Live Words (Letter One)

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There are many things I want to tell you.

Maybe, one day, I’ll be able to.

I’ll talk to you about words.

We understand the meaning of a word in much the same way that we understand how to walk, or how to blow cool air into a hot mug of coffee. We walk, we blow, and we use words as if all of it has been wired into us long before we could protest. We don’t plan or even know about each muscle twitch that results in a walk or a blow. Most of us don’t know how cool air from our mouths mingles with and cools hot coffee.  We don’t think about every meaning that builds a word which flies from our mouths.

There is life elsewhere.

We use common words, but the sentences tumble from us alive. Every word means so much more. Every word has it’s own life, it’s own god.

I believe in spitting on words. I believe in chewing them up into pulp. This is how you make them belong to you, and until they belong to you, you will belong to them. For as long as you belong to them you are just a part human, part robot, wired and vomiting words that others have built with their own meaning.

Words are so beautiful that I think of them until they are raw. I do everything I can to them.  I spit, I chew, I roll, I love, I cherish, I abandon.  I’m lucky that I find them so beautiful.

Yours,

The Language Myth

For the past half-century, the dominant view in linguistics has been that human beings uniquely possess a hard-wired concept of language. This implies that all languages are related at a deep level, because all of them are created on the same fundamental grammar template. It explains how a child is able to readily learn any language.The idea, called Universal Grammar, was created by the linguist Noam Chomsky in the 1950s and has been enormously influential, not only in linguistics but also in fields such as psychology and philosophy. It’s still the standard view in most textbooks and has been popularised by Steven Pinker in The Language Instinct and later books.

However, the concept that language is an instinct, and a uniquely human one, has been challenged as a result of research in a number of fields in recent decades. We now know much more about how children acquire language, the diversity of the world’s languages, the evolution of the human species, the structure and function of our brains, and the ways in which other animals communicate. As a result, a vigorous debate is raging. Vyvyan Evans, the professor of linguistics at Bangor University in north Wales, has written The Language Myth to bring together the growing evidence against Universal Grammar. Continue reading The Language Myth

Dreams And Dreamers

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I discovered a new word:  Psychoportation

Psychoportation powers supposedly allow people to travel and influence time and space using the powers of their minds. A manifester can choose to travel alone, or or to take another living being or object along. As a believer in not believing anything until you feel or experience it, I was more than skeptical from the start, and it didn’t help when my research took me to the the Dungeons and Dragons Wiki page, or when a weird point system used as a currency to calculate travel potential kept popping up. I was just about to roll my eyes and close the Dungeons and Dragons Wiki page when I saw a word that has more power over me than most, dream. The term, “sex sells” would be “dream sells” if applied to my life, so I clicked on it, and it took me to a branch of psychoportation called “dream travel.”

The definition of “dream travel” given by the Dungeons and Dragons Wiki is littered with some nonsense, but amongst the nonsense I found parts that made a lot of strange sense to me. Here they are, removed from most of the jumble:

“You and any creature you touch are drawn along a crystal arc of reverie to the edge of conscious thought and into the region of dreams. You can take more than one creature along with you.”

 Delete the horrible phrase “crystal arc of reverie” and what is left is a “something” we all recognize: a dream. I’ve been touched by other dreamers…by their novels, their music, by the beauty they twist and fold into their own lives and into the lives of others, like me. Dreamers live beautifully. Their elegance doesn’t rely on things or opinions.

You physically enter the land of dreams, leaving nothing behind.
In the region of dreams, you move through a menagerie of thoughts, desires, and phantoms created by the minds of dreamers everywhere.

To leave nothing of yourself behind when entering a dream comes easily to some people. They are the ones who jump into it as if it were a blue pool or a warm bed. The people who are terrified of drowning sometimes creep in slowly, a toe, then a foot, then eventually the soul. Those who don’t find the courage might eventually be pushed in, violently, when they fall in love for example. They might search for it through substance abuse. The ones who never make it become empty, or preoccupied, or addicted, or empty and preoccupied and addicted. Many of them can be found on Wall Street on a Monday morning or at fashion week taking selfies and spending too much time thinking about being cool.

What happened to all the people who did enter into the dream? They are living amongst other dreamer minds, a menagerie of thoughts and desires. These people are writing novels, traveling, becoming doctors, healers, and teachers, and doing all of it with sincerity. Dreams introduce us to the purest manifestation of passion, a passion that can only function and grow out of sincerity.

For every minute you move through a dream, you can “wake” to find yourself five miles displaced in the waking world. Thus, a character can use this power to travel rapidly by physically entering where only dreams normally prowl, moving the desired distance, and then stepping back into the waking world.

