Monday, November 10, 2008
What is Prayer?
People who know me know that I pray a lot. With many of my friends, I pray every time we talk. In fact, I pray with anyone who will let me! So it's only natural that I often get asked about prayer.
So, what is prayer? Well, that’s a big question! One with answers enough to fill volumes. What I’m interested in here, however, is prayer as it relates to my field, lightwork.
We know that prayer is effective. If you don’t believe it, there is an ever-growing body of scientific research now available to show the data on this. But, what most of us want to know, is how do we enact effective prayer?
Some people think of prayer as the petitioning of some god or deity who, out love or other benevolence, answers. Research, however, reveals that “prayers” sent out in the form of healing intentions for the higher good are equally as effective as religious prayers. This leads us to conclude that the results of prayer are not so much due to God(s) directly intervening with specific action as it is a means of our accessing our own godlike abilities, or godliness
. Now -- hold on minute before you stone me -- this is not
heresy. Far from it! If you’re a devout Christian, consider this: did God ever say that S/He was directly responsible for the outcome of prayer? Or are we told instead, as Jesus says in the New Testament, that if we have faith as a mustard seed we will say to the mountain “move” and it will be so? “Move” is a order, not a request. We are told to command
that which we would have done, not beg for it. And in what, exactly, are we to have “faith?” Are we supposed to have faith in God to move the mountain? That question is answered elsewhere in scripture. “When you ask something, believe that you receive it, and it shall be done.” Jesus instructed us to believe, not in God to do the thing requested, but in the manifestation, the result
. As the Bible later says, “Faith is the belief in things hoped for, the assurance [affirmation] of things not [yet] seen.” Is God/dess left out of the picture then? Not at all.
Divine Consciousness set everything in motion -- perpetual motion as it were – which has continued to work through all the ages. Do we need to pray for the sun – without which all things would die – to come up every day? Do we pray for our
heart to beat, our food to digest; our cells to oxygenate? Of course not. All things necessary for life have been put into action and continue to work according to Divine Order. And we – as well as our lives – intersect with and are permeated by that great Divine Matrix which comprises All. Do not doubt that you are part of God for even a moment. In the same way that Divine Intelligence created all things to work in a perfectly coordinated way, likewise have we been orchestrated to access and create all that we need according to that Plan. We have been taught to pray, not because we need God’s blessing --which is with us always -- but because we needed a means by which to focus our faith – our assurance – on that which we wish to manifest. Hence we arrive at a definition of prayer accessible to Christian, Muslims, Hindus, shamans, lightworkers, and atheists alike.
Prayer is the distribution into the world, via focused thought- or feeling-wave forms" through the energetic Matrix, of benevolent intent for any person, being, place, situation, etc.
Belief in God is not a requirement. Yet, if you personally know or believe in a Higher Power, as do I, then you can resolve the dilemma of prayer by accepting that you are created in the image of that Being and hold some of His/her Power within you. We are meant, not only to reflect the Brilliance of Source, but to participate in the full Glory of the One. We are a PART of the Great Central Sun. It is within our very cells. The ability to have your prayers answered was put into effect at your creation, built into you as surely as the cycles of the sun and moon and the changing of the seasons was built into nature. The engine’s already built and perfect. This is our God-liness, or God-like-ness. We need only turn a key in the ignition for it to start right up. And that Key is prayer. Prayer is God’s way of reminding us we have the Divine Power within us to do good. Primary Creator desires we understand and use that Power, through our own Intent. God built the system perfectly and it works!
I’ve heard some people actually say they don’t want to “bother God” with their trivial needs and concerns and desires; that God has “better things to do.” Such thoughts, though humble, stem from a lack of understanding of what God is, how prayer works and how much we are truly loved. God is All Things, in Every Thing. God is our breath, our life, our heart beat. We cannot escape the throbbing, thriving, eternal, Interlligent Pulse of Life, even if we try. God desires us to have all things we need and desire and has built the potential into the system for us to experience those things. Through this means millions – billions – can access God at once, and we don’t have to wait around for Him/Her to “be bothered” to answer. The whole thing’s on Autopilot. If you are devout, then you can understand this as God’s way of providing for everyone forevermore. Through our own free will, we are partakers of Infinite Divine Love. To me, that’s an even better definition of prayer
Prayer is the act of acknowledging, receiving, and sending Infinite Divine Love through the participation in Divine Order facilitated by your own free will, or intent. Faith is utilizing your own free will to agree to access that which is already prepared for you since before time began.
I want to make clear that this is not intended to be a theological treatise, or a complete exposition on prayer. Nor is it my intent to invalidate any form of prayer known to humankind. Some prayer has as its intent the goal to simply “draw near” to God, to touch upon and experience that Infinite and Supremely Loving Consciousness. Therefore, if done with intent, everything from toning to twirling to hiking in the woods can become prayer. So please, do not take offense. I share this article so that we can all expand our awareness and effectiveness of prayer.
You can pray anywhere, anytime. Just quiet your mind, open your heart, and feel the Love. It’s important that we receive. The more we want to give and serve, the more we need to learn to receive. Then, when you feel it, send it out to others. It can be as easy as that. If you ask for specific things for yourself and others, send out that intent, then believe it is done and forget it. If you want to hold a frequency, hold your intent for the Highest Good for that person, situation, etc. Research shows that the more we are willing to release our ideas of what should happen and intend, instead, for the greatest outcome for the highest good, the more dramatic and effective the outcome of prayer. And the intended recipient of the blessing does not need to know of the prayer for it to be effective.
So why pray aloud, or with others? Two reasons. One is for the powerful effect of combined intent. To put it in terms of physics, this establishes a stronger standing wave, each person’s intent reinforcing the field. The second reason is because your love and intent can inspire, encourage, and strengthen the will and intent of others. This gift, which keeps on giving, is sometimes the answer to prayer itself.
So, the next time you think of prayer as a “chore” and can’t whip up enthusiasm, or find yourself thinking you're unworthy, try reframing it in this way. On your drive to work, while you’re cooking dinner; as you perform your various tasks, just intend things. Intend Good Things. For yourself and others.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Spin your Way to Health
My previous article, 7 Practices for Spiritual Actualization, provides a list of powerful practices which can be used to dramatically change your reality. In that article -- primarily a list to get you thinking and exploring -- I stated, “If the list is too much to tackle at once, pick two or three things to focus upon at a time, moving forward as you master or incorporate each into your life.” So let’s do just that, covering one spiritual tool at a time until you have a toolkit that’s brimming full with wonderful ways to heal and expand.
The subject I want to discuss today is listed in Section Five on taking care of your body. This practice has so much to offer it could have been placed under several headings, but I put it under the body care heading because of its potentially strong benefit to physical health. And just what is this wonderful practice to which I’m referring? You may be surprised to read it is Spinning.
Yes, you read correctly: spinning. Anyone who spends time around children will probably observe at some point kids spinning just for the fun of it. Children are naturals at exploring sensation and altering their state of consciousness and, for toddlers, getting dizzy and falling down is a hoot. After the initial novelty of getting woozy wanes, however, who would keep doing such a seemingly crazy thing? Everyone, if they’re smart.
Used for everything from promoting longevity to eliciting mystical experiences, the art of spinning has been practiced for centuries by diverse spiritual traditions the world over. The power of the practice lies in the effect it has on the chakras. If you’re reading this, you probably already know about the chakras but I’ll say it just briefly here to illustrate the significance of the practice. The chakras are energy vortexes, many located along the vertical midline axis of the body, that draw energy into the system, distributing it along energy channels which feed directly into organs and systems of the body. To maintain vibrant health and youthful appearance, fully-functioning chakras are essential. And that’s where spinning comes in.
Although western medicine would have us believe that sickness is caused by
mysterious “disease” processes, the origins of which are rarely known or understood, eastern traditions have long held that it is the quantity of energy and the efficacy of its distribution in the body that determines health. That is why I recommend spinning on a daily basis.
Spinning is one of the easiest and most powerful ways known to increase the rate at which your chakras spin. Equally important, regular spinning also helps the chakras expand outward from the body and assists energy in circulating through the nervous system. In a truly healthy being, the chakras spin quite fast and extend as much as three to five feet from the body. Few people today have such optimally functioning energy systems, and those who do are invariably people who consciously cultivate it, such as practitioners of Chi Gung. Most people I see, and nearly all my clients, have chakras that are clogged, spin too slowly, and/or are very close to the body. Some people’s chakras are so small they are nearly flat on the body and so weak they can be difficult to test. This is a sure sign of sickness and aging but, thankfully, it can be reversed. We simply need to start paying attention to our energy bodies. With that in mind, here is how to properly spin…
How to Properly Spin
The first thing, as with any energy practice, is to do this on an empty stomach. Stand in a safe, level place with your arms outstretched in line with your shoulders, parallel to the floor. Hands should be facing downward. You will only be doing this a few seconds so, if your arm muscles burn, grin and bear it. If you have serious neck and shoulder issues, however, that cause too much pain to do this, then it’s okay to bend your elbows slightly to take the pressure off your shoulders. Now picture a clock on the floor under your feet, with 12:00 facing straight ahead, and begin spinning slowly in a clockwise direction (from left to right). Begin and end slowly, picking up speed toward the middle before slowing again toward the end. When finished, relax, taking a few deep breaths in and out before moving on with your day.
