Borealis Meditation

Science and Spirituality

Author: katborealis (page 1 of 25)

Borealis Meditation S04E08 – Triggered earthquakes and are they increasing!? Earthquake basics and common questions

I had an “ah-ha!” moment on this common question recently and decided it deserved a short episode. So here is a discussion on earthquakes and triggering of earthquakes.

Listen Here:

If you don’t want to listen and just want the answers to these questions:

Can a large earthquake trigger other earthquakes? YES! these are called aftershocks and their patterns are well studied and pretty well understood. Also with the largest of earthquakes, their big seismic waves traveling around the earth can trigger micro-quakes as they pass.

Are earthquakes increase? NO! After a large earthquake there is a bias towards reporting on more of the earthquakes that occur. So you are seeing an increase in reporting of earthquakes not the global rate of earthquakes increasing.

Animals!? There are 4 types of seismic waves and its possible they are recognizing the “p” and “s” waves that you may not feel. Also my cats always slept through them in Hawaii! Horrible earthquake early warning system!

How to pick a price?

One of the things I have always been a little uncomfortable with is the exchange of money for my work. Not that I am against the exchange of money for my work, but what to charge. I don’t want to undervalue practitioners who do it for a living, but I also don’t want to charge too much. See I have a full time job, and I am big on gifting. When I make things I like to share, and I have never been able to find the Goldilocks price range.

But I also find making small batches isn’t as easy as a medium size batch of spray, soap… etc. So how to price what I have been making recently? Some are my own recipes and some are based on recipes I found in New Orleans, and if I charge too little it devalues it, but if I charge too much that feels like taking advantage.

So I was stuck until the other day I had an idea. What if I convert the prices on the notebook from the Pharmacy Museum into modern day prices! I wonder what that would be.

My thinking is this: the formulations are in a notebook from a early half of the last century. They are written in pharmacist shorthand. Documentary evidence exists that hoodoo formulations were sold by white male pharmacists, who may or may not have worked with hoodoo practitioners. But this is the actual physical ingredients with a price so it is possible that the pharmacist was just mixing them and selling them on his own. So if you consider the price of the item to be physical object + intangible value added we can think of these prices as the physical object +/- intangible. So, this was considered a fair price at the time so let’s see how this all works out with the numbers! Math time!

The price listed range from $0.1/oz to $ 0.25/oz

Now the actual date of the artifact but the displays on the ground floor of the museum that opened in 1950 are referred to as “mid 19th century” but there is also a sign in that section that mentioned someone who was convicted for selling hoodoo wares in the 1930’s. Googling around it and looking at old pharmacist notebook pictures the sheets look on the early side and not 1930’s maybe closer to 1900. (finding the actual date range will require more research) So we have a range from 1850 – 1930 a pretty wide range, so I went wit 1910.

  • What cost $1 in 1913 (earliest year in the inflation calculator) would cost $25.90 (I like rounding so lets make it $26) in 2019 so $0.10 becomes $2.60 per oz. and $0.25 becomes $6.50 per oz
  • Everything is in metric where I am now so lets round to 30mL per oz (glass bottles are sold as 30mL or 1 ounce)
  • so the price per mL would be $0.09 per mL – $0.21 so lets be nice and change it to $0.10 /mL and $0.20/mL
  • Now we have the price in adjusted for inflation as $0.10 /mL – $0.20/mL Doesn’t that work out nice?
  • This is based on the prices being from ~1913 (but we don’t know if they are earlier or late). Also we don’t know if the original prices I found were sold with or without the “intangible value added” so 3 to 6 dollars for a 30 mL bottle of my sprays would be the range.
  • Essential oils here are on the expensive side here and mine come with the intangible value added part, so I think I am comfortable with the $6 price. But is this reasonable?
  • Lucky Mojo sells Fast Luck oil for $7.50 USD and my Lucky Mojo bottles look like they are 1/2 ounce. This sounds like around the same range as what I got other oils in New Orleans when I was there for, so for someone who uses a different cheaper base (sprays not oils) I think I am in the right range.
  • If I add on a $1.5 bottle charge then I also get $7.50 USD or ~ $10 SGD.

