Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Mystic Rose from the Garden of the King

Note: Sir Fairfax Cartwright (an English diplomat with Sufi influences), who wrote the following fantasy story "Mystic Rose from the Garden of the King" in 1899, and who attributed it to an Oriental by the name of "Sheikh Haji Ibrahim of Kerbala".

The Mystic Rose from the Garden of the King
A Fragment of the Vision of Sheikh Haji Ibrahim of Kerbela
by Sir Fairfax L. Cartwright,
London, H.S. Nichols, 1899

The Mystic Dervish being questioned by the King as to what revelation, in his quest for knowledge, had seemed to him the one most pregnant with meaning, answered thus:  In my wanderings in the Strange Land, this did I see: A Temple built like a Tower rising to a great height, surrounded at its base by a circular colonnade. Impelled by a desire to learn, I knocked at the Gate of the Temple and prayed for admittance. A venerable old man - the Sage of that Temple - opened the Gate and said to me, 'What seekest thou?' I replied, 'Knowledge'. He said, 'Hast thou the strength and determination to climb to the topmost chamber of the Tower?' I said, 'The desire I have if thou wilt be my guide to show me the way'. Then he stretched out his hand and raised me up, saying: 'If thy heart is stout, cross the threshold of the Temple of Human Knowledge'. I seized the proferred hand, and with the Sage, I passed under the Mighty Gateway of the Temple. When I had entered the precincts of the building I saw that a stately colonnade ran in a circle round the triangular Tower, which seemed to rise to a giddy height above me; and presently as I looked I perceived that the wall behind the colonnade was covered with representations of human figures, and my Guide spoke: 'Behold, the Cycle of Human Life! See Man as he appeareth to the human eye!'. 
      Then I looked again, and I saw that the first picture, by the Entrance Gate, represented the Childhood of Man, and the Angel of Life was drawing back the Veil, beyond which lay the World with all its dangers and possibilities, and the children full of joyance were marching forward to enter the Promised Land; but I saw that there was a look of pity on the face of the Angel, for in the darkness by the Veil crouched the figure of Satan, marking with his claws upon the sand the number of those whom he would devour. And as I gazed longer at the children, I began to perceive that each child represented some type of Humanity. There I saw the young King approaching the Veil with firm step, but with awe upon his face, as he gazed upon that unknown World which he would be called upon to govern, and by his side was a youth with vicious face and envy in his heart, seeking to push aside the young King that he might enter first into possession of the World. Many children I saw bubbling over with the exuberance of youth, pleased with what lay around them, and looking not far ahead into that mysterious World which was being disclosed to them. One maiden I noticed gazing earnestly at the Star of Love, which from above shone down upon the World of Youth, and another maiden - in whom was the Soul of the wanton - was bending down to the ground to pluck a rose, and in her haste to seize it a thorn had pricked her finger. 
      I followed my Guide around the colonnade, and at each step I saw the same children grown older - having advanced a little on the Journey of Life; and I saw many fall by the way, and when I came to the last picture I saw that few were left - the ascetic Dervish, worn and emaciated - the man who had sought God through the Spirit, - and the aged King, full of gravity, - the man who had sought for God by striving to act according to his lights in the World; loneliness was around these two, but they heeded it not, and behind the throne of the King stood, with her arms crossed and on her face a look of impenetrableness, the Angel of Life, now changed into the Angel of Death.

