GREETINGS

I don’t know if this newsletter will reach you all in time, but I want to encourage all of you to vote.  This is a very close election, and every voice needs to be heard.

—Alia

THANKS AND A TIP OF THE HAT

For Hearthstone's October Open Full Moon we thank Shari and Steve Storm and the Boulder Pagan Study Group.  Eighteen officiants age 3 and up presented a Samhain Ritual used by permission of Aradia of Boulder. If you didn't attend you probably can't imagine how 18 adults and children could present a focused, powerful ritual...but this was a very moving and magickal rite.  Each participant walked the Spiral of the Moons, formed by 13 priests and priestesses, and individually received the offering and wisdom of each moon in turn.  Thank you, Steve, Shari and group, for this memorable and transformative gift.

—Arynne

NOVEMBER OPEN FULL MOON

The November Open Full Moon will be on Friday, November 10, 2000, at 7:30 PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, Denver, CO.  The doors of the church open at 7:00.  We like to begin at 7:30.

This month’s ritual will be presented by Spirit Temple and friends.  The officiants are Yogi and Chicomecoatl (pronounced "Chee-koh-meh-koh-ahtl")  The ritual will be a ritual of thanks, including thanking our ancestors; there will be an ancestor altar. The group will provide drumming, with audience dancing encouraged. Since it is to be a ritual of the soul, it will be 99% wordless. The only chant will be, "Damos gracias," which translates as, "We give thanks."

—Alia

SUGGESTED DONATION

We have determined that our break-even point is about $3 per person.

We aren’t going to start collecting at the door, and no one will be turned away for not having a donation.  However, we would like to suggest a donation of 3 to 5 dollars per person.  (The extra is to cover the pagans that can’t swing $3.)  If you can’t afford it, you are still welcome – if you can afford more, we’d be delighted to accept it.

NOTE:  Hearthstone is a church and your donations to Hearthstone are tax deductible.  If you would like to write a check so you can keep track of your donations, we can certainly handle that as well.  And if it simpler to write a check occasionally rather than come up with a few bucks every month, believe me, we understand!

SOUTHY SOUNDS OFF

by Southwynde

Oh, My Aching Back

Have you ever said, "Oh, my aching back!" to yourself or another person? Let's say you've worked too long and hard, or played too long and hard, or exerted yourself too much after a long period of little activity. The price for that is muscles screaming at you internally. Not fun.

However, that really isn't surprising. Often, we fail to treat our bodies with the respect and care that are due to such marvelous and stunningly complex life-forms. The human body contains over 200 bones. The lungs of the mythical average adult male have about the same surface area as a tennis court. We use those intricate gas-exchange mechanisms, again on average, 20,000 times per day. They oxygenate the blood that circulates from our scalps to our soles. Most of the power to move that life-sustaining fluid is provided by a four-chambered pump roughly the size of your fist. It pumps hundreds of times an hour, thousands of times a day, and millions of times a year.

The vast majority of people take the trouble-free operation of their hearts and lungs for granted. Likewise, the ability to walk is seen as unremarkable. But, is that really the case? Our closest relatives are generally tree-dwellers. Ages ago, the creatures that led to modern humans left the trees. Some physiologists have estimated that humans are the most efficient walkers known on our planet. Even without advanced technology, we can explore far more territory than any other living primate. Beaches, hills, savannahs, forest floors and more are accessible to us.

However, the adaptations that have allowed us to walk on two legs (after a long training period during our babyhood) have increased the stress on certain body parts. Among these overworked areas is the lower back. Pain in this part of the body is a major medical problem in industrialized countries, costing billions of dollars annually in the U.S. alone. Of course, that cannot include the emotional costs that are always part of any illness.

There are numerous treatments available for back pain, including over the counter medications, massage, hot baths, physical therapy and prescription pain-killers. Some of the more severe cases of back pain are only treatable via surgery, but even that isn't always successful.

Given the hassles involved in treating a back that's "out of whack," doesn't prevention seem more appealing? What can we do to prevent such discomfort? One thing is to take a tip from the actions of professional athletes. The smart pro players -- whether in football, tennis, basketball, or other sports -- warm up. In fact, savvy baseball fans know to watch for a relief pitcher going through that very warm up routine after a game starts. It's an indication that the current pitcher is going to be yanked from the mound.

Those persons who use their bodies to earn their living (When one thinks about it, isn't that all of us?) also use proper form. They learn and/or invent ways to do their jobs without harming themselves. They plan ahead, for example, positioning themselves carefully, lifting with their legs, or pushing when that's more appropriate. Or, they may simply be willing to ask for help from time to time. Superman and Wonder Woman are comic book characters. We aren't. Real humans have limits, and it's no shame to admit you can't do everything by yourself.

