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PATHWAYS—Winter 23—3

Balancing the Art and Science of Massage Therapy since 1 976

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4—PATHWAYS—Winter 23

PATHWAYS—Winter 23—5

Erin Desabla Owner & Publisher; Events + Operations + Business Development Michelle Alonso

MInd • Body • Spirit • Environmental Resources Since 1979

Editor, Magazine & Web Content; Social Media + Marketing, Events Claudia Neuman Operations + Sales + Event Support Amaya Roberson Sales + Event Support Ann Silberlicht Graphic Design MayaRose Creative

What We Are About Pathways Productions is a full-service advertising, marketing, event and publishing company serving the mind, body, spirit community since 1979. From the start, we have been a small, family-run busi- ness. Today, we have a women-led team dedicated to helping all businesses — local, small & inde- pendent — succeed and thrive. Over the years, we have expanded our offerings to include live events, most notably the widely successful and always popular Natural Living Expo. The articles and resources offered by Pathways Magazine and its affiliated hosted events demon - strate a common belief on the part of local individuals, businesses and contributors that sharing ideas and expertise builds community and commerce in a spirit of unity, cooperation and under- standing while maintaining a high level of integrity, responsibility and service. Our content em- braces these ideals; we are a conduit — a pathway — for the most loving and dynamic insights and information that enable all of us to live more consciously. The views and opinions expressed in Pathways Magazine, and by vendor materials for our hosted events, are those of the contributing writers, editors and merchants, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Pathways ownership or any Pathways staff. Any content provided by our contributors is of their opinion and is not intended to malign any religious, ethnic, or cultur- al group, organization, company or individual. Furthermore, the products and services presented herein and at our hosted events do not necessarily constitute an endorsement of use or a recommen- dation on the part of Pathways and its staff, and are largely paid advertising and vending. Making Connections Join our Pathways Community! Through our quarterly and online publications, and our sched- uled hosted events, we are committed to providing the public with free or affordable access to local resources focused on holistic health and wellness practices, spirituality and personal growth, com- munity activism and outreach, and stewardship to the environment. We foster these opportunities through information, ideas, events, goods and services. Our goal is to provide a platform for businesses to reach the public in a comprehensive and cost-ef- fective way. Through advertising, packaged marketing, live events and retreats, and event planning support, we offer businesses opportunities to market themselves through a variety of channels, and use our expertise to facilitate this growing network. Pathways is your one-stop resource to make connections, nurture growth and achieve success. Finding Pathways Pathways Magazine print edition is distributed through dozens of outlets in Maryland, DC and Virginia. Visit our “Where To Find” page online for the nearest locations to pick up your print copy. More distribution outlets are being added with each issue. We also provide an online digital edition with interactive links to references, resources and businesses for each issue. Our website features our current issue, as well as a magazine archive, where you can view issues dating back to 2010. Subscriptions for Pathways Magazine are available for $16/year and direct-mailed. Order yours through our website: Advertising In Pathways Pathways advertising opportunities are available through all of our outreach channels: our free quarterly journal, Pathways Magazine, distributed in print and digitally; our hosted events; and our comprehensive website and growing social media presence. We offer ad rate discounts with custom packages for Expo exhibitors, and provide design services for low one-time fees. For more informa- tion, upcoming deadlines and our editorial calendar, visit us online.

Magazine & Website, Design + Production Contributing Editors Cam MacQueen Kathy Jentz Contributing Writers Helena Amos Aurora B. Carol Burbank Beth Charbonneau Hawatu Davowah Ellen Evert Hopman Lindsey Haldeman Trish Hall

Misty Kuceris Annie Larson Vasu Murthy Tarah Singh

Pramela Thiagesan Lindsey Van Wagner

Book Reviews Alyce Ortuzar On The Cover EMBODIMENT #22 By Martina Sestakova Circulation 12K copies by Pathways Staff WINTER 23 Volume 48, Number 4 Published quarterly with the season change by ERIN DESABLA PATHWAYS PRODUCTIONS 7407 Aspen Ave. Takoma Park, MD 20912 PH: 240-247-0393 (Mon. – Thurs. • 12 PM to 5 PM) ADVERTISING EMAIL: Ad Rates Available Online: Deadline for Editorial and Advertising are 2/10, 5/10, 8/10 and 11/10. Publication is approximately four weeks after the deadlines. Please email all arti- cles as file attachments to the Editor at: © 2023 Pathways Productions

