Showing posts with label Paganism & Nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paganism & Nature. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Living Like Nature: Just A SAD Rant

I am on a different wavelength these days, as my SADS kicks into high gear, and I find myself feeling at odds within myself. The last few years have really kicked my ass emotionally, and physically, what with the two major back surgeries I had, the changes those made in my life physically and financially, the effort my family has had to make to stay strong, be creative, supportive... it's been rough on my husband and daughter, and it's been hellish on me.

I find myself questioning many things in my life these days, and it's not surprising as the Christmas holidays usually bring out the worst in me. I do not like the holidays, what they represent, how I see the entire North American continent begin to spend more money, try to keep up with societal pressures, in order to create some picturesque holiday to share on social media via pictures and anecdotes. It's exhausting to me, as I just don't share those beliefs, ideals, or desires. I don't want to live in a world where we are all sinners supplecating ourselves to a higher power who judges us based on how like Him we are trying to be. And I don't want this post to come off as an insult to Christianity, god knows I am in no place to judge anyone. I like the idea of Jesus, he seems like the most loving and compassionate being this planet has ever known, and I would love to be like him, and see others being like him. But it's not who we are; people are just downright selfish in my estimation. It's human nature to be selfish, and I say this with complete honesty and as much humility as I can muster at 5:45am. We have survival instincts which drive us forward, and in order to survive we must navigate society in the "right" ways, in order to avoid alienation, disconnection, isolation etc.

But I think to the animal kingdom, and my heart aches, because I see very clearly in my own understanding where humanity went "wrong" so to speak along our own evolutionary path. If you can indulge me for a few moments, try to understand that I have utmost respect for nature, and as a basis of my spiritual beliefs, I think nature is the perfect mirror to creation or God as we can possibly get while living in a 3 dimensional reality. Nature doesn't try, nature simply is. And this is how we could or should be too, were we not so busy trying to be everything else.

I love the animals on this planet, and relate very closely to bears. Bears are relatively isolated creatures, who are fierce mothers, and yet when not nurturing young, they are lone, and wild, and follow their own instincts to survive every day. They spend half the year sluggish during the winter months, then spend six months trying to find enough food to fatten up in order to hibernate again during the following winter months. As a result, Bears live very much in the now - in the moment. Each day, whether nurturing cubs or not, bears simply wander their habitat looking for sustenance. In between feeding they nap, play, cavort, explore. And this is natural for them, they do not try to store food they cannot eat immediately; they eat what they can and move on. They roam the lands, following migratory patterns of prey, and following deeply ingrained instincts while they follow their own biological need to mate, feed, birth, and rest.

Man was once like this too, hundreds of thousands of years ago. We dwelt in small clans, moving around following migratory patterns of our own prey, and each day we spent surviving. There was no need to collect more food than we could eat that day, kill animals for any reason other than to eat. We did not try to dominate the land, but rather we lived within the parameters of our own ability to survive reasonably on a day to day basis. We lived in unity with nature as a result.

Now, we have fridges and freezers full of food we don't need right away, have cupboards full of food that is so chemically treated to keep it lasting long that we subject ourselves to physical illnesses, diseases, simply because it's "easier" to have these foods than get what we need on a daily basis. Our lives revolve around having more; more food, more money, more clothes, more luxury items, more play things... it's tiring. I'm tired of this game of "more" we are playing.

In my kitchen there are foods that provide zero nutritional properties. And we eat them because they are easy to prepare. And then we wash our hair and bodies in chemically treated animal tested items in order to have shinier hair, whiter teeth. Civilized humans are all but consumed by fitting in, making life easy, and living the "dream", but to me it is a nightmare.

I day dream about nature, the trees, plants, mosses and fungus, and I think how beautiful it would be to have that kind of faith; the faith that makes it possible to bloom and grow despite effort or desires. Nature doesn't contemplate how to grow quicker, or bigger, or how to have more nutrients by which to do so. Nature just blooms, grows, withers, and dies. And the cycle goes round and round, and it's all so

I guess that is where I am right now; desiring a more organic life. I am overweight, diseased, disabled, and distraught, depressed, and downright dejected. I have all the modern comforts a person could ask for, a nice home, two cars, lots of food, games, toys, shiny trinkets and keep sakes. And yet something is sorely lacking from my life, an internal faith, that goes beyond spirit, god, or universe... a faith in my own biological nature. I have lost my ability to trust my own process of growth, blooming and blossoming, withering and dying...

Does this make sense to you? I do not feel in sync with nature, by virtue of my own ridiculous need to understand my nature. Human beings are prone to thinking, which can be downright problematic at times. I think back to my youth, hours spent sunbathing at the beach, never wondering how the sun may damage my skin, and it didn't. I'd swim after eating, never worrying about cramps, and they never happened. I would sleep a couple hours, get up and have a full day of activity, and never once felt spent. And this is how we are when we are young; we just follow our biology and don't question it, and therefore it doesn't deplete. Yet we get older and these things fall to the wayside as we learn about drudgery. And drudgery becomes the new natural order of things, which is so completely unnatural really. But we do it; we all do it, we grow up, get older, expect less, and become complacent. And soon we're middle aged, contemplating the things we did wrong, the things we wish we'd done differently, and wondering if we can do anything right before our little snippet of time here on this planet is done?

My journey of spiritual awakening and self-awareness has brought me to many beautiful epiphanies and moments of sublime understanding. And yet, at the vantage point from which I observe my life now, I can see far more damage which I've done to myself as a result of trying to better understand myself in relation to life, the Universe, and god. In trying to be a better person, I lost all those beautiful youthful complexities which made me a vibrant source of energy. I spend more time contemplating my behavior, and how I affect my surroundings than is healthy, and hold myself to higher expectations that I do anyone else. Why? Why should I expect myself to be any more enlightened, kinder, gentler, or smarter than any other human being? Because I've spent so many years learning about human nature, I should somehow be less inclined to exhibit it?

I'm tired. Tired of trying to be the bigger person, the better person, tired of trying to do "right" all the time. I just want to be. But when I give myself permission to simply be who I am, it seems someones toes get stepped on.

And it just brings me back to bears *gentle smile*. Bears don't worry about anyone, or anything, other than the simple moment they are living in. Just like every other living creature in the animal kingdom; the current moment is the only reality. Why have we as human beings tried to extricate ourselves from that very natural state of being, and spent lifetimes acquiring things, by which to feel secure by? Security is an illusion, one which the modern world is quickly waking up to, and people are beginning to really understand that freedom is something we do not truly afford one another, as we are all so busy trying to get our piece of the proverbial pie.

I know, this is a very cynical outlook, and yet I don't see it as simply as that; it is a natural outlook, nature isn't all warm and fluffy, in order to survive, other creatures must die, prey needs to feed predator, and that is the simplest fact of nature that there is. There is no matter of fairness in nature, in order to live, creatures must kill, and they don't waste time worrying about the inequity of it. They do what their biology urges them to do, just as they have for millions of years.

Yet I make a trip to the freezer for an ice cream bar and struggle with a two hour session of guilt over my inability to control my insatiable desire for junk food.


If you're still following me, I applaud you. This rant may indeed serve no point other than to allow me to vent my own frustration at myself, for being a human creature of insurmountable inconsistency and hypocrisy.

I sit on my recliner couch, using my laptop while my big screen tv is on mute, in my big comfy apartment, full of nice things, and feel myself brimming with unhappiness, which is just so childish really, and yet I can't get past the blues I feel, because a part of me is just so damned dissatisfied with who I am. Who I am is a human being, one who has spent a better part of a lifetime trying to be a "good" human being. And yet, at almost 43 years of age, I am no better at this than I ever was.

So I will keep looking to the animal kingdom for guidance. Until such a time as I can try to just accept myself as I am, I will maybe try to be more like a mother bear, and worry less about how I am affecting my surroundings, and just muddle on, day to day, need by need, hunger by hunger. Any less time spent contemplating my self, my thoughts, my motivation could surely be spent doing something more productive, like napping.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Blessing & Cleansing Your Home

I talk often of energy work, and using the Universes abundant (indeed infinite) supply of White Light, which is Love energy, to cleanse and bless ones own Chakra`s and being.

You can also access this White Light to bless and cleanse your living space, and all who reside within.

If you have access to sage brush (I use white sage), you will want to use bound sage stalks, which are pre-tied together and easily lit as they are dried out. You can also choose to use loose sage if you have the proper charcoal to heat it with.

Above is a Sage stalk tied in an Abalone shell. Below is a charcoal heat source and loose sage.

When using a charcoal, you will want to make sure it is in a source that can withstand extreme heat, as it will become extremely hot. I use a metal cauldron for charcoal sessions, you can use an old pot (make sure it is thick the heat will spread through metal) with a handle that doesn`t heat, and I don`t recommend using an Abalone shell for charcoal as the heat will bleed through and can crack the shell.

