Mermaid Tree

Exploring the complex, celebrating the simple

Ways to maintain your meditation practice November 18, 2009

 

In your outer life

If you can feel

consciously and soulfully happy

Even while doing

Ordinary, mundane things,

God will consider this

Your real meditation

~Sri Chinmoy

 

We all go through rough patches.  Life gets busy and stressful, and that can affect our ability/desire to meditate.  Worrying about work or school, trying to stave off a cold, and trying to plan life in general, does not exactly create a Zen mood that is conducive to meditation.  So maybe you tell yourself that you’ll meditate when you “have more time.”  Go ahead…raise your hand if you’ve done that.  *raises hand!*  Well, like me, you’ve probably found that this can lead to loooong periods of not meditating at all because you keep thinking you’ll be able to find time the next day.

What would really help, is if you do something simple every day (or every other day) to keep your spiritual life healthy.  So, the next time you get stuck, try using some of the methods discussed below to help maintain your meditation practice. 

  • Work with something that you connect with easily and that you enjoy using. For me it’s usually crystals and tarot. Even when I have trouble meditating, I just lay down with a crystal (or several) and let them do their thing!  When you are stressed, try not to do too many actual tarot readings because it’s hard to stay objective; and you might just end up confusing yourself more. Instead, you can pull a card each morning and meditate on that card. It helps give you some focus and guidance during the day.  (If you aren’t comfortable using the Tarot, you can purchase Oracle cards.  Some of them have messages written on them are especially good for daily guidance.)
  • Light candles instead of turning on the lights.(But make sure you don’t end up straining your eyes.  Go ahead and use a lamp if you’re going to read!)  Candlelight is always so soothing, and it puts you into a relaxed and receptive state. So even if you don’t meditate, your consciousness is still being brought into a state of openness and creativity. Just think of the Goddess Brigid’s flames of inspiration. 
  • Write in your journal, or write a letter to God/dess or your Angels.  It’s a wonderful way to sort through your thoughts.  Write what you are grateful for, what you are nervous or fearful about, what you need guidance about.  Write about the big things and the little things.  Just let it all out.  It’s between you and your Spiritual Team (and they love you and want to help you!  Just ask!)
  • Listen to music and dance.  Sound is such a powerful tool.  Ohm:  the sound of creation.  So listen to music that soothes, uplifts and empowers you. Listen to songs that you connect with good memories that’ll make you laugh!  And dance!  Your entire being (including your body) is a manifestation of Spirit’s creative force.  So using your body as a way to connect with the Divine through dance is not wrong.  Dance like a god/dess.  Dance like you are the wind soaring over plains.  Dance like you are a thunderstorm.  Dance by yourself, with your partner, with friend…just dance!  (And of course playing an instrument falls under this category!!!!!!)
  • Pray.  Say the prayers or invocations that make you feel reassured.  Say the Rosary, recite mantras, read the Charge of the God/dess, state affirmations, read from Sacred Texts.  Write your own prayers
  • Make sure you bless your food and water. It really helps. Appreciate and be aware of the food you are putting into your body.  I personally find tea to be incredibly comforting. Plus I love the blend of water and earth! The way the herbs infuse the water and transform it into something else entirely is a magickal process – alchemy. 

These methods don’t require a lot of time, and they can help you regain and maintain your spiritual, emotional and mental balance.  Give it a try!

What other methods do you use to maintain your meditation practice?  Comment below!

 

Poem of The Week: “At Risk” November 16, 2009

Filed under: Author: Mermaid — Mermaid Tree @ 3:04 pm
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AT RISK

Life is always lived at risk.
We may grow complacent
And not realize it.
We may not snell the fresh sweat
Of anxiety or excitement,
But what are we breathing for?
Touch the nerve of passion
And live for greatness.
Fear of failure stops many,
But Death stops everyone.
So love without restraint,
Create the New,
Follow the courage of your highest dream.
Fate favors your daring.
Risk surrounding to Love,
And gain your Soul.

From the book “Art Psalms” by Alex Grey. Pg 87

What is your reaction to this week’s poem?

 

Horoscopes: Sense of Control or Comfort?

