Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Banshee in America

County Meath

I often write about Celtic Faerie lore from a point of view of that lore that migrated to the New World along with the people of Ireland and Scotland.  There is very little academic literature on this topic and I have had to scratch and tear bits of data from what primary sources I can find... usually from a family's oral history.  One of the most resilient and enduring entities that appears in the New World is the Banshee.  This entity is known in both Canada and America from Colonial times to the present.  As a young boy, I heard tales of the Banshee, and this back in the 1950s. 

Banshee is a anglicised form of Bean Sí, which literally means Woman of Peace, and the inferred meaning is a Faerie Woman.  Bean Sí is said like the phonetic anglicised form, Banshee.  For you students of Gaelic grammar, Bean Sí is a non lenitied form.  Bean (woman) is a feminine noun and normally would take lenition, i.e. An Bhean, but it is an exception to the rule in this case.  A Faerie man is a Fear Sí.  

In Gaelic lore the Bean Sí is a Faerie woman, one of the Tuatha De Danann, who appears with fore knowledge of some important event.  Often the event is a death, but the Bean Sí can also be a portent of outrageous good fortune.  While the term Bean Sí means Faerie Woman, it has taken on an additional meaning in lore.  So a Bean Sí can specifically mean that female entity who is a harbinger of events or can just mean a generic Faerie woman.  

The Bean Sí is fairly well known in the New World in areas where people of Celtic ancestry have settled.  I am most familiar with them in the South and there are legends about them.  Many people in the past, and the present, have seen or heard a Bean Sí.  And, just in case you think a Bean Sí could not get any more spooky... there are legends of a Bean Sí going bad.

There is a type of Bean Sí who is called in Gaelic, a Baobhan Sí.  The Baobhan Sí is a murderous, often blood sucking, Faerie woman.  The Baobhan Sí appears as a beautiful, fair haired, woman, dressed in white.  In the South, there are dozens of stories about The White Woman. She is charming and uses spells to render the victim defenseless.  The Baobhan Sí uses her delicate hands, and sharp finger nails, to put deep cuts in her victim, and proceeds to feast on his blood.  Hunters are especially vulnerable, it is said, because she smells the blood on their hunting clothes. 

There are several variations of the lore concerning The White Woman, but they all involve the death of some unsuspecting man, lured to his demise, by a beautiful, young woman, dressed in white. 

A famous Bean Sí, inhabits the banks of the Tar River near Tarboro, Edgecombe County, North Carolina.  North Carolina was largely settled by Scots-Irish, Scots, and Irish, and it is no surprise to find a Bean Sí in that area.  The Tar River Bean Sí first appeared in 1781.  On this occasion she did so in the customary role as harbinger of a death, of Dave Warner, who was attacked and drowned, by British troops.  After the murder of Dave Warner, the soldiers were haunted.  The Bean Sí was heard keening (caoineadh to cry or weep) outside their quarters... and she told them that they would all soon be dead.  This came to pass when they were indeed killed in a skirmish with North Carolina militia.  The Bean Sí did not stop there, she was seen about the Tar River where Dave Warner had been killed and on occasion, her sorrowful wail has been heard. 

the Bean Sí

Another well known Bean Sí incident happened in Marrtown, West Virginia.  Thomas and Mary Marr with immigrants from Scotland and made a life for themselves in western Virginia, now in West Virginia.  Thomas on several occasions noticed a robed figure riding a white horse. The face of the rider was obscured by the hood of a cloak, so that he never had a clear view of the rider's face.  When he tried to approach the rider, the figure would disappear into the morning mists.  In February 1878, the white horse and rider approached the house of Mary Marr while her husband was away.  As the rider came close, Mary could see the face of a veiled woman, who spoke to Mary, 'I am here to tell you Mary Marr, that Thomas Mar has just died, Say your prayers, Lady, I bid you well.'   The Bean Sí made one more appearance upon Mary passing.  Mourners at the funeral heard the keening of a unseen woman. 

A Bean Sí normally follows a family, from generation to generation.  Occasionally, a Bean Sí will cross to water to follow the fate of her host family.  There are Bean Sí sightings from specific families in both America and Canada.  In the busy post modern world, with endless distractions devoid of heritage and culture... there are very few recent accounts of the Bean Sí.  Sadly, many people do not even know their ancestors and have lost connections with them.  For them, the continuum is broken. There are still families that have managed to keep their cultural continuum with their ancestors alive and for them the Bean Sí still lives.    