      Saddened by what I had seem, I withdrew from the colonnade, and in the sunshine of the pleasant garden round the base of the Tower I sat for a long while meditating on the vanity of human existence. 
      Then my Guide touched me upon the shoulder and said: 'Thine eye hath seen but the outer shell of Humanity, and thou art depressed thereby. Seekest thou now to know what hath been revealed to the Soul of Man, and what are the limits of Human Knowledge?' 
      I replied: 'I am willing for my heart thirsteth for Knowledge'. 
      1. My Guide with his wand touched a small and hidden door in the rugged walls of the triangular Tower, which opened and admitted us; then he turned to me and said: 'The Tower is high and it containeth seven levels, and on each level are three Chambers, and above all lieth one Chamber, and the ascent thereto is long and wearisome'. I replied: 'My Master, thy footsteps will I follow'. Then we began the ascent, and when we had reached the first level my Guide turned to me and said: 'Behold the First Chamber!' A heavy veil closed the entrance; my Guide pushed it aside and we entered within the Chamber. There we found ourselves in darkness, and awe seized me; so that I poured my Soul out in prayer, craving in humility of spirit for illumination. And when I had been there some time I lifted up my eyes, and it seemed to me that my head was encircled by a soul-inspiring light, while my feet remained lost in the darkness of Unreality; and my Intelligence was quickened by a message from above, and I knew that the Soul of Man - the reflection of the Unity - is suspended between the Light and the Darkness, and through the opposition of the Light and the Darkness the Soul of Man gains consciousness of the Unknown which veils the Eternal Unity. And the mystic symbol of Unity shone forth upon the walls of this Chamber. 
      2. When I retired my Guide led me to the Second Chamber. There I saw a stately Woman deeply veiled, wearing on her head a crown with the crescent moon at top, and on her lap lay a great book closed. With deep respect I prostrated myself before her, saying: 'Teach me, thou noble woman, that I may learn'. She replied: 'I am the Recipient - the Passive; I am the complement of that which thou has seen in the First Chamber. I am the Link between Unity and Man. I am the Holy Sanctuary. I hold the Book of Knowledge which he only can read who has the power to lift my veil'. And as I contemplated her more steadfastly I saw that her veil grew dimmer and dimmer, until for an instant I beheld the beauty of her face; then she vanished from my sight. 
      3. My Guide then seized my hand and bade me follow him to the next Chamber. When I had penetrated through the veil which closed the entrance, again I saw a throne upon which a Woman was seated, clothed in Majesty and wearing a Crown of Authority. By her side was an Eagle, and above her was a canopy which seemed to be formed of the Wings of Angels. 
      When I had made obeisance to her, she opened her lips and said: 'I am the termination of the First and the Second; in me is the Equilibrium completed. I am the Law of the World; with my Sceptre do I govern it. With one hand do I draw down the Spirit and with the other do I raise up its Negation, an in my Womb is Man conceived'. 
      When with my Guide I had issued from the last Chamber, he bade me for a while to meditate on what I had seen; then he led me up a steep flight of steps to the Second Level of the Tower. When we had reached it he said to me: 'We have now attained to another plane of thought, to another aspect of things. Enter now the Fourth Chamber which lies above the First Chamber below'.
      4. I did as I was bidden, and when I had penetrated into the Chamber I beheld a King upon his throne, and before the Majesty of his face I prostrated myself. Presently I heard him say: 'I am not the Absolute Absolute; I am for Humanity the Realization of the Absolute; I am the will of the Unity; my Sceptre is the sign of Power; with it I rule Mankind, for my Law shall be his Law; to me man must turn for all that relateth to the World in which he moveth'. 
      5. Then I withdrew from the presence of the King, and followed my Guide into the Fifth Chamber. Here likewise I beheld a man seated upon a throne, but he wore not on his head the crown of a King of this World but a Mystic Sign, and he was arrayed in the white robes of Sanctity. And these words he spoke to me: 'Kneel and worship, for I am not a King of this World; my Sceptre is the Sign of Authority; with it I rule the Souls of Men. I am the Voice of the Law of the Spirit. I am the bond of Reunion between man created and the Breath from which his creation proceeded'. 
      6. When he had ceased speaking, with awe in my heart I withdrew, following my Guide to the Sixth Chamber, which lay in the third angle of the Second Level of the Tower. When I had entered it I found myself in darkness, but gradually a dim light seemed to descend from the summit of the Chamber, and it grew in intensity, and when I looked up I beheld with astonishment as it were the Eye of a Spiritual Being looking down upon me. Then my Guide said to me: 'Behold the Eye of the World! Through it the mind realizes the Beauty of the Manifestation of the Unity; - through it Love reaches the Soul, bringing Man and Woman to the completion of their Destinies. Learn and understand the Mystery of this Sign. This is the point from which two Roads diverge; along the one descends the Spirit of Light; along the other descends the Spirit of Darkness'. The Vision faded from my sight and meditating deeply on what I had seen, I followed my Guide, who led me out of the Chamber. 
      7. With my Guide I began the ascent to the Third Level of the Tower, and when we had reached it we entered together the Seventh Chamber, which lay above the Fourth Chamber and the First Chamber below. Therein I saw nothing for a time; then I heard the whizz of an arrow, and beheld in the misty distance a noble stag struck down by it. Looking round, there appeared to me the majestic vision of a man, radiant like a conqueror, holding in his extended hand the bow of Power from which the arrow had been discharged. He said to me: 'What seest thou?' I said: 'I saw the weak overcome by the strong'. He said to me: 'Behold, I am the Man Conqueror; Man as the Emblem of the Creator. I am more than Nature; I am Nature illuminated by The Spirit of the Eternal, and therefore do I overcome mere Nature'. 
      8. When this Vision had disappeared from my sight, I passed with my Guide to the Eight Chamber. Herein I saw a Sword standing unsupported on the point of its hilt, and in astonishment I exclaimed: 'What meaneth this Sign?' My Guide replied: 'Between Man and Nature a permanent struggle exists; what Man attaineth by labour he loseth again if his labour should cease. This is the Sign of Equilibrium, the balance between opposing Forces, between Good and Evil in the Created World. This is the Sign of the Spirit of Justice which with the Power of the Sword separates the opposing combatants'. 
      9. When I had gazed for some time upon this symbol, I proceeded to the last Chamber on this Level of the Tower, which was the Ninth Chamber. When the veil by the entrance had fallen behind me, I found myself face to face with an aged Dervish, whose countenance was serene and radiant; for him age seemed to have no afflictions, and Wisdom shone forth from his eyes. In his right hand he held aloft a burning lamp, and in his left hand he held a staff, on which he leant. I saluted him with reverence, and he addressed me thus: 'When I was young I selected the Path of Light, and my reward has been great. Wisdom have I imprisoned in the lamp which illuminates my Path. Round my Soul have I drawn the Mantle of Protection which shall ward off Evil when it shall assail it. This staff of strength have I found upon my path, and on it I can lean with security in the ascent towards Truth'. The serenity of this old man filled my Soul with elation, and the glow of Divine Love seemed to penetrate into myself like a precious gift from his presence. 
      10. When I issued from the last Chamber I followed my Guide up the ascent to the next Level of the Tower, where with him I entered the Tenth Chamber, which lay above the Seventh and the Fourth and the First Chamber below. Here I beheld a Circle turning upon no visible axis, and my Guide said to me: 'Behold the Symbol of Eternity, the symbol of the incessant action of Time. The Circle is ever moving; it ascendeth and descendeth; so ascendeth the Spirit of God to the summit; so descendeth the Spirit of Evil into the abyss, yet the Circle is unbroken; so from Good the descent to Evil is possible, so from Evil the ascent to Good is possible. This is a Chamber of Equilibrium. Below in the Seventh Chamber hast thou seen the Conqueror, - the Holder of Power, the Symbol of Creative Force. In the Chamber above thou shalt see the Symbol of Destruction. Here thou seest the ascent and the descent, yet the Circle is one and unbroken: but a vaster Circle existeth which the eye of man cannot see; it turneth and turneth through Eternity without ceasing; the Spirit of Creation createth, and the Spirit of Destruction destroyeth; and the Circle is the Equilibrium without which there would be no manifestation of the Unity, and if there were no manifestation of the Unity, the Unity would be dead and unconscious of Himself'. 
      11. When my Guide has ceased speaking he led me to the Eleventh Chamber, and there I saw a Virgin standing before me radiant in all the splendor of youth and strength. With a voice which had the ring of silver without tremor and without fear she spoke to me thus: 'In me lies hid the germ of Vitality. To thee my hand seems weak, but strength lieth in the Spirit, and because my heart is pure, know I no fear, and with my foot do I curb the Dragon beneath me'. It was so sweet a vision that it made my heart leap with joy, and when it vanished from my sight, pensively I followed my Guide tot he Twelfth Chamber, with my mind still full of the beautiful young Virgin who had appeared to me. 
      12. In this chamber I found myself in complete obscurity, but as I gazed into the darkness a sign appeared to me by degrees in the form of a Cross. My Guide said: 'Behold the Sign of the Revealed Law; out of the Darkness it proceedeth, and Man must bow to it'. As I gazed more intently, the face of a man seemed to appear to me enclosed by a triangle, hanging downwards at the base of the Cross, and I marvelled and exclaimed: 'What meaneth this transformation?' My guide replied: 'Woe unto the man who filled with pride presumeth to rebel against the Revealed Law, for on him waiteth destruction. Vain is it of Man to seek to rebel against that which the Eternal hath revealed unto him; by submission he will rise; by rebellion his face will be turned away from the Light, and his advancement delayed'.
      13. When my Guide had ceased speaking, we left the Chamber and proceeded to ascend to the Fifth Level of the Tower; there we entered together the Thirteenth Chamber, and this Vision appeared to me. A luxuriant meadow spread out before my eyes like the plain of the World; it was filled with variety and the luxuriant flowers nodded to each other in their joy of existence. Presently, however, the breath of winter approached and its icy blast chilled my Soul; and as I gazed I saw the Vision of Death looming up before me; in one hand he held a scimitar, and in the other an empty basket; and he mowed down the flowers and threw them into the basket; and it seemed to me that they turned into dead men's heads; and some wore crowns and others the humble hood of the Dervish; and some had the golden hair of youth, and others the whitened locks of age. And in my fear I cried aloud: 'O! Terror of the World, what art thou?' And a voice replied: 'I am the Link between the Known and the Unknown. That which seems gold in the World I will turn into base metal, and that which seems base metal will I turn into gold. As the Ocean dissolveth and absorbeth the Salt of the World, so do I, for I am the Solvent of Humanity, and out of that which is do I make that which shall be'. 
      When the Voice ceased, the Vision of Death departed from me, and I saw again the green meadow filled with flowers. Then my Guide said to me: 'The Spirit of Life is the antagonist of the Spirit of Stagnation, for Stagnation is the Negation of Life. In the Unity nothing is created, nothing is destroyed. To the Sage, therefore, Death hath no terrors, for he knoweth that without Death there could be no Life, without Darkness, no Light, without the Negation no Manifestation of the Reality. Death is the Key which opens unto Man a further stage on the Path of Manifestation of the Unity'. 
      14. From this chamber my Guide led me to the Fourteenth Chamber, where I saw before me an Angel who poured out of a pitcher into a receiver beneath the Water of Life. My Guide said to me: 'The meaning is this. In the World in which thou livest, the mind perceiveth the existence of Individuality, which is caused by the Water of Life descending in varying degrees into Matter, its Opposite. Now the Angel, when fertilizing the World by pouring upon it the Water of Life, giveth unto Man the conception of justice, which is to be the Light which is to guide him upon the path through the Material World. The Angel whom thou seest is, therefore, the Emblem of Temperance, which is the principle which should govern the individual creature in the World'. 
      15. Then with my Guide, I proceeded to the last chamber on this Level of the Tower, which was the Fifteenth in Number. Here I found myself in complete darkness, but presently out of the profundity of the gloom glowed forth the Beast of Evil, the Dragon biting his tail. Seized with fear I clung to my Guide, who threw around me the Mantle of Protection, and said: 'Behold the Sign! This is the Circle of Evil. Woe unto the man who steppeth unto the shadow of the Light, for the gloom shall grow greater and greater, and against the fatal power of the Dragon's Ring man's will struggleth in vain. Who falleth into the Magic Circle him no regrets can avail, for an Eternity seemeth to separate him from the Path of Reunion'. 
      16. Overcome with dread, I issued from the last Chamber, and began the ascent to the next Level of the Tower, where when I had reached it I entered with my Guide the Sixteenth Chamber. Here I saw before me a Tower of great strength, and the Master of the Tower and his attendants were enjoying their security behind the battlements of their stronghold. And I said to myself: 'So cunning seemeth to have been the skill of the architect that this Tower will not perish but with the destruction of the World'. But presently I heard a great roar, and I beheld a thunderbolt descending from a cloud, and it struck the mighty Tower, and the battlements parted asunder, and the Master and his attendants were hurled to the ground. In amazement I exclaimed: 'What meaneth this Sign?' My Guide replied: 'Behold the sign of the Fall! Man who was Spiritual has entered the World and put on the burden of the material body. Behind the Symbol of the Spirit of the Unity, which to thine eyes is invisible, incarnated in the World which lieth open unto thy senses'. 
      17. When the Vision had passed away I followed my guide to the Seventeenth Chamber, and as I entered it I felt the Breath of Spring upon me, and my heart, which had been saddened at the sight of the ruined Tower, leapt for joy; and as I looked, I saw before me the Vision of a lovely maiden, and her golden tresses were crowned with a diadem of seven stars; she sat in the midst of a green meadow enamelled with the glory of flowers, and by her side was fountain from which poured forth the pure Water of the Earth. Presently the lovely maiden opened her lips and spoke, and my soul was so stirred, that tears flowed from my eyes for the joy of the softness of her voice, which was like the music of a harp in the stillness of the night. And she said: 'I am the Voice of Hope in the World. I am the Eternal Youth of Nature. In the depth of the Material World lieth hid the Water which welleth up in the Fountain of Immortality. The Glory of the Sun have I absorbed in my golden tresses; from my diadem of stars do I draw down the Spirit into the Body of Man; into his fallen Soul I breathe the Hope of Redemption; through me cometh to man the Courage to struggle against the bondage in which he is placed'. 
      18. I tarried long in contemplation of this beautiful Vision, until my Guide, with his wand of Power caused it to vanish; then I followed him to the last Chamber on this Level of the Tower, which was the Eighteenth in Number. Here again I found myself in utter darkness, but after a few moments I heard my Guide saying to me: 'Watch, and thou shalt see'. Then I gazed again into the gloom, and there grew before me a Vision which filled my soul with despondency, for it seemed to me that I saw the World spread out before me, illuminated only by the pale and sickly light of the moon; and man was struggling against man; and wild beast against wild beast; and the reptiles of the Earth came out of their hiding places to gather their spoil. And in my sorrow I exclaimed aloud: 'What meaneth this Sign?' My Guide replied: 'This is the last Term. This is the ultimate descent of the Spirit of the Unity into the depths of the Abyss of Negation. This is the Realm of Chaos; in the World the Kingdom of Passions let loose. This is the Triumph of Matter, Matter absorbing the Spirit and on the verge of throttling it'. 
      The sight of this Vision inspired my with so great a terror that my eyes had no tears to weep, and I felt as if a mountain of Matter were piled upon my Soul to crush it, so that beneath the strain my mind gave way and I fell back in a swoon into the arms of my Guide. When I recovered the use of my senses the Vision had departed, and like a child I was led without this Chamber of Despair; but when I sought to begin the ascent to the next Level of the Tower, my Guide checked me and said: 'Ere we proceed any further, pause and reflect. Thus far hast thou ascended through Six Levels of the Tower, and thou hast visited Eighteen Chambers therein. Now this is the meaning of what thou hast seen. In the first Six chambers thou hast gained Knowledge of the Spirit of Preservation; in the last Six chambers thou hast gained Knowledge of the World of Facts. The total which thou hast seen hath had this for meaning: the Breath of the Unity, descending Towards the Abyss of Darkness; what thou shalt see now is the Yearning for Reunion raising the Spirit of Eternal back to the Unity from which it proceeded'.
      19. When he had spoken thus my Guide led the way up a long flight of steps, narrow and steep at the beginning but broadening out and more easy as we advanced, and when we had reached to the top of them we found ourselves on a higher Level of the Tower, and here we entered the Nineteenth Chamber. Here at first I saw nothing, but surrounding me lay as it were a shapeless mist permeated by a vivifying luminosity. Presently in the uniformity of the mist I saw as it were a germ forming, a point of condensation; gradually it assumed a more definite shape, and then it appeared to me like a pure crystal of salt suspended in the Ocean. Then the crystal vanished slowly, and through the spot where it had been I saw the hills forming; then they became more distinct and I saw the shapes of trees appearing, and flowers of every hue, with butterflies and insects buzzing among them, and the fishes were leaping in the rivers; and as I marvelled the glory of the Light broke through the mist and I saw beneath me a lovely Garden in which the children of men, youths and maidens, played among the flowers, rejoicing in the gift of Life. Then I heard my Guide exclaim: 'Behold, the Spirit of the Eternal through the Chaos of the Material World hath reached to the Manifestation of Humanity!' 
      20. When the Mist began to close round me again I followed my Guide to the Twentieth chamber. Here I saw spread out before me the Field of Solitude - the Burial Place of Humanity - and no living thing stirred therein and no noise was known to be. And as I gazed upon the waste of Life I heard the sound of a great trumpet, the voice of Israfel calling to Humanity. And I saw in the centre of the Field of Solitude Azrael - the Angel of Death - sitting in meditation; and at the sound of the trumpet he rose and flapped his sable pinions like a tired bird about to retire to his rest, and then he drew his great wings around his form, for the sleep of Eternity was upon him. And in the Field of Solitude I saw the graves open and the dead rising therefrom, and the rending of their grave-clothes was like the roar of the sea seeking to break down the barrier of the land. 
      My Guide, seizing my trembling hand, said to me: 'Fear not; it is the Voice of the Eternal calling to Humanity. Behold the Breath of the Unity rising to the Spirit World and casting aside the shackles of the Material World!' 
      21. When the visions had faded away I followed my Guide to the last Chamber on the elevated Level of the Tower, and it was the Twenty-first in Number. Here there appeared to me a young man riding on a fine horse, and with eyes burning with desire he gazed steadfastly at a young girl who danced before him glorious in her nakedness, and her hair was adorned with garlands of roses. By his side an old hag hobbled along, holding his stirrup with one hand, while she held an hour-glass in the other, in which I saw that the sand was fast running out. As I looked I saw of a sudden a deep precipice ahead, and at that moment a hideous dog rushed forth and bit the legs of the horse to urge him on his career. As the rider grew closer to the precipice, the young girl who danced before him changed in my sight, and the colour in her cheek changed into the waxen hue of Death, while the petals of the roses on her head shrivelled and fell to the ground, and I saw her hair spreading out across the sky like the grey threads of a spider's web. Then the young man, having no power to check the fury of his steed, passed away and was lost in the abyss. 
      While my heart was heavy with pity for this young man, I heard my Guide saying to me: 'Watch and behold'. 
      Again a young man appeared to me, and he was clad in armour, and in his hand was a goodly spear. Wild and dangerous beasts I saw striding across his path, but he looked neither to the right hand nor to the left hand, but with the power of his spear he drove them away. And I saw him begin the ascent of a steep mountain full of obstacles, but they seemed to cede before him, and as he reached the summit the sun shone forth illuminating his armour, and in the glory of that light the vision faded from my sight. 
      Then my Guide said to me: 'In the First Chamber on this Level of the Tower thou sawest the Divine Spirit rising through Matter to the Human World. In the next Chamber thou wast shown the rise of the Divine Spirit from the Human World to the Spiritual World. Now this is the meaning of what thou hast seen in this Chamber. In the World in which thou livest an Equilibrium exisreth between Matter and Divine Spirit. Now in the heart of each man a point lieth hid on which this Equilibrium is poised, and this point is the Mystery of his Individuality, which hath the power of turning the balance to the right hand or to the left hand, towards Matter which leadeth to the Abyss, or towards the Divine Spirit which accelerates the moment of Reunion with the Unity. Woe unto him therefore who in the Human World letteth the idleness of one hour to impair the power of his Individuality to turn the balance towards the Light'.

