Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Want to grow a better home garden or house plants while stopping waste? Part 2

          Previously I mentioned the use of an indoor composting unit from All Seasons. Well mine arrived Friday while we were out of town. I got started Sunday afternoon when we got home with the scraps from our veggie noodles, old food in the frig that needed to be thrown away, and hard bit of blocked cheese. Monday I added egg shells from John's breakfast and again this morning. It has been going the for two days... and already it is breaking down the food without an odor. There is a fair amount of "tea" already being created as well. I am totally amazed! I can't wait to get the first "tea" out to feed my plants as well as adding it into my hydroponic system for a natural nutrients. What is driving this change? Well I want to stop wasting all the cast offs of our food or leftovers which we just aren't going to eat. Here is the small amount that has already been produced from just 48 hours of composting (see Image 2)! Image 3 is of the actual materials being composted. I am so shocked at how much they are already being broken down.
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Image 2
          This composter not only gives you a "tea" to feed house plants, herbs, but also your house plants. It helps to give them the needed bacterial and nutrients from the compost "tea". It also provides you with a compost to add to your soil both inside as well as outdoor plants. This allows you to add back to the soil what modern garden strips with our artificial fertilizers and nutrients. You will see a massive change in plant quality, quantity, and over all health.
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Image 3

          As I work through learning about all this I will of course be blogging my successes and my failures. I would love to inspire others to take the first steps to learning to grow some of their own goods, stop wasting food cast offs, and helping the earth restore itself.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Doors Best Left Closed

In America a war is being waged. Christians are working their hardest to be allowed to push their religious dogma in our nation’s schools. While the idea of "Separation of Church and State" is only an interpretation concept of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, it is something that we Americans have upheld for a very long time. The US Constitution’s First Amendment actually says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” (US Government).  So in essence no official religion of the State can be formed but neither can the State prevent anyone from practicing their religion, something that Christians seem to overlook.

This oversight is coming back to bit them in the backside. The Satanic Temple has gone up against Christian groups in Orange County school district who are allowed to hand out bibles. The agreement made by Lucien Greaves in this court case was:

“All of the children in these Florida schools are already aware of the Christion religion and it’s Bible, and this might be the first exposure these children have to the actual practice of Satanims. We think many students will be very curious to see what we offer.

If a public school board is going to allow religious pamphlets and full Bibles to be distributed to students – as is the case in Orange County Florida – we think the responsible thing to do is to ensure that these students are given access to a variety of differing religious opinions, as opposed to standing idly by while one religious voice dominates the discourse and delivers propaganda to youth” (JR)

So in August a Florida judge ruled that the Satanic Temple has a right to exercise religious liberty and distribute their religious information as well. This of course opens the door for ALL religions to be able to distribute their information to those in this school district. And it very well may have opened the door for it to occur elsewhere in the US. This conservative Christian agenda, like many others, has backfired! The door is open… all religious will have a field day with this! And I cannot help but laugh thinking that now they cannot shelter their children from other religions that could allow them to break free of their parental brainwashing

Works Cited
JR, Stephen D Forster. "Florida Schools Have To Welcome Satanic Temple After Allowing Bible Thumpers To Expose Kids To Christian Materials." 15 9 2014. Addicting Info. HTML - http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/09/15/florida-schools-have-to-welcome-satanic-temple-after-allowing-bible-thumpers-to-expose-kids-to-christian-materials/. 16 9 2014.

US Government. "U.S. Constitution." Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. US Goverment, 25 9 1789. HTML - http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_Am1.html.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hydroponic Gardening


          Part of my going green plan is to begin to grow as much food for our home as possible. This includes growing year round. The easiest and best way to start learning to do this is through hydroponic gardens.

Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel. (Wikipedia)

I figure to help myself with my learning curve and to help those that are interested in do this, I will journal my work on building, growing, and harvesting good. The following video was the inspiration for the systems I will start with. After much research I had decided with simple hydroponic grow boxes before jumping into creating areoponics and aquaponics. Our systems will be for herbs and salad greens. Then I will build some single plant buckets for things like tomatoes, squash, and even zucchini.


Works Cited
Wikipedia. "Hydropoincs." 2014. Wikipedia. HTML - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroponics. 15 9 2014.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Is it insipid to want to be remembered?

          Sometime ago I posted something on Facebook that asked my friends and family how they would remember when I pass into the  next stage of life. It was something that seemed to strike a few people the wrong way. I was told that it was extremely insipid, lacking taste, for me to ask such a thing, But is wanting to know you will be remembered such a horrid thing? Is not the majority of the creations of man efforts to be remembered long after our time? Is not having children and grandchildren an effort for us to be remembered? 

