Trees as People

Recently on facebook, one person made a post, where Trees were refered to as `People’.    That got me thinking, and I made a reply, and I thought it important that I posted that reply as a `status update’ in my own profile:

“Nearly all the pagans work with trees in a magical way, and I must say trees have helped me in more ways than one. And when trees I love and am connected to have been cut down or hacked by people unexpectedly, I have had serious physical injuries to my own self within days! One thing I must say , however is that I think we humanise too many things around us. Trees range from dwarves to such giant magnificent entities.. but to me, they are not people! For people are flawed humans.. and trees, they are perfect creatures of nature.”

To this, some of my friends (F1, F2, F3..) responded  as follows.

F1:   “It rather depends what you mean by people… But I agree about the perfection of tree beings.

F2:  Perhaps referring to trees as Standing People points to an aspiration that one would hope would be a part of homo sapiens type people….. But it is interesting to reflect on the perfection of trees. The Yew, the sycamore and, no doubt other trees excrete a toxic substance that kills off anything that might attempt to grow in its shade. The Ash populates an area with such speed and in such great quantities that it is sometimes considered a weed in its denial of other species the space to develop a diverse range of flora. I can think of parallels in human society which we would criticise for such an approach. Food for thought, perhaps. 🙂   Nature, red in tooth and claw, green in leaf.

F3: I agree. We are all part of the same web and we are as perfect or as flawed as we allow ourselves to be. Of course humans are flawed but that is part of our journey. A tree that has grown in the wrong place, without enough light or food, could be said to be flawed too. We are all striving to grow and to be the best that we can be. The difference for me is one of speed…flowers are here and gone in the blink of an eye, we last a little bit longer, trees longer still and rocks the longest of all. We all have our place, our perfections and our flaws. I prefer not to reflect on the ‘perfection’ of something else by thinking about how imperfect humans are. We are young and trees are old. We are learning.

So I got thinking further, my mind provoked by these responses.  And here were my replies.
“To define `flawed’ I look to our way of thinking of machines or systems. Something that does not fully and efficiently serve its purpose for coming into existence ..is flawed. A faulty machine is either repaired or scraped. A weakling bird with health problems from birth, very quickly dies – by starvation, or by being thrown out of nest – by its own siblings sometimes! It is `flawed’ because somewhere n its genetic make-up, its programming became flawed ..resulting in a `weak’ fledgling. Come to think of it, am now thinking about humans …what’s the purpose of our programming? if we are serving it, we are fine.. if not, we are flawed? Hmm.. Quite frankly, survival drives me.. not poetry. Though am likely to use esoterica and poetry and anything else to ensure my survival, if need be. Harsh I know..but its part of human-nature, right? :-)”

“I guess we should define things – I’d call humans `people’ – the creature that has evolved out of apes. Esoterically and poetically we humans `humanise’ so many non-human living things and even non-living things (what would you say is the definition of `life’ by the way?) I agree that nature is harsh, hard, and utterly selfish and every creature fights for its own survival most of the time (exceptions are when one puts its offspring’s well-being first). Trees no exception (except trees don’t put their offspring’s needs above their own. An oak doe not keel over and ie just because its seed grows near it). No other living thing is flawed, but humans.. because we humans think humans are end all and be all.. and so we try to humanise everything. 🙂 (Of course we also have to define what we mean by flawed, for this to be a fully sensible pondering.. :-)”

So readers and pagans? what thoughts do you have?

I’ll leave you with this art work that I did a very long time ago..   as it seems rather relevant 🙂

-Mani

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Jupiter-Moon-Venus photo

Two days ago, I was out in the local park, doing some filming (some video tutorials for the e-witch course). And on my way back home, looked up and saw the crescent moon & venus, and a little further away the planet Jupiter.

I was able to identify them as such because the ephemeris gives planetary positions, as well as moon positions for every day. And on some occasions, when the moon moves closer to planets, it’s easy to work out which bright `dot’ is a planet and not one of the many hundreds of stars in the sky.

So here’s the Jupiter (top left)  1’5″ Taurus, and crescent moon (right) ..about 4′ Pisces and Venus ( closer to moon) at 13’37” Pisces.

Photo taken with just an ordinary digital camera, on 25th January 2012, around 5pm (GMT) from Beddington Park, South London.

You can still see these stellar objects in the night sky.

By the way, 14th March’12 is going to be very special…that’s when Jupiter and venus conjunct (9’37” Taurus).  Moon will be wanning then and in Sagittarius.  (On that day,  there is also a venus-trine-mars, venus-trine-pluto, mars-trine-jupiter…It’s going to be a very auspicious day… magically, astrologically).

ps. If you are going to use this photo, can you pls mention that it was taken by `Mani Navasothy’? Thanks.

pps. The Eclipse Magic e-workbook (with full transcript of the webinar added) is coming along..  Will be published in a few months, in time for the next set of Eclipses.  There ‘s also some info in it – magical workings, for the upcoming venus-transit of the Sun (happening on 6th June).

-Mani

Year of the water Dragon: Chinese New Year 2012

Wishing all  viewers and bloggers and followers …and friends and family…and especially my chinese friends…Raymond, Yin & their 2 children,   Ping & Christine and their soon to be born Son (who is going to be a Dragon.  Wow!!  And dearest pagan friend Reggie `Loose cannon’ Kwan… a fantastic New Year.

