Day: April 12, 2012
The Circulation of the Body of Light
The Circulation of the Body of Light
The energy used in the Circulation of the Body of Light is very powerful and
best used for self-healing.
Start by doing the Relaxation Ritual, the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the
Pentagram, and the Middle Pillar Ritual, but do not visualize the Middle Pillar
STEP ONE: While keeping the visualization of the Middle Pillar, refocus your
attention on the white brilliance just above your head. Visualize this
brilliance in a state of extreme strength, needing to radiate out even more
energy. Visualize it sending a current of energy down into the head and to the
left shoulder. Let this energy pass down the left side of your body to your left
foot. Feel it move to your right foot, up the right side of your body, to your
head, and back up into the brilliance.
This motion should be synchronized with your breath. When you exhale, feel the
energy go down your left side. When you inhale, feel the energy go up your
right side. You should have the sensation of a circle of energy swirling around
you. Move the energy, with your breath, in six to ten cycles. Feel free to
extend the energy out further to the sides (the most common is about three feet
away from your body).
STEP TWO: This is similar to the first method, but instead of directing the
energy down one side and up the other, here you should direct the energy down
the front of your body and up the back. be sure to synchronize your breathing
so that as you exhale the energy goes down the front of your body and as you
inhale, it goes up the back, up to your head and into the brilliance. Do this
six to ten times.
STEP THREE: Re-visualize the entire Middle Pillar. This time, focus your
attention on the brilliance at your feet. From the upper right side of this
power center visualize the energy curling up in a tight spiral to the front of
the left leg. from here it continues around the back and continues moving
upward in a counter-clockwise spiral. It is as if you are being wrapped like an
Egyptian mummy, from the feet to the head. Instead of cloth, however, you are
being wrapped in energy.
You should feel a whirling of spiritual power as the pure spiritual light and
energy rises up in spirals to the brilliance above your head. When it reaches
this brilliance, you should visualize the energy exploding out like a water
fountain in all directions. This energy lands at your feet and begins to rise in
the spiral again. As you inhale, feel the energy rise towards the top, as you
exhale, feel it explode out towards your feet. Do this for six to ten cycles.
Then, take a very deep breath, and as you exhale, see the energy disappear
visually, but know that it is still there invisibly.
STEP FOUR: Finish by doing the Tarot Contemplation Ritual.
“Meet your spirit Guide”
“Meet your spirit Guide”
Start with the total relaxing meditation to fully relax your body and mind.
Feel all the tension leaving your body, if out side thoughts or noises enter you mind put it in a bubble and let it go.
Focus on your breathing normally so that with each breath you relax more and deeper.
Now visualize in your minds eye a stair case with 10 steps. as you begin to descend the steps see each step, feel the step under your feet. Starting at 10, than 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, getting deeper into a relaxed state with each step, 3, 2, 1.
When you reach the bottom you’ll see a door that leads to a special room that only you can enter into. It can be any scene that you want, when your ready open the door and walk in, look around and sense your surroundings. What’s in the room? What does it smell like? or feel like to you?
If you want you can sit down or walk around and change anything you want (remember it’s your room) do what you like.
When you ready you will see a person coming towards you, you are not scared, you feel love and are comfortable,( this is your spirit guide) As he or she walks closer to you they will offer you a gift, take it, open it. What is the gift? what does the gift represent to you? Thank them for the gift.
Now you may ask any questions that you may have for them. eg: name, age, or maybe any special messages they may have for you. Take you time!
When your ready to leave say good bye. You may go back at any time you wish.
Go out the door and begin to start up the stairs.. with each step you will begin to feel more energized, more awake. when you reach the top you will feel better and more energized than before.
Open your eye’s and stretch and drink some water.
“Total Relaxing Meditation”
“Total Relaxing Meditation”
Ask spirit to protect you before and after you meditate
Sit in a comfortable position, clear your mind of all thoughts, close your eyes
Take 3 deep cleansing breaths (in through your nose for the count of 7, and out through your mouth for the count of 7) Now focus on your toes, feel them and than relax them.
Move up to each part of your body, calves, knees, thighs, hips, stomach, back, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, face and head.
Focusing on your breathing, still feeling very relaxed and calm. If you feel a part of your body tensing up again, go back to it and relax it again.
When you wish to finish, take 3 deep breaths and visualize the universal energy going into your body with each breath.
You may now go into another meditation while you are relaxed or begin to bring your self out of it with the 3 deep breaths.
Open your eyes and stretch your arms and legs. Drink a little water to refresh your self.
WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT – The Spiritual Seeker’s Guide
WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT
The Spiritual Seeker’s Guide
Steven S. Sadleir
Wicca, or Witchcraft is the old religion of Europe, which apparently evolved
from Druidism. Wiccan is generally a term applied to a “Wise One” or
“Magician”, and Wicca is the practice of “magic”, which is the application and
utilization of natural laws. As Witchcraft competed as a religion with
Christianity (the ‘new’ religion) in the Christianized Western World, witchcraft
became repressed as a form of paganism (i.e., a Primative Teaching) and was
given an evil stigma, and therefore was not practiced openly. However, with the
repeal of the English Witchcraft Act in 1951, many covens, or congregations,
have opened up to teh public and many new groups have formed. There are now
dozens of Wiccan orgnaizations in the United States and Europe, with perhaps,
thousands of active Wiccans and Witches. Most witches practicing the craft
publicly are considered ‘white’ witches, that is, they yse their knowledge for
good ends and practice the Wiccan Creed: “Ye hurt none, do as ye will.” Black
Witches (which has recieved most of the notoriety, but are considered a
minority) are generally not visible to the public and use thier knowledge for
selfish or evil means. Satanism is NOT considered a form of witchcraft, but was
created by people who believe there is a Satan, or Devil.
Wicca/Witchcraft generally involves some form of God or Goddess worship, and
many involve the workings of spiritual guides as well. Wicca/Witchcraft is a
very individualized religion, and each person chooses his or her own deities to
worship. Generally, the supreme being is considered ‘genderless’ and is
comprised of many aspects that may be identified as masculine or feminine in
nature, and thus a God or Goddess. Originally, the horned God of hunting
represented the maculine facet of the deity, whereas the female qualities were
represented in the fertility Goddess. The Gods and Goddesses from the
personalities of the supreme being, and are a reflection of the attributes that
worshippers seek to emulate. Wiccans may draw upon the ancient civilizations of
the Druids, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, or other polytheistic cultures to
commune with the particular aspect of the deity that they identify with. Some
favorite gods include Osiris, Pan, Cennunnos, and Bacchus. Facotie Goddesses
include Isis, Caridwen, Rhea, Selene, and Diana.
Wiccans generally observe the four greater Sabbaths of Samhain, Imbolc,
Beltane, and Laghnasadh; and the lesser Sabbaths – the Spring and autumn
equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices. There celebrations are typically
free-spirited, and are sometimes held ‘skyclad’ (naked) or in various styles of
robes. Other services include handfasting (marriage), handparting (divorce) and
wiccaning (birth rite). Regular meetings, called Esbats are also held, at which
magic and healing are performed. Wiccans/witches meet in small groups (up to
twelve) called a coven, whcih typically join with other covens to form a
Rituals are typically held outside and consist of forma a circle and
erecting the temple (consecrating the circle); invoking, praising, and
soliciting assistance from gods, goddesses, and elementals; observing the change
of season and energies represented by the various seasons; singing; dancaing;
‘cakes and ale’ (sharing of bread and wine); and clearing the temple. Personal
practive includes meditation and prayer, divination, development of personal
will and psychic abilities through spells and various forms of healing. Most
Wiccans/witches have altars where they burn candles and incense and practice
thier rites. To perform thier rites, other tools of the craft are used, such as
an athame, yag-disk or, seaux (a handmade and consecrated knife), a sword, a
wand, and sometimes special jewelry, amulets or talismans (magically empowered
objects). Sometimes these objects are inscribed with magical writings. Joining
a coven or grove typically involves an initiation, which is stylized by each
individual group, but generally involves the confirmation that the initiate
understands the principals and an oath of secrecy.
Opening the Circle
Opening the Circle
The last thing that must be done is the opening of the cast circle. The people who purified and blessed the space are not needed for this part, only the person that did the actual casting of it. They should take their athame and return to the east, cutting a slit into the edge of the circle, and then walk around the circle in the opposite direction that it was cast in, visualizing the energy being pulled back into the tip of the athame.
When the person reaches the east once more, they should touch the tip of the athame to the pentacle to ground all of the energy that was put into it. This will keep the athame balanced and ready to use. Once this is done, the area should be cleaned up and put back into the order that it was found.
If the space is rented or public property, make certain that everything that was brought is removed, including the garbage. Dump the offering on the ground under a tree or into running water. If the space is a non-for-profit organization, a small donation is usually welcomed. If none of this is possible, a charitable donation to a local group in the organization’s name can also be done.
