The Meaning of Om

Carved River Stone Om This single syllable is considered the most sacred of all Mantras. It has its origins in Hinduism, but is used in a variety of spiritual practices including Buddhism and Jainism. The OM is believed to be the name of God, and is the sacred sound of all creation. It is said that prior to creation, a state of potentiality existed in nothingness. As this potential emerged; creation was born from the void. the Divine consciousness took tangible form, initially manifesting as the sound or vibration of “OM” or “AUM”.

Although it is a single syllable word, the sound as it is chanted, actually has 3 separate sounds that merge together. It starts off with an “ah” sound, merging into the “Oh” and finally the “M”. The separate sounds are subtle, but they have great meaning. Each one represents an individual part of a holy trinity that forms the whole. In Sanskrit, the a and u combine to form the o sound. The letter A represents the wakeful state, U the dream state, and M the state of deep sleep. In Hinduism, the letters represent the 3 major Gods; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; the creator, preserver and destroyer.

This mantra is used to serve as a reminder of our connection to the Creator and all life. It is the primordial vibration that links everything together – from the unfathomably vast expanses of the Universe itself, to the tiniest particles of matter, and everything in between. All that exists, is born from this source.

The OM serves as a reminder of our greatness, but also serves to humble us. Meditating on this sound raises our energetic vibration, removing anxiety and stress, while reconnecting us spiritually to our source. Connecting with this source often, helps reestablish a sense of spiritual connection and bonding with others as well, enhancing empathy and compassion.

It brings peace to body, mind and spirit. OM is often chanted prior to yoga or meditation practices. It instantly raises vibrations and brings one to full and present awareness.

The OM is also depicted as a Sanskrit symbol. This widely recognized symbol is placed on many things, from spiritual items, to clothing and even home décor. Even the presence of the symbol serves as a reminder of our connection to the creator. Keeping it visible helps draw that sacred energy close.

Embracing the OM energy opens you up to higher awareness and deeper understanding.

Linking to this energy through sound is a powerful healing experience.

Embossed Singing Bowl Medium Om Black

Autumn Equinox

Fall Colors“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

William Cullen Bryant

Equinox comes from the Latin phrase for “equal night” and symbolizes the time twice per year, where day and night are precisely the same length. This year, September 22nd marks the date of the Autumn equinox, the official start to the Fall season in the Northern Hemisphere.

From a scientific perspective, the Equinox takes place when the plane of the Earth’s equator passes the center of the sun. The two annual equinoxes are the only times when the subsolar point is exactly overhead on the equator. It is literally the specific time and place where day and night last 12 hours each.

This event holds significant importance in several religious practices as well. In Pagan and Wiccan traditions, Mabon is the mid-harvest festival celebrated during the Fall equinox. It is honored as a time of Thanksgiving, but also as a time to reflect on the changing of the seasons and the transitions in life that also follow a natural, cyclical rhythm. During this time, the Mother Goddess prepares to sleep as the harvests begin to fade and winter moves closer. It is a time of rest, reflection and preparing for rebirth again in the Spring.

Spiritually, the equinox also represents the balance of light and dark in a metaphorical sense. The Earth requires the unity of opposites in order for life to flourish. Without the perfect balance of light and dark, and the natural flow of the seasons, life itself could not exist.

Fall Tree of Life

This is an ideal time to focus on balance in your own life, bringing harmony to situations that may be off center. In what ways can you begin to foster new growth, while removing that which has become obsolete? The fall is the transition between the full growth of summer and the deep sleep of winter. In what ways can you embrace both?

The equinox marks the official start of the Fall season. The time for harvest draws close and soon a time of celebration will follow. Some of the loveliest Autumn holidays have deep symbolic roots and rich histories. Halloween, Samhain, Dia de los Muertes (day of the dead) and Thanksgiving are all celebrated in the Fall.

Holidays that honor the dead serve as reminders of the impermanence of life as it flows naturally through its cycles. Thanksgiving brings important lessons of celebrating abundance and showing appreciation for all we have been given. The Autumn season is so profound in its symbolism and beauty, that many poets and philosophers have written beautiful odes to its splendor.

