Incense of the Day
3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Sandalwood
1 part Woodruff
1 part Rose petals
Few drops Jasmine oil
Few drops Neroli oil
Burn during Wiccan rituals on Beltane (April 30th) or on May Day for fortune and favors and to attune with the changing of the seasons.
Deity of the Day
Goddess of Agriculture
Areas of Influence: Ceres was the Roman Goddess of agriculture and grain. The word cereal is derived from her name. She is accredited with the discovery of spelt, an ancient strain of wheat and the knowledge of how to grow, fertilize and harvest cereal crops.
After a terrible famine in 496 B.C. the Sibylline books were consulted and a recommendation made that Rome adopt of the Greek Deities Demeter, Dionyisus and Persephone. Their identities were changed to Ceres, Liber and Libera. Together they formed the Avertine triad.
This Goddess also adopted Demeter’s mythology as she also lost her daughter to the God of the underworld, for six months of the year.
Her early Italian cult was similar to that of Tellus the Earth Goddess. She was aided in her agricultural duties by twelve minor Gods and Goddesses.
Ceres was also Goddess of law and order. At first this may appear a strange area of influence for this grain goddess however, she was accredited with the founding of agriculture and a move away from a nomadic hunter gatherer society. This necessitated a need for new laws to divide the land and protect property ownership as settlements grew into villages, towns and cities.
This Goddess was also Goddess of transitions, protecting woman at the vulnerable points in their lives: between girlhood and womanhood and the time of change between unmarried life, marriage and motherhood.
Her main temple is situated on Aventine Hill, one of seven hill tops that surrounded ancient Rome.
Origins and Genealogy: In Roman mythology she was the daughter of Saturn and Ops. She had several brothers and sisters: Juno, Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto and Vesta. She married her brother Jupiter and together they had a daughter named Proserpina.
Strengths: Fertility, abundance and endurance.
Weaknesses: Lived her life through her daughter.
Greek Equivalent: Demeter, other Harvest Goddesses
Pictured carrying a scepter or a farming tool in one hand and a basket of fruit or grain in the other.
Sacred Animal: Pigs. Ants were used in her temples to predict the weather and the future.
Sacred Plants: The chaste trees, corn and pumpkins. She was also offered the first fruits of the harvest. Poppies were her emblem as the grow in cornfields. All other flowers were banned as she had lost her daughter to the underworld when she was out picking flowers.
Festivals: Her festivals marked the different stages of the agricultural calendar. At the Paganalia festival when the seeds were sown, a pregnant sow was sacrificed to her and the earth goddess Tellus to ensure an abundant crop yield. Her main festival, the Cerealia was celebrated over seven days in late April. This encouraged the ripening of the crops and prevented pests and diseases. This Goddess was also celebrated both by communities and households in the Ambarvalia which was held each May.
The Mother Archetype is a life-giver and the source of nurturing, devotion, patience and unconditional love. The ability to forgive and provide for her children and put them before herself is the essence of a good mother.
In its shadow aspect the Mother can be devouring, abusive and abandoning. The shadow Mother can also make her children feel guilty about becoming independent and leaving her.
Ceres is a grain Goddess who teaches people how to nurture and harvest her crops. Later she also takes on the Mother role of her Greek counterpart Demeter.
The Rescuer provides strength and support to others in crisis. They act out of love with no expectation of a reward.
The shadow Rescuer expects the rescued party to be grateful and will often try to keep that person needy.
Ceres is distraught when her daughter goes missing and does not rest until she has found her. She is frustrated as she is unable to save her daughter and is forced to compromise.
How To Work With These Archetypes
It is not necessary to be a biological mother to have this Archetype. It can refer to anyone who has a lifelong pattern of nurturing and devotion to living things.
You are exhibiting the features of the shadow Mother if you smother your children and are over protective. Encourage independence and allow children to make mistakes but be available to give care and advice when it’s needed.
The other shadow Mother is the one that abandons her children, or is so busy that she has no time for nurturing her young.
The Rescuer is one of your Archetypes if you are always trying to save and help people.
What you need to ask yourself is what motivates you to act this way? Are you expecting a reward for your trouble or do you love helping others?
