Posted in Exploration, Family, Life, Personal Challenge, Photography, Southern California, Sports, Tourism, Travel, Writing

Archery and Coffee, A Perfect Saturday Combo: Personal Challenge, Day 13 (9.29.12)

Today, I decided to enlist my honorary nephew, Brandon, to help me out with my personal challenge.  On the Discover Los Angeles website under 100 Free things to do in Los Angeles, I found a link to the Pasadena Roving Archers group that offers free archery classes on Saturdays.  The only downside is that you have to get there really early because it is on a first-come, first-serve basis (and the small parking lot fills up quickly.  I recommend parking on Arroyo and just walking down the hill to the park).

Brandon is a Boy Scout and really interested in learning archery so I thought this would be a fun thing that we could do together. Unfortunately, since he is under the age of 10 (he is 9), he is required to take an evaluation and preliminary instruction course before he can participate in the other classes.  The introductory class for adults starts at the same time (8:30 am–the time hasn’t been updated yet on the website for the kids evaluation class) but it is on a different range.  So I decided I would just stay with Brandon and watch his first class.  I could always come back and take the introductory class later on or take a one-on-one instruction course for $25.

I was impressed with the way the instructors, Jim and Terri ran the youth class.  They were organized and patient with the children.  That emphasized all of the important safety issues and they would complete stop the class whenever anyone was disobeying their safety rules.  They explained everything step by step and they had additional instructors that would help the kids individually, if needed.  It didn’t take long for the kids to get used to their class structure and whistle system.  I would highly recommend this class to anyone who lives in Pasadena or the other local SoCal areas who have kids (or nieces and nephews) who are interested in learning archery.  The introductory class is free and they request a $5 donation for any subsequent classes.

Jim mentioned that since the release of the films Brave and Hunger Games, classes on the range have increased in popularity and fill up quickly.  Brandon and I realized this when we arrived and there were absolutely no parking spaces available in the parking lot so we chose to park on Arroyo Blvd and just walk down the hill to the park.

I asked Brandon what he thought of the class and he said he loved it.  He definitely wants to come back (and since the “returning” classes start at 10am, my California sister will actually be awake in time and able to join us).  He said that in Boy Scouts, when teaching archery, they just tell the kids to line-up and shoot.  They don’t explain anything.  Brandon said it was nice to have all the instructions and the helpers there to let you know if you were doing anything wrong.  He also liked that all the equipment was provided.  Each kid was fitted for an arm guard, a finger guard, a quiver with specific colored arrows, and a bow.  And it was easy to see that Brandon wasn’t the only kid who enjoyed the class.  There were plenty of parents asking about the returning classes and private lessons offered by the Pasadena Roving Archers.  Again, I was really impressed by the instructors and the class.  I would recommend this to any of my friends with kids.

Now since I had to start my Saturday much earlier than normal, I decided I would take the opportunity to have another first time experience before the day was out.  Somewhere on Facebook, I read that today was “National Coffee Day.”  As a coffee lover, this was something I could whole-heartedly support.  After having lunch and running some errands with my California sister and Brandon, I decided I was in need of a coffee break.  Many times, I have passed a local coffeehouse on N. Lake in Altadena called “The Coffee Gallery.”  I have read reviews about how it is a local artists haven and hang out, complete with a backstage area for bands, shows, comedy, and open mic nights.  So in honor of National Coffee Day, I thought I would check it out.

There is no parking lot for The Coffee Gallery so after finding street parking on Lake, I made my way over to the cozy coffeehouse.  You can definitely feel the relaxed atmosphere the minute you walk into the door.  This is nothing like the corporate designed Starbucks and don’t expect the same menu.  I had no qualms asking the barista for recommendations.  He asked me if I liked Lattes: Yes, I do.  He asked me if I liked sweet drinks: Yes, I do.  So he recommended the “Caramel Turtle” Latte or if I liked something a little more spicy, like Chai, then he recommended the “Filthy Dirty Chai” Latte.  I chose the latter (I love Chai Lattes).

