Herbal Muscle Bath Salt

Herbal Muscle Bath Salt

The salt and herbs in this bath salt work together to relax tired muscles, improve circulation and ease aches and pains.

4 ounces of salts of your choice, e.g. Epsom salts, Dead Sea salts, pink Himalayan salt

2 teaspoons chopped fresh or dried pine needles

2 teaspoons chopped fresh or dried eucalyptus leaf

2 teaspoons fresh or dried lavender flower heads

2 teaspoons dried daisy heads

10 drops of essential oil of your choice, e.g. rosemary, lavender, mint, eucalyptus

Put the salts and herbs into a blender and pulverize them together. This allows the cell walls of the herbs to be broken down so medicinal properties can be extracted into the bath water. Transfer the mixture to a glass or ceramic bowl, add the essential oil and mix well.

To use, add the mixture to a square of muslin cloth. Tie into a bundle at the top with string and then tie this to your hot water bath tap, allowing it to sit just below the tap. Run the hot water directly over and through the bundle, allowing the salt to dissolve and the herbs to be retained inside the muslin (so preventing drain blockage).

Add cold water to the bath to the desired temperature. Soak and relax in the bath for at least 30 minutes.

Tip: This mix can be made in bulk (with dried herbs) and stored in a sealed jar in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault (Longyearbyen, Svalbard – Norway)

Svalbard Global Seed Vault (Longyearbyen, Svalbard – Norway)

A winter night in Longyearbyen lasts four months. In the ice-covered mountains, the darkness is broken only by a slim concrete building that emits a pale blue glow as it overlooks the 1,000-resident town. The simple structure offers no hint as to what’s protected inside: a collection of seeds that could save humanity.

Due to the loss of genetic diversity among commercially cultivated crops, which tend to be grown from clonal monocultures, many worldwide food crops are at risk of disease. Mutated strains of fungus, or a new bacterium, could potentially wipe out an entire world crop in a matter of months, causing massive food shortages. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was established by the Norwegian government in 2008 to function as a sort of genetic safe-deposit box.

The facility has the capacity to conserve 4.5 million seed samples. Under the current temperature conditions in the vault, which are similar to those in a kitchen freezer, the seed samples can remain viable to begin new crops for anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000 years.

Svalbard was chosen as the location because it is tectonically stable and its permafrost provides natural refrigeration in case of a power failure. There is no permanent staff at the seed bank, but it is monitored constantly using electronic surveillance. Access to the vaults, open only to employees, requires passing four locked doors protected by coded access keys.

Sources: Atlas Obscura

Joan of Arc Beatified

On this day in 1909 Joan of Arc was beatified (Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a deceased person’s entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name), nearly 500 years after her execution; which is somewhat coy of the Vatican when viewed in the light of recent fast-tracking of saintly candidates.

Regardless of the supernatural elements of her story, she remains an interesting historical character. Quite how a teenage peasant girl in the early years of the 15th century managed to convince a garrison commander and then the uncrowned king of France Charles VII that she could lead an army against English forces remains to this day a mystery shrouded in legendary tales.

#JoanOfArc #Beatificatio

Clarence Darrow

On this date in 1857, Clarence Darrow, later dubbed “Attorney for the Damned” and “the Great Defender,” was born. For a time he lived in an Ohio home that had served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. His father was known as the “village infidel.” Darrow attended the University of Michigan Law School for one year, then passed the bar in 1878 and moved to Chicago. There he joined protests against the trumped-up charges against four radicals accused in the Haymarket Riot case. Darrow became corporate counsel to the City of Chicago, then counsel for the North Western Railway. He quit this lucrative post when he could no longer defend their treatment of injured workers, then went on to defend without pay Socialist striker Eugene V. Debs. In 1907, Darrow successfully defended labor activist “Big Bill” Haywood, charged with assassinating a former governor. His passionate denunciation of the death penalty prompted him to defend the famous killers, Loeb and Leopold, who received life sentences in 1924.

His most celebrated case was the Scopes Trial, defending teacher John Scopes in Dayton, Tenn., who was charged with the crime of teaching evolution in the public schools. Darrow’s brilliant cross-examination of prosecuting attorney William Jennings Bryan lives on in legal history. During the trial, Darrow said: “I do not consider it an insult, but rather a compliment to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure–that is all that agnosticism means.” Darrow wrote many freethought articles and edited a freethought collection. His two appealing autobiographies are The Story of My Life (1932), containing his plainspoken views on religion, and Farmington (1932). He also wrote Resist Not Evil (1902), An Eye for An Eye (1905), and Crime, Its Causes and Treatments (1925). His freethought writings are collected into Why I Am an Agnostic and Other Essays. He told The New York Times, “Religion is the belief in future life and in God. I don’t believe in either” (April 19, 1936). D. 1938.

