Drink The Rain


Garry Greenwood

           I sincerely hope you enjoy my "Drink The Rain" essay: a factual account that has taken me to some of the most fascinating regions on  Earth in my search for that elusive "Elixor of Life". This account is true - and free. Please enjoy it, and Drink The Rain.

Our journey begins in one of the most unlikely of settings. Transport yourself far out onto the parched and dusty plains of central Queensland, Australia. Picture in your mind a sky so blue and clean that it is omnipresent - you feel immersed in it, you feel you could almost drown it in. It's like that most days out here. I call it big sky country because as the red earth spreads out endlessly before us it plays a much lesser role in our newfound landscape. Here, there is more sky than there is earth, and this is where I live and work.

Come, take my hand and let me lead you into world of sky and water in a landscape parched and dry and almost devoid of human life and the trappings of modern civilization.

For it's out here, on the very edge of life itself, that one develops a great sense of peace, self-reliance, curiosity and awe. Here, we will find time to observe, think and question. At night you will look up into a nightscape so clear and full of abundance that you will be gobsmacked at what is laid out in front of you and left wondering why you had never seen such a spectacle before. What's it all about? What does it all mean? And what is my role amongst all this abundance? - you will probably soon start to think.

You will be woken early each morning to the sounds of huge white cockatoos, and pink and grey galahs in their hundreds as they compete noisily for their pre-dawn snacks amongst the strands of eucalypt trees which surround my modest bush home. Be careful as you exit the house so as not to tread on the huge monitor lizard often found standing guard on my front step. About the time you rise in the morning the kangaroos will be retreating into the thicker undergrowth after having been up all night grazing on the greener grass surround the house. Don't worry if you've missed them. They will return again in the cool of the early evening. They always do.

Your days belong to you. Do what you will as there is nobody here to interfere with your thoughts or plans. Nobody is watching and nobody will hear you, so be careful. Are you prepared for these new-found responsibilities? Imagine: it's just you and the endless red plains - and the birds and the kangaroos and the trees.

I just love it out here and maybe, with time, so will you. I'm now able to formulate my own opinions, ideas and notions. I've ceased having to be told what think, how to behave, what to eat or wear many years ago. Oh, how liberated I feel. How about you?

For a sixty something years old man I feel so healthy, vital and happy. I haven't been ill for years and I must confess I haven't visited a doctor for over twenty years and that was only to have a checkup. But I will if I get ill - I'm no hero.

I've spent most of my life living and working in such places as this in Australia, and I've also had the good fortune to travel and work extensively in several foreign countries for well over ten years. Perhaps later we might revisit some of these places together.

Currently, I am working as the caretaker gardener on a large Australian native plants botanic garden here on the semi arid fringe of south west Queensland, Australia. I also live with my wife of forty something years of marriage within the large gardens in a small house provided by the garden management team. Life for us is idyllic.

Most of my work-time is taken up checking and maintaining a vast network of plastic irrigation pipes which supply water to many of the plants. Even though all the plants and trees are native to Australia many have been brought here from all over this vast continent and some require regular watering - something which doesn't always occur naturally in this area.

In the cooler winter months visitors from all parts of Australia and some from overseas come to view this huge and unique collection of Australian native trees and plants. It's one of the oldest and largest in Australia. Visitors come to study them, photograph them and many to simply marvel over them. Others come to observe and photograph the abundant bird life attracted by the blossoms and insect life provided by the trees, and other plant life.

I still marvel over the trees and bird life. We even have the rare Leopard tree growing in several locations here. This local tree, surviving from the time of the dinosaurs starts its life as a most unattractive and thorny bush. When it reaches a certain height (presumably when its leaves were out of the reach of grazing dinosaurs) it mysteriously transmutes into a beautiful tree complete with bark spotted just like the coat of a leopard.

There is a large man-made earthen dam in the garden from which a solar pump pumps water to irrigate the plants. I apply as much water as possible to the plants, but these past four or so years our annual rainfall has about halved - down to about 250 millimeters a year. You would assume that the lower than average rainfall wouldn't have any negative effect upon the plants receiving the abundant water from irrigation, but this doesn't appear to be the case. These plants along with those receiving no irrigation water all seem to be struggling and some even slowly dying. Why is this so when some are receiving plenty of water? This same observation applies to the small patch of grass around my house which I try to keep green and short to encourage the kangaroos to come and graze and to make it easier to see the occasional snake which may have strayed onto my patch. No matter how much water I use on the grass around the house it simply refuses to grow, instead barely maintaining a dull greenish color. In desperation I have even used the rain water from our house tank on the grass, but it makes no difference.

