Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!
This year Thanksgiving falls on Thursday November 22, the day the Sun enters Sagittarius. This Saturday, November 24, we celebrate the Festival of the Full Moon, which occurs at 1 degree 55 minutes of Gemini.
The Sabian symbol for 2 degrees of Gemini is “Santa Claus furtively filling stockings hanging in front of the fireplace.” This represents a symbolic representation of the willing suspension of disbelief which is a prerequisite for spiritual experience. In esoteric training, students are told not to look directly at objects when they wish to learn to view them clairvoyantly, but rather to look at them out of the corner of their eyes. In order to develop clairvoyant vision, it is necessary to suspend our normal, rational, linear, and direct habits of perception.
Students of spiritual studies are taught to suspend their normal habits of thought during meditation practices, trancework, and other disciplines designed to quiet the mind. The successful suspension of mental chatter allows us to hear the tiny, quiet voice of the Higher Self, and eventually to enter the realm of intuitive knowing through direct experience of Higher Worlds. This is the mysterious realm of true clairvoyance, the realm beyond the mind, the realm of stillness, silence and the peace that passeth all understanding, and this realm is forever closed to the egoistic mind.
When we enter the realm of no-mind, the realm of intuitive knowing, we obtain many spiritual gifts, including Unity Consciousness, access to the Akashic records, the ability to see into the hearts of others and to feel what they feel, clairvoyance, clairaudience, the awakening of the kundalini energy, also known as the descent of the Holy Spirit, and much, much more.
The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 24, speaking of the Second Coming of Christ, states this mystery as follows: “But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
This Full Moon let us give thanks to the “Cosmic Santa”, who is the embodiment of Unity Consciousness, and who comes wearing many faces, the face of Christ, the face of Ram, the face of Gaia, the face of Yahweh, the face of Mohammed, the face of Isis, the face of Buddha.
Let us give thanks to the Universe for all the many gifts we have been given in our lives that have helped us to advance spiritually. Let us give thanks to our parents, to our ancestors, to our spiritual teachers, to the long lineage of teachers that preceded them, and to our friends, our neighbors, our families and all those who have touched our lives.
Let us give thanks in advance for the spiritual gifts we know we shall receive when we are fully prepared, for we are certain that even now, that although we experience the ups and downs of daily existence, the brightening and the darkening of consciousness that comes in cycles as we travel the peaks and valleys of life, we will reach our goal – if not today, then tomorrow, if not this lifetime, then in the next, if not in this world, then in the Realm of Spirit.
For this is the promise of all Wisdom Teachings, that the spiritual evolution of humanity is part of the unfolding consciousness that comprises the totality of the Universe, and each of us shares in that consciousness. “Tat tvam asi”, “Thou art That”, is the Mahâvâkya (Grand Pronouncement) from the Chandogya Upanishad.
Let us recall the promise of the Cosmic Christ, expressed in John (14:12) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”
Let us recall in all humility that service to humanity is the inevitable fruit of gratitude and let us all ask our Spiritual Guides and Teachers at this time of Thanksgiving to provide us with golden opportunities to be of maximum service in the world during the coming year.
Let us extend love offerings to our family, friends, neighbors, and especially to those who grew the food for our Thanksgiving feast during long seasons of labor in sun and rain and wind, and to those who cooked it!
This Full Moon let us celebrate the fact that the Universe is surreptitiously guiding us all toward the fulfillment of our spiritual goals, in ways that our rational, egoistic minds can never comprehend.
Let us meditate upon the silence in which the Cosmic Santa performs his good works, and may our meditations bring us ever closer to that sentient silence that is the hallmark of Higher Consciousness.
As I look around me this Thanksgiving, I am surrounded by abundance, blessed with abundance in every aspect of my life. I have a warm, snug home in the country, with enough room for my wife and myself and an extra room for guests. We are surrounded by farmland and woods, and we have delicious lacto fermented foods 'put by' for winter that came from our own garden. We have an abundance of tomatoes, corn & beans, also 'put by' for those frosty days deep in winter when we dream of next years' gardens.
We have a closet full of fine quartz crystals, and two more closets full of dried herbs, tinctures, flower essences, essential oils and other ingredients for Jane’s Homemade Herbal Toiletries, teas, tinctures and remedies.
We have some money in the bank.
We live in a natural power spot, full of beauty, enlivened with the daily rhythms of agricultural work, and with the daily comings and goings of our many animal friends that live up and down our road – songbirds that awaken us with their celebration of life, cows, dogs, cats, hawks, turkeys, crows, buzzards, horses, deer, fox, chickens, sheep, coyotes and more.
