Tarot Card for May 26: The Seven of Disks

The Seven of Disks

The Lord of Failure is another of those cards we don’t welcome too much in a reading – but things are not quite as bad as they seem with this one. Generally the card will come up to mark a difficult period in material life. That job you went after probably won’t be offered to you; your bank balance is giving you problems; you don’t seem to be able to get on top of things no matter how you try; unexpected bills turn up, causing you worry.

If you find yourself having a real run of bad financial fortune, it’s time to examine your own reactions to making a success of yourself. If you believe you’ll fail, then you surely will. If you allow fears about money and security to dominate your experience, then everything will be darkened by your own expectations. Remember – we have a major role in creating our own reality. If we expect negative things, we are inviting them into our lives.

So the solution is to see things from a different point of view. By affirming the positive things that we do for ourselves in the material sphere, we will improve that area of our lives – this is true of any area. So even when things are looking very black, it’s important to try to keep our fears under control, and to bear in mind that what we give out is what we get back.

The Seven of Disks will always indicate tension connected to our material life, whether fleeting or long term. This is another card where it is important to carefully assess what else comes up nearby in order to work out how serious the influence is. Where our own inner fears are causing our problems, we must be prepared to take charge.

The Seven of Disks

(via angelpaths.com and Alan Blackman)

Evil twinks and gay gangsters: why we need to remember history’s horrid homosexuals

Louis Staples

Ronnie Kray, Alexander the Great and J Edgar Hoover
It’s complicated … Ronnie Kray, Alexander the Great and J Edgar Hoover. Composite: Getty Images

From Alexander the Great to Ronnie Kray, the hosts of the Bad Gays podcast reveal the most villainous LGBTQ+ figures ever – and explain why it’s important to discuss the problematic alongside the good

Tue 24 May 2022 (TheGuardian.com_

In February, season two of HBO’s teen drama Euphoria reached a climax. “Well, if that makes me a villain,” proclaimed an unrepentant Cassie Howard, “then so fucking be it.” This much-memed line encapsulates popular culture’s preoccupation with baddies, from Netflix’s endless scammer series to Disney’s villain origin stories. Social media is pretty much a conveyor belt of villainy, too, with different echo chambers picking their own adversaries. Meanwhile, famous young women such as Britney Spears, who were once demonised, are now being reappraised as victims. And with hindsight’s perfect vision, it’s clear that plenty of characters in TV and film were not the “actual villain” either.

We seem to be more accepting of some baddies than others. History is littered with famous probably-gay villains, from Alexander the Great to Roy Cohn, Senator McCarthy’s chief counsel and Trump’s favourite lawyer. But unlike LGBTQ+ heroes such as Alan Turing or Audre Lorde, they are seldom remembered or claimed as gay. The question of why that should be the case is the starting point of Bad Gays: A Homosexual History by Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller. The book’s central argument is that, if we are to fully understand how today’s gay identities evolved, the lives of villains – the most deceitful, criminal, manipulative and power-hungry gay people – are just as important as those of gay heroes such as Oscar Wilde.

Ernst Rohm, founding member of the Nazi Brownshirts.
Ernst Rohm, the world’s first out gay politician. Photograph: Alamy

Bad Gays is a continuation of the duo’s podcast of the same name, which profiles the “evil and complicated queers in history” – such as Ernst Röhm, the world’s first out gay politician – a Nazi – and J Edgar Hoover, the FBI director who helped harass political dissidents and gay government employees and was posthumously outed by his friend, Broadway star Ethel Merman. “We want to address our history and how gay identity came to be,” Lemmey says. “But if we’re ever going to understand our sexual identity in a way that is based around solidarity and friendship, we need to discuss gay people who were devious and ruthless, too.”

