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Monday, October 29, 2012

Like My Daddy Used To Say.......



Growing up, my father, uncles, and grandfathers told me many things.  Some of those things were/are down right hilarious, especially when a live visual was provided.  Here are a few:

Like my Daddy used to say, " Preachers and lawyers have a few things in common.  One of those things - both are liars."  Daddy had more to say about these two sub-species but it's not fit to print.

................ " Money is the one sure thing that gets stuff done.  Don't kid yourself, it is.  Any doubts about that, ask any rich bastard what he needs more of."

............... " Don't trust anyone who does not drink alcohol.  They're hiding something."

............... " Don't trust anyone who doesn't eat meat.  They're not normal.  Maybe they're space aliens."

.............. " Don't believe anyone that tells you they are not prejudiced.  Those people are the most prejudiced of all."

.............. " Stay away from women that go to church every Sunday.  What they are looking for you don't have and what they have, you don't want.  Unless you want to go to church every Sunday."

.............. " You go to school to learn some things.  You put those things to use in your backyard."

.............. " Save your money; in coffee cans, milk cans, or tin cans.  Be wary of bankers."

............. " A fool follows his own path to winning an academy award for best actor in a comedy. "

............ " Don't trust anyone whose never been drunk.  Those people have no idea how to really make fools of themselves.  They want you to do it for them, and then blame you for all the troubles in their lives.  Let them fall on their faces all by themselves.  Sit back and enjoy the show."

                                                 Copyright @ 2012 Terry Unger




 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Reflections



At my age, I have discovered how little I know and understand about anything.  Now, I listen more, and talk less.  Now, I read more, and still speak less; the silence has its golden edges.  I meditate harder now, and stare into the comfort of darkness.  If truly the gods of my fathers exist, I shall meet them there.  When spoken by some, words become finite and in some cases, empty.  The children hold many answers before they grow up.  When you assume that you hold universal truths to be self-evident, you discover black holes of self-delusion.  Maybe holding on to that star-struck wonder of a child is a good thing.  Fools follow their own path to winning an academy award.

                                              Copyright @ 2012 Terry Unger

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lessons From Oz



On a really bad day in Kansas, little Dorothy and her dog Toto had a rough time with a tornado.  As the story goes, Dorothy meets up with three questionable characters:  a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly Lion.  The Scarecrow felt that he did not have a brain.  The Tin Man believed that he was missing a heart.  And the Lion thought that he lacked courage.  All three of these characters wanted the one thing that they believed was missing in their lives.  Through a series of events, the trio discovered that they already possessed what they individually coveted.  Their self-discovery happened when they decided to help Dorothy, to forge ahead regardless of the obstacles.    

We do not have to get sucked up and taken to some mystical place to know that we have a brain to think, a heart to care, and the courage to carry out our life plans.  These are things that we have - now.  Wise use of these three is what conquers all obstacles.  It's the stuff of myth and legend.

                                               Copyright @2012 Terry Unger

                                                       

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Caught In the Middle....Again



I really hate to be the referee in an argument between friends; both expect you to take their side.  And either way, you lose.  In my opinion, the best thing to do is to avoid these spats.  However as a voter, I am in the middle of another four year spat and and cannot avoid my civic duty.  Yes, in the middle of another argument, but not between friends, political rivals.  And in truth, how many politicians are the voter's friend?  In a few days the general election will be here and making the choice, at least for me  is done.  And that choice was made by not considering the candidate's good points but rather, choosing who I think will present the least harm for me and my country.  And, that was tough.  An incumbent has a past record of doing some things that can be sugar-coated beyond recognition.  The challenger takes pot shots at the incumbent's record in the hope that that sugar will melt with the heat of his barrages.  And all the while the challenger has the fend of attacks concerning his personal life.  Personally, I don't give a hoot about what the candidate does in his bedroom or what religion he follows.  My concern is how well he will govern.  What's so sad?  The candidates are not the best America has to offer.  This is also true on the state and local levels.  Money, yours or someone else's, is a major factor in not just who runs for elective office, but also who wins.  And, what must be included in this process is how much of your soul you are willing to sell to get elected.  If you look at the candidate's work experience before running for elective office, you will find that many of them are lawyers.  Somehow, I don't think that our Founding Fathers, the framers of the Constitution, ever dreamed that our country would ever be run by a bunch of reincarnated used car salesmen and snake-oil hucksters.