          Eons of structures built by humans have been created in an effort to immortalize individuals, groups, beliefs, or even entire civilizations. People work hard to leave behind something that will allow them to be remembered. Nancy Greenfield, Chaplain for the Catholic Community Standford University wrote a great essay specifically about this. Several of her headers alone express this idea perfectly:

"Those whom we love live on in our memory."
"Those whom we love live on as inspiration for our lives."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Earthship Seminar 2009 with Michael Reynolds

The following videos are the seminars from 2009 which Michael Reynolds did about Earthships. If you are interested in this kind of housing, watch! If you want to learn about them watch! If you are sick to death of living to work, watch!

Earthship Seminar Part 1

Earthship Seminar Part 2

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

From its beginnings, ADF has defined itself in relation to Indo-European pagan traditions. What relevance do you think historical and reconstructed IE traditions from the past have in constructing or reconstructing a Pagan spirituality for the present and future?

                There are many opinions on the relevance or validity of historical reconstruction of IE cultures and their influences on modern Paganism. They are as varied as there are those who study these paths. In some traditions of Paganism actual historical evidence is of little importance compared to the personal experiences of those involved. While in other traditions the historical evidence and reconstruction of the ‘old ways’ far outweighs any of the personal side. ADF’s goal is to create a tradition that is inclusive of all the Indo-European cultures by creating a common set of practices that were  shared by most, if not all, of these cultures. To a degree there has to be a modern reconstruction of the past to even begin to make this possible.

Much of what we know about IE Cultures points to the importance of ancestry and tradition. These traditions come from years and generations of practice that are handed down over time. To create a modern tradition that resembles these IE cultures we have to look at the past. We have to ask ourselves “What did our ancestors do? What did they believe? Why did they do these things?” Without these basic questions being answered we cannot hope to start creating a modern practice based on the past. Even to understand the body of mythologies we have from the ancient cultures, we have to look at the past to understand the context in which they were created. When modern people just take the mythologies for what they see, much of the original meanings can be lost.

When I first began my study of Druidry, specifically ADF, I believed that the attempt to use historical evidence to reconstruct traditional practices was impossible and not nearly as important as what I might experience on a personal level. Through my studies in the Clergy program I began to realize what Indo-European cultures were, how they were all linked, and that through study we could create a foundation based on the past that could work. It has allowed me to develop a much more meaningful and powerful personal religious practice that is based upon ancient Hellenic traditions.

Even today we can see hints of ancient IE culture, though perhaps perverted from their original form. When we look at Hindu culture, there is still very much a separation of class. They are still very polytheistic in the majority of their spiritual paths. In most of Europe and America you can see hints of the class separations. There are the ruling classes, the warriors, and then the ‘commoners’. Even in the dominate religion Christianity; you can see the tripartition of the divine. And if you look at the languages of these nations you will see there are still a great many similarities in structure and words. The example I gave is from Mark Damen in Question 1 of this series is: One of the primary examples Mark Damen from Utah State University uses is the term “three”. In his example he says:

"Threes," again, demonstrate the point well. Besides Latin (tres), Greek (treis) and Sanskrit (trayas), there are Spanish (tres), Danish, Italian and Swedish (tre), French (trois), German (drei), Dutch (drie), Russian (tri), English (three) and several other permutations all based on Indo-European *trejes. That these words are cognate is self-evident, especially when they're compared to "three" in non-Indo-European languages, such as Turkish (uc), Hebrew (shelosh), Malay (tiga) and Chinese (san).” (Damen, 2013)

He goes on further to talk about how the  words for mother and father show a similar root.

And though this comparison is from past language, not much has changed in the modern structure of the cultures and nations.

Works Cited

Damen, M. (2013, December 2). Section 7 The Indo-Europeans and Historical Linguistics. Retrieved 6 27, 2014, from Utah State University: http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320hist&Civ/chapters/07IE.htm

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Comparing and contrasting two IE Cultures with respect to each culture's Indo-European nature

               In comparing Roman and Hellenic cultures, it is important to look at the similarity and differences in the terrain of both nations. Though both were Mediterranean countries at very similar latitudes, Greek city-states were in very hilly countryside and nearly all were near large bodies of water. Rome consists of both inland planes and hills, with extremely fertile land thanks to the Tiber River. Both nations were known for their wines and olive products, which is very much a result of their latitudes.

                Greek art had the goal of creating ideal artistic forms. Much of their art represented their gods, heroes, and mythologies. Roman art seemed to be more focused on decorative aspects and realistic portraits of subjects. Greek art tended to adorn everyday utilitarian objects, where Roman art more often adorned both living and public spaces.