The podcast began in 2019 when Lemmey, an author and film-maker, and Miller, a writer and historical researcher, were introduced to each other by friends. “While recording the podcast, we found that there were recurring themes,” says Lemmey. “We kept coming back to colonialism, race and the creation of the white homosexual identity. And also the same disclaimer, which was that concepts like ‘gay’ and ‘homosexual’ didn’t really exist before 1860.” That was when sexologists and early gay rights campaigners first coined the term “homosexual”, and began to conceive of homosexual and heterosexual as innate sexual identities.Advertisement

The pair discuss these issues more deeply in the book. The text still has the irreverent swishiness of the podcast – there is a reference to “evil twinks” in the first few pages. But a key difference is that the book tells a story about how white gay identity was formed, and is more focused on men, whereas the podcast – which has had five series and almost 1m downloads – now profiles an even mix of men and women. “When we started the podcast, it was only about men, because the ethics of two cis men talking about villainous women were less clear,” Miller says. “We changed that partly because women and trans people kept getting in touch saying: ‘We want to be part of these stories and we trust you to tell them.’”

‘We want to address our history’ … Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller.
‘We want to address our history’ … Huw Lemmey, left, and Ben Miller. Composite: Florian Hetz

Bad Gays starts with the story of “perpetually horny” Roman emperor Hadrian. Next we learn about King James, whose ascension to the throne of Scotland and England formed the United Kingdom. James’s rule was defined by authoritarian laws, colonialism and misogynistic witch-hunts – and by his attraction to athletic jousters half his age. The book unpacks how the gangster Ronnie Kray became an “unironic icon” of masculinity. And how the Hitler sympathiser and architect Philip Johnson came to influence the skylines of America’s cities more than any other. “For us, it’s not about casting these figures aside and saying: ‘They have nothing to teach us,’” Lemmey says. “It’s not fair to say these people are always monsters. Just like our heroes, villains are complicated – there are hidden aspects of their lives that might explain their actions.”

Rejecting an apolitical approach to LGBTQ+ history and culture, and telling the story of how today’s dominant white gay identity was formed, Lemmey and Miller explain how it can uphold systems that marginalise trans people, women, the working class and people of colour. While they are sympathetic to their subjects individually – even the murderers – they are much more critical of the white gay identity their legacies have helped to form. The authors argue for a dismantling of oppressive structures, rather than mere “representation” within them – a philosophy similar to the gay liberation movements of the 1970s.

‘Sexual desire towards colonised people’ … TE Lawrence, as played by Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
‘Sexual desire towards colonised people’ … TE Lawrence, as played by Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. Photograph: Ullstein bild/Getty Images

When I ask which figure best epitomises the book, Lemmey responds with Thomas Edward Lawrence. He is known as the impossibly blond hero Lawrence of Arabia, who we saw riding a camel across the desert screaming “No prisoners!” in David Lean’s 1962 cinema spectacular. But his kinky gay sexual awakening – he detailed in his diaries regular thrashings administered by Jack Bruce, a member of the Scots Guards who later sold his story to the tabloids – was entwined with imperialist philosophies that persist. “His sexual desire towards colonised people was built out of both admiration and exploitation,” Lemmey says. “The way he used the figure of the colonised ‘primitive’ was indicative of the types of white identity formation we discuss here.” Like all of the book’s subjects, he was complicated.

(Submitted by Gwyllm Llwydd)

Mars in Aries – The Psychology of Courage

Astro Butterfly – May 25, 20222

On May 25th, 2022 Mars Enters Aries, the sign of his domicile. If you’ve been feeling a bit off lately, this will now change.

Mars in Aries is not just a regular sign ingress. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, and Mars is Aries’ ruling planet. Mars leaves behind Pisces’ muddy waters and enters Aries, kickstarting a 2-year hero’s journey of courage and empowerment.

Just like Neo in the Matrix, Mars in Aries gives us a choice. We can stay in the comfort of the metaphorical mother’s womb OR we take a plunge to the other side – even if we’re naked, fragile, and vulnerable.

The key word is ‘courage’. Mars in Aries is not the undefeated boxing champion. He doesn’t go out into the world because he’s strong, he goes out because he just ‘knows’ the time has come.

In my astrology work I pay special attention to 2 planetary archetypes: Mars and Chiron. Mars, because it links the personal planets with the social planets, and Chiron because it links the social planets with the outer planets.

While Chiron represents our spiritual longing to reconcile nature and spirit and become whole, Mars represents our everyday efforts to integrate in society – to snap out of our safe, subjective bubble (represented by the personal planets) and integrate into the world (represented by the social planets Jupiter and Pluto.

