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Rekindle Your Wild Joy and sense of deep Belonging through spiritual ecopsychology and the arts, incl. bioregional awareness, animistic perspectives, strategies for simple living, & low/no-tech DIY fun.

Honoring Veterans November 11, 2015

My dad Hank just told me some hairy stories a couple of days ago about flying bomb runs over fascist Italy and Germany in WWII. They sent him on some of the more dangerous missions: over half of their company never came back (and the story was later immortalized in Catch-22!) He flew 54 missions before they decided that was enough. He apparently has some strong guardian angels.

I’m a pacifist – very against these contemporary US invasions masquerading as “just wars” – AND I’m appreciative that Hitler and Mussolini didn’t get their way in that one, in part because I’m one of the people who would not be alive today if they had.

Thanks, Dad.

Some good-hearted people struggle with honoring military veterans if they don’t honor the act of war, or particular wars. I think it makes more sense (and more heart) to separate the two in our minds. Look at the example set by the Dalai Lama, facing the horrors of exile and genocide of his Tibetan people perpetrated by China. When asked (paraphrased from memory), “Don’t you hate the Chinese?” he responded, “No. But I do hate the Chinese government.”

So I think we can – and should – strive to change the destructive nature of systems such as the US military-industrial profit complex, while simultaneously respecting each being caught up in it. Respecting one another at the core (beyond preferences, current ideas, past actions, etc.), and deep appreciative listening with the goal of truly understanding, is a vital skill that paves the way forward to peace. What better way to honor Veterans Day than by working to ensure that no more of our children have to become vets; to endure the horrors of war?

Thanks to each of you, veterans of wars and veterans of peacemaking alike.

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#HonoringVeterans

 

Ginger Protector September 28, 2015

organic yellow ginger root

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Do you ever get the spine-tingling feeling that the more-than-human world is looking out for you?

I went to make a drink the other night that involved ginger. In an attempt to save money, a week or so prior, I had made my own ginger tea (brewed from grated ginger root peelings left over from a meal in which I’d eaten the root itself). A small bottle of what I hadn’t yet used was kept in the fridge.

I’m not a butterfingered person; I’m quite facile with my hands. I rarely fumble or drop things. But this day, as I went to pour some of the ginger elixir into my cup as the last ingredient, I knocked the cup over and its entire contents spilled out onto the counter and down on the floor. The ingredients are expensive, so I wasn’t happy with myself about this waste. Sighing, I cleaned it up, and then carefully made another.

The same thing happened all over again – the ingredients poured out all over. I cleaned it up. And then it happened yet again. The third time, the bottle itself slipped from my fingers.

What is going on? I thought. Then I looked more closely at the ginger brew. The bottom third of the bottle, which I had now reached, contained small puffs of mold.

I sat down, heavily. Who knows what kind of mold this was, and what effects it might have had on my health had I unknowingly drunk it? Perhaps it would have been fine. But I suspect otherwise.

When such things happen, a person has many possibilities for interpretation. Maybe I was just not paying enough attention to what I was doing. That happens. Or maybe my hands suddenly became clumsy due to some other factor. But three times? The event was so anomalous, and repeated three times like in a fairy tale! So I, an unrepentant animist, think the ginger was looking out for me. And I feel enormous gratitude over spilled drink.

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Archangel Michael. Source: nikkiboruch.com

Archangel Michael. Source: nikkiboruch.com

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It’s the Autumnal Equinox as I write this, which the Christian church overlaid with a celebration called Michaelmas. Archangel Michael, for whom Michaelmas is named, is known to serve as a protector. He’s actually appeared to me personally not only once, but twice, in hours of need. …Me, a pagan, who doesn’t “do” iconography of good vs. evil; neither devils nor angels. But that’s a story for another time.

Some scholars have pointed out the parallels between Michael and the pre-Christian Irish god Lugh. At least Lugh is another form easily recognized as a holy agent. But the grand Archangel Michael in the guise of a hot yellow root?!

Why not?

I’m also reminded of the wonderful Greek tale of Philemon and Baucis, humble peasants who were visited in their home by beggars who turned out to be disguised gods. Their generosity with food and shelter to their unexpected visitors ultimately allowed them to live when the rest of the entire stingy village below got inundated the next morning with a covering flood. So there. Love these cautionary tales. Plus they got to live out many post-human-death years as entwined trees.

The message is, you never know who you’re really dealing with.

There’s Don Juan’s crow that isn’t a crow. And the old Irish poem that ends with the line, “Often, often, often goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise.”

All of these serve as good reminders to treat the entire world as divine, particularly the humblest manifestations. If such stories speak true, sneaky godlings get a kick out of testing us that way.

