A wish to mend
the broken shards
with a piece of
I would sew it
tight and dry your
tears with the
softest angel wing.
A wish to fix the
empty hole and
seal her memories
in your heart.
I would give you
a chance to see
her smile before
you had to part.
Archive for the ‘Feather Symbols’ category
This was an interesting article in Psychology Today. Apparently, being a night owl is in my genes. I have noticed that if I go to bed early, I have trouble getting up in the morning. I usually only get about five or six hours of sleep a night. I also know that my creativity blossoms at night.
Early Bird or Night Owl? It’s In Your Genes
By Michael J. Breus, Ph.D.
December 14, 2012
Are you a lark, someone who likes being up and active in the early morning? Do you do your best work early in the day, and do you wind down in the evenings toward a relatively early bedtime? Or are you a night owl, someone who tends to wake later and perhaps gains energy and focus as the day progresses, someone who likes to work (and play) in the evening hours?
Whether you’re inclined toward one direction or another—or find yourself somewhere in the middle—these tendencies feel deeply ingrained. Scientists have been exploring for some time the notion that the circadian rhythms that regulate the sleep-wake cycle and many other of the body’s biological processes are influenced by our genes. Studies involving twins have provided evidence that our genes have a significant influence over sleep patterns and circadian rhythms. Scientists have in recent years identified a “wake up” gene that is believed to be responsible for activating the body’s biological clock in the morning.
Now a team of researchers from the United States and Canada has identified a specific genetic variant that appears to determine whether a person will be an early bird, a night owl, or somewhere in the middle. The specific type of genetic variation an individual possesses may influence the tendency to rise earlier or later by as much as 60 minutes.
Another significant finding? This gene variant—so common that it is present in most of the population—may also determine the time of day a person is likely to die.
This information could have important implications for the treatment and monitoring of illness and disease, as well as for preventative medicine.
The study that resulted in this genetic discovery began a number of years ago. Researchers studying disrupted sleep patterns among older people were looking for pre-disease markers that could be associated with the eventual onset of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. This study involved 1,200 healthy men and women aged 65. Their evaluation included annual neurological exams and psychiatric exams, as well as ongoing monitoring of sleep-wake cycles and activity levels using a wrist monitor. Participants to this study also had agreed to donate their brains to the research project upon their death, so that scientists could gather additional information related to sleep-wake cycles.
In the course of their research project, scientists learned that the same group of volunteers had also had their DNA genotyped—a process of identifying differences in individual genetic makeup. With these data, researchers were able to compare data on patients’ sleep wake cycles with their genetic profiles, which led to their significant discovery.
They found that variations to a gene called PER1—part of a group of genes that affects circadian rhythms—are strongly linked to circadian timing, and to the tendency toward living as a night owl or a lark. Variations to this gene are so common, according to researchers, that nearly the entire population possesses one of several variants:
60% of the population has a variant called adenine (A)
40% of the population has a variant called guanine (G)
Since each individual has two sets of DNA chromosomes:
48% of the population will have a combination of A and G
36% of the population will have two As
16% of the population will have two Gs
According to the study results, people with the AA genotype—the early birds—tended to wake up 60 minutes earlier than those with the GG genotype. The third group—AG—tended to split the difference and wake right in the middle of this 60-minute timeframe.
How does this gene variant—and its influence on circadian timing—affect a likely time of death? Our circadian rhythms are at work in regulating a broad range of biological processes affecting our health and basic functioning. Research has shown that circadian clocks play a role in influencing the timing of major medical events such as heart attacks. Scientists describe what they call a circadian rhythm of death, which results in people generally being more likely to die in the earlier part of the day. The average time? 11 a.m.
Looking at the study population, researchers found that AA genotypes and AG genotypes tended to die around this most typical 11 a.m. time. The GG genotypes—the night owls—tended to die much later in the day, on average at around 6 p.m.
This is some fascinating and important research. There’s more to study and to learn about how our individual genotype affects our circadian timing, but this knowledge could be applied in any number of ways to manage health and the treatment of disease. This information could be used to help people create sleep-healthy schedules, particularly for shift workers and people who travel frequently and experience jet lag—that’s everyone from a national sales rep to a major league ballplayer. Also, physicians could use this knowledge to create targeted treatment and prevention programs, using this information about when an individual is most vulnerable, to time procedures, medications, and exercise.
We all can do ourselves a favor by paying attention to our natural tendencies for sleeping and waking, and using this information in making our daily schedules work for our sleep and our health.
Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor™
Tonight I will go to bed one year older than I was last year! I don’t know if that should be an exclamation point after that sentence or a sad face – but I do feel like I am getting better with age. I am happy with the woman I have become and I think I am still striving to learn, grow and love. The best story of the day came from my mom. She told me about when I was born. Way back then (haha) it was actually Labor Day on September 1st. My mom said “there was a lot of labor involved that day,” and we both laughed. My mom said she and my dad had to fight through a grip of traffic to get to the hospital. It was fiesta weekend here in Santa Fe and the hospital was downtown near the plaza back then. She remembers that the parade had just started. Apparently there were long lines of traffic. I kinda wonder if she and my dad were thinking that they may have to deliver me in the car? My mom got the killer shot to have me, but before she let that needle into her back, she had to be pinned down by not one but two nurses. I told her “that was the first sign that I was going to be a pain in the ass!” Great story… Anyhow- I got so many wonderful gifts from my family and friends. I do want to take the time to say thank you. I couldn’t believe that 99.9% of my gifts featured symbols which I identify with like bird, feather, and spiral. Amazing!! It was nice to receive: a call from my godmother Rita; HBD texts from my Dad, my friend Britney, and my friend Tammy; and some money from my Mom and Gilbert and my mother-in-law. My most practical gift that I am super psyched about are the Monster Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. Yesssss!! Daryn and Mike hooked me up with them and I must say that I will sleep in those suckers!! Today was a good day. I ate a lot of killer food. Now I am ready to get back on the workout tomorrow with my awesomely black, red, glossy, bass banging, voice recognition havin’, beat ripping headphones! Nice…..
I breathe music!
Like you didn’t know?!
For the last few days, I have really been thinking about being mortal. Over the last few years, I have had a handful of strange dreams which I believe connected me to a spiritual dimension. Monday night following a friends funeral, I found myself wondering how people would remember me when I am gone? Last night I contemplated where I would be laid to rest? It may seem odd to think about these things- but I am a Virgo- a planner- I am organized- I feel that there is a place for everything and everything should be in it’s place. I simply care about the little things, and apparently my personal legacy. When my thoughts are heavy before I fall asleep I dream lucidly. After posting about my family in Mora, New Mexico last night, I had a dream about the mountains there. I could smell the clean air and the rain. I could see the beautiful land and distant sky. I felt connected to my history. That would be a good place for my ashes to whisk away on the curls of the Northern winds into the trees. The dream seemed real. This morning I was amazed to see that while I was in dream land, there was a woman with ties to the North Sea thinking about mortality, connection, and spirituality just like me.
On October 18, 2011, I wrote a short piece to honor one of the most spiritual men I have ever known who had passed away. The post was titled The Death of Cloud Eagle. Ernest Eugene “Bo” Mirabal “Cloud Eagle” a celebrated Nambe Pueblo artist, educator, spiritual and community leader, died on October 13, 2011. At the time of his death, his father Ernest Mirabal was the Governor of Nambe Pueblo. I interviewed Cloud Eagle as a reporter for the Santa Fe New Mexican in 2000, and loved his symbolic take on his art pieces as well as his feelings about connectedness. I had many lovely comments on that particular post. One was from Phillip Kansa “Spirit Bear.” Another was from Cloud Eagle’s daughter Nakiva Mirabal who said her father was “free and flying with the eagles.” A former Governor of Nambe Pueblo, Thomas Talache also weighed in. But because of my thoughts yesterday, and my dreams from last night, I was stunned to find a comment from one of Cloud Eagle’s friends on my site this morning- it was a meaningful coincidence.
Stefanie Neumann linked into my site in her post titled “Oneness in Diversity – Einheit in der Unterschiedlichkeit” through her blog titled Kokopelli Bee Free Blog. While I was sleeping she connected with me. She calls herself a “Dreamer. Visionary. Connector. Peacefounder. Adventurer. Teacher. Lerner. Writer. Embodied Spirit.” Her site also says she is a “teacher for New Consciousness.” Amazing! What I found most interesting about this was her partaking in the pipe ceremony yesterday in memory of Cloud Eagle. If you do not know about the importance of this ceremony to Native Americans and how it connects people to the spiritual world, here are some quick and dirty facts. The pipe symbolizes prayer, the smoke symbolizes words, the fire represents the sun and the source of all life. Those things smoked in the pipe have roots because they penetrate the earth (a symbol of our mortality) and the smoke rises to the heavens (a symbol of the immortality of our souls). Yes- yes- Stefanie Neumann’s connection to me at that specific moment in time was indeed a meaningful coincidence.