Just as some of us get more air or sea sick than others, some find it very difficult to spin. If you fall into that category (or anyone else for that matter), use the technique dancers call “spotting” to help you get comfortably spinning. Here’s how to do it.
Before you begin to spin, fix your eyes on something in front of you, in the 12 o’clock position. Make sure it’s at eye level. (You don’t want to be spinning with your head up or down; you want your spine aligned.) Then, begin to spin, holding you eyes on that object as the rest of your body leads the way. When you’ve turned so far that head has to go with it, snap it around immediately so it is again fixed on your object. Repeat with the next spin, and so on. Now, if you’re one of those rare individuals who really has no balance and gets dizzy exceedingly easy, you can also spot a second position at 6 o’clock, or even four positions, one at every quarter turn. The easiest way for most, however, is just “spot” 12 o’clock.
Important Points when Spinning
Contra-indications of Spinning
- Never allow yourself to get too dizzy. Only spin ‘til slightly dizzy, then stop.
- Don’t overdo. Too much spinning can be as detrimental as not enough. Start slowly, with 3 to 6 spins, adding one or two more per week, up to a maximum of 12 - 21 spins per day.
- Only spin once a day.
- ALWAYS spin clockwise.
Spinning can cause dizziness, nausea and/or a loss of balance. These are generally temporary and not of concern for most of us. However, please be aware that according to medical experts, spinning may aggravate certain conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s, vertigo, and some seizure disorders. It may also not be advisable for persons on certain drugs and those with certain heart conditions. If in doubt about your health condition, please do consult your physician before embarking on a program of spinning.
Benefits of Spinning
Spinning increases the energy flow through all the vortexes, especially the upper chakras and knees, enhances blood circulation, and aids the flow of cerebrospinal
fluid. It is believed to stimulate the revitalization of cells, provide relief from varicose veins, help prevent headaches (don’t do it while you have one though), tone the arms, contribute to mental clarity, and spark a process of rejuvenation in the whole body. There’s really no limit to the effects getting sufficient energy can have. The lamas of Tibet both halted and reversed aging using this, among other, methods. So, if you want to stimulate your chakras and start feeling vibrantly healthy, consider adding spinning to your daily regimen of exercise
or spiritual practice.
Thanks for reading and, as always, feel free to let me know what you think!
copyright 2008 Ashandra-Aah
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Find the Beat: Jun 21 - Jul 22
The Long Days Time, also called Strong Sun Moon, is the first of the three cycles of summer. During this time, the ground warms, the clouds part, and the earth is enlivened with lush vegetation, wondrous fragrances and the expectation of fulfillment of the promises of spring. The totems for this month are flicker -- a type of woodpecker -- rose quartz and wild rose. The element for this cycle is water and the clan is frog clan.
Influences of the South
The solar influence of this cycle is the south-east and people born in this time are carried into the world on strong south winds. These warm currents are very maturing and operate in a spirit of innocence and trust. Innocence, in this context, is an awareness of Unity and is a condition of the Higher Nature which enables them to trust that they will develop and mature according to the Divine Seed within them. These people can easily develop the traits of impartiality, objectivity and non-attachment, and have the potential to manifest the kind of deep wisdom and divine love that can change the world.
Individuals born in this cycle learn best “up close and personal” and, hence, value and learn well from direct experience. Guided by their feelings, getting close to people and things is their natural way. Because of this characteristic, some natives used the mouse as a totem for the south due to the powerful sensing ability they have in their whiskers.
The animal totem for this cycle is Flicker, which represent rapid growth, trust, and the ability to manifest all-healing love.
Flickers, like all woodpeckers, tap out a rhythm, connecting us to our heartbeat; to our own dance of life. And, like the drummers of old, they can also usher in altered states, allowing us to perceive things differently.
People with Flicker medicine have natural music abilities and are very good at shifting perceptual states from one level to another. If you feel “out of sync” with the earth, with others, or the rhythm of life, call on flicker to help you find the beat.
Flickers have powerful bills and long tongues, with which to extract bugs and other nourishment from the trees. Likewise, Flicker can help you extract nourishment for your own soul out of the things around you. Another application of their skilled mouths is the ability to heal through words. Flicker medicine can help pastors, counselors, or anyone who needs assistance in using their mouths and words in a more productive or healing manner.
Flicker also has feet that differ from most birds. With two toes in front and two toes in the back of each foot, they are particularly adept at maintaining balance on the side of trees. If you have any lop-sided viewpoints or feel out of balance in any way, Flicker can help you find or regain your balance. Flicker can also help you hold tight and stay focused on the goals and tasks you wish to accomplish. So if you have trouble sticking with one thing very long or feel that you never get ahead, call on flicker to lend you its ability to grab tight.
This powerful grip, however, can also cause one to cling too tightly to people, things -- even beliefs and concepts. So those with Flicker medicine would do well to work toward consciously maintaining a state of open-mindedness and non-attachment.
Woodpecker people have powerful instincts and a sensitive emotional nature. Their primary life function is to assimilate experience, drawing wisdom and knowledge to themselves. By doing so, they learn to harness the intense powers within and obtain emotional balance. Those who succeed are among the most powerful of healers. If they fail, however, their strong drive toward love and emphasis on commitment can lead to feelings of turbulence and great unhappiness, even causing some individuals to become twisted.
The mineral for this month is rose quartz. Rose Quartz is a gentle pink color which brings a soothing feeling like a soft and fluffy cloud. Rose Quartz is best known for strengthening the heart chakra, easing the troubled heart, and removing barriers to love. It is also said to enhance one’s appreciation of beauty in all forms.
The Wild Rose blossoms from May through July and has been accessed for centuries for its medicinal properties. Wild Rose may be taken for headaches, as well as a tonic and blood purifier. High in Vitamin C, it can also be used in the treatment of colds, flu, and sore throats. Wild Rose is a gift to the senses. Beautiful to behold, it can also be made into an oil and used as a perfume or air freshener. Most importantly to my own work, Roses have agreed to be energy clearers and, as such, have been used by practitioners of magical arts and lightwork for centuries.
Like the rose, people with this plant totem bring beauty, harmony and freshness into the lives of others, but be careful for their prickly side!
Please feel free to ask questions or present issues for future blogs by using the Contact form. Peace be with you always, Ashandra-Aah
copyright 2008 Ashandra-Aah
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Message from the Devas
Channeled by Ashandra-Aah
We elements of nature –
Collective consciousnesses that have traveled from afar,
Through secret gates
from other dimensions
Traversing portals from divers stars.
We come to you now,
In your Ultimate Hour,
With wisdom, love, grace, and power
To support your work
Enhance your essence
Lead you to your highest Presence.
Teach you lessons
lead you into higher vibrations
Guide you to drink of your own
Prosperity, Abundance, Love…
These things are all so Ready
Willing; Able to come from above
From Within and Through
but Inside of You.
Holding frequency for eons
upon the earth mother
Watching in the wings
waiting for none other
Than your divine Self to arrive on the scene.
Will you speak with us?
Sense our essence, our energy;
Retrieve all that you can be?
There is power
for those who can see it,
Who choose to Be it.
We are but a helper
You are the Master
Draw us in
Make us One
Move ahead, beyond the past
Gather to you what will last.
You have the power
It is yours for the asking
Stop the braking
Put on the gas
Create your dreams
Be free at last.
We are the mineral function
And plant devas of earth
We come to you from afar
We bring rebirth.
We hold in our hand
keys of knowledge
Healing we extend…
Challenge your mind
to drift around the bend
Throw in your heart
for extra good measure
We assist in peace, health,
prosperity and leisure.
So use us now
Take us into your spirit and body
Hold us in high esteem
Trust in yourself; begin to allow
Believe in the magic
Manifest the NOW.
All is One
And One is All
And we are Free
Inside the Whole
Luminous, Eternal Beings
Free to BE
Play with us, use us –
Dare to Believe…
And you will See.
Copyright 2005 by Ashandra-Aah
Monday, June 30, 2008
Old wounds spun away;
Christ energy flowing in.
Feeling every stage, every dimension,
as energies dance with my being.
I burn with light
in goodness; love.
So excited, so ignited.
Ancient memories surface,
long-forgotten codes remembered,
disabled functions activate.
Eternal being am I,
forever young, self-renewing;
perfection in my bodily form.
Quantum flowing, ever growing
Infinite poetry in breathing, being,
copyright 2008 Ashandra-Aah
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Fight for your Life!
The Spider and the Wasp
Outside my bathroom window is a little alcove which, because of all its corners, is a favorite spot for spiders. The alcove – and often my windowpanes as well – are filled with all manner of silvery, glistening webs meant to catch meaty delights to satiate hungry arachnids. Yesterday, as I sat by the window, I witnessed something I’d never seen before. A yellow jacket flew into a web, catching itself in the sticky prison. The wasp panicked, thrashing itself about. And, as one thread broke in the violence to escape capture, several others took its place. For a moment, I pondered if the wasp was doing itself more harm than good with all its tossing about.