Dream travel can also be used to travel to other planes that contain creatures that dream, but doing this requires crossing into the dreams of outsiders, where you are subject to the vagaries of many dream realities—a potentially perilous proposition. 

Any creatures that come along when dream travel is manifested also make the transition to the borders of unconscious thought. A creature separated from you wanders off into the dreamscape.

When the duration ends, all affected creatures return to the waking world as much as 1,000 miles (d%x10) from their starting point. If a creature remains in the dreamscape, it is powerless to leave unless it can manifest the dream travel power itself or someone who manifests the power seeks out the lost creature.

Through dreaming we grow. My imagination is wild. When I was a kid I never thought of it. It was just just there, deeply human, like a lung, or a heart, or blood, or something else I could’t imagine being without. By the time I got to high school I had already developed a sort of divine discontent with reality. Dreams redefined that so called reality and turned it into something beautiful once again.

If you struggle to dream, or if a dream seems too far away, then you need to read more, breathe deeper, listen to more music and less advice.

The Strangest Person In The World

Self-Portrait
1926
Oil on canvas
31 x 23 in
Private collection, Mexico City

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” – Frida Kahlo

Continue reading The Strangest Person In The World

The Stubborn Child (A Grimm’s Fairytale)

Grimm’s Fairy Stories
Title Page from Published Book
Published by Cupples and Leon Company (1922)
Illustrated by John B. Gruelle and R. Emmett Owen

Once upon a time there was a stubborn child who never did what his mother told him to do. The dear Lord, therefore, did not look kindly upon him, and let him become sick. No doctor could cure him and in a short time he lay on his deathbed. After he was lowered into his grave and covered over with earth, one of his little arms suddenly emerged and reached up into the air. They pushed it back down and covered the earth with fresh earth, but that did not help. The little arm kept popping out. So the child’s mother had to go to the grave herself and smack the little arm with a switch. After she had done that, the arm withdrew, and then, for the first time, the child had peace beneath the earth. Continue reading The Stubborn Child (A Grimm’s Fairytale)

The Full Moon In Cancer: Let Go

Found on Pinterest. Search: Full Moon

Moody, broody, topsy, turvy, waxing, waning, ebbing, flowing, crying, eating, dreaming, feeding, sensing, psyching, scheming, feeling, clutching, cooing, cooking, creating, birthing, parenting, homemaking and sideways walking right down memory lane.

Cancer.

This sign has been described as a whiny baby and Great Mother of all. If any sign encompasses the parent/child dynamic it is this one. Cancer rules one planet and one planet only; the moon. In our own personal charts the moon symbolizes our childhoods, how we were nurtured, nourished and how we felt in connection to the body, mind and soul of the one who birthed us. Momma moon tells the tale of our most vulnerable state of being, the beginning and development of our minds and bodies, hearts and personalities, our little lives entirely dependent on those around us.

The moon wants safety. Cancer wants security. Being a parent isnt about wild nights and hefty hangovers, unless you count not sleeping for years on end and having other people spit up on every top you own. Being a child is full of risks but our psychology demands a secure lap to run back to or else we develop some pretty interesting survival techniques. And the fact of the matter is that most of us end up with the latter. Most of us didnt get to experience the kind of safety, attention, support and praise that we needed in order to become self-defining adults with healthy self-esteem and a good nose for staying out of danger.

Oh well.

We must start from where we are. We must move from our center even if thats a little off kilter. We must do the best that we can until we can do better. Continue reading The Full Moon In Cancer: Let Go

What a Shaman Sees in A Mental Hospital

Source: Niger and Dahomey Photographs, photographer unknown, 1908-9

The Shamanic View of Mental Illness

by Stephanie Marohn

In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé.  Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.

What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.”  The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm.  “Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field,” says Dr. Somé.  These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm.

One of the things Dr. Somé encountered when he first came to the United States in 1980 for graduate study was how this country deals with mental illness.  When a fellow student was sent to a mental institute due to “nervous depression” Dr. Somé went to visit him.

“I was so shocked.  That was the first time I was brought face to face with what is done here to people exhibiting the same symptoms I’ve seen in my village.”  What struck Dr. Somé was that the attention given to such symptoms was based on pathology, on the idea that the condition is something that needs to stop.  This was in complete opposition to the way his culture views such a situation.  As he looked around the stark ward at the patients, some in straitjackets, some zoned out on medications, others screaming, he observed to himself, “So this is how the healers who are attempting to be born are treated in this culture.  What a loss!  What a loss that a person who is finally being aligned with a power from the other world is just being wasted.”