6—PATHWAYS—Winter 23


Winter 2023 — What’s Inside

MIND-BODY-SPIRIT The Peace Choice - Creating a Life of Bliss .........................................................................................9 By Pramela Thiagesan ACCESSING YOUR INTUITION How Would I Know If I’m A Medium? ...............................................................................................11 By Annie Larson CULTIVATING COMPASSION The Shreds and Threads of Equity As Seen Through My Personal, Multicultural Lens ..................13 By Tarah Singh; edited by Cam MacQueen GREEN NEWS & VIEWS Combating Light Pollution, Preserving Dark Skies ............................................................................15 By Aurora B. HERB CORNER The Sacred Herbs of Yule: Mistletoe .................................................................................................17 By Ellen Evert Hopman ASTROLOGICAL INSIGHTS Winter 2023: The Clues Are Around Us ............................................................................................19 By Misty Kuceris TO YOUR HEALTH Functional Medicine Treatment for Long COVID ............................................................................23 By Helena Amos, M.AC., L.AC., Euro. Physician ENVIRONMENTAL & SOCIAL JUSTICE Telling the Truth: The Paradox of Peace as R/Evolution .................................................................32 By Carol Burbank WASHINGTON GARDENER Winter Plant Picks – Part 2 ...............................................................................................................45 By Kathy Jentz TO YOUR HEALTH Hypnotic Help for Seasonal Affective Disorder .................................................................................47 By Beth Charbonneau, LCSW-C

Make your own Fire Cider, an herbal folk remedy used to boost immunity, stimu- late digestion, support metabolism and more; by Hawatu Davowah. Page 26

Sound healing is an important wellness practice that can align us on physical and energetic levels; by Lindsey Halde- man. Page 29

ON THE COVER: EMBODIMENT #22, by Martina Sestakova. Artist profile, page 59



• A Peace of My Mind: Practical Ways to Prioritize Your Inner Space, by Lindsey Van Wagner - pg 49 • Heartfulness: A Transformation System for Our Spiritual Anatomy, by Vasu Murthy - pg 52 • Book review by Alyce Ortuzar: Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash , by Elizabeth Royte - pg 54 • This Precious, New, Now Moment, by Trish Hall - pg 60 • Winter Events Calendar - pg 35 • Advertiser Index - pg 62

Mark your calendars for the Pathways Spring Natural Living Expo and Online Marketplace — the premier Mind-Body-Spirit-Eco event in the DMV! The Hilton McLean is a beautiful, light-filled space that will host 110+ booths, 30+ workshops, food trucks, and the fellowship of our amazing Pathways Community. If you’re interest - ed in exhibiting, we are accepting Vendor Applications online now! Follow us on social media for the latest event updates. Plan to join us to support these businesses so our resources stay in our local communities. Until then, we have peace on our minds. Peace for our planet. Peace within ourselves. Much of this issue is devoted to thinking about what peace means and how to achieve it. As we delve into this season of gratitude and turning inward, we invite you to reflect on what peace means to you and for you, and how you will help promote it. Be the light. Share the light. From our families to yours, we send you blessings for a wonderful holiday season, gratitude for your continued support, and hope for a more peaceful world.

PATHWAYS—Winter 23—7

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8—PATHWAYS—Winter 23


The Peace Choice - Creating A Life of Bliss

BY PRAMELA THIAGESAN Peaceful is the one who is not concerned with having more or less. Unbound by name and fame, he is free from sorrow from the world and mostly from himself. ~ Rumi In a perfect world, there would be peace across all nations and har- mony within communities. We look at world peace as a concept that is detached from our personal capacity — it is something to be wished for, a sweeping solution to nuanced disharmony that in fact begins within the individual world view. If we are to be the change we wish to see in the world, then let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with (you and) me. The Global Peace Index (GPI) exists to evaluate how peaceful a country is based on a matrix of variables. One of the markers is the level of conflict that is present — this is considered negative peace, as it is measured by the absence of what threatens it. Using this same model, positive peace is measured by the frameworks, attitude, in- frastructure and investments within the country that lead to contin- ued and sustained peace. (Download the 2023 report at - Aspiring for peace as a quality within our lives is not only arguably a more mature human desire, it is one that holds a higher vibration and is closer to enlightenment than any other quality, including joy and love. According to the Emotional Vibration Analysis Frequency Chart, an arbitrary scale created by Dr. David Hawkins and featured in his book Force vs. Power , the vibration of peace aligns with emo- tions associated with bliss and the life view that everything is as it should be. In short, that life is perfect. The chart measures Peace at 600 Hz, just below Enlightenment at 700+ Hz, and above Joy at 540 Hz and Love at 500 Hz. At the other end of the spectrum is shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, anger and pride (ranging between 20 Hz and 175 Hz). On closer inspection, it is evident these lower vibration emo - tions are often what diminishes love, joy, and without doubt, peace. The progression to identify peace as an elevated state of being is potentially a natural passage through the journey of life and the wis- dom we pick up along the way that peace is more valuable than pros- perity, fame, success, and actually even the ever-transient happiness. Within our physical body, peace has a different name, and this is homeostasis . Homeostasis is defined as “a self-regulating process by which a living organism can maintain internal stability while adjust- ing to changing external conditions”. Homeostasis is not static and unvarying; it is a dynamic process that can change internal conditions as required to survive external challenges. So, we achieve homeosta- sis when all our chemical, energetic, and aerobic/anaerobic systems are functioning at optimal balance to accommodate the toxic, inflam - matory, parasitic, viral, and oxidative stress that are part of life with- out compromising on the internal balance. When translated to our emotional health, it is our ability to maintain peace through adjusting our perception, and despite experiencing events that threaten it. In the world of alternative wellness practices, peace is associated with 528 Solfeggio Frequency. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the 528 Hz frequency can offer a wide range of benefits, which include improved sleep quality, reduced stress and anxiety, increased ener- gy levels, improved concentration and focus, improved digestion, and reduced pain and inflammation, among other benefits. A 2017 research study by the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Tehran found that the frequency of 528 Hz increased cells’ viability about 20%, and the level of ROS (free radicals) pro -

