Aug 30, 2011

Warren Jeffs Gravely Ill

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

The punchline on Warren Jeffs's life sentence is that his life may be cut short by illness. Word broke yesterday that he was in a coma. It was a medically induced coma so that they could force nutrition to the "fasting" Jeffs. He has since regained consciousness but is still listed as critical. His fast or hunger strike (???) had only been going on for three days but that was enough to imperil the life of a man who is suffering from unnamed medical issues. According to officials, even without the fast, he is sick enough to require hospitalization.

I didn't think he looked well during the trial but he's always had a kind of gaunt, ill-formed, almost larval look about him, so who could say?

This is also not the first time he has starved himself in prison, having done so in both Arizona and Utah prisons. He is given to expressions of asceticism, having previously been treated for ulcerated knees from his hours of prayer.

The larger concern is that these demonstrations of piety will be read as martyrdom by followers.

"I think that's what he's trying to do, is become a martyr in their eyes and further exalt himself as far as they're concerned. Not necessarily with a bang, but this is precisely what he wants and this is how he wants it to end," said Sherie Jeffs, who is Jeffs' sister-in-law.

Two of Jeffs' children testified against their uncle in Texas that they had been sexually abused as children by the FLDS leader. She said Texas officials should force feed Warren Jeffs, if necessary, to keep him alive.

"I think he needs to stay alive and be able to ponder in that cell for many many years what he's done to people's lives, and children's lives, how many families he's destroyed," she told Fox 13.

Amen to that.


Around the Web, Around the World

"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

Soul Integration and Shamanic Healing

What do you do after a shamanic healing experience? In past times people lived in a way that they saw soul loss in each other when it happened. They noticed the dampening of spirit, the loss of energy, and the absence within the person that they love. They noticed the presence of the dead and other intruding spirits. They knew what to notice and got the healing that they needed. "Traditional people didn't integrate their shamanic healings," explains host and shaman, Christina Pratt, "because they didn't need to. The healing came before they had time to adjust to the damage. Today we adjust to the damage and carry on, often taking 10 to 20 years before we find the shamanic healing that we need. Integration after shamanic healing is needed today because we need to un-adjust in all the ways we adjusted." Soul loss has become the story we tell about how we "have never been the same since..." Energies intrude into our lives throughout the day, feeding our growing anxiety, depression, and compensation through addiction. And we struggle with isolation and loneliness, blind to the help all around us and telling our children to stop talking to their imaginary friends. Join us this week as we explore what is actually happening in a shamanic healing and-even more importantly-what you do need to do to integrate these experiences and gain the most depth and breadth from your transformation.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Aug 29, 2011

Horoscope for August 29 - September 4

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

Aries (March 21st - April 20th)
For some time now, Aries, the planet Uranus has been mixing some electrical energy into your fire, making you an unpredictable live wire. This has enabled you to become a quick change artist and an innovative risk-taker, but it may have caused friction with your partner or coworkers. Maybe you've been more than they can handle lately or you've been too busy rushing around to notice them. The new moon energy this week in the earth sign of Virgo helps you to develop plans and systems, find a practical and productive pace, and be aware of the needs of other people. The new moon in your 6th house of work, service, health, and habits can also make you see the benefits of a regular rest, diet, and exercise regimen. A little humility, modesty, and temperance goes a long way to improving all your relationships, including the one you have with yourself.

Taurus (April 21st - May 20th)
The Virgo new moon influencing your week is perfectly in harmony with your own element, Taurus. To top things off, it occurs in your 5th house of creativity, romance, and fun. But wait - there's more! Aspects between the other transiting planets give you the power of mind over matter mixed with an optimism that makes you a mighty manifester now. There has been a long transit making you fearful because of the instability you feel in the world at large. Yes, there are crazy things going on. Do what you can about things that worry you, but if there is nothing you can do, forget about it and go play. The most practical and productive thing you can do is to spend your time now doing what makes you happy. This world is a playground and grownup life is still a "let's pretend" game. Pre-tend happy relationships, fun activities, and profitable business now.

Gemini (May 21st - June 21st)
Home and psychological foundations are highlighted by the new moon in Virgo in your 4th house of home, Gemini. This can be an especially happy and productive week for you because the current planetary transits and aspects are tethering you to ground where you can make some serious advances in following practical business advice or working on your own inner programming. If you have been wanting to be a more effective person who has better relationships, a more service-oriented purpose, or just a cleaner desk and closets, you will come as close to perfect as you can get without irritating others this week. Just don't try to be too perfect or go too Pollyanna on people. Make it look like you are still striving, but leave a few imperfections so others feel comfortable around you. If home improvements are being planned or a new home is sought, include the whole family and listen to their ideas.

