Monthly Archives: October 2013

Maneki Neko: The Meaning Behind the Waving Cats

Written by Mimosa
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The story of the Lucky Cat is based on a 9th century Chinese proverb: If a cat washes its face and ears, it will rain. A cat washes its face with its paw to ease its anxiety. However, people have long believed that when a cat lifts its paw it is actually a beckoning gesture.

Lucky cats often go by their Japanese name, Maneki Neko, which means “beckoning” or “welcoming cat.” They’re traditionally stationed near doors and windows of shops and other public places, to welcome customers and bring good fortune. While the ones with the moving arm are a lot of fun, Maneki Neko predates double-A batteries by several centuries. Non-moving ceramic models are the most traditional, often with a slot in the top for coins.

The cat has one paw up, while the other holds an ancient coin called a koban, inscribed with the characters “10,000,000 ryo” — basically, a lot of money. Some cats have the right paw raised to beckon people, while others lift their left paw to beckon money and general good luck. Cats of various colors and have specific symbolism, with the blessings on their coins chosen to match. The color correspondences come from the Chinese Feng Shui tradition:

RED:  Love
BLUE:  Health
GREEN:  Good Luck
YELLOW:  Wealth
BROWN:  Stability/Earth
PURPLE:  Fulfill wishes

There are many stories about who the first Maneki Neko may have been. One, from Edo-era Japan, goes like this: At a time when the capitol was plagued by intrigue, there was a loyal courtier who did his best to go about his honest business and fulfill his duties to the emperor. One day, he was summoned to the offices of a certain nobleman. On his way there, he noticed a cat that seemed to be beckoning to him. Curious, he turned off the road to go and see what the cat wanted, stopping for a moment to scratch its ears. Some noise made him turn back toward the road, and he noticed that he had been about to walk into a trap that the evil nobleman had set to kill him; had he not stepped off the path, he would have been killed. The wise courtier saw that the cat had saved him–and probably saved the emperor too, by revealing the nobleman’s treachery. So he ordered the first Maneki Neko statue to be made, and it brought him luck for the rest of his life.

“How to Read Cards–Any Kind of Cards” by Mari Powers

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Category: Tarot
Written by Mimosa
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Reading Tarot or Oracle Cards is an art and a science. Both work with archetypal pictures, words and structures. Different layouts, and even decks work better with different kind of questions, concerns or situations. For both tarot and oracle cards, intention is critical, and placement in a layout is as important as any individual card. simple

The invisible universe speaks to us, and readers need to be able to channel those messages in an unbiased way, as free from ego-based “advice giving” as possible. Readers need to let the cards and the layout “speak” through them. In order to do so, we still need a good foundation on understanding the archetypes we are using.

A reader’s intention is to get the most information from a reading as possible in order to answer a question, help solve a problem, show possible solutions and probable outcomes based on the client’s situation.

A client’s intention is to really want honest answers, a “heads up” on their concerns. There needs to be a belief that they have access to information not acquired by rational or logical means. And finally, they need to be willing to use the answers they receive in the most positive way they can. The client has to want healing and positive change, and be willing to do what needs to be done in the face of adversity. He or she needs to accept the gifts and good news given to them in a reading in order to make the most of that information. Many times, a reading will confirm what is already known, and just give a bit more information on how best to address a situation or concern.

All readings are transitory. The client changes the present and future simply by getting a reading. What is less understood is that people can change the past as well, simply by changing perspective.

It is important to set a “shelf life” on a reading; the more a client takes a reading to heart and acts on information given, the more the past, present and future can change, sometimes at an accelerated rate. Some readings point the way to a change in perception, others prescribe specific actions in the material world. Some point out gifts to be nurtured, emotional healing needed, or a passion to be cultivated or renewed. The cards in their layouts point out how to make suggested changes as well. Sometimes it is as simple as turning a reversed card around to see the remedy or course of action. Other times the whole layout is a map for body, mind, heart and soul.

