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The Sacred Bird

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As the Phoenix nears the end of its life it builds a nest of aromatic branches and spices – cinnamon twigs and myrrh were the most popular materials. It then ignites the nest and is consumed in the flames. Some Arabic legends claim the Phoenix rose from the ashes three days later, while others state the Phoenix was reborn and emerged from the still burning flames. The Phoenix features in mythology from several Middle Eastern countries.

The traditional Phoenix lived near a cool well, and every morning would appear to sing a song to greet the new day. So enchanting was the song the Greek sun god Apollo would stop to listen. It was thought only one Phoenix existed at any one time. The young Phoenix would gather the ashes of its predecessor into an egg made from myrrh and deposit them upon the sun god’s altar at Heliopolis, the city of the sun. The Phoenix lives on the morning dew, and nobody has ever seen one eat. It kills nothing and crushes nothing it touches. When injured the Phoenix can regenerate itself, so it is immortal and invincible and a mystical symbol of divinity. A Phoenix is also a healer, because its tears can heal wounds. Jewish folklore claims the Phoenix was the only animal not banished from the Garden of Eden with Adam.

The Ancient Egyptians’ fascination with the Phoenix arose from their own yearning for immortality and eternal life. They named the bird Benu (or Bennu), and it was depicted in the shape of a heron, with long legs and two long white feathers on either side of its head. The Benu wears either the god Osiris’ crown of Atef (white with ostrich feathers rising up from the sides) or the disc of the sun god Ra. The sacred bird of Heliopolis, the Benu is associated with the sun, and its image has came to represent Ra. The Egyptian Phoenix is credited with the creation of the Nile river, and was the first life form that appeared on the isolated rocks and islands after the floods that gave birth to the river. Its call is the cry that marked the beginning of time, and it is the god of time – and thus of the hours, days, nights, weeks months and years.

In Chinese Mythology the Phoenix is known as Feng Huang (or Fung), and is the second most respected creature after the dragon. It is a symbol of high virtue and grace, of power and prosperity, representing the union of ying and yang. It is described as having the beak of a rooster, the face of a swallow, the neck of a snake, the breast of a goose, the back of a tortoise, the hindquarters of a stag and the tail of a fish – surely an unusual looking bird! The Feng Huang’s feathers are coloured in the five fundamental colours: black, white, red, green and yellow, representing the Confucian virtues of loyalty, honesty, decorum and justice.

The Japanese Phoenix is named according to gender: Hou-Ou or Hoo-Oo – Hou is male and Ou is female. It resembles its Chinese counterpart in looks, and is often depicted nesting in the paulownia tree. It only appears at the birth of a virtuous ruler, and marks the new era by flying down from the heavens to perform good deeds for people before returning home to await the birth of a new era. Some traditions claim the Hou-Ou only appears during times of peace and prosperity – in other words very rarely!

Persian mythology tells of the Huma, also known as the “Bird of Paradise”. “Huma” is Persian for “fabulous bird”. Considered an extremely compassionate bird, the Huma’s shadow brings great fortune to anyone it touches. And if it alights upon an individual’s head, even for just a moment, that person will become king. The Huma has the power to free the mind, breaking all limitations so the person will be a wise and considerate king. It does not kill for food, choosing instead to feed upon carrion. Both genders are contained in the Huma’s body, with each sharing a wing and a leg.

Another Arabian mythological bird is the Cinomolgus or “cinnamon bird”, which builds its cinnamon nest at the top of the cinnamon tree. Aeons ago cinnamon was a very rare spice, and much sought after. People would throw rocks or shoot arrows at the Cinomolgus’ nest in an effort to dislodged the cinnamon sticks when the poor bird took flight. Another tale claims the Arabians would scatter pieces of oxen or other beasts of burden at the bottom of the nest. The Cinomolgus, unable to resist such a tasty treat, would swoop down and carry the meat back to the nest. The weight of the meat would break the nest, leaving the joyful Arabians to gather the cinnamon sticks from the ground. This is why the Cinomolgus began to nest in cinnamon trees far from Human settlements, and sightings became extremely rare.

The Avalerion is an extremely rare bird from Indian mythology – there is only ever one pair of these birds. Every sixty years they produce two eggs. When the eggs hatch the parent birds drown themselves. An interest myth… unfortunately I’ve not been able to find much more information on these birds.

Russian folklore’s Zhar-Ptitsa is a magical, glowing bird from a faraway kingdom. Better known as the Firebird, its name means “heat bird”, and it is both a blessing and a curse to any captor. A large bird with a fiery crest and glowing eyes, the Firebird’s plumage glows red, orange and yellow plumage, giving the illusion of firelight. When removed the feathers continue to glow, and one feather has the power to illuminate a large room. The Firebird has been a staple of many fairy tales, usually based upon a quest to find the bird or one of its tail feathers. The hero finds the feather, and sets out to capture the bird – usually after a request from a parent or his king. The hero begins his quest with noble thoughts about the Firebird, but as his search becomes more difficult he begins to blame the bird for his problems. Many fairy tales use this quest to introduce a myriad of fantasy characters, many of whom are willing to help the hero capture the bird and return with him to his home.

There are other stories about the Firebird. One of the most popular beliefs is that the Firebird flies around giving hope to the hopeless. Legends say during flight the Firebird’s eyes sparkle and he drops pearls fall from his beak. Peasants gather the pearls which are traded. Some claim the mystical Firebird spends its days flying around the king’s castle, swooping down at night to eat the king’s golden apples. The most popular legend tells of a tsar who, fed up with the Firebird stealing his golden apples, tasks his three sons with capturing the bird. The tsar’s apples were very special, empowering all those eating them with youth and strength. The sons tried really hard, but were unable to capture the elusive Firebird. However, they did come close, and seized a few tail feathers. Sadly they brought the feather back to their father, whose disappointment turned to joy when he saw how the feathers lit up the palace rooms.

They have also another sacred bird called the phoenix which I myself have never seen, except in pictures. Indeed it is a great rarity, even in Egypt, only coming there (according to the accounts of the people of Heliopolis) once in five hundred years, when the old phoenix dies. Its size and appearance, if it is like the pictures, are as follow:- The plumage is partly red, partly golden while the general make and size are almost exactly that of the eagle. They tell a story of what this bird does: he comes all the way from Arabia, and brings the parent bird, all plastered over with myrrh, to the temple of the Sun, and there buries the body. In order to bring him, they say, he first forms a ball of myrrh as big as he finds that he can carry; then he hollows out the ball, and puts his parent inside, after which he covers over the opening with fresh myrrh, and the ball is then of exactly the same weight as at first; so he brings it to Egypt, plastered over as I have said, and deposits it in the temple of the Sun. Such is the story they tell of the doings of this bird.

from – Herodotus, History of Herodotus


The Decline and Fall of Martial Arts Films and the Rise of the Action Blockbuster Movie

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Comparing martial arts films of the 1970s to the action blockbusters of 2009/10

Red Cliff, Ip Man and True Legend are already iconic of the early 21st century “martial arts films”-although many can argue they are more action spectacle than true “kung fu” films. The 1970s, on the other hand, didn’t rely on eye-candy effects and were defined more by the true grit of its martial arts actors: Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, the Five Venoms, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Jimmy Wong, and other real fighters trained in genuine kung fu, karate and other arts.

Martial Arts Becomes Mainstream But Evolves Into Spectacle

Cult classics such as Enter the Dragon helped change Hollywood. Its growing popularity forced filmmakers to adopt martial arts into the formula of the “action flick.” Through the eighties and nineties, spectacle thrillers were expected to deliver “the fight moves”, even if it was only a few basic moves supported by some stuntmen and wires. Action movies became spectacles that required equal blends of story, drama, pace, “kung fu”, special effects and improbable plot twists.

In the 21st century, this became less “equal” with films relying first on special effects, then improbably plot twists (surprise is important, right?), followed by pace, martial arts skills, drama and-last and possibly least today-story. This trend extended even to the hot movies of the last few years, including Kung Fu Panda, Forbidden Kingdom, G.I. Joe and even the Transformers.

Asian Film Industry Threatens to Out-Spectacle Hollywood

With the full support and weight of China’s cultural industries, Asian film has blossomed into mainstream spectacles in high demand, led by CGI treats such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers and other instant classics. Arguably, Asian film long ago surpassed Hollywood for imagination, with the western producers buying rights to several hugely successful Asian films. With the largest population demographic in the world, there can be no doubt that Chinese films are set to dominate the film industry in years to come.

