Entanglement

If anyone wants proof that we have a long way to go in understanding the way the Universe works, look no further than entanglement. Einstein hated it.  He called it “spooky action at a distance”, trying to prove with others that it was a flaw in the theory of quantum physics.

But it does work.  And it has been proved to work time after time. And not only that, it works instantly, over vast distances.  Entangle or “link’ two particles, change an aspect of one, and the other changes – instantly.  Even though as Einstein showed, you cannot travel faster than the speed of light, disruption of entanglement is an instant process.

And physicists can’t explain it. Well, that’s not strictly true.  There is one explanation, but it’s such a mind boggling explanation, that most people shy away from it.

The explanation – that everything is already connected!  You, me, the stars, every atom  in the whole Universe.

I rather like it!

A face that still haunts me

It didn’t even warrant the title “stream”, trickle was a more apt description for the small outflow of water running over a few rocks and surrounded by a mantle of mud. I trod warily, trying to avoid the soft, sticky mire, distracted also by the number of items hanging from the trees surrounding the water. I found myself constantly looking up into their branches, which were hung with a panoply of teddy bears, ribbons of all descriptions, and a host of small trinkets and mirrors that glittered as they spun in the breeze and caught the sunlight.

earth-face
The mystery face.

So it was an unexpected discovery. There at the source of the spring, was a face. It stopped me in my tracks, and for a moment I wondered if I was really alone, the face seemed to have been so recently created.  As I looked harder, I saw the two green leaves that represented tears and felt the pain that seemed to emanate from it. I wondered who had created it, and what it meant to them, and I hoped that it represented a turning point, a transition that led to light and love. I stood there for a long time, feeling the mystery of the face, wondering about its creator, caught also by the ancient spirit of my surroundings, a place that felt outside of time. Of my time anyway.

I returned to that place a few times during the week that I spent holidaying nearby. I learnt that it was a place of healing, with a history that went back thousands of years, before Roman feet walked the land, and that somehow, the knowledge of its power had not been lost, and some still visited it.

On my visits, I never did see anyone else at this sacred site, although there was always a feeling, a feeling of awareness of a – I have no word for it – a presence.

 

 

 

Where did summer go?

I frequently walk some extensive wetlands that are home to hundreds of birds, many migratory.  And already one can sense the gathering energy as the migratory birds begin to prepare for their flight south.  Large groups of geese move slowly back and fore across the lakes, Lapwings flock and fly at apparently the slightest reason. The nights are beginning to draw in, the night temperature falling, and Autumn is drawing nigh.

But so soon!

Last night I watched the ISS pass overhead.

final_configuration_of_issIt’s remarkable that it is only just over a century before the first flight of an aeroplane, and yet, passing brightly and rapidly overhead was a spaceship carrying six other human beings.

Now there is talk of a Mars colony, a return to the Moon, and even light sails that can cut the journey to another Star to years rather than decades.

But I wondered what human-kind would take into deep space along with them. Greed, hate, intolerance, probably.

But I hoped not.

And then I thought again of the International Space Station that I had seen earlier. It was built by former enemies, now working in cooperation, it carried men and women of different nationalities, people with courage and resolve, prepared to journey through Earth’s atmosphere to get to it and back, let alone to orbit for months in that tiny, fragile tin can. And then to live and work together.

And my heart grew lighter.

 

 

Energy, good, bad, diverted

For more than ten years I practised Aikido, a Japanese martial art.  I was never very competent at it, but it did teach me one thing, and that’s about observing another’s energy.

The Japanese word Ai-ki-do translates broadly as the way of harmonious spirit, with the Ai also meaning Love.  I adored the concept, someone goes to attack you, and you simply turn their own energy back on them, no anger, no hurt, just taking the outstretched fist a little further than the attacker is comfortable with, they fall over, you run!

No hate, no anger, just love and compassion.

And the application of the lesson?  When you meet with another, in meetings, in relationships, in any way whatever there is always an energy that the another radiates.  Sometimes it is wonderful and warm. Coming home from work, and your children rush to greet you.  Going into the corner shop, and the shopkeeper gives you a broad smile of welcome.  Meeting an old friend unexpectedly.

And then there is the negative energy that some another can radiate.  The glare from another car driver caught in the Monday morning queue into work, the impatience radiated by the shop assistant as you fumble for your change, or the anger from someone in a passionate argument.

And what have I learnt?

That you can learn to see, to recognise, that energy, good or bad.

And when you can do that, then you have a choice. To choose to accept that energy, and radiate it back, good or bad.

Or, especially if the energy is bad, to sidestep it, to remain calm, to choose to allow it to pass you by, to not get caught by it.

Instead to reflect Love, Ai, to know that actually there is no opponent, only the dance.

 

 

Strange star flashing in the heavens

Currently, Scholz’s star is a small, dim red dwarf in the constellation of Monoceros, about 20 light-years away, and now moving away from us. However, about 70,000 years ago, it just grazed the outer reaches of the solar system as it wandered by, accompanied by its brown dwarf companion.

At the closest point in its flyby of the solar system, Scholz’s star would have been a 10th magnitude star – about 50 times fainter than can normally be seen with the naked eye at night. But because it is magnetically active, such stars can “flare” and briefly become thousands of times brighter. So it is possible that Scholz’s star may have been visible to the naked eye by our ancestors 70,000 years ago for minutes or hours at a time during these flaring events.