I estimate that by the time any fallen rain makes its way into the dam and is then finally used on the plants a year must have elapsed. Same too for the rain water in my house tank - the water we use for drinking and washing. We could live almost one year without rain until our rain water tank would become empty. Our water is simply harvested off our roof and we drink it unfiltered and untreated. I imagine, using this same rule of thumb notion, the water most people drink from their taps has taken even longer to journey from the clouds to the river, the reservoir and into the pipe network and finally into their house. I wouldn't be surprised if this journey has taken several years in many cases. You can easily check by contacting your local water authority. Of course this water has been filtered and treated with toxic chemicals to kill germs and bacteria.

How about the water you drink from your rain water tank (if you are fortunate enough to have one)? Have you ever wondered how old this water might be? How long would this water last till it rained again? This might give you an idea of how much time has elapsed since the rain water entered the tank until finally you drank it.

Today, it's very fashionable to drink commercial bottled water - and plenty of it, we are urged, originating from underground springs. This fashion has now spread all over the world, although now in some regions this practice is being outlawed due to the fact that their local area is becoming contaminated with discarded empty water bottles. But even this water is old: probably the oldest we drink. Just think how long it might take in some cases for this spring water to eventually bubble up from the depths below.

By now you may have have picked up on the point I have been trying to make: the water most people drink (including tank water, filtered and treated water) is old and very old in some cases. 'Okay, so what' I hear some of you saying 'it doesn't do us any harm' to which I would reply 'yes, it probably doesn't cause you any measurable harm', just like the water I use on my drought-stricken grass and the plants in the garden. That water, which contains no chemicals and is probably much younger than the water you are probably drinking isn't harming anything, yet it isn't helping anything to flourish either. It barely sustains life. I am not advocating that we all suddenly make for the nearest dam or water hole and drink from it, but I am asking you to bear with me a little longer till I have the chance to present a fuller picture of how important water is in all aspects of our daily lives.

Even though my rainfall of late has about halved, it still does rain - probably around once every three or four weeks depending upon the time of year, and each rain event usually lasts just a few hours resulting in around twenty or thirty millimeters if I'm lucky. That's about ten inches a year in the old imperial measuring scale. That's just enough to prevent my rain tank from becoming empty and enough to replenish the dam. Chances are you will be receiving far more than this.

It can be tough out here particularly if you are a farmer since many I know around here haven't had a harvest for three or four years and when they finally do most of this income will go to pay off their large bank overdrafts. So, in some sense, many are trapped simply working to satisfy their bank managers who aren't particularly concerned about their plight because the know that if things do really go belly up they take the farm anyway.

This state of depression amongst many of the local farmers was made more clear to me when only recently two mental counsellors from a Christian organization came to my home unannounced to see if they could offer me any counselling in matters dealing with the prolonged drought. They said that many farmers, either have, or are considering suicide, and they thought that it was their mission to go out and offer a shoulder to cry on.

Maybe I've lived out here too long because when it does rain, I stop whatever it is I'm doing to sit and watch and listen to the precious substance as it tumbles down upon my corrugated iron roof. It's become a kind of music to me. If the weather is warm I will stand out in it and get thoroughly wet - remember, there is nobody watching.

And what an immediate transformation takes place. Firstly, I feel so refreshed. My skin undergoes an amazing transformation by becoming so soft and smooth and my hair becomes stronger immediately. I believe it's impossible to reproduce these effects by any chemical or other means.

Have you ever had this experience of becoming drenched in the rain and feeling how wonderful your skin and hair has suddenly become? In today's detached-from-nature world probably most people haven't had such an experience since most would avoid such an experience out of fear of catching a cold, even though this is impossible as colds can only be contracted by the exposure to germs and other bacteria, etc. Ask you doctor.

Okay, maybe some of you are beginning to wonder about me and my lovely smooth skin and strong hair - but I thought it worth mentioning as it's something you can try yourself soon, hopefully.

Let's have a look at what these rain events have upon the plants under my care in the garden. Again, an amazing transformation takes place. Within hours my dull green, clinging-to-life lawn has turned emerald green - something I could never achieve by just watering it, even though the amount of rainfall was much less than I would apply using a hose. Within a few days it would have grown at an amazing rate. Amazing! And that's just the lawn, what about the trees and other plants? Again, the results were the same as new growth and buds would become visible within a day or so - at such speed.

I'm assuming that this very visible and measurable growth contrast is more apparent in my semi-arid environment than perhaps it might be in areas with a higher rainfall. But nevertheless it demonstrates an amazing contrast between the effects of old water which has lain on the earth in either rivers, reservoirs, tanks or pipes for maybe months, but probably years, compared to the astounding results produced in plants from water just fallen from the sky. When I say plants, I don't mean just the water-starved plants, but the ones that do receive adequate water but simply respond so slowly.

And don't forget my smooth sixty plus years old skin and strong hair.

