Wednesday 23 August 2017

2017 Solar Eclipse from Calgary

2017 solar eclipse from Calgary with sunspots visible in the lower part
of the crescent. Click to see original file size image. The image has no
post-production editing apart from cropping.  © Julie A. Ginn, 2017
Among the things we had planned to do while my friend Julie Ginn was visiting from the U.S. was to photograph the 2017 solar eclipse. She had brought her Sony dslr camera and zoom lens and I had ordered a good solar filter from a company in New York. Originally, I thought we would go to the "pop - up" observatory at the University of Calgary to see the event but just before we due to leave, I decided, instead that we should go, instead, to Crescent Road which overlooks the downtown core. I wanted to create a composite picture containing ourselves, the eclipse and the Calgary downtown skyline.

The decision turned out to be the right one as we not only had a great view of downtown during the eclipse, but Julie allowed several passers-by and some workmen renovating a house behind us who had been unable to obtain solar filter glasses to see the eclipse on the view-screen. One little girl even got to click the camera but her family left before Julie was able to get their email address to send her the photo.

I took the photo on the left at the time of the maximum eclipse of the house behind us where the workmen were busy. The light seemed similar to that of early evening but slightly less warm and, of course, the shadows were shorter.

John, Julie and coydog Tristan at the eclipse photoshoot
©Julie A. Ginn, post-production processing, John Hooker.

For the composite photograph, Julie set up a delayed shot on her camera after photographing the eclipse at various stages. Because we were back-lit and not much better visible than a silhouette, I cut our images out and adjusted the brightness and contrast; added a photo of the eclipse with extra black to fill the top part of the sky and then added a gradient fill to the natural sky below. The cityscape was adjusted to recreate the lighting at the height of the eclipse.

John's Coydog Community page

Thursday 6 July 2017

Tristan's coyote molt

It happens every year at this time. July is the month when the coyotes here lose the remains of their winter coats. It starts earlier with the sort of shedding you can see with many dogs: single hairs being lost. in July, however, it starts coming off in clumps. Many people, who do not know that coyotes molt, assume that the animal has mange but mange is skin disease. If you look carefully, beneath this raggedy coat is another, perfectly smooth, shorter hair coat. He looks as if he has just escaped an attack by a sheep shearer.

Tristan did not get away from this characteristic by being a hybrid (coydog). Last year, I used to pull clumps off when they were almost ready to fall, but he did not like me doing that. Whenever some part becomes uncomfortable, he will scratch it off, but he does that rarely.

When he has finished this process, he will look as if he has just been groomed for a dog show. As for my carpet, I am thinking of buying a rake instead of just using the vacuum. .

John's Coydog Community page

Sunday 16 April 2017

New project: Introduction to Jungian archaeology

Current Mind Map (The Brain) for the project (click image to enlarge)

An "introduction to..." book is usually written to familiarize people with an an existing topic, but for this one, the topic does not yet exist and I am introducing it as a potential topic. How does the mind influence archaeological interpretation and how do these interpretations vary according to personal and collective psychology?

The mind map is being constructed in order to create the basic outline for the book. Each title opens to a notes field and reveals further thoughts, links to other thoughts, and links to documents. Eventually, it will be arranged as an outline order instead of alphabetically, but it will not become the chapter headings (that will be another another title with its own "children".

An introduction will include the basics of Jungian psychology necessary to understand the text.

How long this will take to complete, I have no idea. I'm hoping it will be done within a year, but we hope for lots of things! I will post updates here and perhaps also on Research Gate and

If I feel the need to take a break from it, I might write a book on training Coydogs.

John's Coydog Community page

Friday 24 March 2017

New page(s)

Instead of cluttering up the left sidebar with book announcements, and as the list of titles is growing, I have now added a "books by John Hooker" page to the blog header. Each linked title will allow you to preview, buy the eBook and share the preview (with a very short link).

Later, I will add other pages of books by other authors that I feel are important to many of the subjects I deal with in my blogs. early Celtic art and Jungian Psychology being high on the list. Previews will also be added if they are available and I might add some short reviews.

