‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ on February 17th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

It has become increasingly noticeable how the power grab has reached even the lower levels of living. It is a right thing for us to try to raise ourselves. To fail to try would earmark us for failure….and yet up the shaky ladder of success climb so many bodies without spirits, so little understanding of what is ahead….and often less of what is past.

If we could only realize our power comes not from grasping the coattails of others, but from a higher source that knows the way….that places before us the right steps, the correct manner, the much needed wisdom and inspiration.

Why is it that when all this guidance is available to us, we let the littleness of our souls hold us back, believing all the time that any forward motion is because we have learned how to twist situations to our own avail.

How sad the lot of those who discover all the rungs on their ladder are on the same level. “Power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads,” wrote Caleb Colton. “No man is wise enough, nor good enough, to be trusted with unlimited power.”

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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 – February 17

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – February 17

“Silence and self-control permeate the entirety of our lives.”

–Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

The Creator gave us all the Red Road and on this Red Road we are required to think and act in a spiritual way. To make sure I conduct myself according to the Red Road, I must make sure I develop my self discipline. Self control works best when we pray for the courage and power t do the will of the Great Spirit. We are here on the earth to do the will of the Great Spirit. Sometimes, we must battle ourselves to do this.

Great Spirit, help me to have my self-control guided by spiritual ways.

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February 17 – Daily Feast

February 17 – Daily Feast

Touching the earth is a lovely thing, a feeling of once again finding our beginnings, a knowing that this place where we stand, whether to walk or plow or plant, is something created for us, for the pulse of the earth slows our own and tranquilizes our confusion. The Cherokees believe that seeing the sky in all its limitless depths stirs our imaginations and stretches our awareness of how much simple beauty is provided for us. We can see that bitterness lasts only as long as we allow it, but we have reached beyond the ceiling of our minds and are as unlimited as the sky. As currents of air stir the fragrance of flowers, we may not be able to see all things but we sense the influence and know that life is ours to enjoy. It comes by Divine heritage.

~ Ka wat lee OS, tat gat he. Peace for the Cherokees, Oh America, peace for the Cherokees. ~

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

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The Daily Motivator for Feb. 17th – Powerful intentions

Powerful intentions

Your intentions can be enormously powerful, yet they must be clear, specific  and meaningful. If you just have a vague idea of the results you intend, the  results you actually get will have little value.

Decide what you wish to do today, or this month, or this year, and make it  precise. In order to be fully committed, you must know exactly what you’re  committed to doing.

The more clearly you visualize your intentions, the more powerful you make  them. When you can see exactly where you’re going, you can also find realistic  and workable ways to get there.

The power of your intentions also comes from the strength of purpose behind  them. When they’re solidly connected to what’s meaningful in your life, then  you’ll put your best efforts into making those intentions happen.

Your intentions are powerful precisely because they enable you to focus and  harness your substantial energy. Your intentions bring results because they  compel you to create those results.

Make them clear and meaningful, and give your intentions the power they  deserve. They’ll push you forward in creating the great life you deserve.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

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The Daily OM for Feb. 17th – Connecting with the Divine

Connecting with the Divine
Puja

by Madisyn Taylor

Performing a Hindu puja ritual is a wonderful way to experience direct communication with the divine.

Forging a spiritual connection with the divine is the ultimate goal of many forms of worship. In our devotions, we transcend the limitations of our humanity using prayers, rituals, and invocations, or we seek the celestial in sacred items such as statuary, imagery, or natural objects. In the Hindu tradition, worshipers bond with the divine through the puja ritual. The purpose of the ritual is to create an atmosphere in which humans and spiritual beings can enjoy communion with one another. Though participants show reverence for their chosen deities, puja serves to bring the former and the latter together on an energetic level. Performing a puja ritual is thus a wonderful way to experience direct communication with the divine.

There are no limits as to whom may serve as the focal point of your puja. You need only choose a spirit guide to commune with and an object to represent them. Preparing for the puja ritual, however, can take some time, depending on the number of devotional acts you will perform. A classic puja includes 16 acts, including meditation, chanting, the reading of sacred texts, offerings of food and drink, and cleansing. You may also wish to present gifts of incense, flowers, and jewelry during the ritual. An altar or table covered by an altar cloth provides space for the representation of the divine and the seat of the puja. To begin, prepare your offerings and place them to the right of the altar. Then center yourself and release any stress you may feel—the puja is meant to be a joyful experience. Typically, the ritual begins with the ringing of a bell and an invitation, and progresses from chanting to the cleansing and dressing of the deity to the offerings to meditation. You can modify your puja in any way you wish.

