tag:fubar.com,2010:BlogAtom-1992762008-07-16T10:54:33-07:00my thoughts.........for what they are worth......A fubar user blog.berniedhttp://email@example.com:fubar.com,2010:BlogAtom-199276.8371882008-07-16T10:54:33-07:002008-07-16T10:54:33-07:00we're not so bad after all-lol<br />From: <a href="http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi8vcHJvZmlsZS5teXNwYWNlLmNvbS9pbmRleC5jZm0/ZnVzZWFjdGlvbj11c2VyLnZpZXdwcm9maWxlJmZyaWVuZGlkPTE4NDQyNzAwOSZNeVRva2VuPWQxN2U2NjMzLTI4YTgtNDg0Mi1hMjMzLWIxMWJiMTIzYmI2NQ=="> Love and Light </a><br />Date: Jul 14, 2008 1:21 AM<br /><br /><br />----------------- Bulletin Message -----------------<br />From: <a href="http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi8vcHJvZmlsZS5teXNwYWNlLmNvbS9pbmRleC5jZm0/ZnVzZWFjdGlvbj11c2VyLnZpZXdwcm9maWxlJmZyaWVuZGlkPTMxNTQ1NDU3NCZNeVRva2VuPWNkMzZjNWFmLWE0YzMtNDI4Ny1iY2U0LWIzNjI1MzM2NGE4ZQ==">Vixy</a><br />Date: Jul 14, 2008 12:12 AM<br /><br /><br /><object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="never" allownetworking="internal" height="344" width="425">
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</object>berniedhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org:fubar.com,2010:BlogAtom-199276.8250292008-06-30T12:18:39-07:002008-06-30T12:18:39-07:00Nasty Bad Pagans"recopied this from lady V
I am very upset at the ignorance and intolerance of celebrities and would request every and all to join me in signing a petition against Kathy Lee Gifford's comment on the Today Show about "Nasty Bad Pagans"
Please Copy and paste to your browser the following link:
The ignorance and complete intolerance of Ms. Gifford is completely unacceptable as well as unforgivable. Any and all parties who accept and condone her action are just as guilty and I for one, as a "Nasty Bad Pagan" would like to educate and inform that just because of differences in beliefs, I am above the pettiness of hypocritical behavior and forgive her for not knowing what she said and how hurtful it was. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs, but to be judgmental and air such to the general population and be rewarded with a salary and lifestyle is beyond my comprehension. Not only would I request a sincere apology, but would like to invite Ms. Gifford to see just what a modern day pagan is truly about, and invite her to spend time with me while I volunteer my time at a local Senior Center, dole out lunches and food for those in economical distress at the Daily Kitchen, come to the parks and beaches to clean up the litter left behind by the uncaring, and take care of my "brothers and sisters" as well as natures creations giving thanks for the life I live on this planet. We are all one race, the human race and I have hope that one day, we shall all give thanks for being a wonderful piece of the mosaic that is life as we know it.
berniedhttp://email@example.com:fubar.com,2010:BlogAtom-199276.8173572008-06-20T19:36:37-07:002008-06-20T19:36:37-07:00A Primer on the Evolution of Astronomical Calendarscan find htis article here
A Primer on the Evolution of Astronomical Calendars
A special CP-LUHNA essay by Bryan C. Bates
In the world of nature, light is known to stimulate numerous biological activities. Coral reefs initiate their reproductive frenzy with the full moon following the summer solstice. Flowers track the pathway of the transiting sun, gathering the electromagnetic energy for metabolic and reproductive purposes. Bees vibrate through a complicated dance angled to the sun that conveys the exact location of pollen while accounting for the time of sun transit. Birds use the migration of the sunrise and solar pathway as one of their radar sensors in the thousand mile migrations between continents. Humans have also been using the changes in celestial sphere as a mechanism for determining when to conduct certain ceremonial-survival activities.
Over 7000 years ago, humans in the Nile Valley laid out large stones to mark the changing solar and lunar positions. This site is the earliest known purposeful construct of a calendar system developed by humans. What may well have preceded is the evolution of myths and stories that helped early agriculturalist transition from a migratory hunter-gatherer society to a sedentary agrarian society. Evidence for such a transition can be gleaned from the Fertile Crescent giving rise to the Babylonian Empire several hundred years later. Hundreds of years later, pyramids on the Gaza Desert rise in alignment with constellations known to the Pharaohs to provide wisdom, power and longevity. As impressive as the mathematics and astronomy of this civilization may seem, much more science lies within the cryptic writings of the ancient astronomers.
The Fertile Crescent was not the only place to give rise to human observation of celestial motion. On the Salisbury Plain of England, an ancient people began the meticulous construction of what we now know as Stonehenge. Stonehenge first began as a lunar observatory and then over the next 300 years evolved into the brilliant illuminated alignments of the sun and moon you may have seen on television. This activity of constructing an astronomical calendar results from the observing the concurrent changes within the biophysical (natural) world with those of the changing skies. While disconnected in our lives as we seldom see the night sky and therefore do not see the patterns of sun, moon and star movement, to the ancients, all was the same. Life to them was an outdoor experience, rather than the ceilings and lights that obstruct our view of the heavens.
In Africa, over seven different “Woodhenges” (i.e. Stonehenges made of tree trunks) have been recovered, some dating back 2000 years. India, as well as China, is rich in astronomical calendar and mythology all predating the birth of Christ. In China, the space about the North Star was the seat of the Celestial Emperor with his closest advisors orbiting about him (i.e. circumpolar constellations). Those advisors or Cabinet members of lesser power orbited the Emperor at a consecutively further distance, to the point that some advisors had seasonal power. Amongst the Aborigines of Australia, light-shadow interaction across petroglyphs and pictographs indicates times of special significance to the shamans of the Dreamland, not unlike that of ancestral Puebloan people of the American Southwest.
