In honor of the on-going work we have been doing with water, including the Mississippi, I would like to focus on water from a different angle: the rights to use it.
This is becoming a contentious issue in many places, but the water of the Flathead Indian Reservation (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/22/us/bitter-battle-over-water-rights-on-montana-reservation.html?src=rechp) in western Montana has triggered a deep conflict between the tribes and homesteaders of the area. Rights to a dependable supply are being contested by both sides. At issue are healthy harvests, preservation the elk herds and the cutthroat trout population, all of which depend on the river for survival.
On May 9 at 8:30 pm your local time, journey or meditate to your helping spirits and transfigure, then join the entire group as we gather at the Flathead Lake 7 miles (11 km) south of Kalispell, Montana. Greet the spirits of the water and land, see them in a state of perfect plenty; there is enough water to sustain all life in the area.
Raiding Grandma’s Medicine Cabinet
By MAGGIE KOERTH-BAKER
Published: NY Times April 16, 2013 Last month, the chief medical officer of Britain called antibiotic resistance a “ticking time bomb” and a threat as dangerous as global warming. In Europe alone, 25,000 people die every year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria — and that’s only counting the infections that were picked up in supposedly sterile hospitals. For more than 80 years, antibiotics have been nothing short of miraculous. Capable of killing bacteria without killing people, they’ve turned grave illnesses into mere annoyances, providing doctors with license to shoot first and ask questions later, and do so safely — or so we thought. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are powerful fighters with one flaw: unable to smite every bacterium, those immune to their wrath thrive. With every ear infection we treat, and every healthy cow prophylactically dosed with antibiotics (which also helps fatten the animals), we make these drugs less useful for future generations. Scientists all over the globe are in a race with evolution, scrambling to understand the underlying mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and to discover new ways to fight bacteria. We must diversify our methods for treating bacterial infections and simultaneously reduce the amount of antibiotics we use, says Brad Spellberg, an infectious-disease specialist at U.C.L.A. This has led to a renewed interest in treatments from a world before penicillin. Ruth Greenwood, a friend’s grandmother, knows the cruelty and desperation of this world well. In 1934, at age 9, she came up with a clever but shortsighted plan to get out of school: roll around in a patch of poison ivy. Greenwood succeeded in getting an itchy rash (and skipping class), but as the days went by, the rash became something much worse. Her legs swelled and broke out in a mass of tender, crimson sores that wept blood and pus. At night, the fluids soaked through her sheets and dried, fusing the bedding to her skin. Greenwood remembers being scooped up in the morning, sheets and all, and put in the bath to soak until the cloth could be peeled away from her flesh. As she was scratching her rash, Greenwood made tiny cuts in her skin, allowing bacteria to get inside her body. The cells multiplied and infected her legs, most likely causing a disease that doctors now call cellulitis. Today she’d have been prescribed an oral antibiotic. Instead, her parents had to rely on the mess of medical hopes and snake oils that filled the shelves of the pre-antibiotic pharmacy. First they had her sit in the sun for hours on end, hoping the cell-damaging rays would also destroy the bacteria — doctors would try the same with UV lamps, according to Spellberg. The infection was finally cured when her doctor prescribed a white cream spiked with ammoniated mercury to spread on the affected area. The metallic compound killed the bacteria somehow, possibly by stimulating inflammation that kicked Greenwood’s own immune system into high gear. She was lucky: back then the death rate for skin infections was about 11 percent. With antibiotics, we’ve lowered that figure 100-fold. That some pre-antibiotic medicines are poised to make a comeback, however, need not be a mortifying prospect. Two treatments — serum therapy and bacteriophages — are having an exciting late career, as scientists find ways to make them safer and more effective than their early-20th-century incarnations. Serum therapy works like an all-points bulletin for your immune system. Made up of antibodies, the proteins that identify and attack invasive cells, serums essentially create a bodywide dragnet for bacterial fugitives. To procure them, doctors used to infect horses and other animals with bacteria and dose humans with the antibodies culled from the animals’ blood. Invented in the 1890s, serum therapy earned one of its discoverers, Emil von Behring, a Nobel Prize. In Central Park, there is a statue commemorating Balto, the Siberian husky that helped bring lifesaving diphtheria serum to Nome, Alaska, in 1925. Bacteriophages, viruses that attack bacteria, were especially popular in Eastern Europe. Administered just like antibiotics, internally or directly on the skin, this technique continued to be researched in the postwar Eastern bloc, which couldn’t depend on imported drugs from the United States and Western Europe. Compared with the scorched-earth policy of broad-spectrum antibiotics, serums and phages are downright