Sea Shepherd

Sunday, December 30, 2007

This man sucks!

xclusive by Saffron Howden, Environment Reporter

December 31, 2007 12:00am

ENVIRONMENTALIST and 2007 Australian of the Year Tim Flannery has declared his support for the hugely unpopular Japanese whaling program.

As Australia prepares to monitor the whaling fleet in Antarctica amid rising diplomatic tensions with Japan, Professor Flannery says there is nothing unsustainable about its annual cull of up to 1000 whales - particularly the common minke whale.

"In terms of sustainability, you can't be sure that the Japanese whaling is entirely unsustainable," Professor Flannery told The Daily Telegraph. "It's hard to imagine that the whaling would lead to a new decline in population."

But the staunch environmentalist, influential scientist, author and climate change crusader said he was pleased Japan had decided to ditch plans to kill up to 50 threatened humpbacks this summer.

"I'm very relieved to see the humpback whale quota dumped," he said.

But the 935 minke whales that Japan aims to kill each year under its so-called scientific whaling program should not threaten the survival of that species.

Professor Flannery said there were much bigger threats to marine biodiversity and sustainability, including to the future of krill, small crustaceans essential in the sea food chain - and the main sustenance for whales in the Southern Ocean.

Krill populations are declining as a result of over-fishing and because rising sea temperatures are killing off their food sources.

Professor Flannery said he was more concerned about those issues "where our future is most under threat, which is not the minkes".

However, he is worried about how the whales are slaughtered, saying he would like to see them "killed as humanely as possible".

Professor Flannery's views have not changed since his comments on Japanese whaling back in 2003.

In a paper published that year in Quarterly Essay he argued that smaller-brained whales could be hunted sustainably.

"If these animals are closer in intelligence to the sheep than the dog, is it morally wrong to eat them if they can be harvested sustainably?" he wrote.

Japanese whalers have begun their hunt in Antarctica and plan to harpoon almost 1000 whales, including 50 endangered fin whales.

Friday, December 28, 2007

New from the front ~ A poem by Paul Watson


On the ragged edge of the world I'll roam

And the home of the whale shall be my home

And saving seals on the remote ice and snows

The end of my voyage... who knows, who knows?


The Thirty Years War


Thirty Verses

August 1977 - August 2007

For three decades I have fought at sea

Under Sea Shepherd's piratical flag,

And seven year before that under the Greenpeace name.

Thirty-seven years before the mast, sailing free

Under so many coloured and convenient national rags,

And so many bloody years playing this deadly game.

I emerged from the dusty African plain,

Six months of hunting cruel elephant poachers to ground,

Seeing the faces of ugly death smeared with primal mud and dust,

The smells of dying and pools of steaming blood nearly drove me insane,

The screams of elephants the most pathetic soul shattering sound,

Watching their blood flowing into the ground as living rust.

A successful appeal brought me my first ship,

I named her the Sea Shepherd to protect the children of the sea,

And took her through the Northern Atlantic rage,

Into the thick ice her strong bow did rip

To defend the baby seals to set them free,

And to make my ship a crusading stage.

In pursuit of the pirate whaler Sierra that I rammed,

Avenged the deaths of thousands of whales,

Hit her twice both hard and true,

Into her side my steel bow was slammed,

Sank her to the bottom for the whales.

Sank half the savage Spanish whaling fleet in port,

Destroyed another in the Canary Isles,

Brought down two more in Cape Town.

All whaling in the Atlantic we did abort,

Closing every criminal whaling operation in the files,

Attacking and destroying every whaler we found.

I lost and gained another ship.

Set off to land, on a remote Siberian shore,

Caught the Russians in a murderous crime,

The Soviet fleet held us in a deadly grip,

Flares were fired and guns spat fire and did roar,

Miracle of miracles we escaped that time.

Fighting for dolphins in Japan in eighty-two,

Back in the Eastern ice for seals in eighty-three,

The Canadians attacked and seized my boat,

We lost some ground but saved a few,

But we never backed down or tried to flee,

By eighty-five we were back afloat.

