beltane festival, and/or the coming of summer all bring us closer to nature and Beltane’s celebration of new life. Here are a few of my favorite period songs for celebrating this ancient festival:

“Sumer Is Icumen in”: a medieval four part round originally written in the 13th century in Middle English (see Middle English and modern lyrics athttp://www.pteratunes.org.uk/Music/Music/Lyrics/summerisicumenin.html), “Sumer Is Icumen In” is one of the oldest known songs celebrating the coming of summer (beginning May 1st in Celtic and Germanic cultures). Beautiful in both Middle and Modern English, this classic was one of the first medieval songs I ever learned to sing and remains a perennial favorite among re-enactors and neo-pagans alike. Don’t want to sing it or play it on the recorder? Two of the best recordings of it is by St. George’s Canzona from their album “Medieval Songs and Dances,” and, for a pop arrangement of this classic, check out the version by Jaiya from her album “Beltane: Songs for the Spring Time,” both available on itunes.

“Now is the Month of Maying”: written by Elizabethan Englishman Thomas Morley in the late 16th century, it remains one of the best known songs about Beltane. The King’s Singers have a lovely rendition of it on their album “Madrigal History Tour” that is true to its original madrigal/troubadour origins. For a very modern take on this classic, consider “The Month of Maying” by Jaiya, also from “Beltane: Songs for the Spring Time.”

“Tempus Adest Floridum” (the time is near for flowering): originally written in the 13thcentury, “Tempus Adest Floridum’s” tune became popularized in the 19th century when the Christmas Carol “Good King Wenceslas ” provided new lyrics to the then 600 year old tune. Find four verses in the original Latin at http://www.cyberhymnal.org/non/la/tempusade.htm and full translation at http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/f/l/flowcaro.htm. Enjoy a classical recording of the song on Jeremy Summerly’s album, “Let Voices Resound: Songs from Piae Cantiones,” available on Amazon.com.

 

For more information on Beltane and medieval/Renaissance music, please consult:http://www.pteratunes.org.uk/Music/Music/Composers.html,http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/festivals/may/beltane.html,http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/beltanemayday/p/Beltane_History.htm,http://londongirl.hubpages.com/hub/Bringing-in-the-May—the-history-and-culture-of-the-traditional-English-May-Day.

Purging Negative Vibration

The Johnstown PA troll is back!  Yes, he sent me MORE TEXT MESSAGES — a couple of them clearly sexual harassment.

No, I’m not calling the police or even telling my landlord w/ public housing.  There is no point.  All doing that does it maintain the negative vibration — which is rather his point.  Make me SO DESPERATE that I am willing to whore myself with him — quite literally and in direct opposition to my clearly stated desires.

Not happening.  Because what we focus on with our thoughts and feelings really is what we attract into our experiences.

 

So the key to the situation is to IGNORE IT.  The catch with ignoring it is that we as humans in the 21st century are rather conditioned to COMPLAIN.  Instead of focusing on what we DO WANT we focus on whatever we lack, whatever we do not like or want around us.

 

Can we wonder why we end up in vicious negative cycles?

 

Fortunately we have control over our minds.  As Bob Proctor repeatedly reminds us, our conscious minds possess a powerful filter for information.  We choose what information to accept and what information to reject.  We choose which ideas we will feel through, understanding that all feelings are based on our thoughts.  Change your thought and you change your feeling.

 

So how then do we best combat these intrusions into our positive thinking, our positive energy, and our focus on what we want?

 

Why music — of course!

Which piece of music is less important than the affect the music has on our feeling, the direction of our thoughts, and our vibration.  Here we are looking for something, anything that feels REALLY GOOD and RETURNS OUR FOCUS TO WHAT WE WANT.

 

Right now my primary vibrational focus is IMMIGRATION TO GREAT BRITAIN.  I want to move to England.  I want a nice house near London with a beautiful garden and a tranquil work space for my writing and research.  I want to work with Future Legend Media in Bedfordshire and I want more collaborations with Richard Mann whose work on the audio edition of Boudicca is by far the best audio book I have ever listened to as a low vision person dependent on audio books.

So today, I’m playing videos on youtube that return me to that focus, starting with the above rendition of “God Save the Queen.”

I am also listening to Rolling Stones Now music videos (Richard Mann fronts RSN as “Mick”) like the above “You Got Me Rockin’/Brown Sugar” because I really enjoy watching that particular video.

 

The point is to put yourself in not only a positive mood, but to focus so much on what you do want and do like that you completely put aside any and all thoughts that are detrimental to your vibration.

