Friday Flash Fiction: ‘Pig Headed’

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He thought he’d seen it somewhere before; a pig’s head somehow pulled over the victim’s. The body had been left untouched until he arrived, partly concealed between trash cans.
“Gloves, please. Thanks.”
Kneeling down, he brought out the wallet, examining the debit card before showing it to detective constable Erica Wilkes. She squinted at it in the dim light. “But that’s you, boss, even the same initials.”
The sense of deja vu began to overwhelm him.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Of Salt and Shore by Annet Schaap, Trans. by Laura Watkinson (ARC Review) — Pages Unbound | Book Reviews & Discussions (Reblog)

Information Goodreads: Of Salt and ShoreSeries: NoneSource: ARC from EdelweissPublished: October 13, 2020 by Charlesbridge (first published March 2017) Summary Every night, Lampie lights the lighthouse lantern for her father, who has trouble with the stairs due to a bad leg. One night, however, she forgets. The ship that foundered on the rocks will have […]

Of Salt and Shore by Annet Schaap, Trans. by Laura Watkinson (ARC Review) — Pages Unbound | Book Reviews & Discussions

*Nice post and review — find and order the book here

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke — Pages Unbound | Book Reviews & Discussions (Reblog)

Information Goodreads: Mighty Jack and the Goblin KingSeries: Mighty Jack #2Source: LibraryPublished: 2017 Summary Maddy has been taken by a giant! Now it is up to Jack and Lilly to save her. But, when the two get separated, Jack will have to figure out how to complete his mission on his own. Review Mighty Jack […]

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke — Pages Unbound | Book Reviews & Discussions

Reading at any age is a good thing. This book looks like a great adventure.

Smorgasbord – Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story Chapter Seven- Snow and Favourite Things by Sally Cronin — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine (Reblog)

By special request I am sharing Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story and I hope those of you who have not read his adventures will enjoy… Last time  we had the sadness of new kittens who were not with us very long and it is now time to share some happiness with Sam’s favourite things… Chapter […]

Smorgasbord – Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story Chapter Seven- Snow and Favourite Things by Sally Cronin — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

*What would we do without our animal friends?

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke — Pages Unbound | Book Reviews & Discussions (Reblog)

Information Goodreads: Mighty JackSeries: Mighty Jack #1Source: LibraryPublished: 2016 Summary Jack is not looking forward to an exciting summer. His mom is working two jobs and he will have to stay home to care for his sister Maddy, who never talks. Then, one day, Maddy and Jack trade their mother’s car for a box of […]

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke — Pages Unbound | Book Reviews & Discussions

Prokofiev: Prodigy to Innovator – Astrology Musings

It could be argued that pianist and conductor Sergei Prokofiev was the most popular composer of the 2oth Century. Writing such entrancing classics as ‘Peter and the Wolf’, ‘Lieutenant Kije’ and the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ ballet, there’s little wonder he is so loved now, even if he wasn’t appreciated all the time in his native USSR.

Based on his known birth data, can we begin to deduce what made this musical genius tick?

Born in Ukraine in 1891, Sergei’s musical ability was discovered early. In 1900 aged only nine years he wrote his first piano score for opera.

A Revolutionary

In 1904 he went to the prestigious St Petersburg Conservatory where he was to shine. He established an early reputation for thinking outside of the box. He was an innovator of music, a revolutionary not afraid of change.

He was brilliant at many forms of classical music too, writing seven operas, seven symphonies, eight ballets, five piano concertos, two violin concertos, a cello concerto, a symphony for cello and orchestra and nine piano sonatas. Yet of all these disciplines, opera appears to have been his favourite.

Traditional Subjects

Prokofiev was a sun Taurean in basic terms, the major luminary being placed in the eighth astrological house of shared security. The Bull is ruled by musical, creative Venus and has produced many a great composer.

Yet Taurus is traditional, not a radical at all. Mercury’s presence in Taurus in the same house indicates that his basic mentality worked along similarly practical, functional lines, with an interest in investing his time profitably.

Prokofiev’s choice of subject was certainly traditional, yet if his instinct for melody and beauty may partly derive from his Taurean essence, what drove him to such heights of innovation?

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Magician in the Mix

When he was born the cardinal air sign of Libra was rising, which is also ruled by Venus. Libra is diplomatic, generally courteous, often with an artistic flair, so we may assume that Sergei was rather pleasant to meet and easy going.

His Moon is also in this sign, indicating a strong need to be liked socially and keen to meet people. However, Uranus the ‘Magician’ is close to the Moon in his first house, and this may give us the first clue to his revolutionary personality and approach. So whilst being an attractive person, he was also somewhat unusual, eccentric, disruptive in some way.

Selfless Unity in Sound

Let’s look at the important planet of Venus, ruler of the chart and of his sun sign. We find Venus in Pisces, sign of its exaltation, where the uniting principle works at its most selfless.

