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Venus Rising

The planets conjunct, portending his birth bade us search on…….

We found him there in Bethlehem
as the charts foretold but not with ease.
Not one well to do house of Arab or Jew
Roman or Greek had birth between them,
no infants male or female could be found
born that auspicious day; or women
nigh to deliver under the star bright sky.

The planets conjunct, portending his birth
bade us search on; visit caravan, tent,
Inn and stable. Divers places all to no avail
until on tavern steps, feet begging to rest
we overheard a shepherd speak,
of how his shelter was occupied by two
well dressed Jews. Man, woman and a child just born.

Yes! –and here he hurried to tell his kin
such peace as lulled his sheep to sleep
and such Light about despite the moonless night
that quite amazed him. A wine skin for his guest
he took, and his sister with a knowing look
on being told, insisted she also would journey back.
He talked of voices of unseen guests.

At once we realised the town full – where else?
Our profession advised; the tavern temptation dismissed,
we had the shepherd guide, our bodies begging for rest.
The pathway hard, our camels bad tempered,
the cold wind swept hills unforgiving.
We talked of turning back, yet could not agree,
urged on by power greater than the body’s sap.

Wearily we arrived, not a moment to soon
and knew at first sight, our year long journey
cross sea, mountain, desert, river and plain
was justified. Our faith upheld, the purpose
before us in the bedding straw, a child
born Venus; the power on Earth to Love.
His eyes; the majesty of the Monarch of Time,

Our strength returned quite unexpectedly, as if
we ourselves had the child’s unlimited power.
In his grasp we placed our gifts, Myrrh, Gold
and Frankincense. We gave news of Herod,
Spoke highly of the child. Held our tongues
in check on futures and bar that journey soon to be
would say this and only this –

“His word and deed would long be sung in praise
ere Jupiter and Saturn swung the sky
and Man in darkness has the voice to cry
Hosanna, Herald of the peace to come!”

Featured

The Price of Fish

Fear is the shake of riveted plate and love is a church locked up on the land

https://masticadoresindia.wordpress.com/2022/12/20/the-price-of-fish-by-tony-ashenden/

Comment from Terveen Gill Tony’s poetic ode to fishermen and their bravery is beautiful and tragic. Those of us who have never ventured beyond land cannot fathom the dangers the waters conceal. I like how the sea has been portrayed as a mistress, mysterious and moody, unsure and chaotic. The men and woman who place themselves at her mercy are definitely heroes deserving of such lyrical beauty. May harmony prevail and the spirit of coexistence emerge supreme.

Pray hard for men who hunt the deep sea
in their cockleshell boats out of Clyde
scour the swims of Poseidon’s green head
filling iced holds with dead alive eyes
where the buffeting wind screeching
is God’s angered ethereal Hand
fear is the shake of riveted plate
and love is a church locked up on the land.

Elemental wind, do not keep them from shore
they who dare open the water blue door.

Pray soft for souls who haunt the seal lanes
hymned only by December bright sea
and snatched calls of seagull’s scorning
the squint-eyed sons of water borne men
striding the foam whiskered aboriginal depths
bed to the bones of lost kinsman
who went roaring to death protesting
peace swallowed in the fish fat ocean’s mouth.

Elemental wind, do not rage for their soul
their fathers have paid the fish stealing toll.

Pray love for the sons of water and blood
patient for the calm, eager to net
ever ready to chase white fish
over mountainous crests, under
the pale dark bruising wet sky
casting to web Gods’ octopus’ head
claw the fish from his shivering throat
endanger their lives with the weight of the prize.

Elemental wind, do not anger the sea
Man and his Mistress must ever be free.

Ghosts in Breakers Creek

Comment from Turveen Gill of MasticadoresIndia

Tony’s eloquent poetry infuses life and soul into rusted shells of steel and iron, once meant to keep others afloat, now drowned in the tides of time and indifference. Mere objects to some, these ships were once the domain of the living, and carry the emotions and memories from times gone, embedded within their mighty hulls. Haunted or taunted, they rest with countless stories alive inside them.

In muddy mouthed Portsea Creek unwatched
forgotten ships lay beached
dashed and smashed
breathless, cut and bled
weather beaten
picked and broken

by the dockside stooping crane’s bill collecting scrap.

Their final passages over shallows
barnacle crusted bottoms
scraping over shingle
pulled and pushed
by impatient tugs

who know falling tides suckling mud claim tows.

Robbed by landsman
written out of registers
deserted bridges balefully glare
untold memories of purposed lives
men who swore repeatedly

like lovers on heat trumpeting union of engine and steel.

Now their ghosts can be heard
reliving purpose in the night
blowing base horns
heaving anchors
turning their screws seaward

blending rusted hulls to the sea and the never-ending sky.

Portsea creek and its cutting divides the city of Portsmouth from the Hampshire mainland.

Slaughter

this poem brings to light the order of existence, the rules of supremacy. The qualities and characteristics of a living being sets their place in the pattern of life. Do intellect and emotions make humans superior to other species? Is it the strong against the weak, the voluble against the mute?

Terveen Gill of Masticadoresindia writes…. this poem brings to light the order of existence, the rules of supremacy. The qualities and characteristics of a living being sets their place in the pattern of life. Do intellect and emotions make humans superior to other species? Is it the strong against the weak, the voluble against the mute? Let’s not forget that humans are beasts that change their natures according to convenience. Beware!

https://masticadoresindia.wordpress.com/

And their vacant eyes;

to me dull, relative

brother-like, unto my blood.

Lesser and labelled more the beast

for being servant,

yet I fear

I fit my moulding them

too perfectly.

To moo 

and peer moronically alive 

cross thicket hedge, un-decides

the place of puppet and the master,

their voices turn

the thicket’s harsh of prickles

and point their spears to Man.

I cannot divide the poet

from the brain

let reason coldly justify,

will not take the pound of flesh;

less my Alice

lose the Elohim of Seeing.

Galactically

my one-eyed prism of awareness 

in their field 

sees acceptance as  

instrument of Right Order

in the temporal world.

It takes the fence of our divide

and blends the prickles too 

the slavered green of changing grass

and into focus

brings us less our lying tongue

to the point of light.

No Emperor’s Head

Comment from Terveen Gill of MASTICADORESINDIA

Tony’s poetry lays bare the faceless and nameless who claim to fight in the support of their beliefs and rigidities. First, pawns played by the superpowers, then threats targeting those who birthed them, violating the world as they deem fit. This radicalism and political warfare are terminal illnesses in themselves. Who bows to whom and where is that sane voice of reason? Greed, hatred, and power never can have their fill.

Who wore the hat of Roman kind
led armies of the blind in Laos
Vietnam and Cambodia?

Then who challenged the just
anointed crown in Britannica
Planted bomb to burn the people

left their blood in burnt ash sites
public places, shops, and schools
messaging by video their sacrifice?

Uniformed of working clothes
black gowned and turbaned white
they respect no Emperor’s head.

Nameless, they speak explosively
by smart phone, gun, and Semtex
radicalising, inciting, recruiting

armies of face hidden eunuchs
chanting plainsong as God warriors
denying democracy, demanding power.

Some inoffensive men of peace
who in their techno clean rooms
for the greater good did feast

did cause nameless germs grow
to combat Sino-German eagles
and their poppy seeded mint

which reigned under Roosevelt,
grew under Eisenhower
flowered for Kennedy and

then

re-birthed with Bush and Blair
in Israel, Lebanon and Iraq
Afghanistan and Pakistan

was

the harvest of butterfat years
when Knox was an ever open
welcome door to inward goods.

The Ribbon of a Madman’s’ Weave

The condemned man is making a statement of purpose, giving birth to his soul (the ribbon of wise) record, which cannot be extinguished by death. The term pigmy bowman is used figurately speaking to describe his captors as hunters of little importance. This symbolic poem poses the question is condemned man mad – or is he a voice of truth? What the poem seeks to do is highlight that small minority of people whose understanding of life and purpose is radically different from others and represents a threat to the powers that be. Except in rare instances the death of such individuals are not recorded to our history -yet their presence whether recorded as madness or divinely inspired has and will continue to change the development of mankind. T.S. Eliot understood that when he said humankind cannot bear too much reality.
Note: the number 8 is the symbol of regeneration.

Granite Sliver
Arrowhead I see you spurned
by Pigmy Bowman
yet you suffice and scathe
the greening mortar…
Mind that delibly records
attempt
my show and outward personality.
This ribbon of a madman’s weave
is the tape of all my saying
small
border thin and compass hand
the clutch and stay
Fingers….
Placing granite slabs to face
their palms of tungsten flesh
toward the shortened eye.
Yet soon
the tongue of this my wise and scrawl
became as fever pitch
and heavy as the hammer held
halfway in arc
deliberating
as the mother would pressing
down urging fingers
in the lock of Isis eye
to the agony that is mother
And now is mine.
Is birth!
The warder
had me carry seven days in labour
waiting…
before the fertilising seed became
and his eye perceived
the ribbon of wise inflicted
with my word and writing.
He stared
examined even to the letter head
lost in mergence to the polished stone
turning, smiled….
Father dimly smiling through the stain of glass
in the
you can never tell
about face….
He left and straight informed the governor.
The hammer struck
the child full born umbilical cut
began to cry….
My eyes were full of faces
demanding
outstretching palms of tungsten flesh.
Their right they screamed
is feeding first
why was I no askance waiting?
They spread upon my word
the slime
and their cement that matched the slab
and then..
Fingers turned upon themselves
they commanded-
called my clutching hand to lease
my living Scribe
this chipping sliver of their granite.
They took.
…. that morning after
before the ashen face
nether time of wanting day whilst less the night
there stood eight mourners
neath the sky bowl blooding red
in their caps of prison grey
and the circle turning tribute
was the Sower spreading quicklime.
And in my cell
There stood another
waiting for the shining mortar’s greening mould.