It’s a New Age After All
Tune: “It’s a Small World After All”
|It’s a world of Tarot and of Zodiac
You’ll see Wiccan rituals and I’Chings back
You’ll see Shirley McLaine
She’s been born yet again
It’s a new age after all
It’s a new age after all
Reading runes age after all
I’ll use my Feng Shui after all
It’s a new age after all
You have Herbology and kabalistic math
You have blood moons and rainbows and wise old toads
You’ll drum at the bonfire in alpha state
— Azhrarn “Runs with Scissors” and Verlaine the Wize-guy
Find more great humor at Turok’s Cabana
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2016 April 26
Explanation: What makes this spiral galaxy so long? Measuring over 700,000 light years across from top to bottom, NGC 6872, also known as the Condor galaxy, is one of the most elongated barred spiral galaxies known. The galaxy’s protracted shape likely results from its continuing collision with the smaller galaxy IC 4970, visible just above center. Of particular interest is NGC 6872’s spiral arm on the upper left, as pictured here, which exhibits an unusually high amount ofblue star forming regions. The light we see today left these colliding giants before the days of the dinosaurs, about 300 million years ago. NGC 6872 is visible with a small telescope toward the constellation of the Peacock (Pavo).
This date in science: Chernobyl worst nuclear accident of all time
The meltdown at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on April 26, 1986 exposed 572 million people to radiation. It was far worse than the 2011 Fukushima accident.
The 1986 Chernobyl and 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accidents both share the notorious distinction of attaining the highest accident rating on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) scale of nuclear accidents. No other reactor incident has ever received this Level 7 “major accident” designation in the history of nuclear power. Chernobyl and Fukushima earned it because both involved core meltdowns that released significant amounts of radioactivity to their surroundings.
Both of these accidents involved evacuation of hundreds of thousands of residents. Both still have people waiting to return to their homes. And both left a legacy of large-scale radioactive contamination of the environment that will persist for years to come, despite ongoing cleanup efforts.
So the tendency is to think of these accidents as similar events that happened in different countries, 25 years apart.
But the IAEA scale isn’t designed to measure public health impact. In terms of health ramifications, these two nuclear accidents were not even in the same league. While Fukushima involved radioactivity exposures to hundred of thousands of people, Chernobyl exposed hundreds of millions. And millions of those received substantially more exposure than the people of Fukushima.
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the April 26, 1986 Chernobyl accident in Ukraine, we do well to reflect on the health burden it caused – and compare it with what we expect to see from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident. As I report in my book “Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation,” from a public health standpoint, there’s really no comparison between the two events.
Higher doses of radiation, more health harm
Chernobyl was by far the worst reactor accident of all time. A total of 127 reactor workers, firemen and emergency personnel on site sustained radiation doses sufficient to cause radiation sickness (over 1,000 mSv); some received doses high enough to be lethal (over 5,000 mSv). Over the subsequent six months, 54 died from their radiation exposure. And it’s been estimated that 22 of the 110,645 cleanup workers may have contracted fatal leukemias over the next 25 years.
In contrast, at Fukushima, there were no radiation doses high enough to produce radiation sickness, even among the reactor core workers. Two Fukushima workers who had leaky respirators received effective doses of 590 mSv and 640 mSv. That’s above the Japanese occupational limit for conducting lifesaving rescue work (250 mSv), but still below the threshold for radiation sickness (1,000 mSv). Due to their exposure, the two workers’ lifetime cancer risks will increase about 3 percent (from the 25 percent background cancer risk rate to about 28 percent), but they are unlikely to experience other health consequences.
Beyond just the plant workers, over 572 million people among 40 different countries got at least some exposure to Chernobyl radioactivity. (Neither the United States nor Japan was among the exposed countries.) It took two decades to fully assess the cancer consequences to these people. Finally, in 2006, an international team of scientists completed a comprehensive analysis of the dose and health data and reported on the cancer deaths that could be attributed to Chernobyl radioactivity.
Their detailed analysis included countrywide estimates of individual radiation doses in all 40 exposed countries, and regionwide estimates for the most highly contaminated regions of the most highly contaminated countries (Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine).
Using statistical models, the scientists predicted a total of 22,800 radiation-induced cancers, excluding thyroid cancers, among this group of 572 million people. Thyroid cancer warranted separate special scrutiny, as we will discuss presently; this hormonally important gland is uniquely affected by a specific radioactive isotope, iodine-131.
So that’s 22,800 non-thyroid cancers in addition to the approximately 194 million cancer cases that would normally be expected in a population of that size, even in the absence of a Chernobyl accident. The increase from 194,000,000 to 194,022,800 is a 0.01 percent rise in the overall cancer rate. That’s too small to have any measurable impact on the cancer incidence rates for any national cancer registries, so these predicted values will likely remain theoretical.
