Friday, 17 February 2017

Las Pozas ~ Mexico

Las Pozas (“the Pools”) is a sculpture garden built by Edward James, the eccentric English poet and artist, and patron of the Surrealist movement. More than 2,000 feet above sea level, in a tropical rain forest in the mountains of Mexico, it includes more than 80 acres of natural waterfalls and pools interlaced with towering Surrealist sculptures in concrete.
Las Pozas is near the village of Xilitla, San Luis Potosí, a seven-hour drive north of Mexico City. In the early 1940s, James went to Los Angeles, and then decided that he “wanted a Garden of Eden set up ~ saw that Mexico was far more romantic” and had “far more room than there is in crowded Southern California.” In Cuernavaca, he hired Plutarco Gastelum, then a young manager of a telegraph office, as a guide. The two found Xilitla in November 1945.
In Xilitla, Plutarco married a local woman and had four children. They all lived with “Uncle Edward”, as the children called James, in a house Plutarco had built, a mock-Gothic cement castle, now a hotel – La Posada El Castillo.
Between 1949 and 1984, James built thirty-six concrete follies – palaces, temples and pagodas, including the House on Three Floors which has Five or Four or Six, the House with a Roof like a Whale, and the Staircase to  Heaven. There were also plantings and beds full of tropical plants, including orchids – there were, apparently, 29,000 at Las Pozas at one time – and a variety of small casas (homes), niches, and pens that held exotic birds and wild animals from the world over. Massive sculptures up to four stories tall punctuate the site. The many trails throughout the garden site are composed of steps, ramps, bridges and narrow, winding walkways that traverse the valley walls. Construction of Las Pozas cost more than $5 million. To pay for it, James sold his collection of Surrealist art at auction.
Read more HERE
I used this place as inspiration for 'The Heaven Stone' quarter ~ Book Two. 
The above flower ruin becomes a very special place.
Love and light,

Banking - Researching for book three - Shining Sword.

Researching for book three - Shining Sword.
Genre: Fantasy
I don't like politics, never have, but for this book, I wanted to play with various ideas on how a society can be manipulated by a self-indulgent minority and at what point the people would start to rebel. Obviously just looking around at the world at present stirred many thoughts. Money is power, so that's where my research started.
Did you know?
The word for credit comes from the latin word  'Credere' meaning to believe. 

Banks really do create money out of thin air. 

I found a fabulous video that explains banks in a non-complicated way. Usually, the jargon puts me off, but this video managed to hold my interest. I've learnt a lot from it and wanted to share it with you.   
97% - 98% of money created (digital) is bank 'debt money' by private banks. 

Electronic money has 100% profit as no production costs. 

Money doesn't come out of economic activity - meaning employment
i.e ~ the process of people doing things. 
Isn't it odd that we buy products that during their manufacture have destroyed forests, polluted seas, and contaminated the air we breathe just because we can't afford the more expensive product. Money is at the heart of all our lives and it's a good time to understand what money is and how it works.
By understanding how money really works, we can become more socially and environmentally conscious which can make a positive difference to our world and financial well-being.
~ The Money Reform Party 

Tolkien and Industrialisation

The industrial revolution, a period of rapid change beginning in Britain around 1750 and lasting well into the 1800s, transformed the cultural and physical landscape of England.

Handmade products crafted in small-town shops gave way to urban factories and mechanised production. Textiles, shipbuilding, iron, and steel emerged as important industries, and the country's population increasingly migrated to urban areas to work in the factories. Coal fueled these industries, polluting the air with black smoke and dotting the countryside with mining spoil.

The Black Country in Birmingham. The foundries, the forges, and the ironworks glowed – sheets of sparks, 50 foot high. The fires never went out. It looked like hell. That may have inspired Lord of the Rings, Mordor. Tolkien could have been writing about how the industrial revolution turned the Midlands from Hobbiton to Mordor.