Generally, it’s better to use a smaller number of cards in Oracle deck readings. Tarot card readings seem work as well with a small or larger number of cards. An exception to this might be a spiritual path reading or a chakra layout reading. The more complex the cards, the more layers of meaning they contain. So the deck you choose for a reading is always a consideration. When I read in a public setting, I limit myself to 7 or 8 layouts and six to ten decks of about equal complexity.

For friends, students, myself or group readings, I can use more complex cards, and larger numbers of them. These kind of readings lend themselves well to a ceremonial ritual reading, where the “shelf life” of the reading can be longer than 60 to 90 days.

Responsible reading includes having the client write down the cards, placements and the key parts of the reading. It also includes time for questions and immediate follow-up clarification and feedback. People may say they will remember, yet is unlikely they will remember as completely as when they take notes and/or take a photo of the spread.

All readings need time and the energy of the client to be of maximum benefit. When you, or someone else, keeps asking the same question(s) over and over in a short period of time when nothing significant has changed, the universe may refuse to give comprehensible answers after the first couple of times. Also, the universe does have a sense of humor, and may start answering the questions you have not asked. I have even seen this happen the first time if in a reading someone asks a question that is not the primary concern they really want or need to address.

Learning the meanings of each card in a deck is important. With most tarot decks there is a built in system for doing this, as the numerology, structure of the four suits and the traditional meanings of the trump, or Major Arcana cards are similar between decks.

Oracle decks can be quite simple, including words and universally accepted symbols that are fairly obvious. They can also be extremely complex, with many layers of meanings, depending on the artist. One of the most complex Oracle decks I have used is Brian Froud’s Faery Oracle. When you then take into consideration several cards in relationship to one another, the meaning can be even more difficult to divine unless you are really open. Or, sometimes the Fae are immediately helpful, and the answer you seek literally jumps right out in front of you, simple and unmistakable.

In all spreads, the relationship of the cards to one another is important. As a reader, you also need to look at the big picture. How many fire cards, and where? Are there any element cards missing? Does the present contain more water and the future more earth? How many trump cards are there in relationship to the total number of cards and where are they? Are there multiple cards with the same number from different suits in a reading? Is there an abundance of court cards? If so, who do you think they represent–the client, or someone else in their life? Are there multiple people on a majority of cards, or do all of the cards have just one person on them?

These questions help us see the forest instead of just the individual trees. We get an overall map with embedded direction and strength of energy in a reading by noting the patterns. Even Oracle cards form patterns. If you have a Goddess Oracle, did you pull all water Goddesses, or all Maidens or Crones? If you have an Animal Card Oracle, do you have all predator or prey animals? Or perhaps the animals are all nocturnal or transformational animals. Though many oracle cards, if numbered, seem to be numbered randomly, still a run of numbers in a reading may be useful information. So take a deep breath, and at the beginning and end of a reading, look for the patterns.

Above all, learn to trust the feelings you have–the visual cues that jump out at you or pop into your head not related to any images on the cards. I have learned to listen to the voices in my head, and often repeat them word for word for a client to write down, even when I don’t know what I am talking about at the time. Never underestimate the powers in the invisible universe to get you the messages you need to help yourself or others in doing divination work.

Click Here to Visit Mari Powers’ Website.

“Crystals for Energetic Balance & Karmic Upliftment” by Ashley Leavy

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Category: Crystal Healing
Written by Mimosa
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Karma is the Universal/Cosmic Law of Divine Justice. It holds you accountable for your actions, whether they are good or bad. Basically, you will receive what you send out to the Universe. Your past lives can affect your current karma. Past lives are previous incarnations in which your soul lived in another time and/or place in another physical body. It may be necessary to heal past lives because it can help you to deal with negativity in this life that has been carried over from previous lives (and from the karma, which attached to the psychic body, resulting from the soul’s choices in these lives). By healing negativity in your past lives, you can move forward along the path of healing in your current life. Crystal-Layouts-Grids-205x300

Using crystals during meditation to heal past lives can be done by holding them in the hands or against the 6th chakra (Third Eye/Brow Chakra). Crystals have the ability (when combined with a clear intent) to clear etheric blockages by opening and balancing your energy system. A crystal grid can also be utilized during meditation to release negativity from your past lives.