But the Indians of high Andes in Peru (Incas) and highlands of Yucatan (Mayans) developed some of the more sophisticated astronomies of the ancient world. Amongst the Incas, it was not the star patterns but rather the darken space between the stars that formed the “constellations”, all of which were reflective of their world. The Mayans meanwhile had intercalated the movement of Venus, the Moon and the Sun into a 37,960-day (or 104 year) repeating “Great Cycle”. The Great Cycle was made of numerous smaller ceremonial and survival cycles based upon moon phase and location, zenith passage of the sun, and the appearance and disappearance of Venus. An analogy would be the all the little cogs in a watch that tick together to maintain a synchronized motion discernable to us as the hands on a watch but known to the watchmaker (or science-priest of ancient) as the workings of the Gods within the celestial sphere.
Knowledge of these celestial patterns and the attribution of those powers to different Gods may have migrated along migratory and trade routes throughout the American Southwest. At Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico, several calendar systems have been documented with numerous connections to the culture. At the Great Kiva, Casa Rinconada, the summer solstice sun rises through a window and cast light into a cubbyhole across the axis of this ceremonial chamber. There is a question as to whether the alignment was intentionally created by the ancient Chacoans as the Park Service reconstructed the window in the 1940s. Second, the Equinox sun rises over the eastern cliff and splits the Kiva into two equal halves, symbolic of the Equinox ceremony known amongst some of the Puebloan people. Elsewhere, petroglyphs show distinctive light shadow interactions as the sun migrates from south to north (winter solstice to summer solstice) or in the reverse, each time designating a time of potential survival or ceremonial significance.
Perhaps the best known of these petroglyphs is the “light-dagger” atop of Fajada Butte. As the sun migrates between the solstices, not only does the sunrise and sunset position change but so also the altitude of the sun in the sky. Set behind three slabs of rock the meridian suns sends a dagger of light across a rock face onto which the Chacoans carved an 18.6 grooved spiral petroglyph. A single dagger through the center marks summer solstice, whereas two light daggers bracketing the petroglyph mark winter solstice. The Equinox is mark by the appearance of a new dagger across a smaller spiral in the upper left corner. This petroglyphs marks the migration of the sun for each day of the year.
But perhaps more amazing is what researchers didn’t see, at least until a Nation Geographic photographer noted it in a darkroom. There are two very shallow grooves that cross the petroglyph, grooves associated with the movement (not phases) of the moon over an 18.6-year “Metonic” cycle. When a full moon rises at its maximum northern extent, it will cast a light shadow line directly down the upper groove. 9.3 years later, the moon rest at its southern maximum position and will cast a light shadow line through the center shallow groove. Culturally, there is strong evidence that the Chacoan and Puebloan peoples observed the interrelationship between the Sun and the Moon, and aspect of duality that permeates their religious perspectives. There is no indication that these people could predict eclipses; however, such observational practices can lead to determination of those patterns.
Similar alignments can be found at Hovenweep National Monument in Southeast Utah and Wupatki National Monument near Flagstaff, Arizona. At Crack’N Rock of Wupatki, a singular wall with three small portals records the seasonal timing of sunrise. But as above, the observation of the sunrise may tell the Sunwatcher which moon to observe, as what is culturally significant is the first appearance of a new crescent moon. The South portal (February cross-quarters) marks the time for the Powamu ceremony, or “earth renewal”, a time following the winter solstice when beans are planted inside the Kiva. The middle window (May cross-quarters) marks the time at which the soil temperature will support the germination of seeds and when the likelihood of a killing frost has past. The Sunwatcher of the Water-Sand Clan indicates one may now plant their corn. And the North window marks the summer solstice, but the observation is based upon the time at which the sun changes its direction of motion. Following preparations and a 9-16 day ceremony, the Katcinas or “spirit-carriers” leave the Hopi for their home in the sacred San Francisco Peaks. The Katcinas will then return as clouds bringing water during the “monsoon cycle” of the desert SW. Thus the Katcinas return to bring life.
In nearly all cases, human observation of the biophysical world, tied to that of the celestial sphere results in the development of different calendar structures that are emanating tied to the culture and the environment that supports that culture. These calendar systems are often held as sacred for they are the places where the sacred reveals itself to those trained in the science and religion of the nascent culture. Among archaeoastronomers, these sites are known as “hierophanies”. Behind the evolution of these science-priest is the acquisition of knowledge as to the patterning of nature reflect on earth as in the skies. These patterns then provide vital clues as to anticipated changes in the natural world, changes that affect the available food base, the potential success of a hunt, the timing of rain or the best time to offer prayer or sacrifice to the Gods such that life maybe sustained amongst their culture.
Follow this link to:
Archaeoastronomy in the American Southwest
berniedhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org:fubar.com,2010:BlogAtom-199276.8168332008-06-20T05:42:03-07:002008-06-20T05:42:03-07:00The Strange Science of Summer
The Strange Science of Summer Robert Roy Britt
LiveScience Managing Editor
Thu Jun 19, 5:51 PM ET
With 8 inches of hail falling in parts of Nebraska this week and Arizona reaching triple digit temperatures last week, it may seem rather arbitrary to call June 20 the first day of the summer this year, aka the summer solstice. But scientists really do have a reason.