Waiting for the absence of challenges, adversity, grief, judgment and loss to find is not a sustainable model. It is negative peace. peace

Pramela Thiagesan

duction was reduced up to 100%. It also noted that the 528 Hz sound wave has compelling effects, such as increasing the ability of repairing human DNA. Additional research in 2018 by the Center for Advanced Kampo Medicine and Clinical Research in Tokyo, Japan, measured the effects of this frequency on the endocrine system and found that Tension-anxiety and Total Mood Disturbance scores were significant - ly reduced after exposure to 528 Hz music. One of the wonderful opportunities the human experience offers us is perspective. When we look at moments of adversity and stress in our life and consider how we responded or reacted to those moments, we usually come to the conclusion that while the situation may have been hectic, heartbreaking, or stressful, our reactions to these situa- tions play an important role in the narrative of the event and how it impacts us after the fact. Worrying about what we are not, what we don’t have, what we should do or haven’t done actually served no pur- pose in the eventual outcome and was possibly disruptive. When we care for the aspects of our inner world to facilitate vibrations, frequen- cies, and perspectives that facilitate peace, while also mindfully inte- grating practices that create peaceful and balanced body systems, our whole life changes. We become able to move through a world of chaos, stressful situations, adversity, grief and even world turmoil without

continued on page 43

Emotional Vibration Analysis Frequency Chart, © Dr David Hawkins,

PATHWAYS—Winter 23—9

Learning At Its Best!

Wanda Lasseter Lundy

The Lasseter Lundy Institute is an educational organization that provides a full curriculum for intuitive healers to be certified as Lasseter Lundy Method practitioners and to become faculty members of Lasseter Lundy Institute. We provide learning for becoming a master of intuitive healing. The course material is unique to Lasseter Lundy Institute and provides a comprehensive education in energy healing, intuition and combining the two skill sets. You will understand how intuition and energy work, how these skills can be fully developed, and you will become more enlightened in the process.

Lasseter Lundy Institute is:

• Working with the aura communication system • Clearing and sorting the etheric fabric • Working with subtle color and sound frequencies for profound effect • Integrating client energy into a full consciousness Tuition: $350 Virtual or In-person at 3615 Madison La, Falls Church, VA To Register: Visit or call/text 202-549-7954 or email

One Day Healing Event January 20, 2024, 12:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Come receive powerful and profound healing! This is a day of healing provided by Wanda Lasseter Lundy for all participants. The healing has the power of the group behind it. You will receive healing for your body, mind, emotions, soul and past and future lives based on the group collective as well as individual healing for participants. You will receive healing for your family and other relationships, and have improvements for your life path. Cost: $175 Class Type: Virtual To register: Purchase a ticket through our website or call our office at 812-705-5135 or email Level Two: Core Program Working with Angels, Guides and Masters January 13, 2024, 12:00 pm – 5:30 pm Taught by Teresa M. Jones This class is about communicating with angels, guides and masters to provide additional information to clients. Learning, with practice, includes: • The audio/visual and sensory input from angels, masters and guides • How to acquire/transfer and keep, and keep the energy of angels, masters and guides • How to ask questions and receive answers • How to tailor the information received for a client Tuition: $175 Class Type: Virtual To register: Purchase a ticket through our website or call our office at 812-705-5135 or email Level Two: Core Program Healing Techniques • Types of channeling and how to channel • How to access different types of guidance This class includes a variety of healing techniques to enhance your toolbox. Learn to use all of the techniques, including but not limited to: • Harnessing multiple energy flows to achieve results and create fields • Using the cervico-thoracic and sacral distributor to help clients create • Enhancing the will to be: knowing when to use kundalini • Achieving rapid healing • Reading and using the client’s own energy templates for wellness to create immediate change • Using radiant and magnetic energy January 27 & 28, 2024, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Taught by Wendy Wisner and Rodrigo Ortiz

Level One: Foundation Program Becoming Intuitive: Empathy is a Gift February 10, 2024, 12:00 pm – 5:30 pm Taught by Elizabeth Bava