I have created several wonderful crystal healing layouts/gridding systems for energetic balance and past life healing.

The first crystal healing layout is in the form of the Buddhist Wheel of the Dharma. It is suggested that his grid be made entirely of double-terminated Tibetan Quartz. Although the Tibetan Quartz are most compatible for this exercise, it is not necessary that they be used (other stones may be substituted if you intuitively feel that they would be more helpful in the given situation). I have found that this crystal layout is best used for Karmic Release during a past life ascension healing session.

The grid should be laid out upon and around the client’s body (with the center of the Wheel placed at the heart), or on a picture of the person (or group of people) to be healed. The grid can be as large or small as you like and there is no particular number of crystals that needs to be used.

Buddhist-Wheel-of-the-Dharma

The second grid is based upon the Sanskrit symbols for each of the chakras and should be used for general chakra healing and energetic balance. In this crystal healing grid, the Sanskrit chakra symbols are created out of crystals and placed on the appropriate chakra of the body. See the image below for the appropriate symbol and its corresponding chakra:

Chakra-Symbols-236x300

The goal of clearing karma and releasing past life trauma is ascension. Ascension is the evolution of your conscious awareness. By raising your energy vibration (through positive actions and thought/intentions) you are able to advance your state of awareness and move further down the path of spiritual awakening.

*Crystal Healing is not meant to replace conventional medicine, but rather to complement and enhance it. The information within this guide is purely metaphysical in nature and is by no means medical. Crystal Healing should only be used with the understanding that it is not an independent therapy, but one that is a part of a holistic healing approach.

This article may be printed, distributed, or published ONLY with permission of the owner/author, Ashley Leavy. It must remain unchanged and in its entirety and credit must be given to the author.

Click Here to Visit Ashley Leavy’s Website.

“Your Own Personal Buddha” by Cathy Douglas

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Category: Buddhism
Written by Mimosa
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When you see the variety of statuary available in a store like ours, it’s only natural to wonder:  Why do they call him “The” Buddha, when it seems like there are dozens of different Buddhas?  And not all are necessarily “him”; some representations of Buddha are female.  Even within the two main types of male Buddhas–the chubby bald ones and the slender meditative ones–we see a variety of symbolic items, hand and body positions.

Buddhism is a highly abstract belief system.  At the center of Buddhism we don’t find the worship of any person or deity, but rather teachings, such as  the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.  The purpose of the symbolic representations of many Buddhas is not to create a pantheon, such as we know from Greek mythology, but rather to lend a physical representation to the abstract teachings.  Statues give a memorable form to the qualities one must develop in order to achieve enlightenment.

Gautama Buddha himself discouraged his followers from depicting him in artwork, saying each person should be his or her own “lamp.”  Nevertheless, about 150 years after his death people started making images of him anyway.  Perhaps it’s simply easier for the human to soul fasten onto something physical, when abstractions feel distant and hard to follow.  Besides, statues remind us of the humanity behind abstract teachings.  Symbolism of the asanas (postures), mudras (hand gestures) and sacred items remind us to pay attention to the details along the path to enlightenment.

In Buddhism, statues are objects of reverence, not worship.  One doesn’t pray to them or consider the statues themselves to be gods.  Therefore, Buddhists don’t go to a statue in hoping some distant “god” will be nice to them, but rather to remind themselves to create the compassion and other good qualities they hope to find in the world.

Some characteristics are common among most images of the Buddha.  Many have a bump in the middle of the forehead, indicating a large “third eye” gained through enlightenment.  Most also have long earlobes, signifying wisdom.  Except for Hotei, most Buddhas wear their hair in a topknot, an emblem of wisdom adopted by wandering ascetics.  Seated Buddhas are often on a single or double lotus throne.  The lotus has many meanings, the main one being purity.

Here’s a list of some common types of Buddha representations you may see.  Some of the common Buddha statues are depictions of Gautama Buddha himself, while others are Bodhisattvas–others who have attained buddhahood.

