• A fire in the mind

    January 14th, 2013

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    Only one colour can break the tonal tide of white/grey/blue that this season pours down upon us. It’s like a vitamin for the soul. A beacon in a white night. The hue of courage. Unlike cowardly yellow, it knows how to stand up to nature’s desaturation and never blench. Eat red. Drink red. Wear red. See red. Hold back the chill of winter. Kindle a fire in the mind.

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  • Adaçayi: a sage choice of drink.

    February 20th, 2012

    COULD THIS TEA SHARPEN OUR SENSES? DIMINISH THE AGING PROCESS? MAYBE.

    A few years ago,  I started visiting Yeniköy, and in particular, Yeniköy Kahvesi, a tea garden/coffeehouse set above the village’s main boulevard, nestled beside one of the community’s Greek churches. Overhung with vines and interlacing tree branches this quiet spot is a popular weekend brunch option year-round with its mix of sun and shade, indoor fireplace and relaxed attitude.

    One day when a group of us gathered there in early spring with our books and Sudoku puzzles, my friend Despina ordered an adaçayi (sage tea). I’d like to think that my life has changed for the better since that day.

    THE LANE BEHIND YENIKÖY KAHVESI.

    Made simply by infusing hot water with sage leaves, this herb turns the water a vibrant fluorescent yellow-green. It’s a refreshing hot drink usually enjoyed with a slice or two of lemon.

    From that day on I decided that this was more than just an ordinary drink. It also makes a nice change from the caffeine jitters from drinking  black tea or coffee all day long. But does adaçayi also heighten neurological function? Quite possibly.

    FEELING A BIT BLURRY? LOOK FOR THE MEMORY ELIXIR HERE.

    According to the World’s Healthiest Foods (my favorite online resource for nutritional advice, which backs up all its assertions with medical findings):

    “Research published in the June 2003 issue ofPharmacological Biochemical Behavior confirms what herbalists have long known: sage is an outstanding memory enhancer. In this placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study, two trials were conducted using a total of 45 young adult volunteers. Participants were given either placebo or a standardized essential oil extract of sage in doses ranging from 50 to 150 microls. Cognitive tests were then conducted 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 hours afterwards. In both trials, even the 50 microl dose of sage significantly improved subjects’ immediate recall.” But wait, there’s more … it’s also a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant: “The leaves and stems of the sage plant also contain antioxidant enzymes, including SOD (superoxide dismutase) and peroxidase. When combined, these three components of sage—flavonoids, phenolic acids, and oxygen-handling enzymes—give it a unique capacity for stabilizing oxygen-related metabolism and preventing oxygen-based damage to the cells.”

    COULD WE ACHIEVE CAT-LIKE PERCEPTION …  I LIKE TO THINK SO.

    Since we need to drink water plenty of water daily, why not enhance the hydration process using a herb that civilizations as far back as the Greeks and the Romans have prized for its medicinal properties? 

    Perhaps it’s the placebo effect working in me — mind over matter — as I’ll be the first to admit that I like the idea of natural memory enhancers and anti-inflammatories. The prospect of cognitive decline and diminished mental capacity with age is not an appealing thought. Whatever the case I always feel a little “different” after drinking the decoction.

    THE CHURCH BESIDE YENIKÖY KAHVESI.

    Colors seem richer, the grain of surfaces seem sharper, the contrast between light and shadow deeper, and, overall I feel more alert. Usually around mid-afternoon, I find myself losing some of my edge, wanting to go into siesta mode.

    This afternoon though, I felt like something was different, even with the photos I took after drinking my adaçayi and exploring the old Greek lanes behind the tea garden.

    LINES SEEM MORE CLEARLY DRAWN. COLORS ARE ENRICHED, DEEPENED.

    Whatever the truth, a sage tea or two this spring at Yeniköy Kahvesi, sitting under the vine leaves, soft sea air wafting up off the Bosporus could hardly be harmful, could it?

    YENIKÖY KAHVESI. DRINK A FRESH ADAÇAYI HERE.

    Tell me, have you ever tried sage tea? What do you think? Can you recommend any natural memory-enhancers? I’d love to know.

  • When the compass spins.

    January 23rd, 2012

    SUPPOSE THIS IS A DOOR TO ANOTHER WORLD … WOULD YOU STEP THROUGH?

    Ever have that feeling that a passage to another world hovers just beneath your nose? Ever wonder if the image in the mirror might be the larger you, and that you might be nothing more than a thin reflection of limited dimension?