Jane and I are blessed with a view of the Catskill mountains from our living room window, and we see spectacular sunsets all four seasons of the year from our front yard. Climb a hundred yards up the hill behind our house and you can see for a hundred and fifty miles up and down the Hudson River valley.
Jane and I are blessed to have the time to engage in a daily spiritual practice, and to have had the opportunity to study with a number of exceptionally gifted guides and teachers in this lifetime. For this we are continuously grateful.
Most important of all, Jane and I are blessed through a multitude of gratifying relationships. We thank our neighbors who care for one another. We thank our families for their support and love. Without that we would be impoverished indeed. We wish to thank all those who contribute their stories, their poetry, their wisdom, their time and their efforts to the Satya Center website. We wish to thank our many dear readers who make the website a worthwhile endeavor. We wish to thank our many friends, near and far, with whom we communicate and share a tremendous energy, with whom we share our lives.
As I look around today, and contemplate the onset of the Christmas holiday season I realize that I only need one thing for Christmas. I need the opportunity to share this superabundance with those in need. I need the opportunity to work as a healer, counselor and Minister to help those who are suffering.
I give thanks to God and my guides and teachers every morning before I get out of bed, and ask to be given the opportunities to share the wealth I’ve got. I start every day with sincere feelings of gratitude so strong my heart opens. Then, for just one moment, I can join with the Native American peoples of this continent and others all over the world who walk the path of Spirit, which is always a path of gratitude, love and surrender to the Divine Will.
May you all be blessed with the abundant flow of grace and guidance you need to achieve your loftiest spiritual goals this Thanksgiving!
I would like to share a special Mohawk prayer of Thanksgiving with you all.
Here it is.
~*~ The People ~*~
Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People.
Now our minds are one.
~*~ The Earth Mother ~*~
We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our Mother, we send greetings and thanks.
Now our minds are one
~*~ The Waters ~*~
We give thanks to all the Waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms-- waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit Water.
Now our minds are one.
~*~ The Fish ~*~
We turn our minds to all the Fish life in the water. They were instructed to cleanse and purify the water. They also give themselves to us as food. We are grateful that we can still find pure water. So, we turn now to the fish and send our greetings and thanks.
Now our minds are one.
~*~ The Plants ~*~
Now we turn towards the vast fields of Plant life. As far as the eye can see, the Plants grow, working many wonders. They sustain many life forms. With our minds gathered together, we give thanks and look forward to seeing Plant life for many generations to come.
Now our minds are one.
~*~ The Food Plants ~*~
With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting and thanks.
Now our minds are one.
~*~ The Medicine Herbs ~*~
Now we turn to all the Medicine Herbs of the world. From the beginning, they were instructed to take away sickness. They are always waiting and ready to heal us. We are happy there are still among us those special few who remember how to use these plants for healing. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the Medicines and to the keepers of the Medicines
Now our minds are one.
~*~ The Animals ~*~
We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We see them near our homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it will always be so.
Now our minds are one
~*~ The Trees ~*~
We now turn our thoughts to the Trees. The Earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter and shade, other with fruit, beauty and other useful things. Many peoples of the world use a Tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the tree of life.
Now our minds are one
~*~ The Birds ~*~
We put our minds together as one and thank all the Birds who move and fly about over our heads. The Creator gave them beautiful songs. Each day they remind us to enjoy and appreciate life. The Eagle was chosen to be their leader. To all the Birds-- from the smallest to the largest--we send our joyful greetings and thanks.
Now our minds are one
~*~ The Four Winds ~*~
We are all thankful to the powers we know as the Four Winds. We hear their voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They help to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing us messengers and giving us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and thanks to the Four Winds.
Now our minds are one
~*~ The Thunders ~*~
Now we turn to the west where our Grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With lightning and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our Grandfathers, the Thunders.
Now our minds are one.
~*~ The Sun ~*~
We now send the greetings and thanks to our eldest Brother, the Sun. Each day without fail he travels the sky from east to west, bringing the light of a new day. He is the source of all the fires of life. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Brother, the Sun.
Now our minds are one.
~*~ Grandmother Moon ~*~
We put our minds together and give thanks to our oldest Grandmother, the Moon, who lights the nighttime sky. She is the leader of women all over the world, and she governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we measure time, and it is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the Moon.
Now our minds are one.
~*~ The Stars ~*~
We give thanks to the Stars who are spread across the sky like jewelry. We see them in the night, helping the Moon to light the darkness and bringing dew to the gardens and growing things. When we travel at night, they guide us home. With our minds gathered together as one, we send greetings and thanks to all the Stars.
