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Honour the deep feminine wisdom, the power and the life-force of that incredibly beautiful body of yours.

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Secrets Of The Moon Goddess

Secrets Of The Moon Goddess

A woman's average menstrual cycle is 29 1/2 days—exactly the length of the moon's passage from new to full and back to new again. In tribal cultures, where women live in close physical proximity to each other and their natural menstrual cycles are not disrupted by such things as alterations in exposure to natural light, electromagnetic fields, drugs and hormones, not only do they menstruate at the same time, ovulation tends to occur when light is brightest at the full moon, and menstruation begins during the moon's dark phase—at new moon. There is by no means anything pathological in any woman in the modern world not cycling in this particular natural rhythm. However, it has also been demonstrated that the menstrual cycle can be regulated according to the exposure to varying degrees of light, which mimic the waxing and waning of the moon's phases. Under such circumstances the three phases of the moon—waxing, full and waning—correlate exactly with the monthly cycle of ebb and flow of female hormones—the oestrogen dominated proliferative phase, ovulation, the secretory luteal phase, and menstruation itself. SPLENDID PASSAGES In the realm of myth and symbols, these phases are superbly mirrored in the three phases of every woman's life—childhood, before the sex hormones begin to flow, the childbearing years, which begin at the menarche, and the postmenopausal years of the Moon Goddess in her Crone guise. In ancient cultures, the moon was considered the source of fertility and birth. She ruled destiny and time, the secrets of the unseen world, transformation, death and regeneration. It was the moon's power that quickened all of life. Sowing and harvesting were done in harmony with her ebbs and flows. It was the moon which grew bright then darkened and disappeared altogether each month that taught people that nothing in life is constant. The only thing on which you can rely is change. The moon became a symbol of the cycle of transformation that makes its home in a woman's body, while woman came to rule all things that involved change. Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, professor Emerita at UCLA, is the acknowledged world expert on Neolithic goddess-centered cultures in pre-patriarchal Europe. Author of more than twenty books, she paints a richly detailed picture of their social structure, agriculture, customs, rituals, religion and art. Much has been learned in recent years about the nature of the goddess-centered cultures, which existed for literally tens of thousands of years in Europe and Asia. The miniature sculptures that have been unearthed in the past twenty years give insight into the great variety of female manifestation of the divine which appeared as long ago as 27,000 to 25,000 years BC. Three thousand of these have been found in Siberia alone. In The Civilization of the Goddess, a monumental encyclopedic book which has already changed history, Gimbutas writes, "According to myriad images that have survived from the great span of human prehistory on the Eurasian continents, it was the sovereign mystery and creative power of the female as the source of life that developed into the earliest religious experiences. The Great Mother Goddess who gives birth to all creation out of the holy darkness of her womb became a metaphor for Nature herself, the cosmic giver and taker of life, ever able to renew Herself within the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth." WOMAN’S MANY FACES We learn from ancient sources that, like woman herself, the Moon Goddess has many faces. At the new moon, she is the Virgin Goddess, wrapped in enthusiasm for new beginnings as seeds sprout and first shoots appear. When her second phase begins, so does puberty. Buds turn into flowers and flowers to fruits as virgin becomes transformed into Divine Mother in charge of procreation and sexuality. She is the pregnant goddess, mistress of animals, bringer of life, the Madonna. As the moon begins to wane, woman passes through her next initiation to a time of harvest and a time of death, during which all that is old becomes compost for her new life. It is the Dark Goddess who rules the darkness of the moon, death and rebirth. Ancient statues of the Dark Goddess carved in bone, marble, alabaster or clay are often white—for white is the color of death. Bones are turned white by the elements. The big breasts and hips you find on statues of the Divine Mother become replaced by stiff nudes. The Dark Goddess is often depicted without breasts, her hands either on her chest or extended along her sides. She is shown with an enlarged pubic triangle, for the Dark Goddess of the waning moon is not only goddess of death but of regeneration. She rules the time in a woman's life when everything that has run its course, everything which has become outmoded or no longer has meaning in a woman’s life, must be destroyed to make way for a more authentic life. THE GIFTS OF MENOPAUSE Menopause is the initiation of the Dark Goddess. It is the passage during which a woman is asked to confront the possibility of her own death and probe the mysteries of decay, dismemberment, and regeneration. For only through the death of the old can the exciting new birth that awaits us take place. As menopause approaches, often a woman wants to spend more time in nature and to feel her spirit fed by the earth. The fear of menopause and the fear of the Crone, so widespread in our society, are nothing more than a reflection of our misguided fear of death itself. For, in today’s world, we have forgotten the great cyclic flow of birth, flowering, death and regeneration that is hidden within the circle of the moon—as it is within all life—and reflected in the circle of our own souls. Little wonder, since our patriarchal culture denies cyclical time and views events as linear. In linear time, the end is not connected with the beginning. Birth and death are not viewed as two vital passages in a continuing cycle of life, but as opposites—the one to be celebrated the other to be resisted at all costs until the bitter end. It is no wonder our society wants to black out menopause and to reject the older female. In the fearful fragmented world we live in, this appears to be the only way that human beings can deny for a time their own mortality. This is why the Dark Goddess remains a focus of fear and loathing in stereotypical male-dominated linear thinking. BANISH FEAR AND CELEBRATE Any woman who does not break through the limitations of such thinking and move beyond it risks becoming so paralyzed by fear that she looks upon The Dark Goddess (and menopause itself) as an enemy to be resisted. In truth, she is the archetype-medium by which the internal split that took place thousands of years ago between woman and her feminine nature can be healed forever. She is death's priestess. It is she that wipes out outmoded patterns of thinking and living. Then, acting the role of the midwife, she brings new forms of living to birth. The Dark Goddess—often called the Crone— can seem a terrifying figure to the uninformed women approaching menopause. She has so long remained repressed within our psyches that, when at last her energy rises and she makes her presence known, it can sometimes feel like an earthquake, a volcano, or some eruption of Nature that occurs to us as when pressures held too long within the earth are released. Yet the Crone has always been present in our lives: She has appeared each month as the moon grows dark and menstrual blood—the source of all creation—flows. Now, as menopause approaches, the Dark Goddess comes at last to rest within a woman's being. For instead of being released each month, the dark blood of creative power is retained within a woman's body and made available for her use. MONUMENTAL TRANSFORMATIONS The presence of the Dark Goddess in a woman's life is easy to spot. She arises whenever we experience dramatic changes—the death of a loved one, loss of a job, disfiguration. She is our teacher who guides us through the transformation that is being asked of us onto a new level of being. She is there in our deepest despair and at times when we connect most powerfully with our own creative fire. She is the hand-maiden that nurtures us through dark nights once we are willing to make the descent into our own psyche, and connect with whatever forms are sleeping there, so we can begin to live our own power. When these connections are made she is present too. She teaches us by her presence alone to become deeply and spontaneously sexual, assertive, straight, incorruptible, prophetic, intuitive and free. All of these qualities arise at menopause. These are the most precious gifts of the Crone. They herald the beginning of what is potentially the most creative part of any woman’s life... This time in which her biological creativity is let go of to be replaced by creativity of the highest order in any woman’s life. It must be said—it is these powerful gifts of the Dark Goddess which are still the most terrifying threats to the linear patriarchal culture of control in which most of us still live. More to come next week...

