December 2010

December was the month during which I made it a point to watch the first half of the seventh and final Harry Potter movie, which I found much better than #6, and possibly (with the potential exception of #3) the best thus far. Things did not look good for our hero at the end of this one, but everyone (including me) who has read the books knows that the HP will come out on top no later than the last scene of the second portion of #7.

If only a positive outcome of the ongoing global financial crisis could be predicted with a similar degree of confidence! And if only there were but one financial Voldemort on whose shoulders the culpability for this economic catastrophe could be securely placed, and he then severely reviled. What can be stated with certainty is that a small group of the super-rich are doing their best to continue to manipulate the entire situation toward what they think are ends that will further their own interests. If you have the least interest in what is going on in the world of money, then make it a point to watch Inside Job, a documentary film that spells out clearly just how thoroughly both of the political parties in Earth’s biggest economy are indebted to those who have the biggest piles of loot (and who intend to continue looting the rest of us so long as they are able).

The biggest event of the month for me was, however, the passing of Susan McNaughton after nine years of battling malignancy. Susan was born and educated in Toronto, and was serving as the strikingly beautiful co-coordinator of a dance program in a Toronto performing arts high school when I met her in a Jyotisha class. In the ensuing quarter-century we met in several countries at several times, but mostly in Toronto, which remained her home even after she decided to transform herself from an artist into a scientist, and set out to obtain a doctorate in anthropology (a goal she came so close to achieving that York University awarded her a posthumous Ph.D. shortly subsequent to her demise).

For all the time I knew her though Susan’s chief love was for her study of Jyotisha, and for her teacher Mantriji, whom I met back when I first met Susan, and whom I have also come to know well. Many were the pleasant hours we spent together discussing natal charts and evaluating horary questions; and in fact that last conversation that she & I shared, just a couple of days before her untimely death, revolved mainly around matters astrological and philosophical.

Those who loved her are of course sad to see her go, but our grief is rather mitigated by our many memories of her ever-smiling face, and by the gusto with which she lived her tragically shortened life. I could not but think of her, and of conclusions in general, on 2010’s last day but one as I stood outside the Iffley Church in Oxford staring in at the graves that dotted the snow-covered ground, the 1600-year-old yew snoozing in the background. Fare thee well, dearly beloved Susan!