      22. Then my Guide led me without the Chamber, and said to me: 'All have I shown thee, yet one Chamber remaineth'. I said unto him: 'Are my eyes worthy to see what is therein?' He replied: 'If thou desirest to see, thou must rise to it alone'. Then he pointed the way to a steep and tortuous flight of steps which led to the highest pinnacle of the Tower; these with toil and pain I began to ascend alone, and when I had reached to a great height I saw before me the entrance to a chamber closed by a heavy Veil. I pushed it aside and penetrated within, and when the Veil had fallen back behind me it seemed to me that the grave-stone had fallen upon the grave, and that I was severed for ever from the World of Humanity. A feeling of solitude crept upon me and a desire to pray, and kneeling down I worshipped the Unknown, seeking for Illumination , and by degrees the knowledge of the things which I had seen increased within me, and when I lifted up my eyes I saw that the Chamber in which I was was formed like an Ellipse, and that in the centre thereof a Figure sat upon a Throne, neither Man nor Woman, but Humanity in the Womb of Time, - the Ellipse of the Absolute. And as I gazed and marvelled, I saw a Mystic Flower at the summit of the chamber open its four great petals, on each of which a Sign was burnt in fire, and from the depths of the Flower three rays of light descended upon the Figure beneath illuminating it with splendour, so that I saw the overpowering serenity of its face - ever youthful - on which no wrinkle was writ. Then the Figure crossed its hands, so that forefinger was extended against forefinger, and with the tips of the forefingers it touched its lips, placing thereon the Seal of Silence. Then my soul grew bewildered with the beauty of that face, and I covered myself with my hands, and when again I opened my eyes I felt the breath of dawn upon my face, and I heard the lark singing above, and the joy of calm was in my heart, and the morning star shone in all its glory above the Solitude of the Desert. 
      When the Mystic Dervish had ceased to relate what he had seen, the Young King spoke to him thus: 'Oh! Sage, where is the Strange Land to be found where the Temple of Knowledge lieth?' 
      The Dervish replied: 'Oh! King, wouldst thou know where lies the Strange Land where dwell the Disciples of the Path - the Seekers after Truth? Turn to thy Heart; hidden therein lieth the magnificent Temple of Human Knowledge, but the Key to the Gate thereof God alone can give'. 