Red Cliff and Ip Man are perhaps the best known of these new hit-classics, but the rumor mills and fansites are buzzing with all the latest “coming soon” gossip. The big buz movies in 2010 is True Legend (Su Qi Er), starring Zhao Wen-Zho as the historical Begger Su, the originator of drunken kung fu. Donnie Yen returns in both part 2 of the Ip Man saga and in the much anticipated 14 Blades. Chow Yun-Fat breaks the mold and surprises everyone in his role as Confucius.

Both Hollywood and Asia Rely on CGI and Special Effects

The growing spectacle and importance of the “action film” is both enjoyable to the escapist and annoying for the aficionado of the true martial arts. While the actors in many of the films-in particular Asian films-are genuine martial artists (for example, Donnie Yen, Jet Li and Chow Yun-Fat)-the over-dependence on CGI and elaborate choreography turns the adventure into comic book. With notable exceptions, such as Ip Man and Tony Jaa in Ong Bak (and to a lesser extent Ong Bak 2 and 3), most action films rely on the “wow” factor of dazzling camera angles and computer-aided “enhancements.”

Ninja Assassin and the Cross-Over

There are, to be sure, cross-over films such as Ninja Assassin, where actor Rain trained 14 hours a day for months to perfect real martial arts moves (albeit only a handful of repeated moves), blended together with rather Matrix-like special effects. To some, the beauty of the realistic CGI takes away from the pleasure of watching well-choreographed real martial arts.

Ong Bak, on the other hand, led by genuine martial arts expert Tony Jaa, got by on solid martial arts and good choreography. No stuntmen, thank you. Tony Jaa was hailed as the “next Bruce Lee” for this reason, with much buzz and excitement in the martial arts community, and martial arts film fansites.

There’s No Escaping Escapism

Action films are, by design, escapist entertainment. They have become somewhat comic-book (pardon me, graphic novel), but that’s what most audiences do want. We want to forget reality.

Kill Bill and Kill Bill 2 probably came closest to the ideal mix for both the escapist fan and the martial arts practitioner-fan. While it wasn’t “real” by any means, and contained a brilliant and zesty blend of satire, comic-book, spoof, and choreography, it never-the-less nostalgically hearkened back to the wondrous days of Enter the Dragon and the classic Japanese Samarai films of the 70s.

Japanese Film Stays True to Martial Arts Traditions?

Perhaps the film industry most aligned with the older traditions of martial arts film making is Japan. Zatoichi, the Blind Swordsman, was a low-budget film, that became an instant cult classic. Zatoichi took movie audiences back to the classic real-sword skills of the old Samarai films of the earlier decades, and spawned video games and an entire industry.

Less is More? Where is the Real Martial Arts Skill?

Genuine martial arts actors still abound-led by superstars such as Donnie Yen and Jet Li-and most Chinese martial arts actors are proficient. In Hollywood, the film-makers opt for four-move choreography (two kicks, a block and a punch), multiple camera angles (particularly close ups when the skills of the martial artist are not genuine), pounding music, FX, and stuntmen. With the old hopefuls gone from the Hollywood big screen-Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme and the other promising real martial artists-there’s now a world of difference between Asian film actors-who work in frigid cold, fourteen hours a day in often primitive conditions, hammering out genuinely complex martial arts moves for relatively paltry paychecks-and Hollywood films that now rely on computer and actor stand-ins.

Batman Now Does Kung Fu

Batman now does kung fu, and so does G.I. Joe, and even Hellboy. They’re fun, but the martial artist fan misses the great luminaries of martial arts films who built their careers on the “real thing”: Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, David Chiang, Sonny Chiba, Chen Kuan-tai, Tomisaburo Wkayama, Jimmy Wong Yu, Ti Lung and the Liu brothers.


The Emperor of China – A Book Review

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‘Emperor of China’ is a detailed look into the life of the great Emperor K’ang-hsi. The Emperor himself acts as the book’s narrator; thus, it is interesting to see K’ang-hsi’s point of view on many of the historical events that occurred during his reign. Since K’ang-hsi is the speaker, it is easy to get a closer look at what he considers good moral values and true virtue. He does not emphasize certain aspects of tradition-such as superstition-as many Chinese and Manchu officials would; rather, he focuses on virtues and morals that should instinctively be ingrained in all men. This does not mean he does not cherish tradition-as he once said, “I told them not to lose their Manchu traditions even in such things as dress, food, [and] utensils…” (pg 124)-but K’ang-hsi emphasizes that it is not intelligent to rely upon superstitious traditions. “I…warned the Bureau not to guess or exaggerate in interpreting the omens that they observed, but simply state their findings. Things may seem determined in our lives, but there are these and other ways in which man’s power can develop Heaven’s work. We must urge Heaven in it’s work, not just rely upon it.” (pg 58)

By looking at a few examples, one can easily see that these virtues, though Confucian in nature, are strikingly similar across the globe-east and west. Moreover, they resemble many of the beliefs in churches around the world. As said by K’ang-hsi, “If the fortune-teller says you will be successful, can you then say, ‘I’m bound to do well and needn’t study properly’? If he says you’ll be rich, can you sit still and let the wealth come?” (pg 59) Respectively, if one were to look in the Bible, James 2:17, it reads, “…faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” This is one of countless examples that can be found in this narrative of Emperor K’ang-hsi.

K’ang-hsi holds strict to many of the cultural traditions that safeguard China’s identity, but gives more weight to the moral traditions that have a greater bearing on the universal ethics and virtues of the people.


The Wonders of Being Grandparents

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There are many milestones involved with birth. Your first child is a large milestone. While not as big a deal, your first grandchild is a wonderful milestone too. When you reach it, you’re a grandparent.

While this is an unfortunate sign of age, it’s the most welcome sign of aging. Grandparents and grandchildren are natural allies. They have the most important thing in common. Namely, the one in between, the baby’s parent and grandparent’s child. This person unites the two as their link and their common adversary. While this may seem unfortunate for the parent in the middle, it works pretty fairly in practice.

Grandparents should enjoy their grandkids. Not only are they the automatic ‘I told you so’ to their own kids, the two have a beneficial relationship. Grandchildren remind the grandparent of youth and the need to exercise. Grandparents guide the newborn grandchildren and share the wonders in the world.

In some cases, grandparents are better at guiding than parents. They have more experience with children. They have more time to pay attention to children because they are often retired, while the parents are busy at work. These two advantages make them natural advisers or mentors who will always be ready to listen.

It is incredible fun to make up tall tales to your grandchildren. They will believe it and they have not yet learned to scoff. However while it is fun, being a mentor to your grandchild carries responsibility along with it. Don’t let your kids (the baby’s parents) carry the weight alone. Lord only knows what irresponsible things that they may teach your grandchildren.

Mold the children’s minds. Teach them about the wonders and dangers of the world. Take them to a park and play around. Name the insects flying through the air and teach the kids how to catch them. Help them identify trouble like wasps and boys. Play simple games and teach the children sportsmanship and other values.

Experience is the grandparent’s trump card. You will know more about the world than anybody else. Teach them about the history that you have lived through. Show them the pitfalls that you have encountered and most of all the lessons that you have learned.

Teach your grandchildren about your hobbies. If you don’t have one, try taking one up. This will give you one more thing to share with the kid. If you’re into quilting, they make wonderful gifts for your grandkids, as well as something to demonstrate creativity. Gardening, cooking, collecting, etc. are all interesting hobbies for you and your grandkid.

Grandparents are a font of wisdom and fun. Be that way to your grandkid.


Ten Ways to Inspire And Promote Yourself In High School

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"Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious." – Stephen Hawking

High School really is the culmination of what has happened in the past and what will happen in the future. It's an exciting time of personal and academic growth. It's the time to set goals, get serious and explore interests. It is also the time to discover what you are really passionate about.

I am laser focused on behaviors and habits of highly successful high school girls that lead them to the most elite schools in the country and, ultimately, a life of glaring success. If you have read any of my articles, and I strongly encourage you to, you know I am an advocate of hard work, self-sacrifice and goal orientation. I have written articles focusing on these characteristics and behaviors after interviewing over four hundred high school girls that attended the most elite colleges in the country. However, there is also something to be said about being an interesting person.

