Corsets and Updos

I have another confession to make.  In spite of my efforts to avoid recent and post-Eclipse Western media, I have been watching Downton Abbey lately with my spouse.  I do not know that I can wholeheartedly recommend this show, as there is some problematic behavior and it is not completely wholesome and pure.  On the other hand, I have been quite enjoying watching the clothing, hairstyle, manners, and a functioning, and relatively healthy, hierarchy.

Dressing Lady MaryOne of the things that this show has prompted me to do is to investigate and study the Edwardian period with respect to clothing and hairstyles, and there are some things that I have found quite interesting.  One of the things that was interesting is that all women from Countess to the kitchen maid wore corsets.  Now, of course, we have all been told horror stories about corsets, but I remember wearing one for a play I was in a few years back, and it was not as bad as one might think.  One of the things that corsets did was force one into good posture.  Interestingly enough, men’s clothing was also made to force good posture as well, with tight tailoring and accessories that restricted movement.

Anna Arranging HairWith respect to hairstyles, one of the things that I learned, was that in the Edwardian period, all adult reputable women wore their hair up.  I was also fascinated to see that from the highest to the lowest in rank, all of the women arranged their hair for sleeping at night, either in braids or similarly tied back.

I am seeing an interesting pattern, in that there seemed to be a value placed on having things under control, one’s body, one’s clothing, and one’s hair.  It is an interesting contrast to today, where we are encouraged to be as comfortable as possible, and to let everything hang loose.  I think that this is quite symbolic in many ways.

I recently read Jane Eyre, and I am currently reading Little Women.  One of the things that I am noticing in both of these books is an attitude of self-restraint and self-control.  Faults are something that everyone has, but there is an ethos that we must learn to control and correct for our faults.  Virtue is a matter of effort!

While I am not recommending corsets and updos (unless one wants to try them), I do think that we can learn something from the attitude of self-control and self-restraint that these things represent.  A lot of being civilized is not doing what comes naturally for us, but to strive for goodness, beauty, and virtue.  We all have faults and difficulties, but these are things to be worked on, not allowed to just “hang loose.”

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The Hair I Inherited

My mother just came for a visit, and she left a couple of days ago.  By a strange coincidence, on the day she left, in my WordPress Reader, there appeared a Weekly Writing Challenge: DNA Analysis.  I do believe that when these things happen in this way, there is a reason and a purpose.  My mother lives across the country, so I really do not see her very often.  The last time I saw her was over two years ago.  We talked a great deal over the time she was here, and it was lovely to see her.

There was one facet of my journey that my mother was quite helpful with, in her own way.  Actually, it is a rather big problem for me.  That problem is my hair.  As you have all been reading, I am working on a lot of changes, including improving my clothing choices and personal appearance.  Still, there is the problem of my hair, and what to do about it.  One of the things that I inherited from my mother, and the rest of my family is very, very fine Scandinavian hair.

To be honest, for most of my life, I really did not even really try to do much with my hair.  When I was growing up in the 1980’s, the style was “big hair,” which was achieved using curling irons and blow dryers.  Now, I never learned how to use a curling iron.  I am incredibly clumsy anyways, so it was always an exercise in frustration, not to mention a painful exercise in frustration, as I inevitably would burn myself.  Besides that, no matter how much work I put in, my hair would go back to the straight, flat lifeless state it had been in.

Pin Curl styleI recently started researching pre-Eclipse hairstyles, and I discovered bobby pins and pin curls.  This has been the most wonderful discovery!  During her visit, my mother also introduced me to hair rollers.  Between pin curls and hair rollers, for the first time in my life, I have found a way to give my hair some life and body.

