Category Archives: Society

Gaian Times eco-magazine

And here it is – issue#3, just out!!

Gaian Times eco-magazine
GT issue#3 (January 2012)

The first issue of Gaian Times e-magazine – and the e stands for both electronic and ecology – came out in June 2011.

Gaian Times e-magazine explores the Science, Magic, Arts, Psychology and Social trends – among many other eco-centric subjects.  Is there such a word? Eco-centric? I have been using it for a while now.  Anyway GT offers thought-provoking articles, features, information on Eco events and initiatives, other charitable bodies and campaigns. GT also has counselling & psychology related columns- social observations and commentary really, by several regular writers (April Jonquil, Rose Dixon, Antara, Kelly).

Of course many others have already contributed articles / features – Marcus, Reggie, Hazel’O, Pete

GT magazine  was a natural progression to the 3 Gaian Conventions that I had created and managed for Pagan Federation London between 2007-1009.

Oh, almost forgot to say – Gaian Times is also a not for profit Company Ltd by Guarantee. Well, I like to call it an `organisation’ that is growing..

This year, am planning to focus quite a bit of my attention on Gaian Times. So watch this space.

-Mani Navasothy

Thai Pongal – Harvest Festival of Tamils

Thai Pongal

Happy Thai Pongal.

That’s what Tamils and other Indians who celebrate this festival say to one another at this time.

It’s the same as wishing someone `Happy New Year’ – because for farmers in Indian countries, this is actually a new year. Well, not just for farmers – it is the beginning of the new calendar for Tamils and marks the first day of the new year.  Thai is the name of the first month.

The rituals for Thai Pongal involve people clearing their homes of clutter and old unwanted items (sometimes burning them), sweeping of the whole house and washing the floors (if cement or concrete), then purifying the home with ringing of bells, incense and so on. On the day of Pongal, all household members will rise early, look to the rising Sun and make a prayer, then take a bath / shower (anointing themselves with special water blessed by priest from a nearby temple). All then wear new cloths.  The matriarch or lady of the household will cook the special milk-rice in the heart fire, and bring it on a plate to the family altar. Here everyone gathers to offer prayer, songs and worship. Then the rice and other sweet food items are shared, and offered through out the day to any arriving guests. Chewing sugar-cane  or sugar-candy is also tradition, as well as giving gifts to all – new cloths, religious statues or artefacts, furniture etc. Greeting cards are exchanged between family members, friends, relatives and work colleagues.

Here’s wishing you a fruitful year ahead. May all the seeds you plant be nurtured by the earth and rain, and energised by the Sun..

Shooting brings us closer to God??

A friend posted the following in a social network in his status-bar.

This may sound strange , but ive just come back from shooting and pleased with myself cos I shot 99 out of 100. After shooting I feel a sense of deep inner peace and Zen. I also have that blissful post orgasm feeling. Guns have given my the inner spiritual peace i search so long for. Guns have also brought me and xxxx.. closer than anything else in our somewhat strange relationship. I think taking up shooting is the ultimate relationship bonder and the way to getting closer to god.

My response:

 “I used to practice my air-pistol in back garden 20+ yrs back.. til lady next door started a panic that I may shoot her cat. The hobby never went further than a year of shooting club in Uni. But some years back, one morning when I woke up to find a Heron by my garden pond, with a goldfish in its beak, first I thought of was to shoot it from my window – to save rest of my goldfish! By the time I dug out pistol and cocked it, heron had flown. Moral of the story – I don;t trust the beast within us that is used to weapons, for in a fit of rage, one day ..it may break free of reason – no matter how clever and controlled we think we are! How can the act of practicing a sport that stems from intent to kill bring us close to God and inner peace? The psychology is all wrong there I fear.”

Someone else has commented that, “martial arts training has a spiritual side, like the Kung Fu monks – I think it has a lot to do with the attitude with which the discipline is approached”.

What do people think?   You comments welcome on this matter..

-Mani

PM David doing a Goliath in Hospitals

Prime Minister’s body language very Gung-Ho!!

Saw the News earlier this evening (6th Jan’12) – showed our Prime Minister David Cameron visiting a hospital, shaking hands with the nurses – something about cutting out the paper works that nurses face, so that they can spend more time hands-on with actual patients!  Let me leave the issue of PM barking up a tree that already has been barked at!   (Across the street, Guys Hospital Nurses gave an interview, saying they already have a system of reducing / monitoring their paperwork loads so they can focus on patients!)

