One World, Many Paths, Same Source

The Bell still ring for those who believe“The bell still rings for all who truly believe”.

This quote comes from The Polar Express.  In this movie, a doubting boy lies in bed wishing to hear the sound of reindeer bells. Soon after, he experiences an amazing journey when a train conductor invites him to travel to the North Pole with other children.  Once there, he receives a gift that only true believers are able to experience.

Although the story is about Christmas and Santa Claus, it holds deeper meaning and highlights several important spiritual life lessons anyone can benefit from.

The Winter months bring many important holidays, celebrated by a variety of cultures and religions.  It’s a great time to remember that the diversity that makes us so interesting is also a thread within our common humanity.  As humans, we tend to use labels to identify ourselves and each other, but beyond those labels lies the truth, that we are all spiritual beings sharing a human experience.

This is the time of year where most faiths stress developing peace and good will towards others. It’s a great time to consciously focus on our similarities as they serve as a bridge towards wisdom and deeper understanding. There are many paths to the truth we seek, and each of us is on our own road to the same ultimate destination.  Most humans long for a greater sense of meaning and purpose in life.

Connecting with that sense of wonder and curiosity about the meaning of life is a lot like that boy and his train ride.  It calls on us to look beyond our daily struggles and doubts.  It is symbolic of a spiritual journey where we begin to truly understand the spiritual wisdom that has been taught to us by experiencing the lessons for ourselves.

Mother Teresa once said that each human is like a drop in the ocean.  When you look at yourself, you may feel small and insignificant, but she believed that the ocean would be less without that one drop. She encouraged others to look for the ocean within the drop, rather than view themselves as separate and insignificant. Seeking a glimpse of the all within is a powerful perspective shifter and brings a stronger sense of power, meaning and purpose to life. It’s like the bell that only seekers can hear.

When we connect with that life force that flows through all of us; it brings a strong sense of inner peace and calm. Sadly, daily life has a way of wearing on us.  The daily demands of work, life and caring for others distracts us from our soul purpose and we lose that innate sense of connection with others.  It’s hard to take time to seek when we are so busy with everything else.

The Winter season and it’s holidays help reawaken that desire for renewal and connection. Many feel  inspired to search for deeper meaning and purpose again. There is an almost magical spirituality that happens this time of year when we look beyond the surface of rituals and commercialism.  It brings feelings of hope and joy as we reconnect and celebrate with loved ones and look optimistically towards another new year.

It is possible to keep the magic of the season alive when you listen carefully for that still, small voice that lies within us all.

One world, Many Path

 

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice

The December solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year.  Winter, the season of dormancy and hibernation is underway. From the outside, things may seem barren and harsh, but deep underground, the beginnings of new life are starting to take shape.

Each season is vital and important. They are also deeply symbolic of various stages of life.  The Winter solstice reminds us that even when it seems progress has stalled, beneath the surface things are coming together that lead to new opportunities over time.  Life is cyclical and progressive just like the seasons.

Traditionally the Winter solstice serves as a time to honor and celebrate the gradual return to longer days.  It is a time for inner reflection and focusing on hope and new promise. All major Winter holidays have a similar theme of rebirth and renewal. In fact, many modern day Christmas traditions have their roots in ancient Solstice celebrations.

In Ancient Rome, the week long celebration of Saturnalia included observance of the solstice. There were parties and homes were decorated with evergreen trees.  Lamps were lit and it was common to visit family and friends and even exchange gifts.  Yule is another ancient festival celebrated around the Winter solstice, marking the return of the sun and celebration that Spring was on its way.  Celebrations with feasts and yule logs served as an affirmation of hope and gratitude.

Solstice is a great time to focus on pruning away what has been holding us back, while simultaneously focusing on sewing new seeds of opportunity.  Before Winter sets in, it’s common practice to prune certain plants and trees, to remove the old growth that has withered in preparation for the new growth of Spring.  Rituals at this time often focus on similar themes of letting go and opening up to new ideas.

Take time to focus on areas that you have outgrown, that are no longer producing good things in your life. How might you remove them to make room for new potential?  This is also a great time to develop plans.  Focus on an idea or goal and then plot out the steps required to help you reach it. Many take this time to focus on coming New Year’s resolutions, but it seems often the deeper symbolism is lost.  In fact, most people make resolutions not really expecting to keep them.  Instead, focus on the seasons and natural transitions in life and allow that energy to guide you and help you grow.