 

Focus on what you WANT.  Nothing less, nothing more.  Reject attempts by others to get into your boat of life and control your direction.  No one has the right to do so.  Take charge of your thoughts and feelings and you take charge of your life.

 

 

Poverty and the Perception of “Blurred” Sexual Lines

Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video glorifies rape.

In 2013, Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines” highlighted American rape culture with its message that when a woman says “no” to something, she does not really mean it.  The naked women parading across his video made it perfectly clear where the lines, to him, are most blurred.

 

It is easy to look at the song — and all the controversy it created — and chalk it up to a mediocre “musician” playing a publicity stunt, a stunt that had Mr. Thicke laughing all the way to the bank.

 

Except I’m not laughing and nor should any woman anywhere in the world.

 

The problem is not the video, of course, but what it represents:  a culture where women do not need to be respected, where men believe “no” means “not yet,” and where that “not yet” is easily changed to “yes” if the man simply pursues aggressively enough.

 

Among the affluent, this culture has very little meaning.  With enough wealth and power, a woman can live her life feeling reasonably safe because she can hire protection for every aspect of her life.  While we do hear of celebrity stalkings, they are rarely fatal.  Money can buy safety and security.

 

But what about the rest of us, especially the poor?  What about the millions of impoverished women who are struggling just to buy food and pay rent?  Especially in low income housing where crime rates are higher, women find themselves vulnerable.  Police department budgets are strained; they don’t have the money or manpower to truly “serve and protect” as they are mandated.  Sexual harassment, rape, and so forth are just not worth responding to in the minds and budgets of the police when there are drug offenses, murders, and so forth to respond to.

 

In our predatory sexual culture poor women are forced to fend for themselves.  Like when a simple act of politeness to a neighbor is taken as an invitation for sex.  Say no, I am not interested and the advances do not go away.  Why should they?  If women do not actually mean “no” when they say it, it becomes in the interest of the man to keep pushing — to force his way into her life, into her mind.  That these advances obviously frighten her is not important.  No where in American culture are such obvious communications actually deterrent.  American culture says that women ALWAYS WANT IT — FROM ANYONE WHO SEEKS IT.  And worst of all:  there is no perception that there are any negative consequences.  Not to sexual harassment.  Not to rape.  After all, who cares if a poor woman is violated?  Ignore the crime and nothing bad will happen — to criminal or to law enforcement.  And when (not if) a predatory man with a mind that says “you have nothing to lose” violates a woman’s dignity, it remains easier for all involved or near the woman to simply claim “she had it coming to her.”

 

Because for the poor, there is no such thing as “no,” no right to refusal.  No human dignity.

 

We must stop tolerating this.  Men must stand up and start caring again about the dignity of women, to stop being predators and become protectors — not in the sense that women are objects to be own (that itself is predatory), but in the sense that human life has value — rich or poor.

 

Old Fashioned respect needs to return.  For every person deserves respect.  Every life is sacred.

 

The night I lost my voice

From time to time, I move away from writing and the publishing business to write about my own life and perceptions.  Tonight is one of those nights.

 

It is no secret to anyone that my upbringing was violent, raised in a church that takes the Bible so literally that the most heinous acts of violence seem perfectly logical, godly, and properly.  Where a claim of “disobedience” from a young child is enough to make her responsible for rape, incest, torture, and worse done upon her.  And where no cry for help is to be listened to.  After all, it IS the three year old’s fault if her father rapes her and slashes her with knives, is it not?

Well, so I was brainwashed into believing for many years — until I learned not to.

 

In the first six years of my life I was mortally wounded by my father six separate times — three times on Beltane (April 30th/May 1st)  and three times on Samhain (all hallow’s eve).  Sometimes I will talk about being shot or drowned.  But what I never talk about was the night, I was maybe three or four, when my voice was taken away.

 

 

The audio edition of Boudicca:  Britain's Queen of the Iceni by Laurel A. Rockefeller and narrated by Richard Mann

The audio edition of Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni by Laurel A. Rockefeller and narrated by Richard Mann

My favorite actor and, by the grace of god/goddess/the universe, the narrator of my biographical novella “Boudicca” talks about the importance of the voice.  If you have not seen his presentation talking about the importance of our voices (courtesy of Future Legend Media), it is a true joy to watch.  

 

Our voices are very important.  But that dark night — I cannot remember if it were Beltane or Samhain — my voice was both literally and figuratively taken away.