I hope that was an interesting discussion for you. It’s a little bit into my brain and how I use tools from my research work in science in my practice. I also think this type of research/thought experiment can help decisions like “how much should I charge for this” be based in historical precedent.

We should never devalue our work, even if money makes you uncomfortable. But we also shouldn’t take financial advantage of customers by over charging. I think that having a range like $3-6 in mind allows for a range of different price teirs from gifts (close friends and family) to a lower price (friends and lower income) and average customers, that doesn’t devalue the effort I put in. Also I think it shows that the current range of prices out there from whole sellers like Lucky Mojo who know what they are doing, and small individuals like Candle Smoke Chapel (they are awesome check them out), are actually very reasonable based on historic price data we have.

So if you are in Singapore right now you will soon be able to get my sprays for $10 in the bottle or 0.30 SGD/mL with your own bottle. I am also a big fan of making things yourself so when I have a formulation I am happy with feel free to ask.

Also remember the difference is in the “intangible value added” of each maker and how much that is worth to you should be considered when you are assessing the reasonableness of a price.

Make things! Support each other!

Borealis Meditation S04E07 – Hanging out with Sarah Rose

New episode! Hanging out with Sarah Rose a friend of mine from the Pacific Northwest. We chat about making soaps, sprays, oils, and wild crafting.

Sarah Rose makes sustainable wild-harvested herbal medicine and body care products in the Pacific Northwest. You can find her at farmers markets and also online at her website and follow her on instagram

Listen here:

Borealis Meditation – Papua with The Collector

New Episode is out! I am excited about this one! I sat down with a friend of mine here in Singapore who has lived all over the world. I like to call him “The Collector” since he collects interesting experiences, skills, people, stories, and objects. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him about sharing social media info before he took off on another trip so for now we will just call him “The Collector”. He is looking at possibly starting a youtube channel though and I will share it when it is ready! So where in the world were we talking about? New Guinea!

The tribes The Collector mentioned are the Komoro and the Asmat. One of the shields with the image of the ancestors I have used below.

Listen to the episode here:

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Kilauea 2018 East Rift Zone Eruption

I decided to split the show notes for each eruption into their own post. Just because it was getting a little long. This is meant to be read and watched along with or after listening to S04E05 of Borealis Meditation Podcast (hence the lack of text). 

Kilauea Volcano!

Summit Overflow (Late April)

Drone footage and time lapse of Summit Collapse

Lower East Rift Zone (Puna)

Here are a few maps for some context on the geography of the eruption:

Major features on Kilauea Volcano and landmarks. The summit collapse and overflow shown above happened within Halema’uma’u crater (circled) which is in tern within the summit caldera. Pu’u ‘O’o has been the center of activity since 1983, and I mentioned Hwy 130 in terms of the earthquakes going down the rift. The east rift zone is highlighted on the map showing it going all the way out to Kapoho and it continues underwater as well.
This is an older map but you can see the areas of newish lava over the last ~200 years. Lava zones correspond to levels of hazard and have an impact on if you can get insurance and how expensive it is, and therefore the prices of land. When people ask “why do people live on the rift zone” the answer is that, simply land is expensive in Hawaii and the higher the risk the cheaper the land. Lava zone 1 = on a vent or rift zone, Lava zone 2 = down slope from a vent or rift zone. These are the highest levels of risk in terms of lava. The areas covered in this eruption were all lava zone 1 and 2

Pu’u ‘O’o

Time lapse showing the filling of Pu’u O’o crater with the perched lava pond in March and early April. Below is the late April collapse of Pu’u O’o. Now remember I said the weather was super shit so the thermal camera is what was used to “see” the collapse. You might have to loop it a few times but you can see where the lava lake was at about the same level and then the drop to an open vent.

Below the collapse is an over flight and 3D model. So remember the earlier lava pond all high up in the crater? Look at that change!!!!

Down the rift zone…..