Casting a Formal Circle for a Group or Solitary
Casting a Formal Circle for a Group or Solitary
If there is a limited amount of space within the circle, it is often easier to cast the circle and admit the participants after creating the space. There are pros and cons of doing it this way, mainly having to do with making the participants feel excluded from part of the ritual. In order to avoid this, it is important to have them focus on the people or person casting the circle and adding their energy to what is going on. If you choose to have them within the circle, it is best to have them kneel at the boundary and cast the circle just behind them and over their heads, having them focus on the casting.
With this particular method, you can have one, two, or three people cast the circle, splitting the parts up as you desire. In a large group, splitting up the jobs in this manner helps everyone to participate when there are a limited number of things to do. Any of the parts of the ritual can be split up this way, but some will work better than others. Having more than one person cast the circle is a nice way for a group to maintain the bonds of working together.
When everyone is prepared and quiet, the person casting the circle should move to the altar and touch the pentacle with his or her athame. If the altar is set in the north, all that they need to do now is to visualize energy coming from the pentacle and walk the edge of the circle until they return to the starting point again. Once the caster is there, they should touch the pentacle with the athame again to seal the circle and then visualize pulling the edges of the boundary around to form a sphere above and below. This can also be done by actually using the athame to cast by starting at the pentacle and pushing the energy up over the heads of everyone, around, down through the floor, and back to the pentacle.
If the altar is elsewhere in the circle, the person touches the athame to the pentacle to perform a connection to it and then walks to the east to begin casting. They proceed to the south and then the west and then finally to the north before returning to the east. At that point, they can return to the altar and finish sealing the circle.
NOTE: Circles may be cast in either direction, depending on the work being done. Clockwise (N, E, S, W) tends to be the most common. This sunwise direction is used to invoke and bless. It is useful when the ritual has an outward focus. Moonwise circles (N, W, S, and E) tend to be used for banishing or rituals that focus inward or on the self.
Once the circle is cast, the next person should bless the salt and water to use for purification. Tip three pinches of salt into the water and stir it three times moonwise saying, “By the powers of Life, Death, and Rebirth.” Take this water and go to the east, sprinkling it around the edges of the circle, walking in the opposite direction of the circle caster. Once you have moved all the way around the circle, and if the people are within the circle, sprinkle each of them saying “Be washed clean.” (Make certain that you have someone do this for you, as well.) If they are not in the circle, place the salt water on the altar for later use.
The third person (Or the first, if you are only having two perform this) will bless the incense to consecrate and fill the circle. Place some of the loose powder incense on the hot coal (or light a stick incense) and draw a pentagram over the burning saying, “Blessed be the union of fire and air, the breath of the Gods.” Walk around the edge of the circle with the incense in the direction that it was cast in, slowly, and call the Ancestors to come and witness your circle.
Finally, the fourth person (or number two) moves to the center of the circle and declares that this is sacred time and sacred space. The circle exists outside of our normal time and reality. The shift from mundane to sacred should now be complete and should be a tangible feeling for everyone. The air may look or feel different, or the people may experience a shift in consciousness.
At this point, if you have cast the circle with the people outside, it is time to let them into the circle. The person who cast the circle will take their athame and cut a doorway into the boundary. This is done by inserting the tip of the athame into the circle at the level of the floor and cutting along it to make a wide enough entry for people to pass through. Then they cut upwards to the height of the people outside the circle. They should arch the top and then cut down the other side and across to meet the original point on the floor.
The person who blessed the salt water will switch places with the caster and stand in the doorway before each person as they enter, sprinkling to cleanse them. The caster will hug the person and pull or spin them over the threshold of the circle, bringing them in as a part of the company that will perform the ritual.
Once everyone is inside the circle, the caster will “erase” the doorway by placing the tip of the knife to the floor again and move it upwards, “sealing” the circle again. The “door” should be removed exactly opposite of how it was placed. When you are finished, there should be notrace of a break left in the circle wall. If you can see one, mend it with your own energy and close the break.
Experimenting with Circles
Experimenting with Circles
When you feel comfortable in your ability to cast a circle, it is time to start finding new ways to do it. There is no limit to what you can do to create sacred space. It can be as simple as sitting and drumming the circle into existence or chanting something to create the energy to draw your circle. Movement is something used in lieu of everything else. It is possible to use a piece of recorded music to cast it, or to dance to the music to cast the circle. You can create a circle by telling stories or sharing your day with others.
