We are cutting out early to go and express our right to vote!
We hope you take time today to let your voice be heard!
‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler
It is written that where there’s a will there’s a way. If s desire is sincere and the results are for the good of everyone, the first giant steps have already been taken. American clergyman Joel Hawes has been quoted, “You may be whatever you resolve to be. Determine to be something in the world, and you will be something – ‘I cannot’ never accomplishes anything; ‘I will try’ has wrought wonders.”
A positive attitude can be one of the greatest joys to experience. To begin a day by willing everything good, and meeting any obstacle with the idea that it has no power, can make some of the most sudden and drastic changes in anyone’s life.
To be something or someone is one of the strongest desires, but it does mean sacrifices of doubt and apprehension and feeling sorry for ones-self. It means laughing instead of lamenting. It means thinking positively and speaking good words.
It is said that a great deal of talent is lost in this world for the want of a little courage. We often think of courage as the kind that wins wars and braves new fronts. But there is another plain, ordinary kind of courage that helps us face our everyday problems.
There is a surprising lack of this kind of courage, and it leads us to seek ways to dodge our responsibilities. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to face everything and everyone and take a firm stand for what we believe. It takes courage to admit we have weaknesses and needs that we must overcome. It is a daily fight to follow the right road when the wrong one looks so smooth. And it takes courage to believe, when obstacles face us.
God has given courage to each of us, for strength to overcome is available to all who are courageous in asking for help to be courageous.
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:
Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org
Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 6
“It is well to be good to women in the strength of our manhood because we must sit under their hands at both ends of our lives.”
–He Dog, OGLALA LAKOTA
The women bring us into this life and nurture us as we grow up. When we reach our manhood, she supports us and sings the songs to help the family grow. The Elders say we must look at the woman in a sacred way. We must realize how special her powers are in brining forth life. The woman will bring balance to a man. The woman will help him see. It is said, behind every successful man is a supporting woman. Maybe we should examine how we are thinking about women. The Great Spirit says we should honor them. Are we respecting and honoring our women today?
Grandmother, Grandfather thank you for our women. Today, let me honor them.
November 6 – Daily Feast
Autumn sunshine warms the woods and brings out the elusive woodchuck to sleep in a rock slanted toward the sun. The downy woodpecker thumps on a hollow tree and a doe huffs as she slides her hooves through a carpet of autumn leaves, This is the season of mellow fruitfulness when seed fluffs drift on the breezes, and grasses colored rose and beige bend and bob. Whether it is nature or human nature, it is a time of subtle changes, a time when geese take to the southern skyways and man tries to predict the severity of winter. But back of it all is a loving Spirit who tells us to be anxious for nothing.
~ So why do you ask us to leave the rivers and the sun and the wind and live in houses? ~
PARRA-WA-SAMEN – COMANCHE WARRIOR CHIEF
‘A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II’ by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
If you’ve done poorly, you can now do better. If you’ve done well, you can now do even better than that.
Every moment is an opportunity for improvement. Every day is your chance to make good and meaningful use of your wealth of experience.
There is a beauty within you that longs to be expressed more fully and more richly than ever before. No matter what has already happened, that beauty is more compelling than ever, and now is when you can bring it to life.
Look out at the ocean, look up at the night sky, or listen to the sounds of nature during a walk through the woods. Feel your very real connection with all that is, and feel the immense positive possibilities for true fulfillment.
This is not a time to get caught up in trivialities. This is your moment to experience the wonder of existence in a magnificent and abundant universe.
Live like it matters, because it very much does matter. All of life is depending on you to live with everything you have, and now is your time to do so.
— Ralph Marston
Aligning Actions and Words
Words carry a lot of weight in this world, from how we say them to what we say with them, but it is through our actions that we bring things into being. This is what we mean when we say to one another that actions speak louder than words. In many cases, what we say doesn’t necessarily line up with what we are doing, and it is here that it becomes clear that it’s easier to talk about doing something than it is to actually do something. At the same time, it’s easy to keep doing something that we don’t necessarily acknowledge ourselves doing verbally. It’s good for all of us to take a look every once and a while to make sure there is alignment between what we say and what we do.