John's Coydog Community page

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Published - Dean Crawford: Living among the Dobunni

Here is the preview and link for the Kindle e-book which can be read with the free Kindle app for tablets, phones or PC's:

This is an expanded and rearranged version of my blog posts with additional images and details of some amazing finds, some of which are extremely rare.

John's Coydog Community page

Tuesday 21 February 2017

The Annotated Poems of Carin Perron

The Annotated Poems of Carin Perron is now available as an Amazon Kindle e-book. You can preview it live by clicking on the cover on the left or the button below.  (I uploaded it on Saturday but the "look Inside" feature has yet to be enabled. It can take up to a week. The downloadable free preview for the Kindle readers is available now).

The poet Carin Perron (1957-2003) was a crafts-person of poetry and often spent many years to perfect a poem. Published in such prestigious journals such as Ariel: A Review of International English literature, she made history by winning first place in the Bournemouth International Festival poetry competition after placing third in the two previous years. She had entered the competition only those three times. To mark the event, the three prominent judges of those years gave her an additional prize of signed copies of one of their books. Her poem Anne (For Anne Morrow Lindbergh) was read to its subject on her deathbed in 2001 by a friend. It was one of the poems which had won a prize at the Bournemouth Festival.

More than a complete collection of poems, Carin includes many notes on her works including the stories behind the poems and even a short instructional essay on the very difficult poet form: the sestina. The rhyming example, The Room, was the poem published in Ariel. She always wanted to change people's perception of poetry and how it was taught. Many of the poems have not been previously published and she worked on the manuscript for this book entirely during her three-year chemo-therapy treatments for terminal breast cancer.

A true "Renaissance Woman", at that same time, she worked on designing and building the "Celtic Coin Index Online" for Oxford University: a database of more than 28,000 ancient British Celtic coins and, as a portrait artist, had started a project of painting several copies on Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa". Her two cancer poems present opposing views of the disease: one poignant; the other heart-warming.

As her husband of nineteen years, I promised that I would see her work through to publication but it has taken many years for me to feel up to this task and for that I must apologize to those who have waited long to see this book. I have also included additional annotations on several poems. The structure and section titles are as she had planned although I have included an additional poem that had never made it to the manuscript having been written not long before her death. I have also changed the order of two of the last three poems reserving the final place for the poem, Domestic Epiphanies about our family life at home which she had me read at her memorial service. The collection includes both structured and free verse forms and includes several poem cycles. Much of her work owes something to French poetic forms. I have included, as an appendix, her last autobiography.

My next e-book will be a reworking of two of my blog series: "Dean Crawford: Living among the Dobunni" and "In praise of metal-detecting". It will appear shortly. The following e-book project: "Jungian Archaeology" will take much more time to complete. I have published five e-books in the last ten months. This last one will soon show up on my Amazon Author Page:

John's Coydog Community page

Saturday 11 February 2017

Project completed and an important new one to start on Monday

All three volumes of The Gundestrup Cauldron: a new theory are now published:

1: Imagery, origin and date
2: Context
3: Symbols of Transformation

If you follow the links you will be redirected to your most local Amazon store to purchase.

On Monday, I am starting a new project: the complete and annotated poetry of my late wife Carin Perron (1957- 2003). She made history in poetry competition by placing in the top three positions three years in a row in the poetry contest at the Bournemouth International Festival (blind judging by three different British poets). In her first year of entry she tied for third place for Anne (for Anne Morrow Lindbergh). The judge, Sebastian Barker, said at the Adjudication that he found the poem "stylistically assured and deeply moving." The poem was also read to its subject, Anne Morrow Lindbergh on her deathbed by a close friend. The second year, she received the third place for Daughter The judge was Jeremy Hooker (no relation to me!). In her final year of entry she won first place for The Shadow. Not wishing to temp fate, she did not enter the competition again. The judge, that time, was Neil Curry. Carrie wrote about his decision:

"Neil Curry, the judge in 1993, said when he first read the poem, he thought it was okay, but nothing special. He put it in the pile to read again, rather than the reject pile, but it hadn't made that much of an impression on him. He found, though, that as he read other things, he kept thinking about it. When he found himself still thinking about it the next day, he thought he'd found the winner.

