Learn More About Chakras

The human body is said to run on energy or is made up of pure energy. Thus in the human body itself lies seven energy points called chakras. These points are energy centers that send out signals through out the body in order to put it into motion and balance.

Learn More About Chakras
Learn More About Chakras

The seven chakras line up starting from the bottom of your spine all the way to the top of your head. They are also made up of seven colors much like the rainbow itself. Each point corresponds to a vital human thought and will such as survival, emotions, will power, love, communication, psychic abilities and wisdom. If any of these energy centers are blocked, it causes the other chakras to be over active or be under active, thus causing the body pain and illness and the mind turmoil and suffering.

The Seven Chakras

In many religions and in many schools of thought, chakras are given many different names. But they all boil down to energy flow in the mind, body and spirit. Understanding how each chakra works will help you balance them and make them work to their full potential.

Root Chakra

Location: Base of the spine, at the tailbone

Color: Red

Element: Earth
Mantra: LAM (Laaaammm)

Energy Center of: Survival and stability

Cause of Blockages: Fear

Blockage Result: Fearfulness, back pain, arthritic pain, anxiety, loss of grounding, weight loss

Over activity: Obesity, materialism, controlling behavior

The Root Chakra, being the base chakra is the foundation for the stability and proper flow of energy in the body. When the root chakra is blocked fear results which causes anxiety and being worried all the time. Physical manifestations include back and limb pain and stiffness.

The Root Chakra also connects us to Mother Earth and it’s bounties. We need to invoke the spirit of the Earth in order to call balance into our Root Chakra. Activities such massage, acupuncture and yoga can help balance this point. Meditation is vital for it to function well.

Sacral Chakra

Location: Near the pubic bone, about two inches below the navel

Color: Orange

Element: Water

Mantra: VAM (Vaaaaam)

Energy Center of: Sexuality, creativity and emotions

Cause of Blockages: Guilt and sexual suppression

Blockage Result: Impotence, lack of libido, bladder and kidney issues, painful periods.

Over activity: Sexual addiction, vanity, clingyness, having erratic emotions.

The sacral chakra being related to our feelings of pleasure and sexuality as well as guilt is vital in order for us to function well. When the root chakra is unable to run well, it causes a person to feel distaste for sex or feel guilty about it. When we are children this chakra normally determines who we become as adults. Back then many parents also try to repress energies coming from this point. Over repression of the sacral energy may cause a passive aggressive tendencies. Many psychological disorders are rooted to imbalance in this energy point.

The Sacral Chakra is a fluid source of energy and thus water helps it be balanced. Salt baths and bathing in hot springs can help charge this chakra. Engaging in a balanced sexual activity that evokes happiness and pleasure can help the person as well to put this point in tune.

Solar Plexus Chakra

Location: Abdominal area, about three inches about the navel.

Color: Yellow

Element: Fire

Mantra: RAM (Raaaaam)

Energy Center of: Will power, energy and metabolism

Cause of Blockages: Shame, improper diet

Blockage Result: Lack of will power and motivation, poor body image, sluggishness, indigestion, constipation and stomach pains

Over activity: Arrogance, inability to keep still, aggression, need for control, diarrhea, overeating

The Solar Plexus Chakra is responsible for the balance of our energy, drive and motivation. It helps us work well even under pressure and cope with different life situations. A balanced Solar Plexus allows a person to grow with age with acceptance with his or her body. He is able to focus on his work and feel motivated. He is also energetic and can engage in physical activity.

On the other hand, when this center is blocked, the person can experience physical symptoms like stomach problems as well as psychological issues such as stress and inability to concentrate with work. In order to balance this chakra the element of fire is needed. Eating warm food that warms up the body is needed. Exposing the body to heat such as going to the sauna is also advantageous. Mentally, doing sports and other challenging activities can help this chakra be more open.

Heart Chakra

Location: In the middle of your chest.

Color: Green

Element: Air

Mantra: YAM (Yaaaaam)

Energy Center of: Love, relationships, trust and body circulation

Cause of Blockages: Grief, sorrow and not getting enough oxygen

Blockage Result: Depression, melancholy, bitterness, apathy difficulty breathing and having heart ailments.

Over activity: Clingyness, jealousy, suspicion, high blood pressure and palpitations.

The Heart Chakra governs our feeling of kindness, love, care and compassion to others. It is the seat that pushes us to help those who are in need whether we know them or not. It is also the center that allows us to have selfless relationships which are healthy and thriving.

On the other hand, the heart chakra is one of the most fallible chakra sites. If mixed with negative energies it can a drive a person to be overly bitter, resentful, self centered and hateful. This can also result in being detached from others and being aloof.

Many health issues also stem from having emotional and mental blockages in the heart chakra. High blood pressure and heart problems are the most common issues that result from over or under activity of the heart. To make the heart chakra work better, breathing exercises such as yoga and qi gong are needed to promote a balance in both mind and body.

Throat Chakra

Location: In the middle of your neck, right where your vocal cords are.