surgical. Antibodies are incredibly selective about which bacteria they’ll attack and which they’ll ignore. Bacteriophages are only slightly less choosy. Those traits can be a liability. Doctors must determine which bacteria is causing an infection before treating it, leading to potentially deadly delays. Antibiotics made a doctor’s job easier, and this led to our current predicament, says Dr. Arturo Casadevall, an infectious-disease expert at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York. He and his colleagues are hoping for a return to alternative treatments for bacterial infections in the near future. By combining old ideas with modern technology, they and other scientists have helped renew interest in phages. In recent years, for example, federal regulators have approved the use of a variety of antibacterial phages in our food supply. Meanwhile, serum therapy now employs cloned antibodies (no horse blood required), and it’s used to treat cancer and arthritis. Clinical trials are under way for modernized antibacterial serums. The medicine cabinet of the future might contain treatments from an age when we would have tried anything to kill bacteria, but they’ll be there only in a supporting role: to preserve the efficacy of the drugs that freed us from that madness. Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net and author of “Before the Lights Go Out,” on the future of energy production and consumption.
Walking the Water: the Mississippi River
On March 27, a group of American Indian women began walking from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota. Their destination -- the Gulf of Mexico. They are walking the entire1,200 mile length of the Mississippi River to raise awareness of water pollution and protection of resources.
According to Sharon Day, member of the Ojibwe tribe, Executive Director of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force, and leader of the Mississippi River Water Walk, the Mississippi River is the second most polluted river in the United States with toxic chemicals from municipalities, agriculture and industry all accumulating as the water flows to the gulf, taking their toll on the health of the river. Says Day, by the time a drop of water reaches the ‘dead zones’ near the mouth, the water is nearly depleted of oxygen. In some times of the year, the dead zones are the size of the state of Delaware. The walk intends to raise awareness of what each individual can do along the way to help change the health of the water in the Mississippi as well as other water resources in the local community.
“We want the walk to be a prayer,” says Day who, explains that they are in ceremony while they carry the water. “Every step we take we will be praying for and thinking of the water. The water has given us life and now, we will support the water.”
The group is planning to arrive in Venice, LA, the end of their walk, on April 27. They will celebrate their completion with a water ceremony.
Several Years ago the New Moon Journey group spent an entire year working with and supporting the spirits of the Mississippi River on every new moon. To honor the river and the work that we have done, I would like the current New Moon Journey group to support the women who have walked and to celebrate the spirits of the Mississippi River.
On April 27th journey, at 8:30 pm your local time, to your helping spirits and transfigure. In your divine light go to Venice,LA to join the water ceremony of Walking the Water.
Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms
New York Times, March 29, 2013
A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.
A conclusive explanation so far has escaped scientists studying the ailment, colony collapse disorder, since it first surfaced around 2005. But beekeepers and some researchers say there is growing evidence that a powerful new new class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, incorporated into the plants themselves, could be an important factor.
The Agriculture Department says a quarter of the American diet, from apples to cherries to watermelons to onions, depends on pollination by honeybees.
This month for the new moon I would like to follow-up on a journey we did to the spirit of the queen bee in September 2012. It is evident that bee colonies continue to collapse.
On April 10 at 8:30 pm, I would like you to meditate or journey to your helping spirits, transfigure (or become) your divine light. In this form join the new moon journey group and go to the spirit of the queen bee and see her and the hive in their divine perfection.
As you go through this season watch for bees in your area. Thank them for all they do for us!
New Moon March 11
from the New York Times, February 14, 2012:
Traces of a common psychiatric medication that winds up in rivers and streams may affect fish behavior and feeding patterns, according to a study recently published in the journal Science.
Researchers in Sweden exposed wild European perch to water with different concentrations of Oxazepam, an anti-anxiety medication that can show up in waterways after being flushed, excreted or discarded. The fish became less social, more active and ate faster, behaviors they said could have long-term consequences for aquatic ecosystems.
The study joins a small but growing body of research exploring the possible environmental impact of chemicals in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and other products. Many of these chemicals are not removed by wastewater treatment plants, which are intended to remove bacteria and nutrients, experts said.