It's all about Earth's cockeyed leanings and some celestial configurations that even the ancients understood.
Our planet is tilted 23.5 degrees on its spin axis. On June 20 this year (some years it's June 21), the North Pole is pointing toward the sun as much as is possible.
Imagine Earth as an apple sitting on one side of a table, with the stem being the North Pole. Tilt the apple 23.5 degrees so the stem points toward a candle (the sun) at the center of the table. That's summer for the top half of the apple. Now keep the stem pointing in the same direction but move the apple to the other side of the table: Now the stem points away from the candle, and it's winter on the top half of the fruit.
The setup at June solstice puts the sun as high in our sky as it can go, yielding the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
Scientists put the exact moment of the solstice at 8:00 p.m. ET (keep in mind that the sun is always up somewhere, and the gods don't favor the Eastern time zone).
As long ago as the fourth century B.C., ancient peoples in the Americas understood enough of this that they could create giant calendars driven by sunlight. They built observatories of stone to mark the solstices and other times important for planting or harvesting crops. Shrines and even tombs were also designed with the sun in mind.
The sun comes up each day (except at the poles) because our planet rotates once on its axis every 24 hours or so. It is Earth's tilt, and our 365-day orbit around the sun, that explain much about how our world changes during the year.
Seasons: As Earth orbits the sun, the orientation of the planet's axis, in relation to the sun, changes constantly. A quarter of the way around in the orbit, fall sets in. By winter, we'll be on the other side of the sun, with the North Pole pointing away from the sun. That winter solstice, around Dec. 21 each year, will be the Northern Hemisphere's shortest day, and researchers in Antarctica will be basking in 24-hour sunlight.
Shifting stars: As we orbit the sun, the part of the night sky that's in our view changes. A given star sets about 4 minutes earlier each night. Over a month, this amounts to two hours. In winter, this all means that we're looking at stars that during the summer were in our daytime sky, overwhelmed of course by the glare of the sun. Since we complete a circle every year, the stars of summer, such as the Big Dipper, are always the stars of summer.
Endless summer: At the North Pole, the sun rises once a year, around March 19. It rises until the summer solstice, then sinks but does not truly set until around Sept. 24.
During summer on the top half of Earth, our planet is actually farther from the sun than during winter, a fact owing to our non-circular orbit around the sun. The difference is about 3 million miles (5 million kilometers), and it makes a difference in radiant heat received by the entire Earth of nearly 7 percent. But the difference is more than made up for by the longer days in the Northern Hemisphere summer with the sun higher in the sky.
Which brings up a common question: If the June solstice is the longest day of the year, why are the dog days of August typically hotter? It takes a while for the oceans to warm up, and a lot of weather on land is driven by the heat of the oceans.
berniedhttp://email@example.com:fubar.com,2010:BlogAtom-199276.8153302008-06-18T05:45:37-07:002008-06-18T05:45:37-07:00The moon illusion,this Wednesday evening, june 18,' 08'Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
Tue Jun 17, 11:15 AM ET
As the full moon rises this Wednesday evening, June 18, many people will be tricked into thinking it's unusually large
The moon illusion, as it's known, is a trick in our minds that makes the moon seem bigger when it's near the horizon. The effect is most pronounced at full moon. Many people swear it's real, suggesting that perhaps Earth's atmosphere magnifies the moon.
But it really is all in our minds. The moon is not bigger at the horizon than when overhead.
The illusion will be particularly noticeable at this "solstice moon," coming just two days before summer starts in the Northern Hemisphere. The reason, according to NASA, lies in lunar mechanics: The sun and full moon are like kids on a see-saw; when one is high, the other is low. This week's high solstice sun gives us a low, horizon-hugging moon and a strong, long-lasting version of the illusion.
If it's any consolation, space station astronauts report the same effect.
Here's how it works: Your mind believes things on the horizon are farther away than things overhead, because you are used to seeing clouds just a few miles above, but the clouds on the horizon can indeed be hundreds of miles away. So if we think something (such as the moon) is farther away, and it's not, then it seems larger.
If you remain doubtful, test the idea yourself. Go out at moonrise with a small object, perhaps a pencil eraser. Hold it at arm's length as the moon rises and compare the sizes of the moon and the eraser, then repeat the experiment an hour or two later when the moon is high in the sky. A rolled up tube of paper works well, too.
Moonrise times vary by location. On Wednesday, it will come up at these local times at these locations, according to NASA: New York City, 8:58 p.m.; Miami, 8:35 p.m.; Seattle, 9:51 p.m.
The moon rises about 50 minutes earlier Tuesday night, when the effect will also be noticeable because the moon will be nearly full. Oh, and that raises another fallacy: There's no such thing as a full moon.
Additional moonrise times for your location are available from the U.S. Naval Observatory Web site.
berniedhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org:fubar.com,2010:BlogAtom-199276.8146742008-06-17T09:52:29-07:002008-06-17T09:52:29-07:00Utah announces 'major dinosaur fossil discovery'
Utah announces 'major dinosaur fossil discovery' By MIKE STARK, Associated Press Writer
Tue Jun 17, 7:30 AM ET
A newly discovered batch of well-preserved dinosaur bones, petrified trees and even freshwater clams in southeastern Utah could provide new clues about life in the region some 150 million years ago.
The Bureau of Land Management announced the find Monday, calling the quarry near Hanksville "a major dinosaur fossil discovery."
An excavation revealed at least four sauropods, which are long-necked, long-tailed plant-eating dinosaurs, and two carnivorous ones, according to the bureau. It may have also uncovered an herbivorous stegosaurus.