To the Ferocious Isles for the pilot whales,

To Iceland where half the whaling fleet we sunk,

Every sunken whaler gave me joy,

Our aggression was tipping the scales,

Reveling in converting killing ships to junk,

Planning strategies and tactics to deploy.

I took my third ship the Divine Wind to the Aleutians

Hunting down drift nets, foul curtains of destruction,

Storms and tides we weathered bold,

Looking to discover confrontational solutions,

To stop the pattern of marine ecological reduction,

Where blood is hot and the seas are cold.

We rammed two drift netters in the North Pacific,

And destroyed hundreds of miles of killing nets galore,

We rammed a Taiwanese drift netter off the Barbadian coast,

Near Cocos we found poachers gutting sharks horrific,

Chased them off with our cannon's roar,

Such victories pleased me the very most.

Sent a Norwegian whaler to the bottom of the bay,

Two year later scuttled another with elation,

Tackled the Norwegian Navy off the Norwegian shore,

With Norway to save the whales we had our say,

And cheered the sinking with celebration,

The Navy rammed us and declared war.

Depth charges, shells and intimidation,

For five hundred miles they harried us sore,

My ship the Whales Forever escaped capture,

The Norwegians screaming recriminations,

We embarrassed them to their very core,

In the eyes of the world we had lowered their stature.

Chased the Cod killers off the Grand Banks,

Charged with the crime of saving fish,

It cost the Cubans and Spanish dear.

We decimated the bottom trawling ranks,

I was taken in chains against my wish,

It was life in prison that I did fear.

I won the case and was set free,

Detained again in the Netherlands,

Held for months for extradition,

But being sent to Norway was not to be,

I was not sent to the Nordic lands,

Legally unblemished remained my condition.

The globe became our battleground,

So many assaults, so many demands, so much greed,

Fighting an enemy of our own kind,

Whose numbers continue to grow and abound,

They gobble up the Earth with billions of mouths to feed

In that equatorial sand I've had to draw a line.

The line lies in the Galapagos, the Enchanted Isles,

If we can't stop it here, we will not stop it anywhere,

A planetary view in microcosm so plain,

Illegal longlines set for miles and miles,

Endangered species becoming more rare,

So much diminishment and so much pain.

In my life I have trekked frozen rivers to save wolves from rifles,

I have stood before and blocked deadly harpoons,

I have twisted seal clubs from the grip of sadistic sealers,

My life has not been wasted on niceties and trifles,

It has been three decades of open wounds,

Searching for compassion, searching for healers.

I have found no place to lay my head to rest,

Tortured by the cold hearted eyes of humanity,

Seeking love, searching for meaning and reason,

My life has been an never-ending test

Can I separate myself from humanity's insanity?

I am in a war that recycles every season.

A war without end with no respite,

A war that has now has surpassed the first 30 years war,

Another ridiculous conflict of human inanity,

Where once the French and the British killed each other on sight,

We now inflict such violence against every species off every shore,

Killing for gluttony, greed, lust, rage, pride, sloth and vanity.

Four times I've engaged the Japanese whaling fleet,

In a world of wondrous ice mountains and floes,

In a place declared a sanctuary for the whale,

We scored at least one major defeat,

But our enemies are stubborn powerful foes,

But we cannot surrender, we must not fail.

I will refuse to live in a world without the whale.

As long as they are in this world I have hope.

And hope is all that remains after humanity opened Pandora's box.

Death and shame is the only option should we fail,

And so with this unending war I must continue to grope.

To fight to save the world from the human viral pox.

I could not do this without love of nature and of life,

I need to feel the salt wind upon my face,

And hear the song of the whale from the deep dark blue,

I have failed to find fulfillment in a human wife,

Few woman would want to be part of this uncertain chase,

Oh I know there are indeed a loving few.

But this life it eats and gnaws and torments a living rage inside,

Although my heart remains open and strong,

Knowing that happiness may be beyond my Earthly reach,

I can honour the feminine when I am blessed with love at my side,

Temporary it may be but it can't be wrong,

For good or bad, love has something to teach.