Although born well after the industrial revolution, Tolkien witnessed the lasting effects of industry on the environment, first as a child in Birmingham and later as an adult in Oxford.

Tolkien's concern for nature echoes throughout The Lord of the Rings. Evil beings of Middle-earth dominate nature and abuse it to bolster their own power. For example, Saruman, the corrupt wizard, devastates an ancient forest as he builds his army.

The Elves, in contrast, live in harmony with nature, appreciating its beauty and power, and reflecting a sense of enchantment and wonder in their artful songs.
Read more HERE
Love and light,

Friday, 10 February 2017

Lost Ancient Forests

Diver Dawn Watson found incredible ancient forest under the North Sea
10,000-year-old trees appear to have been hidden underwater since Ice Age
The 45-year-old discovered oak trees with eight-metre branches off Norfolk.
A shocked diver has found an incredible 10,000-year-old pre-historic forest under the North Sea and experts believe it could have once stretched as far as Europe.
Diver Dawn Watson, 45, discovered the remarkable 'lost forest' when she was diving just 300 metres off the coast of Cley next the Sea, Norfolk.
Ms Watson, who runs the Marine Conservation Society's survey project, Seasearch in East Anglia with partner Rob Spray, said she was 'absolutely thrilled' with the find.
She said: 'I couldn't believe what I was seeing at first.
'The sea was quite rough by the shore so I decided to dive slightly further out and after swimming over 300 metres of sand I found a long blackened ridge.
'When I looked more closely I realised it was wood, and when I swam further along, I started finding whole tree trunks with branches on top, which looked like they had been felled.'

'It was amazing to find and to think the trees had been lying there completely undiscovered for thousands of years. You certainly don't expect to go out for a quick dive and find a forest.'
It is believed the forest was drowned when the ice caps melted and the sea level rose 120 metres.
The fallen trees are now lying on the ground where they have formed a natural reef, which is teaming with colourful fish, plants and wildlife.

'At one time it would have been a full-blown Tolkien-style forest, stretching for hundreds of miles,' added Mr Spray, who has begun surveying the forest with his partner.
'It would have grown and grown and in those days there would have been no one to fell it so the forest would have been massive.
How it could have looked
'It would have looked like a scene from the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, which is something we don't get in this country anymore. Geologists are very excited about it, it was a really miraculous find.'
Ancient forest lost beneath the North Sea is uncovered: Shifting sands reveal 7,000-year-old woodland and human footprints.
Evidence of the forest, which has been preserved in peat, can be seen on a 200-metre stretch of the Northumberland coastline - Denmark, due to shifting sand - It shows 7,000 year old human footprints in Doggerland, which then connected the UK to Europe - The area had been preserved in a layer of peat all these years.
The ebb and flow of the North Sea revealed a waterlogged archaeological secret of Britain's past - traces of hunter-gatherers stalking animals through a long-lost woodland.
An ancient forest, which dates back more than 7,000 years and has lain buried beneath the sand for millennia, is slowly being uncovered by the ocean.