This is the final extent of the fissure eruption lavas show in the video of before and after above. The large area in the upper right is where Kapoho, Kapoho Tidepools, and Vacation land were.
This is a map released around the end of the eruption. You can see the former coast line plotted along with the fissures and landmarks.
for comparison here is what the lava flow areas and active flow field looked like before this eruption. You can see the communities on this one that were covered

That is what I have for the Kilauea 2018 major activity.

Borealis Meditation S04E05 – My Favorite Things

Welcome to the episode where at one point I realize “oh shit I’ve been talking about this for too long” and then try and fail to completely code switch.

Show Notes are split into two posts one per eruption:

Kilauea 2018 East Rift Zone Eruption

Anak Krakatau Collapse (check back soon)

Listen to the episode here:

Dear community can we talk?

Dear (pagan/Pagan/P-umbrella/ and/or spiritual new age and a few other groups we can never decide who is on this list, or what to call it) community,

Can we put down our torches and pitchforks and all the handfuls of mud we have been throwing at each other and have a frank conversation? The internet is becoming a toxic place in general and I think we need to have a conversation about it. Some people in our community have a big local network, but I think a lot of us have always had a bigger online community than an in real life one. We are a diverse group made up of elders who have been on this path for decades to tweens and teens just discovering witchcraft and pagan etc. stuff and everywhere in-between. We are a generally inclusive crowed too. We are awesome about the fun parts of community. Parties and sharing stories and tips and spells and pretty things. But the hard parts of life. Frankly we suck at.

For this discussion I am going to use some examples. The specifics of the examples don’t matter because news flash sometimes the point isn’t the details. Life can suck. Life can be hard. It can be comforting to know you are not alone. Buckle up because I am rested for once and who knows how long this is going to end up.

I exist in a few different circles, academic scientists, +/-pagan etc., art/photography, and a lot of friends back home in gaming/reenactment. I don’t think I would survive if I only hung out with academic scientists. I am going to use them as an example to contrast against our community. In science, you are your brand. Every once in a while something pops up and we talk about how rampant mental health issues are in our field. But. In general, people suffer in silence. Who wants to be branded the weak one in such a competitive environment? We all know people who burned out so bad then went into totally different fields. We joke about writing our talks the night before, not that it was done 2 weeks ago and you shake every time you practice it and your anxiety about it has you puking every day. In science I have learned, who you know and your reputation matter almost as much, if not more than the quality of your work. So when you are your brand you are selling why would you ever show any weakness? It is an insane amount of pressure to add to the crippling work load. I made the decision that for my mental health I need to call it quits at 5 every day. I am almost always the first person to leave. It is noticed. I only get away with doing this by busting my ass and getting in early. What matters is that I am there when everyone else gets in, even just 5 minutes. Appearances matter.

In contrast to this environment the online pagan community, and my art community can actually talk about the existence of struggles. But we can do better and isn’t that what we should be aiming for? To do better? To serve our community better? Mental health issues are one thing but not the only suckage life throws at us. But we are going to start here. We are good at acknowledging mental heath issues but we could do better at helping each other. We need to encourage and support the open dialog of rough days not just good days. Cat Treadwell is a saint in my eyes. Her open and frank discussions of her mental health, and her book about it make a huge difference for me. It’s hard. And even when its getting better there are hard days. It really does help when you know you are not alone. I think the majority are quiet about the day to day and those that speak out don’t know how many people they are helping, if nothing more than letting them know that they are not alone. You have no idea how many times that “make space mom proud” meme has reminded me to take my fucking meds. Keep sharing it. This is a good start. But just a start. In mental health it can he hard to get to the point where you can ask for help. But if you are in the US that can be just the start of struggle. Finding and paying for that help can almost be harder. We are also an alt-community so finding someone you can really talk to might be hard. We should be sharing resources a lot. Who knows where the eyes are of someone who needs it. Telling a friend is one thing, but what if that friend then had a list of professionals at their finger tips? Or trusted elders to talk to while they look for professionals? Maybe we should have a list of people who have had some sort of counselor training for each local community. And we should support people like Cat Treadwell who are helping more than they know.

