First Violet – intoxicating scents and New Moon / Mercury Retro approaching

firenze - villa castello gennaio

Gennaio aka January – Firenze, Medici garden

This is shivering Gennaio, as depicted in one of the Medici gardens in Florence. How appropriate for him to show up now in January…. right on time.

And already we have our first Mercury Retrograde period approaching – Wed Jan 21 until Feb 10. At the same time, a day prior, it’s NEW MOON …Aquarius New Moon at Zero Degree early in the morning PST of Tuesday the 20th.


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First Violet from garden, Jan 2015


Today I was delighted to discover the little treasure in the garden. And Oh the fragrance … how delightful and soothing. Such an elusive scent … Am still searching for an excellent perfume that captures the scent of violets. No such luck yet.

The Meyer Lemon tree also offers fragrant blossoms. I see my future “MiniMargaritas” growing right in front of my eyes 🙂

My current recipe is as follows:   1 shot Tequila    –   1/2 shot Triple sec  –  1 Lime –  1/2 Lemon  –  1/4 Orange  –  1 ice cube mix of water/agave siroup/lime juice    –   plus regular ice cubes

Yes indeed, I am fine-tuning the weekly mini-margarita’s. The ice cube mix came about sometime last summer when I had the idea to simmer water, add agave siroup and lemon or lime juice (there were lots of lemon on the tree and I was looking for a way to use the lemons before spoilage). When siroup dissolved, I filled the liquid into an ice-cube tray – ready for use whenever needed. Add’s  a tiny bit of sweet amongst all those puckering-up liquids. I quite like this version too … tastes even more mellow.


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Chinese carved box – small – Gift of a friend I haven’t seen in ages


Just before New Years Eve I was looking for some fragrant flowers for the flat … on a budget of course. When I asked a kind florist in the neighborhood, he suggest those: Paperwhite Narcissus. Brilliant I thought, those are attributed to Persephone / Hades and I also included them in the painting, as seen below. Their scent is also delightful. Too bad they last only for a few days …. but it’s marvelous nonetheless.


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Narciss flowers – in morning light – New Years eve


And these Tulips were a find @ Berkeley Bowl for 1.99$. Such bright spots in the longish winter nights and still  somewhat darkish days.


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Tulips – in morning light


And I also though enjoy those foggy and quiet mornings in the hills ….


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Fog morning in the hills –


Which are often followed by glowing afternoons …

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The year is still so young – and I have no insights into what will unfold or where paths will lead me. Or if there will be a path. – 2014 was full of paths I’d thought I wouldn’t be able to traverse. The most outward manifestation of that was the Caminho Portuguese from Lisbon to Santiago di Compostela …. which on one level still continues.

One of the main features of the camino was that, when starting the day, I would never know where I’d get my next meal from or where I would sleep. Granted, I was not a mendicant, pennyless pilgrim, I had funds to pay for food and lodging, but still … the not-knowing and uncertainty always walked alongside with me. And I was unperturbed by it, since I had a feeling of ‘rightness’ of this whole endeavour. – There were instances in which life surprised me greatly with demonatrations of how ‘looked after’ I was, in spite of being in places where I have never been before, did not know anyone, nor spoke the language … and while being in one predicament or another.

The grand finale was indeed being in Santiago de Compostela were a intended 1-2 nights stay turned into a 5 nights stay because I got very sick, very suddenly. Communication with other pilgrims who I had met on the camino was not possible since the place where I stayed had no WiFi, etc. So I was indeed alone. It was quite dire, even though was no pain involved. None. Not only did I look like death-warmed-up, but I felt the part spot-on. – Still, there was no sense of worry, concern, anxiety. It simply did not arise. That was a new one for me, to be sure. – A bit later, still while being very weak, there was a challenge put before me, yet there was no indication that I could met the challenge, given the state I was in. But there was also that strange inner knowing that felt: “If life places this “problem” in front of me, life will also provide the ‘solution’.” – I just did not perceive the how and when. Did not have the foggiest. All I could do or be was take it a moment at a time, and to move very slowly. Ideas came, strength was provided to execute those ideas, and so forth. And within 24hours I was able to meet that challenge, while slowly starting to be able to eat again. It was about 48 hrs with no food, and sleeping 36 hrs more or less non-stop, interrupted with sweats and shivers, etc.  Now it seems all a bit of a blurr … but I remember thinking that if I could live with that kind of ‘faith’ or attitude in my life in California … I’d be ‘fine’.