Animal burrows and petrified tree trunks 6 feet in diameter were found nearby. The site doesn't contain any new species but offers scientists the chance to learn more about the ecology of that time, said Scott Foss, a BLM paleontologist.
The fossilized dinosaurs are from the same late Jurassic period as those at Dinosaur National Monument, which straddles the Utah-Colorado state line, and the Cleveland-Lloyd quarry near Price.
It could be a decade or so before the full importance of the Hanksville quarry is known, Foss said. "It does have the potential to match the other major quarries in Utah," he said.
The site, roughly 50 yards wide by 200 yards long, was excavated by a team from the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, Ill. Museum officials visited the site for about a week last summer and returned this year for a three-week excavation.
The area has long been known to locals and BLM officials as a dinosaur haven. But no one knew of the site's magnitude until excavation began.
The bones were found in a sandstone channel of an ancient river.
"The preservation of these dinosaurs is excellent," Foss said.
The mix of dinosaurs, trees and other species in the area may help scientists piece together what life was like 145 million years to 150 million years ago, including details about the ancient climate, Foss said.
BLM plans to close the site to conduct an environmental assessment for continued work in the area. The agency isn't disclosing the exact location of the find because of security concerns.
berniedhttp://email@example.com:fubar.com,2010:BlogAtom-199276.8146732008-06-17T09:48:34-07:002008-06-17T09:48:34-07:00- Long-term coffee drinking does not appear .........................WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Long-term coffee drinking does not appear to increase a person's risk of early death and may cut a person's chances of dying from heart disease, according to a study published on Monday.
Previous studies have given a mixed picture of health effects from coffee, finding a variety of benefits and some drawbacks from the popular drink. The new study looked at people who drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.
Researchers led by Esther Lopez-Garcia of Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain followed 84,214 U.S. women from 1980 to 2004 and 41,736 U.S. men from 1986 to 2004.
They found that regular coffee drinking -- up to six cups a day -- was not associated with increased deaths among the study's middle-aged participants. In fact, the coffee drinkers, particularly the women, experienced a small decline in death rates from heart disease.
The study found no association between coffee consumption and cancer deaths.
"Our study indicates that coffee consumption does not have a detrimental effect," Lopez-Garcia, whose research appears in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, said in a telephone interview. "It seems like long-term coffee consumption may have some beneficial effects."
There has been a debate among scientists about the health effects of drinking coffee, which typically contains the stimulant caffeine and a number of other important compounds.
The people who took part in the research completed questionnaires on how frequently they drank coffee, other diet habits, smoking and medical conditions. The researchers then studied the mortality risk over the period of the study among people with different coffee-drinking habits.
The study found that women who reported drinking two to three cups of caffeinated coffee per day had a 25 percent lower risk of death from heart disease than women who did not drink coffee. The researchers saw a smaller decreased risk for men but it was not statistically significant.
Drinking decaffeinated coffee was associated with a small reduction in overall mortality risk, the researchers said.
The people in the study had no history of cardiovascular disease or cancer when they entered it. The women were nurses and the men doctors, dentists and other health professionals.
Some studies have indicated coffee is a great source of antioxidants, substances that may protect against the effects of molecules called free radicals that can damage cells and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other ailments.
Recent studies have offered a mixed picture on the health effects of coffee.
A study that came out in January found that pregnant women who drink two or more cups of coffee a day had twice the risk of miscarriage as those who avoid caffeine. Another study appearing in January found that drinking caffeinated coffee lowered a woman's risk of ovarian cancer.
(Editing by Julie Steenhuysen and Bill Trott)
berniedhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org:fubar.com,2010:BlogAtom-199276.8007612008-05-29T19:34:03-07:002008-05-29T19:34:03-07:00Stonehenge was a burial site for centuries Stonehenge was a burial site for centuries By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
England's enigmatic Stonehenge served as a burial ground from its earliest beginnings and for several hundred years thereafter, new research indicates.
Dating of cremated remains shows burials took place as early as 3000 B.C., when the first ditches around the monument were being built, researchers said Thursday.
And those burials continued for at least 500 years, when the giant stones that mark the mysterious circle were being erected, they said.
"It's now clear that burials were a major component of Stonehenge in all its main stages," said Mike Parker Pearson, archaeology professor at the University of Sheffield in England and head of the Stonehenge Riverside Archaeological Project.
In the past many archaeologists had thought that burials at Stonehenge continued for only about a century, the researchers said.
"Stonehenge was a place of burial from its beginning to its zenith in the mid third millennium B.C. The cremation burial dating to Stonehenge's sarsen stones phase is likely just one of many from this later period of the monument's use and demonstrates that it was still very much a domain of the dead," Parker Pearson said in a statement.
The researchers also excavated homes nearby at Durrington Walls, which they said appeared to be seasonal homes related to Stonehenge.
"It's a quite extraordinary settlement, we've never seen anything like it before," Parker Pearson said. The village appeared to be a land of the living and Stonehenge a land of the ancestors, he said.
There were at least 300 and perhaps as many as 1,000 homes in the village, he said. The small homes were occupied in midwinter and midsummer.
The village also included a circle of wooden pillars, which the researchers have named the Southern Circle. It is oriented toward the midwinter sunrise, the opposite of Stonehenge, which is oriented to the midsummer sunrise.
The research was supported by the National Geographic Society, which discusses Stonehenge in its June magazine and will feature the new burial data on National Geographic Channel on Sunday.