Celebrate Menopause

Celebrate Menopause

I am sure with every fiber of my being that the joys of menopause are the world's best kept secret. Like venturing through the gateway to enter an ancient temple, in order to claim the joy that is your birthright, every woman needs to be willing to pass beyond the “monsters” that guard its gate. When you stand at the brink of menopause in your own life, it can feel as though only darkness, danger and decay lie beyond the gate. In a way this is true—although most certainly not in the way most women believe. For having passed through the doorway to menopause myself, and entered the realms beyond I am certain, as thousands of women throughout history have whispered to each other, that menopause is the most exciting passage any woman ever makes. menopause is not dangerous and frightening Of course, nobody tells you this beforehand. It’s a secret you have to discover for yourself. We continue to be bombarded by propaganda from conventional medicine, the crazy media and pharmaceutical companies warning us that menopause is dangerous and frightening. It can’t be managed without drugs, they tell us. What absolute rubbish. As I entered the gate of my own menopause, like most modern women my head had been filled with nonsense about the horrors of hot flushes, fainting spells and dry vaginas; with memories of my mother's tears shed over a wrinkle that appeared one day to mar her perfect face. Then there was the prospect of enforced celibacy—after all, no man can feel lust for an old woman. Or can he? It was partly by accident, and partly because—despite good health and secure family circumstances—my own journey through menopause was not an easy one. Yet this was how I discovered the great secret which throughout history women living in patriarchal cultures have guarded close to their hearts: The doorway to menopause is a call to adventure. It takes you out of the ordinary world in which we have been living and carries you into a numinous realm of magnified power. Within this new realm you can find treasures to match your wildest dreams, waiting to be uncovered. And, like every prize worth having, such gifts can only be claimed and brought back you we are bold enough and determined enough to answer the call. What is calling you? Nothing less than your own soul. The call to adventure The call to adventure as we near menopause can arrive in as many different forms as there are women to hear it. But, whatever shape it takes, its purpose is the same. It is asking you—imploring you—to leave behind the comfortable world of ordinary existence and, for a time, venture into a challenging unfamiliar place. It is asking you to set out on your hero's journey—a journey completely unique to you and in line with your soul’s deepest longings. Sometimes this entails making an outer journey to a real place, moving to a new job, or leaving behind a marriage which has outlived its usefulness. Other times, the journey takes place only in your mind, heart and spirit. Either way, this is an inner journey that challenges ordinary assumptions, transforming the way you think, feel and have been living—turning any weaknesses into strengths, grief into new sense of purpose and determination, despair into hope. Eventually your journey brings you home again, transformed into who you truly are. So important do I believe this mysterious transformation offered to every woman is that I wanted to share some of its magic and possibilities with you. It can help you uncover desires and talents you may never have dreamed that you possess. It’s a time to leave behind all the roles you’ve played as mother, wife, successful woman or whatever, and dare to come face to face with who in truth you are you are, and with what you long to do next as a free being. It’s a time for joy and a sense of freedom you may never have dreamed possible.

The Greatest Journey

The Greatest Journey

I have long been sure in every fiber of my being that the joys of menopause are the world's best kept secret. Like venturing through the gateway to enter an ancient temple, in order to claim that joy, a woman must be willing to pass beyond the monsters who guard its gate. As you stand at the brink of it, it can appear that only darkness, danger and decay lie beyond. And in a way this is true - although most certainly not in the way most women believe. For having myself passed through the doorway of menopause into the realms beyond—almost twenty years ago now—I am certain, as thousands of women from all cultures throughout history have whispered to each other, that menopause is the most exciting passage a woman ever makes. Of course nobody told me this beforehand. It was a secret I had to discover for myself. Like most modern women my head had been filled with the horrors of hot flushes, fainting spells and dry vaginas; with memories of my mother's tears shed over a wrinkle that appeared one day to mar her perfect face; with the prospect of enforced celibacy—after all, no man can feel lust for an old woman, or can he? It was partly by accident, I think, and partly because—despite good health and secure family circumstances—my own journey through menopause was not an easy one, that I discovered this secret, which throughout history women living in patriarchal cultures have guarded close to their hearts: The doorway of menopause which each of us is invited to pass through is a call to adventure. It connects the ordinary world in which we have been living to a numinous zone of magnified power. Within that zone are hidden treasures to match our wildest dreams. But, like every prize worth having, these riches can only be claimed and brought back if a woman is bold enough and persistent enough to answer the call. What is calling? Nothing less than her own soul. This call to adventure which a woman hears at menopause can arrive in as many different forms as there are women to hear it. But, whatever shape it takes, its purpose is the same. It is asking her—imploring her—to leave behind the comfortable world of her ordinary existence and for a time to venture into a challenging unfamiliar place. It is asking her to set out on her own hero's journey—a journey which is completely unique to her. Sometimes this entails making an outer journey to a real place, moving to a new job, or leaving behind a marriage which has outlived its usefulness. For many the journey takes place only in the mind, the heart and the spirit. Either way it is primarily an inner journey which takes a woman out of her ordinary world with all its ordinary assumptions to transform the way she thinks and lives—from weakness to strength, from grief to purpose, from despair to hope—and then brings her home again. So important do I feel the mysterious transformation that begins in a woman’s life as menopause approaches, that I would like to share with you some of the magic I and so many others have discovered in this extraordinary life-changing passage in future blogs. I hope you will join me.