Many people are naturally empathic. They are able to feel what other people are feeling, either physically or emotionally. Often empathic people are uncomfortable with these feelings and affected by them for a period of time after having them. This class teaches you how to turn empathy into a gift that informs you about others and situations while simultaneously maintaining your energy and feeling well. Cost: $175 Class Type: Virtual To register: Purchase a ticket through our website or call our office at 812-705-5135 or email Level Two: Core Program Class Energy Healing: Redistribution, Clearing, & Balancing Become an Intuitive Energy Healer to heal yourself and those you love. Learn how to clear your own and someone’s energy to achieve the frequencies and flows. • Build your intuitive energy healing skills and participate in practice • Heal: Clear, redistribute, and balance energy • Assess healing needs based on unhealthy beliefs and their impact • Understand what types of energy blocks and distortions and how to detect • Determine how the blocks affect your life physically, mentally, and emotionally • Work with energy flows to promote integration • Measure the healing changes Tuition: $350 Virtual or In-person at 3615 Madison La, Falls Church, VA To Register: Visit or call/text 202-549-7954 or email February 24 & 25, 2024, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Taught by Wendy Wisner & Rodrigo Ortiz

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10—PATHWAYS—Winter 23


How Would I Know If I’m A Medium?

ing how to win the battle against the wicked, illegitimate Powers that seek to keep the soul entrapped in the world and ignorant of its true spiritual nature.” From the time of Constantine into the next millennium, the Cath- olic Church’s papacy became the authority that governed. Any devi- ation from their beliefs, with an emphasis to not engage with medi- ums, was heresy punishable by death, as clearly stated in Leviticus 20:27, “A man or woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.” Joan of Arc, who had celestial visions and heard disincarnate voices, led the French army into victory against the En- glish. Joan continued to claim she heard divine voices until the very end, when in 1431, the English tried and condemned her as a heretic and burned her at the stake.


Seer, prophet, oracle, sibyl, necromancer, spiritualist, clairvoyant, witch, shaman, psychic, and medium… These are all words used to de- scribe the ability to communicate with disincarnate beings who supply information or messages to the living. Throughout history all cultures and religions have held some form of belief of life after life. We are spiritual beings having a human experience , Pierre Teilhard de Char- din, a Jesuit priest and scientist who died in 1955, reminds us. Mediumship is met with both skepticism and awe. In a 2021 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, about seventy percent of Americans say it is possible to feel the presence of someone who has died , while forty seven percent believe they can communicate with

them in some way. Religious influence may also play a role in how you approach the belief in communicating with loved ones in spirit. Indeed, we’ve seen how religion has played a role in shaping beliefs throughout history, including attitudes toward the mystical and metaphysical. From my own experience as a medium, skeptics become believers once they have lost a loved one that they wish to communicate with and experience evidentiary proof during a mediumship session. Believer, skeptic, or somewhere in between, it is worth exploring your own connection to the spirit world by first understanding what mediumship is, its historical background, and the characteristics associated with what it means to have medi- umistic abilities.

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church was the theocratic authori- ty in all of Europe, until Martin Luther, tired of their corruption, posted his 95 Theses on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Ger- many; and thus, the Protestant Reformation was born, on October 31, 1517. It’s interesting that Luther picked the ancient Celtic festi- val of Samhain (modern day Halloween) — when the veil is very thin, and costumes are worn to ward off spirits that are allowed to walk the earth — to make his revolutionary proclamation. Coming out of the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, early Modern Europe be - gan with a wave of witch hunts, accusations, and executions. In England, King Henry VIII believed his second wife, Anne Boleyn en-

chanted him; and with her inability to produce him a male heir, Hen- ry accused her of sorcery, adultery, and incest, and she was executed in 1536. A few years later, King Henry VIII’s Act of 1541 was the first to make the “practise or exercise…[of] an Invovacons, or cojuracons of Sprites witchecraftes enchauntements or sorceries to thentent to fynde money or treasure” illegal and punishable by death. Many, mostly elderly, unwed, or independent women, were exe - cuted in a 90-year period spanning 1560 to 1670. This eventually ex - tended to the puritanical American Colonies, which were at the height of witch hunts during the Salem witch trials, in Massachusetts, from 1692 to 1693. In 1702, the Salem witch trials were declared unlawful in the Colonies, as written in “A Brief History of the Salem Witch Tri- als,” by Jess Blumberg in Smithsonian Magazine . The last innocent woman accused of being a witch was executed in Europe in 1782, after which time the suppression of mostly women accused of witchcraft began to fade. In the 1800s, as America transitioned from an agrarian society to an industrialized one, inventions like the telegraph made commu - nication across vast expanses seem like magic. It’s no wonder that a belief in mediums and communicating with the disincarnate grew. In 1848 in a farmhouse in Hydesville, New York, the Fox sisters be - gan communicating with otherworldly intelligence through a series of audible raps on their bedroom walls, and Spiritualism was born. Spiritualists believe that consciousness exists outside the human physical body, and spirits can be communicated with by virtue of a medium , or go between, between the two worlds. Like Pierre Teil-

