The bear was regarded as the king of the woods and game, a guardian of the forest spirit as well as the animals that lived in it. The bear did not hunt the game of the forest, he protected it. A bear’s spirit that originated from the heavens was incredibly potent, powerful, possibly dangerous and vengeful. The bear was the forest’s spirit as a whole. It is from this that a bear derives his sacredness.

Naming a bear by its original animal name was one of the greatest cultural taboos, globally in the subarctic and Northern regions. From North America, to Germania, Finnish and Saami, Baltic and Slavic regions, the people referred to bears with euphemistic titles or epithets, circumventing the use of the proper word for “bear” (whatever it is), and instead using a descriptive word or title.

The word Bear itself derives from a geranic word for Brown, Whilst Medved a word for Bears in in Slavic means honey eater, or in Baltic languages Lokys means hairy. The original word for Bear is something like Rktho or Rkto from which we get Ursus and Arktos (latin and greek) and from which the star signs are named (Ursus Minor and Major) and the northern world (Arctic)

Language may not be able to derive the reason for the taboo of the proper word for “bear”, only observe its existence. However,  legends may help us derive the probable reason for it. In subarctic and Germanic myths bear characters can speak and understand human speech and either skinchange into men or are human characters. 

The bear would be a man living by himself in the forest or wilderness in a house or a cave, who sits or sleeps on bear skins (‘brown’ skin), or bear steaks roasting on the fire, staying inside during winter, but leaving his home with spring in search for an absent wife. 

Hunters say if you skin a bear, it actually looks like a man. Bears were believed to be a ‘skinchanged' man wearing bear skin outside of the den, but being a man inside the home, his den. Bears therefore could understand human speech. Hence, people would refer to a bear with euphemistic titles, such as “Lord of the forest/faeries” or “King of the forest”, in order not to provoke it or let it know the intention of hunters.

More about Bears

This article is well worth a read:


An Alternative Christmas Tale

A Tale of Three trees, an alternative Christmas Tale

Three young trees were dreaming of what they would
become when they were fully …

Social Care - A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

I have always loved this Dickens story in print and film, my favourite being “The Muppet Christmas Carol” with Michael …

Three Wise Men - A poem

Inside me (are three wise men)

by Jonathan Spencer

Inside me are people turned away from

The warmth of the hearth

In the town of their …

The Christmas Recipe book

I thought of many of the articles here in terms of a recipe book, mainly because I was looking for a recipe in a book I only ever use …

Christmas - The Secret

71nU0bEKa0S. SY550

I recently watched a DVD called the Secret

“The Secret DVD!” (TS Production, LLC)
it really is the only present worth buying for yourself …

The Christmas Tree where Christmas begins

I love Christmas in all its Christian and Pagan Glory, I expect the date the 25th December relates to the winter solstice which has …

Christmas Stress (2008)

Well it was our new daughters first Christmas and I had my older children from my first marriage coming round and staying over Christmas …

Spending at Christmas

Whether in the UK or the US interest rates are fluctuating creating tension in buyers and shoppers

So what are you spending this Christmas,…

Christmas recipes

Healthy Breakfast at Xmas - Fruit & fibre or Stollen Cake


The Choice is obvious in breakfast isn’t it, surely fruit and fibre is a healthy breakfast choice? Lets look closer?

I went out to waitrose, a quality supermarket, …

Christmas Orange Ice-Cream

orange ice cream

Christmas ice cream (to make this you also need to make our candied peel recipe)

Ingredients:  Makes a Ben and Gerry's size tub, double the ingredients for …

The Spencer Rich Christmas Cake Recipe

Christmas Cake (jonathans recipe)

This recipe makes a 4Ib cake (approximately 1.8 Kg) great with marzipan


10 oz plain wholemeal flour
1tsp …

Lemon Ice cream (good at Christmas)

This is an old family recipe that my sister Jane reminded me of


Lemon ice cream
Ingredients:  Makes a Ben and Gerry's size tub, double the ingredients for …

Cooking a Turkey in The Aga

Aga Turkey

Always remember when doing your ago turkey that times for cooking a turkey are from room temperature, if you leave it too long in the fridge it …




I have suffered with eczema all my life, for some 30 of those I was prescribed steroid creams to control it and also suffered from asthma, around the age of 30, when going back …

Physical injuries and emotion

Some Initial Thoughts on The relationship between physical injuries and emotions and feelings

When we made our last house move , my son didn’t want to go and then he broke his leg, …

Back pain and Back Massage from your chair.