As the equinox approaches, focus on the meaning of the Autumn season and how those lessons can be used to enrich your journey.

Chalices

Wiccan AltarChalices are a form of goblet or cup used in many religious rites and ceremonies throughout the world. They range from plain vessels to exquisite works of art, with ornate detailing and even embellishments of jewels and other items. Chalices are highly symbolic, and have a long history in a variety of traditions, from ancient rituals to highly recognized modern religious symbols.

In Pagan traditions, the chalice symbolizes the womb of the Goddess, representing the creation of life and sustenance. In Christianity; these sacred vessels are said to represent the “holy grail”, the cup that Jesus shared with his disciples at the last supper. In its more literal sense, the grail is considered merely a cup, but symbolically it is considered the consecration of blood.

Today, a chalice with a flame serves as the symbol for the all inclusive Unitarian Universalist church. It was created during WWII when a group of Unitarians sought to help people escape danger in their own countries. To them, the chalice represented the offer of healing in the spirit of helpfulness and the flame was self-sacrifice. Today the symbol still stands as a reminder of those values.

Chalice symbols are also prevalent in Tarot. The suit of cups signifies the element of water,and represents creativity, emotion, personal expression and spirituality, all closely associated with Divine feminine energies.

In Wicca, chalices embody the Divine feminine and are considered among the most important altar tools. They represent the Goddess herself, and are placed in the West; the direction of water. The cup is used for ceremonial drinks and offerings, consecrating sacred circles and for sharing blessings among coven members.

If you drink from a chalice during rituals; it’s important to know the materials it is made of. Lead based metals are often used in décor items; this can lead to a toxic buildup over time that could make you ill. Ensure your altar tools are made of “food grade” materials like stainless steel, which is not only safe, but durable and resistant to tarnish.

When choosing a chalice for your altar, sacred space or home; allow your intuition and higher wisdom to guide you. Consider the symbolism you want it to have. Do you prefer a simple vessel for spiritual practice, or are you moved by more ornate designs and engraved symbols? Choose one that is well-crafted and will serve you well for years to come. Most who use these vessels develop a very deep connection with them, so it’s important that they are of lasting quality.

Whether you use them for rituals, or simply add them to your home for their sacred beauty, chalices are deeply symbolic, eye-catching works of art that will enliven any space.

Smudge Stick Cleansing

SmudgingSmudging is one of the simplest ways to cleanse a space and restore positive energy to the area. The cleansing smoke removes pent up negativity and releases it to the universe, allowing positive energy to return. Smudging is often associated with Shaman’s and Native American lore, but versions of this ritual are ancient and permeate many cultures. Many Christian churches for example use incense for the purifying smoke; a ritual they adapted from Pagan customs.

 

Smudging rituals are multipurpose and can be used to consecrate people, places and even objects. Some examples for how to use smudging rituals include:

• Blessing a new home prior to moving in

• Cleansing one’s home or office when energy becomes stagnant

• Protecting one’s space from outside negativity – if you have a bad neighbor for example.

• Cleansing one’s own aura during times of illness, anxiety or depression

• Releasing spiritual energies that have become stuck

• Removing energies from items – for example after buying an antique to remove old energies.

A cleansing ritual is very easy when using a smudge stick. These sticks are made of purification herbs like white sage (the most popular), mugwort and cedar. They are bound and wrapped tightly with thread. Simply light the end of the stick until it begins to smolder gently and release smoke. You don’t want the stick to catch fully and burn or it may trigger coughing and make it difficult to breathe. Keeping the area well ventilated with open windows is a good idea, not only to prevent a buildup of smoke, but to improve the flow of energy to the area.

Carry an abalone shell or other fire proof container with you to catch ash as it falls. Walk around the space in a clockwise motion. Push the smoke with the stick or with a feather. Go deep into every corner and work your way around, allowing the smoke to touch every possible area. As you work your way through the ritual; repeat a mantra or prayer of your choice. This should be something that holds deep meaning for you and helps you focus your energy. It can be a prayer, a statement of intent, or any phrase that you feel comfortable repeating.

