Endings, beginnings, and both

Sunrise on the Blue Ridge ParkwayAs the light outside finally reaches a point where I can see outside the window, I think about the night that just ended. Another restless one, but this day has the potential for great things. And that started the whirl of thoughts of when things end and how the next thing begins.

Not long ago an era came to an end in my life. The era of actively raising children. My youngest tested out her wings and discovered that the strength she has is more than enough to carry herself forward in her life. And my nest became an empty one. And yet… the next era began at that same moment. The painful stretching and growing and, in a sense, breaking free of the new egg. The beginning of Morrigan’s Nest, the beginning of turning my dreams of traveling into the reality of planning and honing and shaping. Also the beginnings of finding my footing as a single woman who cherishes her singularity, learning to care for myself as I’ve always cared for others, and finding peace within.

As some of you know, the upcoming holiday that most call Halloween, is the New Year for many Pagans and we call it Samhain (pronounced saʊ.wɛn). For those who do not know of this, let me give a brief explanation: the Pagan calendar is filled with celebrations of the seasons. There are eight main sacred days that fall on the Solstices, Equinoxes, and the cross-quarter days in between. Samhain is the celebration that honors those who have died over the year preceding and many believe that the veil, or boundary, between the living and the dead is the thinnest. There are a variety of ways to celebrate this sacred day and I encourage you to use your favorite search engine to find out more about it.

I like the idea that this is a new year simply because most of the harvesting has been finished and it’s a time when winter begins to really make its way to the northern hemisphere which, for me, is when quiet reflection and inner thoughts are more prevalent. I have a tendency to reevaluate my life and where I’ve been as well as look toward the path ahead and decide if there are changes I must make to get to where I want to go. This year is no exception.

As I sit in my room and look at the fabrics to be embroidered, the crystals that need to be placed on a grid, and the sheets of wax that need to be rolled into ritual candles I am reminded of the small adjustments to my course that need to be charted very soon. I also think about the new people in my life and how they have helped draw me out of the walls I tend to stay safely behind. New friends who, without a doubt, bring a smile to my day.

Whatever way you celebrate Samhain/Halloween, my sincere hope is that your days are filled with joy and your nights are filled with peace.

Chakra – Crown

And now we come to the final post in this series. I do apologize for the long wait, but with the holidays and such, it was pretty busy around the Nest. Things should be back on track for a while and I hope to revisit these ideas later and with more detail.

The Crown Chakra, or Sahasrara (sa-ha-srA-ra) is located just above the crown of your head and the associated color is white. The usual emotional associations are trust, wellness, hope, peace, and of course, love. In the Eastern teachings, the animal is the antelope. Raven are able to adapt to just about every sort of habitat, finding ways to thrive even under extreme circumstances.

The Raven is the creature that I see most clearly for this Chakra. When I think of a Raven, I think of mystery and things that are hidden. I think of the colors of the feathers that can only be seen in the bright sunlight, and are subdued in shadow. I also think about the unique call that the Raven makes and how it seems a little other-worldly when I hear it. Ravens are very intelligent and they have even been known to learn human words.

RavenIn Native American teachings, the Raven was thought of as a bringer-of-light and is thought of with great respect. Raven is a healer, master magician, and a shape-shifter. Raven is often seen as the messenger of the spirit world and represents a change in consciousness.

(Yes, I have been using the same format for the next part, mainly because I want to keep these simple and easy to follow and incorporate into a daily meditation.)

Read this next part over and use some of these suggestions during your daily meditation for a week and see what happens. I would love to hear what your results are. (I won’t tell you the best way to meditate because I know that it’s different for everyone. I am still learning what my best method is.)

Set up your meditative space the way that is best for you. I prefer a light shawl over my shoulders, sitting cross-legged on my bed, with a pillow between me and the wall. I sometimes light incense, but more often I do not. I usually have my headphones in and am playing a variety of tracks (I’ll get into that later). Most of the time I meditate while my daughter is busy doing her own thing.