In any event, whether you use loose sage or a sage brush, it is best to first understand why you`re using sage in the first place.

What Sage Does:

Sage is a natural cleansing herb, it grows freely around the world, and the Native Americans knew long before the white man came to North America, that Sage had many wonderfully healing properties. Not only is it a tasty complement to turkey or other poultry and cooking, it also can be used in healing ointments, oils, and pastes. Sage helps lower perspiration, lowers blood sugar in diabetes, is antimicrobial, and helps to dry up lactation glands in nursing mothers. Oil of sage is used actively to combat Candida and salmonella. The healing properties of the Sage plant are far reaching, and those healing affects transcend simply ingesting the plant or using it topically. You can also burn the sage plant to release cleansing smoke into your environment, and to help cleanse away negative energy.

When you light the sage to perform a cleansing, you will notice it`s odor immediately, and it can take getting used to as it is pungent, and may remind you of thanksgiving dinners of your youth if your mother used sage in her dressing. I recommend opening a window or two to help ventilate the smoke as you begin to smudge (cleanse) your home. The smoke from the sage plant gathers up negative particulate ions in your home and transforms them to neutral energy which is then easily converted to positive energy. The smoke will also help you to set up energy grids in your home, creating barriers by which only positive energy can enter, and negative energy will be deflected. In this way, Sage is extremely therapeutic and trans-formative.

How to Begin:

I always begin any type of energy work with a prayer, or blessing to the Universe. I will share with you what I say, but urge you to find your own rhythm, words of power, and to follow your own intuition, as the words I use are powerful for me based on my beliefs, but they may not be as powerful for you. You can say literally whatever you are compelled to say, and call upon whomever you want to call on for healing assistance. But when I begin to do energy work I want to call upon certain elements and beings to assist me, so I begin by standing at my altar, closing my eyes, and saying something along the lines of:

"I call out to my Guides, to the Angels and Ascended Masters, to all whom walk in Light and with Love. I call out to the Universe, and the White Light of all Life which resides in all places at all times. I ask that you come to me now, in Love and Peace, so that I may cleanse my self, and my home of negative energy, thoughts, and attitudes. Please be with me, guide my hand, use my body as an instrument of healing, and work with the Sage smoke to bind darkness away from my home, so that only Light and Love may dwell within."

I then light my sage and go through my home, saging all window's, doorways, all the beds, corners and walls. I continue to talk to the Universe as I do so, to say things such as "cleanse my daughters bed, so that her sleep is deep and restful, her dreams are sweet and supportive, and that she wakes feeling rested and alert", or "Please cleanse every corner, every nook and cranny of my home, please let this smoke filter away all unwanted lower level energy so that only peace may reside within these walls."

Does it Really Work?

The answer to that question lies within your own intentions my friend. When you work with energy, your will and intention is what shapes the very results; if you do not believe at some level, then no it will not 'work', as you will not faithfully be drawing the positive energy towards you that you say you desire. So you must check yourself first and foremost. Do you believe in positive energy? Do you believe that the Universe has your best intentions? Do you feel worthy of receiving help from the Universe to heal your home and body of negative energy? All of these questions lead to your own state of being, and understanding. Only when you understand your connectivity to the Universe, via Light and energy, will you understand that you are an extension of that very Universal Light and that you are capable of great acts of energy work by virtue simply of your belief in yourself.

Get comfortable within the knowledge that you are made of the same magical stuff that the planet is made of, the suns and stars are made of. Feel at home in the knowledge that you ARE Starstuff - and your connection to the Universe is not only energetic, but also organic.

When you set your intention to a task, you must then realize that you are working with the Universe in harmony. If your intention is towards healing, love, and harmonious outcomes, then the Universe will simply fall in line with your desires. If you try to use your connectivity to manipulate, or create dark karma, then you open yourself up to that dark karma pointing right back at you. We don't want to get into acts of dark magick - we simply want to cleanse our home. Right?

So call upon whatever Universal beings you are comfortable working with. I call Archangle Michael during sage smudging sessions, as I have for many years now, and I ask him to stand at the four corners of my home with his swords of Light fire - to create a pillar of light at each of the four corners. From those four corners I ask the Universe to draw a lattice of white Light energy to lay down upon my home, layer upon layer, until it looks like infinite layers of shimmering spiders web laid one on top of the other, and my house is literally ensconced in levels and layers of white shimmering light. 

And always when saging, as with any other energy work, I use my intuition. It tells me when a room is cleansed and I can move on to the next. It tells me when there is particularly heavy energy somewhere that needs extra work. And above all else it lets me know I am not alone in this endeavor and that I am receiving help from the Universal forces of Light and Love.

As to how often you want to do this, that is up to you dear friends. In the beginning you may want to do it daily, or weekly, to get into the rhythm, and become comfortable with wielding this light energy. Eventually you may decide to do it every month, or every few months, as I do. That being said, I do light my sage and smoke myself when I'm dealing with something particularly heavy. For example, if I get really angry about something or extremely sad, I will sage my body, and call upon the Universe to help me rid myself of negative emotions, so that I may remain peaceful, rational, and calm.

When you are done working with the smudge, you can then give thanks to whomever you've called for help, and make sure your sage is properly put out lest it keep burning. Be sure it is out - you don't want to ignite a fire in your home. If worse comes to worse you can always run water over the end of the burning sage, it will dry out for you to use again, and this will guarantee it is out completely and wont keep smoldering. If you've used a charcoal heater for loose sage simply let it burn itself out, or run it under water to put it out.

And that is how simple it is to cleanse your home, and self of negative energy by using Sage. You can of course experiment with other herbs at your leisure, so I do recommend you invest in the charcoal burners, as there are a myriad of wonderful herbs and potions you can purchase at shops or online that have been previously blessed with incantations to help with various desires, ranging from love and money, to deeper healing, or blossoming of psychic gifts. The possibilities are as endless as the Light of Love in the Universe!

I hope you enjoy cleansing your home with Sage - please feel free to comment with your own experiences with Sage, or use the links above to the Forum or FB Group to share there!

With all my love and blessings,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What If There Is No God? What if Love is God?

Having spent most of my life seeking enlightenment, awakening and awareness, it is more than ironic that I find myself writing this particular post. There is coming full circle, and then there is circling, shooting out into orbit and heading off in a direction you didn't previously know existed. You see, I always assumed that there was a greater meaning to life, and an omnipotent overseer of this Universe, who we often call God, and in those assumptions I hung up my hat and rested for well over three full decades. I questioned aspects of my beliefs as I bounced from Christianity to Wicca to New Age to Paganism, but I never for a moment imagined any track I was on was remotely "off".

But now, through the 20/20 clarity of hindsight I can see how all of those previous states of awareness have just led me towards my current state of perception, and it's shocking to realize how all of that spiritual seeking led me right into a neo-atheistic state of mind.

I'm not an atheist, I do believe there is some kind of creative energy in the Universe, but I don't for a moment spend any more time imagining that this energy is sentient or benevolent or spends any amount of it's time giving a crap about my piddly existence or problems.

When I ponder the history of humanity, in no real linear fashion, I can see nothing but a history of bloodshed and violence; when you examine the cause of our wars as a people the root of the problem always in every single case boils down to one issue: ideology. Every single conflict every single person has ever had on this planet has revolved around mine vs yours, whether it is property, resources, beliefs, or liberties. In every case of tyranny and oppression on our planet, which are far too great to number or list, the distinct similarity has been one side or faction attempting to strip the other side of something valuable and treasured. We look at this as a modern "civilized" society and think we've come so far, yet it's still happening every day all over this world. People are constantly arguing over who's beliefs are right, who's moral ideology is right, who's politics are right, who's ethnic rituals are right; we spend so much time hurting one another over our own perceived rightness, how can any of us truly believe we are a civilized species?

We drive cars, and wear suits, and live in houses, and contribute to an economy and have access if we're lucky to moderately effective health care, but does that make us civilized?

The history of this planet is proof enough to me that all of my previous spiritual seeking has led me to exactly where I want to be now; comfortably uncomfortable in my uncertainty and cynicism. When I think back to the mindless time and gestures I expended "believing" that everything happened for a reason, while going with the flow as life happened to me, I feel a sense of futility within me that urges me to get up and scream. Christianity taught me to turn the other cheek, while Wicca taught me to do no harm; Paganism taught me to value nature, while the new age movement taught me that we are all One. And in the end all of those lessons are utter hogwash to me, because if we all turn the other cheek, that is tantamount to apathy; nothing gets accomplished, tyranny trumps all as we're all turning the other cheek and allowing oppression to happen around and TO us. Do no harm? That's the most ambiguously hypocritical tenet any religious or spiritual sect can adhere to, we all do harm, constantly, and only those who deny it are lying to themselves. To truly do no harm one needs to start within, and we are a society that is constantly harming, ourselves and each other, through our words, our actions, our insecurities, our need for validation, our quest for the almighty dollar and piece of the pie. Paganism comes closest for me, as I do indeed revere nature, and yet to truly be in balance with nature I must embrace myself as a primal creature above all else; with baser desires and agendas which violate the teachings of all other belief systems. And then there is the new age movement, which honestly sickens me to death now. Do I believe we are all One? No, I honestly never did. While I can achieve a feeling of Oneness with life, and with myself, I have never truly felt at One with you, or any other human being. I don't want to, as I value my individuality and my experiences, and while I want to relate to you, and understand you, and feel compassion and forgiveness for you, I certainly do not want to meld into you or merge with your essence.

