fractal of consciousness

Refelctions from the Koothambalam Siva Ratri Puja
Denver Yoga Shala - February, 24th 2006

as is the human body, so is the cosmic body
as is the human mind, so is the cosmic mind
as is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm

Oooo my!....what a truly glorious day- so many tears shed as we floated over, under, around and thru the tidal waves of satyam-sivam-sundaram (truth-beauty-consciousness). After the camphor flames subsided (yipe!), the pouring of the milk and honey onto the lingam was ...well... i'm not ready to cage that moment into words but! cracking the coconuts (or the "openuts" and "crackenuts" as they were being referred to) on the intersecting roads outside the shala was a moment of exquisite tandava (Siva's dance of destruction into bliss).
It brought us into the RIGHT HERE -- RIGHT NOW
as the shocking slap of Siva's foot touched the earth.

Puja truly does open the heart, infuse the spirit and honor all of existence. Stay tuned, there's more to come as the undertow of Siva's grace will without a doubt continue to toss us about.
My guess is that we've only just begun.

siva siva siva shambo sharanam
hara hara hara mahadeva
siva shambo
siva shambo
siva shambo sharanam

Happy Birthday Sonjasi!

B O M! B O M! B O M! B O M!

siva ratri

The “Auspicious Night” of Siva Ratri is almost here, jaya tandava! This holy-day falls on the first new moon of early spring (in California and all points west, it lands on Saturday, February 25th and all places to the east will be observing it on Sunday, February 26th).

This festival honors the quiet, introspective moment just before the seeds crack open, the blossoms unfold and life begins anew. Hibernating animals are yawning and stretching, tiny creatures are churning underground, sap is beginning to flow upwards from the earth and life prepares for the warm embrace of springtime. This sacred astrological alignment is a delicate but mighty moment when Pure Consciousness (Siva) touches the Mother (Shakti), waking her into creation.

Only when Siva is united with Shakti does he have the power to create.
- Saundaryalahari

In this mysterious darkness before life begins, there is a silent in-between time, a gap that separates the death of winter from the life of spring. This is when we gaze upon the limitless potential of the divine as it awakens to it Self. By drawing completely into the deep interiors of the heart we wash away delusion and ignorance.

In this season, when everything in the world is reduced to darkness, the goddess Parvati worships Lord Siva with her illuminated devotion. He is pleased by her love and promises her that whoever surrenders to him on this day will be blessed with Moksha (ultimate freedom and liberation). Like the archer, we pull back the bow of the spine and release our spirits into divinity. All surrendered efforts and actions are blessed by infinite of grace.

Siva is playing the damaru (drum), which is creating the rhythm of the cosmos.

All of this is Siva’s Dance, taking place within each of us in every moment.

He is the beating of our hearts.

Happy Siva Ratri!!!

*A few of the devadasis from Koothambalam are meeting @ The Denver Yoga Shala on Friday @ 1pm to host an informal celebratory dance/puja, please let me know if you would like to attend/participate.


literary pondering .2

Punctuating the moment with a poem by
Antonio Machado:

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.


raku photography

exposedPosted by Picasa

OH Boy! I have a new camera, a Holga, called by some a toy camera but they've got it all wrong, this is photography FOR REAL! This is photography that allows for serendipitious elements to converge and dance themselves all over the film, creating an exciting and vital reprieve from the digital world. The Holga takes pretty pictures in "colour and black & white" on 120/medium format film. This simple beast consists of; a plastic shell with a spring-triggered shutter, a plastic lens, a rudimentary focusing ring, a fixed speed of about 1/100th of second (give or take a few seconds); a manual winding knob (which makes a splendid- plastic scritching against plastic noise), a shoe for a flash but no sync control for it, a viewfinder; a switch for sunny/cloudy conditions which does absolutely nothing since there is a single lens aperture of f/11; and a little window on the back to let you see frame counts....and that's it! No mega pixels, no image stabilization, no LCD screen...not even a battery!

The light leaks, over-lapped exposures, fuzzy border vignetting and other random variables make for what is best descibed as *RAKU PHOTOGRAPHY.

Open the Shutter and Let the Light in!

Raku is an ancient Japanese method of firing clay with twigs, saw dust, pine needles and leaves which create unpredictable smoke patterns and spectacular crackled effects in the glazes.

holga dog Posted by Picasa



mais oui play?

My little girl--all grown up and with a blog of her own!

blitz pastry

Now for something completely different..

As part of an ongoing search for artistic expression via the alchemical combining of white flour and white sugar, Odessa has been giving me lessons on the "strange and subtle" mysteries of French pastry.

Last week we built cream puffs/profiteroles and eclairs using the tradional pâte à choux method:

Pâte à Choux
Recette pour 20 choux environ

Pour la pâte à choux

10 cl d'eau

75 g de beurre
10 g de sucre en poudre
1 pincée de sel
100 g de farine
3 oeufs moyens
1 oeuf battu pour dorer les choux

Pour la crème pâtissière
1/3 l de lait
3 jaunes d'oeufs
6 blancs d'oeuf battus en neige
125 g de sucre
1/2 cuillère à café de vanille en poudre
50 g de farine

Préparez la pâte à choux

Préchauffez votre four à 180°C.
Tamisez la farine. Dans une casserole, portez à ébullition l'eau avec le beurre, le sel et le sucre.
Otez du feu et jetez en une fois la farine. Remuez avec une spatule en bois jusqu'à ce que le mélange forme une pâte épaisse qui colle à la spatule. Remettre la casserole sur un feu léger et dessécher la pâte, sans la laisser brûler, en remuant 2 à 3 mn. La pâte devient grasse et se détache de la spatule.