Chernobyl’s iodine-131 thyroid effects far worse
Unfortunately, at Chernobyl, the one type of cancer that could have easily been prevented was not. The population surrounding Chernobyl was not warned that iodine-131 – a radioactive fission product that can enter the food chain – had contaminated milk and other locally produced agricultural products. Consequently, people ate iodine-131-contaminated food, resulting in thyroid cancers.
For the local population, iodine-131 exposure was a worst-case scenario because they were already suffering from an iodine-deficient diet; their iodine-starved thyroids sucked up any iodine that became available. This extremely unfortunate situation would not have happened in countries such as the United States or Japan, where diets are richer in iodine.
Thyroid cancer is rare, with a low background incidence compared to other cancers. So excess thyroid cancers due to iodine-131 can be more readily spotted in cancer registries. And this, in fact, has been the case for Chernobyl. Beginning five years after the accident, an increase in the rate of thyroid cancers started and continued rising over the following decades. Scientists estimate that there will ultimately be about 16,000 excess thyroid cancers produced as a result of iodine-131 exposure from Chernobyl.
At Fukushima, in contrast, there was much less iodine-131 exposure. The affected population was smaller, local people were advised to avoid local dairy products due to possible contamination and they did not have iodine-deficient diets.
Consequently, typical radiation doses to the thyroid were low. Iodine-131 uptake into the thyroids of exposed people was measured and the doses were estimated to average just 4.2 mSv for children and 3.5 mSv for adults – levels comparable to annual background radiation doses of approximately 3.0 mSv per year.
Contrast this to Chernobyl, where a significant proportion of the local population received thyroid doses in excess of 200 mSv – 50 times more – well high enough to see appreciable amounts of excess thyroid cancer. So at Fukushima, where iodine-131 doses approached background levels, we wouldn’t expect thyroid cancer to present the problem that it did at Chernobyl.
Nevertheless, there has already been one report that claims there is an increase in thyroid cancer among Fukushima residents at just four years post-accident. That’s earlier than would be expected based on the Chernobyl experience. And the study’s design has been criticized as flawed for a number of scientific reasons, including the comparison methods used. Thus, this report of excess thyroid cancers must be considered suspect until better data arrive.
Chernobyl has no comparison
In short, Chernobyl is by far the worst nuclear power plant accident of all time. It was a totally human-made event – a “safety” test gone terribly awry – made worse by incompetent workers who did all the wrong things when attempting to avert a meltdown.
Fukushima in contrast, was an unfortunate natural disaster – caused by a tsunami that flooded reactor basements – and the workers acted responsibly to mitigate the damage despite loss of electrical power.
April 26, 1986 was the darkest day in the history of nuclear power. Thirty years later, there is no rival that comes even close to Chernobyl in terms of public health consequences; certainly not Fukushima. We must be vigilant to ensure nothing like Chernobyl ever happens again. We don’t want to be “celebrating” any more anniversaries like this one.
How do you star hop?
Amateur astronomers use star hopping to go from stars and constellations they know … to ones they don’t know yet. First, look for noticeable patterns on the sky’s dome. One very easy pattern to find at this time of year is the constellation Orion the Hunter. You’ll find it descending in the west after sunset. Orion is easy to find because it contains a very noticeable pattern of three medium-bright stars in a short straight row. These stars represent Orion’s Belt.
If you can find Orion, you can use it to star hop to Sirius, the sky’s brightest star, in the constellation Canis Major. Orion and Sirius are dropping into the sun’s glare at this time of year, so be sure to look for them soon after the sun goes down.
You can also use Orion’s Belt to find the star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus, as shown on the chart above right.
And that’s how you come to know the constellations. You use what you’ve already learned to build outward to find new patterns.
Bottom line: Find new stars and constellations by star hopping from ones you already know.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded the website EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website and blogs frequently about astrophysics, the night sky and other topics related to Earth, space and the human world. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. “Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers,” she says.
Article published on EarthSky
The Wisdom of Buddha
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.
Your Daily Charm for Today
These neolithic flint Arrow heads were supposed in olden times to have been made by the fairies, and were held in high esteem for their supposed magical powers. The Arrow heads were called Elf shots. The amulet was worn on a necklace to protect the wearer from all kinds of bodily illness, and was a potent charm for averting the evil eye. When the arrow head was dipped in water it was thought that the water had the power of curing almost all diseases, and this superstition still exists in some countries, even at the present time.