                                                 Copyright @2012 Terry Unger             

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Losing My Religion and Sanity



It's hard for me to wrap my head around things that are totally illogical and lack any form of common sense.  Formalized religion, the three Abrahamic faiths in particular, just blow me away.  How can a just and loving god do all that killing?  When I read the verses that sanctioned those actions, I thought that they were referring to a drugged out, errant teenager.  Maybe I'm just too stupid, open minded, or just not vulnerable  to the taste of the Kool-aid.  When you tell me that something is supposedly divine and is also complete and absolute, I expect perfection.  And if that divinity is perfect, then it cannot be anything but total love and acceptance, regardless of human faults.  But, according to those three faith paths, that is not the case.  They have rules and those rules affect every aspect of human behavior.  Step over the line - you are in trouble.  But for some folks who have stepped over that line, the trouble for them is huge.

Case in point:  Fourteen year old Malala Yousufzai, a Pakistani girl, was shot in the head by the Taliban.  Her "crime?"  She advocated education for women.  Malala was shot by the same guys who rape and burn women to death at will.  These are the same guys who destroyed, as the world watched, Buddhist shines in Afghanistan over a decade ago.  But for them it's OK, because they can find justification for their actions within their religion.  Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, Christianity found justification for the murder of thousands of men and women within their canon and religion - it was called the Inquisition.  History tends to repeat itself.  It's time for the West to wake up to what's really going on in the world and to take a strong stand for freedom.


                                             Copyright @2012 Terry Unger    

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Preserved or Pickled ?




As a lad in my late teens, I was never "carded" when I bought beer.  At that time, I lived only a few miles from the Pennsylvania/New Jersey state line, and since the legal drinking age in Jersey was 18, going over the bridge to Jersey was more than a right of passage.  It was called - Saturday Night.  Only the uninitiated went through the toll gates on route 22 and then back again.  On the return trip, they were cheerfully greeted by Pennsylvania State Troopers who warmly welcomed them home.  The more seasoned lads used the free bridge that connected downtown Easton, PA. with Phillipsburg  N.J. ; no toll fees and no police.  And we always went to the same store.  I guess the guy figured that taking money from Pennsy kids was just as good as taking money from Jersey kids.  After all, it was Saturday Night.  

Strange things happen with the passing of time.

Several weeks ago I was reminded that the virus that causes chicken-pox as a child hangs around and can bless you with shingles as an older adult.  Not having a desire to deal with shingles, I found a local pharmacy that offered the vaccination.  I stepped up to the counter and made my request only to be politely told that I needed to be over 50 to receive the vaccine.  My reply was the truth; I am well over 50.  The druggist caught wind of my banter with his young clerk and asked me if there was a problem.  Again polite - this is Texas.  I said no, that I just wanted a shingles vaccination.  He repeated his clerk's words almost verbatim and also asked to see my insurance info and photo ID.  Since I wanted the shot, compliance with his request was not an issue.  At his first glance, the guy thought that I had given him a fake ID.  Well, those pictures on driver's licenses always look bad.  Thankfully, he was able to confirm my age with my insurance company.  As he gave me the injection, he apologized for assuming that I was, ah.......too young.  Not to worry, I said, it's all in the genes.  But I wonder:  if I started to drink single malt scotch back in the day in stead of beer, would I look like a teenager today?  Just wondering.

The above is all true and a bit funny but shingles is not a laughing matter.  If you are over 50, had chicken-pox and reading this, check with your doctor, get your butt out the door, and get the vaccination.

