Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The amberical cord

Although the following notice is not of the cheery email type I prefer, it took my breath away.

1st NOTICE: The following item/s have not been returned by the date on which they were due. Please return them promptly. You may be charged a daily fee for each item.

AUTHOR: Bernstein, Peter L.
TITLE: The power of gold : the history of an obsession

The book in question was part of my research for the Mil-Lion Man series. I'd had the book in my home for the maximum time allowed, had read many of it's words & gained a lot of insight without ever realising that it contained treasure on the outsight.

My second to last article led to a virtual unification of air & amber & while I thought I'd finished with this topic, I kept turning corners & running into resin-ating synchs. My overdue library notice was no exception especially as I'd returned the good book in good time the day before. Thus I resi(g)n-ed myself to continuing the amber trail. You see the author's surname Bernstein is the German word for Amber (something I had only learned recently).

Jewish (Ashkenazic): ornamental name from German Bernstein ‘amber’ (from Middle Low German bernen ‘to burn’ + stēn ‘stone’; it was thought to be created by burning, although it is in fact fossilized pine resin).

On the subject of resinating, Peter Bernstein author of the alleged overdue library book has a birthdate of January 22 - a quick mix'n'search of the names Heath Ledger & Amber unearthed this;

"Heath Ledger Helped Model Amber Smith Get Clean
"Former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Amber Smith said that Heath's sudden passing due to an accidental drug overdose played a part in her getting clean

Interestingly, there is an identically named amber man who was a Stravinsky of "Stargate SG-1."

Hurry down to your local music shop for The Best of Stargate 1' while stocks last.

A little further truffle snuffling, unearthed more precious amber from the astral egress show. There was an Amber Rothwell who played a character named Jennifer Clark & the there was April Amber Telek who plays a character called Sallis

"THE STARGATE OMNIPEDIA- SALLIS Alteran (an altar?)... village woman and closet historian... Her body was taken over by Vala Mal Doran ...Vala, in Sallis's body, was burned to death"
"Vala/Sallis was being brought forth to be placed in the sacrificial altar to be burned." alive" - remembering of course that the German word for amber translates as burn stone.

As we're following a meandering amber route lets take the sacrificial Sallis' name as the trail blaze to our next destination in the Baltic (where amber has washed up on the beaches there for centuries).

I found Saule under a heading I could not ignore - "SPINNING & WEAVING GODDESSES"

"The greatest goddess of the Baltic peoples—the Lithuanians and Latvians—is the shining sun, the sky weaver, the amber goddess Saule. She rules all parts of life, from birth into her light to death when she welcomes souls into her apple tree in the west. Saule is worshipped each day when her people bow to the east to greet Mother Sun."

"Saule (pronounced SEW-lay) is the Baltic sun Goddess, ruling all parts of life and light. She is married to Meness, the moon God, and together they created the earth and the stars. When Saule found out that Meness had raped one of their daughters, she slashed his face with a sword, leaving the marks we see on the moon today. She then banished him from her presence, and they are no longer seen together in the sky. Saule continues to drive her sun chariot across the sky every day, drawn by two white horses, and travels in a golden boat by night, trailing a red scarf and collecting the souls of those who have died during the day ."

"The sun is represented as a jug of golden light from which Saule pours her warm light and blessings onto all. It is also a golden thread which Saule spins on her spinning wheel..."

to the Balts, the connection between the sun and spinning is very old, and the sun-stone, amber, forms the link. Spindles of amber have been found in the most ancient burial
"mounds. Amber was considered a magical substance for a spinner; as the light never tangles in the sky, so an amber spindle protected the new thread from snarls caused by unhappy or malicious spirits."

For more on Saule click here

Just to make sure you are up to speed - "Amber is the fossilized resin of ancient trees which forms through a natural polymerization of the original organic compounds. Most of the world's amber is in the range of 30-90 million years old." Another name for it is Northern Gold.

"A stone borne from water, a stone which imprisons life, with its inclusions of insects, a burning stone, a stone which attracts light objects after craping?, amber is an ambiguous material which inspired various legends"

It was Jurassic Park that made amber westernally famous. "The book and the movie used the idea that amber containing an ancient mosquito might be the key to recreating dinosaurs. The basic goal was to remove blood from the gut of a mosquito that had fed on a dinosaur just before being trapped in tree resin which later became amber."

