Thursday, March 29, 2012

April Fool's Day, what is it really all about?

 I'm sure you know what April Fools Day is. It's a day when you have an excuse to play all kinds of pranks on anyone and call it a holiday tradition. For instance, you could put a very large spider in your boss's drawer (its safer if its fake) and laugh out loud when they jump out of their chair and fly from their office. Make sure you take credit though, otherwise it's not as fun. But where did it all come from? And why April 1st?

The Romans celebrated Hilaria, which was one day in a week long festival, and was a day of joy and happiness. In The Canterbury tales, Geoffrey Chaucer mentions the 32nd of March, which would technically be the 1st of April, and on that day the rooster is tricked by the fox. During the Middle Ages, when New Years Day was March 25 many areas had a week long celebration that ended on April 1. The thought process being that those who celebrated New Years on January 1, thought those who celebrated a week long New Years festival that ended on April 1 were fools. Therefore the origins are sketchy. And so is the significance of April 1st.

So we don't exactly know why or where, but we certainly know how people celebrate! And it really does vary. In France and Italy they tape cut-out paper fish to each others backs. In England they give you until noon to pull off a prank. If you play a joke after noon you become the April Fool. The US celebrates without any rules, simply trick, lie, joke, and steal (just kidding about that last one stealing is wrong) and call the person afflicted by your actions an April Fool! Start thinking of your pranks now and happy fooling!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review of Understanding Dreams

In Understanding Dreams, Markku Siivola offers a practical, clear, easy-to-follow formula for conducting dream groups according to the Montague Ullman method. The beauty of this method is that it can be applied by anyone prepared to follow it to the letter, and requires no prior knowledge of, or training in, dream theory. Siivola likens a dream to an artwork, a fine sculpture, whose different sides and aspects can be revealed by illuminating it from different angles, until the dreamer receives an emotional connection – an aha – that enlightens his personal understanding of his dream. Siivola is careful to state that the goal is not dream therapy or psychotherapy, but simply that the dreamer reaches an understanding of his dream, though this in itself can be therapeutic for both the dreamer and the dream group participants.

Siivola is at his best in his final chapter where he freely explores and adores the sense of mystery inherent in and beyond dream reality. He draws on physics, quantum physics, biology, brain science, philosophy, metaphysics, spirituality, and art, to entice us toward connecting with the deeper realities of our existence.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy First Day of Spring!

This year, in a somewhat refreshing change of pace which can surely be blamed on global warming, winter barely made an appearance before spring began to bloom. It's difficult, I'll admit, to really see fault in the early onset of warm weather, unless it becomes cold again in a few weeks. But we all know it's there. Lurking beneath the sunny warmer days is the cold fact of global warming. It's upon us and there's nothing we can do to stop it. There are, however, things we could do to prevent an overall worsening. Some things are simple and can be done on an individual basis. Other things will require a more global movement and awareness, which will take time. So while you may be basking in the wonderful rays of the warm sun on this glorious day, consider the small ways you could change your lifestyle/routine to help the planet. Visit Green Living Tips to find out more.

Maybe you're already committed to helping the planet. Maybe you've already done a great deal to change your lifestyle so that everything, or most everything, you do is as green as it possibly can be. Ready to do more? Yeah? Check out Earth Fever: Living Consciously with Climate Change. This book touches on more than climate change and living green. It's a book filled with solutions for global warming, lifestyle change, and soul searching. It is a comprehensive look at how you can better your life and better the planet all in one journey.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Saint Patrick's Day, more than just a break from lent

Saturday is Saint Patrick’s Day. A day that has become associated with leprechauns, beer, and corned beef, is really a celebration of Saint Patrick who was responsible for bringing Christianity to Ireland. His technique of using the Shamrock to describe the Holy Trinity is well-known and one of the reasons he was chosen as the Patron Saint of Ireland. 

Saint Patrick’s Day is traditionally celebrated with a church service in the morning, the color green, and an Irish Feast. Many countries now celebrate this holiday and each has their own way of doing so. Ireland has a five day festival that includes parades. Argentina holds an all night party and those in attendance drink nothing but beer. Canada celebrates with one of the longest running St. Patrick’s Day parades in North America. Even Japan celebrates this day with some parades and fun. The United States celebrates with the typical feast, drinking, green adorned celebrations, and of course parades. 