For me it's more comfortable to accept that all of these religious beliefs and spiritual compunctions are just man made; from the beginning of time man looked to the stars for answers, to help us understand our loneliness, our isolation, to help us feel secure in the darkness and within our own fears. We have been seeking validation from our first steps out of the bubbling ooze of evolution, and most of us are willing to give up our own unique spark of individuality to meld into a group of others in order to feel safe, included, valued, and validated. That is why people choose a church, and then spend so much time defending it as the "right" one to others who don't share their particular beliefs.

But can anyone truly be right, when the planet rotates to tunes sung thousands of years ago, and no one is really willing to question information for fear of being isolated in their blasphemy?

What makes more sense, a mystical God who lives in a magical heavenly place who gave us free will but will give us consequences if we don't follow his divine rules, or a universe in which life has taken root, and has grown, and evolved through the millenia?

If you really believe some mighty being who is better than you in every way created the Earth so he could impose his morality upon his children is in charge of this show, then I fear for us all. Sincerely.

No matter what you call it, religion, spirituality, theology, it's all just enslavement to me. The seeking can lead to liberation and sovereignty which is magical in itself, but when someone gets stuck along the journey and decides to settle for complacency and safety in a fantasy, then growth stops, freedom becomes an illusion, and individuality gives way to mob mentality belief systems.

If we could all just look at one another and nod and say "I don't have any of the answers, except that which I feel in my heart" then what a beautiful place this world could potentially become, for all of us. Perhaps we'd put our guns down, and stop feeling the need to police others behaviors, beliefs, and passions. If we could only just accept that life can be random, and chaotic at best, and that grasping at what we think are the answers only serve to mollify the deep truth within; humanity is a fearful empty lonely breed of life, and we do each other more harm than good with our various religious beliefs and factions.

In the end, no matter what you believe, or I believe, or anyone else believes, the truth remains that if indeed there were some omnipotent sentient being watching us from above, they would be sadly disappointed with how we have turned out.

I think if we put an end to all these ologies, and just focused on the truths in our hearts, maybe we would be worthy of our own self-inflicted need to feel redemption. We are capable of love, and great acts of compassion and generosity of spirit. We are a people who work better in groups, and stagnate when alone, we need each other. If we stopped imposing our own fear based morality upon each other maybe we could actually learn to get along and act like civilized beings.

The fact that we still debate things like abortion, gay marriage, and equality is indicative of our own fragile hold on what we believe. Because if we truly had faith in the beings we say we serve, like God, or Christ, or Buddha, or Allah, then we would live and let live, and embrace our brother and sister regardless of how different we perceived them to be.

But we don't, we choose to focus on how different we are, how wrong others are, how right we are... and if that continues then nothing will change on this planet, as nothing has changed for millenia. Sure, women can vote now (lucky us) and black people can choose a seat anywhere on the bus, and we have techno gadgets and have been into space, but are we really making any solid progress as a species? Are we any more cultivated than we were a few thousand years ago?

Politics has made passive aggressive assholes of this world through political correctness, and hyper-sensitivity has made even larger jackasses of us, as now everything you say can be construed as evil, hateful, or damnable by this group of people or that.

I'm tired of it. I just want to see people be the best of who they are, and stop hanging all their stuff on some mystical guy in the sky. Imagine how peaceful life would be on this planet if we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were alone; and that there is no god judging us or rewarding us. Imagine how empowering it would be to know that we were the creators of our own destiny, and that there was no karmic debt, or anything to transcend except our own fears.

I can no longer call myself spiritual. I read tarot, and yet how difficult to explain to my clients that what I'm doing is more psychological than spiritual now... I simply can't buy into the planetary need we all have within us to find validation at the hands of something or someone more divine or powerful than we are.

When I read tarot I tap into something powerful, vibrational, and natural. And I don't need or want to define it. I don't know if it's spiritual or scientific, and I don't care. I feel it, it is what it is, and it gives me a sense of clarity and compassion that I normally do not possess.

And the same can be said when I am just listening to my heart; when I take god out of the equation, and spirituality, and mysteries, and any inkling of something magical, the true magic emerges, and I see just how fantastic this species really could be if only we stopped trying to march to the same drummer, and were free to just be who we are deep within.

Each of us are unique, individual, and special. And when you stop trying to castigate yourself to some omnipotent being in the sky maybe you'll figure that out. And if you already have figured that out, then spread it, and don't be afraid to be different. Because the way we're doing things just isn't working out for us as a people, and the hatred and killing and tyranny needs to end. And it won't if we don't change the system from the inside out.

So instead of offering up empty prayer or false smiles, just be who you are, at the best of yourself, for the sake of yourself and others, without the desire to please some invisible man in the clouds.

Then you'll know what it feels like to be in control of your own happiness. And that's powerful.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Blessed Beltane!

Beltane is the third and final fertility festival of the Spring - coming after Imbolc and Ostara.

Beltane marks the beginning of the world waking up from it's long winter slumber, and is opposite to Samhain the festival greeting the winter.

Our ancient forefathers believed that both Beltane and Samhain were the times when the veil between the living and the dead were at their thinnest, and used these two occasions to perform ritual, make sacrifices to the ancient gods and goddesses, and give thanks for the many blessings in their lives.

At this time of year as the Earth awakens in the Northern Hemisphere, the followers of the ancient forest paths of Paganism give thanks to the God and the Goddess as they reunite through sensuality and fertility to create new life. This is truly a time to give thanks to the Sun (The Father) and the Moon (The Mother) for reuniting to bring new life to the ancient groves, to light the day with more warmth so that our crops may grow in abundance and supply us all with sustenance for the next long winter.

Let me share with you the writing of Christina Aubin - her article on Beltane is well worth reflecting on and knowing.

Link to Christina Aubin via Witchvox

The beginning of summer heralds an important time, for the winter is a difficult journey and weariness and disheartenment set in, personally one is tired down to the soul. In times past the food stocks were low; variety was a distant memory. The drab non-color of winter's end perfectly represents the dullness and fatigue that permeates on so many levels to this day. We need Beltane, as the earth needs the sun, for our very Spirit cries out for the renewal of summer jubilation.

Beltane marks that the winter's journey has passed and summer has begun, it is a festival of rapturous gaiety as it joyfully heralds the arrival of summer in her full garb. Beltane, however, is still a precarious time, the crops are still very young and tender, susceptible to frost and blight. As was the way of ancient thought, the Wheel would not turn without human intervention. People did everything in their power to encourage the growth of the Sun and His light, for the Earth will not produce without the warm love of the strong Sun. Fires, celebration and rituals were an important part of the Beltane festivities, as to insure that the warmth of the Sun's light would promote the fecundity of the earth.

Beltane marks the passage into the growing season, the immediate rousing of the earth from her gently awakening slumber, a time when the pleasures of the earth and self are fully awakened. It signals a time when the bounty of the earth will once again be had. May is a time when flowers bloom, trees are green and life has again returned from the barren landscape of winter, to the hope of bountiful harvests, not too far away, and the lighthearted bliss that only summer can bring.

Beltane translated means "fire of Bel" or "bright fire" - the "bale-fire". (English - bale; Anglo-Saxon bael; Lithuanian baltas (white)) Bel (Bel, Bile, Beli, Belinus, Belenos) is the known as the bright and shinning one, a Celtic Sun God. Beli is the father, protector, and the husband of the Mother Goddess.

Beltane is the time of the yearly battle between Gwyn ap Nudd and Gwythur ap Greidawl for Creudylad in Welsh mythology. Gwyn ap Nudd the Wild Huntsman of Wales, he is a God of death and the Annwn. Creudylad is the daughter of Lludd (Nudd) of the Silver Hand (son of Beli). She is the most beautiful maiden of the Island of Mighty. A myth of the battle of winter and summer for the magnificent blossoming earth.

