‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for January 31st

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Everyone is a collector of something. And everyone’s collection looks peculiar to someone else. And yet, who knows why an item may have a certain appeal to one particular person. The shape, the color, the whole idea may have a hidden background, but it is most definitely there!

It may be old books, or magazines. Perhaps it is pill bottles, fishing hooks, or something “I may need someday when…” Who knows the reason old calendars continue to hang, and scraps of this and that may someday be just what I need.

But more dear than any of these are the happy thoughts we collect to use along the way. We can use them to cheer someone, to pass along a word of courage, a simple prayer, a smile. And when someone has time to share with us an experience that we may profit by the pain they felt – yes, these are collector’s items. These priceless bits of life’s fabric, woven by someone’s cares and offered to us in hopes that it will help.

Whatever it is that we collect, we must never forget the dearest collections are the kindnesses, the thoughtful acts, the smiling faces that can be ours by giving the same.

What could be so priceless as true friendship? Friends for which time and space do not exist! It is written, “What a great blessing is a friend with breast so trusty that thou mayest safely bury all thy secrets in it, whose conscience thou mayest fear less than thy own; who can relieve thy cares by his counsels, thy sadness by his good humor, and whose very looks give thee comfort.”

All of us have had many friends, but the special ones remain forever in our memories. The dearest are those who believe in us and are willing to trust us with their friendship.

We cannot force friendship. It is something mutually understood and silently accepted. It is our opportunity to demonstrate our very best selves – to as no questions and to pass no criticisms.

“Before us is a future all unknown, a path untrod;
Beside us a friend well loved and known –
That friend is God.

_________________________________

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
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

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

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 31

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – January 31

“In sharing, in loving all and everything, one people naturally found a due portion of the thing they sought, while in fearing, the other found need of conquest.”

–Chief Luther Standing Bear, SIOUX

There are two systems of thought that are available for us to choose from. One is the love-thought system and the other is the fear- thought system. If we choose love, we will see the laws, principles and values of the Creator. If we choose fear, the results will be so paralyzing that it will cause us to take over and not rely on the Great Spirit. The fear-thought system will automatically cause attack, conflict, need to control over others. The love-thought system seeks peace of mind, unity and causes us to be love seekers.

Great Spirit, today let me see only love.

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January 31 – Daily Feast

January 31 – Daily Feast

Sensible people do not get ruffled easily and are known to be reliable in a crisis. We want these stable people with us as friends and team members when the game is terribly important. We have heard the calm voice and felt the strong hand when our knees wobbled and our hands shook. It is easy to recall those who sustained us with their words, their caring. And sadly, we remember those who did not. Whatever common sense is, the heart has it, not the head. It is having the right priorities, knowing what is important, and giving as much as, or more than, we have received. Indians of old has this stalwart strength to stand like straight arrows to give support. They reached out to lift someone before they stopped to think whether he deserved it. The price is the same now as then – patience, love, loyalty – those things that seem so scarce.

~ I learned many English words….could recite some of the Ten Commandments….I knew how to sleep in a bed, pray to Jesus, comb my hair, use a toilet….I learned that a person thinks with his head instead of his heart. ~

SUN CHIEF, 1890

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

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Daily Motivator for January 31 – Fulfilling journey

Fulfilling journey

What matters much more than where you are is the direction you are going.  That’s something you can change instantly if you wish.

You cannot create an instant achievement, yet you can instantly be headed in  the direction of whatever achievement you choose. From wherever you are, there  is a path and a direction.

Your task for right now is not to get all the way there. Your responsibility in this moment is to keep yourself moving in the direction that will eventually get you all the way there.

No matter how long you’ve been off track, or how far away from the path  you’ve wandered, you can begin right now to get back on track. Your very next  action sets your direction, so wisely choose that action and go with it.

Don’t waste your time with regrets about where you’ve been or empty wishes  about where you’d like to be. Use this very moment to firmly establish and  maintain a positive, meaningful direction for your life.

