Friday, December 10, 2010

This wonderful season of love


I find myself learning to trust my life and love each and every moment of it. Most days are so filled with peace and joy that sometimes I worry that I will wake up from this most wonderful dream. I know truly that I am a child of love and am much loved. All I have to do is return the love.

I love that each day my email sends me love bombs of articles reflecting the love that is all around me and mine for the asking. I am in such a good place.

I wanted to share my article of today -

The Heart of Christmas
by Puran Bair

The birth of the Christian Messiah is an event of such magnitude that it corresponds to a change in direction on the horizon of the planet. For  several days after the winter solstice, the sunrise appears at the same spot on the horizon. The day appointed for the birth of Christ is the first day when the position of the sunrise appears to change direction, reversing the shortening of days and beginning a period of greater light.

Christmas is the heart of Christianity, a time of rejoicing for the miracle of birth and rebirth, heralding transformation and forgiveness through the peaceful birth of the Prince of Peace, who has not yet said a word of His message nor yet performed an act of His love.

Hazrat Inayat Khan: "In reality the greatest miracle of Christ that any wise man or woman can see is the miracle of Christ's living heart; not wonderworking, but the living God presented to the world. This was the lighted faith which helped the darkness to vanish, not dogmas, doctrines, or theories which all came afterwards."

The heart of Christmas is celebrating the birth of the divine within, in the manger of the heart. A divine gift was conceived in each human soul, but it must wait to be delivered until the opening of the heart. Every time this happens to any of us, the wise men and women who are aware of the initiation gather to celebrate.

Every Christian who seeks for the Truth of Christ is a Sufi, for Sufi literally means, "Seeker of Truth." And every Sufi recognizes Christ as the savior of humanity. As Hazrat Inayat Khan, the great Sufi teacher, said,  

"In the smile of the innocent child, there is Christ; in the warmth of the mother's heart for her child, Christ is hidden. In the unselfish, self-sacrificing love of the father, Christ shows himself. In the kindly attitude of a friend you can see the spirit of Christ. What is there which has beauty, tenderness, or gentleness which has not the spirit of Christ?"

Frankincense, used in worship and medicine; myrrh, used in embalming; and gold, of eternal worth, were given to the divine child in recognition of His dominion over life, death and eternity. We celebrate the birth of the Christ within, every day that we recognize the divine in ourselves or another. By our praise of a person's heart, in any of its four dimensions, we offer a golden gift of beautiful fragrance, a gift of healing and celebration that brings to life that which we recognize.

I celebrate the opening of your heart, the increasing light of your being and the truth of the divine within you by saying, "Merry Christmas!"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day One of the writing life

I purchased two teaching aides this summer to help me regain the self confidence to start writing in my own voice instead of copying and pasting articles that say something I want to say. They both sit unopened. But I approach things in baby steps and the fact that I have actually come here to my blog and started to write is a very big baby step.

I have had a dream for a long time of telling stories, but I am recovering from a stroke which only damaged my writing and verbal skills. But I am happy to say that I have made great strides in my recovery.

So little by little I will myself to find the key and open the locks that are keeping all those stories locked up inside of me. I have no doubt that adventures await.

I ran across this quote today, and I love it, and love the fact that yesterday the new Harry Potter movie opened and my daughters and granddaughters and I are all going to see it together for our holiday treat.

“And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.” J.K. Rowling

Adventure awaits and calls to me to have no fear.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Universe

What if, Connie , loneliness was simply a feeling of impatience, telepathically sent to you by friends you've yet to meet, urging you to go out more, do more, and get involved, so that life's serendipities could bring you together... Would you still feel alone?

What if illness was just the signal a healthy body sent to urge clarification of your thoughts, feelings, and dreams... Would you still, at times, think of yours as diseased?

What if feelings of uncertainty and confusion were only reminders that you have options, that there's no hurry, and that everything is as it should be... Would you still feel disadvantaged?

What if mistakes and failures only ever happened when your life was about to get better than it's ever been before... Would you still call them mistakes and failures?

And what if poverty and lack were simply demonstrations of your manifesting prowess, as "difficult" to acquire as wealth and abundance... Would they still cause you to feel powerless?

Well, whatever you feel, Connie , I still consider you my only begotten, my champion, and my equal.

Are we close, or what?
The Universe

Friday, September 03, 2010

Blacksmiths of the Divine

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - The Village Blacksmith

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his haul, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.
Toiling, rejoicing, sorrowing onward through life we go, each burning deed and thought creating ourselves and our world in which if we are lucky one day we wipe the fog from our eyes and begin to see the divine in all.
Nurturance of Life

Life, in this definition, is an individual's sovereign reality. It is subjective and impressionable. Life is the wholeness of experience flowing past the individual's field of perception in the present moment. Nurturance of life is the principle whereby an individual is in alignment with the natural expansion of intelligence inherent within all life. This alignment enhances the life energy that flows past the individual with the clear intent of gentle support. It is the action of opening to the highest motive in all people and in all life and supporting the flow of this highest intention towards its ultimate expression. In so doing, the action is performed without judgment, analysis, or attachment to outcome. It involves simply nurturing the highest energy that flows from all people and thus supporting the fullest expression of their deepest essence.

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's summer and the living is easy

Albert Camus:

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer."

Summer will forever be my sweetest memories. I savor each day now and have gained some new awareness inside of me. Some watcher that makes me take note of the things that used to never cross my radar. I watch as I realize right outside my back door is a major expressway for the birds of the air. My patio door faces south and each morning there is this huge flight across my back yard of all sorts of flying birds headed south to their jobs of the day. Ducks, geese, crows, seagulls, and lots of little guys who seem to only be on short trips. I wonder where they are headed and what their jobs are.

My garden grows lush and beautiful. I relish each flower and each gift from Mother Earth. I so love the touch of my hands in the earth. I so love watering and caretaking.

Only another gardener can know the joy of growing things. But something has happened when we mass produce food. We have lost something of ourselves. I found this editorial this morning and it brings me hope that we are becoming more aware and returning to our built in empathy. I sure hope so. There is absolutely no reason for us to be so damn mean to the animals that give us the gift of life.

A Humane Egg

The Journey and losing faithful companions

The path of the Questor is generally walked alone, sharing experiences along the way. Such is the metaphoric journey of humanity. As souls awaken, they realize there are truths beyond what has been told to them in the story of our creation. But where do they begin their journey into awareness?

Most begin with an epiphany or a synchronicity set up by their soul which leads them to question old belief systems, and things in their lives that have always been there, leaving clues, that were never addressed. We often store information in the subconscious mind until we are ready to access it.

