Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas and The Winter Solstice



The Winter Solstice occurs when the sun descends to its lowest point in the sky and is the shortest day of the year. “Solstice” literally means to “stand still”. At the winter solstice, the sun moves into the astrological sign of Capricorn. Here marks the beginning of winter. For those of us in the northern climates, the snow begins to fall and cover the countryside. Of course this time period is celebrated throughout the West as Christmas. The majority of Christians celebrate the birth of Christ at this time of year. Prior to Christianity, the Pagans celebrated the Winter Solstice. The Pagans held that this time of year was sacred as it was the rebirth of the sun or light force. It is the time when the light or day force begins to grow again. There is an interesting correspondence between the Winter Solstice and the birth of Christ. Paramhansa Yogananda, who was one of the first Yogis to bring Yoga to the West, held that Christ Consciousness was something that was inherent in all people. It is a level of consciousness that everyone has the capacity to realize. Christ Consciousness is that inner light of realization that Jesus brought to fruition within himself. Through yogic practices and spiritual development, we all have the capacity to realize the Christ Consciousness. Jesus is not the only Son of God, we are all Sons of God. Jesus said it himself, “Do ye not know that ye are Gods”.

The Winter Solstice is the darkest time of the year. It is also when the seeds of light and renewal are born. It is the time of year when the sun is resurrected and begins to rise again. For most Yogis this is the real meaning of Christmas. It is the celebration of the birth of the inner light of Self-Realization.

There are many interesting rituals that are done at the Winter Solstice. The majority of them have their roots in the Pagan tradition. Most everyone is familiar with the Christmas tree. I have enjoyed this ritual since childhood and loved the whole act of going out in selecting a proper Christmas tree and decorating it with special care. Now this practice originated from an old Pagan tradition where pine trees were brought into the house to dispel evil spirits and as a celebration of the life force that continues through the depth of winter. The symbolism of the Christmas tree is very interesting. From an astrological perspective, trees are ruled by the planet Saturn. Saturn is also the planetary ruler of Capricorn which is the sign that the sun enters during this time of year. One of the ways to get in touch with the natural energy of this time of year is to bring something into your household related to the energy of Saturn. Trees are ruled by Saturn and bringing a tree into your house helps you tune into the energy of the season. It was also under a Bodhi tree that Buddha experienced enlightenment.

During this current age of the Kali Yuga, I think our culture has lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. It has become very materialistic with an emphasis on buying and receiving gifts. I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving and receiving presents, but when it becomes the focal point then the spiritual meaning is lost. The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a great story for the real meaning of Christmas. I think everyone I know as seen this movie many times but I watch it every year as a great reminder to what is really important. In a nutshell, Scrooge is portrayed as a stingy, self-centered person who is mired in the depths of materialism. His only concern is for himself and monetary achievement. He is then visited by three spirits of the past, present and future. He undergoes a spiritual awakening and self-realization. He comes to understand the true meaning of Christmas and carries it in his heart everyday. Like Scrooge, I find it very easy to get caught up in materialism and past karma. There are bills to pay, children to support, and jobs to take care of in order to make a living. Things are not easy. But it is important to remember our spiritual center because that is where all nourishment and fulfillment ultimately comes from.

This time of year is celebrated by the Hermetic Yogi as a Wish Festival. Like the Wish Festival celebrated at the Summer Solstice, we again plant seeds or wishes that we hope for fruition as the Sun rises again. Many people celebrate by placing their wishes upon their Christmas tree with the prayer of peace and goodwill for all humankind.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spiritual Awakening and Relationships



Having a spiritual awakening can definitely change a relationship drastically. A good example of this can be seen in the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Do you remember what happened to Richard Dreyfuss in that popular movie? Before he had seen UFO’s, he was a relatively normal person, and had a good relationship with his loving wife and family. Then all hell broke loose! One day, Richard saw UFO’s and it completely changed his life. He became completely obsessed with unidentified flying objects. He felt called by some higher power to rendezvous to Devil’s Tower for a close encounter with aliens from another world. His wife and family could not understand what was happening to him. He lost his job and his friends. And his wife finally ended up taking the children and moving away.

That is how a spiritual awakening can change a relationship! Richard Drefuss was being guided by a psychic connection to the aliens that he did not understand, nor did his wife and family. Now of course, this was just a movie, but it shows what a revelation can do to someone. And this affects everyone around them, especially their close relationships! For Richard Dreyfuss, his spiritual revelation was a psychic contact with a higher developed civilization. For someone else, a spiritual awakening could be the development of psychic ability, an out of body experience, a divine experience, a miracle or self-realization. But the result can be a complete change of personality. A person may no longer enjoy the same interests, the same foods, and the same friends. Their life can be turned upside down because of a new awareness. This happens to many people who have had a spiritual awakening. For example, the alcoholic who finds new meaning in life through AA, and is no longer interested in drinking. He or she may no longer hang out with their old friends, who liked to party and get drunk. Or the drug addict that finds a spiritual awakening in meditation. He or she no longer needs drugs to get high. They have found a better way! And their life changes, along with their relationships. They will probably no longer hang out with their drug friends, and will begin to associate with new friends who have similar interests. Similar scenario’s happen with couples in relationships, when one person undergoes a spiritual transformation. A person may no longer see the world the same way, and their partner can have a difficult time understanding all the changes that may be happening to them.

Is there anything that can help a relationship where someone is undergoing such a spiritual awakening? I think there is. Most couples should first try going to a psychologist or family counselor. This would be important to make sure that a person was not having a psychotic episode. It would also help their partner to better understand what they were going through.

The other consideration is to seek the counsel of a mystic, psychic or spiritual counselor. A good psychic might have a better bead on what the person is actually going through. A psychologist would be helpful in clarifying a person’s emotions and thought processes, but a mystic or psychic would be better at determining if a person was having a spiritual awakening or paranormal experience. A psychic would be able to tune into a person’s inner experience and determine the cause of their experience. For example, a psychic could help determine if their experience was caused by unresolved issues from previous lives, communication from spirits on another dimension, aliens from another world or a divine awakening. A psychic or mystic would not only be able to help the person better understand what was happening to them, but also help their partner to accept and understand the experience. Better understanding and acceptance will help the couple adjust to a divine awakening that will ultimately bring them closer in their relationship.

One final thing to be aware of is that when someone has a spiritual awakening within, it will bring about change from without. This may cause a lot of problems with friends, jobs, and relationships. I had a close friend, who after a spiritual awakening, began to take meditation classes, yoga and tai chi. She really changed quite dramatically. But her spouse could not handle it. He liked to drink and party on the weekends. And they had done this together for quite some time. Now she was no longer interested in drinking or all night parties. She wanted time for reflection and meditation. She became aware that there was more to life. Her husband could not understand or accept this. He wanted the same woman that he married; the one that liked to drink and have a good time. She was no longer that person. And he hated her for it. They tried counseling, but he was just hoping that she would change back to her old self. Well, that did not happen. And when it did not, he became abusive. She was forced to leave him. And it was best for both of them. He found someone new that did like to drink and party. She became involved with a spiritual group of friends that encouraged her new direction in life.

It is important to remember that your friends and environment have quite an impact on you psychically. More than most people realize. When you have a spiritual awakening, you are like a new seedling. That seedling needs to be nurtured and cared for to develop. If you allow negative people into your garden, they will trample over your seedlings, and damage your development. So it is good to be around other people who will nourish and support your spiritual development.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Mystical Experience of Enlightenment


Do you see the light? Enlightenment is one of those terms that mean a lot of different things to many different people. In the Yogic, Buddhist and Mystical traditions, one of the primary goals in meditation is enlightenment. Enlightenment is notably characterized by the story of the Buddha. Before Buddha was the Buddha, he was known as Siddhartha, which very interestingly means, "One who achieves his aim". The story goes that Siddhartha was a prince having been born into a royal family. He was raised in wealth and luxury. He knew very little about life outside of the palace or about the lives of the common people. When he became older, he wanted to learn more about his kingdom and the people who lived there. He began to travel and learn about the pain and suffering of the many people around his village. He became disillusioned about the life of royalty and began to search for truth. He learned various meditative practices and after many years, experienced enlightenment. Enlightenment is basically the English translation of the Buddhist word, bodhi; which also means to awaken or to know. Buddha means “One who has awakened". To be awakened is to become completely transformed to the ultimate level of reality where there is no dualism, no pleasure or pain, no suffering and no ego. One has become liberated and no longer tied to the wheel of samsara or the cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth.

