Mermaid Tree

Exploring the complex, celebrating the simple

Mermaid+Tree News July 13, 2012

Filed under: Author: Mermaid — Mermaid Tree @ 6:14 am
Tags: , , , ,

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?

Advertisements
 

Ego in the New Age July 6, 2012

Filed under: Author: Mermaid — Mermaid Tree @ 1:36 pm
Tags: , ,

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 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

20120610-103347.jpg

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
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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…

 

 

Speaking Consciously April 24, 2012

Tonight is World Book Night and it got me thinking about the power of all the words we say–to each other and ourselves. Whether they are written, typed, spoken, or simply (and powerfully) thought, words carry with them a vibration that radiates outward into the world. They influence those around you as well as the world in which we live in ways you may not even realize.

When I was a little girl, my mother once observed that in describing people and things, I would never use the word “hate”. Instead, I would say things like “dislike” or “really don’t care for”. She asked me why that was and my simple answer was that “hate” is a strong word and that I didn’t like using it; I didn’t like how it felt to say it. At the time, I didn’t know anything about metaphysics or spiritual significance of words, but I still felt that the word itself wasn’t one I wanted to put out into the world. As I grew older and studied energy and vibration and the power of thought, this moment came back to me in a different light. They say that children are much more spiritually aware because they haven’t been corrupted by societal norms just yet–no one has told them that what they think or feel is crazy or abnormal. This may explain my aversion to “hate”.

Maybe it is because I have been journaling since I learned how to write, but words–and word choice–have always held special significance to me. I have also been an avid reader all my life, loving to lose myself in a world beautifully composed of artful diction. All of this makes me very aware of what I say outloud and how my words affect those around me. The saying Every thought is a prayer is common throughout the metaphysical community, but I think sometimes we focus on the conscious thoughts that we try to put out into the Universe, and then overlook the ones that just pass through–however damaging they may be. You know the ones…

I wish I was _______ .(smarter, skinnier, taller, shorter, better, faster, etc)

She/He doesn’t deserve ___________; I do. (that job, that money, that relationship, that vacation, that life, etc)

I’ll never be able to _________.(get organized, become financially stable, get a better job, be loved, etc)

The ________ cause is hopeless–this world will never change. (hunger, poverty, religious freedom, gender equality, etc)


And the list goes on into eternity…

We may think that since a negative thought is against ourselves that we are not actually hurting anyone, but even this kind of “victimless” negative thinking still sends negativity into the world. Saying words like “can’t”, “won’t”, “never”, “always”, and “hate” sends that negativity into the collective potential energy that is forming our present and future and creates those worlds that we predict. Ironically, this just makes us more displeased and then we say more negative things and the whole thing is just one big negativity spiral downward. We need to start saying things that lift us up. I know this is all old stuff that people have been saying for decades, but it seems as though this message has been shouted from the highest mountain and still is not heard. Or, at least, it has not been taken to heart.

The point is not to feel guilty or like a failure when you do have negative thoughts. When they happen, instead of wallowing in the negative thought or wallowing in the guilt for having the negative thought, just recognize it and come up with a solution and move on. If necessary, write down your solution, or use a smartphone app to keep track of all of them. That way, if the thought dares interrupt your day again, you can look at your solution and know that you have already handled the situation. If there is absolutely nothing you can feasibly do about it, there is no point in thinking about it anymore. This is a statement that I need to tattoo onto the inside of my hands. Why the inside of my hands? So that when I find myself being brought to tears for the umpteenth time about the same situation and I’m covering my face because I don’t want to deal with the world, I can read this phrase and snap myself out of a potentially dangerous thought process and save myself from a completely pointless night of sadness. I am not suggesting that you get a tattoo, but I do recommend writing this statement out somewhere accessible to you throughout the day or repeating it to yourself when you start to veer into pointless negative thinking territory.

Random thoughts aside, you do have the power to consciously choose the words you use for your inner and outer dialogues. When speaking to yourself, writing in your journal, and conversing with other people, choose your words carefully. I am not saying do not fully express yourself or pretend to be something that you are not, but rather to choose not to add to the negative flow of words that is already out there. We all know there are ways to make a situation sound way worse than it really is in order to gain sympathy from others, or to feel sorry for ourselves. Make the conscious decision to stop this cycle. Set achievable goals to change those things with which you are unhappy and make realistic plans to help you to get there. Is there a cause that you think is being neglected? Do something about it instead of complaining that no one else does. Feel burnt out because no one seems to care about something the way you do? Take a break to recharge and remember that everyone has their own purpose on this planet–they may not be meant to dedicate their lives to your issues. That doesn’t make anyone unrealistic or heartless.

Perhaps the most difficult thing to do is avoid others who are content in their negative moods. I have been one of these people myself from time to time. Do not let them lure you into complaining about life for extended periods of time with no clear discussion of solutions. The old adage Misery loves company is very true and those that aren’t in a peaceful state most often try to bring down those around them in an effort to make themselves feel better. If there is a friend in need of a sympathetic ear, oblige them, but do so without contributing your own complaints. The best way to help is by demonstrating unconditional love, not by encouraging negative thought.

Remember, you are a spiritual being and a contributor to the continuous creation and unfolding of our world. Do not take this responsibility lightly. The beauty and love of Spirit is within you, and so your words–your impact on the Universe–should come from this sacred place inside.

For some practice in feeling the impact of words, try choosing different positive words to meditate on (love, acceptance, tolerance, health, equality, truth, etc). Start by centering yourself and visualizing the word in your heart or crown chakra. Feel the energy and emotion that comes with the word. Feel that energy flow through your whole body and radiate outward in waves. Repeat the word over and over in your mind or even aloud. Feel the energy continue to radiate outward and visualize its reach growing farther and farther with each repetition or breath. You can also visualize the earth and send the energy to the earth, or visualize the energy of the word flowing downward into the earth. However you choose to do it, I suggest trying different words and feeling for subtle (or significant) differences. The more you do this, the more you will find yourself feeling the energy of the word as you think or say it throughout your day.

Please share any stories or experiences you have had in the replies below.