Bergholz Amish Win Appeal

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.



It brings me no joy to report that Sam Mullet and his Bergolz Amish followers have won a victory in an appeals court and may "become loose" against the express wishes of many local Amish.

A deeply divided ruling from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals went against the jury's determination that the hair-cutting attacks, with which Mullet's minions terrorized the greater Amish community, constituted a religious hate crime.

The majority of those convicted had already completed, or nearly completed their sentences. The real issue, as ever, is with Bishop Mullet, whose fifteen year sentence offered his community a life free of his sexual demands on the women, physical abuse of their husbands, and the psychological control he exerts over all of his Bergholz Amish.

It is not illegal to run a cult. It is not illegal to extort sexual favors from adult women, in most cases. It is not even illegal to consign grown men to incarceration in chicken coops. It is illegal to terrorize neighboring communities with physical abuse and assaults on their dignity, and it is for this that Mullet and his co-conspirators were convicted.

The larger question from the beginning has been whether cutting off the hair and beards of other Amish constituted a hate crime, in other words, were the crimes motivated by religion.

Cafe



Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

A Shamanic View of Mental Illness-Tacey

What we diagnose as "mental illness" today grows ever more resistant to reason, logic, pharmaceuticals, or medicine. What if these are not illnesses of the mind, but diseases of the spirit? Author and scholar, David Tacey, explores how we would understand and treat mental illness if we understood that by shutting spirit out of our lives with our beliefs we have forced spirit to enter through the side door of illness. When we understand how spirit is trying to work with us through disease we can see that our suffering can be resolved or transformed only when we introduce the dimension of our soul into the healing equation. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as she shares Tacey's work from his book, Gods and Diseases, which offers a powerful example of the way in which looking at mental illness through a different lens opens up new possible paths to health and well-being.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Negative Thinking Associated with Longer Life

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.



"The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised." ~ George F. Will


The data in support of "negative thinking" keeps piling up. I have posted a number of things about studies and assessments showing that staying positive doesn't necessarily bring positive results for either our physical or mental health, and can even be detrimental. See here, here, here, here, here, and here, for a start.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal addresses some of the newer findings that show pessimism and negativity can be better for you, depending on the circumstances and your natural disposition.

Experts say pessimism can at times be beneficial to a person's physical and mental well-being. Some studies have found that having a more negative outlook of the future may result in a longer and healthier life. Pessimism and optimism are opposite ends of a spectrum of personality traits, and people generally fall somewhere in between. 

One study found that older people who were pessimistic about aging had better health outcomes and greater longevity.

A study published last year in the journal Psychology and Aging found that older people with pessimistic views of the future were more likely to live longer and healthier lives than those with a rosier outlook. The researchers used data from a nationally representative survey in Germany of about 11,000 people. Among other questions, people were asked how satisfied they were with their lives and how satisfied they thought they would be in five years.

Cafe



Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

The True Root of Illness-Maté

One significant root of disease is the chronic stress created in the body by suppression or denial of emotions and the resulting abnormal release of emotions. "Complex unconscious psychological stresses underlie and contribute to all chronic medical conditions, from cancer and addiction to depression and multiple sclerosis," states Dr. Gabor Maté. . Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as she continues to explore how looking at illness through a different lens opens up new possible paths to health and well-being. Given the message in Maté's work, an aspect of our path to health and well-being must be to learn to express our emotional life in timely, honest, and healthy ways. Since contemporary people have no idea what healthy emotional lives feel like, Maté offers us a template to investigate our emotional life and a standard for the emotional competence and honesty needed to support vital health and well-being.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Cafe



Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

A Shamanic View of Mental Illness-Somé

When we look at mental illness through a different cultural lens we can see something entirely different than the standard allopathic interpretation of the situation. There are other ways to look at what is actually happening to someone who has been diagnosed as "mentally ill." Malidoma Patrice Somé is committed to helping contemporary people to see that we can use ritual, albeit adjusted rituals, just as the Dagara people do to relieve the suffering at the core of "mental illness." Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as she explores the current work of Somé that shows that a different perspective opens up very different possibilities. Ritual can open the way for the individual's healing relationship with helping spirits that supports a cure or definitive movement out of the "mentally ill" state of being and back into the world as an individual better equipped than most to give their gifts to the world.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Dawkins Keeps Digging

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

 photo DawkinsBusesnBoobs_zpsac99bed7.jpg


Does someone maybe want to take the shovel away from Richard Dawkins? 