Now our minds are one.
~*~ The Enlightened Teachers ~*~
We gather our minds to greet and thank the enlightened Teachers who have come to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to these caring Teachers.
Now our minds are one.
~*~ The Creator ~*~
We turn our thoughts to the Creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator.
Now our minds are one.
~*~ Closing Words ~*~
We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we have named, it was not our intent to leave anything out. If something was forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their own way.
Now our minds are one.
The Conflicted History of Thanksgiving
Much as I love this holiday, much as I am entranced by its esoteric meaning, as an Interfaith Minister and student of comparative mythology, this holiday, as celebrated in the United States and Canada, always makes my head spin. The history of this holiday inevitably brings up humbling and difficult associations for me, because I cannot forget or ignore the shortcomings of our ancestors, much as I honor them.
According to the conventional story, strong, righteous English Puritans arrived at a wilderness in the New World. They brought what was considered to be a superior civilization and most important, their Christian values, to a thankless, scattered group of itinerant savages, and received turkeys, pumpkins, squash, corn and cranberry sauce in return. Beneath the mainstream celebration commemorating their arrival, a millenial clash of cultures and conflicting mythologies creates a kind of cognitive dissonance that manifests for me in conflicting emotions of joy and mourning, thanksgiving and repentance.
As I sit at home with Jane, cocooned in isolation from the larger community, I join in a virtual commons of like-minded, passive viewers watching a media spectacle with a very demanding subtext.
The towering air-filled balloons march through Midtown Manhattan across my TV screen, filling my living room, as we munch on breakfast and sip on hot sugary caffeinated liquids while we participate in a nationwide homage to the omnipresence of the brand icons of Madison Avenue, a celebration of consumer culture and its ability to mesmerize children, of all ages, with pastel kitsch cartoon characters emoting warm and fuzzy sentimentality that jerks the heartstrings while imprinting a series of corporate logos in the brains of viewers everywhere.
There is a subtext, and that is that the imagination will be subordinated to the advertising message, that Friday the entire nation of 200,000,000 will awaken as one, with a druggy food hangover, climb in our SUVs and race to the shopping malls to begin a marathon orgy of compulsive spending and acquisition, which will climax on or about the festival commemorating the birthday of Jesus Christ.
Throughout this schizophrenic “holiday season”, our excessive spending and overconsumption of food, drink and electronic media are implied to be a gargantuan love offering to the Divine and, simultaneously, a concrete expression of the gratitude we all feel to our cultural forbears and an affirmation of the rampant materialism of our consumer culture.
America’s current cultural mythology of social Darwinism holds that competition among individuals to enrich themselves at the expense of others and the commons is the God-given right and the moral duty of all God-fearing Americans, and will result in a Divinely ordered society, with the most deserving individuals conspicuous by virtue of their wealth and 10,000 square foot McMansions, and the least deserving individuals marked with the unmistakable stigmata of their moral failure, apparent to all in their lack of material possessions.
There are two excellent antidotes to this pervasive cultural poison. The first is historical awareness and the second is spiritual practice. The two really go hand in hand.
Let us begin at the beginning. More or less. As best as we are able.
In the 1600s in England, a civil war was brewing between the traditional society and the adherents of a revolutionary, fundamentalist Protestant sect called the Puritans. At that time the Church of England was the official state-approved religion and Catholic and other Protestant priests and preachers had to operate as kind of spiritual undergound, subject to harassment of all kinds.
King Charles ruled supreme, and Parliament was an advisory body with few powers, called to meetings upon such occasions as the King determined appropriate.
The Puritans believed they were the few righteous saints in a society of corrupt sinners, burdened excessively by the rapacious parasitism of King, nobility and court-approved clergy, and that only by forcing their own religious beliefs on their less spiritually evolved neighbors using fire and sword could the nation be saved.
Puritans expected Armageddon – the Apocalypse foretold in the more metaphorical chapters of the Bible – to come momentarily, resulting in the destruction of Europe, and hence of all civilization.
This Puritan vision of Armageddon involved, as Armageddon always has, the necessity for the faithful to wage a holy war against all unbelievers. This holy war would, first of all, overthrow the decadent elite that ran England, including parliament, King and priests, and second, impose a severe rule of autocratic but divinely guided cleric-warriors upon the sinful populace, driving Satan from their breasts through the use of panoptic espionage in every village and town, forced confession, and purgation through the salutary example of public torture and execution, as appropriate.
