Category Archives: turn o’ the wheel

About the patterns and changes in one’s life

Activation of New Dark Fairy Life

Standard
IMG_8156

Home in Bukdinon, Mindanao

 

It’s that time of year again when many people in some sort of way celebrate new beginnings. Easter is for Christians the commemoration and celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus, who they consider to be the son of God. Jews celebrate Pesach as the biblical belief, that the Jewish people had been released from slavery and left Egypt to form their own nation under leadership of Moses in the promised land. For neo-pagans, witches and practitioners of the dark arts, the vernal equinox or Ostara is one of the eight sabbaths of the Wheel of the Year, when one celebrates sexual union, fertility and conception.

New Dark Fairy Adventure

For the Dark Fairy, new life has been in the making for quite a while. I left the corporate prison and the Rock to lead a location-independent lifestyle after having had a delicious sample two years ago during my adventures in South America and I have longed for that lifestyle ever since. My first adventure in this new life consisted of a trip to the Philippines. This trip had been in the pipeline for several years. My dear friend Rick from Lowlands Country, who came to visit me several times during my London days and calls Soho his London home, is married to a Filipino. They have been going on a yearly basis for several years now, telling me that I should join them one day and that day had come.

Leaving on  Jet Plane

We flew to Manilla, the capital of the Philippines, via Doha with Qatar Airways, which was as much of a joy a long haul economy class flight can be and I’m a real fan. Rick had arranged cheap tickets, which meant a long stopover, which is actually not that bad on such a long trip. We arrived in Manilla in the evening going straight to our hotel located near the airport, as we were boarding a plane the next morning to the island of Mindanao. Mindanao is the second largest island of the Philippines archipelago, located in the very south of the country and the island where Rick’s Filipino husband, Louis was raised and where his family lives.

Mindanao: Land of Promise and Conflict

Parts of the island of Mindanao have been suffering from terrorist activities for many years and many countries advise against travel to the island. This was mainly noticeable by the lack of tourists and with our threesome being white, Filipino and black, it seemed like a special circus show had come to town. The island has a significant Muslim minority as the fast majority of Filipinos are Roman Catholic. According to conventional history Mindanao has been inhabited since the Neolithic age starting in 10,000 BC. Between 900 AD and the coming of Islam in 14th century, the island was subjected to significant Hindu and Buddhist influences. After the arrival of Islam, the region formed a large Sultanate, which has resisted Spanish rule until the late 19th century, unlike the rest of what was later to become the island nation of the Philippines. The island group, which had been under Spanish colonial rule from the 16th century until the Spanish- American war of 1898, became an American colony, as Spain’s ‘possessions’ became American after the Iberian country  had lost the war. The people of Mindanao resisted American rule and kept advocating autonomous governance after the Philippines gained ‘independence’ in 1946. The advocacy for a Muslim state independent from the Philippines has led to violent conflicts, which intensified and led to mass population displacement since the turn of the century.

Not much news comes from this region of the world, yet tragic events involving tourists and military and/ or guerrilla action, has led many governments to advise against travel to this region.

With the exception of heightened security around shopping malls, which I have seen in other areas of the Philippines and the lack of tourists as I mentioned previously, the area didn’t seem particularly dangerous to me and people were as kind and laid-back as anywhere else in the country.

image by Koen F Smit- Amor

To Box or Not to Box; That Shouldn’t be the Question

Standard

mahershala-ali-moonlight-oscar-meme_twitterIt’s a new month and as I am having my last day in the office to embark on a travelling lifestyle and a location-independent working life, it’s all about new beginnings. I feel very excited and most ready to say goodbye to office life and be my own corporate pimp and to see fabulous places with fantastic people.