Though the elaborate puja rituals performed in Hindu temples take place at sunrise, noon, sunset, and midnight, puja performed in the home primarily takes place in the mornings and evenings. When your intention is to invite your spiritual guides into your home and heart, however, the time of day matters little. With practice, you will create a direct path to spiritual oneness that allows you to experience an amazing sense of closeness that reinforces your connection with the divine.

The Daily OM

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Spiritual Power

Spiritual Power

Author:   Mydnyht   

Compassion and power. Simple words that can be defined in many ways.

Compassion is love. Compassion is the desire to help others. It is that strong desire to be able to relate, even if you can’t. It is sympathy and sometimes even empathy. It is what makes us cry when we see something terrible happening. It fuels our basic human need to do all we can to solve the problems of the people we care about.

Compassion, in all its simplicity, is a basically good emotion that helps keep our world functioning. Without compassion, where would we be? If I didn’t want to help you when you most needed it, what would happen to us all?

Then, there is power. Power is such an incredible and polarized word. Power can infer a dark desire for more. Some people have the ability to make great change, and misuse it. This abuse of power gives it a bad name and a negative connotation in some cases. Power can mean awesome strength. Power can symbolize greatness and something absolutely incredible. But power can be easier to grasp than we may realize.

Power doesn’t just belong to the God and Goddess that created us. Power is found in the fierceness and brutality of nature, but power is also found in the simple calming properties of a tiny flower. Humans are born with power… perhaps not as grand as what we witness around us, but it is still there.

Humans are also born with compassion. It is simply something we have to tap into. What is so amazing about power and compassion is not only do they intertwine gracefully, but they are also similar. Compassion is power — more so than we realize.

However you believe human beings came to be, I think we can all agree that we did not end up on this earth to eat, sleep, and die. We all have some kind of purpose. Most people do not know what this purpose is, and some may not even ever discover what it is.

Whether you believe it is to love and be loved, or to make the world a better place, or to prepare yourself for the next life or Summerland, or even if you think all we are meant for is to carry on our race – there is something that a human must accomplish. To make this accomplishment possible, we have power. Free will is arguably one of the greatest powers bestowed upon us. Every other power we possess in our being relates to whether or not we choose to utilize that power for the greater good. Compassion is one of these powers – and oh, how wonderful it is!

Compassion is a power within us that creates a need to help others. Some people lack this power altogether. In some, it isn’t as strong as it is in others. For every person who isn’t compassionate enough, there are those who are so compassionate that they almost can’t handle it. This is something we must consider carefully. If we aren’t doing enough, what can we do so that we can do more? What happens if we’ve done all we can, but that need to help is still there? And how do we tell the difference? We start by assessing what other powers we have that we can put to good use.

For our purposes, I will divide our human powers into two basic groups: spiritual and physical. When people reference compassion and what is in their power to help, the usually think of the most very basic spiritual power – prayer – and the most easy physical power – monetary aid. (For us Wiccans, we would probably translate “prayer” into something like meditation, ritual, or spell work. They are essentially the same thing, but just given different names by different religions.)

It is so much simpler for us, when faced with a disaster, to donate a little bit of money to the Red Cross and do a daily ritual for a few weeks, and then forget about what happened. But sometimes we feel trapped because our compassion is so overwhelming, and we think, “Why did that have to happen? What can I do to help? Should I do something crazy, like flying down and helping out the Red Cross in a mission or housing a homeless family? I feel like I’m not doing nearly enough!” For some people, it’s enough to bring them to tears – feeling that hopeless and helpless is never pleasant.

The first thing we must learn to develop in any situation that requires our compassion – whether it be a friend in need of a friend, or a huge natural disaster – is our spiritual power. This can have so much more of an affect than we may realize. Positive thinking is one of the keys to getting things accomplished. This can benefit not only the person whom the thoughts are directed to, but the person thinking them as well.

Someone once referred to me the book “The Hidden Messages In Water” by Masaru Emoto, and the point made there is basically the same as mine. It is a true account of a scientist who studies the crystal patterns of water in its normal state and then again after they have been exposed to intense amounts of positive thoughts and words. The crystal patterns of the water became substantially more complex and beautiful after having positive words said over them by a Buddhist monk.

Now, if one person can have such an effect on water, what’s to say any of us can’t have a beneficial effect on a more difficult situation?

Certainly it requires more effort and perhaps some practice, but that isn’t to say it can’t be done.