I surprised, when comparing two mandates that were equal in terms of achievements, academic and other, what the determining factor would be to an elite college admissions director. I waited until the decisions were finished and these directors had a bit of a lull in their schedules and actually asked them. I was able to contact an admissions director or dean at twenty of the most elite schools in the country. I had amazing conversations and ended up relating many of my own experiences and realized those experiences made the conversation more interesting . I went back and thought about all the conversations and stories that were related to me by the admissions directors and deans and came up with a list of things you can do in high school to be more competitive and more interesting.

Life is enriched through exploration and this is the best time. After speaking with, literally, hundreds of highly successful young women in the most elite colleges in this country, there is one thing I can tell you firsthand: They work hard in college and free time is very limited. Although high school is also intense, it is smattered with breaks and summer vacations without many encumbrances. That will not be the case once you attend college. Life is filled with mid-terms, finals and internships. I have compiled a bucket list, of sorts, that may help you enrich yourself and, in turn, enrich your life. In any case, you will definitely learn something along the way. They are as follows:

1. While You Still Live At Home, Learn To Cook A Few Dishes Well . When you actually start college and move onto graduate school, you will be on solid ground. There is something very aesthetic about taking raw ingredients and creating something delightfully savory or deliciously sweet. There is also quite a bit of science involved, namely physics and chemistry, that may help you make a principal more meaningful and have a bit of fun. Either way, you will be able to take care of yourself someday. If this becomes your passion, make a few meals and take them to seniors who are house bound in your area. Now you have turned your passion into a wonderful community service that is willingly needed and greatly appreciated.

2. Download An Astronomy App And Look At The Stars And Planets In The Night Skies . You may have to go into an area without city lights to garner the greatest benefit. Our family has a ranch far from any city and I can tell you from experience, gazing at the night skies is an amazing experience. Stephen Hawking got it right when he suggested contemplating the universe. You actually realize how big the universe really is, how small we are in the scheme of things and realize how much we have yet to discover. It does make one question everything and that is the point. If this is your passion, NASA has an amazing website where you can learn more and follow the latest sightings. The night skies fascinate me and I convinces my parents to take our family to East Cape in New Zealand to see the first place on earth the sun rises; it was mind-blowing and so cool at the same time.

3. Make Sure You Will Be Proficient In A Foreign Language Before You Graduate From High School . The world has truly become globalized and proficiency in a foreign language shows that you understand that perspective and also makes you more marketable. If at all possible, visit that country and immerse yourself into that language and culture. Live like a local and appreciate the history, art, food and architecture. It will be an experience that will always stay with you for the rest of your life and it will become a passion. Try a new food once. You'll never know if you like something unless you try it.

4. Read The Classics . Most colleges expect you to have well read and many classics are missed in high school. You may find you enjoy Thoreau and Bronte and have a real latent passion for classic American and English Literature. So much history is deposited in the works of Homer, Tolstoy, Twain, Kipling, Dostoyevsky and so many more, that you will find yourself transported to a time you never knew exhausted in that way. The world is longing for a new Emily Dickinson and maybe that will be your forte.

5. Revisit American History . Any political science class in college will trace back to American roots and it will also help you understand key issues in the news media today, such as Supreme Court decisions and our electoral process. With the invention of the Broadway musical, "Hamilton", American history has been reignited. This musical has been a life changer for me and I found myself reading "The Federalist Papers", by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. Read the Constitution, the Amendments, The Declaration of Independence (The It's only a page!), The "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King, The Gettysburg and both Inaugural Addresses by Abraham Lincoln, Common Sense, by Thomas Payne and anything else you can get your hands on. America has a rich history from The Revolutionary War to the Battle of Yorktown, the Civil War to abolition, the Great Depression, the World Wars and segregation.

6. Make Sure You Vote When You Turn 18 . It is not only a right in America, it is an inclusive privilege. The 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1870 and cave minorities the right to vote. Women were given the right vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920. Suffragettes, such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott thought and were imprisoned fighting for that right. Did you know in 1923, the National Women's Party proposed an amendment to the Constitution that prohibited all discrimination on the basis of gender? To this day, the aptly named Equal Rights Amendment has never been ratified.

7. Take An Art History Class At Your Local Community College Or On Your Own Volition . So many references are made from the works of the masters that it will pay off if you can add to the conversation. You may also find out what type of art moves you. My personal love of impressionism came from visiting museums and being mesmerized by the actual works of Monet, Renoir, Van Gough and Degas. America has some amazing museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, The Guggenheim in NYC, The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, The Museum of Modern Art in NYC, The Getty Center in LA and The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, just to name a few. Art is another way of learning history, as much of the early works were ordered by the wealthy or the Church.

8. Study World Religions . After all, how can you comment on anyone's beliefs without knowing what they believe? Also, visit places of worship to see the true artistic mastery and some of the greatest works of art in the world. It will teach you tolerance and an appreciation for something that may differ from your own perspective. You will inevitably find that people are very similar in their beliefs, although the practices may differ. I visited and saw the artistry and sculptures of Michelangelo in the Vatican and the Vatican Museum in Rome, the beauty of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, The exquisiteness of the Golden Temple and the Taj Mahal in India, The Karnak Temple in Egypt, The San Vitale Church in Ravenna, Italy, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Notre Dame and the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, and they will be engrained in my mind forever.

9. Take A Look At Some Of The Earliest Philosophers And Their Beliefs . It is fascinating that many of those philosophies are still guiding our philosophies today. The works of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Voltaire and Confucius are referred in literary works, political philosophies and society. Human nature today is not so different from back then and we are all trying to explain and understand our actions.

10. Learn About Your Own Family History . I know it sounds inherent, but your parents and family are great resources to truly understand your heritage. Your history and family struggles, work ethic and culture are a culmination of who you are today. Studies have shown when people understand the challenges their families have overcome, they tend to work harder and ultimately achieve greater success. Grandparents and anyone in your family with a "Great" in their name, will have lived in an era that is totally different than today. Lin-Manuel Miranda said, "History is so subjective." The teller of it determinates it. " So learn your own story, paint your own canvas and tell it the way you see it.

Life gets more complicated as it goes on, so take this unique time in High School to become more well-rounded and interesting. Find your passion and you can explore what you really want to learn about in college. These skills will carry you far and also give you a much better chance of getting into the college of your choice.


Pros and Cons of a Child Model Agency

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Whether your child has the ability to be the next Adriana Lima depends on whether a parent has the confidence to take the leap of faith and enable their child to pursue a career in modeling. Although it’s good to start young and enroll in a child model agency, there are hard choices to make.

Cons First

Let’s start with the cons! Then, shall we? Firstly, modeling is like any other job, requiring time, sacrifice, patience, and discipline; hard to ask from adults, and harder to ask from a child.

Children in their formative years are very active, constantly want to run and play, and rarely have any affinity for posing patiently in a studio. But this is only a con if a child doesn’t like modeling, or in worse cases forced into the industry. Remember this always, looking good alone isn’t enough. Anyone who wants to excel in modeling must have a good personality and work attitude as well. Hence, parents should only enroll a child into a modeling agency if he/she has the aptitude for modeling or loves the job.

Modeling has assignments throughout the day and you may get an important job during office hours. A child must be dedicated to going for a shoot after school, and a parent might have to request for time-off to send the kid to the assignment. It requires sacrifice to make it work. This then drives home the reason why a child must want to become a model at their own will.

There are many fake artists and scam agencies out there to exploit hopeful parents and families who want to see their kid become a famous model.

Key indicators of fake agencies include:

• Located in suspicious areas

• Guarantee you a job on the first day (Professional agencies know this process takes time)

• Call you for an appointment after office hours or odd timings

• Do not require a portfolio or contract (All good clients are attracted by your portfolio. It’s as important a resume.)


If the child has a vibrant personality, photogenic face and has aspirations of being a successful model, then modeling can be a very big pro. Kids, who become good models, do so because they like the perks of the work such as fame and attention.

A good kid model agency will have an extensive network of contacts, and your child might get exposed to big names and companies at a very young age. It presents a good opportunity to network, socialize and progress rapidly in later stages of a child’s career.

When the child hits their prime (teenage/youth) years, they can out beat their competition with more than just looks, but with significant experience in the industry. It’s always hard to tell if a kid wants to pursue modeling long-term, but if that is the case in future, acquiring experience from young matters.

Travelling is a possibility when joining a big modeling agency dealing with overseas clients and contacts. A family can use this opportunity to travel together while being the support for the child in their modeling endeavor.