Now all I have to say is Starbucks, eat your hearts out because this little coffee-house blows you right out of the water.  The Filthy Dirty Chai Latte was amazing.  I can’t wait to go back and try other items on their menu.  I definitely have a new favorite coffeehouse/hangout place/writing spot (they have free WiFi).  If you live in the Altadena area, there is no need to go to the Starbucks located in Ralphs.  Support our local businesses and go over to The Coffee Gallery instead.

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Posted in Exploration, Life, Personal Challenge, Photography, Southern California, Tourism, Travel

A Disappointing Day of Discovery: Personal Challenge, Day 12 (9.28.12)

Still a bit sore after my horseback riding adventure yesterday, I decided I would take it easy and explore something closer to home.  Originally I thought tonight was the full moon so I was planning on visiting the Linda Vista Hospital (despite my students and mother warning me to stop going places at night, alone, especially on a full moon).  But the full moon is tomorrow so that means I could pick something a little more low-key and indoors (a great way to beat the heat).

Once again, I found myself searching the Discover LA website for ideas when I found their “Best of LA in One Day” page.  Most of the places I had visited before or they cost too much money but the section, “Fun, In Any Language” sounded interesting.  It mentions an area known as ground zero for LA’s Chinese population; a place often referred to as “The Great Mall of China.”  This place is the San Gabriel Square.  They said it has a supermarket, lots of Chinese restaurants, gift shops and “a vibe that says Vegas and Southern California as much as Beijing.”  I love Chinese food and anything Buddha so this sounded like the perfect place to go.  I used Google Maps, printed out my directions and headed to my destination.

First off, the drive over there sucked.  The Google directions were confusing and there were traffic jams galore with all the construction in the different areas of Pasadena (and it wasn’t even Carmageddon time yet).  But once I was on Valley Blvd and started to see all of the Chinese symbols on the signs, I knew I was headed in the right direction.

In my mind, I was imagining a Chinatown version of the Mall of America or at the very least the Forum shops at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas.  I figured it would be flashy and easy to spot, yet the sign was not easily visible while driving so I drove right past it, being forced to turn on the next street and find a back entrance into the parking lot.

The building was not at all what I expected but I was trying to stay positive.  I did feel like I was stepping into another country.  But the minute I emerged from the parking lot stairwell and stepped into the courtyard in front of the Focus department store, I thought I was going to throw up.  There was an overwhelming stench of rotting seafood.  I noticed there was markets to the left of Focus so I decided to walk off into the opposite direction.  Once again, a wave of disappointed flooded my senses when the San Gabriel Square failed to live up to my fantasy version of a Great Mall of China.  At the very least, I thought it would have the feel of the shops in Chinatown (downtown LA).  But this simply felt like a regular mall but the signs and music were all in Chinese.  There was even a T-Mobile store.

So in an effort to try something new, I thought I would try eating at one of the restaurants.  But as I walked around, I realized that all of the restaurants that were open had a B rating and didn’t look all that appealing.  The restaurants that I wanted to try, like the steamed dumplings place, were closed until 5:30pm.  It was only 4pm.  I didn’t think I would be able to entertain myself for an hour and a half.  But I still had the Focus department store to check out.  Maybe that would be a time killer so I could enjoy some dumplings.

The Focus store has four levels.  I decided I would go up to the top and work my way down.  The top-level was a restaurant so that didn’t take that long.

The third level was jewelry.  It was set up like a flea market where each booth was owned by someone else.  If only I had known about this place back when I was looking for a Jade Buddha necklace.  This is definitely the place to go for Jade jewelry.  The only thing I didn’t like was I couldn’t understand the price tags (they didn’t use decimal points).  So I didn’t know if the necklace was $12.50 (which would be a total bargain) or $1,250.  And the jewelers were all with customers and talking Chinese.  I was the tall, white American girl who stood out like a sore thumb.

The second level was clothing, clothing made for skinny little women, not curvy Italian-Polish-German-French Canadian-Americans.  But if I ever want a fancy Chinese style dress, I now know where to buy one.

