Glossary and Other Interesting Things
or Random Thoughts by David
P - R
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Annah bakes the best bread. After months of research and a synchronistic moment, we finally discovered the perfect recipe for our favorite bread -- which is quite close to Pane Bello bread in flavor and texture. The research included cookbooks and cooking magazines. (Annah reads these things like novels.) The synchronicity involved my standing in line at our favorite bakery when I overheard the head baker discussing with another baker his trick of putting dark malt in his Pane Bello bread. "Ah ha!" I thought, "the secret ingredient!"-- which it was! Yum!
Here is our bread recipe: (The "Biga" is the other secret.)
ARTISAN BREAD -- Sunset Magazine Nov. 2001/ Annah's variation
The night before you plan on making the bread, make the "BIGA".
1/4 c warm water
Sprinkle 1/4t dry yeast
Let sit till it foams
Add 1/2c cold water and 1-1/2 c flour
Stir into a soft dough, cover with plastic and refrigerate 12-24 hours.
3/4t active dry yeast 1c warm water
3T dark malt extract
1-1/4c cold water
1c whole wheat flour (grind 1 cup of wheat berries, it makes the right amount). About 5 cups flour total
In the bowl of the Kitchenaid, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Let stand until it's foamy; about 10 minutes.
Add the malt, cold water, Biga, salt, the whole-wheat flour and 3 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Beat with the paddle attachment on low speed until well blended. Gradually add the rest of the flour, until you have a soft dough.
Switch to a dough hook and bead on medium speed until dough is smooth. You can add a little bit of extra flour, but not too much -- it should still be sticky. Beat for 6-8 minutes.
Dump it out onto a floured board and knead it until it is smooth and elastic. It starts off really soft and sticky, but firms up within a few minutes of kneading. It is better if it's not kneaded as much as some bread: leave it a little soft.
Put the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a cloth. Let it rise in a cool location for 2 to 2-1/2 hours (until it's doubled). Punch dough down, re-cover and let rise again until doubled; about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
Place dough on counter, flatten and divide in half. With lightly floured hands gather each half into a ball and make the dough round and even. Place loaves on a cornmeal-covered surface (like the back of a cookie sheet, or an oven peel if you have one, or a cookie sheet that has a open end -- something you can push them off of!) Or put them into clay loaf pans.
Cover them with the towel again and let them rise until they are puffy and hold the imprint of a finger when lightly pressed in -- about 1-1/2 hours. Slash the top of the loaf in an X shape.
Heat oven to 425 and put the baking stone in it to heat. When the oven is hot, gently slide the loaves onto the stone (one on each corner, not touching). Spray 3-4 squirts of water on the floor or sides of the oven (careful not to spray near the heating element or the light bulb), quickly closing the oven door.
Lower the heat to 400 and bake bread, spraying twice more at 5-minute intervals during the first 15 minutes of baking, until crust is well browned -- about 35 to 45 minutes total.
Cool on a rack for about 1 hour, and store in a paper bag at room temperature up to 2 days. To re-crisp the crust, place loaves directly on a rack in a 400 oven for about 5 minutes.
Did I say "Yum!"?
At some point in history something happened and there were shifts that replaced the various matriarchal cultures with a patriarchal God worshipping, male governed cultures. This changed things in the world. Some would argue that things have changed for the better, some argue that things are worse.
I suspect that both are true. We gained some things and lost some things.
I am actively promoting a third way. I am not interested in the perpetuation of the Patriarchy, nor am I interested in the return of the Matriarchy. Both are extremes that will always battle each other due to their polarity. I am looking for the union, the marriage of male and female. Out of such a union of energies some new form of being-ness will emerge. Something that will transcend humanity. It is our next evolutionary step.
For a fun, fictional (?) exploration of the Patriarchy/Matriarchy conspiracy, struggle especially as it relates to current religions read Dan Brown's book, The Da Vinci Code. It is a page turner and based on historical facts!
I used to wonder how medicines like aspirin were discovered. Frankly, the traditional scientific explanation has always seemed stupid to me. Basically they say that some tribal medicine person, by trial and error, figured out that if you eat willow bark your headache goes away.
Too many things have to be in place for this to work, in my book.
First you have to have the headache, or fever, or disease.
Second you then have to eat the plant to see if it fixes you.
