Change of season marked by festivals and indoor events It’s a challenge to accept that the long days of summer are past and that the season has changed. In legend, the mythical dragon of the Zodiac is called the Worm and it circles through the seasons’ markers in the Heavens. Once the summer solstice is reached, the Worm begins a journey in another direction, toward the beckoning marker of the autumnal equinox, turning once again toward the winter solstice. The Worm turns. As we reach that milestone Wednesday, September 22, the change in season is noticeable. We celebrate in fresh air fests marking the end of clement weather and become drawn to indoor events that invoke coziness in the coming months. Two opportunities to acclimate to indoor activity loom on the October calendar. And, as if recognizing the anniversary of the economic upheaval of October 2008, both are free events. How good is that? Omaha’s annual Mystic Fest turns 14 It’s hard to fathom, but Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2-3, mark the fourteenth annual Mystic Fest presented by The Next Millennium Bookstore. And for the third consecutive year, Next Millennium owner Charlie Odorizzi has waived the attendance fee. “They may say the economy is recovering but we still feel it’s the right thing to do; to open up the doors and give the public an opportunity to enjoy the love and fellowship of Mystic Fest — again with no admission fee,” Odorizzi said. The Mystic Fest has grown in popularity each year and now features nearly 100 booths with over 75 exhibitors. It’s a celebration of metaphysics and spirit, ranging from the mystical to the exotic. As the title implies, it’s a gathering of the New Age, metaphysical, spiritual and psychic. Add gifts, jewelry, books, art and fun booths like the “aura camera” and it becomes the largest event of its type in the Midwest. Yes, you can get your palms read, aura checked and Tarot cards interpreted but you can also learn about yoga, massage therapy and hypnosis, or shop for artwork and unique, handmade clothing, gems, jewelry and crystals. In 2004 Odorizzi expanded the Mystic Fest to its two-day format. It’s been successful, drawing national exhibitors and vendors with unique, quality products, representing over a dozen states, as distant as California. “These national vendors travel quite a distance to participate in the Mystic Fest,” Odorizzi said. “Two days makes it easier on them to set up, exhibit and tear down without feeling a time crunch. “We always try to offer an interesting mix of vendors. We work very hard to ensure each and every vendor has everything they need to succeed.” Mystic Fest 2010 will be held at CoCo Key Water Resort (formerly the Holiday Inn Central) at 72nd and Grover. The fest runs Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Information is at Next-Mill.com or call The Next Millennium at 393.1121. What the Drug Companies Won’t Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn’t Know That title of Dr. Michael T. Murray’s most recent book is provocative enough. Add to that fact that he has published nearly 30 other titles and a visit to Omaha by the outspoken advocate of natural remedies becomes a highlight of the early autumn. The lecture, sponsored by No Name Nutrition, is free. Big Pharma is the oil that lubricates the conventional medical machine. The two-word catchphrase signifies the lobbying and corporate interests of the pharmaceutical industry, the single most influential cartel in the American healthcare arena. Even the term healthcare is a misnomer when referring to conventional medicine, according to Murray’s book. What American medicine does should be called disease management instead of health care, he contends, for that is closer to the truth. Pharmaceutical industry lobbyists consistently top the list of influence peddlers in Washington when it comes to dollars spent. Spending $168 million in 2007 set records for lobbying, and it appears to have paid off. No other healthcare related field is so entrenched in a medical system. The pharmaceutical companies are at the core of nearly every medical practice in the field. Let me be clear about one thing, though. There is no shortage of medical doctors and physicians who defy the influence of the drug companies and do know much more about it than Murray’s book title implies. That said, his book contains information and encouragement that can keep a person from falling into the web of unhealthful practices, which a trip to a conventional medical setting can lead to. Murray’s book offers the reader an introduction to the term “functional medicine,” one Murray attributes to nutritional biochemist Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D. With functional medicine, the physician approaches healthcare from the point of view of addressing the function of the body and not the symptom of a disease. Functional medicine is a categorized version of practice emphasizing that the cause of any lack of physical health is physiological imbalance rather than the effect of a pathological condition. The natural state of the body is one of health; events or influences that block or interfere with that natural state often include the actions of modern medicine. When a medical treatment causes an adverse condition or disease, it is called an iatrogenic disease; caused by a doctor, if you will. In the conventional medicine approach, studies have found that a low number of 106,000 Americans, up to a high estimate of 780,000, are killed each year by the very medical practices that are supposed to be healing them (Online PDF at webdc.com/pdfs/deathbymedicine.pdf). The 106,000 deaths were reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association and were attributed to the properly prescribed use of pharmaceutical drugs by doctors in hospitals. Murray will visit for a free evening lecture Tuesday, Oct. 5. Call 393.5812 to reserve a space. Considering the gross ineptitude of the conventional, profit-motivated American medical system, any alternatives such as those advocated by Dr. Murray deserve a close look. Be well.