The researchers said the earliest cremation burial was a small group of bones and teeth found in pits called the Aubrey Holes and dated to 3030-2880 B.C., about the time with the first ditch-and-bank monument was being built.
Remains from the surrounding ditch included an adult dated to 2930-2870 B.C., and the most recent cremation, Parker Pearson said, comes from the ditch's northern side and was of a 25-year-old woman. It dated to 2570-2340 B.C., around the time the first arrangements of large sarsen stones appeared at Stonehenge.
According to Parker Pearson's team, this is the first time any of the cremation burials from Stonehenge have been radiocarbon dated. The burials dated by the group were excavated in the 1950s and have been kept at the nearby Salisbury Museum.
In the 1920s an additional 49 cremation burials were dug up at Stonehenge, but all were reburied because they were thought to be of no scientific value, the researchers said.
They estimate that up to 240 people were buried within Stonehenge, all as cremation deposits.
Team member Andrew Chamberlain suggested that that the cremation burials represent the natural deaths of a single elite family and its descendants, perhaps a ruling dynasty.
A clue to this, he said, is the small number of burials in Stonehenge's earliest phase, a number that grows larger in subsequent centuries, as offspring would have multiplied.
Parker Pearson added: "I don't think it was the common people getting buried at Stonehenge — it was clearly a special place at that time. One has to assume anyone buried there had some good credentials."
The actual building and purpose of Stonehenge remain a mystery that has long drawn speculation from many sources.
And not all archaeologists agree with Parker Pearson's theory.
Indeed, the June issue of National Geographic Magazine quotes Mike Pitts, editor of the journal British Archaeology, as saying some details of the theory are problematic with gaps remaining to be filled. Uses of the landscape in the area for farming and grazing, for example, do not seem compatible with a ritualized place.
"The value of this interpretation is not just the idea of linking stones and ancestors, but that it works with the entire landscape," Pitts was quoted as saying.
berniedhttp://email@example.com:fubar.com,2010:BlogAtom-199276.7711062008-04-23T13:52:11-07:002008-04-23T13:52:11-07:00analogy about The Universe ....thanks pozlotus analogy about The Universe ....thanks pozlotus
Everyone thinks of changing humanity, society, the world... few think of changing themselves...
Here is an analogy that I like to use when thinking about The Universe:
I like to think of the elm tree. A fully mature elm tree has millions of leaves (they can be over 100 feet tall!).
When you think of it, a tree is like a little universe, with all its component parts...
There are many parts to a tree:
The roots which go deep into the earth to provide moisture and nutrients for the tree as well as stability and foundation.
The trunk which is the conduit for all the moisture and food and which provides support for all the branches.
The branches which extend upward and outward and support all the leaves as well as providing a connection to the trunk and therefore the roots.
The leaves which, arguably, are the most important part of The Tree, provide a mechanism, through photosyntesis, for food production. They provide respiration by exhanging carbon dioxide and oxygen. They open and close their pores to retain or release moisture in response to the moisture level in the soil far below.
Let's say that The Tree decides to give The Leaves awareness of themselves and of the rest of The Tree of Which They are A Part....
At first, The Leaves are joyful and excited because they are aware of this Magnificent Thing Of Which They are A Part.... they are so happy to be A Part Of this Great Thing Which Is so much greater than any one of them or even of the sum of all of them together.
One day, one of The Leaves on a lower branch starts to think. "I and all my friends on the lower branches are much larger than the leaves on the upper branches... it seems we are doing more work than they are." A sense of unease began to grow. Then, on another day, the same leaf began to think, "I bet those leaves up above have a much better view than I do." Then he decided that he was doing most of the work and had a crappy view on top of it! He became resentful and his Awareness of The Tree began to fade... he eventually felt separate and apart... Then, later, he was looking around and noticed, below him, that there were DEAD LEAVES on the ground. He thought, "I do all the work, I have a crappy view and then I am going to die?!" He decided he had a terrible life. The Awareness of The Tree had gone away.
He had forgotten about his Connection to the other Leaves and to The Tree. He also forgot that The Life within him is not from him or of him. It is from and of The Tree... forgetting these things, he failed to realize that, when a leaf dies, The Life that was in it does not die... it simply returns to its Source. The Life that was in the leaf recedes back into The Tree to become another leaf.
Life does not die... It simply returns to Its Source.
This does not mean that I can act in an unconcious manner because, since I am Connected to All That Is, anything I do affects me as well as others.... Neither thought nor action leave their source. Forgiveness is key. I must remember the principles of forgiveness and forgive all things; accept all things.
I need do nothing...
"The understanding of what you are, whatever it be -- ugly or beautiful, wicked or mischievous -- the understanding of what you are, without distortion, is the beginning of virtue. Virtue is essential, for it gives freedom. It is only in virtue that you can discover, that you can live - not in cultivation of a virtue, which merely brings about respectability, not understanding and freedom. There is a difference between being virtuous and becoming virtuous. Being virtuous is a result of understanding what is, whereas becoming virtuous is postponement, the covering up of what is with what you would like to be. Therefore in becoming virtuous you are avoiding action directly upon what is. This process of avoiding what is through the cultivation of the ideal is considered virtuous; but if you look at it closely and directly you will see that it is noting of the kind. It is merely a postponement of coming face to face with what is."