Mars – The Psychology Of Courage

Depression, procrastination, anxiety, and many other issues can be traced back to an unintegrated Mars; can be traced back to our inability to get out into the world to get vulnerable, to get feedback.

Mars is the first planet to make a full circle around the Sun (as seen from Earth). Mercury and Venus never venture outside the bounds of the Sun. Mars is the first planet that gets out there to fight the monster. To conquer the uncharted territory. The risks are high, but so are the rewards.

We know we have a “Mars problem” when we talk about “my thoughts” (Mercury), “my feelings” (Venus) but there’s no actual action to follow up on them.

Why? Because taking action, getting out there means accepting feedback. It means rejection. It means we may need to make some adjustments.

People who can’t accept feedback miss opportunities for growth, remaining stuck in a cycle of inaction and procrastination.

Better routines and rituals won’t fix the procrastination problem, because the real issue is psychological: a fear of feedback, a fear of changing the status quo, a fear of snapping out of our bubble.

People, companies, organizations, governments – all suffer from a lack of courageous Mars energy. Have you noticed when you work one-on-one with someone, make a more important purchase, or complete an online course, how seldom you’re asked to fill out a survey or give feedback?

It’s not that these people or service providers don’t care. Most of them do. But the fear of finding out what’s not working trumps everything else.

The antidote to fear – courage – is one of the most important life skills, and can make a huge difference in our quality of life.

Mars In Aries – Courage To Act

And that’s exactly what Mars’ purpose is. To give us the courage to act.

Mars is in domicile in Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. In Aries, Mars does what he knows best: puts himself out there and takes action.

When Mars is in other signs, we easily find reasons not to take action.

Mars in Taurus? “It takes too long”. Mars in Gemini? “I can’t focus”. Mars in Cancer? “What if it hurts other people’s feelings?” Mars in Leo?” What if I make a fool of myself?”. Mars in Virgo? “What if it’s not perfect?”. Mars in Libra? “That would be too inconsiderate”.

If Mars in other signs can overcomplicate things, Mars in Aries’ strength is exactly his inexperience. He has nothing but his drive, passion, and instinct to guide him.

When Mars is in Aries, we naturally connect with that part of our psyche that is ready for action.

Mars In Aries – May 25th – July 5th, 2022

From May 25th we all have the opportunity to embody Mars in Aries’s courage into our lives. Mars will be in Aries for approximately 6 weeks, until July 5th, 2022.

Last time Mars was in Aries (July-December 2020), he also went retrograde, spending 6 months in the sign. Some themes that surfaced back then may resurface now. And this time around Mars won’t be 6 months in Aries, but 6 weeks only. One more reason to take action.

Taking action doesn’t necessarily mean being excessively bold. We don’t have to quit your job or start backpacking around the world. We can take action in much subtler ways.

To find out what type of action is appropriate, you just want to tune into that part of you that is alive, inspired and motivated.

If we want to live a more authentic, fulfilling life, the very first step is connecting with our Mars in Aries courage.

Cosmic Intelligence ?


David Price

Oct 29, 2021 · (davidprice-26453.medium.com)

Françoise Mosiacale

THE ELEPHANT’S JOURNEY TO PAY RESPECT, BUT HOW DID THEY KNOW?

Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller, The Elephant Whisperer. He bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo. animals during US invasion in 2003.

On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died.

Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs. Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say goodbye to their beloved ‘man-friend’. A total of 31 elephants had patiently walked over 12 miles to get to his South African House.

SOMETHING IN THE UNIVERSE IS GREATER AND DEEPER THAN HUMAN INTELLIGENCE.

— Leigh Carter

AMOR FATI

When we fully embrace the moment, Now, with a wide open heart, that is when Love pours into us and “we” are no more. It has nothing to do with anything external. It is a completely internal personal state that embraces the whole world in that moment. That moment, that Present is beyond all belief. Indeed, it is not founded on anything but “not-knowing”. It is founded on total trust and surrender to the Unknown. Now.

— Birgit Stein

We are each cells in the living body of the larger whole. Whatever is happening to us is both personal and part of the whole, just as every cell in our biological body is both unique and part of the body. Whatever we are going through is part of the planetary struggle to evolve. Our personal crises are also births of ourselves as members of the larger body. We do not do this work for ourselves alone.