Vitamin B-12 and folic acid prevent memory loss and improve cognition as we age

Folic acid and vitamin B-12 fight brain stress and inflammation in the elderly

Researchers supplemented one group of study volunteers with an oral dosage of 400 micrograms of folic acid and 100 micrograms of vitamin B-12 daily. This group was compared against a control set of participants that received a placebo. The results were measured at twelve- and twenty-four month intervals using the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status Standardized Test and the Brief Test of Adult Cognition by Telephone (to determine processing speed). An Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly was administered at two years to provide a final analysis of cognitive function.

The study authors found that the group receiving the supplemental B-vitamins experienced significantly better memory function when compared to the control subjects. The research team determined that stress results in inflammation to neuron structures in the brain and inhibits electrical and chemical transmissions between nerves that are required to form new memories and maintain a healthy degree of cognitive function. The body uses B-vitamins, especially folic acid and vitamin B-12, to fight brain inflammation and ensure proper brain communications.

After the two-year study period, Dr. Walker concluded "Long-term supplementation of daily oral 400 mcg folic acid and 100 mcg vitamin B-12 promotes improvement in cognitive functioning after 24 months, particularly in immediate and delayed memory performance." The entire family of B-vitamins has been shown to lower the impact of brain stress and inflammation. Health-conscious adults will want to combine a daily supply of B-vitamins with the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA to dramatically lower the risk of memory loss and cognitive decline.

Sources for this article include:

Friday, January 06, 2012

Lesser-Known Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis Pain

11 Joint Supplements You Haven’t Tried: Lesser-Known Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis Pain
If you suffer from osteoarthritis pain, you’ll probably try anything to ease stiffness and discomfort. Glucosamine is the most well-known, but many other natural arthritis remedies work just as well. From plant bark to spices to shellfish, these joint supplements could become an important part of your arthritis regimen. Read on to learn about their effectiveness and how to take them safely...

A lot of controversy has arisen over common joint supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, spurred by large studies that questioned their effectiveness at easing osteoarthritis pain.

But those aren’t the only natural arthritis remedies out there. An array of natural supplements reduce pain, stiffness and joint inflammation.

Some are traditional herbs and spices that have been used for centuries; others were recently proven effective by modern science. Most can be taken with or without medications.

“Whether or not you’re taking prescription or non-prescription osteoarthritis pain relievers, it may be worthwhile to turn to [these] supplements,” says David Pisetsky, M.D., Ph.D., chief of rheumatology, allergy and clinical immunology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

Click link below to continue reading: 

Full article here:

America's Toxic Flu shots: 250 times EPA mercury limit

Thimerosal is a widely used vaccine preservative that is present in the majority of flu shots and other vaccines. Thimerosal is 49% mercury by volume, an extremely toxic chemical element that wreaks havoc on the nervous system, neurological function, and overall biological function [1]. Each dose of flu vaccine contains around 25 micrograms of thimerosal, over 250 times the Environmental Protection Agency's safety limit of exposure.

Mercury, a neurotoxin, is especially damaging to undeveloped brains. Considering that 25 micrograms of mercury is considered unsafe by the EPA for any human under 550 pounds, the devastating health effects of mercury on a developing fetus are truly concerning.

Though thimerasol is not entirely mercury, the mercury content is still extremely high, making it very toxic to the human body. Despite highly exceeding the EPA safety standards for mercury content by over 250 times, flu shots are still recommended for children over 6 months and pregnant women.

It seems that the age groups that are urged to receive the flu shot are actually most affected by mercury exposure. Young children, pregnant women, and elderly are the 'targeted' demographic of flu shot manufacturers, and these individuals also happen to have the least defense against the elemental neurotoxin mercury.

Dr. Russel Blaylock, a
leading neurologist, explains:

A recent study looked at the immune reaction in newborn infants up to the age of one year who had received the HepB vaccine to see if their immune reaction differed from adults getting the same vaccine. What they found was that the infant, even after age one year, did react differently. Their antibody levels were substantially higher than adults (3-fold higher) and it remained higher throughout the study.

In essence, they found that the babies responded to the vaccine by having an intense Th2 response that persisted long after it should have disappeared, a completely abnormal response.

In 2004, the The Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs petitioned the FDA to limit the use of thimerosal in vaccine citing safety concerns. In a reply made public years later, the FDA denied the request despite overwhelming evidence that mercury is harmful to the human body [2] [3] [4].

In addition to mercury, vaccines also contain other toxic fillers and preservatives that have been linked to
health conditions such as cancer:

-- Aluminium: Also a neurotoxin, aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer's disease [5] and other cognitive diseases [6].

-- Formaldehyde: Among the 8 new substances to be added to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services list of carcinogens.

-- Antibiotics: Various forms include neomycin, streptomycin, and gentamicin.

-- Triton X-100: A detergent that should not be injected into the human bloodstream.

By recommending flu shots to the public, the CDC and vaccine manufacturers are ignoring the warnings of not only major studies conducted by prominent universities, but also the EPA. The EPA's safety limit of mercury exposure is being exceeded by over 250 times each shot. In addition to a number of other 'recommended' vaccines, flu shots are dished out each year to the public, meaning that this exposure increases to 250 times the limit each year. Over a 10 year period, it is possible to exceed the limit by 2500 times simply by receiving a yearly flu shot.

