HF Field Notes

Hanoi’s incense artisans keep tradition alive

Cited as a great place to visit, Quang Phu Cau Village is known for the amazing incense artisans that keep a ‘core’ 100-year tradition alive. The village is 35 kilometres from downtown Hanoi in the countryside.

Incense making is a Vietnamese cottage industry that has seen generations of locals making the joss sticks for more than a century. Experts suggest, that on average, workers from 300 families collect 200 tonnes of material and produce 50 tonnes of incense every month. 

The artisans suggest that they are especially busy before Lunar New Year when temples are packed with visitors who come to commemorate their ancestors and attend family events.

The result is said to be a hypnotic assembly of dyed bamboo bundles that attract as many as 500 visitors each day to watch. 

According to artisan Dinh Vinh, who is now 65, but started making incense when he was just six years old, this is a tradition.

In the past, the family workers in the village would split the wooden sticks by hand to make joss sticks, but these days its reported they use machines to help combine various ingredients such as agarwood, cedar, wormwood, patchouli, rosemary, and cinnamon. 

Once ready, the incense sticks are then sold throughout Vietnam and are exported to numerous countries around the world.

Source: VOV

New Psychedelic Wellness Retreats popping up all over

Psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca have been shown to improve mental health and wellness. Often ceremonial, a retreat center can bring the best in much-needed rest and rejuvenation, too.

As post-pandemic and climate-related cases of depression skyrocket, a growing number of people are turning to iboga, psilocybin mushrooms, ketamine, LSD, MDMA, and ayahuasca among others, for a new way approach to healing.

With as many as 30% of patients with depression not responding to conventional treatment some suggests that it may be an advancement to how we approach mental health and well-being. A study published by Johns Hopkins University found that psychedelic treatment along with psychotherapy may mitigate symptoms of depression for as long as a year. 

To that end, psychedelic retreats are popping up around the globe, giving guests an opportunity to work with professionals in some of the most beautiful backdrops in the world.

Generally these retreats are set in environments that facilitate personal connections with nature as well as allow quiet space for the administering of substances. Retreats may work with shamans—Indigenous people trained in plant or fungi medicines that may be part of their lineage. Other retreats may see more modern therapists and licensed practitioners helming the substance ceremonies.

Source: Ethos

Poop and scoop or we’ll track your dog’s DNA 

A controversial bill proposed by a local legislator in Israel designed to strongly encourage erramt dog owners to pick up after their pets, has received preliminary approval.

The hope is that the new law will enable municipal authorities to easily track any left behind pet excrements back to their furry source and, deliver a hefty fine for owners.

Estimates suggest that there are over half a million dogs registered in the country which constitutes a lot of left behind droppings, according to those in favour of the new by-laws.

Leaving behind their dog’s “business” is the undesirable type of pet owner behaviour that “causes harm to the city’s appearance, interferes with the quality of life of the residents and constitutes a serious sanitary hazard” suggest proponents of the legislation who’ve introduced the bill. 

If passed, as a local standardized by-law, every individual dog owner will be required to provide a Veterinarian verified DNA sample to author-ities for each one of their pets. 

A genetic testing lab will be given the dropping samples by local officers who will test them and transfer the data to a local DNA database for cross-referencing and finding the by-law violating dog owners. 

The announcement suggests that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development will be in charge of setting this and overall enforcement guidelines. A clever way to keep the country from literally ‘going to the dogs.’ 

Source: Israel News

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