 So I was on the way home and stopped off at a motorway service station, as usual they were trying to sell you something on the way in and out besides the over priced coffee.

On …

Men, a close shave for Christmas.

And here I mean one with no nicks, cuts or sore spots guys…..And let me tell you you get what you pay for so if you buy a cheap razor whether blade or electric or as we will see, …

Exercise Motivation in middle age

The Motivation to Exercise

Back in 2009 I  heard about some research that suggested taking up exercise in middle age was highly beneficial in terms of health and longevity. It was …


Love thyself

Love thyself , self esteem

Stand in front of your mirror look yourself directly in they eye and say, I love and respect you just the way you are.

You might be surprised at how difficult it is to do this in a straightforward and honest way.  Especially when so many of us have been programmed to think negatively about ourselves.

Stand in front of your mirror naked and say I love my body just the way it is…..

Finding this difficult….then look at yourself and find one thing about your body and one thing about yourself that you can love, however small or seemingly insignificant.  It might be a fingernail or a small patch od smooth skin, or soft hair or the glint in your eye.  It might the fact you have the energy or even courage to read this article or look at yourself in the mirror.

Acquire the courage to believe in yourself. Many of the things
that you have been taught were at one time the radical ideas
of individuals who had the courage to believe what their own
hearts and minds told them was true, rather than accept the
common beliefs of their day.
~ Ching Ning Chu

"The Power Is Within You" (Louise L. Hay)

Try walking around through out the day , saying to yourself, I am perfect whole and complete(or if thats too difficult just “I approve of myself”)….try this for a week, every day saying it 10s or hundreds of times, and see and feel the difference.  Notice if you have a resistance to calling yourself perfect, listen to any voices of criticism that arise in your head…I have one that says “no ones perfect”….well I say its time to delete that tape and replace it with this one.

This is not some egotistical fantasy, but a real statement of belief, we are born perfect, whole and complete, in the right place and time to the right people heading for our destination to fulfil our destiny.

The negative, depression, feeling down has its place, but its time to realise, even if you were born with a disability you are perfect whole and complete.  The only person you can be is you, fulfil your destiny in being the most complete you possible.

Now is your time…stop for a moment and just relax, take a deep breath, feel the relaxation going in and as you breath out the tension leave your mind and body with the outward breath.  Look around, what you see is as it should be….

…perfect, whole and complete, so are you.

De Profundis - Oscar Wilde

De Profundis

So much of what we appreciate about Oscar Wilde tends to come from his witty one-liners, plays and perhaps his downfall after his trial for homosexuality and incarcertion in reading goal
Those of you who have read his fairy stories will know he has a darker side.

De Profundis was not published in his life time I beleive and are his writings whilst in prison.  They point up the shadow side of life and its importance and at one stage he berates himself for being frivolous and always moving toward teh bright light and ignoring this side of his personality and society.

“De Profundis, Ballad of Reading Gaol and Other Writings (Wordsworth Classics)” (Oscar Wilde)

it begins like this:

“. . . Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain. The paralysing immobility of a life every circumstance of which is regulated after an unchangeable pattern, so that we eat and drink and lie down and pray, or kneel at least for prayer, according to the inflexible laws of an iron formula: this immobile quality, that makes each dreadful day in the very minutest detail like its brother, seems to communicate itself to those external forces the very essence of whose existence is ceaseless change. Of seed-time or harvest, of the reapers bending over the corn, or the grape gatherers threading through the vines, of the grass in the orchard made white with broken blossoms or strewn with fallen fruit: of these we know nothing and can know nothing.”

The rest can be found on line courtesy of the gutenberg project

A Sumerian Invocation


A Sumerian Invocation

In constant motion I am Stillness.
In darkness I am the Light that does not shine.
I lead the Way I follow the Way
Thru the four quarters of that mind that is the Soul.
In desperation I am the calmness of the Heart of the Labyrinth that
is all Quietness.
I come to you as you approach me.
In gladness is the way to serve.
I am produced not nor do I suffer to toil.
I exist for the existing and my prayer is utter silence.
The World is dark and can not see by any other means.
Only the Heart of the Soul can know me.
I dwell above and beyond the lesser darkness and in Greater darkness
is my abode.
Awaken from your repose and exhalt thee above the clamor to the Palace of Silence,
The true home of all that is.
My secret name cannot be spoken yet though it is knowable.
Approach me by that name and I will know you as myself.