Also take time with loved ones to share and be thankful for the love and support they offer you on your life’s journey.  The Solstice and all of its accompanying holidays all offer us an opportunity to reflect on blessings and a renewed spirit.

Snow

Happy Thanksgiving From Kheops

During this season of gratitude; we want to wish our customers a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving and let you know how much your patronage is valued and appreciated. Thanksgiving is a great time to focus on abundance and to recognize the blessings that surround us each day.  We also recognize that giving is itself a gift and a way to express appreciation for life and its richness.

Our philosophy is one of giving back year round.  We believe that success is best measured by what you can do for others, and we strive to give back to the communities that we serve.  Throughout the year, we work to support programs that fight hunger, aid the environment and promote education with our 24/7 giving program.

At the heart of Kheops philosophy is the celebration of the Earth we all share and our human connection.  We work diligently to reduce our carbon footprint and promote green work practices. We also source only ethically made products where humane working conditions are standard.  When you purchase products from us; you know that you will get unique products of fine quality that meet high standards of production.

Our meaningful gifts and products are designed to elevate consciousness and create harmony in the home and workplace.  We love what we do and the joy it brings others and that is why we are continually grateful for the support we receive and why we strive to always return the favor with top-notch customer service.  We all succeed when we work together.

ThanksgivingThank you again for your business and enjoy the holiday season.

Composting Food

Composting Food

This is the season of good eating to be sure and unfortunately, it can also lead to a lot of added food waste.  How often have you finished a meal and scraped your plate into the trash? This is a daily occurrence for many, and because it’s like second nature; we rarely give it a second thought.  Food waste is so common in the US for example, that it has been estimated that 30 to 40% of the food supply is thrown away each year.  This organic food waste takes up a large portion of landfills and contributes to pollution.

The Thanksgiving season is ideal for focusing on reducing waste.  As we show gratitude for the bounty of the harvest; we can continue the cycle by learning to reduce and reuse.   Composting is a great way to turn those leftovers into rich, fertile nutrients for the soil.

Composting doesn’t have to be complicated and a small bin is simple to create.  You can get started with something as simple as a large 20 gallon plastic storage container with a lid.  Drill small holes around the bottom and sides to aerate your compost. Make sure the lid fits tight to keep animals out.

A compost bin should be 2/3rd brown materials like soil and leaves and 1/3rd food waste.  You can compost nearly any kind of food except meat, bones and dairy.  Turn your compost with a pitchfork periodically to aerate it and provide oxygen and nutrients for the microorganisms growing there.  These microbes are healthy and beneficial for your garden and will help your plants to grow strong.

Over the coming months, continue using your compost bin by adding food scraps and turning the contents after every few additions.  When Spring arrives it will be time to turn the compost into the soil.  This super nourished soil will allow your garden to grow and flourish without the need for chemical fertilizers and other questionable products.

Composting can become a regular part of your Thanksgiving tradition.  Show gratitude for the Earth use composting as an offering.  It reduces pollution, nourishes the soil that feeds you throughout the year and it is an activity the whole family can participate in together.

Planet Earth

100 Days of Giving

100 Days of GivingHave you heard of the “give it 100” challenge? It’s a popular call to action that encourages participants to select a skill and practice it for 100 days, documenting the process.  The idea is to promote personal growth and encouragement.  One great twist on this concept is to focus on 100 days of giving and how the practice can enhance your spiritual growth.

One of the greatest gifts is the act of giving itself. Blessing others helps foster and nourish a deeper sense of connection so often missing in today’s self-centered world.  Conscious giving also gives deeper meaning and purpose to life.

The goal of the challenge is to develop a habit of helping others through giving resources, money or your time.  What we put forward into the world is returned to us.  Those who are generous and giving, find the world itself to be a much kinder place.

Use your talents and skills to assist others in unusual and meaningful ways. It will enrich the lives of all involved.

Here are some examples of purposeful and powerful giving.

Someone with artistic ability could design a logo for a non-profit, or someone who is starting his/her first business who may not have the money to hire a professional.