Color: Blue

Element: Sound

Mantra: HAM (Haaaaam)

Energy Center of: Communication

Cause of Blockages: Lies, excessive smoking, smoking

Blockage Result: Low self esteem, inability to convey thoughts and emotions to words, poor body rhythm

Over activity: Arrogance, difficulty listening to others, stuttering and sore throats

The Throat Chakra helps us express our thoughts, feeling and emotions into words. The spoken word is very powerful. It can heal or would, build or destroy. One of the most amazing human capabilities is the gift of speech.

In order to balance the throat chakra meditative singing and chanting is needed. This would allow proper vibrations to flow into the energy points. The use of herbal cures such as ginger can also provide the warmth your throat chakra needs. Consuming too much sweets can also hinder it from functioning well.

Third Eye Chakra

Location: Between your eyebrows, in the lower middle part of your forehead

Color: Purple

Element: Light

Mantra: AUM (Ahhhhh ooooohhhh mmmmmm)

Energy Center of: Intuition and imagination, psychic abilities

Cause of Blockages: Illusion, lack of sleep, stress

Blockage Result: Nightmares, sleeplessness, poor eye sight, head aches

Over activity: Too much daydreaming, hallucinations, headaches, lack of focus

The Third Eye Chakra is the area responsible for our psychic abilities. Everyone has precognitive capabilities such as the ability to sense things in our dreams, in our gut feeling or in de javu. This also allows us to sense impending danger to forewarn us.

When the Third Eye Chakra is running well, you can enjoy good sleep, no nightmares, concentration at work and the ability to have good imagination. This energy point is very sensitive to light and dark signals such as from day and night. In order for it to function well, you need to have proper sleep and feel rested when you get tired. If you are unable to sleep well for days, weeks or months this part is normally blocked and vice versa can be blocked.

If you are suffering from sleeping problems, acupuncture and massage as well meditation can help you achieve that much needed sleep.

Crown Chakra

Location: On the very top of your head

Color: Indigo

Element: Thought

Mantra: ANG (aaaaannngggg)

Energy Center of: Spirituality, thought and wisdom

Cause of Blockages: Attachment (material, people, beliefs)

Blockage Result: Materialism, lack of morals and beliefs, lack of spirituality, headaches, anxiety, fear

Over activity: Over spirituality and lack of humanity, spiritual addiction, over intellectuality, confusion

The Crown Chakra is the source of thought and is the head of all the other chakras. It drives you to be sensible at all times. It is charged with wisdom and truth. It seeks truth. In order to balance the crown chakra, spiritual practices are needed. Meditation is much needed to communicate with the Universe. When you learn to let go and allow the crown chakra to focus on goodness and universal truth, then you can help it to blossom

The Crown Chakra also helps you manage your life beyond death and the life before you were ever born in this lifetime. It helps you know what you need to resolve in your past lives. If you truly want peace, you must clear this point in order to find that.

Learning about your chakras allow you to tune them and give them the healing they deserve. The chakras are much like flowers in your body, if they are overly exposed they die, if they are unexposed they die too. You may learn to balance them and tune them well in order for you to live happy and healthy. You mind, body and spirit calls you to attain that balance.

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Simple and Easy Ways to Meditate Through Your Day

Simple and Easy Ways to Meditate Through Your DayMeditation is best thing you can do to clear your head and feel better in a stressful day. It can make things easier to take and managable. Even if you have a ton of worries, being able to tune into your spirit allows you to focus and have the strength to continue on. Meditation also helps you curb your desire to break down and go mad or curse and even go amok. When you meditate, you center yourself and you allow your mind and soul to be one. You are able to bottle all the happy moments and use them in the tough and challenging times. And by this you can use the experiences you’ve had from the tough times you have survived into being strong enough to withstand any storm.

But how do we meditate if life is constantly bombarding us with deadlines and things to do and finish? How do we a lot the time and energy to meditating if you barely have time to sleep and let your mind wander? Well meditation does not have to take so much time. It may require conscious effort to be one with your breath but you may seek out the peace of your heart in many simple ways.

Do Five Minute Meditations

Well I know sparing five minutes of your very, very busy and hectic day is more than you can take, but trust me it is well worth it. This five minute retreat can make a difference from you being an evil psycho to a less psychotic more positive person. I know what you might be thinking “I barely have time to sleep or even watch TV and I will a lot five minutes to sitting there doing nothing?”. I know right? But you know YOU ARE IMPORTANT. And making some time for you is very important. Your mind deserves that pause button so much. If you keep your mind and body always on the go and if you don’t take the time out to pause and meditate you might find yourself breaking down.

What if you’re the other sort of person who probably lets the day slip by and just chill and relax and does not get so stressed out? Well, good for you! But you can still benefit from closing your eyes and allowing positive energy flow into your mind and body; a time to cleanse out your soul. Even if you are already chill, you would still need to consolidate your thoughts and energize your spirit to keep your peace going even during tough or easy times.

So How?