My life continues to unfold in mostly shades of glorious sunshine now. Is that because I am growing older and more comfortable with the who I am or because I have found my feet upon this incredible journey of my life and each day brings new insights. I am no longer afraid of who I am, nor afraid of where I am going. I am just enjoying the journey.

But the journey is still filled with pain and sometimes unbearable pain. We recently had to make the decision to end the life of one of my faithful dog companions who was 16 and half years old. Our beautiful Misty girl. She was a rescue dog that Heidi, my youngest, went to like a magnet at the humane society. There was absolutely no choice, she was the dog that was coming home with us. The humane society had no information on her other than they had found her tied to a tree, and they guessed that she was maybe around a year old. That was so long ago. Misty had most certainly been abused but she loved her new family with the biggest love ever. And we loved her back. I cherish the years that she was with us and so look forward to seeing her again as she waits for us at the end of the rainbow bridge. Thank you for all the love Misty.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The most important information to understand is here

The Wayfarer's Story

Title:     The Wayfarer
Author: Stephen Crane [More Titles by Crane]
The wayfarer,
Perceiving the pathway to truth,
Was struck with astonishment.
It was thickly grown with weeds.
"Ha," he said,
"I see that none has passed here
"In a long time."
Later he saw that each weed
Was a singular knife.
"Well," he mumbled at last, "Doubtless there are other roads."

The Wayfarer's Tale

Rev. Jonathan Mitchell

Wayfarers Chapel

May 25, 2003

Deuteronomy 30:15-16, 19-20

Mark 4:21-23

Last Sunday, I started a series of sermons based on the Wayfarers Poem, Pause for a moment, wayfarer, on life's journey . . . And I suggested that we define the wayfarer to be anyone who has a story to tell. To the degree that we are all embarked on life's journey and have a story to tell, we are all wayfarers. This morning I want to reflect further on these questions: Who is the wayfarer who pauses? And in that pause, how do we tell, and how do we hear, the wayfarer's tale?

One of the things I observe about myself, whenever I have a chance to pause, is that all kinds of memories start to bubble up from within. It seems like a very chaotic process. Memories come in from all periods of my life and in no particular order. And I am just as likely to remember trivial things as I am the big events. To be sure, if I get to wondering how I came to be thinking about a particular period, person, or situation from the past, I can usually trace back a series of associations to its first trigger in the present. Yet this chain of associations can take me almost anywhere in very short order. In thinking about this recently, the image came to mind of the cauldron. The ever advancing present is like a ladle constantly stirring up the cauldron of memory, bringing to the surface first one memory and then another. And every day more ingredients are poured in—stir, stir, stir! But if memory is a cauldron, then what magic potion, or what poison is being prepared?

Well, who knows? But I pray at least, for myself and for all of you, that out of the cauldron of memory will emerge the wisdom of a life's experience—the unique wisdom of the total life experience of one unique and irreplaceable human being.

How then do we bring some order to our memories? How do we understand our lives as stories with an overall plot? When we pause, what do our stories tell us, what guidance can they offer for that part of the journey which is still to come? In relationship to our total life experience so far, we are much like editors. Our memories make up an enormous mass of manuscript, if you will, and it is up to us to boil it all down to a story that can be told and shared. In this process, we have, I would suggest, more creative freedom than we usually realize. Whatever has happened to you in the course of your life, you can organize and interpret that story in many ways. How you tell that story affects your outlook on life, or maybe it is better to say that the story of your life as you tell it to yourself is your outlook on life.

One of the simplest ways we organize and interpret our experience is to see the same things happening to us over and over again. It is as if our lives were a song with many verses, but with always the same refrain. The comedian Rodney Dangerfield made a career of this approach. I don't get any respect—the constant refrain of his routines—is funny in large part because we recognize in it our own tendency to see our lives as the same old story over and over. If we take such an interpretation too seriously, however, there is a danger that we will come to see ourselves as hapless victims circumstance. Surely our stories a need, at the least, a sense of direction.

There are other overall themes that can summarize our life experience as well. I once had a brief conversation with a visitor to the grounds of Wayfarers Chapel, who told me that he had been married here—the first time. He went on to say that his second marriage was going much better, that he had been young and foolish the first time and had married for all the wrong reasons. I could see that revisiting Wayfarers Chapel had evoked a wistful feeling for him. Older and wiser—this too is a theme that can organize our life story.

Or again, I had a wedding couple tell me recently that they wanted to play heavy metal music by AC/DC in their wedding. Luckily, they were joking. But, certainly, we can, if we choose, see ourselves as traveling on the Highway to Hell, and this outlook can have a certain seductive appeal. Another couple wanted Stairway to Heaven in their service. Which is it for you? Are you on the "Highway to Hell" or the "Stairway to Heaven"?

Popular songs, and favorite hymns, often express various ways that our life stories could be summarized. This is what makes them popular: we see ourselves in them. For example, consider a song Frank Sinatra made popular, I did it my way. The advantage of seeing your life in these terms is that it affirms the choices you have made in life as your own free choices, and it emphasizes what you have done over what has happened to you. Another good example is the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement, We Shall Overcome. This is an empowering way to look at your life in that it recognizes that there are circumstances and injustices in your life you have no control over, while at the same time affirming your ability to resist. It suggests that you can make things better for yourself and for others. The "we" is significant too. In contrast to the individualism of "I did it my way", it invites you into a group identity and a common cause. Or yet again, consider Amazing grace . . . I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see. It is indeed a moment of grace in our lives when we can sing this song and mean it. It lets us acknowledge the mistakes in our lives as mistakes, while thanking the Spirit for bringing us beyond them. It invites us to a life of conscious gratitude.

Well, these examples could go on indefinitely. So I will leave it as a thought question for you. If your life experience so far were to be summed up in a song, what would that song be? I think you will find, when you reflect, that several of the songs I have mentioned, or others that occur to you, can be made to fit to one degree or another. As I said earlier, we have more creative freedom in telling our stories than we often recognize. We ourselves decide, so to speak, the name of the tune.