An example of a simple mantra could be “I banish all negative energies and evil influence from this space. Only positive vibrations of love, light and healing are welcome here.” Change the mantra to suit your particular needs.

Although it is possible to extinguish the stick and use it again; most people advise that a stick only be used once to have full power. If you choose to put it out, tamp it out gently inside of a fire proof vessel, don’t place it in water. Once the stick is fully extinguished, dispose of it properly through burial.

Smudge sticks are convenient, inexpensive and come in a variety of sizes and styles. Smaller smudge sticks can be used for short rituals and larger ones for home cleansing. You can purchase them individually, or in larger packs.

How a Healing Pendulum Works

Flying PendulumPendulums can be used in many ways to promote healing. The process of Dowsing involves seeking out invisible energies. This can help you detect energetic blockages within your auric field, and can also connect you with higher spiritual energies. Pendulums can be used to ask questions or to detect the movement of electromagnetic energy around the body.

Health is a complex issue and healing is best approached through focus on whole being wellness. Mind, body, emotions and spirit are all independent, but also intimately connected. This explains why those who deal with depression often feel physical pain. Fortunately, when we focus on healing any one of these areas, it can also positively impact the others. A good example is how meditation helps lower blood pressure and tension, soothe emotions and improve thought processes.

Pendulums are a great tool for whole being wellness. Perhaps you are facing a stressful situation and solutions seem elusive. Reflecting quietly on the matter and seeking guidance with a Pendulum promotes deeper awareness and understanding.

Perhaps you have felt run down or “not yourself” and aren’t sure what the problem is. A pendulum can help pinpoint these issues by detecting energy flow problems in the auric field that are present during illness.

Learning to use a pendulum with accuracy is easier than you might think. A series of practice sessions will attune your energy to the pendulum. Start by holding it between your thumb and forefinger.

Remain absolutely still and focus on a yes or no question with a clear answer. “Is the sky blue?” for example. Sit quietly and pay attention to the direction your pendulum moves. This will tell you the answer for “yes”. Do this with a series of simple questions to check for consistency.

Repeat the process using “no” questions and watch for a different movement of the pendulum. It is very important to not swing the pendulum. Grasp the end of the chain firmly between your fingers. Many pendulums have a “no slip” bead or charm at the end that help keep it stable in your hand.

With practice, you should get a distinct feeling and consistent movement for answers. This is often clockwise and counterclockwise circles, or in some cases the pendulum may move in a circle vs. a straight line. It’s a little different for everyone.

Once you feel comfortable, it’s time to use your pendulum. You can lie down and hold the pendulum over each chakra point. Allow the pendulum to move freely. After several seconds, gently move your pendulum to the next chakra point and pay attention to how it moves. After you have gone down the entire length of the body, you will start to notice patterns.

In some places the pendulum may move differently than others, or not at all. This process helps you determine where your energy is flowing freely and where blockages may be present. If you detect areas where your energy is not flowing properly, you can correct this using meditation, Reiki, or other healing techniques.

Pendulums are extremely versatile tools used for many healing purposes, from uncovering buried emotions, to getting answers to perplexing questions and even correcting the flow of chi throughout the energy body. They come in a variety of styles and are made with many materials from wood to semi-precious stones. Find one you feel drawn to and use it to enhance your health and well-being.

Healing Pendulum

How to Select a Singing Bowl

 

Singing Bowls are a type of free standing bell that have a bowl shape. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles. Singing bowls are used to create healing sound vibrations that quiet the mind and release tension from the body. The beautiful tones enhance alpha states and are used to enrich meditations and healing practices. The sounds energetically align body, mind and spirit – bringing feelings of peace and connection with the Divine.

Singing bowls are simple to use and can be mastered with just a bit of practice. Each type of bowl will have a slightly different sound. Some bowls are genuine antiques, having been used for hundreds of years. These are incredibly difficult to find and often cost prohibitive.