Some of the techniques that can be used will be very difficult at first, and that is why you should learn to cast in one of the first two ways before you begin experimenting. If you do, you know what the end result should be and will know when you reach it. As you develop a new way to cast a circle, you will find certain things that work and certain ones that don’t. Don’t be afraid to change elements around or substitute things in or out to make it work. This is one of the first totally creative things that you will do as a witch.
Creating A Magickal Circle
Creating A Magickal Circle
Your Spiritual Space
A magick circle is a space where a Witch will conduct rituals and ceremonies. It is the gateway between worlds, spirutal and physical realms come together and allow you to communicate with spirit, conduct spiritual work, rituals, ceremonies and castings.
As with everything in the spiritual essence of the world, even a circle has a few guidelines that need to be followed. The circle is not to be broken by someone stepping into this space unless a gateway has been prepared for them to enter. Nor should a Witch step outside the cirlce during a ritual unless a door way has been prepared.
A circle is used to draw a visionary broundry that protects a Witch from outside forces while conducting spiritual work. Many witches use visions of blue flames or divine white protection to create this boundry.
Others choose to create this circle in the physical sense as well. Either by drawing a circle on the floor in a permanent means, or by using a nine-foot cord made from natural fibers that can be easily placed and removed as needed. Sand, salt or herbs can also be used to draw the circle.
When you have selected the area to place your circle, you should Clear and Cleanse the energies before you draw the circle. Many Witches will place a broom at the doorway of the circle as a tool that designates the entry point of the witch or someone else who will be called into this space for work. The broom is also a symbol of a spiritual barrier to keep out unwanted energies from entering your sacred space.
To draw a doorway, a Witch should use a wand or athame to cut a “hole” in the energy field. Many Witches will use incense to close the doorway, using the smoke to symbolize the divine energy field.
Once your work is complete, you must close the circle and ensure the energy has been properly shut down. Leaving an open gate is not only disrespectful to the forces that assisted you, but also dangerous for you and your home. Closing the circle is as simple as 1-2-3.
Thank the guides, teachers, God/Goddess that you called or who came into the circle to offer assistance during your work.
Imagine the energy around the circle lowering around you, toning down and fading so to speak.
Finally, clear the space with a blessing and ask the energies to close the gate. If the circle was a temporary fixture, then remove it and store it appropriately.
Why do we cast a circle? We cast a circle for protection from what may be attracted to what we are doing. There are times when spirits that do not wish us to succeed will be drawn by the power that we raise during a circle. Sometimes it is beneficial to cast a circle to lay down a boundary between the ill will that pagans sometimes encounter as they walk on their path. The circle itself is a reminder that we are now in a different time and space, and that this space is special.
The circle is a container as well. It is used to hold the energy that is raised until it is time to release it to whatever end we are working towards. If it was not there, the energy that we raised would have to be directed into a container rather than letting it swirl around in the one that has already been created. It is far easier to tell if there has been enough energy raised when you are moving directly through it than it is to tell if there is enough in the container.
Finally, the circle exists as a link to the people that have cast circles and gathered together in the past, and a link to those that will cast them in the future. It is a continuation of a chain that has evolved over thousands of years, passing information on and down throughout the ages. While there are very few religions that can trace their roots back into antiquity, it is undeniable that there are traces of those religions left, and that there are rites and ideas that have been passed down from one person to another throughout those long years. The circle is our way of trying to connect to those times gone by and it is our legacy to our children and their children for years to come.
Whether your circle has a physical boundary, a boundary of thought, or whether it is simply a grove of trees that is circular, the ideas are still there. The circle is a construct of the mind, an idea that passes between groups. It is the idea of a scares space and sacred time.
Why do we do ritual? Ritual is a way of trying to connect to something that is greater than the self. It is a link to other people and other beings; a link to times past and future. When people come together to celebrate their idea of the sacred, it is a sharing of something that is intangible and profound. It is a way to experience the divine that surrounds us in nature and is a part of ourselves that is not always understood. Ritual is a time for joy to be expressed in the celebration of the seasons and a time for sorry to be shared in the cycles of life that take our friends and loved ones from us and a time for everything in between.
It seems almost innate for people to come together to share this idea of the sacred. While the idea of what sacred is varies from people to people, there are very few cultures that do not espouse some version of the ideas of the sacred being a time set apart from secular life. Many cultures choose to make the goals of the two similar, thus ensuring that both are successful. Religion, it would seem, is something that is almost an inborn need of humans, a way of processing the things that we do not understand and of being able to celebrate them.
