Mermaid Tree

Exploring the complex, celebrating the simple

Mermaid+Tree News July 13, 2012

Filed under: Author: Mermaid — Mermaid Tree @ 6:14 am
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In the upcoming months, Mermaid and Tree will be doing a lot of traveling–together and separately. Wanna know where? You’ll just have to check out our site to find out! Stay tuned tuned for some spiritual thoughts and fun experiences shared on our lovely site!

We would like to also thank all of you who comment on here as well as on facebook–we love the feedback and conversation!

Also, you may notice that when you go to our site, it is just mermaidtree.com instead of themermaidtree.wordpress.com now (ok, maybe you didn’t notice, but now you do!). Don’t panic! We simply wanted to register our domain name and maybe make things a little easier for people to find us.

All of this traveling has me wondering…is there any place around that is exceptionally spiritual to you? Have you ever had any powerful experiences while traveling?

 

Ego in the New Age July 6, 2012

Filed under: Author: Mermaid — Mermaid Tree @ 1:36 pm
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At the Mermaid Tree, we recognize how difficult it can be to keep faith in a sometimes very negative world–no matter what religion or spiritual path you follow.  In particular, we recognize the unique challenges sometimes faced by those who follow alternative spiritual paths.  We seek to offer a supportive community where positive and intellectual discussion can be fostered.  We try to be sensitive to the fact that sometimes you lose friends, family, or support if you “out” yourself spiritually as non-mainstream.  If you follow an alternative path, you are consistently reminded in conversations every day–both casual and professional–just how different your world view is from most people you encounter.  In giving such support for each other in our community, it can sometimes be easy to fall into frustration with those who are more mainstream.  Out of this frustration can build a feeling to push back in a way, or even a feeling of better than in relation to those who follow a more socially accepted spiritual practice.  This is very dangerous, not only for the individual, but also for the community as a whole.

Most New Agers (or Neopagans, or Shamans, or whatever label you prefer–or none at all if that is your thing) moved away from a traditional religion because it felt too constricting.  They felt as though other people were forcing them to believe certain “truths” that they did not connect with on a personal level.  And spirituality is personal so it is only natural for people to explore until they find something with which they have that connection.  Many within the New Age community pull from several religions to create a set of beliefs unique to them–full of those things that sound true to them.  With this borrowing must also come a respect for the original religion as well–and there are many within the alternative spirituality community who don’t care if you adhere to a traditional religion or something less mainstream.  Spirituality is all about what works for you.  I, personally, believe that any way people connect to Spirit is beautiful–traditional or unique.  There is nothing wrong with any one path.  In the past, I have encountered those within the alternative spirituality community who appear to think otherwise, though.

There are some within the community who seek to convert those following a mainstream religion, to demonstrate to them that their beliefs are founded in lies, to make them turn away from something that gives them great fulfillment and satisfaction.  When the mainstream follower refuses to agree with all of the New Ager’s beliefs, they are called closed-minded and all of their personal beliefs are rendered invalid.  This is a trap that is not only very easy to fall into, but a dangerous one.  As long as they are not forcing their beliefs on you, why does it matter that someone finds complete satisfaction in traditional religious practices?  This is complete hypocrisy.  Just because someone disagrees with you, that does not make them closed-minded.  It just means they disagree with you.

There is a lot of talk around evolution and consciousness and vibrations within the alternative spirituality community, which can lead some to start thinking of themselves as better than those around them who are not aware of these subtle forces at work in our world.  From here, it is an easy jump to wanting to tell people what you believe and “make them understand.”  This is futile.  Everyone experiences God(dess) differently.  Spirit makes Him/Herself known in a variety of ways to people of different cultural and philosophical backgrounds.  There is no one absolute way to experience Spirit.  Building on this principle, as long as an individual is not forcing beliefs upon anyone else or using their beliefs as a basis for justification to hurt other human beings, there is no wrong way to connect to God.

This is a very simple concept, but one that is easy to forget.  If you think you are diverging into an egotistical view of spirituality, ask yourself these questions…

Do I often tell those that believe differently from me that they are wrong?

Do I discuss spirituality with others more to argue and convince others of my opinions than to open my mind to experiencing Spirit in other ways?  Am I at all interested in how other people view/experience/communicate with God?

Do I believe that the worth of people can be defined by how closely their beliefs resemble mine?