“I don’t believe in God because I don’t believe in Mother Goose.”
~ Clarence Darrow, speech, Toronto, 1930.

Immune System Tonic Tincture

Immune System Tonic Tincture

Echinacea and elderberry are two herbs used to boost the immune system for prevention and treatment of infection. Combine the health-enhancing effects of mushrooms and anti-microbial properties of eucalyptus and you have an all-round infection-busting tonic.

7 ounces fresh elderberries (or 3.5 ounces dried)

2 ounces dried echinacea root

10 eucalyptus leaves, shredded

5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped

Vodka

Place all the ingredients, except the vodka, loosely in a large, sterilised preserving jar to about two-thirds full. Fill the jar with vodka. Seal the jar, then store in a cool, dark place, shaking the jar every couple of days for a month.

Strain, discarding the plant material and keeping the liquid. Pour the liquid into a sterilised bottle, seal, label and date.

Take 1 teaspoon in a little water, up to three times a day, as needed.

Shelf Life Up to 2 years in a cool, dark place.

Icelandic Elf School (Reykjavík, Iceland)

Icelandic Elf School (Reykjavík, Iceland)

When Icelandic member of parliament Árni Johnsen escaped unharmed from a car crash in 2010, he knew whom to credit for his survival: elves. After rolling five times, the politician’s SUV came to rest beside a 30-ton boulder. Johnsen, believing that multiple generations of elves called that boulder home, concluded that they used their magic to save him. When roadwork later required the removal of the boulder, he claimed it for himself, transporting it to his home to ensure the elves would continue to watch over him.

Johnsen’s beliefs are not unusual. According to Icelandic folklore, thousands of elves, fairies, dwarves, and gnomes—collectively known as “hidden people”—live in rocks and trees throughout the country. It is no wonder, then, that the world’s only elf school is located in Reykjavík.

Historian Magnús Skarphéðinsson, who has spent decades documenting people’s encounters with elves, established the school in 1991. Classes focus on the distinguishing characteristics of Iceland’s 13 varieties of hidden people. The school also offers five-hour classes for travelers, which include a tour of Reykjavík’s elf habitats. Students receive a diploma in “hidden people research.”

Skarphéðinsson has never seen an elf. His knowledge of their appearance and behavior comes from the hundreds of testimonies he has collected from people who claim to have made contact with hidden people.

Though Skarphéðinsson has devoted 30 years to the subject and considers himself the foremost authority on elves, he maintains a sense of humor about it all. At the end of class, he serves homemade coffee and pancakes and tells stories about the people who come up to him to say, “I swear I’m not on drugs, but I saw the strangest thing . . .”

Source: Atlas Obscura

NASA Chooses SpaceX to Return Humans to the Moon

NASA has selected SpaceX to land the first astronauts on the surface of the Moon since 1972, the agency said Friday, in a huge victory for Elon Musk’s company.

The contract, worth $2.9 billion, involves the prototype Starship spacecraft that is being tested at SpaceX’s south Texas facility.

“Today I’m very excited, and we are all very excited to announce that we have awarded SpaceX to continue the development of our integrated human landing system,” said Lisa Watson-Morgan, NASA’s Human Landing System program manager.

SpaceX beats out Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics to be the sole provider for the system, a surprising break from the past when NASA has chosen multiple companies in case one fails.

Industry analysts said the decision underscores the company, founded by Musk in 2002 with the goal of colonizing Mars, as NASA’s most trusted private sector partner. 

Last year, SpaceX became the first private firm to successfully send a crew to the International Space Station, restoring American capacity to accomplish the feat for the first time since the Shuttle program ended.

For its Moon lander bid, SpaceX put forward its reusable Starship spacecraft, which is designed to carry large crews and cargo for deep space voyages, and land upright both on Earth and other celestial bodies.

Prototypes of the vessel are currently being put through their paces at the company’s south Texas facility, though all four versions that have so far attempted test flights have exploded.

Under the Artemis program to return humans to the Moon, NASA wants to use the Space Launch System rocket to launch four astronauts on board an Orion crew capsule, which will then dock with a lunar space station called Gateway.

Starship will be waiting to receive two crew members for the final leg of the journey to the surface of the Moon. 