The Yogic tradition also embraces the goal of enlightenment. Patanjali, who is considered the Father of Yoga, maintained that the final goal of yoga was liberation from samsara through moksha. Moksha is derived from the Sanskrit root, muc which means to “let loose” or “release” and is the liberation from all illusion, suffering and pain. Moksha is the release from the worldly conception of the self or the ego, and the realization of the true nature of the self (self-realization). It is an experience of bliss and joy that is no longer tied to pleasure and pain, and where normal duality is transcended through union with God/Spirit. Patanjali outlined an eightfold process whereby the Yogi can achieve moksha through purification and meditation. The final steps consist of deep meditation into Samadhi where the individual transcends the limitations of the ego and merges into the Infinite source of all being.

The mystical practices of many different religious traditions talk about enlightenment. Enlightenment is derived from the Latin word, illuminare which means “to make light” or in our case, “to make light within”. Enlightenment is considered a mystical experience whereby one perceives inner truth or divinity. There are many different accounts on the experience of enlightenment. From Christian mysticism, where enlightenment is the experience of direct union with God (Of course, Jesus; St. Paul ,St. John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Kempis….) to Quaker mysticism where one experiences the inner light of God within the soul, to the Hermetic Tradition where initiates are taught to expand their consciousness to God consciousness, to the mystical revelations of the Sufi Tradition, to the Kabbalistic mysticism of the Jewish religion and to the Taoist mysticism of Lao Tzu.

In my own meditative practices, I have had many experiences of illumination. In deep meditation, I can actually see through my inner eye or vision, a subtle light that illuminates from within. It is like someone has turned on a light bulb inside my head which radiates all around me. (It’s interesting that many Christian saints are depicted with halos around their head indicating the divine light) There have been meditations where I have experienced this light and later opened my eyes thinking; ‘maybe it is the sun shining in through the window’. But it was not the sun or any kind of exterior lighting, but the inner light. I have spoken with many mystics who also have experienced this inner light. I think it is connected with the process of enlightenment, but not the goal of enlightenment. Although I have had many mystical experiences, I have not experienced the bodhi of Buddhism, the moksha of Yoga or the divine union with God in Christian mysticism. I do know that this experience exists from deep within my soul, but I have not experienced it directly. So I think that enlightenment is really a process. Through different meditative, mystical and religious practices, we can come closer and closer to the real goal. And that goal is actually not a goal at all (although a goal while you are going there), but is the realization of All that is or Divinity or what the Hindu’s call, Om Brahma Smi, translated, “I am one with God”.


For a complete listing of Christian mystics, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_mystics, also see: http://www.rainbowbody.net/HeartMind/Yogasutra.htm, http://www.katinkahesselink.net/other/enlightenment.html, http://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/m/mysticism.html.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Meditator



Now is the time to meditate. I sit in my favorite lotus posture and begin to calm my body and mind. Just as I start to relax, the phone rings. Darn! I answer the phone and some guy tries to sell me life insurance. I tell him; no thank you and hang up the phone. So, I return to my meditation position. Just as I begin to settle down, I hear a knocking at my front door! I get up and go to the door. Someone has just left a flyer at my doorstep. As I walk back to my meditation space, the phone rings again. It is my brother. I tell him I will call him back. This time I pull the cord off the phone. Jesus, all these interruptions! I again resume my meditation posture. Now I am a bit agitated and I have to concentrate on calming my mind. I begin to watch my breathing and after a few minutes, start my meditation practice(mantra). Thoughts arise in my consciousness like little bubbles vying for my attention. One thought concerns a problem at work. I spend (what seems like an eternity) engaging in a daydream-like panorama of dealing with the problem at work. It seems a coworker is unhappy with how I have been treating her. She came to me with a problem on one of her cases. I helped her the best I could and she kept asking for more direction. I told her to visit me and I would gladly........Oh, then I remember; I am meditating, the bubble of my daydream panorama bursts. I resume my meditative practice once again. Then, suddenly, I have to sneeze! I firmly hold my nose so I don't sneeze. That would totally blow away my meditative state. But, of course I sneeze all over the place. I get up and grab some tissue. Once again, I return to my lotus posture. I resume my meditative practice. My breathing begins to slow down and my mind is calm. I am determined to go deeper in my meditation and let all my concerns go. Deeper and deeper. My mind is quiet now. I am feeling at peace. A feeling of joy begins to pervade my being and I become light, like the air. A glow begins to radiate near the top of my head (Sahasara chakra) and with my inner eye, I can see an inner light. Little dances of ecstacy begin to permeate my consciousness. I am feeling happy and content inside. Peace. Then something tells me it is time to end my meditation. I reverse the meditation process and begin to awake, saying a prayer of thanks to the Universal Spirit.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Modern Day Mystic


What is a Modern Day Mystic? Well, first of all a modern day mystic is a mystic. According to the Wikipedia, “a mystic is one who practices mysticism”; "Mysticism (comes from the Greek, mystikos, an initiate of a mystery religion) It is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism usually centers on a practice or practices intended to nurture those experiences or awareness."


The essential part of being a mystic is the direct experience of the Divine, whether through personal experience, intuition or insight. Mystical experience shares this common thread through all religions. There are Catholic mystics, i.e., St John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila; Islamic mystics and the Sufis, i.e., Jalaladdin Rumi, Kahil Gibran; Hindu mystics, such as; Patanjali, Paramahansa Yogananda, Sri Aurobindu; Taoist mystics, i.e., Lao Tsu, Chang Tzu and many others.

According to Evelyn Underhill, there is a process of mystical experience that she delineates into five stages:

"First is the awakening, the stage in which one begins to have some consciousness of absolute or divine reality. The second stage is one of purgation which is characterized by an awareness of one's own imperfections and finiteness. The response in this stage is one of self-discipline and mortification. The third stage, illumination, is one reached by artists and visionaries as well as being the final stage of some mystics. It is marked by a consciousness of a transcendent order and a vision of a new heaven and a new earth. The great mystics go beyond the stage of illumination to a fourth stage which Underhill, borrowing the language of St. John of the Cross, calls the dark night of the soul. This stage, experienced by the few, is one of final and complete purification and is marked by confusion, helplessness, stagnation of the will, and a sense of the withdrawal of God's presence. It is the period of final "unselfing" and the surrender to the hidden purposes of the divine will. The final and last stage is one of union with the object of love, the one Reality, God. Here the self has been permanently established on a transcendental level and liberated for a new purpose. Filled up with the Divine Will, it immerses itself in the temporal order, the world of appearances in order to incarnate the eternal in time, to become a mediator between humanity and eternity."

Not all mystics go through all these stages of mystical experience, nor do they have to undergo them in any kind of special order. But Underhill's depiction of mystical experience is a good description of what many mystics go through. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is also a good outline of the process of mystical experience. Basically Patanjali discusses eight steps of mystical yoga practice. They consist of: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. The first five steps of: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara are ways to purify the mind and body, preparing one for deep mediation. This would be similar to the awakening and purgation stages of Underhill's mystical experience. The last three steps of the Yoga Sutras consisting of: Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are the contemplation and meditation that result in the final stage of union with the One Reality. This would be similar to Underhill’s last stage of mystical experience or union with the Divine.

A major difference between Underhill’s stages of mystical experience and Patanjali’s eight steps of the yogic mystical process is the “dark night of the soul”. Underhill describes this as a complete purification marked by helplessness, confusion and absence of God’s presence. For Patanjali, the mystical yogi has prepared for this through the purification of mind and body, so there is not quite the despair that is evident in the “dark night of the soul”. But in both processes the individual mystic does have to let go of the ego in order to reach Samadhi or union with God.
In conclusion, a mystic is really anyone who has had these mystical experiences. If you have had direct experience of God or Divinity, whether through your intuition or direct awareness, than you are a mystic. So what then is a modern day mystic? First of all, I came up with the phrase “modern day mystic” when I wrote my book, To Jill with Love, Memoirs of a Modern Day Mystic. Then later after my book was published, I noticed that Thomas Lyons also uses this phrase in his book, Modern Day Mystic: A Psychic & Spiritual Journey Through A Not Quite Ordinary Life. To quote from his book: "A mystic is someone whose very existence is an immersion in the Divine Mysteries of Life."