What actually pissed me off was our PM’s body language!!   I’d seen this exact  scene before, on a previous of his Hospital visits which had media coverage.   In both cases, he had a white shirt on (not a crime) – with his tie tucked into front of shirt, and long sleeves of shirt rolled up to elbow height – all presumably for hygienic reasons, to avoid contamination?

Or a bloody visual statement  – “Look at me, I’m in the front line, in the trenches, ready to roll me sleeves and stand as one of you!”

In Hospitals, Mr Prime Minister, even Doctors wear long sleeves, and ties, and they don’t all roll it all up, especially when they are just doing walkabouts in admin areas, nurses desks etc. (I’ve been there, even watched an actual  minor surgery on a man’s brain..)

Stop playing to the media Mr.Cameron!   Unless you are actually in an Operating Theater in a hospital performing surgery, you don’t need to do all that rolling tie & sleeves routine!!

-Mani

Saved a child’s life today

I was in Bush Hill Park (Enfield, North London) for my appointment with my Osteopath. Afterwards, busy sorting some letters, and was crossing the street – opposite the pub `Bush Hill Park’  next to the station by the same name, around 4.45pm.

I’d crossed the road (one of those islands in the middle), and saw 2 ladies behind me, and a child – no more than 3 yrs old.  The child ran in front… to cross the next part of the road, and I saw a car coming fast around the bend.   Quickly put my hand forward, blocked child and pulled him/her back – as car sped past!!   The ladies shouted at child, thanked me and grabbed his/ her hand.  I walked on to the station, went up and down the bridge to other side, to the post office.

That’s when it hit me…  as I was crossing the  bridge over railway track to other side – I’d just saved a child from a hit-and-run. At the very least there would have been broken bones, and worse – death!    I was suddenly choked, and overwhelmed by tears.

Exactly 22 years and 3 days ago , someone hit my father when he was crossing the road after work, maybe around 4.30pm- 5pm in London.  It defined my rediscovery of spirituality, paganism, life & death.   Today.. this.

I’ve always lived by my code – every life is worth saving.  But I’ve been conflicted inside recently, as I’ve been trying to get rid of a mouse in my room for over a week.   But this is a human life – one of 8 billion of the world – that I saved today. The enormity of it hits!   I can’t explain that feeling in words!!!

-Mani

The Osteopath

After 5 days, my back is finally returning to some sort of normality, thanks to my Osteopath John Yeboah. My visit 2 days ago sorted most of the problem, but one part of my lower back (right side, the bony bit) still felt `stuck, locked’ and painful.

Today’s visit focused on that area – more focused (and slightly warmer) treatment with the ultrasound tool, followed by deep muscle manipulation and stretching (ouch, that’s the painful part), and finally positioning the legs, arms and twisting -pushing the hip and torso in a manipulative move that could look (and feel) dangerous – but when the bones click – relief floods!

I was looking a the many biology / anatomy diagrams on the treatment room wall – so many muscles, nerves, joints!

Good God- if just one was manipulated incorrectly, no doubt the client would be in a worse situation.  So I have the utmost respect for this very essential medical profession (to me at least).

It’s still quite weird, calling the Osteopath by his first name, as we are used to calling people of medical professions as `Doctor..’
He is quite brilliant and well organised – most of his work place automated – from door alarm, cctv monitor inside treatment room looking out the main reception to the integrated computer that shows everything from appointments to a treatment diagram/ plan of the patient, and the automated  appointment online system that sends texts/ e-mail as confirmation.  As I explore self-employment horizons, I hope I can reach a sort of similar self-contained level of personal and professional management –  for I have been known in the past to be a bit dis-organised, lacking focus or a poor time-keeper.  I can say all this now, because it’s all changing. or `Surgeon’ or `Specialist’.  Well, John  in my view deserves a better title surely? And all the other such medical experts  (and I asked him if I can blog about him-  in the middle of me being flat on my belly on the treatment couch, my face poking down through a small hole, with only a view of the floor, as he treated my back).

Thanks John for the inspiration, as well as the treatment that keeps me walking normally – every day!