What would our ancestors have made of this stranger in the heavens? What would we have made of it a thousand years ago if it were passing by us then and not 70,000 years previously?

scholtzstar
An artist’s concept of Scholz’s star with its brown-dwarf companion in the foreground during their flyby of the solar system 70,000 years ago. The sun would appear as a bright star from the pair (left background). Credit: Michael Osadciw/University of Rochester

 

Cup and Ring markings

I had never heard of them before, until we moved to Yorkshire, near to the famous Ilkley Moor.  There I discovered that just about every rock on the Moors cupandring2was inscribed with cup and ring markings. And more than that, cup and ring markings are to be found in abundance all over of Britain, and to a lesser extent, the world.

They consist of a concave depression, no more than a few centimetres across, pecked into a rock surface and often surrounded by concentric circles also etched into the stone. Sometimes a linear channel called a gutter leads out from the middle.

They first date back to around 6,000 years ago and continued to be carved on stones for cupandring1another 2-3,000 years.

They are perhaps one of the biggest mysteries of ancient times, and yet one of the least known.  Britain has more of these markings than anywhere else, and they are to be found throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

As an example, there are many to be found at Kilmartin Glen.  Amongst the numerous cup and ring markings can be found what can only be described as “rock art”, as well as standing stones, cairns, and from a later age, a hill fort.

But what are they meant to symbolise? Why did ancient peoples spend hours, days probably, making these strange marks on outcrops of rock?  And why did the tradition of making the carvings last so long?

There are no answers; Professor Alex Thom thought that their creators might have used a standard measure in their creation, and there seems to be some evidence for this, but far from conclusive.  And even if there is a standard measure, it does not answer the question, why?

The Tower of the Winds

What a wonderful title for a tower, and no, it’s not found in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Instead, it stands inside the Vatican and was built to answer, in effect, the question, how long is a day.  The answer that they came up with was not 24 hours, but rather 23 hours and fifty-six minutes.

The Tower of the Winds was built between 1578 and 1580 as a means leading to the reform of the Julian calendar which had been in use since 45 BCE. At midday, the sun shines through a hole in the wall, and illuminates a large sundial inscribed on the floor of the tower, and thus provided the means of calculating the true length of a day.

tower-winds

The Gregorian calendar that followed introduced the leap year as a means of compensating for the real length of a day.

As the photo shows, the Tower is richly decorated and is one of the highest points in Vatican City.

But predating that is an even older Tower of the Winds, to be found in Athens.  I can do no better than quote from the Athens Tourist Information web site, viz:

athens-plaka-tower_of_the_winds

The Tower of the Winds is found in the Roman Agora of Athens, between the quarters of Plaka and Monastiraki. This is among the most famous sights of Athens. A 12-metre-tall structure with a diameter of 8 metres, this tower has an octagonal shape. It was made of fine Pentelic marble probably around 50 B.C. by the Greek astronomer Andronicus of Cyrrhus. This tower has many uses in ancient times. It was originally constructed as a timepiece, that is to estimate time, based on the position of the sun. It was also used for weather indicating and forecasting. The tower features a combination of sundials, a water clock and a wind vane. In fact, its frieze depicts the eight wind deities according to their direction: Boreas (N), Kaikias (NE), Eurus (E), Apeliotes (SE), Notus (S), Livas (SW), Zephyrus (W) and Skiron (NW). Source: http://www.greeka.com

Hillforts

An atlas listing and detailing 4,147 hillforts was released to the public for free on the 22nd June. The atlas gives an exhaustive list of all the known hillforts in Britain, and adds considerably to the previous list of  1,224 hillforts listed in the Wikipedia entry for June 2017. The press release states:

Mostly built during the Iron Age, the oldest hillforts date to around 1,000BC and the most recent to around 700AD. Hillforts were central to more than 1,500 years of ancient living: with numerous functions – some of which are yet to be fully uncovered – hillforts served as communal gathering spaces. The research also shows that, fascinatingly, not all hillforts are on hills; nor are they all forts.

And that is part of the mystery. There are some hillforts, for example, Maiden Castle in Dorset, the biggest hillfort in Europe, that are truly hillforts, not only atop significantly high hills, but with impressive defences, and in the case of Maiden Castle, with clear evidence of attack(s) by the Romans.

Yet there are others that look at first glance as “defended enclosures” to use the archeological term, but are indefensible.  They have a bank and ditch, but arranged in such a way that they offer no impediment to attackers.  Thornborough Henges is one of the most important examples, and is viewed as being part of a ritual landscape, whatever that means!

 

It is, as it is meant to be.

And it is thus.

It was a Retreat.  The mix of lack of sleep, inner contemplation, the challenge of solving/understanding a Koan.  A process anointed by the passage of centuries, a path followed by – perhaps millions? – over the centuries.

And somewhere on my own personal journey on that Retreat I understood something deep, profound, that moved me to tears of joy. An insight, no, deeper than that, an understanding that this IS the way the Universe works.

It is, as it’s meant to be, for better, for worse in our short term view, but as it is meant to be.