Medicine Woman

Through the Internet I became acquainted with a friend living in Mount Shasta. Why am I sharing this, you wonder? Well in part because one of the reasons I’ve not blogged is because nature has been beckoning me to be with her. And with yesterdays’ Summer Solstice that also brought in a full moon, I’ve been contemplating power spots or sacred places.

The naturalist John Muir described Mount Shasta’s mountain’s peak as a religious icon, and helped to spread its legendary fame. Since its discovery it quickly became one of California’s must-see tourist destinations.

Mount Shasta, located near the Oregon border in northern California, holds the distinction of being one of the world’s preeminent sacred mountains. It is recognized as an eligible Native American cultural and cosmological property on the National Register of Historic Places. Artifacts found in the surrounding area suggest at least 11,000 years of human habitation, designating this region as one of the longest-occupied areas of North America.

The mountain, runs along the thousand-mile-long Cascade Range stretching from northern California to British Columbia, and is part of a chain of volcanoes that encompasses the Pacific Basin’s notorious “Ring of Fire,” along which the majority of the planet’s earthquakes and eruptions occur.

Throughout history mankind has always been drawn to mountains as a sacred feature of the landscape. Perhaps it’s because mountains are among the oldest places of worship on the planet; as the first temples. They figure prominently in the earliest religious myths of mankind, and our connection to them is so powerful that many of the world’s oldest monuments, such as the Egyptian and Mayan pyramids, were built in their semblance.

Northwestern California Native American tribes traditionally view Mount Shasta as being structurally and energetically connected to a wide range of important volcanic landscapes and mountains, which extend northwards and southwards of their tribal territories.

Native Americans have observed Mount Shasta as a sacred mountain from time immemorial; they viewed the mountain and its surroundings as holy ground; it is thought to be one of the first earthly places created by the Great Spirit. In the past, no one but medicine men or women climbed up the mountain beyond the tree line. It was thought to be too powerful for ordinary people to visit, and inhabited by hosts of potentially dangerous spirits and guardians who could harm a person who traveled up the mountain unprepared.

These “sacred sites” around the world influence human consciousness and other living organisms in a number of unusual and remarkable ways. They have become colloquially known as ancient “power spots,” places where people commonly experience unusual phenomenon such as UFO-related activity, portals into other dimensions, consciousness-altering experiences, and other paranormal-phenomenon.

The spiritual use of these major “power spots” around the world is now beginning to be thought of as the unifying influence behind the rise of human civilization. Previously it was believed that spirituality arose only after mankind had already developed farming and villages, and religion was subsequently invented as a coercive means to promote social cooperation and control.

It turns out, however, that this theory is completely backwards. Now, science is beginning to understand and acknowledge that mankind’s spiritual awakening actually precipitated the rise of human civilization.

Humanities earliest spiritual experiences drew diverse groups of people to come together, who invariably clustered around the locations where most of the world’s major sacred sites and great spiritual centers exist today. People came together at these sites for ritualistic and ceremonial purposes, and this, it turns out, created the need for people to form communities to grow food to accommodate the large populations gathering at these sites all over the world; and subsequently develop farming, villages, culture, and social cooperation.

Mount Shasta is one of these places; an ancient, sacred mountain pilgrimage destination–who’s mysteries still call out to us from the past, and continue to challenge our comprehension in the modern era.

In a Dance of Awareness



A few years ago I decided to participate in creating a natural planet so I began to compost. It’s nature’s most rewarding soil amendment. When you keep yard waste and kitchen scraps you yield a great harvest, and in my case, acorn and summer squash. And, you prevent more waste from going to the landfill, thus the rewards are two-fold.

Time or money invested in your garden’s soil always brings the best returns since it’s healthy and nutrient based. It’s easy and inexpensive and now I’m doing a happy dance on this warm spring day as I reap the fruits… I mean, vegetables of my labor- the volunteers that sprouted unexpectedly.  I find these surprises one of the best side-benefits of composting.

In case you’re interested in composting all you need to begin is:

  1. the right mind-set
  2. an indoor bin with a lid to store in a dark place such as under the sink to keep your kitchen scraps; such as egg shells (not whole eggs), fruit and veggie peels, shredded paper, paper towels, coffee grinds, tea bags- this is your Brown Pile
  1. an outdoor bin such as a wheelbarrow to keep twigs and grass clippings, raked leaves-this is your Green Pile

Balance your “greens” and “browns.” Greens are high in nitrogen while browns are high in carbon, so you need to add a mixture of both for the best compost.