By trial and error! Which means that while you are sick, somehow you have to go through a squamillion different plants, many of which will kill you(!), to discover that:
"Yup, that worked." Or "Nope, that one is poisonous (like Oleander leaves or Rhubarb leaves). I am now dead."
-- 'His last words to the apprentice medicine person were, "Gasp, choke, puke. Don't eat that one. Put it on the 'Yuk Face' list and carry on with my work! (croak)"' --
Right... Seems like it would only take a few such experiences to completely discourage apprentice medicine types from continuing in that occupation. Nope, it's back to buffalo hunting as a career choice.
My shamanic awakening transformed many aspects of my life and helped me to answer this puzzle. Since a basic shamanic belief is that everything is alive, conscious and responsive, it is possible to journey to meet with the spirit of the plant and learn what healing it offers a person.
You could think of plant spirit medicine as the next level above homeopathy. Working with the Spirit of the plant to heal. Sometimes that might include taking some physical extract of the plant but often it is just getting the healing energies from the plant and delivering them to the client to generate a healing.
Shamanism is high weirdness.
I have clients in many places. Portland is one of my favorite road trips to see clients. It is close (2 hours north) and is a beautiful city. It is divided up into neighborhoods and each has its own flavor.
Great restaurants, great art and a good public transit system. A wonderful place to visit. If I were going to live in a bigger city, Portland would be in my top 10 choices.
Everyone has the help and protection of spirit beings often in the form of animal spirits. Power animals are usually not domesticated animals and you can have more than one.
Even if a person has never heard of power animals they will have a special affinity for certain animals, or have had unusual experiences with certain animals. It is quite likely that this is their power animal trying to get their attention.
Sometimes these animals leave and then the person becomes sick, or has a run of bad luck. Other times we outgrow the power animal and need another one to help us into the next phase of our lives.
Power animals are powerful spirits that assume the form of animals -- perhaps it is the easiest way for humans to see and understand them, or maybe they like the look. They are not animals and sometimes you are allowed to see their alternate forms such as a human form.
Power animals are a volunteer position, a being who is offering an amazing gift of helping someone in his or her life.
What do we have to offer them? After all, they are essentially demigods in their power and wisdom. We can gift them in at least 3 ways:
1. Apparently there is rich reward for them in helping humans. So, the first gift is to bring them into our daily lives to help us, guide us and protect us. Call upon them for wisdom, ideas, direction, help, problem solving, etc. The more you actively engage them the more they will be there for you and the more you gift them.
2. Invite your power animals to dinner. Cook a meal and set aside a portion as offering to your power animals. Leave it out overnight and then the next day put the remainder out in the world for nature spirits to feed on too.
3. As Spirit beings they do not have physical bodies. The third way that you can gift, honor and thank your power animal(s) is by dancing your animal. You are gifting them the experience of being physical. This can take the form of literally dancing like your animal. Bring the animal into your body, move as it would move to the music.
Do this often.
One other thing to remember about power animals is that each animal is powerful -- an eagle is just as powerful as a mouse. The particular animal that you receive will have special traits that are important for your life now.
People are often surprised by their power animal. I am surprised when I go and find a mouse or a chicken for a client. I am thinking "Oh man, how am I going to tell this person that their power animal is a mouse?" (I am thinking they will want a lion or an eagle. Yet, often I learn that this person already has a special relationship with Mouse. My returning with Mouse as their Power Animal is a strong confirmation of the work.)
I know a woman whose power animal is Buffalo. She was bummed. She had no connection to Buffalo. She struggled trying to bring Buffalo into her life. Then, while on a vacation, she had to drive through a buffalo preserve in Montana. Now usually in these places you are lucky if you see one buffalo with your binoculars 20 miles away on a mountain top surrounded by camouflage. As you are guessing, she came up over a hill only to be forced to stop as an entire herd of buffalo completely surrounded her car. She became very clear about her connection with Buffalo in the 45 minutes that it took for the herd to pass.
Bringing your power animals into your daily experiences will enrich your life and magical connection to this amazing world we live in. It will provide you with guidance, healing, help and protection.
Prayer is one of the many gateways to the realm of Spirit. Dr. Elizabeth Targ studied the power of prayer to help people heal. A google.com search will produce 4,000 hits on her name and many articles, pro and con, about her research.