The Best Is Yet To Come

The Best Is Yet To Come

This is an interview I gave about what it means to turn 50 years old and the gifts that this process can bring. Tally: You’ve always said that turning 50 and entering menopause are great gifts, Leslie, What do you mean by this? TURNING 50 Leslie: Let me first be personal,Tally. My 50th birthday was the only birthday in my life that I cared about. It felt to me as though 50 was a watershed—the moment in time where I left behind my previous life in order to create a new life for myself. At that time I was writing my first novel, Ludwig: A Spiritual Thriller, about Beethoven. My eldest son, Branton, gave me an amazing birthday gift. What he did was lay aside two days for me and a dozen other people to celebrate, not just my birthday, but their own passages in their own lives. One of the things he did—he sent six bouquets of my favorite flowers—Oriental lilies—each containing a dozen lilies. Then on the Friday night there was a knock at the door. I opened the front door to find a woman with a violin in her hand. She said “Hello. We are a quartet from the Welsh National Opera, and we have come to play Beethoven’s late quartets for you.” Anyway, I had done a fast to celebrate my life-change at 50, basically. I wasn’t, at that time, entering menopause—it was about a year later that I did. Tally: Well my own experience of turning 50 was pretty bleak. I was already in the menopause. I felt horrible—tears all the time, hot flushes, insomnia. I felt very stressed by the whole thing. I also lost my waist for a while, which really upset me. So for me, it wasn’t a great experience. How could I make it a bit better? Leslie: I think you weren’t prepared for it, Tally. Menopause is the most important moment in a woman’s life, for a lot of reasons. My menopause was not easy in the beginning either. Why? Because I had been filled with the same kind of fear and nonsense that the media fills all of us with about menopause. You know the kind of stuff—“Oh my god, what if I have a hot flush when I’m in the boardroom?” and “You’ll get old and dry up if you don’t use HRT!” THE GIFTS OF MENOPAUSE Yet somewhere, deep inside, I sensed that the gifts of menopause might be the world’s best kept secret. Entering menopause, we venture through a gateway to enter into a sacred space that is brand new to our lives. We pass through this portal to claim the joy that every woman can feel, but has not yet known. As we stand at the brink of menopause, it feels as though only darkness lies beyond, lasting for the rest of our lives. This is true, but not in the way that most women believe. For having myself passed through that doorway into the realms beyond—20 years ago now—I discovered for myself something which women from all cultures have whispered to each other for thousands of years: Menopause is the most freeing passage a woman can make. HERO’S JOURNEY The transformation it can bring is rich and endless. Your life can become a journey in which you tap into your own individual power and freedom. For every woman it’s a voyage of discovery which, step by step, wants us to examine and discard misconceptions about ourselves and our lives, to get rid of the fear, and to come face to face with the implications of what this kind of female transformation means. The call to menopause, which each of us hears, comes in as many different forms as there are women to hear it. But whatever shape it takes, its purpose is the same. It’s asking us to leave behind the comfortable world of our ordinary existence and enter unfamiliar, yet sacred, territory. It’s asking each of us to set out on our own hero’s journey. Sometimes, this urges us to make an outer journey to a real place, find a new job, or leave behind a marriage that has outlived its usefulness. But for most of us, the journey takes place in our hearts, in our minds, in our spirits. What is wonderful, is this: however it happens, this journey takes a woman out of her ordinary world, and away from all of the outdated, false assumptions we carry about who we are. It takes us out of an experience of fear into one of strength; out of an experience of grief and regret towards the discovery of a new sense of purpose—from despair to hope. Now it’s time to recognize that all of the things that take place in a woman’s life—like what happened to you, Tally, with your hot flushes and “Oh my god, what’s happening to me?”—are fundamentally a call from your soul. It’s saying to you “You’ve lived a good life until now, you’ve cared for other people, you’ve been responsible and honorable in what you’re doing, but where is the essence of Tally?” Now’s the time for you to learn to live your life from the very core of your being? HERBAL SECRETS Let’s go back to those hot flushes. I have a very extraordinary point of view as far as they’re concerned. If you’re in a boardroom, you have a hot flush and it bothers the men who are with you, that’s their problem, not yours. Most men are scared to death of women in the menopause. They’re not aware of it, but the power that women access within themselves is phenomenal. On a practical level, hot flushes are easy things to deal with. Herbs like black cohosh—also known as black snakeroot, or sheng ma in Chinese medicine—and sage are great to support the process. Motherwort is absolutely marvelous for the menopause transition because it’s so comforting. When you mix together some of these herbs they work best. What I would never do is get into hormone replacement therapy. Menopause signals to us that it’s time to stop being the lover, the mother, the good employee—all of the things we grow up thinking we’re supposed to live up to—and just spend time being with yourself, in that inner place, discovering who you really are. When you do this, you find that even the physical experiences of menopause which are supposed to be negative are really a call from your soul, urging you to find out who you are, and begin to live out the fantastic power, energy, and freedom that menopause is offering. These are rewards of the natural menopause, and of the transformation that menopause can bring to a woman’s life if she’s willing to embrace it. Choose to answer the call, and your menopausal passage can become the most exciting hero’s journey anyone ever takes.

