Saturday, February 17, 2018

A New Moon and the Promise of Spring



 
© Susan Marie 



You can listen to this being spoken on Soundcloud:




" . . . and I heard trumpets sound across the Eastern skyline and tilted my chin, upward, to witness majestic cirrus constellations of sketches of ancient poetry of the pyramids scrolled upon the backs of my eyelids and felt my spirit shift between dimensions . . . "

 - Susan Marie


There comes a time in your life, not age, but life experience related, when you are one hundred percent, beyond any spectrum that requires defining; where you absolutely refuse to accept anything less than what your divine, beautiful soul needs and deserves. 


There are poets, philosophers, great thinkers and souls of our time; this human race, that have stated these things profoundly before. Yet, here I am to reiterate those things in a different fashion because I, too, am an awake, alive soul that wishes to continue forward and progressing, together. 


If the human race is not ready to come along with me on this rocky, well-trodden, lovely path, well, I simply continue to walk it alone. You see, you do not have to have anyone with you, although having another understand your mind, soul, and the scent of your very being is precious, quite priceless and rare, there are no requirements. I may add, however, my dear soul, please, do not wait for a hand to hold as you step lightly into this deep forest called life. 


Life is a strange and beauteous adventure.  One day I shall write a most distinguished book full of love and loss, horror and pain, heartbreak and healing, and absolute divinity, but for now, all I have are my fingers, palms, hands, heart, soul, mind and my words, on this day, in this moment


A lovely soul once wrote:


Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.”



Indeed.


People ask me to go into the woods with them and I do not decline due to the person, quite the opposite. When I am in nature, this is my church, my altar, my prayer, my being, and my rejuvenation and healing. This is where I talk to my ancestors, the great Gods, whoever they all are, and when I reconnect with my own being.

The trees, I hug, touch, and listen to what they have to tell me. Deer prance, stopping beside me, peering into my soul to see if I am indeed an animal just as they are or a human that is going to disturb their existence. The crows caw, flying overhead keeping watchful eye and the squirrels and ducks follow me, along with chipmunks and all of the glorious birds flitting among the plants and flora that convey secrets to my ever-accepting heart. 


I walk through woods, water, cemeteries, grassland and gravel, boulders and dirt, through and up ravines. I am one with the pulse of this land, of those before us. I am listening to my heart, beat, and my feet; they are roots pushing deep within fault lines of this planet. 


They step, ever so lightly, my feet, in a most blessed, sacred fashion upon the face of dear Mother Earth, one of mindfulness, the realization that I am walking upon hallowed ground. Father Sky greets me with sunshine and clouds, rain and grey skies, snowfall and flakes and as they fall upon my face, the rain and snow, my spirit is ignited, mythical and volcanic. 


If you were standing by me, it may appear that I am present in this world. You just might call my name and if I do not answer, know that I am peering at salamanders, holding in my hands rocks taken from the breast of great bodies of water and when I tilt my chin upwards know that I am speaking to that which created all of this


You see, my dear, the wind in my hair is the touch of a lover. 


People, we discard what is integral to our own existence, to this planet, to the continuation of the human race and more importantly, we are visitors here. I implore you to get into nature and simply be quiet. Open your eyes, look up and into limbs of trees, for they too, are your own arms. Crouch down low, watch bugs scramble about their day in the dirt, listen to the water for she has stories to tell and be humbled beyond comprehension when wildlife is present. Breathe into your powerful human lungs the very being of the essence of all things our feeble human brains can barely begin to comprehend. 


For those that have gone into nature with me know that I love you so very much. For those that have yet to go into nature with me, I look forward to introducing you to yourself. 


“I am restless.

This state of being greets me in times of immense change.

When I look out at the world, I see my both technicolor and black and white, simultaneous.

A world I am fully conscious of, yet do not completely belong in.

Maybe I am impatient. Maybe I am growing more enlightened.

Maybe I am simply plain crazy.

All I am sure of is I must keep stepping forward." 


- Susan Marie 


 © Susan Marie
 


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Same-Sex Marriage in America








“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” 


(Article I, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). 


Sexuality is defined as the state, condition or quality of being sexual, taking part in sexual activity and expression of sexual receptivity or interest. This definition is a factor that all human beings possess regardless of sexual orientation, gender identification and classification. 

Sexuality is a state of being and an inherent basic need for human beings. Without sexual activity, relationships falter and needs of individuals are not met. Sexuality is healthy. It is the recognition that one is human, alive, and comfortable with self.

Sexuality is an expression of love. One’s own sexual activity and preference is private to each person. This is not law or something that neither can nor should be decided by government, community, religion, family or the public. The birth of each human being signifies the beginning of a journey towards adulthood where identity is formed. Part of that identity includes sexuality. 