Filed under: Author: Mermaid — Mermaid Tree @ 3:04 pm
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Horoscopes make for a complicated subject only because they have integrated so well with popular culture. People tend not to view them as a possible part of someone else’s spiritual beliefs, much less care to know a bit about their origins. What is amusing is that many of these same people probably check the paper or watch the news for the weather before they leave the house in the morning. Centuries ago, good days for planting and harvesting were generally found in the same sources as those proclaiming to know good days for love and luck. All was considered helpful information in life.

Today there are so many resources from which to get your horoscope that the validity of this practice is easy to call in to question. How do you know who is telling you the most accurate horoscope? The truth is you don’t, unless you study astrology and plot everything out yourself. I would suggest taking a step back from this approach though. Perhaps there is no concrete validity and different sources just speak better to different people. Some may prefer the two sentence blurb about their day on Yahoo or in the local newspaper (I checked these daily for many years) while others prefer the in-depth monthly horoscope from Astrology Zone (a website that many of my friends and I currently use). Whatever it is, there might be a reason you are reading that specific one. You connect more with the author, much like a good book makes you want to read the rest of a series.

What is important with horoscopes and astrology in general is that you remember not to take them too seriously or as definite predictions. You should look at them more as a general overview of the possibilities of the day. It is a summary of the types energies surrounding you and which ones are the strongest at that particular time. Each energy has the potential of attracting an action or event but you must take into account free will and what is going on with you personally already. If you are concerned with the validity of your source, try reading your horoscope at the end of the day and, without stretching details to make things corroborate, see if it was accurate. Many believe those who read horoscopes in the morning live their day so that it will be accurate, reinforcing their beliefs. This would be a way to keep yourself in check. There is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of skepticism every now and then.

I personally read my horoscope every morning from an iPhone app that I have found to be scary-accurate for my days as well as how the people around me will be acting. I use it as a sort of back-up plan to my intuition, which is at times annoyingly strong.

Also, if you like horoscopes, I would suggest looking up free birth chart calculators. Once again, you may or may not find it to be accurate, but if nothing else it could be some fun reading material.

Where do you go for your horoscopes? What do you think of the validity of astrology?

 

Poem of the Week: “Forgive Me, Creator” November 3, 2009

Filed under: Author: Mermaid — Mermaid Tree @ 3:14 pm
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Forgive Me, Creator

Source of all art,

Forgive my shirking

Your gifts.

I have received your visions and songs,

Been inspired by your

Angelic emissaries and

Carried aloft by your grace

And yet have not fulfilled the mission

You’ve given me.

I’ve operated below my potential.

I’ve been distracted by unworthy matters,

Wasted precious time.

I promise to work harder

And devote my life

To sharing creations that cause minds

To catch fire with

Your gifts.

 

Grey, Alex.  Art Pslams.  Berkeley:  North Atlantic Books, 2008.  p 79.

 

Any reactions?

 

Remembering the Faerie Spirits During the Winter

Filed under: Author: Mermaid — Mermaid Tree @ 2:46 pm
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Without the new growth and everyday sunshowers of springtime, it can sometimes be very easy to forget about the faerie spirits that help to keep Mother Earth functioning for us year-round.  Even in the winter, earthly beings and elementals are hard at work, trying to take care of our home planet and give us a beautiful home.  They take care of those plants that cannot deal with the harshness of the cold and help those that can to continue to grow.  They ensure that everything still is alive with the buzzing energy of Spirit, even though much of the earth is laying dormant until the sun comes out to warm us again.  This is why it is important to still give thanks to those beings, even if their work is less noticeable in the upcoming months.  Remember to give thanks by whatever means you feel comfortable.  Traditionally, Litha, or Midsummer, is reserved for more faerie energy, but the Winter time can be perfect for giving back to those beings that help us survive all year.