© 2018 Barry R McCain

Monday, March 12, 2018

Omega 3s and Blueberries

Five months and two weeks, feeling well, in Bright Sun

El sol está brillando hoy. Tenemos un clima muy agradable.  Tá an ghrian ag soilsiú inniu. Tá aimsir an-deas againn.

I am five months and two weeks into recovery from two strokes I had in late September.  It has been an interesting road I have travelled in recovery.  As all stroke survivors and neurologists will tell you, every stroke is different and the recovery can be different as well.

I begin this blog post in Castellano and Gaeilge (Gaelic) as prior to my stroke I used both of these languages.  I could not use them, or English for that matter, after the strokes.  I had aphasia.  Aphasia is the inability to formulate and comprehend language due to an injury to the brain, in my case from a blot clot in the base of my brain.  Due to the correct decision being made by my son Conar and then the medical people attending me, the treatment and care I was given allowed me to recover well.  I would characterise the recovery as rapid. Within a couple of weeks my speech and language comprehension came back.  Three months into recovery I hit a plateau... but slowly, it is finally all coming back.  I can function again in three languages.  I focused, for obvious reasons, on English, but I am now spending more and more time, using Castellano and Gaeilge. 

Doing Well!
 In the last five months I have studied neurogenesis.  Neurogenesis is the process of birth of neurons generated from neural stem cells.  This is a new field of science.  As recently as 1998 the phenomenon was not known and in the old paradigm there was a belief that one could not grow new brain cells.  This was incorrect however.  In the last eighteen years the research on neurogenesis has made great progress.  The process is now well documented and there are methods and protocols in place that encourage the neurogenesis process.

In short, there are things one can do to greatly enhance brain function.  The neurologists have identified how to improve and increase neurogenesis and conversely, they know behaviours that decrease the process.  One's diet, nutrition, sleep habits, exercise, and other factors, greatly enhance and speed up neurogenesis.  These last few months I have consumed truck loads of Omega 3 fish oil supplements, blueberries, cold water fish, and other items to feed my old hippocampus.

Now this is good news for anyone with a brain injury, be it stroke, concussion, a head blow, and even age related cognition issues, such as Alzheimer's and dementia.  These medical issues can be treated and in some cases there is a complete recovery... and even recovery to the point of being better before the problem developed.  Alzheimer's for example, often is a form of Diabetes III, this type of Alzheimer's responds well to treatment.

back when the old beard was Red
Neurogenesis is a complex topic and is still a relatively new field of medical science.  Much too complex for me to write about it on my McCain's Corner blog.  I do encourage anyone interested to read on the topic.  There are some very good video talks and lectures on neurogenesis on Youtube.   A good place to start is with Dr Brant Cortright and Dr Sandrine Thuret.   This is good data to have even if you are in the pink and Bristol fashion... and just want to make sure the ole brain stays hummin' along.  It is in short, it is Good Stuff.

I gave myself six months to recover.  This is only two weeks away now.  I am doing well.  I am writing again and doing a lot of research reading, for my next projects.  I can say, with confidence; estoy de vuelta en la sillín de nuevo, el sillín del escritor que es.

the tea... Darjeeling, my fave

© 2018 Barry R McCain

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Béara In Faerie Lore

Walking up to the summit of Loughcrew
This photo taken on the same day that I had the strange experience at Loughcrew in County Meath, at Sliabh na Cailleach, which is the main hill at the site. Sliabh na Cailleach is the abode of Béara, who is a Bean Sí (faerie woman) and one of the Tuatha Dé Danann.  There is a passage tomb on top, in which at the equinox sunrise, the rays of the sun shine down and illuminate the inner chamber.  There are the graves of extremely ancient dead kings, queens, and warriors there.  The structure is 5,200 years old.  It was old before the Egyptian pyramids were built. 
Mound at Loughcrew
I give a full account of my strange and singular experience at Loughcrew in my book Finding the McCains.  The Celtic faeries that are found in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man, are not your wee, cute type, of the Victorian era children's books.  They are tall, fair, powerful beings of light, and they are dangerous to be around.  Béara is or has become in legend, a primordial nature spirit and Queen of Winter.  She can appear as an old woman or as a beautiful young maiden, tall, fair, and dressed in green.  
Béara as the Cailleach (veiled woman)