Whatever the challenges may be, however ambitious the goal, your direction is  yours to choose in each and every moment. Choose the direction that most  authentically expresses your unique value, and enjoy a truly fulfilling  journey.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

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Daily OM for January 31 – Your Comfort Zone

Your Comfort Zone
Create a Soft Place to Land

by Madisyn Taylor

Create a soft place to land in your home a refuge from the stress of the day.

Our day-to-day demands can quickly take their toll on our well-being if we are not vigilant about caring for ourselves as best we can. One way we can ensure that we have an opportunity to relax and recuperate each day is to create a soft place to land when we arrive home. This landing pad, whether it

is an entire room or merely a small corner of a larger area, can provide us with a safe and comforting refuge in which we can decompress and recover from the day’s stresses. There, we are enveloped in feelings of security that transcend other issues that may be unfolding in our homes. Our landing pads also act as way stations that enable us to shift our attention away from our outer-world concerns and back to our inner-world needs.

To create a soft place to land in your home, begin by scouting potential locations. Or perhaps your entire home is your landing pad in which case you may only need to declutter. Your habits can often provide you with insight into the perfect spot, as there may be an area of your home you gravitate to naturally when you are in need of comfort. Any space in which you find it easy to let go of stress and anxiety can become your landing pad. A basement or attic, spare room, or unused storage area, furnished with items that soothe you, can give you the privacy you need to unwind. If you appreciate the elements, you may find that spending time in a section of your garden or outdoor patio helps you release the day’s tensions. Preparing these spaces can be as easy as replacing clutter with a small selection of beautiful objects that put you in a relaxed frame of mind. Remember to consider noise and activity levels while choosing the site of your landing pad. If you know that ordinary human commotion will distract you from your purpose, look for a secluded spot.

The soft place to land that you create should inspire within you the mantra, “I can breath here. I can relax here. I know I am safe here. When you return to your home after braving worldly rigors, you will feel a subtle yet tranquil shift occur inside of you as you settle in to this most personal of retreats and feel centered once again.

Daily OM

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Hold An Imbolc House Cleansing Ceremony

Hold An Imbolc House Cleansing Ceremony

By , About.com

Give your whole house a thorough cleaning at the end of winter.

A clean physical space feels good spiritually.

Be sure to clean your windows so they’re free of winter’s grime.

No one really likes to clean, but we all know we feel better when our physical space is tidy. It’s one of life’s necessary chores. Start your spring off with a good thorough cleaning, and then follow that up with a spiritual cleansing. This is a great ritual to perform at Imbolc — remember that for many of our ancestors, washing came only a few times a year, so by February, a house was probably smelling pretty ripe. Pick a bright sunny day to do a clean sweep, and then invite friends and family to join you in a blessing of your home.

First, do a complete physical cleaning of your house. Put on some music and thoroughly clean every room. Strip sheets off the beds, turn the mattresses, dust every surface, and vacuum every floor. Sort through those piles of paper on your desk, and get rid of things you don’t need to keep; file everything else. Gather up the kids’ toys and put them in baskets for easy storage. If you need to get rid of things, do it now — set aside a box for charity and put gently used items in it. Set aside another box for trash, and see if you can fill it up!

Once your house is clean — and this assumes you did the kitchen as well — it’s time to have some fun. Call up some friends and invite them over for a potluck. Cook up some Imbolc-themed comfort foods, such as Braided Bread or Beer Battered Fish & Chips, and have a small potluck celebration. Ask each guest to bring a small token to bless your house — pebbles, shells, interesting bits of wood, beads, etc.

You’ll also need the following:

  • A bowl of water
  • Some sea salt
  • A smudging bundle of sage or sweetgrass
  • A blue candle
  • Some Blessing Oil
  • A bowl or bag

Begin at the front door — it is, after all, where you welcome guests into your home — and go through the house in a sunwise direction (clockwise). Ask your guests to help you by smudging the perimeter of each room with the salt, sage, candle flame and water. You may wish to say some sort of incantation as they do this, something like:

With the purifying power of water, with the clean breath of air, with the passionate heat of fire, with the grounding energy of earth we cleanse this space.

