Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy All Hallow's Eve/Samhain!

Magickal Blessings,

All Hallow’s Eve has always held a special place in my heart and soul. It invokes ancient memories of bonfires, music, drums and dancing outside under the moon and the stars; smells of the crisp air and autumn leaves, apples and cinnamon…and of course frolicking and merry making! But most of all it is a day to honor all of those who have gone before us, the spirits, our ancestors.

In honor of this magickal night, I thought I’d touch on some history. There is a lot of it so I am just giving you the bare bones here! No pun intended-lol

The word Hallow means ‘sacred’, ‘holy’ and also ‘saints.’ Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve is also known as Samhain (pronounced sow-en or sa-ven) It is a deeply magickal time, a festival of the sacred Celtic New Year and also considered one of the ancient Celtic fire festivals. At this time of the year, it is officially end of the harvest. Cattle and animals were often slaughtered then and any plants left out in the fields past Samhain were considered taboo, under rein of the nature spirits.

Samhain also means “summer’s end”. In the Scottish-Gaelis dictionary, “sam” plus “fuin” put together is “Samhain” or Hallowtide, the Feast of All Souls. It is a time to celebrate before we enter the dark half of the year. It is a magickal window, considered outside the laws of time and space. So the night may be used to view any other point in time. The veils between this world and the spirit realm are very thin, revealing an ideal time to communicate with those who have passed on as well as the nature spirits. It is a night where those of the otherworld walk amongst the living. Divination was often practiced on this night in ancient times, as it was and still is believed the spirits could aid us in foreseeing the future and also help us. Samhain is about honoring and welcoming the cycles of life, death and rebirth. It is a wonderful time to honor and celebrate the lives of loved ones passed on. It was common for the Celts and many ancient religions or spiritual practices to honor the dead and our ancestors. Celebrations and practices exist in other cultures around the world honoring the dead, such as Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, in Mexico, and All Saints’ Day festival, which spans many countries across Europe and the Mediterranean, Czech Republic, Romania and the Philippines. It is a beautiful custom, one I feel that became lost in America over time and one that I choose to practice now. It also reminds us that the soul is eternal.

Interestingly, since Samhain is rooted in Celtic history and Europe, the pumpkin was not around then. Pumpkins are an American vegetable so back in ancient times, mostly turnips and root vegetables like beets or even potatoes were used in decoration and for making lights. I think since pumpkins were more readily available, they were/are much easier (and more fun) to carve than turnips. The pumpkin is connected to the feminine aspect of the Divine, being that it is round in shape. It is ruled by the moon and resonates with the water element. The magickal associations with the pumpkin are protection and abundance of harvest.

The celebration commences at sundown and lasts for 24 hours. A wonderful and simple Samhain/All Hallow’s ritual one can do is just to put pictures of loved ones out on a small table or altar. If you don’t have pictures it’s ok, too. You can just sit quietly with a black candle (or white) and connect with the energy, offer prayers and gratitude to all of those whom are passed on, your ancestral lineage, those you are grateful for in spirit form. You can also honor those whom are living. Such as someone who helped you, maybe someone you look up to or admire, whether you know them or not, even spirits of children and animals unborn…Take a moment to relax and send out your own personal prayers, gratitude and love.

Many enjoy leaving offerings out. It can be an extra plate of food left at the table or outdoors. The fairies especially enjoy sweets like honey and cakes or breads. You can also adorn your altar or tables with apples, the fruit of Samhain, or pumpkins, gourds, corn, turnips, acorns, sage, autumn leaves such as Oak… You may leave them outside under your favorite tree as an offering as well. Make it as personal and creative as you wish. Even though the spirits don’t physically eat, they take in the essence of the food. =^_~= I believe with Halloween, while candy has become a major focus in America, it does have its roots in offerings of the ancient past.

Crystals and stones are wonderful to have out or give as offerings as well. Some crystals associated with Samhain are: smoky quartz, obsidian, jet, fairy quartz (also called spirit quartz,) onyx. I think some of the orange stones are great too, such as carnelian.

Samhain is also the most powerful time for letting go. We embark upon the descent within our souls; looking within, facing the shadow aspects of our psyche, learning what we need to and letting the rest go to start anew, rebirth ourselves. One can call upon the spirits of our loved ones and ancestors for extra support or assistance during this process. (Always surround yourself in white light or violet light and ask, pray for Divine protection first) It is a great time to release negativity and negative energies we may have accumulated in our energy fields. Samhain is also an ideal time for forgiving and healing broken relationships, at least for making peace within ourselves and our hearts. The cosmos is very supportive of this process at this time.

