Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Promise of Lammas

We're only a few days shy of Lughnasad, or Lammas. In the Celtic year, where half is the domain of the Goddess and half that of the God, it is the yang in the yin, the celebration of the male force in the season of the Goddess. (The opposite is also true. Imbolc – Feb 2nd – is the celebration of Brigit in the season of the God – the yin in the yang, as it were).

How appropriate that the Olympics are being held in Brittan at this time, for part of the observance where games of strength. Lughnasad was a time of truce, so that even warring clans could meet together to make agreements, trade goods, and hold handfastings (or marriage rituals).
Lugh (pronounced “Loo” not “Lug”..he's a God, not a bolt) dedicated this day to his foster-mother Tailtiu, who died on August 1st. Her final wish was that games be held in her honor. Talantiu is the older version of her name, which means “Great one of the earth”. In all likelihood, Tailtiu was another manifestation of the sacred earth itself, a mother who labored to bring forth life. So to, at this time of year, the earth labors to bring forth the grain crops that will sustain her people through the final harvest in the Fall, and throughout the Winter. Strength, courage and endurance is required to believe in the continuance of life and to perform the labor necessary to sustain it. Thus, the games which promote these qualities. The Greek Olympics are old, but the Celtic games are even older. May the Goddess bless the victors, and let the games commence!

These are the official mascots of the London games. What the freak....!?
This time of year is also called Lammas” or “Loaf Mass”. The green wheat was baked into an almost indigestible loaf of bread and taken to the church to be blessed. Later, each member of the family would eat a small piece of the loaf. Again, as with the games, the bartering, the vending and the weddings, it was a show of faith in the crops, a belief that the seeds we plant would sprout, sprouts would become mature plants, and plants would be healthy and strong for the harvest.

At this time of year, it would be wise to contemplate what dreams and goals you set forth in the beginning of the season, what bore fruit (or is in the process of maturing) and what you believe will be brought to harvest in the end. May all your endeavors be successful!

On other fronts... Rufus is back with his groomer and her family for a few weeks while my shoes and brace are being made. They came on Friday (Debbie and her girls). Rufus took one look at them, ran into their arms, and that was it for Mummy. He barked at my door as if to say, “Come on, let's blow this joint”...he would not kiss me good-bye, and the last I saw of my baby was his fuzzy, purple tailed butt as it skipped out the door. Thanks a lot, Rufus. Love you, too.

This week, I will be writing my Fate Magazine piece on Glastonbury. It's time I sat my own butt in my chair and got on with business. Claude and I also came up with an awesome idea for a new project, but I have to run it past a few people first to see if we can pull it off. More on that later.

My readers for “Journeys End” are starting to report back with interesting comments. Chief among the complaints? I can't spell. Well...duh, do you know me? That's why the manuscript for the book on Irish Gods and Goddesses is called “Myth Spelling”. It's not just because we look at the magic associated with each deity, but also as an inside joke.


A final note for the Sherlock Fans.. Martin Freeman confirmed at Comic-Con that the next season will be filming between January and April. Also, Sherlock BBC has been nominated for 13 Emmys. I think that calls for...a little caramelldansen!

(Hey, aren't you all shocked I figured out how to embed something? Moi? The one who's technology runs to hansom cabs and quill pens? Let's hear some kudos, people!)

A Happy and Safe Lughnasad to you all.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Heart and Soul...

I wanted to get back to posting some of the concepts that I've been contemplating, now that I have so much more time to sleep – no – think. One of those topics is something near and dear to my heart, the idea of the anam cara.

Lots of catalogs are now selling jewelry proclaiming “mo anam cara”. The commercial interpretation is “ my soul mate”. This is poor Irish, at best. Anam cara actually means “soul friend”. This is a person who is in a relationship with you, but not one that is romantic or sexual. Naturally, that can become a part of it, if both people desire, but is not implied by the term.

I was always told that the concept developed in the Irish monastic period, where one individual in the community might develop this deep friendship with another. They would serve as spiritual guides for each other, helping each other to achieve their highest good. Now I come to find that it might be older than that, stemming back to Pagan Times. (Sounds like a new theme restaurant chain.)

Ancient or New Age, the idea is that the soul generates the aura which surrounds your body. When your energy bonds with that of another person, you have found your anam cara. Your souls flow together: you accept each other as you really are. The Ancients are said to have believed that finding your anam cara (or anam caras – you can have more than one) is the ultimate blessing. You have someone who sees the beauty of your spirit, keeps your higher good in mind, and often puts your needs above their own.