A Brief Summary of Mediumship Throughout History Communicating with spirits is recorded as early as in the Hebrew Bible, where Saul, the king of Israel, asks the mistress of Endor (a Seer) to communicate with the spirit of the prophet Samuel (who, by the way, when he was alive, was against such sorcery ) to gain insight on defeating the Philistines. As history portends, the Endor medium didn’t give Saul good news about the battle. Saul’s sons were slain, and he committed suicide on Mount Gilboa in the 11 th century BCE. The suppression of paganism, esoteric beliefs and practices was greatly influenced by the conversion of Constantine the Great to Ca - tholicism, after he had a vision of a great illuminated cross before a battle. He won the battle, and as Emperor of Rome, he and all his sub- jects converted. To bring consistency to the Bible and unite Catholic teachings, in 325 AD Constantine created the First Council of Nicaea, where 318 Christian bishops met to mold the New Testament as we know it today. Many gospels of the Bible were discarded or destroyed; and if it wasn’t for the sale of antiquities in Egypt in the 1800s and the discov - ery of the Dead Seas Scrolls in 1946, we might not ever have known there were other gospels written with references to mystical practices. Take, for instance, the Gospel of Mary, a fragment of which resurfaced in Egypt in the late 1800s, nearly 1500 years after it was originally written. According to the account written in The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle, by Karen L. King, Mary comforts the disciples of Jesus by explaining his prophecy from a vision she received from him, “The Savior had explained to her the nature of prophecy and the rise of the soul to its final rest, describ -

continued on page 56

PATHWAYS—Winter 23—11

Takoma Metaphysical Chapel

Sunday 11:00 Services now virtual at Zoom (81385184622) and Facebook Live. Other activities via conf. at 717-908-1636 (635833#) A Spiritual Community That Supports Your Individual Development

Imagine A Place Where…. Your beliefs are supported and embraced. Everyday events are explored from the physical, mental and spiritual perspective. Like-minded individuals support you in your spiritual journey. At the Takoma Metaphysical Chapel, you will find such a place. The Takoma Metaphysical Chapel is a growing community of people committed to spiritual growth and development resulting in transformation and emotional well-being. You’ll find uplifting services, you’ll feel the spirit of Love, and you’ll learn practical ways to put this energy to work for your greatest good. Relevant, Practical Themes. Teachings based on numerous “new thought” spiritual traditions that show you how to apply timeless spiritual principles in practical ways to navigate your life with more peace, joy and grace. Come As You Are Come experience uplifting music, meditation, prayer and messages designed to touch your heart and uplift your spirit. Experience wisdom from various spiritual traditions to heal your heart, mind and soul. The Takoma Metaphysical Chapel meets on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. on Zoom (Meeting Code 81385184622) and on Facebook Live.

Our Mailing Address Is: 1901 Powder Mill Road, Silver Spring, MD 20903

Classes and Workshops Include: SPIRIT SPEAKS ON CREATING YOUR VISION Mondays at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom PROSPEROUS RELATIONSHIPS / PROSPEROUS LIFE Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom See website for other classes, online support and more details. Many classes available via conference call also.

OTHER EVENTS INCLUDE: Wednesday Evening Healing/ Meditation Circles 7:15 – 8:30 p.m. via conf. 717-908-1636 (635833#) 3rd Sunday Goddess Circle 7:30 p.m via conf. 717-908-1636 (635833#) A Course In Miracles Calls M-F 6:55 a.m. via conf Sunday 9:30 a.m. via conf 717-908-1636 (635833#)

(301) 587-7200 •

12—PATHWAYS—Winter 23


The Shreds and Threads of Equity As Seen Through My Personal, Multicultural Lens


ters, I am still unclear as to their true objective. I understand these classes address systematic dis- advantages faced by mar- ginalized individuals and communities. Yet, during classes, I have witnessed people feeling guilty, an- gry, and crying — all valid responses to the experi- ence of being flooded with traumatic subject matter. It’s curious to ponder: are these classes effectu - ating true change in the here and now, and for our futures, or are they just engendering guilt and remorse? We can say we want racial justice, but if our actions are futile, it’s impossible to institute new ways of seeing and being.

