Mermaid Tree

Exploring the complex, celebrating the simple

Goddess Temples of Malta April 24, 2012

Island of Gozo, Malta

In the Mediterranean Sea on the small island of Malta, some of the oldest Goddess temples exist.  I was fortunate enough to visit some of the temple sites during my stay in Malta and experience their powerful and ancient energy.

Hagar Qim, Mnajdra and the Tarxien Temples are some of the larger and more well-preserved sites.  Archeological investigation has placed the construction of the first temple complexes between 3600  BCE and 2500 BCE, making them the oldest remaining standing stone structures in the world!  It was determined that these structures were used as places of worship due to the statues discovered in and around the complexes.  The figurines are made of stone and depict fertile looking women with generous proportions – the Mother Goddess.  These figurines are reminiscent of other statues found in Europe such as the Venus of Willendorf, which dates much further back to 24,000-22,000 BCE.  Some of the depictions are quite large in scale, such as the “Fat Goddess” statue which was discovered at the Tarqxien Temple.  The part of the statue that has survived through the years shows the lower half of a female body that is abundantly proportioned with large hips and thighs, giving it a sturdy appearance.    Although only the lower half of the statue remains, it has been determined that the complete statue would have measured around eight feet tall.

Statue of the "Fat Goddess"

Seeing this statue was an exquisite experience that reminded me of how long mankind has been able to look to the Mother Goddess for guidance, help and protection.  The icon of the abundant goddess continues to serve as a promise of her ability to bless our lives with all that we need.  Despite the overwhelming size, tourists and pilgrims cannot help but notice the simplistic beauty and sense of comfort that seems to emanate from the figure.  This is true for not only the statues, but for the entirety of the Temple site.

At first, the complexes can easily appear to be a jumble of same-colored rocks, heaped together over a large expanse.  But once the visitor enters into the area the maze of stones sorts itself out into an orderly structure.

Tarxien Temple

The layout of the Temples themselves are designed to signify the body of the Mother.  The passageways lead to rounded inner chambers, small and intimate in scale, that represent the womb of the goddess.  Red ochre stains that are believed to signify menstrual blood can still be seen on the walls.Walking through the passageways of the Temple ruins created a meditative quality in me.  I could actually feel something in my consciousness shift as I traveled through the passages.  I became…relaxed, centered.  My heart chakra opened more fully and my root chakra was firmly balanced.  The energy of the Temples and the presence of the Mother was so pervasive that I released worries and tension without even trying.  I explored the ruins with my roommate and she said something that truly struck a chord.  She said we were returning to the mother of us all.  And it was so true.

As I stood in the Temple chambers and absorbed the sacred energy I realized there was no need for me to struggle.  I let go of all the constant worries I carry around with me and sank into the comfort of the Mother.  I could feel her presence all around me.  As I surrendered all my concerns to the Divine Mother I felt blessings taking their place.

Before leaving each of the Temples my roommate and I made discreet offerings to the Great Goddess to express our thanks.  We poured water from our water bottles and crumbled up some of the crackers we had brought in our bags as snacks.  It was a small gesture but completely sincere.

Exploring the Temple ruins of Tarxien, Hagar Qim, and Mnajdra was a wonderful experience.  Although we do not know exactly how worship was carried out in the Temples, it is obvious that they played an important role in the people’s devotion to the Goddess.  And just as importantly, these sacred sites have survived – serving as a bridge connecting us to our brothers and sisters in the past who looked to the same Mother we still turn to today.

(I wrote this article for Circle Magazine and it was published in their Fall 2009 issue “Labyrinths” under the Sacred Sites section.  And of course, the roommate that I was traveling with was Mermaid, who I thank for the amazing pictures of the Fat Goddess and the Tarxien Temple!)

A meditation suggestion: Tap into the energy of these temples.  In a meditative state, see yourself walking through their paths.  Connect with the Great Goddess.  How do you feel?

Share your comments and experiences below.


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Updates April 22, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mermaid Tree @ 11:09 pm

To all you beautiful co-creators,

Sorry we haven’t posted anything new is some time.  We’ve missed it greatly and thank you so much for your messages (on here and via our personal Facebook pages) letting us know you were looking forward to us getting back to it!