The writer John O'Donahue says “You are joined in an ancient and eternal union... When you are blessed with an anam cara, the Irish believe, you have arrived at the most sacred place: home.”

I am one of the fortunate ones. I have found my anam cara. Claude (pronounce the “au” like a long “o”. What can I say? She's French) and I have been friends for over 25 years, and everything described above resides in our friendship. I can't conceive of my world without her. It is truly a spiritual bond, which sometimes reaches deeper than family ties. We each have the responsibility of being honest with ourselves and each other... and there is no petty fear that speaking the truth will be met with anger or resentment. That's a sign of absolute trust. The only path to this point is by looking into your own soul and finding your own worth.

Her support has been invaluable during the last six months. I can call her when I'm sad, depressed, bored, and she will point out the error in my thinking and the things I still have to look forward to and celebrate. I do the same for her. Now, she has even moved (with her husband) a few blocks away.

It was all meant to be.

This isn't a relationship that eclipses all others. You can have spouses, partners, children, and a boatload of friends. Having an anam cara gives you insight and stability, and actually improves what you bring to other relationships.

I have recently found out that the Catholic Church has adopted the term “anamchairde” for a bond of spiritual guidance, growth and friendship. Well, why not. They took robes, incense, bell ringing, “easter” eggs, “Christmas” trees, Candlemas, and a butt load of other stuff...why not soul friends? (Hey, you Romans, give back our Brigit!)

If you've been blessed with an anam cara, tell me abut him or her. Drop me a line...I'd love to hear about your relationship.

On the home front, my leg seems to be doing well. There is still a portion of the ankle that has not fused, and may never do so, even using the bone stimulator. That is OK, provided we can keep the foot under the leg. To that end, someone is coming out tomorrow to measure me for a shoe and brace. I'm nervous and excited. This device will allow me to be weight bearing... and I still need to loose lots more weight. That's where that anam cara thing comes into play. Claude and Jack usually pick up things at the grocery store for me on Sundays. I'd say, “I'd like a chicken pot pie and...”

Are you crazy? That's no good for you! I'll find something better.”

OK... and Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches..”

No. Too many calories...”

Chocolate Underground yogurt..”

Not good for you..”

Etc. Etc. Grrrrrr! But guess what? She's absolutely right, and she usually finds something else similar but healthier. I'm in stern but loving hands. With a friend like this, I will succeed.

The Rufus is home for three weeks (two have already flown by). He'll probably have to go back with his groomer for a few more weeks, until I'm on my feet, but once I'm walking, I've decided he can come home for good. When he arrived, his tail was purple. Don 't ask me why.

That's it for now. My best to all of you until next time!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Galumphing Back

OK. I'm back. It's my birthday, and I'm not in hospital.

Miracles do happen.

This past week has been a real slice. I was already scheduled to have my external fixator removed on Tuesday morning. Monday, my visiting nurse came to change the dressings for the last time, and what do we find? A broken pin, protruding from a very infected looking pin site. I e-mailed pictures to my surgeon, who decided I needed the ER ...NOW.

                                                                  Yes, I know. Nasty.

NOW doesn't happen all that fast around here. Luckily, Gary was available to drive me, but first he had to get dressed, come to Monroe from Asbury Park, and then chauffeur me to Langhorne PA. In the middle of it all, we had lunch. Sal's makes a mean sandwich and, what the hell, we can't have an emergency on an empty stomach.

Eventually, we got under way. Knowing me and my OCD, Gary launched into a calm explanation of “Why the 'check engine' light is on in the car”. (He's been using the Taurus while I and his Miata are both laid up). After six years of marriage, and twenty years of annulled bliss, the boy has learned how to keep Kat from pulling an ultimate freak-out: “I checked the owner's manual and it says it's perfectively safe to drive. I will take it to your cousin for evaluation tomorrow, but we will not be breaking down on the road...but I knew you would notice the light on the dashboard.” Good lad; well done...except I didn't notice the light on the dash, being preoccupied with thoughts of loosing my leg. Now I had twin thoughts to keep me occupied; my leg's falling off and my car's blowing up. Oh joy, oh rapture.