The overwhelming majority of people on this planet drink the above-mentioned old water, but I have always striven to drink freshly-fallen rain water whenever possible. I call it SkyWater as opposed to earth water - water which has been on the earth for months or years. Obviously out here I cannot drink SkyWater as often as I would like - only a few times a month, and just like the trees, plants and grasses in my garden it makes an enormous difference to life. I have also realized through years of trial and error that SkyWater should be drunk within hours of its descending from the heavens for optimum results.

Just as SkyWater transforms the growth, health and vitality of all the plants in my garden, so too will SkyWater transform your life. And what's more - it's free - it's your birthright - it's waiting for you.

SkyWater should not be confused with rain water from your rain water drinking tank as that water is most likely months old at the very least. I'm talking about Rain which has fallen in the past hour or so, or better still, rain as it tumbles down.

One beauty of SkyWater is that you can create your own experiments and collect your own experiences with plants in your garden and with your own body so easily. On the next warm rainy day simply stand in the rain for ten or so minutes. You wont catch cold as others would have you believe. Be your own guinea pig. You cannot harm yourself. It's only water just fallen from the sky. It's SkyWater - it's nothing new. It's always been there for you.

Once you have experienced and awoken to its amazing benefits on the outside of your body dare to imagine what SkyWater might do for the inside of your body. What if you could drink it several times a month or even a week?

Don't be put off by any lack of scientific research or evidence; there probably isn't any. There's no money to be made promoting and selling rain water, only by selling the chemicals that they put in your drinking water can money be made. Be your own judge and jury. All you have to do is go for a walk in the rain and get thoroughly wet. How low-tech is that.

Later we will discuss how to harvest just-fallen SkyWater and it's many applications.

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Not all of Queensland is dry and prone to droughts, if fact all it's eastern coastline receives more than adequate rainfall and in some places perhaps too much. Many of my earlier formative years were spend on the east coast and I'm accustomed to excessive amounts of rain. It's mainly been since I've lived in very low rainfall areas that I've been able to observe more clearly it's amazing life force. I'm also amazed that this obvious life force and its effects have never been studied and rarely rates a mention in any circles especially as it's nothing new.

As a teenager growing up on the east coast of Queensland I would be caught out in the rain often. If I turn my clock back some forty five years or so I still vividly remember riding my horse to school - a distance of several miles. Those were the days when children made their own way to wherever they wanted to go and by any means possible. For me, arriving at school drenched to the skin was not uncommon. I would soon dry out and besides I knew that my severe case of acne which had plagued me for many of my teenage years would be greatly relieved instantly. To teenagers even back then any relief from this teenage curse was greatly welcomed. But to me it was to become my personal miracle. It was a case of 'the more rain the better' as far as I was concerned and I became eternally grateful for my miracles from the sky.

We only had rain water to drink at school. We drank it unfiltered and untreated using shared metal cups which were placed adjacent to the tanks' taps. It was all very low-tech and I even remember seeing the small mosquito larvae swimming around in the cup before we drank them too. Everyone did, and we survived; and all provided and sanctioned by the Queensland Education Department. Today, things are a little different.

Many states in Australian banned households from having or using rain water tanks for several years, although common sense in this area seems to be making a comeback as Governments are seeing the cost benefits of householders using less mains water. But I still remember reading in my local newspaper some twenty or so years ago of over zealous Queensland Government employees destroying household rain tank by putting an axe through their sides. My, how policies have changed.

Fluoride, a very toxic chemical, is systematically being added to water supplies through Australia in an effort to reduce tooth decay. Maybe it does reduce tooth decay, although many would differ, but I wonder what fluoride does to other parts of the body?

This past month in South Eastern Queensland, the new multi-billion dollar sewerage recycling project comes on tap. What this means is that treated household sewerage will now be added to that regions drinking water causing much controversy amongst those who are destined to have to drink it.

The point I'm trying to make here is how perception, opinions and laws, regarding what we can or can't drink keeps changing. The properties of water haven't changed but our acceptance of what we will drink has. In London, UK, they also now drink recycled household sewerage and it is widely known there that a glass of water from any household tap has passed though a human several times, probably around seven people before you get to drink it.

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Take my hand again. It's time to jet off to some faraway lands and see if we can discover more about SkyWater.

In your minds eye picture the years between around 2000 and 2005. What were you doing then? Where were you living and did you ever give a second thought about the water you were drinking?