Someone who enjoys cooking might enjoy preparing meals for the homeless at a shelter, or taking something homemade to a senior center or anywhere others would thoroughly enjoy it.

Someone who can sing or play an instrument might gift others through musical performance.  Music can be soothing and healing and is often welcome in senior centers, nursing homes and even Children’s hospitals.

Someone who loves gardening could volunteer to set up a community garden or teach others to grow their own food.  This provides a great service, brings people together and can help those with limited incomes reduce their food expenditures.

Don’t feel you have a talent or skill that’s in demand? Try simply volunteering and donating. Give money to a local food bank or charity to ensure your gift assists those within your own community.  Although monetary gifts are always appreciated; there is nothing that will provide the rewards of being directly involved.

Spend time in a local animal shelter; volunteer to spend time with a lonely senior or sign up for Project Read and help someone better their own circumstances through the gift of reading.  If you have ever dealt with the pain of loss due to terminal illness; consider helping another family in their darkest hour by volunteering for Hospice.  There are so many truly beautiful ways to give to others.

There are many noble and meaningful ways to give that will help you grow as an individual, as surely as it will benefit those you serve. You’ll feel empowered and recognize just how much of a difference one person can make.  You may even inspire others to take on their own 100 days of giving challenge.

Give a hand

Candle Healing

 

Candle Healing

Candle Healing

 Candles have been used for centuries in all manners of rituals.  They can enhance meditation and spiritual practices, cleanse negative energies and promote healing on all levels: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.

Candles are used in many popular healing therapies including color therapy, aromatherapy, and as a meditation aid.  The right candle enhances the atmosphere, promoting clarity of thought and enhancing relaxation and focus.

Candle Color Meanings

 White: used for purification, cleansing and overall healing

 Black: Used to banish negativity and can be used against infections and cancers.

 Orange and Yellow: These are both stimulating colors good for restoring vitality and fighting fatigue.

 Brown: This Earthy, grounding color helps ease racing thoughts and stress that contribute to illness.

 Silver: Enhances calm, meditative states and helps bring clarity of thought.  Useful for depression, anxiety and stress related illnesses.

 Purple: Deeply spiritual, it enhances a sense of personal power and also provides protective energies. Useful for promoting strong will to heal and to promote feelings of support.

Color isn’t the only consideration when choosing the best candles for your healing rituals.  Essential oils also have healing properties and can be used to promote very specific goals.  Keep in mind that essential oils are made from pure botanicals and are not the same as “fragrance oils” which are man-made.

Here are some examples of just a few essential oils to consider.  You can purchase healing candles already infused with them, or place the oils of your choice into a warmer with an unscented candle inside.

Candle Oil Meanings

Anise: This distinctive spicy scent is very good for colds, flu and sinus irritation.

Bergamot: The uplifting scent is citrusy and used to reduce anxiety and depression and ailments caused by them.

Clary Sage: This pleasing fragrance restores energy, relieves stress and promotes clarity of thought.

Frankincense: This oil has been used since ancient times for it’s powerful cleaning and protective properties.  It is also used to relieve coughs due to asthma, bronchitis and other upper respiratory illnesses.

Jasmine: This distinct, floral fragrance is great for fighting exhaustion and relentless fatigue that can accompany many chronic conditions.

Neroli: This oil is used to reduce stress and eliminate insomnia.  It calms and promotes deep relaxation.

Of course this is just a small sampling of many healing oils available.  Often candles are created with blends of oils that compliment each other and promote specific types of healing.  Reiki candles, for example, are created using pure, clean burning soy wax with blends of targeted oils.  They have been designed to help the user focus on specific intentions.

Warding Away the Evil Eye

EVIL EYE TALISMAN

The “evil eye” is a widely recognized talisman used in many places to ward off evil and prevent curses.  It is incorporated into jewelry, art, home décor and many other items, but why? What are it’s origins and how did it become so popular?

As it turns out, the evil eye is a concept and symbol connected with many cultures.  Each has slightly different translations, but the overall premise is the same.  In Hebrew, it is known as “the eye of the envious”, in Arabic and Punjabi it translates as “bad eye/look”.  In Portugese,  mau-olhado means “giving of an evil look” and in Swedish, ge onda ogat means “to give an evil look” in Hawaii maka pilau means “rotten eyes”.  As you can see, numerous cultures have reference to the evil eye – but what is it exactly?

