Monthly Archives: May 2014

the laughing Buddha & his symbolism

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Category: Buddhism
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Buddhism teaches that the Buddha can come to us in many forms. But when it comes to images, most Buddhas fall into two categories: depictions that represent the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, or another ascetic Boddhisatva; or the laughing Buddha called Hotei (also spelled Po-tai or Budai). The latter form isn’t meant to look anything like the teacher who awakened in India 2500 years ago. Rather, the chubby, laughing one was a Chinese monk who lived around 1000 CE. Hotei is considered a form of the Maitreya Boddhisatva, also called the future Buddha.

Laughter was Hotei’s teaching. He would walk into a crowded marketplace with his little knapsack of worldly possessions and just start laughing. Others in the crowd, who a moment before had been hurrying off somewhere or caught up with business, would notice this strange little man. Maybe they would take a minute from their busy lives and stop to think why someone who obviously had so little seemed to be so happy. And maybe they’d even laugh along.

Hotei wandered from town to town teaching in this way, often with a gaggle of children following him down the street. His nickname simply means “cloth sack,” because he carried all his possessions in one small bag. (His real name was Qieci.) Though he was poor and homeless, he never wanted for anything. People were happy to give him enough food to maintain his pleasingly plump figure, and counted themselves lucky to do so, because Hotei’s good luck rubbed off on everyone he met. They said he could put people’s troubles in his cloth sack and turn them into good fortune, and even grant wishes. Hotei was an irresistible force of positive energy.

Even death couldn’t slow him down — the little monk lived on in stories and art. One story says a Zen master once came to him, asking, “What is the meaning of Zen?” Hotei put down his traveling sack. Then Hotei picked the sack up again, saying, “What is the practice of Zen?”, and walked away. The questioner, probably after a minute or two of scratching his head, got the message: To understand Zen is to let go of the burdens of life, and thus escape suffering; to practice Zen is to move on with life’s daily chores in such a way as to ease the suffering of others.

Another somewhat less spiritual tradition says that if you eat or drink too much in the presence of Hotei Buddha, you can blame it on him. “Buddha made me do it!”

In time, towns put up statues of the laughing Buddha, and families kept smaller statues of him in their homes. To this day, many people rub his fat belly for good luck. Some depictions, including many of the figurines we sell at Mimosa, signify various things through a variety of props and poses:

1. Buddha carries a money bag and gold ingot, representing wealth and luck.

2. Buddha stands with two balls over his head, one for riches and one for happiness.

3. Buddha sits on a big gold nugget, holding a smaller gold nugget to give away. He’s a symbol of abundance, and the wealth that comes through sharing.

4. Buddha sits under a fan hat or parasol, kicking back and enjoying the good life. Sometimes called the “Happy Home Buddha.”

5. Buddha stands holding the Ru-Yi pot (bowl of plenty) overhead, collecting abundance and good fortune from the universe.

6. Buddha carries a fan in one hand and the wu lou (bottle gourd) in the other. The gourd protects from illness, while the fan wards off bad luck. This is a Buddha of protection.

7. Buddha carries his cloth sack, taking away troubles and turning them into good fortune. Hotei used to beg pennies, then use that money to buy gifts for others — an active version of the Zen story mentioned above. Hotei is sometimes called the “Buddhist Santa Claus.”

8. Buddha with the bag of blessings in one hand and the fan in the other represents safe travels. Often he wears prayer beads as well. He gives protection and blessings during either regular or spiritual journeys.

9. Buddha holding a ball is a symbol of love. The ball may also symbolize a pearl of wisdom or a peach symbolizing good health.

10. Buddha sits on a bag of blessings, holding his Ru-Yi begging pot and a wealth ball or peach. This one is called “Long Life Buddha.”

11. A fan may represent the Oogi fan. In feudal china, when peasants went to their lord to ask for a favor, the nobleman would give his “yes” by waving his fan, presumably because he was too high and mighty to talk to the common folk. Hotei’s use of the wish-granting fan is a playful reference to this custom.


12. Buddha seated on dragon chair grants wishes and shares wisdom. The chair itself often has the Chinese characters for “good fortune and luck” on the back, and coins scattered around it.

