Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August's Accidents -Hungry Ghost Month or Mercury's Retrograde?

The early nightly news just wrapped and another bus accident occurred in the province of Quezon. This is just another incident to be added to this month’s several number of accidents and tragedies involving buses, with last week Monday’s hostage crisis that resulted in the death of 8 Hong Kong residents as the peak for this month.

Oops, perhaps I should recant that and not use the word “peak”. It sounds like as if there is a trend to these happenings. And that was what I thought of as this month draws to a close, and thus marks the end of the month of the Hungry Ghost.

So what is the Hungry ghost? Well Wikipedia defines it as this –“The Ghost Festival, also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival, is a traditional Chinese festival and holiday celebrated by Chinese in many countries. In the Chinese calendar (a lunisolar calendar), the Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month (14th in southern China).

In Chinese tradition, the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month (鬼月), in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. Distinct from both the Qingming Festival (in Spring) and Chung Yeung Festival (in Autumn) in which living descendants pay homage to their deceased ancestors, on Ghost Day, the deceased are believed to visit the living.

On the fifteenth day the realms of Heaven and Hell and the realm of the living are open and both Taoists and Buddhists would perform rituals to transmute and absolve the sufferings of the deceased. Intrinsic to the Ghost Month is ancestor worship, where traditionally the filial piety of descendants extends to their ancestors even after their deaths. Activities during the month would include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss paper, a papier-mache form of material items such as clothes, gold and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors. Elaborate meals (often vegetarian meals) would be served with empty seats for each of the deceased in the family treating the deceased as if they are still living. Ancestor worship is what distinguishes Qingming Festival from Ghost Festival because the latter includes paying respects to all deceased, including the same and younger generations, while the former only includes older generations. Other festivities may include, buying and releasing miniature paper boats and lanterns on water, which signifies giving directions to the lost ghosts and spirits of the ancestors and other deities.”

Early in the month, when I felt that the number of accidents involving buses and vehicles seem to populate the news, I asked a fellow Wiccan who conferred with her Astrologer friend & said  that Mercury was in retrograde. I thought what could it possibly have anything to do with the tragic accidents and most specially last week’s debacle? At first I thought none but then in hindsight, perhaps there was some planetary influence on the situation.

Mercury rules the mind; the intellect; language; how we express and think. This also governs our perception and thought processes. In short communication and dissemination of ideas.

Am I leading to something here? Perhaps.

Who would have thought that this month would prove to be the last for those victims of the recent hostage tragedy. And could it be also coincidence that last Monday's crisis falls on the eve of the Hungry Ghost festival based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar? 

On the other hand, perhaps it was Mercury’s influence that dulled the minds of our police force and made them less than pro-active and decisive in their intent to take down the hostage taker. Perhaps it was also what prodded Mendoza to take drastic measures and not think about the ramifications of his actions. Perhaps the next day it was the same retrograde that affected our own Venus Raj in the Miss Universe and allowed her to fumble at the question and thus only to find herself in 4th place. Perhaps it is also the reason why I have been more introspective these days and inspired to create a blog and share my feelings?

Or perhaps I may be taking this a little too far?

But then again, do we and should we blame the planets for what we can decide for ourselves in this physical plane? Or can we take comfort in the thought that in spite of the “planetary” influences that may cause us to behave the way that we do in certain situations; there is still that open window of decision making that is left to us. And our decision should come from a balance of both the mind and of the heart; of the rationale and the emotional; of the cause of our thoughts and the effects of these if acted upon.

As it is, what we ultimately decide determines our course of action and thus crafts our future.

Let's hope in the next month, we are able to do and be better. We need to and we should.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dealing with the recent tragedy

There will always be people who deal with it well and those that don't.

There will also be people who would condemn and those that would make an attempt to rise above it and see the situation for that it is and for the good that it brings inspite of the pain involved in it.

What I'm referring to is the recent hostage taking crisis that happened last week here in Manila. So much has been said about who did what, who didn't do what, who should have done this or that. But as a nation, we are hurting as well and thinking how this tragedy could have happened here in our country and why of all times it had to happen when we are truly off to a good  and hopeful start just after the recent Presidential elections.

If there is truly some good that would come out of this tragedy, then I hope that as a nation we would embrace that; we would recognize it and apply it to our lives.

And to see a non-Filipino in this youtube video posted below, speak with much understanding, it certainly warms my heart to see that Pandora has not locked up hope in her box. It is there. Alive and Thriving. We just have to be aware enough to see it and vigilant enough to protect it and the heart to spread it around.

After Watching LOVELY BONES.....7-11-2010

y say that once that you have been touched by death, you will carry its taint forever and will always be marked by it. No matter how long ago it has been.
It’s been almost 3 years since Dad passed away and there is not one day that I don’t remember and mention him in my prayers and thank him for the life that I live when I begin and end each and every working day.

Watched LOVELY BONES Dvd tonight and seeing how the character’s soul tried to communicate with members of her family to help piece the clues to her murder; how she would shout from the beyond to let her Dad hear her; I am reminded for the times when I would hear my Dad’s voice in my head, how he would call me when he was still around. Sometimes it would be a whisper either to give me strength if not a reminder, for doing something that I already know wouldn’t do me any good.

It would be an echo that would ring in my head and would stop me dead in my tracks, freeze me into a state of complete and utter stoppage that I would immediately desist in whatever activity I would be engaged in; even for a few seconds. In those times, I feel like I am transported back into my home when I was a child, with only his voice echoing throughout the walls.

