Friday, November 28, 2008

Celtic Goddess Epona

Epona was believed to be the Celtic goddess and protector of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. She was also a fertility goddess. It was believed that Epona and her horses would guide souls in their after-life ride. Her name is derived from the Gaulish language and means "great mare".
The Roman Cavalry also adopted the practice of worshipping Epona to protect their mounts. They would erect shrines within their stables,in her honor, and carry amulets in their saddle bags in the belief that this would carry them and their horses safely through battle.

Invocation to Epona

Hail, Mother of horses!
Hail, Lady whose children
Are the embodiment of the wind
And come like fire and thunder
Across field and plain.
Carry us, Lady,
As you carried our ancestors
Across rivers and continents,
As you carry our dreams
And nightmares,
Carry our wishes and hopes,
Bear us to adventure
And safely back home again,
And may we never stop running
Toward the far horizon
Of possibility.

Our Scots Heritage

ancient Shaw tartan

My Mother has always been fiercely proud of her Scottish heritage.I have started encouraging her to learn more about our ancestry. We visited Linville, NC this summer-home of the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, and stopped in at a lovely Scottish heritage shop, where the gracious owner gave us a mini history lesson. We found our tartans, and that our Clan motto is 'Fide Et Fortitudine' meaning 'By Fidelity and Fortitude'.
It's always been a family folktale that we are related to the great William Wallace; at least that's the reasoning behind the naming of my maternal Grandfather, William Wallace Shaw.
We also discovered the Clan Shaw Society. This information is from their site.

Highland History
The Shaws are an ancient Scottish clan, which played a considerable role in Highland history, and which traces its ancestry to the old Earls of Fife and thus the royal line of the Scottish kings. Initially, prior to the general adoption of surnames and, specifically, the use of the name Shaw for that purpose, the Shaws were the first Chiefs of Clan Mackintosh. The Clan name derives from Shaw "Mor" "Coriaclich", great-grandson of Angus (6th Chief of Mackintosh) and Eva (heiress of Clan Chattan (a large confederation of Highland clans)). By tradition, he led the Clan Chattan contingent to victory at the famed Clan Battle of the North Inch at Perth in 1396 and was, as a reward, given the lands of Rothiemurchus, which became the first "seat" of the Clan. He is numbered as our third Chief. The lands of Rothiemurchus (site of the well-known castle Loch-an-Eilean), were sold and lost to the Clan in 1539.

Adam (Ay) of Tordarroch, grandson of Shaw "Mor", was the progenitor of Clan Ay, or the Shaws of Tordarroch. The Tordarroch branch of the Clan became preeminent, acted for Clan Shaw and, at Inverness in 1543 and Termit in 1609, signed the Clan Chattan bands. They supported Montrose and raised the Shaw contingent in the Jacobite rising of 1715.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Great Minds Who Actually Thought First...

