Archive for February, 2011

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Love, Serve, Remember: Rum Dumb

February 27, 2011

Image Credit: Travelpod.com

One can only wonder what the barefoot beach kids of Maui must think of the old guy in the wheelchair with the white hair, the sparkle in his eye, and the funny name – Ram Dass.

They should ask their grandparents.

At age 79, the former Harvard psychology professor, former LSD experimenter and pioneering teacher of Eastern ways to Western minds is just one of the folks you’re liable to run into at The Studio Maui in the Haiku Marketplace. He has been a Maui resident since 2004, after a stroke curtailed his travels as an internationally renowned spiritual teacher, and he found the climate here to be good for his health.

“Maui has healing properties for my body,” he recently explained at the other end of a Skype interview. He was in his comfortably cluttered home, suitably attired for the occasion in an aloha shirt. “I think I feel content in Maui. And that contentment is a precursor, a causative effect for spiritual peace.”

As opposed to other gurus you’re liable to encounter in Haiku, he’s a real one.

In his younger days, he was one of the iconic figures blazing a trail through a time and state of mind now known as “the ’60s.” Now remembered as a revolution in American culture and consciousness, he summed up the era’s mindset with the title of his landmark book – “Remember, Be Here Now.”

His face now shows the years, but also glows with Maui sunshine, often breaking into an almost childlike smile.

“Now I am who I am now,” he says. “I don’t go anywhere else. I’m an island boy.”

To mark the 40th anniversary of “Be Here Now,” his publisher, Harper One, is re-releasing the groundbreaking work with all the latest features, like an e-book version.

That’s what used to be known as a long strange trip from the work’s origins as a 12-by-12-inch corrugated box of transcriptions of talks he had given at the Lama Foundation outside Taos, N.M. They were printed on brown paper and bound with twine. A recording of chanting was included in the package, sent out in 1970 by the Lama Foundation for free to those who had sent a postcard requesting them.

The first run was 1,000 copies. After being turned into a book, it has sold 2 million copies more.

The anniversary also marks publication of what might be called a companion volume – or perhaps, a chronicle of evolution, 40 years in the making.

Co-authored with Rameshwar Das, its title is “Be Love Now.”

You might say it took four decades to get from “Here” to “Love.” For Ram Dass, the journey can be measured more accurately in inches – from his head, to his heart.

Flashback to the the early 1960s. His name was still Richard Alpert then, the third son of a prominent Boston Jewish family. An ambitious psychology professor who had gotten his doctorate at Stanford, taught at Berkeley and done research with Yale, his promising career at Harvard University came to an abrupt end after he began collaborating with a Harvard associate named Timothy Leary. The pair were dismissed from the university in 1963, after conducting unauthorized research into hallucinogenic drugs, including a new synthetic derivative called LSD.

They continued their experiments for the next few years at a mansion in upstate New York in the company of creative artists, many of whom would be etched into our memories in Andy Warhol-style images from those fast-changing times.

But as Leary gained immortality as the poster boy for the motto “Tune in, turn on, drop out,” Alpert’s interests gravitated in a more spiritual direction.

Influenced by Hindu teachings and a developing ethic of service, he traveled to India in 1967, where he met the man who was to become his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, or as his devotees called him, Maharaj-ji.

Former Professor Alpert returned from this first Indian trip with the new name his teacher had given him – Ram Dass. The name denoted a servant of the mythical Lord Rama. He also returned as a man on a mission of education and service based in Hinduism and other Eastern religious teachings and yoga practices.

He has continued that mission ever since.

He wrote of his experiences in “Remember, Be Here Now,” that would become a grail in an era when Western minds were awakening to new sunrises in the East.

“I came off my first visit to India and wrote that book,” he recalled. “During the first visit with my guru, he performed a miracle from my point of view as a psychologist. He told me what I had been thinking the night before, from 20 miles away. We couldn’t do that in psychology. That blew my mind.”

As a therapist, researcher and explorer of altered states of consciousness, he was amazed by the mental feat. It would take some time before he recalled the rest of what happened during the first encounter.

“He was right above me and I was sitting on the grass. I thought, he must know everything in my head. I thought, oh my gosh, this was really bad. I was embarrassed. But when I looked up into his eyes, what I got was unconditional love. He was loving for me. That was the first time I had ever experienced unconditional love.

“In ‘Be Here Now,‘ I was wowed by that reading of my mind. But I had forgotten this wow.”

