Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Click and read; you'll be glad you did:
Where I live in the central time zone of the USA, summer solstice begins today at 6:09pm. I decided to share information about the solstice and some favorite pieces that speak of summer, beginning with the extraordinary "comic" above from the gifted Grant Snider of Incidental Comics.
As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere celebrates in June, but the people on the Southern half of the earth have their longest summer day in December.
Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer otherwise known as the Summer Solstice, Midsummer (see Shakespeare), St. John's Day, or the Wiccan Litha.
The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun's energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.
Perhaps the most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice were the Druids' celebration of the day as the "wedding of Heaven and Earth", resulting in the present day belief of a "lucky" wedding in June.
Today, the day is still celebrated around the world - most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.
Pagan spirit gatherings or festivals are also common in June, when groups assemble to light a sacred fire, and stay up all night to welcome the dawn.
SUMMER SOLSTICE FUN FACTS
* Pagans called the Midsummer moon the "Honey Moon" for the mead made from fermented honey that was part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice.
* Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, when couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump.
* Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To thwart them, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of the most powerful of them was a plant called 'chase-devil', which is known today as St. John's Wort and still used by modern herbalists as a mood stabilizer.
Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don't they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.
--Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.
--Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets
THE SUMMER DAY
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
--Mary Oliver, from The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays
And what would the Solstice be without music (and Paul Winter!)? Thank you, Don:
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
This body+This country+This planet=Healthy Parts ♥ Healthy Whole
Mount Evans Wilderness, Rocky Mountains, Colorado
MANIFESTO:THE MAD FARMER LIBERATION FRONT
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.
Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
-- Wendell Berry
Wendell Berry is the author of more than 40 books of poetry, fiction, and essays.
Born in 1934, Wendell Berry is the first of four children of John Marshall Berry, a lawyer and tobacco farmer, and Virginia Erdman Berry. The families of both parents have farmed in Kentucky’s Henry County for at least five generations. Berry earned a B.A. and M.A. in English at the University of Kentucky.
In 1958, pursuing his love of writing, he attended Stanford University’s creative writing program as a Wallace Stegner Fellow, studying under Stegner in a seminar that included Edward Abbey, Larry McMurtry, Robert Stone, Ernest Gaines, Tillie Olsen, and Ken Kesey.
In 1965, Berry purchased a farm in Lane's Landing, Kentucky, near his parents’ birthplaces and began growing corn and small grains on what eventually became a 125-acre homestead. Berry has farmed, resided, and written at Lane's Landing up to the present day.
He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the National Humanities Medal, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Vachel Lindsay Prize from Poetry, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, a National Institute of Arts and Letters award for writing, the Emily Clark Balch Prize from The Virginia Quarterly Review, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Jean Stein Award, a Lannan Foundation Award for Non-Fiction, Membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Ingersoll Foundation's T. S. Eliot Award, the John Hay Award, the Lyndhurst Prize, and the Aitken-Taylor Award for Poetry from The Sewanee Review.
This year the National Endowment for the Humanities selected him as its 2012 Jefferson Lecturer, the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.
The following is a message from Wendell Berry:
"The most alarming sign of the state of our society now is that our leaders have the courage to sacrifice the lives of young people in war but have not the courage to tell us that we must be less greedy and wasteful."
Sunday, May 27, 2012
This is what I did:
(Select Krishna Das at Yogaville.)
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
...a.k.a. -- the Satchidananda Ashram in Buckingham, VA!
********INTEGRAL YOGA YANTRA********
"Truth is one, paths are many."
Sometimes external images are used in meditation to symbolize or express certain Divine ideas and qualities. When mantras (sound formulas used in meditation) or Divine ideas are meditated upon, certain images are brought out. A yantra is a visual expression of a mantra and it represents the Divine in the form of a geometrical figure.
The Integral Yoga yantra symbolizes the entire creation. Each part of the yantra corresponds to a different aspect of the cosmos. The bindhu, the dot in the very center of the yantra, represents the first physical expression, the very core of the cosmos. It is that dot which then expresses kalaa. Kalaa means the different aspects or, literally, the different rays of the cosmic manifestations.
The outer petals represent the major faiths, the lesser known faiths, and even unknown faiths -- all of which have evolved from the same source, Cosmic Consciousness. Thus, all faiths are founded on the same essential truths.
BIG to all my SparkFriends!
I continue at the ashram. ( www.yogaville.org )
I just finished administering two weeks of programs here for my friend and I now have a short in-between period before attending the Memorial weekend Krishna Das Kirtan Retreat, which I'm SO looking forward to. In the moment I'm trying to catch up on the many details of life. Both cell phone and internet reception are spotty, which makes catch-up challenging, but this morning I have an internet signal and I thought it would be lovely to share some Teachings in the few moments I can devote to saying "Hello!" -- first from Pema Chodron, then Mary Oliver. and last-but-not least, my teacher Swami Satchidananda.
So how do we celebrate impermanence, suffering, and egolessness in our everyday lives? When impermanence presents itself in our lives, we can recognize it as impermanence. We don't have to look for opportunities to do this.
When your pen runs out of ink in the middle of writing an important letter, recognize it as impermanence, part of the whole cycle of life. When someone's born, recognize it as impermanence. When someone dies, recognize it as impermanence. When your car gets stolen, recognize it as impermanence. When you fall in love, recognize it as impermanence, and let that intensify the preciousness. When a relationship ends, recognize it as impermanence.
There are countless examples of impermanence in our lives every day, from the moment we wake up until we fall asleep and even while we're dreaming, all the time. This is a twenty-four hour a-day practice. Recognize impermanence as impermanence.
-- Pema Chodron
IN BLACKWATER WOODS
Look, the trees
their own bodies
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
the long tapers
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
-- Mary Oliver
From the book Beyond Words:
People often ask me, "What religion are you? You talk about the Bible, Koran, Torah. Are you a Hindu?" I say, I am not a Catholic, a Buddhist, or a Hindu, but an Undo. My religion is Undoism. We have done enough damage (from religious dogma). We have to stop doing any more and simply undo the damage we have already done.
Peace and joy is our goal. Whatever we do, we are doing it for that. Not everyone believes in God. But the real God, the absolute God, the cosmic God who is being searched for by one and all, is that peace and joy. Everyone wants that.
If anybody asks me, "What is your philosophy or God?" I say, "Peace is my God." If they ask, "Where is He?" I reply, "He is in me and He is everywhere. He is all-peaceful; He is all serenity. He is to be felt and experienced within oneself.
-- Swami Satchidananda
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