Famous vegetarians
by Dr. D. P. Atukorale
Many people throughout the ages have made the decision to forgo red meat and it is fascinating to follow the evolution of the vegetarian life-style from ancient to modern times, noting the varied reasons famous vegetarians had for their eating styles.
Gandi, the famous Indian leader and pacifist felt such a strong kinship with animal life he couldn't bear the thought of using innocent creatures for food. Said he: "To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of human body".
In ancient Greece, Socrates and Plato taught that vegetarianism was the ideal diet. The Buddha in India and Mohammed in Arabia also advised against meat consumption.
This diet also has been embraced by well-known artists, writers, and scientists including Leonardo da Vinci, Leo Tolstoy, Sir Isaac Newton, Ralph Waldo Emmerson, HG Wells, Upton Sinclair and Charles Darwin.
Another legendary figure who was a vegetarian was Albert Schweitzer. Schweitzer echoed Gandi's philosophy when he wrote "There slowly grew up in me an unshakable conviction that we have no right to inflict suffering and death on another living creature unless there is some unavoidable necessity for it, and we aught to feel what horrible thing it is to cause suffering and death out of mere thoughtlessness". (Colman McCarthy, Washington Post 13 Jan. 1976 p19).
George Bernard Shaw viewed meat consumption as "cannibalism with its heroic dish removed". He attributed his long productive life as a sociopolitical analyst and writer to this healthful diet".
"I flatly declare that a man fed on whisky and dead bodies cannot do the finest work of which he is capable" he wrote "I have managed to do my thinking without the stimulus of tea or coffee". Shaw boasted that he felt seldom less than ten times as well as an ordinary carcass eater" (James P. Garret, "George Bernard Shaw", Vegetarian Times July/August 1977).
Shaw felt so strongly about his vegetarian way of life that he published in 1918 "The Vegetarian Diet According To Shaw" in order to dispel the misconceptions about this dietary style. "An underfed man is no man who gets no meat or gets nothing but meat. He is one who does not get enough to eat, no matter what he eats.
The person who is ignorant enough to believe that his nourishment depends on meat is in a horrible dilemma". Shaw further believed that naturally harvested foods continuously nourished the life force within him.
He wrote "Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn. You bury it in the ground and it explodes into a giant oak. Bury a sheep and nothing happen but decay".
Philosopher Henry David Thoreau dedicated pages to the ideals of vegetarianism. He felt it is the destiny of the human in its gradual improvement to leave off eating animals as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with more civilized (Barbara Sarkesian, Vegetarian Times December 1976/January 1977, 20) Thoreau, like Shaw, felt that avoidance of meat improved his artistic endeavors (Daniel Wesolowski, Vegetarian Times, November/December 1977, 39).
In his masterwork, "Walden", he wrote, "I believe that even man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic facilities in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food."
Perhaps the best inspiration for a person on the brink of "going" vegetarian is a pair of modern day meat shunners Helen and Scott Nearing. Both wrote several books on vegetarianism. Both reaped the health benefits of the practice of living long and productive lives. Scott lived to be a hundred and Helen is now in her nineties.
Their meals consisted of wonderful concoctions of fresh fruits, whole grains, vegetable soups, nut butters and molasses. As newly weds in the thirties, the Nearings left busy city life and settled in the a rural area. Here they worked hard to become self-sufficient and rich "rich in fresh air, fresh water and sunshine".
Growing themselves most of what they ate, the Nearings enjoyed a freedom that no one dependent on commercially packaged meals and other foods could imagine: the freedom of "being master of your own destiny" (Helen and Scott Nearing "Living the Good Life at 95" Vegetarian Times 23, 1978, 38-39).
More recent vegetarians include well-known athletes, actors and musicians Oscar - winning Cloris Leachman attributed her youthfulness and vibrant health to her vegetarianism. The meat industry, she points out, has a very powerful lobby and its effects reach even our schools.
You will rarely hear about the value of vegetarianism in school. Moreover people have been led to feel that eating chicken, bacon, eggs, sausages and steak is a sign of prosperity because they have been indoctrinated to believe this by the meat industry.
Other vegetarian actors have included Dennis Weauer a veteran vegetarian over 20 years. James Coburn, Paul Newman, Cecey Tyson, Gloria Swanson and Susan St. James. Musicians include Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ravi Shanker, John Denver and now Slim Chubby Checker and Gladys Knight.
Susan Smith Jones, a health writer and a physical education instructor, incorporated vegetarianism into a holistic lifestyle including a ten-mile morning run and an hour of meditation every day. Susan says "If we don't take time for health, on whatever capacity that might be, we must take time for sickness".
Even athletes who once believed that top performance required them to pump iron" into their bodies with massive amounts of red meat often end up turning to vegetarianism.
These include vegetarian body builders like legendary Gilman Low who set nine world records in 1903 for his strength and endurance. Roy Hilligan the first vegetarian "Mr. America" and competitors including Ron Gleason a contender in the 1972 olympics.
John Marino, a vegetarian athlete, set a trans-continental by cycling record in August 1978 riding after 3 years of training from Los Angeles to New York in just thirteen days one hour and twenty minutes.
Describing his training he explained "the first step is detoxification of the body. Unnatural foods, chemicals, drugs, alcohol, artificial flavourings and preservatives bring on toxin build up in the body which can lead to disease, lethargy and in extreme cases-death.
Our bodies are designed to consume organic foods in the natural state (Robyn M. Grasing, Vegetarian Times Jan/Feb 1979, 30-31).
Another athlete who renounced meat is Norwegian Skier Arden Haugen, elected to the Skiing championships. Turning away from meat toward a diet of whole grain cereals and breads, vegetables, fruits and soy milk he upped his stamina and made breathing easier.
Longer life, clearer thinking, optimum body performance and even creative inspiration have all been attributed by famous vegetarians to their eating style and if you follow their lead, you may not become as famous as these celebrity vegetarians but chances are you will reap similar physical, mental and emotional benefits.
Reference : The Vegetarian Handbook by Gary Null.

A Great Poem That Sums It All Up!

Someone posted this poem to the Barefoot list in which I belong and I wanted to share it with all of my fellow horse lovers. If anyone knows the author, please share!
*The Warmth Of A Horse:
When your day seems out of balance and so many things go wrong
When people fight around you and the clock drags on so long
When some folks act like children and fill you with remorse
Go out into your pasture and wrap your arms around your horse.
His gentle breath enfolds you as he watches with those eyes
He may not have a PhD but he is oh so wise!
His head rests on your shoulder, you hug him good and tight
He puts your world in balance and makes it seem all right.
Your tears will soon stop flowing, the tension will be eased
The nonsense has been lifted.
You are quiet and at peace.
So when you need some balance from the stresses in your day
The therapy you really need
Is out there eating hay!

