Monthly Archives: November 2013

“Earth Healing Meditation” by Ashley Leavy

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Meditation is a focusing or concentration of your mental energy until you have reached a perfect stillness of mind. With practice, meditation will allow you to realize your true self. Meditation should always be done for the self. It is a wonderful tool to allow you to fully explore your inner consciousness. It is an opportunity to recapitulate your experiences and to learn and to grow from them (on a subconscious level). Meditation should be done with a full surrender to the stillness it creates. Ecology Consciousness

Routine meditation (over time) has the ability to completely transform your outlook on life. Meditation, combined with the proper intention, can aid you in a complete spiritual evolution. Meditation will allow you to become the pure, perfect, being of the universe that you were meant to become.

There are several steps you can take to promote a successful meditation. First, you should create a sacred space in which you are comfortable. Your environment can greatly influence your success in meditation. “Sacred Space” may mean a different thing to each and every person. Typically, creating some sort of routine or ritual to perform prior to meditation can help to enhance it. The repetition of ritual will eventually send subtle cues to the brain that can help to prepare it for the meditative process. The brain and the subconscious will begin to learn from the experience that after you have gone through the motions of the ritual, there is an expected thing to follow. In this case, this thing is meditation-a clearing and stilling of the mind.

Correct posture can also significantly contribute to your meditative practice. You should sit in the posture that is most comfortable to yourself. When you are not comfortable, the discomfort can become distracting to the mind and can disrupt your focus. You may prefer to sit on the floor with your legs crossed (Lotus position). However, this is not necessary. You can sit on the ground, in a chair, or however you feel most at ease in your body.

Next, you should begin focused breathing. You should focus on slow, even breathing and begin to relax. The circular breathing technique is very effective for focus and relaxation (this technique is discussed further in the following exercise). Once relaxation and focused breathing have been achieved, you can begin concentration. You should attempt to hold your attention on the present, transitory, moment. When the attention is held and stillness is achieved, you should retain it as long as possible until the end of the meditation session (at least 10 to 15 minutes). If you find yourself becoming distracted while attempting to maintain the stillness, you should return your attention to the breath. You can always return to the focus on the breath to return the concentration to the meditative practice.

The true benefit of meditation is found in the stillness that it provides to your body, mind, and spirit. This stillness alters your conscious awareness and connects it with the divine. This altered state of consciousness benefits your higher spiritual self. In this state, guidance is often received (consciously or unconsciously). This is a gift from the divine to your higher self (your own divine nature).

Most importantly, you should release all expectations you have of the meditative process and outcome. You should be completely open to the experiences of the meditation, but not expect more than what is. You should be open to any guidance or messages that may come from the stillness. However, you should not be discouraged if this does not happen. Instead, you should search for the benefit in the tranquility of the meditation.

Crystals can be used in meditation to help you to more clearly concentrate and to focus your mind’s energy and to enhance the quality of the meditation. Crystals amplify your intentions and thoughts which raise your energy vibration, promoting conscious awareness. Your thoughts become more pure through meditation with crystals; they become filled with love and light for the good of all beings. This clear, pure thinking helps you to remain in the moment and focus on the stillness at hand.

The following meditation was developed to send healing energy to the earth. When done with proper intent, it can combat the effects of pollution, global warming, and other negative environmental conditions in order help to return Mother Earth to a more wholesome state of being. This meditation is most effective when utilizing a Chrysocolla stone or one Azurite stone and one Malachite stone.

Earth Healing Meditation

Sit or stand in a comfortable position with the soles of your feet flat on the ground (no shoes please). Center yourself; begin to attune yourself to the earth’s energy (you may wish to use a picture or some other symbol).

Begin circular breathing. Breathe in healing white universal light through your root chakra. See the light traveling up your chakras to the crown chakra. Exhale the light through your tcrown chakra back down to the basal chakra and breathe in the light again. Imagine the light like a wave. Imagine this wave of light moving in and out of your body like the tide. Now, expand the light so that it is a continuous loop of healing energy moving through your ethereal and physical bodies.

Imagine your chakras opening. Begin at the base chakra and picture a red swirling vortex of energy. Focus your attention on making this red energy very bright. Next, move up to the sacral chakra and imagine an orange energy vortex. Proceed through the chakras in this manner using yellow light at the solar plexus, green and pink at the heart, blue at the throat, indigo at the third eye, and violet at the crown.

Pick up your stone(s) (or place them in front of you) and begin to focus your energy on earth-healing. Imagine the earth being covered with trees and flowers, with beautiful, flowing rivers, and being in a great state of health. Imagine it surrounded by white, healing light. Begin to further connect yourself to the earth by focusing on the two crystals. Start to pull in white healing light energy through your crown chakra. Next, imagine your legs and feet turning into roots and growing deep into the earth. Begin to transfer the white light from your crown, down through the chakras, and through your legs, out the roots, and into the earth.

Focus your attention on energizing the earth and on sending it love and healing light. Thank the earth if you wish. Spend some time sending these healing energies while continuing your circular breathing.

When you feel you are ready, imagine the roots loosening from the earth and resuming being your legs. Slowly come back to conscious awareness.

Please watch the video for guided instruction. Click Here to watch the video.

*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.


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The significance of mala beads

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Category: Meditation
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by Cathy Douglas

The Japa mala, often simply called mala beads, is a string of beads for counting repeated prayers, mantras, divine names or affirmations. It’s very much like to a Catholic rosary. The Buddhist or Hindu mala has 108 beads, plus a tasseled “guru” bead, the bead that starts and ends the repetitions. Some also have three “spacer” beads for conveniently dividing the recitations. The number 108 is significant to both Hindu and Buddhists, and it’s said there are 108 meanings of the number, including the number of deities, the 108 sins we must overcome, etc. The mala help connect the physical act of reciting the mantra with the spiritual benefits of the practice.

The mala itself is not passive, but actively transmutes energy, and wearers should be conscious of this power. For one thing, if one wears the mala as jewelry, it’s apt to collect all kinds of stray energy present in the everyday world–not all of it beneficial. Some even prefer to keep the mala in a special bag, and handle it only when in use. Whether you choose to keep your mala protected or to perform regular energetic cleansing, a mala well cared for absorbs considerable pure energy from use in sacred practice.

A mala shouldn’t need much physical cleansing. In fact, the oils of the skin that penetrate the material of the mala help form a bond between the mala and its owner. But it may need energetic cleansing from time to time, especially if you wear it while under stress. Sound can purify the mala; either ring tingshas over it, or place it in a singing bowl and then softly strike the bowl. Another simple method is to expose the mala to either strong sun or moonlight. In addition, it’s strongly positive to have the mala blessed by a teacher, especially at first.

There are variations on ways of using a mala, but here’s a good basic method: To count with the mala, most traditions specify you should hold the mala with your right hand. Using thumb and fourth finger to hold the mala, pull the beads toward you with your third finger, starting with the one next to the guru bead. Chant one repetition per bead until you return to the guru. (There are variations on which fingers to use, but most agree you should avoid using the index finger, which denotes ego.) If you’re doing more than 108 repetitions, when you get to the guru bead, turn the mala around and go back the other way. It’s important not to “run over” the guru bead. Here’s a short video to illustrate: How to use a Mala.