And I take that strength and channel it true,

Using it to pull me through,

Allowing me to point my bow once again towards that briny awesome blue,

To hunt and chase, pursue, and marshal my bold courageous crew,

For from their ranks I see the emergence of a rare select few

To continue the dream with tactics and strategies new.

To see them stand upon the shore and pull rifles from the hands of killers,

To witness them jump into the bay to free dolphins from certain death behind the nets,

To marvel at their trek across the ice to take the blows from a sealer's club,

To watch them hold their ground and spit in the eye of vicious serial killers,

The see them slash and rip apart drift nets, drag nets and tuna seine nets,

To rejoice when they snatch from the sealer's hand that blood stained evil club.

If there is a lasting legacy in this fight,

It must be exemplary empowerment for Earthly warriors,

To teach and hope that others will continue the battle,

Somewhere in the future we may see the light,

For we need a legion of conservation activists, teachers and lawyers,

If ever the cages we hope to do more than rattle.

I am older now but still not old,

I am weary sometimes but never tired,

I am alone most often but never lonely nor depressed,

My rage and the love that inspires it has never gotten cold,

And I see no prospects nor desire to retire,

For in truth my life has been surely blessed.

To be a warrior in this fight is the greatest of all gifts,

To spend our energies saving lives is the ultimate honour,

To teach and speak and act for the planet brings inner peace and joy,

Building a lasting legacy, seeding different myths,

Challenging the conceit of human superiority is no dishonour,

Understanding that this planet is not our little throw away toy.

I bid respect and honour upon all my crew,

To my daughter I thank for understanding my path

To the women in my life I thank for their most beloved treasures,

They gave me poetry, music, art, dance, song and the beauty of the morning dew.

Most importantly they gave me the feminine strength to control my wrath,

To channel it and despite the war to see life's most intimate pleasures.

I'm not through with this fight by a long shot,

But thirty years is thirty years,

And sometime in the next thirty years I will surely fall,

But dying quietly will not be my lot,

Nor on my knees will I expire,

From the depths of the sea I will hear the call.

And I will slide beneath the darkening waves with absolute joy and desire.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Seal Hunt is inhumane

The Authority European Food Safety contends the inhumanity of the commercial seal hunt in Canada

At the request of the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published its report on animal protection as part of the seal hunt ( "Animal Welfare Aspects of Seal Hunting"). The report concludes that there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support the claims of the Canadian government that the commercial seal hunt is "human". Experts from IFAW (International Fund for Animal are pleased that this report will restore truth: the commercial seal hunt is inherently "inhuman."

"This report ensures that the Canadian government's claim that 98% of seals are killed humanely at the commercial seal hunt is scientifically incorrect. It also reveals the truth about commercial hunting of seals in Canada and it destroys one the most consistently great myths propagated by the Canadian government, "said Sheryl Fink, a researcher from IFAW.
During this study of seal hunting in Canada, the EFSA scientists have found that:
- There is strong evidence that in practice, seals are not always effectively killed;
It is proved that for commercial hunting of seals in Canada, the animals suffer pain and distress (ie, they are killed so inhumane);
- In many cases, hunters do not comply with Canadian regulations that require manually checking the skull or make a reflex test blink of the eye.
- Contrary to current practice, hunters should not try to kill a seal when it is not a stable target, or if the hunter can be unbalanced, as it is on blocks of ice in motion;
- The seal hunt should be open to independent inspections without interference with.
EFSA concludes that the seals should be recognized as sensitive marine mammals that can feel pain, distress, fear and other forms of suffering, and not like fish, which is their classification in Canada. He also advises that seals are protected from the practices of slaughter and cutting which they endure the pain, distress and suffering that could be avoided.
The report makes an important distinction between the methods prescribed to stun and kill seals, which are described in the Canadian regulations on marine mammals and methods that are used at the Canadian Commercial hunting.
"IFAW collects information on commercial hunting of seals in Canada for decades and has witnessed acts of unspeakable cruelty taking place on the ice," said Mme.Fink.
IFAW has submitted films non-mounted panel of EFSA, which showed clearly that the seals were hooked and towed alive, that seals injured suffered for a very long time, and only a few hunters practiced basic tests to ensure that the seals were dead before the skin. Reports and photographs representative are available on the website
"The Canadian government must now admit that the report of EFSA clearly specifies: The commercial seal hunt in Canada is inhumane, current regulation does not meet modern standards of animal welfare and, moreover, it is inapplicable. It is clearly time for Canada to abandon the hunt cruel and unnecessary. "
The EFSA report was compiled at the request of the European Commission. EFSA evaluated from the point of view of animal welfare scientific evidence on the various methods of slaughtering and skinning seals.
For further information on what IFAW to stop commercial hunting of seals, visit
Source: IFAW
2007-12-23 16:08:10

