The Goddess Path  Issue #23

Paving Paradise

November, 2004


This Issue: Table of Contents

Appreciating What You Have
Hera and Hephaestus
What's A Poor Girl To Do?
The Vinegar of the Four Thieves
Good Value
 


Appreciating What We Have

"Ain't it the way it always goes. . . that you don't know what you got till it's gone," Joni Mitchell once lamented, "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

The recent "flu fiasco" in the US has been weighing heavily on my mind this month. There is at least one good thing that the shortage of vaccine has done: it has captured the attention of the public to the intrinsic value of the immunization.

Up until now you couldn't give the stuff away! Health professionals had to plead, pressure, and cajole healthy adults into getting vaccinated. "I hate needles", "I've heard that the shot gives you the flu", and "I'll just take my chances with the flu" were the common excuses we heard.

Nevermind that influenza is one of the diseases that epidemiologists have nightmares about! Nevermind that repeated immunizations not only confer immunity to flu but also other respiratory illnesses and may even greatly reduce the risk of strokes. If they are cheap or free, they must be worthless. . . at least it seems to be human nature to think that way.

Not Edna or the other elders who stood in line for hours to get one of the few flu shots available in my community this year. Edna's photo in the local newspaper almost broke my heart. Standing there in the drizzle with great dignity, slightly stooped and with plastic tubing snaking from her nostrils, Edna told the reporter, "I've only got three more hours of oxygen, and I just pray I can get my shot and make it home before it runs out."

The line outside the Senior Citizen's Center had formed at 5 a.m. for the clinic that was to begin at eight. Yes, our elders often know a good thing when they see it. The rest of us sometimes have to learn the hard way.

For instruction on the tremendous costs of this human foible, we can look to the myth of. . .      


Hera And Her Son Hephaestus

Background: Recall that before her marriage to Zeus, the ruler of the Olympian deities, the goddess Hera was a queen in her own right, known for her beauty and kindness. Initially Hera refused the advances of the lusty Zeus. To capture her heart he changed himself into a small, frightened bird that called forth Hera's tremendous compassion.

They had a honeymoon that lasted 130 years, but eventually Zeus returned to his wandering ways, seducing other goddesses and mortals.  One of his mistresses died while still pregnant with his son. Zeus rescued the unborn Dionysius from her womb and implanted him into a pouch that he had created in his own thigh.

Hera was understandably distressed when Zeus gave birth without her. Not to be outdone, Hera impregnated herself, without the assistance of Zeus or any other man, by using a magical herb. Zeus was not amused.

Unfortunately Hera's son was born with a club foot, a physical defect that left him lame. Hephaestus got off to a rocky start in life, the unwanted son of rejecting parents who saw no beauty in their little son. Hera and Zeus threw him off the top of Mount Olympus, expecting never to see him again.


However, Hephaestus fell to earth, landing in the sea. He was rescued and nursed back to health by a group of sea nymphs and Titan goddesses who went to great lengths to keep him hidden from his parents.

Growing up in their underwater cave, Hephaestus began his career of craftsmanship. Collecting coral, pearls, and precious metals from the ocean floor, he began to fashion exquisite jewelry and golden furniture. Soon his creations were all the rage.

Hera could hardly wait to get some of the marvelous jewelry that all the goddesses were wearing. She cornered the goddess Thetis (who was one of the goddesses who had cared for Hephaestus while he was in hiding) and forced Thetis to tell her who had made her gorgeous jewelry. Thetis announced it was made by her own talented son, Hephaestus.


Hera realized she had been wrong to reject Hephaestus, that in spite of his imperfections, he had the talent (not to mention good taste) of a god. She persuaded Zeus to welcome him back. And so, Hephaestus was invited to return to Mount Olympus to take his rightful place among the gods. Hephaestus politely declined, saying he was quite happy where he was.

But the couple persisted, and eventually tricked Hephaestus into joining them. Not one to enjoy the pomp or the hustle and bustle of the royal palace, Hephaestus built an underground workshop and spent much of this time there working undisturbed. He initially refused to forgive Hera, saying only that he “had no mother”.

Feeling very guilty about having abandoned him, Hera showered him with tools, materials, and helpers for his workshop. There he continued to invent and craft beautiful furniture, jewelry, armor, and weaponry of the highest quality.

Eventually he and his mother were reconciled and became close friends.

To read the complete story of the Greek God of the Forge, click below:
Greek God Hephaestus


What's A Poor Girl to Do?

Call in the doctor,
Call in the nurse,
Call in the lady with the alligator purse.

In the spirit of the lady with the alligator purse, I offer these suggestions to those who must do without the flu vaccine this year:

If you do get the flu, take it seriously. Go to bed, not work. Seek medical care if needed. Don't push yourself. Rest and Heal.