Astrological Trends for August 29 - September 4

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

On Monday, August 29th, the new moon in the mutable earth sign of practical and purposeful Virgo joins the sun and Venus, the planet of affection and pleasure, also in Virgo. Together, this harmonious trio forms a productive trine to powerful Pluto in success-oriented Capricorn and a blessed trine to Jupiter, the planet of growth and abundance, in the material-minded fixed earth sign of Taurus. This morning, the Virgo trio also forms a quincunx to Uranus in Aries. Mercury, planet of thought and communication, in the fixed and creative fire sign of Leo is now direct, and is supported by a sextile to Mars in the sensitive and nurturing cardinal water sign of Cancer. After the past few weeks of delay energy a Mercury retrograde period may have delivered to you, today's new moon energy fully supports you in creating new plans and implementing them. A challenging square aspect between restrictive, serious Saturn in the cardinal air sign of relationship-minded Libra and Mars, the planet of action, in the cardinal water sign of emotional Cancer indicates that you may have to handle people with kid gloves or be mindful of your own emotional reactions to the comments or actions of other people. The square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, which you have been dealing with for weeks now, continues to produce friction and possible breaking energy between new and old. As the moon progresses further this afternoon and leaves the sun and Venus behind, it forms a supportive sextile to Mars in Cancer, which encourages acting upon your gut instincts. If you have to make a decision, do what feels right to you. The practical Virgo moon is also semi-sextile to discerning Saturn in Libra, which can help you make the right choice. Later this evening, Mercury in Leo forms a semi-sextile to Mars in Cancer and a semi-sextile to the moon in Virgo, indicating your decisions, plans, thoughts, or speech are in harmony with your feelings and your actions.

Aug 27, 2011

WM3 Panel Discussion in Little Rock

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

A West Memphis Three panel discussion held at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock Arkansas was filled to capacity with over 1,200 people. Both the panel and the audience seemed to be heavily tilted in the direction of WM3 supporters, but that's probably a reflection of public perception more generally. There are a lot more people who think the three are innocent than think they are guilty. Prosecutor Scott Ellington was the lone representative from the guilty camp, on a panel that was filled out by the three defense attorneys, Devil's Knot author Mara Leveritt, and Capi Peck of Arkansas Take Action.

The reflections of moderator Max Brantley can be found here. I watched the entire 1:42:02 program last night and I think it's well worth the time investment.

The take-away from the program is Scott Ellington's promise to test the DNA when the lab hired by the defense is done with it. He said they would run it through the data-base and cross-check it for contamination by police and lab techs. That could be important as DNA from three unidentified men has been detected.

Aug 25, 2011

Can the WM3 Clear Their Names?

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

In an interview with Amy Goodman, filmmaker Joe Berlinger expressed his dismay that the plea bargain that got the West Memphis Three out of prison after eighteen years failed to bring justice in the case. Under the rare Alford Plea, they are still guilty as a matter law, even though they are able to claim their innocence. The fight to completely clear the names of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley will go on.

Governor Mike Beebe was asked if he would pardon the three but he refused explaining that he only considers pardons after people have served their sentences. So, note to anyone on death row seeking a pardon in Arkansas. Your current governor won't consider it until after you're dead. Helpful.

Beebe said he had no plans to pardon the recently freed West Memphis Three. He cited his policy of not considering pardon cases until sentences were completed. He said it was his understanding that the West Memphis Three still would serve up to 10 years of suspended sentences.

Beebe also said if new evidence were presented that pointed to a different killer, then he would reconsider the case.

More Earthquakes and Weirdness

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Someone George Ure refers to as "Deep Source" did some unusual calculations on the Virginia and Colorado earthquakes. Ure describes the dialogue:

Did you notice the Colorado quake was 111-miles from the border of Mineral County, Colorado? he began.

No, I hadn’t.

Notice it…it’s important…”


And what was the first Virginia landmark referenced in the USGS report?”

“Well, the quake was 5 miles from Mineral, Virginia. So what?”

And how far is it between the quakes?” he continued.

Uh…1,460 miles, or so, I guess, just eyeballing it on Streets & Trips.

“Add up all those numbers.”

Hold that.  And how far from the Colorado quake to Mineral Well, Mississippi?”
“841 miles.”

“And from Mineral Wells, Mississippi to Mineral, Virginia?”

“About 700.”

“So here’s something to think about then:  Doesn’t it strike you as a synch-wink that the quakes happened approximately equally spaced from Mineral Wells?”
“Hadn’t really thought about it.”

“Then look 111 miles North and slightly East of Mineral Wells, Tennessee.  Tell me the name you see up there…”
New Madrid.

“Must I do all your work for you, George?”  Click.

Aug 24, 2011

James Ray Trial Jury Foreman Speaks

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

The foreman of the James Arthur Ray trial jury has spoken to the press. Val Ripley shares the sense of agita of so many who are awaiting Judge Darrow's decision on new trial. But that's not all he shares with the friends of family of people who lost their lives in 2009. He was among the eight jurors who wanted to see Ray convicted for reckless manslaughter rather than the lesser charge of negligent homicide.