The pause has allowed us to integrate a lot of new experiences, and we’re ready to share them all!  We’ll be updating here on a regular basis, and you can also check out The Mermaid Tree page on Facebook.  And please feel free to follow us on Twitter @themermaidtree for spiritual inspiration throughout the week 🙂

We cherish your comments and look forward to sharing and growing with you!

Love and Light,

Mermaid & Tree

 

Spiritual lessons found in the movie Avatar January 11, 2010

Filed under: Author: Tree,Uncategorized — Mermaid Tree @ 8:30 pm
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“Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world and in here is the dream.”

~Jake Sully, Avatar

The movie Avatar is action packed, drama filled, and best of all has an excellent story line with meaning.  I didn’t know anything about what the movie was based on, but it looked intriguing so I decided to go see it.  And, man was I impressed.  If you haven’t seen the movie then this entry might be a little confusing to follow, but I hope you give it a read anyway!  I don’t want to give the whole story-line away, so I’m not saying what specific characters do.  Honestly this entry only grazes the surface, but I wanted to point out some of the things that stood out most profoundly to me.  (My favorite part is the Soul/Body discussion.)  Please comment and discuss your views of the movie.  I’d love to hear what you think! (It’s fine to discuss specific events and characters in the comment section since other readers can just skip reading the comments if they haven’t seen the movie yet).

Focus on the Planet as a Mother:  One of the most obvious spiritual dynamics in Avatar is the native peoples’ belief in their deity.  The planet of Pandora is inhabited by the Na’vi people and their deity is Eywa.  Eywa is the living consciousness of the planet, the energy that permeates all things, creatures and people.  The Great Mother.  Eywa connects all things and keeps the balance of life.  

The roots of the plants and trees have an advanced network of roots that allows them to communicate with each other.  Most amazingly, the Na’vi can literally “tune in” to the planet through a physical link.  Every Na’vi has what looks like a sea-anemonea like extension that comes out of the end of their hair braid.  They can connect this extension to certain trees that act as “download” points on the planet.  Two such tress mentioned in the movie are the Tree of Voices and the Tree of Souls.  At the tree of Voices the Na’vi can hear the memories and voices of their ancestors.  Even though the bodies have passed away, their spirits return to Eywa and therefore never truly leave the Na’vi People.  The Tree of Souls is the place where the People can connect directly to Eywa.

The Na’vi are also able to connect with animals in the same way.  The animals have the same tentacle extension that the Na’vi do, allowing them to form a bond.  When the bond is established between Na’vi and animal, the Na’vi is able to communicate telepathically with the animal.

Soul/Body Differentiation:  Now this is the part that I LOVE.  The movie Avatar clearly illustrates that we are a soul, not a body.  The body houses the essence of who you are and allows you to have the experience of talking, moving, etc.  But that is not who you are.  YOU are a soul.  When you leave your body you do not cease to exist, you merely leave behind your physical form.  

In order to properly discuss this, I’m going to have to give some of the key points of the movie away!

First lets look at the significance of the movie name.  I’m taking the definition from Wikepedia because I like how it’s explained. “In Hinduism, Avatar refers to a deliberate descent of a deity from heaven to earth, and is mostly translated into English as ‘incarnation’, but more accurately as ‘appearance’ or ‘manifestation'” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar).  In the movie an avatar is a body that has been grown with a mixture of Na’vi and human DNA.  A human can then “go into” his avatar body through a mental link.  His human body lies immobile while his consciousness inhabits the avatar.  

Of course this link is done through extremely advanced science.  BUT THEN….the power of Eywa is used at the end of the movie to actually transfer the life of one person from their human body into their avatar body.  The human body dies and soul moves into the avatar body.  

This was just amazing for me to see in a movie.  The differentiation between body and spirit couldn’t be made clearer!  

There are so many other wonderful aspects of this movie that I’d love to discuss.

Please share your thoughts!

 

New Years 2010: Blue Moon, Venus and the Number 3! December 31, 2009

Good bye to 2009 and hello 2010!  I have a wonderful feeling about 2010 – how can I not when there are so many wonderful things lined up to usher in the new year (and the new decade)?!  