Fortunately, many modern singing bowls are created using the same techniques that were used to throughout history. This usually involves hand hammering of the metals and custom painting, finishing or engraving for the more intricate bowls. There are also machine made models that are less expensive, but usually not of the highest quality.

When choosing a singing bowl, there are a few things to keep in mind. First is the quality of the metal used to create it. It should be sturdy and have good structure. When possible, look for bowls created by hand. This not only guarantees quality, it is a way to connect with tradition. It’s also important to ensure the mallet, or striker, is the right size to create the proper sound.

Singing bowls range from incredibly simple and elegant, to richly ornate. Many are engraved with images, text and patterned designs. Antiqued finishes can impart the old world feel of ancient bowls, without the expense. When making a choice, consider how you will display it and what will be surrounding it. A singing bowl is a work of art that will enhance your sacred space with its beauty and energy.

A simple way to find great value and ensure your bowl will work for you is to purchase a set. These sets typically include the bowl, striker and cushion. Cushions protect the bowl and the surface it sits on. They also prevent the bowl from vibrating against hard surfaces as you play it, keeping the sound pure.

Cushions come in a variety of styles and can be purchased separately, but a full set often means greater value. Whatever bowl you choose, make sure it is one that you truly feel drawn to. The more you connect with it; the better it will serve you in your spiritual practice. Singing bowls add beauty and richness to any spiritual sanctuary. Use them to empower your meditations and promote healing.

Meditation Bowl

Simpe Feng Shui Tips for Everyday Life

Feng-shui-chic-arrangementsFeng Shui is an ancient tradition dating back thousands of years.  Throughout the centuries, it has been used to promote and enhance positive vibrations.  It is believed that proper placement of elements within the home or office helps facilitate the flow of chi.  The positive flow of this life-force energy attracts prosperity, good fortune and abundance while repelling negative energies that can bring ill health and misfortune.

Although Feng Shui is a complex practice that takes many years to master, there are simple principles anyone can use right away to promote positivity in the home or workplace.  Here are 12 quick tips to bring a bit of Feng Shui into your home and office space.

Choose the areas where you spend the majority of your time and organize and de-clutter them.  This is the fastest, most profound way to put Feng Shui to good use.  Clutter blocks the flow of chi and creates stress.  Remove clutter and focus on making your space more functional.

In addition to clearing clutter, ensure that your furnishings and other items have enough distance between them.  Don’t overcrowd a room with too much furniture because that will also block the flow of energy.  Open up your space whenever possible.

Place potted plants in the home and workspace; they help cleanse the air and draw soothing, natural energy indoors. They also help eliminate the toxins and pollution given off by electronics.

Fix broken items in the home or office.  Feng Shui is all about a person’s space being a reflection of the person.  When you fix broken items; it is equivalent to not allowing yourself to be broken.  Replace or repair even simple things like small appliances or broken handles.  It will help ease anxiety and facilitate feelings of wholeness.

Never block doorways in any area, especially the front entryway.  Doorways facilitate the flow of positive energies into each room.  Clearing them is a simple way to help energy flow more freely.

Use mirrors to reflect energies and help them travel more freely throughout a space.  Proper placement of mirrors makes any space appear larger and more open.  This tip is especially useful in smaller rooms, or in places where you need to see what is going on behind you.

When working in your office or sitting in your living space, you want to arrange your seating so that you always have sight of the door, preferably by facing it directly, or if not use a mirror.

Make good use of color in the right areas.  Earth tones in soothing shades of green, yellow and brown are welcoming and bring a sense of harmonious balance.  Use these colors in the center, or heart of the home to create a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Blue is the color of the ocean and represents the element of water.  Soothing shades of blue, or a water feature, in the East and Southeast corners of the home or office will relieve stress and increase productivity.

Red is a vibrant, rich color that attracts wealth and good fortune when used sparingly. Too much can increase aggression, but just a little punch of red in auspicious places can be very helpful. Red accents like an elephant statue for example, can help attract prosperity.