Oscars So Diverse, my Arse

Last Sunday was Oscars time again and seemingly a totally different affair compared to the last edition. Last year the Academy Awards were shrouded in ‘controversy’, as no person of colour was nominated for a golden statue of a naked guy and as a result, several actors and other film-people of colour, like Will Smith and Spike Lee, boycotted the event and the hashtag OscarsSoWhite, or something similar, was trending like mad. At that time I was arguing that perhaps people of colour and other ‘fringe people’, shouldn’t try so hard to get a piece of that overly corrupt pie of convention. Perhaps we should bake a new one with anyone who’d wish to join. It seems this year, the ‘Gods of Hollywood’ wanted to make up for the colourless travesty of last year and throw ‘us fringe people’ a massive bone consisting of no less than four Oscar winners of colour in the most important categories. We should rejoice! Yet, I ain’t celebrating. I haven’t seen any of the award-winning films, so I can’t say anything about that. However, many an Oscar-win is more a political affair, rather than being about pure art, entertainment or crafts(wo)manship. This year, the black folks were allowed a piece of the Oscar pie, just in case you thought Hollywood was racist or otherwise not terribly inclusive. The media made a big song and dance about the wrong ‘Best Picture’ Award being announced. Shock! Horror! In case you didn’t know PriceWaterhouseCoopers is sponsor of the Oscars, the firm issued an apology to gain some extra free publicity. Yes, do call me a cynic.

To Box or Not to Box

So, the question is; should we, folks of colour, really be happy with this Oscar acknowledgement? I am sure the Oscar winners are delighted, as they have joined a very exclusive club. It’s just, if you would like a different, more inclusive, less dog-eat-dog system, should you join the current structure and try to get on top or change it from within, or build a new one from ‘scratch’? Or could one even do both, to have eggs in both baskets?

Convention can be refractory. What the dominant system is offering, whether it is so-called liberal democracy, capitalism masked as corporatism, or creating money out of thin air and charging interest on it, can seem like it’s the only option available; far from ideal, but we have make do with it. We are often encouraged to ‘think outside the box’, but very few advise to get rid of the box all together. As I am in favour of developing a new system rather than attempting to fix a broken one, you could ask me; so, the Rosa Parks, Martin Luther Kings and Mahatma Gandhis of this world did it all wrong? Well, no. Especially these people, with their superior, non-violent approach, got what they wanted; either civil rights or an independent country, by non-complying with the system. And also, whichever decade you pick, the 20th century was a different time. There was much more obedience and trust in one’s superiours. Throughout the decades humanity has learned that this trust is not always justified. Then there is the world wide web and other technologies that have changed the world beyond recognition. Because it was okay and successful then, doesn’t mean we should do it now.

It’s not that I have all the answers and that is not the point. It’s not the point to let authority figures, of whichever kind, tell us what to do, how to think and what to feel about what. It’s about one’s own journey of discovery. So what do I do? I start with escaping the corporate prison and lead the lifestyle that suits me best. All the rest is to follow.

Harvest Time with a Dash of Non-Compliance

Standard

banksy-anarchy

 

We have entered a new month that is to bring us the season of autumn. It will feel like summer for at least another 6 weeks here on the Rock, but the days are shortening and I need to mentally prepare myself for the horrid, damp indoor cold that is the hit my dwelling in a few months’ time. But for now it’s still very much flip-flops- on- my- mind. It has been a good, yet not terribly eventful summer and as it’s getting considering cooler, it might be interesting to take stock of the harvest. It’s been a year since I returned to the Rock after a fantastic adventure, that has reinforced my desire for a certain lifestyle and on this Rock I have been leading a life that is quite contrary to that desire. But (for now) I am a corporate whore and my pimp is good to me, so there you go.

Feasts and ‘Victories’

Today is a public holiday on the Rock carrying the name Feast of our Ladies of Victories. Having done British-Isles living I’m used to public holidays just being a days off, seemingly for no evident reason besides that the government has decided so. If public holidays have ladies and victories in the name, one might start to wonder why. Apparently this public holiday is to celebrate the end of the Great Siege of 1565(!) when Malta’s rulers of the time, the Knights Templar, successfully withstood the Ottomans who wanted to conquer the island. The name might have been given to the event, because it was seen as a victory of Christianity over Islam, but I might be taken this too far. Although I am darn pleased with a day off, I don’t quite get why there needs to be a public holiday to celebrate something that happened almost 5 centuries ago and commemorates that some foreign rules, forming a secret society, kept some other foreign rulers out. But history can be weird and some people’s customs even weirder.