My mother also perfectly described the troubles I have always had with my hair, as these are the same troubles she has with hers.  As my mother described it, our hair starts off seeming compliant.  It goes into the shape that we want it to without too much trouble.  I have been able to put up my hair into lovely styles with bobby pins after a bit of practice.  Yet, as the day goes by, our very fine hair, strand by strand, escapes whatever we put it in.  It does not matter how many pins we use, or how much hairspray we use, the individual hairs still fly from their proper place.  Similarly, any curl will fall out by the end of the day as well.

As I was thinking of it, I think that the challenge I face with my hair is a very good metaphor for the challenge that we are facing when we try to be pure and innocent, particularly in the Late Iron Age in a Tamasic Guna.  We start off trying to make changes, but we get lazy or tired or start to feel lonely in our efforts.  We decide to have dinner by the TV, or leave the dishes for the morning.  We decide not to bother getting dressed nicely when we leave the house.  It is just the grocery store, after all.  We watch modern television because it is on.  Spiritually, we feel too tired to say our nightly prayers.  If we allow these little bits of laziness to take over, soon we are back to where we started on our journey.

I think that the solution to these challenges is the same solution that I have to the trouble of my hair.  During the day, I may have to keep my hair up to preserve the curls and re-adjust bobby-pins, or engage in other efforts to maintain my hair.  I also need to keep trying and not give up, even though there are days it seems like a lost cause.  On a spiritual level, we just do our best to keep up with our prayers and maintain our connection with Dea, whatever name we call Her by.  We recognize our faults and failings, and keep trying.

We also resist the temptation to just give up.  If we do succumb to the temptation to give up, we can always try again the next day,  That works with both hair and life I think.  We can always try again the next day!

Oh yes, we can also learn from those who came before us.  Our troubles are not unique.  Thank you, Mom, for the advice about the hair rollers.

The Image Sphere

One of the fallacies of the Modern Era is the belief that the images and ideas that we expose ourselves to do not matter.  In my last article I talked about speech and thought and I previously wrote an article about the television.  The ideas addressed in these articles relate to the broader subject of our Image Sphere.

fantasia-gardensOur Image Sphere consists of the things we are exposed to.  What we see, what we read, what we hear, what we think, what we dream, what we imagine, all of these become a part of our Image Sphere.

In the West, we are taught that the only things that are “real” are those things that we can experience with our senses, with instruments that enhance our senses, or things that can be logically derived or inferred from sense data through reason.  This belief is an aberration of the post Enlightenment period in the West.  Metaphysically, the world we can experience with our senses is only a small portion of the entire cosmos, or the sublunary sphere.  Above that sphere is the Lunary Sphere.  For a more detailed explanation of the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, you can see a previous article I wrote on the Apple Seed on this subject here.

Our personal Image Spheres are part of the larger Lunary Sphere.  Also in the Lunary Sphere are all of the images that are created everywhere in the world.  When you think about all of the material that is currently on television and the Internet, it is a rather frightening thought.  Ever since the mid-1960’s, starting with the West and spreading Eastward, society has entered into a downward spiral, or a Tamasic Guna.  In some Deanic and Filianic groups, this is known as the Eclipse.  In the Eclipse, the collective Image Sphere we are exposed to has become poisonous.  The three main poisons, atomization, deracination, and deformation are discussed in detail here.  Atomization is the severing from the community and other people, or rampant individualism.  Deracination is severing from tradition, or our roots.  Deformation is the inversion of values, or the creation of deliberately ugly or disturbing images.  The term deracination can also be used to refer to all three poisons collectively.  We are exposed to these poisons on a constant basis all of the time, in the clothing people wear, in what we watch on television, in what we are exposed to on the Internet, and in almost everything we do.

In The Feminine Universe, Miss Alice Lucy Trent writes:

Modern people are generally very careful about what they put into their mouths.  They will not normally pick up any interesting edible thing from the street and swallow it; but no similar caution is exercised over what they put into their minds, and indeed, the concept of mental hygiene is one that takes a considerable adjustment in our whole way of thinking.  Everything in a Tamasic world is strongly against it.  Everything encourages us to think that we can see, hear, and mentally ingest anything without any particular consequences; and that we should, therefore, make a practice of mentally ingesting whatever comes our way.