Name Identity Position & Symbols Significance
Amitabha Pure Land Buddha A simple meditating figure, hands in dhyana mudra (folded in lap with fingertips outstretched) Balance & meditation. He is the incarnation of intuitive consciousness.
Avalokiteshvara Buddha of Compassion Four arms, two hands held in prayer, one holding a lotus and one holding a mala. May be male or female. Compassion. The name means “the Lord Who Looks Down.”
Bhaisajya/ Bhaisajyaguru Master of Healing or Medicine Buddha Seated with bowl in one hand, and the five-lobed healing plant myrobalan in either the other hand or the bowl. Healing, both in the physical sense, and also healing from the damage of illusion
Dhyani Transcendental Buddha shown in sexual embrace with female partner in lap Philosophical aspects of buddhahood; elimination of duality & merging of opposites
Dipankara, Vipasyin, Sikhin, Visvabhuja, Krakucchanda, Kanakamuni, Kasyapa Human Buddhas All have the same external features as Gautama: topknot, mark on forehead, long earlobes. They hold their hands in various positions. Buddhas who came before Gautama
Hotei/Hotai (or Budai) Buddha
(See * below for specific meaning of his many props.)
Laughing Buddha, sometimes considered a form of Maitreya Buddha Bald and cheerful guy in a robe, which is usually left open to expose a prodigious belly. Often shown with a sack, prayer beads, or a golden ingot. His long earlobes signify wisdom. Represents luck in the face of external troubles. This buddha blesses us with longevity and prosperity. Rub Buddha’s belly for luck!
Kwan Yin Female Buddha of Compassion A serene female figure depicted in a variety of positions. Helps with childbirth, travel, protection of women and children, and any sort of hard times. Reminds us to be selfless.
Maitreya Future Buddha Seated on throne with feet on lotus stool and hands in teaching position (usually with both hands in front of him, forefingers and thumbs forming circles.) He will come 5000 years after the death of Gautama, to reveal teachings to the world.
Manjusri Oldest of the Boddhisatvas, or enlightened ones. Seated, with a flaming sword in one hand, and a book in the other. The book is often held in a lotus flower. Lord of wisdom, banisher of darkness
Protection Buddha Hand raised in abhaya mudra, the gesture of fearlessness, hand held up as if to say “stop.” Legend says that Gautama Buddha once halted a stampeding elephant with this gesture. The upraised hand signifies more than protection. Its extended significance is the absence of any need for fear.
Shakyamuni The Historical Buddha Holds one hand in the “earth witness” gesture, fingers touching the ground. In the other hand he holds a begging bowl, a symbol of both emptiness and (within Buddhism) authority. Touching the ground with his fingers invokes the Earth’s witness to the truth of his teachings. Reminds of the reality that an ordinary human being can achieve enlightenment.
Sukhothai Walking Buddha Standing, with right foot in front as if he is about to take a step. His right hand is raised. Grace and beauty
Tara (Green) Buddha of Enlightened Activity Carries a half-open lotus, or sometimes two. These may appear to be growing from her arms. Protection, and the banishment of fears
Tara (White) Female Buddha of Compassion Seven eyes in head, feet, and palms of hands. Holding a lotus. The eyes help her see those in need of help. The lotus symbolizes purity. Health, strength, longevity & beauty.
Vajradhara Primordial Buddha Holds ghanta (bell) in one hand and vajra (ringer) in the other Mystical unity of one being who represents the totality of creation.
Vajrapani Gautama’s companion A muscular man depicted standing Protection

* Hotei Buddha may carry various symbolic props, each of which carries a different significance:

Happy home Sits under a parasol on a pile of gold, holding out a smaller piece of gold as a blessing.
Love wealth ball
Safe Travel Carries a bag of protection..
Long Life Sitting on bag of blessings, holding wealth ball & Ru-Yi pot
Spiritual Journey Gourd of enlightenment hanging from stick, fan in one hand, necklace of beads.
Abundance Hands above head holding Ru-Yi pot (bowl of plenty) to collect wealth from the Universe.

