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.

Spirituality in a Modern World

o-WORK-MEDITATION-facebookGlance at any media for more than a few moments and it becomes easy to see why connecting spiritually can be so difficult in a modern world. Televisions distract us with images of violence and scandal. Social media takes us away from face to face connections with loved ones. As modern conveniences increase, so do instances of depression. In fact, use of anti-depressant medications have increased by 400% over the past two decades.

Our modern lives are stressful, filled with numerous distractions and demands on our time. The result is a lot of people who feel chronically tired, anxious and depleted mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Modern society pushes us to always remain busy, working towards accomplishments, often at the expense of personal time.

The good news however, is that spiritual practice doesn’t require a great deal of time to be beneficial. Spending a few minutes a day in silent contemplation has a profound cumulative effect over time. The practice of connecting spiritually reduces stress, improves energy and enhances focus and mental clarity. Taking some down time will actually make you more productive and focused when working.

The key to spirituality in a hectic modern world is taking time for mindfulness, whether it’s a 30 minute session, or just a few minutes here and there as you can work it in.

Another great way to reconnect spiritually is by disconnecting. Turn off the phone, TV, internet and other convenient, but time robbing distractions. Instead, read an amazing book and let your imagination become active and involved. Go for a walk in nature to soothe the soul and feel re-energized. Take time to be alone and write in a journal, spend time meditating, drawing or whatever means of self-expression you enjoy on your own.

The modern world has many marvels. We can learn anything at the touch of a button and we have machines and devices built to make nearly every aspect of daily life easier, but this “magic” of modern times also comes with a price. Ironically, the cost for many is a loss of satisfaction and a sense of isolation. The desire for instant gratification keeps people from having the discipline to pursue long-term goals.

Reconnecting spiritually, slows the world down for awhile. It allows us to catch our breath and tap into higher levels of consciousness and awareness. In the stillness is where the answers to the greatest mysteries of life reside. Take time daily to access that stillness; allow it to enter and bring peace and serenity.

Make sure your home is also a sanctuary and place of peace. Fill it with harmonious elements designed to help energies flow freely. A safe haven to rest and spend time with family is a great way to welcome spirituality into your daily life despite living in a frantic, fast- paced modern world.

Mindfulness Meditation

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