Then – dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun – out came the spider from its hidey-hole, the crack between the wall and finish moulding. It scurried along the bouncing snare with ease, trouncing upon the tail-end of the trapped insect. I’m engrossed. What will happen next? I wondered at the size of the spider – only half that of the yellow jacket – and the fact that he chose the stinging end to jump on. Who will be the victor in this glorious battle -- the spider or the wasp?
In an instant, I had my answer. Either the spider made a strategic error and was stung (though it didn’t appear to be), or it just decided it was too much trouble and opted to wait for the wasp to die down. At any rate, the arachnid retreated, leaving yellow jacket once again alone in its desperate mission.
It continued its struggle, flinging itself this way and that. A thread snapped – yes! But then others quickly stuck, wrapping about him like a sickly cocoon. But yellow jacket didn’t give up. Clearly, he would not go down easy. He trashed and bashed himself about like a storm-tossed frigate on the great seas. How would it end? I was greatly curious.
Then the magical moment happened. One tread broke, and another, and another as he yanked himself out. And suddenly he was FREE! Dis-ensnared, he dashed away without looking back and was gone in an instant. I celebrated his escape and took to heart the lessons.
Fighting for Your Life
We are often struck, in observing nature, with the violence of the struggle for life. With some notable exceptions, such as war, few humans face imminent threat on a daily basis. So, when we do witness the violent struggle for survival, we are often abhorred and have to look away. It is too much to watch a snow leopard or wild dog tearing apart its prey.
As humans, we live sheltered lives, while this quest for survival goes on silently about us with barely our notice. In industrialized and technologized society, we live in the land of Comfort and sit at the table of Plenty. Yet, there are other threats to our lives…
Moment by moment our ability to experience peace, joy and fulfillment – in other words, to awaken our minds to the knowledge of our True Selves -- is threatened. Danger stalks by way of self-induced pressure, fear resulting from the separation-mind, complacency, distraction and _______ (fill in the blank). So the question that arises is, “How is your life threatened?” Are you filled with peace and joy every moment of your day? Do you live in a state of perpetual plenty, where the fulfillment of need is spontaneously manifest? Do you walk in Power? Are you as happy as you would like to be? Do you love yourself? If you can say “no” to any of these things, it may be time to assess your priorities and sniff out what is threatening YOU. Then, take a lesson from Yellow Jacket and FIGHT!
The Valiant Struggle
In observing Yellow Jacket, I was amazed at its tenacity, determination; at its very will to live. Animals fight for their lives. If they notice a need, they do something about it. If they’re hungry, they hunt. If they’re sick, they look for the cure by eating herbs or grasses, rubbing their bodies on something, etc. They don’t numb their minds on drugs, distract themselves with sex, shopping, partying or whatever, then walk around in a dream state, pretending everything’s okay. Yet, as humans, we do this all the time.
I’m not saying this from any judgmental standpoint. Not at
all. We all chose to enter the valiant struggle of 3rd dimensional density for
a reason, to experience certain lessons. We are here by choice and we
have power to learn and change and grow. If we feel we aren't fully
awake, it is time to escape the web of illusion and go about learning our
lessons. So take one from the book of Yellow Jacket -- and FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE!
copyright 2008 by Ashandra-Aah
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Flowering Time: May 21 - Jun 20
Greetings Friends, and welcome to the last cycle of spring:
the Flowering Time. This is a time of expanding awareness and an influx of
knowledge but also one of immaturity. Like the seedlings in a garden, which have
grown enough to approximate the form of adult plants but are not yet fully
grown, so, too, is this a time when true understanding, though on its way, can
seem blocked and not yet here. Hence, it is time to redouble our efforts,
taking care to water the young plants and nurture the soil so they may grow to
full stature, bearing fruit. Use every opportunity that presents itself to
extend your vision, exercise your intuition and expand the stretch of your
senses so that you, too, can grow to produce fruit in the coming season.
During this month, solar influences are strengthening,
growing toward summer solstice, and people born in this cycle feel the need for
increasing and intensifying their creative expression. It is also a time of
powerful East Winds, bursting forth with an energizing force that moves beyond
the awakening and activating of spring into full transformation. Because it is
a time of air and fire, things tend to happen quickly and radical changes may
occur to those who yield to the winds blowing about them. If you feel you have
only got so far and desire true change or breakthroughs in your life, now is a
good time to water your own garden. Concentrate on self-development, hold an
openness of spirit, and maintain a broad vision, looking beyond the immediate
trees to the greater forest. In due season, you will reap the harvest.
The totems for the Flowering Time are Deer, Agate and
Mullein. The elemental influence is Air with Fire, the direction is South-east,
and the clan is Butterfly. More about these later. :-)
People born May 21 – June 20, September 22 – October 22, and
January 20 – February 18 are part of the Butterfly Clan.
People of this clan, ruled by the element of air, are very
much like the symbol which represents them. Curious and constantly moving, they
flutter from place to place, situation to situation, ever searching for beauty
and new things. Real explorers, they are fascinated with new places, new ideas,
and new ways to do things, but they rarely stay put very long. Like the element
of air, they shift constantly, bringing about change like the winds. And this
is their strength.
The gift of Butterfly people is much the same as the
beautiful butterfly itself, which pollinates the flowers as it flutters about,
making the blossoming of continued beauty possible. Just as the butterfly
carries pollen from plant to plant, Butterfly people bring new ideas and fresh
energy to help others in their path.
The weakness of Butterfly people is their inconstance. Their
strong tendency toward mobility and their drive to explore can cause them to become
easily bored, impatient and unreliable, if they are not careful. And, like the
wind, which can bend the trees to its will, they can be manipulative if they so
choose. Their need to find constantly new things can also interfere with their
ability to be faithful to a mate or to deepen relationships of every kind.
Hence, people of the Butterfly Clan face the life challenge
of finding contentment. Since they rarely stick with things or stay in one
place long enough to go deep, the contentment they seek often eludes them. Because of this, Butterfly Clan people may often feel directionless or depressed. This
issue can only be effectively addressed by recognizing their true nature.
Butterfly people must first learn to accept their transient nature and not fall into
the trap of judging themselves by another standard. If they can learn to
appreciate their true strengths -- to bring beauty and energy and freshness to
people and situations around them -- then they can come to appreciate all that
life offers. In service, albeit temporary or short-term, they can form bonds
with others around common needs and concerns while simultaneously bringing
their beauty and vitality to bear on problems and situations in need of their
freshness. In this way, they help the world be a much better, richer, more
fertile place and can find true satisfaction in their accomplishments.
If you love butterflies, click here to view more photos.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
On this day, may we realize the efforts, the love, the nurturing, the teaching and sacrifices of all Mothers everywhere, including Pachamana, Earth Mother who bore us all. May we be truly grateful for the life we have been given, and may we each give back abundantly more than we have taken. Ho!
Friday, May 09, 2008
Growing Time: Apr. 20 - May 20
In spite of good intentions, it seems I am still not finding
the time to complete my write-up for this month. So, in order for you to at
least have a focus, I offer you this brief overview for the monthly
totems. Hopefully, I’ll get back to finishing this in a few days. If not, you
will at least have the basic info.
This month is the second in the spring cycles and marks a
time of dramatic growth and change. It is also a time for putting down roots
for new life and securing stability for the transformations ahead.
totem for this month is Beaver – practical, methodical, adaptable, affectionate,
creative, patient and preserving. The tendency of this totem is to seek
stability and security, so it is a good totem to access for those who feel
directionless and adrift. The flip side is that those with beaver medicine
may cling too tightly to material things, forming attachments so strong
they can even form addictions. The challenge is to learn to tread the
material path without becoming forming dependencies.
- The totem
mineral is Jasper Bloodstone, the green variety flecked with red, brown
and yellow colorations. This stone was believed by ancients to aid in
uplifting human consciousness to the spiritual Sun, and was used by Native
Americans to stem bleeding, ward off insect bites, and soaked in water as
a general tonic. (The stone contains iron, which may be what made people
stronger by drinking it.)
plant totem is wild (red) clover. A favorite of organic gardeners for
fixing nitrogen in the soil, this plant has traditionally been used as a
tonic for liver and gall bladder, a curative for constipation, and to
increase appetite. Its flowers are also used by bees to make a light, sweet
- The Elemental Clan for this month is turtle, an animal which represents the earth for many native peoples. Turtle clan people feel the need to establish a stable base and to be surrounded by solid and constructive things. Like beaver people, they progress slowly and methodically, with persistance and tenacity. Their challenge is to keep the earth energies in balance. Otherwise, they may become stubborn and inflexible and their tenacity -- though usually a strength -- may cause them to have trouble letting go when appropriate.
elements: Earth and fire
Friday, May 02, 2008
7 Practices for Spiritual Actualization
For those who truly desire to learn to manifest your spiritual intent, here is a list of practices to get you started. With daily practice and meditation upon these items, you will find yourself not only moving closer to your spiritual goals but will also begin to see a change in how easily things come to you and work out in your life. Obviously, the list is not intended to be fully self-explanatory, therefore, it may contain some things on which you'll need to do more research. But this should, hopefully, serve to give you some ideas and direction. If some of the things make no sense to you at all, simply ask Spirit to reveal to you their meaning or value for you personally. If it is time for you to understand, don't worry, you will. If the list is too much to tackle at once, pick two or three things to focus upon at a time, moving forward as you master or incorporate each into your life.
