Why Do We Like History?

Do you have something you tell people when they ask you why you explore the old places? I can say a few words about history, a love for the old workmanship, etc. But, there is more to it. Things I don’t put into words because they make me seem a sad and lonely person. I don’t feel that way about myself. But, if my photographs are about preserving the past and feelings of things lost, fading and forgotten… I think that says something about me. It makes me seem needy, vulnerable. So, I don’t have an answer for the question of why I explore, other than touching the surface about liking history.

The email I’ve cut and pasted below was from 2011. I thought it would be easy to send a reply back, but I’ve never managed to answer the question without feeling vulnerable or lacking sincerity. I could have sent a fluff answer. But, I don’t want to. Some day there will be nothing left of me but what I did, wrote or photographed. None of those things are permanent. My existence will slip through history, like most people. The least I can do is put integrity and honesty into the very little remnants there will be.

I think about this still. The question I thought would be simple to answer, but isn’t.

Thanks for sending the link. Your photos look wonderful. You’ve definitely got a better eye through the lens than I.

I’ve spoken to a couple of environmental historians and the message seems to be the same. For your collection to be of use to a historian for research purposes, it would need extensive metadata about exactly where and when the photos were taken. Preferably following a standard metadata convension used by professional archivists (eg, Dublin Core http://dublincore.org/).

The historians also believed that your collection is much more likely to be of interest to someone for research purposes in 30 or 40 years and that perhaps then the interest would be in you as a photographer interested in old buildings, as opposed to the contents of the photos themselves.

Having said that, the photos are great and if you’d like to write a few paragraphs about why you’ve decided to take them and why you think it’s important to preserve these types of buildings on film, we’d be happy to share the story and a link to your photos on our news feed. Our readers tend to have a keen interest in the past and how we can understand the past. Your knowledge of photography and preserving would certainly be worth understanding further.

Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Adam Crymble

Where the Wild Things Are: Choosing your Words

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, June, 10, 2003.

“The bible was written by the same people who said the Earth was flat.”

This was on a button, a collection of buttons, on a website. I think it’s an interesting point.

How much trust do you put into someone’s words. If they make it into black and white are they gold? Or do you think about what they say, compare it to your own ideas, values and common sense?

Then, do you go a step further and consider who the writer is. What influence do their own values have on their writing. After that, do you think they are a good source to base your opinions or actions on? Never stop using your common sense as a guide, no matter how grand the authors seem.

Just as you should never copy someone’s Book of Shadows and claim it as your own. It will never be yours, why would you even want it to? Your opinions should be your opinions, not a copy of someone else’s life and thoughts. Stretch your mind, take a chance and have opinions and experiences of your own.

In the end, people who believe everything they read and copy it as their own, never are anything but a clone – a copy. Be unique, be an individual, take a deep breath and step out into mid-air, invent something new – yourself!

How Can You Help But Love Elizabeth?

Story behind this photo:

H.M. The Queen, accompanied by H.R.H. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, paid a Jubilee visit to Nottingham and, during the three hours in the East Midlands city, attended a children’s event in which the 5-to-10 year olds were asked to present something to celebrate the Jubilee. Out of the more than 1,000 children attending, six were chosen to give their own speech to the Queen, of 50 words or less, that expressed their devotion and admiration for Her Majesty’s long reign.

The last child to say his piece was 8-year-old Devon Parker who stood at the microphone 25 feet in front of the Queen and, as a result, the royal photographer caught Her Majesty’s reaction and response.

Devon Parker: “Your Majesty, I think you are the nicest old lady in all of England , but I wish you weren’t so old because, if you were younger, you would live a lot longer.

Thank you very much.”

The Queen’s reaction and reportedly her response: “Now, what can I say to that!?”

PRICELESS.

Where the Wild Things Are: Writing for a Wiccan Topic

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, April, 19, 2004.

I have this twisted compulsion to take on more stuff than I can actually do. It’s a form of madness.

Anyway, now I am starting a new Wicca/ Witch site for a network called AIA (All Info About). Why? Because it’s there. Also, because I thought of an idea and then I had to put life into it. In other words, do it.

So, this is going to be a Witchy site for people who are Witches. Not looking for converts, going out of my way to explain or defend Witches or Wiccans. I wanted to call it “The Living Witch” but that didn’t work out with the format they use. So, I will use that somewhere else. I plan to set up a blog as part of the site. Something I can add bits of stuff to as I go along. My idea of a Book of Shadows.

The rest of the site is going to include sections like: a regional directory of Witch groups, traditions, art, career, romance and relationships, home and garden, environment, health and beauty, spiritual, holidays, and hobbies. I’m sure this will change as I actually get started and change my mind about what will work. But you get the idea, I hope.

So many sites about Wicca leave out the reality, the living of it all. How many times do you really need or want to see the same information about sabbats and rituals? Let’s see how it works together in real life.

If anyone has ideas or articles to contribute let me know. It would be nice to hear from you anyway. Later, when the site is up I will send the URL out with this newsletter. Likely this will integrate into the site too.

Take care,

Laura

Where the Wild Things Are: Healing is Complicated

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, January, 9, 2004.

I have mixed feelings about healing. It seems to me that people take it too lightly. As if you can heal anything with the right words, the right herb the right touch, etc. I don’t believe that’s true.

Healing has to come from within. You can add things and hear things and understand things but that alone won’t heal you. There aren’t instant cures for healing the mind or the body. At least that’s how it seems to me.

When people are in pain they want it to stop. That’s why any kind of instant cure is hoped for and paid for. But, that doesn’t mean it will work or that the same problem isn’t still there, just buried or masked.

