December, 2015 Newsletter of the Lake Superior Freethinkers
Gail Matthews, editor – firstname.lastname@example.org
*** LSF Fundraiser ***
Profits will be donated to the Lake Superior Freethinkers.
These books make great Xmas, New Year, birthday and graduation presents, so please do your shopping at our December meeting to help us finance our work.
Here’s a note to our 600 + email members who cannot attend our meetings: These books are priced well below retail at $16.00 each. (The $15 listed last month was a typo.) If you send your check (payable to LSF) to Tom Patten, 3001 East 1st Street, Duluth, MN 55812 and add $1.00 per book, we will pay the extra postage.)
The following is one of 100 stories, articles, op-eds, and poems from
Eyes Wide Open: Living, Laughing, Loving and Learning in a Religion-troubled World.
When Public Television broadcast "Healing and the Mind," Bill Moyers' thoughtful foray into alternative medicine, I thought of my Auntie Kay, who believed in the healing power of crystals. Convinced that crystals could cure a host of afflictions, she kept her home sparkling from pantry to porch. However, her lovely collection now graces my shelves, for her lovely crystals failed to deter the illness that wrote an end to my Auntie Kay.
These converts to New Age holistics include seekers like Marie, who sports a sliver of barite in the inflamed flesh of her pierced nostril, and her boyfriend, Keith, who is hooked on malachite. Marie and Keith are the New Age version of the folks who ignore Mr. Barnum’s warning - "there's a sucker born every minute."
Although I, too, love their color, their glitter and shine, and admire gems for their beauty alone, I prefer a science that calmly says "pyrite" to a fraud that promises GOLD!
What, then, does science say about gems, and how does the New Age respond? Well, since some savant has declared it the stone of my birth, let's consider a gem called aquamarine.
Science, with its rational, analytical approach, informs us that aquamarine is beryllium aluminum silicate, and that its siblings are emerald, golden beryl, morganite, heliodor and goshenite. It reveals that the beryl children run from deep blue‑green to yellow, and can be brown or purple or clear, depending on how much sodium, lithium or cesium color their crystalline cores. It reports that aquamarine is softer than corundum, but harder than quartz and that its hexagonal crystals can line the pegmatites of North Carolina, Colorado and Vermont.
Science has a great deal more to say, but having sampled its approach, let's examine the NEW AGE view, where reality wavers twixt here and there, and truth is whatever one says.
Our leap vaults us from the bedrock of science to a makeshift raft propelled by wandering currents while opposed by a countering wind. Its occupants are most remarkable, for they are captains all. Using various charms and a flexible course, they sail on a Spiritual Sea.
Our raft, a part of the NEW AGE fleet, has chosen its cargo well, carrying implications, promises and religions anew ‑ an ideal cargo: so light, yet so profitable.
The home port of our New Age raft is the typical store/sanctuary found in your town, in her town and mine. In its windows and cases lie eye-popping gems and crystals that prompt quiet sighs and reverent aaahhhhs. Stepping inside, I say to myself, this is my kind of store as I gawk at its pyrites, its calcites and its bounty of baubulous delights. In a soothing touch, a gentle nocturne stirs the earth‑scented air. How pleasant; how relaxing. And then I notice the little messages, a different one for each display.
"Calcite," one proclaims, "will enhance mental balance and alertness." (I could use a tad of calcite.) Citrine is pledged to "help unblock congestion on emotional and physical levels." (Nothing needed there.) As for my birthstone and her siblings, this emporium stocks only emerald, which "strengthens memory and increases intelligence," (Get a bit of emerald, too.) and aquamarine, which is, as expected, an absolute marvel.
Aquamarine, MY birthstone, not only treats "ailments of the head, neck and throat;" it offers "PROTECTION for sensitive people" and should be worn to "CALM FEARS, EASE ANXIETY and to ensure a GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP."
I am truly impressed! Once again, I can stroll the streets in safety, protected by just a bit of aquamarine, my pockets freed from Stun guns and Mace. And for a good night's sleep, I'll simply slip a crystal or two beneath my pillow and remove the old .38 - no more anxiety, no more fear, and no more "Smith and Wesson" embossed upon my morning cheeks.
Suddenly, my skeptical mind revives. "Would a larger, more expensive stone be more effective?" I ask.
"And at what velocity must I throw this stone to protect myself?" I pleasantly inquire.
The clerk's smile fades, replaced by a look of battleship gray.
Sensing our dwindling rapport, I offer thanks for her time, pick up a pamphlet on the "Uses of Gemstones and Minerals for Personal Transformation" and head for home.
"What a shame," I muse. Perhaps she should revise her chakra stone layout for increased harmony, or wear a pound or two of... What's this? No crystal to "liberate laughter," no gem to "expand one's sense of humor?" Here, indeed, is a niche to fill, a void that seeks my soul.
And so, to repair this crack in crystal holistics and to bolster the humor impaired, I now offer Menckenite. Distilled from the essence of snicker, Menckenite is synthesized in a secret lab in Smiley, Minnesota, population 666. Menckenite is reasonably priced at $1200 per carat, and is absolutely guaranteed to enhance one's sense of humor and pleasant nature, as it has my own, ensuring that with every purchase you will receive not only a friendly smile, but a pat on the wallet, er, back, as well.
One caution: Overuse of Menckenite has been known to cause a serious complication called PMS or Post-Menckenite Syndrome, also known as "skepticism," the intensity of the symptoms being proportionate to the amount of Menckenite purchased. We therefore urge our customers to limit their expenditures to modest sums, perhaps just three or four hundred dollars per week.Those who follow our advice will also be spared a depressing revelation concerning the New Age, or any age. It's about a system known to Las Vegas, to psychics and all religions as well. A few spot it quickly; others never catch on. Known as the FIRST LAW OF REALITY, it goes like this: "YOU GIVE ME MONEY ‑ I TAKE IT."