Why do we place the elements of ritual in a particular order? The simple answer is that it makes it easy for more than one person to follow what is happening when there is a common order to what is being done. The not so simple answer is that there is a logical progression from start to end to rituals that allow people to perform their rites in the simplest and easiest manner possible, allowing more people to participate.
Paganism is a group of religions that tends to frown on a centralized religious structure, and so it is important that more people be able to perform these rituals. Simplicity and structure gives the ability of those who do not wish to spend years mastering the smallest component of a ritual to participate as well. Common sense also plays a part in the order of a ritual. For most people, it makes sense to cast a circle and cut it off from the world outside before inviting the gods and elements as it is somewhat rude to make them stand around and wait, or call them and then cut them off from the ritual as you cast your circle. Some, however, find that it makes more sense to cleanse and purify the area, bring everyone in, and then cast the circle and invite the gods. Still others call the gods first and then cast the circle. As with anything, each person must decide what works best for them and why.
Where do we place things in a ritual? When thinking about where to place an event in a ritual, it is necessary to examine that event to find out what the results might be, or the reason that it is being done. If you are going to Draw Down the Moon (Call a Goddess into a person), then you need to consider just how tiring this is going to be for that person. Will they want to run and jump around to raise energy after? Is the Goddess likely to want that sort of thing?
If a person were going to do a drawing down for a God and Goddess, doing that before the Great Rite would make sense as it is a rite that takes the opposites of male and female and uses that polarity to make the rite that much stronger. Ritual creation takes the ability to think about the small details such as this and form them into a larger, successful whole.
How do we know when it is right to do something and when it is not? Start to decide this by thinking of the outcome of the ritual. What is the purpose that you are getting together for? If you are doing a healing, it would be good to invite gods that have that particular aspect. If you are doing a binding or a deconsecration, choose gods that deal with endings. If you are celebrating Beltaine, a fertility holiday, don’t invoke a Crone goddess who is past her fertile years.
The yardstick that any witch must use in creating a ritual is “Does it make sense to do it this way?” If it does not make sense, then find a different way of doing the event that does. There is no limit to what can be done with ritual. There is no right or wrong way to do a ritual. If it does not make sense to call the quarters, then don’t. Because something has always been done need not mean that it should always be done. Similarly, don’t throw out tradition unless it makes sense to do so.
‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for April 12th
‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler
Two qualities so well liked in people are brightness and warmth, both parts of the sun. Sir David Brewster was a Scottish physicist of the eighteenth century. His study of the material world and its phenomena called the sun glorious, “the center and soul of our system, the lamp that lights it, the fire that heats it, the magnet that guides and controls it, the fountain of color which gives its azure to the sky, its verdure to the fields, its rainbow-hues to the gay world of flowers, and the purple light of love to the marble cheek of youth and beauty.”
What more beautiful qualities for any human being to possess than to have a soul at the center of its system, to light the appearance, to warm the feelings, to guide and control it through its colorful moods, and to let it rise as high as the azure skies and as wide as the gay world of flowers. But better yet, to be most beautiful with the purple light of love. What more to be given than the same qualities of the sun – by one Creator.
To live we need more than light, we need warmth. We need more than strength, we need grace. And more than all these we need love. There can be no greater joy than to see our respect for each other – the warmth and grace and love that bind together people in mutual concern.
Only when we can lay aside our personal feelings, our self-concern and worry of our own gain, can we join in true communion and fellowship with others. And to feel a sense of belonging is necessary to humankind.
It is the nature, not only to be liked and wanted, but to like and want others. And in this relationship find not just warmth but light, not only grace but strength, and in all of these find love.
“Walk in the light and thou shalt see they path, though thorny, bright; for God, by grace, shall dwell in thee, and God himself is light” – Barton.
Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.
Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet:http://www.hifler.com
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 12
Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 12
“Dissimilar things were fitted together to make something beautiful and whole.”
Sometimes we look at something close up and it appears to be ugly; but then we drop back and look at it as a whole and it is beautiful. If we look at an insect close up, it may be ugly, but if we drop back and look at the whole insect it becomes beautiful. We can drop back even more and observe what its role and purpose is, and the insect becomes even more beautiful and whole. How are we looking at ourselves? Are we focused on something ugly about ourselves, or are we dropping back and looking at ourselves as a whole? We all have purpose, and we are all beautiful.