Ripley said he was at a loss as to why the defense would want to risk another trial, feeling that the negligent homicide verdict was more than fair, even as it leaves Ray liable for as long as nine years in prison.

"We were very close to the manslaughter conviction," Ripley said. "Eight of us wanted manslaughter, and the other four felt that he wasn't aware of all that those people were going through."

Mark Duncan makes the point that because Ray was acquitted of manslaughter, it's unlikely he'll be retried on that charge in the event that this goes to a new trial. As with the conditions of the recent release of the West Memphis Three, it's a sobering reminder of what a pale reflection of justice our court system is.

Yes, I Felt It Here ~ UPDATED

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Well, that was a little scary. No major damage to report here. A couple of small things fell. But I've never experienced vibration like that in my life. How's that for irony? Several years in Southern California and the worst quake I've ever experienced was in Virginia. I thought it must be at least a 4 but it turns it was close to 6 at the epicenter; it was downgraded to 5.8 from 5.9 over the course of the afternoon. This was a fairly shallow quake and it was close to a minute before the rattling completely stopped. I grabbed my hysterical 9 year old daughter and stood in the doorway until the house completely stopped jerking around.

But this isn't about me. I just find it a little odd that there were two quakes in the US of over 5 point magnitude almost exactly 12 hours apart. Late last night Colorado had experienced a 5.3 -- also very unusual for the region. The quake there centered in Trinidad was clocked at 11:46pm MT on 8/22. Ours, about 50 miles from here in Mineral VA was at 1:51pm ET on 8/23. That's a little too close for comfort in every sense.

The one in Colorado was the strongest in over forty years. As near as I can tell, this was the first quake in Virginia of such magnitude in over a hundred years. There was another 5.8 in 1897.

Aug 23, 2011


Around the Web, Around the World

"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

The Shamanic Journey and Direct Revelation: Part 2

The shamanic journey allows the journeyer to receive direct revelation from Spirit. A direct connection with spirit is the birth right of every human and the shamanic journey is one of the most ancient and reliable forms of forging this connection. Once connected with Spirit within the journey state of consciousness the journeyer can find healing, protection, and a continual source of guidance. The shamanic journey is a paradoxical practice, requiring simultaneously a degree of focused discipline and free access to the imagination. At the same time the journey is purely question driven and occurs within the dreamlike landscape of your own symbolic language. There is no ultimate truth there with codified symbols and interpretation. The journeyer must craft the question so that it acts as a key to open the answer. And then the "answer" that may be as inscrutable as last night's dream must be accurately interpreted. Here in lie the greatest challenges in developing a powerful, passionate, and effective journeying practice. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as she continues to explore the common mistakes, misconceptions, and false assumptions made by journeyers and remedies to correct them. In this Part 2 she will focus on the elements of mastering the art of shamanic journeying.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Aug 21, 2011

Horoscope for August 22-28

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

Aries (March 21st - April 20th)
Mental and creative pursuits are more appealing than the emotional side of life this week, Aries. You may find yourself wishing your partner or family members were less needy, dramatic, or emotionally expressive and gave more of their energy to looking at things from a logical perspective or were more open to change and flexibility. Currently, the planets are stimulating your mind more than your heart and you are excited by the potential for fresh ideas or new social contacts that can advance your career and earning potential. The people close to you may feel insecure, unsure, and even threatened when you choose new activities or new friends over them. Reassure them that your own personal growth simply allows you to be more of the person they would most want you to be - yourself!

Taurus (April 21st - May 20th)
The planets support you in personal growth and attracting what you need or want, Taurus. However, there can be an easy path or a difficult path to follow. Neither one is right or wrong. The more difficult path of fear, worry, and emotional angst over work or health issues looks like the classic case of making mountains out of molehills, but you will learn just how powerfully you can build those mountains. It may not be easy to look away from those issues this week, but you have even stronger planetary energy that suggests using mind over matter, imagination, ingenuity, investigation, and communication to affect things on a very material level. List your problems or worries. Next to each one, write down solutions or other possibilities that you think would be good, better, and best. Creative life-scripting is a much better waste of time than fretting, isn't it?

Gemini (May 21st - June 21st)
Did this past weekend feel a bit slow and did you feel tired or languid, Gemini? The moon transiting your 12th house of the subconscious and dream state is to blame for the lethargy and dreaminess. Now the moon enters your 1st house of self at the beginning of the week and Mercury, the ruler of your sign, is about to turn direct after a retrograde period that may have kept your creative plans on hold. Yee-haw! Forward motion at last! But it seems you are not completely satisfied with how your money is flowing. Or you have not enough time to handle way too many tasks that both home and work require. Rather than beating yourself up over things, use your dissatisfaction to help you sort, eliminate, and prioritize on all levels. Despite your best attempts to micromanage your time, there may still be things that cut into your schedule, which are not personally productive. Be grateful for the time away from work, which is not ready to kick into full speed yet, anyway.