Become Ageless

Become Ageless

I learned the secret of agelessness when, many years ago, I came upon a quotation from someone I much admire. Let me share it with you: “All men dream; but not equally.” he said. “Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.” The quotation comes from T.E. Lawrence. I adore it. It transformed my own vision of aging. It reminded me of the imaginative power each of us has to create our unique path. It taught me that there is no need to fear growing older. Each one of us can live a rich and fulfilling life at any age. Yet too few of us make use of our powerful abilities to envision, then bring into being, what we long for. If, like me, you’d prefer to die young late in life, there are two things for you to do: First, get savvy about how to care for yourself naturally. Second, start to practice Lawrence of Arabia’s dictate. Decide to become a “dreamer of the day”. Then “act with open eyes to make it possible.” The growing understanding of natural medicine, together with reputable research into high-tech biochemistry, has made this transformation possible. Once little more than a pipe-dream, agelessness is becoming a reality. Savvy gerontologists have challenged the assumed maximum lifespans of human beings. They show us that people in the know can make intelligent use of antioxidant nutrients, electromagnetic treatments, and a myriad of other safe, natural anti-aging tools—including an organic, high-raw diet—to prevent physical degeneration and restore a healthy balance to their bodies and their lives. It is never too late to begin. Instead of prescribing dangerous drugs, this new wave of visionary scientists and practitioners show that the foods we eat exert powerful effects on control centers in the brain. These powerful loci direct metabolic processes on which your health depends—from hormonal behavior, weight and appetite, to emotional and mental states—even, believe it or not, the way we perceive the nature of reality. What few people yet know—and what I have been studying and teaching for decades—is that these control centers in the brain are also filters through which we experience profound spiritual growth. Choose to live on a diet of convenience foods, sugars, and carbohydrates, as more than 90% of people now do, and your brain’s control centers become crippled. You begin to age rapidly. Then, should you be urged to buy into relying on pharmaceutical drugs, eventually your body becomes poisoned by them. Become aware of this. Fresh foods grown on healthy soils foods and top quality nutrients do not poison the body’s crucial enzymes, nor do they block vital cell receptors, on which your health depends. Taking drugs long-term does both, bringing about not only ill-health and rapid aging, but unbalanced emotions, mental fog, and a strong sense that—in ways you cannot even articulate—you have lost trust and connections with yourself, although you may have no idea how this has happened. Changing the way you eat and care for your body can begin, within a few weeks, not only to transform your health. It can expand your consciousness and help you change your life for the better on virtually every level. Forget your chronological age. It’s a very limited indication of your biological and functional age. These are the measurements that really matter. Older people are capable of far more than society would have us believe. At any age, people can learn how to live by the principles of natural wellbeing and become highly resistant to the ravages of degeneration and chronic illness. They come to know their bodies. They face each morning in fresh anticipation about what the day can bring. They’ve learned to dismiss the negative brainwashing continually bombarding us from mainstream media, the medical profession and government directives. They know, for instance that, as George M. Mann MD says, “The diet-heart hypothesis which suggests that high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol causes heart disease has been repeatedly shown to be wrong. The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century.” Those in the know refuse to allow themselves to be deceived any longer. Savvy, independent people have every right to boast of their increased longevity and high resistance to degeneration. They’ve earned it. These people seek truths and continue to uncover them. They choose to shun unnecessary drugs, to banish convenience foods, to make at least 50 to 75% of the foods they eat organic. They reject negative beliefs about growing older. They become not old, but ageless. Agelessness makes available to you a steadily maturing wisdom which is one of the greatest blessings as years go by. You become someone whose experience and awareness has not been distorted by an ill-functioning mind or waning vitality. Our sense of time expands and helps us come alive to the present moment. In a powerful, real, and positive way, this draws it towards the future. And when we are able to project ourselves into the future, that future becomes not an abstract consideration, but an experience of great rewards. The future of the planet is our future. We are responsible for it. If we wish, we can start to see ourselves as caretakers of our earth instead of tenants in a rented property. At last, the freedom from mental and physical degeneration which agelessness brings is no longer an empty dream. It is happening to many who are awakening. Who cares if, at the age of 85, you are still capable of running a marathon, or if you look 20 years older or younger than you are chronologically? Such things matter little by themselves. But high-level health, mental clarity and well-being which are the rewards of agelessness—no matter how old one is chronologically—are of urgent concern to all of us as residents of the earth. They form the foundation on which we human beings can build if we are to make use of our creative potentials. In the full use of such creativity lies the future of ourselves, our children and our planet. Have I become one of Lawrence’s “dreamers of the day”? I certainly have. It’s dreams that create the true mythologies by which we live our lives. I believe each and every one of us urgently needs solid dreams to give our lives direction—dreams which, tempered by the wisdom of age, are large enough and rich enough to carry us forward. Such dreams not only have power. They can help us bring forth exciting new realities.

