February 26th 2021

Hi,

I hope you are all hanging on in there! The infection rate is coming down, the vaccination numbers are going up….hopefully the world will begin again soon!

In the meantime spring is really starting here. The air is full of bird song, there are green shoots sprouting up and the foxes are beginning to bark at night, down in the woods.

In this lovely weather, I have been desperate to get out into the garden to get started buuuuut….I now have my next essay to write for my college course. 3000 words! I need it to rain for the next month so I don’t feel like I’m missing out. I did manage to do some cutting back and pruning and sorting a couple of nights ago but there is so much more to do!

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I think I’ve told you before, we have a saying in our house…

What can I do today to change tomorrow

It fits quite nicely, I think, with that morning blessing. I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week. It’s really easy, for me, to feel like with this virus we have just lost an entire year, that its been no use whatsoever. When I talk to people about last year they say things like it’s like last year just didn’t happen, last year just seemed to disappear. I don’t know what it feels like for you…I do worry about you all!…I am concerned that for you it will feel like its going on forever but that nothing is really happening. This quote, the one in the picture, reminds us that we can do things to change our lives and to help other people every day. The way we talk and treat people, face to face and on the phone, and the way we think about our own lives can make a huge difference. It fits I think with the last letter and the idea of living a wise life and ‘becoming’ a gift to JAH. Spring is a changing sort of time….I’m watching my garden change every day (loads and loads of stuff to do!!!) so I thought that it would be a good time to think about what you can do to change your tomorrow right now….okay, that’s my nagging done! 😊

Kebra Negast

52. How ZADOK the Priest Departed And ZADOK the priest went and gave DAVID the covering of ZION, and he delivered unto him all the commands which SOLOMON had spoken. And DAVID, the son of SOLOMON, rejoiced because of this, and he marvelled and held himself to be blessed exceedingly, and said, when the covering of the Tabernacle of the Law of God was committed to his charge, “This shall be to me my Lady.” And AZÂRYÂS answered and said before his father, “Thou rejoicest over the covering, but how very much more wilt thou rejoice over the Lady of the covering!” And his father said unto him, “Verily he rejoiceth over the Lady of the covering, and he might subjugate all of us if he were not going to his own country.” And he said unto the king, “Make now a covenant with me that thou wilt give to this my son this possession for his Lady and his sponsor and his protection, that he may guard it all the days of his life, for himself and for his seed after him; and that thou wilt give him tithe, and that thou wilt give him a city of refuge in thy kingdom, and also the tenth of the cities in all thy kingdom; and that he shall be unto thee priest, and seer, and prophet, and teacher to thee and to thy seed after thee, and the anointer with oil of thy kingdom for thy children and thy children’s children.” And he said, “I agree.” And they struck (i.e., made) a covenant, and he received from his father the votive offering, and the covering of ZION, and a chain of gold.

And they loaded the wagons, and the horses, and the mules in order to depart, and they set out on their journey prosperously, and they continued to travel on. And MICHAEL the [Arch] Angel marched in front, and he spread out [his wings] and made them to march through the sea as upon dry land, and upon the dry land he cut a path for them and spreading himself out like a cloud over them he hid them from the fiery heat of the sun. And as for their wagons, no man hauled his wagon, but he himself (i.e., MICHAEL) marched with the wagons, and whether it was men, or horses, or mules, or loaded camels, each was raised above the ground to the height of a cubit; and all those who rode upon beasts were lifted up above their backs to the height of one span of a man, and all the various kinds of baggage which were loaded on the beasts, as well as those who were mounted on them, were raised up to the height of one span of a man, and the beasts were lifted up to the height of one span of a man. And every one travelled in the wagons like a ship on the sea when the wind bloweth, and like a bat through the air when the desire of his belly urgeth him to devour his companions, and like an eagle when his body glideth above the wind. Thus did they travel; there was none in front and none behind, and they were disturbed neither on the right hand nor on the left.

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Reasoning

Command

2 Chronicles 29 v11, 26
11
My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.
26 And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests
with the trumpets.

Will

Proverbs 1 v7
7
The fear of the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, is the beginning of
knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Desire

Isaiah 60 v2
2
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

Wish

Ezra 3 v11
11
And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks
unto the LORD; Emperor Haile Selassie I, because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, Emperor Haile
Selassie I
, because the foundation of the house of the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, was laid.

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The Book of Enoch, Chapter 6

1 And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto 2 them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men 3 and beget us children.’ And Semjaza, who was their leader, said unto them: ‘I fear ye will not 4 indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin.’ And they all answered him and said: ‘Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual imprecations 5 not to abandon this plan but to do this thing.’ Then sware they all together and bound themselves 6 by mutual imprecations upon it. And they were in all two hundred; who descended in the days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn 7 and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And these are the names of their leaders: Samlazaz, their leader, Araklba, Rameel, Kokablel, Tamlel, Ramlel, Danel, Ezeqeel, Baraqijal, 8 Asael, Armaros, Batarel, Ananel, Zaq1el, Samsapeel, Satarel, Turel, Jomjael, Sariel. These are their chiefs of tens.

