Mermaid Tree

Exploring the complex, celebrating the simple

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.

 

Crystal of the Week – Mahogany Obsidian September 22, 2009

I chose this Crystal of the Week with Mabon in mind – Blessed Mabon to you all!!! (For information about Mabon, please see the entry Mabon 2009 (The Autumnal Equinox) which was posted on 9-18-09.)

Mahogany Obsidian is an interesting stone that lends a variety of properties when used.  Even during periods when I am not actively working with it, I enjoy picking up my piece of Mahogany Obsidian to feel what energy is coming from it that day.  Mahogany Obsidian always gives off the aspect of its energy that the user most needs (or perhaps we unconsciously draw the aspect we most need from the stone?)

There are really three main components that I feel make Mahogany Obsidian such a diverse stone.

Fire – Like all obsidian, mahogany obsidian was formed from lava.  The Fire component of this stone gives it energy, vitality, inspiration and passion.  It also engenders courage and confidence in the user.

Iron – This form of obsidian gets its red-brown mahogany coloring from iron particles that were trapped as the lava cooled.  The iron enables this stone to give the user strength, determination and conviction.  As the fire aspect helps the user have inspiration and courage, the iron aspect then helps in maintaining that courage and ensures the user’s strength of will.

Earth – Although the iron technically makes up the “earth” part, I wanted to talk about the rock aspect itself.  Mahogany obsidian can just give off a very earthy vibe!  It’s great.  Really grounding and stabilizing.  It’s like the last part of this amazing triple action team!  After the fire sparks inspiration/courage/passion the iron maintains/strengthens it, and then the earth ground and stabilizes everything.  How awesome is that!?!  The earth properties also give mahogany obsidian excellent protection energy.

I realized one day that I had been overlooking other really obvious elemental connections:

WATER and AIR – There is always a certain amount of water content included.  Sometimes the water bubbles are visible to the naked eye in certain forms of obsidian.  But even if they aren’t, they can usually be spotted easily with a microscope.  Water lends the mahogany obsidian emotional balance.

And of course the lava is cooled by air.  Air gives the stone the properties of communication and clear thinking.

So overall this is a great stone!  Fire and Earth are the strongest energies in Mahogany obsidian, but all the elements harmonize together to help the user in multiple ways.

I encourage you to use Mahogany Obsidian as a way to do a daily “Self-reflection.”  Sit quietly with your mahogany obsidian and see what aspect/element reaches out to you most strongly.  Write down your observations and see how it changes over the course of about two weeks (or whatever length of time works for you.  You can also try doing it once a week and just make sure you do it for about 8 weeks, if you don’t have time to do it daily).  Did the obsidian share more of its Iron aspect with you?  Or perhaps you received grounding energy?  Or a boost of energy?  Make a note of any messages, thoughts and energy shifts that happen when working with mahogany obsidian.  Going back and reading your daily reflections will help you see patterns that might point out areas you need to work on.

Properties:  Strength, Courage, Grounding, Protection, Willpower, Self-reflection

I enjoy posting this as the Crystal of the Week on Mabon since it has such a balance of elements within itself, and Mabon is a time of balance.  It also reflects the “harvesting” idea in a nice way.  After the action of the lava bubbling up and cooling (which reflects the summer months of growth), the rock is harvested with all its wonderful properties solidified (which resonates with the completion of goals and reaping of blessings that occurs at the end of harvest time).  Plus, the stone itself is a pretty autumn color!

Enjoy!  And again, Blessed Mabon!


 

Meditate with your eyes open September 6, 2009

Filed under: Author: Tree — Mermaid Tree @ 3:33 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

 

“Watching birds has become part of my daily meditation affirming my connection to the earth body.” ~Carol P. Christ

 

I know we have discussed how deep breathing can help you slip into meditation.  And it’s true – focusing on your breathing is a simple and extremely effective way of centering yourself and entering meditation.  But what do you do when you have a cold?  

Your nose is all blocked up, your head feels like it’s full of cotton, and keeping up good posture is the last thing you want to focus on.  Plus if you’re taking cold medicine, closing your eyes will invariable lead to you sleeping instead of meditating!  So what are you to do?  I faced this problem yesterday afternoon.

I was in my living room sitting in a half lotus position, eyes closed, and breathing deeply.  Or I was trying to anyway.  As soon as I attempted a “deep breath” I had a coughing fit.  My body felt all achy so staying in half lotus was not going to work.  And I really really really wanted to go to sleep.  So there I was:  slouched over with my eyes closed – a perfect picture of lethargy.  

I would have just thrown myself back into bed, but I wanted to clear out my energy in order to help speed the healing process.  Since the traditional form of meditation was obviously not effective at that moment, I decided to try something else.  I got a cup of tea, went out on the balcony, and looked at the trees.  Simple.  I looked at the tall trees, the freshly mowed grass, the patches of blue sky, the light of the sun as it moved in and out of the cover of clouds.  I listened to the crickets, the cars passing by, and the children calling to each other as they played.  And I just let myself Be.  Sometimes we forget that our very existence is sacred.  And we don’t realize that every moment of appreciation is a moment of prayer and meditation in it’s own right.  You can connect with the Universe by traveling inwards; but you can also connect by taking the time to appreciate the Universe’s physical manifestations.  

As the sun came back out I absorbed it’s energy into my skin.  I said hello to the trees (I have a MAJOR connection with the element of Earth, and trees in particular are very good friends of mine).  I let myself be caressed by the wind and serenaded by the crickets.  Nature helped ease me and clear out the stagnant energy I was holding onto.  I set the intention that the Sun was transmuting all negative energy and filling me with healthy radiance instead.  

I still have a cold, but it’s passing through my system much faster now and I’m not as lethargic and achy as I was.  And my energy feels a LOT better!

So if you also have a cold – or are just having trouble with more traditional meditation techniques – try looking at nature and go ahead and meditate with your eyes open!  It really helps.  And if you do it often enough you will find it becomes easier to connect with Nature and the Nature spirits.  And the best part is that you can ALWAYS fit it into your busy schedule!  When walking to and from your car just take a moment to tune yourself into the nature around you.  You will definitely begin to feel the balance and healing it brings to your life! 

 

Would you like to share which form of meditation works best for you?  Comment below!