His recent Twitter battle, discussed here, is having a ripple effect I don't think he expected or intended. It's rather interesting to see Richard Dawkins so completely on the defensive. He did, after all, set out to do what he does best -- use logic and reason to make sure everyone who disagrees with his world view knows how stupid they are. But it backfired and brought him a lot of negative feedback, even from some atheists. I think he may be learning the hard way that it's not as easy to get away with belittling women as it used to be.

His latest post on the issue shows him to be in full damage control mode and you know what they say: If you're explaining, you're losing.

I have briefly explained (it’s in An Appetite for Wonder) that, as a small boy, I was the victim of a pedophile teacher in the school squash court. He pulled me on his knee, put his hand inside my shorts and fiddled for about half a minute. It was very unpleasant, but it didn’t ruin my life and I had the temerity to say so in my memoir and elsewhere. I had the effrontery to downplay my experience and imply that it could have been worse. The teacher could, for example, have . . . well, I didn’t specify details, but anyone can fill in some of the appalling things that have happened to other children of both sexes.

Pandemonium in the Pigeon-lofts. Freethought Feeding Frenzy. “Dawkins actually said – I kid you not – that his experience in the squash court wasn’t the worst thing that ever happened. Wow, just wow. Where has he been these past few years? Doesn’t everyone nowadays know there are NO gradations? All cases are exactly equally bad. How dare Dawkins BELITTLE the horrors of pedophiliac assault?”

Cafe



Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Freedom From False Passions-Working with Water

When we focus on the element of water we are focusing on the quality of our relationship with our own emotions. Do they flow or not flow? Old emotions denied or future emotions feared don't flow. As transformational force water is the warrior who is willing to change form, to do whatever it takes to create freedom of flow and to transform the enemies into allies. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, for the new series, Working with the Elements. This week she explores how we can work with the element of water to create the space to open our hearts in life. Only with an open heart can we properly learn from life as the Teacher and gain wisdom from our experiences in life. There is big medicine to be found for those who are willing to do what ever it takes to cultivate a wise heart and become a force for healing, reconciliation, and peacemaking in the world.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

The Richard Dawkins Problem

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.


Richard Dawkins has stepped on his crank. Again.

Another day, another tweet from Richard Dawkins proving that if non-conscious material is given enough time, it is capable of evolving into an obstreperous crackpot who should have retired from public speech when he had the chance to bow out before embarrassing himself.

“Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse,” huffs Dawkins. Seeming to have anticipated, although not understood, the feminist reaction this kind of sentiment generally evokes, he finishes the tweet: “If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.”

I've really written very little about Dawkins, the man, and restricted my criticism to his dogmatic atheism and his disingenuousness in that arena. He has a long history of intemperate, ignorant, and insensitive remarks, particularly in the areas of gender politics and sexual violence. I've never thought it deserved a free-standing post because it's not really relevant to discussions of his atheist views. This is, I think, for reasons articulated in that same article.

Dawkins’ narrowmindedness, his unshakeable belief that the entire history of human intellectual achievement was just a prelude to the codification of scientific inquiry, leads him to dismiss the insights offered not only by theology, but philosophy, history and art as well.

To him, the humanities are expendable window-dressing, and the consciousness and emotions of his fellow human beings are byproducts of natural selection that frequently hobble his pursuit and dissemination of cold, hard facts. His orientation toward the world is the product of a classic category mistake, but because he’s nestled inside it so snugly he perceives complex concepts outside of his understanding as meaningless dribble. If he can’t see it, then it doesn’t exist, and anyone trying to describe it to him is delusional and possibly dangerous.

I think there is a connection between Dawkins's scientism and a kind of emotional stuntedness. He's suspicious of subjective experiences and seems to think that our emotions should follow a logical process. If you were raped this way, you should feel like this and if you were raped another way, you should feel like that. I mean it's only logical. And why on earth can't you be ruthlessly analytical about rape? You must be stupid.