Once you set up your space and are ready to begin, take a deep, cleansing breath, holding for a moment then slowly let it out. To help myself stay focused on breathing, I will count to four on the inhale and eight on the exhale. Continue breathing in this manner, letting your body relax with each breath. Place your hands on your knees, palms facing upward. Imagine a bright, white glow flowing from your hands and flowing to surround all of your space. When you reach a state of relaxation, ask whatever guide you have (Spirit, Universe, God, or just your own Self) that you be introduced to Raven. Visualize the flight of the Raven as it soars above the valleys and ravines. Think about the quiet way they watch what is going on around them as they perch on the high branches.. Allow whatever thoughts that might come your way to float up to the surface so that you can see them more clearly. This will give you the chance to increase the energy in your meditation.

When you begin to lose focus on the meditation, whether it’s five minutes or fifty, thank the energy of the Ravenfor coming to you that day. Take another deep breathe and stretch your limbs as if you were a Raven spreading its wings before settling back onto the branch. If you did not feel a connection to Raven during this meditation, do not be discouraged. Try again tomorrow at a different time of the day.

Thank you for sharing this with me. May your day be blessed.

 

Chakra – Third Eye

The Third Eye Chakra, or Ajna (a-jna) is located in the center of your brain and the associated color is deep blue or indigo. The usual emotional associations are psychic awareness, creating reality from thought, and the spiritual mind. In the Eastern teachings, there actually isn’t an animal associated with it since it’s not seen as part of the body.

Even though there isn’t typically an animal associated with this, I see the Owl very clearly for this Chakra. When I think of an Owl, I think of intuition and the ability to see beyond the “norm”. After all, Owls seem to see things that are hidden in the dark. I also think of intelligence and how that relates to spirituality. I know that many people don’t see a connection between the two, but I feel that it’s there.

In some teachings, the Owl represents death, which can be seen as a transition from one state to another. This transition can be from physical to spiritual, from stress to peace, and from struggle to enlightenment. In many teachings, the Owl also symbolizes intuition, the ability to see beyond deceit, and finding wisdom in daily events.

The Owl typically hunts at night and is rarely seen during the day. I find this appropriate since it is in the stillness of night (or meditation) that we are more able to bring our awareness to our intuitive thoughts and our own spirituality.

(Yes, I have been using the same format for the next part, mainly because I want to keep these simple and easy to follow and incorporate into a daily meditation.)

Read this next part over and use some of these suggestions during your daily meditation for a week and see what happens. I would love to hear what your results are. (I won’t tell you the best way to meditate because I know that it’s different for everyone. I am still learning what my best method is.)

Set up your meditative space the way that is best for you. I prefer a light shawl over my shoulders, sitting cross-legged on my bed, with a pillow between me and the wall. I sometimes light incense, but more often I do not. I usually have my headphones in and am playing a variety of tracks (I’ll get into that later). Most of the time I meditate while my daughter is busy doing her own thing.

Once you set up your space and are ready to begin, take a deep, cleansing breath, holding for a moment then slowly let it out. To help myself stay focused on breathing, I will count to four on the inhale and eight on the exhale. Continue breathing in this manner, letting your body relax with each breath. Place your hands over your forehead and feel the warmth from your hands, envisioning a deep, blue-purple glow flowing from your hands to your center of your brain (you don’t have to leave your hands here for the entire meditation, just for the length of time that it feels right for you). When you reach a state of relaxation, ask whatever guide you have (Spirit, Universe, God, or just your own Self) that you be introduced to Owl. Visualize the quiet observation that is usually associated with the Owl as they peer through the dark, looking for what most of us cannot see. Think about the clarity that an Owl sees its prey and how that can be used to see the hidden truths of our own lives. Allow whatever thoughts that might come your way to float up to the surface so that you can see them more clearly. This will give you the chance to increase the energy in your meditation.

When you begin to lose focus on the meditation, whether it’s five minutes or fifty, thank the energy of the Owl for coming to you that day. Take another deep breathe and stretch your arms as if you were about to take flight. If you did not feel a connection to Owl during this meditation, do not be discouraged. Try again tomorrow at a different time of the day.

