An Ancient Civilization in the Amazon

(this is from Graham Hancock’s new book, America Before)

Hancock has convinced me that there was an ancient civilization in the Amazon. I’m intrigued by the possibility that it was more peaceable and more ecologically attuned (read “sustainable”) than Old World civilizations, then or now.

  • In 1542, Friar Gaspar De Carvajal kept a detailed diary on an expedition that navigated the Amazon from its headwaters to its mouth. He reported seeing large, prosperous cities, metalwork and ceramics that rivaled the most advanced in Europe during that time.
  • In the Andes, there are ancient drawings in the ground, hundreds of meters across and comprehended only from the air. Recently, more of these have been found in the Amazon to the East, where they have been obscured by jungle.nazca
  • How did they support large, permanent settlements when the rainforest soil is notorious for being depleted after a couple of seasons of agriculture?  Read about Terra Preta, ADE, or Amazon Dark Earth. This is the best part of the story, because it appears to be an ancient, scientifically-designed system of long-term soil development, which hints at a way of doing agriculture that was lost with the Native American cultures.
  • Persisting even today, more than half the trees and vines growing in the Amazon are domesticated varieties that yield edible or useful products for humans: Manihot (cassava), brazil nuts, rubber, peanuts, pineapple, and sweet potatoes. 

Pizarro pillaged the Inca cilvilization and burned their library in 1526. The rich Amazonian civilization was either a figment of Carvajal’s imagination, or it was destroyed by smallpox and other European diseases—a tragic fate to which many American tribes were known to succumb.

The intriguing possibility is that Amazonians (and perhaps other American native populations) had mastered a new kind of agriculture, which has the potential to resolve our modern, Western culture’s war-to-the-death with natural ecosystems. These people were not hunter-gatherers, nor did they plant row upon row of monoculture. Rather, they enriched natural ecosystems with the plants that were useful to them, taking care to plant different species in mixtures that would be complementary in their effects on the soil’s fungi and bacteria, as well as pest-resistant.

One component of this system was the Terra Preta that continues to sustain fertility of vast regions of the Amazon hundreds of years after it was created by simple, sound management techniques of the native people.

Terra preta owes its characteristic black color to its weathered charcoal content,[2] and was made by adding a mixture of charcoal, bone, broken pottery, compost and manure to the otherwise relatively infertile Amazonian soil. A product of indigenous soil management and slash-and-char agriculture,[3] the charcoal is stable and remains in the soil for thousands of years, binding and retaining minerals and nutrients. [Wikipedia]

Mushrooms are people, too

All life partakes of awareness, a consciousness in essence the same as our intimate selves, our own dear I AM.

Through this day, we will give life and we will take it. Plant and animal, microbe and fungus; with our actions and our thoughts and our communications; by individual acts and by our participation in community; in commerce and in politics; as we create habitat in our homes and gardens and intestines; as we give our gifts; especially as we eat, and through the wars prosecuted in our name.

As we support and extinguish life this day, may we do so with awareness and with reverence for a myriad of beings with which we coexist. As my life is not different from other life which I give and take away each day, so is my death no different from the ant under my foot or the sprout in my salad.

All life is sacred. As we kill for our livelihood and for our comfort, let us do so with consciousness and reverence.

Amanita-muscaria-button

 

Ancient Egyptians channeled the 21st Century (Thoth’s Prophesy)

Graham Hancockm, Crossroads & Ancient Egyptian Prophesy

Do you know, Asclepius, that Egypt is an image of Heaven? Since it is fitting that wise men should not remain in ignorance of what is to come.  There will come a time when it will be in vain that Egyptions have honored the Godhead with heartfealt piety and service….

In that day, men will be weary of life, and they will cease to see the world as worthy of reverent wonder and worship….  Death will be thought more profitable than life.   The immortal nature of the soul and the journey of the soul’s development—all this they will mock.  It will be a time of wars and robberies and frauds, and all things hostile to the nature of the human soul.  The fruits of the earth will rot and the soil will turn barren and the very air will sicken with sullen stagnation….

Then God, the creator of all things, will stop the disorder by the counterforce of his will.  He will call back to right path those who have gone astray.  He will cleanse the world of evil.  And thus, he will bring the world back to its former aspect.  The cosmos will be deemed worthy once more of worship and wondering reverence.  Such will be the rebirth of the cosmos.