Crystals and stones are a great way to amplify and draw specific energies into an area.  Use a protective stone around entryways to block negative energies from coming in.  You can also wear stones in jewelry or place loose ones in different locations.  Every stone has unique properties that provide different benefits. Crystals inside a clean, bright window are a great way to enhance mood and motivation.

Candles and incense are another great way to bring positive energies into your home.  Like stones, different oils provide different properties.  Lavender is an oil most are familiar with, that invokes relaxation and calm.  Sandalwood is a cleansing oil commonly used in incense.  As the smoke and fragrance are released, the smoke carries away negative energies while the Sandalwood welcomes peace and harmony.

Feng Shui has been around for centuries because it works.  Use the tips above to bring the life-changing benefits of this ancient practice into your space.

luxury desing dinner room

Balancing the Chi

Magic CHIChi is the life force energy that flows through all things; it is the essence of life itself. When this energy is strong, it makes you feel whole and present, completely alive.  Think of a time when you felt your creative juices flowing and got lost in the process of creating or making something.  This is why many of us are drawn to various art and hobbies.  Creative expression naturally stimulates the flow of chi mentally and emotionally.

Chi is a concept that is found throughout various cultures and goes by different names. In India, it is referred to as “Prana” and “Ki” in Japanese.  In Christianity many speak of the holy spirit moving through them.  It’s all the experience of the universal life force energy that moves through and surrounds every living being.  This energy can also be guided and used to promote healing and higher awareness.

Chi has both masculine and feminine traits. When properly balanced, you get yin/yang two separate, but equally important parts of the whole.  Yin is creative, intuitive and expressive. Yang is thoughtful, analytical and methodical. When you balance these energies, it improves health on all levels: body, mind and spirit. When these areas become imbalanced or do not flow properly, various problems can develop in the mind and body.

There are several ways anyone can attract and balance this life force energy.  In your living space and office, employ some basic Feng Shui techniques to help facilitate and direct the proper flow of Chi. This can be done easily by clearing away clutter, improving the placement of objects in the room and bringing in elements from nature that nourish and cleanse your space. A functional space with good energy goes a long way towards developing inner harmony.

Meditation or taking time daily for silent reflection can also improve and balance your Chi.  Studies have shown that meditation relieves stress, promotes clarity of thought, reduces blood pressure and even enhances creativity.  The reason this is so is because it is harmonizing and balancing your energy.  You can consciously focus on this process by paying attention to the energies around you during meditation. With practice, you will be able to feel the flow of energy around you and can gently guide it to flow more freely and to “speed up” or “slow down” where necessary.

Energy healers use this process all the time in practices like Reiki for example.  In Reiki, the hands are placed in various positions above the physical body and energy is manipulated to flow properly, reducing anxiety and promoting improved health in the recipient.

Physically, engage in activities that promote balance and enhance chi.  Plant and work in a garden to connect with nature.  Do yoga poses to relax the body and become more mindful.  Full and present awareness is key to balancing chi in the body.  Many martial arts also focus on the principles of directing Chi.

If you struggle with chronic pain or illness; consider acupuncture or acupressure which are ancient forms of healing that work directly with Chi by accessing various meridian points throughout the body.  As these points are stimulated, they redirect the flow of chi and promote healing.

ChiPlace objects in your space that help facilitate the flow of energy.  Water features are a great choice. The movement helps guide energies and the delicate sounds promote relaxation and bring comfort, which also benefit the flow of chi throughout the body.  Stress can trap energies in the body, leading to illness, anxiety and other issues.  Release stress and you’ll naturally promote better flow.

What is Feng Shui

FengShui

Have you ever walked into a room and felt very uncomfortable or stifled? Or, on the other hand have you ever walked into a space and felt instantly at peace and relaxed? How we respond to a place is determined by how the energy flows through the area and around the objects that occupy that space.

In Chinese, Feng Shui translates to “wind and water”.This ancient tradition dates back thousands of years, and is based on designing and placing objects to create harmony and facilitate the flow of life force energy, or chi, within a space.