For example, it’s easy to talk about our dreams, but it takes a lot more energy to take the many small steps that lead to bringing our dreams into reality. If all we ever do is talk about it, we begin to lose faith in ourselves because nothing changes on the external level. In this way, being all talk and no action is actually a form of self-sabotage. It’s also useful to examine our actions to see if, through them, we are following through on our words. For example, in expressing concern about the environment, we can look to make sure that we are taking the simple steps we can take to put that concern into action.
It’s always helpful to observe what we talk about and who we say we are, and then to observe what we actually do in the world. Sometimes we realize our actions haven’t caught up with what we are saying, and at other times we see that we might change our words in a way that it will more adequately reflect what we do in the world. Either way, the more we align our words and our deeds, the clearer we are in expressing our truth in the world, and the more powerful we are in bringing it into reality.
Magical Rites from the Crystal Well, Ed Fitch and Janine Renee, 1987, Llewellyn Publications.
Insofar as the Craft of the Wise is the most ancient and most honorable creed of humankind, it behooves all who are Witches to act in ways that give respect to the Old Gods, to their sisters and brothers of the Craft, and to themselves. Therefore, be it noted that:
1. Chivalry is a high code of honor which is of most ancient Pagan origin, and must be lived by all who follow the old ways.
2. It must be kenned that thoughts and intent put forth on this Middle Earth will wax strong in other worlds beyond and return… bringing into creation, on this world, that which had been sent forth. Thus one should exercise discipline, for “as ye plant, so shall ye harvest.”
3. It is only by preparing our minds to be as Gods that we can ultimately attain godhead.
4. “This above all… to thine own self be true…”
5. A Witch’s word must have the validity of a signed and witnessed oath. Thus, give thy word sparingly, but adhere to it like iron.
6. Refrain from speaking ill of others, for not all truths of the matter may be known.
7. Pass not unverified words about another, for hearsay is, in large part, a thing of falsehoods.
8. Be thou honest with others, and have them know that honesty is likewise expected of them.
9. The fury of the moment plays folly with the truth; to keep one’s head is a virtue.
10. Contemplate always the consequences of thine acts upon others. Strive not to do harm.
11. Diverse covens may well have diverse views of love between members and with others. When a coven, clan, or grove is visited or joined, one should discern quietly their practices, and abide thereby.
12. Dignity, a gracious manner, and a good humor are much to be admired.
13. As a Witch, thou has power, and thy powers wax strongly as wisdom increases. Therefore, exercise discretion in the use thereof.
14. Courage and honor endure forever. Their echoes remain when the mountains have crumbled to dust.
15. Pledge friendship and fealty to those who so warrant. Strengthen others of the Brethren and they shall strengthen thee.
16. Thou shalt not reveal the secrets of another Witch or Coven. Others have labored long and hard for them, and cherish them as treasures. 1804
17. Though there may be differences among those of the Old Ways, those who are once-born must see nothing, and must hear nothing.
18. Those who follow the mysteries should be above reproach in the eyes of the world.
19. The laws of the land should be obeyed whenever possible and within reason, for in the main they have been chosen with wisdom.
20. Have pride in thyself and seek perfection in body and in mind. For the Lady has said, “How canst thou honor another unless thou give honor to thyself first?”
21. Those who seek the Mysteries should consider themselves the select of the Gods, for it is they would lead the race of humankind to the highest of thrones and beyond the very stars.
Witchcraft is often understood to be evil, demoralizing, and immoral because it goes against the beliefs of the catholic church. This is due mostly to a misunderstanding of the modern use of the term “witch.” In earlier times, witchcraft was essentially the term used for “devil worship.” Witches of old were said to be in league with the devil. They hurt people, traveled to gatherings where they engaged in evil spell-casting, demoralizing acts, and Satan worship. At the same time, there were wisepeople in villages. These people were the healers, the midwives, and the elders who knew things which might be considered witchery today. These people were not, at the time, considered or even called witches. Today, for some reason, these people have chosen to take on the name of witchcraft. Even in medieval times, people engaged in witchery. These things included charms to predict love or the weather, good luck charms, and psychic sight (gifts of the angels). For example, people knew charms that were used in prediction such as limericks and poems. These went something like: “cat’s paw upon the water, first sigh of storm-king’s daughter.” This limerick means that if you see a cat place its paw in water, then there will be a storm. These are sometimes called “old wives’ tales.” Other superstitions are: walking under a ladder is bad luck and smashing a mirror is 7 years bad luck. Magical charms were and are also used: four-leaf clovers, found pennies, locks of hair, horseshoes when turned upside down, and lucky and unlucky numbers. These things were never considered witchcraft the way we use it in witchcraft today.
