Name Your Age

People with names I associate with my school days are showing up in retirement announcements. I am accustomed to Linda and Bob aging out of the office. But now, Heather and Kyle are collecting social security.

Once Courtney and Tanner are up for AARP, I’ll know my daisy days approach.

Litha 2019

Litha 23 June 2019 UUFM
Litha, an Anglo-Saxon word for the month of June. It was also used by JRR Tolkien and thereby gained favor in the Wiccan community. Pagans adopted the term for the Summer Solstice holiday.
At this Solstice, the Earth’s axis tilts the north pole as close as it will come to the Sun’s position. This creates the longest day of the year, and the shortest night for people in the northern half of our world. This is the beginning of Summer.
Astronomical observatories around the world, including Old Stone Fort Archeological Park in Manchester, TN and the world famous Stonehenge in southern England, observe this event. The Sun rises at the farthest point north on the horizon. The following day, it begins to rise further south on the horizon each day. Poetically, returning to its “home” in the Southern quadrant of “fire”.
Astrologically, this holiday begins the sign of Cancer, the crab, the lobster, the pinching hard-shelled, sweet-inside creatures. I used M&M’s to demonstrate cancerian energies in an Astrology class I taught.
The Astrological cycle is the solar, agricultural calendar. It is about 5,000 years old, developed by Babylonians. Babylonians, you see, did not have a Walgreens from which to buy your annual wall calendar. Farming communities needed a device, a mnemonic, to keep people attuned to the intense work of farming. Farming is not a natural way; agriculture coerces the world into giving you what you need, often with excess. Humans grew up as hunter-gatherers, getting what they need from the natural world. Agriculture is artificial, so you need devices like calendars and holidays to keep people engaged.
Cancer is the sign of mothering: nurture, protect, care and feeding. This is the time of year to nurture growing crops. Tend to them, water them, fuss over them as the heat grow intense.
This is the best time of year to harvest and dry medicinal herbs. The leaves are full grown and still contain theri effective compounds and essential oils. Those get used up dealing with heat, and also with developing seeds. Cut, bundle and hang them to dry out of direct sun and rain. Usually they are dry enough to store after 3 days.
Water your animals, too. They also need care in summer’s heat. In fact, this is a good time of year to nurture your own self. Relax, enjoy nature in its fullest growth. Rest, take vacation (perhaps to the beach!) Watch butterflies, lightning bugs, dragonflies and birds.
If you cannot stand hot weather, try eating spicy food every day. It can help you build your heat tolerance. Thai, Indian, Mexican cuisines are meant to help people deal with hot weather.
To best grasp the essence of this holiday, I want you to imagine sunlight sparkling on water. *~*~*~*
Wiccans know that at this holiday, the Oak King is defeated by the Holly King, in their eternal struggle for dominance. Oak rules as daylight grows, and sees to the budding of springtime. Holly, who rules when daylight wanes, will lose again at Yule, the Winter Solstice.
This is the time of year to honor your wells, your water source. Humans are fascinated by sparkling things – glitter, jewelry, suncatchers – because in the wild we have a real need to find and recognize water sources.
This is a time of year to honor the fae, your land spirits. They are heady with joy at this height of wilderness growth.
This is the time of year to honor the Sun, by whatever name you call it. Lugh, Apollo, Ukko, Ra, Nyame, Surya, Amaterasu, Enulanuhi, Xi He, just a few names. Also keep in mind that most pantheons have more than one deity associated with the Sun: the orb itself, its controller, its admirer, its primary magician or astronomer, its positions thru out the day.
How does one honor a well, a water source? Traditionally with flowers, branches that demonstrate growth, ribbons or rags (perhaps washing rags?), pins and jewelry. Create a water source for wildlife, if you can: a birdbath, rain garden, or small pond.
I wonder, tho, if the jewelry was a gift begging the well to produce during drought. Wells are treasure troves for archaeologists, and I think the archeologists are correct in this case, when they surmise an act to be religious.
How does one honor the fae? First, show respect. They are ancient and have long memories. If you wish to visit them, visit during the “between” times of day: dawn, sunset, midnight. Take good care of your gardens, trees, and property; the best care you can give. The fae know if you are doing your best. Do not cause unnecessary harm to insects or small animals. Plant things that attract those bees, butterflies and birds I suggested you watch, earlier. Bless your own land with offerings of cream, honey, shiny or bright-colored beads or candies. I am told they love jelly beans.
How does one honor the Sun? Watch the sunrise, use suncatchers, dance in spirals, spin, set out pinwheels, dress in yellow and orange. At Yule, we keep watch during the long night to see the Sun rise again. At Litha, spend the day outside if we can, and watch the sun set as well. Eat round, yellow cookies like vanilla cremes or lemon cookies, drink herb tea, set out a bowl of water to reflect the sunlight.
How do Americans celebrate? Did you know that Americans celebrate this holiday? We are a Cancerian nation, our national birthdate is the 4th of July. Our culture values motherhood, protectiveness, home life. We like to celebrate this time of year with cookouts, reunions, music, bright colored clothes, fireworks, swimming.
Other cultures celebrate, too. Many build bonfires, but to me it seems that nearly every festival involves a bonfire. One tradition is for young people to jump over the fire to capture the prosperity of this time of year. (Mostly, only the young people will do this.) Catholics honor St John the Baptist – again, water and light.
Litha is a time of prosperity and abundance. I recommend you bundle up your good things, and enjoy them.