And if you’re thinking, wow, what crazy unscientific thinking she’s exhibiting here, please consider premier psychologist Carl Jung’s observation in Modern Man in Search of a Soul:  “The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.”

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botanical print ginger

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Bonus: Two Recipes for Delicious Ginger Drinks

…I suggest you drink them fresh. 🙂

Hot Ginger Drink
Grate ginger.
Boil it in water, and add a sweetener to taste.
Drink this hot.
It not only tastes yummy, it’s good for soothing throats when you have a cold.
You can also buy this sort of mix commercially at Asian grocery markets. I like two brands in particular:

Ginger Brews

 

Moscow Mule
(An adult beverage made of non-alcoholic “ginger beer,” vodka, & lime)
In a medium-sized glass, squeeze 1/2 lime over 3 ice cubes and drop the peel in on top.
Add one jigger of vodka.
Then fill the glass with “ginger beer” (which is basically ginger plus sugar, brewed and fermented till it’s fizzy. My favorite brand is Fever Tree – it’s delicious and healthy to boot, with no corn syrup in it, but it’s pricey. To make your own version, add a dollop of strong ginger tea and a bit of sweetener of your choice, then fill to top with carbonated water.)
Stir and enjoy.
I hear that some people think a copper cup enhances the flavor. Never tried it myself.
This drink is super refreshing in the summer after work.

 

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That lovely ginger root pictured at the top of this post was grown by my friend Hugh Johnson, a.k.a. “Biker Dude”. He runs the largest organic yellow ginger farm on the Big Island of Hawai’i.  Chances are high that whatever organic yellow ginger you find in mainland grocery stores will be some of Hugh’s.

If you buy ginger, please buy organic if you can. It makes a difference to your health, the health of the planet and the health of the farm workers.

And do yourself a favor sometime: try organic yellow ginger. Mmm. Believe it or not, it’s really really good sliced raw on Newman-O cookies.

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Yogi Explains Jazz September 23, 2015

Filed under: All My Relations,Arts,Humor,music — BrujaHa @ 6:15 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

RIP Yogi Berra, whom my friend Steve Gaddis rightfully calls “America’s unintentional Zen master.” Yogi_Berra_1956

By way of example, here’s his take on jazz – in which he captures its spirit better than anyone I’ve ever heard:
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Yogi Berra Explains Jazz
By Steve Chalke

Interviewer: Can you explain jazz?
Yogi: I can’t, but I will. 90% of all jazz is half improvisation. The other half is the part people play while others are playing something they never played with anyone who played that part. So if you play the wrong part, its right. If you play the right part, it might be right if you play it wrong enough. But if you play it too right, it’s wrong.
Interviewer: I don’t understand.
Yogi: Anyone who understands jazz knows that you can’t understand it. It’s too complicated. That’s whats so simple about it.
Interviewer: Do you understand it?
Yogi: No. That’s why I can explain it. If I understood it, I wouldn’t know anything about it.
Interviewer: Are there any great jazz players alive today?
Yogi: No. All the great jazz players alive today are dead. Except for the ones that are still alive. But so many of them are dead, that the ones that are still alive are dying to be like the ones that are dead. Some would kill for it.
Interviewer: What is syncopation?
Yogi: That’s when the note that you should hear now happens either before or after you hear it. In jazz, you don’t hear notes when they happen because that would be some other type of music. Other types of music can be jazz, but only if they’re the same as something different from those other kinds.
Interviewer: Now I really don’t understand.
Yogi: I haven’t taught you enough for you to not understand jazz that well.

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Thanks to Michael DeLalla for introducing me to this Berra interview. His fingerpicking guitar wizardry can be heard at fallingmountainmusic.com

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Machine Moment September 17, 2015

2face_sewingmachine_behindthevoiceactors.comWe who enjoy material prosperity in the modern day Industrial Growth Society are expected to chuck out imperfect possessions that we don’t use anymore and go buy new ones.

However, I like to repair and repurpose things, so I’ve been doing some mending.

Some of the clothes on the pile are nearly worn out. But that’s because they’re favorites and therefore too beloved to just let go softly into that dark night of the rubbish bin or consigned to a second life as cleaning rags without a fight. Others, I want to alter in some interesting way; to usher their good raw material into a new and more currently useable form.

Even though I’m much more skilled at sewing the archaic way, with a simple needle and thread, I got our old sewing machine out for the first time in many years to make the work go faster.

“Faster,” she said. Ha! As soon as I attempted to begin, the thread snarled up in incredible thick tangles over and over behind the bobbin. This being on the bottom side of the piece, I didn’t notice it until quite a few inches were already sewn and I was congratulating myself on the excellent choice to employ some metallic plug-in help. Then the snarl caught on the foot hardware and everything stopped cold. I turned the work over, and omg. In certain places, what was intended to be a neat row of small stitches was a mass two inches thick and a half-inch deep! What a mess.

