Stonehenge- The Unsolved Mystery

A couple of months¬†ago, I had the pleasure to visit one of the most popular and mysterious places on Earth- Stonehenge. I have been living in the UK for almost six years and I never went to see this magnificent monument. Scientists argue the first stones had been raised¬†around 2400-2200 BC¬†but the purpose it was built for, the technology of transporting and raising the stones and the place they’ve been brought from remain unknown, making Stonehenge one of the oldest and most mysterious places¬†in the world.

Stonehenge, bird's eye view

Stonehenge, bird’s eye view

The route to Stonehenge is quite a journey so when you decide to visit it, you gotta be prepared for a long travel. We headed off from Southampton, which is considerably close to Stonehenge. So we took the train to Salisbury and then the tour bus to Stonehenge, which takes about 30 minutes. The scenery was absolutely fantastic as it was mid-spring and everything was so green and shiny. The sun was up, though it was quite windy. But the air was fresh and one could feel a really strong connection with nature. Once we arrived at the entrance, we were to take a shuttle to the stones which took another 5-8 min. And suddenly, there it was- the mighty Stonehenge!

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The beauty of Stonehenge

At a first glance, I thought it was smaller than I expected. But boy, was it beautiful! It was surrounded by people, trying to take a picture from every¬†possible angle. My purpose though was to feel the energy that surrounds Stonehenge. When I was little, I was reading a children’s magazine called Wally’s World. For those who don’t remember it, it was a¬†weekly,¬†educational¬†magazine and each¬†issue was dedicated to a different country or region of the world, describing its history, legends surrounding it, facts etc. I remember one of the issues was focused on Britain and a particular article was telling the history of Stonehenge. I was so impressed and since then I’ve always wanted to visit it, to feel the air surrounding it, to witness the influence it has on people who see it for the first time.

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Stonehenge

The stones were surrounded by a fence, to stop people getting too close and touching them. There will always be someone who’d try to break the rule though, that’s why together with the fence there were people to guard the stones too. The stones are located on a little hill and everything one sees around is green fields. It was extremely clean, not a single piece of trash could be spotted anywhere.

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When we went back to the tourist point, we had about an hour to look around as the busses to Salisbury arrive every hour in the winter time and every half hour in the summertime. Next to the ticket office, there was a shop where you could buy all sorts of souvenirs such as T-shirts, pens, mugs; we got magnets. From the shop, you can enter the restaurant which was quite nice actually (or probably we were too hungry haha). When we had our lunch we went outside as there were model houses of the era Stonehenge was built in. They were really interesting and to me resembled time-machines cause when I entered any of them, it would feel like I was stepping over from present to the past.

A model of a house from 2400-2200 BC

Back to the past

Back to the past

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Stonehenge tourist point

By the time we were wandering around the tourist point and the ancients’ houses, the bus arrived and we caught it to go back to Salisbury. It is a gorgeous, little town which is exactly what one would imagine England is. The High street is full of ancient pubs and little shops which are so cute. Actually, Salisbury is very similar to Winchester, if you’ve been there. It has a river crossing the city centre and one of its landmarks is Salisbury Cathedral, where Magna Carta is conserved.

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Salisbury Cathedral

Old George Mall

Old George Mall

Beautiful stained glass

Beautiful stained glass

To everyone who hasn’t visited Stonehenge and Salisbury yet, I highly recommend you to do so! The magic that surrounds these places, especially Stonehenge, is indescribable!

L. V. K.

Devil’s Advocate or How to Lose Your Soul

“Vanity, definitely my favourite sin!”

This is one of my all time favourite movie quotes. It’s so full of truth, wisdom and¬†cynicism at the same time that I want to cry and then laugh and then cry again. The movie this quote comes from, as most of you know, is Devil’s Advocate (1997), starring the titans Al Paccino and Keanu Reeves accompanied by the gorgeous Charlize Theron.

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The film tells the story of Kevin Lomax, a young and ambitious attorney from Gainsville, Florida, who’s never lost a case. One day, he receives a job offer from the world’s most powerful law firm, based in New York and owned by the mysterious and charming John Milton. Kevin grabs the opportunity and together with his wife Mary Ann, leaves for the Big Apple to pursue his dream. However, success has its high price and in Kevin’s case, this is his soul, which he sells piece by piece for money and power. The movie is so powerful not just¬†because of the great story it tells but also because of the magnificent performances Al Paccino, Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron and the rest of the cast give. They’ve put their souls in the project which makes it so real and influential.

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For me, Devil’s Advocate is an allegory of the biblical story of Adam and Eve and how they’ve been tempted by the serpent to taste the forbidden fruit. In the movie, the serpent (John Milton) persuades¬†Eve (Mary Ann) to tempt Adam (Kevin) to taste the fruit of success, no matter the price. Mary Ann does that, she is a big influence over her husband in the beginning of the story because she stimulates his ego. She erases all moral boundaries he has and throws him in a world, where she believes they both should belong. Kevin himself has issues with his vanity, never accepting he ever might lose a case, which makes him an easy target for the devilish tricks of John Milton. However, as everything should be free will, John gives Kevin the opportunity to take all decisions himself. He always shows him two paths- the right and the wrong, manipulating him to take the wrong way but never closing the door to the right way.

