Thursday, October 22, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Catnip- promotes sweating and lowers fever.
Echinacea - duh.
Hyssop mixed with licorice root- tastes good and lowers fever.
Elder Flower- Used in a lot of herbal antibiotic remedies and I love these tiny white flowers.
You can get these herbs anywhere. If you live in Seattle I reccomend Tenzing Momo in the market cause they are smart and awesome and have been around for forever. All their herbs are only like a buck or two an ounce. Just steep them up and drink em' hot.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Two people died in a sweat lodge in Sedona, Arizona last week. This guy James Arthur Ray, who has a smile like a car salesmen is under criminal investigation for leading the lodge as part of a five day retreat entitled 'Spiritual Warrior.' The whole thing involved a wilderness fast followed by a lodge ceremony consisting of 55 to 65 people. The participants had paid between 9,000 and 10,000 dollars. http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/10/12/crimesider/entry5378668.shtml
This is fucked up on so many levels I don't even know where to begin.
And I have to go get ready for work right now.
Check out the website, and draw your own conclusions. Anyone promising to be a guru/savior type deserves to be taken with a serious dose of salt. http://jamesray.com/ Ps: he left the state and is currently 'unavailable for comment.' What is that?!
All kinds of things are going to be threatened by the bad decisions of this dumbass, namely freedom of religion. This is serious shit, this is not about 'love and light and la la la'...and I think that's what that guy was selling.
I know I'm lacking clarity right now because i'm in a hurry and all, but this is really worriesome and I am legitimately angry.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Caduceus. A symbol that dates back to ancient Greek days is a symbol of the planet Mercury. Two snakes slither up a rod. The rod is to represent alchemetic power and the snakes are the polarity and dualitly. The wings represent balance. It is often confused with the Rod of Asclepius, which here in North America is what's on the side of every ambulance that goes by. It too is a greek symbol of astrology but represents Asclepius, who is a son of Zeus and is the god of medicine.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Get rad with some bad ass Cro-Magnon intention. It is said that the super old dudes of way back in the day a.k.a. the "Upper Paleolithic" days a.k.a "Cavemen", made all this awesome art as a practice of what the seekers of today call "Sympathetic Magic". Sympathetic magic or Imitative Magic is magic based on imitation or correspondence. So ancient early human dude wants to have more animals to hunt, well he paints a picture of a bunch of knocked-up herd animals, he wants the bears to stay out of his cave, he paints dead bears all over the walls. I totally get it.
The Pygmies of the Congo also practiced a similar wild style, they would draw a picture of the animal they wanted to hunt in the sand. Then they would fire an arrow through its heart! Then they would leave the picture until they had caught the animal, drip a bunch of the animals blood on the picture then remove the arrow. They believed this ritual established a deep, mysterious relationship between the hunter and the hunted. I believe it--that is intense--and with it the animal could not escape, now matter how fast it ran, for the hunter was guided by fate.
Scientific attitude about all this is that this art was primitive superstitions, a sign of ignorance of cause and effect blah blah blah. I say NO. I say that is bull shit. I think its beautiful. I think the ritual helped man become so intensly focused on his prey, that the kill had already been accomplished and that all man had to do was show up ready. Very "Magician" tarot card (thanx K.F!) I mean come on, we see this all the time in our everyday lives, we just don't take responsibility for it. (BAD WITCH.)
Today I encourage all of us to check in with our ancestors and do a lil' sympathetic magic. Bust out a talisman or invoke a new lucky charm, do a collage or graffiti your walls with all your hopes and wishes. Enjoy!
Saturday, October 3, 2009
My first cookbook came to me as a gift when I was ten years old. It was called 'Once Upon a Recipe' and each recipe corresponded with a different fairy tale. There was this one for Rumplestiltskin quesadillas, and the idea was that the cheese was like gold that you were spinning. The recipe called for the incorporation of Mexican spices into the cheese to form this perfect quesadilla. That was when I learned about the play, the alchemy of seasonings. In case you’ve never tried it…thyme and oregano and cumin really are a perfect marriage with cheese and a soft flour tortilla.
Then, there was this recipe for Selfish Giant cookies, inspired by the Oscar Wilde children’s story. The story was about this giant who learned the lesson of generosity from the children of the town and how they helped him to open his heart. The recipe was straightforward: basic chocolate chip cookies, with maple sugar and a healthy dose of vanilla. I made those cookies in the spirit of generosity, as I stood there, stirring the bowl and thinking of all the people I loved that I wanted to share those cookies with. And the batter was delicious. I kept dipping my finger in and licking the spatula with relish. I baked those cookies, and shared them with my family and our neighbors, and everybody said that they tasted so good. They really raved about them. I wondered if perhaps it was in part because I was young and this was one of my first adventures into cooking. I knew when grown ups were humoring me, like when they let me win a game of chess for instance, but this was different. They REALLY liked those cookies.