The importance of how we interpret our experience is brought out tellingly by Robert Haralick, in the introduction to his book, The Hidden Meaning of the Hebrew Letters. He writes:
We are involved in a variety of relationships with family, friends, work, community, country, world and God. The understandings and interpretations we give to each of these situations all complete a meaning we return to God. These understandings and interpretations are not necessitated by anything external. Nor are they fixed in some way so that our situation can have only one kind of interpretation. Each of our situations is inherently ambiguous, having meaning possibilities one way or another. And the choice of how to interpret, which way to interpret is ours.
By the meaning possibilities we complete, we establish what we have made ourselves. God tells us to choose life: choose to complete meaning possibilities that are holy. Do not choose death. Do choose meaning possibilities that are unholy.
Here Haralick alludes to our reading this morning from the Book of Deuteronomy:
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving God, obeying God, and holding fast to God. For that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
Life and death, blessings and curse - these are the choices God sets before us. I hope you have come to see that they are also the implicit choices we make as we tell our stories, whether to ourselves or to each other. We can tell our stories in ways that bespeak bitterness, resentment, cynicism, discouragement and despair. To do so is to choose to curse, to curse ourselves and others. Or we can tell our stories in ways that bespeak gratitude, forgiveness and compassion, that bespeak an aspiration to learn and to grow, that bespeak a commitment to contribute to the betterment of the world. To do that is to choose to bless and to support the forces of life.

Simply to retell our stories in new ways can be a transformative moment in our spiritual lives. We can realize that the stories we have been telling ourselves are destructive and self-limiting. We can come to see that we could just as truthfully tell ourselves more hopeful, more empowering stories. We can reexamine the stories of our lives so far in the light of these new interpretations. We can choose to bless and to live richer, fuller lives.

Who is the wayfarer who pauses? How do we tell, and how do we hear, the wayfarer's tale? I would suggest that these are questions for ongoing pause and reflection here at Wayfarers Chapel. May we be given the wisdom to tell and to hear our stories in their most life-giving tellings. And as we meet on the road, may we help each other to find the wisdom and the blessing in the wayfarer's tale.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Your Story is Important, Learning to Write It

Life is like onions, one layer after another. And learning to realize that everything adds flavor to life so savor it all. And do not be afraid. There is only one you and we each our living only our story.

My birthday is fast approaching. And this year it falls on Easter Sunday, and I was born on Good Friday. The old children's rhyme comes to mind

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

My gift to myself for this birthday is to be brave enough to follow one of my dreams. The dream of sharing stories and the wonder of them all.

So I will begin, with a lesson on writing

All creative processes, be they in literature, engineering, computing – and even in love – always respect the same rules: the cycle of nature. Here is a list of the stages along this process:

a] ploughing the field: the moment the soil is turned, oxygen penetrates places it was unable to previously. The field gets a fresh look, the earth which was on top is now below, and that which was underneath has come to the surface. This process of interior revolution is very important – because, just as the field’s new look will see sunlight for the first time, and be dazzled by it, a new assessment of our values will allow us to see life innocently, without ingenuity. Thus we will be prepared for the miracle of inspiration. A good creator must know how to continually turn over his values, and never be content with that which he believes he understands.

b] sowing: all work is the fruit of contact with life. A creative man cannot lock himself in an ivory tower; he must be in contact with his fellow men, and share his human condition. He never knows, at the outset, which things will be important to him in the future, so the more intense his life is, the more possibilities he will create for an original language. Le Corbusier said that: as long as man tried to fly by imitating birds, he couldn’t succeed. The same applies to the artist: although he translates emotions, the language he is translating is not fully understood by him, and if he tries to imitate or control his inspiration, he will never obtain that which he desires. He must allow his life to sow the fertile soil of his unconscious.

c] growth: there is a time in which the work writes itself, freely, at the bottom of the author’s soul – before it dares show itself. In the case of literature, for example, the book influences the writer, and vice versa. It is this moment which the Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade refers to, when he states that we should never try to recover lost verses, for they never deserved to see the light of day. I know people who, during a growth period, spend their whole time furiously taking notes on everything which comes into their head, without respecting that which is being written in the unconscious. The result is that the notes, which are the fruit of memory, end up disturbing the fruit of inspiration. The creator must respect the time of gestation, although he knows – just like the farmer – that he is only partially in control of his field; it is subject to drought and floods. But if he knows how to wait, the stronger plants, which can resist bad weather, will come to light with great force.

d] the harvest: the moment when man manifests on a conscious plane that which he sowed and allowed to grow. If he harvests early, the fruit is green, if he harvests late, the fruit is rotten. Every artist recognizes the arrival of this moment; although some aspects may not have matured fully, some ideas not be crystal clear, they reorganize themselves as the work is produced. Without fear and with great discipline, he understands that he must work from dawn to dusk, until the work is finished.

And what to do with the results of the harvest? Again, we look to Mother Nature: she shares everything with everyone. An artist who wishes to keep his work to himself, is not being fair with that which he received from the present moment, nor with the inheritance and teachings of his forefathers. If we leave the grain stored in the granary, it will go bad, even though it was harvested at the right time. When the harvest is over, the time comes to share, without fear or shame, your own soul.

That is the artist’s mission, however painful or glorious.
By Paulo Coelho  The Creative Process

And the Easter Egg that led me to these thoughts was remembering the story of Harry Potter and it's author JK Rowling. Some stories have the power of alchemy. The great secret of life. To make gold out of lead.

It is because of Love that Snape went from a man who was bent down, spying at
doorways, to a man who could make his own plan and literally fly on his own.

Let's see...Lily rejected her friend Severus, The Prince, for James, the Potter...Years later, Her son Harry loved the Prince's book so much he desperately hoped the Prince might be his Dad...isn't that a delicious bit of irony?

But Harry is still the magic mushroom for me. Think of all who were transformed by Harry, as agent-of-change. Dumbledore, Dudley, Dobby, Fred and George, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Sirius, Lupin, and probably others.

While I haven't undergone a personal spiritual transformation, reading 'Harry Potter' and puzzling out the ideas and discussing them over the years have brought about a shift in attitudes and perceptions. If it happened to me, then it's possible that Ms Rowling planted the seed in everyone who read the story. Millions were given a potential for change. So I return again to what I've said so often, though not so recently, that the alchemist is Ms Rowling, the Stone is Harry, and the process -Harry's story -

transforms us the readers.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Doors - The Crystal Ship (classic version by George Winston)

Funny little things that happen in your life. I became friends with a young couple from California who ran away to Arkansas because the girl was pregnant and they were in love. Turns out they were involved with Jim Morrison and in some kind of big trouble over drugs. Jim and Julie. Funny the people that come in and out of your life. I wonder if you will meet them again and find out why.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

They only come out at night


The mind tends to ponder, reflect & decide,
on what happens in limbo at the end of this ride.
The subject is beyond what the senses detect,
who makes the crop circles and who can connect?