The first floor was the marketplace.  There were beauty items, household items (who knew they make Hello Kitty Pots & Pans), a whole section of Chinese Alcohol (Plum Wine & Sake), and then my favorite part, the tea section.  There is no need to go to a wallet-killer store like Teavana when there is Focus in San Gabriel.  The teas were reasonably priced.  I finally got my tea infuser pot for only $5.98 (they are $19.98 at Teavana).  I also got some Bamboo serving spoons for $1.90 each.  They also had some beautiful tea sets, Sake sets, and Sushi plates.  Yep, the tea and kitchen area made the whole trip worth it.

It was now 4:30pm and there was nothing else for me to explore.  I had arrived at 4pm.  It only took me a half hour to explore this entire place.  So I would disagree with Discover Los Angeles’ description of the San Gabriel Square.  It isn’t the “Great Mall of China” nor does it have a Vegas vibe.  But if you want good deals on tea, tea pots and anything else to meet your Oriental Cooking needs, this is the place to go.  As for the restaurants, I will have to comment on that if I should ever get down there again to eat at the dumplings place.

On my way home, I looked over at my new tea-infuser pot but I wasn’t satisfied.  This didn’t really seem worthy of my challenge.  Yes, I did go somewhere I had never been before but I was disappointed by what I found.  I needed something else.  I needed another adventure but as I was driving home, I didn’t see anything “inspiring.”  There was a sign that said “Live Oak Park” and I thought that could be something cool was it was simply a park with baseball and soccer fields.  There was a little league baseball game happening as I drove past.

So I figured I could just stop and get dinner at a restaurant I had never been to before.  I drove past “The Habit Burger Grill” at the Hastings Ranch shopping center in Pasadena.  I had never been there and had heard it was like the old chain Topz (the one with the healthy burgers and aero-fries, that the original Tops in Pasadena).  So I order what appeared to be their “famous” burger, the Charburger.  I do have to say it was a good burger.  Not as healthy as Topz used to be (the fries were definitely not baked) but it was still really good.  The Habit Burger Grill is a chain that started in 1969 in Santa Barbara and now you can find them all over SoCal.  I can safely say that I would definitely go back.

With a full belly, I returned to the car and watched as the moon rose into the sky and the sun started to set behind me.  It looked like a full moon.  I started to think that maybe I had my dates wrong.  If it was the full moon, I needed to head home to get my camera.  I could add more adventures to my day, like capturing the full moon over the Colorado Street Bridge and Devil’s Gate Dam.  But I checked my calendar and I was right, the full moon is tomorrow night.  I guess I am just going to have to settle with what I have already done–technically I tried two new things–and hope that tomorrow turns out for the better.  At the very least, I know I can enjoy the full moon, the Harvest Moon, tomorrow night.

As for tonight, I am just going to head home and watch “The Avengers” on On Demand–a movie I haven’t seen yet.

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Posted in Exploration, Life, Personal Challenge, Photography, Southern California, Spirituality, Tourism, Travel, Universe, Writing

“Trolling” The Suicide Bridge: Personal Challenge, Day Three (9.19.12)

After my journey across the Colorado Street Bridge, I arrived at home, eager to do some research into this beautiful, historical bridge with a sinister reputation.

The Colorado Street Bridge was built in 1913 and it spans 1,467 feet at an elevation of 150 feet over the Arroyo Seco Riverbed (and LA River), linking east Los Angeles to Pasadena and other eastern cities.  While crossing this architectural masterpiece of art, the traveler is given a majestic view of the San Gabriel Mountains.  It is also a part of the original Route 66.  On February 12, 1981, the Colorado Street Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

When you are there, you can’t help but stare in awe at the beauty of this curved bridge that was the tallest bridge of its time.  But how could such beauty be tainted with the nickname of “Suicide Bridge”?

It turns out that well over 100 people have chosen this particular spot as the ideal location for putting an end to their troubles by plunging into the wilderness, and concrete, 150 feet below.  The first documented suicide at the Colorado Street Bridge took place on November 16, 1919.  An additional 95 took their lives by jumping off the bridge from 1919 to 1937, at the height of the Great Depression.