Venus is in the sixth house of work and efficiency, so this is where this beautifully placed Venusian energy expressed itself, in his day to day activities, bringing beauty in the form of sound to everyone who may care to listen. I am particularly reminded here of Prokofiev’s lovely ‘Peter and the Wolf’ and how effective his choice of melody and intrument are in telling the old tale.

We find another intriguing layer to this complex man in his ninth house of the higher mind and travel. Here are housed Mars, Neptune, the Moon’s north node and Pluto, all within five degrees of early Gemini.

An Interesting Vibration

This conjunction is an interesting vibration. Neptune, as I have discovered previously, is very often prominent in some way in the charts of creative people, particularly musicians and composers. Music does, after all, have ways of touching the soul that other creative forms cannot.

This coupled with Mars in Gemini lends much mental and dexterous energy and expression to Neptune’s other worldly inspiration. Add Pluto to the mix and we have a higher mind of much depth as well as creative diversity.

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So here too is a man whose philosophy of life is crucial to him, yet difficult, for the north node’s position here indicates that contemplating wider issues did not necessarily come that easy to him but was one he had to embrace. We know he left Russia during the 1918 revolution, living elsewhere, including the USA and France, until he finally returned in 1933.

Ethical Problems and Loneliness

I think the close opposition of Jupiter to Saturn on his sixth/twelfth house axis also reveals the deeper ethical problems he must have encountered on leaving his native land in 1918, probably feeling that circumstances were hardly going to be conducive to his livelihood.

This strongly hints of periods of intense loneliness and isolation, especially when being ‘out of favour’.

Indeed, several of his works were banned by the Soviets after his return, they being deemed not suitable for the new communistic philosophy and culture. Nevertheless, a few years after his death in 1953, his general reputation at home in the USSR was restored.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

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The Wisdom of Great Eagle: The Lesson of the Stubborn Elm — Under the influence! (Reblog)

“When you do things you do not truly believe in you leave the path of truth and wisdom and your enemies can break and defeat you. Therefore, always remember the stubborn elm!”

The Wisdom of Great Eagle: The Lesson of the Stubborn Elm — Under the influence!

Fable by Adrienne Young (ARC Review) — Pages Unbound | Book Reviews & Discussions (Reblog)

Information Goodreads: FableSeries: Fable #1Source: ARC from publisher giveawayPublished: September 1, 2020 Summary Left years ago by her father on an island of thieves, seventeen-year-old Fable has had to fend for herself. But she has a plan. She is going to work her way off the island, find her father, and reclaim what is hers. […]

Fable by Adrienne Young (ARC Review) — Pages Unbound | Book Reviews & Discussions

The Man From Taured. So Where’s Taured?

man wearing grey jacket
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Recently I posted a puzzle of a piece regarding the sudden, strange appearance of an individual in Prussia in 1850, a man calling himself Jophar Vorin. This man of mystery does not appear in many books but his supposed story can be gleaned online.

Just over a century later in 1954, another unusual bearded man arrived at Haneda Airport in Japan. At first sight the man appeared to be a any regular well dressed European businessman on a routine trip to the Far East.

Evidently his first language was French, though he was capable in other languages too, including the vernacular. He was even carrying several European currencies in his wallet, so nothing much seemed awry – at first.

Peculiar

It was when he was asked about his home country that things took a rather peculiar turn. Not one of the officials at the airport had ever heard of ‘Taured‘, even though he purportedly showed them a passport issued from his native land containing visa stamps, supposed proof of previous trips to Japan and elsewhere.

Unfortunately for this man, whose name is unknown, the company he was due to have a meeting with in Japan did not know of him, neither did the hotel he had supposedly reserved a room with, nor did the bank whose name was emblazoned on his checkbook.

The man seemed to be nonplussed by the situation. When he was shown a map of the world he pointed to the small Pyrenees principality which we know as Andorra, yet which he called Taured.

Detained

The perplexed officials decided to detain him, housing him in a hotel for that evening, in the hope that they could cast some light upon this strange situation.

Unfortunately the mystery only grew more complex by the following morning. The man from Taured had disappeared, despite the vigil kept outside by immigration staff all night. What is more all of his documentation also vanished from airport security.

Despite a strenuous search no sign of this man or his effects ever came to light again. It was as if it never happened. So what are we to make of it? It could be a story, a hoax, to tease or confuse. Conversely, if this odd event was factual – and there is no reason to doubt it – what are we to make of it?

If it was a hoax, for whose benefit was it to propagate the story? To me logic suggests that this is not a hoax, though the story may have grown a little in the telling.

Are we looking at an example of the existence of a multi dimensional universe? If they are limitless, then it is possible that the world he knew may have only differed in a few details, such as the name of his homeland in the Pyrenees.

And does the name of his country, Taured, which to his mind corresponded with the known land of Andorra, hold the key to solving the riddle?

A Load of Bull?

The name Taured suggest Taurus, or bull in English astrology. The Iberian lands, which could include Andorra, are still famous for bull fighting and the bull is an ancient astrological and cultural symbol.

