Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Gruss Vom Krampus Christmas Cards

It is perhaps worth noting the prominence of Birch in Krampus imagery. Birch, the faery tree of initiation & cleansing, has a rightful place in any celebration of New Year. Birch is often the first tree to colonise virgin land; it forms dense woods of visual confusion & mystery; it houses the Fly Agaric hallucinogen; it is used to banish toxins from gouty & arthritic joints; it is made into a fine celebratory beer; its twigs & branches cleanse the earth when used as a broom, or cleanses away sin when used as a scourge. The only picture not containing birch symbolism below substitutes a trident in its place, itself a potent image of will, power, and discipline. 

By North Utsire

Gruss Vom Krampus

Krampus is a mythical fertility creature recognized in alpine countries. According to legend, Krampus accompanies St. Nicholas during the Christmas season, warning and punishing bad children, in contrast to St. Nicholas, who gives gifts to good children.

The word Krampus originates from the Old High German word for claw (Krampen). In the Alpine regions, Krampus is represented by a demon-like creature. Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, particularly on the evening of 5 December, and roam the streets frightening children and women with rusty chains and bells. In some rural areas the tradition also includes birching by Krampus, especially of young girls. Images of Krampus usually show him with a basket on his back used to carry away bad children and dump them into the pits of Hell.

By North Utsire

Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Sacred Yew of Yule

Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the bettle, nor the death moth be 
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl 
A partner in your sorrow’s mysteries.
~Keats: Ode on Melancholy~

Robert Graves in his book The White Goddess, says that the yew was a death tree, sacred to Hecate in Greece and Italy. When black bulls were sacrificed to Hecate, so ghosts could lap their blood, they were wreathed with yew. The Yew and Hecate, embodying the Triple Goddess; both are guardians of the Underworld, death and the afterlife. On this solstice day, conjuncted as it is with a New Moon, the psychic tides of the Dark Mother reach their peak and begin to recede, evergreen yew trees and their red berries are prominent in their regenerative and transformative power, presenting a life- in death aspect.

The Yew tree, or Yew wood, the Tree ogham Idho , is the link to spiritual guidance through your ancestors, guides and guardians in the Otherworld. The Yew is here to remind us that there are other levels of existence beyond this material plane. By understanding the illusionary nature of the life we have created for ourselves, we can live our lives more consciously. Often death is fraught with a sense of loss, but the Yew can teach us to see death as a form of transformation and that it is never final.

The Yew can be used to assist Otherworld journeys and to increase openness of communication with the Otherworld, through an increased ability to understand and receive the messages which are being given to us by our guides and helpers. By opening ourselves to intuitively interpreting these messages, and trusting our intuitions to act on what we receive, we can make some real progress as the wheel turns and the death of one situation heralds the birth of another.

The yew has an interesting growth pattern. It grows very slowly, at about half the rate of other trees, and thus lives a long time. The interior of the trunk often crumbles so the trunk becomes hollow. Thomas Pakenham, who photographed many beautiful old yews in his marvelous book, Meetings with Remarkable Trees, describes the hollow interior of the old yew at Crowhurst thus: “New wood in an old yew tree accumulates like coral. The old room now resembles a cave flowing with pink fretted rock.” Sometimes an aerial root grows down inside the hollow trunk and becomes a new trunk, thus the imagery of life in death. Yews also grow outward because branches sprout new roots when they hit the ground, thus creating tangles of branches and trunks. Like expanding rings of fairy mushrooms, Yews could at least in theory continue to self propagate indefinitely although there is much dispute about the age of yews since they cannot be dated like other trees (by counting rings because the oldest wood, in the interior of the tree, is missing). Instead scientists study records showing the girth of the tree at various historical periods and estimate the age by noting the slow rate of growth. Estimates range from 1,500 to 4,000 years old (a new system of dating Yews suggests that some of our most ancient and protected Yews are 4,000 years old and not 1,500 years old as previously thought). This poem provides a glimpse of their great age:

The lives of three wattles, the life of a hound;
The lives of three hounds, the life of a steed;
The lives of three steeds, the life of a man;
The lives of three eagles, the life of a yew;
The life of a yew, the length of an age; 
Seven ages from Creation to Doom. 
~Nennius, Seven Ages~

Anand Chetan and Diana Brueton in their book, The Sacred Yew, hypothesize that yews were planted in neolithic times on sacred sites and on top of barrow graves as symbols of death and life. Early Christian missionaries recognized the sacred nature of the trees and built their churches near them. Monks and hermits were also said to live in the hollows of yew trees, again a recognition that yews marked sacred sites. In tenth-century Wales, the penalty for cutting down a consecrated yew (does that mean a yew growing in a churchyard?) was one pound, more than most people earned in a lifetime.