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word "modern" comes from the Latin "modo" meaning "just now" and from "modus" meaning "measure". "Modern" is defined as that "which relates to the present and may involve recent techniques, methods and ideas". So a definition for a "modern day mystic" could be: "someone who practices mysticism in the present day and may utilize recent innovations, techniques, methods or ideas." Why is this important? Because a modern day mystic has to communicate his or her mystical experiences through present day culture, religion and technology. Things are different now than they were in the past. We have become a more global society due to new technology and transportation. I am more aware of other countries, religions and nations than my grandparents were. I can turn on the TV and see what is happening on the other side of the world instantly. I think this has given arise to a more global consciousness. And part of that global consciousness is a more expansive view of oneself and the world. Ancient mystics were more restricted in communicating their mystical experiences through their specific culture and religion. Now as a global society, we are much more aware of other religions and mystical practices. Also with advances in technology, we understand the universe differently than we did in the past. Through the advent of Quantum physics, scientists have redefined the nature of matter and energy. The universe is not what it appears (what many mystics have said all along), it is really an illusion. When we observe matter closely, it is not solid at all, but actually consists of electrons and protons swirling in a magnetic field. The table that I lean upon, may seem solid to my senses, but in reality is far from it. So as technology progresses, our understanding of the universe changes and it is up to the modern day mystics to share how the divine manifests in the present day and age.

A modern day mystic knows the universal mystical reality that is the source behind all creation and a modern day mystic never loses sight of the truth which is very ancient, but ever experienced anew.

For further information, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mysticism, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mysticism, and see Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism: A Study of the Nature and Development of Man's Spiritual Consciousness, Thomas Lyon’s Modern Day Mystic, A Psychic & Spiritual Journey Through a Not Quite A Ordinary Life, http://www.yogamovement.com/resources/patanjali.html, and see: Jill Lowy, To Jill With Love, Memoirs of a Modern Day Mystic.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Power of Positive Thinking


Think Positive! It is very easy to say that, but it can be very difficult to do. We have so many problems confronting us on a daily basis, which can be so negative that it can be hard to stay positive. But it is important to try to be positive, even if you are not feeling that way. Why? Let me tell you a story. A few years ago, I moved to Vermont after living in Chicago many years. I had no job and very little money. After a few months, all of my money was about gone and the rent was overdue. I was getting pressure from everywhere to pay my bills. During the midst of my troubles, I applied for a job position as a Counselor with the Department of Human Services. During the day of my application, the human resource person told me that there were over one hundred applicants for the job position. I could not believe it! What chance would I ever have at securing this job? I felt more depressed and very half-heartedly completed the application with very little hope at getting it. I went home and spoke to my friend about it. He could see that I was feeling very doubtful about my chances at getting the job. He told me that I needed to change my attitude. I argued that it was not realistic! There were all these other applicants with much more experience than me applying for this job. How would I ever have any chance at all? He patiently told me that I needed to be open to the possibility that I could get that job. I was still pessimistic, but I agreed to give it a try. So I opened myself to the possibility and prayed to God to help me. The following week I received a call from the Department of Human Services scheduling me for a job interview. I was blown away! Out of all those people, I was chosen for an interview. Well needless to say, I interviewed well and got the job. There was no way I would have gotten that job, if I had not changed my thinking and my attitude. It was an important lesson.

From an esoteric perspective, the reason it is important to think positive is because matter follows thought. There are three planes of existence in the universe. They are the physical, astral and mental planes. Manifestation begins on the higher planes as a thought or idea and then manifests on the physical plane. An idea has to manifest on the mental planes before it manifests on the physical plane. When the Wright Brothers began to work on creating the first aircraft, they had to have the idea of flight and it's possibility, before they began making their aircraft. Many people, who were not open to the idea of flight, thought it was silly. They would say things like; If man were meant to fly, he would have wings. Of course, they never flew. One time, a close friend of mine, Steve had this black cat. Steve told me that his cat could do tricks. I had never seen a cat do tricks before. Dogs yes, cats no! Steve said his cat could lay down at his command. I was very doubtful and told Steve that cats are far too independent to do any such thing. We then went to the living room where Steve's cat was sitting on his couch. We both sat next to his cat and Steve told his cat to lie down. Well the cat just sat there and did nothing. I looked at Steve with that I told you so look. Steve immediately said I was being too negative and skeptical, which was interfering with his commands. I said OK, I will be more open to the possibility. So Steve told his cat again to lie down. Well, his cat just plopped right down on the couch. It was very impressive! But what impressed me even more was how my skepticism was working as a real force to prevent Steve's cat from performing his trick. It showed me how important it is to keep an open and positive mind. Negativity is a real force that can cause negative things to happen. That is why it is soooo important to think positive in all that you are trying to accomplish in this world. It is also important to be aware of other people's negativity, especially when they are unaware of it. If you can help them to become aware of their attitude and guide them towards being more positive, you will be doing them (and yourself) a great service.

Many famous Yogis emphasize the power of positive thinking. See Paramahansa Yogananada’s many books at: http://bookstore.yogananda-srf.org/ and Swami Vishnudevananda’s: http://www.sivananda.eu/en/sivananda-yoga/the-yoga-masters.html. Also see the entertaining books by Norman Vincent Peale, who many consider the Father of Positive Thinking: http://normanvincentpeale.wwwhubs.com/

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why do we celebrate our Birthday?


My birthday is coming up soon and this led me to think about birthdays in general. Why do we celebrate our birthdays? Is there something special about the day we were born? Well, there is! From an astrological perspective, we come to this planet for a specific purpose. Our astrological natal chart is a mandala of all the planetary energies operating at a specific place and time that is unique to each individual. Basically, we are all manifestations of Spirit that have incarnated on this Earth at a particular space and time for a specific purpose. The astrological sign that you were born in provides a clue to your nature and your purpose here on this physical plane.

We should celebrate our birthday as a reminder of our original purpose here on this planet. During the year we have sojourned through the twelve months and twelve zodiacal signs gaining the experiences that life has to offer us. These are the Twelve Labors of Hercules that we undergo every year. (From an esoteric perspective, Hercules’ Labors are symbolic of the ego’s struggles and triumphs through the twelve astrological signs). Every year, we return to the time of our birth, not quite the same as we were the year before. Each sojourn around the sun is different and brings new opportunities for greater awareness and self-realization.

It's interesting that one of the customary birthday rituals that we celebrate is the receiving of gifts. I am sure most people have fond memories of some of their birthdays they had growing up and the gifts they received. I remember one particular birthday where I received a brand new Schwin bicycle. It was midnight blue with streamers coming out of the handlebars. I was so thrilled! That bicycle enabled me to visit my friends and explore my world in a new way than I ever could before, bringing me ever new adventures.

But there is one major gift that we receive every year that most people forget about. And that is the gift of life. God has given each of us the gift of life! It is very easy to forget that. We become so involved with our trials and tribulations that we forget who we are and why we are here. Our birthdays are a celebration of the gift of life, given to us by the Universal Spirit. It is a time to reflect on who we are, what we have been given and what we plan to achieve. It is a time to be grateful to God for our very existence. Thank you, God!

Happy Birthday!


For further information on Twelve Labors of Hercules, please see: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Herakles/labors.html.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ritual to the Spirit of Water


On November 7th, the Sun will enter 15 degrees of Scorpio. This is the midway point between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. At this time of the year, nature begins to change as plants wither, the trees lose their leaves and all the colors of the spring and summer fade away. For nature it is a time of death and decay.