Many Christians are beginning to understand the differences between what is now called witchcraft and the old word witchcraft which was used for “devil worship.” No one is really sure why the healers of today have chosen this once derogatory term to describe themselves. Likely, it has stemmed from small groups of adolescents forming “covens.” Early Wiccans were not called witches.
Today, witches are known for their good deeds. Witches believe in eternal learning. Witches believe in truth and truth telling. We are always trying to help those around us and find ways to better ourselves. We believe in harming no living being. We believe in fidelity (loyalty), we love our families and raise our children to have good moral standards. We do not believe in forming cults or any other harmful or mind-controlling groups. We stand against killing and oppression of all kinds. We believe in the freedom to love who we choose to love. We believe in self-sacrifice for the good of others. We believe in charity
Contrary to popular belief, Wicca is not evil. Wiccans do not follow the devil. Wiccans do not even believe in the devil. Wicca is a nature oriented religion which centers around a single deity (known as the All) which encompasses all things in the universe and without. This All is divided into two equal halves much the same way as the universe is divided into two halves. There is light and dark, male and female, good and evil, etc. These are often evident in the two deities called the Lord and the Lady. Each represents a perfect and equal half and complement each other much like the yin and the yang. The Lord is a father figure. He represents animals, the soul, fathering, passion and the wild. He is symbolized by the color gold, air, fire, and by the Sun. The Lady or Goddess represents the earth mother, motherhood, nurturing, femininity, and that which we can touch. She is symbolized by water, earth and the moon. Wiccans believe in honoring their deities and in living in harmony with nature and the universe. Witches sometimes practice in groups of up to thirteen called covens. Covens are used to bring different people of a faith together so that they may learn from each other’s experiences. Witches can also work alone. They are called solitaries. Wiccans are generally considered witches because they practice the art of magick. Not al witches, however, are Wiccans. Wicca is a religion and witchcraft is simply the practice of the magickal arts. Because Wiccans worship nature, their holidays coincide with significant days of the year. All of the four seasons are celebrated as well as four other holidays which fall between each. All of the eight holidays are spaced at exactly the same number of days apart and do not always fall on the same day each year. Most of these holidays coincide with Christian holidays such as Christmas (Yule) and Easter (Ostara). These holidays are called the Sabbats or Sabbaths. Witches also may or may not celebrate what are called Esbats. Esbats are specific lunar dates that are of major importance. These are the new moons and the full moons. There are 13 full moons during the year, each representing one month. Thus, the pagan calendar has thirteen months and not twelve. Most today represent these lost days in the thirteenth month to leap year. These holidays are meant to celebrate the earth and her cycles of nature. Wiccans follow one basic fundamental rule: “harm none.” The Wiccan Rede or “Law” states: “Abide the Wiccan law ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust. Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: ‘An’ it harm none, do what ye will.’ And ever mind the rule of three: what ye send out comes back to thee. Follow this with mind and heart, and merry meet and merry part.” The main goal of Wicca is to harm none. Wiccans base their lives on self discipline and helping others. Most spells are done for healing, love, friendship and to help others. You will not find Wiccan spells for harming others or spells which are destructive in any way.
Wicca is a recognized religion worldwide and is protected by the United States Constitution. Contrary to popular belief, Wicca is not an ancient religion. Some of the ideas and rituals follow what is believed to have been practiced by the early Nordic tribes, but the religion was founded in the early 1960’s and was at the time considered a “New Age Religion.” Many unseasoned Wiccans will often refer to their following as “The Olde Ways.” This is often the result of misinformation from other witches either on the internet or in books who claim that they follow ancient traditions. Some will even claim that their beliefs were handed down from century to century and guarded against Christians and others who might seek to waylay witches and traditional witchcraft. Unfortunately, virtually no information has survived to this day and we must rely on skepticism to learn how ancient peoples worshiped.