A Day in the Night of the Walking Sleeper

Published on MasticadoresIndia

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Ah! The pain
the wanting all over dilemma
sober reach out
sweet grape of confusion;
a duchess spread out on her savage’s bed
willing her blood
red to the lips of her lackeying male,
neither caring the speech or the stain of his whip.
Taking the seventh
of her seconding breaths at the weep of secretion.

Comes now the concentration;
the apex of arc,
the long-drawn laugh of the physical man.
The peak,
then the plummet of an up thrown stone;
extinguishing fire.
Then the cold
Darkness of Earth
and then the winter of a why gloom face
frosting the smile of devil cares not
into peaceful beginning;
a child in the low of the arc,
weak murmur of problem.

And yet in end it begins;
in the no start never finish real of the spark,
in the still heard gasp
mute echo of Psi fleeing the white.
In the good die young
the crude soldier damning
as with the devils and the un-vowed nun;
the same design.
All blind fisherman in the day-night
casting pearls
from the corporeal banks of unsettled sublimity.

It manifests
as harpoon with a white heat line;
the strongest plus and minus seed.
All charge of the instrument cannon,
Time traveller
to the state of perpetual climax; there
as the spear of the deepest descent.
The finder receiving
the arranged and irrevocable choice
the twin of sex;
Satan-Father coalesced.

A Shepherd’s Tale

Published on MasticadoresIndia

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Consider, discuss, decide as you must. A boy
of nine I was, given to play? Yes-
but impatient to grow. A minder of sheep
and goat, not quite a shepherd, you understand.
Arab Jewish Samaritans, lowborn we were
under Roman rule in the land of Moses.

Tent dwellers; nomadic in the Way of the Sea
we moved our flocks from pasture to fold
over plain, hill slope, through mountain pass.
Self-sufficient, our mixed blood had no ties
in towns and we were shunned in cities.
At that time there was much disquiet,

camel borne travellers would hail us
seeking safe passage to Damascus
anxious for news, telling of homes destroyed
of livestock lost. Herod by the sea of salt
in hope of cure, still covetous of power.
Riots and Roman soldiers everywhere.

It was the hottest time of year -too hot.
My father the elder shepherd of our band
decreed we leave the plain of Armageddon
skirt the Galilean hills and drive
to Mount Carmel and fold there in cool caves
the pasture good, the Kishon river close.

Unusual for time of year it rained unexpectedly.
Wet and freshened I explored cave and gully
gaping at rock paintings, sling shooting
hawk foolish enough to target our flock.
When night fell there was talk about events
on the highway, riots in Sepphoris.

Mahmud was our Rabbi, a Samaritan
Who taught us boys by rote from a scroll.
He would disappear for days on end,
reappear warning of wolves, thieves in hiding,
bringing herbs, fruits, figs, salt preserved fish,
feet, hands, and body bruised and bleeding.

But not this time -from the tomb of Rachel
he had seen columns of soldiers, pillars of smoke,
people fleeing carnage, a forest of crosses.
He arrived much distressed. Nearby, he said,
there is a camel camp of Persian men,
star diviners, here for some special event.

So deep the dreamless sleep I slept, when roused
I complained of being woken. My father’s
command to dress was brusque and impatient.
Mother soothingly said be quick no time to rest.
Sheep and goat were want to break the folds
and strange lights had appeared in the heavens.

Girding mantle, grasping staff, sling, and pipe
I joined the men grouped around a fireside
where Mahmud, repeated yet again
to disbelieving ears, of a vision given
in prayer, how an angel of the lord appeared
announcing birth of a messiah to all men.

How he had run to the Kishon River
to impart this news to the Persian men,
and they, exclaiming in response said this
was the proof, the final proof they sought.
And without delay broke camp and headed east.
The river shining phosphorus in the night.

Did I hear a voice as we knelt in prayer?
For when Mahmud said follow me, I knew
the angel would want us shepherds go!
Find the birthplace, give tribute to the child.
More in fear I think, of unearthly things,
Claiming protection of the women folk,

some herders stayed with the folded flock.
For me this was adventure, side by side
my father leading with Mahmud we trod
the Magi’s tracks. An uphill beaten track
Nazorean’s often trod beyond Bethlehem
to Elijah’s tomb. In silent awe we came

to where the light was strongest; there halted
by a well-dressed Jew, then let pass. Mahmud
having yet again spoken of his vision.
We entered a cave, two donkeys tethered
looked at us curiously –and there
in a lamp lit area no bigger than a tent

a babe in swaddling clothes lay in the arms
of a woman and before them, three Magi.
Also, an Arab woman, an older sage-like
Jew and a fearsome looking man whose smile
belied his looks. The air perfumed –a scent
so strong my head whirled with feelings.

We knelt on the hard stone in a presence
of many persons unseen; God’s angels
I know them now to be. We presented
lamb and kid –the best of the litters
we had, and in turn were given sweet wine.
Yet I was not allowed, and she, seeing this

beckoned me to drink from a leather gourd
that hung from the cradle bed, a sweet
warming juice. I drank gazing as I did upon
the new-born baby’s face. Then not asked
but sure of rightness I began to play my
shepherd’s pipe. With eyes closed he smiled,

as if somehow, he had heard me play before.
The tune was new to me and full of majesty,
my fingers moving my brain asleep
I lost all sense of time, only just aware
of his mother’s happy face; the attention
of all that were in that holy place.

As dawn began to show we took our leave.
My father with pride made much of my tune.
There was curious talk about the older man,
was he her husband? Why birth in a cave?
They were not poor, and the Magi had
given gold! There had been talk of Herod,

more so the riots and of Rome’s steel hand.
Yet for all this talk as we returned, the paths
aglow, I sensed my nomadic life would never
be the same again. We had gained in status
been received as equals –us lowborn
shepherds; and feted at a godlike event!
Yet despite this, seeds of doubt took root.

The holy book lost its magic -I questioned
why Jews and Gentiles warred, sacrificial lambs,
the militancy of God. Instead, I dreamed of union
in remembrance of the child, believing
he would one day share our daily bread
forever hopeful that our souls might wed.

Consider, discuss, decide as you must
the burden of proof is a human need.
My shepherd’s tale, straightforwardly said
is to you a plea -that in the body’s Keep
your soul should no longer groan and weep
but celebrate the Love that is Heavens Bread.

Religious Ego

Reblogged from https://masticadoresindia.wordpress.com

Gritty shell
Church within an egg
I watch the moulder of your stone
In envy
Of the subtle grain that clings together
Unperturbed
Disdainful of my changing face.
I even see
Your smoke washed splints of mortar
Laughing into faces.
Stilton memories I achieved
And could not
Stop the wooden green from going rot.
Words I spoke
Whilst sitting buttocks down upon the egg
Fragile shell
Withholding my perceptive children
Like I did
I crushed it thinking
It were the Godly given bolster chair
Comfort of my conceit.

Hoopla play your arches
Round my helpless thoughts of demolition
Law enforcing
Dung to give it’s place to cleansing water.
Spit with glee
They the dying grain to blood my eye
As cold
My thought it turns the hand
Round the chisel’s grasp.
Oh monument
I built you in the lesser times
Subservient was the stone
To my design of
Of the paper and the oh so easy
Pen of righteousness.
Why you hideous now?

And the gargoyle
Split unto the four points
Have not lost an eye or tongue
Whilst the silver
Of my altar laid with blessing
Has passed
And changed between the Bread and Wine
To mint within the careful hand
Of Mammon’s vestal virgins.

A Day in the Night of the Walking Sleeper

Reblogged from

https://masticadoresindia.wordpress.com/

                                                                                                                                                      

Ah! The pain
the wanting all over dilemma
sober reach out
sweet grape of confusion;
a duchess spread out on her savage’s bed
willing her blood
red to the lips of her lackeying male,
neither caring the speech or the stain of his whip.
Taking the seventh
of her seconding breaths at the weep of secretion.

Comes now the concentration;
the apex of arc,
the long-drawn laugh of the physical man.
The peak,
then the plummet of an up thrown stone;
extinguishing fire.
Then the cold
Darkness of Earth
and then the winter of a why gloom face
frosting the smile of devil cares not
into peaceful beginning;
a child in the low of the arc,
weak murmur of problem.