                                                  Copyright @2012 Terry Unger

Since I first published this post, the issue of voter I.D. has become a hot button issue.  Here in Texas, that is the rule.  I needed I.D. for the vaccination; not a problem.  When we travel within the continental U.S. , we need a photo I.D. to confirm and pay for our hotel; again, not a problem.  The real blast came this past holiday season.  Because the charge card total was over $100.00, we were asked for photo I.D.  That was a problem.  We were told that was store policy.  The hair on the back of my neck stood up like a porcupine's.  The demand for the manager left my lips, and he repeated what the cashier originally told us.  When agitated, I can be vocal.  The crowds that filled the space around the checkout lanes heard exactly how I felt about I.D.  Thankfully, we live in Texas, where photo I.D. is required to vote.   


        

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Diamond Joe


Sometimes known as the Reaper, Joe has the ability to dazzle people with his eyes.  In this persona of the Grim, huge diamonds fill his otherwise vacant eye sockets.  Moreover, when dressed in his tuxedo, top hat, and walking cane, Joe is an attractive sight to humans who "want it all" without having to pay one red cent or for that matter, even breaking a sweat.  However, if you decide to go into "business" with Joe, eventually you will have to pay up, like it or not, when you least expect it; there is no such thing as a free lunch.  When you make a deal with a devil for fame and money, your soul is demanded as payment ( in this post, soul refers to your conscience, ethics, and morals....if you had any to start with).  That payment is due when the devil demands it, not when you want to pay it ( I know, redundant, but sometimes repeating something  helps people to grasp the point).  What  is better?  Living your life to its fullest and earning your own way or trading your soul, your principles, for ill gotten material things?  A good life belongs to those people who live and work an honest life.  Their lives are remembered with praise by those that they have left behind; love and honor is the true prosperity.  Those who have sold their souls for a false prosperity are despised at death; despised not necessarily because of that false material wealth, but how they got their hands on it.  Admit it, a garbageman has an honorable job; a drug dealer does not.  Those folks find out that when Diamond Joe comes to collect, they can't take their shit with them.  By that time, it's too late to cancel the contract.

                                                    Copyright @2012 Terry Unger    

Sunday, October 14, 2012

When Words Weigh More Than Bricks



Very early in life kids learn that little ditty, " Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me!"  That is true only in a direct and primary sense.  But,words can hurt the heart and a person's emotions.  When the wrong words are spoken to our kids and spouses, it can set the stage for future negative actions.  Words that rip at a person's self-esteem, especially between spouses, can act like getting hit in the face with a brick.  When we speak condescendingly to our kids, it can be like they just had the emotional wind kicked out of them.  Here, I am speaking from experience and I am not paraphrasing from the latest best selling psycho-babble tract.  Yes - I've been there, done that, as the thrasher of cutting words, and the recipient of painful judgement.  Like it or not, words are the forerunner of future actions; words set the stage for future acts in the video of our lives.  Moreover, since we live in a world of cause and effect, those words do come back to us; positive words yield positive effects while negative words can produce living nightmares.  Carefully chose your words and put a padlock on your tongue.  If you need to run around the block to cool your temper before you speak, do so.  Use those bricks to build a strong house that no big, bad wolf can blow down.

                                                   


                                                      Copyright @2102 Terry Unger

       

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Crystal Ball



As I gazed into my amazing crystal ball, I saw how the meaning of things that we think are so important today  had changed, 100 years from now, as defined by the then popular dictionary:

Social Media - A poor excuse for human face to face interaction; the complete lack of human contact, substituted by cyber-space usage championed by keyboard jockeys and professional mind benders; a major reason why humans became socially inept and backward.

MySpace - A cyber-space dead zone that was created by Facebook.

Facebook - A social media internet device where people bullshitted other people into believing how important they thought they were; a place where the weak of heart and mind discussed their personal problems and received really bad "therapy" from their "FB friends;" a place where pictures and other "intellectual property" were urged to be posted only to be taken by the Facebook gods and given to advertisers - like online dating sites; a place where too much personal information was available for the world to see; at the time it was a major excuse that was used for not going out with real friends and having a good time - it was believed to be safer.