A couple of weeks ago, my mom called me and told me that she had a couple of things to give me. She had come across an old colored pencil/ink drawing I created almost 20 years ago, and she also had the video footage of my college graduation. Of course I told her I wanted both back. Last weekend I watched the video footage. It was fun to watch in retrospect, but what was most important was a tiny piece of footage unrelated to my graduation. It was footage of my grandmother (now deceased) right at the beginning. I could have gone without the hour long video of me smiling and making funny faces at the camera for less than a minute of footage of my grandma. There were a few people in the shot, and I was apparently standing off to the side. My grandma Corine urged me to get in the frame. I cried when I heard her say my name in her cute little voice. After I watched the video, I stayed looking at my old, oversized artwork. It is rather mind blowing that I penciled this Ancestral Puebloan almost two decades ago way before I cared about my family history. I made the picture for my mother so many years before and had it framed for her. Ironically, I got my picture back from my mother, with a moving image of her mother, and my direct maternal DNA is tied to Native ancestry. Thinking back, I don’t remember why I selected that particular subject matter for the colored pencil/ink drawing? What matters now is the connection between each item and the subject matter, as well as how I feel about it. Everything happens for a reason. It was time for those two pieces of history from my maternal line to return to me.
Ancestral Puebloan Cry
Earthen paths of directions lost,
link me to the strand of time.
Guide steps through knowledge gates
so I connect each dot to line.
Untie my hands to feel the past.
Tie what’s inside me to the stars.
Draw water from this flowing
stream and teach me of your wars.
I am bound by fire. Ancestor I
will endure and live another day.
Reveal the path, I’ll hear your cry
and bless your body where it lay.
Forge the sky to feed my heart,
which beats with Native drum.
Whisper to me on the wind–
where is my mother from?
by Felicia Lujan_6.27.2012
First a few thoughts aside from my look at the symbols in this movie… Charlize Theron was smokin’ hot- I mean with a capital “S.” Her acting was excellent, and she had the look of straight crazy in her eyes more than a few times. I could tell that she had been completely consumed by her character, which I loved. She *became* the Evil Queen Ravenna. She ruled the movie! I guess I have always been really impressed with her acting since her role in Monster (2003). Kristen Stewart did a good job as Snow White, though her hair was not black. I did have a little bit of a hard time forgetting about her Twilight roles. I think that a good actor or actress can *become* their character flawlessly. A great actor/actress is so good that we can feel their roles devour them. I give Kristen an “A” for effort. She will get to where she needs to be as an actress now that she has discovered new roles to shed Bella. Chris Hemsworth was good as the Huntsman. I did forget he was Thor, but my son didn’t! I liked that Evan Daugherty and Martin Solibakke made the Huntsman strong and masculine, but were not scared to show his vulnerable/sensitive side. This movie did have some scenes which shattered gender stereotypes, which I liked.
There were several themes and scenes tied into the symbols I derived from Snow White and the Huntsman. Unlike other people who may have reviewed this movie, I looked at it as a stand alone piece. Though it was based on the Brothers Grimm fairytale, the writers for this movie deserve credit, and a deeper look at what their writing was intended to convey to the audience. Following are a few concepts I identified in the film- these were: valuables versus the illusion of valuables; fire and water; heart and heartlessness; kindness and hatefulness; good and evil or light and darkness; freedom and captivity; connection and disconnection; and life and death. In the same order, here are some of the things I noted (yes I took notes) with regard to these concepts.
Valuables and the Illusion of Valuables
I found it interesting that in this movie, the Evil Queen’s mirror was gold. It was not an actual mirror, tough a reflection could be seen in the large golden plate. Not only is the mirror gold in this version of the tale, but the spirit in the mirror is actually a golden three dimensional figure. I think that this fortifies the value that Ravenna has placed on superficial beauty. I believe that this is an illusion of value. Though it is nice to be beautiful, true beauty can only be felt. It can not be seen. This is why Snow remains the “fairest” in the land. When Queen Ravenna demands that the Huntsman track and kill Snow White, she says that he will be “rewarded handsomely.” The Queen uses love to convince him, but he is not easily fooled by the illusion of value. He tells her “what good is gold if I am lying dead with crows picking at my eyes?” At one point in the movie, Snow and the Huntsman end up seeking refuge in a large village of scarred women. There are no men in the village as they are all off fighting for freedom. These women have deliberately defaced themselves to avoid the venomous clutches of the life force sucking Ravenna. The women selected for these roles were beautiful, but the writers gave them scars. The scars added value to their lives, as they got to live longer because the Queen did not want them.