He had his return plane ticket in his pocket, but instead, remained in India, soaking in the new teachings. “I stayed for six months. I said, this is home this is home this is home. It was home for my heart, because he was giving me that love.”

Returning to the West, over the next decades Ram Dass spread his new awareness through his teachings and writings. He also put it into action in organizations like the Hanuman Foundation, devoted to social, cultural and environmental programs; and the Seva Foundation, an international health organization whose programs included restoring eyesight to nearly 3 million cataract patients around the world.

Since his stroke, his speech is slower. In his presence, when he is asked a question, you feel like you can actually see the gears turning, slowly, behind the tanned forehead. When asked a question, he pauses for a long time before answering in measured phrases.

His sense of humor is still intact.

“He used to be the master of the one-liner,” observes Wavy Gravy, Ram Dass’ activist friend from the ’60s, in the forward to “Be Love Now.”

“Now he’s the master of the ocean liner.”

On Maui, Ram Dass appears intermittently at educational gatherings known as “satsang ” at The Studio Maui. He conducted two such sessions in October.

At The Studio Maui, his audience includes many students and practitioners of yoga and other forms of meditation.

The new book is full of lessons Ram Dass learned from Maharaj-ji, grounded in Hindu teachings and mythology like the epic “Ramayana.” But as much as it is a guidebook in the evolution of Ram Dass’ faith, it is also a magical tale, full of Indian gurus and holy figures performing miracles as though they were everyday household chores. The sense of wonder at reading of these feats is tempered by another goal of the belief system: overcoming the ego. By fully embracing the concept of “nothing special,” everything becomes special.

For long stretches, the book reads like Alice in a cosmic wonderland. Amidst descriptions of Indian gurus performing inexplicable acts, wondering what’s “real” on so many different levels just adds to the fun for the reader.

But what he teaches requires no specialized knowledge to understand.

He says his new book “describes these saintly beings in India. They all express love toward their devotees and that’s very much part of the book.

“But if we want ourselves to love, we have to move our identity from this (he points to his forehead), the ego, to what what is called the real self (pointing to the region of his heart.)

“That’s the big ‘if.’ First of all, we have to focus on our center – our heart space. As you find your identity with your spiritual heart down there, you are in a plane of consciousness that you weren’t in before. From that vantage point, the world will look lovable.”

It’s been a long time since Ram Dass advocated pharmaceutical paths toward mind expansion.

“I recommend walking the walk,” he told a recent satsang audience. “The psychedelics are the Western way they’re quick, easy, but there’s no satisfaction.”

And it’s not long before they leave you wanting more.

But he’s also the first to acknowledge that had it not been for his early drug experimentation, he would never have gone to India, and never would have found the path he’s on now.

Similarly, were it not for his health setbacks, he might never have gotten to his new home on Maui. After a debilitating stroke in 1997, he struggled over the next years to regain his speech and body function. In the fall of 2004, he followed exhausting travels to India and Singapore by conducting a spiritual retreat on Maui.

“At the end of the retreat he developed a high fever and at the emergency room on Maui was diagnosed with an acute urinary infection that had migrated to his kidneys and into his bloodstream,” according to the foreword in “Be Love Now.”

He was confined to Maui Memorial Hospital for a month. When he was finally released, “he was weak and further travel was out of the question,” writes co-author Das.

His finances were in the same condition as his health. Supporters, led by Maui resident and best-selling author Wayne Dyer, rallied to his aid. A quote from Dyer and words from spiritual authors Thich Nhat Hanh, Krishna Das, Marianne Williamson and Deepak Chopra adorn the jacket of Ram Dass’ new book. All acknowledge him as their teacher or inspiration.

Now Maui provides his therapy.

“He stays very in tune,” says Mike Crall, a volunteer with Ram Dass’ Love Service Remember foundation. “He reads The Maui News, he goes to movies, he goes to cultural events.”

At a recent Dhavani concert produced by Crall, featuring Maui’s master of Odissi dance, Sarala Dandekar, and musicians Ty Burhoe and Steve Oda, Ram Dass was a beaming member of the audience.

The Haiku holy man swims in a pool three times a week. Crall also takes him to Kamaole I Beach in Kihei once a week. It’s the county’s only beach with special accessibility for the handicapped.

“He swims out to the buoy, and says, ‘Oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy!” says Crall.