Dr. Targ describes the best way, in her opinion, to pray, "The good news is, there are lots of ways to pray and people will find the way that's best for them. What's important is to give yourself time to sit, to quiet the mind, and then to be with the person (or yourself) in your thoughts and heart. You could draw a picture of them, make an offering. The main thing is to stop talking about prayer and start doing it."
In my opinion, the proper way to pray is to be thankful for the gifts and solutions that Spirit is delivering. That is to say do not beg and whine and plead but rather assume that Spirit wants us to be healthy, whole, happy and prosperous. Assume that Spirit just needs to know what your specific needs are. Assume that Spirit is delivering on those needs and be totally and sincerely thankful for Spirit's generosity.
And what if Spirit doesn't deliver? Ah, the tough question. My answer is to look for the lessons that I am supposed to learn with regard to the unanswered prayer. And, of course, sometimes a prayer gets answered in ways that we do not recognize until much later.
Blessings and Thank you.
Chiron, the boatman for the River Styx in Greek mythology is the classic Psychopomp. The word means guide for the dead.
This is powerful work. I could spend 24/7 doing Psychopomp work. There are many, many souls who for various reasons are stuck in our plane of existence and need help finding their way to the Light -- to the lands of the dead -- to wherever it is we go after we die. Visit nursing homes and hospitals and you can feel the hundreds of souls hanging around. Battlefields are even more intense. Many of the dead do no know that they have died and are wandering around wondering why people are so rude and do not talk to them any more. The movie "The Sixth Sense" is a great exploration of this theme.
When I trained in Psychopomp work I had to sign a contract with the teacher that I would come back from the realm of the Light. It is such a beautiful place that shamanic practitioners sometimes find it hard to come back to this world. I also had to create a list of ten things that I loved in this world and would be reasons to return -- a kind of beacon that could be used in case I got stuck. Annah was top of my list.
If someone you know has died and you still feel like they are hanging about then that is a pretty good sign that they may be stuck or are being held back by some family member or other agenda. That is when Psychopomp work is called for. Some ghosts are also beings in need of this assistance. Other ghosts are just energy imprints on a geography, a house or a personal object. These too can be cleared but it is through other shamanic processes.
This is science's latest best description of why things exist. It is a primordial stew of energy that somehow manifests everything that is.
My favorite quantum theory is that there is actually only one quantum particle in the entire cosmos. This single particle creates the entire cosmos through quantum leaping -- that is, through movement from one location to another that is accomplished, somehow, with zero time passing (another great physics mystery that is measured and tested). This single particle is everywhere at once making all that is. I love the image of this frantic particle rushing everywhere in no time to make it all happen. And I think that I have a busy schedule.
Quartz is silicon dioxide and is very plentiful in our world. Beautiful too. There are lots of healing properties to quartz and to crystals in general. Quartz is also a dielectric. If you apply electricity to quartz it expands. If you hit it it sends out a pulse of electricity. This is the principle behind quartz watches. The quartz crystal vibrates at a very specific frequency and thus holds a highly accurate time pulse.
Quartz clearly has a relationship with energy -- holding it and directing it. This may be why it is so useful in guiding healing energy. Also in linking with a subtle energy field, i.e. the human brain, a quartz crystal ball can open a channel for seeing into other times and dimensions. The key piece is the human connection and the individual's abilities to clearly hold the intention for such a circuit.
This is a great piece of High Weirdness. Invented in the 1920's by Dr. Albert Abrams and further developed by Ruth Drown DC, and George and Marjorie de la Warr in the 1930's, radionics has challenged and puzzled people for a long time.
The short version is that Abrams discovered that different diseases have different signatures of energy. The idea is to locate the frequency of the disease and then, by use of the machines invented by De la Warr, broadcast (radiate) a neutralizing frequency to kill the disease. (There is much more to this process than I can go into here -- as usual a google.com search will bring you a gazillion web sites on the subject.)
Apparently they have had remarkable success in healing people. There was just one hitch. This hitch was such a big hitch (I believe this is a true story, not an FOAF), that for many years, and perhaps even today, it was illegal to own or operate a radionics machine in the United States.