A child filled with passion for modeling is sure to excel in it. As wise Confucius once said, “If you do what you love you never have to work a day in your life”. Modeling can complement a child’s development by giving them confidence with their physical body and instilling good work ethic and values. If there’s a child shows interest parents should not hesitate to create a new talent in the modeling world.


Sadequain’s Art – Influences and Inspirations

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Sadequain is a great thematic painter of Pakistan. He has worked in various styles ranging from linear to ‘painterly’ ones. Since he is a thematic painter with personal and individual observations of life, he opts to depict grotesque elements from inner and outer world, to find truth and reality. In this pursuit, he paints his canvases with figures which actually are characters taken from religion, history, mythology and literature, with backgrounds suggesting either the time period they belong to or the inward feelings they are spellbound with. The diversity in Sadequain’s work, both in technique and in thought, encompasses the wide range of influences and inspirations owing to different reasons and circumstances, the artist comes across throughout his life.

This paper will analyze the influences and inspirations that effected Sadequain’s art, intrinsically as well as extrinsically, to find out the sources and origins which generally cover mythology, religion, philosophy, drama and literature. This study will also unfold the influences of art movements or styles that inspired Sadequain’s art.

These inspirations and influences have served and fed Sadequain’s art in a manner that enables him to extract his themes from a variety of subject matters from gods and goddesses to the great thinkers and philosophers of Greece and Persia, in terms of characters, while in connection with literature, he touched Sophocles on one end and Shakespeare, Iqbal and Ghalib on the other. Whereas by composing his frames in a theatrical way, Sadequain has put on show conceptual as well as corporeal aspect of drama in life, an element that Baroque art is famous for.

Most of Sadequain’s paintings display elements like; exaggeration, horror, metamorphosis, drama and myth in their themes while as far as figures or characters are concerned, he has looked back into history, religion and mythology (regardless of origins i.e. Greek or Indian) to portray characters that can enrich and elaborate his themes, for this purpose Sadequain has painted, celestial figures, philosophers; who had great ideology and impact like Aristotle, Socrates, Ibn-i Khaldun, scientists ranging from early periods of enlightenment like Ibn-i Haisam, al-Khwarzami, or Ibn-i Sina, to the modern era of twentieth century known for new theories, where his brush personifies Einstein or Karl Marx.

Taking his themes into consideration first, we can find him a lover and admirer of the darker and crude form of life contrary to the beautiful, subtle and aromatic aspects. Since this concept of grotesque or malamat2 is not a new one in this part of the world as it has been discussed and displayed on various levels by different schools of Sufism that has got popularity in the subcontinent.

According to Akber Naqvi:

“Sadequain’s art enacted the drama of malamat in its Zahiri3 and batini4aspects-the coincidence and confusion of appearance and reality as awareness of truth in the definition of the self.”

(Naqvi 370-71)

The concept of Malamat has been in vogue in the Sufi tradition here in the subcontinent, where Sufis were not of view to adapt themselves to the clear and straight rules of life, rather they groped the reality through grotesque and more ritual way of life where, dance, music, intoxication and supernatural ambiance was created and strongly believed.

With this approach in life, Sadequain is expected to reveal the realities of life through dance, drama, and rituals in an ambiance, far fetched from the physical world and close to the mystic vagueness. These subjects help him in carrying out paintings with subjects matter taken from mythologies, and enactment of the rituals, which ultimately causes him in putting dynamism within his frame along with the concepts he painted upon.

In his thirst to paint themes under the inspirations and influences he has admired throughout his life, Sadequain is seen quenching his desires, through romantic and modern painting styles and concepts when he paints with self-conscious approach and themes (a romantic attitude) at one place while with abstract expressionism and symbolic style at the other. He also follows modern art techniques, wherever needed to give expression to his inner and individual thoughts.

As his interest has never faded out of mythological and religious concepts and literary epics and stories, from where his characterization has gotten enriched, he is also found indulged in emphasis, exaggeration, hyperbole, horror, theatricality (action, drama, movement), and dynamism which reminds us of the art of baroque style. Collectively, Sadequain was inspired from diverse influences that prevailed either in European art and literature or in the Eastern tradition of grotesque mysticism (Malamat).

Historically, man has recorded his rituals, dance and religious practices of great importance in the form of cave painting; the oldest form of expression. Most of the cave paintings do possess the chronicle elements ever since those paintings have captured a performance or an activity that was related to some ritual or religious doctrine, or the adventures and hunt scenes, which can give the impression that man has always been curious to record whatsoever was around his physical and emotional existence. This practice has been the most common and respected one even in the Stone Age in the subcontinent, which has enabled us to have an idea of life and beliefs that those people were leading and following.

The earliest images in the caves of Bhimbetka with simplicity in drawing, linearity and movement of the figures, suggest the dance or hunt movements of the characters; an expression that was later partially adopted by Sadequain.

Another ancient but comparatively modern concept of religious themes and personification of sacred figures through different forms of visual art could be found in the times of Buddha. The visual expression of Jataka Stories5, which were carved in stone at the Stupa of Sanchi and Amravati, or painted on the rocks of Ajanta Caves, served the religious beliefs to be converted from intangible form to the tangible shape. These stories, at the same time provided materials for actors and dancers of Ashoka6 period (268-233 BC) to act upon.

“Jataka stories can be described as an ‘encyclopedia of contemporary Indian life’ in all its aspects. These stories describe various previous births of Gautam Buddha and instructive episodes relating to them…. According to Buddhist tradition, the number of these stories is 550 out of which about 547 are available in a collection. Their delineation in stone forms a major part of early Buddhist art down from Ashokan times. Many Jataka stories are artistically engraved on the stone railings and toranas of Buddhist monuments such as those at Bharhut, Sanchi and Amravati stupas and are painted on the walls of Ajanta canves. They present an approximate panorama of Indian life between 600 BC to 300 BC.”

(Varadpande 116)

Since visual art is a record of events that have got immense importance in modern times, painting in particular captures figures, scenes, subjects or emotions that have been in existence prior to the moment of their rendering by the artist; so, there is possibility of overlapping of characteristics from one genre to the other. Therefore, the mythological and religious stories, characters, and moral values can get place in the paintings whenever they are rendered regardless of time. Art could adopt its characters and atmosphere from the religious doctrines, mythological concepts, literary ideas and folklore, which would be in fashion at the time, that art has been produced. As the extrinsic references have shown this quality of art as inevitable, Sadequain’s art, on specific ideas of mythology (Indian or Greek), religion and poetic expressions of Iqbal7, Ghalib8 and Faiz9, clearly indicates the contrast and diversity of nature in connection with social and religious life, related to certain circumstances.

Characters have always been the main feature in visual expression, in painting; they embody tragic and joyous emotions, representing life itself. But owing to its strong appeal and gripping nature, tragedy has got pivotal place in the life of human beings and a strong motivational force for any kind of natural expression.

Aristotle argued in the Poetics that tragedy:

“is a representation, not of men, but of action and life, of ‘happiness and unhappiness’ and that ‘happiness and unhappiness’ are bound up with action”

(Aristotle 39-40)

As tragedy, according to Aristotle, is the most important factor behind any creation or expression which leads one to ‘catharsis10’ and enhances the total impact of ‘happiness’ or ‘unhappiness’, the embodiment of these emotions are; characters who represent these emotions through their gestures, facial expressions and movements. Any kind of expression in art gives so much importance to the characters that are going to represent the subject or the theme of the artwork. In painting, characters are represented through figures and portraits, which reflect the desired emotions and convey them to the audience through the formal quality and variation of colour, texture, chiaroscuro, line and composition.

What importance of human expressions, in visual art, is well defined as under by Goodman:

“what is expressed is metaphorically exemplified”

(Goodman 85)

Through an art such as figurative or portrait painting, expression is achieved by imitating a figure or portrait of a well-known or ordinary person or character. Keeping in view the fact that human concerns are always behind any kind of artwork, one can assume the subject matter of a certain era.