Carousel Horses

Image Credit: All Hallows Guild

“Physical health is concerned with the body,” explains Ram Dass. “I am using the body. The body is sort of like a space suit for this plane of consciousness. I am in my body, but an analogy in India says the body is a chariot. The ego is the chariot driver, and the soul is the guy riding in the chariot. It’s his chariot – he tells the ego where he wants to go.

“The horses are the desires,” he adds with a laugh.

Prior to his stroke, Ram Dass addressed issues of aging and death, both in his life and in his book “Still Here.”

On the subject of death, he sees a stark contrast between the Western view and what he observed in India.

“There they have a healthy reaction to death, because death is part of life for them. They have multigenerations living together. They will bring the bodies in the street – they don’t hide them in bags and hearses and things like that.”

While death is a source of great fear in our culture, he speaks of it with equanimity.

“From my travels in India, I have found reincarnation is a fact,” he says firmly. “In our lives, each individual life is an incarnation, a chapter of our history. The ego identifies with this incarnation, while the soul has come from incarnations in the past. Souls don’t get so anxious about death, because they have gone through it.”

But life keeps revealing itself to him in unexpected ways. While he was writing “Be Love Now,” Ram Dass learned he had a son, now 53, and a 15-year-old granddaughter.

Sharing this revelation with his satsang audience, he joked about not having had to deal with changing diapers or college costs.

“But to find you have a son when you’re 79, it has a little surprise to it,” he says. His new family lives on the Mainland, but they’ve been out to get acquainted.

“I wasn’t looking forward to family involvement. But I found that having this son, who is a really nice guy, made me re-evaluate.”

Best of all, his new family had no idea of his fame – who he was, or had been.

“They were good Christians,” he told his satsang audience.

Ironically, in light of the unconditional love he advocates and pursues, it often turns out that the hardest people to share it with are those closest to you – family members, your parents, your kids, your spouse.

His book describes his return from India, clad in his new robes and new identity, being quickly ushered into the car at the airport by his disapproving father.

“He called me ‘Rum Dumb’ my brother called me worse.”

It wasn’t until his father was in his 90s and Ram Dass was caring for him that this changed. After training others to deal with dying people, he realized, “I had to work on myself in that situation. I was a soul, and there was my father. I could hardly believe it, there was my father, a soul. There was my father reacting in a spiritual way. That wasn’t the guy I had grown up with.”

So bringing unconditional love home, to the people you live with day in, day out, remains a greater challenge than spreading it around the world.

“I think you know them too well,” he says. “You know their personality, you know their ego, and you are relating to them as ego to ego, which is certainly hard.

“If you want to change that, you have to work on yourself, so that you are in your soul. Your wife and your kids, any of these people my father – you would see them as souls. I’d say you have to change where your ‘I’ is.”

The man who summed up a generation telling them, “Remember, Be Here Now,” is still offering advice for the new times he’s living in.

“The message is that God is within you,” he concludes. “You have to go inside.”

~ Article found at Maui News, Nov 14 2010

Image Credit: RefrigeratorDoorWisdom

Further Reading:

Ram Dass.org – The 60’s aren’t dead. Fragments of  the psychedelic message are everywhere around us – in politics, in art, everywhere.”

The 5 Stages of the Soul: charting spiritual passages that shape our lives – Harry R. Moody & David L. Carroll
IT IS NOT WHAT YOU DO THAT COUNTS, IT IS WHERE YOUR HEAD IS AT
Negative feelings or emotions are useless in themselves. Negative attitudes can become positive if one realizes that it is not actions or deeds in themselves that have value, but rather the way one feels. This is not to say actions can be independent of feelings. Harmful actions breed negativity.

 In general, a positive attitude brings more favorable results and as long as you can be objective, your circumstances will not make you anxious or depressed. You have the power to remove negative feelings and replace them with positive ones.

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Ti Kouka: a symbol of Christchurch

February 25, 2011
 
 
Imagine a distant past where the mist and fog shrouded flatlands, spreading out towards the sea, rich with bird and water life.

There were few landmarks emerging from the mists of what was then essentially swampland. If the hills were obscured by weather there was no way of knowing where you were. That is if it were not for the tī kōuka (cabbage trees) that were carefully planted in significant places to mark out routes across the land like green spiky beacons.

Tī kōuka were prized trees for the Māori of Te Wai Pounamu. Aside from their use as navigational markers, they provided the favoured fibre for fishing due to superior strength and the kōuru or new shoots were an important source of protein in a land where kūmara was difficult if not impossible to grow.