1) Consciously command, will and intend:
- The evolvement of your DNA
- An acceleration of your personal evolution
- An acceleration of the opening of your ancient eyes
- To call energy into your body and utilize it
- To stay clear and centered and to always bring yourself into the moment
- To not base any of your current experiences on your past
- To stay in your intentions every day
- That you will consciously direct your awareness and energy to work in an uplifting capacity & that all things come to you effortlessly, joyfully; in harmony
· That there is divine order and divine purpose in everything
· That you are divinely guided
· That all events are drawn to you for your growth, healing and ultimate freedom
· That you are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing
· 100% of the time that you create your own reality
· To use your feeling center
· To activate, and act on, the information inside of you
· To trust what you create
- To not judging yourself
- To accepting responsibility for what happens
- To being open to reading the symbols as they come to you
- To living 100% of the time by what you want
- To Love, honor, cherish, be good to, and speak well of yourself
- To discovering what will bring you happiness and begin to want that; calling it to yourself
- To cultivating altered states
- To participating in events, rituals and ceremonies
- To opening the energy centers, inside and outside the body, every day and calling in the frequencies of light. Pull light into the body
- To going into meditative states, receiving pictures of your identity and reality and assignments from Spirit day by day
5) Take care of your body:
- Do deep breathing; oxygenate
- Do spinning to align chakras
- Drink lots of water
- Learn to call ideas and experiences into the body
- Listen to what it wants to eat; what it feels, etc.
- Get enough rest
6) Practice visiting other realities
- Utilize a symbol, ride a tornado, shamanic journey, or use any other technique that works for you but do it regularly.
7) Get centered, stay clear, and allow tones to come through you
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The Pleasure Principle: Part 1
One of the most basic principles taught in the study of
psychology is that all organisms seek pleasure. Therefore, behaviors that are
rewarded tend to be incorporated and solidified while behaviors that have a
neutral effect or are blatantly punished tend to get extinguished. What exactly
is pleasure? Anything -- whether it be physical, emotional, spiritual or mental
-- that provides a sense of well-being. Indeed, just the act of receiving
praise, which can give one a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, an experience of
lightness in spirit, or a sense of positive self-image is often enough to
strengthen certain behavior.
When working on self-healing, this is an important concept
to remember. For if you are trying to heal yourself with behaviors that don’t
bring pleasure, you are in for quite a challenge. This is why so many diets
fail. Since diet is a good example, let’s continue with that analogy for a while…
One of my specialties as a therapist was eating disorders. I
spent a lot of time with people fixated on their body image and food. Most had
tried so many diets, pills, hypnosis, 12-step groups – a myriad of things --
all to no avail. Time after time dieters would fail to lose significant weight,
berating themselves for their weakness and feeling all the worse. Or, even more
frequently, reach a weight target, only to gain it all back. The famous “yo-yo”
syndrome. This diet behavior is epidemic in our culture because it is spawned
by a fatal flaw: it relies on punishment
rather than reward. What it doesn’t realize, and fails to incorporate, is
that organisms seek pleasure. In fact, it is the reason for our being. Pain is
meant as a warning, like a light coming on in our dash, that something needs
tending but pleasure is our natural state.
So! If you want to reach a certain weight target – or any
other goal – you must make it pleasurable.
This can be pleasure in the now, or fantasized pleasure of delayed
gratification. It doesn’t matter, as long as it is real enough to you in the
moment. For instance, some people are more successful at dieting when they join
a diet group. This is because they have added the pleasure of making new
friends and adding support and encouragement to their venture. Others have
permanently lost weight by focusing on a long-held dream. Perhaps the person
always wanted to study dance, run a marathon, or climb a mountain. By
consistently visualizing engaging in these activities, reading books on them,
watching television shows on them, and meditating on how great it feels (not will feel) to move in that way, to cross
the finish line, to see the vista at the top, etc., one is already giving one’s
self pleasure, with the promise of more to come. The body responds to this,
becoming more cooperative with the plan.
There are many ways to seek pleasure without sabotaging your
goal. For instance, many people who want to get fit enroll in aerobics or yoga
classes. Instead of trying to jog, bike or walk in a solitary way, relying on
one’s so-called willpower alone, joining a class engages the mind/body/spirit
in pleasurable activities such as learning new moves, being in a like-minded
group, listening to exciting music, experiencing new sensations, etc.
Likewise, if you want to heal, seek to bring yourself to a
state of pleasure. If something hurts, do active visualizations of when it
didn’t. Pull up memories of how it felt to move in a way you currently can’t,
or had energy that is now lacking. Fondle the memory, squeezing out every
detail. If you were a competitive runner, remember how your whole body held
taut and ready at the starting gate, how your legs surged beneath you at the
sound of the gun, the feel of the air brushing your skin, cooling your sweat.
Experience the body memory of your heart pounding, the emotional thrill of sprinting
just inches ahead of the runner behind you, straining to keep the lead. Remember
the times you won, the pride of loved ones, the praises, the sheer joy of life
in the moment. And use that as motivation. Rather than berate yourself for
getting into this mess, feel sorry for yourself, or accept a proclamation
(diagnosis) of hopelessness, remind your body it knows how to be healthy and that you command it to do so again. Then
find ways to have fun with it. Use imagery, memory, active visualization,
fantasy, music, dance, writing, books, meditation tapes or any other thing you
can create or access to have fun healing. And don’t work so hard at having fun
that it’s work! Let it all go… Watch a funny movie, dance barefoot on the
beach. Whatever it takes. The point is, if you want to be whole, you gotta have
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Hawk: Heightened Awareness
Soaring high in the sky, hawk is considered a messenger of Great Spirit, carrying messages down to us on earth. When we see a hawk, it is time to listen up.
Hawk’s shrill cry has been considered by many native peoples a signal to be aware or beware. It is a powerful omen meant to jar the awareness, telling you to pay attention; something is about to happen. It could be the birth of child, the approaching of an enemy, or your own power about to burst forth. Whatever may be, it is your responsibility to perceive, receive and utilize the message. Those born with hawk as totem also have a responsibility to bring the forth the messages of Spirit without interpretation or judgment, passing them along in pure form. Hawk urges us all to raise our awareness, awake from our slumber, and put ourselves in full gear, preparing for what is to come.
If you need guidance for something in your life, hawk is an excellent ally to pursue. Take a hike out where you can sit with the hawks, meditating on their grace and power. If you find hawk feathers, tie them in a bundle and hang them above your bed, asking for dreams to come from Spirit. Also, be very aware if hawks show up unexpectedly in your life, cutting in front of your car or presenting other strange encounters while you are out and about. These are definite calls to be vigilant in your awareness.
Hawks are fearless birds, with powerful beaks and talons that can tear the head off a snake in an instant. And this they do, often attacking poisonous snakes with such speed and precision that the snake has not a chance. If you have difficulty speaking your mind or expressing your true self, hawk is a great totem to call upon for it can give you great strength. But those born under this totem must be mindful that their own energy can be very intense, and be careful not to “bite people’s heads off” for, if uncontrolled, hawk energy can hurt and damage others.
Hawks are sometimes attacked by smaller birds ganging up on them and this is something good to remember. Sometimes, when you are flying high, others may be resentful or not understand your unique creative journey. When such attacks come, Hawks are well protected. In addition to their beak and talons, they also have scaled legs to protect them from poisonous bites. If you feel someone trying to take a bite out of you, remember that you can soar above the pettiness and attacks, circling around your life to view the whole with detachment.
The color of the tail feathers on red-tailed hawks is associated with the activation of kundalini and the expression of it in your life. When red-tailed hawk shows up, it is a signal that your visions and/or childhood dreams are awakening and ready to come forth. It is time for you to wake up, be fully activated, and allow the expression of your vital energies on earth.
Red-tailed hawks often make one place their home for life and this permanency is reflected in their faithfulness as allies. It is said that hawks will generally not become an ally to one until they are ready for mature work or have activated their kundalini. Yet, once they do, they can be permanent guides on the path.
Hawks are long-lived birds, often living up to 14 years. This number is significant; associated with astral projection and, again, the activation of higher energies. If hawk comes into your life, it could be signaling a time of rapid development and an increase in psychic abilities and hawk teaches the balance of those energies for right use in discovering and manifesting our true life purpose. When these powerful and fiery energies activate, you may find it helpful to meditate on the 14th card in the Tarot deck, Temperance, as well as the number 14.
In summary, Hawk spirit carries messages between heaven and earth and can assist in activating and developing our higher energies. Hawk can teach us to effectively hunt for our life’s purpose, to express ourselves in powerful ways, and to fly high above it all, viewing our life as a balanced whole. Hawk medicine is most powerful around the time of spring and fall equinox, so don’t delay. Now is the time to wake up, pay attention, and grab some of the creative, activating energy of Red-Tailed Hawk. Ho! Thank you Spirit.
Awakening Time: Mar. 21 - Apr. 19
Welcome to spring! At this time of the year all that seemed dead and forgotten springs back to life, bringing exuberant energy and hope, fulfilling the promise of new life in the life-death-life cycle. Natives called this cycle "The Awakening Time" and aptly so, as all is awakening from winter’s dormant, quiet slumber. The totem for this cycle is Red Hawk, the mineral is Opal, the clan is also Hawk, and the plant is the fun and fabulous Dandelion. Fire is the elemental influence and northeast is the direction, with easterly winds prevailing.
