Saturday, 25 September 2010

Super Harvest Moon

The moon is seen as a female symbol, and was worshipped in ancient times as a powerful force. It is believed to be linked to the unconscious and our feminine side. The Sacredness of the moon has been connected with the basic cyclic rhythms of life. The changing phases of the moon were linked to the death and rebirth seen in crops and the seasons, and also to the female monthly cycle that controls human fertility. The moon calendar is still important and many festivals exist around the lunar phases.
 Two days ago on Sept. 23, 2010: For the first time in almost 20 years, northern autumn began on the night of a full Moon.

When the night of the harvest moon coincides with the night of the equinox, it is called a 'Super Harvest Moon' and this year it created the first Super Harvest Moon since 1991
The action began at sunset GMT, the last day of northern summer. As the sun sank in the west, bringing the season to a close, the full Harvest Moon rose in the east, heralding the start of autumn. The two sources of light will mix together to create a kind of 360-degree, summer-autumn twilight glow that is only seen on rare occasions.

As the golden orb rose it appeared much larger, this is the Moon illusion at work. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, a low-hanging Moon appears much wider than it really is.  
The Harvest Moon gets its name from agriculture. In the days before electric lights, farmers depended on bright moonlight to extend the workday beyond sunset. It was the only way they could gather their ripening crops in time for market. The full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox became "the Harvest Moon," and it was always a welcome sight.

The Harvest Moon is also known as the Wine Moon, the Singing Moon and the Elk Call Moon. In American myth and folklore the full moon of each month is given a name. There are many variations, but the following list gives the most widely known names:

January – Wolf moon, Hunger moon, Old moon
February – Snow moon, Ice moon
March – Worm moon, Sap moon, Sugaring moon, Crow moon, Storm moon
April – Pink moon, Egg moon, Grass moon, Rain moon, Growing moon, Wind Moon
May – Flower moon, Planting moon, Milk moon, Hare moon
June – Strawberry moon, Rose moon, Honey moon, Mead moon
July – Buck moon, Thunder moon, Deer moon, Hay moon
August – Sturgeon moon, Corn moon, Fruit moon, Barley moon
September – Harvest moon, Gypsy Moon
October – Hunter's moon
November – Beaver moon, Frosty moon, Snow moon
December – Cold moon, Long Night moon, Winter moon

The next 'Super Harvest Moon' will happen again in the year 2029.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Monastery of Sound

Last Sunday we went to the Royal Opera House to see a performance of Chants, Dances and Prayers given by Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery.
It was an amazing insight into the life and practices of these artistic monks and the short video clip is a blessing that is performed using a variety of hand gestures. It is believed to be such a powerful blessings, that even by simply observing the ritual, one will be blessed.


Sorry the quality of film is not too good, but it was done on my camera at the last minute


Friday, 3 September 2010

Restore Harmony by Smudging

Smudging plays a central role in traditional healing ceremonies because it is believed that once unwanted (negative) energies are cleared out, a sense of balance may be restored and peace and harmony assist in putting difficulties to rest.

Smudging is an effective ritual that helps to cleanse and purify ourselves and the spaces we live in and use, but it is not a quick fix cure-all.
Think of it as spiritual ‘soap’ that helps to cleanse us or an area, but when there is too much ‘dirt’ or you keep doing things that attract the ‘dirt’ it’s effect will be limited.
When we create toxicity in our lives, we poison ourselves as well as others and the environment around us. Ultimately it is best to correct the underlying problem.

When we discovered how to make fire, people noticed that different things produced aromatic smoke when burnt.

Woods, herbs, roots, resins and barks are changed from their physical form (physical world form), by the element of fire into smoke (spirit world form). This transformation is evidence of the spirit within substances.

Throughout history aromatic plants have been used in the daily activities of people from every culture. Christians, Hindus and Buddhists all burn incense in churches and temples to assist the act of prayer and meditation.
And of course, Indigenous cultures have used Sacred smoke to cleanse, purify and in prayer and ritual for millennia.


The connection between people and plants is being forgotten in todays technological
Man-made, synthetic world, as we drift further away from the ways that connect us to the plant and animal spirits we share the earth with. We are losing our understanding of the physical things around us that connect us to the spirit of life.
Smudging is a common practice among Native American people for the cleansing of energy through the burning of White Sage, Cedar, Sweet Grass and Tobacco.