The astrological sign of Scorpio is symbolized by the scorpion, the eagle and the phoenix. The scorpion represents our lower nature and corresponds with our basic instincts for survival, self-preservation and procreation. The scorpion is well known for its ability to survive in the harshest of conditions. The eagle or hawk symbolizes our higher nature. It is that force which pushes us beyond our own ego boundaries to seek higher levels of consciousness and truth. The hawk sees things from a higher perspective than the scorpion on the ground. The phoenix represents the highest aspect of Scorpio. The phoenix is the mythical bird that dies and rises from its own ashes. It is that force which brings about self-sacrifice and the impetus to sacrifice one’s self for other people and one’s ideals. The phoenix also represents resurrection after death. Our spirit is reborn following the death of the physical body to a higher state of consciousness and reality. The sign of Scorpio teaches us that nothing ever really dies. It just changes forms or undergoes trans(form)ation. When we die our physical body dissolves back into the earth, but our consciousness continues on in another form and in another dimension. The majority of the world’s religions espouse the belief of life after death. And the majority of people believe in life after death whether they are religious or not. The resurrection of Jesus was something that not only Christ did, but what we will all do. Like the rose that dies after the fall and returns in the spring, so shall we be reborn after our physical bodies wither away and be reborn anew. This is the lesson of the phoenix.


The Pagans celebrate this time period as Samhain or the “Day of the Dead”. It is considered a time when the veil between worlds is thin and contact can be made with those people that have passed on. We also celebrate this time period as Halloween where little children dress up as ghosts and goblins. Many people participate in the custom of carving pumpkins to make “jack-o-lanterns”. I really enjoy this little ritual of finding the right pumpkin and then carving it to be lit at night for all to see. Symbolically it is very interesting as it represents bringing light into the darkness and bringing the light of the consciousness to the mysteries of our unconsciousness.
The Hermetic ritual that is done at this time of year is “The Petition to the Spirit of Water”. The ritual consists of preparing a scroll and writing a prayer or petition to the spirit of the water element for protection, good health and happyness. It can be protection from negativity, unseen or hostile forces, or whatever you may need protection from. It is also a good ritual to seek protection from fears and anxieties that may be hampering your well-being. Once you have prepared your scroll, you should than find a stone or a rock. Roll up your scroll and tie it to the rock with some string or ribbon. Then you should find a pond or a river where you will toss your scroll with the rock into the water. You can say a brief prayer before tossing your scroll into the water. The spirit of the water element will then bring your petition to fruition. I really enjoy this ritual. I look forward every year to finding a secluded river or pond where I can complete this ritual with the water element. From a yogic perspective, this ritual corresponds with the Swadisthana chakra center and activates this energy to help in your spiritual practices and development.


For further information, please see my book, Yoga and The Art of Astral Projection.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reincarnation and Christianity


I had a Christian friend of mine ask me about reincarnation the other day. My friend and I practice Hatha Yoga together at the local fitness center. She is familiar with yoga philosophy and reincarnation, but wanted to know how it could fit into her theology. Her pastor had told her that it was not a Christian doctrine and was a belief held by many Hindus and Buddhists. I told her that his statement was true of mainstream Christianity today, but that reincarnation had many roots in early Christianity.

For those who are not familiar with the term reincarnation, it comes from the latin, re-meaning over again, in carnis meaning in flesh or reinfleshment. Basically reincarnation means to return to the flesh again after death. The basic theology of reincarnation is that all people have a soul or spirit, and after death are reborn again on the physical plane. The belief in reincarnation has been around for thousands of years and can be seen in early Egyptian, Hindu and Buddhist theology. Now what many people do not know is that the belief in reincarnation was also held in early Christianity. First of all, we see the belief in reincarnation throughout the Hermetic literature which had an impact on the formulation of early Christianity. Secondly, we see the doctrine of reincarnation discussed by the early Church fathers i.e., St. Augustine, Clement of Alexandria and Origen. Thirdly, reincarnation is prevalent in some of the early Christian Gnostic sects, such as the Valentinian and Sethians. Later in the medieval period, reincarnation is advocated by the Templars, the Cathars and the Waldensian Christian sects. And following the Renaissance period, reincarnation is central to the Christian Spiritualist Movement and especially to the Rosicrucians.

Although the Christian Bible does not specifically discuss the belief in reincarnation, it is alluded to in several passages i.e. Matthew 14:1 where Jesus is thought to be John the Baptist returned back to life, and John 1:21 where the Jewish leaders ask John the Baptist if he is Elijah.

Many Christians believe in reincarnation while maintaining their Christian beliefs. Many of my friends who practice yoga also believe in reincarnation and are able to maintain their Christian beliefs. Many popular, well known Christian writers, such as Rudolph Steiner, Geddes Macgregor and the well know psychic, Edgar Cayce believed in reincarnation. Nancy Roth, who is an Episcopal priest, wrote the book, Invitation to Christian Yoga that discusses the belief in reincarnation and Christian theology.

I don’t think that mainstream Christianity is going to advocate the belief in reincarnation any time soon. Not at least until there is hard scientific evidence. It took a while for the Church to come around to the idea that the earth is not the center of the solar system. But I think those individuals who are open-minded should reflect on the belief in reincarnation as it gives an explanation as to why there are so many injustices in this world. Why are babies born deformed? Why do good people suffer tremendous losses? How come so many things seem so unfair? One person is rich, another is so poor. One person is born into a wealthy family, another into a ghetto. Why so much inequality? The theology of reincarnation explains that there is a balance to life and that everyone “reaps what they sow”. If you help others in this life, then others will help you, either in this life or the next. If you hurt others, than you will be hurt, either in this life or the next. Our fate is a result of our past actions and we are ultimately responsible for our situation on this earth. We can improve this life and the next by being good people. We become good people by following Christ’s and other religious saints’ teachings, and by being kind and helping others. It is our choice, but we are held accountable for the choices we make. This is what reincarnation has to teach us.

For further information, see: http://reluctant-messenger.com/origen1.html, http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/reincar/re-imo.htm, http://www.edgarcayce.org/Reincarnation-Past-Lives/Reincarnation-Past-Lives.htm. Also read: Nancy Roth, Invitation to Christian Yoga, Charles Addison & David Childress, History of the Knights Templar, J.M. Dechanet, Christian Yoga, Paramahansa Yogananda, Yoga of Jesus, Richard Smoley, Inner Christianity, A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pandora's Box


The myth of Pandora's Box is very fascinating. I think most people are familiar with this unique Greek myth. The name “Pandora” comes from the Greek and means "giver of all". She was said to be the first woman created by Zeus. She was given unique gifts by various Gods and Goddesses, i.e. Hermes gave her the gift of speech, Aphrodite gave her the gift of grace, Athena taught her to needlework, etc. The myth goes on that the reason Zeus created Pandora was to get even with Prometheus who stole the “sacred fire” from Zeus and gave it to benefit all mankind. Now, Prometheus's brother, Epimetheus fell in love with Pandora and was warned by Prometheus not to accept any gifts from Zeus. But of course, Epimetheus did not listen to his brother and married Pandora anyway. Now as we all know, Pandora had been given a box by Zeus. It really was not actually a box, but an earthen jar. In the jar contained many various evils and illnesses. Pandora had been instructed by Zeus to never open the jar, but Hermes had also given Pandora the gift of curiosity, and she eventually opened the jar. When she did, all the evils, illnesses and diseases were released to plaque mankind. After Pandora saw all the evils being released from the jar, she tried to close it, but was too late. The only blessing to the entire incident was that at the bottom of the jar, layed the gift of hope.

The normal understanding of the myth of Pandora’s Box is to provide an explanation as to why there are all the evils in the world. Of course, it is always the women’s fault and one should note the similarity to the story of Adam and Eve. But there is a much deeper meaning, and esoteric understandings to this myth than most people are aware of.

From an esoteric point of view, Pandora is not a woman in the ordinary sense. She is the symbolic representation of the feminine principle of receptivity and the nature of the subconscious. Pandora is directly connected to the power of the subconscious mind. This is the esoteric key to the entire myth!

What is the subconscious mind? Analytical psychologists such as, Freud and Jung, occultists such as Paracelsus and Dion Fortune, spiritualists, hypnotherapists and many others have well known the nature of the subconscious mind. The subconscious or more popular term unconsciousness mind is that receptive part of our mind where our hopes, fears and dreams are stored. The Wikipedia defines the unconscious as:

“that part of the mind which gives rise to a collection of mental phenomena that manifest in a person's mind but which the person is not aware of at the time of their occurrence. These phenomena include unconscious feelings, unconscious or automatic skills, unnoticed perceptions, unconscious thoughts, unconscious habits and automatic reactions, complexes, hidden phobias and concealed desires.”