Twitter - A social media site that gave the applicant the opportunity to hook as many people as he or she could in a 140 characters or less; a teaser; a bullshit loss leader.

Wikipedia - a brilliant idea that was hampered by:  the continual  need for donations and the allowance of people to change real factual data to match their agenda/perspective.

Mental Illness - The misplaced sense of right and wrong and the inability to verbally face to face communicate with another person due to the overuse of social media; the belief that you live in a parallel universe and are a walker between those worlds; the constant babble of Star Trek and Steve Jobs quotes; thinking that a cell phone is a real best friend; sleeping with a computer.

Insanity - The above about mental illness plus the total lack of reality, including that of one's own self, family, and others.


                                                  Copyright @2012 Terry Unger    


Taking One On The Chin For The Team


When you have lived for a few decades, and then some, you have the opportunity to look back on life and compare the past with the present; things change.  When Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon (July 1969), talking heads proclaimed the liberation of humanity - because of computers and advances in technology.  We will work less, they said, and society would soon be paperless.  Those predictions proved to be a bust long ago.  People now work harder than in 1969 and trees are being felled at a rapid rate.  And, the pace to produce and then consume has pushed many folks over the edge; once over that precipice and then back, your life is never the same.  There is something radically wrong when so many people have mental meltdowns before their 50th birthday.  But not to worry, modern medicine is working to keep us alive.

We have a pill for this and a pill for that.  And if the first chemistry fails, there are replacements waiting in the wings.  Now, when we wear out some body parts, the surgeons are happy to replace it.  But just hold on!  How many lawsuits are floating around concerning the negative effects from some drugs and faulty skeletal joints?  Many.  Think about it; when a drug does not work another is proscribed.  Why - ask the Doc; maybe if you throw enough stuff on the wall, some will stick.  Replacement joints, I'm told,  have a wear life of 20 years, or less.  Imagine a 60 year old man getting one or both knees replaced.  Think of a 60 year old woman getting one or both of her hips replaced.  So, in 20 years, the replacements need replacements?  Ouch!  That procedure hurts like hell at 60 and has to be worse at 80.

Understand that this post is not in any way a condemnation of our medical advances.  These things help us deal with the producer/consumer hamster wheel.  But......don't you think that since we put a man on the Moon and now we have that spiffy little thing running around on Mars (Mars Rover Curiosity), that we can't make, at least, skeletal replacement parts that last a lifetime?  And medications that will not make us sick?  Do you think that I am reaching for the stars?  How about a car that gets over 60 miles per gallon and retails for under $20,000.00?  Asking for too much?  I don't think so.  And let's not forget the need to make life better overall for the everyday man and woman; meltdowns are a bitch.  Better life does not have to depend on chemistry.  It's time for the guys in charge to take one or two on the chin for the team - "our team."  Well, that's my opinion; just thinking out loud.

                                                Copyright @2012 Terry Unger    

Author's Note:  The irony of it all - in a few weeks, I will have surgery to replace my right knee.  Oh, the joy......        

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Collage From Ungerland

 When words fail me, pictures carry the day.






                                                 Copyright @2012 Terry and Sandra Unger

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Here Come Those Holidays......Again !


                                                    