One of the more infamous suicides occurred on May 1, 1937.  Myrtle Ward, a 22 year-old mother from El Sereno, threw her 3 year-old daughter, Jean Pykkonen, off the bridge before jumping herself.  The young girl, Jean, landed in the thick tree branches and managed to survive while her mother perished.

The City of Pasadena tried everything it could to deter tormented souls from ending their lives at the Colorado Street “Suicide” Bridge.  According to the 1978 book “Southern California: An Island on the Land” by Carey McWilliams, the city spent $20,000 a year to staff the bridge with police detail,  In 1989, when the bridge was closed for seismic renovations, the city had a chance to improve upon their predicament.  When the bridge reopened in 1993, a suicide barrier was added to the railing, creating a combined height of 8 feet.  This barrier has helped reduce the number of jumpers but it didn’t deter them completely.  It is estimated that over the past decade or so, 10 percent of all suicides that take place in Pasadena occur at the Colorado Street Bridge.  In fact, last November, a former student from the high school where I teach took his own life by jumping off the bridge at the young age of 25.

When I was there, I was surprised that people are still finding ways to get past the 8 foot barrier, rod iron and spiked at the top.  I was too scared to even lean close to the railings.  You have to be really desperate to even try to climb that barrier, in my humble opinion.  I think it actually takes a certain bravery to just look over the edge.  Too bad these poor souls couldn’t turn that bravery around and use it to survive their own troubles.

So with all of these deaths, it is no wonder that this area has a tainted history filled with ghostly urban legends.  In fact, the tales go all the way back to the construction of the bridge.  Legend has it that during the construction, a worker fell into the concrete mixture.  His workers couldn’t retrieve him so he is now entombed, forever haunting the bridge that holds his skeletal remains.  Of course, this legend has already been debunked.  What really happened was that during construction, part of the bridge collapsed and three workers plunged into the Arroyo Seco Riverbed.  One of the workers died instantly, another died at the hospital and the third survived but with severe injuries.  All bodies were recovered.

Another legend involves Myrtle Ward, the woman who threw her daughter off the bridge before jumping.  It is said that she roams the bridge, searching for her daughter.  There are also accounts of a woman in a long flowing robe who climbs upon one of the parapets (aka lookouts), leaps off the edge and vanishes into the darkness.  Others have claimed to see to a man with rimmed glasses wandering around the bridge.  Many think he is the construction worker who lost his life when the bridge collapsed during construction.  Many report strange sounds, echoes, and mists.

However, the majority of the stories seem to involve hauntings underneath the bridge, in the Arroyo Seco Riverbed hiking trails and LA River.  So I decided that my challenge for the day would be a journey under the bridge.  I went there after work but quickly realized this wasn’t area for work attire.  I took a few pictures with my phone before heading home to change.  Tennis shoes or hiking shoes are a must for this area.

I decided to return after the sun had set and explore the area during a time when others have claimed to have experienced the unexplainable.  Apparently I am not the same person who thought about exploring this area at night.  I ran into a few guys who were also taking pictures of the underbelly of the Suicide Bridge.  They had taken pictures in the area several times but never endured any personal paranormal phenomenon in the area.  And we didn’t experience anything that night.  The only weird thing that happened was a homeless man who is living under the bridge came up to us and told us he didn’t want his picture taken.  When we agreed, he thanked us, bowed and jogged off into the darkness.

So with no personal experience to write about as a Suicide Bridge Troll, I decided to go back to the top of the bridge and get some pictures.  Maybe I would see the woman in the robe or Myrtle Ward or the construction worker.  At the very least, I figured I could get some cool pictures of the Crescent Moon over the bridge.

Once again, I parked in the little area on Grand and made my way to the bridge, armed with my camera and a monopod (my tripod broke the other day so this was all I had on a moment’s notice.  I highly recommend using a tripod but a monopod was better than attempting handheld night photography).  I had a blast taking pictures and playing with angles.  I loved the challenge of trying to get pictures of the moon and working with the lights and the cars (going way too fast).

