Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29th - Solar Eclipse/New Moon in Taurus

For the last two months I have disappeared from my social life and have been studying genealogy, discovering that memory is carried in our DNA. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when I turned the TV on for the first time in a week on Sunday to find that they were talking about memory being carried in DNA on Oprah.

The synchronicity continues... I wasn't even thinking about the moon literally, when I started my new painting series "Good Night Moon." I was thinking about how much I miss my friend Sarah Elizabeth and how sad my Taurus birthday is going to be to celebrate without her this year. She used to post a beautiful photo of a moon on facebook every night and wrote "Good Night Moon."

Good Night Moon by Christina Fajardo

Well, today is the Taurus New Moon/Solar Eclipse, one of the most powerful, urgent and intense New Moons of the year. It is also Willie Nelson's 81st birthday.  Solar Eclipses are extra powerful New Moons.  We have just come through a very intense 2 week period with a Lunar Eclipse/Full Moon. No wonder I have been up until 3 am painting moons! 



Now it's time to relax, however it is time to go within and let go of our old programing as we move towards new possibilities and awakenings. It's time to shift individually into a higher energy level along with the collective. We are being given the opportunity to become grounded in the higher spiritual energies that we have been receiving over the last few weeks so we can bring them into physical form. With this Taurus New Moon/Solar Eclipse, it is time to pull back a little, breathe and to rest. Ground yourself in the Earth, in other words, go take a walk in some dirt... barefoot. Plants some flowers.

Solar Eclipse/New Moon in Taurus

Eclipses create a powerful energy that creates, if you will, a wobble in time, energy, and the natural flow of light and darkness while stirring up what is in our subconscious, bringing it into consciousness. Eclipses also affect the Earth’s electromagnetic field, affecting the magneto-receptors in our DNA. I know everyone is probably tired of me talking about changing the memory in my DNA but I have been reading about it everywhere I go and now seeing it on Oprah. Eclipses affect our cellular memory which holds our soul’s blueprint. That explains why I feel like I have entered into a portal downloading information, knowledge and insights from all areas of the Universe recently. I assume I need to hold on to my hat because the energy of an eclipse affects us for 6 months. It's time for all of us to change outdated programs and receive the energy to create new ones. Eclipses can bring about sudden or unexpected changes within us and the Earth (like earth quakes.)



So let go of the fear of the unknown.... it's time to release the past, the old and the worn out patterns, and habits. Meditate changes you want to make, the energy is very powerful and will be for several days. Ask yourself what cycles keep repeating themselves in your life. It may not be comfortable to look at, or to have to deal with but now is the time to face it and to make changes.  This is a time to release to make room for the new and better!  Ask to be given the strength to release that which no longer serve you, leaving room for the new and improved.

The Universe is speaking loudly……take a step…any step…..just move and embrace the magic!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Scholars, Scribes and Trail Blazers

After six weeks of researching my ancestry, the thought occurred to me that I had been reading 500 years of family history and women were rarely mentioned other than being "the wife of" or "mother to" someone important. This realization was timely. My friend, Christine is currently trailblazing around the US representing the GRAMMYs as the first Madame Chair of the GRAMMYs. Last week she was in Washington DC where music and politics united at The Recording Academy's GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards.
On April 2 in Washington, D.C.
In honor of her support of music creators,
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
accepts the GRAMMYs on the Hill Award
from GRAMMY winner Dionne Warwick
and Recording Academy Chair, Christine Albert

Meanwhile back at the ranch, in Austin, I have been taking it easy, drinking tea on my couch, totally immersed in my research. While tracing the route of the Fajardos from Spain to New Mexico , I discovered Lanzarote José Clavijo y Fajardo (1730-1806) a journalist who wrote one of the most important newspapers in Spain during the second half of the eighteenth century. Born in the Canary Islands, there is a street named after him in San Cristobal de la Laguna, in the northern part of the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

Lanzarote José Clavijo y Fajardo 

"El Pensador" or The Thinker" weekly, was an example of the spirit of the Enlightenment. The work of Lanzarote José Clavijo y Fajardo was printed and distributed in Madrid between 1763 and 1767. Each issue was devoted to a specific thought. Clavijo Fajardo described himself as a spectator of the social reality and offered his opinion in his publication.


