Sacred Smoke: Smudging, Smoke Cleansing, and Purifying Your Space with Intention

Smoke permeates the air. You can see its path and how it spreads. There can be no place that is missed in a place where there is smoke. In so many ways, the smoke takes our hopes and desires and carries them away to be spread across the world. Given this, it’s not surprising that it has been used in spiritual and religious ceremonies around the world and across virtually all cultures. The first recorded use was with incense used by Egyptians as far back as 2500 BC, but it was also being developed in practices in China at the same time. Religious use of incense is prominent in Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto shrines. These practices saw the burning of incense to be a way of purifying the surroundings and bringing forth Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Gods.

Posted on September 2, 2019 and filed under Education, Issue #73, Pagan, Nature.

The Ecology Center – 50 Years of Innovative Solutions for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet

n 2020, the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. It has grown to become one of the most dynamic and influential organizations of its kind in the United States. Created in the wake of the first Earth Day, the Ecology Center was founded by members of ENACT (Environmental Action for Survival), the University of Michigan’s student environmental group. ENACT and the Ecology Center’s primary original focus was to start a recycling program. The city’s first recycling program, at the newly created Recycling Center, was not the recycling program Ann Arbor residents know today: no curbside pickup, only a few types of recyclables were eligible, and residents had to sort recyclables into separate containers and deliver them directly to the Recycling Center.

HumusFalafil: Sharing Culture, Cuisine, and Wisdom

My first bite of Middle Eastern gastronomy was around age fifteen. There was a lovely Lebanese woman in her seventies who owned a food cart in a small shopping mall. She made her falafel like giant vegetable burgers with hearty chunks of chick peas, tahini, fresh parsley, garlic, lemon, and other magical ingredients she had in her secret stash. She would not share her ingredients or recipes with me except explaining a little cultural background and what basic ingredients went into her tasty street food. Her kibbhe was not the traditional raw ground lamb though. She instead baked finely minced lamb and seasonings into a square patty that was quite thin and crispy. I cherished her food. I later found out she was an aunt of one of my friends. 

True Colors: Growing and Creating Local Color with Colorwheel

Color matters. Nature uses color to attract a mate, warn of danger, lure food, and to signal hormone changes. Skin is limited in its color, so our clothing does most of the signaling for us. Mood, emotion, personality, confidence—all of this is cued through color. What colors to wear to an interview? What colors to wear on a first date? What colors to wear to an evening professional event? Neutrals with a touch of color connote professionalism and reliability, but wearing bright color is more eye-catching when out in the evening. Cultural context can change the meaning of color, but it doesn’t change the pattern of using color to communicate.

Agricole: A New Local Market Arrives in Chelsea

Agricole is a word we can easily recognize as something related to agriculture, but its new namesake is more than that. Agricole Farm Stop and Coffee Bar is about cultivating a culture of community through our connections to its people, soil, and local foods combined with a central meeting and trading place in the heart of historic downtown Chelsea. The grocery and coffee bar sits just off the railroad tracks across from the Jiffy Mix mill. Here is where the intersection of past and present food entrepreneurs remind us of our agricultural heritage and the responsibility we have moving forward to support this locally grown economy and community in a sustainable way. 

Hands on Heart Healing with Julie Kouyate

Several years ago I was walking through the U-M Diag one warm summer evening and stumbled upon swathes of barefoot dancers undulating to the rhythms and harmonies of a large drumming crew. I was in awe of these powerful dancers and drummers, and the ways they all seemed to harmonize with joy, pleasure, and sincere effort that flowed from their hearts and was expressed through their limbs.  

Posted on September 2, 2019 and filed under Healing, Interviews, Issue #73.

Celebrating the Ecology Center's 50 year Anniversary--More interviews!

In addition to the interview with Garfield (see the main article here), freelance journalist Sandor Slomovits contacted a few other people who have been associated with the Ecology Center in the past fifty years and asked them to discuss the history and accomplishments of the organization. To provide a multifaceted picture of the EC, he got in touch with people who worked at the EC during various points in its history, and who held different positions and served in a variety of capacities, from staff and leadership, to volunteers.

An Interview with Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton on Holistic Approaches to Public Safety and Bias-free Policing

After working more than thirty years in the field of law enforcement, Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton has become an international expert on such intransigent issues as bias-free policing, cultural diversity, and “subject control” arrest techniques. In 2016 Clayton represented the U.S. at a conference on community policing held in Barcelona, Spain, hosted by the Open Society Foundations. In 2017 Clayton again represented the U.S., this time at a conference in Geneva, Switzerland, sponsored by the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights. In February of 2018, Clayton participated in a U.S.-U.K. exchange in London, focusing on building leadership for fair and effective policing.

Our Southern Neighbors: Holistic Practitioners in Lenawee County

While Ann Arbor may be the center of holistic living in southeastern Michigan, the wave of conscious living has rolled across the state. A major area of growth for conscious living practitioners and educators can be found in the heart of Lenawee County. Just a short journey south and west of Ann Arbor you can visit the quaint town of Tecumseh with its many antique and fine gift shops. A little farther south and you’ll find the historic downtown of Adrian, which has been going through a time of redevelopment. Both towns, and many more surrounding them, are finding new growth, development, and interest in holistic living.