Awakening Time People
People born at this time are like the plants and trees of spring which push up their first shoots and blossoms, full of life, yet not fully aware of all that is around them. Their initial task, as they shoot up from this slumber, is to dynamically express themselves and their own individuality. Hence, those born at this time are great starters, pioneering people subject to flashes of intuition, who blaze new trials for others to follow. They’re weak on follow-through, however, and need the advice of others to help them fully develop their intuition. One of their tasks in life, therefore, is to learn to be true to themselves while simultaneously discovering the lessons of inter-dependence, learning that others are needed on life’s path. This will help them move beyond bud to full flowering. The influence of Falcon – related to the mythical phoenix which rises from the ashes in brilliant, radiant energy -- is strong in these people, driving them to seek the prey of new ideas and projects. Hawk, the other totem animal for this cycle, helps bring more grounding and balance to the flighty start-but-not-finish Falcon energy.
The totems for this cycle are Falcon and Hawk. Falcon is similar to hawk, except that it is more flighty and inconstant. Hence, I prefer to utilize hawk medicine. Because of the importance of Hawk and all the lessons it has to teach, I have written a separate blog for hawk medicine so please refer to that blog for more information.
Awakening Time Clan
The clan for this cycle is also hawk. The Hawk Clan is considered the leaders, the inspirers, the trail blazers of the community. With the heat of their own fire, they set activities into motion. Since fire is the elemental influence of this cycle, they must be careful, however, to not become too intense and burn out themselves or others in their path of flight.
The mineral for this cycle is Opal. Opal is a milky, translucent stone that comes from hot places where there is a lot of pressure. Hence, opal is considered a great stone for use by people undergoing pressure from the “fiery trials” of life. Ancients regarded opal as solidified cosmic light and it is said to contain cosmic rays that amplify the energy of the person holding it. Opal is, therefore, not considered a good stone to wear. Rather, it should be held with the intent to bring to light one’s true feelings and to assist one in harmonizing one’s fiery emotions. Because opal actually contains some water, some native tribes considered fire opal the “fire that spreads like water” and believed opal should be used by those whose fire springs from the watery emotions. If you’re given to drama or feel you have little control of your emotions, this stone may be of aid in your quest to dowse the fire a bit and find harmony.
Although I have spent a good deal of time working with plant spirits, I don’t tend to write much about them. The plant for this cycle, however, should not be overlooked. Dandelion, the bane of lawn-keepers and the joy of children everywhere, is one of the most wondrous plants at our disposal.
Classes in Permaculture, as well as foraging for wild foods, teach that dandelion is one of the best plants out there for humans and for the earth. Every part is edible; containing huge bunches of vitamins A, B, and C, as well as calcium, iron and phosphorus. Dandelion is a blood purifier and acts as a general tonic and stimulant. It promotes the formation of bile, helps remove toxins, and the root can be used as a healthy coffee substitute. Furthermore, its taproot assists in breaking up hard soils, allowing nutrients in the earth to be recycled, making them more available to all plants. As if that weren’t enough, who can resist those bright yellow flowers beaming energy, like little suns, from their happy place. Far from being a bane, dandelions are among earth’s most precious environmental protectors and should be treated with great respect. Anyone who thinks nutrition-sucking, water-guzzling grass is more important than a plant which can sustain our bodies and nourish the earth has got at least one screw loose! So, before you spray “weed” killer on these precious beauties, please think twice!
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Blustery Winds Time: Feb. 19 - Mar. 20
Hello readers. Sorry for being a bit late this month with the post. I have been very busy howling at the moon but there is still plenty of time for you to join in and enjoy Wolf Moon month.
This month is the time of the year when the winds of change are blowing. The dark times are shortening but summer is not yet here. The earth and everything upon her is shifting, preparing for the coming spring. This is an “in between time,” a period of transition and anticipation of the promise of what is to come. The animal totem for this season is wolf, the mineral ally jade. The clan is frog, the plant is plantain. And, for the musicians out there, the key is F sharp.
This cycle is affiliated with the north wind, which is associated with wisdom and knowledge, the action of purity and renewal. The element air is associated with the power of the mind. Thus, the blustery winds is a time for cleansing ourselves of negative thought forms to make way for the new creative energies of spring. While in the blustery wind, it is good to watch one’s thoughts, watching for the answer to “what holds me back?” As you stalk your thoughts, you may find worry, anxiety, fear, envy and other thoughts cluttering your mind like debris.
Because this is a time where air and water meet, the energy is supportive of bringing the mind and feelings into balance. Indeed, this is a large part of its very purpose. The mind is dispassionate, analytical, while the heart can be passionate and irrational. As water needs air and air needs water so, too, does the mind need the emotions and emotions the mind. The purpose of blustery wind is to allow us to make this connection and find the harmony.
Wolf as Teacher
Wolf is an interesting balance of yin and yang. On the one hand, wolves are friendly, playful, and known for their strong family ties. Wolves move, hunt and live in packs, mate for life, and care for their pups as a family. And, like a tribe, wolves will even care for the young of others if something should happen to the parents. Conversely, wolves also have a fierce individuistic drive; hence the term “lone wolf.”
The image of wolf that often comes to mind is wolf baying at the moon. Wolves are attracted to the moon and governed by its power as an ally. This association of wolf with the moon caused northern American natives to associate it with the spiritual characteristics of the moon: psychic energy and the realm of the unconscious from which proceeds deep knowledge and wisdom. Because of this, wolf became known as a teacher.
If wolf medicine is speaking to you – either in the physical, in dreams or other symbols – it may be a message that it is time for you to seek the teachings that you need. These could come to you from the Teacher in yourself, in Nature, or in others. Wolf is a pathfinder and, sometimes, wolf comes to guide us to our own pathfinders: elders, shamans, or others whose wisdom and experience is greater than our own. Wolf can also provide the courage and vitality to share your own wisdom and knowledge, inspiring us to write, offer workshops, or partake in other venues of teaching. Wolf may also be urging us to look to our own families. What needs attention in our own tribe? Wolf knows how to adapt and live in constant companionship and can teach powerful lessons in right relationship.
The month of Wolf moon is a good time to ask ourselves what is lacking, personally and communally. What do you want to learn? What do you seek? Are your relationships strong and affectionate, or weak, distant; stressed? Now is the time to receive wolf medicine, asking wolf to bring you the teachings you need. And don’t forget to occasionally be a “lone wolf.” Take some personal time to soak in the energy and howl at the moon.
Jade as Ally
Jade, has been a mineral ally to humans for literally thousands of years. In Asia it was much revered as a stone that brought both health and good luck; hence, the Buddhist monks and Tibetan shamans used it to carve talismans of good will. Today, it remains a prized mineral in much of Eastern world.
Jade is associated with the root and crown chakras and can be used in both physical and spiritual endeavors. Physically, it is associated with the immune system, thymus, heart, kidney and nervous system and is believed to stimulate white blood cell and adrenaline production. Mentally, it is associated with practicality, wisdom, tolerance and peace. It is often prescribed for people with stress in theirs lives, including busy parents, as it can aid in reducing stress as well as eliminating fear and negative thoughts. For this reason, it makes excellent prayer beads and is an effective “worry stone.” (Personally, I do not like the term “worry stone”, as we create what we think about. I prefer to call such pieces helpers, allies, or friends.) Jade can also aid in lightwork toward world peace and is a good stone for environmentalists, as it promotes earth healing and compassion for “all our relations” on the planet. Jade is further believed to bring harmony to body, mind, and spirit, helping one find balance between his/her various needs. Spiritually, it is associated with the Mayan Dreamtime and is believed to assist one in entering realms of the ancient elders.
Jade comes in many colors, including green, red, purple and yellow, with differing uses associated with each color. My own experience is to use green for good health and red or yellow for prosperity but always listen to the stone and what it is telling you.
As might be expected, the frog clan is associated with the element water. During its life cycle, frogs go through several phases, morphing from swimming tadpoles to four-legged creatures that can take to the land. Because of this adaptability, its ability to fit into any environment, frog became associated with the flexibility of elemental water.
Frog clan people like to “go with the flow,” preferring malleable situations to rigid structures. They are deep feeling and can experience strong empathy for others. Understandably, frog people find water soothing and love to be near lakes, rivers, the ocean or any water. People of the frog clan often have a mission to stand as ally to the waters of the world, fighting to preserve them.
If you are part of the frog clan, you may want to ask yourself if you are getting too bogged down in the mud of your feelings, or are in need of jumping into some fresh creative waters. Are you swimming in your emotions, enjoying the flow? Or have you been out of the water too long and become “dry” and stale? Remember that you are part of the water clan and need to return often to your feelings and deep intuitions. Honor them and find cleansing and refreshment in the deep waters of your soul.