My name is Tarah Singh. I am a Guyanese American, and a multi - cultural artist, born in Washington, DC, in the fall of 1975, and raised between Teaneck, NJ, and Asheville, NC, where I currently reside. As a creative visionary, I’ve worked for nearly 20 years in a variety of me - dia to communicate with the world around me. During my early years, I spent summers back north in Marlow Heights, Maryland, visiting my maternal great-grandmother. My mother’s youngest sister attended Howard University in the early 90’s, when I was in high school and spent summers visiting her while she lived in DC. We would also travel back to New Jersey and New York during my stay. I am grateful that my aunt and her now husband took the time to make sure I remained in an understanding of ‘Black Culture’ — that it was a necessity for me to maintain balance in my identity while growing up in the rural South. Coming from Hender- sonville, North Carolina, they would take me shopping for “current” clothing styles from “up north”, to see current pop culture movies like New Jack City, and make cassette tapes of R&B music and NYC’s top 40 hits. They provided these experiences so I would have exposure to a world outside of Western North Carolina. There was no Internet then, and my mother did not want us to have a television in the home, so without these cultural discoveries, I would have had a very insulated upbringing. My mother is from a family of famous musicians. When they went places, people were starstruck and clamored for autographs. My fa - ther’s family is from Georgetown, Guyana, and of Indian descent. His grandmother was an entrepreneur who helped with agricultural im- provements and supported the creation of an orphanage in George- town. His grandfather started a bank which improved the standard of living for our family and the greater community. With close connections to my family on multiple continents, I am aware of my unique background, and I have had a difficult time relat - ing to a narrative of ethnic people being considered less than. I know my story isn’t like everyone’s, but these are the experiences I had, and it is my norm. I wish to share it with others, because it has greatly empowered me. As a child, I was constantly asked, “What are you?” I wondered what the right answer was. My final answer was “HUMAN,” some - thing that should allow everyone to relate to me while treating me with respect and affording me the same opportunities they also wished to receive. Thus, a crucial point — if we consider the innate humanness we share, we clearly have much more in common than not. Although words are not my favorite medium, nor am I an expert on race relations, I will attempt to interlace my ideas, opinions, and experiences, in hopes that they will initiate a thought-provoking con- versation on a challenging subject. In the vast tapestry of history, the threads of race and nationality have played an undeniable role in shaping societies and individuals alike. These constructs both divide and unify; yet I am left wondering what will help us truly move toward a more integrated, progressive future. Could it be a paradigm shift that invites us to see beyond the scope of race and color? A shift that informs our own humanity causing us to recognize the beauty and majesty of our interconnectedness, and our differences. As humans, we have that ability — and if we tapped into it, anything is possible. Currently, the trend is for racial equity classes to be readily avail- able. While they attempt to create awareness on many historical mat-

“Hope” - mixed media on tar paper - is a discussion about growth and resilience, hence the butterfly symbology. There are no rose colored glasses, but knowledge can help us facilitate transformation.

Perhaps we need to begin with separate groups meeting first, to get our own stories straight and reduce the trepidation some have that they will say something offensive, or will be attacked for the actions of their ancestors? I question when the conversations will evolve and the topic of equity will emerge; unfortunately, it never has in any of the classes I have attended. To illustrate this point, one facilitator requested, “All the people here who consider themselves white, raise your hands” and then asked, “Who makes up the constructs of race anyway?” As one can well imagine, there was a heaviness that hung in the air as they looked around. Microaggressions occur on both sides of the race card. I am re - pulsed when experiencing them in the context of one of these events. These classes are meant to de-escalate tension, yet I feel apprehensive every time I attend one. After my last racial equity class, I went on a tirade to friends and family, in order to process the trauma I felt from the experience of having someone else impose their narrative that shreds my identity. Instead of continuing that type of upset, what if we could shift the focus to cultural inclusivity that cultivates acceptance, understand- ing, respect, and ideally, love? Nurturing appreciation for the signifi - cance of various traditions, customs, foods, philosophies, and artistic expressions that transcend racial and geopolitical boundaries plays a crucial role — just as curry is a blend of spices that is recognized glob - ally, and each region has its own blend of specific flavors that makes it unique and enjoyable for most everyone. When we remove the lens of race and nation, we can truly appre- ciate the universal aspects of culture that resonate with all people, re- gardless of their origins. We can explore different stories, histories, and ways of life, seeking to foster a sense of curiosity. We can celebrate shared human experiences and coalesce our values.

continued on page 51

PATHWAYS—Winter 23—13



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14—PATHWAYS—Winter 23


Combating Light Pollution, Preserving Dark Skies

policymakers at the earliest stages of policy formation. Importantly, they also encourage citizens to get actively involved with protecting the night sky in their own towns (check out their guide on Lighting Or- dinances , which includes a template for a Model Lighting Ordinance, for example). As if DarkSky’s vast resource library wasn’t enough, they also cer - tify and help conserve starry sky parks, communities and other places around the world with their Dark Sky Places program . Some of the more well-known places include Big Bend National Park in Texas, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah and the community of Flagstaff, Arizona. These locations have protections in place for dark skies, which minimize light pollution and trespass. For example, the Lighting Or - dinance for Flagstaff specifies type of lamps preferred (Low-Pressure Sodium [LPS] or narrow-spectrum amber LED), along with their al - lowed level of light output. Fully shielded lamps for outdoor lighting are required in almost all cases. Certified sites also engage in public outreach and education, and monitor local light pollution levels.


