Athenapallas's Blog

July 30, 2010

ATHENA AND THE GHOSTS OF HISTORY

Filed under: Athena's ragings — athenapallas @ 5:28 pm
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THE SERMON OF HERMANNSBURG JULY  2010

Athena mounted the pulpit of this historic church and this is what she said to the ghosts of the past, present and future.

 I, Athena, The Warrior Goddess proclaim this to be a special place full of enormous power and inspiration emanating from the cataclysmic intersection of three cultures and Peoples: the Evangelical Lutheran Missionaries, the Expansionary European Settlers and the Aranda People of the West McDonnell Ranges of Central Australia.

 All three groups required courage and endurance to survive in this, one of  the oldest and driest continents on earth. And in the violence of their meeting a fire was lit whose flames can still sustain us or consume us if we do not listen to the message that this brings namely:

The Land is everything and  without it we are lost.

With no knowledge of  the  land we are doomed,

and if we approach it with ignorance and greed

we will die and our descendants will be cursed and the land will no longer support us.

From our connection to the land comes our humanity and our spirituality.

THE LAND IS US AND WE ARE THE LAND.

 In the  heavens ancient Gods may reign and fight among themselves but here on earth the mortals must collaborate and co-operate if they are to survive and flourish.

Pastors standing here in this pulpit may have raged about the wages of sin and declared the Glory of  their God but they also grew to respect, sometimes to their detriment, the power of Indigenous Dreaming and the intricate web of relationships between the landscape, the flora,  the fauna and the peoples of this land we call Australia.

I, Athena salute this sacred place and humbly thank all who have stood here before me.

May 10, 2010

Beware of love messages scratched on old columns

Filed under: Athena's musings,Athena's ragings — athenapallas @ 5:47 pm
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My lost love returned today to tell me he loved another goddess.

How does Athena the virgin warrior goddess have a lost love?

The centuries are littered with Adonai who favoured her from time to time.

There was one God who won her heart.

He was  a son of  Apollo and  Aphrodite, who had caught him

gazing at her naked before she was about to couple with Adonis.

In punishment he was smitten with blindness, and when I met him

I swore one day he would see me clearly and love me forever.

I have watched over him for decades, mending his broken heart when others hurt him, whispering love words in his ear, stroking his tired limbs and making up special potions to help him believe that one day he would see.

Sometimes his rages would be so great or his grief so deep that I could not reach him.

So I went to other places where I was needed and I could do battle and win.

In all this time despite what I would say or think about him,  I loved him. He was not the most beautiful God I had known nor even the most powerful. When he loved me, my heart would melt and I would become like a child of Eros longing for undying devotion and erotic entanglement forever.

I thought I had  been cured of this malady of mine. However,when I read the message he had scratched on the column outside my temple, my heart lept and I ordered him to meet me.

He came and I hardly recognised him.

His head was bare, his eyes were open and it was not me he was seeing, it was the other.

Now he was no longer angry, now he could see clearly and now he no longer loved me.

I wanted to tear my aegis into a thousand pieces and throw cruel spikes in front of him where ever he walked. I wanted to rip off my helmet and my robe, utter the most heart rending cries ever heard across the universe or the centuries.

But I did nothing. I listened to his story and gave my version with a numb heart.

It was later that my heart opened enough to start to feel the relief and the freedom.

And when that happened real compassion for both of us started to emerge. 

What to do with that compassion has become my next mission.

The Angry Ghosts of Athens or Why My City Burns

Filed under: Athena's musings,Athena's ragings — athenapallas @ 12:48 pm
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My city is burning and angry ghosts from its turbulent past are appearing. Its citizens’ rage is being fuelled by the perfidy of the government but most of all because the wily citizens of Athens know the extent of European hypocrisy. It will take the labours of Heracles to get out of this mess and the wisdom of Zeus, embodied in his favourite daughter, Athena, to understand what has happened.

In 1999 the revolutionary Eurozone was established as a unified monetary bloc across Europe with an optimism that ignored the lessons of both ancient and modern history. . ..the same continent that was the burial ground for millions of fallen warriors from every nation state now thought these states could unite their economic interests for the good of all.

Eurozone has the same currency and interest rates across its members set by the European Central Bank with strict rules to stop large deficits emerging. Member states agreed to observe the so-called euro-convergence criteria which included limiting fiscal deficit to 3% of GDP and government debt to 60% of GDP.

The average debt across the zone is 6.9% while average government debt is 78.6%.

The worst offenders are Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain, with Greece having the second highest debt behind Ireland. However Britain which is not part of the eurozone has a fiscal debt of 11.2% – nearly as much as Greece whom they are all too eager to pillory along with the other so called ‘PIGS’.

Even though each country would like to think that their circumstances are unique, the truth is member states have cheated ignoring the basic rules they agreed to uphold.

And in their guilt they have played the blame game as only nations of this once mighty continent know how. Greedy speculators, the markets, financial institutions, credit rating agencies, and finally other members of the zone especially Germany with its ‘cradle-to–grave welfare state’ came under attack.

An Aussie Greek newspaper editor quipped on local TV, if Greece goes down the gurler we all do.

For this is not just a European problem it is a global one.

