Another chapter of Monochrome Madness and a Mayan Journey

Though busy, no way I’ll miss  Leanne Cole and Laura Macky‘s  weekly Monochrome Madness See all the wonderful submissions on Leanne’s site.(Tues, Aug 19)

I  revisited my journey through the Yucatan in 2012 for my choice (though it’s a spooky one).

tomb of ek balam (star jaguar)

the tomb of Ek’ Balam ( star jaguar)

I have an interest in the civilizations of the pre columbian New World, and especially the Mayan, which I have written about in an earlier post and in my travel journal (In the Jaws of Kukulkan). Their art and architecture were astonishing, along with their mathematics and calendar. They were governed by kings and powerful astronomer/priests ( like in the Vatican observatory!) who interpreted cosmic events and seasons into sacred ritual.

Both terrifying and beautiful, their mythology begins in deep caves,  the underworld known as Xibalba (place of fear) where the dark gods live. There, the tree of life takes root and eventually reaches the heavens.  In some accounts Xibalba is also said to be found in the dark rift of the milky way. The tree of life is a journey of souls. Their mysterious culture of which we know only a little, and their mythology captured my imagination.

In the jaws of Kukulkan

In the jaws of Kukulkan

They had written codices –  which sadly were burned and destroyed by the Spanish monks. Mayans did embrace Christianity, partly because they could relate to a god who was willing to die in a blood sacrifice.

A small piece of their poetic writing did survive as a sacred text called the Popol Vu and their glyphs have only recently been deciphered. In spite of the desperate darkness of the bloody sacrifices that marked the post classic period I found and  find their story very compelling.

I didn’t have a great camera at that time but I think I was able to capture some of  the magnificence and mystery anyway. Besides the well known Chichen Itza and Tulum, the ruins of their many cities are hidden in jungles all through the Yucutan and Guatemala. I traveled on the old Mayan road called the sac be and on the ruta puuc. The god Chac filled the skies with ominous clouds, jungle rain and finally appeased, allowed hot sun to pour down.

I think monochrome is very effective for these. I hope you think so too.

PS: For all who wonder, I did climb the pyramid- damn near killed me! and in Mayan my name is “Monkey Cloud” along with all their wonderful names of Star Jaguar, Smoke Mirror and 19 Rabbit!!  The god Kukulkan, was the feathered serpent.

Count down

(And a non monochrome post!!)

Count down to the trip begins!!  So much still to do. I’m posting less but trying to keep up.  13 days to Edinburgh!! (first stop)

We’ve had a bit of cloud lately though still warm, so while I slowly pull last minute arrangements together for abroad and at home I know it’s coming!!  I’ll be frantic in the last few days.

But there is still



And everything in between

PS: loosely quoted from Cicero and  do note Robert Marsala’s wonderful book ( In a Different Light) at the bottom right.  It’s an inspiration.

Monochrome Madnesses

Because I’m rather fond of Loki’s mischievous daughter I am presenting her in mono for Leanne Cole and Laura Macky and their Monochrome Madness at Leanne Cole’s blog. Make sure you check out this wonderful event on Tues, Aug 12.


Beautiful Lokisdottir

Lovely Lokisdottir

Second Twilight

 She appeared one day out of the mysterious woodland light

with a message

cordova bay park

“Let your own myth unfold”



And I’m also fond of

lighthouse  storms



On a solar wind

These are a few summer images and portraits of  family I took this last while.  I had fun, using a few filters ; one called Fractalis which sings the image electric!! For some reason I saw the final photos as mythic!  I have been re- reading the Edda- that heroic and doomed epic of Norse kennings  by Snorri Sturluson and also, the Anglo Saxon poem, Beowulf.  

Visions of  the rainbow bridge (Bifrost), the twilight of the gods (Ragnarok), Odin’s ravens and Valkyries ( also called swan maidens) appeared everywhere. Then there was the acrobat on the sand who insisted I include her tricks,  Loki’s daughter?

under another star


Background stuff: Did anyone ever read Michael Crichton’s “Eaters of the Dead?”  It’s a strange Norse tale supposedly based on an old manuscript written by an arab wanderer.  Ibn Fadlan came in contact with vikings on the Black Sea and sailed with them.   We now know that the vikings sailed  far and of course even made it  to the new world where ruins of a viking settlement were discovered in Newfoundland, Canada. Their influences can be seen in both Scotland and Ireland. In Scotland many surnames are of Norse origin.

Leanne Cole’s Still Life Breakfast Tea

As this is such a busy month and I’m so scattered these days -this is short and sweet (100 word challenge) but here it is  for Leanne’s Story Prompt:

Cavete Felem  ( beware of….)


Leanne Cole’s Still Life

Mr. Feles was trying to enjoy his breakfast tea and muffin when he heard the newspaper arrive with a thud at his front door. It hit the dozing cat who screeched in protest. He had been getting complaints about his rental property and he sighed, wondering how he would handle it this time.

Looking at the news headline he rolled his eyes wearily. He carefully took off his glasses. He left the remaining morsel on his plate and headed for the door. He hoped he had enough money in his wallet to bail out his sister, the crazy cat lady again.


Kitten Caboodle

Uplifted by Monochrome Madness

Thank you all for visiting and/or commenting on my last post.  It must have been as difficult to read as it was to write, but it was healing, though sad, to post my thoughts about this great loss.

And these are some selections, monochrome and two others from a lovely drive up island. We stopped and walked through Cathedral Grove which is home to  giant Douglas fir trees, some over 800 years old. You feel very small and insignificant in the presence of these magnificent guardians, and totally in awe and wonder. We also were treated to an unexpected concert in the forest. I thought it was fairy music wafting on the breeze but it turned out to be human voices almost as lovely!  They are singing in front of the oldest tree of the forest.

I have submitted the fairy’s toll booth ( where you must answer a riddle to enter the enchanted wood)  to Leanne Cole and Laura Macky’s Monochrome Madness. Please visit them for all the great submissions.

I will add more from our drive up island in another post.



above the trees

above the trees


Remembering that we are not alone- and in memory

Life is about change and loss.  Because I am studying Buddhism I am understanding this more, and as I get older I get more philosophical too.   I struggled with whether to post on this heavy subject but a good friend called me up last week with the sickening news of her sister’s suicide. This is also an anniversary for my family and one we would rather not have to endure.  My friend is beating herself up thinking she could have done something to stop this tragedy from happening.  Sometimes friends and family members don’t see it coming and are left with terrible anguish and guilt.

Many people in our society today suffer from mood disorders, bipolar and depression being among them, and  many of those suffering often try to mask the pain somehow. Many don’t seek professional help.   For some the ultimate solution is suicide and the terrible finality forever changes those who are left behind.


To my beautiful brother,

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend,
but I always thought that I’d see you, one more time again.

- James Taylor

I can’t believe that it’s been three years. It’s not easier.

You so loved life, your music, Carol, the outdoors, traveling,  your horses, and more. Yet so much I didn’t know, so much I wanted to ask you, so much I didn’t tell you!! One thing I do know is that you were loved,- and by so many,  good friends at home and abroad.

We still ask why but- Om mane padme hum my bro

though fire be mixed with your dust

yet care you not

For now all is well with you!!

Remembering always

- With or Without You- U2

Buddhist prayer flag - the windhorse and you on the kit

Buddhist prayer flag – the windhorse

And you on your kit with the boys at the club in Thailand performing U2’s with or without you

this smaller drum kit was given to the kids you were teaching to drum at the Thai orphanage

you pondering the tigers and a  prayer ceremony for you in Bangkok