In the myth of Rhiannion and Pwyll, it is the evening of Beltane, that Rhiannon gives birth to their son. The midwives all fell asleep at the same time, as they were watching over Rhiannon and her new baby, during which he was taken. In order to protect themselves, they smeared blood (from a pup) all over Rhiannon, to which they claim she had eaten her son. The midwives were believed, and Rhiannon was forced to pay penance for seven years. She had to carrying people on her back from the outside of the gate to the palace, although rarely would any allow her to do so. The baby's whereabouts were a mystery. Oddly, every Beltane night, one of Pwyll's vassals, Teirnyon Twryv Vliant, had a mare that gave birth but the colt disappeared. One Beltane night Teirnyon Twryv Vliant awaited in the barn for the mare to foaled, when she did, he heard a tremendous noise and a clawed arm came through the window and grabbed the colt. Teirnyon cut off the arm with his sword, and then heard a wailing. He opened the door and found a baby, he brought it to his wife and they adopted Gwri Wallt Euryn (Gwri of the Golden Hair). As he grew he looked like Pwyll and they remembered they found him on the night Rhiannon's baby became lost. Teirnyon brought Gwri of the Golden Hair to the castle, told the story, and he was adopted back to his parents, Rhiannon and Pwyll, and and named by the head druid, Pryderi (trouble) from the first word his mother had said when he was restored to her. "Trouble is, indeed, at an end for me, if this be true".

This myth illustrates the precariousness of the Beltane season, at the threshold of Summer, the earth awakening, winter can still reach its long arm in and snatch the Sun away (Gwri of the Golden hair). "Ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out" (clout: Old English for cloth/clothing). If indeed the return of summer is true than the trouble (winter) is certainly over, however one must be vigilant.

On Beltane eve the Celts would build two large fires, Bel Fires, lit from the nine sacred woods. The Bel Fire is an invocation to Bel (Sun God) to bring His blessings and protection to the tribe. The herds were ritually driven between two needfires (fein cigin), built on a knoll. The herds were driven through to purify, bring luck and protect them as well as to insure their fertility before they were taken to summer grazing lands. An old Gaelic adage: "Eadar da theine Bhealltuinn" - "Between two Beltane fires".

The Bel fire is a sacred fire with healing and purifying powers. The fires further celebrate the return of life, fruitfulness to the earth and the burning away of winter. The ashes of the Beltane fires were smudged on faces and scattered in the fields. Household fires would be extinguished and re-lit with fresh fire from the Bel Fires.

Celebration includes frolicking throughout the countryside, maypole dancing, leaping over fires to ensure fertility, circling the fire three times (sun-wise) for good luck in the coming year, athletic tournaments feasting, music, drinking, children collecting the May: gathering flowers. children gathering flowers, hobby horses, May birching and folks go a maying". Flowers, flower wreaths and garlands are typical decorations for this holiday, as well as ribbons and streamers. Flowers are a crucial symbol of Beltane, they signal the victory of Summer over Winter and the blossoming of sensuality in all of nature and the bounty it will bring.

May birching or May boughing, began on Beltane Eve, it is said that young men fastened garland and boughs on the windows and doors of the young maidens upon which their sweet interest laid. Mountain ash leaves and Hawthorne branches meant indicated love whereas thorn meant disdain. This perhaps, is the forerunner of old May Day custom of hanging bouquets hooked on one's doorknob?

Young men and women wandered into the woods before daybreak of May Day morning with garlands of flowers and/or branches of trees. They would arrive; most rumpled from joyous encounters, in many areas with the maypole for the Beltane celebrations. Pre-Christian society's thoughts on human sexuality and fertility were not bound up in guilt and sin, but rather joyous in the less restraint expression of human passions. Life was not an exercise but rather a joyful dance, rich in all beauty it can afford.

In ancient Ireland there was a Sacred Tree named Bile, which was the center of the clan, or Tuatha. As the Irish Tree of Life, the Bile Pole, represents the connection between the people and the three worlds of Bith: The Skyworld (heavens), The Middleworld (our world), and The Otherworld. Although no longer the center life, the Bile pole has survived as the Beltane Maypole.

The Maypole is an important element to Beltane festivities, it is a tall pole decorated with long brightly colored ribbons, leaves, flowers and wreaths. Young maidens and lads each hold the end of a ribbon, and dance revolving around the base of the pole, interweaving the ribbons. The circle of dancers should begin, as far out from the pole as the length of ribbon allows, so the ribbons are taut. There should be an even number of boys & girls. Boys should be facing clockwise and girls counterclockwise. They each move in the direction that they are facing, weaving with the next, around to braid the ribbons over-and-under around the pole. Those passing on the inside will have to duck, those passing on the outside raise their ribbons to slide over. As the dances revolve around the pole the ribbons will weave creating a pattern, it is said that the pattern will indicate the abundance of harvest year.

In some areas there are permanent Maypoles, perhaps a recollection of ancient clan Bile Pole memory. In other areas a new Maypole is brought down on Beltane Eve out from the wood. Even the classical wood can vary according to the area tradition is pulled from, most frequently it seems to be birch as "the wood", but others are mentioned in various historical documents.

Today in some towns and villages a mummer called Jack in the Green (drawing from the Green man), wears a costume made of green leaves as he dances around the May pole. Mumming is a dramatic performance of exaggerated characters and at Beltane the characters include Jack in the Green and the Fool. The Fool, and the Fool's journey, symbolism can be understood in relation to Beltane as it is the beginning of beginnings, the emergence from the void of nothingness (winter), as one can also see the role of the green man as the re-greening of the world.

Traditionally in many areas Morris dancers can be found dancing around the Maypole. Morris dancing can be found in church records in Thame England going back to 1555. Morris dancing is thought to have originated many centuries ago as part of ancient religious ceremonies, however it seems that Morris dancing became associated with Mayday during the Tudor times, and its originating history is not all that easily traced, as is the way with many traditions.

The Maypole dance as an important aspect of encouraging the return of fertility to the earth. The pole itself is not only phallic in symbolism but also is the connector of the three worlds. Dancing the Maypole during Beltane is magical experience as it is a conduit of energy, connecting all three worlds at a time when these gateways are more easily penetrable. As people gaily dance around and around the pole holding the brightly colored ribbons, the energy it raises is sent down into the earth's womb, bringing about Her full awakening and fruitfulness.

In Padstow, Cornwall, Beltane morning a procession is led by the "obby oss" a costumed horse figure, in a large circular banded frock and mask. The procession is full of song, drums and accordions. Professor Ronald Hutton of Bristol University points out that the first account of the Padstow May Day 'Obby 'Oss revelries was written in 1803. He offers evidence however that, like English Morris Dancing, its origins lie in English medieval times. This does not discount the possibility that its roots lay in the foundation of the fertility rites of Beltane, a more politically correct transmutation of fertility acts.

There is also a Queen of May. She is said in many areas to have worn a gold crown with a single, gold leaf at its front, in other areas her crown was made of fresh flowers. She was typically chosen at the start of the Beltane festival, which in time past was after sundown on the eve before Beltane day. Many accounts mention both a May Queen and King being chosen, whom would reign from sundown the eve before the Beltane day to sunset on Beltane. Among their duties would be to announce the Beltane games and award the prizes to the victors. The rudimentary base of this practice can be drawn back to the roots of Beltane festivities, the union of the Goddess and Her Consort, the joining of earth and sun, the endowment of summer. The Goddess has many guises: Danu - The Great Mother, Blodeuwedd (the Flower Bride), Isolt (Iseult, Isolde) and many, many others. The consort can also take many forms including the Green Man, Cernunnos or Tristan.

As Beltane marks this handfasting (wedding) of the Goddess and God, it too marks the reawakening of the earth's fertility in its fullest. This is the union between the Great Mother and her Young Consort, this coupling brings new life on earth. It is on a Spiritual level, the unifying of the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine to bring forth the third, consciousness. On the physical, it is the union of the Earth and Sun to bring about the fruitfulness of the growing season.

It is customary that trial unions, for a year and a day, occur at this time. More or less these were statements of intent between couples, which were not legally binding. The trial marriages (engagements) typically occurred between a couple before deciding to take a further step into a legally binding union. It seems ancient wisdom understood that one does not really know another until they have lived with them, and when you live together things change and we change, as well. With this understanding unions were entered upon, first as a test period, and then if desired, a further commitment could be taken. It through always knowing that it is only through the choice of both to remain, that the relationship exists favorably.

May, however, according to old folklore is not a favorable time for marriages in the legal and permanent sense. There is reference after reference in the old books of this belief, and according to my Irish grandmother, May is not the month to marry, woe is to had by those who do. I can understand the premise of this folklore, May is the Goddess and God's handfasting month, all honor would be Hers and His.

Water is another important association of Beltane, water is refreshing and rejuvenating, it is also imperative to life. It is said that if you bathe in the dew gathered before dawn on Beltane morn, your beauty will flourish throughout the year. Those who are sprinkled with May dew are insured of health and happiness. There are other folk customs such as drinking from the well before sunrise on Beltane Morn to insure good health and fortune.