What Every Women Wants

What Every Women Wants

Great stories carry hidden secrets that can transform a life. They bring us face-to-face with hidden truths that help free us from false beliefs and attitudes, self-criticism and negativity that crush us. Cultural conditioning has taught us to undervalue the wild creativity that lies within—that part of us which is instinctual, irrational, and full of passion. Conventional society is so frightened of these things that we have been taught to fear ourselves and to judge ourselves harshly. We swallow our anger even when it is righteous. We crush our wild nature and we see ourselves as ugly. Yet locked within what we most hate and fear lies the greatest power for true freedom. Today I’d like to share with you one of my favorite mythologies of self-discovery—as delightful and important for men as it is for women. Here’s how it goes: THE LOATHLY LADY One Christmastide Arthur rode out with his knights to hunt. By chance he became separated from his companions and found himself at the edge of a great brackish pond. There, a knight in black armour emerged from the shadows and challenged him to a fight. Arthur reached to draw his sword Excalibur and call on its power to protect him from all harm. Alas, he had come away from court without it. He could feel every ounce of strength drain away from his body in the presence of the dark and evil stranger who raised his sword and threatened to kill him. Being a responsible king, of course, Arthur told the dark knight he didn't think that killing him was such a great idea—he had a country to rule, after all, and knights to look after. Where would they be without him? The stranger, bored at the thought of such an easy kill, relented and replied, "OK, I won't kill you so long as you return to this place in three days with the answer to a riddle I shall give you. If you fail I shall remove your head in one fwll swoop." WHAT DOES SHE WANT Arthur agreed. He figured that given half a chance and a mug or two of fancy mead, his pals back at the castle would be sure to come up with something. The riddle the stranger posed was this: "What does every woman want?" So Arthur headed home to ask all of his knights and wise men to give him the answer. Everyone from Merlin to a goose girl he met along the road had a go. Each gave him a different answer: "A woman wants beauty," said one. "A woman wants power," said another, or fame, or jewels, or sanctity. None could agree. Time was running out. Finally, although he had done his best to hide from his beloved Guinevere the seriousness of the situation, the third morning arrived. Bound by his word of honor to the Black Knight, Arthur had to face the music. Along the road to the meeting at the brackish waters, Arthur came upon an old woman. She sat on a tree stump by the side of the road calling his name. Arthur dismounted and approached her with all the courtesy he could muster. For the closer he came, the more ghastly this old hag appeared. Although she was dressed in fine silk and wore magnificent jewels on her gnarled and twisted hands, she was unquestionably the most hideous thing he had ever seen—or dreamed of, for that matter. Her nose was like a pig's, her mouth was huge, toothless and dribbling. What hair remained on her head was greasy, and the skin all over her misshapen and bloated body was covered in oozing sores. COURTESY CHALLENGED Arthur swallowed hard, forcing himself not to have to look away. "My Lord," she said in a surprisingly gentle voice, "Why look you so dismayed?" Summoning up all his chivalrous training, Arthur apologized for his manner, trying to explain it away by telling her he was most unsettled at the prospect of returning to meet his death at the hand of an evil knight because he could not tell him the answer to the riddle, "What does every woman want?" "Ah," said the hag. "I can tell you that. But such knowledge cannot be given without payment." Arthur, hoping once again for a reprieve from death, replied, "Of course Madam, anything you desire shall be yours for the answer—even half my kingdom." IMPOSSIBLE REQUEST The Loathly Lady made Arthur bend down while she whispered a few words in his ear." The moment Arthur heard them, he knew his life and his kingdom had been saved. He was about to leap on his horse again and ride off to meet the stranger when she tugged on his cloak and said, "Now I want my reward." "Of course Madam, what is it that you want?" he asked. "I want to be the wife of your bravest knight and live at your court." Arthur, who only a moment before had felt his spirits soar, was plunged into the deepest despair. How could he possibly expect any knight to consent to marry such a hideous hag? And what would it be like to have to endure such ugliness every day at court? "But Madam, that is impossible!" he said. The words slipped through his lips before he could catch them. Aghast at his own lack of courtesy and agonized by having to ask any of his knights, Arthur said, "I beg your pardon, Madam. You are quite right. Come to court tomorrow. There waiting for you will be your future husband." So saying, he mounted his horse and rode off to meet the Black Knight to convey to him the answer to the riddle. When he got back to the castle, Arthur was distraught. The knights questioned him. He confessed that he had won his life from the Black Knight but then told them at what cost and reported his promise to the Loathly Lady. "My very honor is at stake," said Arthur, wringing his hands, "unless one of you will agree to wed her." His knights were horrified at the prospect and tried to avoid his gaze. But one—the youngest knight of all—Sir Gawain, the most courageous and purest of heart stood up. "Worry, not my liege," Gawain said, "I shall save you, I will marry the woman no matter what her mien." SELF-PROFESSED HERO Gawain did not have long before he rued his offer. The marriage was planned for the following morning and the hag arrived at court. When he looked upon her, even Gawain with all his chivalry did not know how he could go through with the ceremony. It demanded every ounce of his courage. Somehow he managed it. But things got worse. When the festivities were over, the couple were obliged to retire to their chamber for the night. Gawain, unable to face the hideousness of his wife, sat for long hours in their bedchamber with his back to the lady, writing at his desk and praying she would go to sleep without him. Was he to spend the rest of his life shackled to such a hideous monster? ENCHANTED WOMAN Long past midnight, as the candle burnt low, he felt a hand come to rest upon his shoulder. "Will you not come to bed now, my Lord?" a voice whispered from behind him. Shuddering with horror, Gawain mustered his courage to look at her. To his astonishment there stood not the ugly hag he had married but the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She had golden hair and ivory skin. "Why do you seem so surprised, My Lord?" she said to him. "I am indeed your wife. I was enchanted by a wicked magician. But now the enchantment is half broken by your having consented to marry me and so you see I stand before you now in my true form." Gawain could not believe his luck. "Half broken?" he asked. "Yes, my lord" was the reply. "Sadly I am only allowed to spend half the time in my true form. For the rest I must return to the shape of the same hag which this afternoon you married. And now you must choose, my Lord. Would you have me be my true self at night when we are alone together and the hag during daylight hours?" Gawain, whose mind was flooded with passion at the thought of her beauty filling his bed each night replied eagerly, "Yes, that is certainly how it must be." TEARS FOR FREEDOM In the eye of his beautiful lady appeared a tear. "But sir," she said, "Would you then have me suffer the humiliation of the court who cannot conceal their horror at my ugliness?" Now Gawain, if he was nothing else, was compassionate. He could not bear to bring this beautiful woman a tear of sorrow. "No, of course not," he replied. "It shall be the other way round, of course. You shall be my beautiful wife for the court during daylight hours and the hag at night." But this only made the lady weep the more. "Oh sir, would you then deny me forever the joy and pleasure of your embrace?" She asked. Poor Gawain, who after all was but a man (and man has never found it easy to deal with woman's grief) did not know what to do. After much thought he replied, "My lady, whatever choice I make will be the wrong one. It is therefore for you to choose which you prefer." At the sound of his words the Lady threw herself into his arms in glorious laughter. "In so saying, my Lord, you have given the right answer. You have bestowed upon me what every woman wants—her own way. The spell at last is broken. You will never have to look upon the hideous hag again. I am my true self and it belongs to you forever." Such is the power of accepting that which to ourselves is most loathsome. And such is the power of myth in reminding us of it.

