Month: June 2014

Being a Woman

Let us discuss the Christian view of a woman: the useless, the meaningless, the being that is worth no more than a horse. What living human on earth could possibly be fine with that? With knowing that the ones who suffer most with wars are women and horses? With knowing that being sexually abused is considered our fault, because we dress provocatively, walk provocatively or even have provocative eyes -things men use to blame us for their uncontrollable corruptness.

These men I talk about are, of course, the men who follow Abrahamic religions. The man who trades women like coins, who uses them as sex slaves, who sees them as good for no more than bearing his male children, who carry his name. This man sees honour only in himself, not in his family. His family is meant to bow for him. The women have to obey him no matter what, because that’s what they’re born for. His male children must carry on his legacy, growing up to know women mean less than men.

 

There is, though, another type of man: the pagan man. The pagan man believed the world was both a man and a woman. He believed the world was a balance, a family of deities, each carrying their own tasks, tasks only they could fulfill. There were the female deities. Deities that represented not only fertility or motherhood, but bravery and fight. Deities that were not only behind male deities, but stood beside them. Deities that gave them wisdom, council and could foresee their future. These female deities represented everything women meant to men. Everything a woman personificates to a man was in those female deities. The strength, the tenderness, the care and the struggle.

 

 

Brunhilde and Siegfried

Brunhilde and Siegfried

 

In pagan societies, men were also the ones to deal with the army and fighting, whereas women could not enter it most of the time. The reason for this is different from the Abrahamic one. Supposing all men die in war or hunting, who is going to lead the tribe on? Who can deal with the small children, can find food with less risks and knows about medicinal plants? Women could. A man can fertilize many women, but a woman can only have one child every nine months, and to every child she has to take about a year of care before she can safely give birth again. Who is more valuable, from the tribe’s point of view? Women were. This did not mean women were always forbidden to enter the army or going hunting, but this was an exception, for most women knew they had to save themselves for a greater good. They knew how to fight and hunt, because they were taught to, but they had another task only they could accomplish.

Today it is hard to differ a woman from a man, but this is because our women forgot who they are. They are not the Abrahamic slave. They are the pagan warrior. The ones who could gently care a child and bravely hold a sword. I have struggled with this for many years too, but now I remembered. I don’t need to choose between being strong or being a woman. I have to be strong in order to call myself a woman. I know my place and that does not mean I am submissive, that means I am irreplaceable.

Being a European Descendant

For all of my life, I have been influenced by the European traditions in my family. Since I’m 1/4 German and 2/4 Italian and 1/4 Austrian, the biggest influence is the Italian one. I have spent my childhood learning about family, tradition and I have been taught what the role of the man is. From my German and Austrian lineage, the strongest traits I have are the tough ways of two of my grandparents (being that my grandmother by my mother’s side was Austrian and my grandfather by my father’s side was German) which were very hard-working and focused people. They were very diligent about working and hated losing time they could spend advancing work. From the Italian side (the majority) I have got the handcrafting, the cooking and the herb using, as well as a lot of life concepts too.

Now, both these sides suffered horrors when they left Europe. They were promised a temporary work, and if they worked hard enough here, they would be sent back to Europe, receiving lands to live off of. However, once they got here, they realized they were fooled. Their names were registered wrong, they didn’t speak the language, the people who lived here didn’t like their “racial background” and they barely had where to live. The men had to work as slaves. Real slaves. They got beaten and had almost no salary at all. No one cared for them. Their families had to deal with near starving conditions of poverty. That’s something real, something from my family. My mother had hard times as a child and saw her family go through serious periods of hunger.

I don’t have anything like that, because my family worked so hard they almost died (my grandfather actually died from pushing himself too hard). All I can have for them is gratitude, admiration and eternal love. They had to deal with so much emotional suffering. They were taken from their land, fooled, they lost contact with those who stayed, missing them day after day, not knowing of their parents and brothers. How much more did they have to suffer so people would stop saying that being white is being “automatically privileged“?

My family kept in a closed lineage, marrying mostly other Italians and Germans. There is even the story of a great aunt who married a Portuguese man and was expelled from the family. Yet, I am not in Europe -or, at least, not yet. I am so closely related to Europe in terms of blood that I have the right to a dual citizenship, which can bring me back there. I have many fears related to it. I am scared of failing. I am scared of not belonging here nor there. Maybe I don’t fit anywhere. Maybe the Europeans who love Europe as I do are gone. Even if that is the case, the only way of finding out is going back. My heart will never ease if I don’t go back to my roots. My pain has no other relief. We are bound to blood and soil and nothing can change that. Nothing will ever change me.