I wondered to myself why this was so, what was so special about my creation. Yes, in part it was the recipe, but there was something more. I found myself wondering if perhaps it was because I had eaten so much batter, that my saliva had somehow mingled itself with the dough. Maybe there was something special in my spit, I thought to myself in my ten year old brain.
All grown up now and, after all this time, I realize why those cookies were so special. I was so excited to make them, and I brought my childlike joy into baking those cookies. That feeling, that spirit of intention, is what makes food better than just good. I’ve eaten at plenty of good restaurants in my lifetime. The places where the food was really special had a certain quality to them. There is love, intention and a passion for each element that goes into the cuisine, which makes its way to the table and into one’s mouth and body.
First, you must start with quality ingredients, elements that taste and feel good. When you go to the supermarket, or the farmers market, or if you are really lucky your very own garden, you go with the child that still lives inside of you and together you sweetly ask the things you find: ‘Do you want to come and play in my casserole today?’ And if you listen closely enough, the food says ‘Yes, yes!’ and you take it and put it gently in your basket.
Cooking with intentionality must be about play. If you cannot play in the kitchen, you can never realize just how good raisins taste with carrots in a garlicky cumin vinaigrette. That spirit of play comes through in the food we eventually eat.
I know of no better barometer of my emotional and spiritual health than the food that I prepare. If I am feeling off kilter, if I have perhaps missed something vital in the taking care of myself, if I can’t quite figure out what I need or what’s going on in my life because I’ve disassociated somehow, that’s when I burn the eggs or overcook the noodles. I suppose what I am saying is that cooking is ceremony. You must show up and be present in order to truly reap the gifts of the experience. It’s about giving thanks for the food that you have brought home, for the abundance in your life, all the things that fill you with feelings of love and happiness. When you are truly present with the experience, THAT’s when the magic happens. The ceremony begins.
As you are working with the food, you are touching these things that are of the earth, they are real, physical and tangible. The smells, the texture, the colors are all mingling together in this complete experience. I’ve always needed that physicality in my spiritual life - the embodiment of my prayers. That is what cooking is to me.
And, like all ceremony, cooking gets better when it is shared in community. To break bread with someone, to take food into your body in the presence of others is a time-honored tradition. We celebrate holidays, milestones and even those everyday moments of our lives by gathering around the table to share a meal. I’ve always loved that kind of social bonding that happens around good food.
When the mood strikes us, my sweetheart and I will prepare a special meal together. Perhaps we listen to music fitting to how we feel at the time, and start peeling and cutting onions and garlic together, talking about our day, the things we are thinking about, our hopes, our dreams and our inspirations. We prepare a meal together, in this way, and it nurtures the connection between us, just as the food we prepare will nourish our bodies. When the food is ready, one of us will clear and set the table while the other lovingly serves a portion onto each plate. I love presentation, the arrangement of colors and flavors on the plate – this too is part of the experience. Maybe we light a candle too, I try and always end up burning my fingers and we both laugh and he goes, ‘Here, let me do that.’ That part, in a way, is part of the ritual too: the laughter, the not taking ourselves too seriously.
We sit down at the table with the food before us. We smell it and admire it, and then we say a short prayer of thanks – for the food, for our lives, for whatever our hearts are called to name and give thanks for at that time. Then we look at each other, smile and dig in, and it so good, so rich in so many ways.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Today we focus on the Maya creation story.
There seems that there are a few different versions of this story. The first one is common and I found many versions of it. It basically goes like this...
The Maya Mythology says that their Forefathers/Creators, were Tepeu and Gucumatz (also known as Kukulkan and the Aztecs Quetzacoatl). Huracan, or the Heart of Heaven also existited, but not so much as a person, but as a storm, of which he was the God. ---Ya followin me here?
So Huracan did the creating where Tepeu and Gucumatz were like the directors. Their intent in creating was to preserve their legacy, naturally they needed something to worship them. So the earth was created, and next the animals. Although the animals were awesome, they were of a wild nature, howling and squawking and whatnot, they did not worship their creators. So they were banished to the forests. The first attempt at making man was out of mud, but the body quickly crumbled and blew away. Next man was created out of wood, but he had no soul and did not worship his creator. These wooden people are what we know as monkeys. Finally more gods were called in on the project of creating man and they figured out how to make man out of masa (corn dough). So, the Maya not only ate maize or corn or masa as a main staple in their diet, they also believed they were made of it.
But there are other versions, some including other gods, and commonly a flood, not out of punishment but because the gods admit to making a mistake in the world they created and needed a clean slate (which I personally think is crazy and awesome. "Oops! Do-Over!")
Here is the text from the Popol Vuh, which is a "Book of the People" or "Council Book" and is written in the Classical Quiché language. It contains mythological narratives of the rulers of the post classic Quiché Maya kingdom of highland Guatemala.