Astrological Trends for August 22-28

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

A strong desire for change sets off the week on Monday, August 22nd, as the moon in the mutable air sign of Gemini forms a quincunx to powerful Pluto in the cardinal earth sign of traditional Capricorn and a supportive sextile to erratic Uranus in the cardinal fire sign of pioneering Aries. This aspect pattern makes you feel that something has got to give or a better way to do things can be found if you explore the possibilities. The sun in the fixed fire sign of creative Leo opposes inspirational Neptune in the fixed air sign of experimental Aquarius, indicating that there may be many mistakes and instances of trial and error before new creative ways to affect the future or solve problems with ingenuity can be found. Venus in the practical and mutable earth sign of Virgo, which is conjunct the sun in the late degrees of Leo, also opposes Neptune. Venus in Virgo also forms a quincunx to Uranus in Aries at lunchtime, giving you the mindset to try and try again and explore yet another new option. Mars, the planet of action, in the cardinal water sign of emotional Cancer forms a supportive sextile to Jupiter, the planet of growth, in the steady fixed earth sign of Taurus, but forms a challenging square to disciplined Saturn in the cardinal air sign of perfectionist Libra. You can achieve what you want on the material level right now, but not without some angst. Even after accomplishing what you set out to do, you may feel like you fell just short of your mark. Give yourself points for persistence and patience. Uranus in upstart Aries continues to square Pluto in establishment-oriented Capricorn and create the conflict between old and new, especially in politics and the world economy. Use this energy to your advantage to ruthlessly clean out your closets and release things you no longer need or get rid of anything that is broken to make room for new things. Early this evening, the flirtatious Gemini moon forms a favorable trine to Saturn in Libra, enhancing all relationships, but especially the romantic kind. The Gemini moon is also semi-sextile to Mars in Cancer and semi-sextile Jupiter in Taurus. Lively conversation can lead to pleasure on the physical and emotional level.

Aug 20, 2011

Thank God for Hollywood

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

And, um, Montclair, New Jersey. I say that because Bruce Sinofsky, one of the filmmakers responsible for putting the West Memphis Three in the spotlight, is from the lovely town I used to call home.

Montclair filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky was home in New Jersey when he heard about a surprise hearing today for three convicted killers in Arkansas, whose story he’s been chronicling since 1993.

Sinofsky and co-director, Joe Berlinger have made three documentaries about the crime. Their Emmy-winning first film, "Paradise Lost: the Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills" examined the initial 1994 trial, in which the prosecution built a case around the theory that teenagers killed three 8-year-old boys in a supposed Satanic ritual.

. . .

The movie did spark a grassroots movement called "Free the West Memphis Three." Celebrities including Johnny Depp, Natalie Maines and Metallica took up the cause. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam was in Arkansas for the release today.

In the trailer for their upcoming third documentary in the Paradise Lost series, Damien Echols tells the filmmakers that he would be dead were it not for their involvement. Sadly, he's right. Had the strange case not been preserved in film and broadcast on HBO, the West Memphis Three would be just three more inadequately represented poor people run over by the wheels of an aggressive justice system. And Damien Echols would have been executed years ago for a crime he didn't commit. That's a hard and painful truth and it reflects poorly on American jurisprudence.

Aug 19, 2011

West Memphis Three Are Free

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin Talk to Press

In a deal described by Damien Echols as "not perfect" and by Jason Baldwin as "not justice," the three men known as the West Memphis Three, who've now spent roughly half their lives in prison, went home to their loved ones. Using a rare legal maneuver called an Alford Plea, they have entered guilty pleas without admitting guilt.

In an Alford Plea, the criminal defendant does not admit the act, but admits that the prosecution could likely prove the charge. The court will pronounce the defendant guilty. The defendant may plead guilty yet not admit all the facts that comprise the crime. An Alford plea allows defendant to plead guilty even while unable or unwilling to admit guilt.

As proof that the law and the truth can be miles apart, Prosecutor Scott Ellington admitted in the press conference posted below that it was extremely unlikely that they could prove the charges in a new trial. He also conceded that a new trial was pretty much inevitable.

I believe that the allegations of misconduct on behalf of a juror in the Echols and Baldwin trial could have led to a new trial being ordered by the Circuit Court or the Federal Court. I believe it would be practically impossible after eighteen years to put on a proper case against the defendants in this case after such extended litigation. Even if the State were to prevail in a new trial, sentences would be different and appeals would then ensue... Since the original convictions two of the victims families have joined forces with the defense and publicly proclaimed the innocence of the defendants. The mother of one of the witnesses who testified against Damien Echols has now publicly questioned her daughter's truthfulness. The State crime lab employee who gathered fiber evidence at the homes of Echols and Baldwin has died since the trial, the original trial. In light of these circumstances I decided to entertain plea offers that were being proposed by the defense.