The central color of Beltane is green. Green is the color of growth, abundance, plentiful harvest, abundant crops, fertility, and luck. White is another color that is customary, white brings the energies of cleansing, peace, spirituality, and the power to dispel negativity. Another color is red who brings along the qualities of energy, strength, sex, vibrancy, quickening, health, consummation and retention. Sun energy, life force and happiness are brought to Beltane by the color yellow. Blues and purples (Sagittarius energies: expansion, Good Fortune, magic, spiritual power, Success), and pinks (Venus energies). Beltane is rich in vibrant color, lighting the eyes and cheering the Spirit as we leave the dreariness of winter behind.

It is customary to bake a colorful fruit and spiced filled bread for festivals in the Celtic lands, traditionally this festival bread is sweet dough made with sweetmeat and spices. In Scotland they are the bannock - Bonnach Bealtain - for Beltane, in Wales - Bara Brith, Ireland it is Barm Brack and in Brittany Morlaix Brioche. For Beltane this bread was made the eve before Beltane day, is it said that the bread should not allow it to come into contact with steel during preparation (steel is harmful, deadly to the faery folk).

Bannocks are actually uncut scones originally cooked on a griddle. Wheat does not grow well in the Highlands, originally bannocks were made with oat or barley flour made into dough with little water and no leavening. Traditionally, a portion of the cake was burned or marked with ashes. The recipient of the burnt cake jumped over a small fire three times to purify and cleanse him or herself of any ill fortune. Offerings of bannocks and drink are traditionally left on doorsteps and roadways for the Faeries as an offering, in hope of faery blessings.

May is the month of sensuality and sexuality revitalized, the reawakening of the earth and Her Children. It is the time when we reawaken to the vivid colors, vibrant scents, tingling summer breezes, and the rapture of summer after a long dormant winter. It is a time of extraordinary expression of earth, animal, and person a time of great enchantment and celebration.

The excitement and beauty of Beltane can not be better expressed than through the gaiety and joy of our children. There is not doubt "spring fever" hits at Beltane, and hits hard. Children are full of unbridled energy charged up and ready to go! Children always amplify the seasonal energies and the thrill of their change, they bring richness and merriment wherever they go.

It is the child's unrestrained expression of bliss and delight that is what Beltane is all about. It is the sheer joy of running through fields, picking flowers, rapturing in the sunlight, delighting in the fragrance of spring, dancing in the fresh dew covered grass. Our children guide us through the natural abandonment of our adult sensibilities and show us how to take grand pleasure, warmth and bliss from the gift of Beltane.

Blessed Beltane to you and yours!

Christina Aubin

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Do No Harm!!

The Wiccan Rede is based upon ancient Pagan traditions and moral codes. And I swore an oath to the Mother Goddess many many years ago while in my treasured Coven; it was simply this?

These Eight Words the Rede Fulfill:

"An Harm Ye None, Do What Ye Will."

This is my code and creed, and in the moments of human weakness I have experienced in which I have violated any aspect of this charter, I have made amends - humbly, sincerely and with great repentance.

You see, I value life, and truth, and the human process of Awakening and evolution. I do not like to hurt or cause others harm of any type. Some call me a tree hugger, others think I'm "quirky" or "emotional". But the truth is quite simple: I am kind. I have a very active conscience and wrong-doing on my part doesn't go un-noticed or un-punished. Karma seldom has a chance to step in when I cause another harm, as I am quick to catch my own malice and apologize where necessary, and make good where accepted. I do not see any value or validity in causing any amount of pain to another person.

Sure, there is tough love, but even that is an area in which I tread lightly, as I humbly don't see where my hubris is useful in helping another person see a life lesson through a tough shove.

And yet, in my life it is apparent that people find it quite easy to be critical, judgemental and even cruel on occasion, and I am aware it is because I am so open, and so honest; this makes me vulnerable, as well as an "easy mark". I will always try to find the gentlest way out of any negative situation, but even the tamest of mama bears has claws, and her limits.

The Lying Lawyer

A few years ago I was working in a law firm on a temp assignment which showed promise to become permanent. I was enjoying the work, and learning so much; I was eager to go in every day and learn something new. I worked first for a real estate attorney who was out of town for a week. When that assignment was done I was asked to go upstairs to meet the Wills and Estates attorney and was informed his Legal Secretary was going on sick leave in three weeks and needed a replacement. I was elated! This was a very tender area of law which I was drawn to as it gave me a direct opportunity to assist people who were dealing with bereavement issues, or people who were planning the future of their children etc.

The lawyer himself was a kindly man, and I enjoyed his soft-spoken demeanor. His legal secretary stayed on training me, and the last work day before the Easter long weekend, as I was rushing some documents downstairs to the mail room I felt something twinge in my left knee; the knee that had previously dislocated seriously on a couple occasions. I got back to my desk and sat down and rubbed it; it was swelling and it hurt quite a bit. My trainer saw me and asked what was wrong; I explained what had happened, and the lawyer I was subbing in for was within earshot. They acted concerned, but it was end of day and the offices were clearing out, so everyone made for the parking lots.

Over the weekend my knee ballooned up and I ended up in ER. They asked if it was work related and I said yes, but told them not to start a claim for compensation as I was sure I wouldn't miss any time. First mistake.

The next week I showed up to work on crutches; and everyone made perfunctory ooh's and aah's as I explained that I had stepped down the stairs and something had twinged. But I did my best that week. But after a week of hobbling here there and everywhere, I was at my limit. In fact, I was at my emotional boiling point too, as the lawyer I was working for had the audacity to come to me late morning, hand me money and send me to the deli across the road to get his lunch. On crutches.

I went back to the ER the next weekend, they told me I had likely torn a ligament and ordered an MRI. I was told to stay off it - end of discussion. At this point I called my temp agency to inform them and was told I was no longer required at the law firm. Okay...

As I found out I had torn my LCL (lateral-co-lateral ligament) in my knee and would need surgery, I opted to open the Compensation claim; I would require income over the coming months. My claim was rejected, and when I called to find out why, I was told quite snidely that the lawyer I worked for informed the board I had NOT injured myself at work. I was shocked, and told her there were people at the firm to back this up, but she informed me she did not need to back it up, he was a lawyer and she was taking his word above mine. Case closed.

I opted not to appeal the decision, out of a fear of raking muck. In hindsight, it was a cowardly decision. But... do no harm.

The Conniving Co-worker

A couple of years ago a new co-worker at my on again off again job of nearly 5 years informed my supervisor and general manager that I had threatened her with physical violence. Absurd! I cannot even kill a spider, I would never utter a threat to anyone, I only know how to duck, or assume the fetal position - I am NOT a violent person. I was in tears, absolutely gutted by this. It turned out she just didn't like me, and had made up her mind about me before she even met me based on the loose lips of a very immature and ignorant co-worker who had told her some stories about me in advance of us meeting. And even after this horrendous attack on my character, I attempted to remain civil and courteous in the work place. It is who I am - do no harm.

My Invisible Disability

If you're a friend, or a blog follower, you likely have ascertained by now that I am disabled physically. In 1988 I had two second generation Harrington Rods attached to my spine to correct a 56 degree S curvature - scoliosis.

My fusions go from about Thoracic 8 to Lumbar 1. In the last twelve years I have begun to develop pain, which became profound four years ago, and extreme in the last 16 months. I waited 3 years to see the provinces top Revision surgeon, as I need someone familiar with my old hardware. They stopped using the Harrington second Gen. rods in 1990, mine were installed in 1988. Not a lot of surgeons area familiar with the outdated hardware. My surgeon is not only familiar, but the best of the best. Last October 2011, he informed me of my diagnosis's, among them:

  • Spinal Stenosis: a narrowing of the Spinal Column (not unusual in Scoliosis patients)
  • Degenerative Disc Disease throughout spine - several slipped and protruding discs in neck and upper thoracic above Harrington fusions.
  • Osteo-arthritis and early onset Osteoporosis.
  • Facets Joint Disease
  • Sacro-Iliac degradation and separation
  • Hip displacement in right hip due to slanted posture for nearly 30 years due to displaced spine.

I will be extremely lucky to be wheel-chair free in my 60's. 

My surgeon informed me I am not to walk and straight posture is out - slouch. This isn't typical as people are always strongly urged to assume good posture, but in my case straight posture causes further bone-on-bone grinding within the Facets Joints in L1-L4. Every step I take creates pain that is indescribable to anyone who can't relate. The facets in those Vertebrate are completely worn down to nub/nerve and there is bone dust and chip surrounding the area which is very visible in MRI imaging. I walk with a cane to assist me in walking with a stooped posture, which takes some (yet not ALL) pressure off the Facets Joints. I am supposed to use a walker, however the one I have is heavy and I am ashamed to have to use it in public, but my vanity is giving way to necessity as time goes by.