Fire and Water, Heart and Heartless, Kindness and Hatefulness
In the beginning, as a child, Snow White finds an injured bird and takes it to her mother. The mother tells Snow that she has inner beauty because she wishes to help the bird. She is immediately cast in the light of kindness. Also in the beginning, fire appears in the mirror when Queen Ravenna first summons the mirror spirit. This could symbolize a few things. Maybe her fervent obsession with beauty? Could it be her heartlessness and hatefulness? The fire could also foreshadow her demise. In the last scene of the movie, Ravenna is consumed by fire while she is burning with rage. At one point as a prisoner of Ravenna, Snow starts a fire in her bare hands as she says a prayer. She can be seen as the kind, spiritual, fire starter with heart. In her case, the fire could symbolize passion versus obsession. Hearts can also be connected with fire. When one is passionate about something, they are often described as “on fire.” Both are also red. Yes- the heartless and dark Ravenna eats Sparrow hearts. This act could symbolize the Queen’s ability to take life and freedom from people. The heart beats when we are alive, and flight is a symbol of freedom. Ravenna also takes the life out of the heart of a man who tries to kill her. The movie has several references to water. When Snow escapes the Evil Queen she jumps into the ocean. Water is a symbol of life, and continuance. There is also the very symbolic tears in the movie.
Good and Evil, Light and Darkness
Snow White is a historically established symbol of purity and innocence. There are the bad birds- the Ravens, and the good birds in the Sanctuary. The good birds in the Sanctuary are the same type of bird that Snow saved as a child. The mirror also tells Ravenna “her innocence and purity is all that can destroy you, but she is also your salvation.” Ravenna’s mirror tells her that consuming Snow White’s heart will allow her to live forever,” which means “immortality.” The colors black and white are prominent in the movie echoing the symbolism of good and evil/light and dark. Some of the black things included: Ravenna’s attire; the Ravens; black smoke; the black horses in Ravenna’s dark army; the apple rotting to black in Snow’s hand; and an oil like substance present when Ravenna’s powers are weak. Some of the white things included: a Stag with tree branches for antlers; a horse; birds; a dress worn by Snow White; and the snow.
Freedom and Captivity
A major symbol of freedom and captivity was Snow White’s break away from being a delicate princess. She became a lover of the sword and found freedom through strength. Snow escapes from Ravenna’s dungeon, and several birds like the one she saved as a child fly around and surround her. Again, birds and flight can be interpreted as Snow regaining freedom. When the princess escapes into water, and surfaces on the beach, she encounters the white horse. The horse carries her away to her freedom, thus it can be seen as a symbol of such. The “Sanctuary” in the movie represents freedom. It is one place where Queen Ravenna has no power. It is also the place where magical creatures live. The Sanctuary is the “home of the fairies.” Several winged things in the movie symbolize freedom- there are birds, fairies, butterflies, and fireflies. Freedom and captivity can also be seen in Snow’s love interest. She feels free to break away from Prince William, because she has been captured by the Huntsman.
Connection and Disconnection
When he is feeling bad, he seems to drink, so Snow White asks the Huntsman if he “drinks to drown his sorrows?” He drinks constantly in the movie in an attempt to disconnect from his pain. When the Huntsman begins to train Snow on how to fight with a sword, he takes her firmly and says “you stab him in them heart and look into their eyes until you can see their soul.” It was at that moment that the characters were set by the writers to fall in love. At that moment, he looked deeply into her soul and she into his. The Huntsman captured Snow White with no force. She was captured by a simple gaze. Snow White disconnects from Prince William as she begins to develop a deep connection to the Huntsman. In one scene as Snow and the Huntsman are about to be killed by a troll, she also connects with the beast and they are let be. A theme of trust is also heavy in connection. Another symbol of disconnection is when Queen Ravenna kills the King. The King’s goblet with blood red wine crashes to the floor.
Life and Death
After Ravenna killed the King (Snow White’s father) “the land died and with it hope” under her rule. Ravenna consumes the life spirit of the beautiful to stay young and attractive. This process gives her beauty and life force. It does not always literally kill the person, but it does take their life. When the Seven Dwarfs capture Snow White and the Huntsman, the eldest can sense her goodness. He says “she is of the blood,” meaning the royal bloodline. Blood is a symbol of both life and death. The dwarf says “I can see an end to the darkness.” She then tells them she is the late King’s daughter. One of the dwarfs says “you have eyes Huntsman, but you do not see.” The elder dwarf tells the Huntsman “she is life itself. She will heal the land. She is the one. Do you not feel it?” Here again you can see that true beauty is felt not seen. The poisoned apple is a symbol of death and life all at once. The fruit nourishes, but the apple has been poisoned.