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Curse of Ahab's Children

The Curse of Ahab's Children
Paul Watson
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society..

They entered the Sanctuary the hour before dawn, A deadly greasy fleet of grisly death, searching for innocent prey, Elusive, menacing, efficiently ruthless, and terribly swift and fast.

Harpoon guns screaming like Banshees throughout the long summer's day, Crouching in killing stances before their bleeding rigid mast, Sentient awareness expiring with each horrific harpoon's thundering blast.

Waiting for the word of law from the world, we held back our attack, But word of law from the world never came, Lawlessness has been bartered for hypocritical trade, The governments have betrayed the whales once again in deceitful shame, Posturing, talking, spouting hot air, breaking every promise made, Apathy and inaction, rising, as the integrity of compromised politicians fade.

Condemnation for those of us who sail to defend life, Accusations of terrorism against us from vicious merciless killing machines, The Japanese death ships bent and intent upon inflicting unbearable pain, Ships of steel softer than the heart of their crews of murdering fiends, From their decks of steaming gore, the hot blood of Leviathan does drain Into the frigid dark blue sea leaving a scarlet warm, obscene steaming stain.

Softly we navigate through the treacherous twisted ice, crossing their deadly path.

Blocking, harassing, intervening, protecting and defending the gentle giants.

Frustration mounting as harpoons thunder and innocent whales scream, Reminding ourselves that it is the whales who are our clients, We cannot care, nor be influenced by the hypocrisy of this human scheme We have to take action to stop these blood mad killers by any non-lethal means.

Killing for research is killing plain and simple, Killing for research is the legacy of the Nazi and Togo's barbaric Japan, There is no place in this new century for such vicious meddling, Japan has slaughtered tens of thousands of whales since the world whaling ban Lying about research to cover the whale meat they are peddling.

Pretending to deceive the world with the outrageous lies they are peddling.

Must we sacrifice our lives to awaken the world to this disgrace?

Must we toss away our freedom in this effort to stop this bloody slaughter? What will it take for governments to uphold the rule of law?

We have no choice but to take a stand for every son and daughter Why must we endure such hell because the law has this serious flaw?

The flaw that trade can dictate discrimination in the enforcement of the law.

We care not what our critics say we are, we do not fight upon the seas for them. We fight for our friends, the whales against the most evil of blood thirsty foes. We drive our ship to the Southern seas to defend the defenseless from the remorseless, We drive our ship towards the place where the hottest of blood floes We go into battle against killers cruel, hardened and merciless.

For in the end, what matters is that we stand for justice.

The steely Antarctic skies go on forever We risk our lives to allow the whales to also live forever, We cannot sit upon our ass, doing nothing as these gentle creatures die, Action in defense of life is the standard by which our lives must be measured.

We fight against cruelty, against death and against the Japanese lie, Seeking to stop the flow of blood, under the frozen Southern sky.

All of us are Ahab's children.

The death of millions of whales blights our history and our souls, The least we can do to expunge this awesome burden and curse Is to drive every existing whaling ship onto rocky shoals, To attack their profits and empty every greedy whaler's purse There can be no compromise and the whales must come first.