There is a fab article about this in the latest issue of Gaian Times, `Unleashing the mighty Dragon’  by my sister!.   Here’s the quick link.  http://www.gaiantimes.com/html/5__unleashing_the_dragon.html

Chinese New year is celebrated on the New Moon in the sign of Aquarius ..every year, and today is the aquarian new moon.   The other culture who base their religious festivals around lunar stations is Hindus.

The `postcard’ below is created using photos I took of China town, London, and a dragon statue I have.    By the way, the China Town’s New Year celebration in Central London takes place next Sunday 29th January’12 from 10am on wards.   Am hoping to go with friends from Hern’s Tribe.. 🙂

-Mani


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

Storm Chasing: Wind, me and the Willow

Here’s some exhilarating news  about last night!

Parts of UK have been battered about by high winds last night (early hours of 5th Jan’12) and half of the following day.   There have been gusts of winds reaching 60-70mph.

I was bust doing work on the laptop – and part of me kept wanting to go out in the garden and experience the stormy weather – cos I like doing that, and ave done so before (once went out by the coast at midnight to see the sea front in midst of  70+mph winds. Then promptly went back to the B&B I was staying, got April out of bed, wrapped up carefully, and got her out too … just for few minutes! Wow)

Back to last night – well, the winds hadn’t ceased, and by 4.45am, I fully succumbed to the temptation – got out of pyjamas, put on proper outdoor cloths, coat, scarf, hat – promptly carried my magical Sword – and went out to the Willow tree in the garden!   And climbed the long ladder that’s been kept there… to mid-section of the tree (to branches above height of a 1st floor roof, but big enough to carry my weight without snapping).

It was fantastic!   I stayed up there for a good 20 minutes, experiencing each wave of gusts – doing various visual and magical works , of clearing the cobwebs from my mind.   (I had not been up the tree since the Neighbours had cut parts of it one afternoon, without our permission, and against our express instructions! And of course, I have been suffering bad back-pains and getting treatment – and it creates a slow-settling fear that itself can be debilitating).    So it was good to be up there – to reconnect, and let go of that trauma, for me, and no doubt for the Willow tree too!

It must have been some sight – if anyone had seen me – standing up a tree at such night time, holding and waving a sword about, facing the winds!

At some points, I closed my eyes (after ensuring my foothold was secure and I wasn’t going to slip on damp tree-trunk or branches)- and just felt the tree sections move me about.   It truly felt – if at all possible – like I was riding a Dragon in the sky!!

After such an experience – life looks different!  And all of today, I have been working fiercely, as if there is a storm-force inside me.

There probably is one!

Mouse-Watch (penultimate chapter)

The ongoing problems of rodent in my room came to a conclusion last night – at last!

Despite 3 of those electronic sonic repellers in my room positioned at various directions (more intricate coverage than a laser-scanned vault in a mission:impossible movie!), and traps etc, the little rodent has been still running about.  It was only around 11.30pm, few nights ago, as I was working on my laptop, that it scuttled down the curtain by the window..  and ran under a bookshelf. I looked up to the plant pot on the shelf atop that shelf – and instantly, like a rapid-flash-forward in a movie (honest), many observations all fitted in –  the various little disturbed soils on all the plant pots, the small scattered bits of corn on altar and books below window, the reason why no amount of poisoned bait was being taken etc.

These were the deductions:  The mouse has been nesting in various holes in soils of the plant pots;   It has been nibbling away at the ears of corn I had on my `horn of plenty’ hanging by window, and also positioned on top shelf of the altar-frames above fire place;  and since there was a large supply of natural food supply of corn (I had picked some from a field in late summer), the mouse did not need to reach for any of the poisoned blue-tinted grains on the floor – all its food was above ground!

I sent nearly 3 hrs clearing it all out, removing all the corn & grain.   Then as I watched between 3.30am and 5.30am, it ran about, looking at various spots.  I had to sleep with my table-lamp pointing at obvious areas of the floor (and towards fireplace) to keep it away!

Next day I went to the shops  and got some `mouse pasta’ (pound shop?), and spread it all over obvious routes (as per my observations of night before). I went out to see some friends..and when I came back 4hrs later, I noticed some of the `food’ had been nibbled.  And I heard no scuttles last night…or tonight!

This whole episode (feels more like a Series!) has taken between 23rd Dec- 4th Jan.    Hopefully I can now sleep better, as there’s so much to get done!

Ps.  Earlier in the summer of last year, there was a rodent problem in my partner’s house…mainly her room’s floors and walls! In her case, we think it was a rat or a squirrel – the sound it made every night got worse, rattling water pipes, every time it moved up and down, as if a fright train was driving through the walls!    I am NOT exaggerating!!  It kept her (and me) sleepless for so many nights for nearly 2 months! It at times even felt surreal …as if the Squirrel was a Ghost wearing Chains, and rattling it about …like a Ghost of Christmas future!

Oh, the picture here is a photo of a tiny mouse (dead) that my partner found in her kitchen (no that wasn’t the big Rat on Chains!)

In case anyone who has mouse as pets is reading this – my apologies. In case anyone who thinks am making a mountain out of a mole-hill (!) – wait till you have a problem like these, and when you can’t sleep in your own room, then you’ll know.

And for all others who suffer such problems- my sympathies!  Contact me for moral support, cos I understand.

And finally- remember that rodents carry fleas that carry plagues!!   And mouse-urine can cause all sorts of diseases.  So wear gloves when dealing with it;   And final final Health & Safety note-   Be careful when handling mouse -poison!   I know we can get a packet of it for under £1 …but it can kill.. even humans!

Mani Navasothy : Author, Teacher, Ritual Magician

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