You’ve seen “The Craft” five times, you watch “Charmed” every week, you have a black cat that you have most recently renamed “Salem” or “Kittywitch” or something like that, and you dress all in black. You can cast any spell from your three spellbooks and a huge pentagram adorns your neck, your (very creepy looking) book of shadows, and numerous other items in your cache of school supplies. People look at you when you walk down the street, your friends think you are oh-so-cool and your craft name, Moonlight FairyWillow WolfWings, is posted at the top of your web forum in creepy red letters. You are a witch, right?
Wrong. Witchcraft is not a fashion statement. It is nothing like what you see in the movies. It is not a fad. Hollywood has created so many false ideas about witchcraft to draw people in. Teenagers are especially susceptible to these ideas. In an attempt to be rebellious, teens will don the look and the catch-phrases of the neo-goth community. They are drawn in by the glamour of Hollywood and the promise of great power. Teenagers encompass a group in society called “midriffs.” (Anyone who has studied sociology or journalism knows what I am talking about.) Midriffs are at a point in life when they feel the need to grow up and look to others around them to learn how to do it. They will copy what they see: fashions, hairstyles, makeup, slang words and behavior in an attempt to fit in with their age group. This rebellion can have negative effects because it makes young people blind. They will follow from one fad to the next. Style is fleeting. Often, young people will turn to witchcraft for its glamour and seduction. Nothing is more alluring to the inexperienced than absolute power. The first thing that you should know about witchcraft is that it is, first and foremost, a religion. Magick is based entirely on religion and the belief in the unknown. I don’t care who you are or what kind of powers you claim to have; unless you have faith in something, you cannot perform magick.
Secondly, magick is not a fashion statement. True witches are easy to discern from the witch-wannabes. Witches do not wear all black. Witches do not wear huge pentagrams or black lipstick. Witches know that the power of magick is in its secrets. When you lay it threadbare before others it loses all its power and all you have left is a costumed wannabe with nothing to show but the ten pounds of crystal and pewter jewelry around their neck. True witches have learned to cast off their desires to be accepted by the “in” crowd. Real witches are at one with themselves and their surroundings and do not seek to fit in with any clique or to dress in a certain style. True witches look just like everyone else. You will not ever be able to tell a true witch in a crowd of people unless they want you to know that they are there (and I can assure you this will not be very often.)
Witchcraft is not what you see on television. No such thing exists. Many movies, television programs, and books, even some pagan books, lure people in with fake ideas of witchcraft. You will not learn to levitate. Fire and lightning will not shoot from your fingertips. You will never be able to bring down the wrath of the gods or walk on water. These things are fiction – fairy tales. They do not happen. Witchcraft is not instantaneous. Magick takes time to happen and even longer to learn. magick is not something that you can learn in a week or a month or even a year. Witches never stop learning. There is too much to learn for anyone to ever be perfect or know everything. Most people come into the craft because it is a fad and quickly leave because it is too hard or it takes too long. Not anyone can be a witch. To practice and learn the craft, one must be patient, curious and honest with themselves.
If you are interested in being a true witch, there are numerous talents that you will learn. Witchcraft requires a love of nature. If the sight of nature and beauty inspire you or strike awe in you then the craft might be right for you. You will learn how to heal others, speak to plants, animals, trees and spirits, travel on the astral plane, learn to understand yourself and others and divine your dreams and the future. You will learn to better yourself and open your eyes and your mind to new possibilities. Witchcraft is very difficult but if you are one of the few who have the talent, strength and patience for it, it can unlock hidden talents you never knew you had and free your imagination.
by Lilith Veritas
It’s never been easy to be a pagan in a world where differences are feared and minorities are persecuted. It’s made even tougher by how little nonpagans usually know about the realities of our lifestyle and beliefs. How many times have you had to explain that Satanism is not Wicca, or that Wiccans are not the only pagans? Most nonpagans get their information about Wicca, neo-paganism and other Craft-related beliefs from the mass media, which has faithfully clung to stereotypes and painted a sensationalistic picture of pagans, just like they do about everything else. TV shows like Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have contributed much to making paganism seem less frightening and more acceptable to the mainstream, but they’ve also continued to support misinformation and superstitions that have plagued pagans throughout modern times. Shows like Sabrina, or even the old favorite Bewitched, leave nonpagan viewers with the impression that witchcraft is all fantasy and special effects, and anyone who believes in such things might have a screw or two loose. Really, do you know anyone who has a talking cat or has developed a working teleport spell?