But once again, nothing that could be considered a paranormal personal experience occurred.  The day before, I had the weird thing happen with the blackbirds.  This time, I was getting weird lighting effects when I took pictures with my phone.  But I blame that on the fact that it is an automatic camera.  Thankfully, I brought my regular DSLR so I could manually control my settings.  I didn’t get any weird lighting issues with the DSLR.

And the only weird thing that happened that night was it appeared a man proposed to his girlfriend on the bridge.  They were both dressed up, dancing and kissing.  They were dressed in contemporary clothes and I managed to get a picture of them so I am pretty sure they are real human beings and not the lost tortured souls rumored to haunt this bridge.  But I still can’t get over that I possibly witnessed an engagement.  Who proposes on a Suicide Bridge?

Anyways, after I felt like I had gotten all the pictures I was going to get, I headed home.  It was a school night so I couldn’t stay until the “witching hour,” aka 3am, when it is said that the spirits roam the earth.  So I will probably have to go back someday.  Actually, I need to go back once I replace my tripod so I can get better pictures.

But I think for now, it is time to move on to another adventure but leave this on my “To Do” list as a place to revisit.  In the meantime, I will post some of the pictures that I took with my phone and some of the unedited pictures that I took with my DSLR (just remember I was using a monopod on a winding bridge so they are not as clear as I would have liked).

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Posted in Astrology, Life, Spirituality, Universe

Once In A Blue Moon

Tonight, look up into the sky and gaze upon the Blue “Salmon” Moon.  This is a very special moon for multiple reasons.  The first being that it is the last Blue Moon until 2015.  And for those who don’t know, a blue moon means it is the second full moon in a month.  It isn’t actually blue.

This is also the Pisces Blue Moon.  When the moon is in Pisces, the fish, it is a time to seek wisdom and oneness.  In Celtic tradition, the Salmon was considered the wisest and oldest of all animals.  They believed that the salmon, known as Bradan, gained its wisdom by feasting on the nuts of nine hazel trees growing around the Well of Segais, the well of wisdom.  There is a tale about a young boy named Deimne who gained knowledge and wisdom while watching over the cooking of the Salmon of Wisdom.  The boy was given the task to “watch the pot” when the hot juice splattered and a small piece of salmon skin landed on his thumb.  Deimne’s immediate reaction was to stick his burned finger in his mouth, transferring the knowledge and wisdom of the Salmon to the young boy.  He was then given the nickname “Fionn” meaning “bright” and he would go on to be a great hunter and warrior in Celtic-Irish mythology.

Personally, I find it a bit ironic that the tale of  Fionn mac Cumhaill (aka Finn McCool), a great mythological hunter and warrior, is linked to this particular Blue Salmon Moon (Thanks to Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook).  Today, a great, and perhaps some day mythological, hunter of the moon and stars was laid to rest.  Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, passed away this week and his family mourned him in a private memorial service today.  His family even mentioned that tonight, we should all look up at the moon and wink at Mr. Armstrong as he gazes down at us from the heavens.  The Universe planned it perfectly.  We say goodbye to the first man who walked on the moon on the night where we observe the last Blue Moon in 2012–the last Blue Moon until 2015.

But no matter what you believe or how many Instagram pictures are posted of tonight’s Full Moon, I think we can all agree that every Full Moon is a sight to behold.  We should always look at it as a reminder that the Universe is so much bigger than we are.  The little things that upset us don’t matter in the great scheme of things.  We need to let go of the past, enjoy the present and look forward to our unknown future.

But if you feel you need a little extra guidance, wisdom and knowledge this celestial evening, Kristin Madden of Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook has a few suggestions:

Seek wisdom and oneness on this Pisces Blue Moon.  Fill a shallow bowl, with no inside marking, with pure water.  Sprinkle a touch of ground hazelnut, hazelnut liquor, or hazelnut flavoring on top.  Pass your left hand, then your right hand over the water, attuning yourself to its energy.  Still your mind and allow your experience of Self to expand to include everything in every reality.  Continue to expand your awareness until your current identity is just one small part of who you are.  Tell yourself that you encompass all things and that you will retain some of this wisdom when you return to your body.  When you are ready, gradually return to normal awareness.