The reader may think that I am talking about the usual complaints about the media, too much violence, swearing, or s*xual content.  Those are problems to be sure, but those are just the tip of the iceberg.  Just as problematic, if not more so, are the clothing, manners, and general demeanor shown.  We live in a world of 24 hour a day news cycles, with stations like Fox News and MSNBC poisoning us with and fueling the constant political conflict in the United States.  Even those shows that seem wholesome, like children’s media, portray a world that is dangerous, where innocence is punished and where those in authority are not to be trusted.  Indeed, media is criticized if it too nice, lacks conflict, or does not show enough moral ambiguity.   There is a very interesting article on this subject, Guilty Pleasures and Conscience Inversion.

The reader may be thinking that the solution is to do political action to change the media.  Indeed, there are many groups from the Far Right to the Far Left, and every group in between, working to influence the media.  As an aside, the attention paid to the media by these groups belies the idea that what we see does not matter.  If it did not matter, there would not be so much strife and political action surrounding the subject.  The problem with political action though, is that political action is in itself poisonous.  It embroils us in the world of overbalanced conflict and strife.  Nothing in this article or in my philosophy would dispute with those who feel moved or called in the direction of social change; however, this is not necessary to clean up our own Image Spheres, and is likely counter-productive to our goal.

Aunt BeeCleaning our own Image Spheres does make a difference.  Every person is a microcosm of the cosmos, and our own personal Image Spheres impact the larger Lunary Sphere.  A simple way of cleaning our Image Spheres is to carefully consider the media we ingest, what we read, what we watch, and what we link to on the Internet.   In the The Feminine Universe, Miss Trent suggests both avoiding poisonous media and purposefully ingesting positive media.  Miss Trent suggests media from the Rajastic Period immediately preceding the Eclipse, or prior to the mid-1960’s.  Another more recent place to find good, healthy media is from Japan.  One still must be careful, particularly with modern Japanese media, in that there is heavy Tamasic Western infiltration into Japanese media; however, there is still wonderful media to be found, if one is careful.

One of the advantages of recent times is the availability of the Internet, which gives us access to wonderful, good, healthy media if we take the time to find it.  With Netflix and online streaming, one can have relative freedom from the shows that are currently made on television and cable.

Miss Trent warns though, that it is not enough to ingest good media and to avoid bad media to cleanse our Image Spheres.  We must do so with understanding.  For example, one can watch a 1950’s show and think of it as an “old movie,” which has nothing to do with our modern world.  One can watch Anime in the Magic Girls genre and think that it is all just fluff.  In either case, these shows will do little to change our Image Spheres.  It is necessary to watch them with understanding and with an intent to absorb the wonderful examples of femininity, beauty, innocence, and a clear sense of right and wrong.  We can also watch them for the way people dress, behave, and look at the world.

When I was first taking the journey of cleansing my personal Image Sphere, I lamented at giving up favorite television shows.  A wise person suggested not worrying about giving up anything, but to start with ingesting healthier media.  I found as I began ingesting healthier media, my taste for unhealthy media started to fade.  I still occasionally watch a modern cooking show or two with my spouse, but I have found that there is very little in modern media that I can tolerate anymore.

In addition to cleansing our personal Image Spheres, we can also pay attention to what we are putting out in the communal Image Sphere.  With the many available forms of social media, including blogging, the Image Sphere has become democratized to a large extent.  While we may not be able to control what others put on the Internet, we can be careful of what we put on it.  We can avoid foul language and ugly and disturbing images and instead write with polite language and share beautiful and lovely images.

For further mediation on this subject, I will end this article with words from feminine Scripture:

Thoughts of the mind pass not away, nor vanish into air.

For every thought is a builder in the subtle world that lies about you.