And yet in end it begins;
in the no start never finish real of the spark,
in the still heard gasp
mute echo of Psi fleeing the white.
In the good die young
the crude soldier damning
as with the devils and the un-vowed nun;
the same design.
All blind fisherman in the day-night
casting pearls
from the corporeal banks of unsettled sublimity.

It manifests
as harpoon with a white heat line;
the strongest plus and minus seed.
All charge of the instrument cannon,
Time traveller
to the state of perpetual climax; there
as the spear of the deepest descent.
The finder receiving
the arranged and irrevocable choice
the twin of sex;
Satan-Father coalesced.

The Way of the Prodigal

Photo by Olga Lioncat on Pexels.com

This blog mail is a bit longer than usual -I hope you will find time to read it. My usual habit of writing weekly has been broken due immediate pressing concerns -and likely ongoing, but in case you are wondering it’s not because my health and the health of my family is the cause!

Before I give you that advice, allow me to remind the key points of my previous blog posting.

Breathing begins in the womb of your mother as a pulse activating and developing every part of the BodyMind. It’s a primal function which corresponds to the natural Earthen world our matter and mind is made from -and of course, it is also influenced by your mother’s BodyMind, which whilst it instinctively blends with the natural order of development can also influence the character you create of yourself.

When you are born and start breathing a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water, we are immediately connected and influenced by the outside world environment that ultimately governs our perceptive nature. Post birth the harmony experienced in the womb is lost and the instinct of survival is born. The uniqueness of your individual self has one overriding purpose -the restoration of harmony.

Breathing has three parts, in-pause-out.

Depending on how you are exerting yourself and/or emotionally and mentally focussed on something, the three parts of breath will vary in their time signature. The more you are mentally and emotionally maintaining a focus on something the inward breath will be shorter than the outward breath and the pause will hardly be noticed. When you stop doing the activity the middle (pause) breath will lengthen, the intaking breath will shorten before the outer breath does. What this tells us is this -the shortening of the inward breath stresses the mind, which in turn incapacitates the body. Longer inward breathing which can come from exercising or physically working an activity naturally ceases when the body demands rest.

If you work yourself up mentally and emotionally during any activity the benefit the body naturally manages is lost -because it’s being ‘told’ by the mind how to behave.

The breath ‘key’ is the middle or pausing part. If you are unduly stressing the volume of oxygen ingested (the energy giver) is lessened, which has a domino-like effect causing unnecessary stress to become resident. The middle breath loses its managing role, benefits are reduced, and problems arise. In this world where birth right freedoms are being suppressed by actions intended to defeat viral infections nothing is more important than your health. If you breathe right the immune system will continue to strengthen -even in the over 60’s where science tells us it begins naturally to weaken.

You’ve probably deduced from what I’ve said that undue stress is created by inefficient breathing cycles. to correct this, we must first acknowledge our breathing patterns are largely unconscious -or if you care to see it this way, the result of lifestyle habits. On anything unconsciously activated we only become consciously aware after the event. It’s clear we can’t change anything to the better until lifestyle habits are changed that are causal to bad breathing practises.

So, the very first thing you must do is treat habit with habit -like with like.

Our energetic natures are governed by naturally occurring patterns and movements -the same forces which causes trees to grow, animals to multiply, and all other forms of earthly life manifest life and death cycles. These are the constantly reoccurring sun and moon cycles, the movements of energetically charged particles in our outer atmosphere, and the planetary forces in our solar system influencing life on Earth.

Individually we characterise ourselves in relation to these natural forces -good, bad and indifferently.  We all spend much of our time in reactive mode, in other words responding to what we classify as need. The busyness of life is on the increase -technology has developed so rapidly, day-to-day consciousness is being driven by it.

Take two common examples. Junk mail or Spam as we call it -how did they get your address and/or your email? Likely you don’t take any notice -delete or bin them, but read them or not they demand your attention. Maybe for only a few seconds -few minutes at the most. Even when you do not take notice of the content, they affect your breathing patterns. Mobile phones are even more of a problem -when the phone rings or a text notification is sounded, you take notice and often respond. Mislay the phone or forget to take it with you and mentally you (a) may feel lost without it, or (b) worry where you left it. Tiny amounts of unnecessary stress build up during the daily cycle -and this is not to mention the advertising you ignore or silence on the TV when at last during the evening you feel you can relax.

It could be manageable if these stresses were to zero out at bedtime, but of course they don’t, because we are not now talking about thoughts and feelings, we are talking badly adjusted body rhythms.

In practise what this means is we absorb unnecessary stress -changes that are so very gradual we unconsciously accept them as Right Order. Instinctively we react -that part of our BodyMind knows we are not in a Right Order state but on its own account can’t tell you how to change it. So, what does our personality mind do? It looks for breaks, holidays, and diversions.

Does all this sound familiar?

It should do because we are all caught up in a maelstrom of movements we do not control. As I said before we must treat like with like. Change our habits. In days of Yore the natural elements determined what routines we adopted -doing so to get the best out of ourselves when they worked in favour of what we wanted to do. The world now is a different place -bar a few indigenous people who still can, we must create habits that make the best of our so-called civilised world.

This is how -begin your day with purpose.

It doesn’t have to be a world inspiring idea; in fact, it is better not to be. Keep it simple and objectively realisable. So, if you want to be more loving to a person -that’s helpful only if you can express it as a recognisable action, which when achieved satisfies the purpose. Whether it be a purpose associated with work, pleasure, or passion, it stands before the day single-minded. Of course, it will not go unchallenged and if you succeed in accomplishing it before the sun is at its height, give yourself another purpose. And should be assailed by demands you do not agree are good, or meet to your purpose, acknowledge them, accept their reality -then let them go.

This is what the mind must do on all things at all times.

Acknowledge, never ignore, respect and do not judge. Accept -recognise the reality you face has powers you do not control. Release -be that by actions which fulfil your defined purpose, or be that because you have no need, because otherwise it would destroy the unity of the BodyMind.

This is the key of all ancient teachings -the only known way to unite the warring parts of body and soul. The key to harmony which can only be turned by the personality mind. To breathe rightly is to know oneself.

Know this and you will understand why the prodigal son was feted by his father.

The poem I share with you this week is a love poem -because this is what this post is about. Love is what binds us.

Love’s Credo

Fuse emotion and thoughts in one
their hidden sounds are symphony,
where words and moves unwedded coil
in past and future memory.

Stand and shout and jump for joy,
the white moon waxing sets the tide
moves our mind and seeds our life:
the joyous soul we cannot hide.

Tomorrow comes tomorrow goes;
Time cannot erase or change
the union that the law agreed
was right to be a binding creed.

Beyond Common Knowledge

Photo by Alex Azabache on Pexels.com

Last week I ended my blog by saying there is much more to breathing than expelling and intaking air. I daresay you are respectful of people who practise yoga and in particular Pranayama -yogic breathing, which has the purpose of purifying the energy channels in the body, relaxing the nervous system, and strengthening the body, mind, and emotional immunity.

There are three stages of Pranayama as instructed in the Yoga Sutras. Inhalation (Puraka), retention or suspension of the breath (Kumbhaka), and exhalation (Rechaka). Usually practised by one nostril at a time, though it can be practised using both nostrils simultaneously by partially contracting the glottis. The time periods of these stages can be varied to increase the benefits of practise.

Breathing in this manner is usually carried out sitting in a lotus posture, or in movements designed to increase and project BodyMind awareness. And you must be consciously controlling these actions. For sure you can’t properly practise them when you are half asleep after waking, or thumping the pavements on the way to work, driving, or threading your way through crowds in a busy shopping arcade.

But breathe you must -right?

We can’t help ourselves, we do it unconsciously most of time. Now -how would you like to gain the benefits the yogic sutras speak of on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis in a way that doesn’t require you to stop the daily rush of life?

Here’s how -but first you need to know what the function of breath is all about. It begins in the womb of your mother as a pulse activating and developing every part of the BodyMind. It’s a primal function which corresponds to the natural Earthen world our matter and mind is made from -and of course, it is also influenced by your mother’s BodyMind, which whilst it instinctively blends with the natural order of development can also influence the character you create of yourself. When you are born and start breathing a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water, you are immediately connected and influenced by the outside world environment that ultimately govern your perceptive nature. The harmony experienced in the womb is lost and the instinct of survival is born. The uniqueness of your individual self has one overriding purpose -the restoration of harmony.

Easier said than done, eh?

In fact, common knowledge would say it’s impossible. The best we can hope for are periods of relative calm, moments of unity, and the retrospective awareness of harmony, which only goes to show we don’t live consciously aware of our actions.

The ancient masters knew this was our common lot and sought ways in which the primal function of breath could be restored to influence and harmonise our perceptive world. They discovered sound and colour are interrelated and the breath we unconsciously enable encompasses a wide range of frequencies. The higher the frequency the less form/time condition the breath has -the more colour, shape, and movement it experiences. You’ve read about yogis who allowed themselves to be buried alive, and dug up none the worse, days later -yes?

What they were doing were breathing internally -not only a physically able function, but they also invoked the Vach.

