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and puddle-wonderful "


Groves were the First Temples

August 28th, 2010
John Muir Wildness trail head

A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself.  ~ John Muir

Man Arrives from the Future

August 26th, 2010

A would-be saboteur arrested today at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland made the bizarre claim that he was from the future. Eloi Cole, a strangely dressed young man, said that he had travelled back in time to prevent the LHC from destroying the world.

The LHC successfully collided particles at record force earlier this week, a milestone Mr Cole was attempting to disrupt by stopping supplies of Mountain Dew to the experiment’s vending machines. He also claimed responsibility for the infamous baguette sabotage in November last year.

Mr Cole was seized by Swiss police after CERN security guards spotted him rooting around in bins. He explained that he was looking for fuel for his ‘time machine power unit’, a device that resembled a kitchen blender.

Police said Mr Cole, who was wearing a bow tie and rather too much tweed for his age, would not reveal his country of origin. “Countries do not exist where I am from. The discovery of the Higgs boson led to limitless power, the elimination of poverty and Kit-Kats for everyone. It is a communist chocolate hellhole and I’m here to stop it ever happening.”

This isn’t the first time time-travel has been blamed for mishaps at the LHC. Last year, the Japanese physicist Masao Ninomiya and Danish string-theory pioneer Holger Bech Nielsen put forward the hypothesis that the Higgs boson was so “abhorrent” that it somehow caused a ripple in time that prevented its own discovery.

Professor Brian Cox, a CERN physicist and full-time rock’n’roll TV scientist, was sympathetic to Mr Cole. “Bless him, he sounds harmless enough. At least he didn’t mention bloody black holes.”

Mr Cole was taken to a secure mental health facility in Geneva but later disappeared from his cell. Police are baffled, but not that bothered. PARTICULARLY SINCE IT WAS APRIL 1st! As a reader has pointed out this was an April Fool’s Day post written by By Nick Hide on 1 April 2010, on the cnet technology site:
Read more: http://crave.cnet.co.uk/gadgets/man-arrested-at-large-hadron-collider-claims-hes-from-the-future-49305387/#ixzz0xkVsKwaD

Jay Ramsay

August 23rd, 2010

The name of an old friend, Jay Ramsay, may be familiar to you from his poetry which has been quoted in The Order of Bards Ovates & Druids course. A website is often the best way to introduce the work of a multi-faceted person whose creative endeavours span a number of fields, and this certainly applies to Jay, so it’s good to see that he has finally got around to creating a website which introduces his work in poetry, writing, psychotherapy and healing. You can find it here.

I specially like the sound of the poetry groups he runs: “Jay brings a theme to each evening which is distilled in a meditation which then introduces a quiet period of writing. Participants then share in couples before a break (coffee & cake) and in the second half, poets share poems (having brought copies of the poem to hand round the group) which they want constructive feedback on.” And there are sections on his site detailing his books, his therapeutic work and workshops, samples of his poetry and links to explore.

Footnote: Jay introduced and edited a collection of Ross Nichols’ poetry entitled Prophet, Priest & King (a beautifully illustrated book which you can order as a hard copy here or download as a free e-book here).

The Nirvana Shataka

August 21st, 2010

Manish Modi who runs the wonderful Hindu Granth Karyalay bookshop specialising in Jain and Indic literature has just sent this: “The Nirvana Shataka by Adi Shankaracarya, is arguably the most beautiful verse in the entire Vedic tradition. Reflecting closely the Dravyayarthika Naya of Jain teacher Kundakunda, the lyrics are hauntingly beautiful, and combined with the melodious singing, the effect is divine.” Best on full screen and external speakers!

The Naked Debate at the Lowry in Manchester

August 20th, 2010

Set in a magnificent waterside location at the heart of the redeveloped Salford Quays in Greater Manchester, The Lowry is an architectural flagship with a unique and dynamic identity. Rising from the regenerated docklands, it is a welcoming building, designed to reflect the surrounding landscapes and flourishing waterways, in its glass and metallic surfaces.

The Lowry opened on 28 April 2000, bringing together a wide variety of performing and visual arts under one roof. Opening its door to the best in entertainment and education in the arts, The Lowry aims to give everyone access to new areas of creativity and to embrace its broad community. 1,000 people took part in US artist Spencer Tunick’s multiple-site installation across Salford and Manchester in May this year, in honour of The Lowry’s tenth anniversary, and in conjunction with the exhibition of Tunick’s work, Everyday People, which is on display at the gallery until 26 September, Philip will be presenting ‘The Naked Debate’ at 7pm on Wednesday 15 September

Writer and psychologist Philip Carr-Gomm explores the positive feelings associated with being naked. Author of A Brief History of Nakedness, Philip will talk about how nakedness can be used to enlighten, empower and entertain. Despite the religious, legal and cultural restrictions that surround its display, nakedness has been used creatively by mystics, political protestors and artists for centuries. Today it is also being used by ‘ordinary people’ to break free from feelings of body shame and from the tyranny of stereotypical ideas about beauty.