About the Lemon Balm

Lemon balm (Melissa Officinalis) is a common plant, found in the south and Mediterranean regions of Europe, but you can find it in just about any natural store. Just be careful to check if it is really the lemon balm, because many people mistake it by St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum), god knows why.

Melissa leaves

Caution: Large intake of lemon balm is not advised for people with low blood pressure. That includes pregnant women, who generally have many nuances in their blood pressure.

 
There are many uses to the lemon balm, some of them experienced by me. The effects are: relief of intestinal gas, calms the digestive system, chronic bronchitis, nervous system, colic, toothache and headache, also has a great impact on depressive disorder, works as a mild sedative, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, cures common virus infections (e.g. flu), rheumatic pain and cough.

Wow! That’s a lot of good effects it has on you. It has been traditionally prepared as a tea, but can be added to juice and mixed and used in recipes of all kinds too. If you use the fresh leaves, just put two leaves (or one and a half) in your teacup and fill it with hot water and cover the teacup. Using the dry leaves, generally smashed, add about a teaspoon of them to your cup. There are no clear restrictions to the concentration you can use, but up to some point it’s just not going to be well mixed in the water and absorbed by you. If you desire to sweeten it, avoid using sugar. Use honey instead and you get the same effect on taste, but a less harmful one on you.

For babies: Babies have a lot of problems with intestinal gases they can’t release, and often cry a lot about it. As babies are more delicate, it’s advisable that you try making half the concentration used for the normal tea. Children sometimes are very sensible with things they will not have any problems with when older. It also may help your child calm down and sleep better and for longer periods at night. Avoid adding sugar.

For animals: The lemon balm tea can also get your animals rid of fleas. For that, you should add pieces of the stem and leaves to a mixture of water and alcohol -some people like adding salt. I add about 20 grams of lemon balm to 1L of water and 100mL of alcohol. Then, I just leave it in a glass recipient for three days and it’s ready to use. You should bathe your dogs/cats with it about every 14 days.

About Rose Petals and Hips

Many believe that the vast gardens full of roses in Europe were only for aesthetics, a simple wish of the noble. It’s not hard to find, though, that roses were registered by Pliny, the Roman writer, Charlemagne’s library contained medical books which mentioned the rose petals and, of course, ask your grandmother about it (unless she’s a late bloomer) and she will tell you all about it, because this knowledge is passed down generation to generation.

There are many properties to the rose petals that can help your body function better: they’re full of vitamins, they’re diuretic, they’re astringent et cetera. The rose petal tea will help cleanse your body, help with respiratory problems, relieve PMS (and some say even menopause symptoms), heal low-mood, scurvy, combat inflammations and it’s anti-bacterial -and those are just the confirmed effects, there are some that claim it to be anticancer too. The rose hips have many uses as well: vitamins B, C, E and K, linolenic acids, iron, magnesium, dietary fiber and calcium. It has been one of the main sources of vitamin C in Europe for a long time, before the mass buying of fruits from the tropics.

Damask Rose

 

The hips can be eaten or made into jelly, jam, juice and anything that comes to your mind. They will be specially good for the children, as they have a special need the properties contained within the rose hips. The roses can be made by infusion or just by immersing the petals in the water and leaving them there for a while (I have seen few people who do this, but in times of need, it’s always a choice) and this will make the petals release their properties. If you wash your face and hair with it, you will start seeing a difference in quality within a few weeks. The rose petals are also anticoagulant and for that use you have to clean the petals, smash them and apply to the wound. Some say it’s better to just apply the petal tea to it, but I think it’s a better idea not to pour water directly into open wounds, for the sake of the wounded.

I find the rose specially connected to mothers, because it helps you care for your children and partner. It will also relieve muscle stiffness as it has relaxing properties -something mothers need a lot.

Medicinal nature

In recent times, we have been experiencing a great comfort in life, a comfort our parents and grandparents did not have, or anyone before them for that matter. We don’t have the need to know much about many things, we just need to know what they teach us in school so we can get a diploma and get into university. In university, we don’t learn anything besides what’s in our course, and once you get a job, you’ll be repeating this one knowledge you have for the rest of your life. We even forget what we’ve learned in school before university.

We know nothing about cooking -and mixing spices isn’t cooking-, we know nothing about building and, the worst of all, we know nothing about nature. This is a huge problem because everything you do is related to nature. The fact that you yourself are a part of nature just proves it. Most of us wouldn’t survive if there weren’t supermarkets telling you what to eat and television commercials telling you what to dress.

When you spot that problem, there is another one that becomes terrifyingly clear: if society as we know crumbles, we will not have any medicinal knowledge to treat even the smallest wound, and would die easily from the smallest diseases. We are so dependent on modern medicine that we do not even consider how people did before without it and that maybe some of those pills you take without need are making you weaker and sicker.