Monday, November 24, 2008


I was woken from a sound sleep early yesterday morning to the sensation of being whipped around my bedroom. It happened a few more times and my hubby took me to the ER. Doc said I am experiencing vertigo, and said I should follow up with my GP and a neurologist, which I am doing today and tomorrow. I stayed home from work today as I'm still pretty dizzy, despite the anti-vertigo meds.
I have NEVER experienced anything even remotely like this in my life! I actually feel better if I sit up and stay relatively still. That's how I'm able to sit and type right now. But, I'm very tired and sleepy. But when I lie down the spinning is sometimes worse than if I'm upright.
So weird. I hope I can get some answers soon!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Our Sweet Boys

I have been so busy with work, school, etc,that I don't have as much time to spend with 'the boys', Samsun, our Fjord, and Orion, our Shetland. I'm sure they don't mind as much as I do, as they are two adolescent boys who spend their days playing and hanging out together. They are such sweethearts though, and I do love to spend time with them. It's very therapeutic. There's nothing better than the sweet smell of a horse's breath, and the feel of a velvety muzzle against your cheek to cheer you up! I love this pic of the boys, but please ignore all the poop piles. I really do clean up the paddock every day...really, I do!

Friday, November 14, 2008

My New Adventure

I started my new LPN position at a doctor's office this Monday, and, knock on wood, it's been going okay so far. I am full of a kind of cautious, guarded optimism that goes hand in hand with years of experience out there in the work force. Office politics, petty rivalries, authority figures with God know what I mean if you've spent even one minute at a job!
But, this place seems pretty cool. It's only been three days so far, and I'm certain that there's plenty going on below the surface of things, but overall, they seem like a decent group of folks! It's a busy practice, but everyone seems cohesive and supportive.
They are even willing to work with my schedule come January as I complete the RN portion of my education.
I am actually happy to be back on the front lines helping people. Funny thing is, I never dreamed of being a nurse as a kid. Being the feminist that I am, I thought it was such an outdated, old fashioned job so to speak. The idea of being the handmaiden to some male doctor just left me cold. I originally took the LPN school entrance exam to encourage my sister to give it a try as she'd been working as a nurses's aid and wanted something more. But I got accepted and she did not. Weird the way life turns out. It's like the things you're meant to do...they choose you, not the other way around. Nursing has chosen me, and I have done incredibly well academically- better than I'd done at anything in my whole life. My GPA is almost through the roof and I got into Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for 2 year schools.
So, on my path I continue. I have dreams I never thought I'd have...finishing the RN, getting my Bachelor's Degree in Nursing/Science...and applying either to a graduate Nurse Practitioner program, or medical school!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Amazing Time to be an American

I am so glad that I'm an American.
With all that is wrong in our country and in the world, we are still a force to be reckoned with, and we CAN and MUST be a catalyst for change. And not just change as individuals, but as a whole. We are all connected, we are all family.
The entire world watched as this great nation was able to reach out across party lines, and lift the cloak of racism to elect someone with the intelligence, heart, compassion, and diplomacy needed to lead this country. The energy that exudes Barack Obama is that of integrity, and that he will do his absolute best to lead this country through some dark times. It will not be easy or perfect, but I know he's in it for the long haul and I sense that his heart is in the right place.
I wish him and his administration luck, as they certainly have their work cut out for them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sittin', Waitin', Wishin.....

...with my fingers crossed...................

Another Great Site

As we wait to learn the fate of our nation, I would like to suggest you horse lovers visit a great site called the Ultimate Dressage Bulletin Board. It's wonderful place to discuss just about anything. There are so many intelligent and well read horse folks who show up, and many don't have anything to do with dressage.

So, check it out!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Get Out and Vote!

People, please exercise your rights as a citizen of this great nation. Make sure you get out and vote tomorrow! But please don't vote out of fear- vote with your hearts AND intellects.
So, get out there to the polls tomorrow.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Fugly

With all that is transpiring with our economy, and all the havoc being wreaked upon so many families in, not only the US, but the world, it is not a huge surprise that so many animals are being abandoned. Horses have been especially hard hit. The numbers of horses going to the livestock auctions and slaughter {to ultimately wind up as a meal on French dinner plate} has been increasing dramatically. There is someone who writes a blog called Fugly Horse Of The Day, and it's one of my favorites. Cathy calls it 'like it is' and is never one to sugarcoat things. She features stories concerning horses and their treatment that not only speak to the sad state of affairs for our animal friends , but to society as a whole.
Check it out. Even if you are not a horse person, you'll find it interesting, educational, and just damn funny, too.