When you sit outside at night or in the wee hours of the morning, what do you expect to see? In ancient times, priest-shamans would observe the night sky, which they saw as a key to understanding our past, present and future. The ancient Maya tracked the movement of Xibalba Be , the Mayan “Dark Road” aka The Dark Rift (or Great Rift) that appears to the eye as a dark streak through the Milky Way, which they saw as the en - trance to the Underworld. These days, we’d be lucky if we saw half of what Ptolemy observed when he named his original famous 48 con - stellations. Light Pollution is defined by the National Geographic Society as “the excessive or inappropriate use of outdoor artificial light, affecting human health, wildlife behavior, and our ability to observe stars and other celestial objects”. Just like air or water pollution, “light pollu- tion” describes conditions that are inhospitable to life as we know it. Our modern world is absolutely flooded with artificial light, whether it be from streetlights, sports arenas, shopping centers, or overly-lit individual properties, you name it. And with modern Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) oftentimes being very bright and blue-enriched, which flicker and emit light in specific directions instead of evenly dispersing, it’s not a far stretch of the imagination to say that life systems are impacted by this. Such drastic changes to our environment in the form of lighting has been blamed as the primary reason why we have migrating birds flying into skyscrapers, baby tur - tles navigating inland instead of out to sea, and molluscs that aren’t feeding for as long as in the past due to the way these new lights pen- etrate water. While there is some evidence in scientific literature of the effects these bright lights have on wildlife, little has been confirmed about their effects on humans. However, initial research on artificial light at night (ALAN) has shown worrying effects, such as increased risk of breast and prostate cancer and circadian rhythm/sleep-wake cycle disruption. (The NIH National Library of Medicine has several arti- cles available online on ALAN-related research.) If someone’s sleep is disturbed, they’re vulnerable to a whole host of other mental and physical issues. We are also often told the reason for having such bright lights is that it’s for security purposes. But, brighter is not always better. When considering that bright lights create high contrast shadows, thereby providing safety to potential perpetrators as a place to hide, it might be time to reconsider that notion. Introducing DarkSky Currently, there are only a handful of organizations tackling the issue of light pollution. Of those, DarkSky International (recently re - branded, and formerly called the International Dark-Sky Association) is perhaps the most well-known ( They aim to educate on the fact that light pollution exists, and advocate for com- mon-sense policies that protect human health, wildlife and the envi- ronment. Turning the lights off, guidance for buying and installing lighting that has less impact on the environment, and how to talk to light-loving neighbors when their floodlights trespass into your bed - room windows at night are just some of the every-day tips they pro- mote that anyone anywhere can do. DarkSky not only develops these resources for people at an individ - ual-level, but they lead efforts to set policies that reduce light pollution around the world. They track policy developments and engage with

As of January 2023, there were 201 certified Dark Sky Places across 6 continents. The two closest to us in the DMV are the Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania, and Mayland Earth to Sky Park & Bare Dark Sky Observatory in North Carolina. But some exciting local news! Our very own Turner Farm in Great Falls, Virginia, may in fu- ture be designated as a “DarkSky site.” Local Advocacy Simply being aware that light pollution is an issue is the first step. From there, you can adjust your lighting at home and then widen your radius, if you’re called to do so. As an example, I found that my local Lighting Ordinance in Fairfax City allowed for outrageously-high out- put from a single light source — up to 200,000 lumens or 2 million candela are allowed! For comparison, High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps, like those used at sports stadiums, can emit somewhere in the range of 15,000 lumens per lamp, and Flagstaff limits many lamps to 10,000 lumens. So there seemed to be a disconnect between my local Ordinance and what’s reasonable in terms of lighting. I presented my findings at the local Planning Commission meeting, and the ordinance is now being reviewed. There is work to be done here, but I am confident it can and will be done. Our actions today affect the world of tomorrow. If just one less person turns on their floodlights tonight after seeing this article, just imagine what we can do once more people tune in. Ms. Aurora B. has been involved with DarkSky as an Advocate, and is a member of the Soft Lights Foundation. Disclaimer: This article is not affiliated or endorsed by DarkSky International. Benefiting from the absence of light pollution, Cherry Springs State Park in Coudersport, PA, is one of the closest DarkSky certified sites to the DMV. Photo source:

PATHWAYS—Winter 23—15

16—PATHWAYS—Winter 23


Sacred Herbs of Yule: Mistletoe


We must not omit to mention the admi- ration that is lavished upon this plant by the Gauls. The Druids — for that is the name they give to their magicians — held nothing more sacred than the mistletoe and the tree that bears it, supposing always that tree to be the robur [Oak]. . . . The mistletoe, however, is but rarely found upon the robur; and when found, is gathered with rites replete with re- ligious awe. This is done more particularly on the fifth day of the moon. . . . This day they select because the moon, though not yet in the middle of her course, has already consid- erable power and influence; and they call her by a name which signifies, in their language, the all-healing. Having made all due prepa- ration for the sacrifice and a banquet beneath the trees, they bring thither two white bulls, the horns of which are bound then for the first time. Clad in a white robe the priest as - cends the tree, and cuts the mistletoe with a golden sickle, which is received by others in a white cloak. They then immolate the victims, offering up their prayers that God will render this gift of his propitious to those to whom he has so granted it. It is the belief with them that the mistletoe, taken in drink, will impart fecundity to all animals that are barren, and that it is an antidote for all poisons.