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Devil’s Advocate is an incredible movie, which shows us how we’re losing our souls every day. It teaches us to let go of vanity, which is the core of all sins and makes us think over the matter of success. What is it? How do we define it? What price have we paid for it? The world we live in is our own doing and what happens to us is too. Devil’s Advocate makes us take a deep, real look inside¬†ourselves and ask, “Can I bear to look at myself in the mirror, and if I do, will I see a monster?

L. V. K.

How You Express Your Anger, Depending on Your Moon Sign

The other day, I came across an article summarising the way different zodiac signs express their anger and react to scandals. As most of you probably know, reading newspaper horoscopes is a waste of time because one’s personality is not limited to their Sun sign; it’s a complicated mixture, influenced by all planets and constellations, house positions, aspects and many more. That’s why I normally don’t read ‘astrology’ forecast articles, especially in the daily newspaper,¬†but for some reason, this one caught my attention. So I started reading, beginning with my own sign of course, which is Virgo. As I expected, what was written in there was 100% wrong. However, I decided to read the Scorpio part as well, which is my Ascendant. I’ve heard from astrologers that if you are reading the daily horoscope, you should check out the part of your Ascendant sign, not your Sun. And this was 100% accurate! I was surprised because the Ascendant does not normally play that important part in your emotional state, but then I remembered my Moon sign was in Scorpio too¬†(very bad positioning in my opinion). The Moon is in charge of our emotions so it was only logical that the way we express anger will be determined by the Moon sign. To be entirely sure of the accuracy of my realisation and the article itself, I decided to check the parts, describing my family and some close friends’ (Moon) signs and they were 100% true as well. If you don’t know your Moon sign, that’s very easy to check; just google ‘Moon sign calculator’, type your date of birth and that’s it.

So here are the descriptions of how all 12 Moon signs express anger (this might help you deal with them in critical situations):

Moon in Aries

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Aries is a fiery sign, the fieriest of all three. So you can imagine what happens when a Moon in Aries gets angry- they explode¬†with the power of a¬†nuclear¬†bomb. A scandal with a person having their Moon in Aries is like an electric storm and if you’re in the centre of it, you’ll feel like¬†a lightning rod. The only thing you can do after is to pretend nothing has happened; the Aries will grump for a while and will then forget it. However, if the offence was a serious one, they are likely to remember and their anger might erupt again like a volcano- sudden and scorching.

Moon in Taurus

Moon in Taurus doesn’t explode so easily. You must have done something extremely terrible to make them angry. But once they get on the going, there’ll be no safe place for you on Earth. There’s no point in trying to calm them down, argue, cry or beg, you’ll just make them angrier. The Moon in Taurus will hardly forgive you and if they do, they’ll remember the offence for a very long time, reminding you of your ‘sin’ every now and then.

Moon in Gemini

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People having their Moon in Gemini are quarrelsome and nagging.¬†They get angry very easily, anything could¬†make them explode and¬†they can even become quite aggressive.¬†Kill the Gemini with silence- this is how to¬†finish¬†them in a quarrel. The fact you don’t respond to their attacks could result in hysteria. To win against them, you need to be very calm and reasonable, because if you get angry too, that will give them pleasure and the quarrel will never end. A good thing about the Moon in Gemini though, is they forget very quickly. After the storm, you simply need to behave in a cheery and friendly manner and everything will be fine again.

Moon in Cancer

The Cancer is an extremely sensitive sign, so it’s very easy to offend them. Once they get angry, they will attack you, using every possible means. Don’t get shocked if a Moon in Cancer uses a very personal thing¬†you’ve shared with them, just to hurt you. However, they do it not because they are evil, but because anger blinds them, especially during a quarrel. The Cancer has a sense of fairness and will feel sorry for what they’ve done once they calm down.

Moon in Leo

The Leo is a very lazy beast; there’s no need for quarrel. They are smarter, prettier and much more elegant than you and on top of that, they have royal blood. Why would such a magnificent person waste their time to argue with you? But once you get them roaring, put on some earplugs and a helmet. They will aim at your weak spot, they will offend you and humiliate you; it could even get to a physical aggression. And don’t expect them to apologise after that. If you want to remain friends with a Moon in Leo after a quarrel, you need to take¬†the first step.

Moon in Virgo

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If they love you, they will forgive you. But they will shout¬†at you nonetheless. Every time you fail to do something in accordance to their rules, they will either¬†grumble or¬†scream at you, depending on the level¬†of your crime. They might even throw something at you (they are very well-aimed). Don’t worry while¬†they are screaming, but if they stop, then it means they’ve had enough and the situation gets critical. After the quarrel, don’t be the first to act because they’ll think you’re trying to trick them.

Moon in Libra

The Moon in Libra doesn’t like huge scandals. But they participate¬†in them nonetheless. People around them annoy them very often and they need to act whether they like it or not. The thing they hate the most during a quarrel is the opponent to present a serious argument they can’t over-think. This will drive them crazy because they hate losing an argument. And if you remind them of a similar case when they’ve acted wrong, they will eat you, quite literally.