Those beyond this illusion are still here to provide,
signals and messages ...from the far other side.
It comes through those sensitive to the edge of the void,
crossing over to spirit ~ not a realm to avoid.

That place we must visit ...can't be just left to fear,
it's a look at your destiny when your mind becomes clear.
Those who have touched this and report back the facts,
are like guardian angels for the aware to contact.

What you've done with this life is all up to you...
see through illusion and toward a new view.
And when you are ready to gain the insight,
the 'secrets of all things' is revealed in clear light!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Learning to trust who I am

I started this blog with the intention of posting my deepest thoughts and sharing those with others, who may or may not be interested and reverberate to the words that I type down on this page. Along the way I lost my way and became convinced that anything I had to say was cheap and not worth posting them. I was an uneducated know nothing who could not possibly say anything that anyone else would ever listen to. A girl who loved to get her feet dirty.

I forgot the most important thing that a journal or a blog is all about. Learning to listen to yourself and learning about who you are inside. Taking all those thoughts swimming around in the endless stream of you and placing them here to look at. I was housecleaning my computer and came across several journal posts that never made it to this blog. But starting today they will and who cares if I can't put commas in the right spot or maybe use too many predicates, whatever the hell those are, I am writing to myself about myself to learn that inside me is someone I really love. And I should trust who I am and what I have to say.

It ever was, and is, and shall be,
Ever-living Fire, in measures being
Kindled and in measures going out.


Been hunkered down here in the cold, frozen artic tundra of Chicago. Thinking and thinking some more.

Days of cold and special sadness. December 6th was the 3 year anniversary of Meagan’s death. And I sat in my gloominess when I should have called and extended my heart to my brother. I didn’t and I missed an opportunity to do some good.

Today, of course is Pearl Harbor Day. Bob and I stood on the USS Arizona. Stood crowded shoulder to shoulder next to many Japanese. It felt eerie, but calming. All those dead men under our feet and here we were now standing together, sharing the pain and utter uselessness of killing each other. I made eye contact with an older Japanese gentleman and he sent me a look of warmth and a questing look of brotherhood.

Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon. I find it incredibly hard to believe that it has been 25 years. Seems like only yesterday.

I have retreated to my books. Ran across my old dog-eared copy of the works of Annie Dillard. Sinking in to her writing is like sinking in to a warm bath. I return to her words constantly and find myself, my thoughts mirrored with hers. She simply writes in a daily journal style and her thoughts on this fire – this “life”.

“ I used to have a cat, an old fighting tom, who would jump through the open window by my bed in the middle of the night and land on my chest. I’d half-awaken. He’d stick his skull under my nose and purr, stinking of urine and blood. Some nights he kneaded my bare chest with his front paws, powerfully, arching his back, as if sharpening his claws, or pummeling a mother for her milk. And some mornings I’d wake in daylight to find my body covered with paw prints in blood; I looked as though I’d been painted with roses.

It was hot, so hot the mirror felt warm. I washed before the mirror in a daze, my twisted summer sleep still hung about me like sea kelp. What blood was this, and what roses? It could have been the rose of union, the blood of murder, or the rose of beauty bare and the blood of some unspeakable sacrifice or birth. The sign on my body could have been an emblem or a stain, the keys to the kingdom or the mark of Cain. I never knew as I washed, and the blood streaked, faded, and finally disappeared, whether I’d purified myself or ruined the blood sign of the Passover. We wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery, rumors of death, beauty, violence…….”Seems like we’re just set down here,” said a woman to me recently, “and don’t nobody know why.”

The secret answer to it all is hidden in those few words. Life is thought. Life is all about how we perceive it. The simple secret answer is to be quiet and still and let the beauty come to you. You don’t need a preacher or a church, you only need yourself.

On my trips outside the past few days with the dogs, the hawk has been in one of the many trees in our yard. My eyes always find him. He is magnificent.

At night as I look up at the moon each night, it has been perfectly positioned on the top of our house with the two trees in the backyard silhouetting it. Off to the right is a big, buttery yellow star, that I think is Orion. To me it seems that it could be the Star of Bethelem. It twinkles and glows warmly at me. The moonshine shimmers over the snow, twinkling like a million other stars.

As Annie Dillard watched a mockingbird free fall thirty two stories to land with exact deliberate care and float onto the ground spreading his elegant wings with broad bands of white; the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest – and her thoughts which so mirror mine –

“The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.”

The internet must have 2 billion conspiracy web sites. I bet that I have visited everyone of them. Thought is a precious thing, a miracle. Why waste it and live in the reality of despair and hatred that is found there.

Just be happy –

For John –

“I still belive in love, peace .. I still believe in positive thinking. While there’s life there’s hope. I always considered my work one piece, and I consider that my work won’t be finished until I’m dead and buried, and I hope that’s a long, long time”
John Lennon 1980

We all Shine On

SCIENTIFIC PANTHEISM is the belief that the universe and nature are divine. It fuses religion and science, and concern for humans with concern for nature. It provides the most realistic concept of life after death, and the most solid basis for environmental ethics. It is a religion that requires no faith other than common sense, no revelation other than open eyes and a mind open to evidence, no guru other than your own self.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Rosslyn Stave Angel - Music Cipher

I love this message that was left at the youtube site:

The secret isn't in the sound itself, or the "geo"metric shapes it produces. The symbols themselves hint at the true construction of this planet, and the sound represents the planet being "Spoken" meaning vibrational sound, into its present hidden form.

Ahh, what the scientists don't tell you makes a "world" of difference...............

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

HOME (English with subtitles)

We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climat..

Friday, January 15, 2010

Peter Russell and the study of consciousness

Peter Russell's website is an informed, fascinating and fun reservoir of articles, meditations, videos and more. I encourage you to visit it by clicking here.
Here are his recent comments and observations about the coming of the year 2012. The video features many beautiful nature images and I encourage you to listen to the entire 7 minutes. The key part ~ his advice and guidance ~ begins at about minute 4. Here are Russell's words regarding this video on his website, which is well worth visiting.

2012 marks the end of the Mayan calendar's 5125-year cycle, leading many to prophecy this as a time of great change—for some the end of Western civilization, for others a time of transformation and renewal. Whatever may or may not happen in 2012, it is clear that we are living through a critical period of human history, and the need for a widespread shift in human thinking and values is becoming increasingly apparent. From this perspective, 2012 is a symbol of the times we are passing through. It represents the temporal epicenter of a cultural earthquake, whose reverberations are getting stronger day by day.

