Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Harvest Festivals: What does it all mean?

The Corn King gives his life for the land
We toast his sacrifice with ale in our hand,
And eat the bread, from the harvest made,
As sheaves of corn to the earth are laid.
It's the harvest festival at my kids' school today. And I sent them off, no not with loaves of bread or bags of fruit, not even the tin of baked beans or bottle of stout that it used to be when I was a girl, but with a bag of loose change. For today when they learn about the annual celebration of what the land has given us through our sweat and toil, they won't be compiling food parcels for local people in need, but will be counting coppers to send to charity.
Ok, so the end result might be the same - giving to help those who need it, and I don't object to that at all. But there are plenty of other opportunities for them to put pennies into buckets and boxes, or raise money for relief campaigns. What I wonder about is what the harvest festival is meant to signify. Isn't it about our relationship with the land? Wouldn't this be an ideal time for the school to discuss not just notions of 'Christian charity' (with a Pagan festival!), but also to raise kids' awareness of just how precious the land is for our survival. Rather than send the message out yet again that all that counts at the end of the day is hard cash.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

ME Awareness Day: All in the mind?

Today is ME Awareness Day and people with ME everywhere (myself included!) are fighting to get wider recognition and understanding of this debilitating and often devastating condition.

As a strange coincidence I am also writing a chapter on ME for a forthcoming book on longterm conditions. For this chapter I'm particularly interested in finding people who use 'alternative' healing approaches for their ME, from the obvious homeopathy and accupuncture, to less conventional alternatives, such as crystal therapy or angel healing.

But what is interesting is that there seems to be quite a lot of animosity amongst ME sufferers towards any suggestion that such healing approaches might be of any benefit to them. It seems that because ME is already often dismissed as 'all in the mind' by some people, that many who are diagnosed with ME are then reluctant to subscribe to anything else which is seen as equally 'non-provable'.

Yet in my mind, does it matter if something has been scientifically validated if it exists or works in the lives of those it affects? By this I mean - I know I have ME and that it affects my life, regardless of how many scientists or medics might try and dismiss it as 'all in the mind'. As a student of Reiki I also know that when I receive or give myself Reiki healing it energises me and can ease pain. Now I have no idea either what causes my ME, or what it is that is happening when the Reiki relieves me. But I do know that for me, both have very real effects in my life, ragardless of their lack of scientific credibility.

Surely there must be more ME sufferers out there who would agree..?