Picture yourself slowly making you way up the steady incline to Ubud, Bali. This is where my five year global walkabout in the very late ninety's began. We are here, not to study water, but because I am an artist. I specialize in bird paintings and Ubud is an outstanding Balinese artistic community. Most shops here sell paintings and most are magnificent. But before too long it becomes evident that to me that it's not just art that is the glue that binds this community together. It's also water. There is water everywhere - in the life-sustaining rice paddies, in trenches and waterways running in all directions. You cannot but notice the presence of running clean just-fallen rain water. Before long you will begin to notice the many shrines placed at junctions of waterways and adjacent to rice paddies. You will wonder how come you never saw them sooner. They are everywhere. Most are relatively small and unobtrusive, but some are not. These are huge complexes covering very large areas, particularly in the island's interior. They are all dedicated to the various water god deities.

We are welcomed by some of the locals to enter a huge water shrine far up amongst the dormant volcanic ramparts almost two thousand meters above sea level. Clouds and mists swirl all about and the murmur of running water is the dominant sound. The air is crisp and cool and the sun's rays are hot. You look down the valleys and you see clouds and you look skywards and you see more clouds. We are in the realm of SkyWater, the land of the water deities.

We are invited to take to the waters - to swim in the deities' pool, an experience we will never forget. Water so fresh and cool, having just fallen further up the valley, refreshes and energizes our bodies causing us to eventually attain some kind of high on nothing more than SkyWater. We bathe in the deities' water for what seems like hours as the mists and clouds swirl all around. We are euphoric.

Later we learn that there are several of these large water shrines and we resolve to visit as many as we can. And we do and we become addicted to SkyWater.

Budding or want-a-be artists such as myself are usually not the most wealthy of people and I now needed to work somewhere on my walkabout so I could maintain my travels in the long term. So come with me even further as we head for our next destination - China.

Here, I was told, there are abundant opportunities for native English speaking people to teach English and other related positions. But where to start as China is such an enormous country? And would I even be able to find a job teaching English?

I placed a simple advert on a Chinese online teacher recruitment site offering my services as an English teacher whilst still in Bali. I waited.

Within hours teaching offers began to fill my email inbox, in fact I received so many offers that I had to withdraw my online advert out of fear of filling my inbox.

Finally I made up my mind; I was going to take up an offer on Hainan Island just off the south China coast and adjacent to Vietnam. It was here that I quickly learnt my new trade as an English teacher which I hoped would stand me in good stead for the rest of my global walkabout - and it certainly did. I must admit that I chose the position on Hainan Island mainly because very few foreigners ever visit there and I felt more confident that my no-experience and no-qualifications wouldn't be a problem, which turned out to be the case.

Don't worry, I am not about to turn this book into a personal travelogue; I'm setting the scene to bring you further experiences with my addiction to SkyWater.

Eventually I left Hainan Island, with it's swaying palm trees, deserted beaches, tall mountains and very few foreigners and began to travel and teach in many locations throughout central and southern China. In all, I spent almost three years in China. I even worked for two years as the English editor of a fledgling regional English newspaper even though I rarely read newspapers.

I learnt from the local Chinese that the great southern area of China is referred to as 'waterworld' due to the fact that, similar to Bali, there is a great abundance and reliance on water. So, not surprisingly I eventually took up employment in Yunnan Province in the far western region of southern China, immediately adjacent to Tibet and in the foothills of the mighty Himalayan Mountains - an area noted for abundant water and magnificent art.

My newfound English teaching position was about an hour or so west of Yunnan's capital city of Kunming in the small town of Anning.

From my apartment, supplied by my employer, I looked out upon a beautiful vista of snow-capped mountains and sweeping fields of Rape seed or Canola. The whole region was a sea of yellow rape seed flowers and stretched off into the distance as far as the eye could see.

My students at this private English school were mainly young mining engineers, not surprising, since Yunnan is also very rich in minerals of all kinds. These students soon became very close friends and years after I had left this region they would still email me. Often on the weekends they would take me far out into the surrounding countryside in their private cars sightseeing - something considerably rare back then as car ownership was still largely the domain of the upper elite.

I cannot describe the beauty and grandeur of this region and do it justice. This part of Yunnan was blessed with huge snow capped mountains, pristine rivers and lakes and whole valleys whose steep slopes had been painstakingly cultivated into a myriad of rice paddies - some as small as just a few meters square. I soon began to realize that this was a land steeped in ancient culture, agriculture, beauty and magnificent works of art. A land unknown to the average tourist or travel seeker. I trekked to ancient Buddhist monasteries high up upon mountain tops and marvelled at the most amazing panoramas imaginable. Some of these monasteries contained ancient art depicting their deities and former high priests. Many had never been revealed to outsiders before, and I have to give thanks to my students for these rare honours

I travelled west to the border with the then-forbidden kingdom of Tibet. At that time foreigners were unable to enter Tibet due to all sorts of political and other reasons. My student guides were able to take me to places of unimaginable beauty and serenity. They also introduced me to artists and artisans whose works will be with me forever in my mind. I witnessed crippled artists painting traditional Chinese wall hanging paintings using only their elbows, women weaving paintings so fine and detailed in traditional silk that they looked more like color photos, and jade and stone carvings of the most intricate designs. I was in art heaven.