Aug 18, 2011

BREAKING: Will the WM3 Finally Be Free?

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Just posted to the WM3 Twitter page: Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley have left the prison with all their belongings and are not expected to return to prison.

I read earlier this evening that they would be attending a hastily called meeting tomorrow with the judge assigned to their upcoming evidentiary hearing.

The evidentiary hearing was scheduled for December. The surprise hearing tomorrow alone suggests a major development is at hand. The buzz in the defense bar community is that the news is beyond major. Until now, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office has fought vigorously against new proceedings for the defendants and in support of their convictions. A development tomorrow in which he joined in a defense suggestion would be momentous, indeed. Freedom for the WM3? The speculation today includes that possibility, though questions are numerous about how you'd reach such an outcome and, if it were to happen, whether it would include pronouncements on guilt or innocence or state liability.

The judge's office released this statement about Friday's hearing:

The court will take up certain matters pertaining to the cases of defendants Baldwin, Echols and Misskelley on Friday, August 19. One session will be conducted out of public presence with all defendants present and another session will be conducted in open court. The session conducted in chambers will likely begin at 10 a.m. followed by a public session which will begin about 11 a.m. Space will be limited for the public session — first to the parties, counsel and court personnel, then to family members of the victims and family members of defendants with remaining seating to be occupied by media representatives and the public. There will be approximately 15 minutes between the chamber session and open session for media and public to be seated. Miss Stephanie Harris, Arkansas Supreme Court communication counsel, will be present on Friday to assist with implementation and will be the court's intermediary with public and press.

Christine "Not a Witch" O'Donnell Back in the News

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

The former Senate candidate from Delaware whose campaign imploded on charges of witchery is making headlines again. And, once again, it's for trying to run from her own public statements. I guess it's somewhat understandable that Christine O'Donnell would be wary of reporters after the tempest in tea pot the Tea Party candidate inspired with inordinately silly comments she'd made to Bill Maher. But seeing O'Donnell walk out of a CNN interview makes me a cringe for a whole host of reasons.

I winced the other day when I noticed that her new book Troublemaker was published by my former employer St. Martin's Press. Well... it would hardly be the first completely crappy book the very prolific publisher threw out into the marketplace. Today I just find myself feeling bad for the publicist who has to handle an author who's sandbagging her media appearances. She'll get some mileage out of the last night's Piers Morgan debacle but the message that she will only do media appearances on her own terms won't go down well. She's just not that powerful. High profile celebrities have some leverage when it comes to picking and choosing between interviews and avoiding troublesome subjects. Michael Jackson, for instance, eschewed interviewers who would dare ask about his possible pedophilia and magazine editors who wanted his face on the cover complied. But O'Donnell is not the King of Pop and her refusal to answer questions about things in the very book she's promoting just makes her sound petulant and foolish.

The thing I found most interesting about her temper tantrum, though, was that the final straw was not questions about her bizarre references to witchcraft but about her current religious beliefs. Is opposition to gay marriage becoming the third rail of American politics? O'Donnell dodged all inquiry into her views on the issue. She would say only that it's "in the book" but she wouldn't talk about it what she says on the issue in the book. She then berates Morgan for not discussing the book. O'Donnell would only answer that she discusses her religious beliefs in the book which would seem to imply that her views on gay marriage are part of her religious construct. I have discussed at length what I think of the Biblical argument against homosexuality and gay marriage. It's just so much ludicrous cherry-picking. But no matter how you slice it, a former Senate candidate promoting a political book is in no position to refuse questions about a key issue in the current public policy debate.

It wasn't on the gay marriage question that Piers Morgan was rude or offensive. It was when he drudged up the debate over O'Donnell's comments on witchcraft. Like so much of the media, Morgan was far more insulting to Wiccans than to O'Donnell. And O'Donnell only indulged his ignorance.

Aug 17, 2011

Will James Arthur Ray Get Off on a Technicality?

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Prosecutor Sheila Polk

Yesterday Judge Darrow heard arguments over a motion for a new trial for James Arthur Ray. He has taken the motion under advisement and as of this writing, his decision is still pending. Over the course of the trial, he also heard and denied numerous mistrial motions. Most of the grounds put forward by the defense in this motion are repetitions from those previously rejected mistrial arguments.

Needless to say, CNN was not broadcasting the trial so I'm relying on accounts from reporters who were privy to court proceedings. I expect that the arguments hewed closely to their written motions, thus the defense's argument has been described as brief. (It also appears that Tom Kelly argued for the defense's motion. Had it been Luis Li, it would probably still be going on... and on... and on.) I've posted these previously but here again are pdfs of the relevant motions: the defense's motion for new trial, the State's reponse, and the defense's reply to the State.

The State's response is thorough and lengthy and points to the previously addressed and settled nature of many of the defense's arguments. The defense continues to take the position that prosecutorial misconduct is self-evident and that it's the State's burden to prove that their errors were inadvertent and not prejudicial. I did find the conclusion to the defense's motion a little confusing.