— Barbara Marx Hubbard

Human intelligence has evidently evolved to handle and manipulate the physical world, a kind of opposable thumb of the mind. Of course we partake of the universal mind, but, especially in the West, we fence ourselves off from it with our literal minded and materialistic social conditioning. We have made astounding progress in our knowledge and abilities to control physical processes. We are very proud of our prowess in that regard, thinking that it proves the obvious superior nature of humanity.

Yet, we have failed to develop our inner connections to the universe. We encourage a state of isolation. We’re living in a paradigm of loneliness as a result. We console ourselves with tribal affiliations, possessions and fables of rewards in the hereafter. The more developed on the physical plane we become the more shallow we are in our spirituality. We think we’re advanced because we can go to the moon.

It’s interesting that so-called primitive tribes are far more aware of and connected to nature. They still live in a world where they know what the plants and animals are doing and how they are faring on a daily basis. We’ve become too abstract for that. We live in language, images and ideas, not direct experience of the manifest world. To us, that’s a uniquely human brilliance. To us, intelligence is power, not integration into the cosmic order. We’re incredulous at the idea that any other species could just know something without analysis or language.

Our hubris is more expansive than our understanding of our true position in the web of life, in my estimation. We are isolated within the complex fabric of life because of a peculiar blindness of the heart that has given rise to an indifference to the suffering we visit upon the world. As we tear at the web of life, oblivious to the pain we cause, we excuse ourselves with the lie that only humans can suffer, and therefore we bear no responsibility for any suffering we cause.

We are geniuses at excusing ourselves, at fitting ourselves with blinders. We are brilliant at inventing strategies to gain short term advantage, but not in seeing the larger context of our personal and collective existence. Until we graduate to a more inclusive vision, we will no doubt continue to create havoc just by living as a normal citizen of modern society.

World events are now calling to us to change this state of affairs, which can only be done by removing our cultural blinders. That is the real work of our age.

Sun Patyk

God Is a Metaphor

Walt McLaughlin

Nov 2, 2021 · (walt-6223.medium.com)

An excursion into the language of absolute reality

Photograph by Judy Ashley, used with permission.

When a person utters the word “God,” an idea or image forms in the mind of the listener. That idea or image may not be what the speaking person intended, but the listener envisions something all the same. More often than not, the listener immediately accepts or rejects the concept of God before the speaker has a chance to elaborate, explaining what he or she means by that word. After all, no one uses that word without referring directly or indirectly to the absolute reality of the world in which we live.

The word “God” carries tremendous weight. In any language, it is one of the most powerful words a person can speak.

Symbolization and Humanity

Words are symbols. They are the means by which we human beings communicate ideas to each other — the more abstract the idea, the more powerful the word. Words are, to a great extent, what make us human. As the philosopher Suzanne K. Langer wrote in her book, Philosophy in a New Key:

In the fundamental notion of symbolization — mystical, practical, or mathematical, it makes no difference — we have the keynote of all humanistic problems.

The words we use shape every aspect of our humanity. Langer goes on to say:

The development of language is the history of the gradual accumulation and elaboration of verbal symbols.

These verbal symbols, these words, enable us to think about things that would otherwise be unthinkable. These verbal symbols make philosophers and theologians out of us.

The early 20th century anthropologist Paul Radin saw little difference between complex societies and simpler ones regarding the use of symbols or speculation about the absolute reality of the world. In Primitive Man as Philosopher he declared:

The language basically required for the expression of philosophical ideas is present in aboriginal civilizations.

I suspect that the same could be said about the people who lived tens of thousands of years ago — those who painted images and symbols on rocks and cave walls. Wherever there are symbols, there is humanity. And wherever there is humanity, there are abstract thoughts.

What exactly is a symbol? It is a representation of some aspect of reality. The word “God” is a symbol for absolute reality. It is one of the words for it, anyhow. I could simply utter the word “Absolute” and mean the same thing. Each word is nuanced, certainly, having about it various meanings. These meanings are not always apparent. Sometimes they are very subtle. But the context in which words are used makes it clear what is being said.