Here is the story of the beginning,
when there was not one bird,
not one fish,
not one mountain.
Here is the sky, all alone.
Here is the sea, all alone.
There is nothing more
–no sound, no movement.
Only the sky and the sea.
Only Heart-of-Sky, alone.
And these are his names:
Maker and Modeler,
But there is no one to speak his names.
There is no one to praise his glory.
There is no one to nurture his greatness.
And so Heart-of-Sky thinks,
"Who is there to speak my name?
Who is there to praise me?
How shall I make it dawn?"
Heart-of-Sky only says the word,
and the earth rises,
like a mist from the sea.
He only thinks of it,
and there it is.
He thinks of mountains,
and great mountains come.
He thinks of trees,
and trees grow on the land.
And so Heart-of-Sky says,
"Our work is going well."
Now Heart-of-Sky plans the creatures of the forest
-birds, deer, jaguars and snakes.
And each is given his home.
"You the deer, sleep here along the rivers.
You the birds, your nests are in the trees.
Multiply and scatter," he tells them.
Then Heart-of-Sky says to the animals,
"Speak, pray to us."
But the creatures can only squawk.
The creatures only howl.
They do not speak like humans.
They do not praise Heart-of-Sky
And so the animals are humbled.
They will serve those who will worship Heart-of-Sky.
And Heart-of-Sky tries again.
Tries to make a giver of respect.
Tries to make a giver of praise.
Here is the new creation,
made of mud and earth.
It doesn't look very good.
It keeps crumbing and softening.
It looks lopsided and twisted.
It only speaks nonsense.
It cannot multiply.
So Heart-of-Sky lets it dissolved away.
Now Heart-of-Sky plans again.
Our Grandfather and Our Grandmother are summoned.
They are the most wise spirits.
"Determine if we should carve people from wood,"
They run their hands over the kernels of corn.
They run their hands over the coral seeds.
"What can we make that will speak and pray?
asks Our Grandfather.
What can we make that will nurture and provide?"
asks Our Grandmother.
They count the days,
the lots of four,
seeking an answer for Heart-of-Sky.
Now they give the answer,
"It is good to make your people with wood.
They will speak your name.
They will walk about and multiply."
"So it is," replies Heart-of-Sky.
And as the words are spoken, it is done.
The doll-people are made
with faces carved from wood.
But they have no blood, no sweat.
They have nothing in their minds.
They have no respect for Heart-of-Sky.
They are just walking about,
But they accomplish nothing.
"This is not what I had in mind,"
And so it is decided to destroy
these wooden people.
Hurricane makes a great rain.
It rains all day and rains all night.
There is a terrible flood
and the earth is blackened.
The creatures of the forest
come into the homes of the doll-people.
"You have chased us from our homes
so now we will take yours,"
And their dogs and turkeys cry out,
"You have abused us
so now we shall eat you!"
Even their pots and grinding stones speak,
"We will burn you and pound on you
just as you have done to us!"
The wooden people scatter into the forest.
Their faces are crushed,
and they are turned into monkeys.
And this is why monkeys look like humans.
They are what is left of what came before,
an experiment in human design.
Now, when Earth was brand new, there was much confusion, for there was darkness everywhere. All of Earth's Peoples kept bumping into each other, and were often hurt. They all cried out for light, that they might see.
Fox said that he knew of some people on the other side of the world who had plenty light. He said that it was nice and warm, but those people were too greedy to share it with anyone else. Possum said that he would steal Sun. "I have a beautiful, bushy tail," he said. "I can hide the Sun in all of that fur. Let me try."
So Possum went to the other side of the world and found the Sun. It was hanging up in a Tree and lighting up everything. Possum took a piece of the Sun and hid it in the fur of his tail. But Sun was so hot that it burned all of Possum's tail hairs off. To this day, Possum has a bare tail. The people discovered Possum and took the piece of the Sun back.
Buzzard said, "I will take the Sun myself. I will put it on my head, so that I can see where I am going with it." So he tried to take the Sun too. He flew to the other
Spider Woman brought the Sun to the Principal People, the Cherokee, but also the gift of fire. She also taught them to make potteryde of the world, and dived down to snare the Sun in his claws. But it was so hot that it burned all of Buzzard's feathers off of his head. To this day, Buzzard's head is bald and ugly. The people discovered Buzzard, and took the Sun back.
Then Grandmother Spider said, "Let me try." First, she made a very thick clay pot, big enough to put the Sun in. Then, she spun a web which reached all the way to the other side of the world. She was so small and quiet that these people did not notice her at all. When she was ready, she quickly snatched up the Sun in her big clay pot, and hurried back home along her web. Now her side of the world had light, and warmth. Everyone rejoiced at Grandmother Spider's gift.
Spider Woman brought the Sun to the Principal People, the Cherokee, but also the gift of fire. She also taught them to make pottery.