The Vach is best described in common English as the sound within the sound -in other words they raised the frequency of breathing until its time/form expression was practically stationary. In today’s world we acknowledge there is a synthesis between sound and colour -we call it Chromesthesia in which sound involuntarily evokes an experience of colour, shape, and movement.

Relax! I’m not suggesting a practise that requires you to dig a hole in your garden, bury yourself, to experience harmony.

What I am suggesting is this – for breathing to provide benefits you must take notice of what the three actions of breath do. Make the unconscious conscious.

Allow me to explain how you can make that happen.

Initially take notice of how your breathing operates. It has three parts, in-pause-out. Depending on how you are exerting yourself and/or emotionally and mentally focussed on something, the three parts of breath will vary in their time signature. The more you are mentally and emotionally maintaining a focus on something the inward breath will be shorter than the outward breath and the pause will hardly be noticed. You may even find that is happening as you re-read what I’m writing you about -it’s a sign of heightening stress. If you are physically exerting yourself the inward and expelled breath will be longer, and unless you are puffing from the activity, will find the middle pausing breath will be longer. When you stop doing the activity the middle breath will lengthen, the intaking breath will shorten before the outer breath does.

What this tells us is this -shortened inward breathing stresses the mind, which in turn incapacitates the body. Longer inward breathing which can come from exercising or physically working an activity naturally ceases when the body demands rest. If you work yourself up mentally and emotionally during the activity the benefit the body naturally manages is lost -because it’s being ‘told’ how to behave.

The breath ‘key’ is the middle or pausing part -if we can manage that the entire BodyMind benefits.

Earlier in this piece I told you what air is chemically -your lungs are never completely devoid of air comprising majorly of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water. When we exhale, the outward breath composition contains more carbon dioxide and less oxygen. If you are unduly stressing the volume of oxygen ingested (the energy giver) is lessened, which has a domino-like effect causing the unnecessary stress to become resident. The middle breath loses its managing role, benefits are reduced, and problems arise.

Stress is a necessary part of our energy making capability -essential to the well-being of our entire BodyMind -undue stress is the No.1 causal killer!

Every type of illness, however it may be defined to have arisen develops from undue stress -and the ‘key’ that prevents reminds you of its presence 24-7. Get your breathing right, or in the very least make it more efficient than it currently is, and your health overall will improve.


In this world where birth right freedoms are being suppressed by actions intended to defeat viral infections nothing is more important than your health. If you breathe right the immune system will continue to strengthen -even in the over 60’s where science tells us it begins naturally to weaken.

It’s not difficult -you don’t have to be brainy -you just need to modify your habits!

In my next post I’ll show you exactly how to do it.

The poem I share with you this week walks back in time aware of moments when harmony ruled, and time did not govern my senses.

The Seize of Time

Walk with me through the green gate
past the ivy clad barn, the rusted plough,
there let us take shade from the sun
under the spread of the sycamore tree.
Nearby, the gnats cloud the sedge pond

buzz in harmony, chicken’s coop,
geese cackle, and the farm dog barks.
The clack of a hand-turned butter churn
can be heard from the house, the smell
of baking bread wafts on the breeze.

In the far wet-field, revs of a tractor
sound as we sit midst forget-me-not’s,
coriander, dandelion, thistles, and
milkwort, mosses, and warm grass.
Laughing, and making daisy chains.

Out of sight beyond the fields
a distant bell toll seizes time.
Moments that will never age
forever live –of love’s breath
that never shall or can possess.

Mission Impossible

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As promised in my last post I’ll introduce you to the mechanism that can transform our warring parts into a unity -and more to the point begin the training that can enable continuity beyond the grave of the Self you become aware of.

First, let me advise you how the ancient masters introduced their pupils to the way of ways.

Irrespective of the pupil’s station in everyday life, whether they were rich, influential, or poor and uneducated, they would be treated equally. They were given menial tasks to do -never for their own purpose of supposed need, always as benefit for others. These were often the dirtiest jobs possible, like cleaning latrines, and at no time were they given higher purpose teachings.

Needless to say, the fall out rate was high.

Interestingly, a teacher in modern times, George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1877-1949) used similar methods of introduction. Born in Alexandropol, Armenia, trained as a priest and physician, he travelled widely the remote regions of Central Asia and the Middle East before setting up his Institute for The Harmonious Development of Man. At the Château du Prieuré near Paris in the nineteen twenties he attracted many young intellectual/university type students. He put them to work preparing foods in the kitchen, cleaning the toilets, and digging holes. He would tell them he was searching for underground springs to supplement the water supply to the château -as you might expect many holes were dug without getting results. Again, the fallout rate was high.

The purpose of this introduction was to engage the instinctual nature of BodyMind with the rationally minded ego, which develops in the day-to-day world as the controlling driver of our consciousness.

Some found this humiliating and accused Gurdjieff (as others had done with past teachers) of wanting to make them servile to him. In reality the teacher intended these ‘exercises’ to give birth to instrumental self-awareness -a life-living form of consciousness, which was able to encompass and activate the higher nature of the BodyMind. The logic of this conversion (if we can call it that) was simply this -eternal self-awareness is only possible when the BodyMind is harmoniously whole -and that must include connecting and expressing the root nature of Self as born into this world.

We are all born with awareness of the higher nature.

The innocence of the child is a magnet drawing us into their world, and mothers have an intuitional awareness of the child’s nature, which develops in pregnancy and forever thereafter gives them an inner knowledge of the child’s identity. However, as we all know we fast lose that innocence as the consciousness of the outside world gains our attention and presents us with choices. We form personality to protect and guide us into adulthood. Whether we are religious or not, we develop standards of behaviour that enable our interests -and it is those standards that argue fiercely their right to be heard and acted upon.

The herd mentality has standards of behaviour enabling us to be open with others -making us feel wanted and accepted. If we reject the herd mentality, we must hide our standards of self-being -else we are seen as ‘rogue’ and are criticised, ignored, or otherwise branded weird and uneducable.

It is the ‘rogues’ the ancient masters were most interested in because they saw them as having retained the inner awareness of the child, and therefore were most likely to succeed in converting their adult nature into instrumental BodyMind harmony. History shows families allowing their children to live in Ashrams and other like communities as pathways to develop spirituality through service to others.

So, am I saying in our modern technologically driven world we need to retire to Ashrams, monasteries, and other such closed communities to succeed?

No, I am not. Neither am I saying closed community living is a sure way of achieving BodyMind harmony as often religious and philosophical scruples maintain the ego’s rational right to remain ‘King of the castle’.

So, is the true path so narrow all but a few can find and practise it?

No, it is not -there is a way in which you can live and function in the ‘herd’, be acceptable to your friends, loved ones, and neighbours, hold and maintain positions of importance in the secular world -and still be able to develop BodyMind Harmony. And not appear weird or odd!

I called this piece Mission Impossible because it does ask of you actions many would say are consistently unachievable in today’s world.

The reason why history keeps repeating itself is because Man’s habitual self doesn’t work to free himself from the cycle of rebirth.

The first step you take on the self-called ‘narrow’ path is invisible to others!

You need to re-engage the very first thing you did when you entered this world from your mother’s womb. It is to rediscover how to breathe correctly! And believe me -there is much more to breathing than expelling and intaking air! In my next post I’ll advise the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of doing this….

The poem I have written for this week illustrates the difference between ego perceptive consciousness (the Stone Man) and BodyMind awareness.

Song of the Sea

Beyond the Stone Man lives a psychic sea
wherein thespian arts are founded,
on the whisperings of immortality.

Earth genius, maker of machinery
hear before claiming, this invocation.
Beyond the Stone Man lives a psychic sea,

thesaurus more precious than history,
an interlocking alien kingdom:
the whisperings of immortality.

Stone Man, creator of insanity
repeat after me this incantation.
Beyond the Stone Man lives a psychic sea,

where sceptres and crowns were facsimile
long before Archimedes heard in song,
the whisperings of immortality.

Knights and Bishops, guardians of the Tree,
Knowledge, and Faith, have you now forgotten?
Beyond the Stone Man lives a psychic sea,

of mistakes made in your liturgy
by making your God of wisdom, to wrong
the whisperings of immortality?

I wait the last act of this tragedy
powerless to prevent consummation.
Beyond the Stone Man lives a psychic sea

where his soul sits under the Bodhi tree
ever present awaiting earthly union,
to share the whisperings of immortality.

Evolution

Photo by Mahdi Bafande on Pexels.com

Introducing Conor, a young man who has studied with me. This thought provoking piece just goes to prove insight and understanding is not the preserve of older more experienced people. Please comment!

From a collective evolutionary standpoint, it’s a challenge finding ways and means to understand the nature of ‘true-self’.

As such, It’s debatable how many people have the capability to intelligently comprehend their ‘physical’ animal natured existence. Whilst we share the world as equals, we are not equal in the development of the higher-natured self.

The transformative state of spiritual consciousness evolves over thousands of lifetimes and follows a hierarchical line of ascension. The consciousness born of the ‘Animal-natured’ man, ultimately achieves finality as the ‘Higher-natured self’. During this journey the ‘modus operandi’ of Human-nature is represented by the planet ‘Pluto’ (expressive of renewal), whereby old foundations are destroyed. ‘Ego’ and how we relate to ourselves can be represented by the Moon, symbolic of the ‘individual’ emotive nature, and Mercury, the ruling the planet of thought.