The Puritans believed that the saints would be blessed by God with every social advantage, especially wealth, since they were industrious believers in the free market as well as devout Christians. They further believed that individuals who failed to create sufficient wealth to feed their families and themselves through competitive enterprise were inherently sinful, self-evidently guilty of moral failure, and should be punished by confinement to debtor prisons and other “tough love” institutions where reprogramming of their defective nervous systems could proceed unhindered by false notions of “charity”, “compassion”, “noblesse oblige” and “social welfare”.
Some of those Pilgrims who migrated to America lacked the surety of faith that would have enabled them to believe in the historical inevitability of the English Puritan Revolution, and some of them doubtless saw themselves as God’s Crusaders, spreading the Word of God and a New Social Order to a New, Godless and heathen world, which must be conquered for the greater glory of God, as part of the Apocalyptic War between Good and Evil.
After a series of Civil Wars, starting in 1639, the Puritans did overthrow the King of England in 1649, in a bloody revolution led by the Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell. Around ten percent of the total population of England, Ireland and Scotland died during these apocalyptic battles.
The reformist political projects of the Puritan victors were set aside in the aftermath of these civil wars, and Cromwell ruled as a military dictator until his death. His son was considered unfit by the Army, which constituted the true ruling class of England at that point, and chaos threatened until 1661, when Charles’ son, Charles II, was restored to the throne, with the consent of Parliament.
No longer able to rule as a Sovereign without peers, Charles II found the country set on a course to become a parliamentary democracy that practiced a determined form of religious tolerance.
Meanwhile, in the New World, the Puritans were also involved in another flavor of Armageddon. In America, in states where they gained power, Puritans made sure there were no illusions of religious freedom. The just rule of iron and fire was thought to guarantee a salutary social uniformity that would be pleasing to the stern and vengeful patriarch in heaven.
When the Pilgrim colonists arrived in New England , landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620, the area was the home of the Wampanoag Indians, members of a widespread Confederacy of Algonkian speaking peoples known as the League of the Delaware . For over one hundred years, the Wampanoag had defended themselves against sporadic incursions by European slave traders, trappers and soldiers, so they were familiar with the predatory nature of the white colonizers.
In Massachusetts, in 1620, Puritan colonists signed the Mayflower Compact, which bound all signatories to the letter and the law of early Christian practice, Puritan practice, and banished Catholic and Episcopalian ritual and observances. All males who wished to live in the colony had to sign the Compact. Later Puritan dissenters, including Roger Williams, who founded the Baptist Church, and Anne Hutchinson, a prominent Puritan gentlewoman who held that matters of faith were private affairs between each individual and God, were banished from the colony.
It was the Catholics, who had brought the world the original practice of enlightenment through torture exemplified in the Inquisition, who introduced the American Colonies to the principle of religious tolerance, which was a matter of law in the Catholic colony of Maryland.
In 1636 Roger Williams established a new colony in Rhode Island, where all true believing Protestants could participate in civil government, though not, of course, the Godless Catholic idolators.
The Wampanoag continued their traditional way of life during this period, migrating from place to place as the seasons unfolded. In the spring, the Indians would pitch their wigwams near rivers, fishing for herring and salmon. In planting season they moved to the forest, where they could hunt deer. In winter they moved inland for protection from the inclement weather, and lived on stores of food gathered earlier in the year.
Gratitude was an integral part of everyday life for the Wampanoag Indians, not something to be ritually celebrated once a year. As historian and public school teacher Chuck Larsen, who has Quebeque French, Metis, Ojibwa, and Iroquois ancestors puts it in his article on Thanksgiving, “These Indians of the Eastern Woodlands called the turtle, the deer and the fish their brothers. They respected the forest and everything in it as equals. Whenever a hunter made a kill, he was careful to leave behind some bones or meat as a spiritual offering, to help other animals survive. Not to do so would be considered greedy. The Wampanoags also treated each other with respect. Any visitor to a Wampanoag home was provided with a share of whatever food the family had, even if the supply was low. This same courtesy was extended to the Pilgrims when they met.”
“We can only guess what the Wampanoags must have thought when they first saw the strange ships of the Pilgrims arriving on their shores. But their custom was to help visitors, and they treated the newcomers with courtesy. It was mainly because of their kindness that the Pilgrims survived at all. The wheat the Pilgrims had brought with them to plant would not grow in the rocky soil. They needed to learn new ways for a new world, and the man who came to help them was called ‘Tisquantum’ (Tis SKWAN tum) or ‘Squanto (SKWAN toe).