Where mistletoe stays in the house, love also stays. ~ Traditional English Saying The damsel donned her kirtle sheen; The hall was dressed with holly green; Forth to the wood did merry men go. To gather in the mistletoe . . . ~ Sir Walter Scott, “Marmion” (1808) While the ancient Romans once decorated their homes with Mistletoe at Saturnalia, the custom of kissing under the Mistletoe most likely has Scandinavian origins. Mistletoe is associated with the Pagan Goddess Frigga, wife of Odin, king of the Norse gods. She is the Goddess of love and mother of Baldur, the gentle God of the summer’s light. Once upon a time, Baldur dreamed of his own death. This alarmed Frigga greatly, be- cause if Baldur died so would all life on Earth: plants, animals, humans, and all other crea- tures. Baldur was greatly loved among the Gods, and Frigga immediately asked all beings — elementals, plants, animals, and Gods — to promise to never harm him. But the trickster God Loki saw that Frigga had overlooked just one plant: the Mistletoe.

The Gods began to play a game in which they shot arrows at Baldur, just for fun, because he was now “invincible.” But Loki, ever jealous and now disguised as a woman, made an arrow of Mistletoe wood and gave it to Hoder, the blind God of winter, who unwittingly shot Baldur dead. As soon as that happened, the world went dark. As all creatures began to weep for the death of gentle Baldur, Frigga’s tears fell on the Mistletoe, and they became its white berries. Baldur was laid out on his boat, called Ringhorn, and his wife Nan- na fell down dead at the sight. The mourners placed her body next to his, and Odin lay the magically self-replicating golden ring, Draupnir, on their funeral pyre to take with them to the Otherworld.

While Pliny does not indicate the source of his account, researcher Jean-Louis Brunaux argues that it was likely Posidonius of Rhodes, a first-century BCE polymath. This is, in fact, the only recorded Druid ritual we have. The “golden sickle” must have been made of bronze because gold is too soft for cutting herbs. Or the “golden sickle” may be a reference to the Moon Herself! The “white cloak” refers to a white cloth the Druids held below the tree to catch the sprigs of mistletoe as they fell, because they considered the herb too sacred to ever touch the ground. They would then divide the branches into many sprigs for use as medicine and distributed the branches to the people to hang over doorways as protection against thunder, lightning, and other calam- ities. Whenever a culture weaves ceremony, lore, and magic around a particular plant, we can be sure that the herb has immense practi- cal value. Stories and seasonal rituals were a way of handing down the knowledge that a plant was useful, from generation to generation. Mistletoe must have been an important medicine for the Celtic Druids Mistletoe is a tonic for epilepsy and convulsive neurological con - ditions, including urinary and heart conditions. I have successfully used it to help a person with neurological effects from Lyme disease, though they still required standard antibiotics to purge the organism from their system. Mistletoe is also used for treating heart conditions and to stop internal bleeding. and other ancient societies. Medicinal Properties Mistletoe is given for very high fevers, such as those caused by ty - phoid; it reduces blood pressure and slows the pulse (after an initial rise). It also enhances the immune system and has an antitumor ef- fect; a commercial preparation made from it, called Iscador, is used to shrink cancerous tumors. Combine mistletoe with Skullcap ( Scutellaria lateriflora ) and Va- lerian ( Valeriana officinalis ) for nervous conditions, with Motherwort ( Leonurus cardiaca ) and Hawthorn ( Crataegus monogyna ) for myo-

Odin laid on the pyre that gold ring which is called Draup nir; this quality attended it: that every ninth night there fell from it eight gold rings of equal weight. ( Snorri Sturluson, “Gylfaginning,” thirteenth-century, Prose Edda)

Baldur’s brother Hermod the Swift was sent to the Underworld to beseech the Goddess Hel to return Baldur to the Aesir (the high Gods of Norse religion). Hermod rode upon Sleipnir, his father Odin’s eight-legged horse, and it took nine days for him to make it through dark valleys and high mountains. When Hermod finally got to the Underworld, Hel promised to let Baldur return to Asgard, the home of the Gods, as long as all beings in nature wept for him. And all did — except the giantess Tökk, who crouched in her cave and refused to shed a tear (some say that Tökk was actually jealous Loki in disguise). That meant Baldur could not return! But Hermod did bring back the golden ring Draupnir. Now, it is said, Baldur cannot return to his home with the Gods until Ragnarök, also known as the “Twilight of the Gods,” the final de - struction of the world in the conflict between the Aesir and the powers of Hel, led by Loki. Mistletoe was also an important herb of the Celtic Druids. Pliny the Elder, writing in his first-century Natural History , states:

continued on page 18

PATHWAYS—Winter 23—17

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