Thoughts of beauty and of things of the Spirit refine and purify the soul, making her fair to look upon and graceful in her movements,

Uniting her with the universal music of eternity and gathering about her the servants of the Janyati.

But harsh thoughts harden the soul; coarse thoughts coarsen the soul; thoughts bound only to the tings of clay burden the soul with heavy chains.

My children, I speak not in pictures, for truly these things are; and to be seen by all whose eyes may pierce the veil of illusion.

What maiden, receiving of her mother a fine and well made house of well-wrought oak and stone and furnished by the skilful hand of love, will break the walls and furnishings, pour filthy waters into every place and bring swine to dwell in the most splendid chambers?

Will she not rather bring new things of beauty and precious works of love to add to those that lie already there?

Will she not keep away all dirt and defilement and protect it from all harm?

The Philosophy of Beauty

The title of this weblog is the Temple of the Home.  So far, I have focused on the more material aspects of the Hestia, such the dinner table, the television, dress, and a ladies’ tea.  I have touched briefly on the philosophical and spiritual aspects of these matters; however, I think that the time has come for a deeper discussion.

On a spiritual level, humans are Axial Beings.  This is a large word to state that we have Free Will, and the ability to choose between Light and Dark, between Good and Evil.  I have written several articles on The Apple Seed, which is my weblog devoted to astrology and metaphysics.  These articles give a more detailed explanation our nature as Axial Beings.  If you are interested, you may refer to these articles as listed below:

Fate, Free Will, the Cross, and Wa

True and False Selves Through the Zodiac

Where We Come From and Why it Matters

I understand that this weblog is written for a different audience than the Apple Seed, so I will give a summary of the important point from these articles for our purposes here.  This point is that we have the power to choose, and we make choices every day, and sometimes every moment, that align us with Light and with Dark.

SparrowsThe choices we make in our material lives are not value neutral.  Everyday choices, such as our clothing, our furniture, our speech, and our manners, are choices between Light and Dark.  As it states in the feminine Scripture:

Truly, the world is a field of conflict between the powers of good and the legions of the Dark One.  In the cycles of civilization is the conflict manifest, and in the soul of every maid.

For the servants of the Dark One fasten upon the false self like to the bindweed upon a growing plan.  And the radiant Janyati of heaven stand ready to defend the soul when she shall cry upon them.

Truly, there is nothing in the world of clay that happens of itself, for the veil of matter is shot through with the light of the Real and the darkness of the false.

And not a sparrow lights upon a twig but it shows forth the conflict between evil and the Good, nor any grain of sand shifts in the desert reflecting not some spiritual truth;

neither does a star fall in the furthest corner of the firmament without an inward meaning.

Beauty of NatureAs our choices are not value neutral, if we want to serve the Light, what do we choose?  I am aware that some of the readers of this weblog are quite conscientious about where they purchase goods and services, paying attention to political, social, and humanitarian practices of the companies they support.  Without minimizing those considerations, I think it is also important to pay attention to beauty and workmaidship of the products themselves.  Beauty is a source of Light.  In choosing to adorn our bodies and our houses with beautiful things, we are choosing to surround ourselves with Light.

There is a popular phrase, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but I do not believe that this is true.  Beauty is an objective quality and is a reflection of the Beauty of the Divine.  The objectivity of beauty is even known by mundane physical scientists and mathematicians.  There is a number known as the Golden Ratio.  The closer anything reflects the proportions of the Golden Ratio, the more beautiful we perceive it to be.  Why would this SAMSUNGbe so?  I think that if material scientists were completely honest with themselves, they would have to admit that this pierces a huge hole in the Evolutionist world view that random chance and “survival of the fittest” are responsible for the world as we recognize it to be.  One must perform a lot of mental gymnastics to find a survival value to our recognition of beauty in the form of the Golden Ratio.