At What Cost?

Every day, I wonder what good things could be done with the money we instead spend on bombers and tanks.

How many solar panels is one stealth bomber worth? How many homes could get clean water thru upgraded pipes for the cost of a fighter jet?

We have a plethora of war machines in storage, but continue to order more.

In the mean time, there is so much need in the USA for mass transit, clean energy, repaired bridges. We have so much polluted land we “cannot afford” to clean up.

The USA honors war.

Living in a Movie

On the 11th of September 2001, as I watched the television and sobbed, people around me repeatedly said,

“It is like a movie!”

August 2018: Reports of the most intense heat waves ever seen are coming in. Death Valley was at 127f three days in a row. LA reached 111f. Quebec and Finland both reported the hottest temperature ever recorded in their histories.

https://www.axios.com/global-heat-wave-stuns-scientists-as-records-fall-4cad71d2-8567-411e-a3f6-0febaa19a847.html

A city in Oman recorded the hottest nighttime low ever. It did not get below 109f. AT NIGHT. I have never seen 109f during the DAYTIME.

This is dire news. It is not interesting, it is not crazy. It is dire.

So.

Americans mostly do not understand science. Scientists keep talking but we do not understand what they mean. 2 degrees celsius means nothing, it is sound without meaning, it is gibberish to Americans.

What we do understand are movies. So! Here is Climate Change in a nutshell:

Mad Max actually happened in Ohio.

Let that sink in. Give it a few seconds.

The size of this problem is planetary. See, we keep thinking the effect will be weaker because the planet is so big. We keep thinking it will mostly just affect the coasts. We keep thinking it will happen in the future. We are wrong. It is the other way around. The planet’s size is speeding up our greenhouse effect.

Lakes are heating up, fast. Rivers are drying out. Water is sterile enough at 120f to wash dishes. The oceans are not just getting bigger, they are getting hotter. 2018 is seeing enormous wildlife die-offs. Flocks of birds are collapsing in the heat and dying. Cattle are cooking to death in the fields. 1000 and 2000 year old baobob tree groves – supremely adapted to desert heat – are suddenly dying.

If we are going to live, we have to pull together like the Avengers, like the Seven Samurai, like the Rebellion against the Empire. The time is now. Right now.

 

Immigration

Dear Senator Corker,

I am disturbed to learn that people coming to our United States of America in need of asylum, are instead being jailed. Jail is not a place for people in need of help. Neither are containment camps. Do we no longer consider a person to be innocent until proven guilty?

Even if a person has entered without proper documents, this is a misdemeanor, correct? Equivalent to impersonating a member of 4-H, or wearing the US flag as clothing?

I am even more disturbed to learn that parents are separated from their children. This is wrong, unless there is proof of abuse.

It is a sad thing to treat people with a presumption of guilt. This is not how I, as a citizen, want people treated when they come into our country.

Please do what you can to return the USA to a more sensible handling of immigration and asylum seekers. Our government should work with people to document their entry, and treat them humanely in the process.

Thank you.

Notes on School as I would Have It

4 quarters of the year, 10 weeks each
3 weeks off beginning of each season (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter)
Child begins Kindergarten the season after they turn 5 years

K thru 12 campuses include gardens, trails, sport arena, greenhouse, zoo and/or small farm
Breakfast, Lunch & afternoon snack (balanced, good nutrition) free

Fluent in ASL by 6th grade
Fluent in a foreign language by 12th grade
Latin K-12

Comprehensive Physical Education:
Line dance K-3, Contra dance 4-7, Square dance 8-12
Yoga, martial arts, Gymnatstics in Winter & Summer
Team Sports in Spring, Autumn
Missiles & targets: stones K-3, archery 4-6, pellet 7-8, BB 9-10, handguns 11-12
First aid K-6
CPR 7-12
Marching and queueing K-3
Hiking and Orienteering 4-12

Debate and public speaking taught from 2nd grade
Memorize the Preamble by 3rd grade
Memorize the Constitution by 6th grade
Memorize the Bill of Rights by 12th grade

Singing and drumming K – 3
Singing and keyboard or recorder 3 – 6
Singing and another instrument 7 – 12

Science
Astronomy K-12, beginning with Moon phases
Biology includes horticulture, animal husbandry
Physics includes hand missile sports

Reading includes reading for fun, recitation, writing, and book clubs

Home Economics taught in Mathematics class 1 – 12
Horticulture taught in Science class K – 12
History includes drama, art, and language
Geography includes culinary, horticulture
Sewing is taught in Geometry 6-10
Drafting is taught in Shop 11-12
Scorekeeping is taught in Mathematics

Failure is acceptable part of process
Strengths enhanced, weaknesses mitigated
Every person registered to vote when they turn 18
Every person serves 2 military or civil service upon graduating
2 years of College or Trade School is free

 

 

Picking a Lane?

Did you know that the word “idiot” was introduced as a technical, non-insulting word to describe someone that had a low IQ? It quickly turned into an insult. So, they replaced it with the word “retarded” because that just means “slowed down”. It quickly turned into an insult. So, they replaced it with the word “handicapped”, a sports term that meant you had more of a burden to bear. It quickly turned into an insult. So they replaced it with the term “special”, which meant unusual in a positive way…which is quickly turning into an insult.

Maybe we should just stop being insulted by these words.

It is neither a compliment or an insult to be classified alongside any other lane of intellectual traffic. Some people are slow, some people are medium, some people are fast. Together, we are all People.