He also has this wonderful video with some great advice on how to approach 2012. 

This was all found at this wonderful blog which deserves all the credit for these wonderful thoughts

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Buddhism and the Brain

In his book The Universe in a Single Atom, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama writes: “My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science, so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation.” For 2,500 years, Buddhism has taken an empirical approach—meditation—to the exploration of mind. (”Our life is the creation of our mind,” reads the Dhammapada, the Buddha’s moral teachings). A dialogue has developed in recent years between the ancient Eastern tradition and neuroscience, the modern Western investigation of the brain. In 2005, in a ceremonial display of consilience, the Dalai Lama delivered the keynote speech entitled, “The Neuroscience of Meditation” at the 35th annual Society for Neuroscience conference in Washington D.C.

Indeed, some have taken up the oars of religion in order to steer along a new course of integrated study. Dr. B. Alan Wallace, founder of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies, has proposed a discipline called “Contemplative Science,” which seeks to discover the nature of reality by pursuing genuine happiness, truth, and virtue in an empirical way. (The first chapter of his book Contemplative Science: Where Buddhism and Neuroscience Converge is available here). In 2007, Dr. Wallace led one of the most extensive studies of the long-term benefits of meditation practice ever, called The Shamatha Project. Researchers examined the effects of intensive meditation on attention, cognitive performance, emotional regulation, and health. Scientists are still analyzing the data, but the work is likely to make waves.

Two earlier studies have already yielded suggestive results. One, led by Richard J. Davidson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, showed that long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma wave synchrony. Participants—monks and novices—were asked to practice “compassion” meditation, a complete focus on loving-kindness. In the monks, activity in the left prefrontal cortex (the seat of positive emotions such as happiness) overwhelmed activity in the right prefrontal cortex (the site of negative emotions and anxiety) to an extent never before seen from purely mental activity. The conclusion, according to Dr. Davidson, is that “happiness, compassion, loving-kindness, and clarity of attention can all be regarded as the product of skills that can be enhanced through mental training and this training induces plastic changes in the brain and in the body.” (This according to an Upaya Dharma Podcast, a great resource). In another study, Harvard University’s Sara Lazar showed that meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness (in the prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula). More studies need to—and surely will be—performed, but the path of inquiry may have positive public health ramifications. It seems as though meditation is capable of helping an individual truly achieve well-being.

Most interesting of all, in my opinion, is the relationship of ideas across these disciplines. For example, in his book The Synaptic Self, Dr. Joseph LeDoux of New York University argues that the self is created and maintained by arrangements of synaptic connections—pathways of communication between neurons. In an episode of the podcast “Buddhist Geeks” (which I recommend), neuropsychologist and Buddhist teacher Dr. Rick Hanson essentially concurs, describing self as a “network phenomenon” that is constantly changing. The transitory nature of neurobiological identity happens to affirm the Buddhist concept of anatta, or “not-self.” According to Buddhism, there is no inherent, independent existence. This is just one interesting philosophical consequence of our growing understanding of the brain. The interaction between Buddhism and science has yielded exciting data and revolutionary ideas. I look forward to more of this dialogue in the years to come.
Ben Ehrlich is a freelance writer and a contributor to The Beautiful Brain. He graduated from Middlebury College in 2009 with a degree in comparative literature. His blog, which tracks his ongoing research into the life and work of the great Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramon y Cajal, can be found here.
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Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung is one of the most powerful mantras known and is extraordinarily effective in dealing with health challenges. It is powerful. It is universal. It works on many levels; the mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical.

Ra Ma Da Sa is like a rare diamond, which connects you with the pure healing energy of the universe. You can instill the health trend in your consciousness by injecting this strong healing vibration into your mind.

Here is a detailed explanation by Shakta Kaur:

Posture: Sit in easy pose or in a chair with a straight spine.

Focus: Eyes are closed and focused at the third-eye point.

Breath: The breath will come automatically as you chant. Inhale deeply before you begin chanting.

Mantra: “Ra Ma Da Sa, Sa Say So Hung.” The mantra should be sung in one complete exhalation. As you chant the first “Sa,” your navel point is pulled in so that this syllable is abbreviated. You should rest for 4 beats between the first “Sa” and the second “Sa.” You should also pull your navel point in as you chant “Hung.” “Hung” should be vibrated at the root of the nose. The rest of the syllables are drawn out in a strong, powerful chant. Strive to keep your chant at full volume (loud but not raucous) throughout the meditation.

Meaning of Mantra:
  • Ra=sun energy
  • Ma=moon energy
  • Da=earth energy
  • Sa=infinity, universal energy
  • Sa=repeat in second half of mantra
  • Say=the personal embodiment of Sa
  • So=the personal sense of merger with Sa
  • Hung=the Infinite, vibrating and real.

The mantra literally means, “I am Thou.” It is also used to mean, “The service of God is within me.”

Mudra: Bend the arms and bring the elbows against the side of the rib cage. The palms of the hands are parallel and face the sky. The elbows are snug at your sides with the forearms in close to your upper arms. The hands are at a 60 degree angle, halfway between pointing forward and pointing to the sides (pictured).

Time: 11 minutes, increasing gradually to 31 minutes.

End: Inhale deeply, hold your breath and visualize the person you want to send healing to (it can be yourself). Make that image in your mind very clear and see a glowing green light around the person. Keeping that person in your mind, exhale. Inhale deeply, hold your breath and continue to send the person healing green light. Still keeping that vision in your mind, exhale. For the last time, inhale deeply, hold your breath and see the person very clearly, see the green healing light bathing the person, bathing every cell in the body. Exhale and relax.

Note: This highly effective meditation deals with vayu siddhi, the power of air. It brings health and many other desirable positive changes. If you wish to heal yourself, imagine a glowing green light around yourself as you meditate.

Chanting or listening to this mantra set to this classical tune will drive out depression and revibrate your life. It is timeless and can not be outdated. It has worked in the past, it works now, and it will work in the future. There is no time, no place, no space and no condition attached to this mantra. It burns the seed of disease. Use it everyday. Offer it to anyone.

If you work with it, it will work for you. In moments of anxiety, despair, fear or worry, let it be your safeguard. It will give you a strong sense of your own centeredness.

In the words of Yogi Bhajan, Master of White Tantric and Kundalini Yoga, who openly taught this healing mantra to the Western world, "It has worked for three thousand, four hundred years, why should it not work now?"