1. Frustaci A, Magnavita N, Chimenti C, et. al; Marked elevation of myocardial trace elements in idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. J Am Coll Cardiology 1999;33:1578-83
2. Chang YC, Yeh C, Wang JD. Subclinical neurotoxicity of merucyr vapor revcelaed by a multimodality evoked potential study of chloralkali workers. Amer J Ind Med 1995;27(2):271-279.
3. Yang Y-J, Huang C-C, Shih T-S, et al . Chronic elemental mercury intoxication:clinical and field studies in lampsocked manufacturers. 1994;Occup Environ Med 57(1):245-247.
4. Bluhm RE, Bobbitt RG, Wlech LW, et al. Elemental mercury vapour toxicity, treatment and prognosis after acute intensive exposure in chloraklali plant workers. Part 1I. History, neuropsychological findings and chelator effects. Hum Exp Toxicol 1992 11(3):201-210.
5. Bertholf, R. Aluminum and Alzheimer's disease: prospectives for a cytoskeletal mechanism. CRC-Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci 25:195, 1987
6. Krishnan, S. Aluminum toxicity to the brain. Sci Total Environ 71:59, 198

Internet site reference:

Dr. Russell Blaylock Warns: Don’t Get the Flu Shot — It Promotes Alzheimer’s

The government is ratcheting up its efforts to convince Americans to get flu shots. “You can’t walk into a pharmacy without seeing lines, and the government is now telling preachers to tell their congregations to get flu shots,” says Dr. Russell Blaylock, renowned neurosurgeon and editor of the Blaylock Wellness Report. “I’ve never seen anything like it.

The incidence of flu across the United States is extremely low — there are virtually no outbreaks — and not a single child has died. Yet, the flu vaccine is being pushed as if it’s the greatest health advance ever discovered.

“The vaccine is completely worthless, and the government knows it,” says Dr. Blaylock. “There are three reasons the government tells the elderly why they should get flu shots: secondary pneumonia, hospitalization, and death. Yet a study by the Cochrane group studied hundreds of thousands of people and found it offered zero protection for those three things in the general community. It offered people in nursing homes some immunity against the flu — at best one-third — but that was only if they picked the right vaccine.”

The government also says that every baby over the age of six months should have a vaccine, and they know it contains a dose of mercury that is toxic to the brain. They also know the studies have shown that the flu vaccine has zero — zero — effectiveness in children under 5.

Here’s the bottom line: The vast number of people who get the flu vaccine aren’t going to get any benefit, but they get all of the risks and complications.

Flu vaccines contain mercury in the form of thimerosal (ethylmercury), a brain toxin, which accumulates in the brain and other organs. “It’s incorporated into the brain for a lifetime,” says Dr. Blaylock. “After five or 10 years of flu shots, enough mercury accumulates in the brain that every single study agrees is neurotoxic. Mercury is extremely toxic to the brain even in very small concentrations, and there are thousands of studies that prove it.”

The changes that we see in the brain associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are all easily produced by mercury in these doses.
Read the Full Article: Dr. Russell Blaylock Warns: Don’t Get the Flu Shot — It Promotes Alzheimer’s

Author:Sylvia Booth Hubbard
Source: NewsMax Health

Vaccine Epidemic
How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children
by Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland J.D.
Vaccine Epidemic bookcover Dr. Russell Blaylock Warns: Dont Get the Flu Shot — It Promotes Alzheimers

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Rosemary oil can be used as a natural meat preservative, and it works better than chemical additives

Although some people already use the popular herb rosemary for seasoning their meat, this combination may become more common in the near future as food manufacturers respond to consumer demand for more natural products.

Currently, two of the most common additives used to preserve meat are BHT and BHA. But studies have linked BHA with cancer and BHT with hyperactivity, causing some consumers to avoid products containing them (read ingredients labels to find out if they're in the foods you buy).

In a 2006 study, essential oils of rosemary and sage performed better at preventing oxidative decay and preventing loss of polyunsaturated fatty acids in meat than a combination of BHA and BHT. This means rosemary oil and sage oil may be one of the best natural food preservers yet discovered, and instead of having detrimental side effects, these natural oils offers protective health benefits!

Researchers are encouraged by this success and are still investigating ways that essential oils could be used to replace additives in a more real-world setting. One hurdle that may need to be overcome is that plant oils impart a distinctive aroma to meat, one that not all consumers may appreciate. But if you like rosemary and sage with your meat, that "problem" may be no problem at all!

Author: by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

I am an INFJ, what are you?

To find out your personality type:

INFJ: aka The Protector
INFJ = Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judger

Nickname of INFJ: “The Agent for Change”

INFJs are among the rarest of the sixteen personality types, constituting only 1-3% of the general population. 

Unlike INTJs, in which males predominate, there is greater gender parity among INFJs, with nearly equal numbers of males and females.

It is difficult to broadly classify INFJs as either right-brained or left-brained since they utilize both sides of the brain with equal adeptness. INFJs are both creative and responsible, artistic and logical, spiritual and scientific, intuitive and analytic.

As an INFJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system. 

INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types. 

INFJs place great importance on havings things orderly and systematic in their outer world. They put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done, and constantly define and re-define the priorities in their lives. On the other hand, INFJs operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous. They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. They are usually right, and they usually know it. Consequently, INFJs put a tremendous amount of faith into their instincts and intuitions. This is something of a conflict between the inner and outer worlds, and may result in the INFJ not being as organized as other Judging types tend to be. Or we may see some signs of disarray in an otherwise orderly tendency, such as a consistently messy desk. 

INFJs have uncanny insight into people and situations. They get "feelings" about things and intuitively understand them. As an extreme example, some INFJs report experiences of a psychic nature, such as getting strong feelings about there being a problem with a loved one, and discovering later that they were in a car accident. This is the sort of thing that other types may scorn and scoff at, and the INFJ themself does not really understand their intuition at a level which can be verbalized. Consequently, most INFJs are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand. INFJs hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive. 

But the INFJ is as genuinely warm as they are complex. INFJs hold a special place in the heart of people who they are close to, who are able to see their special gifts and depth of caring. INFJs are concerned for people's feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone. They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger. They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies, and experience health problems when under a lot of stress. 

Because the INFJ has such strong intuitive capabilities, they trust their own instincts above all else. This may result in an INFJ stubborness and tendency to ignore other people's opinions. They believe that they're right. On the other hand, INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves - there's always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don't often take time to revel in their accomplishments. They have strong value systems, and need to live their lives in accordance with what they feel is right. In deference to the Feeling aspect of their personalities, INFJs are in some ways gentle and easy going. Conversely, they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families. They don't believe in compromising their ideals. 

INFJ is a natural nurturer; patient, devoted and protective. They make loving parents and usually have strong bonds with their offspring. They have high expectations of their children, and push them to be the best that they can be. This can sometimes manifest itself in the INFJ being hard-nosed and stubborn. But generally, children of an INFJ get devoted and sincere parental guidance, combined with deep caring.
In the workplace, the INFJ usually shows up in areas where they can be creative and somewhat independent. They have a natural affinity for art, and many excel in the sciences, where they make use of their intuition. INFJs can also be found in service-oriented professions. They are not good at dealing with minutia or very detailed tasks. The INFJ will either avoid such things, or else go to the other extreme and become enveloped in the details to the extent that they can no longer see the big picture. An INFJ who has gone the route of becoming meticulous about details may be highly critical of other individuals who are not. 

The INFJ individual is gifted in ways that other types are not. Life is not necessarily easy for the INFJ, but they are capable of great depth of feeling and personal achievement.

Study shows selenium may protect against pancreatic cancer

High levels of selenium in the body appear to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a study published in December 2011 in Gut, the journal of the British Society of Gastroenterology.

Pancreatic cancer is particularly lethal. It tends to be diagnosed only in advanced stages and 80% of patients die within a year of diagnosis. Statistics show that only 5% of pancreatic patients are still alive five years after diagnosis. In the US, it is the fourth leading cancer in terms of mortality. For 2011, the National Cancer Institute estimated 44,030 new cases of the disease and 37,660 deaths from this form of cancer.

Nail clippings reveal trace elements

The Gut article was based on a study looking at patients with exocrine pancreatic cancer, the most common form of the disease. An international research team analyzed trace element levels in the toenails of 118 pancreatic cancer patients, comparing them with 399 hospital patients without cancer. Researchers choose this method because nails, especially toenails, are believed to be the most reliable indicators of trace element levels.

Selenium and Nickel Among Non-Cancer Group

Patients without cancer exhibited high levels of selenium in their toenail clippings. Selenium boosts immune system function and reduces inflammation. Previous studies have shown selenium can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, broccoli, spinach, oily fish like tuna and sardines, molasses, mushrooms and garlic are all good sources of selenium. Levels of selenium can also vary geographically. Produce and livestock grown in regions with a high selenium concentration in the soil contain more of this element.