I tried a few more times, with no luck. As a last desperate resort, I finally broke down and got out the owner’s manual to try and understand what was happening. Not surprisingly, this helped. Improper settings for the kind of material, thread, stitching style, etc., had indeed caused part of the problem.

But really, getting deeper to the core of the issue, machines have never liked me.

You’d think they would cut me some slack due to my family: my dad, a mechanic, served their kind his entire life. He worked on aircraft, cars, motorcycles, and small stroke engines like chainsaws and outboard motors. He even single-handedly rebuilt three-and-a-half P-51 warbird airplanes from the WWII era, one from a husk found abandoned out in the desert. And my mom cared for this exact same sewing machine for decades. Where’s the gratitude?

But machines don’t seem to think that way. It’s all about their needs and their individual relationships with us soft-bodied creatures, and something about me is apparently just too much water to their oil.

Thinking about it, maybe it’s because I’ve not given this one a name, nor painted Celtic knotwork all over it, or suchlike. I seem to get along better with the machines that I anthropomorphically spoil, or at least art up. Or perhaps it balked because I don’t use it enough, and it feels under-appreciated; without a strong purpose. Hm.

You reading this: how do YOU personally develop a mutually happy relationship with the machines in your life? Inquiring, frustrated minds want to know.

For myself, I think I am better off sticking mainly to simpler tools like the hand needle, thimble and thread. Even with it occasionally drawing blood and me taking a lot longer to complete tasks, there’s less wariness between us. We know what to expect from one another. We can get along.

 

Dances with Klingons July 20, 2015

Klingon from Affliction (Star Trek Enterprise)At a recent contradance, my day was made when someone jokingly wondered how to say “thank you for the dance” in Klingon* – and someone else actually knew. Daniel Morse, who translates Chinese texts for a living, turns out to also be fluent in Klingon. Without batting an eyelash or pulling out a device, he explained the following.

Ma mi/t mo/ qatlho/  = Thank you for the dance

Ma = we together, Mi/t = dance, mo/= due to, or because of that, qatlho/ = I, to you, thank.  Note his knowledge about grammatical structure differences between Klingon and English too.

I was pretty surprised by the idea that Klingons dance, so even though I trust my friend, I did do a bit of Internet research for confirmation and maybe a scandalous video showing their moves. Indeed, many of these same words appear when calling upon Saint Google.

Another juicy tidbit also arose: several scholars pointed out that while qatlho/ (I, to you, thank) is a Klingon word,  it is not one used by Klingons. So what would Klingons say? “I’m sorry I didn’t stomp hard enough on your foot”?

Whorf

Klingon in the News

You know how interesting things often occur en masse? Around the same time I was delighting in this, applied Klingon language appeared in the news. An UFO was sighted in Wales, and a magnificently nerdy government spokesperson responded.

From the BBC:

Welsh government responds in Klingon to UFO airport query

“Klingon was the chosen language for the Welsh government in its response to queries about UFO sightings at Cardiff Airport.

While English and Welsh are the usual forms of communications in the Senedd, it opted for the native tongue of the enemies of Star Trek’s Captain Kirk.

Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar had asked for details of UFOs sightings and asked if research would be funded. A Welsh government spokesman responded with: “jang vIDa je due luq.” The Welsh government statement continued: “‘ach ghotvam’e’ QI’yaH devolve qaS.” In full it said it translated as: “The minister will reply in due course. However this is a non-devolved matter.”

It is believed to be the first time the Welsh government has chosen to communicate in Klingon.

Mr Millar, shadow health minister and AM for Clwyd West, submitted three questions to economy, science and transport minister Edwina Hart about UFO reports around the airport and across the rest of Wales.

“Responding to the government’s unusual diversion into trilingualism, Mr Millar said: “I’ve always suspected that Labour ministers came from another planet. This response confirms it.””

Click here to read the full account.  See, I didn’t make this up.

More!

The crazy late night search for Klingon dancing terms gave me another moment of linguistic delight before going to bed: there is actually a site dedicated to informing people how to say the vital phrase, “My hovercraft is full of eels!” in multiple languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu.

As if this homage to the bad Hungarian phrasebook in Monty Python’s Flying Circus weren’t enough, as a bonus, the wizards at Omniglot include the phrase in several invented languages – yes, including Klingon.