--- J. Krishnamurti
berniedhttp://firstname.lastname@example.org:fubar.com,2010:BlogAtom-199276.7710772008-04-23T13:28:23-07:002008-04-23T13:28:23-07:00Beltane -- Holiday Details and History Author: Christina Aubin Beltane -- Holiday Details and History
Author: Christina Aubin
Beltane is the last of the three spring fertility festivals, the others being Imbolc and Ostara. Beltane is the second principal Celtic festival (the other being Samhain). Celebrated approximately halfway between Vernal (spring) equinox and the midsummer (Summer Solstice). Beltane traditionally marked the arrival if summer in ancient times.
At Beltane the Pleiades star cluster rises just before sunrise on the morning horizon, whereas winter (Samhain) begins when the Pleiades rises at sunset. The Pleiades is a cluster of seven closely placed stars, the seven sisters, in the constellation of Taurus, near his shoulder. When looking for the Pleiades with the naked eye, remember it looks like a tiny dipper-shaped pattern of six moderately bright stars (the seventh can be seen on very dark nights) in the constellation of Taurus. It stands very low in the east-northeast sky for just a few minutes before sunrise.
Beltane, and its counterpart Samhain, divide the year into its two primary seasons, winter (Dark Part) and summer (Light Part). As Samhain is about honoring Death, Beltane, its counter part, is about honoring Life. It is the time when the sun is fully released from his bondage of winter and able to rule over summer and life once again.
Beltane, like Samhain, is a time of "no time" when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest. No time is when the two worlds intermingle and unite and the magic abounds! It is the time when the Faeries return from their winter respite, carefree and full of faery mischief and faery delight. On the night before Beltane, in times past, folks would place rowan branches at their windows and doors for protection, many otherworldly occurrences could transpire during this time of "no time". Traditionally on the Isle of Man, the youngest member of the family gathers primroses on the eve before Beltane and throws the flowers at the door of the home for protection. In Ireland it is believed that food left over from May Eve must not be eaten, but rather buried or left as an offering to the faery instead. Much like the tradition of leaving of whatever is not harvested from the fields on Samhain, food on the time of no time is treated with great care.
When the veils are so thin it is an extremely magical time, it is said that the Queen of the Faeries rides out on her white horse. Roving about on Beltane eve She will try to entice people away to the Faeryland. Legend has it that if you sit beneath a tree on Beltane night, you may see the Faery Queen or hear the sound of Her horse's bells as She rides through the night. Legend says if you hide your face, She will pass you by but if you look at Her, She may choose you. There is a Scottish ballad of this called Thomas the Rhymer, in which Thomas chooses to go the Faeryland with the Queen and has not been seen since.
Beltane has been an auspicious time throughout Celtic lore, it is said that the Tuatha de Danaan landed in north-west Connacht on Beltane. The Tuatha de Danaan, it is said, came from the North through the air in a mist to Ireland. After the invasion by the Milesians, the Tuatha faded into the Otherworld, the Sidhe, Tir na nOg.
The beginning of summer heralds an important time, for the winter is a difficult journey and weariness and disheartenment set in, personally one is tired down to the soul. In times past the food stocks were low; variety was a distant memory. The drab non-color of winter's end perfectly represents the dullness and fatigue that permeates on so many levels to this day. We need Beltane, as the earth needs the sun, for our very Spirit cries out for the renewal of summer jubilation.
Beltane marks that the winter's journey has passed and summer has begun, it is a festival of rapturous gaiety as it joyfully heralds the arrival of summer in her full garb. Beltane, however, is still a precarious time, the crops are still very young and tender, susceptible to frost and blight. As was the way of ancient thought, the Wheel would not turn without human intervention. People did everything in their power to encourage the growth of the Sun and His light, for the Earth will not produce without the warm love of the strong Sun. Fires, celebration and rituals were an important part of the Beltane festivities, as to insure that the warmth of the Sun's light would promote the fecundity of the earth.
Beltane marks the passage into the growing season, the immediate rousing of the earth from her gently awakening slumber, a time when the pleasures of the earth and self are fully awakened. It signals a time when the bounty of the earth will once again be had. May is a time when flowers bloom, trees are green and life has again returned from the barren landscape of winter, to the hope of bountiful harvests, not too far away, and the lighthearted bliss that only summer can bring.
Beltane translated means "fire of Bel" or "bright fire" - the "bale-fire". (English - bale; Anglo-Saxon bael; Lithuanian baltas (white)) Bel (Bel, Bile, Beli, Belinus, Belenos) is the known as the bright and shinning one, a Celtic Sun God. Beli is the father, protector, and the husband of the Mother Goddess.
Beltane is the time of the yearly battle between Gwyn ap Nudd and Gwythur ap Greidawl for Creudylad in Welsh mythology. Gwyn ap Nudd the Wild Huntsman of Wales, he is a God of death and the Annwn. Creudylad is the daughter of Lludd (Nudd) of the Silver Hand (son of Beli). She is the most beautiful maiden of the Island of Mighty. A myth of the battle of winter and summer for the magnificent blossoming earth.
In the myth of Rhiannion and Pwyll, it is the evening of Beltane, that Rhiannon gives birth to their son. The midwives all fell asleep at the same time, as they were watching over Rhiannon and her new baby, during which he was taken. In order to protect themselves, they smeared blood (from a pup) all over Rhiannon, to which they claim she had eaten her son. The midwives were believed, and Rhiannon was forced to pay penance for seven years. She had to carrying people on her back from the outside of the gate to the palace, although rarely would any allow her to do so. The baby's whereabouts were a mystery. Oddly, every Beltane night, one of Pwyll's vassals, Teirnyon Twryv Vliant, had a mare that gave birth but the colt disappeared. One Beltane night Teirnyon Twryv Vliant awaited in the barn for the mare to foaled, when she did, he heard a tremendous noise and a clawed arm came through the window and grabbed the colt. Teirnyon cut off the arm with his sword, and then heard a wailing. He opened the door and found a baby, he brought it to his wife and they adopted Gwri Wallt Euryn (Gwri of the Golden Hair). As he grew he looked like Pwyll and they remembered they found him on the night Rhiannon's baby became lost. Teirnyon brought Gwri of the Golden Hair to the castle, told the story, and he was adopted back to his parents, Rhiannon and Pwyll, and and named by the head druid, Pryderi (trouble) from the first word his mother had said when he was restored to her. "Trouble is, indeed, at an end for me, if this be true".