Before I go to sleep tonight, I felt like it was 2007 all over again and my tears flow and continue to streak down my face and cheeks as I write this on a notepad, later to be transcribed on my laptop...

Although seeing the scenes of the afterlife depicted in the film reminded me of a film that I loved some years back entitled, What Dreams May Come, I couldn’t help but think how it was for my Father when he translated to a higher plane and how much he wanted to convey his messages to us; his continued dreams for us the living members of his family.

I am prodded to ask then what exactly a soul’s dream is when it starts its human and physical existence here on Earth. Is it merely to experience the sensations of a physical and material universe? Or is it to bring back to the afterlife what it has learned here on Earth and add it to the nature and evolution of the Universe.

Could Dad like me, be jotting down the notes of his life, chronicling them day by day and later to be submitted for its revision, if not, approval which is not far from a being a corporate report on meetings that most of us be required to do on certain days of the week?

Its pensive moments like these that I am reminded to take note and take stock of the life that I lead; not in anticipation of the life that follows this but to fill the notepads of our lives so that when called upon to share, we may each do our part and add to the essence of the Universe.

Then again, how can we not?

For we are part of it and comes from it; the parts of a whole learning to do its part, perform the role it has been created for; before returning to the whole to complete the entire picture.

Thank you Dad for my life.

Thank you Universe for giving me life.

Thank you Life for the days that I learn to spend my journey...in Love and in Wisdom.

Thank you to the mediums that have come and continue to come into my life so that I may attain and further myself along this life’s journey to achieve one’s Highest Good, and be in touch with my Higher Self.

Blessed Be! 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Graphic Novel Reading

I know most people experience some sort of 2nd childhood when they're 50. But for Geeks like me, I think it's every time we get a purchase that we can't get our hands on; in this case, graphic novels.

For the past year, I have been indulging myself in re-discovering one of my favorite childhood superheroes, GREEN LANTERN. I don't know if the upcoming movie version of the DC superhero and the recent animated film on DVD got my interest again, but apart from Dr. Strange, GL is really the other superhero that I go gaga over. I don't know. But I'm just attracted to characters with a strong will and focus to make this happen for them.

And so since the Powerbooks Bounce back sale ends on the 31st (Tuesday) and knowing that I may not have time to get it, I just had to get em today plus another cover that got my attention which is Infinite Crisis.

I remember asking a colleague, comic book fan and fellow geek, which does he prefer? Marvel or DC? He says that when he reads these compelling characters and their respective storylines, they make him feel like a kid again. And that's why he reads DC.


I just love a good story and of course, great art. And nothing like mystical or alien forces pummeling and pushing our heroes to the limit, to bring these two elements to the fore for me and thus get my attention and prod me to buy.

So far I love what Geoff Johns has done to the Green Lantern stories. His most recent re-telling of Hal Jordan's origin and the recent, BLACKEST NIGHT, just made me love the character and Geoff even more.

Here's to more compelling reading for me. And of course, inspiration for my book. :)
Leaving you for the moment to gorge myself in my purchases for the day...

Friday, August 27, 2010

1st Blog Here & on Reading...

It's a Friday and I figured that I would start another set of blogs here apart from other sites where I would occasionally write and post on.

I was thinking yesterday what would perhaps be the effect on me on having to share my thoughts here?

Sure I post em, people get to read em and I take comfort in that. But is comfort all that I get from it? Or is there something at work that I am just unaware of on a conscious level?

As a writer who dreams of being published one day, I'm currently working on a new story; having put my TOLKIEN-esque epic on hold for a more young adult themed book. I guess I'm letting myself being swept up by the trend and seeing the positive effect on readership the young adult market has had in the recent years.

Harry Potter. Twilight. Percy Jackson. Lemony Snickett. Vampire Diaries. Vampire Academy. Doomspell. Silver City Sequcnce. City of Ember. Chronicles of Narnia. Lord of the Rings.

These and other titles have been responsible for an increase in readership among young adults, and some adults as well. And this is good. In a country where reading is not that encouraged, I find it heartening to see "kids" holding on to their books and actually reading in public.

Ironically, I myself have not been a reader when I was growing up and probably would have been better if I had that much of a head start. But at the moment I'm making it up by paying it forward in different ways.

One thing, I have my own reader's group, ANNE RICE PHILIPPINES, where we meet and discuss her books and how that has influenced and prodded us on to grow and influence people, not to mention, share the love and benefits of reading. Along with that, I also give away a free book every end of the month on the DWIZ- 882 AM talk show, ECHOES OF THE HEART, that I co-host with our Ms World, Evangeline Pascual. In selecting and in giving the books that I have given, I hope to re-awaken the love for reading in the youth and perhaps even in parents so that they in turn may pass on and cultivate that love to their children.

Sadly, some youth in sectors of our society, feel that entertainment can only be derived in what they see and thus television and it's ever present drama serials are the only source of entertainment and pleasure; not to mention, education.

Our lives are dramatic enough. Must we go out in search for more, when there is so much more than just drama to be had and learned by picking up a book?

Most recently I discovered a Filipino author named Melissa De la Cruz who wrote the Blue Blood series. It's about teen vampires living in New York City. Currently there are 5 books to that series and she has also written other bestselling titles. It's success stories like these that warm my heart and inspire me to work on making that dream of being published come true.

Who knows?

Maybe I already am doing it just by blogging about it....