"It was great to have the poem appreciated at last (though when Chris Wiseman [her poetry instructor at the University of Calgary] first read it, he said, "I wish I'd written it," a comment I've never heard from him before or since). I guess there's some kind of lesson here, about persistence or something: or maybe about obsessive forms obsessing people, I don't know. Because I'd won something at Bournemouth for three consecutive years, the judges each sent me an autographed copy of one of their books of poetry, as a personal prize."
The book was being prepared by Carin Perron during the last three years of her life while she was fighting terminal breast cancer. Only one poem was yet to be added to the manuscript, one she had dedicated to me:  Trapeze à Deaux (for John, but I will be including it in the appropriate section (as the last poem in Turning Home). Almost all of the annotations will be hers, but I will be adding some extra information in editorial parentheses. I have decided, in her biographical information, to omit the identity and her account of her first husband (now deceased), because what she wrote would be likely to upset his relatives and friends. As the section devoted to the poems he inspired is titled The Anti-Muse, you may well understand why. In any failed marriage there are usually two very different accounts as to the reasons for such failure and I must be sensitive to that.

The book, which is yet to be titled (her file title was simply "Poetry Book" is divided into two sections: Four Muses and Poet without a Muse. Each part of which will consist of a number of poems. The structure is her own and will be as follows:

The Four Muses:

1. The Reluctant Muse (her friend, the potter John Chalke, 1940-2014)
2. The Byzantine Muse (another friend, Mark Joslin (1956 – 1996) who had worked at the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Edmonton Art Gallery (now the Art Gallery of Alberta) and Latitude 53.
3. The Anti-Muse (her first husband).
4. The Hidden Muse (Death).

Poet Without a Muse:

1. A Tourist in People
2. Visions & Architecture
3. Turning Home

She had originally planned that all the notes would be at the end of the book, but as they are so much more than just the usual notes one finds in a book and have great historical narrative and even technical information about poetry. I have decided that each will follow its respective poem. People often do not read end notes and it was very important to her that readers and critics would not misunderstand her poetry as is so often done in the published works of other poets where such information is not present. Above all, she was a craftsperson and would often spend many years perfecting each poem before she would allow it to be published.

As might be understood, it has taken me fourteen years to become prepared to tackle this project. I cannot say, at the moment, how long it will take to complete, but I am hoping that it will be less than a month. I also have to design a cover.

John's Coydog Community page

Tuesday 31 January 2017

Second volume of The Gundestrup Cauldron: a new theory is now published

The second volume of The Gundestrup Cauldron: a new theory, series examines the context of the cauldron imagery within Celtic and Greek iconography and history and the nature of the classical influences that led to the emergence of early Celtic art. Fully illustrated and contains an appendix with photographs all of the Gundestrup cauldron plates shown in the previous volume.

It is available on Amazon for preview and purchase, or read free with Kindle Unlimited

The third volume: Symbols of Transformation, will be out soon.

John's Coydog Community page

Friday 20 January 2017

The Gundestrup Cauldron: a new theory. Volume 1 now available

The first volume is  now available on Amazon Kindle. the remaining two volumes are still in the editing stages and will be available in the next month or so.

"This volume contains all the basic information for the dating of the original vessel; its place of manufacture, and the meaning of its imagery. Essentially, this is all that has been attempted in previous studies although such studies have also ignored many details and used only some of the imagery to support their theories. No motifs are ignored in this study, although a few are so ubiquitous as to have several interpretations and I do mention other alternatives for these. None of the interpretations of the motifs, however, are unconnected with the narrative themes of the whole."

John's Coydog Community page

Friday 6 January 2017

The Gundestrup Cauldron: a new theory

Covers for all three volumes

Most of the writing of all three volumes is complete. I only have a couple more introductions and the concluding chapters of all three volumes to write and perhaps a couple of editing runs. As the book was getting rather too large for a popular ebook, I divided it, quite naturally, into three separate stand-alone volumes. Once I have completed each volume it will be available on Amazon Kindle. I do not anticipate more than a month between each issue, and the price of each volume will be $9.99 US.

As a small preview, here is the Introduction for all three volumes:

Figure 1:  The Gundestrup Cauldron.
Photo: Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Gundestrup cauldron was found in 1891 by peat cutters at the Rævemose bog near the village of Gundestrup in Himmerland, Denmark.

