A zoom meeting attendee recently mentioned that he was visiting Cacasonne and that brought back a flood of memories of my own visit a few years ago. The charming town of Caracassonne is situated in the south west of France between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean seas. Within the town, high up on a hill is a citadel known as the Cite de Carcassonne. It is France ‘s most medieval walled city. The name Carcasonne is derived from a legend of Dame Carcas who bravely defended the fortress against the Saracens. There is a very amusing tale tied to this, which is a story by itself. Climbing up the hill to the entrance, you couldn ‘t help but picture all those swashbuckling heroes, cavaliers and soldiers guarding, defending or attacking this magnificient fortress. With gorgeous ramparts, gargoyles, cobblestone pathways and stunning views from every angle, you can spend hours just gazing in wonderment. It is no wonder that author Kate Moss was attracted to this setting for her novel “Labyrinth”. The city is dotted with picturesque canals,vineyards and natural trails for cycling, walking, picknicking.
Inside the well preserved fortress , there are several shops, restaurants, bars and quaint little museums and stores which give you the impression of time standing still. I had the famous red omelette for lunch, a carcasonne speciality. It was rich,filling and provided the stamina needed for all that steep climbing. I was so impressed by the architecture and preservation of this Unesco heritage site, that I knew I had to paint it. So I burnt off my lunch, climbing as much as I could to get the perfect picture. After purchasing some souvenirs from the colorful shops, we headed back to our hotel, which was fortunately located just across the fortress. After a bit of resting my tired legs, as dusk approached, we headed back to the fortress. The gates were locked, the hordes of tourists were gone, and the fortress shone brightly in a quiet twilight sky. This was spectacular. We were so glad we made the trek back to capture some of this magic. Last picture is my own humble version of Caracasonne by night under a stormy sky.
As the release date of my second publication was approaching, I was wondering what day would be optimal to announce it publicly. According to my marketing Director, the release date was pushed back a month due to the pandemic. Darn ! I waited soooo long and now this. I got over my initial disappointment, and asked the Universal powers before I went to bed that night for some advice and guidance on this matter. This is the dream I got. I was sitting in the back seat of a car, along with two other people. The door and window of the car were wide open. Sometimes, you do turn the window down , but does one ever leave a car door open ?. The three of us were engaged in a conversation, while my attention was suddenly drawn to the open space to my left by the open door. A little baby elephant walked by, stopped directly by us, waved his trunk in a happy fashion, (elephants are known to have a temper) and walked off. I woke up the next morning, happy as a lark, the elephant in my dream represents Ganesha (the God of astrology) who is half man half elephant. Fittingly, the elephant happens to be on the front cover of my publication! Folks this is NOT a coincidence, it is divine guidance. Whatever your beliefs/faiths may be, trust in their power to guide and help you in life. It is about paying attention to the signs in your way, and being open to receiving them.
Although there was roughly more than a month to go for the fulfillment date, taking my dream as the green light to my query, I announced the details of my soon to be released oracle deck, “The Mahabharata Oracle” What happened next is unbelievable, I still have goose bumps relating it. Two days later, my Marketing director informed me that the original release date was back in play. Wow ! I went from on to off and on again. The open door in the dream signifies exactly that. A door that was supposed to be closed is OPEN. There is yet another layer to this story. During the week of these events, the ruling planet in my astrological chart went from a retrograde motion to direct. Bingo ! Honestly, I was not even aware of that until I was actually read the transit report a week later. Then it all came together and made perfect sense. The bottom line is that you will get the answers you seek , just learn to trust.
The upcoming Solar eclipse in June is sending waves of fear and anxiety among so many people. We will have six eclipses this year, but we usually have five or six anyway right. So why is this any different. Yes the pandemic has caused havoc and stirred the pot of anger and frustration which has manifested in protests and mass destruction. But really, we have been through all this before, at least our ancestors did. They have been through unconquerable things(at the time) like polio, Spanish flu etc. and they survived. They found solutions to problems and worked it out. Just as we will. If the population calms down and keeps their anger in check, we can all be more co-operative and productive. Look to the past to evaluate how far we have come. Civilization has advanced rapidly as we approach space travel never attempted before.