Yews are often found in growing in churchyards and cemeteries. Some ancient Welsh churches were ringed by circles of yews. After the Norman Conquest, cemeteries were more likely to be rectangular and marked with a yew in each of the four corners. Chetan and Brueton note that the oldest yews were usually male trees planted on the north side of churches. The north was considered the direction of death.

So many of the ancient Yew trees we have in our country are protected by the churchyard, and reports of their great girths, and therefore great ages, are documented throughout historical texts. In the past they were used as landmarks, because of their size and longevity, and their dark branches would make them stand out in the landscape. Yew groves planted by the Druids were common by ancient ways, on sacred sites, hilltops, ridgeways and burial grounds. Tribal leaders were buried beneath Yew trees, in the sure belief that their knowledge and wisdom would be joined with the Dryad of the Yew and therefore still be accessible to the tribe for generations to come.

Yew has long been part of funerary customs, which may vary from country to country and district to district. They mainly involve carrying sprigs of Yew which are either thrown in the grave under the body or of being thrown in on top of the coffin. In Suffolk it was considered unlucky if some Yew came into the house with the Christmas Eve decorations and a sure sign that someone in the family would die before the year was out. In Derbyshire, however, care was taken to include the Yew in the evergreens brought into the house at Christmas, although it was on no account to be taken from the churchyard, and to be used specifically as part of the decorations around the window. Yew is also put around the well-dressing pictures, a tradition of making pictures from petals and placing these by the old wells and springs, which is still practised in Derbyshire today.

As the Yew is associated with immortality, renewal, regeneration, everlasting life, rebirth, transformation and access to the Otherworld and our ancestors, it resonates with the message of the Winter Solstice when in the midst of darkness the Sun is born again.

Web Refs:
The Yew: Sacred Tree of Transformation and Rebirth by Glennie Kindred (1997)
Living in Season: Waverly Fitzgerald of School of the Seasons.

by North Utsire

Saturday, 13 December 2014


On Nuutinpäivä, there has been a tradition a bit analogous to modern Santa Claus, where young men dressed as a goat (Finnish: Nuuttipukki) would visit houses. Usually the dress was an inverted fur jacket, a leather or birchbark mask, and horns. Unlike Santa Claus, Nuuttipukki was a scary character (cf. the Alpine Krampus). The men dressed as Nuuttipukki wandered from house to house, came in, and typically demanded household residents for food and especially leftover alcoholic beverages. In Finland the Nuuttipukki tradition is still living at areas of Satakunta, Finland Proper and Ostrobothnia. However, nowadays the character is usually played by children and now involves a happy encounter.

A Dialectical proverb from Noormarkku says: Hyvä Tuomas joulun tua, paha Knuuti poijes viä or "Good [St.] Thomas brings the Christmas, evil Knut (Nuuttipukki) takes [it] away."

By North Utsire

Rag Ban Sin: Ananta Vishnu- Raga Bhairavi (2009)

Concert finale in  Espacio Ronda 25th October 2009
Raga Bhairavi by Pandit Rag Ban Sin
Sitar: Rafael Holgueras
Bansuri: Raúl Balbuena,
Tabla: Niraj Kumar Singh

Raag Bhairavi (Hindi: भैरवी) (Urdu: بھیرویں‎) (Sindhi راڳ ڀيروي ) is a Hindustani Classical heptatonic (Sampurna) Raag of Bhairavi Thaat. Traditionally it is a morning raga. In modern times, typically in Khyal Gayaki, it is usually performed as the concluding (finale) piece in concerts. It is the defining raga of its own Thaat. However, Carnatic music has a Bhairavi raga which is quite different from the Hindustani raga.