Election Scam and Burkini Ban

While September is a great month in terms of public holidays it also announces the end of summer.  My summer might not have been that eventful, plenty has been going on on the world stage. The phantom war on terror is still raging, and in the US a buffoon on the one hand and a lying, deceiving, corrupt and murderous she-bastard no one likes, except the mainstream media, on the other, are ‘fighting’ who is to become the next puppet president of the US. Who wins doesn’t actually matter. The populace is sure to get fucked by the pay masters of whoever gets (s)elected. Slightly closer to home, things have got rather quiet in regards to Britain’s Brexit vote and I don’t see it quite happening. In La ‘douce’ France some beach towns have found it necessary to prohibit women from covering up on the beach, which is just about the most retarded ban a so-called ‘free’ nation could impose. The French High Court has already ruled that the ban is unconstitutional, which a 5-year old could’ve figured out, but some towns stick to the ban anyway. I suggest that people, who find fully clothed people on the beach offensive get a life. If you are all about liberty and yet support this ban, you are imposing on someone else’s liberty in two ways. A, you seem to want to have a say about what people should and shouldn’t wear and B, you obstruct a woman who prefers to cover up on the beach from having a chilled time on said beach, because if she can’t wear what she would like to wear, she ain’t coming to said beach. If these are French values they totally suck.

Love and Non-Compliance

Besides a summer of burkini bans it has been a sports summer and with the exception of a few Euro 2016 matches I didn’t catch any of if. Give the people bread and games. I don’t eat bread and most of the games they want to distract us with are shit. Meanwhile I’m biding my time in the corporate prison, where I am sufficiently entertained and plan for new adventures. As I called for a no-fear summer a few months ago, I’d like to encourage you to keep the no-fear stance, prepare for the darker days and don’t be deceived.

Lowlands Liberation Day: Celebrate Your Prison Cell

Standard

jail cardToday is Liberation Day in the country of my birth. I remember it as one of my favourite feast days. People celebrate their freedom living in a so-called democratic country with all sorts of activities and there always used to be a festival-feel in the air. I also remember that the weather was always good, just like on Queen’s Day which used to be celebrated 5 days before.

I left Lowlands Country almost a decade and a half ago and I can’t remember the last time I celebrated Liberation Day. Even if I were in the Netherlands today, I’m not sure how keen I would be on celebrating my freedom, as I don’t think I would feel that free.

Liberation Day Dutch Style

The Netherlands was (were?) occupied by Nazi Germany from 10 May 1940 until 5 May 1945. The war time years are very well documented, but what not that many people know is, that the Dutchies were very keen collaborators and percentage wise most jews and other ‘undesirable’ were transported to concentration camps from the Netherlands. We seldom hear about the murkier side of history via mainstream channels, so keen collaboration or not, we were occupied and on 5 May the allied forces ‘liberated’ the rest of the country (the south of the country had been freed the winter before).

The idea of celebrating your existence in a country where you don’t have to fear your human rights seems absolutely amazing. We can have fun and all sorts of philosophical debates about what freedom actually is. We could be absolute prisoners thinking we are free, because we don’t perceive the bars of our cell. We could’ve been indoctrinated to the extent, that we believe there can’t be any other possibility besides being free.

Lowlands Prison

I’m sure to many people residing in the Netherlands the country seems a wonderful one to live in. Back in my days that idea was very much reinforced. Every year in early May we were indoctrinated about the horrors of the Second World War and how great it is was that we were living in a free country. Just before I left the Netherlands the country did seem like some sort of Paradise Below Sea Level, but a lot has changed since then. A few things have always remained the same, which reinforces the idea of the Lowlands prison.

Rules, Bloody Rules

The Netherlands is known for its many rules. There seem to be rules for pretty much everything and virtually everything is allowed as long as you have a permit. We learn that rules create and maintain order. Everyone knows where he or she stands and order promotes an increased quality of life. It was quite a shock to the system when I moved to Egypt where pretty much every rule can be bent. What I used to see as a clear framework became more like a straight-jacket the longer I had been away from the Lowlands System. Rules might create order, they also restrict and restriction obstructs freedom.