“Brown Bear Totem” by Mari Powers

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Category: Shamanism
Written by Mimosa
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I have always loved bears, especially brown bears. When I was young, I used to go to my grandparent’s cottage in the north woods of Wisconsin, for summer vacations. On several occasions during those summer visits our family made a very strange pilgrimage. We all piled into two cars and drove to Boulder Junction. There wasn’t much of anything there when you got to Boulder Junction, and in fact I can’t remember ever seeing any main downtown area. It could not have had more than two streets crossing, but it was a half-hour drive through majestic pines on back woods roads. bear

Our destination wasn’t the town anyway. We were going to the town dump. And we were not going to dump garbage.

This was back some thirty or more years ago, when they still had open-air dumps in northern Wisconsin. You could drive your car into the wooded plot. You drove down a dirt road to the top of a small ravine overlooking the garbage piles in what was an otherwise scenic wooded grove of pines. If you were dropping off garbage you could take another little road on down to the dumping area where there was a little shack that was presumably occupied sometime during the day. I was never there during the day.

We were often there two hours before sunset. The dump closed just after sunset and we wanted to be sure and get a parking spot at the top of the “scenic” overlook. Sometimes there were as many as four or five cars parked there, but most often we were the only ones there, or we had the company of just one other car. All the people in the cars who parked here had one thing in mind. We all came to watch the bears pick over garbage.

One night I saw three of them at once. My parents even let us sit on the roof of the car so we could see them better. This was a magical place at summer sunset as the bears came out to forage. Some even brought an older bear cub, to learn how to sort and pick. I was fascinated, excited and entranced. When we spoke, which was seldom, we whispered so as not to disturb them. We often watched for an hour or more. As full dark descended, we piled back in our cars and started back to the cabin by the lake which was my grandparent’s retirement home.

On top of getting to watch the bears, we got to stop at the drive in A&W for root beer floats. And with that extra sugar rush I remember dreaming bears at night.

I still dream bears. The dream I remember most is the one where a great mother bear, about six and a half feet tall, held me in her arms like a mother. Whenever she comes, she keeps me warm at night and protects me in my dreams.

I consider the Bear my first totem animal. I have had other dreams and visions of the Bear since then. One came to me during my shamanic soul retrieval, where the guide told me I had lost my power animal in my youth and that it was time for it to come back to me. I have honored Her ever since, especially while picking berries!

Another vision I had in a trance working, Bear came and told me it was my totem animal of the East. Many Native Americans put the Bear in the West, as an introspective animal, one who “dies” and is reborn in the spring.

For me, the Bear specifically told me that it was from the East, and would be my “journey animal and protector” whenever I had need of ally in trance work, or a journey in the spirit realm. The best of all messages is that I could ride my bear, and she would carry me where I needed or wanted to go. And so, when I journey now for others, Bear is one of my two guides to the upper, middle and lower worlds.

Click Here to Visit Mari Powers’ Website.

Treating the Kundalini & the Energetic Meridians: A Crystal Healing Approach

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Category: Crystal Healing
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Meridians are energetic channels found in your etheric body. This system of channels is thought to transport your life force energy (chi/qi or prana) throughout the body.  Since the meridians are all connected, energetic blockages are often easily detectable upon assessment of the physical body.  If you are experiencing a physical illness or ailment in a particular area of the body, it is likely that you also have an associated energy blockage, or shortage of energy, in the corresponding energetic meridians. Acupuncture Man

Similarly, the kundalini is an Eastern notion often represented by a serpent-like form of energy, or shakti (another representation of your life force energy).  It is thought that the kundalini is like a snake that remains coiled up at the base of your spine (in the root or base chakra) until its energy is released through practices such as meditation or tantric yoga.  The serpent-like energy then travels up the spine, by way of the sushumna (a central energetic channel parallel to the spine),  through each of the chakras toward the crown chakra where it manifests as divine wisdom and a state of perfect conscious awareness, or enlightenment.  As the kundalini journeys toward the crown, the chakras (thought of as lotuses) are said to open, or to bloom, as the kundalini energy passes through them.  This opening of these energetic centers manifests the progression of the development of your perfect conscious awareness.