The reality is that the majority of pagans today come from other religions and backgrounds and are at least partly self-educated, and many bring some of these ideas with them! It’s really difficult to educate the nonpagan public if we’re not clear ourselves on the history of witchcraft and the origins of our symbols, tools and stereotypes. While it’s hard to change deeply held beliefs, the truth is a powerful weapon against fe
and prejudice, and acknowledging our own history is the only way to move forward to a (hopefully) enlightened future.
For a quick example of the history of a pagan tool, let’s look at the Book of Shadows. Many pagans take it for granted that these books are an integral part of being a pagan. The term itself has been popularized by the media; the sisters on Charmed have a family Book of Shadows, which seems to be a universal encyclopedia of all things magickal, and the sequel to the popular Blair Witch Project movie was called Book of Shadows. The common perception seems to be that Books of Shadows have been handed down from medieval times and contain wisdom gathered hundreds of years ago. How accurate is that perception?
The first recorded reference to an actual Book of Shadows was in 1939, by the founder of modern Wicca, Gerald Gardner. He claims to have received pieces of this book during his initiation into the religion now known as Gardnerian Wicca. Both Doreen Valiente and Aleister Crowley appear to have added to the book, after Gardner “restored” it. Prior to that, however, there is no known recording of a Book of Shadows, at least not by that name, and few references to grimoires or books of knowledge used specifically by pagans. The book Aradia: Gospel of the Witches was written by folklorist Charles G. Leland in 1899 and appears to be the closest historically, but it would hardly have been ancient knowledge a mere 40 years later. Books of Shadows are now used by many pagans, both Wiccan and non-, but that name seems to be solely a creation of Gardner and his contemporaries.
Many pagans would like to believe that there is a written source for ancient spells, rituals and traditions to which they can turn to validate their current practices. They may forget that in ancient times, and often through the first part of the twentieth century, the common person didn’t know how to write or read! Most pagans in the Western world today can both read and write, and even those deemed “illiterate” can often do both enough to get by. During the height of the witch hunts and in rural areas where folk medicine and pagan rituals may have continued more or less uninterrupted, literacy was not common, and it is unlikely that many witches, if any, kept such a book. Most commoners didn’t keep books at all!
There is another argument against the idea of ancient grimoires being commonplace: Anyone found with such a book would likely have been found guilty of heresy and possibly put to death, and the book summarily burned. This threat would have been lessened for someone of the upper classes, but for typical rural folk would probably have been too big a risk to take. During the times when herbal healers had to be very careful to hide the tools of their trade and be sure to put their best Christian face forward, it would have been virtual suicide to have a book of “arcane knowledge” laying around the house, even if most of your neighbors couldn’t read it! Having books at all was cause for suspicion amongst the lower classes, since they were poorly understood by most and rarely read by any but high society. The few documented grimoires likely did belong to folks of higher classes, as they were the ones who could afford them and could also afford to learn to read.
As I mentioned, many pagans would like to have a historical book of knowledge to justify their current practices. While it would be nice to trace such things unbroken into the past, “new” does not mean “bad” or “invalid.” Newer ideas aren’t automatically bad ideas! Now that we have the means to write down our beliefs and rituals to pass on to future generations, or just to remind ourselves, many of us will choose to do so. Knowing where a practice comes from allows room to change and grow, and keeps folks talking from a place closer to truth than superstition. And knowing that new practices are springing up will hopefully keep the pagan paths alive and vital instead of bogging them down in the dogma so common in many mainstream religions.
Moving into the realm of stereotypes, many Americans think of the pointed black hat as the key identifier of a witch. These folks are often the most surprised when they meet a real, modern witch wearing jeans and a T-shirt. But where did the stereotype of this pointy hat come from?
One thing to keep in mind in the search for this stereotype’s origins is that it is peculiarly American and Western European, particularly from the British Isles, and it is a fairly modern invention. Witches in Eastern countries do not appear wearing pointy hats or any of the accoutrements that we commonly associate with the Halloween-style witch. Early woodcuts of witches in the Middle Ages showed them wearing scarves, or hats popular at the time, or even with their hair flying in the wind. Our media has popularized the view of witches with pointy hats as well as green skin, warts and brooms. I suspect the Wizard of Oz movie released at the dawning of the media age has more to do with the current stereotype of the “wicked witch” than does historical evidence!