Simple and Easy Ways to Meditate Through Your DayTypically people would say to sit down and relax to ease your mind. I know that sitting in a lotus pose is very good way to allow the good vibrations go in. This is something you do while listening to meditative music like singing bowls or mantra music.

1. Sit in a lotus pose with your back straight and your eyes closed. Put your hands on your lap or in a prayer pose.

2. Put on those earphones or go to a quiet room.

3. Set an intention for this meditation. Do you want to take peace in? Have a happiness? Be strong? Try to focus on that word and allow your mind to drift into thoughts associated with these intention. Visualize it.

4. You can do this for as short as five minutes or longer if you have more time.

5. Try to do it every day as you wake up or every night before you sleep and you will feel the difference

But What If You Still Can’t do This?

So now comes the part of the easy to incorporate meditation. I’m not saying that you should forget about traditional meditation because that has MANY benefits but you may try these other stuff to help you if you’re too time pressed.

1. Meditate in the shower – I know you might be thinking about your work while you try to shower as quickly as you can, but you can try to squeeze a few minutes to healing your soul and spirit. Just like the steps above except for the sitting part, you still find peace while you shower. Try to play some music. Free your thoughts and just be into with your body. Feel the water as it cascades on your body. Allow this to remind you of freedom and peace.

2. You can do it while you commute – I know that traffic can really bother your or standing on the train can really be irritating if you are wearing four inch heels but you can still use this time to stay peaceful and positive. You can pop on your earphones, and then zone into a peaceful place in your heart. You can think about nothing just let your mind drift with the music or you can make an intention in an area where you want to grow. Do you want to be more patient at work? Do you want to be more productive? Do you want to just be happy with everyday life? You can think of these while you travel to work.

3. Buy a snow globe or make one – I know that you think that this is probably for older women or for too sentimental men and women but it’s not. Looking at the specs of glitter floating up and then down can be very relaxing for your you. Just shaking and looking at a snow globe for a minute can really make you feel more refreshed and relaxed. If you don’t have an actual snow globe, why not just get one of those mason jars or like recycle an old mayo jar and fill it water and glitter. Around five parts water and one part glitter should do the trick. If you get a bit stressed or you just want to ease your mind, try giving it a bit of a shake and see the glitters come up and then slowly go down.

4. Give yourself a little massage – You may be aching from crouching in front of the PC all day and dread your deadline that is looming in, so why not give yourself a little massage? I know you might be on crunch time but giving yourself just three minutes to soothe your aching back muscles will work wonders for your productivity and stress levels. You can bring a small salve like Vicks Vapor rub or your own rub (don’t use oil if you are in the office, that would be too messy). I know that you may think that people will smell you but this can really help you ease your mind. Concentrate on the small strokes your doing as you rub your temples or your shoulders.

5. Allow your mind to zone out while you exercise – I know you might be trying to make yourself go the extra squat or push up and willing your mind to do it, but you can allow your mind zone out and just allow your body to do the work. You can allow your mind just to just drift and relax your soul. Exercise can be pretty meditative and it gives you loads of positive energy after the workout.

6. Savor your food – You may be always in hurry to gulp down your meals that you for forget how delicious and nourishing your food is. Try eating alone once in a while. Chew your food slowly and notice every taste that you have in your mouth. Think about thoughts you associate with each taste. Breathe as you eat and chew. Drink more water. Do this once in a while and you might enjoy having your lunch breaks more.

7. Do some deep breathing before you sleep – You may just be too exhausted from a whole day of working or doing chores or studying but you can really help your mind and body relax by doing a hundred deep breaths before you sleep. This will only take you more or less two minutes but it can really help you remove some bad vibrations from your mind and body. Deep breathing promotes oxygen in your brain that gives you better sleep. If you sleep better then you can have a better day next day!

These small acts of meditation can really help you cope with the stresses of life. You can learn to appreciate life more and see things in a different light. Meditation through your day makes you a more positive and kinder person. Try it out. Your soul will thank you for it!

StormJewel's Psychic Readings

The Magic of Working With Difficult Emotions (part 1)

girl-107163_640We all experience challenging emotions at times. It can be all too easy to get caught up in our reactions to these intense and unpleasant feelings.

We might find ourselves getting irritable and taking out our anger on our loved ones. Or we might find ourselves spending a lot of time and energy disconnecting from ourselves in order to avoid feeling what we feel. This article will help you overcome and successfully resolve your feelings.

Imagining Another Way

But what if we could learn to welcome such emotions instead? What if we could learn to experience our difficult emotions as gifts, as opportunities to deepen our self-care and spiritual practice, as potential allies who have much to teach us?

If you are interested in pursuing this approach, here are several steps that you can take to befriend your pain and sorrow, your anger and fear. These steps are presented as a rough outline; feel free to choose your own path, to mix and match elements of them, to skip over or replace some of them or to work through them in whatever order makes sense to you.

Accept that you feel what you feel.

Before we can start to move or transform any emotion, we have to simply be present with it. We have to stop resisting, stop fighting, stop pretending that what’s happening is not happening.