And now we shall see just how ‘fine’ will look like…. while I continue to look for suitable employment and income.


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Catedrale Se’, Porto, Portugal


A few days ago a friend shared a quote by Hillman with me that I shall forever treasure. It also prompted me to research a bit more into his work, since I have not read much by him at all, inspite of knowing of him for long years now. I found other quotes which I like to share …

James Hillman quotes:

“Not just any talk is conversation; not any talk raises consciousness. Good conversation has an edge: it opens your eyes to something, quickens your ears. And good conversation reverberates: it keeps on talking in your mind later in the day; the next day, you find yourself still conversing with what was said. That reverberation afterward is the very raising of consciousness; your mind’s been moved. You are at another level with your reflections.”

“Loss means losing what was We want to change but we don’t want to lose. Without time for loss, we don’t have time for soul.”

“Tell me what you yearn for and I shall tell you who you are. We are what we reach for, the idealized image that drives our wandering.”


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Obstacle remover socks, courtesy of Ganesha 🙂


Also a few days ago I came across some jokes in my email files and other docs … voila’

“A truck driver and his friend, a data analyst, go camping. Around midnight, the driver shakes his friend awake and says “Look at the sky and tell me what you can figure out from what you see!” The analyst says, “Well, I see the stars. Many more stars then we could see in town. And I have read that planets have been discovered around other stars. And that conditions on some of these planets is thought to be conducive to life. From that I conclude it is likely we are not alone in the universe.” “I conclude,” said the driver, “that someone has stolen our tent!”


And here one of my very favorites …


The Best Stress Test ever …. please see below ….and keep scrolling slowy…



I am not sure exactly how this works, but this is amazingly accurate.

The picture below has 2 identical dolphins in it. It was used in a case study on  stress levels at  the Mayo Clinic and later at Fletcher Medical Center in Burlington Look  at both dolphins jumping out of the water.

The dolphins are identical. A  closely monitored, scientific study revealed that, in spite of the fact that  the dolphins are identical, a person under stress will find many differences  between the two dolphins .   



The  more differences a person finds, the more stress that person is  experiencing. Look  at the photograph and if you find more than one or two differences you may  need to take a vacation.




No Need to Reply, I ‘ll be on Vacation !!





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Golden Lights and FULLMOON on St.Nicolas day (Samichlaus)

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Evening Light – November

This late summer and fall light here in California truly appears as liquid gold. So often I find myself stepping outside my li’l chalet-like room in the hills and gaze at the skies and the golden light streaming … A photo image barely captures it’s magic, especially not the simple mini iPad thingy I use for taking pictures. Still … it’s an echo of that marvel and splendour.

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Evening Glow on grass

Even though it is now too cool (for me) to sit outside – and luckily even too wet (we had a nice storm this past week…yiphee!) to sit outside on the teak, I still often spend time in the little plot of garden where my plants reside. There are weeds to pull, leaves to remove, roses to prune and lovely things to admire and interesting scents to inhale…

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Another morning glory peeking through the cedars

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First Bird-of-Paradise of the year ….

The reason that you haven’t heard much from me in the past 5 weeks was not due to me getting lost in the garden, but flying off to WestYorkshire again. Long story, that won’t be told, not even in the short version; but here are a few images for your viewing pleasure.

This spiffy stony bit of wisdom-encouragement I found around the corner of the cottage of where we were residing …

Think it is MOST interesting to find this statement on a Mechanics Institute, posted there almost a 150 years ago. Was it a reminder to people who studied and worked there? – that even when dealing with mechanics, physics and such measure-able topics, it does not preclude from ones duty to know one-self.

How very very timely, me thinks.

Wonder if they would have that motto installed above each Apple store?