Malas are made from many materials, which carry different meanings:

Crystal: Crystal properties apply to the mala. Crystal has the benefit of being smooth, and substantial in weight.

Rudraksha seeds: Rudra is another name for Shiva, and aksha means eye. The tears of Lord Shiva destroy ego and attachment, and also promote healing, protection, and strong blood flow. These malas are best used by those leading a pure life.

Boddhi seeds: Boddhi (holy) tree is another name for the Sacred Fig, the tree the Buddha sat under when he gained enlightenment. As you might guess, the words buddha and boddhi related, both having to do with enlightenment.

Tulsi wood: Also called Sacred Basil. Hindus consider this plant–more a large shrub than a tree–to be a living goddess. A tulsi mala clears the aura and strengthens devotion, and is specially holy to Vishnu. Tulsi tea an elixir of life which helps with stress, pain, adaptation; tulsi wood contains many of these same properties.

Sandalwood: The scent of sandalwood conveys inner peace. A mala made of sandalwood is good for deepening meditation, calming, and seeking after the within. Real sandalwood is growing rarer. Beads carved of real sandalwood are oblong, smooth and somewhat uneven–never rough textured or perfectly round. The scent of real sandalwood is subtle, but it remains present in the wood as the mala ages.

Lotus seeds: Lotus petals deflect water, and so the lotus mala symbolizes the “falling away” of worldly things the understanding of impermanence. Since lotus seeds are light, they darken with age even more than other materials. Perhaps that’s why they symbolize the steady growth of wisdom and power.

Rosewood: A mala made of rosewood excels in healing the self and others, as well as manifestation of whatever is needed for healing.

Bone: Yak bone is a common material for Tibetan malas, and encourages the owner to contemplate mortality. Accepting the reality of impermanence helps us focus on living in the present moment. Sometimes bone beads are carved into little skulls. Using its bone for a sacred item like a mala honors the yak.


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Mimosa’s New Website

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Welcome to Mimosa’s brand new, redesigned website. To help our customers and friends better navigate and use our online store and resources, we have decided to do an overhaul of the look and feel of our online presence.

In the coming days, we will be getting our site back up to speed.

Our Web Store and Event Calendar are currently up and running. Our next task is to get our blog articles and photo album back online. So if you were waiting for those, they will be back very soon!

If you have a question regarding a recent order that you made online, please contact us using our contact form: here or call us at: (608) 256-5432.

Thanks for your patience. Our website and all of its content will be back soon.

“A Short Introduction to the Long History of the Tibetan Singing Bowl” by Cathy Douglas

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An ancient Buddhist prophecy says, “When the iron bird flies, the Dharma will be spread to the west.” Most people who come into Mimosa and try their hand with Tibetan singing bowls are very much attracted to the sound, whether they’ve got any use for Buddhism or not. The funny thing is, this fits perfectly with Buddhist understanding of the singing bowls’ purpose.

Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

Beyond the use of singing bowls to signal the beginning and end of meditation, devout Buddhists use them in what they call “sound teaching.” This nonverbal teaching also incorporates conch shells, tingshas, and drums, each of these instruments having its own teaching. According to Lama Lobsang Leshe, the bowl’s message is “about broadness and emptiness” — not a mantra so much as an “emptiness teaching,” a transmission said to come from directly from the Buddha without needing words. Some monks even hold to a custom of never talking about the bowls, lest words themselves distort the essence of the teaching. It’s the purity of sound itself, they say, that allows the seeds of Dharma to sprout.

A few ancient bowls are revered as holy relics. One, purported to be the begging bowl of an earlier incarnation of the Buddha, resides at the Drepung Monastery. When someone plays it, it’s said you can hear the quality of that person’s karma through the quality of sound the bowl allows them to produce.

The most traditional singing bowls are hand-hammered, made of seven metals that correspond to the seven visible heavenly bodies: gold for the Sun, silver for the Moon, mercury for Mercury (duh), copper for Venus, iron for Mars, tin for Jupiter, and lead for Saturn.

But the prophecy mentioned above talks about “iron.” And truly, it’s the iron in Tibetan singing bowls that separates them from any other kind. They use meteorites–chunks of iron that fall to earth from outer space, which they quite naturally refer to as “metal from the heavens.” Since Tibet is at a higher altitude than anywhere else on Earth, larger, more intact meteorites fall there. Less atmosphere and thinner air brings Tibet, literally, “closer to the Heavens.”

In the course of time people, have invented other types of bowls, such as crystal bowls and the Japanese rin gongs. Nowadays, their use may or may not be connected to Buddhist traditions. People in the west use them to mark transitions, not necessarily in a religious context. Singing bowls have found a place in classrooms, yoga studios, therapy offices, and even corporations. The lamas mostly seem to think this is a positive thing–a sign that the Dharma is coming into its own, spout in all places and among all peoples.
Here’s the link to a fascinating short film about the hand-crafting of singing bowls in a village in Bengal, India: Watch Video (Youtube)


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“Happy Postures: Some Guidance for Choosing a Meditation Cushion or Bench” by Cathy Douglas

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The Buddha said that meditation flows through four postures: walking, standing, sitting and lying down. But most of the time when we think of meditation, it’s sitting meditation that comes to mind. And for those of us who are less experienced, seated postures are the usual way to start. Some young people may need little in the way of support, but in our culture very few people spend much time sitting on the ground or floor; by the time we’re in our thirties (if not sooner) support can be very helpful for meditators who are ready to sit for a long period of time. That’s where a cushion or bench can help. cushiond

Fillings

Cushions we carry at Mimosa come with three fillings: buckwheat hulls, kapok fiber, and air. Inflatable cushions are most useful for travel, because they take up little space when deflated. For your main cushion, though, you’ll probably want to choose between kapok and buckwheat.

Kapok has a similar feel to cotton batting, but comes from a more sustainable source. Kapok-filled cushions are more stable and softer than buckwheat, but do not fit to the body in the same way. They hold their shape well over time. Kapok is also hypoallergenic.

Buckwheat hulls are a byproduct of agriculture. This filling forms to your contours, though to some extent this depends on how full the cushion is; a well-stuffed cushion will be firmer, while one that’s less densely packed will have more give to it. Since the buckwheat cushions we sell zip open, you have the option of adding or removing hulls for a custom fit. If you want your cushion more stuffed, or need to re-stuff one that’s flattened out with time, we sell bags of loose hulls.

Cushion Styles

Zabuton: A zabuton is sort of like a mini-futon. Most people use a zabuton underneath another meditation cushion. They can be handy if you’re meditating on a hard and/or cold floor, but are probably not necessary if the room has carpeting. Or, if you’re flexible and just want a soft surface to sit on, you could use a zabuton without a cushion on top. All our zabutons have kapok filling.