Backs, just like the rest of the human organism, need sufficient rest. We need to break up our work with brief periods for recuperation during the day. Many persons are sleep-deprived, too. If you can't wake up without an alarm clock, that's a hint from Momma Nature you aren't well-rested. You might consider scheduling more sleep. Remember, metabolism is an ongoing process of building up and tearing down. Your body is doing a lot of repairing, rebuilding, recharging, and replenishing while you're snoozing.

So, please take care of your back. In fact, take care of yourself in general. Be good to your body, mind, and spirit.

You're worth it.

Oh, and on a whole different subject, take the time to vote on Election Day. That's something else that far too many of us take for granted. Over they years, countless brave men and women have fought, and many died, to win and preserve that right for us. Carrying out that duty is a small way to honor their effort and sacrifice.

Shalom.

KITCHEN WITCH BARES ALL FOR H*****I

There is something of a dichotomy in a sunny autumn day. It makes me want to fly a kite and bundle up in my blanket all at the same time. It makes me want to walk the dogs, light a fire in the fireplace, plant basil, pick tomatoes, go to a garden shop, drink hot cider, and do all kinds of things.

Going to a nude beach was a new autumn desire for me. But there is one, a nice long, secluded one, just outside the Portland city limits.  It is on Sauvie Island, which has numerous farms, a national wildlife sanctuary (lots of herons) and two places to buy soft drinks. (A convenience store and a pizza parlor.) And a beach on the Columbia River. That's about it. We weren't in the mood for pizza, we had finished up at the herb farm we were visiting, and the day was still young.

The sun was out, it was over eighty degrees, and the leaves were falling. The sun, bright though it was, had that slow quality I associate with autumn.  The beach is reached by a rather lengthy albeit not strenuous hike through thick forest. All of a sudden, after walking single file through heavily scented trees and bushes, we were back in the sunlight, on the sands of a mostly deserted beach.

Ten years ago I would have stood awkwardly for a few moments, then hidden in the trees to enjoy nature in private (and in jeans.) This time I stripped down and (having found a guardian for my purse) walked thigh deep into the river. Softly singing "The River Is Flowing," I greeted the waning sun and the coming autumn while letting some of my tensions float away on the river's currents.

I looked up and realized a very large ship was heading through the river towards the ocean.  It didn't take much thought to realize that it would pass right in front of the beach, not a quarter of a mile from where I was standing praising the river and ocean goddesses.  After a couple of seconds thought, I wandered into shallower water and watched. (In case you’re wondering, I stepped closer to shore because the backwash from that freighter looked like it was going to be fairly strong and I wasn’t entirely sure of my footing.) The freighter bore the name of a major Asian auto manufacturer and was carrying dozens and dozens of rail freight cars.  I'm pretty certain every seaman aboard who was not actively involved in getting the ship down river was standing at the side of the ship staring at the naked people. (Aaron says I have to be accurate and say they were standing on the PORT side of the vessel.) I couldn't help myself. I flung out my arms and embraced the air. A little bug in the back of my head was saying, "You're not what they had in mind, you know." I told that voice to cram it. I might not be Cindy Crawford, but I'm the goddess they got this trip.

A short while later, Aaron showed up from his journeying up and down the beach and I got dressed while he gathered up the rest of the group and we went home. Then I took a nice warm shower and curled up in bed to commune with the gods of snooze. The following week was Mabon, which I celebrated by bringing a basket of vegetables from the garden to a Pagan gathering and inviting people to help themselves. A few days later, the weather changed and suddenly it was raining and cold. Samhain is heading my way and there will be no more glorious afternoons giving sailors a thrill. (such as it was…) until next spring or summer. But I had my moment of autumn magick and now I’m ready for the cold and dark winter months.

This is a dinner for cold nights. It goes well with roasted butternut or acorn squash, and a wild rice pilaf. It does not harken back to the warmth of summer. It happily revels in the coming cold and wet weather.

PORK CHOPS WITH APPLE WINE SAUCE

(Serves 4)

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Combine the herbs and spices and season the pork chops generously. Sear the pork chops (brown them very quickly) then transfer to a baking dish. Place in preheated oven. Deglaze frying pan with stock. When stock has just begun to boil, add the wine and bring back to a boil Simmer until reduced by half. Add apples (and any remaining herbs if there are any) and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to reduce until volume is one-third the original liquid volume. After 15 minutes, remove baking dish from oven and place pork chops on serving platter. Pour any remaining juices from the baking dish into the frying pan. Continue to simmer another 5 or 6 minutes or until clear. Pour over pork chops on serving platter.

GUEST COLUMNS?

If you have something to say, and are willing to let Alia edit it slightly, (generally for grammar – I have the soul of an English teacher) please feel free to submit your writing.   Content will not be edited.   We can usually make room for more voices.

STANDARD DISCLAIMER

Please note that information and opinions contained in the articles in this newsletter are the responsibility of the authors only.  No endorsement by Hearthstone Community Church, Inc.  is expressed or implied. 

The last OFM of 2000 is December 8

2001 dates are under negotiation


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