Acceptance is powerful medicine. It’s the best antidote for all the convoluted snarls and tangles we can find ourselves stuck in. For many people (including myself), it’s so easy to start feeling bad because we feel bad.

I often find myself feeling angry or sad that some old familiar pain has resurfaced in my heart. I might start to believe false stories, such as that I’ve always felt this way or that my sorrow is never going to end.

This dynamic can also show up in different ways. For example, you might be scared of the intensity of your own anger. Or you might be ashamed of the depth of your grief. You might be frustrated because your emotional reactions don’t seem to make rational sense.

But you don’t have to beat yourself up for feeling how you feel. You can simply accept that this is where your heart is, in this moment, and trust that, no matter how lost you might feel, you are on a long and winding path towards wholeness.

Ask for help…

friends-204324_640We don’t have to deal with our pain and difficulties alone. We are stronger when we are interconnected, when we draw on the many resources that exist within and around us.

Asking for help can look very different for different people. It can also be quite different for one person at different times in their life. One important strategy is to cultivate a network of emotional support.

When you have a range of relationships with people that you enjoy and trust, you can often find great comfort and help. It can be challenging for most people to reach out when they’re overwhelmed. Because of this, it’s often a good idea to ask people beforehand if you can contact them for support when you’re having a hard time.

…From all your allies.

As magical practitioners, we have the ability to ask for help from more than human allies. Depending on your tradition and preferences, you might reach out to Gods and Goddesses, to faeries and elemental spirits, to your ancestors and/or to angels and spirit guides.

All of these can be great sources of healing, soothing and spiritual insight.

Some people also cultivate relationships to non-human allies who exist physically in this realm. For example, many magical people use crystals for a variety of emotional balancing purposes. You can also use herbal teas, plant-based remedies and aromatherapy oils in similar ways.

If you have rituals that you are familiar with, performing them during a trying time can be a great way to comfort yourself. Doing something familiar can also help you feel empowered and competent.

A Simple Prayer to Ask for Help

Emotions and Candle Ritual
Emotions Candle Ritual

Here’s a very simple ritual that you can do if you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you need to something quick and easy, or if you simply aren’t sure how to ask for spiritual help. Light a candle. Imagine that your heart is a bud, a tightly closed flower.

Say out loud, “Divine Beings, Spirits of Benevolence and Grace, I ask for help. I ask for support and comfort to enter into my life. I am willing to open and be changed.”

Imagine that the flower of your heart is opening and blossoming. Imagine that your heart is giving off a sweet, alluring scent that draws love and connection towards it. Allow yourself to see any images of support that might appear, like honeybees, to pollinate your heart.

Check back next month to read part 2 of this article, which will explore expressing difficult emotions and gleaning lessons from them!

StormJewel's Psychic Readings

Harvesting the Magic of Autumn

 Some rightsreserved by gre.ceres http://www.flickr.com/photos/greceres/
Grain in Autumn

This time of year is the harvest, when the fruit and grains that ripened in summer are gathered in. It is a time to give thanks and a time to take stock, a time to share the bounty we have been given and a time to consider the fruits of our labor. Here are several ways that we can align ourselves spiritually with the magic of harvest.

Count Your Blessings

In this season of bounty, it’s important to take time to acknowledge all the many gifts we’ve been given. Of course, for each of us, the exact nature of these blessings is different.

And for each of us, the best way to take stock of our gratitude is different. You may want to write down a list in your diary or magical journal. You may want to gather with some friends and community members in order to speak your reflections out loud. You may want to create some other form of expression, such as a song or a painting or a collage.

The point of this exercise is to survey your life. Allow yourself to become aware of all the things that bring you joy and contentment, whether those elements are relationships with other people, features of the natural landscape, physical objects, or freedoms that you enjoy.

Sometimes this exercise can bring up feelings of scarcity or lack for people. If nothing else, you can start with the eyes that you’re using to read these words and the mind that you’re using to understand them. You are alive, which is in itself a great and miraculous gift.

Once you begin to connect to your gratitude, you are likely to find more and more items to include in your count.

Remember Your Part in Creating the Feast

As you sit down to the harvest table, take some time to consider the food that’s in front of you. This food might be metaphorical or literal; it might be literally the fruits of your garden, the ripe apples of the trees you tended, the bright orange globes of the pumpkins you watered all summer. Or it might be the relationships you’ve deepened this year, the lessons you learned, the abundance you created for yourself, the projects you completed.

Whatever your harvest is, it’s something that you created. It’s the result of the seeds you planted in the spring and all the weeding and nurturing you did in the summer.

So after you thank the world for all the gifts you’ve received, thank yourself as well. Remember the part you played in manifesting this harvest feast.

If You Reap What You Sow…

And after you’ve expressed your gratitude, consider: does the food that’s before you truly nurture you? Is there something missing? Is there something that you wish wasn’t there?

If you do notice a desire for something to be different, be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to simply be aware, without judgment or blame.

