Opening a New Door

Ever wanted the ability to help people heal?   For people who do, this usually translates into becoming a doctor, or nurse, or dentist, or therapist, or emergency medical technician, or massage therapist, or psychologist, or self-help author, or minister, or … you get the idea.  As a teen, I read the Bible and books about healers who laid on hands and people were healed.  I wanted to do that.  Amazingly, it did occasionally happen, usually with things like headaches or something simple.  As time went on, “common sense” got in the way, and these things no longer happened.   I learned to read tarot, to help people explore their options.  And I learned to be a counselor, also to help people explore their options.

Since retirement, I have a bit more time to explore ideas.  Decided I wanted to learn Reiki, which is a method of working with energy to help people heal physically, emotionally, namastementally, and on a spiritual level.  Figured I could use it on myself if nothing else.  :-)    So I called a friend, Tonya Haapala, who is a Reiki practitioner and teacher, and signed up for her class.  There was just one other student, and during a very intense two days we had plenty of time to practice on each other.  Often I could feel the energy flowing through my hands, usually with a sensation of warmth.  I learned how to read the condition of energy points, or chakras, using a pendulum.  I learned how to work with the energy, working with my guides (angels, beings of light, whatever you want to call them) so they could assist in the healing.    And it works.   :-)   Nothing dramatic like the lame walking or the blind seeing, but gentle and strong healing energy so our bodies can heal themselves.

Am not sure where I will go with this.  As I said, if I can help my own body heal better, that makes me very happy.   I’ve practiced on a few people, and they all felt better afterward.

If you are curious about Reiki, there is lots of information about it out there.  I’m still learning, too.   :-)  You can see what my instructor, Tonya, has on her website here.

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Creative Re-Visioning

Ever come to a point in your life where everything seems to fall apart?  Maybe you made some unwise choices, or a relationship ended, or you got laid off, or your health starts to go, or something you really believed in no longer seemed right.  That feeling of, “What do I do now?”

old wooden houseThis morning I was looking at “We’Moon 2014: Gaia Rhythms for Womyn,” published by Mother Tongue Ink.  On page 100 is a three-paragraph essay titled “A-rise,” by Alyson McEvoy.  She writes about crumbling houses in Havana, and how local artists breath new life into the skeletons of houses, painting vivid scenes on them, most often faces of people who could be local.  These are paintings of “people who remind passers-by of their own Selves, their own majesty, beauty and strength, even amidst the ruined places of their lives.”

Nothing new comes into the world without something ending.  We may grieve for the ending, and that is important.  But we need to look beyond that to the new possibilities that can come, “to look into the debris with eyes of creative re-visioning.”  What art will you create in what now seems like a ruin?

 

PS  We’Moon is a datebook published every year by a group of women in Oregon.  It is filled with information, written pieces, and art.  I buy one every year, and give copies of it to friends.  You can read more about it at their website.

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No GMOs

Today was an international day to March Against Monsanto. Monsanto ranks right up there with the cigarette companies for pushing their product and denying anything is wrong with it. Except they go one step further, saying what they sell us is better than anything we could grow in our gardens.  Unless we use their seeds, of course.  In fact, if No GMOthey had their way, everyone would be using their seeds and seed sharing would be illegal.

I think this is one fight we can win.  Already Monsanto products have been banned in many countries, including most of Europe.  Recently Josephine and Jackson Counties in southwest Oregon have banned GMO crops (which effectively bans Monsanto).  The only reason Monsanto has made it so big in the United States is because they throw money at politicians like confetti.  Doesn’t matter what party they are in, either.  The current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture is a former Monsanto executive.  Talk about putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop.

The reason I think we can win this fight is because Monsanto has managed to piss off a wide range of people.  I have very conservative all the way through to very liberal family members and friends.  And while one of them says it began with good intentions, ALL of them agree Monsanto has gone too far.

We made plans for another yard sale long before we knew about the March Against Monsanto date.  But we wanted to participate, so I made a banner and we displayed it on our front porch.  And here I need to say that I am not against all genetically modified organisms.  I take a medicine that is made from reconstructed human DNA, which is technically a GMO.  However, this is far different from creating seeds to grow frankenfood plants, plants that then require Monsanto fertilizers and pesticides.  Plants that do not do as well as the strains naturally developed in certain areas.  Remember the movie “Jurassic Park”?   We have no idea of the long-term effect of these plants on humanity, animals, and the environment.   By using Monsanto products, we may very well be sowing the seeds of our own destruction.