The site of the ancient Waitaha pā, Puari on the banks of Ōtākaro (Avon River) is home to a very old stand of cabbage trees that cluster together in an enduring circle. These trees are the mokopuna (grandchildren) of a great tī kōuka who grew in their place before them. These mokopuna today mark out the circumference of the ancient tree from which they sprung. They are a living memorial to their ancestor. (Read more here)

 

Cathedral spire

Image Credit: Stuff.co.nz

Faces of the Missing – Quake Victims

Living With the Land, Maori Mythology – New Zealand.com

 

 

Image Credit: C.F. Goldie

Cabbage Tree Essence

Keyword: Sovereignty

Positive: True independence of Spirit; able to recognize one’s true priorities and path.

Negative: Negative hereditary beliefs, life patterns and fears around spirituality, religion, losing control mentally.

Further Information: First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand ®

100 Maori words every New Zealander should know – New Zealand History Online

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Begin the Beguine

February 23, 2011

The very marvelous one.
The Not Understood.
Most Innocent of the Daughters of Jerusalem.
She upon whom the Holy Church is founded.
Illuminated by Understanding.
Adorned by Love.
Living by Praise.
Annihilated in all things through Humility.
At peace in divine being through divine will.
She who wills nothing except the divine will.
Filled and satisfied without any lack of divine goodness through the work of the Trinity.
Her last name is: Oblivion, Forgotten.

~ How Love names the Soul by Twelve names

by Marguerite Porete (1260?-1310)

Not much is known about the life of Marguerite Porete (also known as Marguerite of Hainaut) other than what is recorded of her heresy trial in Paris — which eventually led to her death by being burned at the stake.

Marguerite Porete may have been a Beguine, like Hadewijch of Antwerp and Mechthild of Magdeburg, but this is questionable. Her accusers called her a Beguine, but apparently meant it as an insult. In her own writings, Marguerite lists the Beguines as being among her critics. ( read more)

Further Reading:

Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

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Aroha Nui, Aotearoa

February 23, 2011

Christchurch was described as a city in shock with many dead and injured being pulled from the rubble

Photograph: Iain McGregor/Reuters

Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
~ T.S. Eliot, The Burial of the Dead
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Silt, Sand & Gravel

February 22, 2011

Christchurch NZ; a sister-city of Seattle

Christchurch is built on silt, sand and gravel, with a water table beneath. In an earthquake, the water rises, mixing with the sand and turning the ground into a swamp and swallowing up sections of road and entire cars.

Deadly quake rocks Christchurch, New Zealand read more

Christchurch Cathedral, before

Christchurch Earthquake: I’m sort of squashed……..read more

Christchurch Cathedral, after

The 6.3 magnitude quake – classed by experts as an aftershock to last September’s 7.1 quake – struck at 12.51pm (10.51am AEDT).

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says 65 people died in the earthquake that devastated Christchurch today.

”The death toll I have at the moment is 65 and that may rise. So it’s an absolute tragedy for this city, for New Zealand, for the people that we care so much about,” Mr Key told TVNZ. ”It’s a terrifying time for the people of Canterbury.”  read more

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What’s Cooking?

February 21, 2011

Image Credit: A Little Brit of Heaven

My birthday cake was her latest project because it was not from a mix but instead built from scratch – the flour, the baking soda, lemon-flavored because at eight that had been my request; I had developed a strong love for sour. We’d looked through several cookbooks together to find just the right one, and the smell in the kitchen was overpoweringly pleasant. To be clear: the bite I ate was delicious. Warm citrus-baked batter lightness enfolded by cool deep dark swirled sugar.

But the day was darkening outside, and as I finished that first bite, as that first impression faded, I felt a subtle shift inside, an unexpected reaction. As if a sensor, so far buried deep inside me, raised its scope to scan around, alerting my mouth to something new. Because the goodness of the ingredients – the fine chocolate, the freshest lemons – seemed like a cover over something larger and darker, and the taste of what was underneath was beginning to push up from the bite.

I could absolutely taste the chocolate, but in drifts and traces, in an unfurling, or an opening, it seemed that my mouth was also filling with the taste of smallness, the sensation of shrinking, of upset, tasting a distance I somehow knew was connected to my mother, tasting a crowded sense of her thinking, a spiral, like I could almost even taste the grit in her jaw that had created the headache that meant she had to take as many aspirins as were necessary, a white dotted line of them in a row on the nightstand like an ellipsis to her comment: I’m just going to lie down . . ..