I know not what the future will bring,

I put my trust in my ship and my brave inspired crew, Our task is formidable and our resources are small, We are a band of warrior although few, we are a happy few, And if in this battle, some of us do fall, No one can say that we did not answer Leviathan's sad call.

The angels of the sea, the playful dolphins guide us, From out of the horde of billions we few do rise and sail, We are the children of Ahab now wedded to Moby's cause, And for the whales, we will not, can not, must not fail.

We do not fight for profit or for the world's applause And thus we hunt for the killers to uphold conservation laws.

Oh gentle, gentle Leviathan, most noble creature of the sea, In our actions you will know that not all of humanity is cruel, And we the children of Ahab, like knights with honour before you kneel, We have chosen and decided that we will not be destruction's tool, For deep in the depths of our outraged hearts, your pain we passionately feel, As your song echoes and stirs our souls beneath our sturdy keel.

Our shepherd's staff of protection crossed with the trident of intervention, We sail beneath the black flag of freedom on a righteous quest, Our bow points towards confrontation and dangerous pursuits, We have no choice to do anything else we must confess, For the call of Migaloo echoes and grabs our attention by the roots,

We must stop that cowardly harpooner before once again he shoots.

Daily Zen

If you want to be free,
Get to know your real self.
It has no form, no appearance,
no root, no basis, no abode,
but is lively and buoyant.
It responds with versatile facility,
But its function cannot be located.
Therefore when you look for it
You become further from it,
When you seek it
You turn away from it all the more.

- Linji (d. 867)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Daily Zen

Strange Peak

Looming up rough and steep
What force
The trees look like works of magic
And all of the stones
Are possessed of powers
Once you climb the peak
Your eyes will start from your head
But until then it stands veiled
In unbroken fog and mist

- Muso Soseki (1275-1351)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Men must be decided on what they will not do, and then they are able to act with vigor in what they ought to do.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My Heroes!!

You know, in my life I have had only a few people I really wanted to meet. Sadly, some of them have gone on to meet their greater good. Sea Shepherd naming their ship after Steve Irwin means I can still meet him!! Bravo Captain Watson.

Sea Shepherd Renames Its Whale Defending Ship the Steve Irwin

Terri Irwin has granted the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society permission to rename its ship currently known as Robert Hunter in honor of her late husband, Steve Irwin. Captain Paul Watson, founder and president of Sea Shepherd and Terri Irwin officially announced the new name for the ship Steve Irwin at a press conference at 12:00 on December 5th at Victoria Docklands in Melbourne, Australia.

Sea Shepherd is proud to partner with Terri Irwin to launch Operation Migaloo as she and Steve have been world renowned for their conservation work. Terri knows that Steve would have been extremely honoured to be acknowledged in this way as he shared Sea Shepherd's passion for saving whales.

"Whales have always been in Steve's heart and in 2006 he was investigating the possibility of joining the Sea Shepherd on part of its journey to defend these beautiful animals," Terri said.

The objective of Operation Migaloo is to intervene against illegal whaling actions by the Japanese whaling fleet. The Japanese whalers are targeting endangered humpbacks and fin whales along with 935 piked whales in the Southern Oceans Whale Sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling and they will be killing many of these whales in the Australian Antarctic Territory.

"Steve Irwin's life demonstrated how one person can make a significant difference in the world," said Watson. "Steve wanted to come to Antarctica with us to defend the whales and now he will be joining us in spirit with his name emblazoned on the fastest and most powerful whale protection ship in the world."

The plight of the world's whales was extremely important to Steve. This was evident in Australia Zoo's launch of Steve's Whale One this winter, a whale-watching excursion boat that realised one of Steve's long-held dreams. Steve's Whale One is a way for people to see first-hand some of the most amazing creatures on earth and Steve was confident if people experienced this it would collectively inspire them to end the inhumane practice of whaling.