If we accept that there are astrological ages brought about by the so called precession of the equinoxes, the age of Taurus would have been, roughly, spanning from 4000 to 2000 BC.

If there are multiple timelines there could be sensitive points at various times and locations where perhaps certain individuals can ‘cross over’, so to speak.

However, this probably doesn’t explain the fact that he knew French, or that he looked like any regular westerner of that time. A timeline diverging from a period as far back as 4000 BC would look very different from our own, one would suspect.

My idea that Taured is somehow related to the previous Taurean Age is probably just another red herring, though it is intriguing to speculate. Nevertheless, if there is an allegorical element to this story, then the name Taured may still be represent a significant clue.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Jophar Vorin — 19th Century Man of Mystery

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I have previously written a piece about the 1851 Great Exhibition in London in an astrological context. It is probably coincidental but around the same time there was one other less well publicised and rather odd occurrence in Prussia, in what is now northern Germany.

This involved the appearance of a stranger calling himself Jophar Vorin, in the small town of Lebus. He was subsequently taken for further questioning to nearby Frankfurt an der Oder.

Strange Caucasian

This strange Caucasian spoke what sounded like an obscure German dialect, but he also stated that he spoke Abramian and Laxarian, the official written and spoken languages of his country. Jophar was also nominally Christian, the name of which he gave as Ispatian.

He called the country of his origin Laxaria, in a region of the world called Sakria. However, when asked to locate his home on a map provided he could not do so. He stated that his country was hundreds of miles away, that the reason for his ‘voyage’ was to locate his long lost brother, and that he had been shipwrecked en route. Intriguingly, he described his world as having several regions, perhaps continents, namely Sakria, Aflar, Astar, Auslar, and Euplar.

It appears that the authorities in Frankfurt an der Oder took his story seriously. He was taken to the then Prussian capital of Berlin for further examination. As far as I can tell, it is not known officially what happened to him.

Parallel Universe?

So what are we to make of this highly irregular case? Many have speculated that it was simply a hoax, or even an example of the existence of parallel universes. Could they exist?

The fact that Jophar could speak a kind of broken German is interesting. Whilst Laxaria does not suggest too much to me, the name of his country or region, Sakria, may give us a clue.

In our known histories the Scythians, a people who appeared in a broad region north of the Black and Caspian Seas sometime around 2,500 years ago, were also known as Saka, or Sacae. The word Saxon may originate from this. These people were fierce warriors and metalsmiths of great skill. It was these same people who were to later move en masse to central and northern Europe, speaking a form of the Indo European language related to modern day German and other Germanic languages, like English.

Not of this World

So whilst Jophar Vorin does not appear to have been a time traveller, how can we explain his ability to communicate in a form of broken German?

The other regions of his world, which he named as Aflar, Astar, Auslar, and Euplar, have prefixes at least tenuously related to some continents of our world, namely Africa, Asia, Australasia and Europe.

One of the languages of his people he described as Abramian, which is highly suggestive of Abram, or Abraham, perhaps hinting of a link to Hebrew origins. Abram means ‘high father’ in Hebrew, whilst Abraham means ‘father of many’ nations.

Multiple Timelines

This unusual individual’s Christian name, Jophar, might have been interpreted as Joseph, which indeed some people called him at the time. However, it is even closer to Japheth, one of Noah’s sons, whose name means something like ‘wide expansion’ – highly appropriate considering much of humanity today is still believed (by some) to be descended from Japheth and his two brothers, Ham and Shem.

What is more, Noah’s ark is said to have come aground in the Mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4), exactly between the Black and Caspian Seas, where the Scythian (Saka, Sacae) people were to develop centuries later.

Jophar’s second name, Vorin, sounds almost Slavic, though this may be a genuine coincidence, unless you are a particular fan of Star Wars mythology.

Speculation

So whilst some speculate that here may be proof of parallel universes, the existence of multiple timelines is also an interesting concept and is of course related. Is it possible that these timelines occasionally cross over or meet, allowing some to intentionally or accidentally pass through?

If you will allow me the indulgence of speculation, perhaps Jophar’s own timeline diverged from the one we are currently on around 2,500 years ago. Maybe his country of Laxaria developed from the Saka, or Sacae and followed a divergent course to our own, yet retained a few similarities in language and custom.

If the Sacae (Scythians) were speaking a form of proto German, that may explain how he could, at least to some degree, converse with the German speaking Prussians of the mid 19th century, who were in part descended from the Scythians in our own accepted timeline.

Allegorical

The world he described had clearly developed along very different lines to our own, however, even though his religion, Ispatian as he called it, was apparently Christian.

Finally, it strikes me as highly allegorical that the reason for his voyage was to find a long lost brother. Maybe Jophar was as surprised as those who questioned him to discover he could make himself understood. But what if he had actually found his long lost brother, not a single individual, but a ‘brother’ people?

Hoax or true story? We will probably never know for sure, yet it will remain endlessly fascinating.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haiku: Truth and Light

cutouts of letters
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Once the lies begin
They swell into a story
Truth grows toward light

Copyright Francis Barker 2020