Zafu: This is the classic, round meditation cushion. It provides good back support, and puts you high enough off the ground to reduce stress on your knees. Zafus come in a variety of styles, with your choice of buckwheat or kapok stuffing. One great advantage of the zafu is its versatility: you can sit on the flattened side cross-legged, semi-kneeling, or with legs bent to one side, and you can also straddle the cushion turned on its side. If you’re going to sit for long periods of time, changing posture occasionally can help you stay comfortable, and thus keep your attention focused on your practice–not on your legs falling asleep!

Crescent: The crescent, or “cosmic cushion,” is shaped sort of like a chubby mustache. It supports the upper legs as well as the bottom–an extra level of support that can be helpful for those with knee issues. It’s angled to tilt the body forward slightly, making the back slightly rounded instead of stiff. Crescent cushions work only for the lotus position.

Meditation benches

These wood or fiberboard benches sit about six to ten inches off the floor, to provide back support and reduce strain on the knees. Some have a rounded, rocking bottom, while others sit flat on the floor. With most styles, you have the option of adding a tie-on cushion.

Peace Bench: With this bench, you have the choice of sitting in lotus position or putting your legs directly under your body. The Peace Bench sits flat on the floor. It can be easily folded down for storage or transport, and is made from 100% recycled wood fiberboard, with straps made from cotton webbing.

Straddle Meditation Bench: This new addition to our selection of meditation support combines the stable support of a bench with the comfort of a cushion. It’s angled to provide proper alignment of back, hips and legs. You sit with your legs to the sides of the bench, and find the right height by sitting higher or lower on the cushion — an elegantly simple way to create a comfortable place to help you focus on your meditation. You can also use it in a cross-legged position, by sitting at the lower end.

Pi bench: The supports for these benches are nearer the middle, and they’re rounded to make them rock slightly underneath you, so that your back position isn’t totally fixed. They’re best to use for a semi-kneeling position, with legs folded under the bench, but they’ll also support a modified lotus position.


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“Yoga Meditation” by Beth Wortzel

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There are probably as many reasons to learn meditation as there are people who take up this practice. Thankfully, there are also a multitude of approaches and techniques so each of us may find a practice that suits us best.

I will not try to speak of all of these possibilities, but simply share the essential elements of that practice which I myself know best both as a practitioner for over 35 years and as a teacher in the tantra yoga tradition. I came to the practice of meditation seeking a way out of the confines of my everyday mind, which I knew were limiting my understanding of life and my purpose here. I surely found this and more. That ‘more’ turned out to be the path to self-realization.

Yoga as a spiritual science incorporates a wide range of practices from yoga postures to chanting, dietary and ethical guidelines and more. All of these provide a foundation and support for the core practice of yoga meditation itself. In fact, the eight “limbs” of yoga practice begin with ethical principles by which to live one’s daily life and which were often, in ancient times, the focus of years of practice in order to perfect one’s character and lifestyle in preparation for the other “limbs”. The next include the preparation of the body and mind through asana and pranayama or yoga postures and breathing techniques. All of these supporting practices then facilitate the silent meditation practice which the final four limbs indicate.

The first of these is withdrawal. In order to ‘go beyond’, yoga meditation teaches us to go beyond the distractions of our day to day life by pulling back the field of awareness from the body, the realm of the senses , and also from the realm of the day to day mind comprised of memories and mundane thoughts.

Achieving this enables the next stage—concentration or the ability to focus the mind at will on our object of concentration. Yogis use mantra for this purpose. Not only is a yoga mantra an ancient Sanskrit word or phrase on which to focus the mind, but it also has a meaning and subtle vibration that uplifts consciousness by bringing it into harmony with the mantra and its meaning. So we use mantras with expansive, spiritual meaning.

The next limb is meditation itself. Through the process of concentration on a suitable mantra, we arrive at that unbroken flow of awareness of the ultimate Goal. We are very near in our experience of Ultimate Reality or Supreme Self.

And finally, we merge with that upon which we meditate. This final limb goes beyond practice. It is the final attainment of yoga which means “union”, union with the Self as that which we have always been and which is the heart and soul of the entire creation.

Thus yoga meditation is a journey home to our true self, to our Source which is the same in all beings. Once we know that oneness from our own experience, service to the Supreme is service to the whole world and we continue meditation as a service while we reach out with love and compassion to all others.

Tantra yoga, in particular, does not encourage us to withdraw from daily life in order to attain or preserve spiritual awareness and growth but rather to attain realization in the midst of life. For all of life is Divine and not to be shunned, but to be seen and served as a manifestation of that divine Reality itself.

About Beth Wortzel u78Ah9rSuf-ardo6TFMf1qHdO8oja4JPH0sMRHIicPnHY4iV7zQNcf5Q7aYR2QQjjkRMmpDQkEzB9LllToxS-qonMCm5rLB0EMraiB610IdQoFdmpDs

Beth Wortzel is a yoga acharya or teacher offering individual mantra initiation and other teachings in the tantra yoga tradition. In addition to being a meditation teacher, she is a musician who, along with other members of Jaya, leads spiritual chanting or kiirtan regularly. In her other life, she is a psychotherapist at Harmonia Madison Center for Psychotherapy and has practiced there for almost 30 years.


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“Healing with the Power of Aura Quartz” by Ashley Leavy

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Category: Crystal Healing
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Although Aura Quartzes are a relatively new item in the world of crystals, they have already started quite a controversy because they are created through an artificial process. It is my goal in sharing the following information to educate, entertain, inform, and intrigue you in regard to the alluring world of Aura crystals. Healing-Power-of-Aura-Quartz

Because the exact processes and metal combinations of creating the various types of Aura Quartzes are not openly shared (due to fear of trade secrets being given to other manufacturers), it is often difficult to get accurate information about these crystals. There are only a handful of manufacturers worldwide that have the equipment necessary to produce them. Additionally, the cost of the precious metals involved in the process is constantly rising. These high costs of production, coupled with the fact that there is a large percentage of breakage during the process (due to the extreme heat involved – up to 1600 degrees F), makes these somewhat rare stones a desirable addition to any crystal collection.

Aura Quartz is made by placing natural Quartz crystals into a vacuum chamber with vaporized metals for 12-18 hours. The “atomized” metal molecules then adhere to the surface of the Quartz through an electrostatic process, coating it, and creating the beautiful display of colors with which we are all familiar. The thin metallic coating (generally less than 1 micron thick) cannot be scratched or rubbed off of the crystal because it has been molecularly bonded with the surface of the Quartz. This is mostly done to small points or clusters, but recently, Spirit Quartz have also been coated with metals to create Spirit Aura Quartz.