While all these celebrations are great in their own way, they all are focused on one thing: celebrating Saint Patrick, a man who many know very little about. If you’re an avid St. Patrick’s Day celebrator, then perhaps this year you’d like to know a little about the man you’re celebrating. Read The Life of St. Patrick and His Place in History by J.B. Bury to find out more about this fascinating saint who is more widely celebrated than any other saint.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women’s Day, an observation of how far women have come and how far women still have to go.

Today is International Women’s Day, a day that started nationally in United States, but would gain enough clout and momentum to spread worldwide.

On February 28, 1909 the Socialist Party of America declared that the USA should observe Women’s Day. In 1910, an International Women’s conference was held and they reached the agreement that International Women’s Day should be observed annually. March 18, 1911 was the first International Women’s day. Observed by over 1 million people in several different countries, the day marked many demonstrations for the support and empowerment of women who have long contributed to the history and success of many nations without recognition. The demonstrations also demanded the right to vote and hold office. The day spread over the next fifty years and in 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for Women's Rights and International Peace, the day became official with a widespread observance. 

Cosimo’s book of the month The Power of Yin, Celebrating Female Consciousness is exactly in line with today. The initial conversation for this book even began in the same year that the UN officially recognized this day. Cosimo’s Classics of the month, The Enchanted April, while not exactly about Female Empowerment has tones of female friendship and the importance of strong, happy women.   

While Cosimo may have several titles that would contribute to this day's significance, it's more important to recognize this day for what it is. International Women’s Day is a recognizable and significant moment in the Women’s rights movement. At the moment, there is some political turbulence involving women's health in the US. This controversial article highlights some of the current issues surrounding women and while this day is significant proof the rights women have gained, this article and the current political atmosphere are proof that women are not done yet.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March's Book of the Month Falls in Line with National Reading Month and Women's History Month

March is women’s history month and national reading month. Combining both of those themes, Cosimo picked The Power of Yin, Celebrating Female Consciousness by Hazel Henderson, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Jean Houston. When three of the most influential feminist philosophers of the 1970s meet over two weekends to discuss the challenges facing society in the late 20th century, it’s an event that should be documented. Their revelatory, inspiring conversations were reproduced into a fresh and relevant book.  This book has an uplifting spiritual perspective on the human experience and uniquely feminine approach to interacting with the universe, which fit perfectly into this month’s overall celebrations. 

The Power of Yin is more than a brilliant conversation. It is an invitation to women and men everywhere to express their own genius and empower their highest values and goals, to seek out others who attract them in this quest for personal development, to form ever deeper friendships, and to join together in spirit and in action to help evolve the human community on planet Earth. 

HAZEL HENDERSON is a world-renowned futurist, evolutionary economist, and consultant on sustainable development. JEAN HOUSTON is advisor to UNICEF in human and cultural development, and a principal founder of the Human Potential Movement. BARBARA MARX HUBBARD is president of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution and a cofounder of Washington D.C.'s Committee for the Future.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Collection of Books on the Rich Culture and Heritage of the Middle East

While the Arab Spring is still unfolding, tensions with Iran rising, the crisis in Syria deepening, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan only winding down, the media hardly pay attention to the Middle East as a region with a rich culture and a long history.  With this cultural richness in mind, Cosimo in cooperation with Fanack, an independent website providing information on the Middle East, is proud to announce the launch of a collection of classic books about the Middle East.

The titles cover a range of genres, such as Ancient Egypt, Ancient Near East, Islam, History, Literature, and Biography, and include popular and also less well-known authors. Among the many titles offered by Cosimo to interested readers and Middle Eastern experts alike, some of the titles are:

-  A Literary History of the Arabs by R.A. Nicholson
- The Story of the Moors in Spain by Stanley Lane-Poole
- The Alchemy of Happiness by Al-Ghazzali

With newly designed covers and an array of subjects covered the Middle East Collection will intrigue any reader of history, literature, language, or ancient text. Visit Cosimo's website to find about more about the titles offered in this extensive collection.

FANACK, Chronicle of the Middle East & North Africa, is an independent organization which aims to provide facts and analysis on the Middle East and North Africa, its history, politics, society, economy and culture. Fanack emphasizes the importance of knowledge and easy access to information. Its website,, offers texts in both Arabic and English.

COSIMO CLASSICS offers distinctive titles by the great authors and thinkers throughout the ages. Cosimo Classics, based in New York, is an imprint of Cosimo, a specialty publisher of books and publications that inspire, inform and engage readers. Cosimo’s mission is to create a smart and sustainable society by connecting people with valuable ideas. We offer authors and organizations full publishing support, while using the newest technologies to present their works in the most effective and timely manner.