Sunday, April 26, 2009

Amber in the Wind

...and we're on the air in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Dearly Beloved we are gathered here today in the site of this blog to talk about bugger all.

You may think that talking about bugger all would be a waste of time, yet there are no-things in this world that make an extraordinary amount of difference. Take the 'zero' for instance - who'd have thought it would one day rule the world - well you just try putting six 'zeros behind a 1 & see what you get - of course you need to a magic sigil to make it $acred & £'eagle' in silli-visation.

Anyway the nothing that's been drawing my attention lately is AIR.

If you're going to try telling me that you've given it a lot of consideration in your life, I shall expect to see a herd of pigs gliding majestically past my window any moment now.

It's funny but it's been damn hard to get a grasp on air long enough to write about. I've been delving into 'ological' books but science does not warm any cockles in my heart - from what I can see it has made Air, midling to downright 'boring' with it's talk of gases, weather jargon, 'o'spheres, 'o'zones, & 'carbon(e to pick with you) dioxide'. For any dearly beloved insomniacs out there, a surefire remedy to get you to sleep is by reading wiki-on-air;

"An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass by the gravity of the body and are retained for a longer duration if gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low."

So is there more to air than meets the eye - actually that's a bloody silly question isn't it? We can't even see it. AND YET, and yet, it is a part of every moment of our lives. With our first breath we become an inhabitant on this planet, we get in by breathing. A baby who lives for only one breath will be granted a birth certificate, a baby who fails to take that breath is given only a death certificate. It is air that grants us 'life & right' to this planet.

Without air there would be no beginning - this is a Maori myth - or is it?

"Ranginui, the Sky father, and Papatuanuku, the Earth mother, held each other in a tight embrace.

They had many children who, lost in the darkness between their parents, began to wonder how it would be to live in light. They talked amongst themselves whether it would be better to slay their parents or push them apart.

Tumatauenga, the fiercest of Rangi and Papa's children, spoke first: “Let's slay them” he suggested but Tane Mahuta said “No, it is best that we push them apart to let the heaven stand well above us and the earth lie under our feet. Let the sky become like a stranger and the earth remain close to us as our nursing mother.”

All the brothers agreed except Tawhirimatea, god of winds and storms. Fearing that his kingdom was about to be overthrown, he grieved at the thought that his parents were to be wrenched apart. However the others put their plan in to action.

Firstly Rongomatane, god of cultivated food and crops of man, rose up and pushed at his parents to part them. Next Tangaroa, god of sea and reptiles, rose up and he too tried to push his parents apart. Haumiatiketike, god of food that grows without cultivation, was next but he had no affect either. Each brother tried in vain including Tumatauenga, god of fierce human beings.

Lastly, Tane Mahuta, the god of forests, birds and insects, tried to part his parents. He paused before planting his head firmly on his mother earth, Papatuanuku. He stretched his feet upward to his sky father, Ranginui. With all the strength of his legs and back he forced, pushed and struggled to wrench them free from each other. With each tear, Rangi and Papa cried out with grief and pain, frightened by their impending separation.

No sooner had heaven and earth parted, than the multitudes of human beings created within the darkness were discovered.

Then Tawhirimatea, god of winds and storms who had wanted to keep his parents together, began to feel a fierce desire to wage war on his brothers; he dreads the world will become too beautiful so he ascends to his Sky father and dispatches his brothers to the four ends of creation to become the four winds.

The Earth mother and Sky father remain separated to this day. Yet Ranginui and Papatuanuku’s love continues and their grief ongoing. The soft warm sighs of Papatuanuku and her loving bosom still rise up to meet Ranginui, ascending from the beautiful mountains and valleys. These sighs, men call mist. And from the vast heaven, through the long nights of separation from this beloved, Ranginui drops frequent tears upon his wife's bosom: man calls these dew drops."

As is so often the case with creation stories, this myth is remarkably similar to the Egyptian version, only in their world the roles of male & female were reversed. What remains the same however is 'the middle man.'

I guess that makes Tane or Shu or whatever name he is given, the original Air Force.

Recently a number of things have been catching my attention about the air.