This is very interesting from an esoteric point of view. Pandora was given certain gifts, skills and abilities by the Gods and Goddesses. She was also given a jar that contained many ills, phobias, complexes and desires. These are all contained in our subconscious mind. Our subconscious is a reservoir where we store all of our memories, hidden thoughts, fears and desires. It is the feminine or receptive balance to our everyday active conscious mind. What is really fascinating is that the subconscious mind has the power to manifest our most precious dreams and wishes, but also our fears, phobias and hidden desires. Pandora is called the “giver of all” and she is the giver of all gifts. Our subconscious mind can help us to realize our dreams or our illnesses. That is why it is so important to use our subconscious mind positively to help make our lives more happy and fulfilling.


What is in your Pandora’s Box? We all carry hurts and pain from childhood, relationships and our past lives. It is important to find out if you are carrying any unresolved pain, anger or negativity in your box. As it can fester and cause all kinds of psychological and physical damage. Freud and Jung knew that psychological complexes can be cured by helping the patient to become aware of their own subconscious material. By becoming aware of things we have buried in our subconscious, we can heal ourselves. Carl Jung even went a step further than Freud and said that by becoming more aware of our subconscious we make ourselves more whole.

One of the ways to get in touch with your own subconscious is through your dreams and feelings. These are the main keys to opening your Pandora’s Box. It is very important to listen how you talk to yourself. If you call yourself names, i.e. I am so stupid or if you constantly have fears and worries, these will have a negative affect on your subconscious. And will bring negative manifestations into your life. If you catch yourself doing this, counteract it by saying something positive about yourself and balance your fears by courage and hope. Remember that the last thing in Pandora’s Box was hope which stayed in the box after she opened it. This is a reminder that hope is a very real force that can change our lives for the better and the world around us.

For further information, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconscious_mind, http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/consciousuncon.htm, http://www.vitalaffirmations.com/,
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypnosis/SA00084, http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-primary-differences-between-freuds-and-jungs-theories.htm

Monday, October 5, 2009

What time is it?



What time is it? That is a very interesting question when you stop to think about it. Is it five o' clock or six o'clock? Is it time to get moving? Do you have enough time? Is the time right? Have you run out of time? We tend to think of time as a linear progression through space measured in increments of units called seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, etc. But is there more to it than that? The ancient philosopher, Qohelet in the Book of Ecclesiastes 3:1 said,


"1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.


Qohelet seems to suggest that there is a proper time to do things. That there is indeed a quality to time rather than just a quantitative measurement. What do you remember about the past? Do you remember the quantitative aspects of time? Do you remember 3:00 pm, Dec 11th 1992? Probably not. What you remember is that last year, you were sharing time with your son boating down the river, what you remember is when you fell head over heels in love, what you remember is the birth of your son or daughter. That is qualitative time. We are here on this planet to experience qualitative time. Are you living quality time or are you just killing time? Now is a good time to get started!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sacred Space


Do you have a sacred space in your house? Most people don't. What is a sacred space, you might ask? Well, what immediately comes to your mind when you think of a sacred space? The majority of people think of a church or temple. A church or a temple is a place devoted to divinity and worship. A sacred space is also a place devoted to divinity and worship, but it does not have to be a building or a structure, it can be right in your own home or in a special place. It is important to give spirituality a place in your life and home. It’s interesting how most people’s houses have rooms devoted to eating, socializing, entertaining, bathing and sleeping, but few people’s homes have a room or a space devoted to spirituality. Why is this? We have become so secular in today’s society that we spend little time on our spirituality. Turn on the TV and you have a hundred different channels on everything from A-Z, but very few, if any channels on spirituality. I think this tells you what our society considers important.

One of the ways of bringing spirituality into your life is by making a sacred space in your home. Your home is a reflection of yourself in many ways. So by making a sacred space in your home, you will bring spirituality into your life. If you have a room to devote to spirituality, that’s great, but you don’t need an entire room, a special place will do. Maybe in your bedroom or guestroom, you could find a place to put an altar or table with symbols or pictures that connect you with the divine. That would be your sacred space. It becomes sacred because you have set this space apart from other space as a place to worship divinity. Sacred means, “to dedicate or set apart for the worship of a deity”. Establishing a sacred space in your home will have a profound impact on your life. It will bring you closer to God and your true purpose here on this Earth.

For further information on Sacred Spaces, see http://www.soulfulliving.com/sacredhome.htm, and read Karen Kingston; Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui and Denise Linn’s; Sacred Space, Clearing and Enhancing the Energy of Your Home.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autumn Equinox


The Autumnal Equinox ( Equinox is derived from the Latin aequus meaning equal and is when the sun crosses the celestial equator, and the length of day and night are equal) marks the passage of the sun moving into the astrological sign of Libra. At this time cycle we reach the balance point again between the day and night forces. It is normally celebrated by the Harvest festival which is a celebration of the fruits of the seeds that were sown at the vernal equinox or spring. The vernal equinox marks the beginning of a new cycle that is a more outward manifestation. The autumnal equinox marks the beginning of a new cycle that is more inward. The symbol for Libra is the scales. The scale is an instrument of balance and the weighing of things. This cycle is a time when the universe moves back into balance between yin and yang forces. The yin forces begin to grow with a more in-going expression of energy. It is a time of introspection and weighing the things in our lives that are working and those that are not. It is a time that most people begin to prepare for the winter months ahead.


In Yoga practice, one of the goals in meditation is to bring the energy channels of the ida and pingala into balance. Once this is achieved, the energy begins to flow up the sushumna channel bringing spiritual awareness and enlightenment. I have found in my own spiritual practice that this time period is good for focusing on bringing harmony and balance into one’s life. It is a good time to focus on inner spiritual practices such as astral projection, clairvoyance and other meditations.


The autumnal equinox is referred to as the “Fall”. I find this very interesting from a spiritual point of view. In many religions we hear about the “fall of mankind”. The ancient Gnostics taught that all human beings were gods that have fallen into nature and forgotten who they really are. The goal of Gnosticism is “gnosis” or knowledge of our true selves. I find this interesting from a mystical point of view as we are manifesting ourselves right now on this physical plane. Think about it. Right at this very moment, we are manifesting ourselves here on this physical plane of time and space. Essentially our true selves are Spirit and one with God. But we have forgotten it. We have identified ourselves with the physical world and all its manifestations. The important point is that in our struggles with the daily world, it is easy to become engrossed with all the phenomena surrounding us. It is easy to become carried away by the physical plane and forget who we really are. It is through meditation that we are reminded of our inner reality and our spiritual identity.


An important ritual to perform at this time period is the formulation of a wish to be carried by the yin or night force as it waxes in strength to its culmination at the winter solstice. It can also be a wish to help others to bring balance and happiness in their lives.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chakras and The Caduceus





Hermes’ staff of life, called the “Caduceus” is an external representation of the internal energy pathways and their intersections at certain centers called “chakras”. Chakra means “wheels of energy”. These energy centers are symbolized on the caduceus by the crisscrossing of the serpents along Hermes’ staff. The Caduceus is a Hermetic symbol that can now be seen in most medical facilities and physician offices. It has become the symbol of the medical profession, which interestingly enough is a profession with an emphasis on healing or making one whole. It is also interesting that not many physicians are aware of the ancient Hermetic practice from whence this symbol has its’ origin. Now each chakra has a certain vibratory rate which has certain physical, psychological and spiritual correspondences. A good analogy would be a musical instrument whose strings vibrate quickly to produce high notes and vibrate more slowly to produce deeper notes. Similarly each chakra has its own vibratory rate with the lower chakras vibrating at a lower frequency and the higher chakras vibrating at a higher frequency. Each chakra also corresponds to a specific spiritual quality and are referred to as “tattwas”, “siddhis” or “elements”. The element describes the quality of the frequency of energy at each chakra. The lower chakras are associated with the principles of earth, water, fire and air. They are sometimes called the “Quaternary” or “Tetragrammaton” in Hermetic literature. The higher chakras make up the more refined spiritual levels of the etheric principle and are referred to as the “Trinity”. We are basically a synthesis of the Quaternary and Trinity which can be seen as the embodiment of matter and spirit or body and soul.

