We Are Fashioned For Love…

We Are Fashioned For Love...

We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Advertisements

The Shaman’s Coat…

The Shaman's Coat...

The fascinating history of an unknown people

A vivid mixture of history and reporting, The Shaman’s Coat tells the story of some of the world’s least-known peoples—the indigenous tribes of Siberia. Russia’s equivalent to the Native Americans or Australian Aborigines, they divide into two dozen different and ancient nationalities—among them Buryat, Tuvans, Sakha, and Chukchi. Though they number more than one million and have begun to demand land rights and political autonomy since the fall of communism, most Westerners are not even aware that they exist.

Journalist and historian Anna Reid traveled the length and breadth of Siberia—one-twelfth of the world’s land surface, larger than the United States and Western Europe combined—to tell the story of its people. Drawing on sources ranging from folktales to KGB reports, and on interviews with shamans and Buddhist monks, reindeer herders and whale hunters, camp survivors and Party apparatchiks, The Shaman’s Coat travels through four hundred years of history, from the Cossacks’ campaigns against the last of the Tatar khans to native rights activists against oil development. The result is a moving group portrait of extraordinary and threatened peoples, and a unique and intrepid travel chronicle.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Shamans-Coat-History-Siberia/dp/0802713998

Wasp…

Say I feel all sad and self-indulgent, then get stung by a wasp, my misery feels quite abstract and I long just to be in spiritual pain once more – ‘damn you tiny assassin, clad in yellow and black, how I crave my former innocence where melancholy was my only trial’.
― Russell Brand, Articles of Faith

What I Know…

I sometimes struggle with “beliefs.”  These are those insidious little traps of possible untruths that lead us down paths to nowhere.  I have said we do not die but the fact is I do not “know” this.  I have to accept that.  We may die in every way…mind, body, spirit.

As my father lay dying in ICU I have to accept that I may never see him again.  This is a possibility to me now because I know no other truth.  I do know that love is real.  That is not a belief but a fact proven to me long ago.  His DNA runs through me and that is a fact.  But the way of spirit is still a mystery and perhaps always will be.

There will be an emptiness when my father leaves and I have to remember to fill it with love, the only comfort to a wound opened by death.

So here is what I know…

…my father is dying…

…and I love him.

Asclepius…

Asclepius...

Asclepius was a Greek hero who later become the Greek god of medicine and healing. The son of Apollo and Coronis, Asclepius had five daughters, Aceso, Iaso, Panacea, Aglaea and Hygieia. He was worshipped throughout the Greek world but his most famous sanctuary was located in Epidaurus which is situated in the northeastern Peloponnese. The main attribute of Asclepius is a physician’s staff with an Asclepian snake wrapped around it; this is how he was distinguished in the art of healing, and his attribute still survives to this day as the symbol of the modern medical profession. The cock was also sacred to Asclepius and was the bird they sacrificed as his altar.

The mother of Asclepius, Coronis, was a mortal, the daughter of Phlegyas, a king of Thessaly. Coronis was unfaithful to Apollo, and Artemis, Apollo’s twin sister, killed her for her unfaithfulness. Coronis was placed upon a funeral pyre. (One version says that Apollo cast her into the fires of his own anger.) As her body started to burn, Apollo felt sorrow for his unborn son and snatched the child Asclepius from his mother’s corpse, saving him from death. Apollo then handed Asclepius to the Centaur Chiron who became his tutor and mentor.

Chiron taught Asclepius the art of healing. According to Pindar (Pythian Odes), Asclepius also acquired the knowledge of surgery, the use of drugs, love potions and incantations, and according to Apollodorus (the Library), Athena gave Asclepius a magic potion made from the blood of the Gorgon. Legend tells that the blood of the Gorgon has a different effect depending from which side the blood was taken. If taken from the right side of the Gorgon, it has a miraculous effect and is said to be able to bring the dead back to life, but taken from the left side it is a deadly poison.

With these gifts Asclepius exceeded the fringes of human knowledge. However, he offended the great god Zeus by accepting money in exchange for raising the dead. (In one version it was the goddess Artemis who implored Asclepius to resurrect Hippolytus, a favourite of hers.) In the eyes of Zeus, Asclepius’ action upset the natural order of the universe – a mere mortal helping man evade death. With one swift action, the great Zeus sent down a thunderbolt killing both men. (In some versions Zeus only killed Asclepius.)

Realising the good Asclepius had brought to man, the great Zeus made him into a god, placing him among the stars, transforming Asclepius into the constellation Ophiuchus (the serpent-bearer). The snake was used in the healing ritual; non-poisonous snakes were left in the dormitory where the sick slept overnight on the bare ground.