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Early November in WestYorkshire

It was my first time in 28 years that I have been in Europe in the month of November … I thoroughly lost the talent to deal with bleak gray skies and temperatures below 15C (60F) – I knew that before I went, it was simply re-enforced with this visit. Though the skies in WestYorkshire were lovely to behold – and I even took to some walks in the frigid temps of 8C and similar degrees. But afterwards, the strong, hot Yorkshire tea and ginger-cake tasted even better….

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Sunday afternoon walk – WestYorkshire

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St.Thomas Beckett church – Heptonstall….

…where I met the vicar who – as I found out a few days later – had also just completed the Camino Frances, on the Santiago di Compostela. He was to give a talk in the village, which I was to miss because I would have left already. But I contacted him and we briefly met for tea/caffe’ and cookies a few hours before I departed… And we shall meet again when I return hopefully next summer, to share more camino tales.

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FullMOON rising – WestYorkshire – Nov 6th

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WestYorkshire moors

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Sunday afternoon walk – WestYorkshire

The light started to fade already around 15:30 or 16:00hr, depending the cloud-cover; and it was only early November… how would it be like now, one month later? Getting dark around 15:00hr’ish? Sobering thought …

The rest of the journey was grueling, so I won’t elaborate. I am grateful that it is well and restored now somewhat …

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Morning Tranquility – ThanksGiving Day Nov 2014

Last weekend I set up the Advent decoration – to set some seasonal tones also indoors. I love the candlelight, and the scent of small cedar branches.

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Early Morning on 1. of Advent

And now for something completely different ….

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Mars – and the experience with Miele

Behold: my trusty Miele hoover. Dutiful household companion since who’s knows when. (bought it via Craigslist many years ago from a very kind, albeit interesting man. He was the proud owner of 32 vacuum cleaners. Do I need to say more?) – Anyway …. In the past many days I had noticed how my level of irritation was slightly on the rise. Initially I did not pay attention to this, but then the incidences accumulated a bit, and I took notice, because it is not a characteristic of mine to get hot under collar that quickly, that often. (I know, some might feel inclined to beg to differ… but that’s another story) –

Well now … I started to remember how that is usually the case when certain Mars transits (alert: ‘astro speak’ approaching) are in effect. And voila’, after a brief consultation with the “Pocket Astrologer 2014” I realized, that ‘insight’ was spot on. Mars had been conj Saturn and is now ‘moving’ toward another planet that will ‘touch off’ those three Yod’s in my chart and then later in January, will oppose natal Pluto. And that’s ‘fun’ and interesting. – Those times I remember indeed as getting hot and bothered without much effort, and a bit more ‘accident prone’ or driving with more “Rally de Monte Carlo” flavoured attitude than I’d really care for.  So – I am now sending notes to self to keep it calm, cool and collected for the next few weeks, to be sure. And can recommend that to anyone with a) planets in Aquarius because Mars will conjunct them and b) planets in Leo because of the Mars opposition and c) later on the Mars opposition to Virgo planets, etc etc. – Why am I stating this, since Mars is always somewhere and never not transits? Well, I remembered that many of my friends have Pluto in Leo … and thus transit Mars will oppose Pluto. (Happens every two years, not mega-rare, but always notice-able) … and many other friends have Pluto in Virgo … which Mars will oppose later in Jan … and so forth – Word for the Wise: Be mindful of: Mellow and easy does it. Or stack up on a new ration of ‘New and Improved’ chill-pills!

Now, what does it have to do with my Miele hoover? Shall tell your in a moment: As I was pondering all this, I was hoovering the floors in my place, when without prior notice or warning the handle of the Miele came flying off.

It took me but a moment to realize that delicate humour and hint in all that: “not to be flying off the handle ” – – Perhaps it was even a touch of synchronicity? Could very well be … because until now none of my household appliances ever ‘lost it’ – least of all a handle. – I shall keep this in mind during the next few weeks as Mars is plowing across a few natal planets of mine and opposing a stellium. –

In the meanwhile I stood there with the de-tached handle in hand … what’s a girl to do? The short answer is: Duct-tape.