What do we mean by ‘Animal-natured’ man, and the Higher-natured self?

Simply put, Animal-man lives for his earthly desires and has single-minded trains of thought; the end justifies his means. The ‘Higher-natured self’ lives to serve, in accordance with the laws of spiritual evolution, able and expressive through the incarnate nature. To say we are in part animal-natured evokes the question; is Man animal-like? Why such a connotation?

During the ‘infancy’ stage of man’s development the mind-state is raw, and naturally combative. Animal-man views his existence as a ‘battle-field’. His predisposition creates irrational ‘animistic’ thought, such as jealousy, envy, and greed. On observing animals, domestic or other, a ‘likeness’ in relation to the thought process is apparent, comparatively, the thought pattern animal-natured man expresses, is like any animal species able to manipulate, or otherwise, challenge any adversary to get ‘needs’ met.

As the animal-natured man magnetically follows his earthly desires, his consciousness remains chained to physical experience, causing him to re-visit his physical animal consciousness once-more -the path marked with sudden shocks and blows aiding transformation. We may call animal-natured man ‘uncivilized’ but this is unfairly derogatory, many will identify with the ‘Intellectual-man’, an intermediary ‘step-up’ on the ladder of evolutionary consciousness,

Intellectual animal-man has greater control over the ‘impulse’ nature, but is equally capable of committing wrong-doing out of frustration or other such factors.

Whilst this can describe ‘Animal-natured’ man at the beginning of physical incarnation, animal-natured consciousness latently remains present in the ongoing states of human development.

Each stage of evolutionary ‘spiritual’ consciousness can be assigned an ‘octave’ or ‘governing influence’ of the mind-state – The animal-natured man engages life through the vibratory octave of Mars, in the outer-most circle of their awareness, here, animal man is dominant, and the lower-mind is the major influence, whilst Intellectual animal-natured man, who is aspirational of change, views physical existence through Saturn’s octave. Saturn in this sense enables greater control over the thought and action process, but not without restriction. Thought has begun to vibrate, even though it is linked with self and desire, they are still a circle nearer the true Self, for the ‘Animal’ man is now transforming into the intellectualized Man.

From the logos of Saturn, Mercury is born, the labour of the saturnine-minded Man is influenced by the intuitional mind of the ‘Buddhic plane’ the plane of wisdom.

When the Martian and Saturnine vibrations have accomplished their work, animal-minded man and the intellectual-minded man transfigure, and the Higher-natured intelligence is born. The soul having learned its evolutionary lessons, develops sympathy through painful experiences. The selfish and personal side having been crucified, signals the end of personal desires. The soul stands ready to receive the influx of divine wisdom and enter a new state of ‘Unified’ consciousness.

Higher-natured Man views life through an ‘individuated’ conscious state, and the planetary octave of Uranus, the ‘visionary’.

In general, higher natured man is sacrificial, and knows the evolutionary intent is to be of service to others. Early on insight is gained into the nature of ‘higher-self’, here ‘known’ consciousness extends across multiple ‘worlds’ simultaneously, as past life memories blend with ‘real-time’ consciousness. Such awareness naturally leads the Higher-natured man to question his own sense of ‘reality’, the effect of Uranus in this case enables ‘freedom’ from ‘known’ consciousness.

One shouldn’t assume ‘Higher’ man is dropped into ‘physical embodiment’ with an “all-knowing” awareness, as with animal-minded and Intellectual-minded man before him. Any sense of consciousness awareness is ‘outwardly born’, and unfolds through the veil of life, therefore it remains Higher man’s objective to ‘discover’ himself.

The evolutionary consciousness of the soul, now unified, is at odds with the consciousness of the Ego in the ‘individuated’ state – Inner conflict for the Higher-man now stems from the opposition of dual consciousness, the task of Man is to bridge this divide.

Higher-man’s evolutionary state leads to the realization of his nature as an ‘individual’, a sense of alienation entails as he no longer identifies with the ‘collective’.

A question is commonly asked concerning the idea of reincarnation, “Why do I not remember my past lives if I have lived before?” – It is important to understand what does not ‘reincarnate’ to clearly appreciate the difference between the ’Ego’ and the Animal-man, whose brain is played on by the ‘Ego’ or ‘Thinker’. This is indeed the crux of the matter, which tends to make the theory of reincarnation difficult to understand.

Animal man is born, and the Ego becomes linked to him, using the brain and body of the animal man as a vehicle for expression on the physical plane, the ego is always the unit-consciousness and remains one, but it has the power to inform multifarious personalities.

In one life a ray of consciousness may inform the brain of John Smith; in another Joe Bloggs, but is it the ‘Thinker’ (Ego) that reincarnates, the Animal man never does.

This ‘Thinker’, connected with and informing the animal man, imparts to the lower nature as much as of its own capacities and inherent powers as animal man is able to manifest, and these capacities inherent in the thinker are recognized by us and the brain-mind or the “lower-mind”. The memory of lives once lived belongs to the thinker, and it is the reincarnating ‘thinker’ alone that can recall each earth life, and not the ‘brain mind’ that it plays upon, without this ‘thinker’ we are all animal men and women.

There is a new vehicle, as it were, in each re-embodiment made ready for the driver. But the vehicle cannot remember its path, only the driver can recall his journey.

We each have a new brain for every life, and this brain or instrument (together with the body) only lives once and consequently cannot remember a past in which it took no part.

We see then, that the question we are so often asked “Why do I not remember my past lives if I have lived before?”, is really based upon a misconception of the theory of reincarnation; for while I personally have never lived before, that I of consciousness has lived over and over again and will continue to do so until perfection on the physical plane is reached, and the brain of the animal man has become responsive to the consciousness of the Higher-self, choosing to sacrifice, and guide.

In the case of ‘Higher-natured’ man the soul waits in suspended animation for such a vehicle instrumentally ‘fit’ for task.

New Wine in Old Bottles

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Amongst other things, I’m a Complementary Health Therapist, and have been practising for more years than I care to remember, but it didn’t start out that way. I was naturally mediumistic as a child and unaware of the lifestyle implications -when it suddenly mushroomed into consciousness in my early twenties creating a host of questions.

I sought help to control it (you see, I had other ‘career’ plans), and became aware of other dimensions of reality. The shock to my system wasn’t the newness of knowledge -it was precisely the opposite, I already knew of it, but until then had been a ‘sleeper’. It was like I had suddenly woken up to who I was -and needless to say, my plans, which at that time was to take my dancing skills into musical theatre, vanished overnight.

I became aware of a timeless knowledge

and thereafter all that I have been verbally taught or have understood from others actions and writings has served to give thought, word, and action to the inner understanding I was aware of. It doesn’t mean I accept everything which gains my attention. For example, I have a clairaudient ability and a doctor guy by the name of Heinrich Schroeder who often assists me when I’m healing others will, as required, tell me things about my patients’ health condition and suggest ways they can help themselves. If I’m not previously knowledgeable of that advice, or he mentions words I don’t understand -I check it out and will only pass on that guidance when it makes sense to me.

What this means -is this; our individual needs are entirely unique, and no matter the appraised value of what you hear or read -your acceptance is the touchstone to enable, change, or reject. “And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. Luke 5:37, King James Version.

Which brings me to the subject of Mindfulness.

I’m all for any practise which puts emphasis of living life more fully in the here and now. It’s currently fashionable to talk and engage in the practise of Mindfulness -so, where did this spring from?

When you look into it -this is what it claims to do. It is a way of training the mind, to achieve a deep state of consciousness, free of judgments about our sensations, feelings, or thoughts. A process of paying attention to what is happening inside ourselves on a moment-to-moment basis. It actively encourages questioning of our habitual way of thinking and the mental patterns our lifestyles have wrought. The mind control objective is to give practitioner’s the ability to observe their thoughts with perspective, without immersing themselves in their content.

Benefits claimed from the practise of mindfulness include improving the perception of pain in chronically ill patients, resulting in greater emotional well-being. Improved ability to concentrate and apply your attention, which results in greater efficiency when performing any task. Gives ability to manage stressful situations and release anxiety states, as it helps reduce cortisol levels (stress hormones) in our bodies. The practise is an aid to a good night’s sleep and can relieve insomnia. In general, the practice improves our emotional intelligence, since it allows us to face our thoughts and emotions and interpret situations with perspective, without judgement.

Now, who would argue these benefits are of no value? I certainly don’t, but is this the ‘old wine’ they claim it to be? If they assert that it is, I have some issues with it.

Firstly, let’s put the history into context. The Buddha didn’t invent Mindfulness, and he never used that term. He won’t mind me saying so, because he himself was aware of the harmonising practises having a history many millennia before his time. Secondly, what the Buddha was addressing by his lifestyle and practises, was the root problem that has bedevilled Mankind since his inception -how to cojoin our warring parts by processes to harmonise and evolve them.

Man is a complex hybrid creation -the character and composition of his consciousness is born of the Earth. The inner nature of our energies has higher form and non-form timeless counterparts, intelligence we cannot comprehend at source, and are only aware of it through the filter of our time/form Earth born consciousness.