Sadequain has dealt with his paintings in terms of characters, facial expressions, distortion, movement, texture, chiaroscuro and a planned and directed atmosphere, created through the collective representation of all the mentioned elements on a larger scale. His characters, in most of his paintings are ‘alive’ and dynamic in nature, busy in their work or duties. They do not seem to be posing or idle for the sake of painting only. He has also used facial expression of his characters within the frame to enhance his expression of the theme that is behind that painting. By distorting figures and other elements of the painting, Sadequain has always tried to get the desired effects of human struggle, and has put his idea or theme on a high pedestal in a loud style; as on stage, with the distortion of sound effect, the director of an act creates ambiguity to clear or prominent his theme or subject. His figures are actually characters of his themes and individuals full of energy, painted to convey movement or activity, according to the subject. Sometimes in his desire of conveying his concept or theme to the viewer with energy, Sadequain has also added symbolic expression with little or more exaggeration which has, in many of his paintings and drawings, created an ‘abstract expression’ based on ones innate and psychological experiences that can put his work under the label of ‘modern art’ while his self-centered approach has fashioned ‘romantic’ approach at the same time.

Texture and chiaroscuro are the vital elements of a painting to create the atmosphere or ambiance, Sadequain with his cross hatching brush, using dark and light areas, creates low degree of chiaroscuro. His paintings do no possess the dramatic light effects or light and dark contrasts as of some baroque style paintings by Caravaggio11, but even then his textures create an effect of ‘light and dark’ to suggest the positive and negative aspects of his themes. He is a romantic at some place, and modern at the other or both, at the same time. If we take him as ‘romanticist’ first, he is found to fall in this category due to some reasons.

As Jacquez Barzen states:

“As against poetic diction and ‘noble’ words, the romanticists admitted all words; as against the exclusive use of a selected Graeco-Roman mythology, they took in the Celtic and the Germanic; as against the uniform setting and tone of classical tragedy, they studied and reproduced the observable diversities known as ‘local color’. As against the antique subjects of and the set scale of pictorial merits prescribed by the Academy, they took in the whole world, seen and unseen, and the whole range of colors.”

(Barzun 59)

By analyzing these qualities of romanticists, we come to a point that romanticists were against restrictions and geographical bounds, first in terms of information and knowledge and later, in their expression, they were with an opinion that myths, legends, poetic expressions, pictorial merits and concepts were universal and they had nothing to do with a certain ethnicity.

By these standards, we can call Sadequain a romantic, as he adopts everything whatever he thinks to fulfill his pictorial and conceptual requirements. He goes for the mythology regardless of its origin; he takes on the journey to diverse ethnicities and derivation while painting his canvasses. He is also an observer of the whole world and universal pains, the humanity is exposed to, and rather than classical set patterns, he has also taken up the ‘observable diversities’ in creating his ‘local color’.

Barzun has commented between classic and romantic as:

“In common speech certainly, the sentiments aroused by the word ‘classical’ are those of repose and serenity, while the connotations of ‘romantic’ suggest restlessness and disorder.”

(Barzun 37)

If we apply the conditions of restlessness and disorder on Sadequain’s art and personality, the same result we can find which may advocate us to call him a romanticist. As we find his work against the static and acclaimed standards of academic art (even in a developing country like Pakistan), disorder, especially within his distorted figures, crudeness of form, and the dynamism, and the shades of restlessness, force us to label him as ‘greatly inspired by romanticists’ if not a romanticist himself. Sadequain’s own conception of life, which is also very much individual; the grotesque or Malamati, has caused a great deal of self-centeredness when he paints self-portraits within a painting or a drawing. The symbol of ‘cactus’ he has used for his life also refers to the individuality covered by the ego of a self-centered individual, who seems inspired of the romantic approach of inner and individual expression. The admiration of restlessness has made him quoting Iqbals concept of true Muslim (Mard-e Momin) in pictorial way; a well-known aspect of Sadequain’s work regarding inscription based painting. Other than Iqbal, he also painted upon the ideology presented in Ghalib’s verse, which is a direct extraction from the Persian tradition of egoistic literary expression, of which Ghalib has been proud.

In other words, contrary to the stationary and idle attitude (which is demarked as ‘classic’ in the west), Sadequain prefers movement and dynamism, and for that, he even goes for the associated disorder, that is obvious in his figurative distortion, this practice has proved him immensely inspired by the impatience romanticists are known for.

Moreover, Sadequain is also a modern artist, one of the reasons for this is his period, as he was born just after the World War I and saw World War II in his youth in a colonial country where agitation was on its peak by that time. He started work when the entire world was experiencing revolutionary changes, ideological as well as geographical, with new economic and philosophical theories were helping Communism12 and Socialism13 to spread around the globe. Individuality and self-respect was the new world order and it was farewell to slavery. Either it was physical or intellectual. Freedom of thought, expression, and beliefs made self-consciousness a common and accepted doctrine that strengthened the concept of ‘abstract expressionism’ and individual perception.

“The first striking trait of the modern ego is self-consciousness, I say self-consciousness rather than self-awareness, because I believe that in spite of much heart-searching, the modern ego is more concerned with the way it appears in others’ eyes than with learning fully about itself and admitting its troubles fearlessly. The romantics were introspective, too, but they did not fear ridicule as we do, which is why we accuse them of indecently exposing their innermost souls.”

(Barzun 117)

So, Sadequain is influenced and inspired by the modern ideology of self-consciousness as well. And if we could try, in the light of quoted paragraph, to put him under the category of self-consciousness or self-awareness, he would fall in the former one. But since he accepted so many diverse influences, it will be hard to categorize him under one label, but keeping his time in consideration and the approach he adopted towards life, we could say that he was more inspired by the romantic and modern ideology of painting at the same time while his work was a crucible of different inspirations and influences, regardless of origins and ethnicities.

Other than his paintings, the drawings and sketches in ‘pen and ink’ could also be categorized with the same qualities that could be identified as extracted from historical, mythological, religious or literary backgrounds. In his sketches, one might not find the chiaroscuro or the ‘painterliness’ due to the linearity of the technique, but the entire range of pivotal conceptual elements, he has used in his paintings, could be found in extremely skilled fashion.

A drawing in pen and ink under the title ‘Some other things to care about (1966)’ displays probability and action in its composition which, in two groups, exhibit the arrangement of an atmosphere where something is going to happen. The artist has given proper space between the two groups that may suggest the likelihood for some action as two figures are arranged in the right corner and three webbed figures in the left, but all in such a perspective that the space within and around them is visible to the onlooker. The webbed figures put on show the drama and the grotesque approach of the artist who seems concerned in portraying the pain of human beings since their birth to the eternal abode. A religious and mythical concept mostly portrayed and depicted in scriptures, mythologies and literature or in the form of holy ritual dance or the proper theatre in Athens performing Sophocles’ play.

Another painting ‘Two Graces (from aesthetics) 1970’, in pen and ink is like gratitude by Sadequain to the great western painting ‘Three Graces’. As the idea of this painting is the same as of the mythological painting by Rapheal in the early sixteenth century or by Picasso, later in the twentieth century. The movement, drama, and the characterization come by design within the frame. The stretch and the elasticity of the female bodies are endorsed as well as captured by arranging them in dance-like postures. The festivity and the lyricism have made this drawing a rhythmic performance. This work speaks high of the Western influence, Sadequain may have been under as one of many inspirations he has been exposed to.

Another pen and ink ‘The snake charmer (from observation 1970)’displays the aboriginal subject but Sadequain has, with folk subject and sensuous rendering, attracted the viewer. Moreover the combination of female body and the twirling snake, the concept of Vishkannya14seems obvious behind the painter’s imagination. The character of Vishkannya is associated with dance, while the curling, twisting and creeping movements of the snake, along with the venomous myth regarding Hinduism, help in creating a conceptual story as soon as one looks upon it. All these aspects make this painting ‘Thespian15’ in its physical as well as conceptual approach. Sadequain’s involvement in the Hindu myth and the grotesque attitude towards life, attracted him towards horrifying, dynamic and exaggerated topics and themes (a semi baroque influence), especially when he was not illustrating poetry as his first choice.

Two more pen and ink drawings ‘Soul and Body (from society and the stranger 1970)’ and ‘The Webbed (1966)’, also demonstrate the thematic drama and the symbolic rendering by the artist. In ‘Soul and Body’, the painter by personifying the non-corporeal subject of soul into corporeal existence of body through conceptually abstract and practically tangible practice of painting, has successfully put forth a vibrant show which may be considered a step towards self-realization or self-consciousness, as a romanticist, while through exploring the depths of inner world with reference to the outer one, he could be seen as an artist inspired by the modern theories of ‘expressionism’ based on the Freudian16 theories of psychology.