In addition, you may wish to reflect upon how far you have come, how much you have grown and put your intentions out there as to what you wish to cultivate for the upcoming year. (Just as many write New Year’s Resolutions the end of December)

I am not sure where the scary aspect comes in with devils and all that… But one of my *feelings* is that over time as the Christian church deemed these practices unacceptable, the concept of honoring and communicating with the dead was considered evil or scary. So it was more fear of the unknown- lack of being connected to our roots & the Divine, a lack of understanding knowledge combined with the fear the church instilled into many people. Personally, I think many in America here that are obsessed with devils, ultimate scare, gore and candy o.d. are missing the big picture. Some chills and scares… ok yes. Tis fun to sit around the fire and tell ghost stories. (Except none of those killed babysitter ones- thank you friends in my childhood-LOL) I have read it was acceptable for the Celts to engage in mischief and play practical jokes on this night. Partially because they viewed it as a psychological release before the onset of the dark and cold winter.

Whether you choose to call it Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, All Souls Day... remember you are partaking in a mystical festival that has a historical lineage of more than 6,000 years- possibly being older than that! Honor this night, and all of those who have gone before us, the spirits, yourself. Enjoy this truly magickal time and be safe! Choose to stay centered in peace, love, gratitude and light.

A wonderful book to read about the history and customs of Samhain/Halloween is “Halloween” by Silver Ravenwolf. It is full of fascinating information, customs, rituals, spells, recipes and activities. I am including her recipe for Witches Brew below.

Witches Brew

1 gallon apple cider (love)

One orange (love)

One apple (love, wisdom, knowledge, health)

3 cinnamon sticks (love and psychic powers)

1/8 tsp. nutmeg (fidelity)

One handful rose petals (love) -You can also use dried rosebuds-

One big pot

Pour the apple cider into a large kettle. Peel the orange and squeeze its juice into cider, discarding the pulp. Tear the orange peel into 1-inch strips, and add to mixture. Core apple and cut into ¼ inch slices. Add to mixture. Break the cinnamon sticks in half and add to mixture. Add nutmeg. Warm over low heat for 2 hours. Do not bring to a boil. Stir often, saying:

From the moon to the vine

From the vine to the fruit

From the fruit to this brew

May the Goddess (or Lady) send her blessings

May the God (or Lord) grant your desires

Serve warm in your favorite punch bowl and sprinkle with rose petals.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Simplifying Your Life Part II- Clutter and Home energy clearing

Greetings Cosmic Family,

It is joyfully cooler here and the tree leaves are turning to gold and other warm colors. The wind is also helping to shake off their leaves, just as we are doing now also.

In the last post, the bare bones of simplifying our lives was mentioned with some additional ideas. Now I’m going to get into what most of us rather not get into… dum dum dum! House cleaning & clearing! (groan… Lol)

When we are focusing on simplifying in the home, one thing that needs be tackled first is clutter. Meaning, anything around your house that is getting under your skin. Such as a pile of papers you promised yourself you’d go through ages ago and they are still sitting there taunting you… Also, clothing you don’t wear anymore, any personal items, old gifts you don’t use, collectables, cookware, old electronics, others furniture, holiday items, photographs, even email falls into here somewhere.

Closets are notorious for hiding things and accumulating too much. As well as garages, sheds, attics, basements, any room or area you don’t use that much.

Why is it important to clear your spaces? First of all, as we grow and evolve, our energy and personal tastes do as well. It is just part of the cycles of life. So its only natural one will feel inclined to clear out the old and start anew. Also, clutter collects an energy of stagnation, which is reflected in our lives and may create a block to positive energy flow. So each item you hang onto, if you don’t truly love it, there is a decay-like energy that it accumulates over time plus whatever emotional association you may have with it.

Energy flows where there is a clear path. Granted, it can move around like a snake but it is much better to clear away all that you can to bring in fresh new energy. That way, energy will flow much better into your life and your home. What you want to do is create a space/environment that will support your spirit and bring you feelings of peace and happiness.

It is said that if you haven’t used something in 6 months, and definitely if it has been 1 year or more, then toss it. You can donate your items, give them to a friend or someone else who needs them, bring them to a Goodwill store, sell them on eBay, have a garage sale (for the brave-lol), recycle them or throw them away. Or, even more fun- burn or shred what you can! Of course only paper items and nothing toxic. There is something very satisfying about watching old parts of your life burn away. It brings closure and is also a sacred ceremony.