It is important to remember from a mystical standpoint that all manifestation is basically the life force working at different rates of vibration and that the difference between one element and the next is ultimately its specific frequency of vibration. A rock vibrates at one frequency and a flower at another frequency. Consciousness can vibrate at the lower frequency of physical manifestation or it can vibrate at higher frequencies of spiritual realities. Matter and spirit, body and soul are not really two completely different natures but rather different vibrations of the One life force. In order to experience higher levels of consciousness, it is helpful to learn the nature and energy of each chakra and use it as a “Jacobs ladder” to spiritual development.

“And Jacob lighted upon a certain place and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows and lay down in that place to sleep.”
“and he dreamed, and beheld a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.”
Gen. 28:11-12.


“Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God”

Rev. 4:5

Looking closely at the Caduceus, we see two intertwining serpents crisscrossing each other at certain points called the “chakras”. The serpents themselves represent the two major energy channels along the spine called the “ida” and “pingala”. The pingala channel is associated with the right side of the body along with the right nostril of the nose. The subtle energy flow of the pingala channel is warm, active and stimulates the metabolic processes. It is symbolized by the nature of the sun and is primarily yang or positive. The ida channel is cool and passive; it has a relaxing, calming effect on the metabolic processes. It is symbolized by the nature of the moon and is yin or negative.

The ida and pingala energy channels influence the activity of each chakra; causing certain chakras to act more predominately thereby producing certain physical and emotion effects. Our entire metabolic system is constantly in a state of change as our energy fluctuates between the ida and pingala channels. During certain periods we tend to be more active and the pingala channel will be dominating and then other time we are more relaxed and the ida channel will be active. There are many Hatha yogic practices that help to balance the ida and pingala energy flow by certain breathing or pranayama exercises. When the ida and pingala energy flow is balanced, then the internal energy flows through the central channel called the “sushumna”. When the energy flow is balanced, the sushumna channel becomes active and there is a sense of tranquility and peace. It is through the sushmuna channel that one practices the mantra meditations to experience higher levels of consciousness.

The sushmuna channel flows up the spinal column from the base of the spine to the top of the head. Located along the spinal column are the seven different chakras. The “mystery of the seven stars” and the ‘song of the seven seas” are metaphors that refer to the seven chakras. Associated with each of the chakras are certain mantra seed syllables. Each mantra seed syllable has a specific vibration, color, sound and form that opens the door to each chakra allowing the transfer of energy to experience higher levels of consciousness.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Magic & Miracles


Is there a difference between magic and miracles?

Of course the answer to this depends on who you talk to. Most scientists will tell you that there is no difference between magic and miracles because they both don’t exist except as a fantasy of the imagination or in the movies, i.e., Harry Potter. Many Christians will tell you that they do exist and that there is a huge difference between a miracle and magic. I don’t mean to pick on the Christian faith per se (I consider myself a Christian mystic of sorts), but I do take exception with those who take the position that a miracle is good and magic is bad. For many Christians, a miracle is considered a supernatural act of God and magic is basically a supernatural act of man. So for some Christians, basically the main difference between a miracle and magic is that a miracle is something God does which is good and magic is something that man does that is bad.

Does this make any sense? Who is it that performs the miracles in the Christian Bible? Moses and the prophets, Jesus and the apostles. Are they not men? Jesus is considered both God and man, but he is still part man. So how do they maintain this contradiction? Jesus could walk on water and this was considered a miracle by most Christians. If you saw somebody walking on water today, would you consider that a miracle or an act of magic? Plus, there is the fact that Jesus taught his disciples various miracles that are also considered magic; such as the laying on of hands, expelling demons, spiritual healing and walking on water. This is important, because from a Christian point of view, these acts would be considered magic as these acts were done by men, not God.

I think that most people today consider miracles as an act of a higher supernatural power and magic as a supernatural act of will-directed power.(Although the famous occultist, Aleister Crowley defined magick* as any act of will designed to cause intentional change, I prefer my own definition of magick as a supernatural act of will-directed power). For instance, if someone falls from a ten story building and is not hurt, most people would consider that miraculous. It is considered miraculous as most people would not survive a ten story fall to the ground. The person who had fallen, and survived may contribute his or her survival to God or a Guardian Angel. It would not be considered an act of magic as no person (directing will) was involved. Now in that same scenario, if there would have been a person present who sent forth supernatural power and saved the falling person, then it would be considered an act of magic.

From an esoteric spiritual point of view, a magical act and a miracle use the same supernatural energy. There is no good or bad in supernatural energy. It just is. It is similar to electricity. There is no good or bad electricity is there? It can be used to power your house and it can also be used to tear down buildings. Moral judgment as to whether something is bad or good is determined by us. Magic is considered good (White magic) when it helps to heal a person and considered bad (Black magic) when it is used to hurt someone. Miracles are usually considered good, but remember that after God created the universe, he later destroyed it with the flood. Did he do a miracle or magic?

After the flood, God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Gen 9:12.



* Aleister Crowely spelled magic as magick to differentiate between illusionists who perform stage magic and real magic.



For further information, see: http://steve-badger.net/magic/mirmag.html, http://www.ankerberg.com/Articles/_PDFArchives/theological-dictionary/TD1W1102.pdf, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Desire & Expectations


Buddha said that the cause of all suffering was desire. He might have also said that the cause of all our pleasure is also desire. Desire is the motivating force that really drives most of our actions in the world. Without desire, there would be no creation. If God did not desire the universe, it would not have happened. But God did, and God saw that it was good, Gen 1:10. God gave us desire. There is nothing wrong with desire. When desire becomes suffering it is usually because we have not realized our own expectations. I think if we can let go of our expectations, then there would be much less suffering in this world. Our expectations can become visions of the future that we think will bring happiness. Then if our expectations are not met, we are not happy. For example; I want a new red car and I will not be happy till I have that new red car or I want a baby and I will not be happy till I have a baby. So I get my new car and am not happy because it does not meet my expectations of the color I wanted or I get my new baby and I am not happy because it does not meet my expectations of the gender I wanted it to be. It is usually our expectations that cause so much suffering. If we can let go of our expectations and accept what the universe gives us, then we will be much happier. There is a lot of wisdom in the saying, “If live gives you a lemon then make lemonade”.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fiat Lux; Ritual of the Fire Element


This Friday, August 7th the sun will reach fifteen degrees of Leo. The Esoteric Tradition considers this to be an important time period. It is celebrated as a Day of Prayer or Petition to the Fire Element. Astrologers know that on August 7th the sun will reach fifteen degrees of Leo which is mid way between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox. This is considered a power point for the celestial element of fire. As most people know, the sun is in Leo and Leo is a fire sign. We celebrate the element of fire and the power of light. Without fire, there could be no life on this planet or anywhere else in the universe.

The majority of people are aware that the astrological sign of Leo is symbolized by a lion. The lion is considered the king of the jungle and its' important qualities are courage and fearlessness. There is a wonderful esoteric ritual called The Petition to the Fire Element that helps one to bring the positive qualities of the fire nature into your own life. This ritual helps one to become attuned to the fire principle and to bring its’ positive qualities into our personal lives. You begin the ritual by preparing a paper scroll and on it you write a short prayer to bring courage into your life for whatever purpose you need it for. For example; you may need courage to face up to life’s adversities or courage to face your own problems, work, relationships, etc. After you finish writing your scroll, find or purchase a good magnifying glass. Then go outside when the sun is overhead. Say a brief prayer to God and then use the glass to focus the sun’s energies to burn your scroll to ashes. This releases your petition to the fire element which will bring more active energy and courage into your life. I know of some Yogis who save the ashes and rub them on the forehead over the ajna chakra, sometimes referred to as the third eye. This helps to bring realization to your petition.
I really enjoy doing this Fire Ritual. It is really fun and interesting using the magnifying glass to harness the sun’s power to burn the scroll. I really feel I can connect directly with that fire energy and channel it to make positive changes in my life. On a final note, you can use flint and steel to substitute for the sun if you live in a climate where there is not much sun. I live in Colorado and that is never a problem. Fiat Lux!