As always, please feel free to write in with any questions you would like to see addressed in this blog. Until next time, may you be filled with light and love, giving and receiving any and all teachings you need for the higher good. Ho!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Cleansing Time: Jan. 20 - Feb. 18
This cycle of the year is known as the Cleansing Time and is
the original “spring cleaning” time. At this midpoint in winter, all the
potential manifestations of spring are stirring but still hidden within. The
Sun’s charge is growing again and life is secretly plotting its course. This is
the time of year to clean out your closets, your spirit, your life; to cut off
dead branches and clear the clutter. This month reminds us that we must make
room for the new things we desire by getting rid of the old. This presents us
with a good excuse to have a “great giveaway,” donating or recycling all that
we no longer need. This includes old thought forms, beliefs, and energies that
no longer serve us as well. Do you still harbor any unforgiveness, anger,
resentment or sense of injustice toward any people, situations or
organizations? If so, it is time to use all the means at your disposal to clear
these things from your being.
The totems for the Cleansing Time are Otter, Turquiose, and
Fern plants. The elemental clan is Butterfly.OTTER MEDICINE
The characteristics of Otter are well-defined. Otters are
playful, joyful, and naturally curious. At this time of the year it is good to feed
your own curiosity and focus on creativity and tolerance, and watching otters
at play can inspire us to do this.
Otter’s strong connection to water associates this animal
with the primal feminine energies. Their focused mothering and nurturing of
their young, as well as their habit of kicking the father temporarily out of
the den when offspring are born, further indicates their feminine nature.
Hence, otter is a good animal to call upon for strengthening our feminine side
or evoking our maternal instincts. Otters are also freely affectionate and
sharing and can help us learn largess of spirit.
The main message of otter is to remember and reawaken our
Inner Child. Do you work too hard and play too little? Call upon Otter to help
lighten you up? Do you spend too much time away from your children, or find
yourself too much of a disciplinarian? Let otter lead you back to affectionate,
warm times of sharing. But beware, otter may also come into your life with an
inverse message. If you lack focus and are playing around too much, let otter remind you of your responsibilities too.
All in all, the message here is to clear out the clutter and
welcome in new joy, creativity, and wonder. So be it!
This blue, veined mineral has a long history of use in
spiritual circles. From ancient Egypt
to modern America,
turquoise has been worn by healers, wizards and shamans as means of power and
Turquoise is a mystic’s stone, said to open us to loving
communication and telepathy. It centers, harmonizes and brings peace of mind.
If the wearer is attracting misfortune, it is said to absorb it, protecting the
wearer until it can hold no more, at which point it may shatter. If you’ve ever
seen this happen, that is the reason why. Because of this tendency, it is a good
idea to regularly clear and cleanse turquoise.
The butterfly clan is ruled by the element of air, which is
associated with the power of thought and intellect. Air is clear and
uncluttered and represents unseen movement, the power of the unmanifest just
before it comes into being. Hence, air signifies the power to bring dreams or
thought forms into being in the outside world. Without air, there is no sound.
Thus, air supports communication of all forms of ideas and creativity coming
forth in the Cleansing Time.
Butterflies are about change and transformation. Therefore
people born in this cycle are enabled to effect change in themselves and
others, bringing fresh energy and perspectives. However, like otter medicine,
those who are born into or utilize butterfly medicine need to be aware to stay
focused, lest they run the risk of flittering from one thing to the next, never
bringing to fruition their good ideas.
This month harkens to us to clear the way for new thoughts
and things and to welcome them into the clean space we have provided for them.
It asks us to tap into our curiosity and playfulness and with, with focused
intent, create new projects and manifest blessings. Using our feminine side, we
can further boost our creativity and relationships with the warm and nurturing
energies of the archetypal mother.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
An Antidote for Depression
Here’s some scary statistics: nearly 19 million Americans – 10% of the population – is clinically depressed. One in three women are depressed and the rate among men is growing. And – are you ready for this? – the rate of depression among preschoolers is an astounding 23%! In fact, according to an article in the journal, Psychiatric Services[i], preschool children are now the fastest growing market for anti-depressants. Clearly, something is awry with humanity.
Previously, the medical take on depression was that our body was lacking or in excess of some chemical, such as serotonin, responsible for maintaining our mental balance. Hence, SSRI’s became the standard treatment. Yet, the research community – and even some in the medical profession – are now realizing how dangerous this course really is. Anti-depressants have been linked to suicide, violence, psychosis, and other maladies and, even more astounding, is evidence that anti-depressants work only as, or less, effective than placebos.[ii] In England, anti-depressants have been outlawed in children and the British Medical Journal reported they found no evidence that they even worked in that population.[iii]
To me, the most significant findings on depression are the numerous studies indicating that the largest percentage of cases are the result of childhood trauma, including all types of abuse and neglect, poverty, racism, family conflict; even exposure to violence on television.[iv] As a healer who deals with peoples’ energy imprints on a daily basis, this is not at all surprising. I have seen clients healed of behavioral habits, thought patterns and physical conditions by simply lifting the energy of various life and past-life experiences from their matrix.
In addition to traumatic imprints, I believe societal conditioning is also a factor. This could be especially true of the numerous children who are now showing signs of depression. Our world has changed a lot in a short time. As a culture, we are busier and more stressed than any other time in history. To many people, an 8-hour work day would be a vacation, as ten, twelve, and fourteen-hour work days become increasingly commonplace among professionals. Our expectations have changed too – for ourselves and our children. When I was a child, the primary goals of the zeitgeist were to find a mate, build a family, and make enough money to live comfortably with our loved one. On television, which was a fairly new technology, we saw models of happy families working through everyday problems. Today, the media is filled with thousands of images flashed at us daily of slim and sexy men and women, most of which are portrayed as CEO’s, doctors, successful lawyers and other wealthy characters. They travel in BMW’s and limousines, go to fancy parties and the finest restaurants, jet off to tropical vacations, and fill their days (wherever do they find the free time?) golfing, kicking back at classy bars, and melting away all their cares at the club or spa.
I’m not saying the characters of yesteryear were completely realistic but, compared to today’s models, they at least promoted values of human connection, rather than the race for wealth and affluence we see today. Clearly, most of us are not jet-setters with houses in the Hamptons.
Our culture is now so saturated with these images that there is virtually no escaping them. Even if you throw away your TV, these images and models still reach us in a myriad of ways, sending us messages of success and sexuality based on only 2% of our national population.
So what is my point?
Images of the media, the messages they give us and our children, are energetic imprints that permeate and penetrate our being daily. Because of these and other messages, received from family and friends (who are also influenced by media and events from their own pasts), we struggle with low self-esteem, feelings of failure or not reaching our full potential (which often means being one of the “beautiful people” we see on magazines and TV), anger, and other potentially harmful emotions. In short, we are being continually programmed to have ever higher expectations which drive us to work harder and longer, often denying ourselves the most precious things in life.
These higher expectations also drive us to want and expect more for and from our children. In the past, children could play every day, all day, from morning til night, at least until the age of 5 or 6 when they entered kindergarten or grade school. Now, children are placed in day care centers or “early learning centers” and expected to read – and even write – at two and three years old. In some circles, mothers are even ridiculed and shamed if their children are not “keeping up” with this new academic model for success. What is being ignored for the children are the very things that adults are more and more ignoring: the value -- spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically – of playing, making friends and having fun, not to mention the valuable life-lessons that are learned in “free time.”
Depression is a complex subject, with many potential causes. My intent in this article is not to oversimplify. However, this blog is about spiritual approaches to wholeness, health and happiness. Since I live by the tenet that thought is energy and energy creates reality, I am constrained to consider what we are missing or doing that so many people are now suffering. If 23% of our children are depressed, then clearly the mental/emotional component is strongly involved since it is unlikely that so high a percentage of people could suddenly have been born with genetic or structural bases of depression which, to date, are considered to be a factor in a low percentage of cases. Such a sudden change in the human structure would indicate a radical evolutionary shift in the wrong direction, also not likely.
I contend that one of the major causes of depression is our inability to any longer recognize the beauty all around us and all the blessings we have at our disposal. We are so caught up in what we want to have, think we should have and are, in fact, being programmed to have that we have lost sight of the wonder of our own being and all that we do have! We are running around, depressed and unsatisfied with our current lives, thinking it's the side dish, while searching and waiting for life to serve up the main course. And while we’re struggling to get to what we think is the meat, the “side dish” is growing cold. Yet, we can't see that our current moment contains a healthy, hearty meal. The soup's on and it's time to dive in but we still think there should be more! This may keep the economy going but it does little for our souls.
When I was little, many people “said grace” before meals, acknowledging the blessings set before them. It was also common to say prayers with one’s kids before tucking them in at night. Small rituals like this, that may seem quaint or smack too much of religion for peoples’ more sophisticated sensibilities today, keep certain feelings, ideas and beliefs alive for us. Taking the time to recognize the good things we have, even in hard times, and being taught to give thanks to a loving God who provides, instills in us a sense of peace and security, a foundation upon which to build a life potentially devoid of the fear and stress rampant today. While this may sound like a simple answer, there is much to be said for the ritual of giving thanks. Since we know now that our own thoughts create our reality – whether it’s sickness, depression, conflict, loneliness or any other thing we may experience – then changing our thoughts is the exit to these hardships and the latch to open the window for new blessings to pour in. Saying prayers of thankfulness is a key component of shamanism and, I believe, any spiritual practice, since it trains our minds to focus on all the goodness around us in the now.