I have a “rule” for myself now that if I am buying something new, something old must go out. So you may very well enjoy adopting this also, if not already.

I know how hard it can be to get going at first. Personally, even though I like things clean and organized, there are few times I actually like to clean and I have to pretty much force myself to do it. But once you get going, its not so bad and can even feel liberating. You may even want to power through it warrior style.

A great book I highly recommend is Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. It definitely illuminates much about what exactly is clutter and how it affects you, plus she gives awesome information and advice.

So where do you begin and how to approach this seemingly daunting task?

First of all, if need be, it helps to change your attitude about it. Instead of dreading it and thinking ‘it will take forever,’ etc., remind yourself you are doing it for yourself, the outcome will be so worth it and it can be done in small steps. Remember it is freeing up all this new space for magickal, fresh beginnings in your life. And since it took time to create whatever you are cleaning up, there is also time that can be made to address it.

Second, don’t beat yourself up or carry any judgment about it- especially towards yourself or a spouse, partner, roommate, etc.. It happens. As Sonia Choquette has said, “Bless your mess” J

That alone will shift the vibration in a positive way. What’s important now is that you are working towards improving the situation. Because the more you focus on ‘how did this happen… or look at all this crap’ (lol) the more a negative attachment is formed and your energy is compromised. So just let it go. Free yourself- forgive yourself, forgive your significant other if necessary, it’s all good. Breathe…. ahh…

Ask for Divine help and/or the Angels of Feng Shui and Energy clearing to help you. They are happy to do so! I have not talked about angels much on my blog, which is another topic all together. I think many of you whom read here work with the Angelic realm also. But just in case, briefly put, Angels are Spiritual beings, pure love and light, created by God/The Divine Creator/Source whatever one may wish to call it… They are here for us, created by the Divine to help us. It does not matter what your spiritual preference is, where you are on your path or what your religious practices may be. We just need to ask for their assistance because there is law of free will and they cannot intervene unless asked first. I like working with Archangel Jophiel and also Archangel Michael. All you have to do is pray, mentally ask for them to help you with clearing your space and brining you all you need for the process. Be it motivation, time, energy, focus, positive thoughts, alone time in the house, whatever…

Another thing that may help you is to give yourself some incentive. Like a sea salt bath with essential oils, a funny movie, a lovely dinner, a massage…. Have a reward already set up for yourself so that when you are done, it’s something to look forward to.

Also, don’t hold any expectations about how you think the whole process should go or how long it should take. (Though I do suggest carving out a certain amount of time that works best for you.) The key is not to put pressure on yourself. So allow yourself room to go with whatever. If you and a friend or partner are tackling it together, don’t be barking orders-lol. It won’t make things any easier. There are some that need a positive motivator or coach also.

People can become emotional when clearing clutter, even afterwards. Especially if he/she is sentimental and may be dealing with items that are from deceased loved ones. This is because the old energy is being cleared away. So.. patience. If you become emotional, its ok. Allow yourself to feel for a moment, take a break if you need to, and let it pass…its important though not to become lost in a sea or dwell on the feelings.

Take breaks. Everyone has their own unique way of operating during the clearing process. Some may feel a rush of adrenaline and some of you may tire out sooner. If you do feel tired or sore, stop. Listen to your body and honor your needs. Even if its been hours and you feel great, don’t push yourself into the danger zone. Remember, its all about one step at a time.

If you are challenged in any way with a health issue or condition, plan to ask for help and/or have a friend or someone to help you out. Always ask for help when you need it.

Start with just one area first. You may want it to be the kitchen, for example, or a closet. But begin with clearing a cupboard or cabinet, a drawer, a desk, a shelf, a box... (A poodle, a noodle, a doodle…lol That is a line from the movie What About Bob) Then move on after that little by little. You will be glad you did.

Have some big garbage bags, garbage cans or containers, and boxes. Plan a designated area where you can put things into manageable units and label them like: Donate, Recycle, sell, Garbage, Undecided. Or however you wish. You can always go back to the Undecided later.

The big questions to ask yourself when faced with indecision about an item is this:

Are you really going to use it or do you use it regularly?

Is it really going to help you by keeping it?

Does this item support my spirit and reflect my heart’s desires?

Do you love it? Does it lift your energy?

The third is most important. If you love it and it lifts your energy- awesome. Keep it. Otherwise, toss it.