Are the Poles Shifting?

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Revised Compass Rose photo RevisedCompassRose_zps50720ae7.jpg


I've been talking about pole shift for a while now. Several years ago, I started getting intimations that it was imminent. There's a little more on these of messages here. I just didn't really know what to make of it. The gist was that things were going to shift in some very surprising ways, that the systemic injustice that I find so excruciating had reached the end of the line, and that this was somehow connected to or simply concurrent with pole shift.

I first learned about the idea of pole shift many years ago when I was reading a book on Edgar Cayce. I had no frame of reference for the idea so it rolled off my brain like beads of water from an oily surface. Years later, when I first became acquainted with the work of Drunvalo Melchizedek, I heard it again and thought, so is that what Cayce was talking about? I liked Drunvalo's take on this. It was fairly optimistic and tied the idea of pole shift with an expansion in human consciousness.

Drunvalo says all kinds of things and some I really do take with a grain of salt. But he always struck me as a sincere fellow and so much of what I learned from him has proved itself to me that I keep a lot of his more outrageous material on the maybe pile. His ideas on pole shift fall into that category.

Pole shift has been a subject of debate. It's an accepted fact that Earth's magnetic poles have shifted more than once, in the distant past. That this has caused crustal displacement is disputed by most experts. Charles Hapgood theorized that they did and that it was associated with changes in land masses. His theories have not gained wide acceptance.

Mainstream science has been as strident and dismissive of concern as it has been vague on the particulars. The simple truth is that there's a lot they don't know about how this works and the potential effects. As discussed here, some theories have us already in the beginning stages of shift. The message from officialdom has been that while the magnetic field of the planet has been weakening for over a hundred years, and while we are probably overdue for a pole reversal, the last known one having occurred about 750,000 years ago, the next is probably at least hundreds of years off and will occur gradually, probably over thousands of years. In other words, calm down, people.

Cafe



Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Freedom From False Passions-Working with Fire

When we focus on the element of fire we are focusing on the quality of the relationship we have with our own spirit. As a transformational force, fire is the healer who is showing us how to engage in the art of release and sacrifice. The fire helps us to free our hearts to love what truly matters to us and free our lives from the patterns of thinking, speaking, and acting that drain our hearts of their natural fullness for all life. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, for the new series, Working with the Elements. This week she explores how we can work with the element of Fire to kill our false passions that lead to the arrogance, aggression, and ambition that sickens our world. There is big medicine to be found in the Fire; it brings the blessing of freed energy so that you can feel and follow the true passion of your soul's longing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Satanists Seek to Exploit Hobby Lobby Ruling

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.



The Satanic Temple has carved out quite a niche for itself in the fight for First Amendment protections, capitalizing on Satan's pariah status as it exploits legal loopholes and bad rulings that cater to Christian extremists. Last I heard they were riling up some Oklahomans by attempting to slip a giant statue of Baphomet onto State Capitol grounds, using the same "private funding" excuse used by the ten commandment enthusiasts who placed their own monstrosity.

Now, in light of the stunningly horrible Hobby Lobby ruling, the Satanic Temple is taking the opportunity they believe the Supreme Court has opened up to defy laws on the basis of religious belief. Has your state passed laws restricting abortion access and requiring doctors to regale women with unscientific claims about the dangers of abortion? These Satanists claim that junk science and restrictions on personal liberty are against their religion... and probably most people's. Therefore, they are making printable letters available to women everywhere whose religious belief in bodily autonomy precludes their being lectured about how abortion may land them in the mental ward.

Informed consent or “right to know” laws state that women seeking elective abortions be provided with information about alternatives to the procedure, often couched in language that attempts to personify the fetus. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 35 states currently have informed consent laws, and of those, 33 require that the woman be told the gestational age of the fetus.

In some states, that information consists of pro-life propaganda that links abortion to a higher incidence of breast and ovarian cancers, or discusses “post-abortion syndrome,” a mental condition not recognized by any major medical or psychiatric organization.

Because the Satanic Temple bases its belief “regarding personal health…on the best scientific understanding of the world, regardless of the religious or political beliefs of others,” it claims that state-mandated information with no basis in scientific fact violates its “religious” beliefs.