Cancer - Have No Fear

Cancer - Have No Fear

The word strikes fear into the heart of most women. The mainstream medical profession continues to insist that the only way for us to protect ourselves against death from breast, cervical and womb cancer is by getting regular mammograms and Pap smears. We are still being filled with fear by mainstream media and Big Pharma about the dangers of breast cancer, and treated to horror stories about brave women who have been cancer victims yet survived to tell the tale. Instead of empowering us so we can take action to make cancer's appearance in our own life unlikely, most of what we’re told about the illness fills us with so much fear that it makes it almost impossible to sort out facts from fantasies. Each woman responds to fear-mongering in a different way. Some keep booking regular appointments at “well women clinics.” Others bury their heads like ostriches, hoping that the cancer terror will pass them by. Whichever way you choose to view the threat of cancer—whether real or imagined—is disempowering. Even words used to describe someone who has the illness—a cancer victim—bestows upon the illness a power it does not deserve. USELESS ADVICE Ask the so-called experts how best to protect yourself from dying of cancer. They are likely to respond that early detection is the answer. The prevailing theory is that the earlier you detect cancers, the better your chances of survival. This is untrue. Breast cancers are diagnosed through a combination of sonograms, aspiration of lumps, physical exams, mammograms and surgical biopsy, where a piece of tissue from the breast is removed and examined under the microscope. Mammograms are x-rays taken of your breasts, used to diagnose breast cancer at its earliest appearance—supposedly before it can be felt by physical exam. This remains standard medical procedure in most countries. Interesting research first came to light as the result of the largest study of its kind ever carried out in Canada. The Canadian National Breast Screening Study followed the fate of 89,836 women between 40 and 49 for an eight year period, during which half of them were given mammograms every year to eighteen months while the other half were only examined physically. When all the results were tallied, researchers discovered that deaths from cancer in women who got regular mammograms were significantly higher than those who had no mammograms done. When results were published—which, incidentally, did not happen until a full four years after the study was completed—the NCI finally announced that the increase in death from breast cancer was 52 percent. In simple terms, you are half again as likely to die of cancer if you do have regular mammograms as if you do not. This report made the headlines, “Breast Scans Boost Risk of Cancer Death”, reported The Times. It then went on to explain that “Middle-aged women who have regular mammograms are more likely to die from breast cancer than women who are not screened, according to dramatic new research.” DANGEROUS RADIATION Mammography subjects you to powerful ionizing radiation which can cause cancer. One mammogram delivers the radiation equivalent of 1,000 chest x-rays into your body. Each year in the United States, an amazing 4 billion dollars is spent on over-diagnosis and false-positives in relation to mammography results. And the incidence of false positive results are known to be as high as 56% in a woman who has undergone 10 mammograms. Another very recent, massive study over 25 years concluded that mammograms have absolutely NO effect on mortality rates. The New York Times reported on it: "One of the largest and most meticulous studies of mammography ever done, involving 90,000 women and lasting a quarter­century, has added powerful new doubts about the value of the screening test for women of any age. It found that the death rates from breast cancer and from all causes were the same in women who got mammograms and those who did not. And the screening had harms: one in five cancers found with mammography and treated was NOT a threat to the woman's health and did not need treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation." EARLY DETECTION NONSENSE The second widespread notion about cancer is that the earlier it is detected and surgery performed, the better are a woman’s chances of survival. This too is untrue, as Petr Skrabanek reported some time ago in the British Medical Journal: "There is no evidence that early mastectomy affects survival. If the patients knew this, they would most likely refuse surgery". At the University of California in Berkeley, Professor Hardin Jones, whose expertise is in the areas of medical physics and physiology, had reported to the American Cancer Society some 20 years ago that every serious attempt to relate early treatment to survival has been unsuccessful. Jones studied many reports that looked at detection and survival and found that those subjects chosen for treatment for cancer tended to be patients who were considered capable of being cured by operations, while the inoperable or terminal patients tended to be lumped together as part of the untreated control groups. After making adjustments in the statistics to take this into account, Jones reported that "My studies have proven conclusively that untreated cancer victims actually live up to four times longer than treated individuals." Jones' investigations, like those of other researchers, continue to be ignored by Big Pharma and most of mainstream medicine and the media. MAMMOGRAM MIASMA Not only are mammograms not a cure-all for breast cancer, a “clean” mammogram is no real guarantee that you do not have a cancer developing. Mammograms are capable of missing its presence altogether. They are open to a great deal of confusion and interpretation, since reading them is not an exact science but an art dependent upon the competence and judgement of human beings. American specialist in internal medicine Dr H Gilbert Welch, a senior researcher at the Department of Veterans' Affairs in White River Junction Vermont, has looked carefully at the difficulties that go with the excessive diagnosis of diseases like breast cancer. He discovered that in women who die from other causes, an amazing 40 percent have had microscopic changes in their breasts. These are common lesions which show up on mammograms and there is no way in which any expert, no matter how skilled or highly experienced, is capable of knowing which of these will remain dormant and which may eventually turn into cancer. INACCURATE BIOPSIES Neither does a biopsy carried out after a “suspicious mammogram” improve survival rates from breast cancer. A biopsy entails cutting through the suspected lump and invading the protective pocket that helps keep a tumor from spreading, and as a result this very procedure designed to confirm the existence or non-existence of a cancerous lesion can actually encourage cancers present to metastasize—to spread to other parts of the body. German researchers who looked at the survival rates of patients with breast cancer discovered that those who had had biopsies died earlier than those who did not. Even biopsies done with a needle rather than a scalpel do not appear to be safe, quite apart from what the worry over waiting for results and the pain involved in the procedure can do by undermining a woman's immune system. George Crile Jr M.D., a Surgeon Emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic in the United States, says "It gives credence to what our patients already think and tell us—that cutting into cancer spreads it and makes it grow." BANISH YOUR FEAR It’s time we stopped falling victim to the pronouncements and procedures of high technology medical procedures as well as to cancer itself as a disease. The answer to its prevention lies mostly in our own hands. It depends largely on things we can do ourselves to change the way we eat, live and think—not in the hands of abstract medical theorizing and the fear-mongering which still too often accompanies it. As an editorial in The Lancet pointed out, "Some readers may be startled to learn that the overall mortality rate from carcinoma of the breast remains static. If one were to believe all the media hype, the triumphalism of the profession in the published research, and the almost weekly miracle breakthrough trumpeted by the cancer charities, one might be surprised that women are dying at all from this cancer." PAP-SMEAR SCARES The other common procedure to which we women are subjected is the Pap smear for diagnosing cervical abnormalities. Its name comes from a Dr George Papanicolaou, who developed the procedure almost three quarters of a century ago. It has since then been refined and is now used as a way of identifying “abnormal” (usually referred to as “pre-cancerous cells”) as early as possible. Using a simple instrument inserted into the vagina, a doctor scrapes away a sampling of cells from the squamocolumnar junction of the cervix just inside the cervical opening at the bottom of the womb. These are fixed on a slide with a chemical preservative and examined under the microscope by a technician or doctor used to reading them. Pap smears are frequently credited with some decline in the death rate for cervical cancer; however, they too can be highly unreliable and produce a number of both false-positives and false-negatives. There have still been no controlled randomized trials that prove that they actually save lives. When a trial was carried out in British Columbia, where mass screening by Pap smear had been carried out, deaths from cervical cancer did indeed drop: However, not a lot could be deduced from this fact, since they also dropped in the rest of Canada as well to just the same degree in areas where mass screening was not conducted. As Dr E Robin points out in his fascinating book Matters of Life and Death: Risks and Benefits of Medical Care, the Pap smear is not only one of the most common and popular laboratory tests, it is also one of the most unreliable. He writes about one study where two Pap smears were taken from the same women at the same time. An amazing two-thirds of the women's two tests showed different results. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS In the past five years, a great deal of information has come to light about how the way you eat and live either protects or predisposes you to cancer. Forward-thinking researchers are awakening to hormonal links in the development of breast and womb cancer and finding ways of using natural, bioidentical hormones to protect against it. In many ways even more exciting, a minority of savvy medical practitioners have begun to teach their patients that, above all else, to protect themselves from the illness we need to take responsibility for the kind of foods we eat. There is a lot to me said about how powerful this can be not only to protect yourself from cancer but from all of the common degenerative diseases as well as early ageing. Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. I’ll be writing specifically about this very soon.