Sending positive thoughts through ritual can have such an amazing effect on the universe. It is one of the most relieving feelings in the world to know that there is someone out there who is at least thinking of you, even if they are powerless to do anything about your plight. When you know you are loved or in someone’s thoughts, it gives you the strength to carry on.

So the first thing we should do when we feel strong compassion for a situation is use that power of compassion to generate positive thoughts and spread awareness. Knowing is often half the battle, and the more people who are aware of a situation, the more positive thoughts that can be generated to help it. Persistence is also key – if this situation is something you meditate upon daily, the more likely you are to be of service.

Once we have a spiritual handle on the situation, it is then we are able to approach it level-headedly. We can use our other physical powers to help the situation, doing things like writing letters and volunteering our time, and donating supplies and money. It’s so much easier to accomplish all we are able after putting as much spiritual and mental effort into the situation as we can.

Of course there will still be situations where we still feel as if we haven’t done enough. That compassion is overwhelming, and when not giving the right kind of advice to a friend or when faced with a world crisis where we are powerless to help, we feel like failures.

In these situations, all we can do is be compassionate and let people know that we extend these feelings of love towards them. Sometimes it’s all we can do and sometimes it’s the best we can do. And even if our rituals, meditations, and donations only help one person, isn’t that enough to have made a difference?

If we all could help just one person, it would mean so much. Of all our powers of human aid, compassion is our most powerful. Not only does it spurn us to help those in need, but also our powerful feelings in themselves help those in need. The Goddess and God are always there, always listening, and are a wonderful medium to work through when what we desire is truly what we want.

I had begun working on this essay during the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and the same thoughts held true the year before during the Tsunami disaster and they hold true now through the situation in Darfur. We always hear things about Christians using the power of prayer, but it is essentially “the thought that counts”.

Taking a few moments to meditate each day on the Goddess’ children who are hurting, or perhaps even casting a generic spell to help those in need or sending positive thoughts into the world can be surprisingly helpful.

Feeling a powerful compassion toward a person or situation is the most amazing power that we have – and it’s something we should learn to use more often.

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Solitary Spirituality

Solitary Spirituality

Author:   Jessica Marie Baumgartner   

Being a solitary Witch does not mean that you have to do everything alone. I myself have been a member of a coven and practiced on my own as well, finding that not everyone is meant to perform rituals and works of magic with others. Sure, sometimes it is nice to be joined with others of your own faith. But being a part of a coven is not for everyone.

I found my path about ten years ago. A friend in high school introduced paganism to me. Mind you, this was also during a time when the movie “The Craft” had already gained cult status and being a witch became somewhat of a trend. My sister and a friend of ours also became interested and we dedicated ourselves as a coven before I knew it. For a few weeks the four of us were so close that we enjoyed practicing meditations, working with our energies, and celebrating midsummer nearly every day. Things seemed so great; I had finally found my calling and felt that the world was at peace with itself. Unfortunately that would not last long.

Our high priestess, my friend who introduced this faith to me, had her own agenda. That’s not to say that she meant any harm, and I will always be connected to her through the bonds of friendship. But the power this young high priestess felt over the rest of my coven mates and me seemed to overcome her better judgment. She began playing us against each other, praising me for my strength with the elements, only to use that as a way to make one of the other coven mates feel powerless. Then this same high priestess would turn around and favor my sister in a way that brought me down. It wasn’t long before the three of us realized what was happening. So instead of turning against each other, we started distancing ourselves from our leader.

The coven was eventually disbanded; we were young and had much to learn. It was a true experience, but since then I have not felt the need to join another coven. Nor do I think that I will ever want to again. Our high priestess has, to my knowledge, stopped practicing altogether, along with our other friend who has completely withdrawn from her beliefs. My sister and I witnessed quite a few people go through the fad of enjoying the ‘benefits’ of becoming a Witch, and when they realized that there is so much more to Paganism than just doing spell work and wearing the color black, they moved on. But Wicca was so much more to me, as it has been for many others. I became enamored with its teachings, and immersed myself in as many books, articles, and shops that I could find.

My sister has always been very encouraging and still holds her beliefs, but she is not as active in her faith as she used to be. We have sometimes celebrated the Sabbaths together, but I was often on my own. Luckily, the years have been kind to me. My connection to the Gods has only grown stronger as I have worked very hard to maintain a balance between living a healthy natural life and finding my place in society. A challenging task at times, but I always say that this is the best time to be a witch.

I am now married with a daughter of my own, and though I still consider myself a solitary witch, the wheel of the year is quite a beacon of light in our home. Celebrating the holidays reminds me that love is the main ingredient in any faith. And the Gods sure have graced my family with plenty of love. We highly enjoy our festivities with our shy lion head rabbit Penny, our scaly fish Einstein, our two fluffy cats, Smokey and Tortoro, as well as our sweet dog Willow. I feel more at ease performing ritual with my family, including these beautiful creatures, than I ever did in a coven.

