The Raven

The Raven

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"they can keep this Arctic air"... and they would LOVE to!

Many people seem to figure that since we have recently been having harsher winters in North America that there must not be any global warming problem. However, maybe the reason we are having harsher winters is because the Sun heats up the the North Pole first, since it is the closest to the Sun, melting the polar caps, and unfortunetly, sending a rush of artic air down our way, causing more- fridgid- than- normal winters and warmer than BEARable conditions up North.
 I have heard the argument that the Earth has been getting warmer since the Ice Age; this is also true, Yet, it was happening at a slower, natural rate. Humans are causing an unnatural rapid rate of warming to which the Earth is not able to adjust. There is the trouble that needs attention. Now is way past the time to change our ways, but it is not too late!

Make a symbolic Polar Bear adoption to help save some of the world's most endangered animals from extinction and support WWF's conservation efforts. ...

WWF - Polar Bear Conservation - WWF: A Leader in Polar Bear ...

Monday, December 27, 2010

All Creatures Great and Small
Many times I believe that I love animals more than people. It's just so easy to love those little, helpless faces and the cheeky things they do! And many times I wish I was a goddess, or a wrathful angel who could look after them all and rain down my revenge upon all humans who abuse these beautiful creatures. All Life is connected and alike. I hate the saying, "stupid animal" as when a deer runs out before the car, or a bird hits a window. They inhabited the Earth first and we are the invaders of their homes. We are the same as them, we are the same as plants; all living and surviving off of the earth. We all are born, live and die and go into the earth. So why do so many treat animals and the enviroment so cruely? Why is it taking so long to coexist with the earth and its creatures?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Deck the Halls??

Hebrew texts condemn the "heathens" for cutting down trees, brining them indoors and "deck[ing] it with silver and gold." (Jerimiah 10:2-4 King James)
In its early days, the Christian Church forbade any decorating with evergreen boughs or trees because of its "heathen" roots (no pun inteded!) "Learn not the way of the heathen... for one cutteth a tree out of the forest .." Cutting down and decorating trees is not a Pagan ritual either. To CUT anything from Nature is far too destructive! They did however, decorate LIVING trees with bits of metal and small replicas of their god Bacchus. And, during Saturnalia, a Roman celebration feast, Pagans would decorate their homes with clippings of evergreens. It was not until the 19th Century that evergreens became a holiday decorating staple.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Standing Still Sun

In the wee hours of the shortest day of the year, greeting dark cloaked Winter- Winter, leaving all withered and bare in its path, a pearl among jewels, the Winter moon, will be veiled by the Earth's shadow.  Tomorrow night, December 21, 2010, we will be the furthest from the sun; it will be the beginning of the darkest eves of the year. I am so inspired by these two occurrences! I plan to stay up to watch this spiritual experience.
Solstice means "standing still sun." Ancient cultures all over the world from the Mayans to modern pagans have observed the skies for guidance and knowledge. Our Neolithic ancestors carved notches in bone that appear to be tracking the cycles of the moon.

Stone Henge, a most famous observatory for viewing celestial activity, aligns with both solstices and equinoxes.

Ireland is home to a lesser known observatory, older than Stone Henge and even the pyramids- Newgrange. This site is 5,000 years old!(3200 BC)
A beam of sunlight peers down into its deep chamber at the dawn of the Winter Solstice. Celtic-like carvings can be found on its walls, even though the Celts would not reach Ireland for another 2500 years. Among these carvings can also be found eye shapes and solar discs.
New Gragne Tri-Spiral  Newgrange Winter Solstice
In Zimbabwe, there is a circle of crumbling of stones, known as the African Stone Henge. The position of the tall tower causes researchers to believe that this ring was used like other ancient observatories to study the moon, sun and planets. Some of the monoliths line up with the bright stars of Orion on the morn of the Winter Solstice. There is a tower among the monoliths, which one researcher, Richard Wade, thinks may have been built to observe an exploding star in the year 1300 AD.
When modern telescopes observe the area now, there seems to be evidence of a supernova that occurred at the time Wade suggests. Even though there is no written record of it, for lack of literacy of the region hundreds of years ago, Zimbabwean legends tell that their ancestors migrated from the north to the south by following the bright star in the southern skies. 

Moonlight Sonata

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Missile Toe

Frigga, the Norse goddess of Love, Beauty and Marriage, who also weaved the clouds and made rain and thunderstorms, had a son named Baldur, a most beloved god. He was one day killed by an arrow through his heart made from this poisionous parasite. His mother wept tears that became the white flowers of mistletoe. Frigga brought her son back to life and reversed the ominous reputation of mistletoe. Not wanting others to suffer, she ordered that instead of death, the plant bring love and peace. And throughout time, if enemies happened to meet under a tree whereupon a mistletoe hung, they would have to lay down their arms and declare a truce until the following day.

-In winter, while all the leaves of the sacred Oak had fallen away, the mistletoe remained green; it was thought to contain the life of the tree.