In addition to the selenium, researchers also found higher levels of nickel among the toenail clippings of the patients who did not have pancreatic cancer. Nickel enables dietary iron absorption and contributes to the development of red blood cells. Good food sources of include lentils, asparagus, oats, mushrooms, beans and pears. Patients with the highest levels of nickel and selenium were between 33 per cent and 95 per cent less likely to have pancreatic cancer compared with those with the lowest levels. The positive influence of selenium and nickel appeared to be unchanged even after researchers accounted for other known risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, and obesity.

Arsenic and Cadmium Among Cancer Group

On the other hand, researchers found high levels of lead, arsenic and cadmium among the cancer group. They determined that high levels of lead were six times more likely to occur among cancer patients than those without cancer. High concentrations of arsenic and cadmium were two to three times more common among the pancreatic cancer sufferers. The high cadmium levels relate to cigarette smoking as this element is present in tobacco. Health experts believe as many as one-third of all pancreatic cancer cases are linked to smoking.

In the Gut article, the researchers wrote "Our results support an increased risk of pancreatic cancer associated with higher levels of cadmium, arsenic and lead, as well as an inverse association with higher levels of selenium and nickel." They suggested that clinical trials directly test selenium as a preventative measure for people at high risk of pancreatic cancer.


Author: Tara Green

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Local farms use human waste as fertilizer, renamed "biosolids"

NBC Philadelphia reports that local residents in Lehigh County, located in eastern Pennsylvania, have been raising an issue with local and state authorities about the use of "granulite," a type of sewage sludge fertilizer made from human waste, on nearby farm fields. The so-called fertilizer has reportedly contaminated groundwater and left a disgusting mess all around town.

"There's a huge difference between using fertilizer and using human feces that's been treated with different chemicals," said local resident Bill Schaffhouser to NBC Philadelphia. "This stuff will end up in the food and meat they eat, the milk they drink, this is a real issue."

By renaming human waste as "biosolids fertilizer," wastewater treatment facilities, public utilities and farm supply companies that sell them apparently think it is safe to apply to farm crops. But in Pennsylvania, residents see it as sewage sludge that is polluting their water supplies, yards, creeks, and neighborhoods.

Back in 2010, the Food Rights Network (FRN) conducted tests on "organic biosolids compost" that the city of San Francisco was distributing to local residents as natural fertilizer. The "compost" was made of sewage sludge, and was determined to contain "appreciable concentrations" of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants; triclosan, a toxic antibacterial agent; and nonylphenol detergent breakdown components; as well as other chemical (

Turning sewage sludge into "fertilizer" may help keep less waste from being dumped in other places, but now much of it is being dumped on the food supply. Human waste, of course, is far different from animal manure gathered on small-scale farms, and applied in small quantities to crops -- the former is a toxic biohazard, while the latter is how crops have been fertilized for centuries.

"It's on the streets, it's all through our neighbor's yard, and it's supposed to be regulated but who's regulating it?" asked Schaffhouser. "We've got the chemicals going into the ground, got human feces going into ground (sic) none of it's normal, none of it's natural."

Sources for this article include:
by: Jonathan Benson, staff wrtier

Hundreds of reports of sick dogs come flooding in as FDA issues warning about pet treats imported from China

(NaturalNews) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still reportedly trying to pinpoint the cause of an illness outbreak affecting an increasing number of dogs all over the country. According to a recent warning issued by the FDA, dog owners need to be aware of the source of their pet treats. Many chicken jerky treats imported from China have been making dogs severely ill.

Just a few weeks ago, we reported on 70 known cases of dogs becoming severely ill or dying from chicken jerky treats imported from China ( But that number has spiked to more than 350 after the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine issued a new warning to pet owners to beware of the Chinese imported pet treats.

"FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea; increased water consumption and/or increased urination," says the FDA warning (

At this point, regulators have been unable to identify a specific brand, or even a specific contaminant, that may be responsible for causing the illness. However, the warning follows several others dating back to 2007 and 2008 when the FDA issued similar warnings about chicken jerky treats that were making dogs ill, an anomaly that remains to be solved.

Many popular pet treats and pet food products are questionable to begin with, as the source of their ingredients are typically undisclosed. Even pet food products manufactured by domestic companies may contain ingredients sourced from other countries, and sometimes contaminants slip in undetected, as was the case in 2006 when Diamond Pet Foods recalled 19 varieties of dog food that was contaminated with aflatoxin (

As an alternative to store-bought food and treats, pet owners may wish to search out local sources of pet food made from farm-fresh ingredients instead. Some local suppliers will carry raw meat products derived from pastured animals, for instance, that are specifically made just for pets.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) also has a buying guide for pet products that you can use to find trusted sources of quality pet food in your area (

Author: Jonathan Benson, staff writer

Sources for this article include:

Vitamins for Knee Arthritis

Out of the abundance of vitamins available on the market today, a select number are used for knee arthritis. These include B Vitamins (Vitamin B5, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12), Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. Vitamins B and C are water soluble and pass through one's urine, while vitamins D, E and K are fat soluble and are stored in the liver. While these vitamins may not completely cure arthritis, they do strengthen the bones surrounding the knees and related joints.

  1. B Vitamins

    • B Vitamins in general are good for reducing swelling and assisting in the development of healthy tissues like muscles, bones, joints and skin. Vitamin B3 dilates small arteries, increasing blood flow. Vitamins B5 and B6 reduce tissue swelling. Vitamin B12 helps with cell formation, digestion, myelin production and nerve protection, and enhances the effect of pain-killing drugs when combined with Vitamin B1. Vitamin B-complex can be found in milk, liver, whole grain cereals, brewer's yeast, eggs, meats, nuts, fish, yogurt and fruits.

    Vitamin C

    • Vitamin C enhances the immune system, enabling better absorption of nutrients, and protects the body from free radicals as an antioxidant. It also helps build healthy cartilage, joints, and blood vessels. Kiwi, orange, melons, berries, bananas, avocados and guavas are fruits that are packed with Vitamin C. Consuming these fruits can prevent and assist in curing diseases like arthritis that cause severe joint problems.

    Vitamin D

    • Vitamin D has been found to help keep bones and teeth strong while regulating cells and reducing inflammation. Vitamin D can be found in fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna as well as in milk.

    Vitamin E

    • Vitamin E increases joint flexibility and prevents joint inflammation, acting as an antioxidant like Vitamin C. Vitamin E is widely available in capsule or liquid form in stores. Though the effectiveness of Vitamin E is speculative, it has been claimed that people suffering from knee arthritis are deficient in Vitamin E.

    Vitamin K

    • Vitamin K assists the body in making mineral deposits in the bones while preventing bone degeneration and enabling the blood to clot. Vitamin K is found in cabbage, spinach and other leafy green vegetables or can be taken in the form of supplements in doses of 5 to 15 milligrams. While plant-based K1 and K2 are non-toxic, K3 is synthetic and should be avoided.


Monday, January 02, 2012

Top 30 Worst Foods In America (Beware)

Today’s food marketers have loaded many of their offerings with so much fat, sugar, and sodium that eating any of the foods in this article on a daily basis could destroy all your hard work and best intentions of eating healthy. Beware! This list is brought to you by Eat This Not That and Men's Health.

1. Worst Meal in America

Carl’s Jr. Six Dollar Guacamole Bacon Burger with Medium Natural Cut Fries and 32-oz Coke

1,810 calories - 92 g fat (29.5 g saturated, 2 g trans) - 3,450 mg sodium

Of all the gut-growing, heart-threatening, life-shortening burgers in the drive-thru world, there is none whose damage to your general well-being is as potentially catastrophic as this. A bit of perspective is in order: This meal has the caloric equivalent of 9 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnuts, the saturated fat equivalent of 30 strips of bacon, and the salt equivalent of 10 large orders of McDonald’s French fries!