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“City of Pearl,” by Karen Traviss (2004)

 

   “Good morning,” said Shan Frankland, and held up her warrant card. “We’re from Environmental Hazard Enforcement. Please, step away from the console.”
She loved those words. They cast a spell. They laid bare men’s souls, if you knew how to look. She looked around the administration center and in three seconds she knew the man at the desk was uninvolved, the woman marshaling traffic was surprised by the intrusion, and the man lounging against the drinks machine . . . well, his face was too composed and his eyes were moving just
wrong. He was the fissure in the rock. She would cleave it apart.   (City of Pearl, 2004, page 5)

It’s the year 2299.  Shan Frankland is an Environmental Hazard Enforcement cop for the Federal European Union, and she is very good at it.  Civilian government still runs Europe, but just barely — the corporations are getting stronger.  Frankland helps track down City of Pearlcompanies whose GMOs have contaminated food crops and wiped out crops they don’t have a patent on, like spelt and millet.  And she can’t get that gorilla out of her memory, the one who kept signing, Please help me.

Karen Traviss has written a science fiction novel that explores environments, the rights of sentient beings, commercial interests, and moral choices, spanning 177 years, on a planet 75 light years from Earth.  What makes this a difficult book to put down is the very real cast of characters, and the complex situations they find themselves in.  As in real life, there are no easy answers.  Frankland and her small crew have come to check on a colony of humans, and also finds four “alien” races already on the planet — one determined to colonize it and use all its resources, and another committed to maintaining the balance.

Really good science fiction has always excelled at examining the problems we are dealing with here and now by putting them in another time on another world.  It makes us think as well as entertains us.  Traviss’ book is very good science fiction.  She gives us two heroes who are determined to do what is right, even while they make mistakes and deal with their own emotions.

Other than the books by Sir Terry Pratchett, I don’t read a lot of fiction.   City of Pearl is going on my keep-no-matter-what shelf, joining Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach and Momo by Michael Ende.  It is inspiring — I encourage you to read it.

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Dark Goddess Tarot, by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince

“Dark goddesses are disturbing, fearsome, and beautiful.  They can be shunned or overlooked, as they represent aspects of life that people find uncomfortable — sometimes only when those powers are in female hands.  Powers of age and death, sex and sovereignty, ferocity and judgment.  Of magic, mystery, and transformation. Of suffering and shadow.”  Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, page 9 of “Dark Goddess Tarot Companion”.

XIII DeathAlmost seven years ago I wrote about the Tarot of the Crone, created by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince.  Now she has created and drawn another stunning deck, the Dark Goddess Tarot.   It is a 78-card tarot deck with a traditional structure, although several of the cards are renamed.  A goddess or mythical female figure appears on each card, and her energy expands the meaning of the card itself.   There is much rich information to be gleaned from each card; many of the people who have used the deck have commented that it lends itself better to small readings (1-3 cards), rather than larger readings.

What I find especially fascinating is the way these goddesses deal with the shadow.  In psychology, the shadow is that which society or the individual sees as unacceptable, and is therefore buried in the subconscious.  However, the shadow is still there, a part of who we are, and if we do not acknowledge it and somehow welcome its presence in our lives, we will find that it bursts forth when we least expect it.  Remember, each attribute may be seen as negative or positive.

At the recent Reader’s Studio in New York, Carolyn Cushing, Nancy Antenucci, and Ellen collaborated on the opening and closing ceremonies.  During the closing ceremony, they said that Persephone (Greek Goddess of Resurrection) had three seeds for each person there: 1) a seed ready to grow right now, 2) a seed to grow at the beginning of August, and 3) a seed to grow sometime before you die.

I used the Dark Goddess Tarot to learn about my seeds, and dealt the following cards:

The seed ready to grow right now:  Nine of Water, Lady of the Lake.  Ellen gives some Water 9background on each goddess, what it may mean when this card appears, and exercises to get more in touch with the goddess and her message (as in meditation and things to do).  As you read what she has written, and how it applies to your life and your question, it becomes more clear what the advice is.  In this case, the Lady of the Lake (British Goddess of the Quest) has to do with my growth into maturity, and what my calling is at this time.  It’s about the edges of things, where growth and magic are more possible.   I went to a local river and sat there for a while.  I think right now I am called to work on environmental issues, especially against a proposed mining operation at the headwaters of the Smith River.  As I focus on protecting the Earth we have been given, I will continue to grow.

Air 7The seed that will begin growing at the beginning of August:  Seven of Air, Laverna.  She is the Roman Goddess of Thieves.   :-)   “Cause people to question the assumptions they have about you.  Redefine yourself.  Strive for more freedom in your thoughts and behavior.  Be prepared for a shake-up if you have been assuming too much or relying too heavily on the status quo.” (Pg 127 of the “Dark Goddess Tarot Companion)  Am sure this will become more clear as the time comes, however it looks like at least some of the advice is not to be so concerned with being Ms. Nice.  One of the things I love about getting older is the freedom to say what you think, and not worry so much about what other people think of you.

Finally, the seed that will be ready to grow sometime before I die:  II Priestess, The Pythia.II Priestess  She is the Delphic Oracle of the Gods, and deals with truth and advice not always self-evident.  For me, this ties in with my role in life as discussed in the Michael Teachings.  It often means something as simple as a smile, or a gentle word at the right time.  While I have a thirst to learn, I also want very much just to help people on an everyday basis.