The most positive interpretation I came across was echoed by Doreen Valiente as the probable source: Pointed hats were actually a visual representation of the Cone of Power that witches drew upon during their rituals. While this puts a nice, witch-friendly spin on the image, I find it to be rather unlikely. People in previous centuries who were creating woodcuts of witches tended to paint a very unkind picture and did not include positive aspects of true witchcraft as it existed at the time. Witches were portrayed dancing with devils and participating in all varieties of heinous rites, not drawing down the moon and healing the sick. It is unlikely that someone projecting a witch in such a light would bother to represent a Cone of Power, which is typically a positive force.
There is another, commonly held belief that the pointed hat originated with another persecuted group in Europe, the Jews. While Jews did wear pointed headgear, most scholars now believe these hats were not a likely source for the witch’s pointed hat. After all, pointed hats were fairly common throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
This fact leads us to the source I find to be most believable, and most mundane, for the Pointy Hat Look. During the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, commoners in Wales and England often wore pointed hats. As fashions changed, the last to retain the old styles were the rural and peasant folk, who were considered “backward” by higher society and were usually the ones accused of heresy and witchcraft. Much as we today have stereotypes of the sort of student who might commit violence at a high school, so did the medieval people have their ideas of what sort of person might be a witch.
Along these lines, Gary Jensen, a professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University, postulates a connection between the persecution of Quakers in America and the stereotypical appearance of witches in our folklore. Quakers did wear pointed hats, and the negative image of witches wearing conical hats in America became common about the same time anti-Quaker sentiment was at a peak. Quakers were thought by some to consort with demons and practice black magic, things also associated with the early American view of witches. Once again, an easily recognized symbol of an oppressed minority may have become generalized to a group equated with them.
In the final analysis, it’s likely that more than one of these issues came into play to ingrain the pointy hat into the mainstream idea of what a witch looks like. After all, the ideas that stick most firmly in the mind are the ones repeated from different sources, and many things in history can’t be traced to a single root cause or moment.
In the Craft, as in all aspects of human culture, the powers of media and modern communication weave together a new “truth” from bits of folklore and whispered traditions, and picking apart this fabric to get at the real foundation requires persistence and the willingness to view your own ideas in a new light.
For those interested in further reading about pagan stereotypes and history, I suggest the Internet as a great source of information, if one takes the information found with the proper grain of salt. Two articles in particular that I came across stand out in my mind, and I believe it would benefit pagans in general to read and consider the implications of both of them.
First of these is a speech by Doreen Valiente at the National Conference of the Pagan Federation on November 22, 1997. As a founding influence on the modern practice of Wicca and a contemporary of both Gerald Gardner and Aleister Crowley, Valiente had a unique perspective. In this speech, she questioned many “truths” about Gardnerian Wicca and presented views that some may find surprising. Transcripts of her speech can be found at http://www.users.drak.net/lilitu/valiente.htm.
Second is a very well-researched essay about the Burning Times by Jenny Gibbons, which can be found at http://www.cog.org/witch_hunt.html.
While I don’t endorse either of these sources as the absolute truth, they are certainly thought provoking.
Some other sources:
The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
Best Witches site, http://www.rci/rutgers/edu/~jup/witches
“The Witching Hours,” by Shantell Powell, http://shanmonster.bla-bla.com/witch
Dear God, Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a good dog.
What’s better for Fido’s wellness—having his water bowl near the eastern or western wall of your house? How about your cat’s scratching post—will kitty be more inclined to use it if it’s in the living room or bedroom? Perhaps you used feng shui to organize your home when you first moved in, but did you ever consider that this Chinese philosophy relating spatial arrangement and orientation to energy flow can also benefit your pets? Why is it important to make your companion animals’ living quarters more feng shui–friendly, and what steps can you take to help your furry friends achieve a better balance of yin and yang? How can feng shui benefit Fido?