Thank you for sharing this with me. May your day be blessed.

 

Chakra – Throat

Today I would like to focus on the Throat Chakra, which is out of balance when we can’t find a way to express ourselves.

The Throat Chakra, or Vishuddha (vi-shu-ddha) is located at your throat, the larynx to be more specific, and the associated color is blue. The usual emotional associations are self-knowledge, truth, attitudes, hearing, taste, and smell. In the Eastern teachings, the animal is the Elephant.

The Wolf is the animal that I see most clearly for this Chakra. When I think of a wolf, I think of their howling and how expressive they are with each other. Through a vast array of yips, growls, barks, and howls, they communicate clearly what they want from each other or simply about whatever is going on around them.

HowlsnowIn many teachings, the Wolf represents the need to follow your instincts. It also represents a powerful intellect and a desire for freedom. This freedom, when associated with the Throat Chakra, is the freedom of expression, the freedom to speak what is true in your heart and mind. The Wolf also represents loyalty, social needs, and stamina.

Read this next part over and use some of these suggestions during your daily meditation for a week and see what happens. I would love to hear what your results are. (I won’t tell you the best way to meditate because I know that it’s different for everyone. I am still learning what my best method is.)

Set up your meditative space the way that is best for you. I prefer a light shawl over my shoulders, sitting cross-legged on my bed, with a pillow between me and the wall. I sometimes light incense, but more often I do not. I usually have my headphones in and am playing a variety of tracks (I’ll get into that later). Most of the time I meditate while my daughter is busy doing her own thing.

Once you set up your space and are ready to begin, take a deep, cleansing breath, holding for a moment then slowly let it out. To help myself stay focused on breathing, I will count to four on the inhale and eight on the exhale. Continue breathing in this manner, letting your body relax with each breath. Place your hands over your throat and feel the warmth from your hands seeping into that area.  Imagine a bright, blue glow flowing from your hands to your core. When you reach a state of relaxation, ask whatever guide you have (Spirit, Universe, God, or just your own Self) that you be introduced to Wolf. Visualize the Wolf pack running together or the songs that they sing out when they are announcing a successful hunt. Imagine the social structure of the pack and how they adhere to that. Also envision the freedom they have as they roam the mountains. Allow whatever thoughts that might come your way to float up to the surface so that you can see them more clearly. This will give you the chance to increase the energy in your meditation.

When you begin to lose focus on the meditation, whether it’s five minutes or fifty, thank the energy of the Wolf for coming to you that day. Take another deep breathe and stretch body as if you were a wolf stretching in the winter sun. If you did not feel a connection to Wolf during this meditation, do not be discouraged. Try again tomorrow at a different time of the day.

Thank you for sharing this with me. May your day be blessed.

 

Chakra – Heart

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to get two posts out to you this week (possibly next week, too). Today I would like to focus on the Heart Chakra, which seems apropos since I’m finding it hard to let my own heartlight shine.

The Heart Chakra, or Anahata (a-nA-ha-ta) is located in the center of your chest and the associated color is green. The usual emotional associations are trust, wellness, hope, peace, and of course, love. In the Eastern teachings, the animal is the antelope. Deer are able to adapt to just about every sort of habitat, finding ways to thrive even under extreme circumstances.

The Deer is the animal that I see most clearly for this Chakra. When I think of a Deer, I think of peace and patience. I also think of protection. This might seem a little strange since the Deer is prey to so many creatures, but with its speed and agility, many times the Deer is unharmed. The fawns are hidden in plain sight and are unnoticed by most predators. It is protected by its own stillness. At the same time, the Deer is fierce in it’s battles with each other or with a predator.

In Native American teachings, the Deer represents gentleness and innocence, a gentle luring to a new adventure. The antlers are symbols of a connection to the higher forms of attunement which can be a signal to really pay attention to your intuition and your thoughts since they are most likely accurate. Deer also reminds us to be gentle with ourselves and to others.