Similarly, what is the survival value to the beauty and multiplicity of flowers?  We are told that the beauty and multiplicity of flowers are to attract insects to spread pollen to propagate the species.  Yet, insects are just as attracted to soda cans as they are to brightly colored flowers.  Consider also the sand dollar.  As you can see, in each sand dollar there is a five petaled flower.  What is the survival value of that?  For those of my readers who are not familiar with astrology or metaphysics, the number five is the symbol for the Filianic Janya (Angel), Sai Sushuri, whose planetary representative on the physical plane is Venus.  Sai Sushuri in her pure form represents Divine Love and is also associated with Creation and Beauty.  It is also quite fascinating that Venus’ orbit over an 8 year span of time also produces a pentacle, or a five pointed star.  See below:

A modern scientist might say that primitive people observed these associations and “made up” the Divine as explanations for what they saw.  Yet, this theory does not explain why these things exist in the first place.  I think that it is far more likely that our foremothers understood things that we have forgotten in this day and age, and that they knew and understood exactly what they were talking about.

I thank my readers for their indulgence in this explanation, but I think it is important to understand that a choice of Beauty really is a choice of Light.  By the same token a choice of ugliness is a choice of Dark.  One may argue that there are practical and financial considerations, but is that really true?  Is it really that much more expensive to make something beautiful than it is to make something ugly?

In the header to this weblog, there is a quote from The Feminine Universe, by Miss Alice Lucy Trent.  Let me now share with my readers the passage from which I have taken this quote:

Much post-Eclipse design uses the excuse of ‘cheapness’ and ‘convenience’ for its hideousness, but this is nothing more than an excuse.  Given the same budgetary limitations, the same technics, and the same raw materials, the inspired designers of the Art-Neo period would have produced very different objects.  Objects that would uplift the soul rather than filling it with a sense of hollowness and worthlessness.  Design is, before all else, a language, expressing a thesis: and the thesis of the post-Eclipse design is the cheapness, ugliness, and worthlessness of life, and ultimately the chaos and the meaninglessness glare and babble of the inferior psychic regions.

Cheapness itself is a symptom.  The very willingness of the deracinated post-Eclipse person to fill her home with slick plastic in order to pay a little less money is symptomatic of a very terrible change.  An Art-Neo wireless set is, before all else, a piece of furniture in polished wood and gleaming metal or bakelite.  It cannot be anything else, because the home before the Eclipse–every home, from the greatest to the humblest–is still vestigally a Temple of Hestia, and its mistress still a Priestess of the Hearth Fire.  The remembrance of this Mysteria Domestica may be extremely remote, yet it is still a living thing that governs human actions at a very deep level.  Only that which is solid and good and worthy of the dignity of the Temple of the Home will be admitted within it.  A radiogram that is to occupy a prominent place within the home must be a noble and beautiful piece of furniture, else it cannot occupy that place.

This is quite a challenging passage for the modern reader, I believe.  Those readers who know me and who have been to my own home in the past will know that I have a long way to go towards the goal I am seeking.  On the other hand, I believe that my small efforts will be met with assistance of heaven, as in the above quoted passage of feminine Scripture, “And the radiant Janyati of heaven stand ready to defend the soul when she shall cry upon them.”

Thank you again for you indulgence with my philosophical discourse, and if by chance this discourse inspires any of readers of this weblog to begin to choose beauty, I wish you well with your own small efforts in that direction.

The Ladies’ Tea

This past weekend, I went to an Annual Ladies’ Tea at a larger church gathering.  The Tea itself was lovely.  There was beautiful china on the table with lovely teapots.  Ladies were dressed in beautiful and elegant dresses.

Arkadyan Ladies TeaWhat was interesting, and to me, a bit sad, were some reactions to the idea of a Ladies’ Tea.  There were women who seemed to think that such events should be long past.  There were also women, even at the tea, who chafed a bit at the entire concept behind this event, and I think, what such an event seemed to represent to them.  It was also sad that there were several teenage girls at the gathering who did not go to the Tea.  I think that this is symbolic of the direction our society has been headed in the last few decades, which is really just a culmination of millenia of a systemic patriarchal devaluation of the feminine principle.