I share this with you, because I feel there are people in my every day life who do not fully understand the depth of my spinal and skeletal issues. These problems are mine, and mine alone, and yet they affect my every waking moment. To hear someone tell me they must have a far higher pain threshold than me because I'm always whining about pain, is a dagger in my heart. How dare anyone try to even presume they have an inkling as to the pain I live with on a daily basis! It infuriates me!

Let me walk you through a typical day in my life, in the last 8-12 months.

I wake up stiff and sore, and generally require 5 minutes minimum to get myself rolled over so that I can attempt to sit up. This takes a great deal of strength as the muscles in my back protest at the action. Once I am up it is a stilted dash to the kitchen for my medications. I take all except the pain killer, as I do not like to drive with it in my system, so I take one to work with me, to take as soon as I get there.

I spend 6-7 hours stooped over a soldering bench at work, assuming postures which are uncomfortable and painful. My nerves start to scream out about 2 hours after I take the pain killer and the effects of my nerve blocker and muscle relaxants wear off. I usually power through it, but on really bad days will take another dose of each.. 

When I get home I must get everything i need to get done quickly before time runs out - and it does run out. I have about 30 minutes in me when I get home, and after that time I must sit, for a very, very long time, on my bed. I cannot sit in my own living room for any length of time, as there is no position which works for me on the furniture. So I pile pillows up on my bed, against the wall, and sit stooped at a 45 degree angle, with my legs propped up on cushions, to get the swelling in them to go down. I take a full dose of meds again and spend a couple hours just recharging. And then the next day I get up and do it all again.

The problem is, I am having a harder and harder time performing these few tasks each day. Simply getting out of bed is taking more of my time and will. Walking to my warehouse from my car is like a marathon. Sitting at my work desk on a crappy little stool with no back support takes all of my will.

No, I know my weaknesses, and can very humbly list them to you here. I am a great many things, but I can tell you with 100% certainty and faith in myself, I have a great and extensive threshold for pain. 

Just because a person is hurting does not mean they aren't coping with it. Just because my face contorts when a nerve twinges, or I let out a moan when a Facet sets on fire, doesn't mean I am a wimp. 

I have lived through two major knee dislocates, where the cap sat on the back of my leg which was in a bent position. I have pushed a 7lb 2 ounce child out of me in 33 minutes flat, the fastest delivery my Midwife ever saw- through sheer power and strength within me. I survived major back surgery at age 16, and will again before age 41. And then there will be more surgeries after that, as my neck requires revision, and my hip will require replacement, as well as my knee. I will be bionic by the time this body is laid to rest.

I may be weak and snivelling emotionally, and burst into tears at the slightest insult or jibe; but I am stronger physically than most people could imagine I am. 

People are so judgemental, and I see women in particular who do this brand of nit-picky bitching; it's so easy to say "you should..." or "if I were you..." when you're not in someone else's position.  But until you walk a mile it's just judgement, and that is so small minded and pointless.

And do no harm; I will continue to live my life by this code, not because it is something right, or something I aspire towards, but because I took a sacred Oath in front of the Mother, and I don't break oaths. So talk about me when I'm not in the room, but trust this: I know it's being done. Make fun of me when I am out of earshot, but know this: I hear every word. And assume you know my body better than I do, and you're nothing but a nit-picking gossipy cow.

That being said, I will go on being me. Heart on sleeve, emotionally charged Piscean woman. It's who I am that makes me strong enough to deal with the weakness in others; the weakness that drives others to put people down. Because karma is a system of equilibrium, it plays no favourites  it simply is a law of checks and balances, and in the end we all live what we judge. I know this first hand, everything I ever judged is what I eventually became. And what a beautiful lesson that has been for me.

It has reiterated to me ten-fold: Do No Harm. What you put out will only come back to you times three, not because of magic, or spells, or intentions - but simply because you sent for it through your own behaviours.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Bible: Ancient Story-Telling?

In the beginning, according to the Bible, God created man and woman and they lived in the garden of Eden. Man was created in Gods image, made of the Earth upon which he lived, and woman was made of mans bone. If you're like me you look to the stories in the Bible as beautiful imagery used to teach about morality and conscience. These stories aren't meant to be taken literally, if they were then most of the Bible would contradict the very world we live in; I think it's safe to assume that even most Christians accept that carbon dating has placed the age of our planet around 4.5 billion years old, and while not everyone accepts evolution over creationism, I have met many Christians who believe dinosaurs indeed walked this Earth millions of years ago.

So what's my point then? It's simply this; the Bible and indeed many other religious tomes, writings and artifacts are great symbolic stories which use metaphor to convey deep spiritual messages. We were never meant to take these writings as literal, as they were written to use symbolism to tell the stories of those times. In those days people used story telling, much as ancient Bards and Shaman and tribal elders, to pass down rites and rituals, to share cultural guidelines and to connect people via the stories which were woven.

So if we look at the old testament of the Bible as a beautiful metaphorical story woven to teach us about the nature of people and the Universe, then it makes much more sense. If you take the stories in the Bible as literal truth then you're looking at some very whacked out sci-fi types of stories. Giant whales swallowing men whole, who then live in the whales belly? An ancient sacred garden that was full of peace and joy, but had one taboo tree which when eaten of cast the inhabitants out of bliss because it defied an angry wrathful Gods orders? An old man building an arc big enough to carry two of every creature on the planet through 40 days and nights of horrendous floods?

No, the literal take on these stories seem like they were taken out of the pages of the Brothers Grimm, and Mother Goose.

If we look to these stories as cultural metaphor they begin to make more sense. Let's take Adam and Eve for instance, and draw the parallel between their story, and polarity. Polarity is the state which we live in on this planet, where every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Everything on Earth is mirrored, where there is dark there must also be light, up is always balanced by down, happy is dual to sad; every thing we see and experience in this life is built up around polarity.

So spiritually and metaphorically speaking, Adam (who represents Man and the Masculine aspects of the Soul) and Eve (who represents woman and the Divine Feminine) are created by God in His image and likeness, made of the Earth and of bone (evolve from the natural cycles of the Earth and it's elements) and live in a peaceful garden. The garden is Maya - the illusion; the simplest way to describe the Garden of Eden is to call it the bliss of ignorance. And this is the way we each come into this life experience - blissfully ignorant, as babies. We come in trusting, unaware, moment driven, reliant upon love and loving acts alone. Even the serpent is richly metaphorical, as the symbol for our Medicine has been passed down through the millenia; the caduceus symbol truly represents the Tree of Knowledge. The Caduceus which is an ancient Pagan symbol of healing shows the double serpent (which can also be interpreted as the double helix of DNA) flowing upwards much as the serpentine energy of the Kundalini climbs the spine, progressing up the chakra's to meet the Angelic wings or divine connection chakra of the Crown chakra. The ancients understood that our spiritual connection to our physical body was another polarity driven aspect of spirit living in body with mind.

But as soon as we bite of the bitter apple from the forbidden tree of knowledge we are cast out of the garden. Simply speaking, the apple from the tree of knowledge is representative of knowledge; when we become self aware or begin to "awaken" to our consciousness and sense of self, we are cast out of ignorance. And this loss of ignorance is also a loss of bliss, because we learn about duality; this is the price one pays to gain knowledge, because the more you learn, the less you realize you truly can know.

So you can see that taking the Bible stories of Adam and Eve and the garden of Eden as cultural metaphors is an effective way to teach people 2000 years ago about spiritual awakening. It isn't meant to be taken literally; the story is meant to be passed down amongst the tribes and clans, from village to village, over camp fires, told by medicine men, sacred healers, and the elders to help the people to better understand the nature of life and death on Earth while helping them to know that we are all connected via this journey from the ignorance of childhood bliss into the self-aware fragmented reality of polarity. This story is rich in symbolism, connecting us to the Kundalini, the Chakras, the Crown Chakra; also taking us on a journey through the Yin and Yang of our dual natures as male and female. The serpent also symbolizes evil, which I've shared before in this blog as being anything that infringes upon our ability to live. You can see the imagery in the creation story is rich, and full of inspirational reminders about our connection to the Divine through the Earth itself, the fruits upon it, and our union of body and mind and spirit.

It is helpful to look to all ancient stories from all ancient cultures in this way. If you take anything too literally you're going to miss out on the imagery and symbolism. And let's face it, 2-5000 years ago people were not telling literal stories, all historians will verify that story telling thousands of years ago was the basis for teaching and learning. Stories about giants being slain by a single small boy, or a man building an arc based on pure faith, or a man preparing to sacrifice the life of his son for the love of God... these are all stories which are symbolic of aspects of who we are in this world. They are meant to help people to make value judgments, to learn right from wrong, to listen to discernment and intuition.