In other words, go outside or sit by a window and take in the Blue Moonlight.  Breath (and meditate if you wish), relax, and enjoy this celestial beauty that begins our extended holiday weekend.  Don’t forget to take a moment to remember the man who achieved the impossible by leaving the first footprints on the moon.  Be inspired and find ways to make your own footprints in the Universe!

Posted in Astrology, Life, Spirituality, Universe

Time To Find Your Path

Tomorrow’s Full Moon is the Pathfinding Horse Moon.  With the moon in Sagittarius, it is a time to choose a new path or direction to take in our life’s journey.

How do we do this?  Well, you look at where you are and where you really want to be then you have to decide how to get there.  Simple, right?  I’m a Libra so I would have to say this is pure torture.  Trying to make a decision on which path I should take is an extremely difficult task for a Libra.  I will use my trusty Pros and Cons lists.  I will think of all the different possible outcomes for each decision.  I will ask my friends and family for advice.  I will go see a psychic or ask my own Goddess or Angel cards.  Then I will pray for a sign from the Universe, guiding me toward the right path.  Then I will finally make a decision.  But once I make that decision, I will constantly wonder if I made the right choice.  But once again, I am a Libra.

Ironically, I am in a weird place where I do feel like I have to make a lot of life choices about my future.  So today, I turned to someone I know and trust, Hot Dog.  I had just told him about my accident a few days ago so he was anxious to see me and get me whatever I needed.  He picked up dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant and arrived at my house, ready to take care of my needs.  What I really needed was someone to talk to and he was ready to listen.  We went for a walk in my neighborhood (mainly to walk off the carnitas) and talked about what was bothering me.  Like any close, good guy friend would do, he poked fun at some of the decisions I made and actions I took.  But mostly he was in agreement with me that I needed to change things in my life.

I know where I want to be I just have no clue how to get there.  I need to let go of the past once and for all.  My past is holding me back.  So I guess whatever direction I wind up choosing, I need to make sure that it is in the opposite direction of my past with the future I want directly in front of me.

Now, if you are like me and you have a hard time making decisions, Kristen Madden from Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook suggests:

“To explore your path and any new directions you might take, you will need a pendulum (a ring on a string will do), and your life-adventure map.  Create your map by drawing a large circle on a piece of paper.  divide the circle into a pie graph, with one section representing your current path.  Into the other sections, place your potential paths, hopes and dreams.  Take your pendulum and ask what paths are most aligned to financial, academic, spiritual, or emotional success, then let the pendulum help find your direction.”

Now if the pendulums, tarot cards and psychic guidance methods freak you out, you can always ask the Magic 8 ball.  I have a fortune telling Yoda doll that I often ask for guidance (yeah, I’m a Star Wars geek) when my Magic 8 ball seems to be having issues (when it tells you “Future Unclear.  Ask Again Later.”)

Good Luck!

Posted in Life, Photography, Universe

Today’s Solar Eclipse

Here in Los Angeles, we didn’t get to see the “Ring of Fire.”  We were only able to see a partial solar eclipse.  However, I did manage to see the “Ring of Fire” on the live feed.  I also managed to go outside and watch the partial eclipse using the pinhole trick on cardstock paper.

But as a photographer, I wanted to at least attempt to find a way to take a picture of the Eclipse.  So I grabbed my Nikon D300, slapped on a circular polarizer and went out onto my driveway to experiment.  Now I am sure I could have figured out a way to get better results if I hadn’t been on pain killers and had been able to stand for more than a few minutes.  But what I did was I set my camera to Manual mode.  I set it to the smallest aperture (F36 on the current lens), the fastest shutter speed (1/8000) and the slowest ISO (ISO 200).  I snapped a few shots and they were just dark.  So I switched my camera into Live Mode so I could set up the shot, then turn my eyes away (so I wouldn’t blind myself) and snapped the shot.  I shot the picture in Raw and enhanced it slightly in Camera Raw by decreasing the Exposure to limit the halo effect.