As you pass from room to room, anoint each door and windowsill with the Blessing Oil by tracing the shape of a pentagram or other symbol of your tradition. This prevents anything negative from crossing into the home. If you like, you can offer a small incantation as you do this, something like:

May the goddess bless this home, making it sacred and pure, so that nothing but love and joy shall enter through this door.

Finally, once you’ve gone through the house, ask each of your guests to deposit their blessing token in your bowl or bag. Keep it in a place of honor in your home — on the mantel or in your kitchen is a good idea. Gather around the dinner table, break out the goodies, and enjoy a feast with your friends and family!

Tips:

* If you don’t have Blessing Oil, you can use rosemary oil instead. Make your own by infusing fresh rosemary in grapeseed or flaxseed oil.

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How To Hold an Imbolc Candle Ritual (for Solitaries)

How To Hold an Imbolc Candle Ritual (for Solitaries)

By Patti Wigington, About.com

Imbolc is a festival of light — celebrate it with candles and flames!

Hundreds of years ago, when our ancestors relied upon the sun as their only source of light, the end of winter was met with much celebration. Although it is still cold in February, often the sun shines brightly above us, and the skies are often crisp and clear. As a festival of light, Imbolc came to be called Candlemas. On this evening, when the sun has set once more, call it back by lighting the seven candles of this ritual.

** Note: although this ceremony is written for one, it can easily be adapted for a small group.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varied

Here’s How:

  1. First, set up your altar in a way that makes you happy, and brings to mind the themes of Imbolc. You’ll also want to have on hand the following:
    • Seven candles, in red and white (tealights are perfect for this)
    • Something to light your candles with
    • A large bowl or cauldron big enough to hold the candles
    • Sand or salt to fill the bottom of the bowl/cauldron

    Prior to beginning your ritual, take a warm, cleansing bath. While soaking, meditate on the concept of purification. Once you’re done, dress in your ritual attire, and begin the rite.

  2. If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now.

    Pour the sand or salt into the bowl or cauldron. Place the seven candles into the sand so they won’t slide around. Light the first candle. As you do so, say:

    Although it is now dark, I come seeking light. In the chill of winter, I come seeking life.

    Light the second candle, saying:

    I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth. I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life. I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.

  3. Light the third candle. Say:

    This light is a boundary, between positive and negative. That which is outside, shall stay without. That which is inside, shall stay within.

    Light the fourth candle. Say:

    I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth. I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life. I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.

  4. Light the fifth candle, saying:

    Like fire, light and love will always grow. Like fire, wisdom and inspiration will always grow.

    Light the sixth candle, and say:

    I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth. I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life. I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.

    Finally, light the last candle. As you do so, visualize the seven flames coming together as one. As the light builds, see the energy growing in a purifying glow.

    Fire of the hearth, blaze of the sun, cover me in your shining light. I am awash in your glow, and tonight I am made pure.

  5. Take a few momemnts and meditate on the light of your candles. Think about this Sabbat, a time of healing and inspiration and purification. Do you have something damaged that needs to be healed? Are you feeling stagnant, for lack of inspiration? Is there some part of your life that feels toxic or tainted? Visualize the light as a warm, enveloping energy that wraps itself around you, healing your ailments, igniting the spark of creativity, and purifying that which is damanged.

    When you are ready, end the ritual. You may choose to follow up with healing magic, or with a Cakes and Ale ceremony.