The state's persistent and pronounced misconduct demands a new trial. And the knowing and willful nature of the misconduct warrants sanctions and will bar re-prosecution.

How can there be a new trial if re-prosecution is barred? Well... I'm not a lawyer.

Aug 16, 2011


Around the Web, Around the World

"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

How Spiritual Emergency Becomes Awakening

"In spiritual emergency, our process of awakening becomes difficult and destabilizing," explains our guest, Kevin Sachs PhD of Safe Journeys Home. "These states can be confusing and frightening and can be misdiagnosed as mental illness, but they are truly healing states of consciousness." Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as she explores what Spiritual Emergency is, how to recognize it and how to work with it as a deeply transformational process with Kevin Sachs. Many people are introduced to non-ordinary states of consciousness through practices like shamanic journeying, trance dancing, vision quests, sweat lodges, breathwork, kundalini practices, meditation and yogic breathwork without being taught how to safely and productively use these states. However, if recognized and worked with skillfully and compassionately these challenging alternate states can become a spiritual practice, a personal healing form or an initiation into your true self. Kevin joins us for the next show in the Society of Shamanic Practitioners sponsored interview series where we explore how contemporary shamans are meeting the challenge of their world where the relations of things are profoundly out of balance. It is the ancient role of the shaman cross-culturally to tend the balance of things. How are these shamans meeting this extraordinary need today?

This week's Guest:
Kevin Sachs

Kevin Sachs, PhD, is the director of Safe Journeys Home, LLC which specializes in the facilitation of, support for, and education about transformational processes, events and crises. Kevin offers ongoing personal and emotional support to clients on their journeys of awakening. He offers support in preparing for and integrating deep, transformative inner experiences. He offers support during psycho-spiritual crises, kundalini crises, shamanic initiatory illnesses and other spiritual emergencies. He designs and facilitates rites of passage to support people going through difficult transitions. He also offers shamanic healing and workshops.

Kevin is an advanced student in Grof Transpersonal Training and offers Holotropic Breathwork™ with certified facilitators. He is studying to certify as a Focusing Professional with Ann Weiser Cornell and Jane Bell through the Focusing Institute. He also studies shamanism with Jan Edl Stein and Kenn Day. He has previously studied shamanism with Parashakti and Carla Meeske. Kevin also spent many years studying Siddha Yoga Meditation with Swami Muktananda and Gurumayi Chidvilasananda. He has been on a spiritual path for 38 years.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Aug 15, 2011

Horoscope for August 15-21

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

Aries (March 21st - April 20th)
You and a partner may share a dream of home, family, and increased financial security this week. If you are single, a dream of finding the perfect partner could drive you to increase your income. The planets are giving you strong creative manifesting power that enables you to imagine what you desire and bring it into reality. For Rams wanting to conceive a child, the first two days of the week are an ideal time to try. An urge for change may be directed toward your career or home, but it may be something new inside you that wants to be expressed. Friends may mean well when giving you advice, but they can also confuse or limit you. Follow your own heart.

Taurus (April 21st - May 20th)
Your world will expand from the comfort of your own home this week, Taurus. Social networking and the Internet could be ways that you meet new people and learn new things. Your personal warmth, charm, and sense of humor are fired up by the glow of the sun, Venus, and Mercury, making you a magnet for attention and increasing your desire to be surrounded by kindred souls. You may also be dreaming of a new home or getting ready to move. Your self-esteem is getting a good boost, as well, because your communication skills are in high demand. A piece of you is happily watching seeds of your future being sown now and, in your quiet moments, you wonder what fruit those seeds will bear. Watch that you don't commit to more work than you can handle at the end of the week.

Gemini (May 21st - June 21st)
"How can I make more money?" may be on your mind this week, Gemini. Creative ideas are going off like fireworks and you are willing to talk and promote yourself now. Trust your own instincts in business rather than the voice of establishment or anyone who tells you something can't be done. You do have a guardian angel, spirit guide, or an inner wisdom that only laughs at "No way" right now. A financial investment in yourself could bring a change in you that shifts your energy and allows you to accept fame, popularity, and greater success. Making money can become a game where you joyfully see your money grow rather than a chore you dread with diminishing returns.

