On this Remembrance Sunday
I wear my Poppy to remember the fallen,
To remember my family and Ancestors Who fought and gave their lives
And hearts for freedom.
I remember those who fought
To maintain the liberties
Of their families and people,
And I honour them for their sacrifice.
May they now know peace,
May they be remembered.
May the freedom we have
Because of them
Never be taken for granted.
(c) Michelle Gilberthorpe, Northern Tamarisk, 2017
You can also read my piece from last year because I feel it’s still relevant:
Full article link: Why I wear a poppy
I do not celebrate war, in fact I hope continually for the end of conflict the world over. The reason I wear the poppy is to remember people like my Grandad George, who was in the RAF and an air traffic controller in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, my Great Aunty Margaret, who was part of the Women’s Army in the UK, and her first husband Norman, who was killed only a few days after they married. In the First World War my Great Grandmothers worked in the munitions factories.
I honour the fact that the people in our Armed Forces are fighting for a concept I can believe in – freedom – even if I find it very hard to agree with the means.
(c) Michelle Gilberthorpe, Northern Tamarisk, 2017
Did you know that today is International Vulture Awareness Day? Many of these beautiful birds are now threatened or facing extinction, and population numbers are declining the world over. The Egyptian Vulture, which was known in Ancient Egypt, is on the endangered list. The Griffon Vulture, also known in Ancient Egypt, is the only one on the list that is of ‘least concern’.
The first Saturday of September every year is International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD). Started in 2006 by the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Programme and the Hawk Conservancy Trust, plus a range of partners and associates, IVAD has become a global event supported by the IUCN SSC Vulture Specialist Group; in 2016, 164 organisations from 47 countries participated. IVAD aims to create awareness about vultures as a whole, garner support among the public about the plight of vultures globally and highlight the work done by conservationists to protect these birds and their habitats.
Vultures are a characteristic, distinctive and spectacular component of the biodiversity of the environments they inhabit. They also provide critically important ecosystem services by cleaning up carcasses and other organic waste in the environment; they are nature’s garbage collectors and this translates into significant economic benefits. Studies have shown that in areas where there are no vultures, carcasses take up to three or four times longer to decompose. This has huge implications for the spread of diseases in both wild and domestic animals, as well as elevating pathogenic risks to humans.
You can find more information on the International Vulture Awareness Day website
They have kids activities and also colouring pages of different vultures on their downloads page, and you can also download this cute ‘Vultures of the World’ PDF
Two species of vulture were known in Ancient Egypt – the Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) and the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus). The Griffon vulture is the one most commonly depicted. On its own it represents the phonetic value of A, and was used to write the word mut, meaning ‘mother’. With the largest wingspan of any bird in Ancient Egypt the outspread wings of the vulture were seen as offering protection¹, and became a popular motif in Egytian art and jewellery. As vulture Goddesses Nekhbet and Mut became symbols of maternal love and protection. In the Late Period the vulture was: ‘…a symbol of the female principle and stood in juxtaposition to the beetle as the embodiment of the male principle.’²
The vulture headdress was seen as a ‘symbol and ideogram of motherhood’³ and also associated any Queen who wore it with Mut as consort of the state God, Amun, and also with Nekhbet as protectress of Upper Egypt¹.
Today is World Penguin Day! For more info see this page: https://www.awarenessdays.co.uk/awareness-days-calendar/world-penguin-day-2017/
Anyone who knows me knows I love penguins. These adorable, majestic birds feel like they make up a part of my very being, such is my abiding love for them.
Penguins first came into my life in the form of a cuddly toy from my late Uncle Tony. The imaginatively named Pengy was a gift for my first Christmas and one of my favourite cuddly friends growing up. He still watches over me to this day.
As I grew so did my obsession with all things Penguin. When my Danish cousin came to visit in 2006 she counted all of my penguin items and the total was nearing 100. I’ve been trying to heal my hoarding tendencies the last few years so most of the penguins have found new homes, but my favourites remain.
When I started exploring spirituality in the early 2000’s I came across the concept of animal guides, or totems. I found it fascinating but also incredibly frustrating. Where was Penguin? Eventually I found a book that included my soul brethren, and I finally understood why Penguin feels so much a part of me.
I found this beautiful vow while reading ‘Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy’ by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnston. I thought they would make a lovely reflection for Earth Day. The vows are written by Joanna, and are shared here with her permission.
I vow to myself and to each of you:
To commit myself daily to the healing of our world and the welfare of all beings.
To live on Earth more lightly and less violently in the food, products and energy I consume.
To draw strength and guidance from the living Earth, the ancestors, the future generations, and my brothers and sisters of all species.
To support others in our work for the world and to ask for help when I need it.
To pursue a daily practice that clarifies my mind, strengths my heart, and supports me in observing these vows.
You can find out more about Joanna and her ecology work here: http://www.joannamacy.net/aboutjoannamacy.html
‘Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy’ by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnston.
Amazon UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Active-Hope-without-Going-Crazy/dp/1577319729
Amazon US link: https://www.amazon.com/Active-Hope-without-Going-Crazy-ebook/dp/B007C8K79C
You can find out more about Earth Day here: http://www.earthday.org/about/
To tie in with the Pagan Federation’s Online Midwinter Festival for others with chronic illnesses and disabilities I am sharing my #PJSelfie to show my support for all those with chronic illnesses and disabilities. I’ve had M.E., fibromyalgia, migraines and other stuff for around 14 years now. Although my parents see what I’m like every day my conditions are so-called ‘invisible’ illnesses. Many people with chronic conditions and disabilities have no real outward signs that they are affected.
All too often I get told, “You look well,” and, “But you don’t look ill.” I usually really dislike having my photo taken, and I’m far too self-conscious but this is to raise awareness. I often get told I look a lot younger than I am, and it’s worse without make-up. I still get asked for ID at 30, but apparently I’ll be grateful when I’m older. #PJPagans #SolsticeSolidarity
You can catch up with most of the videos from the online festival on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1443104849037878/?ti=as
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE TIMES ARE UK TIMES. Most of the sessions are recorded or available to view on the page after they have gone live.
Here’s the link to the Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/events/1443104849037878
Welcome to the Pagan Federation (England & Wales) Disabilities Team Online MidWinter Festival
You will be treated to fab talks, games and more!
This festival’s theme is “self care” and we invite you all to dress in your most comfortable clothes, your PJ’s if possible, and send up a #SolidaritySelfie to support those of us who often find, due to chronic illnesses and other issues, that we can’t get out of bed for long periods.
With every post, picture, video and comment, we’d love you to use #PJPagans #SolsticeSolidarity! Let’s see if we can get this trending to show the world that we support the disabled in our community and we hope to be an example to all!