They took me to crystal clear streams where we were able to swim without fear of the pollutants which now plague most waterways in China. High up in the Himalayan foothills one of these streams, the Yushui, splits in several places as it flows through the world heritage town of Lijiang.

This ancient town in the shadow of the Lion mountain, Mt. Xiang, is a true water world town as the snow-fed streams gurgle amongst, and sometimes below, the town's streets and businesses and are a dominant feature of the town. Drinking wells are sited at convenient places throughout the town and townsfolk still draw their drinking water from them. I felt truly blessed to drink from them knowing that this water came from high up in the uninhabited lands of the mountain peaks.

Alongside these streams in Lijiang are numerous tea houses (some even set atop the stream) whose specialty is tea of the utmost quality and purity due to the water they draw from these adjacent streams and Chinese people would come from great distances just to savor this purest of pure tea. This is a land inhabited by a people well aware of the sacredness and beneficial effects of pure water. This is a true water kingdom.

Unfortunately, the pristine Yushui stream soon becomes the Yangtsee River flowing through thousands of miles of densely populated agricultural lands, uncountable towns and several mega cities. Most of these mega cities discharge all their untreated sewerage directly into this river. Numerous factories also use the river as their liquid waste disposal unit, and as this once-pristine waterway makes its long and torturous journey to the sea it becomes ever more toxic to the point where nowadays it is known as the world largest sewer.

On one of my travels high up in the rarefied Himalayas my students took me to a very remote valley near the ancient town on Zhongdian. Here, in this land of un-describable beauty we came across the local tribes people, the Naxi. Soon after arriving it began to rain, and here I witnessed a most astonishing sight. No sooner had the rain begun to beat down when several women quickly tied their silk shawls to low hanging branches and formed them into mini water catchments. The just fallen rain collected in their multi-colored silk shawls and made its way to the shawl's lowest point and then dripped through into an awaiting wooden bucket below - so low-tech, so instant. Upon seeing me looking at this curious spectacle they beckoned me to come over and share with them some of their precious SkyWater - nectar from heaven, which I did.

I was soon joined by my accompanying students who also were keen to drink from the wooden bucket. A Naxi woman began to explain, via my student interpreter, how this rain keeps the villagers so healthy and active and how many of the residents hereabouts live well into their hundredth years and if I wanted a long and healthy life, too, I should drink this water as often as possible.

She went on further to explain how this is the valley from which came the fabled legend of Shangri la, a legend which is the focus the best selling 1933 novel, Lost Horizons, by James Hilton, and which was later made into a Hollywood feature film of the same name.

This novel is set in this enchanted area and centers round a group of European plane crash survivors who crash landed here and witnessed a highly evolved civilization of scholars, artisans and artists presided over by a two hundred years old lama all cut off from present day civilization. Life in this utopia was so good that eventually many of the plane survivors didn't want to be rescued.

This fable gained in credence and popularity over the years and even US President Roosevelt had his ranch retreat named Shangri la. This was later changed to Camp David.

As I looked about me I became ever-more gob-smacked and I could well understand James Hilton's sense of awe and respect for this secret valley and its long-living residents - the Naxi, and their water medicine delivered direct from the gods seemingly not so far overhead. Their rain comes from the roof of the world and they make full use of it. This is rain heaven and I felt so good standing there in the rain and drinking, feeling it gently washing and caressing my skin and purifying my cells.

Hilton was not the only famous European adventurer to stumble upon this Shangri la, another was Scottish botanist, George Forrest, who, starting in 1904 made six expeditions into this area on behalf of the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh, Scotland. Forrest soon discovered what an amazing storehouse of plants this area really was as it is now known that it contains over 16,000 different plant varieties � the greatest diversity of plants anywhere on the planet.

During his many years of collecting plant specimens here, he collected well over 31,000 specimens and had them shipped back to the UK. It is from these many specimens that many of our European-style gardens obtained they popular flowers, shrubs and trees, e.g. some of these include primulas, rhododendrons, iris, camellias, gentian, jasmine and many conifers. It is also know that over sixty percent of all herbs and plants used in traditional Chinese medicine have their origins here.

I was blessed to have spent almost one full year teaching and travelling throughout this region and I feel so incredibly blessed, and I am eternally grateful to my Chinese students for making all my travels possible.

It was now time to leave my Shangri la and students and continue upon my global odyssey. Greatly refreshed and invigorated by my unique experiences and copious amounts of SkyWater, it was with a heavy heart that I finally said good bye to a people and a land I had fallen in love with. I vowed to return someday, and I hope you also have an opportunity to visit there. It's not a difficult thing to do nowadays.