“Squanto was originally from the village of Patuxet (Pa TUK et) and a member of the Pokanokit Wampanoag nation. Patuxet once stood on the exact site where the Pilgrims built Plymouth . In 1605, fifteen years before the Pilgrims came, Squanto went to England with a friendly English explorer named John Weymouth. He had many adventures and learned to speak English. Squanto came back to New England with Captain Weymouth. Later Squanto was captured by a British slaver who raided the village and sold Squanto to the Spanish in the Caribbean Islands . A Spanish Franciscan priest befriended Squanto and helped him to get to Spain and later on a ship to England . Squanto then found Captain Weymouth , who paid his way back to his homeland. In England Squanto met Samoset of the Wabanake (Wab NAH key) Tribe, who had also left his native home with an English explorer. They both returned together to Patuxet in 1620. When they arrived, the village was deserted and there were skeletons everywhere. Everyone in the village had died from an illness the English slavers had left behind. Squanto and Samoset went to stay with a neighboring village of Wampanoags.
“One year later, in the spring, Squanto and Samoset were hunting along the beach near Patuxet. They were startled to see people from England in their deserted village. For several days, they stayed nearby observing the newcomers. Finally they decided to approach them. Samoset walked into the village and said ‘welcome,’ Squanto soon joined him. The Pilgrims were very surprised to meet two Indians who spoke English.
“The Pilgrims were not in good condition. They were living in dirt-covered shelters, there was a shortage of food, and nearly half of them had died during the winter. They obviously needed help and the two men were a welcome sight. Squanto, who probably knew more English than any other Indian in North America at that time, decided to stay with the Pilgrims for the next few months and teach them how to survive in this new place. He brought them deer meat and beaver skins. He taught them how to cultivate corn and other new vegetables and how to build Indian-style houses. He pointed out poisonous plants and showed how other plants could be used as medicine. He explained how to dig and cook clams, how to get sap from the maple trees, use fish for fertilizer, and dozens of other skills needed for their survival.
“By the time fall arrived things were going much better for the Pilgrims, thanks to the help they had received. The corn they planted had grown well. There was enough food to last the winter. They were living comfortably in their Indian-style wigwams and had also managed to build one European-style building out of squared logs. This was their church. They were now in better health, and they knew more about surviving in this new land. The Pilgrims decided to have a thanksgiving feast to celebrate their good fortune. They had observed thanksgiving feasts in November as religious obligations in England for many years before coming to the New World .
“The Algonkian tribes held six thanksgiving festivals during the year. The beginning of the Algonkian year was marked by the Maple Dance which gave thanks to the Creator for the maple tree and its syrup. This ceremony occurred when the weather was warm enough for the sap to run in the maple trees, sometimes as early as February. Second was the planting feast, where the seeds were blessed. The strawberry festival was next, celebrating the first fruits of the season. Summer brought the green corn festival to give thanks for the ripening corn. In late fall, the harvest festival gave thanks for the food they had grown. Mid-winter was the last ceremony of the old year. When the Indians sat down to the ‘first Thanksgiving’ with the Pilgrims, it was really the fifth thanksgiving of the year for them!
“Captain Miles Standish, the leader of the Pilgrims, invited Squanto, Samoset, Massasoit (the leader of the Wampanoags), and their immediate families to join them for a celebration, but they had no idea how big Indian families could be. As the Thanksgiving feast began, the Pilgrims were overwhelmed at the large turnout of ninety relatives that Squanto and Samoset brought with them. The Pilgrims were not prepared to feed a gathering of people that large for three days. Seeing this, Massasoit gave orders to his men within the first hour of his arrival to go home and get more food. Thus it happened that the Indians supplied the majority of the food: Five deer, many wild turkeys, fish, beans, squash, corn soup, corn bread, and berries. Captain Standish sat at one end of a long table and the Clan Chief Massasoit sat at the other end. For the first time the Wampanoag people were sitting at a table to eat instead of on mats or furs spread on the ground. The Indian women sat together with the Indian men to eat. The Pilgrim women, however, stood quietly behind the table and waited until after their men had eaten, since that was their custom.
“For three days the Wampanoags feasted with the Pilgrims. It was a special time of friendship between two very different groups of people. A peace and friendship agreement was made between Massasoit and Miles Standish giving the Pilgrims the clearing in the forest where the old Patuxet village once stood to build their new town of Plymouth.
[The 1621 feast the Wampanoag gave the Pilgrims Indians was not the official first Thanksgiving. That title goes to a 1637 celebration, proclaimed “Thanksgiving” by Governor Winthrop, an event honoringthose who participated in the massacre of the 700-800 Pequot Indians in Connecticut .]
