Social media was my Achilles heel for quite a while. I always wondered, what need I had for virtual connections. Friends, family, colleagues are flesh and blood, as are even strangers in the city. The pandemic changed that. Creating a virtual friends network online, engaging with people I have never known before or even met, was something new. I follow an amazing creative community on Instagram besides tons of my ex students, friends, family etc. It’s a great network for me on the web, since I use very little, the other social media platforms. It took some learning though, moving out of my comfort zone and feeling confident about posting poems; I am no shrinking violet but displaying poetry on social media was quite disconcerting at first, not that I have issues with this at my blog (or blogs) but Instagram is another animal. It was through sheer trial and error of trying to understand the logic behind following, followers, likes, building engagement, hashtags, target audience etc  that I have arrived at thinking at how useful this platform is, not as it would be for an influencer or for those marketing merchandise, but for the sole purpose of tapping into the creative hive, so to speak and for an authentic engagement. I think, we encounter all sorts, those that are unfriendly in the ‘real world’ and those that are affable in the virtual. Contrary to claims made about social media (and I admit, I almost got off it, being disillusioned in some part by the superficiality I encountered at times), I think it helped instill discipline into my writing as I took it seriously in the company of others that truly enjoy their own engagement with their art. I believe some of the most amazing people I have met on Instagram are those that create, share their work, knowledge and talent for no credit whatsoever. This is exactly what they must mean when they say humanity is moving into the Age of Aquarius*.
For those not familiar with the symbolism of Astrology, Pisces (symbol of fish; think early Christians **) was the age of belief systems. It appears, we still run the gamut of belief, from self absorption masquerading as self belief to those beliefs embedded in the artifice and edifice of our times or within our various echo chambers. It has been said that the Age of Aquarius is meant to be visionary, rebellious, innovative and eccentric, humanitarian, a disruption of the system. If these are the buzzwords for the coming age, then would it not be great to be a part of it? The internet social media platforms with their promise of an extensive social connectivity fit right into this theme, given, they remain humanitarian, inclusive and uplifting. They will hopefully inspire innovation not simply in technology but in a change of mindset to allow for pluralistic endeavour beyond tribal sensibilities. This Aquarian vision should also slowly but steadily help re-evaluate the widgets of materialism, to morph into what are other than private granaries or exclusive pharaonic pyramids so to speak. Presently, the world appears quite far from this ideal but it seems to be headed there, at least in its Utopian futuristic technology.
Having imagined the Age of Aquarius as waking up to this transformed outlook in the reconfiguration of patterns, I’ve tried to parse these very ‘lofty thoughts’ in a poem 🙂 🙂 Herein, I have alluded to the four elements of the Zodiac: fire, earth, air, and water and we all have some bit of each. The Pileated Woodpecker, I recognise as a bird quite fitting the new Tech ideal, in that the holes it leaves in dead wood, are uniquely rectangular, like the black hole of a hand held device 🙂 It is a striking bird and we had the pleasure of seeing one, up close recently, but thought it better to watch and listen than take a picture.
Source Woodpeckers: Wikipedia
In the Age of Aquarius
Reluctant to the invitation of sleep,
for yesterday's spent force
was patterned in harlequin dreams,
the kind that float onto your pillow
you leave in a dripping sweat.
And there, in the age of self belief,
in hastily drawn testaments
of portraiture, we were all exhorted
to homogeneously flicker in fire,
wallow in icy water, raise dust
in a hot dry wind, covet
the dead as does sodden Earth,
iron out the wrinkles and
stretch the taut attitude.
Life, simply imagery, the miracle
of the seven loaves and fish.
But it's the lustre of dawn, that is
a soft caress on every dark patch,
the interplay of light in the leaves
as they glisten to speak a language
the spirit still struggles to understand.
There's the pileated woodpecker,
a rebel on his patch
of spent mottled tree trunk,
punctuating the silence
in a Morse code racket
envisioning a telegram through
to the Age of Aquarius.
Now, if these syllables should flow
to spark fire in the soul of humanity,
then we would all be fiery risings,
fluidly flow to feel like water,
think up the momentum
of the wind, strop to the rhythm
of a steadfast fecund Earth,
Edit: I substituted disturbing with punctuating; need to work on my patience with editing. I’m too in a hurry to post as soon as a post is done.
Some interesting reads:
Coursera, a MOOC that started on very Aquarian principles, has some interesting courses on using digital apps for social media visuals, designing Instagram and Facebook stories, even courses on social media marketing and social media management.
The University of California runs a free course on the strategy of content marketing ~https://www.coursera.org/learn/content-marketing
The University of Virginia runs a course on personal branding. Content for both courses is offered for free without the certification ~https://www.coursera.org/learn/personal-branding
Here, Susan Miller, who has been described as fashion’s favourite astrologer by Vogue, makes predictions for a new century at her website, Astrology Zone. It’s always interesting how astrologers see it.
**https://www.vedanet.com/secrets-of-the-yugas-or-world-ages/ The Yugas or World-ages are an important part of Hindu thought and Vedic Astrology. Here David Frawley examines the view of the Yugas set forth by Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda and his guru Sri Yukteswar. I particularly enjoyed his description of cultures along the lines of ascending and descending, cultural and societal inertia or cultures that are deemed immature, materialistic and sensate oriented. It is another perspective on existence.
In the poem:
Miracle of the seven loaves and fish: In Christianity, the Feeding the multitude is two separate miracles of Jesus reported in the Gospels. The first miracle, the “Feeding of the 5,000”, is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels (Matthew 14-Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6-Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9-Luke 9:12-17; John 6-John 6:1-14). The second miracle, the “Feeding of the 4,000”, with 7 loaves of bread and fish, is reported by Matthew 15 (Matthew 15:32-39) and Mark 8 (Mark 8:1-9), but not by Luke or John. (Source: Wikipedia)
In Western astrology and Sidereal astrology four elements are used: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. In ancient astrology, triplicities were more of a seasonal nature, so a season was given the qualities of an element, which means the signs associated with that season would be allocated to that element. (Source~Wikipedia)
The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood. The nest holes these birds make offer crucial shelter to many species including swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens. (Source:https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Pileated_Woodpecker/overview#)