And imagine, if you can, that the difference that you’re craving is already present, that the difficult fruit is gone or the missing bounty is there, sitting on your table. And ask yourself, or ask the harvest, how did that nourishment come to be here? What seeds did I plant in order to invite this gift into my life? What did I sow in order to reap this bounty?

The answers you receive can serve as inspiration for next year’s garden.

Bigger than Human

These meditations, while beautiful and helpful, are very human. If you want to connect to something larger than yourself, something wilder and more ancient, harvest is also an excellent time to do so.

The easiest way to do so is simply to take nature walks as often as you can. This can be a little challenging, as the blissful heat of summer starts to give way to the cold and dark of winter. Personally, I have found that consciously spending time outdoors makes it easier for me to adjust to seasonal transitions, both in terms of physical comfort and in more emotional and esoteric ways.

As you walk, allow yourself to notice the changes that are taking place all around you. Let yourself feel whatever you feel about the colder winds and the dying leaves, whether that’s sorrow or excitement.

After you have acknowledged the arising feelings, say a small prayer of thanks. Thank the summer for the bright sun that feeds growth and abundance. Thank the autumn for being the time of harvest, the time of gathering, the time of change and preparation. Thank the winter that is coming for the deep rest and the sheltering dark.

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The Viking Vision of Peace and Plenty with God Freyr

448px-Freyr_by_Johannes_GehrtsWe’ve already explored the central roles that physical strength and war play in Viking mythology. But the Vikings were a multi-faceted people; they also told stories that celebrated peace, diplomacy and the courage to give up your arms and embrace those who had once been your enemies.

Again, the Vikings’ mythology reflected the conditions of their actual lives. No people, no matter how fierce, could continuously be at war. Many of the conflicts the Vikings experienced were no doubt internal conflicts, fights between various Viking families and clans. They needed inspiration and guidance on how to restore peaceful relations after violent disagreements.

Who is Freyr?

Several of the most potent Viking stories of peace feature the God Freyr. Freyr is a God of sunshine and plenty, pleasure and generosity. He is said to bring blessings of peace and prosperity to humans who honour him. Freyr has a close relationship with humanity; legends claim him as the Father of the Royal House of Sweden.

The story of how Freyr came to live in Asgard, home of the Norse Gods, is a tale of reconciliation going back to the very roots of Viking mythology. The Gods themselves were once split into warring clans: the Aesir and the Vanir. The Aesir, led by Odin, invaded the homeland of the Vanir, where Freyr lived with his fellow Vanir Gods and Goddesses.

The two clans fought each other bitterly. As you might expect from beings of vast supernatural power, the war between the two families of Gods went on for a long time, causing vast damage and loss to both sides.

Eventually, both the Aesir and the Vanir were ready for a peace treaty. In order to ensure that both sides honored the peace, the two families exchanged hostages; several Aesir Gods went to live with the Vanir in their homeland, and Freyr (as well as his sister Freya) went to live with the Aesir in Asgard.

Though he comes from an enemy clan, Freyr’s charm and contagious optimism soon won him the trust of the Aesir. As a token of their respect, the Gods gave Freyr Alfheim, the world of the elves, to rule over. In time, Freyr became one of the most prominent and powerful Gods in the Norse pantheon. He is the God of Sacred Kingship and masculine fertility, the bright sun who brings growth and plenty to all the land.

The Blessings of Freyr

A detail from Gotland runestone G 181, in the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm. The three men are interpreted as Odin, Thor, and Freyr.

The gifts that Freyr brings are those that come from a long peace; abundant harvests, stockhouses full of meat and cheese, celebratory feasts where neighbouring clans come together and dancing might lead to strangers becoming spouses.

Freyr himself fell in love with a stranger, in another old tale about the power of peace. He became infatuated by Gerd, a giantess. The giants were a race at war with the Gods. In order to win the trust and affection of his beloved, Freyr agreed to cast aside his magic sword. He won the hand of Gerd and the two were happily married. But Freyr’s sacrifice of his weapon came with a price; he was destined to be slain in the final war, Ragnarok.

Freyr, Lord of the Sun, can teach us how to move from strife and distrust towards peace and prosperity.

Working With Freyr

Ask yourself:

* Is there a way I can turn the forces I see as my enemies into my allies instead?
* Where do I need the life-giving abundance of the sun?
* What am I willing to sacrifice in order to find love and trust?

Freyr teaches us that peace and prosperity are bound up together. In the world of the Vikings, freedom from war meant more hands to work the fields and gather the harvests. For any society, it’s much easier to get along with your neighbours when you know there is plenty of food and sunshine to go around.

In the end, Freyr’s most powerful blessing seems to be the realisation that the well being and prosperity of our neighbours -even those we might sometimes deem enemies–brings good to us as well.

StormJewel's Psychic Readings

Dancing With Summer’s Light

sunflowers
Sunflowers

This time of year, the days seem to stretch on forever. The afternoons, overflowing with golden sunlight, seem to go on and on.

