Steam cleaning oneself for the new year

Steam cleaning oneself for the new yearOn average every 10 days, but once a week if we can, Dan Plumley and I do a Russian-style banya either just together or with others when we can round them up. The prior couple years, we used a sweat lodge, and before that we took advantage of various friends' saunas when we could.

Shamanic Art from China and Vietnam

Shamanic Art from China and VietnamThe exhibition How to Make the Universe Right: The Art of the Shaman in Vietnam and Southern China, which is on view at the UCSB Art, Design & Architecture (AD&A) Museum January 17-May 1, consists of scroll paintings, musical instruments, clothing, and ceremonial objects from the collection of Santa Barbara residents Jill and Barry Kitnick.

7 indictments of Western civilization from an Amazonian shaman

7 indictments of Western civilization from an Amazonian shamanHis name is Davi Kopenawa, a spiritual leader of the 30,000-strong Yanomami tribe in South America. By way of his autobiography and other conversations, the Guardian recently compiled several of Kopenawa’s observations, calling them “a devastating critique of how the West lives.”
To some, Kopenawa’s thoughts may read like rehearsed lines from a contrived Hollywood script — a Johnny Depp star turn in “A Noble Savage Lands in London.” Nothing more than a colorful mishmash of trite reflections from an ignorant bystander.


THE YOUNGEST HLATIKHULU – History could be recorded if a three-month-old baby believed to be a ‘Sangoma’ turns out to be, as he was born wearing beads and holding tiny bones. The baby’s father is a practising traditional healer and his first born daughter (11) is said to be capable of telling people things about themselves, a skill said to be made possible by the ancestors.

Dangerous to touch, healthy to eat

Dangerous to touch, healthy to eatThe prickly pear cactus has been used for thousands of years for food and medicinal purposes, mostly by Native Americans. The cactus and its fruit, known as “tuna,” are raised commercially around the world. There are approximately 350 varieties. The pads of the cactus are eaten as a vegetable and called nopalito or nopales. On the pads grow small red pears that are very flavorful.