‘The Webbed’ is also a drawing with an overstatement by the artist, being caught in the desolation. Here too the painter has embodied an abstract feeling through a concrete symbol of web. The human struggle has been put in focus with the suggested movements through the cognate linearity. His comprehension of life is on a subtle point where he wants to give voice to his gruesome experiences, for that the painter is found busy in painting distorted figures, putting voice to his innate feelings and experiences, the artist has always been vulnerable of.

Akber Naqvi has stated this experience of Sadequain in these words:

“He dealt with truth and illusion at more than an aesthetic level; he remained engaged, throughout his life, in pain and in sickness.”

(Naqvi 365)

Other than his sketches and drawings, his paintings also display influences of diverse origins as stated in the beginning of this paper. One painting ‘Quest for knowledge (1959)’ presents distorted figures, dramatic arrangement (composition), and movement. Especially the characters clad in Egyptian robes on the horse back, going after the book of knowledge, depict an exaggerated approach of the artist which ultimately has added dynamism within the frame and the effect that the figure on a galloping horse will just get out of the frame from the left side, implies an event being enacted. Symbolic, romantic and expressionistic approach could be seen at a time while Sadequain’s work seems greatly inspired by mentioned art movements.

Another painting ‘The eternal female (1962-63)’ with distortion of the female body into a monstrous creeping creature advocates the mythological characterization, especially with reference to the aboriginal Hindu culture where the gods, goddesses and demons are portrayed with distortion and exaggeration in human or animal anatomy. The mythological treatment put on show the dramatic rituals, which have been part of sacred Hindu traditions as the Hindus have depicted almost each and every myth of Ramayana17 or Mahabharata18 in the form of famous dance-drama like Kathikali19 or Bharatnattyam20. The rudiments of ‘Natak21’, with supernatural characters and the element of horror, as the bizarre theme behind the painter’s mind, are obvious in this piece of work. Moreover, metaphorical and exaggerated approach and theatrical mode help us understanding the linkage of Sadequain’s perception with Indian traditions of expression and the forms of expressions all together, at an intrinsic and extrinsic analytical level.

A large mural painting at the State Bank Building Karachi under the title of ‘The treasures of time’ displays the historical and chronological qualities. This painting seems a tribute to human achievements and evolution with portraiture of geniuses from history, covering time periods from the Stone Age to the modern world. The panel painting is divided into four groups exhibiting four different eras of enlightened humanity through virtue and wisdom. In this painting, Sadequain looks greatly inspired by the revolutionary paintings of the modern art where the core reasons and the conceptual renderings were given more space.

Starting from the ancient world, Sadequain has painted the characters of Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Archimedes, Herodotus, Sophocles and Confucius. This group shows the philosophers busy in pondering, writers and mathematicians tiring for their goals, the atmosphere created by the background, suggest the city of Athens and some part of China. The whole painting seems like an act of the drama where the well-known thinkers and philosophers are performing, reminding the all famous line by Shakespeare;

“All the world’s stage.”

The second group in the same gigantic painting exhibits the famous Buddha and the Galileo, an astrologist. The painter has emphasized on the details in dress, architecture and texture, while the style seems very western in this panel since detailed realism is obvious.

Third group or act of this huge painting consists of the wizards from Arabia and Persian, the origin and cradle of the Muslim doctrine and ideology. With Avicenna, Al-Khwarzmi, Ibn al-Hasam, Ibn al-Hayan, Farabi, Firdausi, Al-Kundi, Ibn-i Rushd, Rumi, Al-Idrees and Ibn-i Khaldun, busy in their respective activities, the painter looks as if he is under nostalgic infatuations and trying to glorify the events and persons of the era bygone, here again the painter has adopted a romantic attitude and have also practiced it in a romantic manner, where he also seems looking for his own individuality within these great personalities. In this group, it appears that the composition, characters and their costumes have been changed according to the painter’s own conceived requirements. Here on the upper areas behind the figures, light is cast on dramatically to spot them and their importance, which reminds us the dramatic light effects of Caravaggio in his biblical and thematic paintings of late sixteenth century.

In the fourth group of this panel, the painter has tried to cast his spot light on the genius of the western world, famous figures like, Leonardo da Vinci, Newton and Goethe put diversity and an evolved historical chronology of the European pursuit of wisdom through art, philosophy and science. The architectural background here changes as the set changes behind the performers while the theatrically postured figures put forward the idea of change in embryonic time.

Keeping the pace alive, Sadequain paints the sixth group with Iqbal, Einstein, Tagore, Karl Marx, Walt Whiteman and Darwin, as the spotlight is cast to highlight the 20th century modern theories of wisdom and philosophy around the globe. The whole panel, in figure arrangement, kinesics, postures, facial expressions, and the chronology, put forward a sense of dynamic composition and ambiance, within the whole panel and from one group to the other.

No artist could conceive an idea without prior concepts and knowledge that prevails through his mind and thoughts therefore, inspirations and influences are inevitable. One generation after experiencing diversity of life in thoughts and action, pass on the evolved wisdom and knowledge to its descendants. Sadequin was born when the entire world was on the brim of change in terms of economic and political scenario as two world wars have changed the shape and the course of the history and geographical boundaries of the globe. New theories, based on science and technology were in fashion and modern ideas in philosophy and psychology were challenging the centuries old traditions. All these elements were casting deep shadows on almost all branches of knowledge and all forms of art. Sadequain has witnessed the modern art movement at its zenith and the beginning of the post modern. But at the same time, owing to his own circumstances and geographical and conceptual linkages, he observed the indigenous traditions of expression, which were deeply rooted in the soil of Indus Valley.

Religious doctrines of Islam and Hinduism also inspired him with its association with the richness of Persian traditions and the rhythms of Vedic experiences, respectively. The diversity of cultures that the subcontinent absorbed to the maximum, with an acculturation of Arabian, Persian and local Jain, Hindu and Buddhist ethnicities, also inspired his concepts to a level of grotesque evolution. In view of the fact that subcontinent was under the British rule, Sadequain, under the western influential art movements like, romanticism, modernism and tinges of Baroque elements like horror, exaggeration, metamorphosis and theatricality, moved on to blend the western influences with the indigenous concepts derived from the epics like Mahabharta and Ramayna, while the Persian poetic ideology of Rumi and Firdausi reached him through the verses of Iqbal and Ghalib.

So by painting myths, religious doctrines (although through Malamat), poetic ideas, and epic characters, in symbolic, romantic and modern way and technique, Sadequain has given vent to varied inspirations and influences that were always behind his collective as well as individual conscience. Even in his aboriginal approach, since he is a Bengali by origin, educated in India and settled in Karachi (Pakistan), he experienced all the shades of diverse cultures; he had been living in, from Bengali-Muslim to Hindu-Indian to Muslim-Pakistani. A crucible, he became, as an artist within his approach and thought. That is why his works do not present a single shade of one individual when seen collectively.


I Went Back to New Jersey

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I had a rather unusual visit to see my grandmother, who lives in Clifton NJ. She got me to drive her to this place and I thought that she wanted to be taken to the Costco there in Clifton. Instead she went to shop at this place that sells Jewish memorials in NJ. I thought that was rather odd obviously, but she wanted to get a bigger stone that would replace the one my Uncle Sol has, obviously one which was big enough to have both of their names on it. She had a lot of trouble figuring out what she wanted and of course I did not think that she could afford such a thing. Continue reading

A List of the Ascended Masters List

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This is a list of the Ascended Masters, Cosmic Masters, Deva, Elohim and Archangels in Alphabetical order. Those who have the term god or goddess with their name are Cosmic Masters, and have attained god consciousness. The list is by no means complete, as these are only some of those who are choosing to work closest with the Earth at this time and so are in our awareness. There are also a vast number of Masters working on other paths.

Afra – Patron of Africa.

Akshobhya – a Dhyani Buddha.

Aloha – Feminine Elohim if the 6th Ray – her twin flame is Peace.

Alpha – the highest manifestation of the god energy in the Central Sun, his twin is Omega.

Amaryllis – goddess of Spring, and so the spirit of spring.

Amaterasu – Japanese goddess of the Sun.

Amazonia – the feminine Elohim of the first ray.

Amen Bey – he works closely with Serapis Bey, and also works with the youth of the world.

Amerissis – goddess of Light.

Amethyst – also known as Holy Amethyst is Archeia of the 7th Ray.

Amitabha – a Dhyani Buddha.

Amoghasighi – a Dhyani Buddha.