“A house with good feng shui means that you have a peaceful, clean, and harmonious home,” says Kathryn Weber, publisher of the Red Lotus Letter, an online newsletter about feng shui. “When your home is in good order, everyone is more healthy and content. This transfers to your pets’ health and well-being, too,” she says.
Dirce Johnson, a Longview, Washington-based certified practitioner of interior alignment, feng shui consultant, and animal rescuer, concurs. “Feng shui is even more important for animals than people,” she says. “If a living area is out of balance, people sense it and react negatively,” she says. “These reactions can run the gamut from mental issues, such as depression, anger, and anxiety, to physical ones, such as loss of sleep and illness. Animals are far more intuitive than we are—they survive by instinct. Consequently, an animal’s reaction to an imbalance in the environment is much worse than that of a human.”
Basic ways to achieve balance
In light of these expert observations, what can average pet guardians do to prevent such imbalance and improve the feng shui within their living space?
“A beneficial home environment is one that is neither too dark nor too light, not too loud nor too still,” explains Weber. “If your home has a loud TV and bright sunlight or is noisy and without calm, the pet may be anxious, [which can result in] birds plucking out their feathers or dogs excessively licking. If the home is too dark or quiet and is cluttered, the pet may experience weight gain, feel lethargic, lose [his or her] zest, or have nagging health complaints, such as achy joints or poor breathing. Cleanliness is also essential for maintaining good feng shui. For example, a kitty litterbox that’s rarely changed is bad for the cat, emits negative energy in the form of odors, and is unpleasant to look at.”
Suzanne Metzger of Feng Shui Consulting Services in Colorado Springs, Colorado, adds to these recommendations by emphasizing that eliminating clutter is a simple yet critical step that pet guardians and home owners can take to enhance feng shui. “This is especially important in your bedroom and your pet’s sleeping area,” says Metzger. “Clutter, which is stagnant energy, is a common problem in our material-based culture. Both people and pets can be affected in subtle ways, such as premature aging, eating disorders, and lack of focus. In a pet’s case, lack of focus can contribute to problems with housebreaking or other training difficulties.”
Calling all experts
But what if cleaning up clutter and providing a calm yet energized home environment seem like daunting tasks in and of themselves, let alone when the idea is to create the optimal combination of yin and yang for everyone in the family? According to Metzger, certain circumstances often necessitate a little expert advice.
“A trained feng shui consultant will be able to balance your entire space, pinpoint problems you may not be aware of, and give appropriate solutions with more accuracy than someone without training. Yet not all consultants are tuned in to animals, so it’s important to tell them about any problems your pets are experiencing when they take your family history.”
Weber, on the other hand, advises that outside consultation is not always essential. “You don’t [always] need to see a feng shui consultant, because good feng shui starts with the basics—a clean and tidy, clutter-free home. If you have pets, this will help them stay in good health and prevent them from being pestered with problems like fleas. Feng shui is truly an easy-to-apply technique.” On the flip side, she adds that furry and feathered residents are responsible for actually generating feng shui within a home. “Pets themselves are good feng shui! Their lively, active energy works as an energizer for the home environment, and animals are also wonderful protectors.” Consider this food for thought the next time you’re experiencing any negative energy as you go to change Fluffy’s litterbox.
Everyday Tips for Fostering Feng Shui with Your Furry Companions
Consider trying out these simple suggestions to ensure that your pet benefits from as much positive energy as possible!
• Make sure any litterboxes are situated in secluded areas, preferably in their own nooks.
• Be certain there are no exposed beams above your pet’s sleeping area.
• Do not situate your pet’s sleeping area near any electronic devices.
• Consider purchasing a pet fountain from a pet supply store or constructing your own with an inexpensive pump purchased from a craft store.
• Make sure there are no sharp corners pointing towards your pet’s food, sleeping, or toilet areas.
Today is Election Day in the United States and we’ll be getting out the vote to determine our next president. If I were running for office (or trying to win any contest), I would focus on the ‘Fame’ area of my home or office. I would clear it of clutter and make sure the space was organized and clean. Then I would enlist a symbol of a horse to see me across the proverbial finish line. According to Feng Shui, the horse symbolizes perseverance, strength, and success. It’s believed that placing a symbol or statue of a horse in the ‘Fame’ area of your home or on your office desk will enhance all those characteristics to put you in the Winner’s Circle!
By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com