The Heart symbol is universally seen as a quintessential representation of love, especially (though not solely) of romantic love. It signifies both physical and eternal love. Various cultures through the ages have associated the symbol with affection, compassion, joy, and charity. It has also found ritualistic use in ceremonies of yore performed for strengthening relationships.
The use of the symbol goes far back in history and has even been found on ancient Roman coins. There is a lot of ambiguity about the origin of the Heart symbol as it has only a remote resemblance to the human body organ it represents. In fact, it is largely believed to have been derived from the shape of the seedpod of silphium, an herb popular among the Romans as a contraceptive. Another belief has the symbol originating from the shape of leaves, typically ivy leaves. The Greeks associated ivy with God Dionysus, the god of passion, wine, and other sensual things. Perhaps, this later led the Heart symbol to be connected with romantic love. The longevity and resilience of the ivy vine are also seen as symbolic of eternal love.
Some people link the Heart symbol with an upside-down triangle and associate it with the divine feminine power. The inverted triangle also symbolizes the Water element, which makes the Heart a sign of intuition, psychic perception, emotion, transition, and motion.
With a population of around 11 million people, Zulu is the largest ethnic group in South Africa, and one of the continent’s largest tribes. The Zulu are a warrior tribe descended from East Africa, and migrated south centuries ago to find a home in KwaZulu-Natal on South Africa’s Indian Ocean Coast.
In the early 19th century the Zulu ethnic group rose into a formidable empire under the leadership of King Shaka, developing a fearsome reputation that is still acknowledged to this day. Modern-day Zulus are modern and progressive though. While traditional clothing is saved for special events like weddings and funerals, the Zulu maintain strong connections with their tradition and historical roots by giving sacrifices to the ancestral spirits to influence their lives on a day to day basis.
The Zulu are also skilled crafters, particularly their beadwork which is woven into intricate, colourful patterns that are both decorative and display meaning. The number and shape of triangles relate to the sex and parenthood status of the wearer. The colours have symbolism too, around the duality of life – for example, red signifies both love and passion, and anger and heartbreak.
In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Kartika is a small, crescent-shaped knife used in burial ceremonies. As a symbol, it represents the cutting away of all material and worldly aspects of one’s existence, including the human body, which is why it is often depicted in the right hand of Yamantaka, the destroyer of death.
The Kartika is crowned with a vajra (a club with a spherical head), which demolishes ignorance and ushers in enlightenment. The hook incorporated into the design traditionally represents the hook of compassion from Tibetan Buddhist imagery: it pulls the soul out of the endless cycles of transmigration. The crescent-shaped knife slashes apart the ego, allowing one to access and appreciate the clarity and insights symbolized by the Vajra. The goddess of trauma, Vajrayogini, is depicted in traditional iconography with a Kartika in one hand and the kapala, or ‘skull cup’ in the other. In this context, the curved knife represents the way that the ultimate insight cuts away the ignorance of conventional wisdom, while the skull-cup, which is full of wisdom nectar, reminds mankind of its impermanence. In the Tibetan practice of Chöd, the practitioner uses the Kartika as an implement in a ceremony that seeks to understand the infinite. It is also an important component in the Tibetan sky burial ritual, which cuts the body of a deceased person into small pieces and leaves it on top of specially designed burial platforms. The message is that the body is inconsequential in the general scheme of things.
~Belittle you, or put you down? ~Blame you for the abuse or arguments? ~Deny that abuse is happening, or play it down? ~Isolate you from your family and friends? ~Stop you going to college or work? ~Make unreasonable demands for your attention? ~Accuse you of flirting or having affairs? ~Tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, and what to think? ~Control your money, or not give you enough to buy food or other essential things?
Threats and intimidation
Does your partner, or former partner, ever ~
~Threaten to hurt or kill you? ~Destroy things that belong to you? ~Stand over you, invade your personal space? ~Threaten to kill themselves or the children? ~Read your emails, texts or letters? ~Harass or follow you?
Physical abuse The person abusing you may hurt you in a number of ways.
Does your partner, or former partner, ever ~
~Slap, hit or punch you? ~Push or shove you? ~Bite or kick you? ~Burn you? ~Choke you or hold you down? ~Throw things?
Sexual abuse Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, whether they’re male or female.
Does your partner, or former partner, ever ~
~Touch you in a way you don’t want to be touched?