Amora – the feminine Elohim of the 3rd Ray.

Apollo – Elohim of the 2nd ray and twin flame of Lumina, they are guardians of the Cosmic Christ Consciousness.

Arcturus – Elohim of the 7th ray along with his twin flame Victoria.

Ariel – feminine Archangel.

Astrea – feminine Elohim of the 4th Ray.

Aurora – archeia of the 6th Ray with her Twin flame Archangel Uriel.

Babaji – Babaji, known to us via Paramahansa Yogananda’s books, is an Un-ascended Master. He chose to stay on earth with a physical body, till all of humanity ascended. This is a service of great value as his presence anchors the Light of the higher planes into the earth.

Brahma – is part of the Hindu trinity, of Brahman, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is the creator aspect.

Casimir Poiseidon – an old Ascended Master from South America.

Cassiopea – Elohim of the Central Sun.

Celeste – a Devic Angel of the Ascended Hosts.

Cha Ara – a Fifth Ray Master.

Chamuel – the Archangel of the third ray, he is a manifestation of Divine Love.

Chananda – Chief of the Indian council of the Great White Brotherhood.

Charity – the Archeia of the Third ray.

Charity – A cosmic Being.

Christine – Archeia of the 2nd ray.

Confucius – a 2nd ray Master.

Cuzco – Emissary of the god Surya.

Cyclopea – masculine Elohim of the 5th ray for truth, healing and knowledge.

Deva of Light – A Cosmic Being.

Deva of the Central Sun – a Cosmic Being.

Dom Ignacio – best known as the Ascended Master working with John of God in Brazil.

Djwhal Khul – known also as “The Tibetan” he was one of the wise men along with Kuthumi and El Morya.

Elijah – the prophet, as mentioned in the Bible. He returned to earth as John, the Baptist though he was already an Ascended Master.

El Morya – Chohan of the 1st ray.

Enoch – priest of the Sacred fire.

Eriel– a Chinese Ascended Master.

Ernon – an Atlantean ruler, the Rai of Suern.

Eros – a Cosmic Master – also known as the god of Love.

Faith – Archeia of the first ray, and twin flame of Archangel Michael.

Faith – a Cosmic Master.

Fortuna – the goddess of supply.

Gabriel – Archangel of the fourth ray.

Gautama Buddha – Lord of the World.

Harmony – a Cosmic Master.

Hathor – an Egyptian Great Mother goddess.

Helios – god of the Central Sun.

Hercules – Elohim of the 1st ray.

Heros – Elohim of the 3rd ray.

Hilarion – Chohan of the 5th ray.

Hope – Archaeia of the fourth ray.

Hope – a Cosmic Master.

Isis – an Egyptian goddess.

John, the Baptist – he became an Ascended Master in his life as Elijah, the prophet.

Jophiel – Archangel of the 2nd Ray.

Krishna – a Cosmic Master.

Kuthumi – the World Teacher and a master of the 2nd Ray.

Kwan Yin – goddess of Mercy – not to be confused with White Tara. Many think they are the same Being, but their energies are very different.

Lakshmi – goddess of Prosperity.

Lao Tze – a Chinese Ascended Master of the 2nd Ray.

Lanto – Lord Lanto is Chohan of the 2nd Ray.

Ling – Lord Ling a Chinese Ascended Master was previously Moses.

Lumina – the Feminine Elohim of the 2nd Ray with her twin flame Apollo.

Ma’at – Egyptian goddess of balance.

Maha Chohan – Chohan of all the 8th ray.

Mahakala – a Buddhist protector deity.

Maitreya – the Cosmic Christ and planetary Buddha.

Manjushri – Boddhisattva of Wisdom.

Mary Magdalene – a newly Ascended Master.

Mother Mary – as the mother of Jesus she was already an Ascended Master having attained her Ascension in a previous life.

Melchizedek – an Ascended Master of the 7th Ray.

Meta – an Ascended Master of the 5th Ray.

Michael – Archangel of the 1st Ray.

Milarepa – a Tibetan Ascended Master.

Nada – Lady Nada is Chohan of the 6th Ray, she works to heal the inner child within us all.

Omega – the highest manifestation of the goddess energy in the Central Sun, her twin is Alpha.

Omri-Tas – a cosmic Master of the Violet Flame.

Osiris – the Egyptian god of the afterlife.

Pallas Athena – the goddess of Truth.

Paul, the Venetian – Chohan of the 3rd Ray.

Peace – masculine Elohim of the 6th ray.

Peace – goddess of Peace.

Portia – Lady Ascended Master of the 6th Ray for Justice.

Purity – masculine Elohim of the 4th Ray.

Purity – goddess of Purity.

Ra-mun – also spelt Ra-mu – an ascended Master of the 7th ray and previous Chohan of the 7th Ray.

Raphael – Archangel of the 5th Ray.

Ratnasambhava – a Dhyani Buddha.

St Germain – Chohan of the 7th ray.

Sanam Kumara – A cosmic Master – he is so vast he has to manifest a body for the Ascended Masters to see him.

Sanat Kumara – Lord of the World and the Ancient of Days.

Serapis Bey – Chohan of the 4th Ray.

Uriel – Archangel of the 6th Ray.

Uzziel – Archangel of the 8th Ray.

Vairochana– a Dyani Buddha

Vajrakilaya– a Buddhist deity who has attained diamond consciousness.

Vesta – goddess of the home.

Victoria – feminine Elohim of the 7th Ray.

Virginia – feminine Elohim of the 5th ray for truth, healing and knowledge.

White Tara – goddess of Compassion.

Zadkiel – Archangel of the 7th Ray.


Diversity: IBM versus Monitor Company – What Can We Learn?

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A question for executives to answer is whether they are on board with diversity in their organizations’. Taking a cursory view of diversity at IBM versus Monitor Company, one sees an outward projection at IBM and inward projection at Monitor. The executives of these two global business giants do not have a shared strategy of diversity.

In a 2006 article, Melissa Jenkins1 reported the findings of 120 HR professionals from Fortune 1000 companies. These professionals used terms to define diversity as “direct impact” and “competitive edge.” The statistics she encountered include 79 percent believe diversity enhances corporate culture. Seventy-seven percent reported diversity improved recruitment and the same percentage said diversity improves worker morale. The largest percentage, 91 percent, found diversity helps keep their organizations competitive. How do these statistics relate to IBM and Monitor?

This comparative analysis considers circumstances, as they existed, when the original authors wrote their case studies. Therefore, this report is only a snap shot of realities then. A future study may interpret events differently based on new data.

The Companies

International Business Machines is the long name for IBM known globally for mainframe and PC computers; however, IBM is more than computers. IBM is software, IT services, servers, business consulting, and a host of other operations related to technology. From the IBM web site,, we read,

At IBM, we strive to lead in the invention, development and manufacture of the industry’s most advanced information technologies, including computer systems, software, storage systems and microelectronics.

We translate these advanced technologies into value for our customers through our professional solutions, services and consulting businesses worldwide.

In the end, IBMers determined that our actions will be driven by these values:

o Dedication to every client’s success

o Innovation that matters, for our company and for the world

o Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships

These statements support the claim of IBMs outward projection on customers and relationships.

Monitor Company is a global group of consultants with expertise in vital areas of leadership and management. They work in business networking, innovation management, market-to-customer, regional competitiveness, and executive development. Monitor appears driven by individual relationships between consultants and clients and individuality appears the norm in internal affairs. From the Monitor Company web site,, we read,

Monitor is structured as a group of companies, each of which aspires to link cutting edge intellectual property with a diverse array of human, technical, and financial assets in the service of helping our clients compete and win in their marketplaces.

Throughout our history, we’ve been blessed with customers who not only found value in our services, but were committed to our success and growth. We benefited immensely from the patience and commitment demonstrated by our early, relationship clients and from the spirit and hard work of colleagues dedicated to building a firm which could offer both highly competitive services and a highly collegial work environment. Our proudest accomplishment remains our ability to attract and retain so many talented individuals, and our highest ongoing priority is sustaining an environment which will continue to attract a diverse pool of accomplished individuals.

Reading the first quote, one can argue Monitor has an outward projection, yet reading the second quote suggests an approach to clients from an inward position.

Diversity Positions

IBM and Monitor are very different organizations but have many similarities. Both companies offer technology services, business consulting, and both are global. With worldwide operations, both have personalities representing international flare. With international flare, both have issues with diversity management.