Ananta is a Sanskrit term which means 'endless' or 'limitless', also means 'eternal' or 'infinite', in other words, it also means infinitude or an unending expansion or without limit. It is one of the many names of Lord Vishnu.Ananta is the Shesha-naga, the celestial snake, on which Lord Vishnu reclines.The painting shows Vishnu on the Serpent Ananta with the Goddess Lakshmi and Brahma Ji emerging from his navel

Madhubani Painting on hand made paper treated with cow dung (2.4 ft x 1.8 ft)
Artist: Dhirendra Jha
By North Utsire

Impressionism in Orchestral Music


1. Claude Debussy, Clare de lune
2. Claude Debussy, Estampes pago
3. Claude Debussy, The snow is falling
4. Claude Debussy, Preludes voiles
5. Claude Debussy, Estampes la soriee
6. Erik Satie, Gymnopedie 1 lent et douloureux
7. Erik Satie, Gnossienne 1 - Alessio Nanni
8. Erik Satie, Nocturne no 1
9. Maurice Ravel, Ma mere l'Oye pavane belle
10.Maurice Ravel, Ma mere l'Oye apotheose.
11.Maurice Ravel. Une barque sur l'ocean
12.Saint-Saens, piano Concerto No.3
13. Saint Saens, The bird house
14. Saint Saens, The swan
15. Gabriel Faure, Apres un Reve

Impressionism in music was a movement among various composers in Western classical music, mainly during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, whose music focuses on suggestion and atmosphere, "conveying the moods and emotions aroused by the subject rather than a detailed tone picture". “Impressionism” is a philosophical and aesthetic term borrowed from late 19th century French painting after Monet’s Impression, Sunrise. Musicians were labeled impressionists by analogy to the impressionist painters who use starkly contrasting colors, effect of light on an object blurry foreground and background, flattening perspective to make us focus our attention on the overall impression.

The most prominent in musical impressionism is the use of “color”, or in musical term,timbre, which can be achieved through orchestration, harmonic usage, texture, etc. Other elements of music impressionism involve also new chord combination, ambiguous tonality, extended harmonies, use of modes and exotic scales, parallel motions, and extra-musically, evocative titles such as Reflets dans l'eau ("Reflections on the water", 1905), Brouillards ("Mists", 1913) etc.

While this era was characterized by a dramatic use of the major and minor scale system, Impressionist music tends to make more use of dissonance and more uncommon scales such as the whole tone scale. Romantic composers also used long forms of music such as the symphony and concerto, while Impressionist composers favored short forms such as the nocturne, arabesque, and prelude.

Musical Impressionism was based in France, and the French composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel are generally considered to be the two "great" Impressionists. However, composers are generally not as accurately described by the term "Impressionism" as painters in the genre are. Debussy renounced it, saying, "I am trying to do 'something different' – in a way realities – what the imbeciles call 'impressionism' is a term which is as poorly used as possible, particularly by art critics." Maurice Ravel composed many other pieces that aren't identified as Impressionist. Nonetheless, the term is widely used today to describe the music seen as a reaction to 19th century Romanticism.

Many musical instructions in impressionist pieces are written in French, as opposed to Italian.

Impressionism also gained a foothold in England, where its traits were assimilated by composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arnold Bax, and Frederick Delius. Vaughan Williams in particular exhibited music infused with Impressionistic gestures--this was not coincidence, as he was a student of Maurice Ravel. Vaughan Williams' music utilizes melodies and harmonies found in English folk music, such as the pentatonic scale and modes, making it perfectly suited to the polarity-breaking ideals of the Impressionist movement, which began moving away from the Major-minor based tonality of the Romantic composers.

Besides the two great impressionist composers, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, other composers who composed in what has been described as impressionist style include Frederick Delius, Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados, Erik Satie, Alexander Scriabin, Lili Boulanger, Federico Mompou, Charles Tomlinson Griffes and Karol Szymanowski

Info From: & Wiki
Image: Claude Monet: Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise) 1873; Oil on canvas
By North Utsire

Friday, 12 December 2014

Legend: Waltzing Dress Scene (1985)

Due to the changes in the film from its European and American releases, Legend has two different soundtracks. The first, produced and composed by Jerry Goldsmith, was used for its initial European release and restored in the director's cut edition of the Region 1 DVD release. The second soundtrack features music by German electronic artists Tangerine Dream and was used for the initial theatrical and home video releases in the United States. Both soundtracks are available on CD, although the Tangerine Dream soundtrack has become harder to find.

