Archive for the ‘The natural world’ Category
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Sacred Fire: the manifestation of Spirit

sacred fire“The Sacred Fire used to heat the rocks represents the eternal fire that burns at the center of the universe.” Dr. A.C. Ross, Lakota

I don’t believe I have ever been to a Native American ceremony that did not incorporate Sacred Fire.

Fire is a gift from the Creator. It is spirit made manifest.

It is untouchable yet touches us with it’s warmth and light.

When we learn how to communicate with it, our lives are enriched.

Just as the sun provides warmth and light, and allows growing things to flourish, fire warms our homes and cooks our food, and lights our way in the dark.

Even without looking for deep, spiritual meaning, fire is certainly mesmerizing. What is more relaxing than sitting and watching a fire?

Does fire have a consciousness?

I think the answer is, “yes.”

On the spring equinox, dancing and spiritual growth

spring equinox

This year the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is Friday March 20, at 22:45 UTC [coordinated universal time].

It’s a day of equal balance of the hours of light and dark before the sun continues its journey towards longer daylight hours and warming temperatures.

The equinox energy is strong for four days before and after March 20th, giving us time to bask in the opportunities and lessons it brings.

WHAT SETS THE SPRING EQUINOX APART FROM OTHER DAYS 

Ancient cultures throughout history have celebrated this time of rebirth of Mother Earth. But what does it mean for us? 

The earth is comprised of 70% water and, on average, so is the human body. That alone is a giant clue as to how interconnected we are.

What happens to the earth’s energy also happens within us, therefore we can experience more harmony if we work with the earth’s cycles instead of ignoring them. It’s not just another day.

Here are some of the aspects of the Spring Equinox and how I incorporate them into my own life so as to better communicate with the spiritual forces of the earth. You may wish to do the same.

WHAT IT TEACHES US ABOUT BALANCE IN OUR LIVES 

The equal hours of day and night represent balance: a balanced life is a healthy life. Do you eat enough healthy food?

  • Drink enough water?
  • Get enough sleep?
  • Exercise?
  • Play?

This is a good time to look closely at our lives and how to improve them.

HOW TO RENEW YOUR ENVIRONMENT 

Even though it doesn’t look like it in the northern U.S. right now, the earth is either starting to green up or will very soon. That greening represents renewal: clearing out the old to make space for the new.

What was dead [the earth by all appearances in this part of the country] comes back to life. What a miracle that is!

There’s a reason Easter and Passover are celebrated at this time of year!

Let spring cleaning be more than just vacuuming and dusting. Start the process of renewing your heart and mind by cleaning out closets and drawers to pass on those things we no longer use or wear regularly.

A good rule of thumb is: if you haven’t used it in the past year, let it go. Let your local shelter or non-profit thrift store benefit.

Holding on to old “material stuff” is also a representation of holding on to old “emotional stuff.” Be courageous and start the process of release and renewal.

If you have sage, smudge your entire house. Or use essential oils such as lavender to refresh and renew the home.

And don’t just clean the house. Clean the earth around it. Why not go for a walk this week and pick up trash along the side of the road? The earth spirits will thank and bless you.

There’s no dishonor in cleaning up after others who disrespect the earth. We are all earth keepers.

This is a good time to clean out the garden and plant something new. Clear out the old growth and dead leaves in your garden and ceremonial areas.

In the Native American tradition, bless your gardens with cornmeal or tobacco or a simple prayer.

If you have no outdoor gardens, bless your houseplants. And renew them: cut off the dead ends, check for insects. Are they happy where they are, or do they need a new location or a new pot?

Let your house plants represent inviting the green to return and bring goodness and abundance into your life.

And as your gardens start to be reborn, so can other projects in your life. What were you thinking about and planning over the winter? Now’s the time to take the steps to birth them into reality.

SURPRISES COME WHEN YOU LEARN TO BE OBSERVANT

As I write this, it’s currently 37 degrees Farenheit here in Michigan, and there’s still snow on the ground. There’s not really any sign of spring.

But the alignment of the earth, sun and moon says otherwise. And we cannot argue with the planets or deny our connection to them. The earth knows what’s supposed to be happening when the sun is at this equal point, and is starting to comply, even if it doesn’t look or feel like it.

Take a walk outside. Be observant. Look closely. Look for buds and shoots coming out. The signs are there and, when you see them, they will bring joy to your heart. 

Native Americans teach that one way to develop your intuition is by developing your powers of observation. Ask a question, then go for a walk outside and observe the natural world – the trees, grasses, flowers, animals, insects. Somewhere along the way, your observations will bring answers to your question.

WHAT THE EQUINOX CAN TEACH US ABOUT DETOXIFICATION

Our bodies naturally gain about 5 pounds each winter, as a way of helping insulate us from the cold. And in the natural course of things, we would lose those five pounds in the spring, as our activity level increases and we eat lighter food.

But the reason such a large percentage of the U.S. population is overweight is that we don’t lose those five pounds each spring because we don’t increase our exercise or lighten our diets. As a result, we’re gaining weight every year!

Spring is the time to change your diet. Start moving to lighter, easy-to-digest foods, and avoid dairy, fried or oily foods. Eat local, fresh fruits and vegetables as they become available.

In fact, you may intuitively feel yourself wanting change your diet this time of year.

You might even talk to your holistic health practitioner about doing a detox cleanse.

WHY THE EQUINOX IS A TIME FOR GRATITUDE AND CELEBRATION

Give thanks for all the joys, gifts and lessons of the winter.

Give thanks for all the good things springing up around us.

Give thanks for what you have and trust the Universe to continue to bring you more of what will serve your highest good.

I like to make a special meal and put some on an offering plate to be put outside for the nature spirits. This is an age-old gratitude prayer practiced by indigenous people all over the world to give thanks for the food that we eat, another gift from Mother Earth.

Celebrate the return of light and green and goodness.

And dance as if no one is watching while you’re at it.

[A version of this post was published on March 20, 2014].

Why you should throw away your sunscreen now

sunscreenIf you’re like me, you’ve spent your life slathering on sunscreen every time you were out in the sun.

Everyone said to do it. It was a no brainer, right?

Well, guess what? As with many pieces of health advice, “everyone” turns out to be wrong!

The latest research shows that if you apply sunscreen every time you’re in the sun, you’re blocking the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D. Adequate vitamin D may reduce your risk of up to 16 different types of cancer, including: pancreatic, lung, ovarian, breast, prostate and skin.

Vitamin D contributes to healthy bones, lowering blood pressure and protecting against a host of other diseases. Yes, you can take a supplement, but it will never be as good as the direct source of the sun.

In the USA, vitamin D deficiency is at epidemic levels. Ironically, vitamin D deficiency can lead to aggressive forms of skin cancer. A ground-breaking 2011 study published in Cancer Prevention Research suggests that optimal blood levels of vitamin D offers protection against sunburn and skin cancer.

Why we should greet the Sun each morning

sun“The Sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.” Galileo Galilei

The ancients have always known that the Sun is the center of the universe, yet how often do we wake up in the morning and greet it?

How much do we even know about it?

The Sun grows our food, brightens our days, affects the earth’s climate and our health. But we don’t think about it much except to cover ourselves in summer with toxic sunscreen that we don’t really even need [see next week’s post on that].

The Sun is also a great force of spiritual energy and spiritual teaching. So we should take the time to learn more about it!

Season’s Greetings!

Wishing you peace, love and light now and forever!

Here’s a small gift from me: a link to my 7 minute

guided meditation video: You Are Lightseasons greetings

 

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