The Dance - Oriah Mountain Dreamer

The Dance
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

I have sent you my invitation
the note inscribed on the palm of my hand by the fire of living.
Don’t jump up and shout, “Yes, this is what I want! Let’s do it!”
Just stand up quietly and dance with me. 

Show me how you follow your deepest desires,
spiralling down into the ache within the ache.
And I will show you how I reach inward and open outward
to feel the kiss of the Mystery, sweet lips on my own, everyday. 

Don’t tell me you want to hold the whole world in your heart.
Show me how you turn away from making another wrong without abandoning yourself when you are hurt and afraid of being unloved. 

Tell me a story of who you are,
And see who I am in the stories I am living.
And together we will remember that each of us always has a choice. 

Don’t tell me how wonderful things will be . . . some day.
Show me you can risk being completely at peace,
truly OK with the way things are right now in this moment,
and again in the next and the next and the next. . . 

I have heard enough warrior stories of heroic daring.
Tell me how you crumble when you hit the wall,
the place you cannot go beyond by the strength of your own will.
What carries you to the other side of that wall,
to the fragile beauty of your own humanness? 

And after we have shown each other how we have set and kept the clear, healthy boundaries that help us live side by side with each other, let us risk remembering that we never stop silently loving those we once loved out loud. 

Take me to the places on the earth that teach you how to dance, the places where you can risk letting the world break your heart.
And I will take you to the places where the earth beneath my feet and the stars overhead make my heart whole again and again. 

Show me how you take care of business
without letting business determine who you are.
When the children are fed but still the voices within and around us shout that soul’s desires have too high a price,
let us remind each other that it is never about the money. 

Show me how you offer to your people and the world
the stories and the songs you want our children’s children to remember, and I will show you how I struggle
not to change the world, but to love it. 

Sit beside me in long moments of shared solitude,
knowing both our absolute aloneness and our undeniable belonging. Dance with me in the silence and in the sound of small daily words, holding neither against me at the end of the day. 

And when the sound of all the declarations of our sincerest
intentions has died away on the wind, dance with me in the infinite pause before the next great inhale of the breath that is breathing us all into being, not filling the emptiness from the outside or from within. 

Don’t say, “Yes!”
Just take my hand and dance with me.

The Invitation - Oriah Mountain dreamer

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes without cautioning us to
be careful be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

~ Author – Oriah Mountain Dreamer ~

“The Invitation” (Oriah Mountain Dreamer)

The Dreamer or The Dreamed?

The dreamers and the dreamed

One night I complained to a friend that since my marriage broke up i wasn’t meeting the right kind of women to date. He said to me what kind do you really want? 

He then remarked that a Native american group had said that there were only two types of people in the world: the dreamers and those they dream!

It puts a different outlook on all those dream catchers they sell in the shops doesn’t it?

Anyhow he suggested that I wrote down a long list of the qualities I was looking for in a partner and read this list through before i went to sleep and worked toward dreaming this person. I hummed and hawed but went ahead and did it remembering his admonition not to take this lightly and carefully think through the qualities.

Next day I got up a little earlier, got a different train to work, started chatting with a woman opposite and ended up having dinner with her and it went from there…..actaully I ended up marrying her...well there you are….who I wonder would you like to dream, and more importantly in whose dreams do you appear?

Understanding each other - Worlds Apart

How can we grasp the ideas of another culture or another person, when the very way we and they define our worlds uses a different context a different language even. How is it possible to cross the divide and come to some comprehension. I think it was Rumi or another Sufi Sheik who said that we could not define or come to an understanding of God in this world because God is not of this world. Yet hes till continued to love God. So …..

how can we exist side by side with individuals with countries with culture that is so different from our own, and not fall out, not feel rejected or abandoned, slighted or put upon. Its very difficult.

We learn from history, there is a Turkish saying “he who is burned by the soup blows on the yogurt” our past experience has been that those who are different from us are our enemies, we wont take on their ideas or bother to understand them. This however is false reasoning.
I only have to look at the food in the supermarket and how it has changed since i was a boy to understand how our tastes have changed and how these tastes have been effected by other countries and cultures. And as I think abut my own personal ideas and ideals how they have changed over the years and been influenced by other people.