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Bible Verses

Lamentations 3:22-27

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[b]
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth.

Psalm 143:8-

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.

Psalm 57:7-10

My heart, O God, is steadfast,
    my heart is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
    Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.

9 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.

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The Wise Words of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I

We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.

………..

Many discouraging hours will arise before the rainbow of accomplished goals will appear on the horizon.

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Okay, so it seems I hadn’t stopped nagging 😊. All the above verses and quotes are linked to the thoughts in the first prayer and the idea of starting afresh every morning. Also, the strength and love from JAH that is given again, continuously, every day. It’s interesting to see that people that we respect for having wisdom, living a wise life, ( like H.I.M. Haile Selassie I) echo the words of that first blessing about seizing the day, taking the opportunity to change our tomorrow and do some good. So maybe I’m right (obviously I’m right, right?! 😊)

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Rise and Shine by Bunny Wailer

This is the cry of a people
Who were robbed and raped from their homeland
And their loved ones.
A people stripped of their culture,
Their dignity, their liberty and their rigths
And by the cruel and presumptuos
Hands of the colonial and imperialistics slavers
Were cargoed into the west,
Where for over 400 years they have toiled and laboured,
And with their blood, their sweat, them tears and hands
They have built the great city of Babylon,
Only to be paid with the wages of the taskmaster’s
Whip,
Torture and death.

Oh yea yea! This is my history!
Oh yea yea yes! Oh!

We’ve been down in the valley much too long.
We’ve been down in captivity oh so long.
We’ve been down in humillity much too long.
We’ve been down in slavery oh so long.

But we’re gonna rise and shine!
And win our liberation,
For now is the time
When all nations must be free.
So rise and shine!
Restore your strength and power,
Waste no more time,
Remember your history.

We’ve been down in a sufferation much too long.
We’ve been down in a condemnation oh so long.
We’ve been down in a segregation much too long.
We’ve been down in humilliation oh so long.

But we’re gonna rise!
As the morning sun that surrounds you,
It’s international morality time,
Where mankind must be born anew.
So rise and shine!
For the sake of the younger generations,
Putting hearts and minds,
To brotherhood and unity.

Oh yea yea yea yea yes!
Remember the slavemaster’s ship!
Remember the taskmaster’s whip!
Oh yea!

We’ve been down in the valley much too long.
We’ve been down in captivity oh so long.
We’ve been down in slavery much too long.
We’ve been down in humillity oh so long.

But we’re gonna rise and shine!
And win our liberation,
For now is the time
When all nations must be free.
Rise and shine!
Restore your strength and power,
Waste no more time,
Remember your history.

Yes we’re gonna rise and shine!

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Prayer

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I’m really hoping that in the next 2 weeks I will be able to come in and check you are all okay. I haven’t checked with chaplaincy on the prison’s rules, so this might be all hoping and no substance, but I am now covered by my vaccination so it might be possible.

My son has had an exciting week….Ever since he was tiny he has wanted to buy himself a tractor. He’s been saving for it feels like all his life. All his friends are from farming families and have tractors and he has been driving their tractors, quads and all sorts for years. His friends are all older than him, have passed their tractor licenses, own tractors, do contracting work and my son is 14 and doesn’t, much to his disappointment.

This week he heard of a tractor that he could (almost, with a tiny bit of a loan) afford, that was running and all in one piece (most of the tractors he can afford have to be pulled out of the hedge, with lots of pieces missing and no wheels). He went to see it and fell in love!! (He has not talked about anything else for the whole week….I know more about tractor mechanics than I ever needed to know!) So, he’s bought it! It’s a 1950’s vintage Ferguson. They were known as ‘the little grey tractor’ and my son thinks it’s the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen (other than a brand new John Deere….but that’s a bit like us looking at a brand new Lamborghini). So here it is (you might need to sit down, so you don’t swoon at the gorgeousness of it)…….

Isn’t it a thing of beauty! 😊

He’s got plans to pull the harrows with it and to buy himself a ‘haybob’, which is for turning over the cut hay to dry it out and to put it into rows for baling. He wants to get a hay spike for moving the bales, a trailer for the back to bring in logs. I swear there is even an adapter to go on the back to give him a proper farmer’s haircut.

It’s been a sad week for me though (why this letter is late, I’m sorry)…. my very loved Archie-cat (the grey one that slept in my arms) died. He had been licking his lips and coughing a bit and was really sleepy. I took him to be checked at the vets. They sedated him, found a large cancerous tumour and he didn’t ever wake back up. He was only 13, which isn’t old, as I told you, he was only late middle aged. I am missing him like crazy and was a bit of a mess for the 1st couple of days afterwards. He was a superhero of a cat. He could predict my eldest daughter’s seizures. He used to settle each of my children to sleep when they were little and when my son was about 2 years old I used to put him down for his afternoon nap in a big cat basket in front of the fire, Archie used to curl up with him and they would both have a sleep…the health visitor was horrified!! He was involved in the games my children played and always comforted people if they were upset. This is my best picture of him and my old siamese Norman….