What You Need

  • Seven candles, white and red, and something to light them with
  • A bowl or cauldron with sand in the bottom
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Setting Up Your Imbolc Altar

Setting Up Your Imbolc Altar

By , About.com

It’s Imbolc, and that’s the Sabbat where many Wiccans and Pagans choose to honor the Celtic goddess Brighid, in her many aspects. However, other than having a giant statue of Brighid on your altar, there are a number of ways you can set up for the season. Depending on how much space you have, you can try some or even all of these ideas — obviously, someone using a bookshelf as an altar will have less flexibility than someone using a table, but use what calls to you most.

Colors

Traditionally, the colors of red and white are associated with Brighid. The white is the color of the blanket of snow, and the red symbolizes the rising sun. In some traditions, the red is connected with the blood of life. Brighid is also tied to the color green, both for the green mantle she wears and for the life growing beneath the earth. Decorate your altar with a white cloth, and drape a swath of red across it. Add green candles in candleholders.

The Beginnings of New Life

Altar decor should reflect the theme of the Sabbat. Because Imbolc is a harbinger of spring, any plants that symbolize the new growth are appropriate. Add potted bulbs — don’t worry if they’re blooming yet — and spring flowers such as forsythia, crocus, daffodils, and snowdrops. If you don’t have much luck planting bulbs, think about making a Brighid’s crown as a centerpiece — it combines flowers and candles together.

Celtic Designs

Brighid is, after all, a goddess of the Celtic peoples, so it’s always appropriate to add some sort of Celtic design to your altar. Consider adding a Brighid’s cross6 or any other item incoporating Celtic knotwork. If you happen to have a Celtic cross, don’t worry about the fact that it’s also a Christian symbol — if it feels right on your altar, go ahead and add it.

Other Symbols of Brighid

  • Cauldrons or chalices — she’s often connected to sacred wells and springs
  • A small anvil or hammer — Brighid is the goddess of smithcraft
  • A Brighid corn doll and Priapic wand
  • Sacred animals such as cows, sheep or swans
  • A goddess statue
  • A book of poetry, or a poem you’ve written — Brighid is the patroness of poets
  • Faeries — in some traditions, Brighid is the sister of the Fae
  • Healing herbs — she’s often connected to healing rites
  • Lots of candles, or a cauldron with a small fire in it
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Food Blessings, Pagan and Wiccan Style

Food Blessings, Pagan and Wiccan Style

By , About.com

Christianity doesn’t have a monopoly on saying a prayer over food and drink. Many religions celebrate the consumption of food with some sort of prayer of thanksgiving. Many Pagans and Wiccans believe that not only should we thank the gods for our food, but also the earth and the food itself. After all, if you’re eating plants or meat, something had to die so that you could have a meal. It seems rude not to thank your food for its sacrifice.

Any of the following may be said over a meal, a Cakes and Ale ceremony, or any other event where food is served. Feel free to include the names of the deities of your tradition, of you prefer.

  • This Simple Meal Blessing offers thanks to the God and Goddess for a meal.
  • A Prayer to the Earth shows gratitude for the planet’s bounty.
  • If you’re eating a meal that once walked around, offer a prayer Celebrating Meal.
  • Invite the Gods to dine with you.
  • Make an Offering of a bit of your food.
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Imbolc Fire Starters – Make Your Own Fire Starters

Imbolc Fire Starters – Make Your Own Fire Starters

By , About.com

Brighid is a goddess of fire, but let’s face it — sometimes getting a fire lit on a chilly, windy winter evening can be tricky. Put together a batch of simple fire starters to keep on hand, and you’ll be able to get a blaze going at any time!

  • A cardboard egg carton
  • Drier lint
  • Paraffin wax

Heat the paraffin wax in a double boiler. While it is melting, roll the drier lint into balls and stuff it into the cups of the cardboard egg carton. Squash it down so that you still have cardboard above the top of the lint ball. Pour the melted paraffin wax over the top of the lint-filled cardboard pockets. Allow to cool and harden. Cut the egg carton into separate cups, giving you twelve fire starters. When it’s time to start your fire, simply light one corner of a cardboard cup. The paraffin and lint will catch fire, and burn long enough to get your kindling going.

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