Béara is known throughout Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man, the three traditional Gaelic homelands.  In Scotland, I have seen Béara spelled as Beura, often with the prefix Cailleach, i.e. Cailleach Bheura.  As with Ireland, Béara is associated with Winter and is known throughout Scotland, but her lore is perhaps most remembered in the parish of Kilmichael Glassary, in the Loch Awe area.  My own family, Clann Mhic Eáin, originated in that parish and I am quite sure they knew the lore of Béara.  It is perhaps more than a coincidence that my encounter with Béara took place upon her Sí (Faerie Mound) in County Meath. I did not even know her legend prior to my trip there and I think she was having a gesture with me.  

Ultimately, Béara goes back to our distant past and  she is linked to older lore.  We must remember that our contemporary myths come to us through a dark mist of the distant past.  It has been taboo to openly talk about our ancient European pre Christian faiths for many centuries.  I think Béara is linked to not only the Tuatha Dé Danann, but to our very early Celtic roots... and back to the Indo European past.  She has cognates and homologues in Ireland, the UK, and Europe, such as Epona and Frau Holle.  

It is even quite possible that Béara is a form of the Gaelic Étain, associated with Sun, one of the Tuatha Dé Danann.  Étain has another moniker, which is Eachraide, i.e. the Horse Rider, i.e Epona.  She is a Celtic goddess associated with the Indo-European myth of the Horse and with fertility.  The Horse in our early myths, and is a creation icon and a complex topic better left to another day.

Epona circa 250 AD Gaul

The old gods and demigods of our distant past have over the centuries taken on different forms and functions. In many cases they have been reduced from their former prominence to lesser beings, such as a Gruagach, a Glaistig or even the mountain Cailleach.

The Glasistig is a type of Gaelic Faerie known also as a Maighean Uaine (green maiden). Her appearance is that of a tall, young, woman, with fair hair, blue eyes, and dressed in green.  She is a tutelary faerie,  a protectoress of cattle, of herders and shepherds, she watches over children as the father and mother go about their daily work... she is the protector of the household.  The Glaistig in her tutelary form is certainly a homologue for older and more prominent beings, such as Béara.  In our Gaelic lore, we often encounter cognates and conflated forms of the Tuatha Dé Danann of the Old Faith. 

My current book that I am working on explores the world of the Faeries from the perspective of the Irish immigrants that settled in Colonial America in the early 1700s.  What did they believe about the Faeries?   Did they have concepts and beliefs that we recognise?  Can we see in their tutelary spirits and their entities of wood, field and mountain, a glimpse of older gods?   Let's find out...

© 2018 Barry R McCain


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Magh Gabhlin, Donegal, Castle of Iníon Dubh,

Magh Gaibhlin Castle on the Foyle (© 2018 Carolyn McKane)

Magh Gaibhlin is the land and castle of Fionnuala Ni Dhónaill née Nic Dhónaill... known in Irish history as Iníon Dubh (dark haired daughter).   She was a Scottish Gaelic princess by birth, the daughter of Seamus Mac Dhónaill of the Glens of Antrim and Islay, Taoiseach Chann Eáin Mhóir.  Her mother was Anna Mhic Dhónaill née Caimbeul, daughter of the third Earl of Argyll.   Iníon Dubh’s first cousin was none other than the fifth Earl of Argyll, the brilliant, Giolla Easpuig Donn Caimbeul.  Iníon Dubh and her family were part of the highest echelons of Gaelic aristocracy.  Her husband was Aodh Mac Manus Ó Dónaill, taoiseach of Clann Uí Dhónaill .   They were married in late summer 1569 on Rathlin Island, off the coast of Antrim. Iníon Dubh settled down in Magh Gaibhlin Castle, in what is now Porthall, Donegal.