Beware Of HRT

Beware Of HRT

In the grip of insane materialism, and controlled by the intense power of pharmaceutical companies, doctors who once practiced from a genuine passion to help heal are being forced to surrender their autonomy to a brutal overuse of dangerous chemical agents. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the “treatment” of menstrual and menopausal symptoms through the prescribing of HRT. In many ways, conventional medicine has disintegrated into a high-tech nightmare since the turn of the century. It has become controlled by the unbridled greed of corporations and government bodies who have only one goal in mind: Profit. The selling of drugs capable of producing massive side effects fails to deliver genuine healing. They do not address fundamental causes of illness. They only mask symptoms and in the process can poison your body long-term. Meanwhile, conventional health care has become so expensive that none but the top 0.1% of the population can afford it. Hundreds of thousands of people die each year as a result of using patented medicine. It is time for a radical overhaul in how we choose to treat health and healing. Nowhere is this more urgently needed than in addressing the way women’s issues are treated before, during and after menopause. Drug-based synthetic estrogens, progestins and progestogens prescribed in the form of HRT are dangerous and, used long-term, may even be life-threatening. RADICAL REVISION IS DUE Once dazzled by high-tech medical intervention at birth, we women willingly surrendered our bodies to epidurals, episiotomies and fetal monitoring equipment, which promised pain-free, trouble-free childbirth, but too often delivered problems for mother and baby. Then, inspired by the work of visionary doctors such as Michele Odent, Pierre Vellay and Frederic Leboyer, more and more women began to insist on natural childbirth, breastfeeding and good mother-child bonding. We demanded the right to drug-free childbirth and control over our own bodies. Gradually—not without resistance—doctors, hospitals and government agencies became more willing to provide this in response to the demands of us ordinary women, who kept insisting there is a better way. It’s we women ourselves who brought to fruition the natural childbirth revolution. Now it’s time for another revolution—that women’s reproductive and post-reproductive health be naturalized. It’s time we refused to swallow the nonsensical propaganda about the glories of drug-based HRT that continues to be forced upon us by the powers-that-be, and the media. LET TRUTH BE TOLD It’s time for us to begin challenging the “wisdom” of established medical practices. Time for us to dismiss the widespread propaganda which accompanies the sale of HRT. The indiscriminate doling out of potent drug-based hormones can undermine a woman’s fertility as well as trigger the development of her menstrual agonies from PMS and endometriosis to cancer of the breast and womb. The current attempt to make every woman a “patient” for most of her life by subjecting her to drug treatment through HRT is a way of diminishing her personal power and taking away control over one’s own body. I believe these practices to be biologically, politically and morally reprehensible. As Dr Jonathan Wright, Medical Director of Tahoma Clinic in Washington—and long-time advocate of bio-identical, natural hormones—says, “Replacing estrogen that your body is no longer producing with the versions found in conventional HRT is like replacing parts designed for a Chevy with those made for a Mercedes. They may be roughly the same, but with both engine parts and biology, very precise measurements matter.” NEW FACTS In 2002, researchers called a halt to a huge government- run study of HRT therapy used by millions of women under the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) when researchers discovered that long-term use of synthetic estrogen and progestin significantly increased women’s danger of stroke, blood clots, heart disease and invasive breast cancer in these women. Soon after, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published another study, showing that women who take a combination of synthetic estrogen and progestin are at high risk of getting a highly aggressive form of breast cancer. Meanwhile, other studies showed that HRT increases the risk of Alzheimer’s dementia and asthma. Then in 2010 more new research discovered that combined estrogen-progestin HRT increases the risk for more severe forms of breast cancer as well as increasing women’s chances of dying, from the disease and from other causes. This is but a tiny sampling of the research that continues to appear since the turn of the millennium, strongly exposing serious consequences from believing the hype for HRT and choosing to allow such synthetic chemicals into your body. CALL TO ACTION There is mounting dissatisfaction among women themselves. Many women write to me about this. They continue to be told that HRT is the only answer to mid-life depression, hot flushes, loss of sexual appetite and early aging. Women are by no means stupid, provided they have not been brainwashed by a media who these days toe the corporate party line in our chaotic world on the verge of unnecessary wars waged by insane governments. Women are smart. We know in our gut that such advice goes against our deepest intuition. Now is the time for us to stand up, band together, and make sure our voices are heard. For a long time, menstruation was talked about as a disease. Now it’s menopause which is treated as the biggest “crisis” demanding extreme medical treatment. Why? And because HRT is a billion dollar business, magazines and the internet are full of “reassuring” information about how “beneficial” and “necessary” are the synthetic hormones in the form of HRT given to women. You’ll find all sorts of soft-sounding names of organisations eager to give you such advice. They too are not to be trusted. Why? Because many conveniently toe the party line, like much of the media—choosing to minimize the dangers of HRT, under the guidance of strong control and direction from profit-seeking corporations. In the USA now, half of menopausal women are still using synthetic hormones, having been told that HRT is the only possible answer for alleviating their suffering during a time of profound change in their lives. Pharmaceutical companies forecast that, within the next decade, 75% of menopausal and post-menopausal women will be on HRT for the rest of their lives. A few loud voices still insist that HRT is “the most important advance in this half of the century”, proselytizing that taking hormone drugs can safeguard a woman’s bones and heart as well as keep her eternally young. None of these claims have been adequately proven, while many—including the notion that HRT can be used as a youth treatment—are blatantly false. SOME GOOD NEWS Despite our being asked to believe that HRT is both a miracle of modern science and an essential treatment for menopausal women, there is much evidence that, once the immediate flush of excitement of a new treatment is over, most women’s experience of using HRT does not back up these assertions. Many who start HRT initially experience a kind of euphoria, primarily because the one thing that estrogen replacement gets rid of almost immediately is the hot flushes that can disturb your sleep and contribute to exhaustion. But the hot flushes return as soon as they come off it. And significant numbers of women report that, a few months later, their experience of HRT has worsened dramatically, because of side-effects it can engender including mood swings, decreased control over the bladder, fatigue, headaches, and many other miserie that have developed since they began taking it. Some of the most common complaints I hear from women who have used prolonged HRT include migraines, bleeding, depression, water retention, increased blood pressure, weight gain, thrush, breast problems, varicose veins and chest pains. A Swedish survey in the university town of Linkoping showed that 48% of women who go on HRT stop taking the drug within a year. A British study examined the reasons most commonly given by women who give up HRT after starting the treatment: Half of these women stopped taking it because of side-effects, about one-fifth because they were advised to do so by their doctors, and about one-third either because they are afraid of long-term consequences such as cancer, or because HRT has shown itself to be ineffective in significantly helping them. THE ROAD AHEAD So where do we go from here? A woman’s hormonal system, with all its ebbs and flows, which parallel those of the earth’s tides and the moon itself, acts as an interface between her emotional life and her body. Mess with her hormones and you may even undermine her ability to grow spiritually. There are better, natural ways of handling them. In the next six weeks I will be sharing them with you. I will be writing another three articles—every other week—at www.lesliekenton.com. They will address the most important issues in relation to handling menopause naturally. Here are some of the issues I’ll be writing about: What is natural Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) all about? How does it work? How is it different from pharmaceutical HRT? What causes hot flushes and how can you clear them naturally? Can BHRT be useful in managing stress? How is your hormone balance related to diet, lifestyle and attaining optimal health? Are there specific herbal remedies that work to counter premenopausal, menopausal and post menopausal issues ? Be sure to join me—every other week—at www.lesliekenton.com. I look forward to connecting with you and hearing back from you about your own experiences, as well as receiving your comments and questions while you are reading this important series, which I am passionate about sharing with you.