Once at hospital, the ER was expecting me, and I was assigned a slot right away. IV antibiotics were prescribed with much cursing and gnashing of teeth by the nursing staff. I'm famous at Aria Health for being a “hard stick”. (Humm...I've heard that term applied to me in other circumstances...) and they had to go on a viable vein hunt before treatment could begin. Gary left for home while I waited for a room. The cafe had closed, and so I was sent to 1 South with a turkey sandwich and a carton of cranberry juice.

I was given a private room. I will always have a private room. Somewhere in my past, I had a weird bacteria – now dormant - and so I will be forever isolated with a “STOP! Must wear gloves and gown!” sign outside the door, to scare the “normals”. (And a few un-normals. My sister wandered into my room, one evening, sat down and said “Should we go back outside and get gowns?” Yes, Diane. Do that. I'll curl in a ball now, and hold my breath, until you return wearing a thin blue garbage bag. You'll be fine). So many staff members came to see me on a daily bases that my three rubbish bins looked like smurf burial grounds.
                                                  Fare thee well, oh smurfs of Langhorne

Surgery took place Tuesday morning. My new friend came to pre-op to wish me well, and tell me he knew I'd be just fine. Unfortunately we had no time to talk because I had an OR nurse probing my other arm for a more viable vein. Drat!

The operation went well. The cage was removed, and it was learned that all my bones did not fuse (See? I KNEW I hurt something when I had that shower accident) but the joints are stiff and stable. My friend came the next day with a bone stimulator, which I am to use for 3 hours each day. There is a 100% guarantee of successful fusion, if used properly. He brought his partner with him. Again, no time to talk. (Gerrrrr...)

                                                                     from this.....
                                                                 to this...finally

I found out that I have a low iron count, and a slightly elevated kidney number...things to follow up when I can get out to see my primary doctor. On the happy side, I've lost between 60-65 lbs and my A1C has gone from 13.3 in November, to 5.3. So, who's sitting home eating ice cream and blowing their diet now, siblings? Huh? Sure. Go on. Hide your faces in shame for doubting me. (So what does the oldest sister ask me? “Did you use your credit card to buy anything this week?” Yeah, absolutely. I asked for a medical supply catalog and got myself five wooden legs, a handicapped toilet and a set of rubber sheets. I mean, really? You HAD to ask that? Hello! H O S P I T A L!!)

There is no possible way to rest in a hospital. I had a neighbor in the next room. She was a senior citizen who had fallen, broken her arm and leg, and was in the early stages of senility. She had the unfortunate voice of a smoker on helium, but enough lung power to be heard throughout the ward. She continued most nights with a litany very familiar to me from the rehab centers in which I had been earlier confined. “Help me, help me, somebody help me, let me die, let me die, hello? Anybody out there? Help me, help me...” One night it was so loud, I had no chance at sleep. Being awake, and pumped full of saline, I also had to use the commode. I rang for my nurse – a nice, Irish lad – and asked him, “So, what's the story on the manic munchin next door?”
He simply stared at me.
Yes, I know. I'm totally going to Hell. But are you listening to her? She sounds like there's a crisis at the lollipop guild!”
The man started to laugh and his hands were shaking. “I have to go in there next. How am I going to look at her and not laugh?”
Oh, just laugh. Two seconds later and she won't remember a thing.”

The commode was another issue. It had a chamber pot with a handle. When it was emptied and replaced, it had to be placed just so, or the handle could pinch your thigh between itself and the lid. It did just that to me – twice. Skin was broken. I felt it my duty to warn future users that the thing had tasted blood, and will seek blood again, so I posted a sign of my own – on the lid.

I placed another sign beneath, reading “pottius carnivora” alerting all to the fact that here sits a flesh eating thunder mug.

The nurses were amused, even if my poor thigh wasn't.

I was finally fetched back to my little co-op Friday afternoon. I took the weekend to catch up on much needed sleep. Today, my oldest friend came, treated me for pizza, took me for a ride that didn't terminate at a hospital or doctor's office, and gifted me with a few much needed articles of clothing, now that I've lost weight. Tomorrow evening is the family birthday supper. Yum. My brother-in-law makes a mean chicken marsala.

In other news, for the Sherlockians among us, July 7th is Sherlock appreciation day. Please see below.

And here, also, is the PR on Para-X on October 6th.

That's it for now. Thanks to everyone who kept me on their pray and meditation lists. So far, you've gotten the ear of god/goddess. You have my gratitude.