Whatever age we are, we can’t help but remember the promise and delight of summer holiday: swimming and taking long walks in the woods, savouring ice cream cones and watermelon slices, bike rides and games of tag and epic water fights.

In the natural world, a celebration is happening as well.

The trees are gratefully soaking up the abundant energy of the sun, transforming insubstantial light into the solid substance of their sweet, swelling fruits. The fledgling birds and young animals who were born in the spring are leaving their nests and dens behind, venturing further and further out into the wide world.

Summer Magic and Fun

Lughnasagh
Lughnasagh

During summer, aligning ourselves with the rhythm of the seasons can seem easy and appealing. Now, the call is for us to expand, to drink in the wealth of inspiration and light and to use this abundance to nourish the fruits of the projects and intentions we planted earlier this year.

Summer is also an excellent time for us to reconnect with the beauty and simplicity of the wild world. Whether you’re drawn to going on hikes in the wilderness, to taking long walks in your neighbourhood or to sailing on local rivers and lakes, the long, warm days are the perfect opportunity to spend more time outside, to strengthen our bodies while simultaneously deepening our relationship with the living body of Gaia.

The increased presence and activity of animals makes this a great time to connect with animals allies, helpers and guides. If you already have an established relationship with an animal spirit, consider travelling to its natural habitat so you can further build your connection.

If you’re seeking new animal allies, there’s a couple of different strategies you might use. You could use techniques such as lucid dreaming and shamanic journeying to enter into the spirit world. However, in the summer months, the pull of the physical world is strong. You might have better luck if you physically travel into a green, untamed place.

Wherever you go, simply hold the clear intention of seeking an animal companion to guide and accompany you on your spiritual journey. The world will hear and respond to you. 

So Much Abundance  

Summer forest
Summer forest

The abundance of light in summer can reveal new possibilities. This makes the current season an excellent time for exploration, for trying out new activities, new ways of being in the world. Is there a new spiritual practise or healthy habit you’ve been considering trying for a while?

Now is an excellent time to start.  

Another way of working with summer abundance is by cultivating gratitude. To start with, try taking a little time each day, perhaps right after you wake up or right before you fall asleep, and listing some of the things in your life that you feel grateful for.

As you continue to work with gratitude, you may find yourself spontaneously saying a silent “thank you” to the universe when something beautiful happens.

The magic of gratitude is expansive and contagious; you will likely find that the more gratitude you feel, the more blessings and gifts will appear in your life.

Remembering the Balance  

Lughnasagh (25 Jul - 16 Aug) Pendant To Invoke Intuition
Lughnasagh (25 Jul – 16 Aug) Pendant To Invoke Intuition

While the summer might feel endless, we know that it is not. The solstice, so recently gone by, may be the height of the sun’s power and brilliance but this means that it also marks the time when the light begins to wane.

As suggested by the Taoist symbol of Yin and Yang, the moment of greatest light also contains within itself a seed of growing darkness.

In ancient Celtic lore, the summer solstice marked the day that Lugh, the Sun King, died. There is no need to dwell gloomily on this aspect of the season. But it is important to remember that summer, like all the seasons, is transitory. The wheel turns, and keeps on turning. The light and the heat and the wild sense of expansive possibility: these are precious because they are only here for a time.  

This pinprick of sadness, this reminder of winter’s chill, can help deepen and enrich our gratitude. We can seize the long day of summer and live our lives to the fullest, knowing that nothing lasts forever. At the same time, we can hold the paradox; the wheel turns, and will return once again to summer. In this way, the brilliance is both fleeting and eternal, too quickly gone and always present.

by River

 

StormJewel Says: Thanks River for your beautifully poetic article.  I love your recommendations for getting in to the summer mindset, and I really love going to woods and parks to connect with nature in the summer, especially this one which in the UK is wonderfully warm for once! 🙂

Have you any Summer or Lughnasagh tips to share with us? What do you like best about summer? How do you connect with nature at this time? Let us know! xx

Img Credits: All photos except the last are by talented photographer Andreas Krappweis

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How to Connect with Your Ancestor Spirits

How to talk to your ancestors
This reminds me of the funeral masks made by the Ancient Greeks and Romans to honour their ancestors

If you’ve been curious about working with your ancestor spirits, now is an excellent time of year to start, because the dark of the year is a great time to listen to otherworldly voices and connect with the shadow lands.

We’re nearing Samhain, which is the ancient Celtic holiday that Halloween is based on.

All the Halloween zombies and ghosts are half-remembered reminders of an ancient truth: around the end of October, the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead grows thin.

We now have a heightened opportunity to reach across the divide and communicate with all the spirits of those who have passed.

Here are some tips for developing relationships with your ancestors:

First, keep in mind that your ancestors are as diverse as your living family.  They might not all want to talk with you, especially in the context of a Pagan ritual.  While most ancestors interact with their descendants in a loving and encouraging manner, some are difficult or quarrelsome.