Director Ridley Scott and Universal delayed the North American theatrical release until 1986 so that they could replace Jerry Goldsmith's score with music by Tangerine Dream, Yes lead singer Jon Anderson, and Bryan Ferry. Scott allowed Goldsmith's score to remain on European prints and the composer said, "that this dreamy, bucolic setting is suddenly to be scored by a techno-pop group seems sort of strange to me". Normally, Goldsmith would spend 6–10 weeks on a film score, but for Legend, he spent six months writing songs and dance sequences ahead of time.

This is a re-imagined version of the "waltzing dress" scene from the 1985 film "Legend". Two versions of the film have been edited together by Michael Devling:

Due to studio concerns about the profitability of the movie, different versions of the film were released in various countries, and the changes that were made are significant. Ridley Scott's Director's Cut (2002) uses the Jerry Goldsmith score that was released in Europe. However, the dancing dress scene works much better with the Tangerine Dream score that was released in the United States in 1985. The European version is much longer, but the US release's Tangerine Dream score is superior, particularly in the Dress Scene. Since 2002, I've hoped that a version of "Legend" featuring the long version of the film but using the Tangerine Dream score would be released, but it has never happened. So this is what this scene might look and sound like, mixing the look of one version with the sound of another. Goldsmith's score for this scene is much longer than Tangerine Dream's, so I had to edit both the audio and the video for length. Sorry for the crude edits. I had to snip out seven seconds of film and even then I had to extend the Tangerine Dream score significantly. Even this amazing scene, sadly, wasn't left intact in the US edit.

What care I for human hearts? Soft and spiritless as porridge! A faerie's heart beats fierce and free!

The Lord of Darkness: Oh, Mother Night! Fold your dark arms about me. Protect me in your black embrace. I sit alone, an impotent exile, whilst this form, this presence, returns to torment me!

Blix: Black as midnight, black as pitch, blacker than the foulest witch.

And in case you ever wondered whether the unicorns filmed in Legend had anything to do with the unicorn scene in Blade Runner, I found the following interview with Paul M. Sammon in the book Interviews With Ridley Scott:

PAUL M. SAMMON. I’d like to begin with a query regarding one of Blade Runner's biggest question marks: the ”Unicorn Scene” in the Director’s Cut that moment in the film when Harrison Ford is slumped at his piano and daydreaming about this mythical beast. Before we get into that shots thematic meanings, I'd like to ask about its origins. Was it in any way influenced by Legend, the film you did after Blade Runner, which also features unicorns?

RIDLEY SCOTT. No. That unicorn was actually filmed prior to any thought of making Legend. In fact, it was specifically shot for Blade Runner during the post-production process. At that point in time I was editing the picture in England, at Pinewood Studios, and we were heading towards a mix. Yet I still, creatively speaking, had this blank space in my head in regards to what Deckard’s dream at the piano was going to be all about.

And also in a 1982 interview with Starburst magazine in an article entitled The Blade Cuts:

M: Did you actually shoot the sequence in the glade with the unicorn?

S: Absolutely. It was cut into the picture, and I think it worked wonderfully. Deckard was sitting, playing the piano rather badly because he was drunk, and there's a moment where he gets absorbed and goes off a little at a tangent and we went into the shot of the unicorn plunging out of the forest. It's not subliminal, but it's a brief shot.

by North Utsire

Another Genuine Email Wot I Got

At the time of writing, we are fast approaching the last full moon before the winter solstice. In addition to this, according to my calendar, the winter solstice will fall on dark of the moon. These astrological events may be of interest to holistic practitioners, who take a patient centred approach to their practice.

Several decades ago, I had occasion to consult the Church of England diocese exorcist over and ongoing matter that was causing some concern. Although his proffered advice was of limited use in the situation, he did confirm that the full moon that was due to occur three days before the winter solstice that year, would give rise to a dramatic increase in “psychic” pressure. Many people are well aware that every full moon can have this effect, with the sign and house position having a particular effect on the nature of its manifestation. 

When this falls in close proximity to one of the major astrological power times, this seems to have the effect of a hand grenade being detonated in a confined space!

It has been my experience that, when these astrological events are translated into the personal experience of the individual, this may give rise to acute stress, high blood pressure, digestive disorders as well as stress related aggravation to respiratory disorders such as asthma, to say nothing of the aggravation that this may cause to any number of skin disorders. As the skin represents the interface between the inner emotional world of the individual and the outer world of external reality, this is easily explained.

Anyone consulting the recognised table of life stress events, will quickly realise that the annual “celebration” of Christmas brings with it a high stress factor that will often have a negative impact on the health of the individual, although this will often manifest some days later as a form of “energy hangover”.