Some days I enjoy my meditations and rituals alone, whereas there are others where my husband and daughter join in. We are linked through our beliefs like many people, but my husband is a Taoist so his participation is based more on ideals than ritual. Not being a part of a coven has had a very positive effect on me. I have the freedom to focus on my own journey, while not feeling too self-centered. I take my faith very seriously while trying to know how to loosen up and enjoy my beliefs. Finding many solitary guides has made this possible. There is a multitude of books, magazines, and online sources that give me the information I need as well as offering a sense a community.

Being lonely is not part of being a solitary witch because true Pagans are very personable. There is nothing more I love to do than speak with others about faith, as long as I am speaking with someone who is respectful. I live to enjoy life, knowing that the gods are always around me. If I do feel the need for a little Witchy interaction from time to time, there is always the “Pagan Picnic”, classes I can take at my New Age Shop and “the Witches Ball”. Our annual Renaissance Festival has quite a few Pagan elements included as well. Having the opportunity to attend these events allows me to be social enough with other people of my own faith without having to worry about the demands of being part of a coven.

Some Wiccans prefer those coven/group bonds, and that is understandable. Words cannot express the kind of link that one has to the other members of their coven. But many of us are perfectly happy to have the freedom of practicing our beliefs on our own. After all, everyone has their own path to take and being a solitary Witch is full of freedom, happiness, and adventure.

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The Solitary Road and Personal Power

The Solitary Road and Personal Power

Author:   Crystal Blanton  

When I came to this path I had been looking for my spiritual self for some time. A new friend introduced me to Wicca, sparking something in me. I read so much information in such a short period of time my brain was overloaded with various traditions, beliefs, gods, goddesses and a host of other things.

I had a fear of joining a coven yet wanted more. I thought that, without a coven, I would not be able to advance and learn. So many books made references to studying in a coven and listed solitary as if it was a last resort. After much internal debate, speaking with my friend and overcoming the fear, I set out to find a group. And I found one.

Recently, after more than a year of study in this group, I decided to leave for many different reasons.

In reflection of my experience in a coven I have realized that I have learned many things, but not specifically about the Craft. I have learned a lot about group dynamics, honesty, integrity and the ability to trust my own instincts.

My experience in a coven, however, isn’t all negative as it has brought me to my own understanding and feelings about being a solitary practitioner. To be solitary is to trust myself, my knowledge and my judgment. To be solitary means that I am responsible for myself and my own karmic return.

It is the realization that it’s not about how much you know or the right or wrong way to do something. It is about my individual connection to the earth, the universe and the Lord & Lady. It is about what feels right to me and not necessarily how others interpret my spiritual growth.

As I am approaching this place in my journey, I feel empowered in knowing that I have the answers inside of me. It doesn’t matter which degree I have or any of the other aspects I consider to be religious politics. It only matters how I feel about my spiritual connections in my life.

So often we are conditioned to believe that everything in life is in black and white, right or wrong. And, with that ingrained in us, we seek outside people to “show” us for fear that we may do it wrong. What we sometimes fail to understand is that right and wrong is a concept. It is a box of morals and rules that are subject to everyone’s individual interpretations. So, in reality, nothing can be black and white because as humans we are all different shades of grey.

This is not to say that covens, groups or teachers are bad things. I think that everything has its place in my learning experience. But it is to say that, when we as pagans go into the world looking for spiritual leaders and/or covens, we should keep things in perspective.

Everyone holds the power inside themselves. Everyone’s journey is different. Everyone has knowledge inside.

A group should enhance and add to your experience, but it is still your experience. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting in circle alone or with the highest of High Priestesses, your connection with the Divine is a very personal one; a connection that no one else can replace or give you.

As a solitary I am relearning how to celebrate alone. When I began thinking about leaving the group I was in, I had the same fears of going solitary as the fears I had in the beginning of joining a group. It is truly amazing how things go full circle.

As a solitary I have really discovered that my attention needs be focused around my connections with the universe and the spirit and away from structure. The freedom in realizing that I can do whatever feels right to celebrate the Sabbats or Esbats is indescribable. Whether a ritual, feast, meditation, prayer, bike ride or walk outside in the elements, anything can be an act of honoring the Lord and Lady and the turn of the wheel.

Personal power is something that everyone has but is so easily given away. In making a decision to be solitary I have decided to keep mine.