(Yes, I have been using the same format for the next part, mainly because I want to keep these simple and easy to follow and incorporate into a daily meditation.)

Read this next part over and use some of these suggestions during your daily meditation for a week and see what happens. I would love to hear what your results are. (I won’t tell you the best way to meditate because I know that it’s different for everyone. I am still learning what my best method is.)

Set up your meditative space the way that is best for you. I prefer a light shawl over my shoulders, sitting cross-legged on my bed, with a pillow between me and the wall. I sometimes light incense, but more often I do not. I usually have my headphones in and am playing a variety of tracks (I’ll get into that later). Most of the time I meditate while my daughter is busy doing her own thing.

Once you set up your space and are ready to begin, take a deep, cleansing breath, holding for a moment then slowly let it out. To help myself stay focused on breathing, I will count to four on the inhale and eight on the exhale. Continue breathing in this manner, letting your body relax with each breath. Place your hands over your midsection and feel the warmth from your hands seeping into your belly. Imagine a bright, yellow glow flowing from your hands to your core. When you reach a state of relaxation, ask whatever guide you have (Spirit, Universe, God, or just your own Self) that you be introduced to Deer. Visualize the quiet gentleness that is usually associated with the Deer as they graze in a meadow. Think about the safety the fawn feels as it sleeps in the dappled sunlight. Allow whatever thoughts that might come your way to float up to the surface so that you can see them more clearly. This will give you the chance to increase the energy in your meditation.

When you begin to lose focus on the meditation, whether it’s five minutes or fifty, thank the energy of the Deer for coming to you that day. Take another deep breathe and stretch your limbs as if you were a Deer reaching up to the lower branches of a tree for the tenderest of leaves. If you did not feel a connection to Deer during this meditation, do not be discouraged. Try again tomorrow at a different time of the day.

Thank you for sharing this with me. May your day be blessed.

 

Chakra – Solar Plexus

I apologize for not getting this out last week. With the holiday weekend, my focus was on family and loved ones and resting for the upcoming opening of the shop. This week I will be posting the Solar Plexus and the Heart Chakra associations.

The Solar Plexus Chakra or Manipura (ma-ni-pu-ra) is located above the navel, just under the ribs and the associated color is yellow. The usual emotional associations are confidence, self-worth, clarity, and wisdom. In the Eastern teachings, the animal is the ram.

The Mountain Lion is the animal that I see most clearly for this Chakra. For many years, when I’d think of the Mountain Lion (also called Cougar, Puma, or Catamount), I envisioned the large cat standing on a cliff looking down into the meadow below. Perhaps this is because I saw one in that setting when I was very young and camping with my parents. I wasn’t afraid since the cat was pretty far away, but I was filled with a sense of respect for a creature who was obviously a good hunter and provider. It seemed to me that the Cougar wasn’t afraid of anything in its sight.

In Native American teachings, the Cougar is a natural leader, strong, confident, and respected. It is guiding you to set your boundaries and free your self-confidence. The Cougar is a Warrior and  symbolizes one’s ability to accept and direct the course of power through one’s life with grace and speed. It also represents coming into your own power and taking responsibility.

Cougar

For more images, please visit Blue Ridge Kitties on flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/blueridgekitties/

Read this next part over and use some of these suggestions during your daily meditation for a week and see what happens. I would love to hear what your results are. (I won’t tell you the best way to meditate because I know that it’s different for everyone. I am still learning what my best method is.)

Set up your meditative space the way that is best for you. I prefer a light shawl over my shoulders, sitting cross-legged on my bed, with a pillow between me and the wall. I sometimes light incense, but more often I do not. I usually have my headphones in and am playing a variety of tracks (I’ll get into that later). Most of the time I meditate while my daughter is busy doing her own thing.