Crazy Wisdom Kids in the Community: Kid-Friendly Animal Rescues of Ann Arbor

I know I’m not the only one who has had to learn how to care for animals and who deeply enjoys their company. A natural affinity with animals since childhood is what led me to become a trained animal whisperer and animal Reiki specialist in addition to being a journalist. It’s often hard to tell where a love of animals will take a child, but these days there are some amazing programs out there to test the waters, whether a kid is interested in learning the basics of animal encounters, adopting a new family member, or becoming a veterinarian, animal trainer, or therapist. 

Fall Craft: Handmade Wool Dryer Balls

Wool dryer balls are a great alternative to chemical laden dryer sheets and fabric softener. They bounce around in the dryer with your load of laundry, helping to circulate air, which makes your clothes dry faster, reducing the time needed to run your machine. Of course, they work best with small to medium size loads because they need room to move around, but they will help with static cling and soften your clothes, all without the use of chemicals. Energy saving, money saving, and eco-friendly? Who could ask for more?

Now or Later? The Daily Dilemma of Childhood and Beyond

For children, as with adults, life is a series of choices. Do I clean my room now or keep playing this fun video game? Do I eat this chocolate cake now or keep working on losing those 10 pounds? Finding a balance between enjoying your now self and investing in your future self can be a constant challenge. 

Posted on September 1, 2019 and filed under Children, Columns, Issue #73, Parenting.

Double Double, Toil and Trouble: The Appeal of Witchcraft and Paganism in the Modern Era

You see it in Newsweek, CNN, and other news websites that report on spirituality and esoteric culture like Quartz and Gaia. You see it through phenomena such as Instagram’s 300k+ subscriber feed to Hoodwitch, Youtube’s explosive growth of tarot readers, and gray or shamanic witches offering online tutorials and looks into their family traditions of Celtic witchcraft, and Wiccan seasonal ceremonies. Wicca, witchcraft, and paganism have long had an important perch within Crazy Wisdom Bookstore’s book sections, and local Wiccans, witches, and pagans have long been written about in The Crazy Community Wisdom Journal, but all these related areas are experiencing exponential growth, both locally in earth-religion-friendly Ann Arbor and on the national scale.

Posted on September 1, 2019 and filed under Issue #73, Profiles, Spirituality, Pagan.

Local Farm and Orchard Visits

When school starts and the stars begin to twinkle a bit earlier in the evening sky, one can’t help but think of picking apples, carving pumpkins, Halloween costumes, and hay rides. We’ve compiled some of the most unique orchard and farm experiences we could find in southeastern Michigan. Grab your jacket and wellies and enjoy the crisp autumn air before Jack Frost dances on your eyelashes!

Local Haunts for a Scary Good Time

Visiting an old haunt takes on a whole new meaning when you dig a little deeper into the history of the place. Every person has a story, and those stories sometimes get trapped in brick and mortar. Lives are cut short by tragedy, buried by lost opportunity, and marred by time moving on. At death, some feel that their story is not finished being told. Just ask some of the people working and living around local places in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, who believe some stories go on long after someone has passed. 

Why Your Gut Won’t Heal – And What You Can Do About It

According to two studies, 25% or more of the population in the U.S. has a functional gastrointestinal disorder, or an FGID. That is one out of every four people! But what is an FGID, and if so many people have it, why don’t you know about it?

Leaps of Faith Fall 2019, thrive juicery and Ann Arbor Pharmacy

This column is a look at brave souls who have taken a leap of faith to open their own businesses in and around Ann Arbor. What follows are personal profiles of business owners following their dreams and thriving despite the odds. Featuring thrive juicery and Ann Arbor Pharmacy.

Connecting Through Story

Joyous connection is the very stuff of story. The rise of social media, the popularity of The Moth, TED Talks, and StoryCorps, all point to the importance of story in our daily lives. Story connects us to our shared history. Personal stories of life today are cathartic for the teller, and studies show that the brain relaxes when it makes a coherent narrative out of something chaotic. They can be healing for the teller and audience alike, but story has a much broader historical significance as well. It not only helps us to understand earlier events, but also to understand the hopes, beliefs, and dreams of those who lived through those events. Story is a gift of joyous connection sent to us from times past.

Horses Have Changed My LIfe

Horses have a sentient nature. They have a wisdom that transcends what we humans can understand. One thing that they have taught me, over and over again, is to be aware of and listen to their plan. When the plan they suggest to me differs than what I had in mind, I default to their wisdom and knowledge.

Posted on September 1, 2019 and filed under Animals, Columns, Issue #73, Local Practitioners, Therapeutic Healing.

Living From the Awakened Heart

Thirty years ago, when I founded Deep Spring Center and first began to teach meditation and to channel my discarnate teacher, Aaron, there were few places where one could meditate and enjoy organized spiritual discussions. The Zen Temple comes to mind, and Jewel Heart had just opened the previous year. At that time, “meditation” usually meant Buddhist meditation, although one organization in town taught Transcendental Meditation. There were even fewer places that offered any connection with spirit and specifically discarnate, channeled entities. Looking at the Crazy Wisdom Community Journal now, I see with delight all the opportunities for practice and discussion in many traditions. 

Posted on September 1, 2019 and filed under Issue #73, Spirituality.