 

Image Credit: The Housewives’ Tarot, 78 Notes to Self

None of it was a bad taste, so much, but there was a kind of lack of wholeness to the flavors that made it taste hollow, like the lemon and chocolate were just surrounding a hollowness. My mother’s able hands had made the cake, and her mind had known how to balance the ingredients, but she was not there, in it.

It so scared me that I took a knife from a drawer and cut out a big slice, ruining the circle, because I had to check again right that second, and I put it on a pink-flowered plate and grabbed a napkin from the napkin drawer. My heart was beating fast. Eddie Oakley shrank to a pinpoint. I was hoping I’d imaged it – maybe it was a bad lemon? or old sugar? – although I knew, even as a thought it, that what I’d tasted had nothing to do with ingredients – and I flipped on the light and took the plate in the other room to my favorite chair, the one with the orange-striped pattern, and with each bite, I thought – mmmm, so good, the best ever, yum – but in each bite: absence, hunger, spiraling, hollows.

This cake that my mother had made just for me, her daughter, whom she loved so much I could see her clench her fists from overflow sometimes when I came home from school, and when she would hug me hello I could feel how inadequate the hug was for how much she wanted to give.

I ate the whole piece, desperate to prove myself wrong.

~ Extract from The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender

1950s~ Mother and daughter at kitchen table, preparing ingredients in mixer for baking.

Image Credit: Blessed Femina 

“The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” is fully grounded in the lives of overly perceptive children, whose emotional antennae pick up way more at a family dinner than the correct way to hold a knife and fork. ~ Read book review on Stumbleupon by Yvonne Zip

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Vac from the Sea

February 17, 2011

Electrolux Vac from the Sea: The Pacific Ocean Edition and The Baltic Sea Edition.

Plastic is a material with many advantages. But when plastic ends up in the wrong place it becomes a problem. To raise public awareness about this issue, Electrolux aims to gather plastic debris from vulnerable marine habitats – and produce a limited number of vacs out of it.

Source: Electrolux.se

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He Moved Through the Fair……..

February 16, 2011

H.H. Holmes' Murder Castle, cnr 63rd and Wallace Street, Chicago, ILLinois

Image source and further reading at The Witching Hour

Viewed from the outside, the murder castle was simply a big ungainly building, one of the architectural monstrosities common in the nineties. But its interior, honeycombed with trap doors and secret passageways and walled-up rooms, was the fulfillment of every small boy’s dream of a haunted house.

If ever a house was haunted, that one on Chicago’s South Side should have been. To this day, 117 years later, nobody knows precisely how many persons were murdered in it. Estimates range from twenty to a couple of hundred. Most, if not all, were women. It is believed that they were chloroformed, gassed, strangled, or perhaps beaten to death. Their bodies were destroyed in cellar pits containing quicklime and acids. Some of their skeletons were sold by their efficient murderer, who was determined to realize every penny of profit from his crimes.

Mudgett-Holmes deserves to rank with the great criminals of history. Crime writers reserve the word “monster” for top-notch murderers. A monster ranks above such lesser criminals as fiends, beasts, and phantoms. He must meet certain rigid requirements. His victims, killed over a period of years and not for money alone, must be numerous and preferably female, and he must do unusual things with their bodies; he must inhabit a gloomy, forbidding dwelling, and he should be of a scientific bent. The master of the murder castle possessed all these qualifications and more. Magnificent swindler, petty cheat, mass murderer, he was a man of nimble, tortuous mind. He pyramided fraud upon fraud. Young, good-looking, glib, he mesmerized business men and captivated and seduced pretty young women, at least two of whom he married bigamously. Physician, student of hypnotism, dabbler in the occult, gentleman of fashion, devious liar, skillful manipulator of amazingly complex enterprises, he died on the gallows when he was thirty-five, his crimes exposed accidentally by the vengeful suspicions of that most despised figure in crime, the police informer.  [Read more]

Crane and Breed Eight-Column Glass-Side Hearse displayed at the 1893 World's Fair, in Chicago.

 “I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing – I was born with the “Evil One” standing as my sponsor beside the bed where I was ushered into the world, and he has been with me since.” – H.H. Holmes

There are several accounts of Mudgett-Holmes’s activities, not the least of which is the doctor’s own, a lurid confession written in 1896 while he awaited execution. Holmes admitted 27 murders, most of which, he said, occurred in his infamous “castle” on what is now Chicago’s South Side. He was a psychopath and a compulsive liar, though, so there’s no telling how many he really did away with.  On the gallows he claimed he’d only slain two persons, both of whom he had carved up on the operating table in his macabre basement.  Frank Geyer, a Philadelphia police detective who later wrote a book on the case, unearthed (in a regrettably literal way) enough evidence to pin four killings on Holmes–those of a onetime business associate named Benjamin Pitezel and three of his children.  Holmes–who really was a doctor, with a degree from the University of Michigan–destroyed or hid the bodies of the rest of his victims. Conjecture puts the toll as high as 200.