 

By this time, my father had his routine down pretty well, kidnapping me from my room and making sure everyone else at home was either asleep or too frightened to stir.  I was usually taken into the woods near our house.  My family home was on the edge of Lincoln, Nebraska when it as first built a few months before I was born — so there were ample woods and wildlife around.  As usual, my father cut my throat one to two centimeters below my left ear (this routine left a somewhat pronounced scar — if you look)  and offered some blood to whatever it was he felt he needed to worship or revere; I will not claim I know or understand, only that the nearest I can describe the sounds of these prayers would be the “black tongue of Mordor” in Tolkien’s Middle Earth.  After raping me (which was also part of the routine), he noticed I was fighting back with the one part of myself that was stronger than the ropes he bound me with:  my voice, my song.

 

There is something spiritual about singing from the heart and soul, especially when you are that young and lack the filtering egos and superegos that enable adults to filter information.  At four the mind has not yet learned how to reject incorrect or harmful information, let alone tell the difference between when adults are telling them the truth or lying to them — which is also why many children do not know the difference between reality and fantasy.  Because of this, a child’s song is especially pure; there is no deceit to it.  If humans ever tap into the voice of that which created all of us — it is at that same age.  Healing warmth filled me.  My spirit was far from broken.  Resistance was not futile.

 

Enraged, my father drove his boline (a razor sharp ritual knife) into my vocal chords.  The singing stopped.  All sound from my throat stopped.  I Crossed Over.  But as it was before, something powerful and divine would not open the door, the tunnel some see during “near” death experiences.  The silver cord binding soul to flesh remained strong and tight, holding my spirit to just a few feet or inches away from my blood-drained body.  I was, for the lack of a better term, “MOSTLY DEAD.”  The flesh had no blood left — but the spirit remained nearly as tightly rooted as it was any other moment in my life.

 

Satisfied, my father left me for dead for a time.  I cannot tell you what happened next except that at some point, my spirit sank downward, back into my body.  Was it god or the goddess who restored me to life?  Was it some part of my spirit that simply refused death?  I am too honest a scientist to guess and have always been so.

 

The next thing I knew, I was back in my bed — but I could not speak.

 

Do not ask me why no one noticed — or cared — that my notorious chatterbox fell completely silent for weeks while my body healed.  On the surface of my skin, only a tiny mark remained.  But I could not speak, let alone sing.  No sound came out, not even a buzz.  The family dog knew and tried to console me (this was about four or five years before I finally won my argument to get my first bird).  But absolutely no one else cared that I could not speak anymore.

 

I was silenced.

 

Time of course healed my flesh, leaving little evidence unless you look for it — except when I was asked to sing in school.  Though my voice has always been pleasant to listen to (one time, while writing a song on the subway on my way home from something in Brooklyn I was directly asked if I sang on Broadway — quite a complement), I had a technical problem with my voice.  No C sharp note!  The only way to hit it or get close was to FORCE it — essentially do exactly the opposite of what every vocal music teacher or coach tells you to do — to some unpleasant consequences at times.  Today I can sing that C sharp — after a moment of particular healing while attending university.

 

But though the physical side waned and healed with time, what I never realized until tonight was that my voice was silenced more sinisterly that terrible night in the woods.  From that night forward, every single person around me DISMISSED every single thing I said.  Truth or lying did not matter (naturally my habit has always been to tell the truth — whether you want the truth or not).  No one heeded me.  No one listened.  It was as if I were invisible.

 

On November 5th, 1985, the night before lines were due in the only drama class where anyone allowed me to participate on stage, a car hit me in the left temple, slicing across the left side of the brain before my skull shattered entirely to, well, rather gruesome results –and taking all memory, including academic memory, with it.  That was the seventh time I Crossed Over — and the only accident.  If I were a right handed person like most of you this certainly would have ended all ability to communicate from a neurological stand point because those regions are clustered behind/close to the left ear.  As it happens, I am in the 50% of left handers (5% of the general population) who have SYMMETRY in the brain — meaning that instead of a single center for speech and for understanding speech, I have one on each side of my head.   My ability to speak, read, and write, remained.

 

But what good is speech if you are completely ignored, if everything you say and do is ignored or made excuses?  This extended to my health — to food allergies, to the headache that never went away after the concussion.  Not even falling grades (I had to literally re-learn everything all over again that year in school) were enough to signal to anyone that anything was wrong.

My voice was truly gone.

 

It is therefore a very humbling matter tonight to not only remember the physical attack that silenced me as a child, but also realize that the attack was also very much a psychological and spiritual one as well, designed to do exactly what it achieved.  My father is a very smart criminal who was never caught nor punished thanks to his destruction of my voice, one more than willing to speak truth to power.