Eclipses sometimes come with a fair share of devastation, similar to those caused by the regular cycle of nature. Perhaps the eclipse that occurred in December 2019 has evoked dread due to its signaling of the start of the pandemic. Having witnessed the total solar eclipse, I can assure you that not all eclipses need to be anticipated as doom and gloom situations. In 2017, I seized the opportunity that was being offered to witness a rare sighting of the total solar eclipse and it was a lot of fun. In Charleston NC a bunch of us gathered on the rooftop of a hotel, and saw the magic event happening live, there was total darkness in the afternoon when the sun was eclipsed for a few moments. The silence among the 300 odd people during this magnificent moment bespoke of awe and admiration.
I know it must be hard to ignore the hue and cry being made by the media and other folks looking for your attention. My advice is to stay indoors if you must, engage yourself in something that uplifts you and brings joy. Focusing your attention and energy on something else, will keep you centered and grounded. Let nature happen and take its course. It will soon be over.
The flight from Charles De Gaulle airport Paris to Dublin Island was about 90 minutes. As we pulled into the parking lot of our hotel in a cab, I almost felt like we really should be in a horse carriage instead. The Clontarf Castle hotel is a well preserved 12th century castle, with stone walls and beautiful beveled glass windows. The lobby and reception area are a good mix of old and new and trendy which gave it a bit of that Goth feel. Modern art fills the walls alongside ancient tapestries. This is where Dracula author Abraham Stoker stayed and perhaps got inspired ? Take a look at the pictures of what might have been gateways to dungeons where they may have sent their victims. I know my imagination is running wild !.
After enjoying a nice dinner in the Fahrenheit restaurant, which was one of the best Chicken tikka masala dishes I ever had. Who would have thought Irishmen were good Indian cooks ! I took a walking city tour to explore the busy crowded streets of Dublin. Spent some time at the O’Connel monument, a popular gathering spot for photo ops. It was refreshing to see how casual Dubliners were, I honestly couldn’t spot the tourists from the locals. Trinity college is very close to the city center and you see hordes of students going about their business while groups of tourists were cluelessly ambling around. Grafton Street is a popular hub of bars, restaurants and shops. Music appears to be a huge part of Irish culture, besides street musicians, celtic and non Celtic strains could be heard coming from pubs filled with throngs of people.
I had forgotten my medication in a Paris hotel, and was in a panic. But the friendly pharmacies were so obliging and gracious enough to fill my order without a prescription, and quickly to boot. (They just took my physician’s information.) It was such a relief ! And surprisingly so much cheaper than what I pay in the US. The evening was spent walking along the streets, admiring the several bronze statues evenly spaced throughout the city. I strolled along Merrion Square and was amused by all the various colors of the “Dublin Doors” an iconic image of Dublin. The story behind this popular tradition is too long for me to recount here, you can look it up. Finished up the day with a visit to the Famous Guiness factory. I am not a whisky drinker, nevertheless the history made it interesting.
The next tour I took was to Malahide Castle on the outskirts of Dublin. Got to see a bit of the famous green countryside, passed a few quaint fishing villages, flashed by the humble country home of U2 lead singer Bono. Malahide Castle also dates back to the 12th century. It was built by the Talbots, a family with a long and notable history. Part of the castle was open to the public, the rooms decorated with period interiors and furnishings. As with every castle, we were entertained by a ghost story which was nicely framed by the backdrop of the surrounding moat, outer wall and drawbridge.
It was a short sweet trip and for next time I will probable explore the countryside of Ireland.
As we awaited our boarding call to Athens, there was a commotion and a flurry of activity. Minutes before departure the flight was canceled !. After a couple hours of waiting we were redirected on another flight to Munich, spent a few jet lagged hours there, and took another flight to Frankfurt. Tired as we were it provided a magnificent view of the Black Forest, looking down. I had only experienced a black forest cake, but this was just as dense, rich and dark as could be. It was at Frankfurt that we boarded a flight to Athens. We arrived well past midnight, were met by a friend who took us out to dinner at a lovely Greek restaurant, where there was a spread as huge as the Agean sea. But we were so tired that it was a bed and not food that we craved.