My son, who has been having flying lessons every 3-4 weeks since he was 11 years old, recently returned from a low-flying expedition. He explained to me how they had taken the plane low & close to cliffs and he was taught about & experienced how air flows. What amazed me was his descriptions of the air movements - they were just like water, invisible water.

Since then off & on, I have contemplated this invisible substance. There is a cafe I like to go to & sometimes I get to sit alone in the garden. Somehow the air there seems 'different.' Perhaps it is simply the quality of light filtered through the overhanging trees, but on a number of occasions I have seen-felt an almost liquid substance - especially as birds fly by, they seem to glide in some nearly perceptible fluid.

I kept thinking of how air was like water & realised that if this was the case then we are living at the bottom of an ocean. For some reason this idea churned me up - I was used to the concept of living on top of the world (albeit 'Down under').

In researching I found that I was not alone with these thoughts, a little earlier (all right a lot earlier) Evangelista Torricelli wrote "We live submerged at the bottom of an ocean of air." (1644).

Does this perchance explain why our old favourites the Egyptians, popped Ra in a boat, because they knew we lived at the bottom of an ocean, while a ship sails on top. The picture below does appear to have a rather nifty display of our not very thick atmosphere.

Lately I have been watching the air play with the world around me & again & again I recall the sea.

The soft wind blows
Across the snows,
And turns the palest face to rose;
The wind it goes
Where no one knows,
Like water round the world it flows;

Is she in air or water?

According to the Navajo "Wind is a unitary phenomenon that is the source of all life, movement, and behavior... Before the Emergence, winds are said to have given the means of life (i.e., breath) to the inhabitants of the underworlds. After the Emergence, mists of light were placed along each of the cardinal directions and four sacred mountains were created in each direction. Each direction is said to have an "inner form" as well as a closely associated wind. From the four directions these winds give the means of life, movement, thought, and communication to the natural phenomena, the Holy People, and the Navajo themselves. Wind's Child is sent to guide and advise the Earth-Surface People. Finally, each Navajo also has a "wind within one" that enters at birth and guides the individual."

We have become numbed to air. Should a room be without furniture or people it is called 'empty' despite the fact that every nook & cranny is filled with air. A stupid person is an 'airhead'. Someone who talks a load of bollocks is said to be full of 'hot air' (oops apologies to all bollocks). Who hasn't quoted the glass is 'half full / empty' formula without realising that where the liquid ends the air begins & it runneth over.

So is there a reason that air has been relegated to the very, very back seat of life.

While scouring a number of books on air, a feeling arose that our atmosphere is to our world what the amniotic sac is to a fetus.

As I sat at the beach yesterday contemplating the air, a thought sailed majestically into view. As a baby readies itself for it's birth, it manoeuvres itself into the head down position. I thought of our world, if we were in the process of 'birthing', that would make Antarctica the 'head' of this world. I recalled images I'd seen recently of the hole in the ozone over Antarctica - in fact just the other day I was telling my son how strange it was that the hole should be so perfectly focused over Antarctica (at least it was in the image I saw) - so could this hole be some kind of (dilated) birth canal for our world?

"SUN INDUCES STRANGE 'BREATHING' OF EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE: SAN FRANCISCO - New satellite observations have revealed a previously unknown rhythmic expansion and contraction of Earth's atmosphere on a nine-day cycle.

This "breathing" corresponds to changes in the sun's magnetic fields as it completes rotations once every 27 days, NASA and University of Colorado, Boulder, scientists said Monday at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting. " (from a 'sciency' site)

I do not sleep I am a thousand winds that blow

In racking my brains to come up with a splendid description for air, which I'll explain below, I inadvertently discovered that I, (along with a large percentage of the species on this planet) was in fact an air head, with three fifths of my brain being made up of air! What you don't trust my scientific expertise? ... oh well the equation is fairly simple - Brain = B+ RAI + N - rearrange RAI & you get AIR. Hmmm... I see we also have moisture in there with bRAIN - water & air just like in the 'in the beginning' myths. Well I guess I can't leave the 'B' out as I don't want to be accused of being a letterist in these Poletterically Correct times.