First off, tonight is a Full Moon which means that there is a lot of energy bringing the new year in.  But EVEN BETTER is the fact that it is the SECOND full moon of the month – a Blue Moon!!!  Blue moons are very rare and are extremely powerful.  Blue moons bring luck and create an atmosphere filled with Magick.  You can use this energy to manifest a year that is wonderful beyond anything you can even imagine.  

Looking at the year numerologicaly we see that 2010 is a 3 year.  (2+0+1+0 = 3)  Three is a very significant number of cycles and completion.  It is the first number that has a beginning, middle and end.  Think of the spiritual significance attached to the number such as the Holy Trinity and the Triple Goddess – Maiden/Mother/Crone (each phase of the goddess signifies the human life stages of Birth/Life/Death).  

3 is also a number that relates to creativity.  

Now lets take a quick look at the significance of the day of the week.  January 1, 2010 is a Friday!  The year begins on the day of the week that is ruled by the planet Venus!!!  The year (and decade) begins on a day whose properties include love, friendship, peace and harmony.  How wonderful!

The Universe is giving us a great start to the year and decade – let’s make the most of it!  Lot’s of blessings )O(

 

Yule music! December 21, 2009

For your Yuletide enjoyment I am listing the following link.  The artist is in no way associated with this blog; I just happened to be searching for Yule music and found this online! The lyrics in this song really embody the significance of Yule.  I hope you enjoy!  Blessed Yule!

LYRICS:

Chorus:
Enter the night and you’ll find the light,
That will carry you to your dreams.
Enter the night, let your spirit take flight,
In the field of infinite possibilities

On the longest night we search for the light,
And we find it deep within.
Open your eyes to embrace what is wise,
And see the light of your own soul shining.

(Chorus)
Wrap up in the cloak of starry darkness my child,
And you’ll find the center of all things.
For from this space of the deepest dark place,
Life Eternal does spring.

(Chorus)
So when you find that spark
When you dream in the dark,
Hold it close to your heart and know.
All that you see is all that can be
When you give birth to the dreams of your soul.

(Chorus)

Music by Lisa Thiel

 

Winter Solstice 2009. Blessed Yule!

 

Yule Pentacle

 

The Winter Solstice, or Yule, is one of the major Sabbats in the Wheel of the Year.  Yule is the first Sabbat after Samhain.  If you’ll remember, we talked about how Samhain is a time of endings and beginnings…almost Void-like in quality. We can reflect on aspects of our lives that need to be released in order for there to be rebirth.  It is the season of “death” that is needed in order to make way for new life.  This new life is celebrated during the sabbat of Yule!

The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year.  On this day the god (the Solar force) is reborn and his arrival brings the gradual lengthening of daylight.  Many cultures and religions have belief systems that recognize the birth of a god during this time of year.  

When Christianity gained a foothold, many of the various pagan Solstice traditions were incorporated by the Church.  This explains the many overlapping traditions and symbols that are used during Christmas such as the Christmas Tree and Mistletoe.  In many cases, these traditional Christmas symbols stem from the stories of pre-Christian gods.  (Please check back soon for another post discussing these gods and symbols).  This by no means negates the validity of any one religious path; rather it enhances the significance of this time of year – a time of joyous rebirth.  

As light returns to the world, so to does it return to our lives.  We have passed through the Sabbats that deal with endings.  Now the focus is on using the spark of rebirth to bring new vitality and accomplishments into our lives.  Yule is when you meditate and consult with your Higher Self about what your focus should be for the upcoming year.  Set goals for yourself and know that this is the perfect time to expect miraculous beginnings.  

Yule is such a joyous time of year – celebrate!  Gather with your friends and family to sing and eat together.  During one memorable Yule celebration, Mermaid, myself and several of our friends did a candle ceremony and then kept the festive energy going by singing “Walking in a Wiccan Wonderland!”  I have no idea who wrote the lyrics, but it was so much fun to take a popular winter song and use it in our Yule celebration.  

This is a time when blessings increase – open yourself up to receiving them.  Love and Joy to you on this wonderful day.

Blessed Be.

 

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!