Does it come from a demon? Is it a curse?

The evil eye is not about demonic spirits or things of that nature at all. In fact, it has more to do with warding off malicious energies directed at you from other people.  In many ancient cultures, it was believed that this type of glare carried a curse with it that would bring misfortune, and perhaps even injury or death.  As a result, symbols and talismans were used to ward off the evil eye, so that even if someone was given “the look”; there would be no ramifications.

Today, we may not believe that a dirty look will curse us; however it is possible to impacted by negativity from others.  Have you ever spent time with a very angry or pessimistic person and later felt heavy or tired? When someone complains all the time; it can rob you of your energy and even start to make you take on negative emotions.

Today, this symbol is used for deflecting negativity in general, whether it’s from other people who may be envious or mean spirited, or simply a place that doesn’t have good energy flow.  Whatever the reason; the evil eye talisman is a great way to protect yourself and also connect with a rich symbolic history that literally spans the globe.  When you wear or carry it; you will feel a connection that brings comfort and harmonious feelings.

KEY CHAIN OWL EVIL EYEThis talisman is incorporated into many useful items.  Carry a key chain with the evil eye on it to protect you while you travel and to protect your home and place of business when you lock up. Hang one in the entry way to deflect negative energy in the home or place of business. Use a pendulum with the evil eye talisman to surround yourself with protective energy when you open up to do spiritual work.  If you know you are going to be in a potentially negative environment, wear a pendant to help deflect negativity and keep your energies clear.

There are many great ways to incorporate this talisman and it’s protective properties into your daily routine.

The Purpose of Salt Lamps

Ocean

Have you ever taken a long walk by the ocean, or stepped outside after a hard rain and felt completely renewed afterwards? Did you notice how it was easier to breathe and how rejuvenating the air was?  It wasn’t all in your mind; what you experienced was the release of oxygen rich negative ions.

Every day, we are surrounded by an abundance of things that create pollution.  Electronics like cell phones, computers and televisions emit large amounts of positive ions, as do pollutants like dust and mold.  Chronic exposure depletes energy and can cause feelings of fatigue and lethargy in addition to health problems like allergies.

Airborne pathogens like dust, mold and bacteria carry a positive charge.  After a heavy rain, these pollutants are literally washed away – not just by the water, but through the negative ions that are emitted.  Negative ions neutralize pollutants by attracting the moisture they need to survive.

Of course, no one can experience a rain storm or walk on the beach every day, so what can be done to gain the same energizing health benefits? Nothing can replace the power of nature, but fortunately, salt lamps are a simple, easy way to counteract  indoor air pollution.  When they are plugged in, the heat from the light source attracts moisture in the air, evaporating it. This process generates a negative ion charge, purifying the air around the lamp.  While in use, salt lamps help inhibit the growth and spread of viruses, mold and other airborne pathogens in the immediate area.

 

The salt that forms these lamps has spent millions of years in the making.  When the oceans evaporated in certain parts of the world, these salt crystals were formed.  They have been mined for centuries and valued by many cultures for their health benefits.

To create the lamps, the salt crystals are drilled and shaped.  A light source is added, either electrical for a bulb, or a place for a candle.  The lamps come in different shapes and sizes and can be used anywhere to neutralize pollution and promote positive energy.  Some are even powered by USB cords, specifically for use in the office.

Some of the benefits that have been attributed to the regular use of salt lamps include:

  • decreased allergies
  • improved asthma
  • reduction of stress
  • improved mental clarity and focus
  • enhanced mood

 

A salt lamp is a simple, highly effective way to counteract the negative effects of being stuck indoors for extended periods of time.  Salt lamps aren’t just great for promoting clean air, they also add to the aesthetic beauty of a space.  Every lamp emits a soft, warm glow that is welcoming and soothing.

salt-t-light-holder

Wiccan Supplies

Magic

The Wiccan faith involves a lot of symbolism and practitioners use a variety of tools to enhance their rituals and spell work.  These tools become like an extension of the self and a way to connect directly with spirit.  Choosing the right implements is very important and serves to enhance the experiences of ritual practice.