During the 2008 global financial crises government bailouts around the world

stabilised the system but did nothing to address its underlying weaknesses.

Worldwide debt was transferred from banks to governments who tried to solve the problem

 by inciting their citizens to a kind of monetary bacchanalia

even in this sparsely populated  southern continent where I, Athena, now reside.

The ‘developed’ economies have been slow to invest in infrastructure for the future

 and to come to grips with the failure of their own institutions and dreams.

The new economies of China and India await the outcome, as the old ones

 drift across the seas like Odysseus plagued by monsters and waylaid by goddesses…..

Heracles, during his tenth labour, brought back an immense herd of cattle from Geryon,

passing through most of the countries of the eurozone.

He even had time to stop and build two enormous pillars..

the Rock of Gibraltar. How’s that for infrastucture development?

He implored my father Zeus to rain down stones from heaven

to discourage  marauding brigands along the way.

Over 2500 years later maybe that’s what is needed.

Not money from heaven,

but the determination to stop monetary brigands,

and to re-build what has been lost.

Then we can start to dream again.

April 12, 2010

Warrior Goddess ready to do battle

Last night after watching 4Corners on the ABC I went over to the Bronte Surf club to retrieve my helmet, spear, and shield (aegis) because I’m going to to need them. I’m going to have leave my musings behind for a while and get dirty. Dirt is what the ABC  program was all about. Dirt from the 14 Open cut coal mines in the Upper Hunter Valley that make the lives of its 40,000 inhabitents like living in  Hades.

A truck driver encounters an orange cloud of toxic  gas and is so overcome with its poison he nearly  loses control of his truck;  families have all their children suffering from coughs,  asthma, bronchitis, hideous skin allergies which all disappear within days of holidaying on the coast.

In one small town 100 of the 150 people who have lived through this enormous expansion of King Coal in the area, have left to protect their families’ health. For some interviewed it’s already too late as they have inoperable cancers which they attribute to living so close to the  toxic dust and gases from the area’s mines and two power stations, and there is mounting research, overseas and here ,to support this claim.  

some stats:

14 mines in the Upper Hunter pump out 99 million tonnes of coal a year for the furnaces of Japan, India and China.

100 kilometres to the south the port of Newcastle has become the biggest black coal exporter in the world and the mines are going to get bigger in the next 6 years maybe doubling their output. 

At any one time 20 to 30 coal ships are lined up all the way to the central coast waiting to swallow their loads of black gold.

For the 40,000 people who live in the Upper Hunter, some of whom have been there for 5  or 6 generations,

there is no escape.

Latest yearly stats show a total of 108 tonnes of toxic metals including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt and lead soaking the air of the upper Hunter along with 122,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide.

If Mt Olympus was an active volcano and if  my father Zeus got really angry and ignited it,  it could not produce a cloud of poison as bad as this.

You may ask why this makes me so angry. I’m the narrator in a  factional fantastical story Digging Up the Dead  being written  about  the effects of coal mining on a  town and its people in Queensland in 1972 and 1992.

The local mine is  small compared the ones of the Hunter and the Bowen Basin in 2010. But even back then people who lived near or worked in the mines were dying from underground explosions, fire, blasting accidents, toxic dust and gas.  In my story, when the coal company decided to go underground again and mine the area in which 12 men were entombed in 1972, the town calls on me in my mortal manifestation as an unusual sort  of diviner to help… more  about this later

I was  so moved by what  the local GP  in Singleton is doing

 to try to get the government to even acknowledge there could be a problem

that I wondered if I should be going there to help him.

This man, who has been living and working there for years, is one helluva god.

After no response to a well written and researched submission from the town

for some sort of study into what might be happening,

with the help of volunteers he started a study of his own, 

 testing the lung capacity of 900  local children  to see if they had asthma related problems.

 One in six had significantly lowered lung function compared to the national average of one in nine. 

 He would like to test the lung capacities of a  matched group  on the coast

or in some other rural community away from mines. 

But this surely is  a job for the government.

I’m going to let him have the last word on this post.

Dr Tuan An said ,’ I’ve been here for 14 years, I have a good family and wonderful community and friends.

I can’t just pack up and leave. I hope every body working together, we can change the community.

 I think the community’s not against the mining company or power station, they just want change.

The would like the goverment to listen to their…what they request

and because it’s their life and their family

and if we do not do anything else, the one we lose is our family…..’

Sorry, he can’t have the last word.

 Unlike him I’m angry and

when Athena the Warrior Goddess is angry the whole universe shakes

I don’t want to have to use the full strength of my powers, not yet anyway,

but I’m aiming my spear of Pallas and woe betide if it’s aimed at you: 

 irresponsible mining moguls, greedy consumers,

dumb governments, and dumber media

who think all we want to know about is Britney’s latest disaster.

What about a disaster that’s happening to  40,000 people

who live in what was once the most beautiful valley in the world.

and one more stat:

the  NSW government earns 1.5 billion from coal royalties

and earnings from power stations and coal transport,

that’s a lot of reasons to ignore the people of the Upper Hunter.

Much of what I’ve written is based on the transcript of the  excellent 4corners program of last night.

Any errors of stats, facts etc are my own as are the opinions expressed.

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