 

Breath creates your voice.  You cannot sing without pushing air through your larynx.

 

Holy Mother Goddess, teach me to sing again with confidence and strength.  Let my words no longer fall to deaf ears.  Let the beauty of my writing reach the minds and hearts of others.  And bring into my life those who will encourage me to sing once more, to climb up to a high perch and dare raise my voice to heaven once more.   Let there be, at last, people in my life who care enough to steady me so that I can finally be heard. Let this little bird finally take flight.

 

So mote it be.

 

 

 

 

 

Beltane 2014 Gift: THREE FREE KINDLE BOOKS

Medieval manuscript of “Tempus Adest Floridum” celebrating the arrival of spring. In the 19th century, new lyrics were written to the tune: “Good King Wenceslas”

Merry Beltane!  What is Beltane?  Beltane is one of the oldest and longest enduring European festivals, originating long before Plato and Aristotle, long before warring Greeks and then later Romans conquered their way across the world.  It is a festive time celebrating the warmth of spring and signaling that it is time to plant fields and gardens.  This is “May Day” with the traditional ribbon weaving dance around the May pole.   It was and is a festival well known by all in Britain and kept as a tradition in Ireland all the way into the reign of Queen Victoria — until anti-Irish and anti-witchcraft laws abolished it — for a few decades anyway.   Though our ancient ancestors celebrated Beltane based on the movements of the moon, today’s Wiccans and those celebrating Irish/Welsh/Scottish/English heritage celebrate this joyful mid-spring festival from sundown on April 30th to sundown May 1st.   Growing up in Nebraska, we celebrated May Day by making decorative baskets which we filled with flowers and candy and then gave to all our neighbors, a simplification of the large Beltane picnic brunches that our ancestors enjoyed.   I still love May Day baskets, still love planting my garden, and still love giving presents to celebrate.   So can you think of a better reason for me to give YOU THREE PRESENTS?   I sure cannot!  Everyone LOVES PRESENTS!   So here are my presents to YOU.  But just on Beltane.  But since you may live hours ahead of me or hours behind me on the globe, let’s make Beltane to be from 3 AM Eastern Daylight Time on WEDNESDAY APRIL 30TH to MIDNIGHT Eastern Daylight Time on MAY 1ST.   Okay with you?  GREAT!!  I thought you might like that!

Here are my presents:

Boudicca Britain's Queen of the Iceni

Ghosts of the Past The Lost Tales of the Anlei's Legacy Trilogy  FREE DOWNLOADS on Amazon sites (amazon.com, amazon.co.uk etc) of THREE  of my KINDLE BOOKS.

Here are the full USA Amazon links.  Adjust these for your country’s Amazon website:

Boudicca:  Britain’s Queen of the Iceni  http://tinyurl.com/LWWHBoudicca

The Ghosts of the Past  http://viewBook.at/B00BVBHNDO

The Lost Tales of the Anlei’s Legacy Trilogy http://tinyurl.com/ALLost

These are free JUST ON APRIL 30TH TO MAY 1ST, 2014 — but with prices ranging from 99 cents to $2.99, these books are always a great value!   If you miss the giveaway but want to read/review any or all of these, just email me at peersofbeinan@gmail.com and I will gladly gift you whichever books you are interested in.   Spread the word so I can give out more presents.  Presents are good!  I want to give you presents!     Learn more about Beltane and the music celebrating it in my research article on Yahoo Voices

The Writing Process Chain Blog Hop

Firstly I am not sure I am doing this right, but here I go.

A few weeks ago an author/blogger I know asked me if I wanted to be involved with the chain blog hop. Basically she posts and tags several people and they tag others they know and so on. We discuss our own writing processes and pass the baton.

The Questions are:


What am I working on?

When a sudden plague of mysterious cancers strikes the southwestern city of Nan-li, it falls to Lady Abbess Cara of house Ten-Ar to investigate, entangling her in a royal trap that may cost her life.

When a sudden plague of mysterious cancers strikes the southwestern city of Nan-li, it falls to Lady Abbess Cara of house Ten-Ar to investigate, entangling her in a royal trap that may cost her life.

The Lost Tales of the Anlei's Legacy Trilogy

Today I just published my first Peers of Beinan Series novella, “The Poisoned Ground,” as a paperback.  Find it in “The Lost Tales of the Anlei’s Legacy Trilogy” for kindle at http://tinyurl.com/ALLost.