The Great Mystery

The Jewish theologian Martin Buber believed that all life is encounter, that all our experiences and relationships in this world can be distilled down to the two basic word pairs: I-It and I-You. The latter is what really counts. God, according to Buber, is the eternal You. In his landmark work, I and Thou, he said:

Men have addressed their eternal Thou with many names.

What an incredible understatement that is! One could argue that there are as many names for God as there are people who do the naming.

We all have our ideas about the absolute reality of the world in which we live, about self and other, about where we stand in relation to all other things. Most of us envision a god of one sort or another — a god or gods, or some even more abstract concept of absolute reality such as Tao, Dharma or Logos. Marduk, Ahura Mazda, Yahweh, Allah, Brahman, Wakan Tanka, etc. — the names we have invented for Supreme Being go on and on. What is the meaning of all this God-talk? What is it exactly that we are trying to say?

In The Idea of the Holy, Rudolf Otto cut right to the heart of the matter. He wrote:

Let us consider the deepest and most fundamental element of all strong and sincerely felt religious emotion… If we do so we shall find we are dealing with something for which there is only one appropriate expression, mysterium tremendum.

That translates loosely to the great mystery, to a feeling of awe that one experiences in the face of absolute reality, similar to what the Romantics called the sublime.

While immersed in the natural world and contemplating the source of it all, we are astounded. The particulars of nature we can grasp easily enough. The landscape, the plants and animals in it, the flowing water, the clouds, the stars and other celestial bodies — all this we can understand. But the whole of it is beyond us, along with the urge that led to the unfolding of this universe. While contemplating that we experience mysterium tremendum. That is when we utter the word “God” or something like it. That is when we stand in direct relation to the eternal You and try as hard as we can to grasp it.

Infinite Reality

God isn’t an easy concept to explain. In the 13th century, the Muslim philosopher and mystic Ibn Al’Arabi did as good a job as anyone can to articulate what is meant by the word “God.” In The Bezels of Wisdom he said:

The Reality gave existence to the whole Cosmos as an undifferentiated thing without anything of the spirit in it, so that it was like an unpolished mirror.

And what exactly is that mirror reflecting? The Reality, of course — the absolute reality of the universe prior to all the particulars arising from it.

In the sacred Hindu scripture The Upanishads, we find another attempt to define God:

Greater than all is Brahman, the Supreme, the Infinite. He dwells in the mystery of all beings according to their forms in nature.

Here we run dangerously close to reaching the limits of language, for the word “infinite,” like the word “eternal,” ranges beyond human understanding. But the deeper we go into the idea of God, the harder it is to avoid either one of these two words. The absolute reality of the world in which we live, of the universe at large, is not bounded by space or time.

In physics we stay close to home, comfortably ensconced in the phenomena that we all experience in our day-to-day lives. But at some point in every discussion of absolute reality we venture beyond that into metaphysics.

The Rationalist philosopher Benedict de Spinoza went deep into metaphysics as he tried to make sense of absolute reality. In The Ethics he wrote:

By God, I mean a being absolutely infinite — that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality.

Infinite attributes, wow! If that’s true then the word “God” can mean anything and everything. Has humankind reached a point in its philosophical speculation about the nature of things where the word “God” has become meaningless? Some people would say yes, we have. Others fall back upon a personal God, an anthropomorphic one who thinks and acts much the same way that human beings do. Those are, after all, the two easiest ways to escape the cognitive and verbal limitations of metaphysical talk.

Thinking about God

Over six hundred years ago, the anonymous Christian mystic who authored The Cloud of Unknowing made this confession:

You will ask me, ‘How am I to think of God himself, and what is he?’ and I cannot answer you except to say ‘I do not know!’

Ah, if only all philosophers and theologians were that honest. Then there would be a lot less quibbling about whether such-and-such a God exists or not. That mystic went on to say:

Of God himself can no man think.

And that simple statement sends a shudder down my spine. I shudder because I know deep down inside me that it’s true.

