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Samhain, an Ancient Sabbat

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October 31st is Halloween for most Americans, but there are those of us in the Northern Hemisphere who believe in magick more ancient on this day. As the sun sinks and darkness awakes, pagans and Wiccans celebrate Samhain, a Gaelic word, pronounced "sow-(as in "cow")-EEN" or in some dialects, "sow-IN." For those of us who watch the Wheel of the Year spin through the cycles of Nature, 'tis the end of the vitally important harvest season.  Symbolically, the fair maiden of Spring has aged into a Crone, who holds the experience of the entire year -- a lifetime for some beings -- within her head and heart. She offers wisdom and guidance. The lengthening nights usher in a quiet time of reflection on the past year. "The Crone" by Angie Latham (❤️ this image, Angie !) In addition, the veil between the Living and the Dead grows gauzy thin, signifying the time when we can most easily communicate with ancestors and beloved pets long gone.

Thought for the Day

The Parachutist I was smoking a cigarette in the backyard after a long day at work, when a man in a parachute fell from the sky, right into the lilac bushes. I tossed the cigarette and ran up to him. "Are you okay?" I said. "I'm fine, just happy to get away from the enemy," he said. "The enemy? What enemy?" I said. "The enemy otherwise known as the mundane," he said. "That's peculiar," I said. "Be that as it may, the mundane has waged merciless war on me and millions of my fellow Americans for years," he said. "Would you like some water or lemonade? You've been through a lot," I said. "No, but do you happen to have a helicopter? I'd like to make another jump," he said. "Another random jump to nowhere? What good will that do?" I said. "It will do a lot of good. So much good, that I will no longer feel absolute pain," he said. "Surely there are other

The Final Decision

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Yesterday afternoon, we had to euthanize our elderly dog, Squeaky, who's been living with kidney failure for about a month. I've been giving her subQ fluids since she returned from the ER, but this Monday, my husband and I realized that we'd been keeping her alive for us, not for her. As a friend mentioned, it was a tough realization. I scheduled a home #euthanasia service. I feel very grateful we could afford the service since it's much less stressful on the animal -- not having to go to a scary clinic for the last few minutes or hour of life -- and being in a safe, familiar space with all family members present. Squeaky was feeling pretty good yesterday, which made it paradoxically difficult, because I wondered if I should've waited, and easier, because she was able to roll in the grass (one of her fave hobbies) one last time. She settled easily between my husband and me on the grass, relaxed. Her brothers, Ted and Chip, were there, too. The #CaringPathway

America's Gun Problem

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I am bereft that in such a short time span, I need to send thoughts of comfort to 3 more families affected by the residual trauma of Mass Shootings: To the family of Sydney Aiello and another unidentified student, both survivors of the Mass Shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, who chose suicide within 1 week of each other. To the family of Jeremy Richman, who chose suicide today. His 6 year-old daughter, Avielle, was murdered during the Mass Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT in 2012. I'm going to focus on Dr Richman, a neuroscientist and neuropharmacologist, because I have experience with neuroscience and psychiatry due to my own brain health issues. He and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, created the  The Avielle Foundation  for brain research into the roots of violence as a way to do something about preventing more violent deaths and to cope with their loss. As someone who lives with occasional suicidal ideation, I "get"