Astrological Trends for August 15-21

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

A polite and sensitive mood sets the tone for the morning of Monday, August 15th, as the moon in the mutable water sign of Pisces forms a quincunx to Saturn in the cardinal air sign of Libra. This combination of mental refinement and spiritual sensitivity enhances social interaction, romance, and all forms of artistic expression. The moon sextile Jupiter in the fixed earth sign of Taurus helps bring plans into being and creative ideas into material form, as well as improves overall optimism and attitude. Mars, the planet of action, in the cardinal water sign of Cancer sextile Jupiter in Taurus gives the power of material manifestation another boost. With Mars and Jupiter supporting each other, you have the energy to act and the stamina to follow through. Mars in Cancer also opposes Pluto in the cardinal earth sign of Capricorn until noon, indicating there may be some resistance to overcome or difficulties to work out as you move through the morning, but a supportive sextile between Pluto in Capricorn and Chiron in Pisces means that where there is a will, there is a gentle or fruitful way to be found. Unfortunately, the long-term square aspect between volatile Pluto in traditional Capricorn and unstable Uranus in the cardinal fire sign of original Aries is still creating strong resistance and reaction whenever something new attempts to replace the old. The effect of this square aspect may be more noticeable on a global level, but if you would like to know how it affects you personally, you must look to see what houses, or areas of life, Pluto and Uranus are transiting in your own natal chart. Neptune has left the water sign of Pisces and re-entered the fixed air sign of Aquarius while it is retrograde. I feel this may bring spiritual or religious issues to the forefront in the news. Mercury retrograde in the fixed fire sign of Leo is joining Venus and the sun, exactly conjunct in Leo. This creative, energetic, passionate fire can make old things new and bring renewed joy into whatever area of your chart Leo resides. Second chances and trying again are especially likely to be happily successful under this influence. The moon/Saturn quincunx is gone by early evening and a peaceful, unaspected Pisces moon continues to shine on your evening. Pisces loves to dream and escape. Everything takes on a rosy glow or is felt more deeply. Spend the evening rekindling romance with a partner or indulge in your own favorite special treat - a glass of wine, a movie, a good book, a massage?

Aug 12, 2011

The Stepford President?

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Days after the incarceration of polygamist Warren Jeffs, the Biblical view of marriage is in the news again. Michele Bachmann has put the issue front and center and not even because of her well-known opposition to gay marriage. During last night's debate in Iowa, columnist Byron York attempted to hold her feet to the fire over anti-feminist views that would seem to disqualify her for the presidency. Bachmann is on record as being a "submissive" wife.

At issue is a speech she gave in 2006 when she explained God's handiwork in her life path.

In a speech at a mega-church in the Minneapolis area back in 2006, Michele Bachmann explained her decision to pursue tax law. It wasn't her choice, exactly. God had already told her to go to law school; God had also told her to marry a fellow named Marcus Bachmann. Now Marcus told her "to go and get a post-doctorate degree in tax law." This was not a particular desire of Michele's ("Tax law? I hate taxes!"), but she was certain God was speaking through her husband.

"Why should I go and do something like that?" she recalled thinking. "But the Lord says, 'Be submissive wives; you are to be submissive to your husbands.'"

Aug 11, 2011

Religious Abuse

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Warren Jeffs was carted off to prison on Tuesday after being sentenced to life plus 20 years. He will not be eligible for parole until he's 100 years old. While I'm gratified that there is some measure of justice and that he will be precluded from directly harming anyone else, what's left of his life will never balance any great scale. He has stolen the childhoods of what is probably an unknown number of children. And, unfortunately, his incarceration is unlikely to stop the cycle of abuse in the church that still considers him a leader and prophet.

Polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, to his followers a prophet who speaks directly with God, is likely to continue to lead his church from behind bars after being sentenced to life in prison on child sex assault charges.

"The vast majority are just not going to leave," Atlanta-based polygamy historian and writer Ken Driggs said. "They've got family ties and marriage ties and a culture deeply rooted in their faith."

. . .

There was no mass exodus in 2007 after Jeffs' conviction on Utah sex assault charges. Most members remained loyal. As he spent almost five years in various jails, Jeffs continued to spiritually direct the faith, counsel followers and lead Sunday services by phone.

Aug 9, 2011


Around the Web, Around the World

"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

The Shamanic Journey and Direct Revelation

The shamanic journey allows the journeyer to receive direct revelation from Spirit. A direct connection with spirit is the birth right of every human and the shamanic journey is one of the most ancient and reliable forms of forging this connection. Once connected with Spirit within the journey state of consciousness the journeyer can find healing, protection, and a continual source of guidance. The shamanic journey is a paradoxical practice, requiring simultaneously a degree of focused discipline and free access to the imagination. At the same time the journey is purely question driven and occurs within the dreamlike landscape of your own symbolic language. There is no ultimate truth there with codified symbols and interpretation. The journeyer must craft the question so that it acts as a key to open the answer. And then the "answer" that may be as inscrutable as last night's dream must be accurately interpreted. Here in lie the greatest challenges in developing a powerful, passionate, and effective journeying practice. Join host and shaman, Christina Pratt, as she explores the common mistakes, misconceptions, and false assumptions made by journeyers and remedies to correct them. Foremost is the reminder that Spirit is a teacher and even our mistakes in journeying and what we learn from them are part of the teaching and the answer.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 11:00 AM Pacific

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Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Aug 5, 2011

Warren Jeffs Convicted

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Unrepentant polygamist Warren Jeffs was found guilty of the sexual abuse of two underage girls. Jeffs had been previously convicted in Utah but the verdict was overturned due to improper jury instructions. He was then extradited to Texas where he acted as his own attorney in a trial that quickly descended into absurdity.