Are you still with me? Hang on tight as we descent into Narita Airport, Tokyo.

I am here mainly because I wish to further my English teaching experiences, but of course I am now always on the lookout for water world experiences and like minded folk.

Here, getting some casual work wasn't difficult and I soon began teaching in a few small private English schools a few hours south of Tokyo within the shadow of Mt. Fuji, a mountain held sacred by the Japanese and referred to as the navel of the world.

This mountain is deemed so sacred to the Japanese that even today, all aeroplanes are forbidden from fly over it as this would be putting ones self above the gods - something which could never be allowed.

Not far from Mt. Fuji is the beautiful and historic town of Ise. Ise is the seat of the Shinto religion, Japan's national religion, so from a western's viewpoint you could say that it's like the Shinto's Vatican - except that perhaps it's not a good analogy to offer to a Japanese person. All Japanese are automatically classified as Shintoists even though many may choose to follow other religions, particularly Buddhism, at the same time.

Upon arriving at the massive Shrine complex which makes up the Shintoists' headquarters you firstly must cross a small wooden bridge which spans a fast flowing crystal clear stream. You are told that this is a necessary purification procedure before being allowed to proceed and to be in the presence of the gods enshrined here. The water tumbles down from high in the nearby mountains including Mt. Fuji, home of the gods.

Once safely over the bridge, and purified by the stream's water you then make your way into the complex which consists of several huge golden and thatched roofed wooden shrines which are built without the use of nails or bolts and are instead held together using an intricate method of special joints. It's truly amazing. All this is set amongst many acres of sprawling garden, ponds, streams and tall trees.

As you approach any of the massive shrines you must firstly wash your hands and wash your mouth out using this rarefied water from the sacred mountain - Fuji. Enshrined within these grand shrines are the spirits of the various high-level water deities and you must be fully cleansed (by water) before approaching them to pray.

The practice of washing out your mouth is said to represent cleansing your heart before god. I also learnt that so strict was the practice of purification within the shrine complex that not all women were allowed to be employed there, only single women were - meaning that married ones were seen as somehow sullied in the eyes of their gods.

Like it or not, it is these water deities that rein omnipotently over the nation of Japan bestowing the blessings of a good harvest, abundance for all and plentiful rainfall. Even their sacred-to-them Emperor prays to these water deities at the Ise Shrine complex on behalf of the Japanese people and he is even seen as the deities' representative on earth.

Shintoism is a water deity worshipping religion and through the various practices and teachings of Shintoism Japanese people come to know and respect the sacredness and power of water - pure water, and incorporate this into their very busy daily lives.

Wherever I went in Japan I was amazed at the number of traditional Japanese gardens all created in a similar style or layout. I learnt that water was an essential feature so all manner of streams and ponds were constructed, and where water was not possible they would represent it by using sand or gravel. This would then be raked to imitate waves and currents. The huge rocks which would be scattered amongst the garden represented islands and a winding path represented a flowing river. You have probably seen such traditional Japanese gardens in your country as they are so popular. They represent the sacredness and purity of water.

The Shinto gods dislike uncleanliness or impurity and Japanese people are always contriving ways to satisfy these edicts not just at temples and shrines but in their everyday lives using the purification qualities of water. One extreme example of water purification practised by some Shintoist is the misogi. This entails a long period of meditation whilst seated under a very cold waterfall.

Japanese traditional baths are still very much in vogue. These are communal baths wherein many people bath all together and often 'in the all together'. It's a bit like the sauna houses of many Scandinavian countries. I traveled all over Japan in my six month there and took to these traditional public baths (Onzens) like a duck to water. My most memorable occasion was in far northern Honshu island (the main island) during mid winter, outside, with snow all about and submerging myself in the hot thermal spring water. I hope you can have such an experience too one day.

Even most Japanese homes have a mini version of the Onzen. I remember being tired after a long day of teaching and simply wanting to take a quick shower and go to bed, but no, a hot bath had been prepared which I must take nightly. It's no simple matter either; firstly you, sort of, shower and wash yourself with copious amounts of water and soap whilst seated on a small stool, and only when you are fully cleansed you enter the vertical shaped tub of hot clean water and simply sit there with water up to your chin and relax being careful not to fall asleep and ever mindful of the Shinto gods who dislike uncleanliness.

I am not a religious person, but I cannot help but see similarities with what I've witnessed in most Christian groups regarding their water baptism rites and beliefs. Am I correct in assuming that a Christian baptism is a symbolic washing away of ones sins and impurities? I can't help but think that this rite or ritual is based upon ancient experiences with drinking SkyWater - nectar from heaven, and like many customs or beliefs throughout the world things somehow get changed or distorted to suit the prevailing political or ideological norms at the time. In this respect we can see that nothing has changed.