This is the amber
That oozed down the tree
That trapped the mozzie
That supped on the DNA
That belonged to the dinosaur
That got cloned in the movie
That Spielberg made

OK so that's a taster of the resin-ating substance, now lets reflect on it from a more colourful angle.

Until a short while ago I gave amber no mind - silly me, for it has been a part of my life, for all my life.

Two of the world's three most popular beverages are the colour of amber - millions of people literally drink amber every day of their lives. Can you guess or are you going to sneak a look or did you already whizz to the end to see how long it was going to take to read this through & thought wtf are they doing there?

Well lets start with a goddess I found on my travels.

Second runner up in the Great Sips of the World contest is Ninkasi "Sumerian goddess of brewing and beer and head brewer to the gods themselves. Her name means "the lady who fills the mouth" and her birth was formed of sparkling-fresh water."

"Her father was Enki, the lord Nudimmud, and her mother was Ninti, the queen of the Abzu. She is also one of the eight children created in order to heal one of the eight wounds that Enki receives. 'She is the goddess made to "satisfy the desire" and "sate the heart'." With a resume like that, she should have no trouble finding employment - mind you the outfit probably helps..

"Beer is one of the world's oldest beverages, possibly dating back to the early Neolithic or 9000 BC, and is recorded in the written history of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia."

"Beer colour is determined by the malt. The most common colour is a pale amber produced from using pale malts."

"Today, the brewing industry is a global business, consisting of several dominant multinational companies and many thousands of smaller producers ranging from brewpubs to regional breweries. More than 133 billion liters (35 billion gallons) are sold per year (the equivalent of a cube 510 metres on a side), producing total global revenues of $294.5 billion (£147.7 billion) in 2006." Did your parents ever tell you there was money in amber?

First runner up in the Great Sips of the World contest goes to Camellia sinensis, no, no I said Camellia not Camilla

ahhh the poetry of tea...

"...specializes in Flowery Orange Pekoes and Orange Pekoes that have well-produced, regular-size leaf and give an amber golden liquor with a scented aroma "

"... full of flavor and rich amber color"

"Darjeeling black tea, with an amber color and a fragrant aroma"


In case you were wondering the winner of the Great Sips goes of course to water, a major contributor in the creation of our two amber runners up.

So where are we going with all this? Well I'll still not quite sure, but let's not let that stand in the way of a trail that may have been overlooked for too long.

Lets look at ambrosia - I am told, etymologically, that ambrosia is not related to amber (ambrosia 1555, "favored food or drink of the gods," from L. ambrosia, from Gk. ambrosios, lit. "of the immortals," from a- "not" + mbrotos, related to mortos "mortal.") ... b-u-t why let apparent fact stand in the way of the great twin sounding vibrations of amber & ambrosia, especially when play is to be had.

...AHA no sooner had I written the above than I 'chanced' upon a site that has this to say

"The classical scholar Arthur Woollgar Verrall, however, denied that there is any clear example in which the word ambrosios necessarily means immortal, and preferred to explain it as "fragrant," a sense which is always suitable. If so, the word may be derived from the Semitic MBR ("amber", compare "ambergris") to which Eastern nations attribute miraculous properties. In Europe, honey-colored amber, sometimes far from its source, was already a grave gift in Neolithic times and was still worn in the 7th century AD as a talisman by druidic Frisians, though St Eligius warned "No woman should presume to hang amber from her neck." W. H. Roscher thinks that both nectar and ambrosia were kinds of honey, in which case their power of conferring immortality would be due to the supposed healing and cleansing power of honey..."

Obviously this does not make the following connecting of amber & ambrosia correct, but does point to the power of playing with words & following where they lead.

Anyway I was about to pour a little honey on to this page.

First we tie honey to amber (a sticky business) - "The various honey colours are basically all nuances of yellow amber", then we add a sprinkling of gods "Honey was and still is known as the nectar of the gods."


"HONEY, honey cake and honey drinks played an important part in all mythologies. Ambrosia (honey and milk) was the food of the Greek and Roman gods and the celestial Nectar, the drink of Mount Olympus. The nectar of the gods, compounded of fermented honey and spices, was considered a delicious and salubrious drink and was poured by Hebe and Ganymede, the cupbearers of Zeus... Nectar possessed wondrous life-giving properties, the power to prevent decay and corruption and secure immortality."