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Blind Side

I enjoyed a special "girl's night out" weekend with a treat of an early dinner at Connie's Pizza ( Since my name is Connie, I should have realized there was a message coming for me right away) and then a trip to see this movie.  This movie grabbed my heart from the very first scene and never let it go. Thank goodness that I had somehow had the foresight to pack my coat pockets with kleenex cause I just could not stop the tears from flowing.

I had been wrestling with the fact that earlier in the week I had lost my temper with my daughter's school and had called them ranting and raving like a banshee crazy woman. My daughter is going to nursing school and also working full time. We pinch together pennies by cutting back on groceries or going without and by struggling we have made it to her second semester of nursing school on our own. Each semester we fill out endless forms for financial aid and are told each year that we just don't qualify. So finally this year she was told that she did qualify and happiness prevailed. She registered for the second semester and was told that since she had financial aid in place we didn't need to sign up for the payment plan. Then on Christmas Eve we received a letter pulling rug out from under our feet. She no longer qualified for financial aid because she had taken too many classes previously? How this makes any sense is still not clear to me. But the possibility of her losing her spot in nursing school and now the school being closed for Christmas holidays so we can talk to no one. I sat and stewed for days on end. Finally making it to the school as soon as the offices opened. The lady at the counter (who is the spitting image of the lady at the child welfare office) spoke to me in a dead monotone rehearsed speech to go get this form, complete it, come back and wait in line to make an appeal. The form she sent us to get takes five days and of course you had to pay for it. An endless treadmill of nothing and this is so typical of how government works. And the people working for government have lost all semblance to human beings who care about others, when this truly is their job. To help others. I lost my temper becasue this was not happening to me, it was happening to my child, my daughter, a child who has struggled climbing over obstacle after obstacle to get to this point only to find more obstacles and no one that even cared. Then I saw this movie -

and went on to discover it was a true story

The movie is the The Blind Side, written and directed by John Lee Hancock, based on the book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by the non-fiction author Michael Lewis.

Michael Oher

Michael Oher was born May 28, 1986 in Memphis, Tennessee.

The cards were stacked against him from birth. Michael's dad wasn't involved in Oher's upbringing at all and was shot and thrown off a bridge when Michael was junior-high aged. His mother was was also distant, far more involved in her crack cocaine addiction than her sons life.

Michael attended first and second great each twice, and then another school bumped him up to fourth grade without having gone through third grade at all. Most years Oher missed upwards of 50 days during the school year, but the Memphis schools chose to pass-him anyways, because of the hassle and classroom distraction that would be caused by keeping a student back a grade. Michael was enrolled in 11 different schools during his first nine academic years. This includes the 18 month gap, primarily around the age of 10, that Michael didn't go to school at all.

Mike was essentially an orphan. He would crash were he could and was particularly connected with a 400-pound man in the Memphis ghetto named Tony Henderson, or Big Tony. Big Tony had a son, Steven Payne. Tony's dying mom's final wish was for Tony to enroll his son, Steven, in a Christian school.

Big Tony decided if he was taking Steven, he would try to enroll Mike (also known as Big Mike) into the school, Briarcrest Christian School.

Oher was certainly not "Briarcrest material," with a poor academic record (9th percentile on testing and .6 GPA), nor did he have the Christian upbringing and passion that the school was based upon.

Hugh Freeze, the schools football coach tried to help the school view Oher as an exception to be considered. Even with the blessing of the Briarcrest's president, Oher was not admitted by the Principal Steve Simpson, and instead Oher was given the opportunity to try to succeed one semester in a home study program, and if he performed well for a semester, he would be accepted into the school.

Over the course of a couple months Big Tony called Principal Simpson and relayed the struggles Oher was having. Overcome by guilt/compassion, Simpson felt the right decision was to enroll Oher in the school, particularly since his home study program offer had actually hurt Oher by pulling him out of the public school system.

The early weeks were horrible, many described it as though Oher had been in a closet for 16 years. He had no social skills, he couldn't talk, and had no academic interaction at all, and many teachers were concerned with what purpose or impact they were having with Big Mike in the center of their classroom.

Sean Touhy, was a point guard at the University of Mississippi in the early-80s and is the all time assist leader for the Southeastern Conference. He was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in 1982 but never played a game with them. In 2002 when he met Big Mike, he was a wealthy (but deeply in debt) business man who owned 60 Taco Bells, a private jet, was a radio broadcaster for the Memphis Grizzlys, was involved in his large church (Grace Evangelical Church), and was married to his high school sweetheart, Leigh Ann Touhy.

Sean and Leigh Ann also have a daughter, Collins, who was a sophomore at Briarcrest the year Big Mike started.

Sean Touhy enjoyed hanging out at the Briarcrest gym and one day had an encounter with Mike, who always wore the same clothes and didn't even money for lunch. Sean Touhy had compassion for Big Mike and set up an account for Mike to be able to buy lunch at the school cafeteria.

It was months later, over Thanksgiving break, that Sean and Leigh Anne were driving and saw Mike coming off a bus in the same cut of jeans and t-shirt. Leigh Anne, a interior decorator from Memphis, had great compassion on Mike and began crying when he said he was going to the gym to get warm.

The next day Leigh Anne left her interior decorating firm and picked up Mike from school to go buy him clothes.

On the football field they were also finding out that this 344 pound sophomore could run, and although he attended practice, he could never play because of academic probation. Not only that, but he had only limited experience playing football, had no foundation of the game, and was very timid and passive. But Coach Freeze was excited about Mike's potential, and continued to work with him. Mike also played basketball and participated in track and field (discus and shot put).

Michael stayed the night with as many as five Briarcrest families, but usually stayed in the trailer of a friend Quinterio Franklin. One night when Leigh Anne Touhy drove Mike to Quinterio's trailer, she saw it, and his air mattress and insisted in that moment that Michael move in with her and her family.

Mike became the third child of Leigh Anne and Sean (with children Collins and Sean Jr., 8 at the time). It was a few weeks on the couch and then Leigh Anne bought a dresser and bed, and Mike was a part of the family, and Sean Jr.'s best friend.

Leigh Anne and Sean would then go on to legally adopt Oher into their family.

With some tutoring and attention from the Touhy's, Michael Oher became an exceptional left tackle on the football field and soon found his name on scouting reports for college. His academic record was also greatly improved, allowing him to play football, and suddenly recruiters became interested in this left tackle.

This was new territory for the Briarcrest Athletic department and Sean Touhy's experience proved instrumental in making sure the scouting was handled in a way to optimize Michael's opportunity.

ESPN's Tom Lemming ranked him as the #1 offensive line prospect in 2004.