If you have an especially trying time interacting with your deceased family, keep in mind that there are multiple types of ancestors you can work with.

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Who are my Ancestors?

Ancestors of spirit are all those who inspire you, whose work you carry on in the world, who built the tools and traditions you use in your life.

Your ancestors of spirit might include the Witches and Pagans of the past.  Your ancestors of spirit might include the writers and musicians and artists whose work has touched your heart, lifted your spirits, or inspired you to create yourself.  They might include activists who have fought for the rights and opportunities that you enjoy.  They might include the people who founded the field you work in, the people who started the hobbies that fill your life with joy.

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Ancestors of place include all the beings who once lived in the area you live.

They extend beyond other human beings to include the animals who lived and died, the plants who flourished and decayed.  The ground you walk on is literally made out of the bodies of those plants and animals, those ancestors of place.  If you live in a city, your ancestors of place include all the human hands who planned and built and cared for the houses and streets that make up your world.

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Ancestors of blood are the people you’re physically descended from.

Their bones are your bones; their blood flows through your veins.  You can imagine yourself as the bud on a branch of a great tree, with roots extending far into the past.  You are the child and the grandchild and the great-grandchild of people who survived, at least long enough to reproduce.  Whatever else your family might have done or failed to do, they brought you into this world.

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How to build relationships with these Ancestor Spirits

All three types of ancestors have given us many gifts. 

An excellent way to begin developing relationships with them is by expressing your gratitude for the many gifts they’ve given you.  Your ancestors of blood gave you your body and your life.  All the other experiences you enjoy are based on this first gift.

Your ancestors of place give you solid ground to walk on, a home to shelter you, perhaps a lovely garden to enjoy.  Your ancestors of spirit give you inspiration, magical tools and ways to understand the world.

Building an Ancestor Altar

When we are trying to build a relationship with a living person, we might invite them to dinner.  In order to do something similar with ancestors, we can build an ancestor altar.  This creates a space for them in our homes. 

An ancestor altar can be as simple as a table with a candle and a few photos of loved ones who have passed, or as complex as a full spread of magical tools with a pentagram at the centre.

Try sitting with your ancestor altar once a day or once a week, as your schedule allows.  Thank you ancestors for what they’ve given you.  Tell them about your life.  Ask for their advice.  And simply allow yourself to listen.  Your ancestors may make specific requests from you.  They might want you to light a candle for them, or burn a certain kind of incense.  They might want to be served a small plate of the food you eat for dinner, or a glass of water.

Be patient and generous and your connection with your ancestors will flower.

By Allison Grey

 

StormJewel: Thanks for another fantastic article Allison!  There’s lots to learn and do from this.

I’d love to hear your ancestor experiences, or even just whether you think you will be trying this or not.  Let us know below!  Blessings!

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Preparing for the Dark of the Year

354 Red Sunset-Bourgogne
I Am Not I

As we’ve passed the Autumnal Equinox, the nights are getting longer and longer.  We can feel the chill of winter begin to creep into the air.  We are nearing the dark time of the year.

In the natural world, the squirrels are gathering nuts for the winter.  The hedgehogs are gorging themselves, building up fat reserves to nourish them through the long dreaming days of hibernation.

As humans, how can we prepare ourselves for the dark time of the year?  How can we live more deeply in harmony with the seasons and grow and shift along with the Earth?

If we take nature as our guide, we can see that the dark of the year is a time for rest.  Like the trees releasing their leaves and the animals hibernating, we can simplify our lives, let go our distractions and focus our attention inward.

The stillness that fills the world in winter provides us with a chance to explore our own interior worlds so that we can learn about ourselves, our spiritual gifts and our purpose in the world.

Many people in the modern world keep very busy.  In our fast-paced, technological world, we are often taught to keep moving, keep doing, to fill our minds with new information every second.    But the rhythm of the natural world is motion and stillness, action and rest, day and night.

The Darkness as a Nurturing Force

We are sometimes taught to fear darkness, to fear stillness, to fear the quiet, still, resting night inside of us.  The gathering dark of the year is an invitation for us to challenge these fears and enter more deeply into our own souls.

In order to move through our fears, we may need to let go of our old stories about darkness being evil or harmful.

Try instead to think of darkness as something natural, as necessary as the rhythm of day and night. Imagine darkness as the wide open sky, full of mystery and possibility.  Imagine darkness as the safe, enclosed space of the womb, nurturing that which is small and growing and not yet ready to emerge into the light.  Think of the darkness beneath the soil, nurturing tiny seeds.

Get in Touch With Yourself in Winter

Held by the sheltering darkness of winter, what do you hear?  Can you listen to the soft, wise voice of your own intuition?  This is an excellent time of year to strengthen your connection to that voice. Consider beginning to work with a new divinatory tool, such as runes or the Tarot.

You may also want to start a daily practise of listening.  This could be as simple as setting aside ten minutes every morning to sit in quiet meditation.  If you’re interested in doing so, all you need to do is find a comfortable place to sit.   Focus your attention on your breathing.  If troubling thoughts or emotions emerge, allow them to pass through your mind like clouds blowing across the sky.  This practise can create a deep calm within you, mirroring the calm, reflective nature of the world in winter.

