Resting in Apricity

the blog of a young, traditionalist, Catholic woman

Sohlberg-Modne_jorder (1)Modne Jorder by Harald Sohlberg, 1895-97.

Commercial beekeepers feed bees HFCS

From an Exultet Scroll

From an Exultet Scroll

Going on since the 70’s, the imposition of high fructose corn syrup in place their honey is considered a major factor in what has been termed “colony collapse disorder,” the bee decline across the globe. In an article at Mother Earth News, the author advises to “get to know your local beekeepers.”

For eons of time the honey bees have been gathering nectar, mixing it with their own special enzymes, and placing it in the wax cells. The bees create a draft through the hive by flapping their wings in unison to evaporate the moisture from the nectar until it thickens to approximately 18% moisture. During this process the enzymes continue to work and when the bees decide the honey is ripe, they cap it. Capping is simply when the bees cover the cell with wax to seal off their special winter food. The honey is an amazing food that will last indefinitely.

There is another process taking place in the bee hive that few people know about. When the bees bring in pollen they also add enzymes that pickle or ferment the pollen. This pickled pollen is called “bee bread.” This bee bread is even more nutritious for the bees because they can assimilate it better. There have been over 8,000 different micro organisms recorded living in the bee bread. It is a fine tuned and balanced world of little bugs that I liken to the microorganisms and flora living in our intestines. We simply could not live without them, and neither can the bees.

People will argue that sugar is sugar and that it is the same thing to the bees as honey. However refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are not honey. They have a different PH and they lack the enzymes.

When you change the PH in a bee hive, it affects the finely balanced world of the little bugs, and weakens the colony. When they track pesticides and fungicides into the hive with their little feet, the life within the bee bread is affected.

Another thing that most people don’t realize about honey is that when you feed bees HFCS they stash it in the same cells that nectar gets stored in, and in fact gets mixed up with the honey. So when you buy honey from many suppliers you are getting HFCS and a honey mixture—even if the label says “pure honey,” the odds are it isn’t.

Beyond “Clean Eating”: Hygiene and Cosmetics

I came across this informative graphic (source) and thought my readers might benefit from having to scroll past it! Since I have merged into an ever simpler hygiene routine throughout the years, I would like to share some of my own experiences. I intend to live as self-sufficiently as possible and, furthermore, do not trust the majority of commercial products, so this is an issue I have been trying to tackle for the last year.

1) Deodorant: Since learning about the connection between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease, I have been using Arm & Hammer aluminum- and paraben-free deodorant, with the intention of making a homemade version with coconut oil, baking soda, and arrowroot powder once I run out, but now I see that the A & H stick contains propylene glycol. (So that’s going into the trash now.)

2) Makeup and Lotion: I find the connection between lupus and lipstick interesting because I was acquainted with a young woman who wore a good deal of makeup regularly and unfortunately suffered from lupus. I believe that Christian women should not wear makeup. Many women have commented throughout my life that I just “have nice skin” and so don’t “need” makeup, but, especially given these findings, I would not be surprised to learn that they caused the “blotchy” or whatever kind of sad appearance many women apparently have and, in turn, become dependent upon makeup for this reason. For a lip rub, I use organic coconut oil. In fact, it can be used on the entire body, although some say olive oil works even better.

3) Shampoo and Conditioner: I have experimented with the “no ‘poo” method — washing with diluted baking soda and rinsing with diluted (organic apple cider) vinegar — as a simple alternative to commercial shampoos and massive amounts of mousse and anti-frizz cream, but I am officially looking for other natural products. Baking soda is too abrasive and for me resulted in major hair loss. During most of my experiment, I fell often into simply “water washing,” but for the first time in my life I developed dandruff and knew my scalp was not sufficiently clean. Egg yolk worked well but is preferred by my stomach; honey with ACV does the job from time to time, but, again, I prefer the former in my tea. I tried washing with rice water for the first time and will continue it for the nourishment. A boar brush is recommended to move natural oils through the hair, though I find this difficult. Here is an interesting article with a time-consuming Ayurvedic approach. This is ongoing.