For anyone wanting a brilliant nice  qualified Osteopath in the Enfield / north London area  (based in Bush Hill Park, one stop from Enfield Town), here’s the link http://www.enfieldosteoclinic.com/    John is 18 years in full-time Osteopathic  Practice,  Registered with the General  Osteopathic Council (GOsC), and a Member of Back Care (N.B.P.A.).

-Mani

Ultra-Sound: Mouse repellent to muscle warmer

Short post. ..  possibly one for future development..  but I couldn’t resist comparing the wonders of ultra-sound – well, more of the ways in which we now use it.

Only yesterday I was at the Osteopath, and he was using a sort of ultrasound hand-held device to warm up my back-muscles, before the twisting and manipulating  the spinal column . And today while at a diy hardware store, I came across sonic mouse repellent gadget!  Quite amazing how we use sound now in everyday life.

That’s excluding the professional expert use of ultra-sound .. in radars (well, actually sonars in submarines), and ultrasound scans of pregnant women (which is non-evasive and harmless, compared to say an x-ray!).  There are side effects, a sure – in the case of Sonars in deep seas, it must surely affect some marine life that (well, nearly all of them) depend on sound vibrations to detect food or dangers; In the case of a baby- well, although human hearing does not encompass the ultra-sound ranges, no telling if some developing embryos may well `hear’ it?   After all, some people are susceptible to EM waves (electromagnetic) – people who live under power lines, people who are surrounded by electric equipment..  and me!

Oh yes, sometimes I do get a tingle and a kind of head-achy sense, just before a text arrives on y mobile phone..  way before any nearby radio speakers buzz and tweak.  That used to happen with the older mobile phones (not so much now). Okay that’s more radio waves, but still he point I make is..  people may be picking up these things, so unborn embryos might do..

Okay, leaving that debate aside – I am still marveled by the advancement of technology!

Pest control: Killer solutions

Just been to the hardware store to look for better mouse-killing solutions! And there’s a whole shelf full of killing solutions- powders, portions and pellets – to get rid of many pests – from cats (yes Cats), squirrels, ants, snails, mouse, rats to insects, moles and of course weeds! Not just a shelf.. it’s huge – about 6 meters by 3 meters full of these things.

The price ranges from simple bait-less wooded spring loaded traps worth about £2 to ultrasonic/electromagnetic pulse generators that repel rodent families worth about £30. It’s quite impressive- the little plug-in device emits not just ultra-sound (at a frequency that must sound like roadworks to mice! Yah, drive them insane with a killer-headache. I get that) but the plug-in also emits an electric pulse of some sort that travels through the wires and walls to the whole house!   Yeap, no escape to the rodents even in wall cavities or beneath floor boards!

How far technology has come. I only go the ultrasound repellent plug-in.   I’ll keep ya updated on how the mouse-killing in my room goes ..BUT…

One thing worries me- at this big store, these chemical poisons in plastic bottles – are all stored and displayed on shelves right on the ground..to about 1-2 meters – perfectly reachable by any child who is able to crawl..to walk!!

Come on B&Q  in Sutton- what the hell are you thinking about with regard to Health & Safety?

A slithering crawling Christmas

Here’s something that ha changed me for good.. it’s almost unbelievable.. ordinary and agnonizing and insightful.

I often suffer bad back.. have done for 2 years, on and off, visit to the Osteopath for treatment with ultrasound that heats up my back joins & muscles, followed by deep-massage..followed by some contorted leg/arm/back twisting that results in several clicks of the spine that gives release!  And I’ve learnt to do some of that twisting-clicking at home.. I have to do it every day..at night before bed or as soon as I get up in the mornings..  to have a normal day.  Long walks, climbing hills, dancing…any of those things (even love making) leaves my lower back locked in agony.

Those of you who have similar afflictions will know what am talking about.

On X’mas day, 3 days ago, all was well, save for a mild back-ache. It was just me and my partner April in her house.. We were looking forward to a few day of personal time..   And just after a late breakfast …early afternoon, while pushing the coffee table forward slightly..  it struck!

Pain in my lower back as I’d never before felt it. I literally crumpled to the floor, unable to stand or sit.  I could not move at all. I was flat on my back for 3-4 hrs in absolute agony.. watched 2 cartoon films on TV upside down. My head almost where the dog usually sits …so floor smelling a bit of the dog..