    In this city there are endless windows, ajar doors, stairways and passages that prompt my curiosity. Sometimes it seems that they might lead to some alternate reality, a world curled up inside our own. As early as childhood, stories like C.S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles had a ring to them that drew in my young mind. There’s something about the notion of portals to other worlds that intrigues me, be they a wardrobe or a painting hung on wall. 

    A GOLDEN CITY? MAYBE … BUT THE ROAD BETWEEN HERE AND THERE IS OBSCURED.

    In the last 100 or so years, the possibility of multiple realities existing in parallel or perhaps overlapping with our own have begun to be posited and considered by those most abstract of scientific thinkers, physicists. Quantum theory and Superstring theory seem to insist on the likelihood that there is far more to this universe than we can perceive, let alone understand.  In fact, Superstring theory insists on at least 11 dimensions, and suggests that we exist not in a universe but a multiverse. But all we have are mathematical formulae to prove these notions. It’s not science. For the moment it’s only philosophy.

    A MAP IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. WHO WILL TRANSLATE?

    So where do we go? Human perception is limited to the senses. Those five collaborators, tricksters, lead us just close enough to hear but not see the gate clang shut to another world. We always seem to be close to uncovering the fabric of the universe, only to be told that yet another, deeper reality exists. And these realities, if they exist, are so subtle as to be imperceptible.

    THE GATES ARE CLOSED. AND OUR LIMITED SENSES DON’T HOLD THE KEY. WHERE NEXT?

    Perhaps the way is barred because we’re not ready. Perhaps we are too infatuated with our senses, their constant need for stimulation to allow ourselves to go where we could and should. The first of the seven principles in Hermetic philosophy is that everything is consciousness, and that material reality is a byproduct of a consciousness, not the other way around.

    If that is so—and I’ll concede that’s no small if—then perhaps it’s not surprising we can’t yet reason our way to the truth of our universe. So what if we opened up a little more space for our imagination? Would this result in wasteful wishful thinking? Delusion?

    ARE WE LOOKING THROUGH TO NOTHING MORE THAN A PLEASANT ILLUSION?

    Not necessarily. Isn’t it “reasonable” that we should use our imaginations more? The strength of our great minds is their ability to imagine not just observe. We are not simply recording devices. We are interpreting devices. We have the capacity to reason. We also have the capacity to feel. Using one without the other, we might amputate ourselves from a new dimension of understanding.

    Let’s use all our faculties, imagination and reason, to voyage to a place where we could experience a new reality. But even then it still won’t be simple, because we’ll need one more thing to step through … the courage to proceed.

    What do you think? 

    IMAGINATION CAN HELP US NAVIGATE THROUGH SPACE AND TIME.
    COURAGE WILL BE NEEDED TO TRAVEL THERE.

  • The power of the rose.

    December 19th, 2011

    JAYDA URAS SPECIALIZES IN TINCTURES, TEAS AND INDIVIDUALIZED TREATMENTS.

    Jayda Uras, owner and operator of Vie En Rose creates fully organic treatments with locally sourced ingredients produced just outside Yalova, believing that anything you put on your body should be just as pure as anything you put in it. When conventional medicine failed to provide adequate answers in her own life, she chose a different course. I sat down with her the other day to discuss her alternative brand of medicine and where her inspiration came from.

    ORGANIC HANDMADE SOAP.

    Read More…

  • The Emerald Tablet.

    December 12th, 2011

    “THOTH” BY VERITY HEYSEN KIZEK © Verity Heysen Kizek.

    Read More…

  • What’s with all the alchemy references and motifs?

    December 4th, 2011

    Alchemy is a great metaphor for life.

    Sometimes described as spiritual chemistry, Alchemy is the quest to turn base metals such as lead, into noble gold. The art and practice of alchemy was steeped in an arcane language full of contradictions and red herrings … which sometimes reminds me of modern life. In the West, alchemists’ work was primarily concerned with the creation of the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, with which he or she could allegedly not only accomplish the transmutation of minerals but could achieve physical immortality.

    Despite alchemy’s ultimate dismissal and denigration by serious science it’s interesting to note that the inventor of ‘the Calculus’ and one of the fathers of modern physics, Isaac Newton, believed in and wrote more on alchemy than on any other subject.

    Like alchemy, creativity isn’t scientific. It isn’t measurable. It’s about spirit. It’s about personal style and individual discovery. Like science, however, the most interesting creative endeavors seek out a form of universal truth.

    It’s my humble hope that the observations and photographs I share with here you resonate in some small way, transforming your day, if only for a moment, from something leaden into something luminous.

    — IAW