Grandfather, today, let me see the beauty of the whole
April 12 – Daily Feast
April 12 – Daily Feast
Something small so often comes to rescue us at a crucial point of making a mistake. How very much we wanted to react violently – to respond in the same manner in which we were approached. But somewhere deep inside, a gentler voice asked, “What is that to you?” Why be the other half of disagreement? Even an animal is smart enough not to run into a place where it can get tangled in a trap. Most arguments are traps of one kind or another. But relax right out of it. Let go, and realize that what is happening should be avoided like poison. The atiyosdi, the argument or disagreement, is on the other side – leave it there. The best revenge is to refuse to fight – and it brings to mind what someone said, “If you argue with a fool, you will end up being one.”
~ I will fight no more forever. ~
‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
It’s very easy to say you care, and even to look like you care. It’s much more difficult to actually do it.
Sincerely caring about others isn’t just a matter of being nice and agreeable. In fact, when you truly care you often must disagree, even if it would be much easier to just be nice.
There are times when the most loving and compassionate thing you can say is no. There are times when the most respectful and considerate response is to disagree.
Challenging people to do their best is much more empowering than letting them get by with halfhearted efforts. Helping people to become self sufficient is much more generous than letting them become dependent on your generosity, though it is also much more difficult.
Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do for someone is to hold that person accountable. One of the most valuable things you can give to another person is the opportunity, difficult as it may be, to grow stronger, more capable and more dependable.
The world cries out for caring people, yet merely being nice and generous is not enough. Care enough to respect, to positively challenge, to insist on nothing less than the best, and permanently raise those you care about to a higher level of living.
— Ralph Marston
Daily OM for Thursday, April 12 – Feeling Lonely
An Incomplete Understanding
When we are feeling lonely, we have lost the idea that we are all one and none of us are separate from the whole.
We all have days when we feel lonely, but the very idea of loneliness comes from the false notion that we are separate and isolated parts in a world filled with other separate, isolated parts. In truth, we can no more be separate from our world than a fish can be separate from the water in which it swims. When we really begin to look at the boundaries we see as so solid, they prove to be, in fact, quite porous. For example, it is not clear exactly where our skin ends and the air begins when we consider how our skin is affected by changes in the quality of the air. When it is dry, our skin becomes dry, and when it is humid, our skin becomes moist and supple.
By the same token, it is difficult sometimes to distinguish the boundary between one person and another, especially when our actions tie us together so inextricably. Every move we make has an effect that touches all the people around us. On an even more subtle level, when we share space with another person, we often pick up on their energy, feeling how they feel and attuning to them, whether we mean to or not. This is what we mean when we say a mood or a feeling is contagious. We cannot help but be part of the realities of the people around us because we take form from the same energetic force, and this force unifies all life. This force is the light that all the great mystics and gurus encourage us to move toward, and it is the light we will dissolve into when we move beyond our individual egos.
If loneliness is a temporary condition based on an incomplete understanding of what we are made of, we can think of its presence as a catalyst for exploring our ideas about reality. We can respond by testing the boundaries we believe separate us from the life within and all around us. If we test them, we will discover that they are not so solid after all and that we can never really be alone.
Astronomy Picture of the Day for April 12 – A Beautiful Trifid
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
A Beautiful Trifid
Image Credit & Copyright: R Jay Gabany Explanation: The beautiful Trifid Nebula is a cosmic study in colorful contrasts. Also known as M20, it lies about 5,000 light-years away toward the nebula rich constellation Sagittarius. A star forming region in the plane of our galaxy, the Trifid illustrates three different types of astronomical nebulae; red emission nebulae dominated by light emitted by hydrogen atoms, blue reflection nebulae produced by dust reflecting starlight, and dark nebulae where dense dust clouds appear in silhouette. The bright red emission region, roughly separated into three parts by obscuring, dark dust lanes, lends the Trifid its popular name. In this well met scene, the red emission is also juxtaposed with the telltale blue haze of reflection nebulae. Pillars and jets sculpted by newborn stars, below and left of the emission nebula’s center, appear in Hubble Space Telescope close-up images of the region. The Trifid Nebula is about 40 light-years across.
Special Kitty of the Day for April 12th
|Home:||New York, USA
Coolidge is a fearless cat with lots of street smarts and attitude. During the heatwave of August 2011, he approached a woman walking two large dogs on the Lower East side and demanded that she take him in, feed him and provide some air-conditioning. He picked the right woman since she is the founder of rescue Project Pet, Inc. She knew just what to do.