"Bet, Beth, or Vet is the second letter of many Semitic Abjads, including Phoenician, Aramic, Hebrew Syriac and Arabic alphabet. This letter's name means "house" in various Semitic languages..." - how about that, your skull is a castle of air & moisture. All the more wonderful when you consider yet another Creation myth...Ahhh lovely... I was going to filch the myth I was looking for from a mythical site, but I found a wonderful warm article in Science Musings by Chet Raymo, & so have filched from there instead;

"A creation myth from Egypt of the third millennium B.C. has God bring the world into being with a sneeze. It's not a bad image for the Creation as currently described by astronomers. Fifteen billion years ago the universe began with an outward explosion of pure energy. A blaze of gamma rays, x-rays and light. Then particles, atoms, stars and galaxies. A spray of material creation.

Ahh, ahhh, ahhhh--CHOO!

The Big Sneeze. Better than the Big Bang. More poetic, more firmly grounded in the ancient human quest for origins. And more evocative of an explosion from nothing. "Big Bang" suggests a firecracker exploding in preexisting space and time. But space-time came into existence along with the universe, the way a sneeze sometimes comes out of nowhere

Is it a coincidence that the Egyptian god of air is called Shu (bless you!)- ti-Shu anyone?

Tucked into a previous article I also re-found this

"The symbol is also a hieroglyph which represents the sound ´nh (ankh) and the word "life" or "breath of life."

Now we're talking "Air is the breath of life." Etymologically even our spirit is a part of air - from L. spiritus "soul, courage, vigor, breath," related to spirare "to breathe"

So how is it that our spirit is umbilically corded to this life - I thought we were meant to suffer & be spiritually sculpted in this life in order to earn our place in 'the next' (non-breathing) world. Is air spirit? Certainly if we take things into our own hands we can re-sculpt Air to read 'I Ra.'

Thankfully this leads me at last to the secondish part of this article (the one I keep nearly getting to, before being blown onto a side-track).

While contemplating the golden-lion-sun of the Mil-LION Man series, I got to thinking of the air as 'golden' - for surely sometimes I could see-feel gold in the rays that reached my face.

Finding the sun god Ra, hiding in the air, was actually no surprise. But I wanted to go further. Try as I might, I could not get air to 'condense' enough to get a grasp of it.

I got to playing with the idea of Air as a sticky substance, something like honey or molasses. I sought out ideas & names for I wished to re-picture this intangible no-thing. I chased after sticky words (a word of caution to the pure of heart - be careful what you type into google), and eventually found resin, ah yes I like the feel of that, wandering a little further down that viscous path, I arrived at Amber - the resin that resin-ated.

So without further ado I would like to introduce you to the idea of contemplating your air, your atmosphere as a resinous amber substance. For a little while I call upon your wonderful imagination to now see yourself as seated here before your computer, bathed in a this glowing resinous substance (...ahem please keep any lascivious thoughts for later).

Remember that air has weight "This air weight means that, at sea level, there is a load of about a ton across your shoulders. But you do not notice it because pressure is pushing in equally on all sides of your body." We do not feel the weight of air, we do not feel the spinning of the world, so now let's also pretend that our air is a glutinous concoction - albeit one we are able to move in. In order to get into the sticky flow of things, I feel it is necessary to temporarily relabel our mucilaginous breath of life. Recently I recalled the liquids that allow our sight - vitreous & aqueous humour, & felt here was a worthy descriptor - I would definitely like to be swathed in a humourous substance. Therefore I propose (& I'll second myself) that for the rest of this article air shall be known as the Gooey Amber Humour (or for short -atmoshumour).

Part of the reason I wanted to condense Gooey Amber Humour was to feel able to get the feel of what takes place in this substance. As long as I retained the empty-feeling word 'air,' I found myself struggling.

If I look with imaginative eyes that are filled with Gooey Amber Humour, I can see that every inch of this world is filled up with this atmoshumour & glowing. I see it flow in & out of every breathing creature. I see the constantly moving currents. I see that we live in a world where enormous buildings & monuments thrust themselves up into his substance. I wonder are they built to somehow capture & contain this humour?

What else do I think of, when I consider the substance that has flowed in & out of me all my life? Why I start to wonder about it's life. I reacll what has been done to it & in it - is this the same thing?

And what is being done in it, to it now?

And just what purpose do all these ridiculously high building really have?