As I write these words, Samhain/Winter’s Night (think Halloween) is several days away.  During the course of my day, I cannot help but see the Christmas decorations across the aisle from the disappearing “Halloween” costumes and candy; the artificial pine and holly eagerly await the Christmas shoppers.  Soon our neighbors will be decking their halls and trimming their trees.  In addition, let us not forget that blow up snowman and candy canes.  Do you think that they will stop in their revels to think where their Christmas traditions came from?  
In ancient Rome, a variety of different cultures thrived and prospered.  Contrary to Judeo-Christian belief, the old Rome was tolerant of those diverse culture’s religions.  So tolerant that, regardless of creed, most of the citizenry prepared four weeks in advance for the Feast of Saturnalia (a feast dedicated to Saturn).   This feast began December 17 and concluded on December 25.   During Saturnalia, master and slave exchanged places, and like the old saying, “anything goes,” did happen, (I will let you use your imagination here).  December 25th saw the end of Saturnalia with a huge celebration and the exchanging of gifts.  However, it appeared that when Saturnalia ended, the celebration of the birth of Sol Invictus began.  The Winter Solstice occurred, as it still does, either on the 20th, 21st, or 22nd of December, and was/is the longest night of the year.  The celebration of Sol Invictus took place approximately three days after the “dark night” of the Solstice amid great revelry.  Saturnalia and Sol Invictus were not the only celebrations that happened in Rome and its provinces during that time.
The sun god Mithra, a Persian import, had many followers in the Roman Army.  Mithra’s followers believed that the god had incarnated as a man from a heavenly realm, was born of a virgin on December 25 for the purpose of human salvation.  Egyptians who lived in Rome at that time celebrated the birth of Horus, a god said to be of virgin birth by the Goddess Isis.  Depictions of Horus in the Egyptian temples were that of a babe in a crib with his virginal mother, Isis looking on.  At the other end of town were the gladiators, many of them Germanic prisoners of war.  The Germanic peoples celebrated Yule, the turning of the wheel and the rebirth of the god as a babe from the goddess (they also noted with great respect that the days became longer - the return of the Sun, and life).  The celebrations mentioned above are not all inclusive; history tells of many more.  So what about that “other stuff” - the food, drink, and evergreens that come from our rich past?  Hang on we will get there. Many people of European ancestry, including myself, yearn for some snow at Yule, unless you have to drive in it.  This is a hazardous condition, but our ancestors faced much worse. 
             Generations ago, a snowstorm was life threatening.  Those storms snowed in farms and villages, and even walking to a neighboring farm was treacherous.  The preparations that led up to and followed the holiday - the salting, drying, and smoking of fruits, vegetables, and meats (Gepokeltes) had to feed people well into the spring.  However, the human spirit prevailed, despite the weather and the best efforts of the Church to eradicate Yule and it gave us a rich a wonderful tradition.
  Our ancestors called the period between Winter Solstice and January 6th “The Raw Nights.”  One reason - it was so damned cold!  Another reason, taken from tradition, was that disembodied spirits would be out haunting the countryside.  During these “Raw Nights,” certain nights were observed for ritual and smudging (smudging – today it is akin to lighting incense).  The people smudged their homes and property for protection against negative energy (all that stuff that goes “bump” in the night), and to help bring on the re-birth of the Sun.  Then, they partied (now that I have your attention, you will have to wait to find out how well they partied!). 