Holmes was a handsome, intelligent man of great personal charm. By the time he took a job as a chemist at a Chicago area drugstore in 1888, he’d already abandoned two wives and committed a variety of felonies, such as defrauding one of his in-laws.  In 1890 the proprietress of the drugstore disappeared. Holmes took over the business, selling patent medicines of his own invention by mail order.  He also began to build a “hotel” across the street. It was a gaudy three-story building with shops on the first floor and a bizarre labyrinth of windowless rooms, false floors, secret passages, trapdoors, and chutes above.  Holmes changed contractors several times and shuffled the workers around frequently so that no one ever got a clear idea of the floor plan or what the building was for.

In fact it was a death house. Most of the rooms had gas vents that could only be controlled from a closet in Holmes’s bedroom. Many were soundproof and could not be unlocked from inside.  A few rooms were lined with asbestos, presumably so the victim could be incinerated. Chutes and passages led to the basement, where Holmes had installed an oven for cremating the bodies as well as several lime pits for disposing of whatever evidence remained.  He also had a well-equipped surgery area equipped with the usual medical apparatus as well as several instruments of torture, such as the rack. Human fragments, including several complete skeletons, were discovered here and throughout the premises.

Holmes was quite the ladies’ man, and his victims seem to have been mostly female. He hired dozens of young women from the outback to work as secretaries, many of whom he seduced and many of whom subsequently disappeared. Perhaps as many as 50 visitors to his hotel were also slain. It was the era of the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893), the entrance to which was only a few blocks from Holmes’s establishment. The thousands of untraceable transients who passed through town in those years may explain how he got away with it for as long as he did.

In late 1893 Holmes left Chicago and traveled around the country, apparently murdering anybody who was handy. He was finally caught in 1895 by the Philly police when he neglected to dispose of the previously mentioned Pitezel’s body.

Holmes was hanged on May 7, 1896. Students of the occult may wish to note that within a few years of his death a great number of people associated with the case–prison officials, lawyers, relatives–died suddenly, some of them under unexplained circumstances.  The castle burned down on August 19, 1895. The cause of the fire was never determined. Who knows, maybe somebody forgot to turn off the gas.

Source: Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope, Fighting Ignorance Since 1973 (it’s taking longer than we thought)

 

In 1991, the Buffalo Bill Killer from the film Silence of the Lambs was partially modeled after H.H. Holmes. More specifically though was the killer’s basement– a maze specifically patterned after Murder Castle– complete with torture pit. It was here, in the film, where Buffalo Bill killer, Jame Gump, stalked character Clarice Starling in an all too familiar manner– the way in which H.H. Holmes also stalked his victims in the endless maze of his Murder Castle.

Most recently, however, H.H. Holmes and his murder castle have been serialized in Eric Larson’s historical fiction account of those tragic events titled “Devil in the White City“. In November of 2010, it was announced that the book was to be made into a film and Leonardo DiCaprio would be playing the role of devil incarnate, H.H. Holmes.

 Further Information:

Uniform Anatomical Gift Act  – The law prescribes the forms by which such gifts can be made [leaving one’s body to medical science]. It also provides that in the absence of such a document, a surviving spouse, or if there is no spouse, a list of specific relatives in order of preference, can make the gift. It also seeks to limit the liability of health care providers who act on good faith representations that a deceased patient meant to make an anatomical gift. The act also prohibits trafficking and trafficking in human organs for profit from donations for transplant or therapy.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach

The Witching Hour – H.H. Holme’s Murder Castle

Don’t let death be an obstacle to reaching your full potential or achieving your life-after-death purpose.

"Little Egypt" at the Chicago's World Fair, 1893

Image Credit: Celebration Goddess 

My young love said to me,
My mother won’t mind
And my father won’t slight you
For your lack of kind”
And she stepped away from me
And this she did say:
It will not be long, love,
Till our wedding day”

As she stepped away from me
And she moved through the fair
And fondly I watched her
Move here and move there
And then she turned homeward
With one star awake
Like the swan in the evening
Moves over the lake

The people were saying,
No two e’er were wed
But one had a sorrow
That never was said
And I smiled as she passed
With her goods and her gear,
And that was the last
That I saw of my dear.