The dark half of the year, with its long nights, is also an excellent time to explore dreamwork.  Your dreams can reveal the depths of your own heart to you, and may also contain the seeds of spiritual wisdom and glimmers of the future.  The nights also provide ample space to explore spiritual realms.

In the quiet of the winter, it can be easier to hear the voices of spirit guides, guardian angels and spirit animals.  You can tap into conversations with these beings through practises such as shamanic journeying, guided visualisations and prayer.

Friends, Warmth and Light

While you’re venturing into the hidden spaces within yourself and into the spirit world, it’s important to keep one foot in physical reality. You don’t want to get lost in the vast, wide darkness.  As the Equinox reminds us, there is a need for balance between dark and light.

You need to cultivate some warmth and light along with the solitary introspective dark. 

One excellent way to do so is to create a winter circle of friends.  You could meet once a week or once a month to share food, laughter, and stories.  Such a group could be a place to share your experiences of wandering in the dark, and a place to recount the beautiful treasures you find there.

By Allison Grey

[StormJewel] Thanks Allison for that great article, it’s really inspiring to me as someone who feels the cold and loves the light of summer!  This serves as a reminder to me that as Pagans it’s important to embrace natures rhythms and it’s clear that if we learn to love the changing of the seasons we will find it very rewarding! 

Do you prefer winter or summer? What things do you like to do in winter? Let us know below!

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StormJewel’s Competition Winners

Hi All!

Ok so the winners of my favourite animal competition have been drawn and are ready to be announced….

*fanfares playing*

In First Place winning the £30 gift voucher is Lauren R whose favourite animal is Tigers!

Runner up prizes of £5 each go to Rebecca W who loves Giraffes and Clair D whose fave animal is cats!

Thanks so much to all for entering and sharing your favourite animals with me, and please do keep an eye on my facebook page for more competitions and giveaways!

Want to be sure you never miss out? Why not sign up to my occasional newsletter to find out about new competitions, new items and my latest blog posts.

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Does the Law of Attraction Really Work?

Does the Law of Attraction Really Work?Can the Law of Attraction get you a home, a job, a partner or whatever else you may wish for? I think it can but perhaps not in the way you think.

With the popularity of ‘The Secret‘, many people are now trying the law of attraction to get what they want.  In case you’ve been in a hole and never heard of it, it basically involves building up a clear picture of what you want in your head, and thinking about it, putting energy into it until you get what you want.

It also says that if you spend too much time focusing on what you are afraid of, or don’t want, that you will attract this too.

But does it really work like this?

I’ve seen quite a few disillusioned people on the internet sharing their experiences.  One guy (sorry forgotten where I saw it) had spent a lot of time visualising what he wanted and it never transpired.  This led him to think out the rules of the law of attraction and find it useless on this basis:

Thoughts don’t equal action.

His opinion was that believing that what we think influences what happens is a mistake understanding of the causal chain – eg when about to start a flight many passengers may be worrying about it crashing, but it still doesn’t crash because thought don’t influence things in this way.

Is he right?  Well yes and no.  Some people worrying about the plane crashing is not going to have any effect.

What if 300 people onboard willed (as opposed to worried about) it to crash? Possibly this might affect it (after all I do believe spells are possible, which are a sending of intention) but I doubt anyone is going to test it out particularly soon, and quite possibly it wouldn’t be strong enough to have an effect.

But in essence this guy is right, simply thinking about things is not enough to change things, but it is a very good start as long as you realise that it is just the start.  One of the most important things in life to me is helping people to realise that we all have the power of our own destiny.

I strongly believe and have seen much evidence to support the idea that the more energy you put into something the more you will get back.

Does that mean every project you do will succeed? No, but usually you will get some kind of energetic reward for putting effort into something, even if it just experience and determination to do better, but quite frequently new doors will have opened just by the fact that you take action.

ACTION! Yes this word is perhaps the key word for this article, since that is what most people who find the secret and law of attraction unsuccessful don’t realise.  Putting the thoughts and energy into creating the ideas things you want is the vital first step, and doing this correctly will set you up for success.

But if you don’t actually go and do anything, just let these little dreams and ideas sit in your head, that’s all they will ever be, ideas.

It can feel really difficult to begin something new (right now I am trying to make dragon t-shirts and have nearly given up several times before I even really started due to my fears of failing and it looking rubbish) but all you have to do it push through that fear and take even baby tentative steps on your journey.

Most likely you’ll be spurred on my your progress, no matter how small, and then all your mental focusing and energy can be expressed, or possibly you realise the project is no good and can begin starting to look for another better way to do things, which in turn will lead to success!

So that’s what I think, and in fact have long since thought about achieving what you want.

What do you reckon, does the Law of Attraction really work? Have you used The Secret, Cosmic Ordering or some other similar idea or mindset? Let me know below!

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