Larsen continues, “It would be very good to say that this friendship lasted a long time; but, unfortunately, that was not to be. More English people came to America, and they were not in need of help from the Indians as were the original Pilgrims. Many of the newcomers forgot the help the Indians had given them. Mistrust started to grow and the friendship weakened. The Pilgrims started telling their Indian neighbors that their Indian religion and Indian customs were wrong. The Pilgrims displayed an intolerance toward the Indian religion similar to the intolerance displayed toward the less popular religions in Europe . The relationship deteriorated and within a few years the children of the people who ate together at the first Thanksgiving were killing one another in what came to be called King Phillip's War.
“At the end of that conflict most of the New England Indians were either exterminated or refugees among the French in Canada, or they were sold into slavery in the Carolinas by the Puritans. So successful was this early trade in Indian slaves that several Puritan ship owners in Boston began the practice of raiding the Ivory Coast of Africa for black slaves to sell to the proprietary colonies of the South, thus founding the American-based slave trade.
On June 20, 1676 - following the victory over King Philip and his people - the council of Charlestown , Massachusetts unanimously voted to proclaim June 29 as a day of celebration and Thanksgiving. The following statement was read:
"The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter thingsagainst his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgments he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions.”
Larsen continues, “It is sad to think that this happened, but it is important to understand all of the story and not just the happy part. Today the town of Plymouth Rock has a Thanksgiving ceremony each year in remembrance of the first Thanksgiving. There are still Wampanoag people living in Massachusetts. In 1970, they asked one of them to speak at the ceremony to mark the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrim's arrival. Here is part of what was said:
"Today is a time of celebrating for you -- a time of looking back to the first days of white people in America . But it is not a time of celebrating for me. It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my People. When the Pilgrims arrived, we, the Wampanoags, welcomed them with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end. That before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a tribe. That we and other Indians living near the settlers would be killed by their guns or dead from diseases that we caught from them. Let us always remember, the Indian is and was just as human as the white people.
“Although our way of life is almost gone, we, the Wampanoags, still walk the lands of Massachusetts. What has happened cannot be changed. But today we work toward a better America, a more Indian America where people and nature once again are important."
“Our contemporary mix of myth and history about the ‘First’ Thanksgiving at Plymouth developed in the 1890s and early 1900s. Our country was desperately trying to pull together its many diverse peoples into a common national identity. To many writers and educators at the end of the last century and the beginning of this one, this also meant having a common national history. This was the era of the ‘melting pot’ theory of social progress, and public education was a major tool for social unity. It was with this in mind that the federal government declared the last Thursday in November as the legal holiday of Thanksgiving in 1898.
“In consequence, what started as an inspirational bit of New England folklore, soon grew into the full-fledged American Thanksgiving we now know. It emerged complete with stereotyped Indians and stereotyped Whites, incomplete history, and a mythical significance as our ‘First Thanksgiving’.”
Mars went stationary on November 15th, and has gone retrograde. Mars will appear retrograde thru the end of January 2008, so we're likely to be stuck in stop-and-go traffic on the Business Loop for quite awhile to come, with speed traps and breakdowns along the way, explains astrologer Bill Herbst in his article, “It’s Mars Retrograde: Hurry Up and Wait”.
Shamanic Healer Jade Wah'oo Grigori explains the Ancient Ways of using Deer and Eagle Medicine to heal the Celestial Soul in cases of critical illness in his new article “Deer Doctoring”. Jade offers Deer Doctoring at his homebase, in Sedona, Arizona, and this article gives you contact information if you are interested in pursuing this path of healing.
In “Big Melt Meets Big Empty”, Peak Oil theorist Richard Heinberg argues that “Since fuel depletion alone will not result in emissions sufficient emission cuts, and since carbon capture and storage is problematic, if nations are serious about climate protection the discussion must center on leaving coal and other low-grade fossil fuels (such as tar sands) in the ground.”
In “Indexing Humanity, Indian Style”, internationally acclaimed Hindu journalist Palagummi Sainath exposes the numerical prestidigitation that Indian politicians and news media use to disguise the unpalatable facts about rampant poverty in his country.
“There are 117,000 women dead from childbirth, but, take cheer, the market is soaring!” says Sainath. “It all happened around the same time. The day the Sensex crossed 19,000, India clocked in 94th in the Global Hunger Index--behind Ethiopia.”
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Top News Stories From Around the Web
[Ed. Note: These are excerpts from lengthy news stories that provide the analytical context, the intellectual framework, the historical analysis, that is so completely missing from most so-called news in the mainstream media. If you are interested in the topic, click on the link provided to read more. . .]’