We cannot achieve awareness of the higher realities by mind alone -it is only achievable when mind and body are in harmony, and then -surprise, surprise! We are no longer logically in charge because our instinctual nature has become an intuitional guide! That doesn’t mean you lose the power of thought or cannot be objective in action -but it does mean the rational mind is no longer the source power. There are many psychic development processes, including mindfulness as a westernised practise, which educate the rational mind as the source of power and transformation. The ancient masters (including the Buddha) never took this approach, for them harmonisation is achieved by radically changing our mode of perception.

They recognised that Man, as with all other forms of life, are in essence, open systems. Perceptibly it would appear life has no go borders, differences abound, and many life forms are so diversely different they do not relate or engage harmoniously with others. The complexity of Man has given him cause to develop a buffer zone of consciousness -its purpose is to protect his perceptive time/form world of consciousness from non-perceptive forms of life.

In short, Man’s hybrid nature gave birth to the Ego -a self-aware mechanism to give purpose to the warring parts. The rational mind was born.

And when these ancient masters looked at the world, and to the worlds beyond ours, they found no evidence of rationality in any other form of life. In the process of achieving samadhi, as the Buddha sat motionless beneath the Bodhi tree, he was not empty of humanness -he was attuned and in active communication with all forms of life that interacted with his BodyMind.

The Buddha, as had other Masters of Light before him, discovered the mechanism to transform his warring parts into a unity that enabled continuity beyond the grave.

In my next post I’ll introduce you to that mechanism -and you will see why you can’t put old wine into new bottles, and why incidentally history keeps repeating itself ad nauseam.

The poem I have written for this week is a pointer to the problem we all face.

In Memory of Sarah King

Had you known your granite headstone
would be flanked by two unknowns
you might have thought it significant;
as yours stands tall like one chosen
compared to their drunken faces.

The tree that shadows where you lay
Its sloughed bark being last to view
the moonlights felicitations;
In your day sinewy green with youth;
has suffered change like you have.

The proud and leafy head is burnt,
broken and lifeless; its branches
blackened antlers gouging the sky;
the knuckled roots naked of earth
Reshape the form you left behind.

The unknown blistered facing flags
askew upon the biers they mark
wedged between the tree’s webbed feet
Is living proof that men must fear;
names mean nothing to nature here.

Though Earth has held your name upright
slow moving time has wrought its change;
skeletal remains seeking rebirth
remarry to achieve what you could not;
path to Mecca: world without end.

Learning to be Self-Aware

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Today I would like on the one hand to remind you to think for yourself and otherwise underwrite the good sense you have.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCD’s) and lifestyle related health conditions have burgeoned in the last 50 years. Civilised communities have become sedentary, dazzled by food choices that inflate appetites, and working practises heavily influenced by technology, demanding continual attention, have raised unavoidable stresses to unhealthy levels. We can be tempted and easily succumb to screen time over the need of sleep -the mind remaining alert to receive calls, texts, and things to do reminders.

We might be living longer,

assisted by medications and supplements, but are now far more likely to die from non-communicable diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and organ failure, than we are from contagious diseases. Having said that vaccines, antibiotics, and antidepressants have impinged upon our natural immune response to such an extent, we either have to take more to get well or counteract them with some other form of medicine to maintain a healthy balance.

COVID -19 reminds us that infectious diseases can severely impact our immune systems

-and be reminded yet again, Flu is a virus, and were we to count up the number of people affected by Flu yearly -that too can be statistically classified as a pandemic. Worldwide and upwards of half a million deaths are attributed to Flu. While COVID -19 grabs our attention, guidance (which is by no means new) to take care and strengthen our immune system has been pushed into the background by the media noise championing the need for vaccination. Science does not claim complete protection from vaccines -it’s impossible for any vaccine to 100% protect because viruses mutate faster and more unpredictably than we can re-engineer and test.

There are four types of vaccines.

Live attenuated vaccines use a weakened form of the virus which still grow and replicate but does not cause illness, inactivated vaccines contain live viruses whose genetic material had been destroyed by heat, chemicals or radiation so they cannot infect cells and replicate but can trigger an immune response. The other three are Nucleic acid which uses genetic material from a disease-causing virus to trigger protection, Protein subunit vaccines use fragments of protein from the virus to give immunity, and lastly Viral vector-based vaccines which use a harmless virus to smuggle the instructions for making antigens form the disease-causing virus into cells and thereby triggering protective immunity against it.

The current batch of vaccines are all trying to achieve the same thing

– immunity to the virus, and some might also be able to stop transmission. They do so by stimulating an immune response to an antigen, a molecule found on the virus. In the case of COVID-19, the antigen is typically the characteristic spike protein found on the surface of the virus, which it normally uses to help it invade human cells.


The last three vaccine types mentioned above are currently rated for emergency use only -the earliest of them, the AstraZeneca and Pfizer are not due to complete their verification for general use until 2023. Governments worldwide have taken the view -emergency use is justified to slow and eradicate the pandemic. Just how they reach a consensus to declare the pandemic is over and can be classified epidemic I really don’t know.

Voices at the up-and-coming G7 are proposing to jab the world.

Infectious diseases and noncommunicable disease are not mutually exclusive. NCD’s are a leading risk factor for becoming seriously ill if you do catch an infection. And the waves of death associated with both infectious pandemics and other seasonal (flu) infections are often followed by an increase in the average annual death rate, due to other causes, notably heart attacks and strokes -indirect consequences caused by our immunity’s inflammatory response.

We have around 25’000 genes in our body -we each have a similar set of these genes but those that vary from person to person are our immune system’s compatibility genes.

This makes the immune system almost as specific to each individual as our fingerprints!

What this means is we all have different reactions to viruses -and for that matter, vaccines. There is no magic ‘pill’. So, governments reaction to the Covid pandemic and the millions of permutations of ill health the virus could produce, is to roll out vaccines that can minimise the effects of Covid and lock everyone down until the death rate eases. As some might say they are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

What else could they do? Faced with the impossible task of having scientists create millions of individual ‘nutcrackers’ -it was Hobsons choice.

However…. We are said to learn as we make mistakes, or to put it another way, as we find results are not meeting expectations, so what are we learning?

What are the two-common links between all pandemic and epidemics?

Believe it or not, we’ve known what they are for centuries -but just try putting that question into Google and you won’t get it answered. The answer is massed population and sanitation.

Whoa! Sanitation may have been a major cause of the Black Death -but in 21st century??

This is why medical authorities advised at the outset of Covid-19 to wash your hands. But it’s more than that -we don’t have open sewers anymore, leastways we don’t in most countries. No. the sanitation problem is much more than personal hygiene. The open environment, especially in towns and cities the air is far from clean. Add to that the chemicals we ingest in our 21st century food chain (which stays edible for longer because the distances food has to travel before it gets onto your plate), you yourself can become immune suppressed simply by eating the wrong stuff and walking about in unclean areas.

And all fresh food is not equally nutritious.

For example, the soil in Denmark has been so overworked it lacks in magnesium and B6. Result? They have a high rate of kidney stone infections. Is your water clean -well of course it is, water companies treat it with chlorine or chloramine which they add to kill parasites, bacteria, viruses and germs -how naturally clean is that?

The second thing we were told at the outset of the pandemic was to socially distance and wear masks, mostly interpreted to mean keeping a two-metre distance from others in shops and open spaces, whilst this may be said to help, it does not address the root of the problem.

There are many areas in our cities and towns where living accommodation is closely packed together.

High rise flats where all must use lifts to enter and exit mean there are spaces continually shared. Build-up of carbon dioxide from expelled breath and a lack of cleansing air conditioning make these viral transmittable areas. Add to that large families sharing space where the bread winners must enter and exit on a regular basis, and you have the likelihood of the majority living there catching the virus. Masks may protect you from coughs and splutter from someone who is infected but at the same time they create a catchment of carbon dioxide and thereby reduce oxygen rich air from reaching your lungs and needlessly overwork the immune system.

Restricting the movements of peoples also disrupts mental and emotional attitudes which can lead to overindulgence of sugars and alcohol -both of which hasten the transmission of viral infections.

For all these reasons and because your individual immune system can never be entirely protected by restrictions of movement or by vaccines, viral infections will always be present in our communities.

Your saviour is your own immune system -properly managed it will prevent death and serious illness, which means you need to be more self-aware, not only what you eat, combating unhealthy stresses, and exercising, but also as I’ve been advising over the last year -the need to question your lifestyle and make changes accordingly.

Happiness and contentment are our purpose -BodyMind harmony.

The poem I’ve written for today is a reminder that the natural world still has much to teach us…

The Rook

In the stone-hard furrows
of a winter fallow field
head down
pecking the ground
the rook -knows a lean meal
when he sees one.

With a non-stop brain
in the belly unlike you
-‘I’ brain conscious,
his beak keeps pecking
burning calories
getting little and less.

Until slowly
little is no more
and weakness halts him.
Observer and naturalist
take note
the rook has no name.