For more than three decades, Sea Shepherd has been at the forefront of the whale wars, defending the gentle giants, tackling overwhelming odds with insufficient resources, winning many victories, and saving the lives of thousands of whales, Sea Shepherd crews have effectively shut down dozens of whaling ships and operations. Operation Migaloo is named in honor of the only known living white humpback whale. The Steve Irwin will set sail for the Southern Oceans to defend the whales at 1500 hours from Melbourne Docklands.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Daily Zen

You ask me why I stay on this blue mountain?
I smile but do not answer.
My mind is at ease!
Peach blossoms and flowing streams
Pass away without a trace.
How different from the mundane world!

- Li P’o (701–762)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Friendship Week

If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100
people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would
look something like the following.

There would be
57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 Africans

52 would be female
48 would be male

70 would be non-white
30 would be white

70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian

89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual

6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would
be from the United States.

80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth
1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education
1 would own a computer

When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the
need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly

The following is also something to ponder...

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness... you are
more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of
imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation ... you
are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest,
torture, or are more blessed than three billion people in
the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof
overhead and a place to are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a
dish someplace ... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If your parents are still alive and still married ... you are very
rare, even in the United States and Canada.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly
thankful..... you are blessed because the majority can, but most do

If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on the
shoulder... you are blessed because you can offer healing touch.

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in
that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than
over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Someone once said What goes around comes around.

Work like you don't need the money.
Love like you've never been hurt.
Dance like nobody's watching.
Sing like nobody's listening.
Live like it's Heaven on Earth.

It's National Friendship Week.
Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND.
Pass this on, and brighten someone's day.
Nothing will happen if you do not decide to pass it along. The only
thing that will happen, if you DO pass it on, is that someone might smile
because of you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


The wise people of old who
Took goodness as their way
Were retiring as though shy
Their conduct to all was
Respectful as though to
Honored guests;
They could adapt themselves
Like ice melting before a fire;
They were artless
As blocks of uncarved wood.

- Lao tzu

Monday, November 26, 2007

Political Victory For The Whales

Political Victory for the Whales

The Labor Party of Australia has won the election and they have won by a landslide and this could be wonderful news for the whales ofAntarctica.


Because Peter Garrett, two weeks ago as the former Shadow Minister for the Environment said that his government if elected would send a naval vessel to the Southern Oceans to monitor the Japanese whaling fleet. Mr. Garrett also promised to take a much more aggressive position against Japanese whaling activities.

The former Liberal government were outspoken against whaling but did very little to actually stop the Japanese from continuing with their illegal activity.

Hundreds of people have notified the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society that they voted Labor because of the threat to the whales. Labor now has the opportunity to demonstrate that they will be a government of their word.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society expects to see an Australian Naval vessel dogging the pirate Japanese whaling fleet this year. Australians are incensed that Japan is targeting endangered humpback whales.

"What Japan is doing is deliberately insulting Australians by saying we are going to kill humpbacks, we may even kill Migaloo and there is not a thing that you can do about it because your government does not have the guts to stop us," said Captain Paul Watson.


Do you believe in Astrology?

Gemini ~ June 19

I guess I do believe in most of what Astrology tells us. I think you have to take everything in account but it isn't necessary to put all of your belief in one discipline or thought. I am truly a Gemini. I have more than one personality. I change my mind in mere seconds at times.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday and the blues

I feel rather accomplished today. I completed a knitting set that I had been picking up and putting down for what seems like an eternity. Woo hoo. My days are spent trying to finish hand made Christmas gifts. I am dreading the holidays this year. It seems like my entire family has someone to be with and somewhere to go. I guess I will be spending it with my adult daughter. I am thinking I should volunteer to feed the homeless so I can get out of my own despair. I seem to have lost interest in social things since my divorce.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Day of the Dead

Indigenous people wouldn't let 'Day of the Dead' die

Copyright Patrick MurilloCarlos Miller The Arizona Republic

More than 500 years ago, when the Spanish Conquistadors landed in what is now Mexico, they encountered natives practicing a ritual that seemed to mock death.
It was a ritual the indigenous people had been practicing at least 3,000 years. A ritual the Spaniards would try unsuccessfully to eradicate.
A ritual known today as Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
The ritual is celebrated in Mexico and certain parts of the United States, including the Valley.
Celebrations are held each year in Mesa, Chandler, Guadalupe and at Arizona State University. Although the ritual has since been merged with Catholic theology, it still maintains the basic principles of the Aztec ritual, such as the use of skulls.