                Though both cultures were agrarian, Greeks typically were smaller farms and relied on fishing and trade. Rome imported a great deal of their wheat, and annexed provinces and nations that could provide them with important staples. The annexing of other provinces and nations lead Rome’s economy to become dependent upon large populations of slaves. Greeks were known to have slaves but their economy was not driven by it as the Romans were. The Greeks also gave their slaves certain rights. One of the most notable was that they were allowed to become initiates of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Their owners were required to put forth any purchases or money required to become initiated as well.

Both Roman and Hellenic cultures were great influences upon many other of the IE cultures. The Hellenic culture was first in having widespread influence through the Mediterranean areas and most of what now is the Mideast and down into India. While Rome did extend to much of the same areas they also expanded northward into the Gaul and Island Celtic regions. But it is the Romans who seemed to be most influenced by outside forces to the point their religion and culture began to take on dramatic changes. Though the Roman and Hellenic cultures were influenced by many of the same external forces as a whole the Hellenic culture seemed to be more galvanized and able to resist many changes than that of the Roman culture.

Both cultures have left behind a great deal of evidence to their beliefs, their culture and even their personal day to day lives. We even have details of how religious beliefs were practiced on a domestic level. Their cultures have influenced modern government and languages to this very day. And though many historians have written on the similarities of these two IE cultures, it is important to remember that they were very different and distinct entities.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A brief describe of the influences that have shaped it and distinguish it from other Indo-European derived cultures. Examples include migration, contact with other cultures, changes in religion, language, and political factors. Is there any sense in which this culture can be said to have stopped being an Indo-European culture?

                One of the IE cultures that the most change can be seen is that of the Romans.  Much of the change occurred culturally and religiously as they went from mostly agrarian to a militarized nation that became bent on ‘world’ domination. As an agrarian culture many of the Roman deities centered on land and agricultural figures. This however changed as the nation encountered other IE and non-IE nations.

                An example of this evolution given by Damen is that of Mars. Damen says “…who was originally associated with vegetation and could easily have passed into oblivion as well. Instead, however, when later Romans began to militarize, Mars managed somehow to shed his agrarian trappings, flee the silo and head out onto the battlefield, by morphing himself into a war-god…” (Damen, 2013)

                As the Romans encountered the Greeks, their gods became associated with those from the Hellenic religion. Much of this may have been due to the overwhelming popularity and wide spread literature of the time such as the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Homeric Hymns and the like. However according to Damen these changes were “…a change of name but not core values. Indeed, if any enduring "theology" guided early Rome, if there was an abiding moral principle that governed the burgeoning super-power, it was patriotism.” (Damen, 2013) Much of the Roman moral and religious belief was centered on self-sacrifice for the betterment of the state over that of the individual. However even this strong cohesion began to falter and devolved into civil war that tore the nation into smaller “Romes” much like the city states in Greek. Damen goes on to talk about how some of the early emperors tried to unify the fragmented nation into a single system of religion and state in what we call today emperor-worship.

                It might be this very effort of unification that opened Rome to so many varying cults. Damen talks about three main cults that were major influences on Rome being the Cybele cults, the Isis cults and that of Mirthas.

                The Cybele cults originated in Asia Minor and centered on the earth-mother Cybele. Cybele was attributed with protecting her followers in war. This aspect would have been very important to Rome at the time as they were engaged in the Punic Wars from 264 BCE to 146 BCE. The aspect of her as an earth-mother and fertility goddess would speak to their recent past as an agrarian culture. Cybele’s consort was a young male named Attis who died each year only to be reborn in the spring. This belief must have spoken of an eternal afterlife that would have soothed the trouble spirits of those fighting in wars. Strangely enough, this seems very similar to the ideology behind the Hellenic Eleusinian Mysteries. Over time, the Roman government decided to attempt outlawing the Cybele cults as they tended to be an affront to the very sensible nature of Rome with their ecstatic rituals and eunuch priests. But it is easy to see how this set the stage for a less dramatic faith to one day take hold.

The cult of Isis found its way into the Roman heart because as Damen puts it… “… one much less manic and more attractive to the prim-and-proper set…” Though Isis embodied the symbols of renewed life and fertility, much of her worship was wrapped up in Mysteries. One of the key sets of beliefs that may have won the Romans over could have been that Isis “…promised her worshipers immortality and personal communion with the goddess.” This is something that would have appealed to Romans who wanted to be the model of civilization but it would have also feed the growing independence and need for personal importance which Romans were beginning to express as their selflessness for the state grew.