When they were sick, people went to the healers. The healers were seen with some magical ravel around them, but they were simply people who knew more about nature and its effects on us. When the children got sick, when the men got wounded from work or the pregnant women had any troubles, they knew what herbs and foods could help and heal them. They knew what teas they should drink, what leaves they should rub and how to do that.

I seek knowledge of the ancient herbs because I know those secrets can be used in our favor again, to set us free from the modern need for artificially set chemical compounds that may hurt our bodies and let us naturally heal again. This is what this section is intended to be about: a study of herbs and exposing their good and bad usages for all who are interested, as I am, in not being hypochondriac.

I feel weak

But I feel stronger by the clock.

Our bodies must have an end and we measure time by how long it takes us to get to this end.

The years are measured by counting the beginning and end of each season, brought to us by the earth’s translation around the Sun. We, then, measure one season of heat, one season of rain, one season of snow and one season of flowers. The months, then, divide the seasons in about three parts. The days, measured by half moon and half sun, make a week after seven of them have passed. After four of those weeks, we have a month.

As you can see, we approach the measure of time by many different angles, but does time have different meanings?

Many winters come and go in a lifetime. It takes our trees away and then give us the most beautiful flowers, almost as if in a egoist whim. The winter also makes it easier for the new plants, still small on the ground, to absorb the sunlight once the bigger ones have lost their leaves. I have seen it happen, time after time, for quite a while now, and it has changed my perception of time. A day may pass me by and I can still be asleep, or have not slept at all. That is all because I’ve had a lot of days and most of them changed nothing about me, they did not mark and special changes or growth in me, so I don’t mind keeping each of them in mind. They have become a dull and normal thing. Many of our kin lives up to a hundred of those winters, so how much significance exactly does a day have to us?

Yet, think of a fly. Their short lives can’t appreciate both winter and spring. Our hours are their years. We cannot understand things which are precious to them. They cannot understand things which are precious to us. They cannot understand the desires, the excruciating longing and the pleasure that comes with the fulfillment of those. All they know is to recreate themselves, and they need no more than a day to do it. Their lives is pointless. Or, at least, that’s how you and I used to think.

Think, then, of the gods and wights. A tree’s spirit has been there for 500 years before you were born and will be there for another 500 after you’re long gone. The comet you see once in your life, they shall see twenty times. This as well as all the animals we have never seen, all the stories we have only heard of, the flowers, the snow flakes and rains we only read about, the greatest love and hatred; this tree was there to see it all, time after time, until it became boring, small and pointless. We see her as unique, but we’re all the same for her.

If the spirit of a tree loved a human, it would be the same as a human loving a bug. We would meet in a day, at midnight, and when we got close to midnight again, our beloved one would be gone. Can you imagine the pain? Sleeping for eight hours and find them dead or that they have grown old because 1/3 of their lived has already passed? When winter came and the spirit of that tree fell into slumber, what could happen to its beloved human? Starve, freeze, get killed by any sort of thing unimaginable to the long-living spirit of that tree. This loss would be the same of the human who loved the bug, only we never think of ourselves as the less significant ones, we never consider that maybe the universe does not revolve around us. That is what we are: both big and small. Giant and long-lived for a bug, tiny and fleeting for a tree.

Forget not, though, how much a tree needs bugs and provide them at the same time;

Forget not that a hen’s life is small, but it’s her life that feeds yours;

Forget not that when you die, you will fertilize the soil you have taken from, eaten by the same bugs you have seen grow and die, judging insignificant;

Forget not that this soil you fertilize will bring the spring of many other people, who will see life just as you one day did.

Everything has a beginning and an end, but the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning, the snake eating its tail. From that beginning to the end, we’re all living out of each others. Animals eat plants, animals eat animals and plants are fertilized from those animals.

This is how time works. One tree will feed many bugs and humans and many bugs and humans will feed a tree.

Salut!

I do not know if this blog will have any viewers or relieve anyone’s heart, but that’s not worrying me. What worries me is how I can improve myself through this, through expressing. All that will be used here are humble words and images, for I cannot offer more.

The main subject will be the many distresses I have taken over the years, and believe others have taken too: the distress of being away from your natural habitat, of having to formulate your own sense of honor (once parents don’t know how to do this anymore), of not being able to mingle with the people near you, of not comprehending the meaning of what other people judge necessary, or, as you may call, being the black sheep. This is all due to the time, place and conditions in which I live. All of those factors make up a brain working non-stop since the day I have a sense of self.

That being said, I hope to understand myself and others better, as well as untying the knots the line of life has gotten to.