The cult of Asclepius became very popular during the 300s BCE and the cult centres (known as an Asclepieion) were used by priests to cure the sick. Invalids also came to the shrines of Asclepius to find cures for their ailments (in the same fashion pilgrims visit Lourdes today.) The process of healing was known as incubation. The patient would spend the night in a dormitory. During the night they would supposedly be visited by the god in a dream. Priests would interpret the dreams and then recommend a remedy or give advice on how they could be cured with perhaps a recommended visit to the baths and gymnasiums. There were many centres and schools of medicine, from Trikkis in Thessaly to the island of Cos. It is believed that Hippocrates, a great doctor of antiquity, plied his trade on the island of Cos. It is also said that Hippocrates was a descendant of Asclepius.

The Romans adopted the cult of Asclepius, but changed his name to Latin; they called him Aesculapius.

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/a/asclepius.html

Madness in Ancient Egypt…

Madness in Ancient Egypt...

The ancient Egyptians wrote about problems of mental health as early as 1550 B.C.E. (Hills, 1901), as witnessed by the Ebers (dated to the reign of Amenhotep I, 1525-1504 B.C.E., and discovered by the German Egyptologist Georg Ebers in 1873 (Bunson, 2002; Nunn, 1996)) and Edwin Smith papyri (Nasser, 1987). The latter gives the first known written description of the meninges, cerebrospinal fluid, and convolutions of the brain (Missios, 2007; Nunn, 1996), whereas the former describes conditions that appear to be equivalent to hysteria, alcoholism, depression (Nasser, 1987) and schizophrenia (Kyziridis, 2005), although they were seen as varieties of physical illness rather than mental phenomena (Stone, 2006). Treatments for these disorders included the application of bodily fluids while reciting magic spells (Bunson, 2002), the use of hallucinogens as therapeutic medications, and voluntary retreat in temples (similar to the idea of asylum nearly three millennia later). Interestingly there appears to be no mention of madness as a manifestation of spirit possession, as in other cultures, despite Dercum’s assertion to the contrary (Dercum, 1918), although successful treatment was largely attributed to the wearing of amulets or the intercession of the gods (Darton, 1999; Regis, 1894). In fact, disorders of the mind could be attributed to heart problems, as the two were identical in Egyptian thought (Kyziridis, 2005). The French psychiatrist Pinel reinforces these ideas in his “Nosographie philosophique”, II (1798), stating that sufferers of melancholy (roughly equivalent to the modern idea of depression) were treated in temples with “suggestion, diversion of mind, and recreations of all kinds, by a careful regimen, by hydropathy, and by pilgrimages to the holy places” (Walsh, 1910). The chief place of “psychiatric” treatment appears to have been the temple of Imhotep in Memphis, which came into being as early as 2850 B.C.E. (Darton, 1999). The Greeks later identified Imhotep with Asclepios, god of medicine (Bierbrier, 2008; Bunson, 2002; Hart, 1986; Nunn, 1996).

http://eitmentalhealth.blogspot.com/2011/10/madness-in-ancient-egypt.html

Mental Health in the Middle East: an Egyptian Perspective…

Article

Mental health in the Middle East: an Egyptian perspective.

A Okasha

Institute of Psychiatry, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

Clinical Psychology Review (Impact Factor: 6.7). 01/2000; 19(8):917-33. DOI:10.1016/S0272-7358(99)00003-3

Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This article introduces the reader to mental health in the Middle East with an Egyptian perspective, from the Pharaonic era through the Islamic Renaissance, up until the current state. During Pharaonic times, mental illness was not known as such, as there was no separator between Soma and Psyche. Actually, mental disorders were described as symptoms of the heart and uterine diseases, as stated in Eber’s and Kahoun’s papyri. In spite of the mystical culture, mental disorders were attributed and treated on a somatic basis. In the Islamic era, mental patients were never subjected to any torture or maltreatment because of the inherited belief that they may be possessed by a good Moslem genie. The first mental hospital in Europe was located in Spain, following the Arab invasion, and from then on it propagated to other European countries. The 14th century Kalawoon Hospital in Cairo had four departments, including medicine, surgery, ophthalmology, and mental disorders. Six centuries earlier, psychiatry in general hospitals was recognized in Europe. The influence of Avicenna and Elrazi and their contributions to European medicine is well-known. This article discusses further the current state of the mental health services in Egypt and the transcultural studies of the prevalence and phenomenology of anxiety, schizophrenia, depression, suicide, conversion, and obsessive compulsive disorders. An outline of psychiatric disorders in children is discussed. The problem of drug abuse is also addressed, especially that in Egypt after 1983, where drugs like heroine replaced the common habit of hashish.

Source:  Mental Health in the Middle East