However there a few people in the Uk that won’t eat anything with Garlic or whatever the colour of their skin maintain a view of others that is really coloured by race, or whose ideas are so fixed and yet their foundation so unsure that they can’t let anything in, any other idea, thought, ideal, view, because to do so would, as it appears unconsciously to them, destroy their sense of self.

Perhaps we all do it shut out ideas, don’t really listen, and if we have been hurt, its even worse. For me I am aware than having been wounded in love, i would not want to be hurt again, but I refuse to shut myself off, or shut my feelings down. For love whilst it is wounding is also healing. I love ideas, i love people, I love the many cultures and peoples that make up our world. Islam fascinates me as does American Capitalism, both in their best sense and in the way they have been corrupted.

Many of us across the globe have given up on God, because it is as if God exists in a different culture, and is therefore not for us, it is time we changes and worked harder to let the spirit and soul back into our lives, because it is through this we communicate with the ultimate creative spirit in the Universe..(as Quakers say “God or what ever you want to call it”)

It is also a time for us to break the deadlock between one idea and another , one religion or another in their conflicts. We need to think outside the box, with completely new ideas for life, completely new ways of approaching spirituality.

An example of this can be seen in the dogma of science, it having taken over from religion, took on many of its ideals, including the we are the only ones who can show whether a thing is meet and right. Everything that enters the arena the culture of science must first prove itself by the rules of science. Perhaps it is time to change the rules, to look at things differently. as i believe it says somewhere in the bible, a new heaven and a new earth. How to do this means people giving up their worldly power, being less protective of their ideas and ways. Why? Because the way we do it now just doesn’t work…does it.

Sub Saharan Africa ravaged by HIV/Aids and war and poverty, the western world plagued by obesity and heart problems, look around you at the graffiti, the fear we have for each other, the lack of awareness and poverty of education and knowledge, the violence that pervades our world the greed, and then here and there a few people planting the seeds of love.

This rambling piece, is really about my own inability to communicate, to listen, to care, to love, to be true to all of you and to myself, my own powerlessness in the face of war and famine, of poverty and corruption and all the other things that i feel blight my society.

Slowly, slowly I try to do a little, but what I want and what is possible…they are worlds apart.

Success – Bessie Stanley (often attr: RW Emerson)

The following poem often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, is more likely to be by a woman called Bessie Stanley as it appeared in a book by her, but on the page facing a quote by Emerson…see what you think. Success…what does it mean for you?

what is success, why do we need it, what does it mean to different people, to the materialist or the flower of a spiritual path.


To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Nelson Mandela/Marianne Williamson

This is from Nelson Mandelas inauguration speech but is a quote from a book by Marianne Williamson about the “The Course in Miracles”; its about our deepest fear. 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."


Is this the eve of destruction

When Ever I listened to the sounds of the 60s on Saturday morning Radio, I was entranced by the sense of positive and directed energy that appeared in the lyrics, music and artists of this period…we can do so much more with this legacy

The reason for this is much of what they sang about in protest songs still holds true today.

These lyrics of the ‘eve of destruction’ by PF sloan encapsulate that era as do many other songs, from the Beatles to The Dave Clark 5…

The Eastern World
It is explodin’
Violence flarin’
Bullets loadin’
You’re old enough to kill
But not for votin’
You don’t believe in war
But what’s that gun you’re totin’
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’ 

But you tell me over, and over, and over again my friend
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction 

Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today
If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
There’ll be no one to save
With the whole world in a grave
Take a look around you boy,
It’s bound to scare you boy 

And you tell me over, and over, and over again my friend
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction 

Yeah, my blood’s so mad
Feels like coagulatin’
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’
I can’t twist the truth
It knows no regulation
Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
And marches alone can’t bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin’
This whole crazy world
Is just too frustratin’ 

And you tell me over, and over, and over again my friend
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction 

And think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
Ah you may leave here for four days in space
But when you return it’s the same old place
The poundin’ of the drums
The pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace 

But you tell me over, and over, and over, and over again my friend
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction
No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction 

some time ago someone asked me,after I had spoken about what we could do in todays world to try and make it a better place, they spoke about their own sense of powerlessness in the face of war, evil, poverty, greed and suffering. A Tall order but I tried.