Yes, you can take Tylenol to get rid of a headache. But the headache goes away when your blood thins due to the Tylenol, but not only that. The body is a mystery, still. We know what’s connected to what and how things work in a basic way. There is so much we don’t know. So much to do with the power of our own minds and thoughts. Positive thinking.

I hear people talking negatively and I cringe on the inside. It’s a mistake to be negative and then to express that is adding to the problem. Expressing it gives it a chance to exist, to have it’s own energy. To become part of the world in a more physical form.

Not that I haven’t expressed my share of negativity. Sometimes I express it to purge it from me. I get rid of it by giving it a name. When I name it I then know where to find it inside of myself and that’s a start to ridding myself of it or the original problem.

Healing is complicated. Just as people and life are complicated. But, people make life more complicated sometimes more complicated than it would ever be on it’s own. Too many rules that must be obeyed. Rules are too unbending. In order to heal you have to bend and be free to let go of some things and accept others.

Sometimes I get writing here and I think I’m making no sense at all and contradicting everything I write as I go. But, it’s all theory, opinion and ideas. Take them as they are and make what you will of them.

Where the Wild Things Are: The Limits of Labels

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, June, 22, 2004.

A label is very limiting. When you label yourself a Wiccan, a Witch or even the more roomy Pagan, you are limiting yourself to certain acceptable/ acknowledged areas of belief.

I have never liked this aspect of being a Witch, Pagan, etc. There are times when I think I’m tired of being what others see as a Witch. I never quite fit in and my beliefs are definitely subject to change without notice.

But, there is no great alternative. When someone asks if you are Pagan or when you want to tell someone about your beliefs what do you say? It’s much easier to give them the known than to go into great and exacting detail about the unknown and all various details.

So, each time we call ourselves Wiccan, we limit ourselves. People take each other at face value too easily. They want to categorize everyone all neat and tidy. Perhaps it’s an organization fetish. But I think it’s something else, more selfish and primitive. When you can categorize someone you feel safe, think you know where they stand and what to expect from them.

Anyway, to myself I don’t call myself Pagan. But for others I allow them to go on believing I am. The drawback to that is that each time I say I’m Pagan I am reinforcing the idea that I actually am Pagan for myself as well as those around me. What you say will come true, one way or another. Words spoken can not be unspoken. Much like ghosts. I feel ghosts are remnants of emotions and words past. Lingering in the atmosphere, unable to dissipate once they have been created.

– Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

— Buddha

About Green Living History

Everything becomes history, everything has a history.

I thought about starting a new blog and began writing down ideas:

  • Holidays/ events, traditions with recipes, crafts, etc.
  • Pagan/ Wiccan/ spiritual topics.
  • Green living compared to old pioneer and etc. ideas.
  • Armageddon, science fiction ideas.
  • Urban and rural exploration.
  • Women in history.
  • Canadian history.
  • Folk tales, fairy tales and the paranormal.
  • Old things, vintage, antiques.
  • Arts and crafts from the past.
  • Local history and societies/ groups.
  • Survivalist theories.
  • Living off the grid.
  • Old words and phrases.

Then I narrowed down my ideas to three topics from the list. As I was looking at the list I realized all the topics connect in the theme of history. That was interesting. I enjoy history. But, so many people think it is dull when you present it as a topic of conversation. I think they are assuming history is all about long winded tomes in the library under attack by dust bunnies and cobwebs. History is so much more! See the list above.

So, here I am, starting history.

Urbex Fascination from CopySix

The CopySix blog has a really great post about urban exploration, the end of civilization and why those things interest some people, like myself. I wrote a comment, trying to put into words why I like the old, abandoned farm houses so much.

For me it’s something about the people who built the places and how they had so much promise, hope, potential and now are left to the elements. I like to see both the man-made and the nature made as they come together. I love the old wood, stone and iron work and the way the trees, vines and wildflowers gather back in around. My favourite abandoned farm houses are those well seasoned, weathered ones. Reminders of what was, kind of a mystery, something forgotten. I think about it’s past yet also see it for the present. It’s like a courage, or strength to see those old places surviving the elements. Giving up parts and pieces of themselves to the battle yet still not fading out to nothing, not yet consumed by nature and the elements.

Geomancy

Collegium Geomanticum

It’s not feng shui, and it doesn’t have anything to do with ley lines or dowsing. It’s been called earth astrology, a Western equivalent of the I Ching, and the forgotten oracle of the Western world. It was one of the most popular systems of divination in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and stands at the center of traditions of magic, philosophy, and initiation deeply relevant to today. What is it? Geomancy.

Geomancy is a traditional art of divination that uses the sixteen geomantic figures – patterns of single and double dots – to explore the mysteries of past, present and future. As a branch of the Hermetic tradition, an ancient Western system of spiritual transformation and magical philosophy and practice, it relies on the fundamental Hermetic law, the unity of the macrocosm (the universe around us) and the microcosm (the universe within us) to open up hidden potentials for knowledge, wisdom, and power and, in the words of the legendary Hermes Trismegistus, “perform the miracles of the One Thing.”

Reading this description makes it seem really complicated and mystical. It’s not that complex. It’s divination using stones. At least that’s what it used to be. People do have a way of taking something simple and making it a huge complicated knot they can make some money out of.

Mid Atlantic Geomancers Geomancers are spiritual ecologists.

Geomancy

A system of divination that employs the scattering of pebbles, grains of sand, or seeds on the earth and then the interpretation of their shape and position.

This is a better description. Much simpler and closer to the basic idea.

The Geomancy Group An association of practising geomancers and other like-minded folk over the UK.

Astrological Geomancy by Anthony Louis
Ancient Astronomy and Geomancy in Kyoto, Japan
Geomance
Earth Mysteries