Today, people don wooden skull masks called calacas and dance in honor of their deceased relatives. The wooden skulls are also placed on altars that are dedicated to the dead. Sugar skulls, made with the names of the dead person on the forehead, are eaten by a relative or friend, according to Mary J. Adrade, who has written three books on the ritual.
The Aztecs and other Meso-American civilizations kept skulls as trophies and displayed them during the ritual. The skulls were used to symbolize death and rebirth.
The skulls were used to honor the dead, whom the Aztecs and other Meso-American civilizations believed came back to visit during the monthlong ritual.
Unlike the Spaniards, who viewed death as the end of life, the natives viewed it as the continuation of life. Instead of fearing death, they embraced it. To them, life was a dream and only in death did they become truly awake.
"The pre-Hispanic people honored duality as being dynamic," said Christina Gonzalez, senior lecturer on Hispanic issues at Arizona State University. "They didn't separate death from pain, wealth from poverty like they did in Western cultures."
However, the Spaniards considered the ritual to be sacrilegious. They perceived the indigenous people to be barbaric and pagan.
In their attempts to convert them to Catholicism, the Spaniards tried to kill the ritual.
But like the old Aztec spirits, the ritual refused to die.
To make the ritual more Christian, the Spaniards moved it so it coincided with All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (Nov. 1 and 2), which is when it is celebrated today.
Previously it fell on the ninth month of the Aztec Solar Calendar, approximately the beginning of August, and was celebrated for the entire month. Festivities were presided over by the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The goddess, known as "Lady of the Dead," was believed to have died at birth, Andrade said.
Today, Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico and in certain parts of the United States and Central America.
"It's celebrated different depending on where you go," Gonzalez said.
In rural Mexico, people visit the cemetery where their loved ones are buried. They decorate gravesites with marigold flowers and candles. They bring toys for dead children and bottles of tequila to adults. They sit on picnic blankets next to gravesites and eat the favorite food of their loved ones.
In Guadalupe, the ritual is celebrated much like it is in rural Mexico.
"Here the people spend the day in the cemetery," said Esther Cota, the parish secretary at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. "The graves are decorated real pretty by the people."
In Mesa, the ritual has evolved to include other cultures, said Zarco Guerrero, a Mesa artist.
"Last year, we had Native Americans and African-Americans doing their own dances," he said. "They all want the opportunity to honor their dead."
In the United States and in Mexico's larger cities, families build altars in their homes, dedicating them to the dead. They surround these altars with flowers, food and pictures of the deceased. They light candles and place them next to the altar.
"We honor them by transforming the room into an altar," Guerrero said. "We offer incense, flowers. We play their favorite music, make their favorite food."
At Guerrero's house, the altar is not only dedicated to friends and family members who have died, but to others as well.
"We pay homage to the Mexicans killed in auto accidents while being smuggled across the border," he said. "And more recently, we've been honoring the memories of those killed in Columbine."

Should have known better!

The old saying, if it sounds to good to be true it probably is has reared it's head in my world. The soon to be ex has completly flipped the script on the divorce settlement. No way am I going to sign anything! I stood by him for years, through thick and thin and now he wants to do this to me? Cold day in hell! I can't believe I loved him once. No good deed goes unpunished.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cruelty free