4) Face wash: I make homemade face wash based on a supposedly medieval formula (that’s exciting!), although that source is unknown to me. I first picked up a container of Angels on Bare Skin from the company Lush while in Belgium; when I got home and researched them, I found out that Lush is astoundingly Leftist. Since I wanted something of easily attainable and recognizably natural products, I set out to make it myself. Ground almonds are the first ingredient, but I use steel cut oats ground using a coffee grinder. I purchased a 50 lb bag of kaolin clay, which is the second ingredient; buying bulk is much less expensive. I stocked up also on bottles of rosewater and glycerin. A local farmer provided me with organic dried lavender. Here is a lovely video of the process.

5) Toothcare: My understanding is that not only fluoride is detrimental to health but also that glycerin leaves a coating that prevents remineralization (Dr. Gerard Judd). I tried castile bar soap but could tell it was not abrasive enough; I also desired a whitening agent. Currently, I am using a mixture of coconut oil, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. I have also begun oil pulling with coconut oil and am considering looking into tooth chip soap. A careful study of the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation is of supreme benefit.

6) Hair Removal: I sugar. Sugaring is a very old practice (going back to the ancient Egyptians, who used honey, I think). With the hard wax (or sugar paste) version, there is usually no need to heat the wax at all, nor any strips, only your hand. The ingredients are sugar, lemon juice, and water. This is notoriously difficult to master, but I think I’ve gotten it down. Additionally, it’s water soluble. I’m interested in threading, too, but sugaring works great.

7) Exclusively feminine hygiene: I knew for some time that the modern woman’s typical methods for dealing with the monthly cycle were, well, untraditional and almost positively morally problematic. It shouldn’t surprise us that there are also physically detrimental consequences to the use of tampons. The waste result is also staggering. I recently purchased reusable cloth pads made up of hemp and organic cotton from Öko Creations, based in Canada. There are similar products in the U.S., but this looks to be the best maker.

Since I omitted many details, feel free to ask questions if you are interested.

Industrialized Childbirth

My female readers might be interested in the documentary The Business of Being Born, entirely available at YouTube. It is a product of the “homebirth movement,” a reaction to the serious health problems that (at least American) hospitals have been causing mother and baby, including the perversion of their bonding. I have been decidedly pro-homebirth for some time and have likewise intended to watch this film (which, finally this summer, I did). It does have some vulgarity and a pseudo-spiritual (probably New Age) bent at times that mingles with some form of alternative feminism: one hears talk of the “power” of the woman and her body that is being taken away from her. I caution against this narcissism that seeks to make birth center around the woman as some goddess. More of interest is when the viewer can watch birthing in the form of the squat, undoubtedly the most natural position.

I do not recommend the documentary to men because there is sporadic nudity and, moreover, I’m skeptical that fathers should be present at births anyhow. For those who will not be watching the film either way, I recommend an entry by a reader named Lauren to the Thinking Housewife, which begins thus:

The homebirth movement came about as women have wanted to return to more natural practices of birthing their babies. Statistically high C-section rates, administration of Pitocin and epidurals, and routine mother baby separation have led to less than optimal experiences and outcomes for mothers and their newborns. Birth is a natural physiological process designed by our Creator. When modern medicine attempts to unnecessarily intervene in all cases of child birth, the process becomes thwarted and disordered.
. . .
C-sections can be scheduled and controlled. This makes them appealing for many doctors and some mothers. However, C-sections leave a mother at risk for rupturing her uterus in subsequent pregnancies. Breastfeeding is also more difficult after C-sections, not impossible, but much more difficult. The effects of repeated ultrasounds, Pitocin, and epidurals, also protocol in many hospitals, have not been adequately studied. I recently saw a Yahoo headline a few months ago referring to a possible correlation between Pitocin and autism. Mothers and babies are routinely separated in hospital settings. This diminishes the early foundation for mother baby bonding and building up a good milk supply. Studies by Dr. Nils Bergman in South Africa show time and again that mothers are the best regulator of baby’s body temperature as opposed to incubators in the hospital nursery.