Otez la casserole du feu puis ajoutez chaque oeuf, l'un après l'autre, en mélangeant énergiquement jusqu'à ce que l'oeuf et la pâte soient assimilés. La pâte devient coulante mais pas liquide. Pour un dosage précis, il est conseillé de battre le dernier oeuf dans une tasse avant de le mélanger. De cette façon, on peut commencer par en verser la moitié et ne pas juger utile d'en verser d'avantage. En effet, le résultat peut varier selon le type de farine ou la grosseur des oeufs. Il ne faut pas quela pâte doit trop molle pusqu'on doit pouvoir la manier avec deux petites cuillères.

Sur une plaque de cuisson propre non beurrée ou couverte de papier sulfurisé, formez des petits tas de pâte de la grosseur d'un abricot en vous aidant de deux cuillères. Dorez le dessus au pinceau à l'oeuf battu. Enfournez pour une vingtaine de minute selon la grosseur de vos choux. La pâte doit être un peu sèche pour supporter la garniture à la crème sans se ramollir.

Préparez la crème pâtissière
Faîtes bouillir le lait. Dans une casserole, délayez au fouet les jaunes d'oeufs et le sucre vanillé jusqu'à ce que le mélange soit bien blanchi. Ajoutez la farine, mélangez. Puis ajoutez le lait bouillant. Placez la casserole sur le feu doux en remuant toujours au fouet. N'hésitez pas à faire bouillir cette crème qui peut le supporter parce qu'elle contient de la farine et qui doit bouillir pour s'épaissir. La crème est prête lorsqu'elle a atteint une bonne épaisseur. ALors qu'elle est encore bouillante, ajoutez les 6 blancs d'oeufs battus en neige dans la crème et mélangez délicatement.

Garnissez les choux
Pratiquez une incision sur le côté des choux et, à l'aide d'une poche, remplissez les choux..

Pour présenter : vous pouvez saupoudrer les choux de sucre glace, vous pouvez également les présenter en mini-pièce montée en les liant les uns aux autres avec un caramel.

Pâte Feuilletée

And this week it was "rough or blitz pastry", depending on which methods are followed, this
"detrempe" (dough) can take many hrs. to prepare though we pulled it off in 3. Pâte feuilletée is used in everything from croissants to brie en croute to napoleons and everything in between (machine rolled dough is commonly used rather than creating from scratch, to which I say-- Sauve qui peut!). One cannot touch the dough during preparation due to the very real threat of the body's heat melting the butter... which will prevent the puff... which will lead to many disasters better left un-said. Learning to prepare a decent puff pastry is considered one of the ultimate kitchen achievements, a rite of passage amid the culinary arts. Take a look:

butter mountain Posted by Picasa

Here Odessa is cutting the nearly frozen butter and then sifting an equal amount of flour on top. I had not realised just how much butter went into the making of a humble croissant, equal butter to flour...yipe! The next step involves resisting the urge to add too much h2o. One must become very calm and intospective as one watches the mind try to convince itself that the dough will never hold together without more water...but it does. Everything goes in and out of el fridgo several times and the detrempe is always rolled in the same direction, creating a series of uniform "book folds"... its all very architectural.

so many folds Posted by Picasa

lotus in the clouds

denver botanic gardens 2004 Posted by Picasa

this illuminated moment
yields to the unfolding grace
of a mire born lotus
reaching for infinity...


gearing up Posted by Picasa

For a quick trip to New Mexico 2005


gong xi fa cai

happy new year Posted by Picasa

Forecast for Year 4703 : The Fire Dog

The Dog is an ethical and idealistic sign, the year that bears its name will bring increased social awareness and interest in society's less powerful members. Any tendencies to take, will be replaced by a widespread sentiment of generosity and selflessness. In general, we will all be imbued with the Dog's keen sense of right and wrong.

In the West, the Dog is man's best friend, but in Chinese Astrology this sign is a little more unpredictable than that. Dogs are loyal, faithful and honest and always stick to their firm codes of ethics. However, this sign has trouble trusting others but is generally quite trustworthy itself. The Dog's mantra seems to be: live right, look out for the little people and fight injustice whenever possible.

Dogs tend to be rather dogmatic. They don't go in for light social banter; instead, they go straight for home, expostulating on the topics that are most important to them. Part of the problem is the result of this sign's load of irrational fears that turn into anxieties which lead to hurt feelings.

This sign is happiest when physically active; at home or at work, the Dog will always be constructing something new or cleaning something up in order to make things better. Dogs need to work on controlling their irrational worries and would also be well-served to relax their mile-high standards, which can sometimes wind up alienating the ones they love.

*Being a Metal Dog, I can only assume that I'll be melted in this year of the Fire Dog...woof.

literary ponderings.1

down & out Posted by Picasa

After the holidays one can find oneself in want of an "Affluence Reality Check", reading George Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London" does the trick nicely. An autobiographical work, published in 1933, this was Orwell's first published book. It recounts his attempts at atonement for the guilt he feels about the conditions under which the disenfranchised and downtrodden peoples of the world exist. Orwell lives and works as one of them. Dressed as a beggar, he takes whatever employment might be available to a poverty-stricken outcast of Europe. In Paris he lives in a slum and works as a dishwasher. In London's East End, he dresses and lives as a pauper, a tramp, a hoboe and a poor working-class laborer.

If by chance you don't have a handfull of quid burning a hole in your tattered pocket, the entire book can be found online @:

  • Down and Out in Paris and London