However, the rising of the kundalini shakti to the Crown Chakra should only occur in the most spiritually attuned individuals.  If this energy is prematurely awakened, before your energetic channels and chakras are completely pure and realized, the rising of the kundalini shakti may have negative effects on an individual.  If you have energetic blockages in your etheric body, then the kundalini energy can become, more or less, stuck in the area of the blockage.  This begins to create an energetic strain as the pressure of the kundalini shakti builds in this area, resulting in “kundalini psychosis.”  Basically, the premature rising of the kundalini shakti causes negative, physical, emotional, and spiritual side effects in the unrealized person.

In a situation such as this, the excess energy of the Kundalini shakti can be returned to its normal state by using a large crystal which has been programmed for relieving this type of energetic shock.  To create this program, you should hold the crystal up to the third eye chakra (brow chakra/6th chakra) or in the hands and then visualize the image of a sleeping serpent (representing resting Kundalini energy) and intend that this image be programmed into the crystal.  You should also create and recite an affirmation regarding the dormant kundalini shakti and program this into the crystal as well.  This affirmation may be as simple as, “May the Kundalini serpent return to its coiled position at my Root Chakra.”  Then, the crystal should be held over the sacral chakra (2nd chakra) while repeating the affirmation and visualizing that the serpent-like energy return to the base chakra to coil up to rest.  This healing exercise should be performed for approximately fifteen minutes per day for several days or until the adverse energetic effects or symptoms have dissipated.

*Crystal Healing is not meant to replace conventional medicine, but rather to complement and enhance it. The information within this guide is purely metaphysical in nature and is by no means medical. Crystal Healing should only be used with the understanding that it is not an independent therapy, but one that is a part of a holistic healing approach.

This article may be printed, distributed, or published ONLY with permission of the owner/author, Ashley Leavy. It must remain unchanged and in its entirety and credit must be given to the author.

“The Difference Between Astrology and the Astrological” by Shelley Jordan

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Category: Astrology
Written by Mimosa
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There is a difference between astrology and the astrological that remains unrecognized. The astrological, or the astral, is the mental-emotional-spiritual phenomenon that resonates within the interior realm of personal consciousness. These psychic states occur as a result of the subtle vibratory interactions of the planets as they travel around their orbits in our solar system. Think of the effect you get when you gently slide your moistened finger along the rim of a crystal goblet. A singing tone is created and perceived as your finger circles the edge of the glass. In a somewhat similar way, each of the planets generates its own discrete, singing tones as it circles the Sun in its orbit. Together the planets produce a subtle celestial opera as their tonal frequencies interact in the heavens. This astral phenomenon – the music of the spheres – is quietly received both in the psyches of individuals and in the collective. Somewhat like murmuring background music – playing so softly you may not be aware of it – this heavenly hum sets the mood and ambiance of the moment. Zodiac signs in circle.

Astrology, on the other hand, is humanity’s ancient, symbolic and collective attempt to describe and understand the astrological phenomenon. Astrology as it is known and practiced in its many forms is an invention, an artificial, ornate and meaningful mental construct. The astral is an exquisite aspect of Nature, part of the holistic energetic environment in which we live. Astrology in its many forms is a constructed system, a symbolic representation that is a consequence of a given culture’s world view. While capable of allowing us to discuss this phenomenon of Nature, astrology remains in most of its arenas a rigid, dogmatic system of thought, overloaded with rules and cautionary warnings – a musty, fear inducing parody of itself as it attempts to elucidate the astral. With its preoccupation with prediction and fate, astrology is a topic that is easy to dismiss.

The numerous forms in which astrology appears, such as humanistic, vedic, or cosmobiology, are products of the Weltanschauung (world view) of the many environments in which it arises. There is no one true astrology, just like there is no one religion or language that is superior to all others. The techniques used to describe and access the astral should not be confused with the astral phenomenon itself. People are typically attracted to that brand of astrology which most resonates with their personal beliefs and attitudes in combination with the expectations they bring to the astrological experience. In general, the more powerless an individual feels, the more he or she is attracted to a predictive, fatalistic form of astrology.

Click Here to visit Shelley Jordan’s Website.