With the word “God” we reach the limit of our ability to symbolize. God is not absolute reality; it is the word we use to suggest that reality. God is a metaphor for everything in nature that we cannot comprehend. To be more specific, God is a metaphor for the nature of nature, for Nature itself — it’s fundamental laws, every semblance of order that we perceive in the universe, and the driving force behind it all.

There are those who reject all God-talk, claiming that the so-called natural order of things is the result of an endless series of random events. But a shooting star, an amoeba, a frog’s croak and a tree leaf indicate otherwise. Evolution is proof that order exists in nature. Some organizing force is at work in the universe despite the regular occurrence of random events. Call it whatever you will.

UKRAINE EMERGENCY TRANSLATION GROUP

We have a Ukraine Emergency Translation Group meeting scheduled for this Friday, May 27, at 11:00 AM Pacific Time, noon Mountain time, 1pm Central time, 2pm Eastern time, 8pm Greece, 9pm Turkey.  

We will share your Translation with the group, if you like.  You can email your Translation to me at zonta1111@aol.com.

Or perhaps you have a sense testimony you’d like to share.  Or other insights or comments you may have.

Open to all Translators.  Translate whatever you like or don’t Translate anything at all.  Your choice.

See you Friday.

Mike Zonta
Ukraine Emergency Translation Group

Prosperos Meetings is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Ukraine Emergency Translation Group
Time: May 27, 2022 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84023755291

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Niels Bohr on parables

“The fact that religions have spoken in images, parables and paradoxes means there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer.  It does not mean it is not a genuine reality.  And splitting this reality into objective and subjective sides won’t get us very far.”  
Niels Bohr (1885-1962)
Danish Physicist
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR DAILY REFLECTION BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE SCHOOL OF PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY

I went wild swimming in a chilly river and haven’t had a panic attack since

Cold water immersion has been shown to transform the way the body responds to stress, as Tim Clare discovered after a decade of severe anxiety

The big chill … Tim Clare takes a bracing dip.
The big chill … Tim Clare takes a bracing dip. Photograph: Tim Clare

Tim Clare Mon 23 May 2022 (theguardian.com)

I was at my wits’ end when I finally lowered myself into the River Wensum, in Norfolk, at the tail end of autumn 2019. My quest to find a cure for my severe anxiety and decades’ worth of weekly – sometimes daily – panic attacks was going badly. I’d exhausted conventional treatments, so I decided to try something different. An anaesthetist, Mark Harper, had told me about research he had co-authored into cold outdoor swimming as a treatment for depression.

“60% of your stress response as measured by blood pressure and heart rate changes,” Mark told me, “and 50% of that’s still there 14 months later.” The theory is that, as your body quietens the great hormonal cascade triggered by these short, voluntary exposures, your stress response is diminishing across the board – via something called “cross adaptation”. Then, when you’re feeling flustered in the wrong lane round a three-lane roundabout, your heart doesn’t pound as fast, you don’t pump out so much adrenaline and cortisol, and you’re better able to stay rational.

In Britain, wild swimming is like sex. Sometimes it’s a bit crap, but doing it matters less than cultivating a reputation as someone who does.

It doesn’t start until your heart goes under. Then there’s the shock, the primal awareness that you’re a guest in an environment that cannot support you. After a minute of my first swim, my feet felt as if I’d crushed them with a breeze block. This was not some glorious communion with Gaia. I was an idiot in a very cold river.

When I got out, the towel felt like wire wool across my skin. My fingers and toes throbbed. I felt sick.

But it got better. After hesitating the next day, I scolded myself: come on, Tim, you’re briefly entering water of slightly suboptimal temperature, not going over the top at Passchendaele. The air temperature dropped to -2C – yet by then, bizarrely, I loved it. It was my favourite moment of the year.

And, for what it’s worth – I’ve never had a panic attack since.

 Coward: Why We Get Anxious & What We Can Do About It by Tim Clare is published by Canongate (£16.99), order your copy at guardianbookshop.com.

Review: ‘Montana Story’ a strong look at the lingering effects of trauma

Mick LaSalle May 23, 2022 (datebook.sfchronicle.com)

Owen Teague plays a young man concluding his dying father’s affairs in “Montana Story.”Photo: Bleecker Street

“Montana Story,” with a few changes in detail, could take place anywhere. The film’s subject is universal: the awesome power that parents exert over their children and the damage they can do.