A number of “new” stones have been created in this manner including:

  • Amethyst Aura (Purple) – made with Magnesium & Platinum
  • Angel Aura (Iridescent White or Clear) – made with Platinum and/or Silver (PLEASE NOTE: This variety has also been made using Spirit Quartz)
  • Apple Aura (Bright Green) – made with Nickel and/or Gold
  • Aqua Aura (Bright Blue) – made with Gold (PLEASE NOTE: This variety has also been made using Spirit Quartz)
  • Azure Aura – Please see Cobalt Aura
  • Celestial Aura – Please see Tanzan Aura
  • Champagne Aura (Smoky Brown-Gold) – made with Gold, Iron, and Platinum
  • Cobalt Aura (Dark Blue with Iridescent Gold) – made with Cobalt
  • Copper Aura (Metallic Copper) – made with Copper
  • Dreamcicle Aura – Please see Melon Aura
  • Electric Blue Aura (Pale Sky Blue) – made with Gold, Silver, and Platinum
  • Emerald Aura – Please see Apple Aura
  • Flame Aura – Please see Rainbow Aura
  • Imperial Gold Aura – Please see Melon Aura
  • Indigo Aura – Please see Tanzan Aura
  • Kiwi Aura (Teal Green) – made with Gold and Silver or Platinum
  • Lavender Aura – Please see Amethyst Aura
  • Magenta Aura – Please see Rose Aura
  • Melon Aura (Orange) – made with Copper, Gold, and Iron (PLEASE NOTE: This variety has also been made using Spirit Quartz)
  • Opal Aura – Please see Angel Aura
  • Orange Mist Aura – Please see Melon Aura
  • Pearl Aura – Please see Angel Aura
  • Rainbow Aura (Dark Iridescent) – made with Titanium and/or Niobium (PLEASE NOTE: There is a natural variety of Rainbow Aura Quartz that is coated with an iridescent variety of Hematite known as Turgite)
  • Raspberry Aura – Please see Rose Aura
  • Rose Aura (Rose Pink) – made with Platinum
  • Royal Aura – Please see Cobalt Aura
  • Ruby Aura (Hot Pink) – made with Gold, Silver, and Platinum
  • Steel Blue Aura – Please see Cobalt Aura
  • Sunshine Aura (Yellow) – made with Iron and/or Platinum and Gold (PLEASE NOTE: There is a natural variety of Sunshine Aura Quartz that is naturally coated with Iron, but not Platinum or Gold; similarly, Tangerine Quartz and Golden Healer Quartz are both naturally Iron-coated varieties of Quartz); (PLEASE NOTE: This variety has also been made using Spirit Quartz)
  • Tangerine Aura – Please see Melon Aura (PLEASE NOTE: This is not the same as Tangerine Quartz, which is naturally coated with Iron Oxide)
  • Tanzan Aura (Cornflower Blue) – made with Indium and Gold
  • Tanzanite Aura – Please see Tanzan Aura
  • Tanzine Aura – Please see Tanzan Aura

Some healers prefer not to use these stones as they are not completely natural (i.e. they are a “man-encouraged” creation). However, others, including myself, consider these stones to be useful healing tools, and even an improvement upon natural Quartz. Although the process for making these stones is not carried out within the earth, the stones are made of all natural components with no man-made or synthetic additives (such as plastics or dyes). Therefore, it seems as though the Quartz simply acts as a natural amplifier to the metals bonded to it.

For example, Aqua Aura Quartz is Quartz that has been coated in pure, 24k Gold. The thin layer of Gold atoms on the surface of the Quartz would not generally be enough to use for healing purposes. However, the energy of the Quartz crystal enhances and amplifies the energy of the Gold to the extent that it can be successfully used for healing.

Although I plainly feel energy being emitted by the Aura Quartz crystals, I wanted to do some investigating into the subject. I measured the radius of the energy field given off by various combinations of Quartzes and metals and compared them to the field emitted by their corresponding Aura Quartz variety. I measured the energy fields using a set of copper dowsing rods and used crystals that were close in size and mass (to get the most accurate results possible). I cleansed and cleared all materials so that they would have a cleared neutral field and placed them in the center of a room. When a collection of stones and metals was used, they were placed so that all materials were making physical contact (allowing the energy field of each separate component to become as cohesive as possible). I then positioned myself at the far end of the room with the dowsing rods (which were in a crossed position) and slowly walked toward the crystals until the dowsing rods were forced apart by the energy field of the crystal (or group of materials). My results were as follows:

Stone(s) Aqua Aura Quartz Quartz with Gold Nugget Spirit Aqua Aura Quartz Spirit Quartz with Gold Nugget
Energy Field Radius 94” 49.5” 91” 33”
Stone(s) Copper Aura Quartz Quartz with Copper Nugget
Energy Field Radius 130.5” 88.5”
Stone(s) Melon Aura Quartz Iron-Included Quartz with Copper Nugget & Gold Nugget Spirit Melon Aura Quartz Spirit Quartz & Iron-Included Quartz with Copper Nugget & Gold Nugget
Energy Field Radius 127.5” 50” 150.5” 106.5
Stone(s) Rainbow Aura Quartz Titanium-Included Quartz Titanium-Included Quartz with Niobium Natural Rainbow Aura Quartz (Turgite-Coated Quartz)
Energy Field Radius 164.5” 52.5” 130” 58”
Stone(s) Spirit Sunshine Aura Quartz Spirit Quartz & Iron-Included Quartz Spirit Quartz & Iron-Included Quartz with Gold Nugget Spirit Quartz with Tangerine Quartz & Gold Golden Healer Quartz with Spirit Quartz & Gold Nugget
Energy Field Radius 181” 49.5” 78” 92.5” 152.5”

You can see from the tables above, that in each trial, the energy field given off by the Aura Quartz crystals was greater than that given off by a collection of the stones and metals used to make the particular Aura Quartz.

For example, the radius of the energy field given off by Aqua Aura Quartz was measured at 94” whereas the radius of the energy field given off by a Quartz crystal and a Gold nugget (the components of Aqua Aura Quartz), was only measured at 49.5”.

Therefore, even though these crystals are created by human-intervention, the resulting healing energy is greater than if using the healing stones and metals separately. Until such a time may exist when similar natural aura formations are uncovered, these “man-encouraged” aura crystals make for spectacular, and powerful, healing tools.

Healing Properties of Aura Quartz:

After working with the various types of Aura Quartz crystals, I have found that the following healing properties may be attributed to each stone. As always, use your own intuition to determine what will work best for you as these are only suggestions as to how these stones may be used.

AMETHYST AURA QUARTZ: (Also known as Lavender Aura Quartz) Use at the 6th Chakra (Third Eye Chakra/Brow Chakra) or at the 7th Chakra (Crown Chakra) to bring about feelings of spiritual wholeness, to instill happiness and joy, to enhance Zen states and meditation practices, to give one a sense of child-like wonder, and to connect one with nature spirits and beings of the Faery Realm.

ANGEL AURA QUARTZ: (Also known as Opal Aura Quartz or as Pearl Aura Quartz) Use at the 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra) or 7thChakra (Crown Chakra) to open oneself to divine knowledge, to stimulate deep spiritual experiences, to promote successful meditation, to aid in establishing a connection to one’s angels or guides, to bring love and light into any situation, to promote feelings of safety and security, to enhance Lovingkindness, to facilitate peace and calming, to mend broken relationships, to enhance forgiveness on oneself or of others, and to enhance compassionate attitudes.