Moon in Scorpio

scorpionewmoonOn the outside, a Moon in Scorpio doesn’t get angry. They keep cool and strike with their poisonous tail. ¬†To lose their temper and start screaming, something extremely terrible should’ve happened. A Moon in Scorpio will forgive people they consider close as long as they take¬†the first step to reconciliation. If they don’t consider you close though, a Moon in Scorpio will only pretend they’ve forgiven you while plotting a revenge.

Moon in Sagittarius

A Moon in Sagittarius might not even notice when they quarrel with you. It must have been a huge scandal with a few broken glasses, to make a Moon in Sagittarius remember it for a few minutes. The Sagittarius is quarrelsome, screams a lot, offends and sometimes involves external parties in the hassle. They could make such a show that the neighbours come out to the windows with popcorn. However quickly they explode though, they cool down twice as quick and might even forget they’ve quarrelled with you. You don’t even need to reconcile after that.

Moon in Capricorn

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A Moon in Capricorn does not normally shout, they will express all their emotions through their eyes. During a¬†hassle, they will not respond to their opponent’s attacks, they will just look at them sternly with a pinch of arrogance. A Moon in Capricorn will remember every offence and every wound you’ve given them and will pay you back accordingly. They would never admit their fault, even if they realise it.

Moon in Aquarius

Those with Moon in Aquarius shout only when they think it would benefit them; it never comes emotionally, from their hearts. A Moon in Aquarius could turn into a spitfire though, but only when they are overloaded, stressed or have problems. They might insult you terribly but they don’t mean it. That’s why they will come and apologize later because they are not resentful.

Moon in Pisces

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If a quarrel is a kind of sport for the Sagittarius, it is definitely a vocation for the Pisces. They cry, they shout, they insult. They could even throw something at you in their rage and cry over it being broken for days after. A Moon in Pisces will easily forgive you though because, after such a quarrel, they normally seek the fault in themselves.

 

The Moon is responsible for one’s emotional and instinctual energies and is a key component in the makeup of the basic ego/personality. The three main components in forming one’s personality are the Sun, the Moon and the Ascendant. The Moon represents the internal self, the emotional state; we express this side of our character only to people we consider close. The Ascendant represents the external self, how we act in an unfamiliar environment; the Ascendant is how other people (mostly those who don’t know us very well or meet us for the first time) see us; the Ascendant is the first impression. The Sun is the element that makes the connection between the two. In order to get a better¬†understanding about yourself and how you’d react in particular situations, read the descriptions for your Sun & Moon signs and the Ascendant.

L. V. K.

Artists vs. Celebrities: Is Celebrity Killing The Art

Today’s post is a little bit different from what I normally blog about. But since I love all forms of art- cinema, theatre, music, literature, painting etc., and definitely consider myself an art person, I decided to share my opinion on modern¬†cinematic art and its impact on society. My focus is on Hollywood because unfortunately, this is the only entertainment and show business industry we have access to on a global level. The thing that actually provoked me was a biography book I came across recently. It is the first biography of actor Christian Bale, published independently by his former assistant. I found out about the existence of this book through¬†Facebook, because its official page appeared as¬†a suggestion on my timeline. I checked it out and¬†decided to read some reviews on Goodreads to see what it was about as I don’t like¬†biographies and have read just a couple in my life. However, I do like Christian Bale so I thought I might give it a go if it was good and if it’s focus was on his career. Apparently, what it turned out to be was an angry former assistant taking revenge by revealing very personal aspects of a very secretive person’s life. I was disgusted by what I read and decided I will NOT read such thing.

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Christian Bale is one of my favourite actors and I respect him a lot for his talent and for his personality. I don’t know him of course, but I like his approach to the public- very respectful and a little bit reserved. What I like about him is that his personal life is very private and normal and I wish¬†it to remain so. I don’t want to know whether he talks to his¬†siblings or not, what he’s like at home, when he goes to romantic dinners with his wife etc., that’s his business. I only want to see him in good, quality movies like “The Machinist”, “Batman Begins” & the two “Dark Knight” films, “The Fighter”, “American Hustle”, “American Psycho”, “The Prestige” and so on (the list is quite long). And I want his performances to keep getting better and better with each movie he makes. I love his acting style and his dedication to his roles and¬†respect him for that. There are not many actors out there, who are ready to do the things he’s done. That’s why I think his former assistant’s biography is absolutely tasteless, disgusting and unethical. It’s robbing Christian Bale of his privacy and is exposing very personal aspects of his life to the public, which should never have happened. Actors’ job is to entertain the public and be ready to cross borders in the name of art but they are not obliged to feed the¬†public’s curiosity. I’m absolutely against actors revealing their personal lives because that is killing the art.