Strict visa regulations for foreigners around my age meant that I couldn't stay and work more than six months without fear of trouble from the Japanese immigration authorities. This meant that now I would have to leave my newfound waterworld and it's friendly and ultra clean people: a people who are without doubt the longest living people on earth. Could this be partly because of their respect and appetite for clean water?

It's amazing. When I left home in Australia I felt just like any other person around my age wanting a bit of overseas excitement. I wasn't focussed solely on water. I was simply wanting an adventure as I was free. I had no debts, no responsibilities and was answerable to no one and I still am. But it's funny what one focusses on when one travels. I was primarily focussed on art, but somehow this turned to water as I submerged myself in the water cultures I chanced upon along the way.

During my long walkabout I was fortunate to spend several months on the tropical island of Borneo trekking and travelling by longboat far up several of the mighty rivers there. After Japan I soon found myself working in a small town in rural Slovakia on the banks of the mighty Danube river - which is not blue by the way. Then on to the Greek island of Kefalonia - working again, then Sardinia, Italy and finally a long stretch in the UK.

At that time I was in my late fifties, in good health (still good) and as free as a bird (still free). I recommend all my readers to embark on such an odyssey if possible. I am not a rich-in-money person so I needed to work along the way teaching English as a second language, but this has it's advantages in that you are forced to immerse yourself in the local community and this was made so easy by way of my students who were usually more than happy to introduce me to their friends and family and show me around.

By now you may have thought of, or know of other water worlds or water cultures in other countries. They are probably so numerous that we have failed to see most of them. I stumbled upon just a few and I am so grateful I did. I feel a great kinship with these water folk and this has stimulated me to take up my humble cause as a SkyWater Warrior.

All it entails is that I drink just-fallen rain water as often as possible and share my experiences with this sacred SkyWater to whomever cares to listen.

We cannot deny the power of this just-fallen water just as we cannot deny the awareness of its mystical health giving qualities amongst many ancient cultures throughout many parts of the world. And as we have discovered some of these cultures, some of which are now ultra modern, still pay homage to the purification quality of water. Just to remind you; I am not referring to any water, not even rain water; I am referring to just fallen water. There is an enormous difference as these cultures, and myself know, and I sincerely hope you have the opportunity to discover this too.

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So, here we are back in dusty outback Queensland, Australia, looking forward to the next shower of rain. It's been a while since it's rained and the weather is warming up as mid-summer approaches. It's become too hot to work outside during the day and visitors to the Botanic Garden have all but disappeared due to the hot weather. Many of the plants stand dormant-like - just waiting for the next fall of rain, and I look forward to my next drink of SkyWater, whenever that may be.

So let's use this downtime to look at some of the know beneficial effects of drinking water, and more particularly SkyWater, and later we will discuss some of its other applications and how you might like to collect it. Again, remember, we are talking about water by the glass full, or perhaps a jug, that's all and not long term storage.

And remember, there is no bottom line. There is nothing to buy, set up, modify or obtain; nothing to join or to subscribe to and no one to follow. It's just between you and the heavens above - so to speak. This is free, just like the air you breathe. It's your birthright - take it or leave it.

As we have discussed earlier; there is water and there is SkyWater. SkyWater is just fallen rain water; better still, rain that is still falling, not bottled, nor from a spring or rain water tank. You drink it as soon as there is enough in whatever container you are using to harvest some. You don't store it for drinking later - well, within the next few hours or so is okay. After that, use whatever is left over for washing your skin and hair, then any remaining for pets, aquariums, and plants in more or less that order.

When you consider that water makes up around 71% of the body's total mass with your blood consisting of 90% water, it makes sense to have this all important life giving liquid as pure as possible and in enough quantities to maintain a healthy balance. If this is the case why would you want to replace this valuable fluid with old, lifeless and polluted water. It doesn't make sense.

Considering that around 96% of all water in this planet is either salty or undrinkable in one way or another SkyWater seems to me to be a good source of drinkable water for everyone on this planet when available - which is often, considering most people do live in a reasonable or high rainfall area. This water is free from all political and commercial interests. Imagine the commercial interests bottled water companies have in their bottled water when their source material, water, is costing them a fraction of one cent a liter, yet sells for for well over one or two dollar a liter. To me, it's like selling bottled air - air and water are your birthright.

With over 500,00 man made chemicals now known to be in our environment, and around 20,000 pesticides, it's naive to think that none of these substances will never find their way into our water courses and rivers, etc. They do, and most of them cannot be removed. Then you must also consider the chemicals purposely added to our water for purification (to kill germs) and all the animal and bird faeces which also end up you know where. It's a wonder our drinking water isn't slowly killing us - maybe it is!