Do I think that those who follow a traditional religious belief system are automatically less intellectual than myself?

Do I lose respect for someone when I find out they follow a more mainstream practice of religion?

Do I call those that listen to me talk about my spiritual beliefs “closed-minded” while not taking the time to hear anything they want to share about their personal experiences with God?

Did you answer “Yes” to most of the above questions?  Be honest with yourself!  We all walk a fine line between independently defining our beliefs and then being too stubborn within them to see that other spiritual experiences may be equally and simultaneously just as valid.

Please share in a comment below or on Twitter using #newageego if you have any experience with this situation–whether you were the one with the ego, or you were receiving it.  We want to hear from you!

 

a question of Connection July 1, 2012

Filed under: Author: Tree — Mermaid Tree @ 2:36 pm
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As a spiritually in touch person, for lack of a better term, I consider myself to be fairly unattached from material items. I’ve always grouped technology in with this. I’m okay being away from my computer, phone, etc. In fact I enjoy going “off the grid” and not needing to respond back to emails or texts right on time. However, I’ve realized that I’m okay without technology when it is on a voluntary basis. The storm that passed through the DC area Friday night knocked out power, cable and internet for a lot of people. Power was out at some of the water facilities for the County, so we were warned that there might be a water shortage.
On Saturday I went to the mall and it was absolutely packed – and not just as an escape from the heat. Since so many houses now use electric stoves, people couldn’t cook. The line in Panera was going through the store as people ordered huge bags of take away items. People were using the public bathrooms as shower/changing rooms. And EVERY SINGLE power outlet was found and used. iPads, cell phones, laptops – cords and wires running everywhere. Every column in the mall that had outlets in it, had a ring of people leaning against them. When those ran out, people started opening the utility outlets that are imbedded on the floor (presumably for the cleaning people to use) and were camped out in the middle of the mall floor to charge their items.
This was after a storm that lasted about 30 minutes. My mind couldn’t stop from asking the question “What if there really was a disaster? What would we do?” Even though I have power at home, my internet and cable is out and my phone reception is dodgy at best. So here I am, camped out in Noodles and Company using their free wi-fi. Without being able to reliably make a call, send an email, check Facebook, tweet, or instant stream on Netflix I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on my weekend.
And if I still encounter this feeling as a “spiritual person”, then how will the rest of humanity handle it if there is a blackout for a larger area? for a longer period of time?
Being in the year 2012 makes one slightly more anticipatory of earth changes happening. But are we really ready? Do you actually have a plan in place for when our normal forms are communication are no longer accessible. If you can’t go to the mall (or Noodles and Company) to charge your technology for…a week? Or what if the Metro shuts down? These questions have always floated in my mind in theory, but now it’s striking more closely to home after this weekend. This post isn’t to get people all panicky. It’s simply to ask the question: how connected are you? Not technology connected; but deeply intuitively connected. It’s fine to miss scrolling through your newsfeed – we do exist in the modern world after all. But if something were to happen where communication is down for a large span of time, are you in touch enough with your inner guidance system to just “know” and trust where to go and what to do in an emergency. And do you have practical plans in place? Do you have a check in system with friends or family to meet at a certain location? Do you have water, canned food and toilet paper?
We all want change to happen. The start of a new age where we exist at a “higher” stage of awareness. But sometimes we forget that in order for creation to occur, destruction needs to come first to clear the way. So this is a call for reflection about the reality of the changes that we’ll be going through. Stay strong in your inner knowing. Stay connected to Heart, Great Spirit and Mother Earth. And be practical. Make plans, but recognize that you can’t cling to those plans. Everything changes in an instant. And don’t worry. All is as it should be.

Namaste.

 

A Midsummer Night’s Meditation June 20, 2012

Midsummer is upon us!  Blessed Litha and Merry Solstice to all who are celebrating!  This Summer Solstice is especially important as it is exactly six months out from the 2012 Winter Solstice.  The upcoming months will bring a lot of change for the world as well as the individual–be on the lookout and keep your connection to the Earth’s energetic grid strong as the wheel of the year turns toward the energetic shift in December.