Indian 'slave' children found making low-cost clothes destined for Gap
Dan McDougall in New Delhi
Sunday October 28, 2007
Child workers, some as young as 10, have been found working in a textile factory in conditions close to slavery to produce clothes that appear destined for Gap Kids, one of the most successful arms of the high street giant.
Speaking to The Observer, the children described long hours of unwaged work, as well as threats and beatings.
Gap said it was unaware that clothing intended for the Christmas market had been improperly subcontracted to a sweatshop using child labour. It announced it had withdrawn the garments involved while it investigated breaches of the ethical code imposed by it three years ago.
The discovery of the children working in filthy conditions in the Shahpur Jat area of Delhi has renewed concerns about the outsourcing by large retail chains of their garment production to India, recognised by the United Nations as the world's capital for child labour.
According to one estimate, more than 20 per cent of India's economy is dependent on children, the equivalent of 55 million youngsters under 14.
Microsoft Money Central
Jubak's Journal10/23/2007 12:01 AM ET
Who'll rescue homeowners in the housing mess?
Banks to customers: Drop dead!!
By Jim Jubak
Big banks and the feds are working to throw an $80 billion lifeline to companies holding bad loans. But no one seems interested in rescuing families that need just a little help.
Nobody in the financial industry is saying that in so many words. But their actions speak volumes. While bankers have plenty of time to negotiate the terms of an $80 billion fund to rescue their own mortgage portfolios, customers are getting a busy signal if they want to fix a problem mortgage before it explodes into foreclosure or bankruptcy.
According to a Moody's (MCO, news, msgs) survey of the mortgage companies that service about 80% of all subprime mortgages, lenders have eased terms on just 1% of the subprime mortgage loans that reset to higher interest rates in January, April and July of this year. That's a huge problem, again according to Moody's, because data indicate that between 5% and 15% of subprime loans that are current before they reset will go into default after reset they if they are not modified.
And this is before the mortgage resets really hit the fan. Adjustable mortgage resets are projected to hit $55 billion in October, up from $22 billion in January, and then continue to climb until the market hits a peak of $110 billion in adjustable mortgage resets in March 2008.
In other words, without some kind of modification of the terms, we're about to see an explosion of delinquency and foreclosure rates for subprime mortgages far above the 10% rate during the housing market's boom years. And the mortgage industry is doing almost nothing to head off the problems.
Center for Economic and Policy Research
Bat Boy Lives! As Do Myths About Social Security
By Mark Weisbrot
November 14, 2007
The right has created powerful and lasting myths about the state of the program's finances.
Despite the defeat of President Bush's attempt to partially privatize Social Security, the mass misunderstanding of America's largest and most successful anti-poverty program persists. This was evident on Sunday's Meet the Press with Tim Russert, which was devoted to an interview with Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Obama is no enemy of Social Security. But like most of the country, he is misinformed on this issue. So he is going after his opponent, Hillary Clinton, for saying "if we just get our fiscal house in order that we can solve the problem of Social Security."
Obama told Russert: "Now, we've got 78 million baby boomers that are going to be retiring, and every expert that looks at this problem says 'There's going to be a gap, and we're going to have more money going out than we have coming in unless we make some adjustments now.'"
In fact, there is not the least bit of urgency regarding Social Security, and it would be best to take the issue off the table entirely until we have at least a few years of public education. Some of that public education took place during the grass-roots campaign that defeated President Bush's attempt to partially privatize the program in 2005. The President was forced within weeks to stop using the word "crisis" to describe Social Security's finances. But it was not nearly enough. Many journalists and editors remain confused, and therefore so is the citizenry.
In fact, the first cohort of baby boomers (those born in 1946) will begin retiring in just a couple of months, since many people take their Social Security at age 62 (with a correspondingly reduced benefit). Our Y2K moment is upon us, and nothing will happen - because the baby boomers' retirement has already been financed.
Back in 1983, when Social Security really was running out of money, with just a few months of payments on hand, Congress raised the payroll tax substantially. This was done deliberately in order to pile up a surplus to finance the baby boomers' retirement. And so it did: that accumulated surplus stands at more than two trillion dollars today, and is increasing at a rate of $190 billion annually.
As a result of this surplus, all the baby boomers' will have retired before Social Security runs into a projected shortfall in 2041. That is according to the Social Security's (mostly Republican-appointed) Trustees.