This myth illustrates the precariousness of the Beltane season, at the threshold of Summer, the earth awakening, winter can still reach its long arm in and snatch the Sun away (Gwri of the Golden hair). "Ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out" (clout: Old English for cloth/clothing). If indeed the return of summer is true than the trouble (winter) is certainly over, however one must be vigilant.
On Beltane eve the Celts would build two large fires, Bel Fires, lit from the nine sacred woods. The Bel Fire is an invocation to Bel (Sun God) to bring His blessings and protection to the tribe. The herds were ritually driven between two needfires (fein cigin), built on a knoll. The herds were driven through to purify, bring luck and protect them as well as to insure their fertility before they were taken to summer grazing lands. An old Gaelic adage: "Eadar da theine Bhealltuinn" - "Between two Beltane fires".
The Bel fire is a sacred fire with healing and purifying powers. The fires further celebrate the return of life, fruitfulness to the earth and the burning away of winter. The ashes of the Beltane fires were smudged on faces and scattered in the fields. Household fires would be extinguished and re-lit with fresh fire from the Bel Fires.
Celebration includes frolicking throughout the countryside, maypole dancing, leaping over fires to ensure fertility, circling the fire three times (sun-wise) for good luck in the coming year, athletic tournaments feasting, music, drinking, children collecting the May: gathering flowers. children gathering flowers, hobby horses, May birching and folks go a maying". Flowers, flower wreaths and garlands are typical decorations for this holiday, as well as ribbons and streamers. Flowers are a crucial symbol of Beltane, they signal the victory of Summer over Winter and the blossoming of sensuality in all of nature and the bounty it will bring.
May birching or May boughing, began on Beltane Eve, it is said that young men fastened garland and boughs on the windows and doors of the young maidens upon which their sweet interest laid. Mountain ash leaves and Hawthorne branches meant indicated love whereas thorn meant disdain.
This perhaps, is the forerunner of old May Day custom of hanging bouquets hooked on one's doorknob?
Young men and women wandered into the woods before daybreak of May Day morning with garlands of flowers and/or branches of trees. They would arrive; most rumpled from joyous encounters, in many areas with the maypole for the Beltane celebrations. Pre-Christian society's thoughts on human sexuality and fertility were not bound up in guilt and sin, but rather joyous in the less restraint expression of human passions. Life was not an exercise but rather a joyful dance, rich in all beauty it can afford.
In ancient Ireland there was a Sacred Tree named Bile, which was the center of the clan, or Tuatha. As the Irish Tree of Life, the Bile Pole, represents the connection between the people and the three worlds of Bith: The Skyworld (heavens), The Middleworld (our world), and The Otherworld. Although no longer the center life, the Bile pole has survived as the Beltane Maypole.
The Maypole is an important element to Beltane festivities, it is a tall pole decorated with long brightly colored ribbons, leaves, flowers and wreaths. Young maidens and lads each hold the end of a ribbon, and dance revolving around the base of the pole, interweaving the ribbons. The circle of dancers should begin, as far out from the pole as the length of ribbon allows, so the ribbons are taut. There should be an even number of boys & girls. Boys should be facing clockwise and girls counterclockwise. They each move in the direction that they are facing, weaving with the next, around to braid the ribbons over-and-under around the pole. Those passing on the inside will have to duck, those passing on the outside raise their ribbons to slide over. As the dances revolve around the pole the ribbons will weave creating a pattern, it is said that the pattern will indicate the abundance of harvest year.
In some areas there are permanent Maypoles, perhaps a recollection of ancient clan Bile Pole memory. In other areas a new Maypole is brought down on Beltane Eve out from the wood. Even the classical wood can vary according to the area tradition is pulled from, most frequently it seems to be birch as "the wood", but others are mentioned in various historical documents.
Today in some towns and villages a mummer called Jack in the Green (drawing from the Green man), wears a costume made of green leaves as he dances around the May pole. Mumming is a dramatic performance of exaggerated characters and at Beltane the characters include Jack in the Green and the Fool. The Fool, and the Fool's journey, symbolism can be understood in relation to Beltane as it is the beginning of beginnings, the emergence from the void of nothingness (winter), as one can also see the role of the green man as the re-greening of the world.
Traditionally in many areas Morris dancers can be found dancing around the Maypole. Morris dancing can be found in church records in Thame England going back to 1555. Morris dancing is thought to have originated many centuries ago as part of ancient religious ceremonies, however it seems that Morris dancing became associated with Mayday during the Tudor times, and its originating history is not all that easily traced, as is the way with many traditions.
The Maypole dance as an important aspect of encouraging the return of fertility to the earth. The pole itself is not only phallic in symbolism but also is the connector of the three worlds. Dancing the Maypole during Beltane is magical experience as it is a conduit of energy, connecting all three worlds at a time when these gateways are more easily penetrable. As people gaily dance around and around the pole holding the brightly colored ribbons, the energy it raises is sent down into the earth's womb, bringing about Her full awakening and fruitfulness.