 

One way is to simply remember them.  Sit outside one  chilly morning (remember to dress appropriately–no need to sacrifice your health) and look around you.  Observe the different animals you see and the difference in their actions from when you see them in Spring or Summer.  Look at all the trees.  Observe the beautiful colors of the leaves and even the glory of seeing the bare trees standing against an overcast sky.  Take in the beauty of the cycle of life and remind yourself of how all things must come to an end–and that there is beauty, too, in death.  Observe the clouds and the misty coldness of the air.  Breathe it in and feel it fill you with the spirit of the season.  Yule will be here soon.  Feel the air getting crisper, almost clearer.  Listen to the wind whip around the bare trees and play with the leaves as they fall to the ground.  Now, open your heart and give thanks to all of those beings that are providing this scene to you.  Give thanks to the Universe for allowing you to witness this beautiful cycle and for allowing you to understand the significance of beginnings and endings. 

 

Other than simply acknowledging their existence, you can still set out bright and shiny things for the faerie folk.  If you are baking cookies for Thanksgiving or Yuletime, set one or two aside out on a plate for them.  Fill them with Love and Thanks.  Then, either discard them or eat them after 24 hours.  You can also crumble them up and spread them around your house or around particularly beautiful foliage of the season.  Pouring some cider or wassail as an offering is another way to show your gratitude for all of the work being done by unseen forces.  The important thing is to remember that even though it appears that life is slowing down, a lot is happening behind the scenes that we tend to forget about. 

 

Have a blessed Winter!

How do you give thanks during the Winter?   Do you have any traditions that are simply associated with the season (and not a specific religious holiday)?  Please share!

 

November Full Moon, Samhain and Dia de los Muertos November 2, 2009

"Full Moon" by Michael Roppert

"Full Moon" by Michael Roppert

Blessed Esbat!  I hope everyone enjoys the Full Moon energy tonight (and the next two nights, which will also be permeated with Full Moon magick).  I love that the November Full Moon falls so close to Samhain (the Witches New Year! aka Halloween) this year.  Today is also the second day of Dia de los Muertos.  So it has been a very powerful and significant couple of days.  It is a time of simultaneous endings and beginnings.  I view this part of the yearly cycle as the time of the Void.  With Mabon we saw the culmination of the years events and gave thanks for all that we have harvested in our lives.  During Samhain and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) the veils between the worlds are at their thinnist.  We honor, connect with, and remember the dead.  We also acknowledge, honor and release what has died in our own lives.  Samhain marks the New Year, and reminds us that in order for anything new to be birthed, we must first allow some things to die away.  It is necessary.  Without endings we would accumulate too much clutter and stagnate.  Experiencing endings in any part of our life is not always easy; but would you rather cling to something that isn’t working for you just because it is familiar?  Or will you harness your personal power and summon your faith in order to take a leap into the unknown?  Who knows what treasure lies waiting to be discovered…both within yourself and without you in the earthly world.   It is a celebration of endings and beginnings: life and death celebrated at the same time.It will come as no surprise therefore, to learn that in Neo-Pagan traditions the November Full Moon is called the Mourning Moon.  This full moon is giving an extra charge of energy to the New Year, so make sure you take advantage of it!  I found the above picture online and thought it was absolutely perfect for this post.  It shows that this Full Moon, in conjunction with Samhain and Dia de los Muertos, is a perfect time to reflect on what has passed and then take a leap of faith into the unknown.  Allow the old to pass away, and let the New Year bring you blessings, beauty and bounty!!!!!The following poem struck me completely with its haunting beauty.  Perfect for the month of the Mourning Moon.  Blessed Be.

To The Moon

moon_tree

Moon Tree (Photographer unknown)

Oh gracious moon, now as the year turns,
I remember how, heavy with sorrow,

 

I climbed this hill to gaze on you,

And then as now you hung above those trees

Illuminating all.  But to my eyes

Your face seemed clouded, tremulous

From the tears that rose beneath my lids,

So painful was my life: and is, my

Dearest moon; its tenor does not change.

And yet, memory and numbering the epochs

Of my grief is pleasing to me.  How welcome

In that youthful time – when hope’s span is long,

And memory short – is the remembrance even of

Past sad things whose pain endures.

by Giacomo Leopardi

What endings and beginnings are you experiencing?  How are you celebrating Samhain/Dia de los Muertos/the Mourning Moon?