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Holistic Healing with Herbs: Stress

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Category: Holistic Healing
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By Dr. Christina Wilke-Burbach PhD, RMT

There are so many different forms of stress in our society nowadays that it is almost impossible to escape. A stressor acts like a trigger as it causes the body to go into fight or flight mode. The natural order in the body is disrupted and normal bodily functions and brain/body chemistry is interrupted. The point of these physiological changes throughout evolution was to enable the species to survive through fighting danger or running away from threats. But instead of physical danger, much of today’s stress is emotional. Individuals interpret situations as being beyond their control or perceive that they do not have enough resources to cope with the situation thus creating stress.

Stress is cumulative; it continues to add up and its effect can impact health. Stress increases heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and the inflammation response. Stress also increases the production of stress hormones and neurotransmitters. If these levels do not return to baseline, they continue to circulate in the body and do serious damage. It is estimated the stress is either directly or indirectly responsible for up to 85% of dis-ease and illness; particularly chronic ailments such as heart disease, headaches, autoimmune disorders, and digestive disorders.

One of the best ways to combat stress and counteract the health effects of stress is to utilize the healing gifts of Mother Earth. I personally and professionally have had the best results in herbal healing using botanicals to treat stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Nature has everything we need to promote health and wellness. There is no reason to reach for pharmaceuticals that bring on more side effects than the ailment we originally aimed to treat. I am an advocate for holistic healing; treating the entire person, mind, soul, and self. Let’s take a look at how to use herbs holistically to treat stress.

Physical: Everyone in the United States should probably be using an adaptogenic herb on a regular basis. Adaptogens are a category of herbs that buffer against and protect us from the effects of stress. They are often used as tonics. Adaptogens improve the immune system, have antioxidant properties, increase energy, protect the liver, and decrease our cravings for sugar when stressed. There are a number of Adaptogens, but I will just mention two, Asian ginseng and American ginseng.

Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) is a yang tonic. This means that it promotes yang energy (warm/dry energy). This adaptogen is appropriate for those with a cool constitution: chronic fatigue, lethargic, low blood pressure, cold, “lazy” energy. Suggested dosage is 200-400mg. Ginseng may be used up to 3 months at a time.

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), is a yin tonic. This means that it promotes yin energy (cool/damp energy). This adaptogen is appropriate for those with a hot constitution: type A personality, high blood pressure, aggressive, hyperactive, hard time relaxing, hot, etc. Note: This herb grows well in Wisconsin! Suggested dosage is 100-200mg, up to 3 times a day. Ginseng may be used up to 3 months at a time.

Emotional: There are a number of emotional symptoms of stress but let’s focus on using sedating herbs to reduce anxiety and insomnia. Please note, the herbs below should not be combined with alcohol or other sedatives such as sleeping pills or anxiety medications as they can compound the effects.

Kava (piper methysticum) is the most studied herb used to treat anxiety. It is a potent and significantly effective anxiolytic and sedative and has also been found to relieve insomnia and restlessness. Suggested dosage is 100mg up to three times daily. Do not take Kava on a daily basis for longer than 4 to 6 months. Do not use if you have liver damage.

Passion Flower (Passiflora caerulea or Passiflora incarnate) is a gorgeous vine/flower that grows well in WI. Scientific studies have found that passion flower is just as effective as benzodiazipines in relieving anxiety. Unlike benzodiazepines, passion flower is not addictive! Suggested dosage is 90mg.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) Valerian root is commonly used a sedative-hypnotic for insomnia sleep disorders. Most clinical valerian studies focus on sleep though it has been used for anxiety. Like most of the herbal anxiolytics, it is believed to work on the GABA system. Certain serotonin receptors are also implicated. Suggested dosage is 400-900 mg.

Spiritual: Stress also affects our energetic body; aura, chakras, etc. It’s important to clear away energy we may have absorbed from other people/environments, as well as our own energy that we are holding on to that no longer serves us a higher purpose. A great way to use herbs for spiritual and metaphysical healing is to create a smudge stick. Your intent, along with burning the herbs releases the energetic properties of the herb. Dry the herbs and then braid them together. Light one end as you state your intent for using the herb to the universe. Let the smoke purify your energy system.

Angelica (Angelica Archangelica) protects by both creating a barrier against negative energy and by filling it’s user with positive energy.

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is purifying. Use to repel and rid negative energies and influences.

Tobacco Leaf (Nicotiana rustica) is sacred to the Native American Tradition. When burned as an incense purifies a space.

**Any of the above herbs in the physical and emotional section can be used as teas, tinctures, or capsules. Please consult with your physician or pharmacist before taking herbs if you are on medications to avoid potential reactions. Please remember, just because something is natural does not always mean it is 100% safe! The above article is not meant to be a substitution for regular healthcare.