What was the hitch? The machine worked whether it was plugged in or not! It worked on people via samples of their saliva or blood OR a photograph! It was not bound by distance (it worked on people thousands of miles away). It was not bound by rational science because it needed no physical sample to test (blood, saliva, etc.) and it didn't need a power source to generate the healing frequencies (or even locate the offending ones). Needless to say that many scientists and American Medical Association types had a very hard time with this information.
It works because the healer and the client held the intention that it would work. Sounds a bit like shamanism to me. I told you it was high weirdness. (And have you noticed that there is actually quite a bit of high weirdness in our world. This fact is what makes this life so interesting to me.)
Rattles are used in many shamanic cultures as a way of getting the attention of Spirit.
I was trained to use a rattle but it never felt at home with me. I still use them when called to but now I use a bell stick. This is a branch with several bells attached to it and comes from Celtic traditions. When I first saw a bell stick it was like a gong went off in my head. I knew it was a tool that I was supposed to use.
The home of a powerful spirit being, a plumed serpent, who is protecting the land around and including Evanston, Wyoming. I met this being once in some journey work there. She is amazing and she is very cautious about humans. Where she lives is beautiful.
There are many entries into these realms. Dreams, astral projection, shamanic journeys, mediations, etc. all provide openings to communication and communion with Spirit. We have the right and the ability to travel these realms. Power animals and other Spirit beings are our guides. We just need to learn the techniques and learn to listen.
I use rice to feed and welcome Spirit in many of the rituals I do.
A really wonderful tradition that many shamanic peoples have is to invite Spirit to dinner. Feeding Spirit rice or tobacco or a piece of your banana cream pie is a great way to honor and connect with Spirit.
Sometimes I make a meal and set a place for Spirit. The conversation is always interesting.
Of the multitude of ways to connect with Spirit, ritual magic has captured the imagination of the Western mind. It shows up in books and movies and television and legal cases.
One side of the magic/spiritual spectrum believes that all the ceremony, chants, summonings, incense, timings, etc. are critical to the success or failure of the Work. Like the circuit in a radio, if you do not have things aligned just right -- i.e. catch the full moon's reflection in a black bowl at midnight, June 21st -- then you will not be able to "tune in" to the station you are seeking.
The other end of the spectrum believes that all those activities are simply ways to focus the mind of the mage. Creating a vivid container to activate all the senses and to make the experience "alive". I tend toward this interpretation since it is my belief that intention is the true source of effective power and manifestation.
Robert Anton Wilson has crossed the veil and any new humor, insights, and irreverence from him must now be accessed via some kind of ritual/shamanic/dream/scrying process. He died on 1/11/2007 and is greatly missed. I wonder if he is pissed that he is missing all the December 21, 2012 hoopla (at least missing it from this side of the veil). Kind of feels a bit like Moses.
A little piece of ritual magic that I employ. The metaphor that I work with is the ability of salt to pull moisture and toxins out of the body. I use it to trap and hold negative spiritual energies in whatever form they appear.
A thirteenth century alchemist who supposedly wrote the Voynich manuscript.
Rongo Rongo is an undeciphered ancient script found on Easter Island. Those grand and power-hungry church fathers in their infinite wisdom (?) supposedly burned most of the examples of it as writings of the Devil. Very few examples still exist, unless you believe in the conspiracy theories that suggest that the catacombs of the Vatican hides and houses Many Important Things.
Don't get me started on the secrets of the Vatican.
Every human should have one of these for their life.
The Rosetta Stone provided the crucial breakthrough in translating Egyptian hieroglyphs.
The stone of Rosette is a basalt slab that was found in 1799 in the Egyptian village of Rosette (located in the western delta of the Nile). The stone contains three inscriptions of a decree of the priests of Memphis in honor of Ptolemaios V. (196 B.C.) -- a single text written in three different scripts.
The text appears as hieroglyphs (the official and religious texts), as Demotic (everyday Egyptian), and in Greek. The representation of a single text in three scripts enabled the French scholar Jean Francois Champollion (1790-1832) to decipher hieroglyphs. In addition, utilizing the Coptic language (language of the Christian descendants of the ancient Egyptians), Champollion demonstrated the phonetic value of the hieroglyphs proving that hieroglyphs have more than symbolic meaning. Hieroglyphs also served as a "spoken language".
It is currently kept at the British Museum in London.
I wish I had one to help me translate my dreams and the other symbolic experiences that daily fill my life.