Sexuality is a part of birthright. It is not a psychological disorder or a state of existing that needs to be cured. Sexuality, sexual preference and gender identification is how and who a person feels most comfortable being.

A 57% majority of Americans now favor allowing same-sex marriage and 39% oppose. As recently as five years ago, more opposed (48%) same-sex marriage than supported it (42%).” (Pew Research Center, 2015). 

In 2015, the highest level of support in America towards same-sex marriages has increased in twenty years, however, there are still Americans divided on this issue. The main component regarding anti-same-sex marriage is religious law, institution and belief. The key ingredient for the massive increase in support for same-sex marriages is due to younger Americans, or millennials.

For example, my eighteen-year-old son, his friends, colleagues, and students, are open and accepting regarding one’s choice of sexual preference. This is a different world than most of us were raised in where religion, society and politics were absolute. 

The majority of millennials envision the human race as moving forward, progressing, instead of going backwards. Although religion will always play a factor in deciding lifestyles, it is indeed due to how one is raised regarding religion and faith that determines opinions regarding basic human and civil rights and needs of others. 

In addition, most Americans now know someone who is homosexual or lesbian. Due to the shift in opinion, more same-sex couples feel comfortable in recent years coming out for themselves and with one another, to their families, workplaces and the public.

In regards to religious belief and practice, there is nothing wrong with standing by your faith, however, the prophets, leaders of faith and all holy texts do not teach hatred, they all embody love. The ideal that religion is about judgment, hatred, bias and determining how another must and should conduct their private lives is a societal issue, not a religious one.

There are numerous pro and con arguments regarding same-sex marriage. For example, basic pro same-sex marriage attitudes lean towards “Denying some people the option to marry is discriminatory and creates a second class of citizens.” (ProCon.org, 2018). 

In addition, same-sex couples deserve to enjoy benefits equal to heterosexual couples. With the ever-changing traditional ideals of marriage, conventional society changes and people must adhere to constant flux. Not only is marriage a human and civil right, but marriage is about love and sharing your life with another, it is not only about procreation. 

There are no studies reporting that homosexual and lesbian couples make bad parents and the addition of same-sex marriages will aid to boost American economy. Lastly, within a same-sex marriage, children involved face constant struggle and bias when they have to explain that their parents do not have the right to be married.

In contrast, con attitudes lean towards, “The institution of marriage has traditionally been defined as being between a man and a woman.” (ProCon.org, 2018). This is an outdated opinion. 

Furthermore, the belief that marriage is only for procreation denounces that marriage is a romantic-love relationship. The argument that children need both a mother and father is fruitless because growing numbers of heterosexual households in America are single parents and the sexual preference of an adult does not determine sufficient parenting ability. 

Same-sex marriage is not a disease. It will not bring society to a “slippery slope” involving deviant sexual behavior. The fear that the institution of marriage is weakened by same-sex marriages is irrational, as people will marry if they want to marry regardless of the “type” of marriage that is socially acceptable.

Despite the changing legal landscape with regard to marriage, same-sex couples still face inequality. This is in part due to miseducation by media, government, and the public. Familial upbringing and extremist, unrealistic religious affiliations add to miseducation of same-sex marriage. 

Bias in the home, school, community, and the unwillingness for parents to raise their children in a nondiscriminatory fashion add to inequalities for the LGBTQIA communities. In addition, when a teenager is growing into an adult, it is up to that individual to make conscious, educated choices on their own, away from what they learned via family, religion and society.

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is a right protected by the US Constitution in all 50 states. Prior to their decision, same-sex marriage was already legal in 37 states and Washington DC, but was banned in the remaining 13. US public opinion had shifted significantly over the years, from 27% approval of gay marriage in 1996 to 60% in 2015, according to Gallup.” (ProCon.org, 2018).  

Social institutions most impacted by this Supreme Court decision include religious, judiciary institutions and businesses. For example, religious clergy have the First Amendment freedom not to perform a religious wedding ceremony contrary to their beliefs. The decision then is focused towards public officials who do not have religious objections to same-sex marriage. This can result in refusal of performing a ceremony and legalization of marriage licenses. 

Businesses have the right to deny a same-sex couple provisions for a wedding that involves goods and services. Religious opponents are concerned with court rulings over tax-exempt status of religious affiliated educational institutions. State anti-discrimination laws and religious freedom restoration acts will be critical to resolving conflicts.

The ethic of life is premised on the doctrine of Imago Dei, the inherent dignity of every human being as a creature uniquely crafted in the image of God himself. Why do we care about the poor, oppressed, and suffering? Because they are human beings.” 