-Mistletoe is considered parasitic because it sends a very different root system, called haustoria, down to the roots of its host and exracts nutrients

-Mistletow actually means 'dung on a twig' (Anglo-Saxon: mistle= dung, tan= twig) for it was usually seen growing where birds had left droppings! Later, botanists discovered that mistletoe grew from seeds passed from birds' digestive tract.

-Druids considered mistletoe sacred for its medicinal qualities and was used during fertility rites

-In modern times, mistletoe is being studied as to if it could be used to cure cancer


Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Nut Cracker

Mental disorders fascinate me; I want to study the brain and know why! Alas, mental disorders will always haunt me. As a child, I was always tormented by panic-provoking thoughts and fears of abandonment. None of my fears and anxiety, even if they were normal for a child, were ever validated; I was always told I was overeacting or too sensitive. A child never overreacts- they just react.
The same brain chemistry and activity that propells me to write creatively taunts my mind with a sort of brain tourettes- horrilble images and ideas flash without warning in my head and can make me sick and faint. In 2005-06, I became reclusive, fearing I may pass out in public for no physical reason at all, which frieghtend me more. When I forced myself to go to work, as a cashier at a local grocery store, and college, my entire day was spent obessively trying to stay busy to force my mind to think of normal things. I was constantly talking to myself mentally to calm myself down. It was exhausting! My palms were always clamy and I had I had a persistant feeling of needing to run away from whereever I was. If you have ever seen an animal dying, or near death, trying to run and hide somewhere away from the danger- that is the best way I can describe how I felt. The danger is within and inescapable. At the end of the day I settled into bed, only to fall victim of the thoughts waiting on my pillow to become nightmares. I spent many nights sitting up, reading until my eyes physically could not stay open.
I finally went to the doctors after reading about panic disorders and the brain. My tormenting thoughts always obsessed over blood, injuries and gruesome torture. And, ofcourse, before any diagnosis, they had to do bloodwork! It was not an over-active thyroid or any other physical condition causing my weary feelings and dread. My mohter went with me to the lab. I sat in the chair with my head between my knees the entire... hour, it seemed, in an overcrowed, timy room. People kept asking me and my mother what was wrong. I couldn't lift my head up- being too weak from having to fast the eve before and the gripping fear of needles and blood leaving my body, the smell of rubbing alchohol, the cold February wind whistling through the door, atleast I have a reason to be shaking, the sun making the pavement shimmer blindlingly and creating that light that I can't describe but depresses the hell out of me! the people coughing, the phone ringing and the WAITING. Everyone in the room, seemed concerned about me. My mom sat next to me, talking listening to an older woman talk about her senile mother, who fell backwards into her giant planter. The image of it made me laugh a little. When it was finally my turn, one man said to me, "we want to see you walk out of there!" While laying on the table, that they had to clear off, b/c most people can remain upright during this primitive process, the song playing from the speaker above me was Tom Petty's Waiting is the Hardest Part. Tell me about it! After it was done, I layed there for a while and my mom eventually helped me up and we walked out to the waiting room- everyone applauded me!
 My dr gave me a pill that I could pop in my mouth whenever I felt the attack coming. I used them for a few months along with some therapy she recommended. Sitting, waiting, to talk to the therapist- anything in my hands became twisted, brittle and damp from my sweaty palms. My legs wobbled like a dog's going to the vet or a fawn learning to walk.
Therapy didn't help much. The woman was exteremly wise and kind and patient, yet she couldn't save me from my own head. After some time under this care and some complications with the insurance company (I actually had insurance at that time!) I decided to quit. I read more in detail about brain chemistry. I decided that my head just wasn't working normally and therapy alone was not going to help me. I went back to my doctor, and told her I wanted to try the daily pill we had discussed the first visit. It was Paxil. I began that in 2006 and within the first week I felt happy and the tormenting thoughts were still there in the distance, but I could rationalize and ignore them with extreme ease. I thought more logically and clearer. The only thing that I hated about it was that it quelled my creativity and made me very tired. To this day, at age 25, I still am medicated with Paxil- a fairly low dosage at 20mg. Even though I am a success on the meds, I still suffer from another disorder, or family tradition, alchoholsim.
image from

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gimme What I Want and Noone Gets Hurt