What you will need : 

A Shell (abalone) or fireproof bowl – a little sand in the bottom, prevents it getting to hot to hold
A Feather* (large) or you can use your hand
A combination of White Sage, Cedar, Sweetgrass & Tobacco  (a smudge stick - a bundle of herbs tied together may also be used)
Matches or a lighter.

* It is traditional to use a bird’s feather to brush the smoke over the person or object being smudged. Use the underside of the feather to wash the smoke over the person or object, for it is the underside of the bird and its wings that face the Mother Earth as it flies and it is this surface of the feather that offers the blessing medicine of the bird.

How to Smudge

1. State your Intent for the purpose of this ritual and thank the spirit of the plants and the fire for assisting you - you may do this aloud or in your minds eye.

2. Combine the plants you will be using and place them in a bowl/shell and light them.

3. Use the feather/hand to blow out the flame, but keep fanning to keep it  smouldering.

4. Smudge any other medicine tools that you may be using later ( drum, rattle etc )

5. Draw the smoke towards your heart, then over your head.

6. Sweep the smoke down your right arm and back up to the shoulder, then the right hand side of your body and right leg and foot towards the ground.

7. Repeat as in step 6. but working the left hand side instead, starting with your arm.

8. Offer smoke to the four directions. Which are north, south, east and west. Below to Grandmother Earth and Above to Grandfather Sky.

9. After you have smudged yourself thank the Spirits of 'All Our Relations' for assisting in this process.

To do a cleansing on another person, begin by looking into their eyes for a moment to 'greet' them, then repeat the same method that you used to cleanse yourself and move in a clockwise (sunwise) direction around them to Smudge their back as well.

To cleanse objects, smudge them moving sun-wise around them whilst sweeping them with smoke.

To cleanse rooms or spaces, close all the doors and windows before you begin. Follow the step by step instructions above and Smudge yourself first.
Then smudge around the room/space in a clockwise (sunwise) direction and pay special attention to the corners of the room where energy can stagnate and also doorways and stairs where energy moves from one place to another.
Remember to thank 'All Our Relations' for their assitance with this cleansing.
The following day you may need to tidy up and get rid of unwanted items, If this room/area is a cluttered place, then regularly open doors and windows to blow out the 'cobwebs' that catch and hold onto unwanted energies.

Sacred Plants

White Sage is used for healing. The smoke is used to bless, cleanse and heal the person or object being smudged. Sage is used to “wash off” the outside world when one enters ceremony or other sacred space.
Cedar is a medicine of protection. Cedar trees are very old, wise and powerful spirits. Cedar is often used to cleanse a home or apartment when first moving in, inviting unwanted spirits to leave and protecting a person, place or object from unwanted influences.

Sweetgrass is burned to remind us of essence of the feminine, it represents Mother Earth's hair and that the earth provides us with everything we need. The smoke from the sweetgrass promotes positive energy and good and happy thoughts.

Tobacco was the first plant given by the Great Spirit. It is used for Prayers, requests and thanksgiving. It is held in the left hand (the hand being closest to the heart) and talked to. Thus its smoke becomes the bearer of our Prayers to the Creator.

Lavender is often used for invitation of the spirits. The name may be derived from the Latin lavare (to wash) or livendula (meaning bluish). There is a legend that the clothing of baby Jesus was laid upon a lavender bush and acquired the fragrance. Some Christians still regard the scent of lavender as a safeguard against evil. Burning Lavender is best done on Charcoal Tablets.

Copal is sacred to the native peoples of Mexico, as it is a gift “pleasing to the gods.” Because copal is the blood of trees, it is offered to honour the enormous gift given to us by all of the tree people of our planet. Burning Copal is best done on Charcoal Tablets.

Frankincense and myrrh were considered to be more valuable than gold. Used to embalm the bodies of the Egyptian Pharaohs, this tree resin is considered to cleanse and protect the soul. Frankincense is said to ease depression and promote clairvoyance. Burning Frankincense is best done on Charcoal Tablets.

Myrrh is said to help one maintain a state of enlightenment. It also connects one to the spirit of youth and clears the path of debris that stands in the way of one’s truth. Burning Myrrh is best done on Charcoal Tablets.

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