(Teetsal, 2013).




References: 


Pew Research Center. (2015). Support for Same-Sex Marriage at Record High, but Key Segments Remain Opposed. First paragraph. Retrieved from: http://www.people-press.org/2015/06/08/support-for-same-sex-marriage-at-record-high-but-key-segments-remain-opposed/


ProCon.org. (2018). Should Gay Marriage be Legal? First paragraph. Two quotes from second paragraph. Retrieved from: https://gaymarriage.procon.org/#pro_con


Teetsal, Eric. (2013). Religion and Politics. Why I Fight Against Same-Sex Marriage. Seventh paragraph. Retrieved from: http://religionandpolitics.org/2013/06/25/why-i-fight-against-same-sex-marriage/


United Nations General Assembly. (1947). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article I. Retrieved from: http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Hidden Messages in Water by Dr. Emoto


http://www.masaru-emoto.net/english/water-crystal.html




Dr. Masaru Emoto, Japan, conducted various experiments with distilled, pure, and tap water and when the water formed water crystals, he added sound, music, words, EMF fields and exposed the water to various things we, as humans, experience all day. 

The results are monumental.

Our bodies are composed of 70% water. By exposing various kinds of water to negative and positive words, sights, sounds, the water crystals reacted. Imagine what we experience daily, yet do not realize the impact of our words, actions, behavior?

More importantly, the impact of the kind of water we drink, music we listen to, words we hear, think, speak and ones we do not, have a massive impact on our own bodies and those around us, including the planet and everyone in it.

Dr. Emoto began this as a personal experiment. What occurred was a six year observation that turned into global talks, conferences and the publishing of several books. This is a short volume explaining water, our bodies, photography, and the reason for the experiment.

This book includes some of his photography of the crystals. You will be shocked and pleased when you see how words, music, EMF, and negative and positive things affect water.
 

This is why it is crucial to be responsible for your words, behaviors, actions, environment and health. It not only affects you, it effects everyone associated with you and the planet as a whole.

Excellent experiment with photography. Dr. Emoto shows us how delicate words are. Say, I am sorry, I love you, I care, You are beautiful, and tell people how much they matter to you.

The water that was ignored formed no crystals at all.

Choose your words wisely, fill your body, mind, heart, spirit with goodness and be wary of those that speak to you in demeaning fashions.

If water crystals react within moments to negative and positive words, sounds, music, sights, and experiences, the human body reacts just as, if not more, intensely.


To see Dr. Emoto's work, photos, books, videos and lectures: http://www.masaru-emoto.net/english/water-crystal.html

Expose yourself, your body, mind, spirit, heart and those around you to beauty constantly. 


                                                          © Susan Marie


 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

snowflakes






Dizzy,
dying,
walking,
free.

My soul
drifts,
like snowflakes,
falling,
faster,
the air I breathe
fills my lungs,

my lungs . . .

The sun hides
its weary face,
yet the trees
are blanketed,
safe,
secure,
nurtured,
and sound -
is resounding
in my head,
a boomerang,
sonic booms,
supernovas,
of electric light,
the breath of those
that created
this,
have settled upon my eyelashes
like confetti on New Years Eve,
wide,
white,
wondrous,
and wild.

I can hear them landing,
upon my face,
wet

upon my head,
hallowed

upon my skin,
welcome.

And I bear witness to this day,
this season,
my body sings,
my feet, electric,
my eyes,
shining,
the dearest of eves.

My Lord,

I am born,
birthed,
re-birthed,
and my soul,

cries out
in unison,
with the silence
of this most holy sky.




© Photos and words Susan Marie

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

My American Ethnic History: Ireland





Raven's Heart © Jen Delyth of Celtic Art Studios

They will not criminalise us, rob us of our true identity, steal our individualism, depoliticise us, churn us out as systemised, institutionalised, decent law-abiding robots. We refuse to lie here in dishonor! We are not criminals, but Irishmen! This is the crime of which we stand accused. Never will they label our liberation struggle as criminal . . . Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.”  

(Bobby Sands, Bobby Sands Trust, 2012).


I am multi-ethnic. My parents were born in America; however, my great grandparents emigrated from Ireland and Germany. I closely identify with my Irish ethnicity, equal with my German ethnicity, because I am taught about this side of my ancestry. My Mother is 100% Irish and has done extensive research. My Father did not relay anything to me regarding my German heritage. It will be up to me to research that on my own. 


My Mother’s family originates from Counties Cork and Clare in Munster, the southernmost province. This is integral when considering the still present illegal occupation of Northern Ireland by Britain, and only The Republic of Ireland, or the South, is free. 