Finally, the topic of childbirth brings to mind what some Catholic theologians call “the horror of suffering” — our sinful tendency to avoid carrying the cross. Evidently, many women in labor will to use pain relief methods, from narcotics to birth pools. While Our Lady experienced no pain in miraculously bringing Christ into the world, we can have no doubt that she, immaculately conceived, embraced any and every suffering that came her way. Let this additionally be our food for thought.

Man Further Subverting Himself

At the Atlantic is a most frightening and excellent article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” that only just came to my attention (yet has its own Wiki page). It cannot be stressed enough how relevant to modern man the content is; after all, reflections and ideas like this cannot be found in traditional books because no one could foresee the monster that is the World Wide Web. The author, Nicholas Carr, first discusses the familiar experience of being able to focus less while reading (and, I think, doing isolated tasks in general), as he finds his mind pulled towards ‘checking up on’ something else. Many people, whom he cites and among my own personal “literary” acquaintances, have admitted this (which is a difficult thing to do): that while reading, a book or an article online, there is often a seemingly random urge to check one’s email or phone, for example. Individuals self-aware enough to notice this problem and try to make sense of it look towards the Internet, or modern electronics in general, as the culprit. To me this has always made sense: How can our minds wholesomely process the information that flies our way, that is available at such ease? (How many tabs/windows do you keep open?) How do those hideous, blinking, distracting ads actually affect us? There is something intuitively welcomed when we come across a largely clutter-free blog, such as Laura Wood’s. Research is showing that our beings (or “brains,” as reductionists will put it) are geared towards peaceful, simple settings, as one finds in the countryside, while they exhibit confusion upon the ugliness of urban “life” (better called death). Carr notes that “we still await the long-term neurological and psychological experiments that will provide a definitive picture of how Internet use affects cognition.”

Apart from that a corporation, Google, controls virtually everything on the Web (which upon pondering should seriously alarm us), I do not believe that the way the Internet intrudes into our lives is something to be moderated, which apparently less extreme traditionalists believe. Perhaps they would disagree with my wording, arguing that I presuppose the Internet has some inherently bad quality, whereas I should say that “our use of the Internet should be moderated.” St. Thérèse observes in her autobiography, echoing Christ, that evil “does not exist in inanimate things, only in impure hearts.” Yet how eerie that we speak of “animating” technology! We see what is in man (Jn 2:25) when he is allowed his own microcosm — breathes an animus to create his own world.

Regardless of the absolute metaphysical interpretation of the Internet, it has been my long-standing belief that the Internet is opposed to virtue and elevates concupiscence, however it should be said. I have tried many times before to articulate my disdain for computers but never to my own satisfaction. However, I’m convinced that both physical and spiritual reasons exist that compel traditionalists to reject this medium entirely if possible (eventually, for some of us). The Internet is perhaps the peak of everything Revolutionary, with its dispersion of information (increased falsehood), its democratic nature (which Google loves!), its stress on efficiency, its predominating chaos and vulgarity, and so on.

Fundamentally, it would do us best to retreat into God’s creation, which St. Thérèse knew was “a foretaste of Heaven’s wonders,” and avoid man’s “progressive” pretensions. Nicholas Carr claims that the brain has nearly infinite plasticity. For men this should be encouraging, as a sign of hope to undo the ill effects technology has on us; but for Christians we have an even greater hope, for we know that God’s grace can overcome any evil of this passing world, purifying us in preparation for unity with Christ.