With offers from University of Tennessee, North Carolina State, Louisiana State, University of Alabama, Oher chose to go to University of Mississippi (Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy's Alma Mater). This was met with speculation because of the Touhy's relationship with Oher, and it was made worse as his coach Hugh Freeze became Ole Miss' assistant athletic director less than a month after Oher signed his letter of intent.

Oher played at Ole Miss, with much success and accolades, and in January 2008 decided to enter the draft, but changed his mind, deciding to finish his senior year.

In 2009 Oher was drafted in the first round, pick number 23 to the Baltimore Ravens, retaining his jersey number of 74 from Ole Miss. On April 26, 2009 he signed a 5 year $13 million dollar contract with the Ravens playing offensive tackle.

The Blind Side

The Blind Side stars Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher, alongside Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw playing Leigh Anne and Sean Touhy. Kathy Bates plays Oher's tutor. Jae Head plays Sean Jr., and Lily Collins plays Collins Touhy.

ESPN reports that many coachs, including Phillip Fulmer, Ed Orgeron, Tommy Tuberville, Nick Saban, Houston Nutt, and Lou Holtz are all to make appearances in the film as well.

The film isn't necessarily groomed as an Award-season film, and while Quinton Aaron probably won't walk away from the film with gold statues for his role, I would expect his performance as this Real (Reel) Person will impact lives and lead people to tears as this touching and powerful story of human compassion (and the importance of the left tackle) unfolds.

I left this movie knowing that no matter how hard the circumstances in my families lives and struggles have been they are nothing compared to the stories of so many young black men and women. I am grateful that even though it's hard and feels like we are suffering by cutting back on groceries, movies, and special treats we make do, and we are truly blessed to have the life we do. So many do not even have anyone who cares or gives them a chance.

I hope we all can open up our Blind Sides and see what we can accomplish by just being loving to one another.

How to Make an Angel Box

By Susan Gregg

Susan Gregg is the author of eight books including "The Encyclopedia of Angels, Spirit Guides and Ascended Masters" and the blogger of "Angels on Your Shoulder."

When I first began my spiritual journey, a friend suggested I create an angel box. At first, I used a manila envelope. I wrote "Angel Business" on the front and put it in my closet. Whenever I was afraid or worried about something, I would write a short description of the problem and put it in the envelope, trusting the angels to take care of it.

The envelope worked and magic started occurring, but eventually I took the time to make an angel box.  The intent for the box is to let go of your cares and place them in the care of angels. Follow these simple steps to create an amazing angel box.

 Choose a Box You Like

Find a box with a cover.  The box can be any size or shape you like.  I went to a discount store and found a neat gift box, but a shoe box will do. On the cover of the box, write "Angel Box."

Then, write a simple prayer inside the cover.  You can use one of your own prayers or the prayer I wrote below,changing the words to feel like yours,

 I place this issue in your capable hands. I know you have a far more expansive and loving vision for my life than I do. I humbly ask for your help and the willingness to totally release all of my cares and concerns about this issue. I ask for the willingness, courage, and strength to take all the necessary actions. May my heart and my mind be open to your loving guidance.I give thanks in advance for the miracles I know will occur.

Next Decorate with Beautiful Pictures

Gather pictures and stickers of angels or any images that fill you with hope and peace of mind. I like pictures of clouds with rays emanating from them.

Decorate each side of the box (including the cover and the inside of the box if you like) with the pictures and stickers.  Leave enough writing space on the sides and the bottom for the next step.

Write Inspirational Words

Get some colored gel pens, colored pencils, markers, crayons, or whatever artistic medium you want to use.  Choosing a pen, pencil, or marker, write angel quotes, affirmations, or words of love and gratitude where you want on the box. 

On the bottom of the box, write: I give thanks for all your love, help, and guidance. May I always be open so the highest and the best can occur for all involved. 

Finally, line the inside of your box with fabric.  I used an old silk scarf, but you can use tissue paper or another favorite piece of fabric.

Write Down Your Concerns

Now, write your concerns on one piece of paper or write them on separate slips of paper.  Lovingly place the paper(s) with your concerns in the box. Once you put concerns in the box, leave them there mentally and emotionally.

Read the prayer on the inside of the box cover.  If you begin to worry, remind yourself that the concerns are in the loving hands of the divine.

Find a Special Storage Place

This box is symbolic of releasing your cares and worries to the divine guidance of God and the angels.
Put the angel box someplace special, where you will see it often. I also put several angel figurines around mine.

Say Another Prayer

Sit quietly, take a few deep breaths, and say another prayer, asking for guidance and assistance.
Spend a few minutes giving thanks for all that you do have, for the loving presence of the angels in your life, and ask for the willingness to hear the guidance of your spirit.

Clear Out and Refresh Your Box

Periodically, clean out your angel box. Make it a ceremony of celebration, joy, and release.
You can burn the pieces of paper and watch them turn into light.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Robert Anton Wilson On The Acceleration To 2012

Happy Three Kings Day

Today is January 6th or Three Kings Day or Day of the Ephiphany

Epiphany (Greek: επιφάνεια, "the appearance; miraculous phenomenon") is a Christian feast intended to celebrate the 'shining forth' or revelation of God to mankind in human form, in the person of Jesus. The observance had its origins in the eastern Christian churches, and included the birth of Jesus; the visit of the three Magi, or Wise Men (traditionally named Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) who arrived in Bethlehem; and all of Jesus' childhood events, up to his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist. The feast was initially based on, and viewed as a fulfillment of, the Jewish Feast of Lights. This was fixed on January 6.

The first reference to Epiphany in the Eastern Church is a slighting remark by Clement of Alexandria in Stromateis, I, xxi, 45:

"There are those, too, who over-curiously assign to the Birth of Our Saviour not only its year but its day…"
Origen's list of festivals (in Contra Celsum, VIII, xxii) omits any reference to Epiphany. The first reference to an ecclesiastical feast of the Epiphany, in Ammianus Marcellinus (XXI:ii), is in 361.

Thus in the Western church, the feast of Christmas was established before that of Epiphany. Over time the West decided to celebrate Christmas on December 25. The East continued to treat January 6 as the day marking Jesus's birth. This has given rise in the west to the notion of a twelve-day festival, starting on December 25, and ending on January 6, called the twelve days of Christmas, although some Christian cultures — especially those of Latin America — extend it to forty days, ending on Candlemas, or February 2 (known as Candelaria in Spanish).