It’s from the writing-directing team of Scott McGehee and UC Berkeley alum David Siegel, who made “What Maisie Knew,” which told the story of two wholly inadequate parents through the eyes of their little daughter. In “Montana Story,” the children are older and the damage is done, but the lingering effects are ongoing.

The movie begins with a young man, Cal (Owen Teague), showing up at the house where he grew up, a place set on a huge stretch of land with views of the surrounding mountains. It’s the kind of vista that makes people feel large and small at the same time, a part of something bigger.

Dad has had a stroke and now he’s all but brain-dead, and so Cal is there to put a period on things — to be present at his father’s death, to pay debts, to prepare for the liquidation of the family property. From Cal’s reaction to his father’s physical presence and mental absence, one gets the impression that Dad was frightening. He still inspires anxiety while comatose.

Cal’s sister, Erin (Haley Lu Richardson), shows up, too. She’s a little older than Cal, a child by a different mother. Erin hasn’t been in touch with the family in seven years, so her arrival is a surprise. She’s angry and traumatized, and over time, we find out why. Pasts are revealed, present issues are resolved, and the course is indicated for the future.

Haley Lu Richardson and Owen Teague play estranged siblings in “Montana Story.”Photo: Bleecker Street

As all this happens, there’s Montana with its big sky and big mountains, standing as mute witnesses to the mistakes repeated by human beings, generation after generation. The mountains are both invitations for people to be equally big in spirit and silent rebukes to those who choose to be small. Watching events play out against this landscape, one wonders how anyone could resist being shamed into better behavior. But some people just won’t, and the evil they do lives after them.

Subtly, the movie touches on various aspects of childhood trauma. For example, Cal reproaches himself for not having stood up to his father, not quite realizing that, in his recollections, he is picturing his adult self, not the completely overpowered child that he once was.

Meanwhile, Erin hopes to get from this unconscious dying slab that was her father what she could never get from him in life. This is impossible, and she is too intelligent not to know that it’s impossible going in, so she has another reason to be angry.

Wisely, the movie resists indulging in flashbacks. Instead, it lets us imagine how bad things were.

In its focus on family and on the landscape, “Montana Story” would seem like the kind of earnest movie that came out of the Sundance Film Festival in the 1990s. But those movies were often ponderous and precious, a bit too conscious of their own virtue and, in general, a drag to sit through. “Montana Story” isn’t that. It moves, makes us care and involves us in the genuine drama of two young people trying to heal themselves. The austere beauty of the locations doesn’t hurt either.

Teague and Richardson establish a convincing young brother-older sister dynamic in that she goes into every interaction with him assuming he’s an idiot, until he proves otherwise. The film constitutes a breakthrough for Teague and confirms the promise that Richardson showed in “Five Feet Apart” and “Edge of Seventeen” — a powerhouse in the making.

M“Montana Story”: Drama. Starring Owen Teague and Haley Lu Richardson. Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel. (R. 114 minutes.) In theaters Friday, May 27.

  • Follow:Mick LaSalleMick LaSalle is The San Francisco Chronicle’s film critic. Email: mlasalle@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @MickLaSalle

Tarot Card for May 25: The Devil

The Devil

The Devil is numbered fifteen and shows a figure, usually male and satyr-like, half-man and half-animal. Sometimes, male and female forms are shown chained or trapped at his feet. The Thoth deck (shown here) has the Devil as a goat, appearing against a background of the male sex organs. His third eye represents the Eye of God and the staff across his chest is topped with the Winged Disk symbol and double-headed snakes.

The Devil card is often misunderstood and feared. However, before Christianity became a leading religion, there were several pantheons which contained fertility gods and they were often depicted as animals – the Horned God of the Wicca for example, servant and consort of the Goddess. The Devil does not therefore necessarily represent an evil being.

The Devil is the personification of the animal, instinctual and even bestial parts of us. Pre-occupation with matters connected to the Devil can lead to degradation and sheer ugliness, but by identifying and accepting the darkness within we learn to discover that it is simply the dark side of our light.

The Devil

(via angelpaths.com and Alan Blackman)

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