Medjugorje, Absurd and Deceptive

The refreshingly clear-headed Michael Voris and the ever-knowledgeable E. Michael Jones joined back in February to discuss the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje. Myself, I have been quite unfamiliar with the situation, but this video, particularly when a clip of an “apparition” primarily involving “seer” Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic at a younger age (about whom Voris justly says: “You have to practically abandon the Catholic Faith to advance and support the notion that the Mother of God is dropping the Baby Jesus”) is played, makes the issue quite conclusive a number of times. Medjugorje is a fraud.

As an additional (though not conclusive) note: the Church bears the beautiful image and common theme of Our Lady appearing to modest peasants in the country; at Medjugorje, she is claimed to appear to those who “couldn’t look more ordinary, dressed in jeans” (source), wherever and whenever they please, apparently. Catholics should understand the dignity of the Faith to an extent that allows them to see the incongruity such phenomena have with the spirit of the Church. The following quote by Brother Michel de la Sainte Trinité from chapter two of The Whole Truth About Fatima expresses this wonderfully:

Even before the account of the apparitions and stupendous miracles of 1917, the history of Fatima evokes our wonder first of all by the atmosphere of a living Christendom in which it suddenly plunges us. To deliver Her great message destined to enlighten our whole twentieth century, Our Lady did not choose to appear in an industrial city, already devoured by the leprosy of pauperism, laicism and paganism that were making inroads everywhere. No, She chose to manifest Herself in a poor village, with a long Christian history, lost in the great mountainous region of the Serra da Aire, about eighty miles north of Lisbon. There, in 1917, as in many countries of our Christian Europe, the morals, the piety and the virtues of old remained as though miraculously preserved. This choice is an initial revelation of the predilections of the Heart of Mary.

Everybody knows the moon is made of cheese

Did anyone else love Wallace and Gromit as a child? Even now I’m willing to spend half an hour of a rainy day on this classic short film, “A Grand Day Out.”

Feminism Is a Sin Against Children

In a sermon about our knowledge through Natural Law of how women differ from men and the obligations that follow, the Thomist Fr. Chad Ripperger makes a very important statement that modern women need to face. It is truly sickening to see the amount of otherwise conservative Catholic women who refuse to confront the obvious obligation we have to stay home. Exceptional personalities, abilities, and “aspirations” (i.e., selfishness) are ultimately accidental; this bears upon every one of us.

The child has a moral right to this intellectual formation. The fulfillment of this right is incumbent on the woman to stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary. This is a divinely established task for the woman, that is, taking care of children. . . . The husband has a right that the woman fulfill her domestic responsibilities; he has to work, and therefore he cannot take care of the home and of the children all the time, and so she must be his helper. In fact, this right of the children is so grave because it has such a profound impact on the moral formation of children, and therefore their salvation, that it is a mortal sin for a woman to work outside the home without a sufficient reason. Now, think of what that means. Think of the injustice; we all worry about all the other injustices that occur in our society, but women are constantly doing this in relationship to their children (not all women, of course: many women are very faithful to their obligations). Taking care of children and the home is by no means a trivial task.

Update: I failed to notice that Fr. Ripperger’s podcasts are Penanceware, “which require that you do one of the following: (1) $1.00 via Paypal, (2) offer up a decade of the Rosary, or (3) perform some form of penance for the intentions of Fr. Ripperger (for each individual media file downloaded).” As I am the one sharing, this may only apply to me, however.

Indígena de clase ricaIndígena de clase rica (Mestiza Sangley-Filipina)
by the Dutch photographer Francisco van Camp, 1875.

The little we know about traditional sleep

The following is excerpted from the article “Slumber’s Unexplored Landscape: People in traditional societies sleep in eye-opening ways” by Bruce Bower. Read the entire paper here.

An initial attempt to draw back the veils of sleep in hunter-gatherer groups and other traditional societies has uncovered a wide variety of sleep customs, reports anthropologist Carol M. Worthman of Emory University in Atlanta. None of these snooze styles, however, looks anything like what modern Western folk take for granted.