I do not support violence or present day Irish Republic Army, however, in the early 1900’s and before, specifically the Easter Uprising, Éirí Amach na Cásca, and the need for the formation of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, into the IRA, was crucial for the Irish to rise up against Britain.  

There were various groups before the IRA, such as the Irish Citizen Army, Irish volunteers, and various leaders that contributed to the uprising, such as Patrick Pearse, Pádraig Pearse, and Michael Collins, Míceál Ó Coileáin.

Bobby Sands, Roibeárd Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh, a poet, writer, and political prisoner, is an activist I admire because he, along with many, perished for the betterment for and freedom of Ireland. Bobby Sands was born in North Belfast in a Nationalist Irish ghetto. 

He was a member of the Provisional Irish Republic Army, and led the 1981 hunger strikes when Irish Republican prisoners protested against a “special category”, that political prisoners were granted status similar to a POW, or prisoner of war.  

Britain revoked this right in 1976. 

The prisoners endured immense physical beatings, solitary confinement and torture during the hunger strikes. Bobby, while imprisoned, was elected an independent MP, a nonpartisan Member of Parliament, who supported the prisoners’ cause. 

Amnesty International reported in June 1978, that, “Maltreatment of suspected terrorists by the RUC, [Royal Ulster Constabulary] has taken place with sufficient frequency to warrant establishment of a public inquiry to investigate it.” (Bobby Sands Trust, 2012). 

Ten prisoners died in the hunger strikes. 

Other privileges were restored and over time, the hunger strikers' demands were met, but the British government never made formal recognition of the prisoners' right to political status.          

Irish history is not only involved with activism, politics and famine. The nation and people are abundant with spirituality, folklore, tradition, storytelling, oral history, myth, poetry, writing, art, music and nature. The reliance on oral history is prevalent in Ireland via song, music, storytelling, dance and writing. 
In regards to the culture and arts of Ireland, The National Gallery of Ireland has rare archives of 41 watercolors of West of Ireland pre-Famine scenes by the artist William Evans. In addition, there is Pathos of Distance, 42 images relating to Irish migration and diaspora, created between 1813 and 1912 by Sarah Pierce. Unfortunately, the collections are not viewable online. 
Welsh artist, Jen Delyth, of Celtic Art Studios, promotes the spirituality of Ireland.  Internationally known writers are from Ireland such as Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, W.B.Yeats, C.S. Lewis, Frank McCourt, Patrick Pearse, and Jonathan Swift.  
Ireland is adamant on keeping tradition alive, rejecting assimilation, which in one way, relates to the Irish immigration to America. 

The Great Hunger, an Gorta Mór, in 1845, also known as The Irish Potato Famine, “occurred” due to a fungus that killed potato crops, “Because the tenant farmers of Ireland—then ruled as a colony of Great Britain—relied heavily on the potato as a source of food, the infestation had a catastrophic impact . . .  the Potato Famine resulted in the death of roughly one million Irish from starvation and related causes, with at least another million forced to leave their homeland as refugees.” (History.com, 2017).  

Ireland had elected representatives that were Protestant British landowners, of British origin and in 1801; Ireland was a colony of Britain until the War of Independence. Both nations were known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Northern Ireland is still oppressed by Britain. In relation to the Great Famine, Britain did nothing to help the Irish. Britain allowed the Irish to starve to death. 

Ireland continued to export large quantities of food, primarily to Great Britain, during the blight . . . even as the Great Hunger ravaged the countryside.” (History.com, 2017).  1 million Irish men, women and children starved to death and another 1 million emigrated to escape poverty and starvation. 


This is the Irish Diaspora. 


Before, during and upon emigration, the Irish endured horrid conditions and were treated poorly upon arrival. After the blight, seven years of forced famine, barefoot mothers held dead babies and begged for food. Dogs fed on human corpses. People tried eating grass to survive and desperate farmers sprinkled their crops with holy water. Hollow figures roamed Ireland’s countryside searching for food. Typhus, dysentery, tuberculosis and cholera ravaged Ireland and horses carted dead bodies to mass graves. 

Upon leaving Ireland, 5,000 boats transported refugees onto converted cargo ships, used in the past to transport slaves from Africa. The Irish were hungry and sick, spent all their money for this trip just to be treated like baggage. The air was full of excrement and vomit. One adult was allocated 18 inches of space, children half. A quarter of 85,000 passengers aboard “coffin ships”, died and the bodies were wrapped in cloth, weighted with rocks and tossed overboard. 