Cool’s pet parents had just lost their cat and their German Shepherd Sheba was missing him something fierce, looking for him and crying all the time. And so, a search on Petfinder.com led to Coolidge and he joined the family in October 2011. Cool is learning to walk on a leash so he can see the streets of NYC once again, this time as a visitor. And he gets along fine with Sheba, so our family feels complete again. We’re all happy he is here.
Dog-gone Doggie of the Day for April 12th
||Age:||Three year old
This is my best friend, Maya. Maya is special for many reasons, but mostly because despite her huge size, she still cuddles with my family, friends and myself the way my other dog (a.k.a. her best friend) does, and her best friend is a tiny chihuahua. (Maya doesn’t realize she is 15x his size). Maya is also very silly, and her favorite command (that only I know she does) is “dance with me”. When you ask Maya to dance with you, she will put her paws on your shoulder and literally dance with you (which is quite hilarious given her size).
Maya also enjoys “talking” to the dogs she sees on the television – she will sit smack dab in front of the screen and bark as if she is having a conversation with them. Maya’s favorite game to play is tug-o-war, and she enjoys “kicking” around rubber balls as if she is playing soccer. Maya is extremely photogenic, everyone that meets her ends up taking pictures of her on their phones- she is one beautiful puppy! Maya is very lovable, and lets our chihuahua cuddle right up into her during naps. One last thing… Maya is (in her mind, anyway) a “professional” squirrel tracker – she will sit and stare out the back door for hours fixating on squirrels as they run by. We love her!
See more images of Maya!
Tips for Surviving Monogamy
Tips for Surviving Monogamy
- Pamela Madsen
In the top 10 reasons why individuals and couples come to me for intimacy and sexuality coaching is the reality that they have simply stopped having sex. Many think that what they need is “Sexual CPR.” They know it is not because they have stopped loving each other, or even think that they have stopped finding each other sexy. It’s just that they are not “turned on” or excited by each other anymore. The problem is time and togetherness can wear down erotic energy in long-term relationships.
If you are in a long term monogamous relationship, and you have stopped having sex, or sex is very infrequent, you may think you are broken or something is wrong with you or your relationship. It might be comforting to know that you are far from alone.
Sexual boredom and the lack of fire are often the reasons why some people reach outside of their long term relationship even though they are still happy with their partner on all other levels.
In a culture that is obsessed with sex, we ironically provide very little adult sex education. Outside of a myriad of “how to” sex books, there is very little in the way of authentic tools taught to us about how to make sex happen when it stops, and how to make it feel good again.
What we need to learn is that sex needs to become a pleasure that we decide to make happen as opposed to us waiting for the heat of desire to take us over. It can seem awfully boring, and certainly not a NY Times bestseller, to preach about how we need to create time and room for sex in our lives when our hormones are not raging for it. If you are waiting to be swept away by fiery passion in a long term relationship, it is possible you will be waiting a long time for your next sexual experience!
But putting conscious effort into what we think should come naturally can be very uncomfortable for many couples. Even couples who seek sexual coaching can have a lot of trouble doing their homework, because homework means consciously choosing to have a sexual experience. It can feel very awkward and uncomfortable to put sex on the calendar for Wednesday night!
But it is also very empowering to be able to consciously deal with sex as we do with everything else that is important in our lives. When we make room for sex, and put sex on the calendar we are making a very important statement to ourselves and to our partner. In making the commitment to mindful sex, we are also declaring to our partners that not only is sex worthy of our time and attention – but so are they.
Knowing that our partners still find us desirable and are willing to plan to show up for us is incredibly important. That kind of conscious love will not only help fuel our erotic engines again, but all of the other parts of our relationship as well.
The biggest resistance I get from couples around “calendar sex” is that scheduling sex is not “hot sex.” Somehow, if we feel like our love-making is not going to be red hot and smoking, then “Why bother?” The fact is that calender sex may not start as hot sex, but it can start as “warm sex”!
Warm sex can be very nourishing and pleasurable and can reward you in a manner that hot sex can’t. Try thinking about showing up for sex as anticipating and savoring a warm, nourishing, slow-cooked, pleasurable meal. And everybody knows that a pot has to warm up before it can boil.
Sex Educator and Sexological Body Worker, Caffyn Jesse offers these tools for conscious and warm sex:
“Why not experiment with expressing a range of emotions sexually: anger, frolic, naughtiness, mindlessness? We can play doctor, play dominatrix, have sex in a car, have a wild affair with our spouse.
When couples choose to explore the path of pleasure, learning and conscious sexuality, an astonishing richness becomes possible. We can share profound bonding, ecstatic awareness, and infinite variety within a single relationship.”