By watching nature's attention to Gooey Amber Humour, I have come to the conclusion that she revels in it. How could I have believed that plants merely grow upward to reach the sun. I'm sure that's part of the reason, but look at any tree & watch how it & atmoshumour interact. The other day I watched a willow as the wind carressed it's tendrills OR was it the willow that caressed the wind - methinks 'twas both, & what a glorious sight it was.

Surely Gooey Amber Humour is no haphazard substance.

I rather think that it is 'knowledge' - which is why plants open their branches to it. Atmoshumour is the story of our world, we are meant to read it, to hear it & to add our own stories to it. If you have played with this resinous theme then I think you must have felt as I have done, that we can not be isolated individuals, when our being floats in a substance that enfolds the globe. I find it wonderfully appropriate that the energy that allows connection all round the world gets it's name from Amber.

"The Greek name for amber was ηλεκτρον (Electron) and was connected to the Sun God, one of whose titles was Elector or the Awakener... The modern term electron was coined in 1891 by the Irish physicist George Stoney, using the Greek word for amber."

"The Greek name for amber is elektron, or the origin of our word electricity."

Another thought that springs to mind as I conceive of a more condensed atmosphere, is how like a woven substance it is - the suns rays shine & weave their way through earth's atmoshumour - I have vague 'unscientific' recollections of how lasers shone at intersecting angles create holograms.

The humourous horizontal encircling of earth also reminds me a an old vinyl record...

in which case, does that make this pointy thing one of the needles that can read it?

I have read somewhere that animals fur is the equivalent of an antennae. There is a cat who lives with us, she is forever washing herself. Occasionally she has licked my fingers - her tongue has a very strange rough-grooved feel - is it really 'washing' that she does or is her tongue another stylus that picks up & reads what her fur has collected on the wind? I have read that cats are protectors of humans from forces that we cannot see - perhaps their fur traps negative energies & their licking is a way of neutralising or disposing of it?

Once again viewing our imaginary sticky atmoshumour, I wonder what happens when we speak - imagine if our words don't just vanish into 'thin air' - what if they get trapped like insects in amber. The New Age tells us we create our 'reality' - is this is how it's done - is our atmoshumour the philosopher's stone of creation?

So we've been wrapped in this substance from the day we were born, we cannot survive without it. It perhaps holds every story ever lived. It may hold all the information we need to break free from the hamster wheel of the mulberry bush - a-tis-hu, a-ti-shu ... hmmm I think we're done with falling down - I reckon it's about time to stand up, sneeze out a new world & fly.

I shall leave you with beauty. Although I can't find it now I'm 99.9% positive that I read that looking at the paintings of Turner (Joseph Mallord William) increases the power of your immune system. I leave you look & decide for yourself. One thing interests me greatly is how the man, who is considered England's greatest painter, so often painted magnificent amber atmoshumours.

"He [Turner] was a proto-impressionist master of atmospheric effects ... He executed so many paintings in shades of yellow (lemon, ochre, buttercup, mustard, amber) that even a friend of Turner's wondered whether he had been "afflicted by yellow fever"."

"The significance of light was to Turner the emanation of God's spirit and this was why he refined the subject matter of his later paintings by leaving out solid objects and detail, concentrating on the play of light on water, the radiance of skies and fires. Although these late paintings appear to be 'impressionistic' and therefore a forerunner of the French school, Turner was striving for expression of spirituality in the world, rather than responding primarily to optical phenomena"

"There’s something magical about Turner’s art. His Angel Standing in the Sun (above, from 1846) provided the title for one excellent biography, in tune with this magical aura surrounding Turner that, unfortunately, discounts the hard work and hard thinking that went into his works. Constable, again the foil of a Turner anecdote, reportedly once said to Turner, “I do not see nature that way."

" Turner's late water-colours offer a vision of the world before the advent of things, a place made out of pure light and atmosphere, whose essence is a kind of heavenly instability: sky and sea become abstract washes of colour; a mountain at sunset, pink as a prawn, looks more like an explosion than a solid object..."

"They envisage the world not as an agglomeration of physical stuff, but as a process: they are pictures of flux, of a constant making and unmaking. They are as changeable as their subjects: light, weather, the sea."

"Turner was great because he dared to paint pictures of nothing, of a world dissolved into light and colour."