Government Theft

Here in Malta most people pay around 20% income tax. Some people pay less, a few people pay slightly more, but never more than 35% and only on the income that exceeds a certain threshold. No one likes to pay tax, but here in Malta people seemed to be well looked after. There are (virtually) no homeless people, the elderly can enjoy a pension which is not much, but most manage and (state) education is free. In the Netherlands the base rate for income tax is almost 40%, so even if you are on minimum wage, which is tough living nowadays, you have to hand over almost half of what you earn to the state before it even reaches your bank account. If you are lucky enough to make a mint, you’ll be paying 60% of your income to the state. In Malta I pay income tax, and VAT on goods and services and that is pretty much all the tax I am paying. If you have car you’d pay road tax as well, which, depending on your vehicle, is not a lot. In Lowlands Country however, income tax, road tax and VAT are only the beginning. You also pay council tax, sewer tax, water tax, environment tax, game-of-chance tax (when you hit the lottery), parking tax, dog-ownership tax and landlord/ -lady tax. Then you pay extra tax on top of VAT in the form of excise duty on tobacco, alcohol and petrol. How can a country be considered free if the government finds all sorts of ways to rob you of your hard earned cash and calling it not only legal, but also morally just?

Corporate Control

If you live in the Netherlands and you think your government is yours and/ or acts on your behalf you might be living in a pipe dream. It’s been known in certain circles for a while that Dutch foreign policy is very much in line with the policies of large Dutch multinationals like Shell, Unilever or AkzoNobel and these policies are not always in line with what the people want or need. A scary indication of corporate control across Europe are the current TTIP and CETA trade treaties between the US and the EU and between Canada and the EU, which our democratic governments are sealing in secret. We are promised jobs and economic prosperity, yet the negotiations are kept secret and no mainstream media outlets are reporting on them, it’s that good. Through leaks we are informed that the instalment of private tribunals are part of these treaties. Corporations can use these tribunals to sue any EU state if they can prove that public policy is damaging their profits. It is also expected that with these trade deals evil empire Monsanto will get a firm hold on the European market, which will be the end of healthy farming, food production and food consumption.

Besides all that there is the increasing democratic deficit of the EU that is growing out to be this monster super state ruled by a small, unelected elite, who believe the people are useless eaters and just need to be ruled.

Happy Liberation Day. Go celebrate your prison cell or your first step towards the Great Escape.

The Bollocks of Labour Day

Standard

freedomToday is the beginning of a new month and also May Day or Labour Day. They seem to be different institutions, but might as well be one and the same. In Lowlands Country, the region of my birth, Labour Day is not a public holiday and therefore not celebrated as such. I remember the event as a yearly recurring news item mainly about demonstrations and violent protest in some European cities about we-don’t-really-know what. In the UK May Day is celebrated and the first Monday of May is always a public holiday. In the UK the public randomly gets a few days per year allocated as public holidays and besides Christmas and Easter none of these public holidays seem to clearly link to a religious or otherwise big fest, or that is what we think. For that reason there might be far less awareness about May Day not being just another day off. The May Day bank holiday is some sort of celebration of spring and in general a good opportunity to do something fun for the long weekend, assuming one is not working. Here on the Rock Labour Day, celebrated on 1 May, is a public holiday and if only today were a week day, all 9-to-5-ers would have had the day off.

May Day: The Slavery and the Magic

There are two distinctive aspects to May Day or Labour Day. One is the celebration and promotion of workers’ rights and Labour Day as such is also known as International Workers’ Day. The origins of the celebration of International Workers’ Day on 1 May seem a bit obscure. In America researchers explain the date as a commemoration of the Haymarket affair, which took place on 4 May 1886. The Haymarket affair refers to a tragedy in which four demonstrators died during a workers’ rights protest in Chicago, when the police shot on demonstrators after a bomb had gone off. This event is specific to the United Stated and I don’t think it was such a watershed moment for the whole world to start celebrating Labour Day on 1 May because of it. Also, the Haymarket affair took place on 4 May. If this affair would have been the reason behind Labour Day it would have been commemorated on 4 May.