Summer solstice celebrations date back to ancient times, where agrarian societies would gather to celebrate the coming prosperity of the harvest as well as fertility.  People would gather various herbs believed to be associated with healing, as this was considered to be an auspicious time to do so.  Among these herbs were calendula, good for soothing irritated skin, and St. John’s Wort, which has many uses but may be most popular as a holistic treatment for depression  (use carefully, as St. John’s Wort interferes with the effectiveness of birth control pills).  These celebrations usually involved a large bonfire to keep away “evil” or mischievous spirits and sometimes dragons.  Often individuals or couples would jump over a bonfire as a prosperity ritual.  It was believed that as you jumped across, your troubles “burned up” in the fire.  The day is also associated with love, as Shakespeare touched on in his work A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  There were several rituals open to young women who wished to see or dream of the man they would marry.  As Christianity was introduced to these cultures, the Midsummer traditions were kept, but the day was said to celebrate St. John the Baptist instead and was called St. John’s Eve.

In contemporary times, many cultures around the world still celebrate the summer solstice, especially in Europe.  Neo-pagans also observe this day as a holiday.  If you would like to participate in the celebration of Summer, here are a few easy ways…

  • Place a candle on the ground (preferable outside, not around anything flamable) and–carefully–take turns jumping across it.  Just BE CAREFUL for any clothing on your person or anything around the candle that may catch fire.  When doing fire rituals, always have lots of fire ready just in case.
  • Eat a meal of fresh fruits and vegetables–share with friends and family!
  • Meditate on the fact that this is the longest day of the year, and what that means in the Wheel of the Year
  • Enjoy some beautiful weather by doing an outside activity (see previous post)
  • Make herb sachets involving calendula or St. John’s Wort

Want more ways to celebrate?  Follow us on Twitter @themermaidtree or visit our Facebook page.  Is there something special that you are doing in honor of the solstice?  Please share with us below!

 

Lift A Stone and You Will Find Me June 9, 2012

The idea that Spirit is all around us is found in many different spiritual traditions (the title for this post came from the Gospel of Thomas, for example, but there are many other sacred texts that speak of how God is everywhere).  Sometimes it can be easy to take for granted the beauty in nature, and forget how amazing our planet really is.  Summer is a great time to take advantage of the nice weather and get more in touch with Earth and Mother Nature.  The time between Beltane and Litha is full of bursting energy and vitality everywhere! Just taking a walk in appreciation of the beauty and peace that exists on our planet can sometimes be all you need to feel refreshed or relaxed. If you are by yourself, try an “active” meditation, where you allow your thoughts to clear and then try to focus on seeing/sensing the energy emanating from the grass, trees, flowers, animals, etc around you. Feel your connection with all of Nature as you move through it. This connection is never broken, just sometimes forgotten. If you are with someone, try to focus your conversation on what you see around you, instead of on work, family, or financial issues you may be dealing with.

Not sure where to go? If you live in the Southeast region of America, try starting by checking out one or all of the following places below:

Smith Gilbert Gardens

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Found in Kennesaw, GA, the Smith Gilbert Gardens are a little off the main road.  Though small compared to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, its secluded location allows for much fewer crowds and a better chance of a more personal experience in connecting to Spirit through the beauty of its foliage and artistic sculpture dispersed throughout.  Cost is low, but varies depending on if you go on a day when there is an event or guest speaker.  Along with the peaceful path through trees, bushes, and flowers, the gardens also include two koi ponds, a waterfall, and a bonsai tree collection.  If you are in the metro-Atlanta or North Georgia area, I highly recommend visiting the Smith Gilbert Gardens for a relaxing afternoon in seek of Spirit.

Chattanooga

Chattanooga, Tennessee is a surprisingly eclectic and artsy city with plenty of things to do to fill a day trip or full weekend stay.  While I did enjoy the museums and I’ve heard the aquarium is worth visiting, the monument commemorating the beginning of the Trail of Tears made the biggest impact on me.  I did a brief meditation at each station and connected with the tiled Native American symbols that are part of the monument.  It is a beautiful and contemplative place, though it was a bit busy on the day I went.  Walking along the river, you can read about the history of the area on plaques while enjoying the blend of water and earth elements.  There are also river cruise opportunities!

