This month’s report overlapped with last months; so strictly speaking began with Christmas:
January is then the month of Epiphany – a new beginning – on the 6th. Duly, sunny days and a strengthening of the light around this time. Later in the month, there were a succession of new years: Celtic and Chinese. Chinese New Year – the year of the Pig: https://chinesenewyear.net/zodiac/pig/
Also, Imbolc: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbolc
Also, known as St Brigid’s Day. In pagan belief, this is a time when the light begins to get stronger.
In celebration of all this light, and since I am a bit thin on the ground with actual events, a Gallery of skies spotted this month:
A couple from the London skyline:
A time of catching up for me after last year’s travels.
A new academic book out on Bourdieu, Language-based Ethnographies and Reflexivity:
I somehow thought that this would be my last book on Bourdieu. But, since then, a couple of other ideas have been bubbling along: firstly, a book about Bourdieu and Creativity; and then another which goes by the title of ‘Bourdieusian Meditations’ – a series of reflections on the work I have done both on him and applications of the ideas to various areas. I also have a kind of ‘final thoughts’ piece up my sleeve. Otherwise, I have been writing biography.
I posted a short piece from my dialogues with Satyananda on Object Perception and Beauty: http://www.michaelgrenfell.co.uk/esoteric/satsang/object-perception-oneness-diversity-and-beauty/
Also, came across a photo from 2000 – an early Guitar Craft course for me in Alfeld, Germany.
Also, began a group (of two!) reading of In Search of the Miraculousby P. D. Ouspensky – one time student of Gurdjieff and teacher of J. G. Bennett. The idea is to read one page a day, that is 15 per half month, and consult on things remarked.
The first Notesreport is here: http://www.michaelgrenfell.co.uk/esoteric/in-search-of-the-miraculous-p-d-ouspensky/
…and will carry on periodically with the actual reading.
Been getting back into film lately. Not wishing to have a ‘Film of the Month’ to go along with Book and CD, but this month I saw an excellent film from the Aboriginal film Director Warwick Thornton Sweet Country. Set in Australia in the early part of the C20, it shows the reality of the outback for farmers, and indeed their somewhat oppressed indigenous farm labourers. A real story with some fantastic photography and acting. However, the ending is sadly inevitable.
Christmas is a time of year for getting back into comfort reading and listening. So, I followed this trend. Therefore, my CD of the month has to be The Beatles White Album:
What can I say about this iconic record? Well, I remember hearing it for the first time in 1968. I was just about adolescent and realising there was more to life than collecting football programmes and autographs. I listened to it outside our local youth club using a small transistor radio. And, there, for the first time, the strains of Back in the USSR, Dear Prudence, Obla Di Obla Da, and While My Guitar Gently Weeps – and all the others – met my ears for the first time. I was mesmerized.
Of course, there has been no end of debate about this latest – ‘remixed’ – version. What can I say? Well, the critics have a point, since this new version is different from our old friend. That being said, it would be a grumpy man or woman who could go without these sparkling new mixes, which bring out all sorts of extra sounds in the recordings. Like the Sgt. Pepper, BOTH versions will be appreciated by Beatles enthusiasts: the 68 version as those sounds that have travelled with us over the years AND the new version for what would be the C21 White Album experience.
As, noted before, Christmas is also a time for ghost stories and who dun’its. This year I chose Richard Adams The Girl in a Swing:
I have read it a few times and I always get drawn into the mystery of the story. It works because on one level it is the story of an rather boring and conventional man who meets with and marries a beautiful German woman. Yet, something is wrong, and it slowly drops little pieces into the narrative, which create an unsettling effect, until the novel builds – like an approaching thunder storm – to its devastating conclusion. The synopsis of this story on Wikipedia is not correct. It is really about a series of philosophical and psychic phenomena: karma, the destructive nature of the sublime, the cost of beauty on the beholder, the power of chance, Lilith, enchantment, the communication between worlds, the dark underside of beauty, the consequences of flying too close to the sun, Kali and the consumption life. In the end, redemption as well. Interestingly, although I have read this book some times before, I never saw the ending as described in the synopsis on Wikipedia – or even Amazon reviews. I never took it as literal – but closer to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.. “Es muss sein”. Haunting still.