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Unfortunately, most of the so called celebrities are much different than the Christian Bale model I just described. Nowadays, talentless people rely on scandals to become famous. Drugs, alcohol, love relationships, marriages, divorces, affairs etc. are the things some celebrities use to get the public attention. And sadly, most of them succeed in that. What is sadder though, is that a lot of people really care about those celebrities’ lives and not about their art. Of course, there are many types of entertainment and a lot of¬†people enjoy reading gossip magazines¬†for example., but I think the¬†celebrities filling those magazines should not be put under the same category with real actors/artists/musicians who are famous for their talent and what they create and give to the world and not for their personal life. I think when an actor’s life is too exposed to the public eye, they somehow lose their magic and struggle to get into their characters and be convincing. This is because there should be¬†mysticism around actors as¬†this way they can easily become someone else; the public should never be allowed to see the real person behind the mask. That’s why I think celebrity is killing the art and that’s why I think actors such as Christian Bale and the late River Phoenix are brilliant because one¬†will never know who¬†the actor behind the character really is.

L. V. K.

Jon Snow- Dead or Not

Ice, I see, and daggers in the dark. Blood frozen red and hard, and naked steel…

After last night’s Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale, fans of the show (who haven’t read the books) are in shock. They did it again, they killed another Stark! And not just another Stark but one of the most beloved characters- Jon Snow. Him, Daenerys, Tyrion and Arya are the characters most people bravely believed¬†immortal. I’ll tell them they should¬†have learnt their¬†lesson after Ned Stark’s death, though. Absolutely no one is safe in Game of Thrones. However, there are cases in which death does not last for long. Remember Catelyn Stark who returns at the end of book 3 as Lady Stoneheart, resurrected by Thoros of Myr. Remember Beric Dondarrion…

"Daggers in the dark"

“Daggers in the dark”

George Martin published his fifth instalment in the A Song of Ice and Fire book series in 2011. Which means fans of the books already knew Jon Snow’s fate 4 years ago. However, I don’t remember any revolts regarding his death. Moreover, when I read book 5, I didn’t get the feeling Jon really died in his last chapter. Of course, one can never be sure what George Martin has in mind, but my humble opinion is he’s going to spare Jon’s life. He’s too important and too embedded in the entire story to¬†be completely shoved off of the scene like Ned and Robb before him.

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Jon Snow and Ghost

There are many theories surrounding Jon Snow and many secrets regarding his birth and parentage. Most of you would know the most popular one already- Rhaegar Targaryen + Lyanna Stark= Jon Snow. Rhaegar and Lyanna fell in love and ran away together although Lyanna was betrothed to Robert Baratheon and Rhaegar was married to Elia Martell. But according to an ancient tradition, a Targaryen man is allowed to have two wives because the dragon has three heads (the Targaryen banner represents a three-headed dragon which symbolizes Agon The Conqueror and his two sisters/wives Visenya and Rhaenys). Unfortunately, Rhaegar and Lyanna’s love affair was the reason for the war, known as ‘Robert’s Rebellion’ which almost put an end to House Targaryen. And here comes the theory- Jon who officially is presented to the world as Ned Stark’s bastard, his mother being unknown, is actually the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna. Because as you remember from Ned’s chapters in book 1, he found Lyanna dying and¬†begging him to promise her something. And from here we assume she asked him to save her son. So in order to keep him alive, Ned sacrificed his honour and told the world he cheated on his wife and Jon was the product of his betrayal. Moreover, Jon is also involved in the prophecy about the ‘prince who was promised’. Originally, Prince Agon, Rhaegar’s firstborn son was believed to be the promised one. But as we all know, he was killed together with his mother and sister (I don’t believe the story of Griff and Young Griff and think GRRM included them just to confuse us; their lack in the show prove that), which means not him but Jon might have been the prince who was promised…

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Another very popular theory is that Jon Snow is Azor Ahai reborn. Originally, Melisandre believed Stannis was Azor Ahai, but after meeting Jon Snow she started changing her opinion- ”I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only Snow.” According to the legend, Azor Ahai died to be resurrected and gain his powers. Many believe Daenerys is Azor Ahai reborn, but my opinion is both she and Jon are. Both of them were forced to kill their loves (Danny killed Khal Drogo after the blood magic could nor bring his soul back, only his body and Jon, although not physically, killed Ygritte during the wildling attack on The Wall in book 3). After Khal Drogo’s death, Daenerys had her symbolic death too in the fire just to be born again as Mother of Dragons. But going through her storyline, you have the feeling she’s just the half of something bigger, that she lacks something (or someone) to fulfil her destiny. On the other hand, Jon just suffered a betrayal from his sworn brothers who stabbed him in the dark and most probably killed him (they certainly did in the show). However, Ghost is still there somewhere and so is Melisandre…

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As you can see, Jon is way too important and without him, the story remains incomplete. So to all Jon Snow fans and fans of the TV show, relax, we might see the likes of him very soon.

L. V. K.

The Machinist 2004- Guilt Cuts Sharper Than Knife

Most of you must have heard about Christian Bale’s highly praised performance in The Machinist, for which he dropped his weight to 55kg (he’s 1.80m!), looking like he’s just stepped out of a concentration camp.¬†The movie is as impressive as Bale’s performance, and¬†does not leave you indifferent to the story. It is one of those psychological thrillers, which keep you in tension until the very end. If you enjoy films like Shutter Island and Fight Club, you’ll deffinitely love this one too.