2. Worst Drink

Baskin-Robbins Large Chocolate Oreo Shake

2,600 calories - 135 g fat (59 g saturated, 2.5 g trans) - 1,700 mg sodium - 263 g sugars

We didn’t think anything could be worse than Baskin-Robbins’ 2008 bombshell, the Heath Bar Shake. After all, it had more sugar (266 grams) than 20 bowls of Froot Loops, more calories (2,310) than 11 actual Heath Bars, and more ingredients (73) than you’ll find in most chemistry sets. Yet the folks at Baskin-Robbins have shown that when it comes to making America fat, they’re always up to the challenge. The large Chocolate Oreo Shake is soiled with more than a day’s worth of calories and 3 days’ worth of saturated fat. Worst of all, it takes less than 10 minutes to sip through a straw.

3. Worst Ribs

Outback Steakhouse Baby Back Ribs

2,580 calories

Let’s be honest: Ribs are rarely served alone on a plate. When you add a sweet potato and Outback’s Classic Wedge Salad, this meal is a 3,460-calorie blowout. (Consider that it takes only 3,500 calories to add a pound of fat to your body. Better plan for a very, very long “walkabout” when this meal is over!)

4. Worst Pizza

Uno Chicago Grill Classic Deep Dish Individual Pizza

2,310 calories - 165 g fat (54 g saturated) - 4,920 mg sodium - 120 g carbs

The problem with deep dish pizza (which Uno's knows a thing or two about, since they invented it back in 1943) is not just the extra empty calories and carbs from the crust, it's that the thick doughy base provides the structural integrity to house extra heaps of cheese, sauce, and greasy toppings. The result is an individual pizza with more calories than you should eat in a day and more sodium than you would find in 27 small bags of Lays Potato Chips. Oh, did we mention it has nearly 3 days' worth of saturated fat, too? The key to success at Uno's lies in their flatbread pizza.

5. Worst Mexican Dish

Chili's Fajita Quesadillas Beef with Rice and Beans, 4 Flour Tortillas, and Condiments

2,240 calories - 92 g fat (43.5 g saturated) - 6,390 mg sodium - 253 g carbs

Since when has it ever been a smart idea to combine 2 already calorie- and sodium-packed dishes into one monstrous meal? This confounding creation delivers nearly a dozen Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnuts worth of calories, the sodium equivalent of 194 saltine crackers, and the saturated fat equivalent of 44 strips of bacon. Check please.

6. Worst Seafood Dish

Romano’s Macaroni Grill Parmesan Crusted Sole

2,190 calories - 141 g fat (58 g saturated) - 2,980 mg sodium - 145 g carbs

Fish is normally a safe bet, but this entrĂ©e proves that it’s all in the preparation. If you fry said fish in a shell of cheese, be prepared to pay the consequences. Here that means meeting your daily calorie, fat, saturated fat, and sodium intake in one sitting.

7. Worst Chinese Dish

P.F. Chang’s Combo Lo Mein

1,968 calories - 96 g fat (12 g saturated) - 5,860 mg sodium

Lo mein is normally looked at as a side dish, a harmless pile of noodles to pad your plate of orange chicken or broccoli beef. This heaping portion (to be fair, Chang’s does suggest diners share an order) comes spiked with chicken, shrimp, beef, and pork, not to mention an Exxon Valdez-size slick of oil. The damage? A day’s worth of calories, 1 ½ days’ worth of fat, and 2 ½ days’ worth of sodium. No meat-based dish beats out the strip.

8. Worst Appetizer

On the Border Firecracker Stuffed Jalapenos with Chili con Queso

1,950 calories - 134 g fat (36 g saturated) - 6,540 mg sodium

Appetizers are the most problematic area of most chain-restaurant menus. That’s because they’re disproportionately reliant on the type of cheesy, greasy ingredients that catch hungry diners’ eyes when they’re most vulnerable—right when they sit down. Seek out lean protein options like grilled shrimp skewers or ahi tuna when available; if not, simple is best—like chips and salsa.

9. Worst Burger

Chili’s Smokehouse Bacon Triple Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

1,901 calories - 138 g fat (47 g saturated) - 4,201 mg sodium

Any burger whose name is 21 syllables long is bound to spell trouble for your waistline. This burger packs almost an entire day’s worth of calories and 2 ½ days’ worth of fat. Chili’s burger menu rivals Ruby Tuesday’s for the worst in America, so you’re better off with one of their reasonable Fajita Pitas to silence your hunger.

10. Worst Sandwich

Quizno’s Large Tuna Melt

1,760 calories - 133 g fat (26 g saturated, 1.5 g trans) - 2,120 mg sodium

In almost all other forms, tuna is a nutritional superstar, so how did it end up as the headliner for America’s Worst Sandwich? Blame an absurdly heavy hand with the mayo the tuna is mixed with, along with Quiznos’ larger-than-life portion sizes. Even though they’ve managed to trim this melt down from the original 2,000-plus calorie mark when we first tested it, it still sits squarely at the bottom of the sandwich ladder.

11. Worst Salad

On the Border Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef and Chipotle Honey Mustard

1,700 calories - 124 g fat (37.5 g saturated) - 2,620 mg sodium

The dismal dawn of the 1,700-calorie salad is upon us. With as much saturated fat as 37 strips of bacon and more calories than 11 Taco Bell Fresco Beef Tacos, this abdomen expander earns a well-deserved spot on our list of the Worst Foods in America.

12. Worst Dessert

Romano’s Macaroni Grill New York Cheesecake with Caramel Fudge Sauce

1,660 calories - 97 g fat (57 g saturated) - 950 mg sodium - 165 g carbs

Considering the fact that Macaroni Grill’s savory menu is already cluttered with one of the country’s most potent arrays of calorie, fat, and sodium bombs, its lineup of destructive desserts only adds insult to injury. There’s the Dessert Ravioli (1,630 calories), the Lemon Passion (1,360 calories), and the always classic and catastrophic caramel-smothered cheesecake, which, with more calories than 3 Big Macs and as much saturated fat as 57 strips of bacon, is the worst dessert in America. Seek solace in a scoop of sorbetto—one of the country’s best sit-down sweets

13. Worst Pancake Breakfast

Bob Evans Stacked & Stuffed Caramel Banana Pecan Hotcakes

1,543 calories - 77 g fat (26 g saturated, 9 g trans) - 2,259 mg sodium - 109 g sugars

This appalling platter is stacked and stuffed with the sugar equivalent of 7 Twinkies, the caloric equivalent of 8 Dunkin’ Donuts glazed doughnuts, the sodium equivalent of 6 ½ large order of McDonald’s French fries, and 4 ½ times your daily limit of trans fat. It’s made numerous lists in our newest book, Eat This, Not That! The Best (and Worst!) Foods in America, including Worst Foods, Most Sugar-Packed Foods, and Trans-Fattiest Foods. Above all of these dubious distinctions, it’s the undisputed Worst Breakfast in America.

14. Worst Omelet Breakfast

IHOP’s The Big Steak Omelette

1,490 calories

We’re not sure what’s more concerning: IHOP’s never-ending stacks of margarine-slathered sweets or their reckless attempts at covering the savory side of breakfast with entrees like this one. With close to three-quarters of a day’s worth of calories folded into its eggy shell (thanks to a heaping portion of fatty beef), you’re committing to eating rice cakes for your next 2 meals when you start your morning off with this bomblette. Why not enjoy the substantial Garden Scramble and 2 more real meals instead?

15. Worst "Healthy" Sandwich

Applebee's Chicken Fajita Rollup

1,450 calories

For some curious reason, wraps have come to be viewed as a healthy upgrade from sandwiches, as if those massive tortillas can be filled with nothing but anticalories. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The problem with wraps is that they function as holding tanks for fluids, so hurried fry-cooks can squirt in as much sauce as they want without making it look messy. With Applebee’s rollup, the offending sauce is a Mexi-ranch sauce, which looks suspiciously more like ranch than anything eaten in Mexico. But here’s the final insult: This “healthy” meal is served with fries. Eat them and you tack on 400 extra calories.