Use common sense: avoid crowds during flu outbreaks, wash your hands frequently (or use alcohol-based antibacterial gels), guard your immune system with good health practices (drinking lots of water, eating well, moderate exercise, plenty of sleep, etc.), and (yeah, right!) avoid stress.

Consider taking the flu vaccine in the nasal spray form. Check with your health care provider to see if you're an appropriate candidate. It's not quite as effective as the injectable kind and doesn't work well in those with poorly functioning immune systems (including anyone over 45 or so.) Supplies are available now though they are likely to run short this year.

And then there are herbal remedies. I'm not making any guarantees on these, but . . . in case you want to try them here are some herbal recipes for flu prevention that might be worth exploring. I've posted them at:

Vinegar of the Four Thieves

Here is my personal favorite . . .


The Vinegar of the Four Thieves

This recipe has been used for centuries and legend has it that it was invented during the bubonic plagues of the 15th century. How the recipe came to be made public is an interesting story.

In France, the police apprehended four thieves who had been looting the houses of plague victims. Astonished that none of them had fallen ill with the highly infectious disease, the judge agreed to forgive the charges against them if they would reveal how they managed to resist the infection.

"We drink and wash with this vinegar every few hours," they revealed. The recipe follows.

My experience, for what it's worth:  I was director of a student health clinic a few years ago. One year the flu season "hit early", before any of our staff had gotten the flu shots that were ordinarily relied upon to protect them from the massive exposure that their jobs required.

We were seeing 20-30 students acutely ill with the flu each day. Knowing that we had inadequate protection against the virus, the staff feared we would all soon succumb and, in desperation, decided to give the recipe a try.

Although eight staff members and 4 student workers certainly isn't a large enough group to make a research sample, I'm pleased to report that not a single one of us came down with the flu. We were amazed.

Almost as good....three of us really loved the taste of the preparation and began to cook with it year round, putting it in soups, chili, and stews!

Here's the recipe:

2 quarts apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons each of:
lavender
rosemary
sage
wormwood
rue
mint
2 tablespoons minced garlic

Combine the dried herbs and steep in the vinegar either by placing in the sun for two weeks (preferred) or by boiling the vinegar and letting the herbs steep in it (in a heatproof glass container, never aluminum) for 15 minutes. Strain and bottle the liquid. Add the garlic and close lid. After 3-5 days strain out the garlic.  Adult dosage, 1 teaspoon several times a day, but no more than 3 teaspoons in one hour.

Note: can also use this as an antibacterial handwash or diluted in your bathwater. Will also work as an excellent wash for floors, countertops, sinks, pots and pans, etc.


Pepsi vs. Petrol

I admit it. Sometimes I just see things differently, in a way that seems a bit bizarre to those who know me. I can't help it; it's just part of my nature.

I have a running argument with one friend who becomes infuriated every time the price of gasoline goes up. I tell her I'll get upset about gas prices when gasoline costs more than Pepsi (she's addicted to Pepsi and drinks a liter or so a day).

Currently we're paying $1.89 for a gallon of gas, and she's paying $5.64 for a gallon of flavored sugar water. Go figure!

Lest I appear sanctimonious I admit to gladly paying $5.67 for a gallon of my favorite sweet tea each week. But, recognizing the irony, at least I acknowledge that the petrol is a better buy!


Good Value

Just in case you're working your self into a frenzy over holiday shopping...or if you'd just like to help support the Goddess Gift website...here's a reminder that we've got lots of "goddess goodies" at the site:

The Goddess Quiz/Report (also Gift Certificates)
(at 20% discount for subscribers, and remember we've now got a Gods Quiz available for the guys on your list)

By the way, I was curious so I reviewed the 'Health Risks' section of the various Goddess Reports and Persephones and Demeters are the two goddess types most susceptible to respiratory illnesses. 

I would hazard a guess that women with Aphrodite, Athena, Hera, Psyche, or Rhiannon as their personal goddess archetypes would be the most likely to value preventive measures, after all these were goddesses who lived with their eyes wide open and their feet planted firmly on the ground.

Glass Art Goddesses and Pendants

Aromatherapy: Goddess Oils, Diffuser, and Soaps

This month's challenge was quite a surprise. Our webhost moved the site to a "bigger and better" server. "You won't see any changes," they said. Not so, we discovered as we encountered new problems each and every day.

Thanks to each of you who encountered problems for being patient as we resolved them. All seems to be back to normal now. To see what else we've been up to this month, read the monthly progress report:
Blog


In closing, a reminder to...

Find something in your life that has perhaps been overlooked or undervalued. Think about its real worth. Treasure it. Protect it.

Till next month,

Sharon

P.S. In case you ever wondered what the influenza virus looks like, look closely at the object that makes up the border of this newsletter. Kind of pretty, isn't it?

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