For further information, please read: Yoga and The Art of Astral Projection by Jill Lowy, also http://www.theastralyoga.com/.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lucid Dreaming


Did you remember your dreams last night? Most people don't! Why, you might ask? Because we as a culture do not consider them relevant or useful. They are considered a random mess of mumbo jumbo with no logical connections or coherence. Now of course not all people think this is the case. We owe a lot to Sigmund Freud in teaching us the meaning and value of our dreams in connection with our subconscious. Carl Jung took Freud's work even deeper and wrote many books on dreams and their symbols. The fact of the matter is that dreams do have relevance to our daily lives. Dreams have been called our window to the soul. It is through our dreams that we have a direct connection with our subconscious. And our subconscious speaks to us through the language of pictures and symbols. By learning about our own dreams through understanding our own unique symbols, we can not only understand ourselves better, but live better. So how do we learn about our dreams? By studying them. But first, you have to remember them. How do you remember your dreams? By paying attention to them. One of the best ways to do that is to start keeping a dream journal. Every morning when you arise, write down your dreams. I always keep a handy pad next to my bedside to write down any dreams, I may have. If you do not write them down immediately, you will forget them. Once you write your dreams down, then you should take time to think about them during the day. Analyze them. In other words, what do you think it means to you. Everyone has to learn their own inner symbols. Snow in a dream could mean something completely different for me than it does for you. For instance, snow in a dream for a skier could mean something very positive, whereas if I was vacationing in Hawaii and I dreamed about snow it could forecast bad weather or maybe lack of feeling in a relationship. You have to learn about what your own symbols mean for you. This takes time and study, but it is well worth it.

There are many different kinds of dreams. Some are more important than others. Whenever you have a particularly intense dream, that is something to pay attention to. Because your dream is desperately trying to tell you something. A creative way of working with your dreams is to make something from your dream. For example, you could make a painting of your dream or find the object of your dream. If you dreamed of playing a flute, you might purchase a flute. Then you are actualizing your dream. You are giving it manifestation in the physical world and the energy will flow from your dream world to your physical creation, giving it power to fulfill your dreams. Another type of dream to pay close attention to are prophetic dreams. These are dreams that foretell of events to come. I have had many prophetic dreams in my own life, so I know they are real. They are usually messages from your intuition working through your dreams about coming events. Sometimes they give you guidance and sometimes you have to figure them out. The last kind of dream, I want to discuss is sometimes called lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is when you become aware that you are dreaming in your dream. I have had many lucid dreams. For example; I was dreaming I was walking by a storefront in a shopping area in a small New England town. As I walked by the storefront window, I caught a glimpse of my reflection. As I gazed at my reflection, I immediately became aware of who I was and that I was dreaming. I felt a sense of liberation at that realization. I knew that I was dreaming and at the same time, I knew that I was sleeping at home in my bed. With that came a sense of power as I was able to participate in my dream. By that I mean, I was no longer passive in my dream, I was able to engage in my dream. I took the opportunity to talk with people in my dream while being fully aware that another part of me was also sleeping in my bed. Through lucid dreaming, you become aware of another dimension of reality where you can learn more about yourself and the universe within you.

Dreams are the window to your soul and provide an opportunity to expand your consciousness to another world within you. There is a famous song that holds a lot of truth. It goes: Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

For further information, please see: http://www.theastralyoga.com/, http://www.lucidity.com/
Also read: Yoga and The Art of Astral Projection by Jill Lowy, Creative Dreaming by Patricia Garfield and Dreams by Carl Jung.

Friday, July 24, 2009

How a Talisman can help you.


Exactly what is a talisman and how can it help you? Talisman comes from the Greek word telesma which means to consecrate and to fullfill. Many people use talismans in their everyday life and don't even know it. Do you have a lucky piece of jewelry? Or that favorite shirt for job interviews? Remember the popular rabbits’ foot? All of these things are examples of talismans. A talisman is basically any charged object that produces a desired effect. To consecrate an object is to charge it and to fullfill is to produce a desired effect.

Historically, talismans have been used by ancient civilizations for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians used talismans or amulets for many different occasions and needs. They were often made with figures of specific gods such as Isis or Thoth, and used for protection or gaining knowledge and power. Within Christianity, there have been many talismans used over the years, such as the crucifix, which was considered a defense against demons or negative forces. In Hinduism, many talismans are made with images of Ganesh, Krishna and other gods which are considered good fortune. Famous biblical talismans include: Aarons’ breastplate, Arc of the Covenant and the Chalice.

So how can a talisman help you? Basically a talisman acts as an amplifier of your will and desire. Whatever it is that you desire or want to improve in your life, a talisman can help you to achieve it. Whether you are seeking power, knowledge, love, healing, protection or money; a talisman can help you to attain these things. For example, say you are attending college and having a hard time comprehending a specific subject, i.e., English. You could construct and charge a talisman with your specific desire or goal of learning English better. A talisman is generally made of a metal like gold or silver, or certain stones/gems, i.e. crystal, quartz, amber, etc. Technically any medium could work as a talisman, but some work much better than others. That is because there is an inherent vibration in some mediums that will respond better to a certain frequency. In other words, rose quartz would respond better to a love & compassion vibration and iron would respond better to a more aggressive warrior vibration. By using the proper metal or gem for your goal, you will have a faster and better outcome. It is kind of like the difference between using a VW bug and a Drag racer for a quarter mile race. They will both get you there, but the Drag racer will get your there much faster.

Another important consideration when making a talisman is to use a symbol or archetype representing the energy you wish to manifest. For example, if you want to bring more peace into your life, you could use the astrological symbol of venus. You could draw or carve this symbol on your talisman. You could also charge your talisman with a prayer to the appropriate archetype (God or Goddess) in whatever religion you follow. The Christian religion has a variety of saints that cover many aspects of life. For example, you could prey to St. Francis for peace as he is the recognized saint of peace. Or if you are Hindu, you could prey to Krishna to charge your talisman to bring peace into your life.

Finally, there are a variety of rituals to charge your talisman. The simplest is to wash your talisman first in salt water to cleanse it of all negativity. Then light a candle with incense, clear your mind and focus on your goal or desire. Say a prayer to the God or Goddess that represents your goal and then imagine light energy beaming down from heaven radiating your talisman with divine energy and charge it with your wish. Finish with a prayer and that completes the ritual. It is very simple, but very effective.

Remember that everyone has talismans, but most people have make them unconsciously. When you pour love and affection into your favorite object, you are charging it, whether you are aware of it or not, and creating a talisman. But a talisman will become much more effective, if you charge it consciously with your will, intention and mental/emotional energy.

For more information on Talismans, see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amulet, http://www.the/ astralyoga.com.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Spiritual Retreats


Is it time for a retreat? Summer is the time when most people think about going on a vacation. For those who are interested in spirituality, a better alternative may be going on a retreat. Retreat literally means to withdraw, and a spiritual retreat is taking time to withdraw from the hussle and bussle of the world, and focus on your inner self. We become so busy in our world, we do not take the time to ask the important questions; Who am I?, Where am I going?, Am I happy?, What is my purpose? A retreat is a time for contemplation, meditation and reflection. It is a time to focus on being rather than doing. It is a time to explore a different world and see what you may find there.

There are many retreat centers across the country where you can disconnect from life's many demands. Whether you are into Yoga, Zen, Buddhism or Christianity, there are many places to find solitude. Not too far from Denver, Co we have several places to go for peace and solitude. Some of them include: Shoshoni Yoga Retreat in Rollinsville, Co http://www.shoshoni.org/; Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Co http://www.shambhalamountain.org/, Benet Hill Monastery in Colorado Springs, Co http://www.benethillmonastery.org/, Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Co http://www.sunriseranch.org/, and Sophia Peace Center near Durango, Co http://www.sophiaretreatcenter.org/. For a complete listing of retreat centers across the entire country, see http://www.findthedivine.com/.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Presence in Relationships


Relationships are so difficult, but so very interesting! Who was it that said, Men, you can't live with them and you can't live without them. And of course, the same applies for women. But why are relationships so difficult sometimes? It is because they cause us to reach beyond our own ego. We have the opportunity to see things from another perspective. And many times we would rather not see things from another viewpoint. We tend to like our own viewpoint the best.