Much later, unable to hold, I had to literally slither like a snake.. on my belly..with just my arms and elbows.. for propelling my body forward – from the sitting room to the bathroom/ toilet.  By this time, thoughts of all sorts of possible despairing and disabled futures had gone through my mind so many times amidst tears..  that I could not hide or brave in front of my partner.  Everything from bionics, Six million dollar man, back surgeries I had seen on TV where they snap some of the tips of vertebrates and clamp some and fuse rest together had gone through my mind.

Once I got to the toilet, standing up was agony.  My jogging trousers were already dragged and sliding off..after crawling.  I could support my body with arms, but that meant my hands cold not do anything else. How to pull it down, release myself and pee? From there on..everything was not just agony – but incredibly insightful.

How do disabled people do this every minute, every hour, every day..after day..for ever for the rest of their lives?

Day 2 was a bit better.. I wasn’t slithering..flat on belly…but crawling.  Could not put body weight on lower back.. but could crawl on knees and arms..as long as mid-body was held rigid.

Today…day 3..  I can walk…like a stiff Robot..still holding mid-body rigid, as if I am one of those Victorian Ladies learning the art of poise and glide, while holding a book on my head and not moving it.

My partner has been incredibly supportive.  My sister & mother are in their home, suffering flu and chest infections, coughing blood, waiting in Hospital Accidents & Emergency lounges for hours, texting me with their progress, and getting my texts on my progress.

In just about 3 days, my perspective has changed.   How can it not, when one slithers, crawls, cries, despairs, feels helpless, becomes afraid of a nightmarish future of wheel chairs and paralysis and more?

Yes, many able-bodied people go through injuries and have these thoughts, am sure, and most- when they get better, tend to get sucked in my day to day struggles..and forget.

My lab partner in University for 3 years was a friend who had a wheel chair; My 2nd High Priestess had a 40 yr old daughter in wheel chair, who joined us for doing magic sometimes in coven.  My partner, my mother, and my younger sister- have all had jobs working with people who are disabled and needed care – school kids to elderly.  I’ve worked as Equal-Opportunities officer in the Home Office for 2 years ages ago, and in a school of 140 kids with learning difficulties.   But this experience is different..  it’s gone deep and excavated all the other experiences to the surface..

I’m not going to forget!

Neighbours from hell

My first proper rant..and it’s about my Neighbours!

Gotta say, the next door house and garden were quite for many years..   lovely elderly coupled lived there before.   They had a nice big apple tree which the gy used to trim …little bit weekly.. with a very long pruner mounted on a long stick-device.    Anyway the old guy  died, and his lovely wife was settled in a nursing home..

Section cut by Neighbour

So the house got sold..and the current young couple bought it.. some 5-6 years ago..     They’ve been a noisy irritating bunch.   Apart from the regular domestic arguments, shouts and tantrums..(and resulting loud radio music the woman plays..) they also now have 2 young kids…4-5 year olds..  who also shout and cry all the time!!   They run and make noises like packs of animals!    Now I like kids..and get on very well..  I’m a regular Piped Piper when it comes to kids in family circles..   but these ones… constant screams and shouts!  So much so I haven’t been able to get into my own garden in daylight..  for 5 years.

No peace!!   Only late at nights I get to go and sit and do some meditative work etc.

Few weeks ago the woman came to ask about cutting our Willow Tree that’s been leaning a few branches  (high above) into their garden.   Only few days prior to that, I had climbed up and cut a huge branch!!  I told the woman that,  I will trim a bit more when I am ready.  Well, today I woke up to heavy machine / grinding sounds..  and lo and behold, our door bell rang- the guy dropped into ask us about the tree (As hey happen to have a tree surgeon with them?!  They don;t have any trees…They cut that apple tree years ago!!).   We told them- no!  And later, I went to the garden, and realised…they had reached a good 2 foot in to our garden..7-8 metrs high..somehow..and cut many of the branches..and dumped the stuff back in (and I have all my outdoor candles and ceramic stuff..statues..right under there!).

I am just outraged!  Rage is not even a word that can describe my rage..if  that makes sense?!  There are 2 ways forward – for me that is!    Write a formal letter of protest to them..   And the other option.. summon up the devil, offer my soul in return for some peace, quiet and protection …from these neighbours from Hell..    ??

Excuse me while I make a private phone call ..