Archive for March, 2012
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A New Take on April Fool’s Day

Traditionally, April 1 is “April Fool’s Day,” an opportunity to play harmless and fun jokes and tricks on others.   Frankly, I’ve never been a fan.

Not much is known about the origin of this holiday.  One popular origin tale is that when the Gregorian Calendar  moved the first day of the year from April 1 to January 1, not everyone got the message, or simply chose to ignore it.

After all, there was no internet then to spread the word.  Those who continued to view April 1 as the first day of the year were called “Fools”.

But this story doesn’t hold water because the history of pranking on April 1 started long before the Gregorian Calendar came along in 1582, and it also has traditions around the world.

Another theory is that the timing of a day of pranks is tied to the arrival of spring, when nature “fools” humankind with fickle weather.  That explanation makes sense to me, particularly this year.

Do we really want to fool people?

Tobacco: Do you know how sacred it is?

tobacco plant and flower

Tobacco plant and flower

Tobacco is an herb that has become a pariah in our society, yet is sacred to many native peoples.  It wasn’t meant to be used and smoked the way we use it in our society.

My first teacher, Sun Bear, had a wonderful saying:

“White people misused tobacco, the sacred medicine of the native people, and it made them sick.  When native people misused white peoples’ medicine, the sacred wine of the mass, it became their undoing.”

We must respect one another’s medicines.

 The unknown spiritual life of tobacco

Tobacco has the quality of being able to absorb.  When made into a poultice, it can absorb toxins out of a rash or bug bite.  When you pray with it, it absorbs your prayers. And when smoked, the smoke carries your prayers up to the Creator.

Desiderata

The desiderata is a much loved poem written by American writer Max Ehrmann in 1927.  Largly unknown during Ehrmann’s lifetime, It became well-known after being found at Adlai Stevenson’s deathbed in 1965.

In response to losing the majority in the Canadian Federal election in 1972, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau quoted the Desiderata in reassuring the nation that “the universe is unfolding as it should.”

While the writing may seem stilted by today’s standards, the sentiments expressed are profound.  And our lives will be better if we embrace them.

What does the first day of spring mean for us?

“I’m not interested in any philosophy unless it can help me grow corn.”  Sun Bear

spring equinoxMeaning, “it gives me practical help in my life.”  This post is about how celebrating the Spring Equinox can do just that.

This year the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is March 20, 1:14 a.m. Eastern Time: a day of equal balance of the hours of light and dark before the sun continues its journey towards longer daylight hours and warming temperatures.  The word equinox comes from the latin words meaning “equal night.”

The equinox energy is strong for four days before and after March 20th, giving us time to bask in the opportunities and lessons it brings.

WE ARE ONE WITH THE EARTH

 Ancient cultures throughout history have celebrated this time of rebirth of Mother Earth. But what does it mean for us?

Irish Soda Bread recipe from my Irish Grandmother

Irish Soda BreadThis recipe for Irish Soda Bread comes from my Nana Sue, born in Larah, County Caven.  A warm woman with a sharp wit, she raised six children and loved to cook.  This recipe has been handed down to each generation.

Best served fresh from the oven, I swear men have asked me to marry them after tasting it.

Other than the marriage proposals, the best part is that it’s not a yeast bread, so it’s very easy to make.  It’s the interaction of the baking soda and buttermilk that makes it rise.

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