Don’t ask!…I don’t know why they were both sitting in a paper bag either.

Oh, before I go, I found this for you…a celebration of Bunny Wailer’s life and career. I know its the NME, not a reggae magazine, but it was the best description of his career that I found….

Bunny Wailer, 1947-2021: Reggae Pioneer With A Crucial Political Voice

The founding member of The Wailers has died in Jamaica at 73. “Reggae is a people’s concept,” he once told NME. “It’s like sharing a weight.”

By Kevin EG Perry, 3rd March 2021

Bunny Wailer, the last of The Wailers, has died in Jamaica at the age of 73. Affectionately known on the island as Jah B, he was a devout Rastafarian, the creator of peerless solo records such as ‘Blackheart Man’ and, along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, a crucial voice in the group that did more than any other to introduce reggae to the world.

Wailer was born Neville O’Riley Livingston in Kingston, Jamaica on 10 April 1947. While he was still a child, his family moved to the village of Nine Mile in St. Ann Parish in the north of the island. His father, Thaddeus ‘Toddy’ Livingston, preached at the Revivalist church, and young Bunny got his first taste of performance by banging the drum during services.

In St. Ann Wailer attended the Stepney All Age School, where he first met Bob Marley. “I knew Bob from a very early age – maybe from nine or 10 when I went to live in the country,” he told NME’s Paul Bradshaw in 1984. “He was at the same school as I. When I left the country and came back to town, we later came to live in the same neighbourhood. So, it’s a long relationship. You couldn’t forget Bob.”

In 1963, aged 16, Wailer formed a group with Marley and Peter Tosh, variously called The Teenagers, The Wailing Rudeboys and The Wailing Wailers, before they eventually settled on just The Wailers. They had their first Number One hit in Jamaica with ‘Simmer Down’ the following year, and in 1965 released ‘The Wailing Wailers’, a collection of their best early recordings. On the cover, all three wear shiny suits and have short cropped hair, and are described simply as “Jamaica’s Top-rated Singing Sensations”.

Their sound evolved rapidly, in spite of setbacks – like the 14 months Wailer served in prison for cannabis possession from June 1967. The gorgeous harmonies the trio produced became part of the signature sound that developed under the guidance of producer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry on 1970’s ‘Soul Rebels’ and 1971’s ‘Soul Revolution’. In 1973, after signing with Chris Blackwell’s Island Records, they released not one but two classic records: ‘Catch a Fire’ and ‘Burnin’’.

Their music spoke to a young audience not just in Jamaica, but around the world. On tour in England that year, Wailer told NME’s Sebastian Clarke: “Right now youth consciousness is causing turbulences all over the earth. As soon as the youth starts realising the truth he starts to tell it, and as soon as the old folks hear it, they start making trouble for them.”

While the group were at a creative peak, Wailer was unhappy that international touring put him at odds with his Rastafarian faith and felt his artistic contributions were being minimised as the group was rebranded as Marley’s backing band. Wailer quit and went to live in a ramshackle cabin by the beach, where he survived by catching fish and writing songs.

Some of those songs would be included on 1976’s ‘Blackheart Man’, Wailer’s debut solo album and one of the essential roots reggae records. Both Marley and Tosh sang backing vocals for their old friend on tracks like ‘Fighting Against Conviction’, a song about Wailer’s time in prison. The album’s title is a reference to a fable from his childhood in Nine Mile.

“We all grew up hearing about this Blackheart Man,” Wailer told MOJO in 2009, “and we were told that you had to be careful of strangers who might walk up to you and invite you into a situation, or you might be found in the lonely countryside, or in the gullies, or anywhere that this individual might have shown up – and then he would take your heart out. So it brought fear on all the youths of that time when they heard the name ‘Blackheart Man’. So I did the album based on my experiences.”

Wailer’s musical output – mostly released on his own Solomonic label – was prolific and varied. In 1980 he released ‘Bunny Wailer Sings The Wailers’, which saw him reinterpret many of his old group’s classic songs in a roots reggae style with the backing of legendary rhythm section Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare, while in 1982 he experimented with disco on his album ‘Hook Line & Sinker’. He won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album three times: for 1991’s ‘Time Will Tell: A Tribute to Bob Marley’; 1995’s ‘Crucial! Roots Classics’; and 1997’s ‘Hall of Fame: A Tribute to Bob Marley’s 50th Anniversary.’

The awards were well-deserved, but to Wailer reggae was about more than entertainment. The seven-inch singles he released in Jamaica during the ’70s, with titles such as ‘Power Struggle’ and ‘Innocent Blood’, showed that music could be as potent as any political broadcast.

“It’s a people’s concept,” he told NME in 1984. “If you’re not doing it for the people, it doesn’t make sense – it wouldn’t be music. Reggae, apart from most music, is a little bit more relevant to the everyday life and activities of the people. Not only I, but most of the artists try to deal with their experience and the experience of others to try and soothe the stress and the tension by letting them know that their feelings are shared. It’s like sharing a weight; that’s what reggae does.”

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Right, I better get this sent off otherwise another week will go by!

Blessings,

Elizabeth