I very much enjoy using the Dark Goddess Tarot, and the Companion book adds so much to it.  The only thing that has kept me from using it more is that the cards are a bit big for my small hands.  However, as I use the cards more they are becoming more flexible.

If you are interested in learning more about the Dark Goddess Tarot, I encourage you to visit Ellen’s website at http://darkgoddesstarot.com/  

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Thinking about GMOs

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are organisms or microorganisms whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering (Dictionary.com). That means it has been altered by the removal of, addition to, or replacement of its genetic material, with genetic material from another organism. GMOs have been around since the idea of man-made DNA (rDNA) was first suggested in 1973, possibly even as early as the 1950s. [DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid, a self-replicating material present in nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes. It is the carrier of genetic information.]   In 1975 biologists, lawyers, and doctors met at the Asilomar conference to create guidelines for the safe use of genetically engineered DNA.  In 1980 the first patent was issued in the U.S. for a living organism, a bacterium that ate crude oil, to clean up oil spills.  By 1994 the Food and Drug Administration had approved GMO tomatoes for sale in markets (they had a KNOW YOUR LABELSlonger shelf life than natural tomatoes).

GMOs started off with good intentions, to make things better in the world.  Monsanto came up with rice fortified with vitamin A to combat nutrition-related blindness.  However, you have to eat 75 grams a day to make any difference, along with having some form of fat in your diet.  The original golden rice was created with the addition of genetic material from daffodils and a soil bacteria.   Researchers have created cabbage that bugs don’t want to eat by adding genetic material from scorpions (i.e. the part that creates poison), however they reassure us it won’t harm humans.  Say what?!?

Selective breeding programs have been around for thousands of years, but that was breeding within a species (goats with goats, pea plants with other pea plants, that sort of thing).  We don’t really know the long-range consequences of mixing plant and animal DNA.  Recent research in China suggests that we wind up absorbing and retaining genetic material from the foods we eat, and that these in turn can turn on and off markers in our own DNA.

While many people object to the “franken-foods” created by GMOs, they also object to the genetic material that has been added to make crops bug resistant.  All this has done is created stronger bugs (as the over-use of sanitizers and anti-bacterial drugs has created stronger viruses).   And pollen contamination from GMO crops has been found in fields of conventional crops.   Plus GMO crops often demand a higher application of insecticides and fertilizers (more cost, more pollution).   In many areas, GMO crops are found NOT toMonsanto banned why not here produce as well as conventional crops.  Because GMO crops are hybrids, you cannot save seed from the crops for sowing next year (it will not germinate).

Finally, many people object to the heavy-handed way Monsanto has been pushing their GMO crops that demand you use THEIR insecticides and THEIR fertilizers and, oh yes, buy more of THEIR seeds the next year.

I’ve met people from all walks of life (farmers, ranchers, professors, scientists, parents, retirees, school kids) who are adamantly anti-GMOs.   So am I.

[With thanks to the Organic Consumers Association and GMOinside.org  for some of this information.]

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Stuff (again)

Six-plus years ago I wrote about “Stuff” and how I have way too much of it.  I thought about having a Yard Sale to get rid of some of it, or maybe selling some of it on Ebay.   I did the Ebay thing for a while, but the economy got worse and things weren’t selling there.   I gave away some things, and began setting aside boxes of stuff for the yard sale I hoped to have.  We found a wonderful book store up in Gold Beach (Gold Beach Books) that buys used books in good condition.

Garage saleLast Saturday we finally had our first Yard Sale.  I’d done them elsewhere in the past, and know the value of advertising, but this time we decided not to list it in the local newspaper.  Unfortunately, that meant we only got seven lookers/buyers in four hours.  We did make a bit of money, and now things are better organized for when we have our next yard sale.   Having all that stuff out on the driveway and in our front yard also gave us a chance to clean up the garage.     :-)

I know a lot of other countries see the U.S. as having a very wasteful culture, and I must agree. Once upon a time advertising was based on letting the consumer know the value of a product. But from 1910 to 1930 this changed, and advertisers began emphasizing the creation of desire in consumers and assuming an irrational, emotional and impulsive nature. John B. Watson, an American psychologist, helped with this. Use this product and it will make you _______ (fill in the blank with successful, sexy, popular, happy, whatever). The culture of “buy more” accelerated after World War II; so did the concept of hoarding (collecting large amounts of items the person sees as valuable or necessary). It has been suggested hoarding occurs when the person has experienced deprivation (as during an economic depression, war, or other catastrophe). There is more to it than that, but when this is added to the consumer society promoted by Big Business, it adds up to people with a lot of STUFF.

reduce reuse repair recycleAnnie Leonard and some other people put together a great little video called “The Story of Stuff.”  (Click here to see it, and/or some of the ones they made after.)  It may make you think twice about buying that $2 knickknack or $4 package of dish towels from WalMart.

I’ll probably revisit the idea of Stuff again here at some point, but for now I ask myself on a regular basis, “Do I really need that?”  And the answer almost always is, “No.”

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