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The Machinist tells the story of Trevor Reznik, a young man who’s been suffering from insomnia for one year. As a result, he’s always tired, moody, unfocused and is so skinny that he resembles a corpse. One day at work, Trevor is distracted by¬†his new colleague and makes a mistake, which leads to the mutilation of a co-worker he’s operating a machine with at that time. The incident throws Trevor in a world of chaos, self-haunting and guilt. He’s often experiencing deja vu which brings back painful memories. Strange occurances straight after the incident make Trevor grow suspicious of everyone around him, except for two women he maintains relationships with.

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I love independent movies because¬†the fact they have low budgets makes them focus on the acting¬†rather than on special effects, rich decors, makeup and costumes and so on. The focus is simply on the art, which makes you get deeper into the story and feel the characters closer and more realistic. I feel some good actors love independent movies for the exact same reason. Christian Bale is an example of such actor who’s doing what he’s doing in the name of art and who’s ready to dive into¬†great¬†depths both physically and psychologically. Another example is River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho. In order to prepare for his role of a drug-addicted street hustler, he became one, hanging out with real hustlers, using hard drugs and basically staying in character during the whole filming period and after. His dedication resulted in him giving the¬†best performance in his career but this also cost him his life three years later.

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Method actors are extremely dedicated and devoted to roles they believe in. Sometimes a method actor could become so deeply attached to a role that they are never able to fully step out of it. This is a devotion in the name of art and such actors deserve respect and admiration. Such actors are no stars or celebrities, they are simply artists.

L. V. K.

Aventurine- The Most Adventurous Crystal Stone

A friend of mine had birthday recently and her folks bought her a pair of blue aventurine earrings and a necklace. As she knows about my passion for crystals and gem stones, she turned to me asking what aventurine is good for and how should she treat her stones. That was a good question as I have been interested in aventurine myself and researched it some time ago.

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Aventurine is a form of quartz, which varies in colours- blue, green, brown, yellow, orange; but what differentiates it from all the rest are the shimmering sparkles that give it the glistening, very beautiful and unique looks. Not only is aventurine stunning, but is also a powerful stone to have around you. It is considered a stone of prosperity, which brings luck and success to its owner. Interesting fact about aventurine is that it protects against environmental pollution; it also protects against cell phone emanations. Another interesting quality of aventurine stone is that it helps you overcome¬†addictions. If you are trying to give up smoking or you are addicted to some food you’d like to stop, keeping an aventurine stone in your pocket or under your pillow while you sleep might help.

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Remember, before starting to use your healing crystal, you must clean it and charge it first. Cleaning a stone is very easy- just put it in a bowl of water (spring would be best) and wash it. Then brush it gently with a towel and put under direct sun or moon light for a few hours. There are a variety of cleansing and charging methods for your crystals, but I will talk more about it in another post.

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In terms of its healing properties, aventurine is very good for your nervous system. It also balances the blood pressure and stimulates the metabolism. It has anti-inflammatory effect and eases skin eruptions and allergies. Blue aventurine in particular is a powerful mental healer.

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Having aventurine in your home not only makes it more beautiful but also brings harmony and special energy. It is stunning in jewellery as well as for decoration of your house and is not expensive at all. If you want to get a crystal for yourself or for someone close to you, I would definitely recommend you aventurine (blue).

L. V. K.

River Phoenix- A Letter to the World

A few days ago, I came across an essay written by actor River Phoneix. If you’ve read my previous article, you must¬†have noticed my big respect and praise for this man. His essay made me proud I have chosen such an incredible human being to be my role model. I decided to re-post his essay¬†here, in my blog, because every belief expressed there is my belief too and because I want to remind people what we should really live and fight for. Even if one single person reads it and penetrates deep into its meaning, then I will have accomplished my task. Because everyone can make a difference.

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We are the world

(April, 17, 1990)

Heavens mourn above us until dawn
Weeping see her tears as rain they fall
Winds whip through canyons
Manifesting splintered wrath
Mother knows that we’ve betrayed her
Dealing with the aftermath.

Sailing ocean cross the sea
Floating vessel carries me
Once I’m there, what is it worth
If I’m betraying Mother¬†?
Stormy weather abruptly
Changes my course suddenly
It’s so unfair starting at birth
Still mistreating Mother Earth.

So you see my friends what we have done
Shadows linger overhead
Heavy like the fog in the valleys
Under heavy earth lay dead.
In a boxcar hides an orphan
Seeking shelter, nothing more
Gliding now tracks lay before him
Leading him to distant shore.

These lyrics are from a song called¬†Betraying Mother. This year, 1990, the year I leave my teenage years behind, I realize nothing else matters but this¬†: We must heal our planet if we’re to survive. Because my parents are so closely connected with nature and share the reality that Planet Earth is our home, I have always been conscious that we need to care for the earth as the living, breathing, supporting, feeding, nurturing home it is for us. As a young person, there were always other threats that seemed much greater to me along the way – nuclear war, the many hand-to-hand wars all over the planet, famine, poverty, crime, drugs, political prisoners, and an overall lack of compassion for every living thing. And closer to home, each of us has our own struggles with growing up.¬†

There’s a lot packed into our teenage years. We go from childhood into a time when hormones start taking over. It all seems to come at us so fast – we are developing physically and taking on much more responsibility at home. We’re dealing with our school workload, peer pressure, the continual ”¬†What are you gonna be when you grow up¬†?¬†” question, trying to set a good example for siblings, choosing a college – and the million of other things on our minds that have really little or nothing to do with our relationship to Mother Earth and our true nature as human beings who have taken it upon ourselves to be ”¬†in charge¬†” of the planet.