The refugees seeking haven in America were poor and disease-ridden. They threatened to take jobs away from Americans and strain welfare budgets. They practiced an alien religion and pledged allegiance to a foreign leader. They were bringing with them crime. They were accused of being rapists. And, worst of all, these undesirables were Irish.” (Klein, 2017).

Arrival in America fueled hostility and anger. Not only were the Irish poor and starving, they were Catholic in a Protestant America. Besides Africans, Native Indians, and the Spanish, Irish, along with other European immigrants, were the only non-Protestants. 

In regards to my own identity, Irish history influences my behavior, beliefs and actions immensely. Due to what the Irish have and still endure, I became an activist and advocate early on and supported, and still support people under constant persecution such as Native Indians, African Americans, the LGBTQIA spectrum, Muslim’s, specifically Palestine, Pakistan and the Rohingya in Myanmar, as well as human rights in general.

Society in general identifies me, Irish American, as drunken, alcoholic, rowdy, trouble making, loudmouthed, bigoted, criminal, and uneducated. People say things to me such as: Go eat a potato, Where is the bar? Irish people are loud, dirty and stupid, Go have a drink, and You are angry because you are Irish. People have even asked me if Irish people have orange hair like leprechauns.

Saint Patrick’s Day in America is an American created celebration. In Ireland, this is a feast day. Patrick was an indentured servant, a slave, and March 17, St. Patrick's Day, is the closest believed historical date of his death. 

Contrary to popular belief, this tradition, St. Patrick's Day, [parades, green beer and shamrocks] did not originate in Ireland. Patrick wrote two short works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Letter to Coroticus, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians. 

During these times in America, I visit the Irish Famine Memorials. 


While researching National Archives, knowing my family originates from Counties Cork and Clare, along with my family surnames, Kelly and Meaney, I searched births, marriages and deaths in Ireland. 
My search returned, “Birth, marriage and death certificates for Scotland or Ireland cannot be viewed or ordered at The National Archives” and “Many Irish records have not survived and people tracing their Irish ancestry may need to refer to local records and archives as well as national sources.” (National Archives, 2018).     

The National Archives of Ireland stated that in order for me to search for civil registrations, go to Family Search for periods 1845-1958 and that all of Ireland is available from 1845-1922 and only the Republic of Ireland from 1922 to present. 
On Family Search, I searched Migration and Naturalization records, specifically, United States Famine Irish Passenger Index, 1846-1851 and Genealogical Records that include counties, spouses and children. I started with Genealogical records. My great grandmother was Johanna Kennedy; my great grandfather, Joseph Kelly, both from County Clare on my grandmother’s side. 
Although there are numerous records for my great grandfather, none reverts to my ancestry. I search County Cork, Patrick Meaney and Ellen Broderick from my grandfather’s side. Again, records do not relate to my ancestry.

On Family Search, Migration and Naturalization records, specifically, United States Famine Irish Passenger Index, 1846-1851 I started with my great grandmother, Johanna Kennedy and great grandfather, Joseph Kelly from County Clare. 
There are numerous records; however, this can be my great grandfather;  Joseph Kelly, emigrated June 1846, from Ireland to NY, 25 yr. old male, birthplace, Ireland, born 1821. 
On the same index, I search for my ancestry from County Cork, great grandparents, Patrick Meaney and Ellen Broderick. Again, there are numerous listings, however, Pat Meaney, a 23 yr. old male departing from Limerick in 1851, can be my great grandfather.

In addition to national records, as suggested by National Archives, local history for Ireland is available, however, it will take physically visiting places with details of my ancestry. 
The first place to visit is The Buffalo Irish Center and the second, the Buffalo and Erie County Library. Both institutions have genealogical resources available. 
My second eldest sister visited Ireland twice and was able to further conduct research my Mother began. My sister brought back two family trees from both sides and counties outlining not only both families, but the coat of arms and what the last names signify.

Researching one’s ethnic history is imperative in preserving tradition, storytelling and history. In addition, is it crucial to acknowledge and accept one’s identity, regardless of what history reports. 
In my experience, research that has been accomplished, in addition to current findings, enhances the desire and need to visit Ireland. The other half of my ethnicity, German, will be interesting to research as well. Then one day, I too, will wish to visit Germany.

* * *









For Further Research: 


Bobby Sands Trust * Natives and Strangers: A History of Ethnic Americans * National Gallery of Ireland. From Galway to Leenane: perceptions of landscape * Family Search. (2018) United States Famine Irish Passenger Index, 1846-1851 * Irish Potato Famine. History.com * When America Despised the Irish: The 19th Century’s Refugee Crisis * National Archives. Births, Marriages and Deaths in Scotland and Ireland * National Gallery of Ireland. Pathos of distance.