Sometimes, however – especially if we’re depressed -- we may feel hard-pressed to come up with anything to be grateful for. If this is true for you, take note. For the evidence is before you of just how much your mental state has succumbed to the messages around you. With a disease model, we are taught we are victims of mysterious chemicals floating around in our bodies over which we have no control. Today, we know this just isn’t so. There is ample research now verifying the effect our thoughts have on our own body. We are not the victims of our bodies; they are the victims of us! And we can change that. We can start right now, today, to change our thoughts. This energy will be picked up by the body, brightening, balancing, and restoring the chemical and physical structure.
If you find yourself in that place today, here’s a small list to get you started:
I am grateful for:
· This life, which gives me opportunity to move closer to truth every day
· Freedom, to live and believe and express myself as I choose
· My parents, for bringing me into the world and loving me the best they knew how at the time
· Friends, who share with me the laughter and tears of everyday life
· The sun shining on my face, shedding its warmth and life-giving light to me and all living things
· Trees, beautifying my world as they lend to us their much-needed air
· My lungs, breathing in and out without a thought, drawing in the breeze which blows about me
· My heart which voluntarily, steadfastly beats, carrying nourishing elements to all the cells of my body
· My brain, enabling me to comprehend and synthesize my world
· The amazing wonder of my body, a vehicle to carry me through life
· The earth, which holds our energy; receiving, recycling, and feeding us all daily
· The plants and animals, which share their life force and bodies with me so I can live
· The humble abode in which I take shelter from the elements
· Awareness, to know beauty and truth, love and compassion
· Spirit, which fills me with wisdom, knowledge and bliss
· Music, which wakes me, shakes me, and soothes me
· Film, which teaches, stimulates, and entertains me
· Books: a friend for quiet times
· Children laughing
· The ocean – churning, changing by the minute; spraying mist upon my face
· My past, shaping me into the person I am
· The ability to change anything I don’t like about myself
· The power to create change and beauty
· Myself, for showing up for life!
If you need to use my list to get started, that’s fine. But have the goal to move beyond it, making a list of your own as soon as possible. If you have no ritualized way of giving thanks, take the time to create one. Start being aware of the moments of your life, looking around you every day for what has beauty, truth, life, joy. Give thanks for those things. This can be as simple as quiet acknowledgements throughout the day, each time you notice. Then, as your awareness for goodness evolves, you may want to develop your own rituals for morning, evening, meals, gatherings, etc. I highly recommend this to all my clients. Experiment and have fun, for that is the goal of life. Practiced daily, thanksgiving can change your perspective and, ultimately you life. Keep at it, and you may find this is true for you as well.
Please feel free to email me at my website and let us know what you’re grateful for and we’ll post a new list later with everyone’s input.
Love you always,
[i] Psychiatric Services, April 2004.
[ii] B Timothy Walsh, et al., “Placebo Response in Studies of Major Depression: Variable, Substantial, and Growing,” JAMA, Apr 2002, 287:1840-1847.
Irving Kirsch, Ph.D., and David Antonuccio, Ph.D. “Antidepressants Versus Placebos: Meaningful Advantages Are Lacking,” Psychiatric Times 2004, 19:9. Also see Burns et al., “Rumble in Reno: The Psychosocial Perspective on Depression,”. Health news stories: Antidepressants Versus Placebos: Meaningful Advantages Are Lacking, Placebos as Good as Antidepressants.
[iii] J. Jureidini, et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Antidepressants for Children and Adolescents,” British Medical Journal 2004, 328:879-883. Health news story: The Antidepressant Storm Rages On: Ely Lily Knew of Prozac Risk.
[iv] Deborah Lott, “Childhood Trauma, CRF Hypersecretion and Depression,” Psychiatric Times, October 1999, 16:(10)
Danya Glaser, “Child Abuse and Neglect and the Brain,” Journal of Child Psychology. & Psychiatry. 2000, 41:1:97-116
L Rowell Huesmann, et al., University of Michigan, “Longitudinal Relations Between Children's Exposure to TV Violence and Their Aggressive and Violent Behavior in Young Adulthood: 1977 - 1992,” Developmental Psychology, 39:2.
An up-to-date definition of what constitutes childhood abuse can be found in the American Academy of Pediatrics report, “The Psychological Maltreatment of Children,” April 2, 2002. Health news stories: Stress and Trauma Increase Risk of Depressive and Anxiety Disorders, Maternal Deprivation Triggers Manic Depression.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Peridot - Mineral Totem
This clear to semi-opaque, limey-green crystal is the mineral totem for the Snow Goose Moon cycle of December 22 – January 19 and is a wonderful stone for all who seek purification, regeneration, stimulation, and renewal at all levels of our being. I have found it a great ally for those with physical ailments, as well as for healers. Diverse in its function, it is associated with chakras 3 though 7.
On the physical plane, Peridot serves as a balancer and tonic, balancing the glandular system, aiding in tissue regeneration and fortifying the bloodstream. It is also purifying to body, mind and spirit.
Peridot stimulates the mind, enhancing the comprehension and synthesis of lessons, thereby accelerating personal growth.
This lovely gem is great for use by therapists, as it tends to counteract negative emotions and dispel fear, guilt and depression.
And, though I have not had personal experience with this attribute, Peridot is also said to open new doors of opportunity.
If you are in need of healing in the blood or lymph areas, or suffer from depression, this is one friendly gem that is offering its services.
Finding Crystal Allies
Stones and crystals have been around for as long as the earth has existed. They have witnessed every cataclysmic climactic change, the rise and fall of great civilizations, and the destruction and evolution of millions of species. Now they are witnessing over-population, global warming – all the maladies of the modern times. And, because crystals are an inseparable part of the planet, they care very much about actions that affect the earth.
Crystals represent an ancient, stable consciousness; one with deep wisdom and first-hand experience of the true nature of the earth and its changes. My own experience with crystals, as well as that of others, teaches us that – like all conscious beings -- crystals have their own mission and agenda on earth. Part of this agenda often includes assisting other creatures on the planet in their own healing and evolution. This is a great gift, to which anyone who has ever had a “miraculous” healing from using crystals can attest.
Many people take crystals for granted. They use them for decorative reasons, without thought of their nature or, worse, they try to pervert the power of crystals for less-than-noble uses. Because of abuses pressed upon crystals in the past, some have shut down, refusing to allow their energy to be used for dark purposes. Others have stepped up their game, sending out energy to attract to themselves those who can utilize them according to their true purpose.
Selecting Chrystals for Personal Use
There are many reasons that one may be inspired to purchase or mine for crystals. If you're a healer, you may be interested in how they can be used to supplement your work, or you may have a particular malady you wish to self-heal. Often, a person's initial choice may be guided by experts' recommends. This is a good starting place but my guidance for beginners would be to use a more personal, intuitive appraoch as the starting point and expand out from there. Here are my suggestions for selecting crystals for the highest good.
1. Before even consulting a reference book, always begin by checking in with your Higher Self. YOU know things that no book can tell you. So spend some time in a relaxed receptive state, utilizing meditation or whatever method you prefer. Ask your Higher Self, as well as any angels, ascended masters or other spirit guides in your life, what crystal would be most effective in assisting you with your particular need. Pay attention to any impressions you get, colors you see, and synchronicities while out in the world. For this part of the journey, follow the same suggestions as those recommended in the article, Working with Totems and Allies.
2. Once you feel you have received some direction concerning what stone may be best, go back and have another time of meditation or, if you prefer, you can take a shamanic journey to the land of crystals where all the vibrant colors of the rainbow are represented in crystalline beings and bright, brilliant light. See if you can find the stone you are looking for in that place and ask it if it would be your ally in the healing work you wish to do, whether on yourself or others. It may seem like a lot of work -- or maybe even silly to some -- to pray, listen, and seek permission to use certain crystal, compared to just looking for an answer in a book . But when you take the time to approach crystals with respect, recognizing them as conscious beings with a will of their own, you will be surprised how much more power you can access. Like all things in shamanism, it's about relationship so begin, first, by seeking to connect with the spirit of the crystal.
3. Once you have permission to use that crystal, go ahead and look it up. What do other people connected with crystals have to say about it? How does it match up or differ from what you're hearing intutively? If you feel lead to use the crystal in a way that is different than others have recorded, trust that you are hearing from the crystal itself and what it wants to do.
4. Now it's time to acquire one on the physical level. Start by asking Great Spirit, your guides, and/or your Higher Self to lead you to the best place to find the right stone for you. This may come to you as a gift, a synchronistic find, or you could be lead right to the perfect store. If you find a stone (plant, or anything) in nature that you would like to take home, always ask it for permission to remove it from its natural setting. If you sense a message, or feel an energy of joy or love eminating from it, then you have got the go-ahead. Be careful how you remove the item, always leaving as little "footprint" as possible on nature. Then, leave a gift in return, such as tobacco or corn meal. I always carry a little pouch with me, when out in nature, so I can leave something little gifts behind to thank the Mother for her blessings.
5. If you are going to a store to buy one, spend some time first just looking at the selection without touching any. Try to sense the energy of each stone and see if one jumps out at you. Does any stone seem to just catch your eye? Do any keep rolling or falling in your direction? I have had a few stones literally jump off the counter at me when I was looking. If that happens, look no further! Next, pick it up and hold it in your non-dominant hand. Close your eyes and open yourself to its energy. Then ask if it is the one for you? Wait for a sense of "yes," or "no." If I don't hear anything, I always put the stone back and continue on. If you get a "yes," you're in business.