~Make unwanted sexual demands? ~Hurt you during sex? ~Pressure you to have unsafe sex – for example, not using a condom? ~Pressure you to have sex?
If your partner, or former partner, has sex with you when you don’t want to, this is rape.
~Have you ever felt afraid of your partner or former partner?
~Have you ever changed your behaviour because you’re afraid of what your partner, or former partner, might do?
~If you believe you are in an abusive relationship please seek help before it goes too far. Have you got someone you can talk to about it? There is help out there for you when you take the leap into freedom. Take a Google of services or helplines in your area. Or you can email me, my email is on this blog’s connect page.
For those who romanticize a burial at sea, the company Eternal Reefs offers an innovative solution. It mixes the cremated remains of a person with concrete to create a “pearl” onto which loved ones can etch personal messages, handprints or (environmentally friendly) mementos. The pearl is then encased in a “reef ball” that is dropped into the sea, where it provides a new habitat for fish and other sea life, helping encourage a vibrant ecosystem. The circle of life at work!
The word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in Mary Poppins is said to be simply a word used as “something to say when you have nothing to say,” but the mouthful of nonsensical syllables certainly has brought cheer to audiences for decades.
“How early humans developed consciousness remains shrouded in mystery. There are of course, many theories.
Who was Terence McKenna? Terence McKenna (1946- 2000), was an American ethnobotanist, author, lecturer and psychedelics advocate. In 1992 he published a book called ‘Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge— A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution’. Hailed as a ‘modern classic on mind-altering drugs and hallucinogens’ (Washington Post) it contained the radical ‘Stoned Ape Theory’.
What is ‘Stoned Ape Theory?‘ Firstly, for all you sticklers for accuracy, the ‘Stoned Ape Theory’ is not technically a theory. A theory is a hypothesis (a proposed explanation or idea) that is backed up by proven evidence. As there is currently no concrete factual evidence for this idea, it remains a hypothesis. So! The ‘Stoned Ape Hypothesis’. What is it?!
It is thought that between 2 million and 700,000 years ago Homo erectus brains doubled in size. Their descendants, Homo sapiens (that’s us!) brains proceeded to triple in size somewhere between 100,000 and 500,000 years ago. There is, currently, no agreed upon theory for such a dramatic evolutionary development.
Enter the Mushroom… McKenna proposed that these massive accelerations were due to an unexpected source— magic mushrooms.
Imagine the scenario: early human has descended from the trees. Leaving the leafy canopy behind they begin, in groups, to track and domesticate herds of animals. In the manure left by the animals, mushrooms begin to grow. Specifically psilocybin, or magic mushrooms. Munching together, on the shrooms, they begin to feel the psychedelic effects. The psilocybin in the mushrooms, behaves exactly as it does today, opening the minds of its consumers. This process kicked into overdrive the ability to process information, imagine and think abstractly.
As McKenna put it, ‘Homo sapiens ate our way to a higher consciousness’.
The Birth of Language Even the development of language can be linked with the hypothesis. Psilocybin can induce a brain state similar to synesthesia— where different senses, such as vision and sound, get paired together. This could explain how humans were able to begin to create association with the things they saw and the noises that they made with their mouths— thus language was born.
Strengthening of Community Feelings of interconnectedness and empathy that shrooms encourage, would have strengthened community— which is one of the secrets to humanity’s success. In fact, McKenna also maintained that increased sexual arousal due to ingestion of shrooms (this has not been proven) would have further benefited the growth of population. Additionally, early religious and ceremonial ritual may have been based upon the psychedelic experiences induced by the magic mushrooms.
The Psychedelic Relationship Continues Today, McKenna’s hypothesis has been widely debunked as being too simplistic an explanation for the mystery of human consciousness. Despite this, it remains a compelling argument to consider in relation to a question that may never get a definite answer. Meanwhile, McKenna should remain lauded for recognising what science is only beginning to take seriously now— that psilocybin is a revolutionary tool for brain wellness. With more and more promising results from psychedelic studies, even if shrooms didn’t create human consciousness, in the near future they could play a big part in improving it.”
Humans hate “cognitive dissonance”: when a fact counters something we believe. That’s why when, we hear that a loved one did something wrong, we undermine how bad it really was, or we tell ourselves that science exaggerates when a study tells us we really need to move more.