Another way to say this, which may make more sense to the Western mind, is that we in the West are not trained in how to deal or even taught to acknowledge the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world.  In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated.  When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening.  The result can be terrifying.  Without the proper context for and assistance in dealing with the breakthrough from another level of reality, for all practical purposes, the person is insane.  Heavy dosing with anti-psychotic drugs compounds the problem and prevents the integration that could lead to soul development and growth in the individual who has received these energies. Continue reading What a Shaman Sees in A Mental Hospital

Vintage Photography: Niger and Dahomey (1908-9)

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The daily life of villagers and occupying French forces in early 20th-century Africa is captured in this rare group of photographs from Niger and Dahomey (Benin). Included are portraits of local chiefs, pictures of vernacular architecture, and even a few images of fetishes from Abomey, formerly the capital of Dahomey and now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The First “Selfie” Ever: Robert Cornelius’s Self Portrait (1839)

Housed at Wikimedia Commons

A year ago the Oxford Dictionary announced that its word of the year for 2013 would be “selfie”, defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smart phone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” The rampant spread of the selfie is a fairly recent phenomena, but the selfie itself came long before you, me and the selfie plague of our day. The photographic self-portrait was highly common in the very early days of photography, a period of invention and exploration. Photographers were learning and experimenting, and, often, acting as their own models. In fact, the picture that is considered by many to be the first photographic portrait was a “selfie” taken in 1839. The photographer was Robert Cornelius, an amateur chemist and photo enthusiast from Philadelphia. He set the camera up at the back of his family’s store in Philadelphia and took the image by removing the lens cap and then rushing into the frame. On the back of the photograph he wrote “The first light Picture ever taken. 1839.”

New Moon In Sagittarius: An Emotional Spring

Image from Pinterest: Centaurs

My mother always pointed out the Full Moon on those terrifying nights when my father would turn into a glossy eyed, roaring maniac. Most of us are familiar with the Full Moon. It is an uncomfortable buildup. Emotional, confusing, often painful, and never light. More suicides take place on nights with a Full Moon than on any other night of the year. Lucky for us, today we have the very opposite of that, a New Moon–a new beginning–a fresh breath–a reason to hope and dream–a time to dream up reasons to hope. This moon is an emotional spring.

If you want to know more about today’s New Moon in Sagittarius, read this post by Chani Nicholas :

Every time the sun changes sign there is a palpable shift in energy. It’s much like shifting the light of a flashlight from one object to the next. On Saturday, November 22nd the sun will ingress from the dark, mysterious depths of Scorpio into the free-wheeling fire sign of Sagittarius. A couple of hours later, at 7:32 am, the moon will conjoin the sun there giving us this month’s new moon.

Sagittarius is a mutable sign meaning that it shakes loose one energy in preparation for the next. It’s a sign in between seasons. It’s no longer fall but it’s not quite winter. Mutable signs want to move things about. They were also called double-bodied signs and with Sadge this is quite literal. Half-horse-half-human, the symbol for this sign is a centaur and therefore moves in multiple ways. The half that is horse has stamina for days. Perhaps we could say that there is a mad dash kind of quality to the sign. Rushing through the details, Sagittarius might rely on over-exaggerations to make its point. Try telling a thoroughbred to go slow. Try telling an archer not to shoot. Try telling a Sagittarius to calm down.

Sagittarius has an insatiable appetite for knowledge, a great desire to roam, a yearning to grow, expand, open, excite, inspire, ignite and generously share its philosophies. The sign is magnanimous, hopeful and wants nothing more than to seek out wisdom. Something wonderful is always waiting just round the bend which is why this sign is happiest out on the open road.

Sagittarius usually vacillates between being excited and very excited. There’s a subtle aggression to this state of being. This sign can be obsessed with seeing the bright side, achieving enlightenment and living beyond human restraints. Ramblin’ fever can run deep. But in the end it doesn’t matter where we travel to or what adventures we are on if we haven’t become a better person for it. That’s why in its evolution Sagittarius the traveller wanders deep to become Sagittarius the philosopher. The one who can journey within. The one who knows that we can be the most, biggest, bestest achiever that there ever was but if we don’t feel love for ourselves in the moments in between the accolades or in the moment of our accusation then nothing that we seek and no amount of roaming we do can ever give us solace. The one who knows that existential angst is a part of the process of being a human. The one that knows that a thrill is fleeting but that wisdom serves us for a lifetime.

Read more here!