APPLE AURA QUARTZ: (Also known as Emerald Aura Quartz) Use at the 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra) or at the 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra) to purify the energy body, to balance and align all chakras, to relieve digestive problems or upset stomach, to bring about necessary change and to break old patterns or belief systems, to instill courage, and to help one to appreciate the beauty in life’s everyday happenings.

AQUA AURA QUARTZ: Use at the 5th Chakra (Throat Chakra) or 6th Chakra (Third Eye Chakra/Brow Chakra) for opening one to psychic insight, to strengthen the heart chakra energies, to connect the heart chakra with the throat chakra (allowing one to speak his or her inner truth), to help one to grow and evolve as a spiritual being, to connect one to his or her spirit guides, for astral travel, and to facilitate shamanic journeying.

CHAMPAGNE AURA QUARTZ: Use at the 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra) or at the 7th Chakra (Crown Chakra) to bring divine energy into the body for healing the physical, emotional, or spiritual aspects of the self, to aid in spiritual ascension, to connect one with the divine for channeling information, to open one to new experiences (so that they may not need be repeated in a future lifetime), and to stimulate one’s conscious awareness.

COBALT AURA QUARTZ: (Also known as Royal Aura Quartz, Steel Blue Aura Quartz, or as Azure Aura Quartz)) Use at the 6thChakra (Third Eye Chakra/Brow Chakra) to dissipate feelings of anger, to aid in developing a state of non-attachment, to aid in enhancing meditative states, to facilitate a connection with the emotional body, and to provide the opportunity to learn from the water element.

COPPER AURA QUARTZ: Use at the 1st Chakra (Root Chakra/Base Chakra) or at the 2nd Chakra (Sacral Chakra/Spleenic Chakra) for grounding, to relieve pain caused by inflammation, to allow one to see his or her shadow side in order aid in self-growth and self-evolution, to aid in healing past-life trauma, to balance the emotions, and to enhance vitality.

ELECTRIC BLUE AURA QUARTZ: Use at the 5th Chakra (Throat Chakra) to enhance communication with one’s guardian angels, spirit guides, totem animals, ascended masters, or with one’s higher self; to promote spiritual ascension; to instill peace and calming; to relieve anxiety; to remove negativity from the energy body; and to reduce stress caused by putting pressure on oneself.

KIWI AURA QUARTZ: Use at the 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra) or at the 5th Chakra (Throat Chakra) to instill a deep appreciation for nature, to connect one with nature spirits and beings of the Fairy Realm, to heal blockages caused by emotional trauma, to instill courage and bravery in the user, to promote feelings of comfort and safety (especially when in strange places), and to encourage self-love and forgiveness.

MELON AURA QUARTZ: (Also known as Tangerine Aura Quartz, Imperial Gold Aura Quartz, Dreamcicle Aura Quartz, or as Orange Mist Aura Quartz) Use at the 2nd Chakra (Sacral Chakra/Spleenic Chakra), 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra), or at the 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra) to stimulate compassion, to promote forgiveness (of oneself and of others), to heal the emotional body, to repair damaged relationships between parents and children, and to instill happiness and joy.

RAINBOW AURA QUARTZ: (Also known as Flame Aura Quartz) Use at the 1st Chakra (Root Chakra/Base Chakra), 6th Chakra (Third Eye Chakra/Brow Chakra), or 7th Chakra (Crown Chakra) to stimulate a connection with the divine, to enhance psychic insight, to facilitate a spiritual connection with nature, to aid in seeing and reading auras, to promote lucid dreaming and dream recall, and for promoting positive self-reflection.

ROSE AURA QUARTZ: (Also known as Raspberry Aura Quartz) Use at the 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra) to instill a sense of Lovingkindess; to help heal emotional trauma; to aid in enhancing forgiveness; to aid in recovering from any type of abuse on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level; and to help one find a tactful way to communicate in difficult situations.

RUBY AURA QUARTZ: Use at the 1st Chakra (Root Chakra/Base Chakra) to instill vitality, to aid the body in detoxing, for motivation, to help warm the physical body (especially when one has symptoms of the flu such as chills), to aid in moving the Kundalini energy throughout the body (either rising or returning to the resting state), and to promote balanced circulation in the body.

SUNSHINE AURA QUARTZ: Use at the 2nd Chakra (Sacral Chakra/Spleenic Chakra) or at the 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra) to instill a sense of happiness and joy, to relieve the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, to enhance one’s self-esteem and personal power by providing a stable emotional platform from which to act, to aid in the absorption of nutrients, and for spiritual grounding.

TANZAN AURA QUARTZ: (Also known as Tanzine Aura Quartz, Tanzanite Aura Quartz, Celestial Aura Quartz, or as Indigo Aura Quartz) – Use at the 5th Chakra (Throat Chakra) or at the 6thChakra (Third Eye Chakra/Brow Chakra) to connect with beings from the angelic realm, to facilitate astral travel, for dream healing work, to ease feelings of grief, to aid in connecting with those on the other side, and to enhance intuitive guidance and the gift of foresight.

*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.


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“Your Basic Multicultural, Metaphysical Dragon” by Cathy Douglas

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Dragons are universal. This may be a strange thing to say, since if there are any real dragons in our world they’re doing a pretty good job of hiding. Yet creatures identifiable as dragons figure into mythologies everywhere, and nobody knows why. There are theories: that flying reptiles represent a composite of beasts dangerous to humans; that farmers found dinosaur bones when digging their fields, and invented dragons to explain them; or that dragons represent a psychological force that is part of the human psyche.

Aboriginal Australians saw the Rainbow Serpent in the night sky. Looks like a dragon to me!

Aboriginal Australians saw the Rainbow Serpent in the night sky. Looks like a dragon to me!

That’s not what I think. I think dragons are real.

I’m not saying we have any lurking around Earth. But I think something of the force that links humans to our universe must involve huge, scaly, winged reptilian monsters who spew fire and ice–and, more importantly, who possess a dangerous kind of wisdom. Because unlike most scary predators, dragons speak. In fact, according to many traditions, they were the ones who taught us to use language.

It’s interesting to compare a few of the dragon legends that have developed independently in a wide variety of times, places and cultures:

DAMBALLAH WEDO–Damballah, the most important of all Vodou loas, is the African sky god who created the world from his coils. His wife is Ayida Wedo, the rainbow serpent. He’s associated with water and rain, through which he sustains the life he created. He can also appear in fire form. A god of peace and purity, he is able to grant wishes.

SHEN: Dragons have a huge tradition in China. One variant is the Shen, an aquatic creature who can not only shapeshift, but may change the appearance of things around it, creating mirages. This type of dragon is associated with shellfish, as so is often seen holding a pearl. All these details–water, shapeshifting, mirages, and the pearl that forms around a tiny speck of sand–point toward the idea of the dragon’s traditional symbolism as a creature of transformation.