Common Dreams NewsCenter
Published on Monday, November 19, 2007 by The Baltimore Sun
Here Come the Thought Police
by Ralph E. Shaffer and R. William Robinson
With overwhelming bipartisan support, Rep. Jane Harman’s “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act” passed the House 404-6 late last month and now rests in Sen. Joe Lieberman’s Homeland Security Committee. Swift Senate passage appears certain.
Not since the “Patriot Act” of 2001 has any bill so threatened our constitutionally guaranteed rights.
The historian Henry Steele Commager, denouncing President John Adams’ suppression of free speech in the 1790s, argued that the Bill of Rights was not written to protect government from dissenters but to provide a legal means for citizens to oppose a government they didn’t trust. Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence not only proclaimed the right to dissent but declared it a people’s duty, under certain conditions, to alter or abolish their government.
In that vein, diverse groups vigorously oppose Ms. Harman’s effort to stifle dissent. Unfortunately, the mainstream press and leading presidential candidates remain silent.
Ms. Harman, a California Democrat, thinks it likely that the United States will face a native brand of terrorism in the immediate future and offers a plan to deal with ideologically based violence.
But her plan is a greater danger to us than the threats she fears. Her bill tramples constitutional rights by creating a commission with sweeping investigative power and a mandate to propose laws prohibiting whatever the commission labels “homegrown terrorism.”
The proposed commission is a menace through its power to hold hearings, take testimony and administer oaths, an authority granted to even individual members of the commission - little Joe McCarthys - who will tour the country to hold their own private hearings. An aura of authority will automatically accompany this congressionally authorized mandate to expose native terrorism.
Apocalypse Now: The Drought
Submitted by Rick Perlstein on November 7, 2007 - 8:09pm.
The month of October saw America wracked by two Biblical-sized calamities: wildfire in California, and drought in the Southeast. Both indict the conservatives' vision of government. Let us first speak of the drought.
Three million Atlanta-area residents get their water from 38,000-acre Lake Lanier. It's three months away from depletion—and that booming metropolis has no backup plan on file for that eventuality. UPS is testing out urinals that don't use water. Coca-Cola's international headquarters has turned off their decorative fountain. Georgia Tech's greening the grass in its football stadium with spray paint, and the city aquarium has shut off its waterfall.
But the problem hardly ends with one municipality's planning failures and these colorful consequences. Almost a third of the entire Southeast is smack dab in the middle of of the National Weather Service's worst drought category—"exceptional": most of Tennessee and Alabama; the northern half of Georgia; parts of the Carolinas, Kentucky, Virginia. As the AP reports, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue "asked a Florida federal judge to force the Army Corps of Engineers to curb the amount of water draining from Georgia reservoirs into Alabama."
And Alabama has to be thrilled with that.
Then Governor Perdue announced he'd sue the Army Corps of Engineers to keep them from sharing Lake Lanier water with three other states. Among the suggested solutions for Georgia: desalinating ocean water, building regional reservoirs—and, the the AP reports, "piping water in from rivers in neighboring states."
Again, those neighboring states, hit by the regional drought, too, just have to be rejoicing.
Industry’s Plan for Us
By Peter Montague of Rachel’s Democracy & Health News
The fossil fuel corporations have a plan for us, and it does not include any substantial investment in renewable solar energy. Their plan is focused on “geo-engineering” — which means re-engineering the oceans, the atmosphere and the earth itself to make it possible to continue burning fossil fuels. U.S. EPA is on board with the plan.
It now seems clear that the coal and oil industries are not going to allow the United States to curb global warming by making major investments in renewable sources of energy. These fossil fuel corporations simply have too much at stake to allow it.
Simple physics tells us that the way to minimize the human contribution to global warming is to leave the remaining fossil fuels in the ground — stop mining them as soon as humanly possible. This obvious solution would require us to turn the nation’s industrial prowess to developing solar power in its many forms as quickly as we can — we would need a “‘Manhattan Project’ for Energy,” as the strategy journal of the top U.S. military planners said recently.
Look at the relative size of our current government investments in solar vs. fossil fuels. In 2007 the federal Department of Energy spent $168 million on solar research. On the other hand each year since 1991 the U.S. government has spent 1000 times that amount — $169 billion — subsidizing the flow of oil from the Middle East, according to the Joint Chiefs of staff, our top military planners. And that figure doesn’t include what consumers paid for the oil itself. If our solar investment remains one-tenth of one percent of our investment in oil, there will be no solar power to speak of in our future.
Meditation Moment: Silence
"There is a thread from the heart to the lips
Where the secret of life is woven.
Words tear the thread
But in silence
The secrets speak."