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An 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that abnormalities in the lower brainstem affecting serotonin production may be a major predisposing factor in the occurrence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in infants.  The neurotransmitter serotonin is best known for its mood-regulating characteristics (many current antidepressant drugs affect the regulation...
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I’d like to recommend an amazing film entitled Bodysong.  It chronicled the entire human condition through hundreds of video clips taken from many cultures, many historical settings (back to the very beginnings of the history of film), and most importantly, from each stage of the human life cycle.  It begins with images of conception, and then, in...
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The stages of life in Native American traditions are sometimes represented through the Medicine Wheel, a cross within a circle that indicates the Four Directions:  East, South, West, and North.  The symbolism that is usually described goes as follows:  East – birth, childhood;  South – youth, growing up;  West – aging, mature adulthood;  North –...
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In W.B. Yeat’s poem Supernatural Songs, part IX of the poem presents his “theory” of the human life cycle in poetic form.  According to Yeats, there are four stages of life or “ages of man” that relate respectively to body, heart, mind, and soul.  The first age recalls infancy, as the baby struggles to walk...
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If you’re 50 and you plan to give your heart to your honey this Valentine’s Day, maybe you should first check to see whether it’s gotten any smaller in the last year.  Researchers at St. Francis Heart Center in Roslyn, New York have determined that the human heart undergoes a particularly significant shrinkage around the...
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I read a cute book of quotations from Penguin Books called Child: Quotations About the Delight, Wonder, and Mystery of Being a Child, edited by Helen Handley and Andra Samelson.  Here are ten of my favorite quotes from the book: “Babies are such a nice way to start people.” – Don Herold “In a secular age,...
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A map of the human life cycle that is associated with the Islamic middle ages and a philosopher/scientist named Al Biruni (973-1048 C.E.) is called Firdaria.  It is a system of astrology based upon specific planets that influence our lives at different stages of life.  The Sun rules the first 10 years of life (ages...
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The ancient astrologer/astronomer Ptolemy (83-161 C.E.),whose ideas of the structure of the universe (based upon spheres), dominated western civilization until Copernicus and Kepler in the 16th-17th centuries, associated different planets of the solar system with particular stages of life: Moon:  Infancy – 0-4 years old Mercury: Childhood – 4-14 years old Venus:  Adolescence – 14-22...
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The early twentieth century philosopher and mystic Rudolf Steiner conceived of a theory of human development based upon seven year cycles, and linked those cycles to astrology.  The first seven years of life (0-7 years old) were associated with the Moon. During this time, the psychic forces are working to transform the body of the...
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