About Christina: Dr. Christina Wilke-Burbach is a Holistic Health Psychologist, wellness consultant, Reiki Master Teacher, ordained minister, intuitive, light worker, and an Awakening Your Light Body Graduate. Her business is Mind, Soul, and Self LLC based in WI. She has her PhD in Health Psychology, a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, 2 bachelor degrees in Psychology and Cultural Anthropology, and a minor in Sociology. As a Holistic Health Psychologist and educator, she specializes in three areas of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: natural health, energy medicine, and mind/body medicine. She has presented at academic conferences and has taught hundreds of classes, workshops, and group sessions throughout the Midwest and beyond. She is a published author and award winning researcher and healthcare provider. She is an instructor in The Art of Healing School of Energy Medicine in Milwaukee, WI and was an instructor in the Institute of Intuitive Arts and Sciences in Madison, WI. She combines science with intuition. For more info, please visit:

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So Many Different Pendulums!

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Category: Divination
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by Kelly Lingen

If you’ve ever admired a sparkling display of pendulums in a new-age shop before, you probably noticed that there were many different shapes, colors, and baubles that comprised them – not to mention a variety of materials such as crystals, metal, and wood, too. The uniqueness of each pendulum, its shape, color, and material makeup – these aren’t the only differences that separate one pendulum from another. There are actually different types of pendulums as well!

Not knowing the differences from one pendulum to the next can really add to the confusion when you’re trying to choose one to work with, even for an experienced dowser. If you’d like to know more about the different types of pendulums you can work with, read on. One of them might be just the right type for you!

Beginner’s Pendulum: A beginner’s pendulum can usually be identified by its very simple and basic design. Typically a beginner’s pendulum consists of a gemstone weight and a sterling silver or silver plated chain. The shape of the weight is often rounded at the bottom resembling an inverted teardrop. At the end of the chain you will usually find a bead, charm, or small crystal. While most pendulums have something of this nature at the end of the chain or cord, it’s especially common for beginner’s pendulums to have this feature as it helps the “newbie” dowser get comfortable holding their new pendulum.

Chakra Pendulum: Not only are chakra pendulums beautiful, they’re easy to identify, too. Need a hint? Just look for a pendulum that features the colors of your chakras: typically red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple/clear chakra featured along the sterling silver chain, in either gemstone chips or beads. Others have the chakra colors displayed in or on the pendulum weight itself. I’ve seen weights that have gemstones representing each chakra aligned vertically on a pendulum weight. I’ve also seen a “cage” weight with each chakra gemstone inside the cage – either all at once or one at a time. Chakra pendulums can be used for all manners of dowsing, but are especially designed for chakra balancing, clearing, and healing.

Chambered Pendulums: Chambered pendulums are pretty darn cool if you ask me! They go unnoticed sometimes because they are usually pretty plain on the outside. Often made of wood, chambered pendulums are just that – chambered. It you look closely at one, you’ll see that you can remove the top by carefully unscrewing it. The bottom half of the weight is a tiny chamber that you can put something in. Chambered pendulums are especially useful when dowsing for other people, especially when dowsing at a distance or dowsing for a missing person.

*Please note: Never put liquids of any kind inside a chambered pendulum if it’s made of wood. Liquids will soak into the wood and cause permanent damage to your pendulum.

Egyptian Pendulum: While readily available, Egyptian pendulums are not always as easy to find as some of the other types. Egyptian pendulums stand out in the crowd, though, that’s for sure! Slender in appearance, the top of the pendulum weight stands regal and proud. To me, it resembles a chess piece. The bottom of the weight is simple and smooth, and it comes to a slim, rounded point. Egyptian pendulums come in a variety of materials including but not limited to gemstones, porcelain, and wood. They are excellent for all matters of dowsing but are especially helpful when it comes to locating or selecting land, precious resources (metals and water), and lost objects.

Hexagonal Pendulum: Hexagonal pendulums are very similar to beginner’s pendulums in their simplicity, but their hexagonal shape is what gives them their uniqueness when it comes to healing. An inverted hexagonal cone, these pendulums closely resemble the shape of a beehive. What does this symbol represent for us? How about community? If you’d like to work with a pendulum that will improve and heal communication issues, relationships, and collaborations, perhaps this is the right match for you.

The next time you’re out shopping for a new pendulum, take a closer look at the selection in front of you and see if you can identify some of the different types of pendulums mentioned here. Who knows? Maybe one of them will end up being just the right match for you!

Happy Dowsing!