The vessel is silver with some gilding and glass inlays (used in the eyes of some figures). It was found dismantled and appears to have been deposited before the bog had formed at that location. It is not complete: parts of the rim are missing as is one of the decorative plates, and it shows signs of having been repaired. Its reconstruction is largely hypothetical. The silver used in its construction comes from multiple batches of recycled metal as might be expected. The tin used to solder the plates and to attach the glass eyes was very pure and consistent with British (Cornish) tin. This suggests to me that the cauldron was constructed in its final form in northern Europe and most likely in Gaul, although its original construction would have been far distant. There are five rectangular interior plates, seven shorter rectangular exterior plates (originally eight) and a circular bottom plate which appear to be a recycled phalera.

The style of the decoration is native Thracian and the subjects of the decoration combine Celtic and Greek iconography, the latter with, sometimes, Thracian variation. Many of the repoussé decorative elements are connected by a background of chased or engraved decoration in the form of the Dionysian ivy scroll and there is also some (tonal) parallel hatching.

Over the years, there have been two main theories about its origin: that it was Gaulish made or that it was a Thracian product made for Celtic patrons. My study validates the latter although for the place of its manufacture and its date, I am in complete disagreement, and claim that the evidence presented here all indicates that its original form took place at a Thracian silversmith’s workshop situated in northern Italy most likely in the early second quarter of the 3rd century BC, but certainly sometime during the 84 years between 275 and 191 BC.

Only one previous study has presented a linked narrative for the meanings of the decorative plate iconography. This is Garrett S. Olmsted, The Gundestrup cauldron: its archaeological context, the style and iconography of its portrayed motifs and their narration of a Gaulish version of Táin Bó Cúailnge, Brussels, 1979. As the Irish epic refers to events of the 1st century AD and probably did not appear in a written form much before the 8th century AD we can safely believe that the story would have undergone several changes since even the later estimates of the cauldron’s manufacture and Olmsted’s title might be misunderstood as the story being a Gaulish interpretation of an earlier Irish epic rather than the Irish epic being a later, syncretized, telling of a Gaulish myth. In not paying due attention to the role of the bull in Thracian and Greek mythology and understanding that any syncretism includes both classical and Celtic components, Olmsted places the figures of the bull in the wrong context. However, this does not mean that other elements of the Irish epic might be tracked back through other imagery on the cauldron, even though tracing Medieval written accounts of Celtic subjects backwards to their pre-Roman period origins is a very risky business. It is far safer to project early myths forward to later usages, and this is what I do in this series (although not in this volume). Even so, the method must be used with extreme care because syncretism can take unexpected twists and turns.

In my interpretation of the linked narratives, I am not just using mythological elements but am also including mythological expressions of actual historical events experienced by the patrons of the Thracian silversmiths.
In matters of style and the forms of what is depicted on the plates, I am also including regional and time-sensitive data and identifying several local models that were used by the Thracian silversmiths for reference.

This volume contains all the basic information for the dating of the original vessel; its place of manufacture, and the meaning of its imagery. Essentially, this is all that has been attempted in previous studies although such studies have also ignored many details and used only some of the imagery to support their theories. No motifs are ignored in this study, although a few are so ubiquitous as to have several interpretations and I do mention other alternatives for these. None of the motifs, however, are unconnected with the narrative themes of the whole.

The second volume: Context, places the subjects and mythological themes of the Gundestrup cauldron within the artistic, religious and historical aspects of the time and place of its manufacture and includes both Greek and Celtic elements. It also reveals what classical elements were adopted by the Celts in their La Tène art; why this was done, and how the art-style, itself, indicates important syncretistic changes in their society and religion.

The third volume: Symbols of Transformation takes the archetypal psychological factors and shows how these images evolved from the Palaeolithic to the themes expressed in the Gundestrup cauldron and beyond that right up to the present-day expressions of these same themes. Interdisciplinary, Jungian, and Postmodern, it also includes the psychology of the observer as an important factor in the way that the Gundestrup cauldron has been studied, and the importance (and unimportance) placed on its various aspects in these studies and the reasons for such.

Like the layers of an onion, each volume will present a deeper understanding, but any of them will serve as a stand-alone reference for anyone who has an interest in their contents.

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