With so much going on, it was quite a relief to think that our elected officials would take care of all of those major planetary concerns while we were just to concentrate on growing up. It’s obvious now that not only was no one taking care of our home as we trusted, but that people were, and still are, perpetuating this planetary destruction.

Now as I look ahead to my future, I’m amazed at how the earth itself is letting us know in so many ways that there has been a gross injustice done by humankind. The many recent devastating floods, landslides, and weather changes show the earth’s pain and how out of the balance our ecosystem has become. At this point, not only have we polluted the earth we live on, the waters we drink and swim in, and the air we breath, but we have even altered the atmosphere itself.¬†

We are now in a global emergency, and for this reason I’m most thankful for Earth Day 1990, which hopefully will mobilize a worldwide massive citizen army to avert planetary disaster.¬†

There are solutions to these problems, but most of them will take a conscious effort by every human being to eliminate from his or her life the things that are leading us to impending disaster. I list the following problems and I ask you to join me and become a part of the solution.

The greenhouse effect

Gases get trapped in the atmosphere, which acts like the glass of a greenhouse, letting sunlight in but not letting all the reflected infrared heat out. Because our forests and oceans can’t filter out all of the carbon dioxide we spew into the atmosphere (from power plants, large-scale burning, and cars), it gets trapped and starts to put pressure on the planet. We must use less energy, less electricity, and reduce the burning of fossil fuels (mostly coal and oil). We really need to improve gas mileage for cars. We must make a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources – like solar power – that don’t contribute to global warming. We must plant more trees because they are nature’s storehouses of carbon dioxide.

The ozone layer

The ozone layer is seven miles up in the atmosphere and is a shield from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. This delicate membrane is being destroyed by man-made chemicals that drift up there – mainly the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that are used in air conditioners, refrigerators, Styrofoam ( as in fast food cartons), and industrial solvents. These CFCs eat away at the ozone and also contribute to the greenhouse effect. We need to work for laws that will ban CFCs. That’s the key. We can’t wait for everyone else to do it – you change the world by changing yourself.

Rain forest destruction

Forty-nine millions acres of rain forest are destroyed or degraded each year. That’s equivalent to one and a half football field each second. These forests are vital sources of oxygen¬†: They moderate our climate, prevent floods, and are our best defense against soil erosion. Forests recycle and purify our water. One quarter of all prescribed medication in the U.S. is derived from raw materials found in these forests. They are home to millions of plants and animals. The beauty and inspiration of these forests are important to millions of people. Rain forest destruction contributes to the greenhouse effect because there’s no way to replant these jewels of nature fast enough to soak up the exorbitant amount of carbon dioxide they release into the earth’s atmosphere when they’re burned.

One force behind the destruction of the rain forest is our country’s importation of millions of pounds of meat annually from Central America. To provide pasture for cattle, these countries have been burning and clearing their priceless rain forests. We must make our outrage known to the businesses (especially fast food places) that use this meat¬†; we must demand that they stop contributing to the destruction of our rain forests. One reason our Central and South American neighbors have participated in this destruction is because of the tremendous debts they have to countries all over the world. By exporting meat they make some of the money they need to pay back these debts. I say we should figure out a way to forgive them their debts so we may all live.

It’s a tragedy that one thousand plant and animal species become extinct each year due to the destruction of tropical rain forests – and that the native rain forest tribes are being forced out. As the rain forests disappear, many of our migratory birds are also losing their winter homes. They’re dying, and this is harmful because they naturally control the population of insects – and tragic because their beauty will be lost to the world.

Garbage

We’ve run out of room for all the garbage our ”¬†throwaway¬†” society has created. We must implement recycling programs in our homes, schools and communities.

You can start by recycling aluminum, glass, newspaper, cardboard, and paper. Talk to your teachers and call your elected officials to find out how you can get involved. Buy products that come in recyclable containers. Be persistent. Be enthusiastic. Be determined.

Chemical, toxins and pesticide

We are literally poisoning ourselves because of the pesticides sprayed on our produce¬†; the chemicals dumped on our farmlands to ”¬†nourish¬†” the soil¬†; the hormones, growth stimulants, tranquilizers, and antibiotics fed to animals that humans meat¬†; and, of course, the pollutants spewed into the air.¬†

Pesticides don’t just affect the creature who ingests them first. They accumulate in the tissues of animals and then, as one organism is eaten by another, they build up in even higher concentrations. This means that a worm living in the soil will store pesticides in its tissues. Then a bird will eat the worm and ingest the pesticide eaten by the worm – and the tens of thousands of other worms it ingests in its lifetime. At each stage up the food chain, the concentration of toxic chemicals is greatly increased. The same is true of cows or chickens or pigs. Animals raised on factory farms build up especially high concentrations of chemical toxins because they’re fed great quantities of fish meal (made from fish swimming in polluted waters)¬†; their other feeds are grown on land heavily sprayed with pesticides¬†; and they are dipped in, sprayed with, and intentionally fed many toxic compounds to keep them ”¬†healthy¬†” while living in filthy and unnatural conditions inside these factory farms. The days of livestock animals grazing together in lush green meadows are over.