16. Worst Sliders

Ruby Tuesday Bacon Cheddar Minis

1,358 calories - 86 g fat - 75 g carbs

Diminutive dishes are one of the hottest trends in the restaurant world right now (probably since most are looking for ways to stretch a buck), and you’d think that would serve health-conscious eaters well. But not under the reckless watch of the burger barons at Ruby Tuesday, who manage to turn 4 “mini” burgers into the caloric equivalent of 7 Dunkin’ Donuts Sugar Donuts.

17. Worst Kids' Meal

Uno Chicago Grill Kids Kombo with French Fries

1,270 calories - 79 g fat (11.5 g saturated) - 2,850 mg sodium

For food marketers, the color of money isn’t green—it’s beige. Any parent knows that most foods kids clamor for, from fries to white bread to chicken nuggets, come in beige. It’s also a marker of cheap, calorie-rich, nutritionally bankrupt foodstuffs. So when you see this monochromatic cluster of cheese sticks, dinosaur-shaped chicken and fried potatoes, you know your kid’s in trouble. Make it a rule when eating out: All dishes must come with at least two colors (and ketchup doesn’t count).

18. Worst Vegetarian Sub

Blimpie Special Vegetarian Sub (12")

1,186 calories - 60 g fat (19 g saturated) - 3,532 mg sodium - 131 g carbs

“Vegetarian” doesn’t automatically translate to “healthy.” Sure, this sandwich has vegetables, but it also has 3 different kinds of cheese and a deluge of oil tucked into a hulking 12” roll. No wonder it contains more than half a day’s worth of calories and a cascade of carbs. For a truly healthy pile of vegetables, try the garden salad. If a sandwich is the only thing that will do, you’ll have to settle for the small VeggieMax, still far from a model of meatless eating.

19. Worst Frozen Meal

Stouffer’s White Meat Chicken Pot Pie

1,160 calories - 66 g fat (26 g saturated) - 1,780 mg sodium

The potpie is one of the world’s worst dietary inventions to begin with, and the damage is all the more extreme when the pie seems as big as a child’s head. Stouffer’s tries to get away with it by falling back on the serving-size sleight of hand; that is, to list as 2 servings what every person with a fork will consume as 1. Nobody splits potpies, and eating this whole thing will fill your belly with more saturated fat than you should eat in an entire day.

20. Worst Mall Treat

Cinnabon Regular Caramel Pecanbun

1,110 calories - 56 g fat (10 g saturated, 5 g trans) - 151 g carbs - 47 g sugars

Cinnabon and malls are inseparable. Consider it a symbiotic relationship: Researchers have found that men are turned on by the smell of cinnamon rolls, and further studies have shown that men are more likely to spend money when they’re thinking about sex. But just because Cinnabon might be good for Gap doesn’t mean it’s at all good for you. This dangerously bloated bun contains nearly an entire day’s worth of fat and more than half of your daily allotment of calories. (For those keeping score, that’s as much as you’ll find in 8 White Castle hamburgers.)

21. Worst Breakfast For Your Blood Pressure

Arby's Sausage Gravy Biscuit

1,040 calories - 60 g fat (22 g saturated, 2 g trans) - 4,699 mg sodium

This is absolutely one of the worst ways you could start your day. Make a date with this and you’ll have consumed 2 full days’ worth of sodium before the noon hour. The key to maintaining a reasonable blood pressure for most folks is to take in at least the equivalent amount of sodium and potassium throughout your day. (A 1:1 ratio is seen as ideal.) The problem with this biscuit is that you’re consuming a heart-stopping level of sodium and almost no potassium. Throw in an abundance of calories and trans fat and you may have been better off sleeping in.

22. Worst Adult Beverage

Red Lobster Traditional Lobsterita

890 calories 183 g carbs

Lobsterita means a lobster tank-sized glass filled with booze and high-fructose corn syrup. You’d have to drink 4 regular on-the-rocks margaritas to outdo the massive caloric load. Pair that with a dinner and you might be pushing a full day’s calories in one meal. If you want to get drunk, take a shot. If you want to enjoy a cocktail, make sure it doesn’t start with a bottle of mix—your body and your taste buds will thank you.

23. Worst Frozen Breakfast

Jimmy Dean Pancake and Sausage Breakfast Bowl

710 calories - 31 g fat (11 g saturated) - 890 mg sodium - 34 g sugars

A disastrous trifecta of refined carbs from the pancakes, saturated fat from the sausage, and added sugar from the syrup. Jimmy’s got his name attached to more than a few solid breakfast choices, so find one less than 400 calories immediately and make the switch. Hint: Look to the breakfast sandwiches and the D-Lights line.

24. Worst Frozen Pizza

DiGiorno for One Supreme pizza with Garlic Bread Crust

840 calories 44 g fat (16 g saturated, 3.5 g trans) 1,450 mg sodium

Regardless of the crust you choose, DiGiorno’s For One line is dominated by nutritional duds. The bloated crust and the greasy toppings will saddle you with 60 percent of your day’s sodium, 80 percent of your day’s saturated fat, and nearly twice the amount of trans fat you should take in daily. Hands off!

25. Worst Side Dish For Your Arteries

Jack in the Box Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges

760 calories - 52 g fat (16 g saturated, 13 g trans) - 960 mg sodium

It’s no surprise this side dish is bursting with fat and calories—it’s a plate of fried potatoes topped with bacon and melted cheese. The Jack in the Box menu is so thoroughly swaddled in trans fats that they truly have earned the bottom slot on our list of the trans-fattiest foods in America—not to mention, the title of Trans-Fattiest Restaurant in America. The good news is that not all of Jack’s items are filled with the bad stuff—a smarter appetizer or side dish would be the Grilled Chicken Pita Snack.

26. Worst Supermarket Kids' Lunch

Oscar Mayer Maxed Out Turkey & Cheddar Cracker Combo Lunchables

680 calories - 22 g fat (9 g saturated) - 1,440 mg sodium - 61 g sugars

The Maxed Out line is the worst of the lackluster Lunchables, with a back label that reads like a chemistry textbook. By cramming dessert and a superweet drink into the box, Oscar manages to saddle this already-troubled package with more added sugar than your child should take in all day. This meal has the sugar equivalent of 10 Dunkin’ Donuts jelly-filled doughnuts!

27. Worst Gas Station Treat

Hostess Chocolate Pudding Pie

520 calories - 24 g fat (14 g saturated, 1.5 g trans) - 45 g sugars

This is the type of snack you pick up at a gas station in a pinch and feel vaguely guilty about, not knowing that you just managed to ingest nearly three-quarters of a day’s worth of saturated fat before your tank finishing filling up. And considering these little packages of doom cost a buck or less across the country, the pudding pie qualifies as one of the cheapest sources of empty calories in America.

28. Worst Supermarket Drink

Sobe Pina Colada Liz Blizz (20 oz bottle)

325 calories - 0 g fat - 78 g sugars

Don’t be fooled by the natural motifs that adorn Sobe’s bottles. It has more sugar than you’ll find in two Snickers bars! We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Don’t buy products with cartoon animals on the front.

29. Worst Snack For Your Arteries

Pop Secret Kettle Corn (1/3 bag)

180 calories - 13 g fat (2.5 g saturated, 5 g trans) - 150 mg sodium

The only “secret” here is that the company has no qualms about trans fat. Eat an entire bag of this kettle corn, and you’ll consume 15 grams of the artery-clogging junk—that’s more than 7 times your recommended daily limit. Choose Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter for fewer calories and no trans fat.

30. Worst Canned Fruit

Del Monte Peach Chunks Yellow Cling Peaches in Heavy Syrup

100 calories - 23 g sugars

Peaches themselves aren’t bona fide junk food; they are, after all, still fruit. But why manufacturers feel the need to can, packaged, and bottle nature’s candy with excess sugar is a question we will never stop asking. In this case, the viscous sugar solution clings to the fruit like syrup to a pancake, soaking every bite with utterly unnecessary calories. Looking for cheap sources of fruit to have on hand at any time? Opt for the frozen stuff—it’s picked at the height of season and flash frozen on the spot, keeping costs low and nutrients high.