While we are talking about being open and sharing the day to day with others… I saw that Juniper Jeni posted that some people had expressed that her frank talk about being a widow of a suicide makes them uncomfortable. I have seen her mention a few times people giving her shit about how she is grieving. I say tough shit. You have no idea how many people she could be helping by showing them that they are not alone. There may be many people struggling with the loss of a loved one (and yes I include friends in that list). I lost a friend over a decade ago and I am constantly reminded of her. Juniper was talking about how many reminders she has in her life every day. I started drinking my coffee totally black when she passed. The very first time I had coffee she gave me disgusting cheap ass coffee black because if you are going to do it, just do it don’t dance around it with fancy flavors and shit. Coffee reminded me of her anyways I might a well honor her and drink it black. Honestly I don’t watch Star Trek that much anymore because it reminds me of hanging out with her and her Dad (who passed when we were in high school) watching Star Trek. One post could help someone on a day they really need it. Juniper has put a lot into the community and you know what? She is helping now by sharing her experience. We should support her because the ugly truth of what happened won’t just go away and we shouldn’t sweep it under the rug. If we want to support each other we need to be there for the bad more than for the good. Its hard, it hurts, and it sucks. But if something happened in your life wouldn’t it be nice to know you could really count on your community to be there for you? Again the details of what happened, and to who almost don’t matter as much as the fact that it is being shared and might help someone who feels totally alone in their experience. Death, even expected sucks. It might be a spouse or a parent or a friend but the hard realities of cleaning up after someone’s death are not always openly talked about. And they can last a lot longer than the outpouring of support when the death happens, and the bills don’t stop. It took over a year for my Dad to deal with all the paperwork when my Grandpa passed, and his affairs were pretty well in order. You cannot live a long life and not be touched by death. Might as well face it head on and not try to hide the ugly reality of being the ones left behind.  We can teach and help each other with lessons learned. But if no one talks about it, how will you know who to ask for help? Who knows maybe seeing the ugly side of what your loved ones will go through could help someone not go down the path of suicide. We don’t know, but isn’t it worth the off chance? I don’t know Juniper really well, but sharing can be healing and why would you take that away from her if its helping? We should be supporting the fuck out of her every way we can.

Depression, Death, and now let’s talk about abuse. We need to face the ugly. This next example I will use to talk about abuse has ignited a lot of mud slinging and screaming but I am also going to argue that picking apart the details totally misses the point. Sarah Lawless wrote a piece about her bad experiences and bad behavior she has seen. The details of these cases don’t matter to me at all. That is not the point. Imagine if you were just starting out and you got into a situation with a coven that made you really uncomfortable and everyone around you acted like it was normal. Then you see a post online by someone inside the same community but maybe on the other side of the country detailing something similar and saying NO! THIS IS BAD. If it helps someone recognize a harmful situation and get out of it isn’t that a good thing? We don’t need to nitpick the details of posts like Sarah’s, we need lots of examples of behavior that we say is unacceptable. We do have issues and we can’t just sweep them under the rug. I think some of us have been around a lot time and forget that there are new shining faces in our midst. We should also be working to help and support them. Pull them under our nice black cloaks and welcome them, and arm them with tools to navigate the specific pitfalls of our community while we try to fix it. By saying you don’t have to have sex with a high priest or priestess to practice, and you don’t even have to be naked might seem like common sense to some of us, but to someone navigating our community for the first time it might be what they need to hear. Just because we are comfortable with people having multiple sex partners doesn’t mean it isn’t also ok to set your boundaries and only have one at a time if that is what you want. We should be using these stories as examples we can learn from and teach setting boundaries and consent culture. Only when we start to really work towards consent culture and forming and respecting boundaries I think will be start to see some of the issues Sarah addressed start to fade. The burning man community I have experienced has a strong emphasis on consent culture and I have always felt comfortable going to burner events, more so than pagan events. Every relationship has a power dynamic, and if you can’t tell who is the dominant well then it might just be you. Those power dynamics can make for difficult situations for the less dominant member. Consent culture gives them an “out” and more power in the situation. And trust me, its sexy and awesome for someone to check in and ask where your boundaries are. And remember consent culture doesn’t stop with sexual relationships it extends to all relationships.