"Zeus, the omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent father of the gods, was brought up on honey"

Here's a great little honey god site if you enjoyed this taster.

The amber-ambrosia sound connection intrigued me, but all the more so on this amber venture when realising that this apparent nectar, so popular with the big boys on high held an interesting twist.
I wonder why it is that NECTAR can be re-blended to form 'TRANCE'?

Further along on my travels I came across something that will be familiar to those residing in the United States of Am(b)erica.

Wiki says an Amber Alert is "a child abduction alert bulletin in the United States and Canada, as well as other countries, issued upon the suspected abduction of a child. AMBER is officially a backronym for "America's Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response" but was originally named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old child who was abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas in 1996."

There were too many synchs not to look more closely at this case, not least of which came from a dvd I was watching the other night. It was an old Ruth Rendell murder mystery, I'd picked up from the video store last week without reading what it was about. Before long I started noticing 'Missing' posters slotted into the background & sure enough the story involves a missing girl whose body is later discovered. A little further into the story we find that Chief Inspector Wexford's daughter has just given birth to a baby girl & she is to be named 'Amulet' - an amulet is "any object intended to bring good luck and/or protection to its owner. Potential amulets include: gems or simple stones". The timing of my viewing, the amber resin-ating amulet, the mention of Arlington in Aferrismoon's latest post & something more that tugged at my gut left me with a strong conviction that Amber's story should be a part of this article.

Right from the moment I read about the Amber Alert, I started wondering. I guess it was because I was looking through amber coloured glasses - I was on the alert for amber.
Because I'd been finding that amber plays a huge part in our lives, I found this new angle curious. On the Amber Alert wiki pageI found an image of Mrs George W Bush encapsulating Rae Leigh Bradbury, the first child to be recovered using the Amber Alert system. Very interestingly, on following up the sci-fi writer (well I couldn't help myself) I found him also encapsulated with the same former first lady-in-red & accompanied by a bushman. The christian names of this first child (to be rescued) can be translated thusly - Rae as a shortened version of Rachel means ewe & Leigh is a meadow, clearing - so perhaps a little lost lamb was found by the good (amber) shepherd? A famous names website did actually feature Mr Bradbury - for Ray it stated;

"First name origin: Hebrew
First name meaning: Little lamb, ewe; one with purity."

To put it as briefly as possible, Amber Hagerman was a 9 year old girl who was abducted in Arlington, Texas in 1996. Her naked body was found four days later. Her killer was never found. After her death the Amber Alert scheme was begun.

Amber's story fits neatly into the 'sad case of abducted children' scenario that has been media fodder for quite some time now as well as being popularised through the entertainment channels. If you asked your average tv viewer or thriller reader how they'd think Amber died, I'm guessing they'd say strangulation, it seems to be the most popular method. This however was not the case, I was rather shocked to find that her throat had been cut - somehow this seemed to my, I must admit, entertainment-informed mind all wrong, it felt somehow calculated. I questioned my son as I often do for the sensible teenager's 'take'. He too was surprised, his opinion, was that you just don't kill people that way, it's too messy & awkward, so much blood, there's so much easier ways to kill people - don't ask me what he's been reading. Then these words followed 'You cut a throat to make a point". He also suggested blood sacrifice, which had crossed my mind too.

Amber's abduction on 13th January, 1996 was viewed & reported by a man with a rather ominous name "Eyewitness [Jimmie] Kevil said he watched the man drive west out of the parking lot and disappear."

It was apparently a totally random abduction "Police theorized it was an impetuous crime of opportunity since Amber had no established pattern of riding her bicycle there at that time of day."

"The man likely watched Amber and Ricky ride into the parking lot together. He pounced on the girl just moments after her brother left to ride back to his grandparents' home" - very impetuous indeed.

"The abduction was front-page news in Texas. Police were hopeful that other witnesses would step forward—perhaps someone who had seen the feisty girl struggling with her abductor as he tried to drive.

Police and the FBI formed a special task force to investigate, and the
girl's smiling image became omnipresent in the Dallas Metroplex."

Now here's a word you just don't see in the media every day - "Coincidentally, a local TV station had been working on a story about Donna Hagerman's struggle to get off welfare, and the station released videotape of the girl to other media outlets." So this child was not an 'unknown' - she was already part of a media story.