In May I plan on releasing Poisoned Ground to kindle as a separate novella (May 27th) and The Lost Tales into paperback.

I am also working on a May release for book two of the Legendary Women of World History Series, “Catherine de Valois.”  From there, my focus turns to finishing the “Princess Anyu Returns,” the third and final book in the Anlei’s Legacy Trilogy.

Princess Anyu Returns concludes the Anlei's Legacy Trilogy

Princess Anyu Returns concludes the Anlei’s Legacy Trilogy

2015 will mean the beginning of the next Peers of Beinan trilogy looking at the Great Migration and early settlement of the planet.


How does my work differ from others?

My background is poetry, music, and academic non-fiction.  As many of you know, I was originally published as a poet, then as a non fiction writer with Yahoo Voices.  I love non-fiction; I love the research, the learning, and the amazing connections you find when you explore many different academic disciplines.

 

My writing very much grounded in this love of learning, knowledge, and getting the facts, the data right.  I usually say that I am not so much imaginative as I am logical (my blood is red, not green, I swear — even if you heard otherwise!).  I extrapolate and redact very well which is a fancy way of saying that I am good at filling in gaps in a pattern and figuring out what should be there.

Ghosts of the Past

Everything I do is very scientific — even when I am not writing non-fiction or science fiction.  I try to be as non-fictional as I can within the boundaries of the story.  I bombard people with questions and work very hard to get details RIGHT.  So when someone is murdered by crossbow (as happens in “The Ghosts of the Past”), where that quarrel (crossbow arrow) lands is precisely chosen based on what medical doctors have told me.  Whether a person dies instantly or has a few seconds/a minute to get out last words can be a matter of just millimeters or centimeters.  And yes, to me, it is important to get it right.  A medical doctor is likely to be reading that scene.

Now the same applies to my history work with the Legendary Women of World History.  First, I draw upon primary source materials — but then I go to the archaeology and anthropology to help me fill in gaps.  I also ask questions.  For example, author Alexandra Butcher of Bristol, UK helped me know what Boudicca and King Prasutagus probably ate at their wedding reception which I set on the beach of the North Sea (Iceni lands being right on that North Sea coast).

I made up the whole wedding/beach scene for the novella.  But it’s a believable scene because it applies a dozen different facts or probable facts based on geography and culture.

Most writers I know are more willing to just make things up.  The scientist in me will not do that; I have to create things that are believable to me within the boundaries of the known.  Fortunately, I am blessed with a great education that helps me do that.  Though I must ask the BBC to please please please make more programs available in the United States.  That way I can do even better work!


Why do I write what I do?

I want to inspire people and encourage people to think about and discuss social issues.  Too often we feel the weight of life’s challenges.  We become overwhelmed with difficult life events.  We feel lost.  We lose hope.  We judge others.  We fail to care.

But none of this has to be.  We can do better.  We can make choices that make tomorrow better than today.  We can change our world with every choice we make in every single day and every thought in our minds.

As Sentient Beings we possess this amazing ability to learn from the experiences of others.  The people we learn from do not have to be real; they can be legendary or fictional too.  When we see people or characters go through the same challenges we face, we relate to them — and are inspired to take up the same solutions that they find success in.

Books have an enormous power to transform our lives.  Can it be any wonder that literacy has always been at the heart of slavery in all its forms?  When we keep people from reading, we also block them from finding solutions to their problems, cutting them off from vital role models for success.

I write to teach, to inspire, to transform the world around me.  I also write as part of the music of my own heart and soul, the songs that have brought me through adversity and into the Light.  In singing — whatever the form — I rise up from the ashes of my life’s challenges and soar on powerful wings of joy.


How does my writing process work? (something like do you plan it all, do you start with a short story and do you work from there.)

The process varies with the individual article or story or book I am working at the time.  Sometimes I create the cover art first.  Sometimes I spend weeks full of 15 hour days just researching.  Sometimes I just get a melody in my head and start writing whatever comes into my heart — music, lyrics, prose, whatever it decides to be.

The editor in me is a cold, harsh mistress.  If something does not sound right to my ears, it does not stay on the page.  For me, music and novels are very little different.  This could be an extension of my sight loss; I am low vision.  But it is also just part of being a musical creature.  My writing is musical and that quality gives it an elegant, legato sort of character that I hope inspires and stirs souls.

 

I tag:  Alexandra Butcher

Alexandra Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genre.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys.

 

Blog: http://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414.A_L_Butcher

 

Twitter:@libraryoferana

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarkFantasyBeyondTheStorm

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexandra-Butcher/e/B008BQFCC6