This finding raises profound questions for the burgeoning discipline of sleep research, Worthman says. Over the past 50 years, scientists have avidly delved into slumber’s biology. Early research identified periods of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, during which intense dreams often occur. Current efforts pursue genes involved in wakefulness and sleeping (SN: 8/14/99, p. 100). Researchers have also taken strides toward treating insomnia and other sleep disturbances.

While investigators readily concede that they don’t yet know why people sleep and dream, they assume that they at least know how people should sleep: alone or with a partner for a solid chunk of the night. Sleep studies therefore take place in laboratories where individuals catch winks while hooked up to a bevy of brain and body monitors.

However, the distinctive sleep styles of non-Western groups may mold sleep’s biology in ways undreamed of in sleep labs, Worthman suggests. They may influence factors ranging from sleep-related genes to the brain’s electrical output during various sleep phases.

“It’s time for scientists to get out into natural sleep environments,” Worthman remarks. “It’s embarrassing that anthropologists haven’t done this, and the lack of such work is impeding sleep research.”
. . . .

A few researchers have bucked this trend. For instance, anthropologist James J. McKenna of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana has reported that babies in many countries outside the United States sleep next to or in the same room as their parents. Contact with a parent’s body helps regulate an infant’s breathing and other physiological functions, he asserts, perhaps lowering the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SN: 12/4/93, p. 380).
. . . .

So, Worthman contacted seven researchers who she knew had intimate knowledge of one or more traditional societies, including nomadic foragers, herders, and village-based farmers. Among these far-flung populations, none of the investigators, by their own admission, had systematically studied how people sleep. After plumbing what the researchers had absorbed about nighttime activities, Worthman has assembled a preliminary picture of sleep practices in 10 non-Western populations.

Worthman’s findings rip the covers off any lingering suspicions that people everywhere sleep pretty much alike. Far from the wallpapered confines of middle-class bedrooms, sleep typically unfolds in shared spaces that feature constant background noise emanating from other sleepers, various domestic animals, fires maintained for warmth and protection from predators, and other people’s nearby nighttime activities.
. . . .

Adult sleepers in traditional societies recline on skins, mats, wooden platforms, the ground, or just about anything except a thick, springy mattress. Pillows or head supports are rare, and people doze in whatever they happen to be wearing. Virtually no one, including children, keeps a regular bedtime. Individuals tend to slip in and out of slumber several times during the night. In these unplugged worlds, darkness greatly limits activity and determines the time allotted to sleep. Folks there frequently complain of getting too much sleep, not too little.
. . . .

Consider the communal sleep of the Gebusi, New Guinea, rainforest dwellers, who grow fruit in small gardens and occasionally hunt wild pigs. Women, girls, and babies crowd into a narrow section of a community longhouse to sleep on mats. Men and boys retreat to an adjacent, more spacious longhouse area, where they sleep on wooden platforms.

Gebusi females retire at dark for about 10 hours of rest and sleep. In contrast, the men stay up later and frequently conduct rituals. About once a month, everyone attends an all-night dance and feast, catching up on sleep the next day.
. . . .

Balinese infants are carried and held continuously by caregivers so that they learn to fall asleep even in hectic and noisy situations. This grooms them to exhibit what the Balinese call “fear sleep” later in life, Worthman says. Children and adults enter fear sleep by suddenly slumping over in a deep slumber when they or family members confront intense anxiety or an unexpected fright. They are literally scared into sleep.

Infants in middle-class American homes, who usually sleep alone, may not learn to ground their sleeping and waking cycles in a flow of sensations that include bodily contact, smells, and background noises, Worthman proposes. In fact, babies forced to bounce back and forth between the sensory overload of the waking world and the sensory barrenness of dark, quiet bedrooms may often find it difficult to relax, fall asleep, wake up, or concentrate, she theorizes.


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