There are only a limited number of tickets available. To book please call The Lowry Box Office on 0843 208 6010.

The waiting room was the audience chamber all along

August 20th, 2010

But there is no in-between! No transition! No place is liminal now!
The waiting room was the audience chamber all along, you know! This is it, no ending,
No beginning. So where are you going? What are you doing right now, amidst this
Rush of ever changing lights? What are you up to in your steaming heart-kitchen?

An excerpt from Barry Patterson’s poem ‘You Cannot Hold a Candle to the Year’

See Barry’s website.

The Radical Roots of Modern Druidry

August 19th, 2010
A misperception of modern-day Druids is that they are flakey New Agers out of touch with the reality of living in a difficult and challenging world. Not so! The modern Druid movement has been founded upon the ideas and inspiration of engaged radicals, as Ronald Hutton, Professor of History, Bristol University points out:

‘On radical Druidry: Stukeley was (at first) a pagan Neoplatonist who disapproved of the intolerance of Christianity; Iolo a pacificist and republican, who was regarded as dangerous by the government and held a Gorsedd of Bards that was broken up by mounted militiamen; William Price a revolutionary who plotted to overthrow the state by an armed uprising, did not believe in marriage or Christianity, and won a law case that made cremation possible in the UK; George Watson (Macgregor) Reid a radical socialist who incited workers to strike and native peoples in North Africa to resist Western imperialism. The claimed list of Chosen Chiefs is a roll-call of radicals and freethinkers.’
Ronald Hutton, Professor of History, Bristol University

Druid Acronym Gains Momentum

August 16th, 2010

The Druid acronym is gaining momentum. Here is the latest:

The Integrated Project DRUID (Driving under the Influence of Drugs, Alcohol and Medicines) deals with the scourge of drink-driving and is going to find answers to questions concerning the use of drugs or medicines that affect people’s ability to drive safely. DRUID will bring together the most experienced organisations and researchers throughout Europe, involving more than 20 European countries. The aim is to gain new insights to the real degree of impairment caused by psychoactive drugs and their actual impact on road safety. All in all this Integrated Project will fill the gaps of knowledge and provide a solid base to generate harmonised, EU-wide regulations for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs and medicine.


Where have all the interesting women gone?

August 16th, 2010

I’ve just discovered a new imprint: Zero Books. Here is how they describe their philosophy: ‘Contemporary culture has eliminated the concept and public figure of the intellectual. A cretinous anti-intellectualism presides, cheerled by hacks in the pay of multinational corporations who reassure their bored readers that there is no need to rouse themselves from their stupor. Zer0 Books knows that another kind of discourse – intellectual without being academic, popular without being populist – is not only possible: it is already flourishing. Zer0 is convinced that in the unthinking, blandly consensual culture in which we live, critical and engaged theoretical reflection is more important than ever before.’

How interesting! Here is one of their latest titles: One Dimensional Woman by Nina Power. Its description: ‘Where have all the interesting women gone? If the contemporary portrayal of womankind were to be believed, contemporary female achievement would culminate in the ownership of expensive handbags, a vibrator, a job, a flat and a man. Of course, no one has to believe the TV shows, the magazines and adverts, and many don’t. But how has it come to this? Did the desires of twentieth-century women’s liberation achieve their fulfilment in the shopper’s paradise of ‘naughty’ self-pampering, playboy bunny pendants and bikini waxes? That the height of supposed female emancipation coincides so perfectly with consumerism is a miserable index of a politically desolate time. Much contemporary feminism, particularly in its American formulation, doesn’t seem too concerned about this coincidence.

This short book is partly an attack on the apparent abdication of any systematic political thought on the part of today’s positive, up-beat feminists. It suggests alternative ways of thinking about transformations in work, sexuality and culture that, while seemingly far-fetched in the current ideological climate, may provide more serious material for future feminism.’

See the Zero Books website.

Spirituality & Psychiatry

August 15th, 2010

It’s heartening to discover that 2,500 psychiatrists in the UK have joined this group:

“The Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists was founded to:

  • help psychiatrists to share experiences and to explore spirituality in mental healthcare
  • to increase knowledge of the research linking spirituality with better health
  • to raise the profile of spirituality in patient care.

The SPSIG has now over 2500 psychiatrist members. It runs an active programme of one-day events for members and holds occasional conferences open to the general public.”

For more information