Category Archives: Poetry

Dance for life!

For centuries, dance manuals and other writings have lauded the health benefits of dancing, usually as physical exercise. More recently we’ve seen research on further health benefits of dancing, such as stress reduction and increased serotonin level, with its sense of well-being.

Then most recently we’ve heard of another benefit: Frequent dancing apparently makes us smarter. A major study added to the growing evidence that stimulating one’s mind can ward off Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, much as physical exercise can keep the body fit. Dancing also increases cognitive acuity at all ages. Read more from Stanford University’s Richard Powers: http://socialdance.stanford.edu/syllabi/smarter.htm

There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.

Mistletoe Myth for The Shortest Day

Winter Solstice arrives at 9.30 tonight here in Portland, Oregon. It’s time to decorate the house with greenery, light candles, burn fires, and take down the old mistletoe (if you leave it up all year like we do) to replace with a fresh sprig. The ritual of hanging mistletoe recalls the Norse myth about the death of Balder and of his resurrection, brought about by the love of his mother Freya. Love conquers death.

Mistletoe

Once upon a time, the cycle of the seasons – the turning of the year itself – was viewed as a sacred manifestation of the mysterious power of the universe: something to closely attend to, learn from and participate in. And so it is that we continue to celebrate the birth of light on the darkest night of the year. That’s magic!
Here’s a marvelous poem by Susan Cooper that was first brought to our attention by our friends at Portland Revels.

The Shortest Day
And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

National Stationery Show in NYC – May 15-18

Amber Lotus is gearing up for an exciting week in NYC come this May. We will be featuring our New RENÉE LOCKS card line, as well as other exciting new products.

Stop by and see the full line at the NSS in the Hartman Cards booth #3520.

Amber Lotus Publishing is excited to announce a new line of RENÉE LOCKS greeting cards. In a style of elegant simplicity, Renée pairs her charismatic sumi-e calligraphy with expressive watercolor paintings to create a delightful harmony of art and words, both nourishing and wise. These cards are offered as greeted or blank inside. They are 4.75″ x 6.75″ and printed on textured watercolor paper. Cards retail at $2.75 each.

To see the full line visit us at the NSS in Hartman Cards booth #3520.
See us online at www.amberlotus.com.

Endorsement:
Renée Locks’ cards have always been the very foundation of our company. Core
customers like the bookshop at St. Martin-in-the-Fields are simply buying
the complete line of Amber Lotus Renée Locks cards. It is rare in the art card world to find classics that do not go out of fashion. We are delighted that Renée is now with Amber Lotus.
—Tony Pol, Vision Antics

Sales information:
Tim Campbell
Director of Sales
tcampbell@amberlotus.com
503.284.6400 x202

“Beware the Ides of March”

The Ides of March (Latin: Idus Martii) is the name of 15 March in the Roman calendar, probably referring to the day of the full moon. The term ides was used for the 15th day of the months of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th day of the other months.[1] The Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars and a military parade was usually held. In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was killed in 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was stabbed (23 times) to death in the Roman Senate led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus and 60 other conspirators.

On his way to the Theatre of Pompey (where he would be assassinated), Caesar saw a seer who had foretold that harm would come to him not later than the Ides of March. Caesar joked, “Well, the Ides of March have come”, to which the seer replied “Ay, they have come, but they are not gone.”[2] This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned to “beware the Ides of March”.[3][4]

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, approx. 47 BC (an Early Tragedy)
by William Shakespeare
First written between the years 1600-01, first performed in 1623.

Act 1. Scene II

SCENE II. A public place.

Flourish. Enter CAESAR; ANTONY, for the course; CALPURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS BRUTUS, CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA; a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer
CAESAR
Calpurnia!

CASCA
Peace, ho! Caesar speaks.

CAESAR
Calpurnia!

CALPURNIA
Here, my lord.

CAESAR
Stand you directly in Antonius’ way,
When he doth run his course. Antonius!

ANTONY
Caesar, my lord?

CAESAR
Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
The barren, touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse.

ANTONY
I shall remember:
When Caesar says ‘do this,’ it is perform’d.

CAESAR
Set on; and leave no ceremony out.

Flourish

Soothsayer
Caesar!

CAESAR
Ha! who calls?

CASCA
Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!

CAESAR
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry ‘Caesar!’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.

Soothsayer
Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
What man is that?

BRUTUS
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
Set him before me; let me see his face.

CASSIUS
Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

CAESAR
What say’st thou to me now? speak once again.

Soothsayer
Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

Sennet. Exeunt all except BRUTUS and CASSIUS

CASSIUS
Will you go see the order of the course?

BRUTUS
Not I.

CASSIUS
I pray you, do.

BRUTUS
I am not gamesome: I do lack some part
Of that quick spirit that is in Antony.
Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires;
I’ll leave you.

CASSIUS
Brutus, I do observe you now of late:
I have not from your eyes that gentleness
And show of love as I was wont to have:
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you.

When words were like magic

Once upon a time words were like magic. You will see a take on that in the passage below. Even in our age of information overload, words retain their original magic as long as we remember to remember. Our effort at Amber Lotus is to be mindful of the magic of adding words to images.

When Words Were Like Magic

In the very earliest time
when both people and animals lived on earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could happen-
all you had to do was say it.
Nobody could explain this:
That’s the way it was.

– Nalungiaq, an Inuit woman, interviewed by ethnologist Knud Rasmussen

Call of the Goddess greeting cards by visionary artist Helena Nelson-Reed.