About Kelly: Besides being an employee at Mimosa, Kelly Lingen is an instructor for the Love & Light School of Energy Medicine, a freelance writer, and the mother of five. Although she enjoys writing and teaching on a variety of subjects, her specialties include crystal healing, dowsing, art as a spiritual practice, and natural living.

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Why Am I Who I Am?

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Category: Astrology
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Astrology article by Barry Kerr

Do you ever wonder why your life is what it is? Why do you have your particular appearance and personality? Why did you inherit those exact genes? And what about that childhood family, those parents … or lack thereof? Perhaps, for you, there is some level of pain or discomfort that accompanies these questions. zodiac

Perhaps you remember, like most people do, that as a small child, you felt some sense of wrongness or pain about being in this world. Something wasn’t right. It might be an obvious memory of being physically or psychologically abused or neglected. Or it could be a subtle feeling, a latent adult and vague awareness of something amiss and incomplete in those early years of naivety.

Whether obvious or subtle, such childhood experiences carry deep and profound messages into our adult years, often resulting in repeated patterns of sadness, anxiety, fear, aggressiveness, withdrawal, depression or an assortment of other life-depleting behaviors. At some point, if your own pattern becomes enough of a hindrance to your sense of enjoyment or well-being, you may find yourself confused and seeking answers to these questions, longing for some perspective and meaning. Ultimately, you may be longing for relief, for healing, for wholeness. You might turn to a healer, a therapist, a psychic or a spiritual teacher.

Among the many effective resources addressing this longing, there is one that is emerging as a profoundly direct and efficient channel to decipher the context and meaning of your unique life and your avenues for healing and fulfillment. Whether you suffer from ongoing pain and seek healing, or you just feel a need for clarity and direction in your life, soul-based astrology offers clear and reliable guidance and answers. When combined with modern psychology, healing and spiritual growth coaching, it becomes a powerful tool for personal transformation.

You probably know your own astrology birth sign, whether it’s Leo or Capricorn or some other. Perhaps you occasionally read the simplistic astrology “forecasts” in your newspaper. If that’s all you know of astrology, put aside your preconceptions, for you will be surprised to discover that in your astrological birth chart (based on the date, location and exact time of birth), there are many other factors involved, including all the planets, the moon and other astronomical references. These all have particular meanings that reflect the complexity of your own, unique inner make-up. Some are contradictory, reflecting the inner parts of you that often seem contradictory. Others represent the ways your inner parts seem to co-exist with ease and contentment. This is a deep and rich blend of science and wisdom, used by thousands of well-respected mental health professionals, including Jung himself.

Unlike psychic readings or serendipitous moments of inner revelation, within this complex language of symbols, a combination of logic and intuition allows you to “read” for yourself, the information that can answer your deepest questions about your life. You can find revealed, in your birth chart, the reasons your soul chose this particular lifetime, the goals your soul wants to reach, and the particular ways that your personality, parents, siblings, other significant relationships and childhood circumstances, including the pain, are supportive and loving parts of your soul’s plan. Your chart can also give you and an ally insights into how, with more awareness of that plan, you can increase your prospects for healing, learning and growing faster, so you can increase your sense of fulfillment and maximize your life potential.

A soul-based astrology reading, for many, is a life-altering experience. To be able to know, first hand, that your unique personality and life was reflected accurately at birth in the configuration of the planets in our solar system is not only an awesome mystical experience that confirms the absolute positive and loving nature of our universe, but also one that you can return to at any moment throughout the rest of your life. That makes it a very useful tool for ongoing self-awareness and for understanding your relationships to others. No wonder so many healers, coaches and therapists are using astrology as part of their ongoing service to clients. By tapping into the archetypical energies of a person’s make-up and current situation so directly, it catalyzes and amplifies the intuitive awareness from the soul that enhances lasting healing and personal transformation.

Barry Kerr, certified soul-based astrologer, has 33 years of experience with an international clientele, including many medical professionals. He and Kristine Gay, a licensed psychotherapist, are owners/practitioners at Inner Essence Center in Madison. Both have extensive training in soul-guided healing of mind, body, heart and spiritual systems. They offer healing, coaching, therapy and astrology services. Visit, has 33 years of experience with an international clientele, including many medical professionals. He and Kristine Gay, a licensed psychotherapist, are owners/practitioners at Inner Essence Center in Madison. Both have extensive training in soul-guided healing of mind, body, heart and spiritual systems. They offer healing, coaching, therapy and astrology services. Visit

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