Among pagans, hippies and dabblers in the dark arts of the Celtic tradition, May Day has always been an important celebration in the yearly cycle. It’s also known as Beltane and this is the second distinctive aspect to May Day. It takes place in between the spring equinox and summer solstice and is an announcement of the beginning of summer. Beltane is usually celebrated on 1 May and throughout the ages people have celebrated Beltane in different ways. In the spiritual sense by doing rituals to protect livestock and crops and on a seemingly more hedonistic level with markets, may pole dances and bonfires. It is assumed and believed that during Beltane the veil between ‘our’ world and the spirit world is at its thinnest and besides making sacrifices to please or appease certain entities, beings from other realms can be summoned to help accomplish certain things in ‘our’ reality.

In many regions across the world many holidays- whether really ‘holy’ or not- have merged or have been given a new name. A well-known example is Christmas, which many Christians celebrate on 25 December. This same holiday was known as Saturnalia in ancient Rome and Midwinter fest or Yule in more Nordic regions (the Danish word for Christmas is (still) yule). From the second half of the 19th century workers became more vocal and organised. They protested against certain aspects of their conditions and demanded workers’ rights. In the so-called western world the 40 hour week, sick pay, holiday pay and other employment rights are considered very big achievements. For unions and socialist movements to have a day to celebrate the worker, his achievements and his rights became an important next step in workers’ emancipation. Perhaps one has chosen to celebrate workers’ rights on May Day as people were out celebrating anyway.

Happy Labour Day?

On Labour May Day we can ask ourselves the following: what makes someone a worker and is this condition something to be celebrated? And also: are you mentally, emotionally and spiritually preparing for summer and if yes, how? Chances are high you are a worker or have been one in the past. You might not work in a factory or in a mine, but you might be chained to your desk or locked up in your car all day driving from client to client. Despite the 40 hour work week and sick and holiday pay, is there really something to celebrate? Proud industries throughout Europe like mining and textiles have been dismantled decades ago leaving communities still suffering today. The job for life is no more, just like my pension. By the time any of my generation, or anyone coming after us, wants to retire and claim their pension, there will be nothing left. As an employee 20% to 60% of my income will be taken away from me before I have even seen it and I have no say in how that money is being spent. They call it tax and because it’s the government who robs you, they say it’s a moral obligation. But what it is, is theft, especially if you realise that our tax money is not servicing the community, but is bailing out greedy and uncaring bankers, is paying for rich people to get even more and better tax deals and is financing dirty wars in country we have no business. Most of us wouldn’t work if they didn’t have to, so for many work seems to be self-imposed slavery.

Perhaps this May Day Labour Day we can think about what kind of worker we are and if we are happy with our bondage. We can think of how work can be different; more inspiring and much more constructive. There is no need to be a slave to the system, but first comes the awareness that we are one. I wish you much joy and contemplation this May Day and a great preparation for a glorious summer.

Prince is dead. Long Live the Brilliance of Funk

Standard

alphabet street princeIt is likely one of those moments I’ll always remember when someone would ever ask me: “where were you when you heard the news?” I was at home and hadn’t gone to my regular hot yoga class and I got a message from my dear friend Rick and fellow Funk Fanatic from Lowlands country. ‘Sweetie, Prince is dead’. No! I said aloud. I immediately checked social media and it seemed to be true. First sentiment was disbelief. He can’t be dead. People of that level of genius, of such exception, they don’t die. They live on forever. And that might sound naff, that doesn’t make it untrue.

This legend of miniature stature started out in the late 70s when his genius was immediately evident. He released his first album, when he was 19, which he had written, composed, arranged and recorded entirely by himself (with the exception of one song). It was a collection of funky synth- disco-pop with here and there a jazzy influence. In 1984 he released the album Purple Rain as the soundtrack to the film with the same name loosely based on his life starring Prince himself. That album would cement his place in music and rock history and made him a super star. Back then I liked the music, but I didn’t understand the man as a phenomenon with his flamboyant and quite feminine clothes and what I considered pervy behaviour. A couple of albums later Prince released the double album Sign o’ Times to which I connected a lot better, but it was the next album, LoveSexy, – not the Black Album- that truly drew me in. The odd thing is that an artist’s passing seems to increase interest in his or her work and after I heard of his death LoveSexy, was the first album I played. I had forgotten how upbeat and positive the album is and it is a wonderful album to start a tribute to the legend that is Prince.