The Calendar of State Papers for Ireland recorded her possessions and it reads:

From Cul-Mac-Tryan runs a bogg three myles in length to the side of Lough Foyle – in the midst of the bogg is a standing Loughe called Bunaber – here at Bunaber dwells O’Donnell’s mother (Ineed Dubh MacDonnell).  Three miles above Cargan stands a fort called McGevyvelin (Magh Gaibhlin) upon the river of Lough Foyle – O’Donnell’s mother’s chief house.

While some of these anglicised names are crude, the boundaries of Iníon Dubh's land can be easily located. The parcel of land was in the Portlough precinct which was an administrative district that corresponded to Taughboyne, All Saints, Raymoghy, and part of Raphoe parishes today.  The area comprises the heart of the Lagan District in Donegal.

A Redshank soldier 1590s © 2018 Dave Swift

Iníon Dubh went on to become one of the most important people in Ireland in the late 1500s.  She recruited an army of Gaelic Redshanks from mid-Argyll that settled on her estates around Magh Gaibhlin, from Porthall, north to StJohnston, to Carrigans.  These villages were on the Foyle River and her Redshank soldiers protected the river landings for the Ó Dónaill clan.  Iníon Dubh’s Redshank army was passionately loyal to her and they became the elite soldiers for Clann Uí Dhónaill.  She was the mother of Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill.  His vision and the work of his life, was to make Ireland free of English domination.  Aodh Rua used his army and considerable military skills to wage war on the Elizabethan English who were trying to conquer Ulster.  In 1592, Aodh Rua became taoiseach of Clann Uí Dhónaill, after his dramatic escape from the dungeons of Dublin Castle. He eventually made peace with his rivals, Clann Uí Neill, and formed an alliance with them. 

Aodh Mór Ó Neill and Aodh Rua Ó Dónaill led their combined forces against the Elizabethan English. The two Irish chiefs came so very close to defeating  the English and winning independence for Ireland in the Nine Years War (1593-1603).  At the Battle of Kinsale (1602 NS), all was lost however.   
There is a chapter in my book, Finding the McCains, were I give a history of Iníon Dubh.  I find her one of the most romantic and most tragic figures in Irish history.  Magh Gaibhlin Castle is in complete ruins now, just a forlorn memory of its past glory.  It is still has a quiet beauty that one finds often in Ireland.  Magh Gaibhlin is a haunted place, with a bitter sweet sadness to it.  I became interested in the castle and its history while researching my family's connection to Iníon Dubh and Magh Gaibhlin. 

© 2018 Barry R McCain   

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Childcraft Books and the Gods

a Childcraft book from the mid 1950s

Do you remember the old Childcraft Books we used back in the 1950s.  Probably so.  I certainly do.  I was a Tow-headed boy of four or so when the books came into my home.  The books had a place of prominence in the living-room book case.  I can still see them sitting there in my mind's eye.  The books had vividly coloured, wonderful illustrations, that stimulated and multiplied my neurons each time I opened a book.  For me, the Childcraft books were not only a catalyst, but the catalyst, that turned me into a life long reader and searcher for the truth.  They began me on my journey to be a reader, historian, and writer.  
My favourite thing in the books were the old tales from our ancient past.  In the books I learned about our mythology, lore, fables, and old tales.  In the books I found the old Indo European tales about the gods and goddesses, Odin, Thor, Balder, Zeus, Heracles, etc.  As I grew older my love of lore also grew and I moved on to the tales of the Celtic gods and heroes, and there I knew I was home. Here I am, over a half century later and I still love to read and research the Old tales.

As I learned about Celtic mythology I gravitated to the the Gods of the Gael of course.  I have that ethnic connection of being a descendant of the Gael and naturally enough I was drawn to them; my people, my blood.  My surname McCain is anglicised from the Gaelic name Mac Eáin.  This surname taken in the AD 1300s and from DNA testing I know I descend from the Mac Ailpín families of mid Argyll, from the parish of Kilmichael Glassary.  This sort of thing sharpens one's interest in things Gaelic. There are genetic and even epigenetic factors at work there.

My favourite Gaelic god and the one I found most interesting was Dagda.  He is the father god to the Gaelic Celts of Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.  Dagda is a very old name dating back to Indo European roots, from Dagos (good) Deivos (god).  His Continental cognate is Sucellos.  So Dagda is the Good God, he is also known as Crom, and in the time just prior to and after the Gaelic conversion to Christianity, he was normally called Crom.  