"The Thinker" by José Clavijo y Fajardo 
As I drifted off to sleep after a long day of research, thinking about the scholar and scribe, Clavijo Fajardo, I laughed to myself remembering that I too was a scholar and scribe. No really! For 7 of the 15 years that I worked at the Austin American Statesman, I was a journalist, artist, page designer, teacher and tour guide in the Newspapers in Education Department. I published a weekly full page for children called "Scholar and Scribe." Looking back, I am amazed at the multi-tasking the three of us women had to do. We had a program called "Partners in Literacy" in which local businesses sponsored classrooms with newspapers every Wednesday to do their lessons from. I took children on tours of the newspaper and we had teacher workshops to teach them how to use the newspaper in the classroom. I designed and published the work books that were used in the classroom and one of my co-workers had to sell the full page ad on the back of my page to sponsors to keep it alive. I was the first person to design a website for the Statesman called NIE Statesman and the website still exists!
This was a year after I started working
at the Statesman,
AKA Christina Ethridge,

my ex-husbands surname. 
I fell asleep remembering once again that it is no wonder most often women don't end up in the history books, throughout the ages we most often did the most profound work with children or as the support for our husbands. Who takes notice until one of them does something amazing? I have observed that when famous people are interviewed, they always thank a special person in their life, whether it be a parent, grand parent or a teacher or their significant other, there's always a special person who took the time to teach them and support them. And when they are asked what they are most proud of they often say "My children."

So today equal admiration goes to my friend Christine who is paving the way for female musicians who come after her and on the other end of the spectrum, to my cousin, Kathy Fajardo, who is a special needs teacher in Dallas. Christine will be remembered by thousands as the trailblazer and Kathy will be remembered by many as that special person who made the difference in their life. May you both have an army of angels on your amazing journey.

...and for icing on the cake.... during my research, I discovered that one of my all time favorite actors, Javier Bardem is from the Canary Islands! He starred in two of my favorite movies! He played Felipe in "Eat, Pray, Love" with Julia Roberts and in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" with Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz.


Javier Bardem

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Castillo de los Fajardo, Vélez Blanco, Andalucia, Spain



"Castillo de los Fajardo" sits upon a spur of mount Mahimon above the town of Vélez Blanco, Andalucia, Spain. In 1506 Don Pedro Fajardo y Charcón, the first Marquis de Los Vélez and 5th Governor of the Kingdom of Murcia, was given the town of Vélez Blanco as a reward for his assistance in the suppression of the Moorish rebellions in Andalucia.

He ordered the construction of the "Castillo de los Fajardo." between 1506 and 1515. It was built on the site of a Moorish Fortress and became one of the most difficult and unassailable castles in Andalucía. The castle is now know as Vélez Blanco Castle.

Fajardo, raised in the culture of humanism, was governor of Murcia during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella and assisted in suppressing Moorish rebellions in their lands. By royal act, he was given the town Vélez Blanco, and between 1506 and 1515 he erected a castle with a central courtyard embellished with Italian Renaissance ornament in local Macael marble carved by craftsmen from Lombardy.

"Castillo de los Fajardo" 
Sits upon a spur of mount Mahimon
Above the town of Vélez Blanco, Andalucia, Spain 

Fajardo Coat of Arms 
On the Wall of the Castillo de los Fajardo 
With magnificent views through the Blanco valley, the castle appears on many post-cards, books and publications for the province of Almería. It is considered one of the finest examples of Renaissance style in Spain, melding indigenous gothic and Hispano-Moresque structural precedents, such as segmental arches and flat timber ceilings with exposed beams, to the architectural canons and ornamental motifs of the Italian Renaissance. Its construction is usually attributed to the Italian Architects Francisco Floretín, Martín Milanés, Francisco Fernández and Michele Carlone whose presence is also documented during these times as having worked on the Palace of La Calahorra in Granada.

"Castillo de los Fajardo" Vélez Blanco, Andalucia, Spain 
The castle occupies 2,300 square meters. It is comprised of two distinctly different parts; a rectangular structure of bricks and mortar, on the remains of the Moorish Fortress and the main palace 10 meters above floor level accessed via a drawbridge, still in place today. The main body was built of masonry and ashlar, on an irregular hexagonal floor, which included the 'patio de honor' a small room measuring 16x13.5m, the jewel of the castle, separating the Torre de Homenaje (tower of tribute), the military quarters to the north and the main residential areas.
Fajardo Coat of Arms
On the Wall of the Castillo de los Fajardo 

The 'Patio de Honor' was built with marble from the Marcael quarry with elegant arcaded galleries, elaborately carved marble capitals, window and door frames. Crowning the patio was an epigraphic cornice adorned with gargoyles. The graceful carvings that embellished many of the window and door frames, fantastic tiered candelabra and animal grotesques, foliate scrolls, birds, vases and monsters are believed to be the work of itinerant Lombardo-Venetian sculptors, who brought their carving skills and pattern books from northern Italy to the small mountain village of Vélez Blanco. The patio carvings are among the earliest of this style in Spain and antedate any published designs, showing Pedro Fajardo to have been in the vanguard of artistic patronage in Spain.