Jeffs fired seven attorneys, ultimately opting to defend himself by accusing prosecutors of religious persecution. He also used the trial as an opportunity to preach the gospel of polygamy.

While Jeff's defense was risible, the State's case was stomach-turning. Jeffs assisted in his own prosecution by having recorded much of his life -- ostensibly because everything he did and said was prophetic -- including his molestation of these poor children. The jury heard audio recordings of his instruction of his child brides in the art of pleasing a man... and therefore God.

Aug 2, 2011


Around the Web, Around the World

"Why Shamanism Now?" with Christina Pratt

How do I find my Soul's Purpose?

Our soul's purpose is the cornerstone of well-being, from a shamanic perspective. But how do we find it? Without it we are lost. With it our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health come together as an integrated whole. The gifts that you will give to the world as an expression of your soul's purpose have never been seen before ...and will never be seen again if you do not bring them. This life is the one moment to live that unique genius. But how do you know you are living your soul's purpose? What are the practical, daily things anyone could do to find and live their soul's purpose? This week, shaman and host, Christina Pratt, explores the things we can do to bring our selves in touch with our passion, because our passion-freed from addiction and obsession-is the mainline connection to our soul's purpose. Our purpose does not live in the ethereal realms of spirit, visions, and dreams. It lives in our body, deep within the root of being where we carry our piece of the original spark of life. To touch that origin spark each day we must release the lies we tell ourselves each day. To touch that spark we must accept the truth: the truth that we are One-with-all-things, innately worthy, and destine through our unique soul's purpose to bring greatness to the world.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 11:00 AM Pacific

Log on to Listen
Why Shamanism Now? on Co-Creator Network
Questions? Comments? Call: 1-512-772-1938

All episodes are now available in the iTunes Podcast Library.

Aug 1, 2011

Mercury Retrograde

Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

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Mercury, the planet of communication and transportation, which recently entered the mutable earth sign of Virgo, turns retrograde late in the evening of August 2nd and backtracks into the fixed fire sign of Leo by the end of the first week in August. Virgo is an analytical and methodical sign that likes to do things purposefully. Virgo's mutable quality may make it run through several possibilities before deciding which option is the most effective, but the desired result is always function. Leo, on the other hand, is highly creative, playful, and dramatic. Leo can work as hard as Virgo, but the process of creation is half the fun and the bigness of the effect is sometimes more important than function. Why have plain and practical when you can go for fun and extravagant?

As you enter the Mercury retrograde period this week, use the Virgo energy at the start of the retrograde period to analyze, itemize, and prioritize the things that you would like to go back over. Mercury retrograde's finest attribute is the opportunity it affords you to pull out old plans and projects, collect more information, or revisit an issue in order to clear it. Mercury retrograde can bring second chances. When the energy begins to shift on August 7th, you will have a list to burn through with that creative Leo fire.

Just as Mercury turns retrograde, Mars, the planet of action, leaves the air sign of Gemini and enters the emotional water sign of Cancer. Mars happens to aspect Mercury with a supportive sextile and also aspects Neptune in Pisces with a favorable trine until August 7th. I see these aspects as dream incubators. You can use these favorable aspects to help you get in touch with your emotions and identify your desires before you take any action. I do have to add a "however" here, though. Mercury retrograde traditionally causes misunderstanding, delays, and breakdowns with travel- and communication-related things. Mercury happens to oppose Neptune, which increases the possibility of confusion. Mars can enhance the potential for fire, accidents, and arguments. Cancer, Pisces, and Neptune are all water- and ocean-related. Please be cautious when traveling in the rain or on water. Safety first at all times.

Whatever area, or house, in your chart that has Leo energy: get ready to re-create something during the Mercury retrograde period. Based on a solar (sun sign astrology) chart, these are the houses and their concerns. Read for both your sun sign and your rising sign, also known as your ascendant. There are links on this site where you can get both your ascendant and your natal chart for free.


Cross-posted from Aloha Astro

Thank you so much for visiting. Aloha Astro is on a summer break and Mercury retrograde retreat until August 14th. The next full horoscope post will be on August 15th. I will still be writing daily Tweetscopes for all twelve signs, which are posted daily on both Facebook and Twitter.

Due to popular demand, I have created another site that offers a very special report at a very reasonable rate. Please visit What is My Life About? to learn more. I will be accepting orders for delivery after August 8th.

While I am in retreat, I would love to hear from you. Please tell me if you enjoy your Tweetscopes, Horoscopes, and the Astrological Trends. Do you follow them all? Are the Astrological Trends too technical for you? The more honest feedback I receive, the better I can serve you.

Love, Dunnea Rae (Dee)
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