The idea is for Gateway to be the go-between but for the initial mission Orion might dock directly with Starship, Watson-Morgan said.

The astronauts would then spend a week on the Moon before boarding Starship to return to lunar orbit, then take Orion back to Earth.

Separately, SpaceX has plans to combine the Starship spaceship with its own Super Heavy rocket, to make a combined vessel that will tower 394 feet (120 meters) tall and be the most powerful launch vehicle ever deployed.

Humanity last stepped foot on the Moon in 1972 during the Apollo program.

NASA wants to go back and establish a sustainable presence, complete with a lunar space station, in order to test new technologies that will pave the way for a crewed mission to Mars. 

Sources: Phys.org

Isak Dinesen

On this date in 1885, Karen Dinesen, later known under the pen-name Isak Dinesen, was born in Denmark to a well-to-do Unitarian family. She attended the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen, and studied in four European countries. She published several short stories in 1907. She married her cousin, Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, in 1914, and lived with him on a coffee plantation in Kenya. After they divorced in 1921 (he famously had given her syphilis, which she recovered from), Dinesen ran the plantation herself until 1931, when she returned to Denmark.

Those years are chronicled in her famous book, Out of Africa (1937), whose accounts of her adventurous struggles captured the public imagination. A film of the same name, directed by Sydney Pollack in 1985, was loosely based on the book. Her other books include Seven Gothic Tales (1934), several collections of short stories, and two other autobiographical works written after she returned many years later to Africa. Anecdotes of Destiny includes “Babette’s Feast,” originally written for a magazine, which also became the basis of a movie. Dinesen wrote in English, then translated her writings back into Danish. D. 1962.

“Africa, amongst the continents, will teach it to you: that God and the Devil are one, the majesty coeternal, not two uncreated but one uncreated, and the Natives neither confounded the persons nor divided the substance.”
~ Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa (1937)

Antisemitism Murder in France

Antisemitism at it’s finest:

Imagine if a white American guy tortured and murdered a black woman, first beating her up and kicking her while shouting “white power!” and then throwing her out the window to her death. This would, of course be all over the Western media as an example of a racist crime. And imagine further that the murderer gets off completely because the courts find that before the murder he’d smoked marijuana, so he wasn’t responsible for his deed. Now that would, rightly, be a national scandal, all over the media of all stripes.

Now imagine instead that the murderer was an anti-Semitic Muslim who did the same thing to an Orthodox Jewish French woman who was his neighbor, crying “Allahu akbar,” uttering Muslim prayers, and then torturing her before throwing her out the window to her death. And then the courts let him off because he was high on weed.

For more follow the link.

#DisappointingFrance #AntiSemitism

https://honestreporting.com/media-ignore-outrageous-french-court-acquittal-of-antisemitic-murderer/

Modern European Paganism

Just as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam can be grouped together as monotheistic “Abrahamic” religions that believe in a single all-powerful god, polytheistic religions that honor a multitude of deities also form religious “families.” Among them we find the myriad Hindu sects, Buddhism, which is nontheistic in its theology but includes polytheistic elements in its practice, tribal traditions from the Americas and Asia, the African and Afro-diasporic faiths, which include modern Umbanda and Santeria, and European paganism.

Until very recently, the possibility that a Native European polytheistic faith could be a viable option would have been met with incomprehension. Today, however, a linear worldview that includes an inevitable progress toward a cataclysm decreed by a single, all-powerful God is proving dangerously attractive to some, and to the rest of us, simply dangerous. Instead of a worldview in which neither humanity nor nature have intrinsic meaning because all such meaning derives only from God, or polarizes into a conflict between absolute Good and absolute Evil, we need a worldview that sees holiness in everything, recognizes that spirit takes many forms, and believes that history moves in circles, not a straight line.

The first European polytheistic religion to become well known in Europe and North America in the twentieth century was Pagan Witchcraft, or Wicca, which includes a multitude of traditions derived from or inspired by survivals from European folk religion and the work of Gerald Gardner.  However, Wicca is by no means the only kind of European paganism to flourish today. A second, and rapidly growing, branch of the family consists of the “reconstructed” traditions based on the practices and beliefs of specific cultures. These include the Celtic traditions, among them the different kinds of Druids; the Hellenic traditions, which draw from ancient Greece; the Kemetics, who base their practice on the religion of Egypt; Baltic traditionalists, who have revived their native religions in their newly independent nations; and the religions of the Germanic peoples in Scandinavia, on the Continent, and in England.

Sources: Diana L. Paxson from “Essential Asatru”