In the end, when Snow dies after eating the apple, she is kissed by Prince William. It was then that the audience awaited her awakening. You had to know she wouldn’t wake, as it was not true love’s kiss. Snow did not awaken until the Huntsman visited her lifeless body. There he sat drinking by her side. The Huntsman talked to Snow about her heart and her spirit. He leaned down to kiss her, and he shed a tear on her cheek. She was awakened by the provocation of her own tears, and her deep love and respect for the Huntsman. He had taken her heart, but in a much different way than anyone had expected. When Snow White kills the Queen she tells her “you can’t have my heart,” that is so symbolic- as it is really the Huntsman who has her heart. Snow now rules the kingdom, but she will rule with a tree branch as a scepter not gold. This scepter a symbol of growth and life, and a return to roots.
Today I read a post about The Fool card in Tarot. One of my favorite gals- Lily Wight of The Arcade of Arts & Arcana posted Tarot art – The Fool on May 9, 2012. I absolutely loved the art work created for that card. Ms. Lily reblogged the tarot post from Tiana Setka’s Divination Blog. After reading the post, I started to contemplate what it means to be foolish? The word foolish can be interpreted in so many ways. The synonyms for the word foolish include: stupid, silly, idiotic, unwise, imprudent, thoughtless, and of course irrational. The antonym for the word foolish is simply wise. At any given time I could be described as all of thee above. Since I take pride in wisdom, how is it that all of thee above can possibly describe me? I am at a loss for words it seems. I guess that my apparent inability to explain my simultaneous identification with synonyms and an antonym for the word foolish, will insure that I remain a humble human.
In 2004, the European Psychologist Journal published a white paper titled Why Smart People Can Be So Foolish. The paper was published in Volume 9, Number 3 (2004) by RJ Sternberg. Sternberg stated bluntly in his article that “not only stupid people act foolishly.” Is that indeed a fact? I do agree. He said that smart people who “tend to act foolishly” can be connected to “five cognitive fallacies.” Those fallacies or misleading notions include unrealistic optimism. Unrealistic hopefulness and optimism come with inevitable disappointment. The author goes on to say that “the antidote to foolishness is wisdom.” Hum? Is there really an “antidote” to foolishness? Maybe I could use a dose of that antidote? What about you? Or is believing that there is indeed an antidote yet another form of unrealistic optimism? You decide…
Deane P. Lewis compiled a web site in 1999 titled Owls in Mythology & Culture. Lewis says that “throughout history and across many cultures, people have regarded Owls with fascination and awe. Few other creatures have so many different and contradictory beliefs about them. Owls have been both feared and venerated, despised and admired, considered wise and foolish, and associated with witchcraft and medicine, the weather, birth and death.” Here we see a similar pattern demonstrating a range of human characteristics which travel from one extreme to another— fear and respect, hate and love, wise and foolish, as well as birth and death.
We can also look at the myth of Pandora in regard to a wise fool. Pandora is sometimes referred to as the first of the women on Earth. It is said that Zeus himself commanded Hephaestus to create the most beautiful woman from Earth and water. To me— creating her from “Earth” would be symbolic of the human form. Think of the phrase “from dust to dust.” Hephaestus then gifted her with the breath of life. As the myth goes, Zeus wanted her to be almost perfect, and foolishly human. This woman was Pandora, and she can be seen as the fool of fools for unleashing the secrets of Pandora’s box or in some versions of the myth, a jar. The jar was as beautiful as she, but she was never to open it. She is said to have been so tortured by what may be in the jar that she felt compelled to lock the jar away in chains so that she would not be tempted to open it. Eventually, Pandora thinking she was so intelligent opened the jar. When she opened the intricate, and inviting container, Pardora simply unleashed a world of pain. What a fool!
The patterns of our human character often demonstrate such a colorful spectrum of extremes. Just as we must be born, we must die. Just as we must be loved, we must be hated. Just as we must smile, we must cry. It is unfortunate that no matter how hard we try to remain wise, the foolish illusion of intellect can blind and burn the eyes of our souls.
Crack and split,
they break away
to unveil mortality.
Softness gone, it
wings of allegory.
Dilute my skin,
and weaken me.
I am human to
Pin feathers in
your shadow box.
What else are
these wings for?
Crack and split,
they break away
to display my
It is the jettison
of plumage now,
behind these wings
I can not hide.
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