Someone once told me that everything in America can be fixed with either a hammer or duct-tape. I do have both, but thought that duct-tape is probably more appropriate for this occassion. And pretty quickly I had a now a duct-taped Miele, as you might be able to see in the above photo. Hopefully it will get me through another few years of good hoovering …

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Garden bounty – after the rain – December

Today I went back into the garden and saw more beauties … which I gently collected. Seeing them arranged on the steps like this I thought it looked like a painting … Bird of Paradise, Calla Lilies, Carmelias, a Rose … and I even discovered that in a ‘forgotten’ pot, now Hyacinths start to blossom and exude their heavy scent. Such beauty, and that in December …

And below the last photo of the day — I had planted some seedlings many months ago – and forgotten to make a note of it. As they grew bigger and greener,  I started to wonder what kind of veggies did I plant? Today when I looked, it now appears to be Miss and Mister Broccoli. Would that be correct? Please have a look. thank you!

It also reminded me of, or showed me, how often we plant seeds of something … our thoughts, our actions, our hopes, our desires… and then completely forget about it, not making a note of it. And when we see the outgrowth, the blossoming , the fruits of our hopes, thoughts and actions…we often don’t connect it, recognize it with what we have planted months or years earlier. I surely don’t or didn’t …

Very Best Wishes,

Warmly, C

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Mystery Vegetables – suppose they are broccoli ?!

In Praise of the Glory of the Golden Light of October days ….

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such magnificence – and simplicity

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There is so much stillness around while i sit in my li’l garden. Even with the distant freeway roar somewhere in the distance, which can be heard stronger or less, depending how the wind blows. It is not silence … it is a stillness that is present even in the noise of a very metropolitan area.

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“live with intention. walk to the edge. listen hard. practice wellness. play with abandon. laugh. choose with no regret. continue to learn. appreciated your friends. do what you love. live as if this is all there is”. – mary anne radmacher

this is a quote on a postcard i bought some years ago – and as a classic, always up-to-date

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I truly hope that you can create time and space for yourself to enjoy and relish in this golden light . so it won’t be a ‘winter of our discontent ‘  but one during which we can reflect upon the previous seasons ~

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A Song of the Woods

by Winifred Sackville Stoner, Jr.

“My leaves are turning crimson,” the giant oak tree said,
“It’s almost time these children should seek their winter’s bed,
But how they still cling to me and gleam with crimson hue,
They truly are more lovely than cirrus clouds of blue.

“And now throughout the forest – list! hear their voices ring,
But ’tis in tones of sadness and sighing they now sing –
‘Alas! ’tis gone, fair summer, and winter’s reign is near,
He cruelly strips the forest of all her summer cheer
By killing all her lovely leaves and likewise flowers gay
And driving all her fairy folk to homes of far away.'”

Featured imagesometimes i can be a bit of a quoteaholic — this time it’s courtesy of Mister Churchill — Salute!

Lunar FullMoon Eclipse Wednesday Oct 8th @ 15deg Aries –

Eclipse Season to me is a time to reflect on beginnings and endings – and a Lunar eclipse brings in the thought of the play of the opposites. Sun in one sign (Libra) and Moon in the opposing sign (Aries) as in this eclipse.

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before the full moon ….

which in turn reminded me of the following quote by Daistez T Suzuki:

“It is the entry into the life of non-duality where one is no longer caught by the play of opposites, where self is not set over against other, nor are ideals in conflict with realities … As he is now one with his tasks, they are not to him mere obstacles to be disposed of so that he may begin the business of “really living.” His tasks are his life … It is in the uncreative life that the does is separated from what he does.”

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and such are the contemplations that come easy when being an appropriate “Lounge-potato” here…

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while enjoying the warm and golden light of October days ….

Featured imageI do so love these days, the air is gentle and golden, the sounds full of peace,  and Miss or Mister Hummingbird are flying by in the afternoon, paying visits to various blossoms in the garden…. and I feel so very very fortunate!


Featured imageand not only because I can harvest Meyer-Lemons from my li’l tree that are future contributors to my weekly “Mini Margaritas”.

Perhaps I feel so fortunate because slowly-slowly it is dawning on me that to me it is becoming more ‘real’ each day: “We live my mystery and not by explanation.” – first heard it said by a Sufi Teacher, and it really resonated deeply within. And it also reminded me of a quote by Albert Einstein which I have posted onto the back of my un-smart mobile phone: “There are two ways to live life. One as if nothing is a miracle, the other everything is a miracle.”