The IBM stance is that diversity is an investment in the future of customers and the future of business, business development, and business diversification. Diversity did not receive lip service from the top rather it received commitment. The IBM diversity decision came with total buy-in from the top. Discussion of its implementation at IBM comes in future paragraphs.

At Monitor, diversity discussions started from survey results during their tenth anniversary year. The company commissioned a global Definition of Purpose exercise intent to learn Monitor’s “vision of itself as it grew into its second decade” (Grant 1994, pg. 2). The surprise result was how uncomfortable people felt in the homogeneous climate of Monitor. Establishment of diversity programs at monitor launched slowly from bottom up.

Implementation at IBM

Thomas2 wrote of his interview with IBMs Lou Gerstner about IBMs business turnaround in the mid 1990s. IBM had an aggressive human relations and EEO management system in place. What Gerstner discovered is that the equal employment opportunity program attempted to ignore differences rather than maximize them. What Gerstner recognized is the IBM customer base is diverse but leadership in the company did not reflect its customers.

IBM made a “significant philosophical shift” in implementing diversity. The tradition at IBM was to minimize differences. Gerstner and his primary implementation partner, Ted Childs, vice president of Global Workforce Diversity, needed to tell the entire organization that the shift was a strategic goal. To implement the departure from the old position to the new, IBM (Childs) selected Bastille Day, July 14, 1995. According to Childs, Bastille Day was appropriate because of its “historic day of social disruption.

We were looking for some constructive disruption.”

Gerstner and Childs with the assistance of Tom Bouchard, senior vice president of human resources, established eight task forces, each having 15 to 20 senior managers from eight different demographic constituencies. Within specific constituencies, the senior managers gather data on personnel trends, labor trends, and customer market trends. As these teams did their research, they discovered many similarities that became “The Vital Few Issues: Employees’ Biggest Diversity Concerns.” Now the task forces had areas from which they could begin exploring areas for business development.

As these senior managers began to think diversity, they began acting diversity. Within their specific operations, subordinate managers did not ignore these senior managers’ actions. Subordinate managers’ resistance soon shifted to the view that diversity is good for operations. IBM now has “pillars of change” including, demonstrated leadership support, engaged employees as partners, integrated diversity with management practices, and linked diversity goals to business goals

Implementation at Monitor

Monitor Company began to recognize diversity following a ten-year anniversary definition of purpose survey of the organization. Several members of the organization proposed Diversity Mentor Program that met with resistance. Reframing the proposal to as an Advisor Network, the firm’s Diversity Network gave empowerment to proceed. Monitor did not have full commitment at the top to diversity management rather it took a bottom up approach and resistance followed.

A significant event coming through director and senior manager level changed the focus of diversity. Women in these roles began to open up on issues of sexual harassment from clients and internal insensitive comments for co-workers. Kaplan, legal advisor and CFO, had a personal interest in matters of sexual harassment and harassment in general. Using a directors meeting, he expressed his concerns by relating how women in director and senior management roles actually felt, sharing how difficult it was for them to speak out.

Key players in the Advisory Network included Rotenberg, a gay employee with a long history of business success going back to his teens; he is also of Jewish faith. Also, Basden, an African-American noted the lack of minorities when he joined the company. Another is Singh-Molares, of mixed Indian and Hispanic decent. Born in Europe, he grew up in Manhattan where he attended the United Nations International School.

Grant3 writes in her analysis that Basden did not feel that directors understood diversity and that change was not likely. In a quote, Basden related that directors “don’t see the problem, physically don’t see the problem, mentally don’t see the problem.”

Writing of Singh-Molares, she quotes him as saying he sometimes feels different but not uncomfortable. Speaking on behalf of hiring practices, she quotes him that Monitor hires people with the special needs of the company, not hiring someone who will fail. “It doesn’t help [minorities] and it doesn’t help us.”

Another key members discussed by Grant is Martineau, a director, one of the first women hired by Monitor. She became a director in 1991. She felt like she had to be one of the “guys” while being the “first” female director. She explained in a board meeting that she often felt sexually harassed by clients. Further, she explained feeling like others considered women as disabled if they became pregnant. She described gender-hurdles at Monitor as external to the organization.

Firstbrook, is a senior manager, also a woman, and holds an engineering degree. She explained how difficult it is for a woman engineer to get ahead in a male dominated career. She supported Martineau’s position of external pressure relating how men perceive women giving consulting advice.

The Advisory Network had support; however, most consultants felt they would not use it. Rotenberg asked for time allocation for the work of the Advisory Network and received notice to work it as a collateral assignment.

The organization already had Professional Development Advisors for employees that were “formal and institutional.” They felt the Advisory Network should be “informal and personal.”

Armed with a new sensitivity, Fuller, the founding director, accepted the role of diversity as a tool to improve performance at Monitor. He issued a statement that began, “There is not a lot of dissent in our management ranks about whether we ought to be doing [something about diversity]. There is only anxiety…” Fuller, quoted by Grant, commented that because of his position, he feels separated from the rest of the organization and by virtue of is background is not qualified to execute “some of the tactical aspects of managing diversity… What I can do is act as a sounding board and I can as something of a sponsor.”

In the final assessment, Monitor did acquire top-down buy in to diversity management and from previous attempts at bottom-up diversity management, the Diversity Network became a reality with Fuller and Martineau overseeing its implementation.


IBM, from the most senior level, recognized the value of diversity as part of the culture. Further, they recognized their customer base was diverse and internally, they had to reflect their customer base to expand it into new areas and products. IBM became very successful at reinventing itself in its global market. Hoyle4 tells us that a clear-shared vision pulls people into a change process in a way that makes the vision happen. Hoyle shares four principles of persuasion that leaders need to employ in order for visionary change to occur. At IBM, Gerstner had these skills.

1. Identification Principle: Like cause and effect, addresses personal fears, hopes, and desires.

2. Action Principle: Either sponsored or by personal proof of a value of something, people will not buy in.

3. Principle of Familiarity and Trust: Acceptance of ideas comes through those we trust or regard and credible.

4. Clarity Principle: The idea must be clear, not confusing, not open to several interpretations

Monitor, it appears, was unconsciously unaware of the need to manage diversity even when facts began to emerge from its internal Definition of Purpose survey. Applying the four points above to Monitor, one concludes it was not prepared to take steps until reality from senior managers and directors manifested themselves in a directors meeting. Maxwell5 writes that leaders need to slow down, work at the pace of the organization, and be involved and engaged in dialogue at all levels. Fuller admitted feeling separated from the organization by position, although admitting he felt bad about that.

The title of this paper asks what we can learn. Organizational culture has formal and informal processes that link values and beliefs. IBM and Monitor possess both these links. Entering either company, a new recruit begins a socialization process and builds informal relationships while becoming more comfortable in their roles. Finally, over time, people naturally tend to one role or another that serve the organization in some formal or informal way6.

IBM learned the value of diversity linkage is economic. Improving their organizational population diversity opened new way of think about and serving a diverse customer population. Monitor learned that although it has highly motivated people in a good work environment, they needed to explore their vision of diversity. Emerging leaders often had differing views of what diversity meant. It became apparent that proponents of different advisory groups needed to link their resources for the greater personal and organizational good.

Another view of the two organizations is the value placed on individuals and groups. IBM operates in a manner that supports teamwork and group effort to accomplish goals. Monitor has an individual consultant/client operation valuing the effort of the consultant in a relationship to satisfy client needs. Observation of the diversity climate at IBM versus Monitor is an example of open climate versus closed. IBM projects outward to identify diversity needs and Monitor projects inward.


IBM improved its heterogeneity and improved its economic bottom line. Monitor seems to remain more homogenous yet sensitive to diversity of its population seeking to recruit more people from different backgrounds. In both cases, the organizations recognize equal employment opportunity and diversity do not ignore differences. Instead, they champion differences. IBM is more successful at maximizing them.

IBM, with its much larger reach in the global community learned the strength of diversity to cast light on customers and cast light internally. The IBM business commitment did not change because of diversity; rather it embraced other truths and other traditions to improve business. Monitor, intentionally or unintentionally, cast shadows on diversity; they seemed insecure with it or feared it, they denied it to themselves giving it evil properties. Their final acceptance of it came only after most senior members made it an open issue.7

In diversity and globalization, it is important to acknowledge the two sides of human nature. Confucius said, “Human beings draw close to one another by their common nature, but habits and customs keep them apart.”