Another reason for the “Raw Nights,” also taken from tradition, is Wotan’s (Wodan/Odin) Wild Hunt.  Tradition tells us that Wotan, the Germanic God of Gods, rode his horse Sleipnir along with his mighty Host throughout the earth, forest, and sky, and created mighty windstorms.  People believed that the smoke and scent of the smudging pleased the gods, particularly Wotan, and that he would grant mercy on humans and protection from evil.  Wotan had some interesting attributes.  The people considered him the divine masculine of creation and known for granting wishes.  This god, while on the Wild Hunt, was traditionally dressed in red and white with of course, a long beard.  So here we go; a man of divine stature, riding through forest, earth, and sky, fulfilling wishes, dressed in red and white with a beard; good golly Miss Molly!  You do not need a compass and ruler to draw the line from Wotan, to Father Winter, to St. Nicolas, to Sinter Claus and to Santa Claus.  I guess we can tell Virginia there is a Claus; pick one.  Moreover, the horse Sleipnir had eight legs and could fly.  Some historians believe that Sleipnir was the precursor of Santa’s eight flying reindeer. 
Then, what about the so-called Christmas tree?  Well, humans always had a special affinity for trees.   According to Pliny the Elder,
                        For a long time Her (the Goddess Natura) good deeds,
                        were hidden; trees and woods were the highest of all
                        gifts given to human beings.” (Pliny the Elder, V)
We can trace our relationship to trees back to its shamanic origins.  Trees, the fir tree included (aka evergreen), were thought of as sacred, as if ladders to the “Otherworld.”   In addition, many trees symbolized Life itself.
The Yule Log and Yule Tree (erroneously called - Christmas tree) are inextricably intertwined.  On Solstice Eve the Yule Log was burned (and still is by some of us) along with wishes, hopes, and dreams, in thanks and remembrance to the dead King.  The next morning, people placed a fresh cut fir tree in their home and it symbolized the rebirth of the King (Sun) as a babe.  The very first inference of the Yule Tree as a Christmas tree occurred in Strasbourg in 1604.
Mistletoe comes to us through the Celtic Druids.  When they observed mistletoe in nature, our ancestors drew the conclusion that, since it was not rooted in the earth, it had to be divine (even though it killed Balder!).  This plant grew on trees then as it does now.  Today, because of science, we know that mistletoe is a parasitic plant.  In the Germanic countries, the folks referred to it as “Donnerbesen,” or, Thunder broom.  The Church, in an effort to demonize the plant, called it “Hexennest”- Witch nest, and “Teufulbesen”- Devil’s broom.  Our ancestors, with a devout belief that the plant was divine, used it for good luck, fertility, and healing.  The act of standing under the mistletoe for a kiss has its roots in rites for fertility and good marriages.
Also from the Druids, we get our holly.  Holly, too, was divine.  The priests cut the holly branches and called them “rods of life.”  The red holly berries represented the divine feminine while the white berries of the mistletoe symbolized the divine masculine. During the Summer Solstice, the Druid priests would mash the berries together to bring about renewed life and a bountiful harvest.        
            Our ancestors considered ivy symbolic of everlasting life.  In ancient Egypt, ivy was associated with the god Osiris.  Our ancestors attached immortality to all evergreens. In folklore, evergreens had the power, through the Wood Mother (Silva Mater), to prolong life and strengthen the weak.  That was the consideration given to all evergreens, holly, mistletoe, and ivy.