Daytona Beach Pier

The city of Daytona Beach, FL has recently taken over the pier and done a huge renovation.  As it is a very popular tourist destination, this is not necessarily the place for a quiet meditation on the beauty of the water.  It is, however, a great, inexpensive way to connect to the element of water through the ocean.  There are many hotels lining the beach that can fit any budget and Daytona is one of the last beaches in the country that you can still drive on, allowing you to just park on the sand, take the chairs out of the trunk, and enjoy the sun.  The pier goes pretty far out into the water, which is why I recommend walking to the end (beware of fishing lines being throne in random directions!) and just losing yourself in the rhythm of the waves and the tide.  I hope the city continues to update the area, but until then I would say the pier is your best bet for some nature-bonding time.  If you are looking for something a little less crowded, try Flagler Beach in St. Augustine, found a little ways north of Daytona.  The historic downtown area is full of metaphysically-minded people and the beach is much less popular for out-of-state tourists.

Rock City

Rock City, Georgia is set high in the mountains on the boarder of Georgia and Tennessee.  It consists of a beautiful walking trail through rock formations, with some surprises along the way.  At the trail’s highest point, you can see seven states on a clear day.  The picture above is of the waterfall called Lover’s Leap, named after two young Native Americans who could not be together due to tribal disagreements.  They both leaped off the rocks to be together in eternity.  To read the full story and see all that Rock City has to offer, I recommend taking the scenic drive up to this theme-park type attraction.  There are plenty of places to stop, sit, and contemplate the beauty surrounding you as well.  This is a very unique place and definitely worth visiting, if only for its unexpected whimsical nature, involving gnomes and Mother Goose.

Of course, you don’t have to travel to anywhere new to connect with Earth. Visit a local park or just go into your backyard (if you have one) and look around. Take a walk around your neighborhood or visit a local lake, river, or ocean. Or, buy an indoor plant for your home and connect with its energy.

Please share with us your experiences at the above places as well as any new suggestions for where to go in a comment below!

All photos in this article were taken by the author in 2012.  Thank you for respecting her ownership of these images by not reproducing them.

 

Beltane: A Revisit May 1, 2012

Filed under: Author: Mermaid — Mermaid Tree @ 5:26 pm
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While speaking with a family member recently, I casually mentioned the beginnings of Beltane/May Day and the spiritual symbolism of the maypole, dressing in white, etc. I was taken aback by her fascination with the information. In college, younger versions of Tree and Mermaid taught the origins of all the holidays. I have recounted the story so many times that I forgot how many more times I should keep telling it. Eventually, it began to feel like common knowledge amongst my core social circle. It managed to slip my mind just how many people out there do not know these things…and how many of them would find them interesting.

Instead of retelling my run-down of the historic and spiritual origins of this fire festival, I found a really good article on BBC’s website. Click HERE to go to the online article in their Religions section to find out about the beginnings of Beltane as well as how modern Pagans generally celebrate.

Even if you do not generally follow an earth-based spiritual path, I suggest finding a maypole to dance around or a grassy field in which to frolic today. Light a candle and ponder the true abundance around you.  Give thanks to the Universe for all of the love, in its many forms, that exists in your life.

Doing something fun today?  Share with us below or by following us on Twitter @themermaidtree using the hash tag #beltanemayday

 

A Poem For the Newest Souls April 28, 2012

I was moved this afternoon to jot down the following poem after reflecting on time recently spent with a special itty bitty (my name for what normal people call children).  No, this is not my biological clock tapping on my shoulder and urging me along.  This is simply in response to a connection made.  Those who follow us on Twitter will know (don’t follow on Twitter?  Well now you should!). 

 

More Truths Than You’ve Gathered

do not underestimate me

for though I may be small

my heart has set foot here before

and I’m familiar with the call.

words change over centuries,

the message is the same

to love, to care, to join, to share

brings more joy than fame.

I see more than you think.

I know more than you’d guess.

I remember what’s at the core

of the message time has tried to suppress.

Do not underestimate me

for though I may be small

now I remember more truths

than you gathered here, growing tall.

2012

 

 

Think twice before discouraging the amazing imagination of children.  What we call “imagination” might be a message from Spirit.  What we call “fantasy” might just be the truth that you have forgotten.  Children have a habit of being brutally honest…whether you want them to or not.  Many struggle with how to raise their kids, spiritually, especially in today’s world though.  Sometimes it seems like the structure of a more mainstream religion would be easier for them to process and better for them socially.  Are any of you struggling with this or have an opinion on children and alternative spirituality?  Use the hash tag #newagebaby to reply on Twitter with your thoughts, stories, and suggestions.  Or, comment below…