Tree stumps and felled logs, which have been preserved by peat and sand, are now clearly visible along a 650 feet (200 metres) stretch of coastline at Low Hauxley near Amble, Northumberland.
Studies of the ancient forest, which existed at a time when the sea level was much lower and Britain had only recently separated from what is now mainland Denmark, have revealed it would have consisted of oak, hazel and alder trees.
The forest first began to form around 5,300 BC but by 5,000 BC the encroaching ocean had covered it up and buried it under sand. Now the sea levels are rising again, the remnants of the forest are becoming visible and being studied by archaeologists.
Rather than a continuous solid landmass, archaeologists believe Doggerland was a region of low-lying bogs and marshes which would have been home to a range of animals, as well as the hunter-gatherers which stalked them.
But the relatively rapid change in the surrounding environment would have gradually confined animals and humans in the region to Europe and the UK as the bogs and marshes became flooded, making them impassable.
Doctor Clive Waddington, of Archaeology Research Services, said: 'In 5,000 BC the sea level rose quickly and it drowned the land.
'The sand dunes were blown back further into the land, burying the forest, and then the sea receded a little.
'The sea level is now rising again, cutting back the sand dunes, and uncovering the forest.'
The forest existed in the late Mesolithic period, which was a time of hunting and gathering for humans.
In addition to tree stumps, archaeologists say they have uncovered animal footprints, highlighting the diverse wildlife which would have roamed the ancient Doggerland forest.
Dr Waddington, who says evidence has been discovered of humans living nearby in 5,000 BC, added: 'On the surface of the peat we have found footprints of adults and children.
'We can tell by the shapes of the footprints that they would have been wearing leather shoes.
'We have also found animal footprints of red deer, wild boar and brown bears.'
A similar stretch of ancient forest was uncovered in 2014 near the village of Borth, Ceredigion, in Mid Wales after a spate of winter storms washed away the peat preserving the area. The ancient forests were exposed along the Welsh coastline after the storms washed away peat and exposed gnarled tree trunks on the shore near the village of Borth, Ceredigion, Mid Wales.
Seahenge, an early Bronze age structure on the coast of Norfolk, 
overlooks the ancient world of Doggerland
Rather than a continuous solid landmass, archaeologists believe Doggerland was a region of low-lying bogs and marshes connecting the British Isles to Europe and stretching all the way to the Norwegian trench. The area, which would have been home to a range of animals, as well as the hunter-gatherers which stalked them, became flooded due to glacial melt, with some high-lying regions such as 'Dogger Island' (pictured right, highlighted red) serving as clues to the region's ancient past.
Peat is able to preserve trees and even the bodies of animals so well because it is so low in oxygen, effectively choking the microbes which break down organic matter, so preserving their organic contents for thousands of years. But in coastal regions, where ancient forests have been long preserved in peat, such as in Wales and Northumberland, the rising seas are washing away this layer and exposing remnants from Britain's past.
Source HERE and HERE
Love and light,