Since its modest beginnings, Christianity did its utmost to demonize and ban the Yule tree, mistletoe, holly, and ivy; anything “evergreen,” pagan and heathen.  According to the Church of that time it considered cutting down and displaying anything evergreen at Yule a “heathen” practice and a punishable offense; the Church absolutely forbade it.  When reading from the Book of Jeremiah, 10:2-4 we find this:
                          “Thus says the Lord: Learn not the ways of the Heathen….
                            For the customs of the people are vain. One cuts a tree out
                            Of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with
                           The axe. They deck it with silver and gold. They fasten it
                           With nails and hammers. It moves not.”
Now, how many evergreen trees adorn the various churches during their Christmas season? 
Babylonia, as well as Egypt had used a variety of trees at Winter Solstice, as did Rome. According to some historians and archaeologists, the “Old Testament” was composed after the supposed 500 plus years (now known to be drastically less) of the “Babylonian Captivity.”  Could it be that a people bent on state building would want to devoid themselves of their past in order to create a “more perfect union?”  
            As an aside, evergreens grow in most areas on our planet. The exception is the sand trap known as “The Holy Land” (with the exception of some areas of Lebanon).   It also appears that the Church influenced secular governments to provide laws and fines to protect against so-called “forest damage.”  In light of this, one must wonder why the Church is not more pro-environment today (a new list of “sins” recently were let loose from Rome:  one is a “sin” against environmental abuse). The early church father Augustine used this approach:
                          “Do not kill the Heathens - just convert them; do not cut
                          their holy trees - consecrate them to Jesus Christ.” (De Civitate Dei).
As you can see, something that was sacred to our ancestors and the gods, the Church dedicated to its Jesus; the same happened with mistletoe, holly, and ivy.  What the Church could not demonize and eradicate, they Christianised.  For example, the pointed holly leaves became a symbol of Jesus’s crown of thorns.  However, weathering persecution, our ancestors persisted in the use of various evergreens.  This “Christianising” is reminiscent of what the Church did with the Goddess Brigid, approximately 500 CE.  The Church made her a saint and kept Imbolc as her feast day while they ushered in Mary as the mother of their god.    
Another curious fact deals with the fixed date of Christmas and the floating date of Easter; it is a calendar thing.  Two different calendars are used.  Christmas is based on a fixed solar calendar while Easter is always the first Sunday following the full moon after spring equinox (Muslims have a good time with this!).  I have yet to find a Christian who is aware of this.  With all this in mind the terms, Christmas tree, greens, and fauna are, well, in my opinion, laughable.
           Earlier, I mentioned that our ancestors celebrated (partied).  Those celebrations took place after the ritual and smudging on the four assigned nights.  During those “Raw Nights,” every effort was made for gluttonous feasting, even at the expense of future hunger (remember the winter snow?).   I hope that what you are about to read will not shock or embarrass you (I am smiling gleefully).  During the harvest season, hemp (I do mean cannabis) and fly agaric mushrooms (amanita muscaria - a natural hallucinogen with red and white spots), were gathered with the harvest and dried for shamanic and celebratory purposes.  In our times, shamans still use cannabis, agaric mushrooms, and a host of other natural material worldwide.  Our ancestors, along with their priest/shamans used cannabis and agaric mushrooms in two specific ways.  Long before the introduction of tobacco from the “New World,” the people smoked “Baccy.”  Baccy was a mixture of dried herbs, cannabis, and agaric mushrooms.  The people of that era smoked that mixture in a pipe for shamanic, ritualistic, and celebratory purposes.  If you are familiar with the old Hollywood westerns where the Native Americans pass around the “peace pipe,” you get the idea.  The second is, and this should be no surprise, our ancestors made beer.  If any “purity laws” existed for brewing beer, our ancestors threw them out the window.
Cannabis and agaric mushroom were active ingredients in the mash.  Now, just imagine it - after ritual, the gluttonous eating, passing the pipe, and drinking beer; a lot of beer. All this lead to, well, amore; sounds like the 60’s without birth control.  In August and September, babies became a part of the harvest.
Our ancestors have given us a rich Yule tradition and we should live up to it. They gave us the evergreen; use them as intended.  They knew how to celebrate - make your neighbors envious. After reading the quote below, you will see the envy of others-------
                               “By us, who are strangers to Sabbaths, and new moons
                                and festivals once acceptable to God, the Saturnalia, the
                                 feasts of January, the Brumalia and the Matronalia are
                                 now frequented. Gifts are carried to and fro, New Year’s
                                 day presents are made with din, and sports and banquets
                                 are celebrated with uproar. Oh, how much more faithful
                                 are the Heathen to their religion, who take care to adopt
                                 no solemnity from the Christians.” -----
                                                            Church Father Tertullian, On Idolatry
Hmmmmmm,…………………… Oh well, Party On!



                        



Originally published in my book, Beneath Valhalla – Opinions of an Iconoclast, copyright 2009. 
                             Re-edited for my Blog, Copyright @ 2012 Terry Unger  

                                         Reference Sources...........the Internet




Monday, October 1, 2012

A Brief Moment Within My Temple



I cannot wrap my mind around the Infinite.  It astounds me (well, not really) that many people have chosen to personify the All that Is.  In doing so, they have taken the wonder and majesty out of Life.  It is almost as if they have filled a liter bottle with ocean water, and then claim that the filled bottle is all that is, ignoring the source.  Personification of the Infinite does not bring us closer to the All that Is.  Rather, it offers reasons and opportunities to torment the less fortunate.

The finite descriptions of the Infinite always disappoint, even for those who count themselves among the strongest of the faithful.  And, these descriptions rise and fall, on the climate of human whim.  The logic and reason that is within me, finite that it is, makes it hard to personify something, that in its totality, is incomprehensible.

                                                  Copyright @2012 Terry Unger    

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