So while I don't believe Noah came down from a mountain with stone tablets with 10 commandments from God written on them, I do believe these 10 commandments came to man via Divine intervention; channeling, or communication with the Higher Self. I do believe that the stories in the old testament still have valid meaning in our lives today as they teach us about ethics and dignity, and always point us back to God - the creator of all life - Nature.

We've taken beautiful stories from previous millenia and made them fact, when indeed I believe they were meant to be tales used to weave image-rich stories. Imagery is a great tool for teaching, especially when 2-5000 years ago there was no internet, and indeed even papyrus was rare to come by. Story-telling was an art, and stories were passed from generation to generation, much like we share our own family stories with each new generation; the people of those times shared via word of mouth.

So here we are in duality, living outside of the bliss of the garden, rooted in our illusion driven reality full of polar opposites. And yet the bliss of ignorance can be transformed into the bliss of acceptance. We can accept all that we see and sense and feel within ourselves, and stop trying to find answers to questions which have no meaning in our current day and age.

As Joni Mitchell said in her song Woodstock (also redone by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young):

We are Stardust
We are Golden
We are billion year old Carbon
And we've got to get back to the Garden...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Big Picture: Greater Perspective

I often reference "the big picture" when I am speaking to people during Spiritual Consultations, or in my Tarot Readings. And every  now and again, a person will look at me uncertainly and ask me what I mean.

Perception being a personal and internal thing, "the big picture" can mean many different things, depending on your thought process. So I'll share with you my idea of "the big picture". Perhaps you'll see the irony in it, as I do; the big picture truly requires you to get "smaller" to really see it .

I will share my idea of the big picture through visualization, so please allow me to take you on a bit of a journey now. Relax where you are sitting reading, and take a couple of cleansing deep breaths.

Now look at your self and your life from a third person perspective. See your life from outside of yourself, as though you were looking at your environment and experiences as you would a TV character. Detach yourself, and un-bias yourself. See your life from a distance, and first begin by seeing everything directly surrounding you. See the room you sit in, in the house or apartment or flat you live in. See the other people or pets in your living environment, all going about their business, doing their own things. See your job, or school, and other daily obligations as something like branches on a tree; they are extensions of how you spend your time on a daily basis. 

Now move outwards a bit further, so that you see your house, apartment or flat in the neighborhood in which you live. See all of the other houses, buildings, parks, trees, cars and everything that take up space in your neighborhood.

Move outwards further now, and see your neighborhood in the city or town or village which you live in. See the totality of your locality; see how many people live in close proximity of each other in your area of the world, see all of the cars, and the fields, and the rivers and streams and lakes. 

Move out yet again, so that you now see your city or town in the province, or state in which you live, and then again move out to see your province or state in the country in which you live.

In your unbiased unattached perspective, see your country in relation to the oceans and seas that surround it, and the other countries which border it. Continue to widen your view to the point where you now see the entire world. 

Here you are, now looking at the Earth. And I want you to move again further out, so that the Earth becomes smaller as you move away, and eventually it becomes nothing more than a dot, and then inevitably a star shining far in the distance.

Seeing all of this widening of perspective, think back now to where you are sitting, at your computer or tablet, reading a blog article on the internet, in the room which you are sitting in. Can you truly see your life as something chaotic or dramatic when you have just previously seen life from such a bigger vantage point? You have just watched your world get incredibly small, while you watched the world grow infinitely huge.

This is seeing the big picture. Because in essence, this is the state of being; we are small individual creatures living our remote secluded lives in our tiny regions of a vast planet. And yet, the Universe goes on naturally, despite what we are experiencing from moment to moment in our emotional and physical life. The comets still move through space, as the planets still revolve around the suns, and the nebulae continue to expand in gaseous explosions of brilliant hues. The pains and pleasures you feel on a daily basis really seem to pale in comparison to the vastness of our Universe, don't they.

When life bogs you down, and you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed by it all, you can always remember the "big picture". The next time you feel yourself losing your wits at the piles of responsibilities you have, and the phone won't stop ringing, and the bills keep piling up, and you worry about how you'll afford X without sacrificing Y, catch yourself, and take a deep cleansing breath, and move outwards... look at the big picture, as you yourself become continually smaller and tinier. And remember, that long after this crisis, or this sorrow, or this upheaval passes, life will still continue to move naturally through this entire Universe.

The big picture is humbling, awe-inspiring, mysterious and peace inducing. I have shared with you elsewhere on this blog of mine that I have suffered from Panic Disorder in my past. And one of the things which helped me to overcome and cope with that panic was meditation. The thing which every meditation began with was this particular visualization exercise. To this day, if I feel myself losing my grip in the moment, I move to this visualization... and then I exhale and remember that "it isn't so bad after all". Because in such a terrific and immense Universe where everything is possible, and mysterious, and enigmatic, how can our small problems really amount to much in the grand scheme of things? This is the big picture, and it is beautiful.

With Divine Love,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ascension Symptoms

During our Spiritual Awakening experience, which is indeed ongoing and infinite, we find our body, mind, and emotions facing challenges at times. Many people refer to these challenges as "Ascension Symptoms", and this is quite apt, as they are symptoms of an energetic lightening of your aura and Chakra's.

These symptoms can be trivial and barely even noticeable, such as moments of blurred eyesight, or occasional and slight heart palpitations. We can experience exhaustion which can last for weeks at a time, and then out of nowhere we are revitalized with a renewed level of vitality and zeal.

And then there can be more pronounced or even troubling symptoms, which can cause you to feel anxious or fearful for your health and mental well being. Indeed I have had my own rich list of symptoms through the years, and some of them were incredibly overwhelming upon their onset. When I began to experience internal tremors I was petrified that something was "wrong" with me, and saw virtually every type of medical professional I could within a year and a half. As I continued to search for the cause of this inner trembling it became humorous, as one professional was sure it was restless leg syndrome, even though I could feel it in my ears and arms and chest. Another was quite certain I had sleep apnea, even though the tremor is noticeable during my waking hours. Yet another specialist told me that I had  a benign form of Parkinsons disease, and another said it was attributed to peri-menopause and hormonal shifts.

After a while I just let go, and let "God" as it were; and I looked within my intuition. It was clear that this was indeed a large manifestation of ascension symptoms, and it was relative a large leap through dimensional energy patterns. I have been aware that I am an energetic Vortice since my childhood, yet I never imagined that this could be internalized upon a journey of self-aware Awakening.

So now when the tremor occurs I accept that it is a physical phenomena, and it could indeed be exacerbated by my hormones, or my glands or immune system, or the amount of sleep I had the night previous, or even the food eaten that day. But above all of this I am aware that it is perfect.

You see, these symptoms are perfect in that they are messages to us about how our Awakening is coming along, and they point us to our Chakras and any blocks we may have.

I rarely experience the tremor these days, and when I do I go within to my Heart chakra, cleanse it and work it upwards to the Throat with white light. This always helps to lessen the experience of the violent internal shaking.

These Ascension Symptoms serve to keep us abreast of where we are energetically. Because while we may see our physical self as separate from Spirit, they are in no way disconnected, and the state and wellbeing of one does very profoundly affect the state of the other. So when a symptom is irking you, it's like a message from your Higher Self to seek the imbalance.

Sometimes the cause of our energy disruption can be as trivial as not getting enough sleep, or water, or exercise. Sometimes the energy upheaval can relate to something more profound, like ingesting too many preservatives and additives, or foods and beverages which are not stimulating us in a positive way.

It is imperative to each of us who undergo a conscious Awakening of Spirit to be in the "know" as far as your triune self is concerned. You are body, mind, and spirit, and the three work wonderfully when balanced, and yet when out of balance each is affected and each will manifest in such a way as to get your attention.

So pay attention, and listen to your intuition. If you are doing something which is detrimental to your Awakening and well-being, it will nag at you like a tiny voice in the back of your mind. My little voice nags at me about cigarettes, as indeed this is still a vice I have not been able to break free from. I know that this vice does me harm both in body, and in mind, because the guilt I feel for still smoking will also cause me as much harm as the smoking itself. This will cause an imbalance within my Spirit, which will directly affect my Ascension experience. It is all interconnected.

Please know you can come to the Facebook Group for Awakenings and discuss your ongoing Ascension Symptoms, as we can all help each other to see a bigger picture. Sometimes we are too attached to our own experience to be 100% unbiased and receptive. And as you know, Ascension requires us to be honest, even when that honesty makes us feel defensive or unpleasant.

You are never alone, and you are truly Blessed and Loved. If you are experiencing an Ascension Symptom which you do not understand please feel free to contact me. And if you feel you can help others understand theirs please also join the Facebook Group linked above, so that you can be of service to other brothers and sisters of Light.