You cannot have light without dark. We shouldn’t hide from the dark realities of life we should try to be the light in those dark times. We talk a lot about balance of light and dark, masculine and feminine, the elements. We need to walk that talk and face the dark realities of life head on. Cat Treadwell, Juniper Jeni, and Sarah Lawless are examples in our midst who are facing the dark realities of life and shining a light into the corners. It is impossible to quantify how many people their frankness has helped because not everyone speaks up. So my suggestion is this:

If you see a post that you disagree with the details of, maybe if the message and stories could help someone out of a dark situation, or help them not feel alone, that is the point of the post. Not the details. If the message is depression sucks but you are not alone, death is horrible but you are not alone, dealing with the aftermath of someone’s suicide really fucking sucks don’t do this to people you care about, or this behavior is abusive and you shouldn’t tolerate it, leave the details be. Of course if the message and point of the post is to hurt someone else that’s bad.

Now I hate my writing. I don’t word good. So please just pay attention to my message not the details. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and by working together we offset those weaknesses with other peoples strengths. But seriously, right now I am trying to help a few friends in my science circle and once you get past the taboo of talking about the darkness its easier to help and we already have that part down. Keep up the good work, but we can always be better! I have a lot more to say about this topic but I think that’s enough for now…

Ok. I guess now you can pick those pitchforks up, re-light those torches, and pick up your handfuls of mud. But please this time can we think a minute before jumping on a bandwagon for the next target? Let’s be constructive and make our community better and not tear each other apart ok? Unless you are a rapey or abusive person then you can fuck right off.



P.S. About that crippling workload? Yeah I think this is the last of after work coherent Kathleen you get until about mid to late April… wish me luck!

Borealis Meditation S04E03 – Foundations

Foundations – “You don’t understand something until you have to teach someone else”

Welcome to something new. Unscripted Kathleen!

In this episode we cover some concepts I started going over with a friend of mine I am currently teaching. This is a very personal episode because it dives into my thinking. Please let me know what you think.

Get ready to welcome into your life:
Sparkle Body!
Conservation of Sparkle!

Photo: Kaimera Studio

Listen to the episode: Here

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Podsafe Music included:
David Miles Huber – Oceanis
Podcast Troubadour – Science Nature Space 23

Borealis Meditation S04E03 Personal Calendars

Show Notes:

Hello Everyone! In this episode I talk about calendars, holidays, festivals and localizing you wheel of the year to where you live. This was a last minute change of topic so we can always revisit it later. I also have created a worksheet for you to use if you want to jump right in and work on customizing your wheel of the year.


Listen to the episode here:

Or on itunes (trying to figure out getting it other places….)

Follow me on twitter and instagram @katborealis
Like the facebook page for updates related to the podcast

Or just drop me an email borealis (dot) meditation (at) gmail (dot) com

And I made a discord chat channel you are free to join here

Hope everyone is surviving 2018 and if I don’t get anything else out before then happy Yule and New Year! Much love!

~ Kat

Borealis Meditation S04E02 Palu Earthquake and Tsunami

Well, we have our first event episode! This episode covers the earthquake and tsunami on September 28, 2018 that hit Palu Indonesia

Listen here:

I have lots and lots of additional information for this one.

Where: Sulawesi Island, 78km N of Palu city in Indonesia
When: Friday September 28, 2018 10:02 UTC
How Big: M 7.8
How Deep: 10.0 km depth

(figure from the second article listed)

USGS Event Page


Here is why earthquake magnitude is not what you think it is

Palu 2018 science and surprise behind the earthquake and tsunami

IRIS teachable moments slides

First hand account of the Ferry boat
Video from another boat

Video from the parking structure



animation of before and after satellite images of the area of liquefaction


(music used in this episode is podsafe and is Oceanis by David Miles Huber)

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