QUETZLCOATL–Myths regarding a feathered serpent deity existed throughout ancient times in what is now Latin America. To us, the most familiar name for this deity is Quetzlcoatl. Older versions show him as a snake with feathers, though later on he’s often shown with some human-like features. He was a god of knowledge, crafts & learning, and of sky and air. As a leader of the priesthood, as he provides a shamanic connection to the underworld. Large temples and pyramids were dedicated to the worship of this flying serpent, the creator who defines the boundary between earth and sky.

RAINBOW SERPENT–Another primeval serpent is the Rainbow Serpent of aboriginal Australia, another creator god. According to myth, he lives in a pool of water, and from there heaves up the earth to create hills, valleys and other landforms. Rainbow serpent is the descendent of the celestial being visible as the dark streak through the milky way. In dry times he lives in a deep water hole, but he can move about through rain and other moving water, and especially the rainbow. As Rainbow Serpent travels about, he rewards good people with knowledge and punishes bad people through natural disasters.

LAC LONG QUAN–The founders of Vietnamese culture were the dragon Lac Long Quan and his consort, Au Co, the fairy daughter of the Air God. She bore him 100 eggs, which hatched into 100 sons. Dragons bring rain, prosperity and protection from foreign invaders. Ha Long Bay means “bay of the descending dragons,” and in this bay dragons defending the coast came down to the water, the fire of their breath creating the islands you can still see rising from the water today.

DRAKON–Our word dragon comes from the Greek drakon, probably from the verb drakein, which means to see clearly, or to catch a glimpse of something which flashes or gleams. The ancient Greeks didn’t necessarily view dragons as mythical. Travellers reported news of elephant-consuming dragons in Africa and India.

Y DDRAIG GOCH–The Red Dragon of Wales is the good dragon depicted on the Welsh flag, which by legend is also the standard King Arthur carried into battle. Legends of Y Ddraig Goch show him protecting the small kingdom of Wales from invaders. On the advice of the young Merlin, he was freed by King Vortigern in time to defeat the White Dragon of the Saxons, ensuring freedom for Wales.

Sure, there’s plenty of cultural diversity here, but we also see a lot of similarity. Dragon stories the world over feature water, transformation, wisdom, protection, rainbows… Almost as if people throughout the world were looking at the same thing from different angles.

Strange, yes–but it would be stranger still if all those people were looking, and there was nothing to see.


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Dream Healing: A Crystal Healing Approach

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If using these stones in grid formations, you should be creative.  Stones can be placed in the corners of the room, in each of the four directions, one each to represent the twelve houses of the zodiac, in a circle around your bed, or in any other formation one so chooses.  Following is a crystal array to facilitate the dream state and to help you to remember your dreams, as well as to facilitate intuitive interpretation of the dream symbols.

A powerful method of utilizing crystals for guidance is through dream healing.  When you are dreaming, you are able to receive intuitive guidance from your higher self.  You may also experience connections with higher beings or guides.  When you becomes able to remember your dreams and interpret them, astounding messages can be discovered and allow for the process of healing the inner self to begin.

To begin the dream healing process, obtain a piece of Red Jasper and a piece of Amethyst, each to be used only for dream work.  These crystals should be cleansed and purified, charged, and programmed before use.  Once the crystals have been cleansed and programmed, you should place the Red Jasper beneath your pillow.  Red Jasper is known to stimulate the dream consciousness in order to bring forth dreams of deep meaning.  It also keeps the dreamer’s astral body connected to the earth during intense astral travel.  Amethyst is often used to stimulate intuitive guidance and will help in the interpretation of your dreams.  It will be used later in the process.

You should place a notebook and a pen or pencil next to your bed (within easy grasp) before lying down to go to sleep.  You should then focus your attention on intending to dream and to remember the dream.  You should also focus your attention on intending to properly interpret dream symbols and messages for the highest good of your being.

Upon awakening, you should lie still and attempt to remember as many of the details as possible from your dream(s).  When comfortable with moving, you should hold the Amethyst crystal in your receiving hand and write down the dream experience as precisely as can be.  You may even wish to draw sketches as some things from dreams can be difficult to convey with words alone.  Then, at a later time, you should review the journal entry and attempt to decipher any symbols, people, places, or experiences that occurred while in the dream consciousness.

It is important to keep very good records in the dream journal as these are some of the greatest clues you have to determining what is best for your higher self.  You can often gain insights to healing through these clues so you should be meticulous in your record keeping.  Also, although you will sometimes immediately understand how a dream symbol should be interpreted, many dream symbols are just pieces of a greater puzzle.  You may need to link together several entries to fully understand the messages behind your dream(s).

Finally, Moldavite can assist you in dream journeying.  This stone will take you where few others can.  With this crystal, the ride may be fast and bumpy (always with good reason), so hold on tight!  When using this stone for dream work, it is imperative to also utilize a grounding stone such as Hematite or Red Jasper so that it is not difficult for the dream consciousness to return to the body and resume being your waking conscious awareness.

When using these stones in grid formations, it’s good to be creative. Stones may be placed in the corners of the room, in each of the four directions, one each to represent the twelve houses of the zodiac, in a circle around your bed, or in any other formation you choose. The illustration shows one possible crystal array to facilitate the dream state and to help you to remember your dreams, as well as to facilitate intuitive interpretation of the dream symbols.


*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. 


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“Xocolātl: The Magic of Chocolate” by Cathy Douglas

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Chocolate is one of those foods that has an almost mystical, larger than life presence. Even though it’s a luxury, very few people have a take-it-or-leave-it feeling about the stuff. I’m a take-it girl, myself. So I decided to look at chocolate’s magical history, and see whether the lore of cacao is as rich as its flavor. chocolate

Chocolate originated in the tropical rainforests of Central America, where people have harvested it since a time before history. Archaeologists have found the Mayan civilization to be a chocolate-coated one, with cacao trees in the back yards of ancient houses, and remains of both beans and cocoa pulp in excavated cooking dishes. By the time of the Aztecs, cocoa beans were so highly valued that they were used for money. Ordinary citizens wouldn’t think of drinking it; it would be like shredding up hundred-dollar bills for salad greens! Only priests, honored warriors, and nobles would actually drink cocoa. Most people used the beans only for trade, or for offerings to emperors and gods. There’s even evidence that dishonest merchants tried to pass off counterfeit cocoa beans.

Originally, cacao was made into a paste, then mixed with water to make a drink. This wasn’t much like the drink we call “cocoa.” The Maya didn’t used sweetener, and to them, the idea of adults drinking milk would have been almost as foreign as text messaging. Instead, they often mixed their chocolate with vanilla, annatto, and chili peppers. The Aztecs also used with vanilla and chili peppers, and also cornmeal and black pepper.

Xocolātl is one name associated with chocolate, though there are others. (This is a topic of academic debate, and we’re definitely not going there!) However they pronounced the word, the Maya had their own glyph (picture/word) for chocolate. Artisans inscribed this glyph on ceremonial chocolate pots, alongside pictures of kings, gods and animals sipping cocoa.
What kind of magic did ancient people associate with chocolate? Healing magic, for one. Chocolate could help a person stay awake, though in the right cases it might also have a soothing effect. Both the Maya and the Aztecs associated chocolate with blood, so it was natural for them to use it to influence human energies.