This bare faced
creation of feather and bone
constant host
of protozoa
is an avatar
not found in your books.

His smallest parts
are self-known
unicellular kingdoms
unbounded by form and time.
He knew that before
his face was feathered.

The half-closed eyes
have no regrets
as he caws
the one last time.
What does
your looking tell you?

Do you suppose learning
comes from observing,
dissecting, magnifying?
Can you rise above sympathy?
If so, why can you not
reveal the mystery?

He caws not for bread
or his mate
long since dead
he caws for his life
that bounds
from his head.

See –now
the wings
no longer lift
the legs do not move.
The order to rest
is final.

Perfect.

Learn from that
if you can.
The rook who didn’t need name
whose belly forever guided his brain
shows you life’s three-fold harmony
how life transforms without pain.

Wheeling as you do
caged between
Earth and Heaven,
what release
does your harmony bring
self-appointed surrogate King?

Diet Free ways to lose weight

Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

 Last week’s blog was all about eating -eating the right stuff! This week I’m focussing on how to lose weight without taking on a special diet. During the lockdown many have put on extra pounds -I think we call it comfort eating! Getting back to your ideal weight not only makes you feel better in yourself mentally and emotionally -it means the body works more efficiently and your immune system is strengthened. If your Body Mass Index (BMI), the measure of your weight compared to your height is within the healthy weight range (18.5kg/m2 – 24.9kg/m2) then you will be a practitioner of some advice I offer here. How can you calculate your BMI? Go on- line -Google BMI calculator and get the good or not so good news!

Assuming you need to shed some weight the first thing to do is get the right amount of sleep.

Ideally this is between 7 and 8 hours nightly, however, some people’s lifestyles have to do with less, either because of work schedules, or because of health reasons. If you don’t get the required sleep -then the solution is to catnap. After eating is the best time for catnapping because the heaviness of food in your gut will slow down your energy release rate and quieten brain activity. Beneficial catnaps are anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes. If you are not a catnapper already just sit quietly for 10 to 20 minutes after eating -the energy release rate will slow down, and you will find you can nod off for a while. When the body is stressed by pushing yourself to be active whilst it’s trying to digest and turn food and drink into active energy you will put on weight. In effect the body is saying I can’t transform that food into useable energy at present, so I’ll store it. What you don’t utilise goes to fat.

The next thing to do is drink plenty -the more you drink the more your appetite will lessen.

Don’t over stimulate the body with teas and coffees -and needless to say,  or with alcohol. It doesn’t mean you can’t have any -just don’t overdo it.  Best to drink plenty of plain water, or fruit juices, or herbal teas. By drinking plenty you improve and speed the digestive processes and believe it or not drinking plenty will help regulate the optimal bio rhymical efficiency of all your organs.

We can also lose weight without eating less -you don’t have to drastically cut calories to lose weight.

Simply focusing on healthier choices can lead to a decrease in weight provided those choices meet the necessary criteria. You do this by focussing on nutrient dense options rather than eating less food. By choosing higher nutritional quality foods, you will be more likely to stay full without feeling famished, and by default, you may be eating less calories because of the power of satiety, rather than snacking throughout the entire day. The more you think about weight loss and dieting, the more you want to eat. It’s ultra-important not to skimp out on your daily caloric requirements and what suggest doesn’t do that -mostly we absorb too many calories by not eating the right foods. And mentally you need to focus on the intention to lose weight (and keep it off), by switching your mindset from one of deprivation to one of high-quality foods. Not sure how to get started?

Here are four more ways to lose weight without eating less.

  1. Chew your food thoroughly and slow down the rate of eating. And most importantly consciously focus on what you are eating and drinking -that means not getting distracted by TV or radio. Switch your phone off. Don’t indulge in conversation whilst eating. Make this a habit and you will lose weight.
  2. Smaller food portions. If you follow the advice on point 1 you will be pleasantly surprised to notice how your appetite is satisfied. Always tell yourself you can get more food if it is required. If you heap the plate (I must not waste the food I’ve cooked) then you will feel obliged to eat it all -and on goes the weight!
  3. Eat plenty of protein. Chicken and Turkey (avoid factory farmed birds if you can), lean beef, Loin of Pork, Liver, and black beans, soybeans, and legumes, low fat milk, plain yogurt, Salmon, Tuna, and Tofu. Cottage cheese, and eggs.
  4. Fill up with Fibre.
    Food high in fibre, such as raspberries, Brussel sprouts, nuts and seeds, avocados, apples, dried fruits, potatoes, brown rice, or black beans. Whatever you do, don’t overcook the rice, potatoes and sprouts!
    Eating fibre-rich foods may increase satiety, helping you feel fuller for longer.
  5. Eat Breakfast! Why? When the sun is rising the body metabolises food much more quickly and efficiently than when the sun is sinking. It also means you are less inclined to overeat during the day and evening.

As mentioned last week, Garlic is a building block for many food dishes, and Ginger is similar to garlic in that it isn’t a primary food, but its addition to meals or drinks can give your immune system a boost to fight infections. Prebiotics and probiotics. Gut health is key to the microbiome diet. Probiotics and prebiotics help replace the good bacteria your body loses when fighting infections. Think of probiotics as live bacteria that help your digestive system, while prebiotics are dietary fibres that provide food for probiotics. Greek yogurt and other fermented foods have high levels of probiotics. You can also find probiotics in sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha. Many common high-fibre foods, such as apples (leave the skin on), bananas and beans, contain prebiotics.

Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that can help control infections by increasing white blood cell production. Oranges, lemons and grapefruits are popular sources of vitamin C. It may come as a surprise to know they’re present in vegetables, too. Feel free to load up your plate with bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

You won’t find vitamin D present in as many foods, but it still can help with immune health by reducing inflammation. Your best bet is fatty fish such as salmon, tuna or mackerel. Many commercial milk products have vitamin D added, and cheese, mushrooms and egg yolks contain small amounts of vitamin D. Your skin also absorbs vitamin D from the sunlight, so take advantage of the warmer temperatures outside.

Immune-boosting teas

Teas have been popular for thousands of years, primarily for their health benefits. Our guide on the basics of tea provides a refresher on the types of tea and their uses. All forms of tea come from the Camellia sinensis plant. This plant has polyphenols, which are micronutrients that can boost the immune system, improve heart health, and lower cholesterol. Green tea is especially good but nonetheless if you like black teas -they help too.

We are about to enter June -weather-wise in the UK the sun has arrived! My poem today is all about summer pursuit!

A Dream in a Robins’ Red Breast

It is the smallest thing attended least
I most connect. Suddenly a feather touch
alerts my sleeping mind, and there’s a Robin
perched upon my rod puffing his red breast
seemingly larger than the hovered sun, bigger
than the fish I want to catch, and somehow
more important than myself.

Head cocked sees the maggots in my box,
his eye swivels, rests on me and knows
instantly I’m not a threat, neither my code
or any order I conceive -inwardly understanding
the man, my baggage, this shading tree
its’ watery web of root, floating debris,
the noise of Coot, Pigeon, Duck, and Heron.

And above, the shading tree, the windy sky
are all in place, elsewhere pointed, harmony prevailing.
Stabbing with his beak, picks once, twice,
flies up and settles on a nearby tree
his attention elsewhere. In a blink of eye
he disappears. Half asleep as before
I wing skyward.
As a dream in a robins’ red breast.

Footnote

As always I welcome constructive comments -if it helps you it can help others to make choices and changes.

Eat your way to Good Health

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I’ve talked a lot about the immune system over the past year and more and each time I’m planning to write next week’s newsletter something comes up in the news to bring the subject back in focus. This time it’s the Indian coronavirus variant and the daily paper I’ve just picked up describing people who haven’t had the vaccine as Refuseniks! For a moment there I thought I was in Russia under Putin’s heel. Dr Michael Yeadon, an ex-Pfizer vice-president and scientist is obviously a Refusenik as whilst reminding us that no vaccine in circulation has yet received full marketing approval -in other words, still under trial, he is concerned these gene-based vaccines are reprogramming the immune system with outcomes no one can foresee.

So, who are you to believe?

As you know I don’t take sides in these matters, my aim has always been to advise on natural health support, so this week I’m listing the kind of foods you can eat and supplements you can take that will strengthen the immune system. Just a few words of caution before deciding on what you want to mix and match and go to town on. To know if the immune system is functioning as it should then daily you should have a movement of the bowels and otherwise urinate with ease. If you are in physical discomfort prior to bed or have headaches on waking -these also are signs that the immune system is struggling to function efficiently. These words of caution are to account for the simple fact that sometimes we eat at the wrong times or otherwise have a sensitivity to some foods and supplements.

Your immune system has many integral parts.

For example, lymphoid organs release white blood cells called lymphocytes that help regulate the immune system. This response causes inflammation, similar to how your body produces a scab and swells up if you scrape your arm. Generally, this response is acute or short-lived and your immune system returns to normal. However, prolonged inflammation can impact your health and make it difficult for your body to defend against common illnesses. Where does food come into play? You need vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to keep your body in peak form. You can cause harm to your immune system with poor diet choices — refined sugars, refined carbohydrates, processed and packaged foods, and certain fats (especially trans-fat; Artificial trans-fats are created during hydrogenation, which converts liquid vegetable oils into semi-solid partially hydrogenated oil and can cause inflammation -some can be found naturally in meat and dairy.