Altar tools include items like wands, chalices and cauldrons.  When choosing items, it’s important to consider several things.  The piece should be one that speaks to you, whether it’s an ornately carved item or something very simple. Altar tools come in many different styles and materials.   Tools should also be well made and labeled for safety.  This is especially true of items like chalices that people drink from, which should always have a “food safe” rating.  Many metals used for décor items have traces of lead and other potentially toxic elements.

Many spells and rituals require the use of a fireproof vessel. Cast iron cauldrons are some of the most durable on the market.  They have a very distinct, old-world appearance that adds charm to any décor.  Cast iron is easy to care for and will last forever when properly maintained.  Stainless steel is another excellent choice for altar tools.  Like cast iron, it’s durability ensures a long life.  Many altar tools not only provide vital functions; they can become heirloom pieces that are passed down.

Candles, oils and herbs are often used for rituals and spell casting.  Candles that are well made produce less toxic smoke and can burn for many hours.  Soy candles are always an excellent choice.  They are clean burning, environmentally friendly, come in a variety of colors and throw fragrance well.  Specialty candles, enhanced with intention specific essential oils, can enhance rituals.

Incense is another common ritual item, but not all incense is created the same.  There are a variety of styles from stick incense, to the more traditional resins and powders that are burned on coals within a special burner.  Resins and powders provide the truest scents and come in a variety of blends.  They are often used for purification and cleansing and to open and close ceremonies and rituals. Like candles, there are many types of incense fragrances that are used for specific purposes.

 Stones and crystals are also popular and serve a variety of purposes.  Stones should always be sourced from a trusted authority, ensuring purity and high quality, especially for rarer stones.  Loose stones can be collected and used in different combinations.  Some love the energy of certain stones so much that they choose tools like pendulums or wands made from that specific stone.

Amethyst is a great example of a powerful healing stone. Using an amethyst wand or pendulum for healing practices will enhance that work and help promote a soothing, calm atmosphere.  Selenite is another stone used to create wands because it draws physical, mental and spiritual healing, making it an excellent choice for focusing on whole being wellness.

Wicca is a unique and special faith that is highly personal and gives its practitioners a lot of freedom of expression.  Choosing the correct supplies is a very special and individual practice and everyone will have their own unique preferences.

Halloween’s Roots in Paganism

Fall Ritual

Modern day Halloween is a mishmash of many customs from throughout the world, but it has its deepest roots in ancient Celtic Pagan tradition. Samhain, meaning “Summers end”,

makes up one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals and is celebrated from sunset on October to sunset the following day. This point is midway between Autumn equinox and Winter 31st solstice. Samhain is an ancient festival dating back more than 2,000 years, but it has some very familiar customs.

In Celtic culture, Samhain was a time where communities came together to celebrate the harvest and honor the dead. During these celebrations, a large bonfire was lit and people wore costumes and danced around the fire. The dances were used to tell stories about the cycles of life and death. The Celts believed the souls of the dead were released during this time and the costumes and ceremony were used to honor those transitions.

harvestSamhain was also a time to honor and celebrate the harvest. Crops were burned and animal sacrifices were made to appease the Gods and provide them their share of the season’s bounty. Great meals were prepared communally and enjoyed and offerings were left on banquet tables to appease the restless, wandering spirits.

While this tradition was a very serious holiday for the Celtic people; it wasn’t a holiday without it’s share of good humor. In fact, it was common practice to pull pranks, like moving livestock to different fields. Could this be where the trick in “trick or treat” originated? Perhaps so.

It was also believed that this was when the veil between the living and the dead was thethinnest. Shamans and other elders used this time to tell the fortunes of others using different Divination methods, believing they could more easily appeal to the spirits to provide helpful information.

At night, many dressed up as demons as a way to protect themselves from wandering evil spirits. After all, if a traveling demon should happen upon a costumed villager; he would be fooled into thinking it was a fellow demon and move on. This is also where today’s modern Jack-o-Lanterns were first seen. Turnips were hollowed out and made into lamps to ward off evil spirits and scare away troubled ghosts.

Over time, people began dressing as ghosts and other melevolent creatures performing for food and drink. This custom, called “mumming”, is considered the initial pre-cursor to modern day trick-or-treating.

As you can see, there are a great many links between modern day Halloween traditions and ancient Pagan traditions. Although it’s been largely commercialized in modern times; Halloween is indeed an amazing holiday with a fascinating history.