Calcium Truths

Calcium Truths

For decades, we’ve been warning men and women not to take calcium supplements—whether in pill form or by drinking and eating many cows’ milk products. By now, excellent scientific studies confirm that our advice is right. Thanks to the milk marketing people and pharmaceutical companies, we have for two generations been bombarded with misinformation about calcium. It’s time to share with you a few simple truths. Supplementing your diet with calcium can not only be toxic to your body. It could even shorten your life. Death by Calcium Thomas E Levy, M.D. is one of the world’s leading experts in vitamin C and antioxidants used to treat and protect against degenerative diseases. Levy has written an excellent book, Death by Calcium. If you care about your health and want to know the truth, I urge you to read it. Meanwhile, here is a quick list of some of the secrets you need to know about supplementing calcium. encourages the development of cancers What few people know is that all degenerative diseases, from heart disease to cancer, show increased levels of calcium inside your cells and arteries where they do not belong. And, as calcium deposits increase, so does your chance of malignancies—for this encourages the development of cancers. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, if you eat a healthy diet based on organic fresh fruits, vegetables and protein foods, you automatically supplies all the calcium your body will ever need—so long as you are getting plenty of sunlight or taking a good quality vitamin D3 plus Vitamin K2 daily. By the way, women with the highest calcium consumption have a death rate two and a half times higher than those with a lower consumption of calcium, according to a huge research project involving 61,433 women followed over 19 years. And, for a long time, we have been urged to supplement our diet with calcium to avoid osteoporosis. A man or woman unwittingly following such advice is far more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than from a bone fracture. osteoporosis and calcium You see, if you have osteoporosis you do not have an overall deficiency of calcium in the body. You will have a deficiency of calcium in your bones while you have an excess of calcium in the rest of your body. And while calcium supplementation may increase calcium density in your bones, this does not decrease your chances of bone fracture. What it does do is lay down potentially dangerous deposits of excess calcium outside your bones. Excess calcium circulating in your blood is far more dangerous than high cholesterol when it comes to causing a stroke or heart disease. The proofs for all these things are overwhelming. Get your calcium from fresh, organic vegetables and a healthy diet of real fresh food. Stay away from packaged convenience foods, sugars, grains and cereals, and you’ll never need to swallow milk or pop another calcium pill to stay strong and well. It is all so simple. Meanwhile, if you want to learn more, read Levy’s book Death by Calcium. It’s a great read—clear, honest and vital for your health. Death By Calcium In this book, Death by Calcium, board-certified cardiologist, Thomas E. Levy, offers scientific proof that the regular intake of dairy and calcium supplementation promotes all known chronic degenerative diseases and significantly shortens life. Order Death By Calcium from iherb Vitamin D3 and K2 Vitamin D3 promotes calcium absorption and calcium transport to bones. Vitamin K2, likewise has been shown to be critical for bone cardiovascular health through its role in the support of proper calcium metabolism in bone and vascular structures. Vitamin K2 is the most biologically active form of Vitamin K. Order Vitamin D-3 & K-2 from iherb

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