Last night she came to me,
My dead love came in
So softly she came
That her feet made no din
As she laid her hand on me
And this she did say
It will not be long, love,
‘Til our wedding day

The original words were an old ballad from Donegal which was collected in 1909. The words were “reworked” by Padraic Colum to this version. Alternate titles and variants include, Our Wedding Day and Out of the Window.

According to Ossian’s Folksongs and Ballads Popular in Ireland – Volume I the tune dates back to Medieval times. [Source: Contemplator.com]

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The Shift has hit the Fan

February 15, 2011

The Shift Has Hit the Fan…And All Heaven Has Broken Loose By Swami Beyondananda, aka Steve Bhaerman

 The shift has hit the fan. And all heaven has broken loose. You say, “Heaven?? Where the hell do you see heaven?”

And yes. If you look at the news headlines from the past year, you’d have a hell of a time finding any heaven. It’s a dogma-eat-dogma world out there, and everyone seems caught up in the bipolar insanity. Even Poland is polarized – the North Poles and the South Poles. We talk about peace in the Middle East and we can’t even make peace in the Middle West. Here in America, we have a deeply divided body politic. Half the population believes our election system is broken. The other half believes it is fixed.

 
In 2010, political anger became all the rage, as town hall meetings turned into “I scream anti-socials,” and political discourse into loud detestimonials. The Tea Party Movement, a coalition of civil libertarians and uncivil libertarians, provided an ideal cover for mining interests (as in, “that’s mine … that’s mine … that’s mine”;) to throw barrels of anonymous money into Congressional races to defeat Democratic candidates. Of course we all know that when it comes to defeating Democratic candidates, no one does it better than the Democrats themselves. In the area of self-defeat, the Democrats are simply unbeatable. Somehow, in just two years they turned a mandate into a man-who-can’t-get-a-date.

A Wolfowitz in Sheepowitz’s Clothing?

There is one prime cause of disillusionment, and that is illusionment. And in these challenging times, it’s understandable how a population can get strung out on hopium. America has been going through a dark night, and who wouldn’t want a white knight on a dark night – albeit a slightly darker white knight?

But a lad and a lack. So far, our lad seems to lack the will or the power to stand up to the forces of endarkened self-interest. Barack Obama’s neo-liberal foreign policy looks pretty much like George Bush’s neoconservative one, and disheartened progressives who believed in Obama’s election rhetoric are beginning to think they fell for the old “debate and switch,” and we ended up with a Wolfowitz in sheepowitz’s clothing.

On the other hand, how can we expect a President to stand tall, when the body politic is so sickly and out of shape? After all, we’re still suffering from the lingering effects of Mad Cowboy Disease and chronic electile dysfunction, not to mention irony deficiency and truth decay brought on by weapons of mass distraction. And let’s not forget the Deficit Inattention Disorder that led to our near-debt experience.

American Middle Class Tops Endangered Species List

To add injury to insult, the American middle class continued to top the Endangered Species List, caught between the lowly criminal at the bottom, and the highly criminal at the top. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I’m nostalgic for the good old days when people robbed banks. Once again in 2010, Chase chased us, Wachovia walked over us, and the name Goldman Sachs tells us all we need to know: We have been sacked by the gold men. Gold-collar criminals have overruled the Golden Rule with the Gold Rules Rule: “Doo-doo unto others before they can doo-doo unto you.”

And let’s be honest. Not just the people at the top, but everyone seemed to buy into the boom that could never go bust. And then … BOOM! The bubble popped, and just like that, we’re busted. So, the moral is: Don’t put your faith in false profits.

Sadly, the financial fleecing didn’t awaken the body politic, but it was harder to sleep through the alarming oil spill in the Gulf last spring. So perhaps it takes a pillage AND a spillage to wake the village to stop the drillage!

The upwising continued to gather esteem in 2010, and the irony curtain is becoming more and more transparent. Wikileaks emerged to challenge our official media, Weaky-Licks, to help end the other “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy – that’s where the American people promise not to ask what the government is doing to “keep them safe,” and the government promises not to tell them. When the people choose to not see what is too uncomfortable to look at, the inevitable result is Not-Seeism.