Although this particular insight may at first appear potentially depressing, it should also be borne in mind that every crisis brings with it the opportunity of healing. I am particularly interested in the factor of the new moon occurring the day after the winter solstice.

Although not an astrologer myself, I am contemplating that these two new beginnings will bring insight into the happenings of the passing year and inspiration to the dawning of the next. From the perspective of the holistic healer, I look forward to the Phoenix of healing arising from the climax of previously unresolved issues. 

I would be particularly interested in the informed opinion of others with a deeper knowledge and understanding in this aspect of astrological it guided therapy, both in respect of its manifestation and how this deeper understanding may be used to resolve the patient’s suffering.

By North Utsire

A Genuine Email Wot I Got

From: Mr.Yunbo <>

Good day my dear friend,

I hope you and your family are in good health and doing well. There are some few things I'd like to share with you:

I will really appreciate if attention is paid to allow me provide you with details.

Please contact me on my private email at ( )

I look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,
Yang Yunbo

Reminded me of:

By North Utsire

Monday, 8 December 2014

Last Hippie Standing

Director/ Producer: Marcus Robbin
Year: 2001
Country: Portugal

Redefining social norms the early Hippies of the 60’s sowed the seed of Goa Trance Dance from which has mushroomed this amazing vibe of Oneness enveloping the entire planet now. This is a beautiful documentary on the Goan Hippie Heaven Era and what has become of it today.

Last Hippie Standing is a video clip style portrait about the hippie generation. Thirty years ago, this was a movement which came to Goa to find something they couldn’t find at home. Many returned, a few stayed. Goa, the hippie paradise of the 60’s is our point where we start to search for “the last hippies”. This former Portuguese colony in the south of India was for many the final destination after adventurous travels through Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Dreamlike untouched beaches promised to be a new holy land, which was also the spiritual basis for Alex Garland’s novel “The Beach”.

Info: Documentary Storm
By North Utsire

Tree Spirit Project

The TreeSpirit Project is 1. a collection of fine art photographs by Jack Gescheidt of naked, vulnerable humans celebrating trees and the natural world; 2. the life-changing experiences people have making the photographs; all are volunteers, not paid models; 3. a mission to spread awareness of the critical role trees play in our lives, both globally and personally.

Tree Spirit Project Web
Tree Spirit Project Facebook

By North Utsire

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Rice Salad

Boiled/ steamed rice
1 tin Red kidney beans
1 tin Borlotti beans
1 raw red onion
3 large vine tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, sliced finely
3 green chilli
1 Teaspoon chilli powder
1 handful fresh coriander, chopped
½ lemon juice
Garlic, crushed, to taste
1 tsp Salt

Boil or steam the rice & allow to cool. Chop, slice or crush the ingredients & mix together. This simple salad is quick, crisp  and fresh. It compliments the Chickpea & Courgette Curry recipe below.

By North Utsire

Chickpea & Roasted Courgette Curry

3 Large courgette, sliced longitudinally
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
3 Tbsp olive oil

Get these dudes in the oven on a roasting tray or dish whilst you are doing the other stuff. 20- 25 minutes.
Whole Spices:

4 Tbsp olive oil
4 shards cinnamon bark
1 tsp coriander seed
½ tsp fenugreek seed
½ tsp mustard seed
7 cloves
7 cardamon

Heat the oil & add the whole herbs until they make a fragrant aroma which drives everyone crazy in the house.
3 Red Onions, sliced finely
4 large vine tomatoes

Add these ingredients together, sufficient to reduce somewhat, fairly quickly followed by the powdered herbs below.

Powdered Herbs:

¾ tsp chilli powder
¾ tsp ginger powder
¾ tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt

Mix these into the onion/ tomato & whole spices mixture until the powders coalesce with the mixture & form a goop. It should dry up pretty quickly so you need to get a move on with the next step and/ or use the lid to prevent steam from escaping.
1 tin coconut milk
2 tins chickpeas (large ones better)

Add the chickpeas first, coating them in the sauce. Then ‘rescue’ the dryness of the mixture by adding the coconut milk with a satisfying tsssssss. Turn the heat down & get simmering for 45 mins.

1 handful freshly chopped coriander leaf
4 green finger chillies, chopped

Add these ingredients with about 30 mins to go.
Rice Salad

Try this curry with Rice Salad.

By North Utsire