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Wednesday, November 14, 2006 | Moon enters Virgo. Sun is quintile Chiron. Venus conjoins Jupiter and Hylonome late in Scorpio. This week builds with some pretty strange energy, in particular, aspects Friday just before Mercury stations direct. Mars is moving into a square with Neptune, which is daring, creative, a little dangerous and requiring much discernment. We get some of that from Sun square Saturn, notorious for its focus and slightly boring quality; you could not have two more opposite feeling aspects than these two. Then Venus exits Scorpio and enters Sagittarius, the first of many planets that will be doing this over the next few weeks, leading into one of the most amazing Sagg moments in many years. More on that as the time approaches.

TODAY'S cover is from something called the Book of Blue photo series. The model is named Christine, who, in addition to responding to my Criaigslist ad one day this past spring, is a well-rounded and dedicated artist currently studying to be a goldsmith. How many of those do you meet? She came into our photo session with an open heart and creative spirit and said later that she had committed to herself to do the boldest and most beautiful photos she could offer.

Book of Blue is a photo project I've been working on since around April 2005, but which dates back to an earlier project that went from 1998 through 2000 -- called Luscious Photo, which is another story. One photo in particular from Luscious Photo was the seed idea and morphed into a whole new series of images about five years later.

Book of Blue is a series of portraits, mostly of women, where there is a mirror present in the space. The finished photos may or may not reveal the mirror; they may be images of the reflection, the model, or both; but the mirror is always there, a subtle reminder that what we think of as existence is a reflection of something else. They can be more or less erotic, more or less bold, daring or revealing, depending on the mood of the day, the values of the model and the atmosphere that develops as we're doing the work. Whatever may be happening physically, there is something psychically intimate that lights up, which seems to be enhanced by the mirror. One by one, the layers peel back and often the model homes in on a centered and harmonious space with herself.

What I love the most about these pictures is that they are studies of female self-awareness. Since I was pretty young, I've been amazed (and a little overwhelmed) by female beauty, and as I got older, I began to wonder how women see themselves. There seem to be such contradictions between how women appear, and how they feel about their appearance; such deep contrasts between what they present and how they feel about their presence inwardly. Book of Blue photos explore the space between the polarities of this seeming paradox, at times unraveling an original experience of self-consciousness for the model.

If I am looking for one thing besides a soft afternoon of visual meditation with a new friend, it's photographing an expression like she is seeing her face, really seeing and acknowledging herself for the first time. Many of the models who have participated have expressed their hope that the photos will offer something that will help heal the deeply troubled times we are in regarding female self image, which is shaped mostly by stereotypes in ads, movies and television. If it's possible to offer a countermining stream of energy to that terrible force for self-condemnation and self-judgment presented in the media (also known as glamour), we want to do it with an open heart and dedication to authenticity and inner peace.

The project has the beginning of a homepage at edited and designed by Deirdre Tanton. Some of the photos are in a premium area of Planet Waves called Eros, in galleries edited and designed by Paloma Todd. I don't know the "final destination" for the photos -- I am asked often, but right now I'm enjoying working without a clear goal in mind, and indulging in my favorite essence in the known universe, female beauty.

I do have several fun ideas in mind for what to do with these photos, ideas which are slowly making their way from scraps of note paper scribbled on at 3 am to more tangible forms.


==Archive quote edited by Tracy Sullivan

"Twenty-twelve is almost always of spoken in ominous tones. Some see it as a kind of focal point of the spiral in time; others as a threshold; others as a culmination of "Earth changes," which are now no longer New Age mythology but rather front-page news in The New York Times. Generally the reference to 2012's significance is made to the Mayan calendar. I have for a long time been attempting to get a clear picture of the connection, based on the Mayan daycount. I've had no success; I see nothing in the daycount that tells me the calendar does anything special in 2012 (but I am not a Mayan astrologer and my investigation is ongoing). But I know that the Mayan calendar is based on the cycles of Venus, and that the ancient Mayans tracked Venus with devotion to the point of what one scholar recently called obsession."

-- Eric Francis, Planet Waves Weekly, Friday, June 4, 2004