"At the time, WFAA-TV (Channel 8) had been working on a story about families struggling to get off welfare, and Amber and her mother were two of the subjects. The station provided the police with hours of video that was distributed to other television stations. While Amber was missing, thousands of viewers watched footage of her blowing out birthday candles, playing with her brother and being tucked into bed".

"In those four days, she became a very real person," Sheriff Anderson said. "She wasn't just a photograph they were looking at ... It was almost like she became Arlington's child."

"Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson, then the Arlington police spokesman, said the kidnapping devastated the city unlike any other case he's seen in 25 years."

Her image became so widely known during the investigation that the local police chief would later call Amber "Arlington's child."

Now here's a small sideroad that appeared as I was completing this article - while Googl-y-maging 'Arlington' I came across it spelled thusly- ARlington, - oh thought I, there's RA backwards (again), I wonder if there's anything else to be seen & so googled Ling & came upon Ling Bouvier of Simpson fame (I don't watch it & am only aware of the main characters). I've since found that, like the daffodils, there's a host of Bouviers, fluttering & dancing in the breeze. Chance wordplay? I also found an Amber Simpson - Homer's 'Vegas (arguably the next most important star in the sky after the Sun) wife' who gets offed via a drug overdose.

Before we go on, here's a little info on Sagittarius - Amber's birth sign (born November 25th) - Early Sagittarian(born November 23 - December 5) ...Power Stone: Amber - Wear it or carry it with you for short periods of time. Ancients believed that this fossilized resin trapped the sun."

"She loved "America the Beautiful" for the line "amber waves of grain."

The name Arlington is synonymous with the sacrificed sun king JFK - he's buried (trapped?) there, well not there there, he's in the one in Virginia, nevertheless I feel we can look on them as 'one' - "The city was founded in 1875 and is named for Arlington, Virginia."
Amber's life was taken 33 years after JFK's assassination.

JFK lies beneath an eternal amber flame IN Arlington Cemetery.

Amber Hagerman was called Arlington's Child IN Dallas - the place famed & remembered for delivering death to the 35th president. Amber's surname Hagerman resin-ates very strongly with the other man who put Dallas on the map & into the minds of the world - Larry Hagman aka J.R Ewing.

Arlington & Dallas are joined in a sacred union - the (Most Holy) Trinity River runs through them. Trinity is "a 710-mile long river that flows entirely within the U.S. state of Texas...The name "Trinity" came ... in 1690 from Alonso De Leon, who called the stream the "La Santísima Trinidad" ("the Most Holy Trinity").

"Dealey Plaza has not always looked like this. Before Dealey Plaza was built (1936), the area contained 3 city blocks, full of buildings and businesses. Another street, named Broadway, ran north-south (left-right from this view) through the middle of it. West of Broadway was the railroad tracks. All three streets were straight prior to the Plaza being built. Where the Triple Overpass is was once the banks of the Trinity River, until the Trinity River Levee project in the 1920's moved the Trinity about 1/2 a mile further west. The train tracks were right beside the river, and most of this area was severely flooded in the Trinity flood of 1908 "

"The city acquired the Plaza for construction of the Triple Underpass, which opened in 1936 (or 63 reversed) and sits east of the former bed of the Trinity."

I've got tired trying to find corroboratiion of just where the Trninty River originally flowed but it seems it's path was interestingly close to JFK's future sacrificial site.

OK time to hit the road again & this time it's all about the journey, not the destination - really, I'm serious, this is no New Age cliche spouting - amber is sooooo very much a part of our journeying.

Sorry there's not many pictures out there for amber traffic lights & amber car blinkers & amber bus signs & amber traffic works signs, but if you've got this far you're probably going to start noticing them now, A LOT!

I've spent the last few weeks being drawn to amber lights. Amber is an interesting colour, it has a kind of luminescent feel or look to it - a dull or flat amber colour just doesn't work - it needs to 'glow'.

Each & every day my eyes have been drawn to a very large amber arena. I don't know if I should be worried but I think it's starting to have an affect on me..

I've been trying to figure out 'why amber'? Perhaps it's just a good colour to use, you know stands out a lot, but other lighted colours stand out too, otherwise we wouldn't stop & go at traffic lights.