The United States Geological Survey has found “intersex fish,” or male fish that develop female sexual characteristics, in the Potomac River and its tributaries, raising questions about whether hormone residues might be responsible. A study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found antidepressants like Prozac and Zoloft in the brains of fish collected downstream from wastewater discharge in Colorado and Iowa.
This month I would like to focus our healing attention on water, once again. It seems that bodies of water all over the world are being contaminated by pharmaceuticals, so let us work together with the spirit of water while holding the intention that all water is connected and will be affected by this healing.
On March 11 at 8:30 pm your local time, journey and transfigure. Ask your helping spirits to take you to the spirit of water. Notice all the others who have gathered and are doing this journey with you. See the spirit of water in divine perfection and see the water flowing through the bodies of water near your home or under the ground by your home.
Summoning Nature for Healing
By JULIE LASKY NY Times
February 6, 2013
The Crown Sky Garden, on the 11th floor of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, is a 5,000-square-foot area for play and contemplation and the second healing garden completed last year by Mikyoung Kim. Ms. Kim, a 44-year-old landscape architect, is regarded as an artful weaver of nature and sculpture. The Sky Garden features a bamboo grove and interactive furniture that emits sounds when an embedded brass hand is touched with a live one.
Project Ripple, Ms. Kim’s garden at Jackson South Community Hospital in Miami, opened in August. “When we look for a place to call home and we nurture a garden we call our own, we are looking for a place that’s restorative, that’s regenerative and that has a kind of humanity,” she told a reporter last week on the phone from her office in Boston. Read on for the interview with Ms. Kim.photo by Christopher Baker
Mikyoung Kim, a landscape architect, has designed gardens for hospitals in Chicago and Miami.
New Moon February 10
Information on and research into climate change has been on-going since the 1960's. Yet it is a topic that, until recently, has not been taken seriously by most of our political leaders. The causes of climate change are varied; some are man-made while others are by-products of evolution.
Last month in my new moon journey to the Arctic, I was told that the diminishing polar ice cap is part of natural evolution and that there are certain things that we can not and should not change.
I would like to follow-up on this idea this month. On February 10, the new moon, at 8:30 pm, your local time, let us journey together to the spirit of the new moon to ask about changes in nature. Begin by journeying (or meditating) to your helping spirits, transfigure into your divine light and go to the spirit of the new moon. Find out what it has to teach you about how to live on the earth while honoring and protecting the balance and the evolution of nature. How do we live in a changing world?
Often I talk about the power of words and specifically the healing power of words. From a Shamanic healing perspective there is an ancient practice called Word Doctoring in which a Shaman asks the helping spirits for a word that his/her patient may use for healing when it is repeated over and over.
Finding our own words is another way to healing. When dealing with a life threatening illness the feelings may be overwhelming and there are no words to describe it; no prose words. But the shorter, image-rich style of poetry may just be the pathway to describing and understanding what is happening in your body. It may be a way of healing.
by Kim Knedler Hewett
I sit where you can’t see me
Listening to the rustle of papers and pills in the other room,
Wondering if you can hear them.
Let’s go back to the barn, I whisper.
Let’s turn on the TV and watch the Bengals lose.
Let’s eat Bill’s Doughnuts and drink Pepsi.
Anything but this.
Read on for Tara Parker Pope's article, Finding Poetry in Cancer
published in the NY Times, February 4, 2013.
graphic by Stuart Bradford
I am very excited to announce that the book entitled "Spirited Medicine: Shamanism in Contemporary Medicine" is now available for purchase through the Society for Shamanic Practitioners at
I have written a chapter entitled "A Shamanic Presence in Hospice Care."
An aspect of Shamanism is working with our connection to nature and the cycles of nature. Many cultures have looked to the sun, moon and stars for guidance. The Mayan story of creation charts the pathway of the Milkyway across the sky. I have visited places including Stonehenge and Chaco Canyon, NM where great structures were built to honor the travel of the sun through the year. A few years ago in a shamanic journey I was shown that the human body is a hologram for the universe. Now Neil Shubin, the associate dean
of biological sciences at the University of Chicago and the author of “The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People,” is explaining from a scientific perspective how this is so.Read his New York Times Op Ed, "January is the Cruelest Month."