Step One
Go vegan. The best way to begin a cruelty-free life is to not eat animal-based foods, including eggs and dairy products.
Step Two
Buy products that say they are cruelty-free. This means they have not been tested on animals. Read the labels. This includes cosmetics, toiletries, household cleaners and laundry products.
Step Three
Avoid buying anything not labeled cruelty-free unless you know for a fact that the manufacturer does not test on animals.
Step Four
Use leather alternatives. They've come a long way, and many look and feel like the real thing.
Step Five
Avoid anything made of real fur. This includes clothing and novelty items. Pet toys are sometimes made with real fur. Check before you buy.
Step Six
Read labels carefully. Animal-derived ingredients appear when least expected. Collagen, for example, is normally derived from animals.
Step Seven
Look it up. If you're unsure about the origin of an ingredient, there are several books on the market to assist consumers in deciphering ingredients. You can also find relevant information on Web sites.
Step Eight
Stick with companies that you know do not use animal-derived ingredients and do not test their products on animals.
Step Nine
Avoid down products. Synthetics are very advanced now and tend to be warmer, lighter and less allergenic than goose or duck down.
Step Ten
Accept the fact that you can't avoid all animal products. For example, you may buy a chair that was manufactured using glue made partially from an animal-based ingredient.
Step Eleven
Do the best you can.
Tips & Warnings
There are hundreds of companies making everything from hair dye to shoe polish that do not test their products on animals. Many also do not use animal-derived ingredients in their products. In addition to being cruelty-free, these products tend to be less toxic to both people and the environment.
Let companies know why you are not using their products. Tell them you only buy cruelty-free products. This will make a difference. More and more companies are getting away from animal testing.

Blue days

I think I have been spending too much time alone. My mood has been kinda down for days now. I have been seperated from my soon to be ex for over a year and a half. The divorce is almost final. For some reason unknown to me I have been feeling sad and I have no idea why. I guess I thought when I married for the second time it would last the rest of my life. Wrong.
My physical condition hasn't been much better. I am looking at yet another total hip replacement. I wish I would have had both of them done rather than go for the less invasive surgery. Seems like most things go that way for me.
I am thankful for my knitting and my family. That really keeps me going.

Vegan Philosophy

The term philosophy is often used to mean a set of basic values and attitudes toward life, nature and society. In this sense, Veganism is a "Philosophy of Life," guided by what I envision as an essential core of values and principles: • Vegans see life as a phenomenon to be treasured, revered and respected. We do not see animals as either "The Enemy" to be subdued, or the Materials for Food, Fabric or Fun that were put on Earth for human use. • Vegans see themselves as a part of the natural world, rather than its owners or its masters. • Veganism recognizes no expendable or superfluous species that humans are free to hurt or destroy. Species of life-forms need not justify their existence, nor plead for protection from extinction on the grounds of their potential usefulness as food or medicine for humans. We continue to be burdened and misguided by adages such as "A weed is a plant we have not yet found a use for." • Veganism acknowledges the intrinsic legitimacy of all life. It rejects any hierarchy of acceptable suffering among sentient creatures. It is no more acceptable to torment or kill creatures with "primitive nervous systems" than those with "highly developed nervous systems." The value of life to its possessor is the same, whether it be the life of a clam, a crayfish, a carp, a cow, a chicken, or a child. • Veganism understands that gentleness cannot be a product of violence, harmony cannot be a product of strife, and peace cannot be a product of contention and conflict. • Vegan ideals encompass much more than advocacy of a diet free of animal products, or a fervent defense of animal rights. Veganism excludes no sentient being–animal or human– from its commitment to compassionate, gentle benevolence. To show tender regard for the suffering of animals, yet treat humans with callous contempt, is a disheartening contradiction of Vegan principles. • John Muir, talking about the natural environment, once observed "Every time I bend down to pick something up, I find it is connected to something else." There is an equivalent "ecology" to our behavior. Everything we do connects to something else; every action touches on the world around us, either close at hand and noticeable, or far away and unperceived, immediate in its effect or distant in time. • If Veganism has a prime value, it is simply that life-respecting compassion overrides individual issues of custom, convenience, comfort or cuisine. • If there is a single article of faith, it is that commitment to Vegan values will bring us closer to a world in which the fate and fortune of a planet and all its life forms do not hang on the judgment or the generosity of one species. • If there is one single concept that both generates and sustains the meaning and the power of the Vegan world-view, it is found in the word mindfulness. As Vegans, we strive to be thoughtful, aware and concerned about the impact of our choices, our actions and our decisions. The fruit of this awareness is inner peace, the quiet strength of ethical confidence, and an uplifting sense of fulfillment.