Our knowledge of him is known from the misty twilight of the distant past, but there is still enough to give him form and function.  Most of the primary source data, if it can be called that, comes from medieval manuscripts written by Christian clerks and monks.  The best known of these is the Lebor Gabála Érenn (Book of Invasions of Ireland).  It is a collection of prose and verse narratives the gives a mythological history of Ireland and the Gaelic people in general.  There are a number of versions of it and the book was written (copied down) in the 11th Century.  The stories in the book are of course much older.  The mere fact that the Christian monks took the time and effort to record the old pagan stories is a testament to how important they still were to the Gael, even centuries after the conversion to Christianity. 

The Gaels converted to Christianity in the 5th to 7th centuries, sort of.  They certainly converted, but many of the old pagan ways and beliefs continued.  In many ways, one could call the Gaels a Dual Faith people.  There was a conscious and sometimes, unconscious, preservation of pagan beliefs and ritual practices, but within a 'Christian' community.  Lughnasa, Halloween, Christmas, and Easter, all come with very thinly veiled Old Faith trappings.  The Faerie Faith, which lives to this day, is nothing more than the old gods still around.  There are Holy Wells, that date to pagan times, but with a Christian Saint's name attached to it.  There are still rituals, such as the blessing of the fleet in the Hebrides to Seónaidh (Shoney), i.e. Manannan Mac Lir, the Gaelic sea god (taboo to say his name outright).  

Most impressive is the old Lughnasa Festivals. On the face of it, Lughnasa is a festival for the Gaelic god Lugh and is celebrated from late July through August.  There is feasting, dancing, bonfires, and competitions, including an arts festival, with music and readings.  The festival managed to survive the 20th century and is even making a comeback here in the 21st century. 

Dagda, by a Japanese illustrator

There are older versions of Lughnasa however.... and more magical ones.  In some versions it is Crom Dubh, not Lugh, who presides over the harvest.  In Cloghane, Crom Dubh's image is seen in the local church where it is an object of luck and healing.  The Lughnasa festival in Cloghane village is still called the Domhnach Chruim Dhuibh, i.e. Crom Dubh's Sunday.  There is still a saying in the Gaeltacht there, said when someone is pronouncing something is true... Dar Chruim, which means, 'For Crom.'

So, from Childcraft book to a reader and writer, to long stays in Ireland, to speaking Gaelic, it all started with the Childcraft books way back in Ouachita parish, Louisiana.  Reading has power and magic... Dar Chruim.

This article is just my thoughts put down as I work on my next book.  I am in the process of reading, taking notes, etc., as I write the book down and prepare for publication.  As you might have guessed, the theme of Gaelic myth, the Faerie Faith, etc., are in the next book.  

If you enjoy these blog post, do not be shy about dropping some coins in the tip bucket.  It is part of the magic. 

© 2018 Barry R McCain


Monday, February 19, 2018

Orwell And Huxley

Neil Postman
(I came across the quote from Neil Postman from his book Amusing Ourselves to Death... I liked it and thought it apropos for our life and times.  Barry R McCain)

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism.

Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumble puppy.

As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists, who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny, “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”

In 1984, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that our desire will ruin us.”

Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.  


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Colonel Dodge 1834

Colonel Dodge 1834 by George Catlin

The illustration above is of Colonel Henry Dodge and is the work of George Catlin.  It is an excellent sketch and shows the colonel in the typical dress of this period of an active man on the frontier. 

Dodge was born 12 October 1782 and died in 19 June 1867.  He lived large and he was well known in his life an times.  He was a Democratic member of the US House of Representatives, a member of the US Senate, and was the Territorial Governor of Wisconsin.  Dodge was also a veteran of the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War.  His son was Augustus C Dodge, who also served in the US Senate with his father. 

Dodge was a captain in a mounted company in the Missouri State Volunteers in the War of 1812.  He rose to the rank of major general of the Missouri militia by the war’s end.  He was a fierce Indian fighter against hostile Indians, but also showed great mercy to defeated Indians.  He saved a band of Miami Indians from certain death after a unsuccessful raid the Indians made on Boone’s Lick settlement in the summer of 1814.

