Welcome to the third annual online New Year Celebration! This year you find yourselves dressed in flowing gowns with ruffles and petticoats and white gloves (or black suits and shined boots). You're helped down onto the muddy, well-watered, lush green lawn of a restored Victorian mansion from a carriage (electrically powered like a tramway as the beautiful, well-fed horses are taking a holiday also). Or you arrive in a dilithium-powered spaceship and descend on the home's sloping gabled roof and climb in through the little porthole-shaped window at the very top, take your choice :)
As you enter, you stare up at the moon as it journeys through a sky traversed by migrant clouds and protruding tree branches. It illuminates the cobblestone pathway, as well as scattered ivy and blackberry bushes and mulberry trees. You smell the organic wetness of a California winter, full of plantlife as it's not cold enough to snow over and actually raining enough to water the earth. A stray cat or possum or two gives you a skittish, then friendly look, and you smile as you enter the tinsel-strewn mansion.
You notice white candles surrounded by evergreen juniper branches and silver tinsel and blue ribbon upon all the windowsills, alcoves, and little oaken end tables. People sit at multiple piano benches, serenading you harmoniously with Fleetwood Mac, Rachmaninov, Beethoven, the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, Vusi Mahlasela, Irish folktunes, Debussy, Matt Kearney, Sarah McLachlan, everyone's favorite music in turn. Somehow everyone who listens to the pianos and violins and drums and guitars hears his or her own favorite music, whatever is most personally meaningful and inspirational.
The front door - actually all the home's doors and windows - remain open throughout the festivities, as this celebration is open to all living beings and shall remain so. Several rooms are filled with people: the kitchen, where an energy-efficient solar stove heats lemon ginger couscous, marzipan fruit, Mexican burritos with extra guacamole, pasta with marinara sauce, and many other delicacies. Fruit salad with kumquats, loquats, mulberries, plums, and kiwis is out for the taking, as are various varieties of hummus and flavored chips. Somehow the kitchen works like the drawing-room: everyone finds his/her own favorite food and snack. A full bar serves any cocktail (alcoholic and not) you could dream up, and everyone around laughs and smiles and seems high on life itself.
The bedrooms and dens and hallways are festooned with artworks from throughout the centuries: Michelangelo, Leonardo, cave painting replicas, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Waterhouse, Ansel Adams, Boucher, Vigee-LeBrun, Galen Rowell, etc. People stop to admire, and to pick up colored pencils and pens and add to a huge public mural.
Several rooms, also covered with greenery and white candles, show movies of people's choice (Lord of the Rings and Chocolat are perennial favorites) and hold stacks of books (Wuthering Heights, of course - New Year's Day is when Heathcliff and Catherine transcended the boundaries of social class and life and death and nature and society and found union with each other on the windswept moors through the power of enduring love and imagination.) Other novels include sci fi, fantasy, epic novels, literary fiction - again, everyone's personal favorite and most inspirational book materializes :) People dance the tango, swing, waltz, etc in a large ballroom with wandering minstrels providing live music. Everyone dances the dance of creation and cleansing destruction, the renewing eternal creative rhythms of Lord Shiva and Jehovah and Allah and the molecules and atoms and quantum particles making up this universe. And we play party games (Outburst, Taboo, Pictionary, etc.) Large telescopes set up outside offer a view of lunar craters and Mars, and a poetry reading and talent show is in progress in a large den.
Discordian Pope Elena Romanescu of the POEE Vegan Hobo Cabal, Patron of Life and Lupines and Beauty and Human Rights and Animals and Plants and Coffee Beans and All Starving Artists and Creative Types, smiles and offers her papal blessings.
This New Year is a time to lay aside old grudges and hurts and wounds, for oneself as much as for the other parties involved, and to come together in a new Beloved Community in the tradition of Coretta Scott King. Also a time to honor the potential for infinite possibilities this coming year - the power of creativity and hope to allow us to transform whatever happens into craft and beauty and to transcend previously thought to be impermeable boundaries through imagination.
"I'm going to show you a world without rules or controls, without boundaries or fences. A world where anything is possible. And where we go from here - that's up to you." -- Neo, from the Matrix. Discordian Saint First Class.
Pope Romanescu also sends love to Erin of projectdownload, a lovely artist, writer, and cook who just received a wonderful donation allowing her to proceed with the first few of her lifesaving brain surgeries. We all thank her beautiful anonymous angel and encourage people to send her loving wishes towards getting well soon from her recent seizure and to keep clicking on her free small virusfree text document to help support more surgery. She doesn't want to ask people for money directly as everyone's having a hard time and could use some help with the economy the way it is - so she's participating in an online rewards program for providing publicity to MegaUpload for having a file downloaded a certain number of times. Seriously, everyone check this out. There's so much love in the community and you will be humbled and amazed.
My new friend davidkevin also has a friend struggling with mental and physical illness who's a very funny, articulate, clever guy who could use some support. If you scroll down to the bottom of davidkevin's journal, you will see the link to the man's blog (and I'll post a better link myself when I get a chance.)
ladycatherina and Pope Romanescu also encourage people to click on http://www.thehungersite.com and support a variety of hunger, animal, rainforest, literacy, breast-cancer related causes for free (advertiser-supported search site, no info collected.) Also consider using http://www.goodsearch.com to support charitable organizations (Yahoo search results, small donation made for each search to any registered nonprofit you choose.) I am partial towards the International Rescue Committee (assists refugees and immigrants worldwide with integrating into societies and finding food and shelter), Mercy Corps (humanitarian relief and community empowerment), the U.S. Campaign for Burma (supports democracy and Aung San Suu Kyi), Trees, Water, People (reforestation, jobs, and efficient stoves in South America and U.S. Native reservations), Warm Hearts, Warm Babies (knitting circle for baby blankets for poor and sick local children), the Household Goods Recycling Ministry (what it sounds like, local MA group that's apparently efficient with cash), and Women Writing for a Change (group supporting writers' workshops for beginning writers.)
Happy New Year Everyone!!! This is open for comments from anyone and everyone, as always. I actually have to step away from the comp for awhile as I'm visiting the Chabot Museum for their annual New Year event (balloon drop and astronomical highlights, designed to coincide with Greenwich Mean Time.) So it would be very wonderful if someone got involved and welcomed people while I'm away - I will be back this afternoon PST though.
Music to get people started:
Abba's I Have a Dream, sung by Angel Voices Boys' Choir: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neOX4e82
Sara Brightman's The War is Over: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHMFpnNp
Matt Kearney's Nothing Left to Lose: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbFo6u7l
Deathcab's Into the Dark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdOvmynd
Lord of the Rings - May it Be (video with spectacular scenery): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ljm5225B
Avril Lavigne - Keep Holding On: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TR_Bij2
Seasons of Love - from RENT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMEAiLrS
Vusi Mahlasela's Thula Mama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW0SMk-H
Dougie McLean's Caledonia, video with scenery of Scotland: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMH0Hlrc
Celine Dion and Josh Groban - The Prayer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=db1-IlnW
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Christmas Canon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzhfJNCM
Sri Ganesh Kirtan - traditional Hindu New Year song for Auspicious Blessings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHnsdL7b
This was a songlist favorite from last year.
Rachmaninov's Vocalise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek-GwyUO
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (excerpt): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikQWfO2B
Schumann's Reverie from Childhood, played by a (very good!) child: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L05moolh
Schumann, the true Romantic soul, intrepid with pursuing musical perfection through his madness.
Please post more music - and if it hits midnight anyone's time, a link to Auld Lang Syne would be wonderful :) Back soon - Pope Romanescu