The next morning we had breakfast at a fabulous outdoor café that overlooked the Agean Sea. As I put my camera on the table to marvel the sumptuous sea with my own eyes, something else took place. The waiter who brought us delicious watermelon, took his return tray with the camera. Of course when I asked him, he denied it, so I was devastated to find myself camera less at the start of the trip. What a bummer, it was a great one too. Well, fortunately we have our cell phones these days. We started our tour of Athens with a visit to the Parthenon, the museum was well organized, well managed. The exhibits were interesting and fun.
Next stop was the outdoor stadium where the first ever Olympics took place. We braved the hot July sun and visited Plaka, the shopping/dining mecca of Athens, aka Tourist trap, which reminded me of Canal street Ney York with its endless shops and booths. The restaurant avenue was filled with tourists and agents all literally grabbing you into their place. This reminded me of Ocean Drive Miami. We bought a hat for our trip to the Acropolis the next day, and a few other Greek souvenirs to take home. Headed back to the hotel (Mariot) for a siesta before dinner. Here was another surprise, as we waited for our room key at the receptionist counter, the hat that we just purchased was gone!. Oh my goodness, this was a Mariot for God ‘s sake.
The Acropolis was heavily crowded and not so well managed, everyone climbed the hill like goats both ways, in intense July heat nonetheless, so it was highly dangerous, but we survived. The view of Athens from the top was breathtaking. The next day we boarded the Hellenistic Olympia for a 4 day cruise. What a difference from the American Cruise ships, food was not available 24/, only at certain times. There was no ice cream stations or pizza which had the kids in a tantrum mode all throughout. We were okay with it but it was sad to see long faces all around. I felt sorry for the parents. Our first stop was the island of Mykonos. It was so refreshing to see the pure white streets,pristine white buildings with blue roofs. Everything was super clean all the time. Despite the large number of tourists and foot traffic, it stayed so white. It seemed like there were invisible cleaning fairies at work constantly. The bougainvillea all around was spectacular.
The trip into Ephesus Turkey was one of the highlights. It was incredible to retrace the steps of the great philosophers, Socrates, Aristotle etc, as we made our way from the Gates of Hadrian’s palace to the great library which is still highly intact. Since we got there very early in the day, we were fortunate to miss the horde of tourists and get some phenomenal pictures. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a Carpet Factory, where we got to see the old traditional carpet weaving practice still in use to make beautiful carpets. In the next afternoon we visited the island of Patmos after climbing a super steep hill. It is perhaps best known today as the location the disciple John received the visions found in the Book of Revelation of the new Testament and where the book was written. The church was set on a higher hill where the wind played its song loud and clear.
We visited the island of Crete the next day, the largest and most populous of the Greek islands. The Ideon cave was the birthplace of Zeus, according to Greek mythology. We spent quite some time in the palace of Knossos, a bronze age settlement and ancient Minoan city, which was really in good shape for its age. I particularly liked the use of color in the murals and floors. Next we landed in Santorini, a feast for the eyes. The spectacular views from just about anywhere on the island were inexhaustible. The vibrant flowers, the crisp white and blue structures were delightful. Of course, the tourists were endless. We finished up our trip with two more days in Athens, did no more shopping for fear of being robbed. All in all it sure was a memorable trip. Feed
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Introduction to Dreaming February 16th 2020 from 12- pm at the The Castle Delaware Water Gap. To register contact Jude Goode at Judegoode1946@gmail.com.
Book signing event July 11th 2020 2-5 pm. Inner peace Wilkes-Barre Plains PA
Tarot Workshop July 23rd 2020 3-6 pm. Soul Journey Butler New Jersey
Dream Interpretation Gallery March 14th 2020 from 2- 4 pm. at Majoch Art Gallery 3275 PA Rte 115, Effort PA 18330. To register contact Ursula Machalick at firstname.lastname@example.org