Dodge later served as Colonel in the Michigan Mounted Volunteers of the western Michigan Territory during the Black Hawk War (1832).  His Michigan Mounted Volunteers were in the battles of Horseshoe Bend, Wisconsin Heights, and Bad Axe, as well as numerous smaller skirmishes. 

In the sketch above, Henry Dodge is seen in the typical dress Anglo-Celtic man on the frontier, wearing a ‘hunter’s frock.’   This is the archetypal dress on the frontier from early Colonial times well into the late 1800s.  It evolved from similar frocks in use in Ireland and Great Britain prior to Colonial times.

In 1833 Dodge’s militia command was replaced by the United States Regiment of Dragoons with Dodge as a colonel.  One of his captains was Nathan Boone, the youngest son of Daniel Boone.  In the summer of 1834 Colonel Dodge and his dragoons conducted the Dodge-Leavenworth Expedition into the southwest Great Plains.  The expedition was the first official contact between the southern Plains Indians and the United States government. 
Catlin's painting of Dodge and his Dragoons at a Comanche village on the plains

Dodge City is named after Henry Dodge, though there is a small faction that holds the city was named after Grenville Dodge, who was a Union officer in the WBTS and Indian Wars.  

Mountain of Rock, Comanche Chief, by George Catlin 

George Catlin (26 July 1796 – 23 December 1872) was an American artist and writer. He is known for his portraits of American Indians and Anglo-Celtic hunters and explorers in the Old West.  Catlin made five extended trips to the American west in the 1830s.  Catlin was the first white artist to portray the Plains Indians in their territory.

© 2018 Barry R McCain

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Ouachita Mountains by William Rainey

The art of William Rainey, his photo of the Ouachita Mountains
I know where this photo was taken... from a vista up in my Ouachita Mountains.  This is the work of photographer William Rainey.  He does, as you see, excellent work.   A cold evening up in the Ouachitas.  The mountains have a special beauty to them in winter.  Quite a sight.

Barry R McCain

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Neuroplasticity and Me

7 Feb 2018 hard at work doing neuroplasticity

The word for the day is neuroplasticity, which is the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.  This ability is especially important if one has a brain injury, such as a stroke.  In neuroplasticity the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain can and will compensate for injury and disease.  These nerve cells will  adjust their activities in response to new situations.

It is not unlike pruning a tree or bush.  You whack a part off and you get new shoots popping out everywhere.  The white coats call it ‘axonal sprouting.’   Undamaged axons grow new nerve endings to reconnect to neurons with links that are damaged, severed, or dead.  These axons can reconnect to the nerve endings.  New pathways are made to allow your damaged brain parts to function.  One gets better over time. 

There is a catch though... you normally have to work at it.  If you do not work at it, then you may not recover your lost brain function, this includes both mental and physical abilities.  This is very serious stuff and you want to ‘work at it’ like an über-mensch.  But, it is necessary, if you want to recover from a brain injury, and be at a level equal to, or even beyond, your pre-stroke level.
nerve endings at work and play
I am recovering fairly well.  My recovery has come with an interesting phenomenon. As I recover I have had very intense, metaphysical, dreams. In these dreams, I have been visited by relatives and family that have passed on, i.e. the dead talk to me in my dreams.  I know the nature of consciousness is wildly complex.  Not there is a silver lining to a dark cloud of a stroke, but as I recover I have an awareness of consciousness that was not there pre-stroke.  It awakened me in a way. Something has changed in me, mentally, or a better way to say it is, with my consciousness, and my awareness of the universe. 

Dr Jill Bolte Taylor is a brain research scientist.  She had a devastating stroke in 1996; this was while she was a brain research scientist.  She has written a book of her recovery which I find remarkable in that she had metaphysical experiences, and a change in her thinking, or awareness, of consciousness, not only her consciousness, but that of the universe as well.  She used her stroke, or it allowed her to perceive, a connection to the universe.    By-the-way, it took her many years, but she did recover, and returned to work as a brain research scientist and wrote a best-selling book about her stroke and recovery.  Her book is My Stroke of Insight.

So the word for the day is Neuroplasticity.   Use it. 

© Barry R McCain