Barack Obama is the first president that inspires me. He is the most in touch with America. He is concerned about and fighting for improvement in education, healthcare and the unbalanced state of our country. When asked why he didn't fight more for his plans during the recent tax cuts bill, President Obama ended up using an analolgy, when clear, simple logic didn't seem to be working, "do not negociate with hostage takers, unless the hostages will get harmed." We, the American people, are the hostages. President Obama's # 1 priority is THE PEOPLE. The Republicans priority is obviously not us. Republicans consider tax cuts for their wealthy friends their "political doctrine", their "Holy Grail". Boener has said that his agenda now is to get President Obama and his Democrats out of Congress. I haven't heard anything from Republicans stating that they are willing to do whatever necessary to help recover our country. They are not willing to put aside their pride and greedy agenda to improve the impoverished, unbalanced, weak state of America.
$700 billion dollars is what it will cost to continue the wealthy tax cuts. To defend tax cuts for the wealthy, Republicans are saying that it will create jobs and therefore recover the economy. Yet, evidence of this is nil. While these tax breaks were active for the past 10 years, unemployment and the state of the economy was the worst it has ever been since The Great Depression. Things did not start to improve until President Obama took charge of the Hill. President Obama seems to be the most reasonable person on the Hill. He is to me the most qualified person to be president I have ever seen. He came from modest means, witnessed the hardships of a single family home, a sick mother and worked his way up to Harvard law professor and now president. He knows what the American people need and what to do to catch our nation up to the rest of the world. He is fighting for children who are growing  up like he did, so that they can have things a bit easier than he had; he wants them to have top notch education healthcare, and nutrition. He understands what it's like to be poor with ambition and have ALL the odds against you. He said last night that he did not want to make the American people "collateral"damage" caused by the current stalemate. I am considered very liberal, who are now all fired up over Obama trying to bargain with the people who are trying to sabotage his career and efforts to strengthen America, yet I feel Obama is forced to be a peacemaker between his fiery liberals and the stiff, immature Republicans who want to fillibuster and block all ideas. who considere tax cut for their wealthy friends their "political doctrine", their "Holy Grail". Our President doesn't want to get caught up in the fight of representatives on both sides "busy scoring political points."  Here is what he fought for and achieved, even up against a new majority of Republicans and a loss of popularity and siupport by the people: college tax cuts, middle class tax cuts- he said, 2 million Americans lost jobs, needing unemployment, many are single parent raising child, and or payinmg for college, they will get tax breaks, because of him, he cut payroll taxes, which adds about $1000 per year to the typical American family. small buisnesses will see tax breaks because of Obama. To consider what can we get done now is vital because the economy is not in its strongest. We need to pick our battles and chose the most tactful time to strike against the Republicans.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

We Are What They Eat

President Obama presented a bill, H.R. 4870, that would make nutritional meals in schools a priority. It would rid them of the junk, unhealthy foods and replace it with healthy foods that would help children feel their best and be able to focus. With less sugar in their systems the children can settle down and not bounce all over and scream and holler. Many children go to school hungry and cannot focus in class. Hunger makes one tired, irritable, sick, weary and causes headaches. I know myself, when I am hungry or eat junky food, I feel lazy and sleepy; my work suffers and my mind feels foggy. When I have a glass of O.J. and some cereal and fruit, I feel eager to start my day and my productivity is good.
There is a domino effect- poor food, and or lack of food, makes for unattentive, students. Unattentive students get bad grades. Students who get bad grades can't get into college. Students who can't get into college can't get good jobs and they continue to live in poverty and become victims of gangs and drugs. This contributes to an unstable, dangerous society for all of us. The Republicans think this bill is unecessary, but, as I mention in my last article, they are planning to vote "nay" on anything the Democrats propose. It seems we should give this idea a chance- teach children to take care of their minds and bodies and fuel them with good, nutritious foods so they can have a chance to make better decions. Maybe gym classes should offer activities like Yoga to help calm the more overactive students. Instead of competive sports, offer self-improving activites that teach children to believe in their strengths and not be embarrassed and kill their confidence when they fail to hit the ball, or make the hoop. All these are essential to contribute to a happy, confindent youth who will then be less likely to end up on a wayward path of self-destruction. 
Call Congress ToadyKey Provisions
  • Pilot Program: The Healthy School Meals Act directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct a pilot program in which the secretary provides selected school districts with plant-based protein products (center of the plate entrée items like vegetable burgers) and nondairy milk substitutes to evaluate free of charge. The USDA will conduct an evaluation of the pilot program and will be allocated $4 million for program implementation.
  • More Plant-Based Commodities: Following the pilot program, the USDA will purchase plant-based alternate protein products and nondairy milk substitutes to make available to schools through the commodities purchase program and provide training materials regarding nutritional benefits and preparation of these products.
  • Incentives for Schools to Offer Healthy Plant-Based Meals: School districts where at least two-thirds of the students are offered plant-based entrées on each daily lunch menu will receive supplemental commodity assistance of 25 percent of their total commodity assistance, which can be used to purchase additional plant-based foods (including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains) through the USDA commodities program.
  • Increased Availability of Cow’s Milk Alternatives: An increasing number of children cannot drink milk due to lactose intolerance, allergy, or preference, and are therefore falling short nutritionally. Therefore, schools participating in the School Lunch Program shall offer a fluid milk substitute that meets USDA nutritional standards for calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients. Students will no longer need to provide a written note to choose a milk alternative, and schools will be reimbursed for meals that include a healthful milk alternative.
“To my mind, work will help people live fairly. That is why in my picture I depict people working in the garden. They have worked hard and their harvest is rich.”
Mariam Marukyan,13

Do They Know it's Christmastime?

The Republicans have once again proven their agenda to be selfish, immature and chauvinistic. McConnell recently delivered a note to Harry Reid stating that he, Boehner and all the other Republicans, will vote against any bills proposed by the Democrats; their objective is to get rid of Obama and stop any progress that he is making to help our country, which proves they have no beneficial ideas to save our country. I pray to God the American people realise this and keep them as far away from the White House as possible!