Once you set up your space and are ready to begin, take a deep, cleansing breath, holding for a moment then slowly let it out. To help myself stay focused on breathing, I will count to four on the inhale and eight on the exhale. Continue breathing in this manner, letting your body relax with each breath. Place your hands over your midsection and feel the warmth from your hands seeping into your belly. Imagine a bright, yellow glow flowing from your hands to your core. When you reach a state of relaxation, ask whatever guide you have (Spirit, Universe, God, or just your own Self) that you be introduced to Cougar. Visualize the strength of the large cat, the confidence it has as it walks through the cliffs. Focus on how powerful it is even as it rests in the shade. Keep in mind how well she provides for her kittens and how she trains them to become providers, too, and see how that translates to your own life. Allow whatever thoughts that might come your way to float up to the surface so that you can see them more clearly. This will give you the chance to increase the energy in your meditation.

When you begin to lose focus on the meditation, whether it’s five minutes or fifty, thank the energy of the Cougar for coming to you that day. Take another deep breathe and stretch your limbs as if you were a Mountain Lion stretching in the desert sun. If you did not feel a connection to Cougar during this meditation, do not be discouraged. Try again tomorrow at a different time of the day.

Thank you for sharing this with me. May your day be blessed.

 

Chakra – Sacral

As we continue rising upward through the Chakras, I’d like to point out that I really do appreciate the associations in the Eastern culture and note that they make a very clear logical sense. After all, elephants and alligators are prevalent in the Indian region. I believe the correlations of energy points and the various correspondences are valid no matter where you live.

The Sacral Chakra or Svadhisthana (swa-dhi-shtA-na) is located about 2 finger-widths above the Root Chakra and the associated color is orange. The usual emotional associations are creativity, emotion, sexual energy, and self-acceptance. In the Eastern teachings, the animal is the alligator.

What I feel a connection to is the Horse. In many Native American teachings, the Horse is also associated with creativity, sexual desire, emotions, journeys, and freedom of Self. Through many of the guides that describe animal totems, the Horse symbolizes the appetite for life and living tot he fullest, freedom of expression, and the life’s journey. When we take this individually, we can see how the similarities align.

Horses, throughout history, have been used to aid humans in travel, work, and as food. In ancient times, the Horse was drawn on the walls of caves where humans lived (Lascaux Caves, Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave, and many others), drawn on hides and skins, and even made out of clay. Once they became a part of the tribe through taming, they increased the status of one who owned them. Horses gave us the ability to travel farther, increase our crops, and even gain a more suitable spouse.

Read this next part over and use some of these suggestions during your daily meditation for a week and see what happens. I would love to hear what your results are. (I won’t tell you the best way to meditate because I know that it’s different for everyone. I am still learning what my best method is.)

Set up your meditative space the way that is best for you. I prefer a light shawl over my shoulders, sitting cross-legged on my bed, with a pillow between me and the wall. I sometimes light incense, but more often I do not. I usually have my headphones in and am playing a variety of tracks (I’ll get into that later). Most of the time I meditate while my daughter is busy doing her own thing.

Once you set up your space and are ready to begin, take a deep, cleansing breath, holding for a moment then slowly let it out. To help myself stay focused on breathing, I will count to four on the inhale and eight on the exhale. Continue breathing in this manner, letting your body relax with each breath. Place your hands over your lower belly and feel the warmth from your hands seeping into your abdomen. Imagine a warm, orange glow flowing from your hands to your core. When you reach a state of relaxation, ask whatever guide you have (Spirit, Universe, God, or just your own Self) that you be introduced to Horse. Focus on the freedom of a wild Horse and the way that it will stand upon a bluff with its face to the wind. Imagine the way that they gallop across the plains as their hooves thunder upon the earth. Your mind may drift to the rhythm of the Horse’s movements as it runs with the rest of the herd or, it may wander to how the dams fiercely protect their young. Allow whatever thoughts that might come your way to float up to the surface so that you can see them more clearly. This will give you the chance to increase the energy in your meditation.

When you begin to lose focus on the meditation, whether it’s five minutes or fifty, thank the energy of the Horse for coming to you that day. Take another deep breathe and stretch, imagining the sun and wind on your skin. If you did not feel a connection to Horse during this meditation, do not be discouraged. Try again tomorrow at a different time of the day.

Thank you for sharing this with me. May your day be blessed.