I've been thinking that, of all traffic light colours, amber is the 'bastard'. Green's good (although if you think about it, all too often it's just leading you on to somewhere you may not want to go - like work or the bank). Red is stop, a kind of fait accompli, it's done & you put up with it. But amber is the 'oh f**k' colour, the heart sinking in your boots if you're already running late or else it's the panic scramble to see if just maybe you're close enough to slip through without getting caught, all so you can just miss out on the next amber light round the corner.
Then there's the flashing amber blinkers at every intersection & every part of your journey. The click. click sound in your car & the hypnotic blinking of the cars in front.

I've been wondering if amber has become the symbolic colour of the western world. I remember being in Egypt years ago where the only blinking going on was done by the eyelids of the inhabitants - all turning was signalled with constantly beeping horns.

Is amber the colour of conformity, 'civilisations little instructional colour'?

"This color is the color of fast changing street lights This is part or the grid lock alert in NYC you better be on the other side of the light when it turns Amber, or you’ll be stuck in the middle ..First all the other cars will be screaming profanities at you and then those traffic police break out their pens" - would you believe that's from a nail polish ad! - but they use it because they know we'll have a visceral reaction to it - we know exactly what they're talking about.

Amber goes deeper & darker than this though, for it is the god of the long dark night of civilisation.

"Cool! I've flown over Chicago at night's a constellation of stars arranged in a perfect grid with the occasional line of an arterial road cutting across diagonally. The stark and immediate blackness of lake michigan contrasts the bright amber of the sodium vapour street lights."

"He said yesterdays photo looks like the whole city was on fire. Throw in the smoke, I understand exactly what he is talking about."

"Looking out my window one evening, I noticed the street light shinning through the ice cycles that were hanging from the roof of my home."

"Late Night Blues with Amber Light Pollution - 4 lights pic Polaroid SX70. Polaroid 600 film. No filter."

I never used to think about it, but now I can't help but see that the night, is alight with amber.

The Hubble telescope has provided in a low key, yet powerfully persuasive, manner a sense of the scope of the universe. Yet, counterintuitively, the contemporary era has seen our personal relationship with the universe shrunk by light pollution. Photopollution prevents us seeing the night sky in anything like its true magnificence as street and ambient lighting vies with and usually overcomes the stars.
And this problem is a design problem. Because there has been a profligate approach to the use of energy and the design of street lighting in our towns and cities for decades.

..., ‘light pollution is the scourge of astronomers around the world as it washes out the sky and makes it much more difficult to see fainter objects, particularly the Milky Way. It also deprives the public of the full pleasure of seeing the sky at night’."

Was it design flaws that led to the amberisation of civilistaion? Could there be more to it? Just how important is the night sky to us & our wellbeing? We know the ancients were fixated upon the night sky, yet we city dwellers are barely aware of it. Why is sleeping under the stars considered a romanic & desirable notion?

"TUCSON, Ariz. -- The world's first and only known therapeutic moonlight reflector, a 30-ton, 50-foot tall collection of parabolic mirrors in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, has drawn hundreds of people to the site outside Tucson in hopes of curing their ailments, according to Richard Chapin, its inventor.

Chapin's company, Interstellar Light Applications, has poured $2 million into the venture it believes has "unlimited benefits for the medical, agricultural and industrial fields," according to its Web site.

Chapin said extensive research has shown that different wavelengths of light have beneficial therapeutic effects at the cellular level

Different tissue and cell types in the body each have their own particular light absorption dispositions -- they will only absorb light of a specific wavelength, the company said. Different frequencies of light have distinct benefits and applications, ranging from treating problems such as wounds, scars and infections to arthritis and acupuncture, the company said"

Whether or not the above actually works, it does draw attention to the possibility that the night sky may have as much importance to us as our day sky....BUT our night sky is washed away in amber rays.

"In Saule's shining presence, people feel safe to go about their businesses and tasks, but once She leaves the skies, certain work must end. To continue, without her guardianship, would be inviting trouble from dangerous spirits."

I'm wondering if the articfical sunshine that lights our nights is throwing our bodies into some kind of chaos - contributing or leading to the vast western businesses ..err sorry I meant diseases. Could the chronic tiredness, lethargy & disillsionment that stalks so many be a result of our bodies never getting to rest. How much amber light shines into our bedrooms at night? Does it restrict our dream journeys?

I don't know of course, I just wanted to throw out some moonbeams to finish.