Chocolate was then, and is to this day, considered an aphrodisiac. According to legend, Montezuma consumed 50 cups of chocolate per day–more if he was planning a romantic evening. How well did this work for him? Well, scientists have also turned up a brain stimulant in chocolate called phenylethylamine, which can produce emotional highs. The only problem is, you’ll get a heftier dose of it by eating pickled herring and sausage. There are 300 chemicals in chocolate, which gives scientists a lot to work with. Among them, they’ve found the ingredient theobromine has energizing and therapeutic properties. And research indicates that even the smell of chocolate produces theta waves, which help relax us. On the other side, chocolate contains caffeine and plenty of calories. Maybe that’s what helped keep Montezuma going.

Chocolate was used in ritual–as an offering, or as part of betrothal or wedding ceremonies. The ancients seem to have universally associated it with blood. They would drip the blood of sacrificial offerings onto cocoa beans, or sometimes burn the beans themselves. Blood-red colored cocoa was best for ritual, and they used annatto to give the beans a reddish tint. The Mayan god Ek Chuah was the patron of cocoa growers and merchants. Among the Aztecs, offerings of cocoa were holy to the god Quetzalcoatl, who got kicked out of paradise for giving chocolate to the human race. Before that, the gods kept it for themselves.

Later, the history of chocolate is mixed with European conquest and enslavement, as chocolate became a cash crop grown in plantations. When Cortez demanded Montezuma’s treasures, he receieved a lot of cocoa beans in with the gold he wanted. He didn’t like it much at first, but he understood the commercial potential. This is how he described it in his pitch it to people back in Spain: “The divine drink that builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink will enable a man to walk for a whole day without food.” Later on, the Catholic Church used it as a fasting beverage. Its use spread in Europe when history’s first recorded chocoholic, Queen Anne, a Spaniard by birth, married King Phillip III of Austria. As its use spread, so did its medicinal reputation; many believed chocolate would aid digestion, purify the blood, and induce sleep.

Nowadays, most cocoa beans are once again grown by hand by independent farmers in equatorial regions. Small-scale farmers tend the plants, harvest the beans, and ferment, dry and pack the crop by hand. In Mexico, chocolate is still used as an offering to ancestors during the Day of the Dead, in the form of a dish of cocoa beans or a bowl of cocoa. As far as medicinal benefits, pure cocoa has a good mixture of fats and won’t raise your cholesterol. It’s also got antioxidants and flavonoids, as well as several micronutrients–all good stuff.

Okay, so it’s still got a lot of caffeine and calories. But sometimes that pick-me-up is exactly the magic we need!


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“A Past Life in East India” by Mari Powers

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Even before I remembered a past life experience in India, I had always felt incredibly drawn to India. People would choose gifts from India for me. I majored in East Asian studies in my first two years in college. Once I wanted to go to Nepal, meet a guru and become enlightened. I still love to wear East Indian clothing whenever I can. Hindu8-270x300

A vision of a past life in India happened years after I had let go of that dream of becoming a lifelong adherent of an Eastern religion. I had found another path, yet still loved East Indian culture, especially Hinduism.

During a Samhain (Halloween) ritual we looked for signs of our future in a darkened mirror. There were about twenty-five or thirty of us when our yearly gathering was still small enough to have in a rented space in downtown Madison. We were in the basement of a building called, “Gates of Heaven.”

In the darkened basement, we each held a candle to the side of a handheld mirror. That day I saw an image of a woman filled with power. At the time, I considered it to be a glimpse of the Goddess. Now, I know I was seeing into a past life, having gone backward in time, instead of into the future.

I saw a young woman with long dark hair walking on a dirt road. The backs of her legs are light brown. She is dressed in thin silk and she wore veils on her body and gold in her hair. Her belt and ankle chains jingled as she walked. She was a dancer, and each step she took on the path was light and graceful. Her hips moved gently, swaying in the joy of freedom as she walked. She turned, glanced back at me, and smiled. I had only a glimpse of the side of her face.

She turned a bit more and her eyes were sparkling dark pools. As I looked deep into them, I saw myself reflected there and was filled with light and joy.

It was then that I felt our souls were connected and that I had been that dancer at a temple, one likely devoted to music and arts. I had learned dances that were than over a thousand years old. All dancers in this temple were masters at expressing the ancient stories that uplifted, educated and entertained the community. We were honored and much beloved, female and male dancers alike.

I remember siblings in the community, and later in my life I did have a husband and one child. That was about when I passed the ripe old age of 30 or so. I remember no death experience from this life. Perhaps it was so quick and painless, as to be virtually insignificant.

Also, in this life, I believed in reincarnation my whole life, and death did not have the significance it had in other lives I have remembered. I am sure I was an ancient Hindu during it’s height of glory in the land of milk and honey.

This is the first glimpse I had of that life as an Indian dancer. From this life I attribute my life long love of music and dance, and chanting. I still love chanting with movements to tell a story or to teach a spiritual lesson.

Many years later I would see other glimpses of this life and of others during a combination Reiki healing session with a past life regression. During this session I remembered more, learned more of the purpose of remembering this life, and experienced a healing of my second chakra, as well.

During the Reiki healing journey I passed on a bridge of light from old Ireland into ancient India. It was like a portal opened up for me from above. I saw an India that was so old that the oldest of the tantric carvings on the temples were new. I saw sensual magic carved into stone; couples embracing. I recognized divine Goddesses and Gods molded into brass and gold and also embracing each other, not yet darkened by age. I heard a voice that said, “This was the land of milk and honey.”, and I could feel that it was true.

There was sexual healing here, true gender equality and abundance for all. There were silks and gold, lush fruit and vegetables from the vines and yearly bountiful harvest in the marketplace. I saw many elephants, real and carved. I saw and felt elephants mating, and then they turned to face each other. Their trunks were upraised like the curving of snakes and touched on the underside.

I felt a rush on energy up my pelvis, an opening of channels at the second chakra and throughout my whole body. The orange light healing energy rushed up my spine and turned to a royal purple at my third eye, then rose up to my crown chakra.

I believe this is the life from whence came the my veiled dancer. There was no fear in knowing or sharing with others the mysteries and magic in this life. Lovemaking was sacred magic, as was dancing and all forms of pleasure and joy in life.

This was a place where Goddess worship was unsullied by the restraints of puritanical Christianity. This was a place I was holy in my sensual self. I felt and rubbed the soft pink tongue of an elephant and leaned against its face, and opened further to the sensual healing that elephants bring. This was a place where there was abundance for all and I was whole. I brought this healing back with me as a gift in this life.

I also found that past lives are linked unbound by time and space. The healing I experienced in this life, transmitted itself to a healing to the woman I was in old Ireland as well. And that is yet another story, contained in the chapter on Past Life Regression, in the book I am writing titled, “Dancing in the Center of Magic”.