These foods can trigger the C-reactive protein (CRP), which alerts your body to an inflammatory threat. Many processed and refined foods are also void of important vitamins and minerals. Diets low in iron or vitamins A, C and D could lead to decreased production in white blood cells. As a general rule of thumb, natural anti-inflammatories can help keep inflammation in check and limit symptoms when you’re ill. Antioxidants protect you from free radicals and can also repair cells and tissues that become damaged during an inflammatory response.

As a general guide you should strive for 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% whole grains and 25% lean meats and proteins.

Here are some food groups to choose from:

Fruits and vegetables:
Leafy greens (lettuce, kale, spinach)
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower)
Tomatoes
Apples
Citrus fruits (grapefruit and oranges)
Berries (blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries)

Whole grains:
Whole wheat, Barley, Oats, Brown rice

Lean meats and proteins:
Seafood, Poultry, Beans (legumes, lentils and peas), Nuts (almonds and walnuts)

Cook with Olive oil, Coconut oil, instead of butter and other oils high in saturated and trans-fats. Don’t be afraid to add herbs and spices, either. Basil, cinnamon, curry, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and turmeric can help reduce inflammation.

Here are more examples of ways you can boost your immunity through your diet.

Garlic is a building block for many food dishes, but did you know it has health benefits? Garlic releases allicin when impacted by some sort of friction, such as chopping or chewing. This sulfuric compound has antioxidant properties that can help protect your cells and produce more white blood cells. Ginger is similar to garlic in that it isn’t a primary food, but its addition to meals or drinks can give your immune system a boost to fight infections. The use of ginger for medicinal purposes dates back thousands of years. When you’re not cooking with ginger, try adding it to your tea.

Prebiotics and probiotics.

Gut health is key to the microbiome diet. Probiotics and prebiotics help replace the good bacteria your body loses when fighting infections. Think of probiotics as live bacteria that help your digestive system, while prebiotics are dietary fibres that provide food for probiotics. Greek yogurt and other fermented foods have high levels of probiotics. You can also find probiotics in sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha. Many common high-fibre foods, such as apples (leave the skin on), bananas and beans, contain prebiotics.

Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that can help control infections by increasing white blood cell production. Oranges, lemons and grapefruits are popular sources of vitamin C. It may come as a surprise to know they’re present in vegetables, too. Feel free to load up your plate with bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

You won’t find vitamin D present in as many foods, but it still can help with immune health by reducing inflammation. Your best bet is fatty fish such as salmon, tuna or mackerel. Many commercial milk products have vitamin D added, and cheese, mushrooms and egg yolks contain small amounts of vitamin D. Your skin also absorbs vitamin D from the sunlight, so take advantage of the warmer temperatures outside.

Supplementing your diet

Your supermarket is likely to have hundreds of supplements that claim to work wonders for the immune system. These supplements can help you if you have a deficiency, but natural foods remain the best way to absorb key vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D supplements remain popular because it’s harder to get your daily amount through food. You can take anywhere from 600 to 800 International Units of vitamin D. Anything more than that can likely cause harm.

Immune-boosting teas

Teas have been popular for thousands of years, primarily for their health benefits. Our guide on the basics of tea provides a refresher on the types of tea and their uses. All forms of tea come from the Camellia sinensis plant. This plant has polyphenols, which are micronutrients that can boost the immune system, improve heart health, and lower cholesterol. Green tea is especially good but nonetheless if you like black teas -they help too.

We are in May -down the winding lane I walk… the natural world has much to teach us! I hope you like this week’s poem.

Seeking Winds of May

Down the winding lane I walk
hid by hedge and under bough
that skirl their leafy sounds anyhow
in the seeking winds of May.

Going nowhere with a purpose
talking secrets with my feet
marching to the cyclic beat
of natural worlds at play.

Pausing at the path smooth head
over which the white clouds scud
stopping, watching cows chew cud
hear the dark horse neigh.

Ambition-less, I am asexual
just conscious of my nose
down I go where the river flows
to greet the end of day.

Not wanting less than everything
I sit rod-less on its banks
eyeing the silver fishes’ shanks
oblivious of time.

Then someone overshadows me
Bow in hand, feminine and fey
and about me She draws a line
in the seeking winds of May.

The ‘she’ in the last stanza is Diana the huntress

Cost-free way to fix anxiety

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Worries and concerns are a permanent part of life’s tapestry

…. but when they refuse to lessen and go away and insidiously become part of daily life, they affect our entire BodyMind and unbalance us. We become uncertain of outcomes -constantly anxious and lose touch with our sense of identity.

There are many forms of anxiety.

Persistent and excessive anxiety and worries about activities or events —even ordinary, routine issues, where worry is out of proportion to the actual circumstance, difficult to control and affects how you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally. It often occurs when a person is depressed.
Panic disorders involving repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety, fear or terror reaching a peak within minutes that characterise panic attacks. Feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, or heart palpitations. Disorders of this kind may lead to worrying about them happening again or avoiding situations in which they have occurred.

Social anxiety disorders (social phobias) involving high levels of anxiety, fear, and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others.

Separation anxiety -usually associated with children, has become much more widespread due to restrictions on meetings and movements during the coronavirus pandemic.


Some physical and mental health conditions give symptoms of intense anxiety or panic. Obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) can take a number of forms; fear of contamination -physical and/or mental, fear of harm and taboo thoughts, symmetry obsessions -the need for things to be perfect, exact, or ‘just right’.

And of course, there are other types, such as Agoraphobia, a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless, or embarrassed. Selective mutism, a consistent failure of children to speak in certain situations, such as school, even when they can speak in other situations, such as at home with close family members. Substance-induced anxiety disorders are characterized by symptoms of intense anxiety or panic that are a direct result of misusing drugs, some medications side effects, and being exposed to a toxic substance or experiencing withdrawal from drugs.

Common anxiety signs and symptoms

include: Feeling nervous, restless or tense, having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom, increased heart rate, breathing rapidly (hyperventilation), sweating, trembling, feeling weak or tired, difficulty concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry, trouble sleeping, experiencing gastrointestinal problems, inability to control worrisome thoughts, having difficulty controlling worries.

What all anxiety states have in common -is the frequency and complexity of the phenomenon. It’s constant, difficult or impossible to self-assess cause and solution.

To fix the problem you need to slow down and simplify your lifestyle and maintain outward awareness of the environment you occupy. Meditation and mindfulness can be a healing process for some -but not all, because they cannot make the shift in consciousness to switch from busy to idle. Hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an approach favoured by people whose anxieties have reached fever pitch and need someone to interact with to begin the healing process.

Because extended lockdowns during the pandemic have given cause for anxieties to develop, a cost-free approach I recommend too slow down and simplify is as follows:

  1. Begin your day with a walk before you eat anything. By all means have a non-stimulating drink if you feel the need of one but don’t eat. Reason is because any amount of eating has a comforting effect and gives you a sense of security. Anxieties will latch onto feelings of comfort and security and maintain their presence. Walk for the sake of walking -it shouldn’t have a destination purpose. Maintain an outward physical awareness of your immediate space projecting forward a couple of body shapes. If you find anxieties come flooding back into your mind, reassert your conscious focus. 15-30 minutes walking like this will slow the mental subconscious inputs into consciousness.
  2. Do one thing at a time. If you are eating -eat for its own sake. Don’t switch on the TV or listen to the radio, because both of these actions will stimulate the subconscious into activity and stimulate anxiety feelings in the background of your mind. Task-wise apply yourself to one task at a time. Complete the task or shut it down if it can’t be completed. The next task is what the mind suggests, or it maybe what you have already defined as a necessary next task, however if it is a task you associate with anxiousness -dismiss it. Instead do something completely different.
  3. If you find worries, concerns, or repetitive thoughts breaking into the pattern of tasking, despite your best efforts, you need to change the atmosphere -that means get out of the place you have been spending time in. Ideally that is going outdoors. Environments we frequently occupy for any length of time become saturated with our thoughts and emotional energies and playback to a worrisome mind.
  4. Lastly, as and when you get positive guiding thoughts, for example, you might say to yourself ‘what I need is a good laugh’, or you might read something that strikes a positive chord -an affirmation like; ‘my body, mind, and spirit function harmoniously’. Write the words down on a postage sticker and put it somewhere in plain sight -don’t try to remember it. As you practise looking outward these messages will come into sight every now and again. Whatever you do, don’t try to remember the sayings -your anxious mind will dispute them.

The poem I’ve written for this week is a celebration of the natural Self.

The Rite of Spring

In secret place I dance the mystic rites of Spring
forswear the binding that illusions bring;
slough the old skin and dissolve the marriage ring.
Here where no man-made thing may live
I touch the earth, seek my darkly distant self,
press my body to the boles of mighty oaks
until I hear their drumbeat in my head.
Then dance again until the trees are fiery red,
the sun is risen gold and my fears have fled.