These poisons are retained in the fat of animals. Each step up the food chain, animals become ever more concentrated carriers of the most deadly chemicals. You sit at the very top of the food chain, and whenever you eat anything that comes from nature, you are ingesting these toxins, too.

The solutions to these problems will take time, but they will be accomplished. I’ve learned that if you can’t get it all together to accomplish this thing called peace, you do at least your part in your own life, because that’s where you can truly make an immediate difference. I’d like to stop all of the world wars, but that’s really an impossible endeavor for one person. But I¬†canstop all the wars in my life. I can start with myself and improve my personal relationships with everyone I’m in contact with. I’d like to stop world hunger and famine, but one man single-handedly couldn’t possibly stop everyone’s hunger. What I¬†can¬†do is spend my own time, energy, and money enlightening others about the plight of the poor. And although I can’t stop all cruelty to living creatures on the planet, I can be kinder to every living creature in¬†my¬†life.

Peace begins with you. Now. We must light the lamp of our consciousness so that we never react without thinking and questioning the means to get to the end that we are seeking. Because if the path along the way is covered with thorns, selfishness, cruelty, and greed, you can be pretty sure that the result will lead us to just about where we are today… near the end, if we don’t do something quickly.

Therefore, I question everything with my consciousness lamp on to see if the road I take along the way will lead me to peace. In my life, I decided

  • Not to eat meat or animals products or to use their skins for my clothing, shoes, or decorations. There’s such immense cruelty involved with the raising of animals for human consumption that if I can stop their pain by boycotting their products, I will immediately make a difference.
  • To recycle. Also to question my habits of consumption. I try to use less of everything and reuse things whenever I can.¬†
  • To speak out and know that my voice can be heard by writing government officials, becoming politically active, lobbying in Washington, and becoming part of peaceful, educational demonstrations.
  • To use less and less of those things that add to the demise of our planet.

In our family, we never were big for celebrating holidays, but this year my mother is asking for something on Mother’s Day for the first time. She wants us to help her call attention to the world that this Mother’s Day, 1990, should be dedicated to the most nurturing mother of all – Mother Earth. If gifts are to be given on this day, let all mothers request that they be gifts to the earth. We could plant trees, make donations to environmental groups, or give other gifts to promote understanding of the condition of the planet. This would truly make for a day worth celebrating.

With the help of all of you, I look forward to the years ahead of us when our generation can work together to create a happy, healthy, clean, and loving environment.

River Phoenix (1970-1993)

 

Tomorrow Is Another Day

I’ve always loved classic books. The very word classic means that the piece of art- a book, a song or a movie- has been recognised by many as qualitative and deserving respect and admiration. I have recently finished reading Gone With The Wind– undoubtedly one of the top classics, both the movie and the book. Probably those of you who have read it know the emotions that follow after you reach the end- anger, despair, depression, but also hope; after all, tomorrow is another day.

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What I love about this book is the background- the tragic events related to the decline of a whole system of life- and the way the main character, Scarlet O’Hara, survives the crisis and fights for her and her siblings’ lives and rights. Many people would describe Scarlet as cold, selfish and cruel, ready to step over dead bodies just to accomplish her ambitions and desires. Maybe they are right in thinking so, but the coin always has two sides. I, personally admire Scarlet for her bravery and ability to adapt to different situations. The society she lives in is blind and fanatic and does not accept her behaviour, but Scarlet is an example of an emancipated woman. This same society lives by the old, restrictive rules which do not look favourably upon¬†women who work (especially ones who are running their own business like Scarlet), who “show off” in public¬†when they are pregnant, who live alone etc. But Scarlet is a modern, practical woman who rebels against the restrictions imposed on women by the vastly conservative society. And this is what makes Rhett Butler fall in love with her…

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Rhett is the male version of Scarlet- a cinic who’s rebelling against everything and everyone. He hates to be part of the crowd and is always there to criticise its manners and customs, its beliefs and ideals. However, behind the mask of a hardhearted turncoat, Rhett has a very gentle heart and is always ready to help his compatriots. He and Scarlet make the perfect couple, but their biggest misfortune is both of them carry too many masks, so their true selves can’t find each other. Rhett believes Scarlet does not love him, and Scarlet believes Rhett does not love her. Moreover, she fooles herself she’s in love with Ashley Wilks- her neighbour and friend from childhood. The only one who sees the truth behind the masks is Melany- Ashley’s wife. She is one of the last, true ladies who, unfortunately, belongs to the old times, the times before the war when everything had been much simpler and easier. The new order and the world she’s forced to live in are too cruel for her tender soul.