I use a shovel to dig about 4 inches then I layer brown material followed by a thin layer of soil from my garden. Add about 4 inches of green material followed by another thin layer of soil. Alternate layers until the compost area is full, moistening each layer with water as you go. Add enough water to maintain the bacteria vital to composting but not too much, because it can create a stinky, slimy mess.

It’s important to turn the compost at least once a week with a pitchfork to provide adequate air circulation. Depending on the materials used, turning frequency and other conditions, you should have nutrient rich compost within six to 12 months.

It’s that easy. Mother Nature will do the rest.

Mine, all Mine

landscape_nrm_1424300634-532820099Today is my blog’s sixth birthday. I started this blog as a way to document my travels but it evolved into something else. It also happens to be a gray day. With global warming, summers have become so constant and long and tedious, that I love these days. They remind me of Berlin and my life there. It’s not just the light – which, particularly with the winter dimness, had a soft beauty all its own. It’s that part of a European city morning – like when I would walk in the mornings, the city would be, in many ways, all mine.

Sure, there were people on the streets. In the cafés, there were the workers – both those who just came off the night shift and those starting their day.

For those on their way home, they would sit with their heavy meal and a glass of beer, surrounded by coworkers, laughing, joking and doing a dawn version of Happy Hour.

For those on the way to work, they were leaning against the bar with a coffee, possibly reading the paper, getting ready to start the grind.

On the streets there were the students, piling onto the buses and into the Ubahn stations. I enjoyed them the most, walking in threes or fours, taking up the whole of the sidewalk as they call out to the friends ahead and behind. Teasing each other on their way to school.

As for me, I would walk along, looking at trees and buildings that – no matter how many times I had seen them would surprise me with their enormous beauty. Because the thing I never expected and of which I’d be instantly reminded is that, no matter how beautiful nature is in pictures, she’s even more beautiful in person.

And so, I would go to my corner bakery and sit and have my zwiebel brotchen and cappuccino. It was an event and I treated it as such. After all, shops – even supermarkets – didn’t open until 8 am, so this was something to celebrate!

It would give me the opportunity to remember once again (as if I need reminding) why I love European cities so much.


Lots of people are still not aware that L.A., has a cultural scene. And LA’s premier art museum, LACMA’s galleries are stuffed with all the major players – Rembrandt, Cézanne, Magritte, Mary Cassat, Ansel Adams, to name a few.

To the north, Pasadena has the Norton Simon, the California Museum of Art and the Asian Art Museum as well as the wonderful KidSpace, where I spent many happy hours with my nephews.

But the biggest plus in the area is the Huntington – where you have a Library, an Art collection, Botanical Gardens and stunning architecture all rolled into one. Beauty at it’s finest.

The depth and wealth of the collection is stunning from ceramics from China, woodblock prints from Japan, prints and drawings, European and American Art, and ancient sculptures from Greece and Rome.

But it’s the gardens that have me in awe every-time. As I strolled after the rain, the surreal light that cast its shadow on the 150 acres was magnificent. There is something about being in nature that inspires a view of the physical and the spiritual where they converge as one.

Rather than go on, I’ll share my photos of my visit, from the tickets I was handed from my generous eldest brother. Thank you!

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The Blue Boy



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Entrance Chinese Garden

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Remains of the day

The last few days have been extremely chilly which brings to mind the end of a season. Luckily, I do not live where there is snow; but when I did, I would feel melancholy in late autumn knowing that a freeze would soon be upon me.Womanwpeacock

There is nothing like the light of an autumn afternoon and it’s landscape when your on a road trip. The solitude of driving, looking and observing natural beauty in quiet spaces. The explosion of color saturation— a reminder that life is bursting at the seams while in the same glance the delicate falling leaves that show us all too well the presence of fleeting time.

My first autumn road trip was with my Father.

I like to set memories to music. The memories I’ve made with the people I care most about, and the memories that are yet to come, are marked by change, just like a season.

So this short play-list is yours. For those long drives, or intimate dinners at home with friends or family in the days of quiet rain where drops of water are absorbed by velvet leaves that will then float reminding us that nature is a gift and all is temporary.


Showers waltzed with the wind

This photo sits on my desktop. It reminds me of my love of nature… and here I am living amongst concrete. Well I’ve already told you… haven’t I, that I’m a misfit for so many reasons. Today I thought of an intro for the image.MultnomahFalls

This came about as an unplanned trip. My hubby wanted to swim in the dark pool frothed by falling water and I took my camera along.  I watched as he waded in, and clicked as he came up shaking his head in a plume of spray.

Then, this being Oregon, it began to rain. We retreated to the car for a flask of coffee. There was pleasure sitting in a dry space, watching drizzle and listening to the sound hitting the windows while being warmed by the coffee. Mundane moments perhaps, but pleasurable nonetheless.