Over the centuries, several variations of the practice have evolved, but for most, the core principles are the same.  In modern times, Feng Shui influences have made their way to the West as well.  More people recognize the value of facilitating harmonious flow throughout the home and office. Doing so relieves stress, increases productivity and helps the individual feel empowered.

While auspicious placement of objects leads to growth, peace and prosperity, inauspicious placements can have unintended consequences, attracting negative energies like anger, bad luck and despair.  When the energy of a place is not flowing and harmonious, stagnation can also cause anxiety and fatigue.

In Feng Shui, it is important to balance the yin and yang energies (masculine and feminine) to bring harmony.  Bagua, the use of natural elements and the directions, also plays a prominent role.  Both are used in Feng Shui to form a personalized plan, based on one’s numbers.  Developing your plan according to your lucky directions can help draw positive and  repel negative energies.

In Feng Shui, all areas have a distinct energy pattern which can be altered to be more beneficial. In Chinese culture, architects and engineers often consider Feng Shui principles when planning and designing everything from buildings to furniture and even street addresses.

So, how can you incorporate some good Feng Shui into your space? Fortunately you don’t have to be a master to reap some of the benefits. There are several things you can do right now to help improve the Feng Shui of your home.

A great place to begin is clearing the entry way of any debris and clutter. This allows the energy to flow freely throughout the home.  Place an auspicious item like a Bamboo wind chime outside your door or in your garden area.  In Feng Shui, wind chimes are a very popular way to cleanse negative energies.  Bamboo is said to attract happiness and good health.

Place a lucky Elephant in your home or office as a power symbol.  In Feng Shui, an Elephant with its trunk up is said to draw abundance and good fortune. Place one in your entry way to welcome prosperity.

Start small and gradually introduce other elements a little at a time and see what a big difference it makes in how your space feels and functions.

 

Singing Bowls for Meditation

singingbowlNothing enhances meditation and promotes feelings of deep connection and serenity like the enchanting tones and vibrations of a singing bowl. These unique instruments have a rich history throughout many cultures and are still produced today using old-world techniques.

Tibetan Buddhists use singing bowls to signal the beginning and end of silent meditation. The Chinese Buddhists use the bowl while chanting and changing phrases. In Japan they are used during funeral rites and are found in every temple. Ancient Tibetan paintings and statues depict the use of these bowls, and it is believed the tradition dates back to approximately the 12th century AD.

Singing bowls may have originally been used for religious ceremonies and meditation rituals, but today they are used in a variety of ways.  They can be used as part of music or sound therapy, during Yoga, energy healing sessions, or simply for relaxation and pleasure.

You play a singing bowl by rubbing or striking a wooden mallet, often called a “dowel”, around the rim. A strike creates a bell like tone that reverberates. Rubbing the dowel striker along the edge creates a continuous humming or “singing” sound with various harmonic overtones.  Slowing the dowel down, produces a lower tone with slower vibrations, while increasing the speed elevates the pitch a bit and produces a faster vibration. Each of these will produce a different effect on the body and mind of the individual.


The tones produced by the bowl are believed to align the chakras and can be felt throughout the body. The hum of the bowl is unlike anything you’ve experienced before and it is simultaneously stimulating and calming. With a little practice, anyone can learn to play a singing bowl. It is quite simple and will allow you to find the tones and speed that resonate with you. You can hold the bowl in your hand to play it, or place it on a table top in a cushioned ring.

Singing bowls can be very plain and simple, or exquisite and ornate.  Bowls that are made by a process called “hand hammering” produce the clearest tones. This is the traditional method that has been used for centuries.  Many of these bowls closely resemble their antique counterparts and are painted or etched with intricate designs or mantras.   Machine lathed bowls are also common today; most of them are made from a form of Brass alloy.

A singing bowl can add beauty and function to your home or favorite sacred space. Add one to an altar, or use it during quiet time when you need to relieve stress and tension in the body.  There are styles to fit any personal taste and décor.