Klingon:  lupDujHomwIj lubuy’moH gharghmey  (Click here to hear it spoken)

For those of you who may need distraction from insomnia or deadlines, or those with really cool travel plans, here’s how to say it in Quenya, the language of J.R.R. Tolkien’s high elves:

Quenya:  Venenya vilyanirwanen ná quanta as angolingwi

Really, Klingon and Quenya seem no weirder than Welsh or Yiddish:

Welsh: Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

Yiddish: מײַן פּראָם (שוועבשיף) איז פֿול מיט ווענגערס     (Mayn prom (shveb-shif) iz ful mit vengers)

…I suppose they’re also no weirder than a search for how to say this phrase in the first place. Or to praise your dance partner in Klingon. Ah well. Thanks for reading.

Qapla’! (Success! Good-bye!)

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* For the non-nerdly among our readers, “Klingon” refers to a fictional alien (planetary alien) people and language from TV’s Star Trek.

 

“Making Thought Whole Again” Evolver event June 11, 2015

“Making Thought Whole Again.”

That’s the topic on which I’ll be in invited dialogue with host Glenn Aparicio Parry, linguist Matthew Bronson, and philosopher Ashok Kumar Gangadean as part of Native Wisdom for Modern Times on Evolver Learning Lab on July 16, 2015.

On a personal note, I must admit that the messenger from Evolver won me over not only with the interesting topic, but with her invitational email: “We would like some influential and radical women who can talk on various topics he will be covering.”  Influential and radical. Who can resist being flattered like that? 🙂

Seriously, it felt so refreshing to see “radical” reflected back as a positive professional achievement. After all, along with meaning “extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms,” the word radical also means something quite fundamental: “forming a basis or foundation”; “of, or going to, the root or origin“; and existing inherently in a thing or person.”* So it makes sense to view radical thinking as a root teaching, instead of some weird offshoot to raise one’s eyebrows at. (I’m actually not digressing. My point is that Evolver’s courageous attitude bodes well for their endeavors, including this series.)

From the Evolver website:

Native Wisdom for Modern Times

Native Wisdom for Modern Times

5 Sessions • Starts June 25, 2015.

Host: Glenn Aparicio Parry, with Special Guests: Gregg Braden, Grandmother Mona Polacca, James O’Dea, Grandmother Susan Ka’iulani Stanton, Vernon Masayesva, Ashok Gangadean, Tina Fields, Carole Hart, Matthew Bronson, David Christopher, and Jerry Honawa.

“For all of the achievements of modern “progress,” the Western way of thinking has led us — personally and collectively — to a crisis. We experience ourselves as fragmented beings, separated from one another and Nature, and this alienation has led to destructive behavior that endangers the future of life on this planet.

“But each of us has the potential to transcend this crisis, and leave the era of separation behind.

“…At the legendary SEED Gatherings, [Parry] convened pioneering dialogues that brought together Native American elders and leading-edge Western scientists, to uncover the common perspectives of scientists and mystics. They also shared traditional Indigenous and Eastern spiritual techniques to help integrate this understanding into a reimagined, contemporary way of life.

“For this unique course, Glenn has gathered some of the most insightful and celebrated participants from the SEED dialogues and more to lead you to a deep appreciation of the emergent paradigm. They will teach time honored practices that will support you on the journey to a new way of thinking and being. And they will share their own experiences of the same journey.

 “These sessions will be filled with provocative information, honest testimonials, and practical advice from some of the thinkers, writers, and doers at the leading edge of this new, emerging paradigm of reality.”

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To check it out or learn more, click:  Native Wisdom for Modern Times

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  * Definitions of “radical” are from http://dictionary.reference.com

 

 

Dreams at 98 May 6, 2015

Filed under: Adventures,With Elderly Parents — BrujaHa @ 11:38 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Dad, 2013

My dad has been having dreams about my long-dead mom. At first he didn’t want to tell me their content. They’re sexy dreams; sweet dreams. He’s in bed with her. He gets up to go to the bathroom, and they are conversing. So simple; so sweet.

He often feels now that she, or his also-deceased second wife, are there in the room with him. Sometimes he gets the strong sensation that one of them is in a room he’s just about to enter, and he’s surprised when he opens the door to find she is not there — even though he knows full well they’ve not got bodies anymore.

The veils between the worlds are growing thin for him.

This is one element of what it means to be 98 years old.

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I haven’t been writing about life with him here. I share some stuff with my friends on Facebook, but not here because I keep thinking this blog should not be personal in nature, but of widespread interest. The longer I go through this journey with my beloved elder, though, the more I shake my head and think, “Wow, I sure wish I’d known about that before.” So I’m going to start writing about it here for myself to process and help remember, and also for you folks, because there’s a chance you might find something useful for yourself in my experiences. And also because what the heck: life is short, and stories are best shared.