Time to Gather Under One Big Intent

But enough about our small world down here. This is, after all, the State of the Universe, and there’s a big, big Universe out there, which is pretty much purring in perfection. Which is to say there is a hell of lot of heaven out there. So, you are asking, why the hell isn’t heaven here, already?

Everything seems to be crashing down, and heaven is nowhere to be found!
As a cautious optimystic, I say that contrary to the way things appear, the sky is not falling. It only looks that way because we are ascending. Yes, thanks to the evolutionary upwising and the recently declared state of emerge ‘n see (where we emerge from fear and separation and see how we are connected), we humans are better able to rise to the occasion than ever before. And when it comes to rising above whatever has been bringing us down, nothing works like levity.

Now I certainly would never want to impose my spiritual faith on anyone else, but I must declare that I am a FUNdamentalist, accent on the FUN. While some of the less fun fundamentalists believe that heaven is above us, we FUNdamentalists believe that heaven is where we make it.

FUNdamentalists are strictly non-dominational, so we have no commandments. But we do have One Suggestion: “Let’s go for heaven on earth, just for the hell of it!”

“OK,” you protest, “that’s the ideal, but how do we deal with the real deal?”

It’s simple, although it may not be easy. If the uncommonly wealthy have hijacked the commonwealth, we the people must higher-jack it. And we do so by acting on another FUNdamentalist suggestion: We’re not here to earn God’s love, we’re here to spend it!

That is how heaven is breaking loose, with people spending their love like it’s going into style. Think about it. Someone comes into a room overflowing with love, and 300 people leave with that love … and pay it forward somewhere else. Love, joy and laughter … they are the loaves and fishes of spiritual nourishment. Yes, heaven has broken loose and we are here to put it together. Each of us – if we so choose – brings a piece of heaven. You have a little piece here, a little piece there, and before long, you have one big peace everywhere.

So … now is the time for all those heaven-bent on planetary transformation to gather under one big intent that reflects the heart core values shared by humans the world over: “We are here to re-grow the Garden, and have a heaven of a time doing it.”

And when the cosmic beings ask, “Oh, by the way, how did the human race turn out?” the answer will be, “They won. They achieved Oneness and won.” This is the true second coming. The human drama achieves a pleasurable climax, as everyone comes together.

Swami Beyondananda is the cosmic comic alter ego of Steve Bhaerman, and can be found online at: http://wakeuplaughing.com © Copyright 2011 Steve Bhaerman.

Found at The Crystal Gateway

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Nature Does Nothing Uselessly

February 15, 2011
Oregon Fire-Opal 25.95cts.

Oregon Fire Opal, 8-ray star

Image Credit: Osiris Gems

About midway between Lakeview and Klamath Falls, Oregon, in the “High Oregon Desert”, nestled between juniper trees and sagebrush is an Opal mine with gems as beautiful as Fire Opal from anywhere in the world.  The Juniper Ridge Opal Mine.

Fire Opal was born in fire, in the ancient volcanoes of Oregon in the USA.  Fire opal forms when water seeps into silica-rich lava, filling seams and hollows.  Under heat and pressure, the silica forms a solid gel, trapping the remaining water within its structure.  Seams of fire opal are found within the remains of these ancient flows.

Fire opal, like all opal, has a high water content.  As a result, it should be protected from heat and prolonged exposure to strong light, which could dry it out.  All of our Juniper Ridge Fire Opal is held for two to three years before cutting, thus insuring its stability.

~ Source: Oregon Sunstone

FIRE OPAL: carries a frequency of ecstasy, manifestation from Etheric, sexual enjoyment, fertility, physical energy and promotes artistic creativity. This stone enhances personal power, awakens inner fire and protects against danger. It is a symbol of hope, energy amplifier and an excellent stone for business. It magnifies thoughts and feelings and can release deep-seated feelings of grief even when these stems from other lives. A wonderful stone for letting go of the past and generates explosive actions when  bottled-up emotions are suddenly released. resonates to abdomen, lower back and triple burner meridian. It heals the intestines and the kidneys, balancing the adrenal glands and prevent burn-out, stimulates the sexual organs and an excellent stone for re-energizing and warming.
~ Source: Raven Crystals
 
 

Image Credit: Aromatherapy4Soul

Evernia Prunastri: Soft, silent, ancient power, deep, slow movements, deep comfort, sigh of relief, finding peace.

Oak Moss reaches the parts of us that are beyond words, soothes those places, hungers and desires that we can’t even explain to others about, comforts deeply and profoundly, brings peace.