The above shot is the end result.  It kind of looks like a perfect crescent moon but it is indeed the sun with the moon blocking it.  (Though due to my injuries, I got this one picture then went inside to rest and watch the remainder of the show on

Posted in Astrology, Life, Photography, Spirituality, Universe

Annular Solar Eclipse With The New Moon in Gemini

Today marks this month’s New Moon, located in Gemini.  It is also an Annular Solar Eclipse that is said to produce a ring of fire (is anyone else thinking of Johnny Cash, besides me?).

This ring of fire will only be visible in certain parts of the world.  If you are in an area where you won’t be able to see it, thanks to current technology, you can watch it streaming live over the internet.  One site covering the footage is Slooh.  They will be streaming it live, starting in Japan.  Check their site for “showtimes.”

You can also watch the eclipse live from Mt. Fuji thanks to Panasonic.  Or watch footage from the Hong Kong Observatory and Space Museum.  Or check in with amateur astronomer Scotty Degenhart broadcasting from Nevada’s Area 51.

Here in the west, we are supposed to get the best views of the eclipse, the “Black Moon” and the ring of fire.  “The western United States will enjoy bizarre solar effects that only occur every few decades. In the annularity path, which will be about 147 miles (237 km) wide when hitting our shores, the black moon will stand like a bull’s-eye in front of the sun, its motion through space in-your-face obvious,” said astronomer Bob Berman, who will be a commentator on the Slooh Space Camera webcast.  “In a wider zone that includes most western states, the sun becomes an eerie narrow crescent,” Berman added. “At maximum eclipse, the lighting on the ground will grow strange. Shadows of trees and bushes will contain thousands of tiny crescents, as spaces between leaves become pinhole cameras.”  So it should be quite the sight to see.

Now this is all according to astronomers, Astrologers, of course, have a different view of the Solar Eclipse.  According to Risa D’Angeles, Astrology columnist for the Santa Cruz Good Times, the new moon as a solar eclipse signifies that something essential in our lives has come to an end.

“Eclipses signify endings and beginnings.  Lunar eclipses (at full moons) are times when exterior realities disappear. Solar eclipses are times when an inner subjective reality has completed its cycle. It disappears. These endings (and beginnings) can be subtle or very apparent. Eclipses have a six-month influence—three months before and after the new or full moon. With Sun entering Gemini the entire world begins to see duality and polarity. This is the task of Gemini—to gather and disperse all aspects (sides) of information. When we see and experience duality, what emerges is discernment and discrimination so authentic choice can be made. We (humanity) are at a crossroads in our world and, as one Age (Pisces) withdraws and the new Aquarian Age is forthcoming, important choices must be made. Our choices determine our future world. For we are to create this new world coming. Presenting duality being Gemini’s task, we thus understand Gemini’s icon of the twins, two brothers, two lights—one waxing (growing in light, the new world), one waning (lessening in light, the old world). In Taurus, we were given the opportunity to become enlightened. In Gemini we are shown the dual realities. Which “light,” which “brother,” which side will we choose?”

Other astrologers look at the “Ring of Fire” as something destructive on a global scale.  For example, when we had the SuperMoon, the craziness was supposed to revolve around the individual and their inner circles.  Where as a Solar Eclipse bringing a “Ring of Fire,” has more of a global impact, such as severe floods.  It is somehow linked to Neptune and water (some of these astrology sites are very complex in their explanations).  So this eclipse has the potential to bring about deep cleansing of the soul (as represented by the Roman Goddess Egeria, goddess of the Healing Spring).  But because the New Moon is located in Gemini on the fixed star Alcyone in the Pleiades (“Seven Sisters” star cluster), there is also the potential for a flooding of tears, sorrow and broken hearts.

In all honesty, I don’t want to think about the possible negative repercussions of this celestial event.  Instead, all I can think about, as a photographer, is “how can I take pictures of this rare event?”