Tower of the Castillo de los Fajardo 

The higher level consists of two open galleries one with views across the Vélez-Blanco valley and the other looking over the patio to the main body of the palace and the Torre de Homenaje. The two main reception rooms, Salón del Triunfo and Salón de la Mitología were decorated with large relief friezes, unparalleled in their classical subject matter and exceptional vigor, richly carved with the themes of the 'Triumph of Julius Caesar' and the 'Labours of Hercules' and the coats of arms of Pedro Fajardo and his wife Doña Mencía de la Cueva.



The Fajardo family occupied the castle until the 17th Century when the line of succession came to an end. In the years that followed it was occupied at various intervals until it was finally abandoned following French invasion and decades of political and social upheaval in Spain.



The patio's marble fittings were sold by the castle's owner in 1904 to Parisian art dealer, George Blumenthal. He acquired them in Paris in 1913 and had them installed it as a furnished interior hall in the centre of the large house he was building in New York, on Park Avenue and 67th Street. In 1945, after his death and the demolition of his residence, the approximately 2,000 marble blocks were bequeathed the patio to the Metropolitan Museum, but it was not until 1945, when the house was torn down, that the patio's marble blocks were dismantled and transported to the Museum. In 1964, after extensive research into the patio's architectural and historical context, the structure was re-erected as part of a new wing built to house the Thomas J. Watson Library. In all some 2,000 marble elements adorn the Patio del Honor.

The patio of 
Castillo de los Fajardo 
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York 

SPAIN - CIRCA 1969:
a stamp printed in the Spain shows
Castillo de los Fajardo
Velez Blanco, Almeria, Spain, circa 1969 

Following a three-year renovation programme, the Vélez-Blanco Patio returned to public view in 2002. The 2,750 square-foot, two-galleried structure had undergone extensive conservation work in order to bring the structure closer to its original appearance in the 16th century castle of Vélez-Blanco. To celebrate its return to public view the Metropolitan Museum held an exhibition of the 'Forgotten Friezes from the Castle of Vélez-Blanco', six large relief friezes were loaned from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, where they were identified in 1992 as those from the castle of Vélez-Blanco. Each of the pinewood reliefs is approximately 20 feet in length and 550 pounds in weight.

The castle was declared a National Monument (Bien de Interés Cultural) on June 3, 1931 and the Junta de Andalucía have been working to bring the castle back to its patronage. In December 2004 the Junta De Andalucía made a sale of agreement with the current owner, Salvador Ferrandis Álvarez De Toledo, Marqués de Valverde, and having completed the necessary administrative procedures, the final contract of sale took place on September 30, 2005. Three annual payments made in equal parts of 1 million euros in 2005, 2006, and 2007 were made.

Jesús Romero, Director General of Bienes Cultares said ' Now we can say that the Castle of Vélez-Blanco is the property of the Junta de Andalucía, therefore it is the property of all andalucians, and naturally of all almerians and most importantly that of the residents of Vélez-Blanco'. Once the final sale took place the Junta de Andalucía, together with the Council for Culture will put into motion the renovation of the interior of the castle. Alfonso Ruiz García, professor of Geography and History and co-ordinator of the Cabinet of Fine Art of the Junta de Andalucía, emphasises that the castle is ' one of the best examples of almerias heritage, together with the Alcazaba and the Cathedral. These three are the principle references of the heritage of the province of Almería, with their military, artistic, historic, scenic and touristic qualities'. The problem lies in the fact that many visitors remain impressed with the exterior but few venture inside due to the fact that the interior remains empty. The Junta de Andalucía are currently negotiating the acquisition of the friezes from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. With little hope of acquiring the Patio de Honor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Junta de Andalucía together with the Culture Council plan to rebuild the Patio using marble from the quarry in Macael.