In Padstow, Cornwall, Beltane morning a procession is led by the "obby oss" a costumed horse figure, in a large circular banded frock and mask. The procession is full of song, drums and accordions. Professor Ronald Hutton of Bristol University points out that the first account of the Padstow May Day 'Obby 'Oss revelries was written in 1803. He offers evidence however that, like English Morris Dancing, its origins lie in English medieval times. This does not discount the possibility that its roots lay in the foundation of the fertility rites of Beltane, a more politically correct transmutation of fertility acts.
There is also a Queen of May. She is said in many areas to have worn a gold crown with a single, gold leaf at its front, in other areas her crown was made of fresh flowers. She was typically chosen at the start of the Beltane festival, which in time past was after sundown on the eve before Beltane day. Many accounts mention both a May Queen and King being chosen, whom would reign from sundown the eve before the Beltane day to sunset on Beltane. Among their duties would be to announce the Beltane games and award the prizes to the victors. The rudimentary base of this practice can be drawn back to the roots of Beltane festivities, the union of the Goddess and Her Consort, the joining of earth and sun, the endowment of summer. The Goddess has many guises: Danu - The Great Mother, Blodeuwedd (the Flower Bride), Isolt (Iseult, Isolde) and many, many others. The consort can also take many forms including the Green Man, Cernunnos or Tristan.
As Beltane marks this handfasting (wedding) of the Goddess and God, it too marks the reawakening of the earth's fertility in its fullest. This is the union between the Great Mother and her Young Consort, this coupling brings new life on earth. It is on a Spiritual level, the unifying of the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine to bring forth the third, consciousness. On the physical, it is the union of the Earth and Sun to bring about the fruitfulness of the growing season.
It is customary that trial unions, for a year and a day, occur at this time. More or less these were statements of intent between couples, which were not legally binding. The trial marriages (engagements) typically occurred between a couple before deciding to take a further step into a legally binding union. It seems ancient wisdom understood that one does not really know another until they have lived with them, and when you live together things change and we change, as well. With this understanding unions were entered upon, first as a test period, and then if desired, a further commitment could be taken. It through always knowing that it is only through the choice of both to remain, that the relationship exists favorably.
May, however, according to old folklore is not a favorable time for marriages in the legal and permanent sense. There is reference after reference in the old books of this belief, and according to my Irish grandmother, May is not the month to marry, woe is to had by those who do. I can understand the premise of this folklore, May is the Goddess and God's handfasting month, all honor would be Hers and His.
Water is another important association of Beltane, water is refreshing and rejuvenating, it is also imperative to life. It is said that if you bathe in the dew gathered before dawn on Beltane morn, your beauty will flourish throughout the year. Those who are sprinkled with May dew are insured of health and happiness. There are other folk customs such as drinking from the well before sunrise on Beltane Morn to insure good health and fortune.
The central color of Beltane is green. Green is the color of growth, abundance, plentiful harvest, abundant crops, fertility, and luck. White is another color that is customary, white brings the energies of cleansing, peace, spirituality, and the power to dispel negativity. Another color is red who brings along the qualities of energy, strength, sex, vibrancy, quickening, health, consummation and retention. Sun energy, life force and happiness are brought to Beltane by the color yellow. Blues and purples (Sagittarius energies: expansion, Good Fortune, magic, spiritual power, Success), and pinks (Venus energies). Beltane is rich in vibrant color, lighting the eyes and cheering the Spirit as we leave the dreariness of winter behind.
It is customary to bake a colorful fruit and spiced filled bread for festivals in the Celtic lands, traditionally this festival bread is sweet dough made with sweetmeat and spices. In Scotland they are the bannock - Bonnach Bealtain - for Beltane, in Wales - Bara Brith, Ireland it is Barm Brack and in Brittany Morlaix Brioche. For Beltane this bread was made the eve before Beltane day, is it said that the bread should not allow it to come into contact with steel during preparation (steel is harmful, deadly to the faery folk).
Bannocks are actually uncut scones originally cooked on a griddle. Wheat does not grow well in the Highlands, originally bannocks were made with oat or barley flour made into dough with little water and no leavening. Traditionally, a portion of the cake was burned or marked with ashes. The recipient of the burnt cake jumped over a small fire three times to purify and cleanse him or herself of any ill fortune. Offerings of bannocks and drink are traditionally left on doorsteps and roadways for the Faeries as an offering, in hope of faery blessings.
May is the month of sensuality and sexuality revitalized, the reawakening of the earth and Her Children. It is the time when we reawaken to the vivid colors, vibrant scents, tingling summer breezes, and the rapture of summer after a long dormant winter. It is a time of extraordinary expression of earth, animal, and person a time of great enchantment and celebration.
The excitement and beauty of Beltane can not be better expressed than through the gaiety and joy of our children. There is not doubt "spring fever" hits at Beltane, and hits hard. Children are full of unbridled energy charged up and ready to go! Children always amplify the seasonal energies and the thrill of their change, they bring richness and merriment wherever they go.
It is the child's unrestrained expression of bliss and delight that is what Beltane is all about. It is the sheer joy of running through fields, picking flowers, rapturing in the sunlight, delighting in the fragrance of spring, dancing in the fresh dew covered grass. Our children guide us through the natural abandonment of our adult sensibilities and show us how to take grand pleasure, warmth and bliss from the gift of Beltane.
Blessed Beltane to you and yours!