Many years ago, after another job ended and no new one was lined up – I remembered a saying I’ve read or heard somewhere, which stated: “There is only one Giver.” – …. well, if there is only One Giver, it follows that there is only One Taker, no?

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“Solitude does not mean living apart from others;  it means never living apart from one’s Self.”  Parker Palmer

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Evening twilight …

Wishing you many serene days with the golden light of the changing seasons ….

Liquid Diamonds

During the night I could hear another wind change  … and I was wondering what it might bring – and this morning early I saw it … the wind brought clouds which brought liquid diamonds.
 And the air is fragrant again here in the garden – Love it. And am so very grateful for those few drops of “Nass” – of moisture and wet air.
 It also reminded be living in times of the monsoon …
 And speaking of the monsoon – a few days ago I found an old journal, written in 1987 when I lived in India. All the heat, dust and fragrance of that ancient land seemed to rush out of those pages onto the here-and-now of California in the 2010’s
Within the journal were also several pages of handwritten quotes – here are a few I’d like to share with you along with more images of the liquid diamonds…
 “TO know someone here or there with whom you can feel there is an understanding, in spite of distances or thoughts unexpressed, that can make of this earth a garden.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
 “Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.” Leonardo da Vinci

Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.” Rainer Maria Rilke
 “Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire.” W.B.Yeats
 “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” Shakespeare
 “We can be knowledgeable with another man’s knowledge, but we cannot be wise with another man’s wisdom.” M.DeMontaigne
 “A man who has attained mastery of an art reveals it in his every action.” (C.R.b.W. = can’t remember by whom”

It has been a very tender and evocative day – and now I watch how the rain clouds move east – hopefully releasing more moisture onto California soil…

Serene and Restful Labour Day to you …

Morning Glory - September 1, 2014

Morning Glory – Sept 1, 2014


By Kahlil Gibran – The Prophet – “Work”

“Then a ploughman said, “Speak to us of Work.”

And he answered, saying:

You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.

For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life’s procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.

Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?

Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.

But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,

And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,

And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret….”

to read the complete text: http://leb.net/~mira/works/prophet/prophet7.html

 Duomo frontdoor pillars

Orvieto – 2009 – Catedrale -Detail of door entrance


One of my favorite lines of his writings on Work are these:

And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.

Work is love made visible.

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Porto – 2014 – Silver platter in museum of Catedrale


And it was in the past few weeks that my attention was turned again onto the topic of work and vocation. And again I am listening for these fine threads that life weaves, for me to finally see – again – and ask: what am I summoned to do? to be?

Or in the words of one of my favorite Jungian authors, James Hollis, who wrote in his most recent book “HAUNTINGS” in the preface: “ Such engagements with mystery are what life calls us to. It is not what we want but what life, apparently, wants of us.”

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Morning view while enjoying a cup of good caffe’ with hot milk


 For more books by James Hollis: http://www.innercitybooks.net/show.php?s=a&lastname=Hollis&firstname=James

kind gift from friends who brought this back from Istanbul/Turkey

kind gift from friends who brought this back from Istanbul/Turkey

URANIA

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Those who are most concerned with philosophy and the heavens are dearest to her. Those who have been instructed by her she raises aloft to heaven, for it is a fact that imagination and the power of thought lift men’s souls to heavenly heights.[7]

Urania, o’er her star-bespangled lyre,
With touch of majesty diffused her soul;
A thousand tones, that in the breast inspire,
Exalted feelings, o er the wires’gan roll—
How at the call of Jove the mist unfurled,
And o’er the swelling vault—the glowing sky,
The new-born stars hung out their lamps on high,
And rolled their mighty orbs to music’s sweetest sound.

—From An Ode To Music by James G. Percival

During the Renaissance, Urania began to be considered the Muse for Christian poets. In the invocation to Book 7 of Milton’s Paradise Lost, the poet invokes Urania to aid his narration of the creation of the cosmos, though he cautions that it is “[t]he meaning, not the name I call” (7.5)