The Cult of Mithras is perhaps the most wide spread and long lived within the Roman Empire. This might very well be due to the fact that it was mostly soldiers and working class men. What is known of the rites of Mithras, as it was a Mystery cult as well, is that there was a ritual feasting and a baptism of blood from a sacred bull. Though there are various time frames in which Mithras appears, it is in this “male” dominated cult that we have the most knowledge. It could be said that when the cult was imported from the Asia Minor regions that it gave soldiers and the working class man a place of standing and importance within a religious context. This would have satisfied the growing need for self-importance that seemed to be growing ever more important the Roman citizen.

It is not hard to see how Christianity was able to become the dominant religion within the Roman Empire. It satisfied the individual’s need to be important and commune with a deity on a personal level. It also promised immortality in an afterlife through its brand of Mysteries.

With the histories we have of Rome and its empire, we can see the influences of religious and cultural ‘invaders’ over time. We can see how this IE culture changed and evolved as the world around it changed. Perhaps it was the most malleable of the IE cultures since it seemed to shift and morph as its boarders grew to encompass

Works Cited

Damen, M. (2013). Section 12 - Roman Cults and Worship. Retrieved 7 1, 2014, from Utah State University: http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320hist&Civ/chapters/12CULTS.htm

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Rain Tower Garden - DIY

          I hear people all the time saying they can't grow plants, they don't have the space for a garden, they can't, they can't, they can't! Well I am here to tell you that is a load of crap. The more I research growing technologies such as areo and hydroponics the more I realize if you can turn on a lamp and add water to a bucket you can grow much of your own food. It is a complete lack of desire and will in our modern times to not grow. Here is a simple DIY hydroponics system that doesn't take up much more than the foot print of a 5 gallon bucket and only requires you to change the water while adding nutrients once a MONTH! That's it! Can't build it yourself? Then find someone handy with a few simple power tools to make it for you!

To make it even easier... here are the links to the gentleman's blog:

George Dumezil's theory of tripartition has been central to many modern approaches to Indo-European studies. Outline Dumezil's three social functions in general, and as they appear in one particular Indo-European society. Offer your opinion as to whether you believe Dumezil’s claim that tripartition is central to IE cultures.

                George Dumezil’s theory of tripartition is based on the idea that any of the Indo-European cultures’ mythological and sociological aspects could be divided into three functions. The first and most important function was centered on maintaining the magico-religious and judicial(Should this be “judicial”?) sovereignty, the order of things. The second function was concerned with the physical prowess of the society. The function, and in some ways seen as the least important, was those in charge of the providing of sustenance.

                Wouter Belier cites several sources showing how the Hellenic culture had tripartition. The first source he cites is from Plato, saying, “Plato divides the ancient Athenians into the class of priests, the class of handworkers, herdsmen and farmers, and the class of warriors” (Belier 113). The other two sources that Belier cites actually reveal the Greek names of the groups which serve the three functions of the tripartition. The second source is “Strabo and Plutarch, refer to the Hoplitai, the representatives of the second function; the Ergadeis, the artisans; the Geleontes, the farmers; and the Aigikoreis, who are herdsmen in Plutarch and religious magistrates in Strabo” (Belier 113). And the third source states “The Dorian tripartition into Hylleis, Pamphyloi and Dymanes is also given a functional interpretation” (Belier). Belier goes on to explain how each class served their function. The Dymanes make up the religious or priestly cast. The Hylleis represent the second function of warrior class, they were related with Heracles. The Pamphyloi make up the third class, those who cultivated the land and supported everyone.

                When I first read about tripartition I was a bit skeptical that such a definition could be applied so broadly to so many cultures. But once I began studying the theory I was able to see how this could be applied. Though the more I looked the more I wondered how this could apply to the Hellenic culture. Reading Belier I saw several sources where it was possible. Then I read something in Scott Littleton’s book “The Comparative Mythology” that really hit home to make me a believer. Littleton talks about how Dumézil see a theme not often mentioned in the Sabine war: “… a struggle between representatives of the first two functions and those of the third, wherein the latter are defeated and thus brought into the social system” (Littleton 12). As the founder of the ADF Demeter and Eleusinian Order this really made me stop and think. When you break down the story of Demeter and Kore you find a struggle between deities of the three realms, more specifically the deities Upperworld and the Underworld struggling against the deity of the Middleworld. This conflict is then resolved allowing a peace to be created between the three worlds and order to be restored under the rule of the main deity of the Upperworld.

Works Cited

Belier, Wouter W. Decayed gods: origin and development of Georges Dumézil's "idéologie tripartie". Boston: Brill Academic Publishing, 1977. paperback.

Littleton, C. Scott. The New Comparative Mythology. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1973. Paperback.