It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air…
Or perhaps not, if you’re me!
But because I’m a soppy old romantic (no, really, I am), I thought I’d share this very educational newsreel clip with you. Going by the clothing and design shown, this piece of film was probably made sometime in the 1960s – and it compares Victorian and Edwardian Valentine’s cards with the mass-produced romantic greetings of the mid 20th century, showing how the latter are made (with the high-tech, ultramodern help of a computer, no less).
The centrality of this ‘masculine’, modern industrial technology, and the mention of “this year’s sweetheart” being “next year’s wife” makes me wonder if this report was, at least in part, designed as a half-hearted (and somewhat stereotypical) little reminder of the date for the male population of the UK at the time!
Whether you’re on a date tonight, having a cosy night in with a significant other, or on your own (especially if you’re on your own), I hope you have a lovely evening – and always remember to tell the people you love that you love them, whatever the day…
It’s hard to believe that this year’s Reclaim Love was the tenth of these annual events in London. My first was in 2010, and that seems like a mere five minutes ago… (you can find photos from previous Reclaim Love events here, here and here).
After last year’s downpour, the weather gods were kind to us – and old friends came from near and far to celebrate ten years of bringing peace and love to the streets of London. Here’s a few pics from Saturday’s gathering at Piccadilly Circus…
May all the beings in all the worlds be happy and at peace…
Back in 2000, sixteen year old Bill Magee wrote to the singer-songwriter Fiona Apple, asking her if she could possibly pen a few lines in support of his high school’s gay-straight alliance. Much to his delight and amazement, he received a lovely handwritten letter from her a few days later – and this gorgeous paragraph is part of that note:
All I know is I want my friends to be good people, and when my friends fall in love, I want them to fall in love with other good people. How can you go wrong with two people in love? If a good boy loves a good girl, good. If a good boy loves another good boy, good. And if a good girl loves the goodness in good boys and good girls, then all you have is more goodness, and goodness has nothing to do with sexual orientation. A person who loves is a righteous person, and if someone has the ability and desire to show love to another – to someone willing to receive it, then for goodness sake, let them do it. Hate has no place in the equation; there is no function for it to perform. Love is love, and there will never be too much!
This just seems so simple and so obvious and so right to me – and to many others – but this opinion is still, sadly, by no means universally shared. There are still young people in many places who are not only having to deal with all the difficulties that adolescents everywhere face, but who are also the targets of vicious homophobic prejudice and hatred on a day-to-day basis, just for trying to be who they really are.
It is deeply saddening and disheartening to know that this sort of hatred is still going on. But the fact that there are more and more people out there who just want their friends and family members to be happy and to be loved, whoever it is they love (and here is a very endearing example of that), is something that gives me hope for the future.
Because Fiona Apple is right: it is not about hatred and fear. It is, instead, about loving and being loved without being afraid of bigotry. It is about the simple goodness of love, whoever it is you love.
And it is always about happiness, whoever you are.
It’s February, which means it’s Reclaim Love time again. With my camera in tow, and despite the pouring rain in London yesterday, I headed off to Piccadilly Circus in order to bring you a taste of this annual pavement party, which is dedicated to bringing real love back to the whole world.
May all the beings in all the worlds be happy and at peace…
Readers with long memories will recall the fun I had at the Reclaim Love pavement party in 2010. You won’t be surprised to hear, then, that I had to return for more hugs, drumming, music and dancing in central London at the eighth of these enjoyable gatherings, held last weekend on a beautiful and surprisingly warm winter’s day. Here’s a few photos of the fun and games:
After Jack O’Lanterns, second sight, Soul Cakes and sea monsters in Part 1 of the Another Kind Of Mind Halloween Special, Part 2 looks at the myriad weird ways to predict your love life at Halloween…
In a recent post, I looked at the ancient but often rather gruesome and spooky practice of the Crow Augury, but there are many other, slightly less dramatic but equally powerful, methods of divination which are more intimately and very personally connected to the celebrations at this time of year.
In fact, a lot of the varied types of divination associated with Halloween (as, interestingly, with those connected to Christmas) are more to do with a slightly more positive subject matter: the age-old topic of love and the finding of it, mostly for young women – although some of these fortune-telling methods are said to work for young single men too.
“If peace on earth was declared today, what would you have to do to keep it that way?”
On Saturday 13th February, a group of like-minded people gathered under the statue of Eros in London’s Piccadilly Circus to dance and drum and eat and hug and celebrate the idea of universal love and peace (photos below). Reclaim Love, the organisers of this, the seventh of these annual ‘pavement parties’, printed up flyers explaining why it was both important and necessary:
“We have called this gathering in response to the fear and confusion in the World at this time. We have decided to send LOVE and HEALING to all the Beings in all the Worlds in an effort to restore peace and harmony throughout infinity”
Now, I am aware that my approval of all that makes the usual cynical lefty me sound like a sad old hippy who has taken too much LSD in her time (um, actually…) and probably says ‘groovy’ far too often for her own good (guilty as charged), but I like the idea of universal love and peace.
In this damaged world where everything has become a commodity, love and peace have become rare and precious artefacts while so many people are suffering because of hatred and war.
Last Christmas, in order to take my mind off some personal issues, I decided to write an advent calendar on my old blog. This involved a blog post on a Christmassy subject every day from the 1st December all the way to the 24th. At the time, I don’t think I realised what a challenge this project would be, but I completed it and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. So I decided this year to resurrect some of the best of these Christmassy posts and share them on Another Kind Of Mind for those who won’t have seen the originals.
Today we’ll be looking at Christmas superstitions, but watch out for more to come on the Winter Solstice and the origins of the Santa Claus myth. In the mean time, I’d love to hear from you if you have any interesting or unusual seasonal superstitions in your family or community, or any Christmas stories to tell!
Midwinter has long been considered a mysterious and spooky time; the Christmas period particularly so. These beliefs probably go back to pre-Christian midwinter festivals and ideas of the death of the old year as well as connecting into the physically and psychologically protective qualities of lighting up the long, dark and cold winter nights – particularly during the period of the Winter Solstice (21st December) which was seen as a time of great spiritual vulnerability and risk in that the barriers between this world and that of the evil spirits would temporarily open. This makes it unsurprising that there are many (often ancient) superstitions associated with the rituals and traditions of Christmas; probably as many (if not more) than those associated with Halloween.
These superstitions began as rituals and charms, ways of protecting an individual and their families against the evil that was abroad in the dying weeks and days of the year. Midwinter festivals served the similar purpose of scaring away any evil spirits that might be lurking about in the darkness (as well as giving people something to look forward to at this cold and bleak time of year).