Prior to 1970, the Roman Catholic Church (and prior to 1976, the Anglican churches) reckoned Epiphany as an eight-day feast, beginning on January 6 and continuing through the Octave of Epiphany, or January 13.

Many traditionalist Catholics continue to use this calendar, celebrating the feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday within the octave. On the Feast of the Epiphany itself, the priest, wearing white vestments, will bless the Epiphany Water, frankincense, gold, and chalk. The chalk is used to write the initials of the three magi over the doors of churches and homes.

More recently, most Roman Catholics in the United States mark Epiphany on the Sunday after the first Saturday in January (before this the Sunday between January 1 and January 6, in years when there was one, was designated the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus), and most Catholics and Anglicans (along with many other Protestants) now formally end the Christmas season on the Sunday immediately following January 6, or, for American Catholics, the ensuing Monday in years when the Epiphany falls on January 7 or January 8. In either case, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord is observed on the latter day, after which the first installment of Ordinary Time begins. (But note that some Churches, such as the Anglican Catholic Church, and some groups of Roman Catholics, still use the pre-1970 calendar; for these bodies, Christmas still has twelve days and ends on January 5, and Epiphany is still celebrated on January 6 with an 8-day octave.) The Baptism of Christ is one of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.

Today in Eastern Orthodox churches, the emphasis at this feast is on the shining forth and revelation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and second person of the Holy Trinity at the time of his baptism. It is also celebrated because, according to tradition, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist marked the only occasion when all three persons of the Holy Trinity manifested their physical presence simultaneously to humanity: God the Father by speaking through the clouds, God the Son being baptized in the river, and God the Holy Spirit in the shape of a dove overflying the scene. Usually called the Feast of the Theophany (Greek: Θεοφάνεια), it is one of the great feasts of the liturgical year; "theophany" is Greek for "God shining forth".

Orthodox Churches also perform a "Blessing of the Waters" on Epiphany Day: following Divine Liturgy, clerics proceed to the nearest body of water, be it a beach, a harbor, a quay, a river, a lake, a swimming pool, a water depot etc, and after a short ceremony they cast a cross in the water. If swimming is feasible on the spot, any number of volunteers may brave the cold winter waters and try to recover the cross. The person who gets the cross first swims back and returns it to the cleric, who then delivers a special blessing to the swimmer and their family and household. Certain such ceremonies have achieved particular prominence, such as the one held annually at Tarpon Springs, Florida.

The Irish call this day Little Christmas or Women's Christmas (Irish: Nollaig na mBan). In Rome, "Epiphania" was transformed into Befana, the great fair held at that season, when sigillaria of terracotta or baked pastry were sold (Macrobius I, x, xxiv; II, xlix).

In Spain, Mexico, Cuba and some Latin American countries Epiphany day is called El Día de los Reyes (The Day of the Three Kings). The day when the Three Kings or Three Magi of the Holy Bible arrived to worship and bring gifts to the baby Jesus after following a star in the heavens. This day is sometimes known as the Día de los Tres Reyes Magos (The day of the Three Magi) or La Pascua de los Negros (Holy Day of the Blackmen) in Chile, although the latter is hardly said. In Spanish tradition, on the day of January 6th, the Kings: Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar, representing Europe, Arabia, and Africa, arrived on horse, camel and elephant, bringing respectively gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus.

In Mexico, it is traditional for children to leave their shoes out on the evening of January 6, sometimes filling them with hay for the camels, so that the Kings will be generous with their gifts. In Puerto Rico, it is also a tradition for children to fill a box with grass or hay and put it underneath their bed, for the same reasons. This is analogous to children leaving mince pies or cookies and milk out for Santa Claus. In some parts of northern Mexico the shoes are left under the Christmas tree with a letter to the Three Kings. In the afternoon or evening of the same day the ritual of the Rosca de Reyes is shared with family and friends. The Rosca is a type of sweet-bread made with orange blossom, water, and butter; decorated with candied fruit. Baked inside is a small doll representing the baby Jesus. The person who finds the doll in his piece of rosca must throw a party on February 2nd, Calendaria Day, offering tamales and atole (a hot sweet drink thickened with corn flour) to the guests.

In France, on Epiphany people eat the gâteau des Rois in Provence or the galette des Rois in the northern half of France and Belgium. This is a kind of king cake, with a trinket or a bean hidden inside. The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket becomes king for a day.

The Twelve Holy Days is the holy period, from December 26th to January 6th, in the esoteric and astrological interpretation of the Christmas season.

The night between the 24th and 25th of December is considered to be the most "holy night", when the sun (the "Light of the World") commences its journey from the south to the north. On the night when he commences his northward journey the zodiacal sign virgo, the celestial virgin (the "Queen of Heaven"), stands upon the eastern horizon at midnight (thus he is "born of a virgin" without other intermediary, hence, "immaculately conceived.") [1].

On December 25th the Christ enters the heart of earth and the planet is swept by powerful solstitial radiations, becoming enveloped by the light of the archangelic Christ and therefore Christmas is considered the most "holy day" of the year. From December 26th to January 6th the twelve zodiacal hierarquies work upon the earth and its life forms, along with the Christ light which continues throughout the twelve holy days. The night of January 6th is regarded as the Twelfth Night, the time when the "Rite of Baptism" was performed in early Christianity. This period of twelve-day interval, between Christmas and Twelfth Night, is regarded as the spiritual heart of the year to follow and is termed the year's "Holy of Holies" [2].

In Matthew 2: 9-11,  the ageless story describes a Star in the East guiding three wisemen, or magi, to the place of the divine birth of Christ. Legends of the Celtic peoples tell that their druids and seers, through study of astrology and signs seen in the sacred fires, also foretold this divine birth.

According to medieval legends, the three wisemen were named Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar. Each of them came from a different culture: Melchior was Asian, Balthazar was Persian and Gaspar was Ethopian, thus representing the three races known to the old world. These three priest-kings and wisemen brought royal gifts to the divine infant: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Melchior brought a golden cup, which, according to legend, was preserved by the Blessed Virgin Mary and was the same cup used in the institution of the Holy Eucharist. Balthazar brought a gold box of frankincense. Gaspar brought a curiously chased flask of myrrh, a royal embalming oil.

The gift of gold symbolizes the kingship of Christ, which represents our own true royal Selfhood and our giving of love and service as directed and commanded by that Self. The gift of frankincense symbolizes the Godhead of Christ and our own gifts of honor and reverence to our indwelling Divinity. The gift of myrrh is a prophecy of the death and burial of the earthly body of Christ, which represents our understanding and empathy for the suffering of humanity.