Mark Semple, an Intimacy, Love and Business Coach suggests “Being gentle with ourselves is essential in this pursuit. Allowing ourselves a timeout from the demands of daily life and family. Ensuring we are our top priority and care for ourselves the way we care for everyone else. Exploring our hearts, minds, spirits and bodies to reconnect with our essence and align with that which does get out passion burning and our juices flowing.”
Allow yourselves to explore pleasure again, and challenge each other to move past your sexual limitations. Do you feel a little fear sharing a long held fantasy with your partner? Try sharing it and see what happens! Have you ever experimented with your partner with one-way touch and sensual massage? Bring out the oil! Give yourself the room to explore all of the various ways you can allow pleasure into your life.
You can welcome sex back into your relationship. You don’t have to wait until you solve all of the problems that occur in a long term relationship. Don’t be stalemated by old conflicts, grudges, and who did the dishes last. You might be surprised to discover that when you welcome sex back into your relationship in a conscious and warm way – all of those old issues may start to feel less important after all.
The Big OM: Your Brain on Sex & Meditation
The Big OM: Your Brain on Sex & Meditation
- Pamela Madsen
I was lost in my mantra. It didn’t matter that I was sitting in a room surrounded by almost 300 other meditating souls. I was lost in trance. I had no physical body. I had let go of thinking. I was floating in a place that I have only found when I was lost deeply in my own sexual pleasure – riding the waves of simply being. How could that be? I was meditating in a crowded room?
I love it when I come across scientific papers that prove to me that the experiences that I’m having are real and not some figment of my own overactive imagination. I’m just back from studying meditation with Dr. Deepak Chopra, and Davidji at the Chopra Center in San Diego. Their workshops are a soul-opening opportunity. I loved the “Journey into Healing” workshop.
But I have a confession to make: I had sex on the brain the entire time, because in each meditation I was having my own personal epiphany about my brain’s relationship to sex and meditation. The trance states that I was accessing during meditation often felt like the same trance states I could experience with ecstatic sexual experiences. I keep wondering why we weren’t talking about this. And I didn’t want to bring it up. As it was, I kept being identified as the “Sex Expert.”
I worried that my Chopra friends would think I was just caught up in my own professional biases. But, I knew what I was feeling, and I started to research it as soon as I got home. I kept thinking how wonderful it would be to ramp up the use of meditation as a tool in sexual healing. Many sex educators were already doing this as a part of the slow sex or organic orgasm movement. Meditation is the perfect entry point to many profound sexual experiences. Successful meditation and successful sex all start with the same three key entry points:
1. Get comfortable.
2. Slow down.
3. Connect to the breath.
When we are able to approach sex just like we approach meditation (without rushing to go somewhere fast) we are able to touch deeply ecstatic or erotic states where we have “alterations in bodily perception” and a “diminution of self awareness,” as mentioned in a Scientific American article called “The Neurobiology of Bliss – Sacred and Profane.” These shared experiences are found both in subjects deep in meditation and in people having sexual experiences.
As I got more practiced at meditation, I was able to feel my ego dissolve along with my own general sense of self-awareness. As I floated into “the gap,” the place that Deepak Chopra says is the place without words, I also noticed that I lost track of where my body was in place and time. Oh yeah, I have been in these places before and it was not in the lotus position!
According to studies, when you meditate, the left side of your brain becomes activated and when you engage in sexual activity, the right side of your brain runs the show. Both of these brain responses helps you to stop the constant thinking or talking in your brain. And herein lies the key—when you are able to stop the chatter, and float into what can be called “falling into the gap”, “states of higher consciousness,” “erotic trance states” or even what is known as “sub space”, your brain helps you by allowing you to lose physical and mental boundaries. That is where we can find enlightenment or dare I say it – bliss.
According to the article in Scientific American:
“Until eight years ago, neuroscience had little scientific basis from which to comment on bliss, sexual or otherwise. Despite our public fascination with things sexual, as researcher, Gemma O’Brien put it, ‘orgasm is not impersonal and third person enough for the sciences.’ Neuroscience was hobbled by the avoidance of such squashy topics, even if it meant setting aside important parts of human experience. However, a clearer portrait of pleasure is now emerging. Bliss, both sacred and profane, shares the diminution of self-awareness, alterations in bodily perception and decreased sense of pain.”
So what do you think? Are you ready to get your mantra on and connect to bliss states?
I do it twice a day now. After all, Dr Chopra recommends that. And I always listen to the good doctor!
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