Prince was a innovative and very prolific musician. To me the basis of Prince’s music is funk, yet his music is so much more than that. Prince is also considered a rock artist and has incorporated disco, hip hop, orchestral music and other musical genres in his work. Legend has it that on average he wrote, composed, arranged and recorded one song per day. Due to his incredible productivity he wanted to release a lot more material then he was allowed to by his record company and he started a campaign against Warner brothers in the early 90s. He changed his name to a symbol, which is known as the Love Symbol, to deny his record company the ownership of his name and his work. When Prince’s contract with his slave owner expired, he started releasing music under his birth name again and via his own internet subscription service. He initially rejected the internet as a music distribution service, but embraced it later on as a way to have ownership of his work. He successfully challenged services like Youtube and E-bay and it has been difficult to find his work outside channels that are not approved or controlled by him ever since.

Besides his own studio albums Prince made several live albums and plenty of music for other artists. It is said he has a vault stocked to brim with material for at least another 40 albums. He seldom gave interviews and was seen as a bit of an enigma. I think this was an image he actively promoted, although many have said he was a down to earth and very funny character. The themes of sex and religion are quite prominent, especially in his early music and later on in life he became a Jehovah’s Witness.

Exact causes to is recent death are rather unclear. It might be the ‘denial phase’, but it feels it was by no means his time to go.  Something or someone robbed Prince of a life on this plane and us of his genius. He formed the soundtrack to my youth. He taught me that flamboyant weirdness can be cool. He showed the sexiness of being consumed by your art and showmanship. He gave an example of art in action; art as doing, because one must. He learnt from Sly Stone and created his own groove, or several for that matter. Mr. Prince Roger Nelson, you’re a true Legend, a Star, a Genius, a Healer and I wish to thank you so very much for all the Funky Deliciousness you have given to this world. I am sure you are keeping it up with Michael, James, Amy and all the others up in the Summer Land.

Fear and Loathing at Yule Tides

Standard

yuletide_magic_by_philippaopao-d32f08pYeah, it’s been a while, eh. As I stated once before, the longer the cyber space absence lasts, the harder it seems to break the radio silence.

After my return from marvelous SA I continued the globetrotting lifestyle in Europe, alternating residencies in Lowlands Country, Malta and London Town. I returned to a so-called more settled life of corporate prostitution sometime mid September, which was much harder work than I expected. My corporate pimp treats me very well, but nevertheless I am using my writing skills for his enterprise, which isn’t terribly demanding in terms of language geekiness, rather than for my own development, sanity and salvation.

Meanwhile I have been tutting, sighing and eye-rolling because of the headlines produced by the über-whore that is the mainstream media. An attack on our ‘civil liberties’ here and there, a seemingly all-of-the-sudden influx of refugees into the Continent of Europe, nauseatingly blended with big dollops of fear-mongering and we almost have World War 3 on our hands. Brilliant news for shareholders of BAE Systems or Lockheed Martin, pretty lousy for everyone else, especially the poor people of Syria. While the world goes to shit to the benefit of a psychopathic few, winter has hit the Rock and I’m rather busy conjuring up all sorts of new Dark Fairy Adventures.

Oh, yes and then there are these celebrations for the birth of a baby boy in Nazareth quite a while ago. He is considered a prophet to some, the son of god to others and not much more then some very well-known mythological figure to some fringe folk. This (imaginary) birth is celebrated by the display of some serious consumerism, stuffing one’s face and getting together with loved ones and liked ones. As these celebrations are  just a reinvention of older festivals, we might as well (also) celebrate the return of the light, as the shortest day of the year has been and, light-wise, the only way is up until the beginning of summer.

Whatever you do this time of year, make your celebration, commemoration or contemplation an authentic one. One that is just a tiny bit more than we-doing-this-shit-every-year-but-we-actually-have-no-clue-why-really. I aim to relax, regain focus and spend some fabulous days with some wonderful people and I might just celebrate how blessed I am with all the marvelous people in my life and that I can be as free as a Dark Fairy can be, as long as I set my mind to it.

Happy Yule times

top image by phillipaopao