6. When you get a stone home, always begin by thanking it for choosing to come into your life and serve you. Then clear and charge it by placing it in the sun for a few days to weeks. If you can leave it somewhere it also gets moonlight, all the better. In general, crystals don't like being in stores and they particularly don't enjoy flourescent lights and glass cabinets. So it's always good to pay attention to their needs first, before attempting to utilize them. When you can pick it up and sense that it feels refreshed, then it is ready to use.
As you begin your work with crystal allies, it is important to continue to listen for any guidance the crystal itself may give you. Remember this is a relationship and keep the lines of communication open as to how it wants to do its work. Also, always treat it like you would a good friend or lover. Wrap it in velvet or silk, put in a beautiful box, or store it in a place of honor. If not in use for a while, be sure to take them out regularly, exposing them to light and sun, and give them some attention. I recommend you do something weekly, if not daily, with your stones. Bring them flowers or herbs to wrap up with them, rattle or sing to them, take them on walks in nature, etc. Your crystals will soak up the love you send, returning it back to you in amped up healing power.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Snow Goose - 12/22 - 1/19
Winter wonder time… The trees outside have dropped their leaves, focusing their energy into their core as animal friends crawl into their cozy caves and hidden holes to sleep away the winter. All of nature is pulling inward...contracting, conserving, as we huddle inside our toasty abodes, mirroring nature all around us. And in this slower, quieter season, we look inward. This is winter, what natives have called “the looks within time.” And, while we’re plumbing these depths, our animal of the season can help us along the way.
December 22 through January 19 is the called the “Time for Renewal” and the birth totem for this month is the snow goose.
Snow Goose brings great gifts that not many are aware of. Gifts particularly relevant for doing self-healing work, as well as working with others. Goose medicine is powerful juice for artists, communication facilitators, and anyone who seeks movement, whether physical or spiritual, inner or outer. Here is an overview of just some of the gifts you may be able to access if you choose to work with Goose medicine:
Ø Geese reflect movement; in this case, a spiritual quest. They stir our imaginations and make us want to search out new worlds and dimensions. As harbingers of spring, they also speak of the fulfilled promises that such quests bring.
Ø Along with the above, they have very keen vision and, as a totem, can aid in developing both physical and spiritual vision.
Ø Geese also have a powerful voice and their incessant honking seems to be beckoning us to follow them on the spiritual quest. This can also be a lesson in daring to use our own voice to encourage and instigate others.
Ø Goose has long been associated with the “stimulation of the childhood thrill and belief in stories and legendary places” and can stir the imagination toward new travels, inwardly and outwardly.
Ø Goose further inspires us to review the childhood stories that were and/or are significant to us; how they may have imprinted us for good or bad, contributing to our current patterns.
Ø As the gosling begins very quiet but then learns to break free, goose can also aid us in breaking free of the restraints from those childhood stories and patterns to which we are attached.
Ø Goose aids in communication, especially through the use of stories. Hence, they stimulate the imagination and can help one move through creative blocks.
Ø Geese fly in a “V” formation, like an arrowhead pointing in new directions. Their flight behavior also reminds us that as each individual makes her quest, it becomes easier for others to do so.
Ø They also fly in a pattern that allows each individual to have an unobstructed view, reminding us that we should not undertake a quest without having a full view of what it entails, as well as how we should take care not to block the path of others on their quest.
Ø Lastly, geese mate for life -- sharing the responsibilities of offspring – and are a symbol of fertility and fidelity. This medicine does not relate just to couples, however, It can include fidelity to friends, family -- even our mission in life – and fertility of thought, richness of play, etc.
If you haven’t yet worked, or worked successfully, with spirit medicines – or if you would just like some ideas – I began this year by offering up a little guide on working with totems, which you may find below. And, as always, you can use the search function for any subject you would like.
Again, here’s wishing you the highest good in the coming year. May you enjoy the journey!
In the Light,
Working with Totems & Allies - Introduction
Welcome to the New Year. May it be the best year yet of ever-deepening awareness, broadening freedom and increasing joy for each of us as we continue to practice walking the way of beauty and gratitude.
Living the shamanic life is about relationship and inter-dependence: how we are all connected; how we bless or hinder each other in the web of life. And, as we all know, that connectedness does not start and end with humans. Our animal buddies, mineral friends, and plant allies all have gifts to give, lessons to teach, and wisdom to impart to those who dare to listen. That is why, this year, Spirit has led me to dedicate my blog to Shamanic Earth Medicine and its lessons for us throughout the cycles of the year. So, without further adieu, let’s get to it!
How to Honor and Work with Animal Spirits
Since I’ll be writing all year about seasonal allies, I thought I would begin with a little about how to approach the work. I’m assuming if you’re reading this that you have a rudimentary knowledge of shamanism, so this will be brief. There are uncountable ways, of course, to work with the spirits of nature and many good books on the subject. These are just a few.
1. Start by looking up information on the plant, animal, mineral. Find its habitat, seasonal patterns (migration, hibernation), dietary needs, and other facts about its formation and/or life cycle. Cut out a picture of it, draw it, listen to recordings of its voice, etc. When you know a little about it, do a ritual to encounter it on the spirit plane.
2. Always start your ritual by calling in the four directions, spirit guides, or any Higher Power(s) that have meaning to you personally. Ask that they bring you wisdom, knowledge, and protection as you perform your ritual. I always light a candle representing the light of Spirit, asking Source to shed His/Her light on my sacred time.
3. Center yourself. This could be through drumming or toning, visualization, going into silent meditation for a few minutes – anything that brings you to a place of receptivity and connection. What’s important is that you establish a pattern that works for you and stick to it so that, with practice, you can instantly shift to that place.
4. When you have entered a peaceful state, tell whatever animal, plant, or mineral is your focus that you seek to come into its presence and to learn of it. You may find it helpful to visualize or journey to a place that you know is its natural habitat. Once there, ask that it meet you there, then wait patiently to see what happens. You may have a vision, hear a sound, or just have a sense of a presence. If this occurs, ask that it reveal to you whatever lesson it will for your higher good and those around you.
5. Accept whatever you see, hear, of sense without judgment. If it doesn’t make immediate sense to you, don’t try to instantly interpret it. Don’t go into your mind or ego. Just sit with it. Ask the plant, mineral or animal, as well as your guides, to make the message clear to you in the coming days. Ask for other signs in your life that will clarify and verify the message.
6. Always close your time with thanksgiving: first to the totem spirit you have encountered, then to your guides and allies who have held you on the journey. Thank Great Spirit and close the directions, blowing out the candle last.
7. Some people are better at working in the unconscious, rather than conscious realms. If so, another approach is to request the desired totem visit or send you messages in your dreams. Be sure to affirm, before falling asleep, that you will understand and remember all relevant information and experiences that come to you in your dreams.
8. If possible, get outdoors and connect with nature. Take walks on the beach, hike through the woods, staying open to physical encounters with the totem you have visited in spirit. If you see one, observe it as much as possible. How does it walk, crawl, fly, grow? How many have appeared? Sometimes numbers can have meaning.
9. In the following days, be aware of synchronicities. Are you suddenly seeing the creature show up all over the place -- such as in ads, on TV shows, magazine covers or articles; in conversations? Are you suddenly meeting people with traits similar to the totem’s? Are you seeing loads and loads of things in its color? These may be signs the animal is showing up for you. You may also have synchronicities around the message you received or the question you asked. Whatever the synchronicities, if you are paying attention, they will begin to tell a story and the meaning of your message will be revealed.
10. When you discover the wisdom you sought from the totem, do another ritual to thank it. If it has appeared to you in numbers or multiple times, ask it if is willing to be your ally, a permanent helper and guide. If it agrees, you will get a sense of that. Rejoice, you have gained a new friend. If this happens, be sure to honor it in some way (donate some time or money to conservation, work in an animal rescue mission, etc.) and journey to it often. Once an animal, plant, or mineral agrees to be an ally, you are entering into a relationship. Like any relationship, it requires some commitment and investment to grow. So give it some attention on a regular basis and it will be with you always.
But what if the totem doesn’t show up on your journey? Don’t be dismayed. Sometimes spirits will test your commitment before showing up. Sometimes, they can be quite close but prowl around unseen, like a jaguar or snow leopard, checking you out. If this is your experience, it’s a good idea to take an honest look at yourself and your lifestyle. Sometimes, we may be doing something offensive to the plant, mineral, animal that we’re not aware of. If you are seeking a plant spirit, do you put herbicide on your yard? Do we waste electricity, running lights and computers when we’re not using them? Do you work for a company that is destroying wilderness areas for trees, gold, oil? Are we protecting or polluting its habitat? When seeking to connect with the spirits of nature, we must raise our awareness of how we conduct ourselves with regard to it. If you feel you’re respectful of nature, or have righted yourself with respect to the offense, then be patient, and remember the old adage, “if at first you don’t succeed…” If you persist, you will have rewarding experiences – probably sooner than you expect -- with beings that, previously, you may have even doubted exist!
As always, feel free to contact me through my website about any questions or concerns you may have. I will answer them where appropriate in upcoming blogs.
Peace and prosperity for the coming year,