Treat yourself gently, with love. Eat healthy live foods, drink clean clear water, get plenty of sleep, and keep your thoughts balanced and positive. These can be trying times, and yet when we are in a balanced state of center, we are able to see beyond the polarity of the world around us, to the Peaceful calm which Is Infinite.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Your Energy, & Chakra's

Whether you are just beginning to explore a Spiritual path in life, or you've been consciously walking a path of enlightenment for years, it is always illuminating to gain perspective from the viewpoints of others. I endeavor to share my unique views here and via my website as well.

In this blog entry I'd like to talk about the Chakra's. Chakra is a Sanskrit word which loosely translated means "wheel of light". And this is indeed what the Chakra's are; wheels of spinning light. These light wheels are a direct gateway, connecting the physical body to the auric or etheric body. While the spirit resides in, above and all around the physical body, the Chakra's anchor your soul to your material body.

These wheels of light energy translate your spiritual or soul energy into physical manifestations through the body, and act as translators between the two bodies. When the spirit is out of alignment in some way, the Chakra associated with the particular area of imbalance will create a blockage in itself which can eventually lead to a physical symptom. For a simple example, let's say your soul or spiritual energy is out of balance in regards to expressing and receiving love. Should you go on without clearly giving and receiving love in a healthy balanced way, your spirit will translate this into a blockage in your Heart chakra, which can eventually lead to depression, self-esteem issues, or even anxiety.

Many people think that the physical ailments they suffer from are simply the body responding to it's own biology; however the body is in constant energetic contact with your higher self and soul energy, and often times the physical ills we experience are merely symptoms of stuck spiritual energy in our Chakra's.

There are many many Chakra's, some located along the spinal column, some at the hands and feet, and still many others located outside of the body; some are close to the body, floating in close proximity, while others still are located outside of our atmosphere, our solar system, and even our current dimension. This may sound way out there, but if you look at life from a very wide perspective you'll see that our Universe is interconnected, and all energy is fluid and unending. The energy which makes up our body is no different than the energy that makes up our planet, which is no different than the energy that makes up our solar system - all energy is interconnected.

An analogy which I like to use to help make this clear pertains to air. Think about your house, and how each room in your house feels and smells a certain way. You can go into your kitchen and the air in that room may feel warm and vibrant, there may be smells which you associate with your kitchen, like coffee, or baking, or your dinner. Now imagine you walk out of the kitchen and go to your bedroom, the air feels and smells differently. And yet, is the air different? There is no end to the air in the kitchen and no beginning to the air in your bedroom - it is all the same, it just takes on a different feeling and context from room to room.

Our energy is much like this, in that there is no end to your energy or beginning to mine; we are like drops of water in the ocean, ever moving and transforming from calm to wave; from deep water to shallow.

The 7 Main Chakra's

The Chakra's most people focus on are the primary 7 which are directly located along the spinal column of your body. These are your most direct physical Chakra's, and these are the ones I will talk about for now.

The above image depicts the placement of the primary Chakra's. 

  • The Root Chakra is located at your perineum; adjacent to the base of your tailbone. This Chakra is symbolized by the color red, and is representative of passion. It is directly connected to being grounded in your human body and as such survival, vitality, reality and your individual sexuality. This Chakra expresses itself through the adrenal glands. Some physical distresses relative to this Chakra are: 
    • Anemia, Fatigue, Obesity, Anus, Rectum (hemorrhoids), Constipation, Colds, Body Temperature, Bladder Infection, Rebuilds Blood Cells & Haemoglobin, Sciatic, Numbness, Leukemia
  • The Sacrum (Sacral) Chakra is located just below your belly button on your spine, and is symbolized by the color orange. It is directly tied to your emotions and desires, and connects you on a deeper level to your feelings, intimacy, self worth, and procreation. The gland it works through are the sex glands. Physical ailments associated with the Sacral Chakra are: 
    • Impotence, Frigidity, Ovaries, Uterine Problems, Candida, Eating Disorders, Drug Use, Depression, Alcoholism, Polarity Imbalances, Gout, Allergies, Asthma (Oxygen Deficiencies)
  • The Solar Plexus Chakra is located just above your belly button, below your breastbone, and it is symbolized by the color yellow. This Chakra represents mental clarity, knowledge and self awareness, and the gland it rules is the pancreas. The physical illnesses associated with this Chakra are: 
    • Ulcers, Diabetes, Hepatitis, Hypoglycemia, Blood Sugar Disorders, Constipation, Nervousness, Timidity, Addictions to Stimulants, Parasites & Worms, Toxicity, Jaundice, Poor Memory
  • The Heart Chakra is located at the center of your chest (breastbone) and is represented by the color green. It directly connects to relationships, love, compassion and forgiveness. The gland affected by this Chakra is the thymus. Some of the physical issues associated with this Chakra are:
    • High Blood Pressure, Passiveness, Lethargy, Asthma, Immune System, Breathing Difficulties, Pneumonia, Emphysema, Cell Growth, Muscle Tension, Heart Problems, Chest Pain

  • The Throat Chakra is located at your throat and is symbolized by a light robins egg blue. It is tied into your ability to communicate, wisdom, speech, and organization. This Chakra rules the thyroid gland. Illnesses associated with this center are: 
    • Thyroid, Flu, Fevers, Blisters, Infections, Herpes, Itching, Sores, Tonsillitis, Toothaches, OCD, Speech Disorders, TMJ, Hyperactivity, Melancholy, Hormonal Problems, Swelling, Hiccups, PMS, Mood Swings
  • The Third Eye (Brow) Chakra is located between your brows above the bridge of your nose, and is a dark indigo blue. It is linked to intuition, clairvoyance, perception and self realization. The gland associated with this Chakra is the pituitary gland. The physical ills associated with it are:
    • Blindness, Vision, Headaches, Migraines, Earaches, Nightmares, Sleep Disorders,Fear, Manic Depression, Anxiety, Schizophrenia, Paranoia, Equilibrium Imbalances
  • The Crown Chakra  is located at your crown - the very top of your head, and is violet in color. It is connected to your higher self, as this Chakra is a portal out of your body into the Divine. It is associated with bliss, self-awareness, and peace. The gland associated with this Chakra is the pineal gland. And the physical issues attributed to this Chakra are:
    • Depression, Alienation, Mental Illness, Neuralgia, Confusion, Senility, Veins, Blood Vessels, Lymphatic System, Bacteria, Warts, Skin Rashes, Eczema

Each Chakra is connected to the ones directly next to it via white light, and indeed they are all interconnected, just as your physical organs are. When one Chakra is imbalanced or out of alignment it can affect all of the other Chakras. For instance, if you have a blockage of energy flow from your Root Chakra, it will affect all of the other Chakras as this energy wheel works to ground your spiritual body to your physical body and the Earth. If you are not expressing energy in a healthy manner through this Chakra you may feel spaced out, disconnected, and then all of the other Chakra's will fall out of sync as they will not be receiving healthy grounding energy from below.

So it is vital that you understand your spiritual body, or aura, or whatever you'd like to call it. These Chakra's are as much a part of "you" as your heart, or lungs, or blood. We spend so much time and money keeping our physical bodies healthy, it only makes sense that we focus the same amount of energy and care towards our spiritual body.

Meditation is a wonderful way to keep your Chakra's under observation, as when you breathe deeply and enhance your brain with deep oxygenation, your intuition will be more easily followed. Your intuition can guide you visually through your Chakra system, and if you have faith in your inner sense of knowing then you can practice observing your Chakra's and their functions.

When I first began working with Chakra's I liked to use a lot of visualization. I would start at my Root always, and work my way up, so that I would be grounded before I began to work with the Higher level Chakra's. The higher the Chakra, the "higher" the energy - literally. You don't want to begin working with your Third Eye or Crown if you are not properly grounded, as you will not be able to calmly decipher the messages you receive through your senses.

So start simply, picture things that you associate with the color red, like an apple, or a fire truck. I personally always used fruit as I could envision myself biting into the bright fruit and associate taste with the color. For instance I would use strawberry for my Root chakra, and focusing on the taste and sensation of biting into a bitter sweet berry would help me to more strongly envision the Chakra itself. I have also used light bulb visualization which many people use. Simply walk into a white room - flick on the switch on the wall, and let the color of that particular Chakra shine. If it is dim, then perhaps that's an indication of an energetic block. So you can then work on "cleaning" the light bulb. 

The simple act of intention is enough to cleanse and balance your Chakra's much of the time. And as with all things, practice makes perfect. So play with your energy centers, follow your intuition, and ask your Guides and Angels to help you. When you ask for help be receptive to the signs you'll receive in answer. 

As with all things: faith is key; both in yourself, and in the Universe.

I hope this helps you to better understand your aura, and your Chakra's. Now go to work playing with them! Line them up, keep them shining brightly, cleanse them with white or gold light, and follow your inner knowledge. 

With Divine Love!