Click Here to Visit Mari Powers’ Website.


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“Routes Along the Pagan Path” by: Jared Hughes (Xerxes Obere)

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Many of the wiccans and neo/meso -pagans out there are, from what I see, mostly solitary. They have a private practice, one that they can morph and mold into the best practice for the self. They do this with the dedication that they feel to the craft and to the old gods. Being a solitary practitioner doesn’t mean that you must work by yourself, as might have been the case in the old days. You can work with others more often now, as an increasing number of people practice pagan faiths. Wicca1

However, you needn’t always work with a group, as some enjoy practicing alone, on their own terms. If you decide to work with others, you can always do this and still be solitary and work with a group. In this case you would be a celebratory or congregational member of a group instead of an initiated member. This means you celebrate and work with other members, but are not an initiated member of any tradition. Many people would prefer to stay out of the dogmatic or hierarchic aspects of traditions that are out there. This could mean working with a small family group or a larger temple/organized group from a tradition. This could include simple weekly meetings, devotionals, counseling or whatnot, as well as the sabbats/esbats and the like. Whatever it is that you are looking for is what you should set your mind to and look for within the local groups. Find out if they are well enough for you to be a part of in any aspect, even if the celebratory/congregation.

Now the last portion would be for those who want to be a part of either a national/world or regional group that has its set rituals and ceremonies and a full calendar of sabbats and esbats along with any other rites of passage. Most traditions have you start off your training as a dedicant, meaning that you have dedicated yourself to the path that you have chosen and opened your life up to the old gods. When you of start your training you are considered a neophyte, which is the lowest member of training. For all purposes, you would be considered a member while you are going through the training process for the first circle of the tradition or sect you plan to join. This training is standard, and you can use this training as information only, or go on to become a member of the coven/group. As I said, this is your own decision and you are the only one who will know if you are really ready for the path. Your training will usually take a year and a day. This isn’t always how it will go—while it will seldom be shorter, it can often be longer if your mentor/teacher thinks that you need more time. Some people already know much of the information, so your mentor/teacher will give you other assignments to make sure you understand and know the information that will be needed.

After your standard time you may go to the elders of the group and request that you get your initiation. Usually, at that point, they will give it some thought and either give you a final test and decided, or decline and have you train longer. I will not say anything on the actual process of initiation, as it is different for all people; the feeling you should get is one of rebirth and growth spiritually and any other aspects.

The first degree is only the starting portion of the clergy/priestly aspects, not the end but the beginning–that is, if you wish to go further within the process of the priesthood. The second degree within most traditions is the full-priest aspect. The one who is more adept and knowledgeable within the craft will now to be able to lead groups and help mentor take more active role within the temple and start leading more so then the first degrees. The second degree I find to be more of a calling, and many do not have the call to become more leaders and teachers within the craft, and also within the wider pagan community. This aspect of the craft can take anywhere from another year and a day to five years of additional training, depending on the structure of learning that your mentor and tradition call for. With the second degree you are more able to begin gathering students and others who may wish to hive off from the original coven and start a new one within the original group, of course with the blessing of your high priestess and council of elders.

The last of the degrees is the third degree. This is for the people who have the calling to really be the face of the neopagan community as a whole, and to be out in the wider community helping others and guiding pagans and non pagans together. The third degrees are the high priesthood, the ones that are looked up to and regarded as the ones who all others within the groups should look up too.

Third degree is definitely not for everyone. This is the priestly path for people who have the calling to go above and beyond just the normal grouping of pagans, to do anything and everything to help teach and guide, and to promote the acceptance of the community to the worldwide community. If this is your vocation, be ready for a long haul of learning and growth. In all, the standard learning process can take three years and three days or longer, depending on how you learn as well if the teachers/mentors or high priest/ess give the consent going up the ranks in the group.

This is not, by any means, for everyone within the neopagan community. Many are happy staying solitary, or working with a home group with close friends and family. Many out there may be quite fine with combining all three together, or be happy doing private work. You may want to work with a group privately, or a tradition’s group and go through initiation, to help the community along with your spiritual growth yourself. The decision is always yours and should never be a decision that has been made because of opinions of others.

Anyone can self-initiate, as there are many books out there with appropriate ceremonies. A private self initiation giving your life over to the old gods and celebrating them is how the original pagans did it, and it works/worked for the new pagan elders that started the re-emergence of the pagan way.

Blessed be!

Click Here to Visit Jared Hughes’ (Xerxes Obere) Website.


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Web of Dreams: The Origin of Dreamcatchers

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Category: Dreams
Written by Mimosa
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Dreamcatchers come to us from Ojibwe (possibly mixed with Lakota) tradition, originating long ago in the Great Lakes region. There are a couple variations on their Ojibwe name: asabikeshiinh, is the inanimate form of the word for “spider”; or asubakasin, which means “looks like a net”; or bwaajige ngwaagan, meaning “dream snare.” The most basic dreamcatcher is a small willow hoop connected with spider web-like threads. The dangling beads, feathers, shells, and other ornamentation combine small sacred items and personal tokens.

Originally they were hung on the loop of a baby’s cradle board, to catch any harm that might pass in the baby’s direction overnight. The nettle stalk cord or sinew that formed the web would gradually dry out after a few years, and crumble away by the time the child was old enough to handle his or her own dreams. Traditionally they were dyed red, either with bloodroot or with the inner bark of a wild plum tree. The design of early photographs shows a spiral radiating from the center of a multi-spoked wheel, somewhat different from the more random pattern of modern ones–and much more like a real spiderweb.

One tradition says that dreamcatchers originated in the days when the people still lived on Turtle Island. Grandmother Spider showed them the pattern of her web at dawn, when the rising sun picks up the dew on the slender strands. Grandmother explained that she captures the sunrise on the tiny points of light that gather in the dew on her web. As a spider’s web catches insects that fly into it, so could the people make a web to hold on to spiteful spirits or nightmares until the sunlight came. Good dreams, meanwhile, would find their way through the maze-like web and slide down the feathers to the sleeper. This idea from Grandmother Spider inspired the first dreamcatchers.

It was traditional to include a feather on each one, because feathers represent air, and thus the baby would be reminded to keep breathing as it slept. Girls would get an owl feather, boys an eagle feather–symbolizing wisdom and courage, respectively. Because these feathers are now protected, gemstones are sometimes used instead, chosen to symbolize the four directions. Feathers of non-protected species decorate the hanging cords.

Dreamcatchers became a symbol of Indian unity in the ’60s and ’70s. Indeed, the dreamcatcher has become interwoven with the understanding of many tribes. For example, Lakota tradition holds that the night itself is full of dreams, both good and bad. People may use our creative powers to engineer filters, keeping a balance between these forces.

These more philosophical ideas give a rationale for using a physical object to control something as ephemeral as dreams. In the store, though, we notice that children intuitively grasp this idea. Even the word “dreamcatcher” seems to speak to something deep within us.


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