Probably one of the hardest things for women, I think, is clothes that are newer but they may be a smaller size. Ladies, how many times have you bought a cool new dress or other item, even though it may be (cringe) *snug*, intending you will be able to fit into it soon? Or even hang onto something you used to fit into years ago with that same intention. I think this is the equivalent of saying, ‘You are not good enough to wear this now but soon will be.’

Its terrible right? Then you end up with a closet full of different sizes. Free yourself now from this pattern. You want to have something beautiful you can wear now. Honor and love yourself exactly as you are in this moment! ;)

You will feel soo much better by buying and wearing something that you look great in NOW.

Another tip: Don’t go shopping when you are upset. At least don’t buy anything. I hear so many women talk about how shopping is “therapy” and feel this is so far from the truth! It is more a diversion tactic set up by the ego to avoid how you are truly feeling.

In addition, something you buy may not look so pleasing after you bring it home and try it on later. Because you were already distraught emotionally, it alters one’s clarity and decision making skills. And maybe you were drawn to a certain color because your aura was a different shade at that moment. So keep that in mind. It’s better to take a time out and allow yourself to feel what you need to rather than to avoid it.

Another thing you want to do is take a look around at all that you may have hanging on the walls or whatever artwork you may have, whatever you have adorning your home. This is all a reflection of yourself and others in your home. Too often, many of us have items that we like but may reflect something difficult in our lives previously (even lives past) and it has a rather negative influence on us in the present. Reading more about Feng Shui will really help one to grasp this concept further.

But as an example, I have a big painting I really like from the Medieval era. It is in direct view where all can see it in the living area and I gaze at it often. The artist is wonderful, it truly is a beautiful portrait although also haunting- a scene of a queen/lady of royalty tying a scarf around her beloved knight, bidding him farewell before he marches into battle. This was a difficult pattern that carried over for me from my past lives- many lovers or loved ones I lost or waited for. It didn’t *click* with me how this picture influenced my present life until after studying energy and Feng Shui! So… time to replace it with a happier picture.

So, take a look around your home. If you are single and longing to attract a wonderful new lover or relationship, then put up items in pairs or pictures of lovers, pictures of twos.. you get the idea... You can do this to enhance your current relationship as well. Also, the stone rose quartz is great to have in the Relationship corner of your home. It helps with attracting love and maintaining love, opening oneself more to unconditional love. The relationship corner is the area of your home that is farthest to the Right in the back when you are looking at it from inside your front door. It helps to also study the Bagua, a term used in Feng Shui placement. You can do a search online for it or find it in Feng Shui books. Here is a link to a Bagua map:

In the book I previously mentioned by Karen Kingston, I believe there is a basic chart of the Bagua in there as well.

Also, do you have any items that hang down? A few here and there is ok, but if you tend to keep a lot of decorations hanging down from the ceiling or shelves, even plants, this can have an effect on your energy. It has been said this lowers energy and contributes to depression. So what you want to do change those, have plants and decorations that go upward or reflect upward direction, expansion. If you can, adjust your plants to grow upward if possible. If not, then bring in new plants.

Another correlation with Feng Shui and one’s life and personal body is having storage up high on shelves or in the attic. Excessive items in the attic may block one's higher aspirations and has been said to possibly contribute to headaches, such as migraines and affect the mind, mental energy, as well as the crown and third eye chakras. Think of the top areas of your home as the crown of yourself, whereas basements symbolize the past.

After you are finished powering through all your clutter and happy with the results, ask for Divine help to seal the positive energy in, to seal the light and love. I would start by thanking the Universe, Heavens for this opportunity and ask that the new energy vibration be upheld and protected, for the flow of new energy to be continual. You may even want to say a prayer, ask for help with keeping things clear and/or with organizing. Visualize white light coming down like bright rays of crystal sunshine, entering your home, filling every space with pure light. You can also do this daily and in between your cleaning/clearing days. Violet light, the Violet Flame also work excellent for this.

Picture in your mind’s eye, the light expanding out of your home also, completely covering your property, the trees and living things in a sphere, bubble or large caccoon shape. Add your feelings of love and safety, peace and happiness. Be creative and personalize it, whatever comes into your thoughts is what will work best for you. Placing crystals around your home will also keep your space energized, protected and aid in positive energy flow.

Most importantly, have fun in your new and dreamy oasis!

Until next time~ Happy clearing and Blissful blessings, Oceans of love to all of you!