Archive for the ‘The natural world’ Category
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Forest therapy: why a walk in the woods may be just what the doctor ordered

forest therapyOnce again, scientists are proving what indigenous people and nature lovers have always known:  being outdoors is healthy!   Specifically, new research shows that being surrounded by a forest environment, or “forest therapy” can improve your health.  And may even help fight cancer.

In Japan, forest therapy, or shinrin-yoku, is standard preventative medicine.  It’s not about being alone in the wilderness or extreme outdoor sports, it’s about allowing your body and psyche to hang out in the peace of the woods.

The term shinrin-yoku was coined by the Japanese government in 1982, but is based on ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices.  [There’s that ancient wisdom again!]  It’s also known as “forest bathing.”

It was just a few decades ago when people made fun of “tree huggers”  — as a former “tree hugger” myself, I now feel thoroughly vindicated!

The research on “forest therapy”

Japanese researchers studying “forest therapy,” have found measurable health benefits:

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

What Were You Doing While the World Was Falling Apart?

what were you doingWhat were you doing while the world was falling apart?  

Imagine your great-grandchildren asking you that question.  Can you be proud of your answer?   

The “seventh generation” principle taught by Native Americans says that in every decision, we must consider how it will affect our descendents seven generations into the future.  It is clearly not embraced by most governments and corporations in the world today. 

It is also at the heart of the Idle No More movement of the Canadian First Nation People. 

The Idle No More movement started in Canada in December 2012 as a response to Canadian Bill C-45 which lowers environmental protection standards for Canadian waterways, much of which passes through the land of indigenous [First Nations] people.   

It’s important to remember that before our ancestors came to North America several centuries ago, this entire continent was indigenous land. 

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

The Winter Solstice — Why It’s the True New Year

Winter Solstice

The sun enters Newgrange on the Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice is the day when light is reborn out of the darkness of winter.

Our days start to become longer and lead us back to the beauty of spring and the warmth of summer, stretching towards their peak at the Summer Solstice.

Most ancient cultures celebrated this return of light and life with feasting, music, light and fire, and for many, it was the true beginning of the New Year.

It was so important to the pre-Celt ancients of Ireland that they spent over 30 years building a monument to the returning sun:  Newgrange.

Older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza, it was designed so that on the Winter Solstice, the rising sun shines directly along the long passage into the inner chamber and for 17 minutes illuminates the chamber floor and the symbols etched on the back wall.

 What did the Ancients know that we don’t?

 It’s hard for the modern mind to imagine spending 30 years building something to celebrate a three-day event.  Yet, that’s how important the Winter Solstice was to the ancients.There are still traditional cultures around the world today that believe that the ceremonies they conduct on a daily, monthly and yearly basis keep the earth spinning on its axis.  I share their belief.The sun has never missed a day of brightening planet earth, but do we want to take that for granted?

We would not be able to live without the sun — it brings warmth and light and allows growing things to flourish.

The time of the Winter Solstice is rich with meaning

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

The True Halloween History: Honoring Our Ancestors

halloween historyMost of us think of October 31 as Halloween, a time to dress up in costumes and make merry. But Halloween history tells of so much more.

In Celtic times, it was a time to honor those who have gone before us.  The masked figures represent the spirits of the dead: our ancestors.

A Wee Bit of Celtic Halloween History

The ancient Celts, going back 4,500 years, divided each year into the dark half and the light half.  The end of the light half was marked by Samhain [pron. Sow-ihn], a time when they were stockpiling food for the winter and giving thanks to the Sun God.

It is also a time of year when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest – an appropriate time to invite the souls of the dead to come back for a visit. Candles kept in the window guide the souls back home and a place is set at the table for them.

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

A Native American Teaching on The Gift of Food

 

gift of food

“In our culture, whenever we receive a gift of food – whether someone buys us groceries or makes us breakfast or takes us out to dinner – we say that it extends our life.  And as we accept that food, we breathe a word of prayer so that the dividends of that gift might be multiplied into the life of the person who gave it.”  Bear Heart in The Wind Is My Mother

 Ceremonial Gift of Food

Viewing food as a gift is one reason that most Native American ceremonies I have attended include a pot-luck afterwards:  we are practicing the gift of life extension by feeding one another.

But before the people eat, a “spirit plate” is prepared and offered to either the Ceremonial Fire or Mother Earth.  This represents a thank you for all that we have received and a prayer for the continuation of life and that all the nations on earth have enough food and water always.

Many Native American ceremonies also include Spiritual food on the altar.  In the Lakota tradition it may be water, corn, berries and meat that are placed on the altar during the ceremony.

They are placed there as a prayer that the Eagle Nation will come and take the essence of that food to the places in the world where there is not enough food or water. So the food on the altar is a prayer that all the Nations have enough to eat.

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

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