In order to explain what seems to be a bit of an outlandish statement, we need to understand that the masculine principle and the feminine principle are metaphysical concepts that are separate from (but not completely unrelated to) biological gender.  In its highest form, the masculine principle is that of protection and courage, but on a more mundane level, it is related to outward action, competition, and conflict.  The feminine principle is related to nurturing, beauty, kindness, and gentleness, and is related to stillness, as opposed to action.  Stillness was not viewed as inferior – quite the reverse – to quote feminine Scripture “earth moves but heaven is still.”  Many millenia ago, even in the West, the feminine principle was seen as the higher principle, and the masculine principle was seen as the lower principle.

Estrenne Tea PartyWhen patriarchy took over the world around 600-500 B.C., both in the East and the West, the East and the West took different approaches.  In the East, the feminine principle was still considered the highest principle; however, the associations of masculine and feminine became reversed, at least in terms of the qualities of action and stillness.  The quality of stillness was assigned to the masculine gender, and the quality of action was assigned to the feminine gender.

In the West, however, the masculine principle itself became seen as the higher principle, and over time, the feminine principle became more and more devalued.  Nurturing, beauty, kindness and gentleness became associated with weakness, to be subordinated to the masculine principle of achievement, competition, and war.  Men were violently discouraged from manifesting feminine traits, and though women were still encouraged to manifest feminine traits, they were made subordinate to men, legally, socially, and often violently.

Despite this, until the past several decades, there have been vestiges of the ancient dance between the masculine and the feminine in the form of chivalry.  The true meaning of chivalry was an outward manifestation of the masculine principle giving honor to the feminine principle, which survived in form, even though the understanding of the meaning of the form had been lost.  Because the understanding of the meaning of the form was lost, people mistakenly believed that men engaged in chivalrous behavior because of the supposed weakness of women.   It is understandable that feminists chafed at chivalry with the long term mistaken social belief as to what it represented.

So, how do these deep philosophical concepts relate to a Ladies’ Tea?  I believe that these events represent a dying bastion of feminine space.  Femininity is not a restriction or a prison.  Femininity is a birthright.  Not all biological women need to accept or manifest this birthright; however, it is ours, should we choose to accept it.  The very form of such events is distinctly feminine and is not trivial.

China SetBeautiful clothing, china, teapots, and table settings are all symbolic of striving for beauty.  Beauty is an end to unto itself and is a trait of the Divine.  As children of the Divine, we can choose to adorn ourselves and our surroundings with beauty, even in a world that systematically devalues and tries to destroy beauty.  Good manners and pleasant conversation are symbolic of giving honor to each other and of engaging in harmonious social behavior.

As I am writing this, I can hear arguments and complaints about these events being far from harmonious.  Even at the tea, I heard stories of gossiping and subtle, and not so subtle, unkindness surrounding such events.  I have no doubt that women have used these events to compete with each other and to judge one another.  Yet, to avoid such events because of these things is to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.

Yes, women have traits of excessive competitiveness, just as men do.  Women can be mean to each other and gossip.  We are all imperfect human beings, and we all have faults.  Those faults are not intrinsic to the feminine principle, however.  In fact, the feminine principle, in its highest form, is the antidote to these faults.  Beauty, gentleness, and kindness in manner, dress, and decor, if truly embraced, can go a long way towards the healing of ourselves and our surrounding world.

I am so glad and honored that I was a part of one such feminine hold-out in this modern, hyper-masculine age, and I hope that I can find more such feminine hold-outs in the future.

Below are some related articles that may be of interest to readers:

Lolita — Mere Frills or a Light in the Darkness

Lolita Fashion and Philosophy for the Poor-but-Kawaii