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Gone With The Wind is one of the greatest books I’ve ever read. So tragic in its credibility and so intense in its presentation of complicated personalities. I think everyone who loves books should read¬†Gone With The Wind because this is an incredible story of love and hate, war and peace, death and life.¬†But once you get deep inside¬†the pages, you realise hate is actually love, peace turns out to be war and those who are dead are more alive than the ones who remain living. But at the end, there is always hope as “tomorrow is another day”.

L. V. K.

River Phoenix- The Boy Who Was Worth Millions Of Planets And Stars

They say the brightest people leave the biggest shadows…

I’ve planned this post for a very long time; I wanted it to be informative, opinionated, accurate, perfect. But I realised whatever I say will always be too little to express¬†my great respect and admiration for a young life, lost too soon but having left so much.

River Phoenix & Keanu Reeves

River Phoenix & Keanu Reeves

I first came across the name River Phoenix just a few months ago, while reading an article about one of my favourite actors and role models- Keanu Reeves. Like most people, I took an interest in his unusual name- River Phoenix. I decided to check him out so I did a little search on him and my god, what I found was a precious diamond! After that, I watched My Own Private Idaho and got totally addicted to that extraordinary person. I wanted to know more about him, his beliefs and his unusual life. We all associate ourselves with famous people at times. Some of us choose our role models for their eccentricity, others for their appearance, behaviour, unusual relationships, modesty, work etc. I choose my role models for our mutual beliefs and for they are down-to-earth, good-hearted people who care about the world that surrounds them. And River Phoenix is one of the very few celebrities I truly admire and respect for that.

It is true River was a very contradictory person. Just like the name he was carrying, he seemed to be¬†indecipherable- calm on the surface but turbulent and unpredictable underneath. River was one of tumblr_m7k29uErt11rbucumo4_400the first vegans and animal rights activists in Hollywood. He was promoting a clean life, a conscious life where one would live in harmony with nature trying to minimise the harmful impact humanity has had on¬†this planet. And yet he died of a drug overdose. These are the two sides of the coin in River’s life- one was extremely¬†bright, the other too¬†dark. We all have these inner demons that are fighting with our inner angels, two completely different types of energies; some call them yin and yang, others good and evil. The Native Americans have a saying about this, which I particularly like:¬†There are two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, lies, inferiority and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth. Which wolf¬†wins? The one you feed.¬†For an intense person like River, the two wolves inside him, being too strong for a normal person to bear, destroyed each other taking him with them.

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River’s early life was marked by poverty, uncertainty and abuse. His parents were members of the “Children of God” religious cult, which was famous for encouraging incest and abusing young children sexually. We will never know if River was abused¬†during the time his parents were in the cult¬†(although he mentions in an interview his first sexual contact was at the age of 3-4) but as young as he was, witnessing the things the members of the sect were doing between each other were enough to scar him for life. He never had a normal childhood, never really attended school and started working as a street performer at a very early age to support his family. The aspect of his life that made him most fragile though was the fact he had been living in his family’s own world, not experiencing what the world outside was really like. He never really learned how to communicate with children his own age, apart from his brother and sisters. He was perceived by the family as a messiah which robbed him of the experience of being a child. And straight after the missionary, street life in South America, still too young and fragile, he was thrown straight into the deep- Hollywood…

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Not being able to change the world the way he wanted to, and not knowing how to communicate the message he had, probably left River disappointed and confused. I watched him recently in a talk show in 1990 discussing issues such as vaccinations, food poisoning, water waste, breastfeeding etc. in front of an audience. Issues that are still relevant nowadays. The way the audience responded to his ideas was awful, hitting him below the belt with stuff like criticising his appearance (which was absolutely normal for a 20-year old boy), laughing at his and hissiblings’s names, suggesting him to focus on something else and put his eccentric ideas aside and so on. I could see the way he felt- misunderstood and rejected by the audience; rejected for being different. And he was different because he was living way ahead his time and was wise beyond his age; as a friend of his described him “he was under-educated and over-intelligent“. His ideas and lifestyle were revolutionary for the society he was living in. I could see the audience was a typical bunch of sheep, being prisoners of their own ignorance,¬†anathematising what they couldn‚Äôt understand. And this is what made River so vulnerable and suffering. Adding to that, he was the main source of finance for his family, which was stressful enough by its own, having his privacy brutally interfered by the public and being part of the dirty show business in Hollywood which was forcing him to do things contradicting his believes, it is no surprise River found escape in drugs and alcohol. He was just a lonely, pure soul which happened to live in a cruel world, robbing him of his ideals and believes. And even though he was surrounded by people- family, friends and fans, I think he was lonely.

I wish someone could have helped River overcome his drug problem; I wish he could have survived the Viper Room in October, 1993; I wish I could have seen his talent revealed and his ideas implemented. But even though he left this world at age 23, he made a huge impact and was one of the founders of a new, better world. After all, he really did change the world.

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I don’t want to get so lost in thinking about me and talking about me all the time in interviews. It’s so nice to unwind and just look at other things and get out of yourself. It’s hard to detach myself from myself without neglecting myself. You know what I mean? I don’t want to get in to the habit of thinking about my career because when it comes down to it, it’s not really that important. I could die tomorrow and the world would go on.

River Phoenix (1970-1993)

L. V. K.