When I first began this path I was afraid to do any magical work without guidance. I celebrated the Sabbats and began meditating but didn’t feel that was enough. I realize that I didn’t have the confidence in my spiritual self but that has changed some in the last 2 years and is continuing to grow more solid everyday.

Once I got that I held the power within myself; rituals, meditations and celebratory activities gained more power. I am finding that the key to feeling power and raising energy as a solitary is confidence. The difference in my personal power today versus a year ago has grown and shows itself in my work.

When exiting the coven I was in, I didn’t exactly understand that. It became apparent to me the minute I did some work as a solitary. “In perfect love and perfect trust” doesn’t just apply in a coven setting. It applies in our relationship with the Lord and Lady, the universe and most importantly within ourselves. I am learning to have perfect love and perfect trust with my spiritual self and my own personal power.

I have a nice group of solitary friends that I hang out with for friendship and spiritual connections. Today when I connect with friends for magical purposes, I come as myself, as my own high priestess. And my journey continues… .

There is this saying that says, “Wherever you go, there you are”. I say that to others in my job on a weekly basis but never applied it to myself.

Whether I am solitary or in a coven, it is my energy, power, knowledge, strength and hope that I take with me. What an empowering thought! I now understand that the power I experienced as a part of the coven was mine.

I am a woman, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a heart, a human. I am powerful, strong, knowledgeable, spiritual… … … I am a Pagan, I am a Witch, I am a Solitary.

Meditation for Daily Living: Releasing Despair

Meditation for Daily Living: Releasing Despair

At times it is important to do a daily meditation by focusing on things we don’t necessarily like to dwell on. Despair in metaphysics has a much less  forgiving definition than in most other contexts. Despair is the assumption that life has nothing good to offer. In metaphysics, this is a crime. Since the  basic principle is that we attract circumstances in life based upon the tendency of our thoughts, despair will attract extremely negative outcomes. Despair  is considered a sin in some belief systems and from this perspective, it’s easy to understand why.

Despair is an emotional condition in which we choose to believe that there is something within us that is less than worthy of a desirable life. This is a false assumption, and is frequently a “comfort zone” of belief in which nothing else may be expected of us. I know that this may sound harsh, but close examination will prove this out. It is easier to give up than it is to persevere. This is what the emotion of despair is designed to do, to give us an “out” from difficult circumstances.

But how comfortable is despair really? When we are in the throes of it, we need expect nothing of ourselves, yet we continue to attract negativity. That is work. The cascade effect of a continued negative perspective on life, batters us and creates increasing tension. This isn’t comfortable. It becomes necessary at some point to pick ourselves up and carry on. What can be difficult is overcoming the inertia we have built up from allowing the motionlessness of despair to overcome our personal energy.

By meditating you will find yourself spotting the core belief involved which can make this process much easier. Despair comes from the belief that we are unworthy of our good in some way and that good must be withheld from us. Simply denying this belief can make a massive difference. When we see or feel this concept arising, that we cannot receive our good, just say, “That isn’t true. It’s a lie”. These simple statements to oneself and the refusal to be argued out of them by habitual mental patterns gives the process of overcoming inertia a jump-start. The reason is that despair is a created condition, not a natural one. It is a way of explaining the challenges that we experience in life, and is simply not accurate. It makes as much sense as the parent who answers a child with “Because”. As an answer, it doesn’t have much merit. Refuse to accept such simplistic answers and let these negative explanations fall away.

Take the time for a daily meditation to help release any conscious or unconscious dispair. You daily life might get a whole lot lighter!

circleoflight.com

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Self Meditation for Daily Life: I am Letting Go

Self Meditation for Daily Life: I am Letting Go

 
  Here’s a powerful daily meditation for increasing the level of peace in our lives which is very useful:  

Allow your body to relax in your chair. Let your arms, your shoulders, and your back release their tension and just drop.

As you’re sitting there watching the screen, make a conscious decision that there is nothing else that you must do for the next couple of minutes.

Take a look at an area in your life which has been causing you stress. Make a conscious decision that there is nothing you must do about it for the next  couple of minutes. Let it go entirely, knowing that you can pick it up again shortly if you choose to.

Repeat Step #3 with another area of life which has been causing you stress.

Repeat Step #3 until you feel convinced that in this moment, there is nothing you must experience stress about or concern for.

Allow yourself to experience the freedom for these few minutes of not having to worry or feel stress about anything in your life. Notice that nothing is  getting worse for lack of your concern about it.

Offer yourself the opportunity to release your worries and concerns regularly by using different self meditations in your daily life.

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