From an esoteric standpoint, the majority of our karma manifests through relationships or other people. If you have controlling tendencies, other people will make you aware of it. If you have anger tendencies, other people will bring out your anger, and so on. Other people are really your mirror and can help you to become aware of your problems. Then you can work on them and balance them more positively. Of course, relationships are also about sharing joy and love which is what life is really all about.

Eckhart Tolle talks a lot about presence in relationships. Presence means to be aware in the present moment without any expectations of the past or future. It exists in everyone at all times, though most people are unaware of it. We have become so accustomed to our thinking mind and our preconceived notions that we come to believe that is who we are. But who we are really exists at a deeper level behind our thoughts and our emotions. Being present is to accept everything as it is, no matter if we like it or not. We don’t have to necessarily agree with it, but to just accept it. To be present in a relationship is to accept other people as they are and to allow them space to be.

Although it sounds simple, this is not so easy to do. Most relationships start with feelings of love and then down the road turn into feelings of discontent, pain and unhappiness. Many times this is because the relationship fails to live up to one’s expectations. To practice presence in a relationship is to let go of one’s expectations and become aware of the person just as they are, not as you expect them to be. Of course, most everyone has expectations, but the key is to become aware of them and realize that expectations are just what you expect, not how things are. To be present in a relationship is to be who you are, at that center of awareness behind your thoughts and expectations, and to allow your beloved the space to be who they are behind the mask of thoughts and emotions. Practicing presence in your relationship, will allow for a deeper and more meaningful relationship than you ever expected.

For further information, see: http://www.blogger.com/www.eckharttolle.com.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Flowers Can Heal You!


I was walking in a field near the woods yesterday and I noticed all the summer flowers in their colorful splendor. They are so beautiful this time of year. But there are more to flowers than just their natural beauty. Did you know that flowers can heal you of many illnesses? Mother Nature provides us with all the natural cures to many of our problems. And they are right there before our eyes and most people don't even know it. Many people are aware of the healing powers of specific herbs, but flowers also have healing properties.

One of the most notable persons connected with flower healing is Dr. Edward Bach. Dr. Bach was a physician and surgeon in London back in the 1930's. He became dissatisfied with traditional medical practice and began to seek alternative healing methods. He founded the Bach Flower Remedies which have been very successful to this day. One of the interesting things that Dr. Bach advocates is that many of our illnesses stem from our false perceptions about ourselves. Dr. Bach says,

We are all conscious that it is not our bodies alone which are the cause of our difficulties. We do not say, “my body is worried or anxious or depressed”; we say, “I am worried or anxious or depressed”, We do not say, “my hand hurts itself in pain”; we say, my hand hurts me”. Were we but bodies, our lives would be merely one of personal interest and gain, seeking but our own comforts and relieving our own needs. But this is not so. Every kind simile, every kind thought and action; every deed done for love or sympathy or compassion of others proves that there is something greater within us than that we see…we all carry a spark of the Divine.

For Dr. Bach, illness begins when we forget our connection with the Divine. Then we begin to feel anxiety, stress and depression. His flower remedies help to alleviate these symptoms by sympathetic action. Every flower has a certain natural vibration and can help restore harmony by sympathetic vibration. Just like a tuning fork can cause another tuning fork to vibrate nearby, so the flower remedies can help tune one back into harmony.

I have used Bach flower remedies in my own life and have found them very helpful in bringing about peace especially in times of stress. The Rescue Remedy is really incredible in bringing about peace of mind.

For more information, see: http://www.bachflower.com/drbach.htm.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Paulo Coelho



I just finished reading Paulo Coelho's book called Brida. I would highly recommend it for those folks who enjoy books on esoteric spirituality. Paulo has written a string of fiction books on esoteric spirituality. They are not only insightful, but also very enjoyable reading. He is a great author and is able to convey many of the principles of esoteric spirituality through his intriguing stories. I just finished reading Brida the other day and it really hits home for me. I have walked a very similar road between the Paths of the Sun and the Moon. The Path of the Sun being the path of the Magus or Magician and the Path of the Moon as the path of the Witch. They are really two sides of the same coin in esoteric spirituality. And I think it gives us better balance if we learn both aspects of these spiritualities. The Path of the Sun teaches us through the rational mind, knowledge and ritual that leads to a better understanding of ourselves and the universe. The Path of the Moon teaches us through the intuition, and leads to wisdom and inner illumination. But both paths eventually come together in your practice and spiritual development.

For further information, please see: paulocoelhoblog.com/

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mid-Summers Eve


The Summer Solstice will occur for those of us in the northern hemisphere on June 20th-21st as the sun moves into the astrological sign of cancer. Solstice literally means sol for sun and sistere, to stand still. At the solstice, the sun has no apparent northward or southward motion. It is a time when the sun is at its zenith at the tropic of cancer, and basically when the sun reaches the highest point in the sky. It is the longest day of the year when the light force reaches its highest peak.

Many esoteric traditions celebrate various rituals during this important event. The ancient Druids gathered at this time period to celebrate the forces of light. Many Pagans celebrate this time period as Litha or Midsummer’s Eve. It is celebrated as a triumph for the forces of light over the forces of darkness with a huge bonfire. Wiccans honor the Horned God in all his glory and the Goddess as pregnant, and ready to bear the fruit of the harvest.

One interesting ritual that many Pagans celebrate is the Wheel of Fire. This ritual consists of constructing a wheel (usually made of wood or cardboard). Everyone in the ritual ties little colored ribbons, covered with symbols representing wishes that they would like to see made manifest to the wheel. The wheel would then be taken to a hill and lit on fire with drumming and dancing. At the climax, the wheel of fire would be rolled down the hill usually into a lake or pond. Basically the ritual symbolizes the sun at the height of its cycle and its sojourn downwards again. It is the intention that the wishes on the wheel, following the cycle of the sun will be realized when the sun reaches its lowest point at the winter solstice.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Esoteric and Exoteric Spirituality


What is Esoteric Spirituality? The word esoteric comes from the Greek work esoterikos meaning inner or from within. Basically, esoteric has to do with information or knowledge that is understood by a select few individuals or group of people. Esoteric knowledge may consist of teachings and doctrines handed down from a teacher to the initiated. This knowledge may require an inner realization, either from insight, intuition or meditation/contemplation in order to understand it fully. Esoteric spirituality, in a nutshell, would consist of any religion or spirituality that centers on an awareness or knowledge that is obtained through intuition or meditation and shared with a select group of followers.

Throughout history, western esoteric spirituality has been connected with diverse movements such as the Orphic tradition, the Eleusinian Mysteries, the School of Pythagoras, Gnostic Christianity, neo-Platonism, the Hermetic Tradition, Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, Spiritualism, Theosophy and Occultism. There are many branches to the tree of esoteric spirituality and it encompasses many different topics such as: Alchemy, Astral Projection, Astrology, Clairvoyance, ESP, Hermeticism, Intuition, Kabbalah, Magic, Metaphysics, Mysticism, Numerology, Occult, Rosicrucianism, Tarot and the Western mystery tradition, just to name a few.

Esoteric Spirituality has to do with spiritual development from within. It’s greatest teachers, i.e., Pythagoras, Hermes, Plato, Plotinus, and including Jesus have taught that the soul can expand the boundaries of every day consciousness and experience higher levels of awareness all the way to cosmic consciousness. The essence of their teachings were esoteric and given to a select inner group of followers or disciples. Pythagoras had his inner group of followers called the mathematiikoi who were given the guarded secrets of the cult. Hermes’s esoteric teachings were only given to those who were initiated. Jesus taught his deepest truths to his disciples. Jesus said, Do not throw your pearls before swine. In other words, do not throw your pearls of wisdom to those who would not understand them and then trample them. This is the essence as to why esoteric teachings were only given to a select few. Certain information was only given to those who were ready to receive it. This is one of the main differences between esoteric spirituality and exoteric spirituality. Exoteric spirituality was meant for the public and is about the external teachings of spirituality. Esoteric spirituality is meant for the inner spiritual development of the soul.