William Henry on Cave Paintings in India

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.




A few years ago, I asked if religion could survive first contact. Answer: It probably already has done, if we include indigenous medicine practices reaching all the way back into prehistory. The recent discovery of alien looking beings depicted in ancient stone art in India has rekindled debate over just what indigenous peoples have been painting on stone walls. According to archaeologist JR Bhagat, these ancient paintings accord with local legends about something that sounds an awful lot alien contact and abduction.

There are several beliefs among locals in these villages. While few worship the paintings, others narrate stories they have heard from ancestors about "rohela people" — the small sized ones — who used to land from sky in a round shaped flying object and take away one or two persons of village who never returned.

Many not human-looking beings and things that look like flying saucers have been discovered in cave paintings and these have given rise to questions about alien contact. But are these beings from other planets or other dimensions or, perhaps, both? Graham Hancock addressed this most recent discovery on his Facebook page the other day:

Aliens from other planets coming here in high-tech space ships? Or visitors from other dimensions? http://bit.ly/1oWXhn4. A few years ago when I asked Amazonian shaman Pablo Amaringo what the flying saucers were that he saw in his Ayahuasca visions, and painted in his extraordinary art (http://bit.ly/1oKnVfW), he told me they were vehicles for entering and leaving the spirit world. When a shaman speaks of the spirit world he's not far from the quantum idea of a parallel universe. I think the UFO and "aliens" mystery documented in rock and cave art all over the world may be MUCH more mysterious and intriguing than many believe. In my opinion these phenomena are real, but precisely WHAT they are remains to be established.

In my estimation, many of these otherworldly beings may indeed be from other planets and other star systems, but when one is moving through fourth dimensional space (or fifth, or sixth, etc.), the distance between worlds might not be so great. Some of these strange looking beings may be Earth energies, which again, are not third dimensional beings. We see them when we pierce the veil in some way.

Hancock has also explored the idea that there is some correlation between ufology, faerie lore, and shamanic experience. He makes a very convincing argument, one that really connects a lot of dots for me.

Cafe



Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Creating Clarity of Heart - Working with Air

Air is the visionary in transformational processes showing us how to engage the power of our vision through the clarity of our heart. Working with air is a way to cultivate keen perception and insight allowing us to see doubt for what it is and step over it. Working with Air trains us to show up exactly as needed without excess or scarcity. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, for the new series, Working with the Elements. This week she explores how we can work with the element of Air to cultivate the qualities of uniqueness, re-visioning, and storytelling. In a world where energy stagnation and suffocation lies at the root of human illness there is big medicine to be found in the working with air to cultivate and speak the truth-that breath of fresh air that clears what suffocating and brings hope and rebirth.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Cafe



Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Creating Presence and Autonomy-Working with Earth

Earth is the teacher in transformational processes showing us how to engage the power of the heart through our strength of heart and to make things manifest. Earth is the element of manifestation and without your body you wouldn't be manifest. Our body is our earth element. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, for the new series, Working with the Elements. This week she explores how we can work with the earth element to cultivate the qualities of grounding, place, presence, and sovereignty. In a world where isolation and loneliness fuel depression there is big medicine to be found in the ability to work with the earth to create a sense of belonging, connection within, and interconnection with the larger reality.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Cafe



Around the Web, Around the World


"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

What is Soul Theft?

Soul loss can occur quite naturally through sudden fright or situations where one fears they will die. Soul theft is an unnatural cause of soul loss in which one person is responsible for stealing a fragment of another's soul. Soul theft leaves a person fragmented, as with all soul loss, and often listless and fatigued, losing appetite and strength, feeling restless and inadequate, depressed and helpless, or withdrawn and without motivation. Soul theft is not something of the past in the days of sorcery and superstition. "Today we experience intentional soul theft by skilled individuals or serial criminals as in the past," explains host and shaman, Christina Pratt, "and unintentional soul theft, by people desperately struggling with their own soul loss, like parents, teachers, healers, and young lovers." Join us this week and we explore the true nature of soul theft, how to repair it, protect yourself from it, and to make sure you aren't doing it yourself.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.