20120223-Pythagoras_Emerging_from_the_Underworld by_Salvator_Rosa.jpg

Pythagoras emerging from the underworld (Salvator Rosa, 1662)

We are a species with amnesia. We have severed our connection to spirit. But we have the power to bring the world back from darkness, and it will be done by millions of individuals acting faithfully in their own small domains.
— Graham Hancock

Tree gone mad

The history of the Camperdown elm started over 180 years ago in Scotland. In 1835, a forester for the Earl of Camperdown found an elm tree growing with contorted branches in Dundee, Scotland. He transplanted the young tree within the gardens of Camperdown House, where it still stands under 9 feet tall with a weeping habit and contorted structure. Later, he grafted branches of it to other elms, producing the Camperdown weeping elm cultivar.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Camperdown Elm History And Information

Image result for camperdown elm

 

 

 

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Can we separate our humanity from “humanism”

Imagine life in a Dark Age, with no romance to light our souls, all of humanity’s will to love and to thrill and to create eclipsed by a gray practicality of purpose.  Serfs see no life beyond the 16 hours’ toil required to pay for their feu.  Lords numbly accumulate gold, consumed by the knowledge that “there but for grace go I…”

In legend, one man is responsible for bringing humanism to humanity.  His name is Francesco Petrarca, and he was born on this day in 1304.  We remember him best for writing 317 sonnets, 200 years before Shakespeare’s more modest efforts in this medium (clocking in at 154).

This from the Wikipedia Article:

For pleasure alone he climbed Mont Ventoux, which rises to more than six thousand feet, beyond Vaucluse. It was no great feat, of course; but he was the first recorded Alpinist of modern times, the first to climb a mountain merely for the delight of looking from its top. (Or almost the first; for in a high pasture he met an old shepherd, who said that fifty years before he had attained the summit, and had got nothing from it save toil and repentance and torn clothing.) Petrarch was dazed and stirred by the view of the Alps, the mountains around Lyons, the Rhone, the Bay of Marseilles. He took Augustine‘s Confessions from his pocket and reflected that his climb was merely an allegory of aspiration toward a better life.[22]

Image result for ventoux montAs the book fell open, Petrarch’s eyes were immediately drawn to the following words:

And men go about to wonder at the heights of the mountains, and the mighty waves of the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers, and the circuit of the ocean, and the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not.[19]

Petrarch’s response was to turn from the outer world of nature to the inner world of “soul”:

I closed the book, angry with myself that I should still be admiring earthly things who might long ago have learned from even the pagan philosophers that nothing is wonderful but the soul, which, when great itself, finds nothing great outside itself. Then, in truth, I was satisfied that I had seen enough of the mountain; I turned my inward eye upon myself, and from that time not a syllable fell from my lips until we reached the bottom again. […] [W]e look about us for what is to be found only within. […] How many times, think you, did I turn back that day, to glance at the summit of the mountain which seemed scarcely a cubit high compared with the range of human contemplation […][19]

 

Mom’s Work is Done

A ma mère

Je te souhaite un jour de velours,
d’iris, de lis et de pervenches,
un jour de feuilles et de branches,
un jour et puis un autre jour,

un jour de blés, un jour de vignes,
un jour de figues, de muscats,
un jour de raisins délicats,
un jour de colombes, de cygnes.

Je te souhaite un jour de diamant,
de saphir et de porcelaine,
un jour de lilas et de laine,
un jour de soie, ô ma maman,

et puis un autre jour encore,
léger, léger, un autre jour
jusqu’à la fin de mon amour,
une aurore et puis une aurore,

car mon amour pour toi, ma mère,
ne pourra se finir jamais
comme le frisson des ramées
comme le ciel, comme la mer…

Pierre GAMARRA est né ce jour il y a 100 ans

For Mom, for Anyone

I wish for you a velvet day,
soft irises, and periwinks,
a day of mischief and high jinks,
one day and then another day,

A day of wheat, a day of vines,
a day of figs and muscat grapes,
a day of soft, voluptuous shapes,
a day of cypresses and pines.

I wish for you a diamond day,
with gleaming gems and easy wealth,
full animate with blooming health,
a day of silk, for you, I pray.

As long as I have love to lend
light, effortless, another day
with time to wander, space to stray
erupting sunrise without end.

Like flowered meadows, summer’s calm,
spelunking never-ending caves
or years of rowing o’er the waves
this is my wish for you, my Mom.

— Pierre GAMARRA was born 100 years ago today
free translation by JJM

Agastache species