If water is necessary for most, if not all, of our essential bodily functions doesn't it seem logical to want these functions to operate as best they can. Wouldn't it seems equally logical to want to use SkyWater whenever possible both internally and externally. To apply SkyWater externally on the skin creates an instant result as you will soon discover for yourself. Your skin is your largest organ and responds for better or for worse depending upon what is applied to it; take the use of nicotine skin patches as an example of how a skin application effects nicotine cravings.

The water you drink helps maintain muscle tone, weight loss and a clear healthy skin.

It helps to prevent headaches, allergies, joint pain, muscle pain, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, bloating, constipation, low energy levels, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypertension, colitis, asthma, and stomach pain just to name a few. But of course the better the water the better the results, just as with my clinging-to-life plants out here on the dusty outback plains of Queensland. As soon as they absorb some SkyWater they will immediately transform themselves into flourishing plants - and this is what will happen to you, too. Try it; it's water; it won't harm you! And there's no need to consult with your doctor or medical practitioner.

I believe some things in this world do better when allowed to be low-tech. Don't get me wrong, I love high-tech gadgets and technology as much as you probably do, but some very basic commodities should be exempt from all forms of tinkering and modification. SkyWater is one of them. Don't tamper with it. Drink it as it falls or just as it's fallen. The water in your tap or drinking bottle is another commodity altogether. This water has fallen months or maybe years ago, then it traversed open ground whereupon it has absorbed all kinds of chemicals and bacteria as it made its way into a watercourse or river. Finally it found its way into a reservoir before being filtered and treated with chemicals making it 'drinkable'.

SkyWater has just fallen from above and you are drinking it or bathing in it.

If you use SkyWater properly and regularly for just one month the effects will be very noticeable indeed. On the outside your skin and hair will respond with the first application whilst on the inside you will start to feel a wonderful sense of wellbeing which is a signal that your body is cleansing and healing itself. This will begin to happen very quickly. I refrain from drinking too much SkyWater late in the evening because the increase in my energy level becomes so noticeable that I find it difficult to get to sleep. Where does this energy come from? I believe it's some from of cosmic, ki, orgone or pranic energy which seems to be an amazing property of SkyWater. It's extra terrestrial - you could say, just like the life giving energy emitted from the sun.

Don't be put off by experts who would argue that SkyWater isn't filtered or treated and that it may have picked up airborne pollution particles. To a very small or minute degree this could be said, but other water has picked up the same but much more was picked up as it traversed untold miles of chemical and agricultural chemical dusted land. Any minute amounts of pollutants in SkyWater pail in significance when compared to most other forms of water. Don't listen to them. The world is being almost overrun with experts and look at the state of our health and our world. For an example it seems to me that the number of obese people in the developed world is in direct correlation to the number of food experts or dieticians telling how and what to eat. And don't get me started on Financial Advisers and their monetary experts considering the current state of the world's economy in the second half of 2008.

Okay, so now it's raining and you want to harvest or collect some SkyWater. It's simple, and there many ways you can do this depending upon how much you want and your situation. I normally collect it in clean large plastic buckets, preferable ones shaped into baby bath type shapes with large openings at the top - for obvious reasons. But you could use sheets of plastic or metal and have it drain into buckets or other containers. I use the plastic buckets and baths because I can clean them before use as it gets very dusty during the sometimes long dry spells here. If I drew it off a roof it could contain a lot of dust, but my buckets are clean.

You will be surprised how little rainfall it takes to harvest a few glasses of this nectar from a large plastic baby bath. Remember, you only want a few glasses to drink now and any left over can be used later (not too much later) for a good wash.

As you start to feel the wonderful effects of this water you will want to drink it as often as possible. There is no need to be fanatical about it and you will probably have to drink other types of water too, just as I have to. Don't be concerned, you have stayed alive this long drinking other water but now you have added SkyWater to your diet. Don't become a SkyWater zealot as you begin to feel its effects and want to tell everyone. Sure, share your experiences and SkyWater with others but only to the point that they want to hear. Everyone has to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.

Very soon your skin will begin to glow and you will look younger. If you are a bit overweight drink a glass or two of SkyWater about thirty minutes before eating and don't drink too much as nowadays people are beginning to realize that too much water is, in fact, not good. If you are on medication keep taking them until you feel the symptoms slipping away and on the advice of your doctor.

Remember , your blood consists of ninety percent water. It's the quality of this water that's paramount to good health and eliminating disease, so replace as much of that water with SkyWater as soon as possible.

Hey, I hear the sound of rain on my tin roof. I'd better sign off here. It hasn't rained for almost a month and I'm hanging out for some SkyWater. Time to go and place my buckets out and I hope that you can do the same soon.

Good health and a good life.

Garry Greenwood


Copyright 2009 Garry Greenwood

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