From the Kennedys to Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and countless others, these inspirational people who wanted to lead the world in a different direction were killed, like it says in the song The Diggers, “they were dispersed and only the vision lingers on". This song goes on to say:

"You poor take courage, you rich take care
This world was made a common treasury for everyone to share"

and so it is, but the greed goes on because our leaders are frightened to talk about what we might be willing to give up, actually its what they and those at the very top of our moneyed societies might be willing to give up. 

I heard a Sikh speaker the other day, say that bringing simplicity back into our lives may be the only way to save the world. I mean do I really need a dishwasher?

This is the spirit we must carry through, to not let go of the positive energy built in the post war period for a better world. Our present political leaders have moved back to a policy of the 1950s and 60s, exploitative, aggressive and lacking in empathy and understanding. We do have a choice as to how we react to this. Both Locally and globally.

Our attitude to each other, at work and play and in our communities means something. Our attitude to our elected or unelected representatives (remember in most countries now decisions are made in the main about our lives by unelected people…yes even in the US and the the UK).

They keep us busy so we don’t complain, work hours get longer, and we just take it. No wonder family life is stressful if we don’t have time for it. Contact and communication break down all sorts of boundaries, as does thought for others and kindness. 

Where were the things you buy and you wear for you your family and home made, and by whom, did they get a fair price, how much of your taxes goes to subsidising organisations or people already wealthy, while the poor starve across the world. 

Every action we take has an effect somewhere, their are no innocent bystanders, if you work in an industry or commercial enterprise that is directly or indirectly exploitative or leads to the denegration or death of others then you will need to think over about your share in the responsibility.

We need not just to be against things but also be for something, it is not enough to say that we are against war or weapons manufacture, we need to provide alternatives for the people that work in these industries, we also need to offer other ways of governing if the present ideal of democracy is not working.

Death war and destruction are not the answer, we need to think both, why people might want to become terrorists or members of the army, why might someone want to kill for a living or for a cause. 

We talk of spin, but the earliest spin and rebranding was The Ministry of War becoming the Ministry of Defence. But enough of all this moaning, its really just another way of losing the spirit of power that we can see in the short period between 1963 and 1973.

For many of us individually we can change the way we act and react to things around us and we can gather with others to who feel similarly to us, we can also use our votes wisely on election day. If you don’t vote, think about why not and what you might do instead.

I still have a vision and a belief that the world and our relationship to it will and is getting better, I have given up my jaded view, and am trying to put into practice a better way of living, I will make mistakes, will stumble and falter, but will still keep getting up and moving forward. Why because I know I have the power, however ordinary it is to change myself and to help others change, that power is our inheritance, our ability to bring back smiles to peoples faces, to give instead of expecting something and to Love even in the face of others hate.

As George Fox said in the 17th Century
“be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; “


Leaving The Rat Race

Leaving the rat race!

Ok I am reading yet another article of how this guy leaves the rat race, to be at home, see his children, live a btter life and you know what it reminds me of the WC fields thing, I have only heard this 3rd hand, I think it was in a film

WC Fields – who is looking very successful-: (to Boy) Son when I came to this town, I had nothing but the clothes I had on and the sack on my back.

Boy: Wow, what was in the sack

Fields: About 250,000 dollars!…

And thats it isn’t it these people that leave the rat race after working for years in finance or whatever, usually have been earning 200, 000 a year + bonus and have paid their mortgage, and now just have to do a couple of days of consultancy a week just to keep it ticking over…its crap. I mean what about all those that struggle on the money they are paid and never have time to think about leaving the rat race, because there are bills to pay…I don’t mean bill to pay for the off road 4 X 4, I mean the rent, the mortgage, on the Nissan or whatever, to get a kid through college/University.

What these articles are talking about is a new aristocracy a new upper and upper-middle class, who only have to work for half their lives. And they work in jobs that are part of the process of keeping the rest of us as wage slaves.

Now of course most of us could live lives of greater simplicity, like I hardly use that microwave, but it looks cool, do I really need a new computer/tv/car/lawnmower and so on. 

My Mum didn’t have a quarter of the gadgets I have around the house, when I was a kid, but hell she has now. Who an earth persuaded us that we needed all this crap…probabaly some consultant working 2 days a week for a credit card company who also owns an advertising agency, which is part shares in a TV and Media conglomerate, which owns the finance house s/he worked for originally. 

© 2017 jonathan spencer |  Email me
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Don’t beleive everything you read on the internet.