Some great new news in the CalderaFest Pagan Music Festival.
First of all, we have added a few names to the schedule. We finalized the talent list with 29 names:...
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If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
A recent prompt from Joanna Powell Colbert's 30 Days of Hecate class urged us to look into the palms of our hands and consider our ancestors. Having already given a lot of thought to my more recent ancestors in this course, I felt my attention turn instead to the unnamed thousands of time and space who brought me to this place...
I remember the moment, the exact instant when Her name was called and She was there. She stood behind me, wrapped Her enormous feathered cloak around my body and completely engulfed me. There's no describing what happened next, except to say that I lay inside of Her for an interminable length of time. I could clearly see the ritual circle and the flames of the bonfire and the other participants going through their own processes, and I was also somewhere completely "other".
For the next three days, I walked between the worlds. I was absolutely present in this world, interacting with people, eating breakfast, making perfect sense and able to carry on conversations about toilets or whatever mundane topics we were discussing. I was utterly not present too; or maybe it's better to say I was also present elsewhere. And She was there too, as real to me as anyone I'd ever met....
(Photo of Lindsay Wilson courtesy of Luisa Porter, Catfish Alley Magazine)
Her name was already familiar to me. Since publishing The Woman's Belly Book, I continue to delve into the body center's role in every dimension of our well-being. When I was looking into the connection between soil depletion and our ability to replenish the gut bacteria so important to our physical and mental health, I found Lindsay's helpful blog post titled Eat Dirt.
Along with a gastroenterologist and a naturopath, Lindsay figures in Give thanks for beneficial gut bacteria and feed them well, my recently published article in Asheville's weekly newspaper, the Mountain Xpress. "Our gut is a garden," she says, and you can read her suggestions for cultivating that garden here and here.
Now settled in Mississippi, Lindsay lived north of Asheville for several years. I was curious about her connection to Western North Carolina and asked her: What influence has your time in this region made upon the ways you understand and address digestive health?
Her answer details a deepening relationship with the natural world:
I moved to Spring Creek, just outside of Hot Springs, in the Winter of 2009-10. I became the Retreat Manager at a 30-year-old silent, contemplate retreat center called Southern Dharma. While working there, I continued to deepen my interest and awareness around digestive health.
As the retreat manager, I took all of the basic enrollment information from retreat participants. One of the questions asked about food sensitivities or intolerances they had. I was really surprised by all of the various digestive issues people had and that further solidified my interest in digestive health.
After my time there, I worked on a farm near Max Patch for a year or so. I grew a good bit of my food and foraged for greens, berries, and mushrooms as well. Even though I had always had a garden, working with the soil and the land on this scale was eye-opening. I began to have quite a few insights into the nature of our digestive complaints and our disconnection with the basics of life. I began to see that soil work...was indeed...soul work.
Living in the mountains was simply mesmerizing. I charted and took note of what was in season and how that particular food or herb was relevant to health of the body at that time of year. I named certain seasonal phenomena and observed nature because there was no distractions and only time. For example, I started to call the fruiting season the "berry wave," which was a steadily ripening flow of berries from mulberries in the early season to autumn olives in the very end of the season.
Basically, with the stark beauty of the Pisgah Forest, I began to see the impeccable timing of it all. Jessica Prentice's book Full Moon Feast was in my possession and I read it for the third time while living there. Her book was about certain indigenous and traditional cultures that had named the thirteen cycles of the moon.
These names were also connected with seasonal phenomena of a particular bioregion, something I began to call Seasonal Intelligence. I even taught two on-line courses on this, using the framework of Traditional Chinese Medicine and their five seasons and related organ systems. The participants and I met on the phone each season so that I could present a basic framework of how to use food and herbs in a seasonal context.
Living in the mountains was a real boon to my understanding of natural cycles and my place in it all. I am forever grateful for the experience!
The continuing threat of global warming is evaluated. The future of human space exploration is considered. And the American Cancer Society changes its recommendation regarding mammograms. It's Earthy Thursday, our weekly segment on science and Earth-related news. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
Recently I have listened and read and watched the Pagan community face transphobia. Again. Denora wrote a summary here and offered the challenge “How will you enact change?”
I wasn't around in previous years. I long to see our Pagan community become a healthy and welcoming place free from transphobia. I have no easy answers but I’ve been encouraged to tell the story of my personal struggle with transphobia. I used to a fundamentalist Christian and that meant also being misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, a creationist, and then some. So I offer here a glimpse of my own struggle and transformation.
I briefly lived in San Francisco, or “sin city” as we called it, with a Christian Outreach group over a decade ago. Someone in said group once warned me not to go to the “wrong side of the Safeway”, beyond which lay the Castro, the place where “the gays” lived their sinful lives. I once crossed over to eat at a Thai restaurant and felt frightened and guilt ridden the entire time....
An Order (Scorpionida) within the Class of Arachnida, Scorpions are well-known for their predatory and deadly nature. Since the Silurian Period (about 430 million years ago), these Arachnids have lived on the earth. Today, about 2,000 living species of Scorpions are grouped into thirteen families.
Contrary to popular belief, Scorpions do live in places other than hot and dry habitats. People would be surprised to know that these adaptable Arachnids also dwell in inter-tidal zones. Found world-wide (except in Antarctica), Scorpions can live almost everywhere, except for tundra regions. They will make their homes in trees, under rocks, in sand, in caves, and on mountains. Wherever there is a construction site that disturbs their homes, They will find their way into people’s houses to live. Furthermore as commerce expanded world-wide, so did Scorpions. For instance, these Arachnids were accidentally carried in shipments of fruit to England. Now, They can be found in Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey in the U.K.
People can readily identify Scorpions by their distinctive body shape. The segmented abdomens (opisthosoma) of these Arachnids taper into a curving tail (metasoma) with the stinger (aculeus) at the end. Although They have at least six eyes, Scorpions prefer to navigate by smell and touch. With the tiny hairs on their pincers (chelae), Scorpions can sense an Insect flying by. In addition, They have slits on their legs to pick up vibrations in the air and on the ground. To grab their prey, Scorpions use their strong front claws. Then, They suck liquid out of their prey with their “claw protrusions” (chelicerae) in their mouths. The toothed jaws of Scorpions shred their meal for their stomach to suck in the juices.