Hundreds of ancient earthworks built in the Amazon

February 2017
 Jenny Watling
The Amazonian rainforest was transformed over two thousand years ago by ancient people who built hundreds of large, mysterious earthworks. The ditched enclosures, in Acre state in the western Brazilian Amazon, were concealed for centuries by trees. Modern deforestation has allowed the discovery of more than 450 of these large geometrical geoglyphs.

The function of these mysterious sites is still little understood - they are unlikely to be villages, since archaeologists recover very few artefacts during excavation. The layout doesn't suggest they were built for defensive reasons. It is thought they were used only sporadically, perhaps as ritual gathering places.

The structures are ditched enclosures that occupy roughly 13,000 km2. Their discovery challenges assumptions that the rainforest ecosystem has been untouched by humans.

Dr Watling said: "The fact that these sites lay hidden for centuries beneath mature rainforest really challenges the idea that Amazonian forests are 'pristine ecosystems`.

The full article will be released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA and involved researchers from the universities of Exeter, Reading and Swansea (UK), São Paulo, Belém and Acre (Brazil). The research was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, National Geographic, and the Natural Environment Research Council Radiocarbon Facility.

Illustrations of Undine ~ Arthur Rackham ~ August Gaber - Adalbert Mueller

Art collaboration between Adalbert Mueller and August Gaber. 
Undine is a fairy-tale novella (Erzählung) by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué in which Undine, a water spirit, marries a knight named Huldebrand in order to gain a soul. It is an early German romance.
Illustration of Undine from 1909 ~ Arthur Rackham
Art collaboration between Adalbert Mueller and August Gaber 
The story is descended from Melusine, the French folktale of a water-sprite who marries a knight on condition that he shall never see her on Saturdays when she resumes her mermaid shape. It was also inspired by works by the occultist Paracelsus.
Illustration of Undine from 1909 ~ Arthur Rackham
Art collaboration between Adalbert Mueller and August Gaber 
An unabridged English translation of the story by William Leonard Courtney and illustrated by Arthur Rackham was published in 1909. George Macdonald thought Undine "the most beautiful" of all fairy stories, while Lafcadio Hearn referred to Undine as a "fine German story" in his essay "The Value of the Supernatural in Fiction".
Illustration of Undine from 1909 ~ Arthur Rackham
Art collaboration between Adalbert Mueller and August Gaber 
In the 1830s, the novella was translated into Russian dactylic hexameter verse by the Romantic poet Vasily Zhukovsky. This verse translation became a classic in its own right and later provided the basis for the libretto to Tchaikovsky's operatic adaptation. The novella has since inspired numerous similar adaptions in various genres and traditions.
Illustration of Undine from 1909 ~ Arthur Rackham
Art collaboration between Adalbert Mueller and August Gaber 
Love and light,

Art ~ I close my eyes to see

Gesso base ~ Watercolour crayons and pencils
Love and light,

Archaeologists find 12th Dead Sea Scrolls cave ~ 2017

February 8, 2017 by Dov Smith
Excavations in a cave on the cliffs west of Qumran, near the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, prove that Dead Sea scrolls from the Second Temple period were hidden in the cave, and were looted by Bedouins in the middle of the last century. With the discovery of this cave, scholars now suggest that it should be numbered as Cave 12.
The surprising discovery, representing a milestone in Dead Sea Scroll research, was made by Dr. Oren Gutfeld and Ahiad Ovadia from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Archaeology, with the help of Dr. Randall Price and students from Liberty University in Virginia USA.
The excavators are the first in over 60 years to discover a new scroll cave and to properly excavate it.
The excavation was supported by the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), and is a part of the new "Operation Scroll" launched at the IAA by its Director-General, Mr. Israel Hasson, to undertake systematic surveys and to excavate the caves in the Judean Desert.

Excavation of the cave revealed that at one time it contained Dead Sea scrolls. Numerous storage jars and lids from the Second Temple period were found hidden in niches along the walls of the cave and deep inside a long tunnel at its rear. The jars were all broken and their contents removed, and the discovery towards the end of the excavation of a pair of iron pickaxe heads from the 1950s (stored within the tunnel for later use) proves the cave was looted.
Until now, it was believed that only 11 caves had contained scrolls. With the discovery of this cave, scholars have now suggested that it would be numbered as Cave 12. Like Cave 8, in which scroll jars but no scrolls were found, this cave will receive the designation Q12 (the Q=Qumran standing in front of the number to indicate no scrolls were found).
"This exciting excavation is the closest we've come to discovering new Dead Sea scrolls in 60 years. Until now, it was accepted that Dead Sea scrolls were found only in 11 caves at Qumran, but now there is no doubt that this is the 12th cave," said Dr. Oren Gutfeld, an archaeologist at the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology and director of the excavation. "Although at the end of the day no scroll was found, and instead we 'only' found a piece of parchment rolled up in a jug that was being processed for writing, the findings indicate beyond any doubt that the cave contained scrolls that were stolen. The findings include the jars in which the scrolls and their covering were hidden, a leather strap for binding the scroll, a cloth that wrapped the scrolls, tendons and pieces of skin connecting fragments, and more."

The finds from the excavation include not only the storage jars, which held the scrolls, but also fragments of scroll wrappings, a string that tied the scrolls, and a piece of worked leather that was a part of a scroll. The finding of pottery and of numerous flint blades, arrowheads, and a decorated stamp seal made of carnelian, a semi-precious stone, also revealed that this cave was used in the Chalcolithic and the Neolithic periods.
Read more HERE
Original Scrolls HERE ~ a collection of some 981 different manuscripts discovered between 1946/47, 1956 and 2017 in 12 caves (Qumran Caves) in the immediate vicinity of the Hellenistic-period Jewish settlement at Khirbet Qumran in the eastern Judaean Desert, the modern West Bank.