A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING
A New Awareness
2013 is a year that is destined to bring to minds, hearts, and souls of mankind, a new and wondrous understand of love. Love with all of it's nuances; the good, the bad, the messy, the aches and the splendid. It will allow us to better understand ourselves, our connections and bring about a more complete knowledge of compassion and of our spiritual growth and empowerment. Understanding this new energy will allow us to grow in ways unexpected. Therefore let's journey forward into a wonderful new experience.
Religion & Spirituality
Recently there seems to have been an increase in criticism of religion, especially on some of the social media sites. These comments while having some validity, also tend to finger point and accuse religious teachings of wrongful or inappropriate direction. Yet, religion and spirituality do have some common threads of good, loving tolerant ideas. With all of this talk and posturing it feels like an appropriate time to speak to each of these topics. The references that I will use for the most part are Christian though some of these thoughts and idealisms are shared by many.
There are many religions that abide on this planet, though some people will only acknowledge a few as a "true" religion. Many sources talk to 6 major breakdowns of religious groups; Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, and Other. At some point thinking of religions as siblings in a family, you can see the dynamic at work. Who is loved most? Who does the most work or does more for others? Who feels abandoned? In a way, it is fitting for how the world views religion.
In it's purest and highest form, religion provides a community of support. Like minded individuals, sharing common desires, common intentions and supporting each other while attempting to understand the nuances of events and the repercussions. Religion was not meant to do anything other than supply us with a network of support. This may not be a support that walks a similar path but it a support that when we met up, would indeed have words of encouragement, a shoulder to cry on, a hug to share to be able to steel our resolution with and even as little a point as being able to acknowledge the fact that we are not alone.
Religion, however, has lost it's place, it would seem. Like big business, religion became about control. Control of the mind and congregation, control of the spiritual growth of the individual and of the resources that were available. Growing religious intolerance threaten our world and our safety. Unquestioning books written a thousand years ago when the world was quite different doesn't serve today's spiritual need or the religious world.
When we allow religion to grow to such as powerful presence we sign away many of our basic rights without realizing it. Some physical rights but in most cases, it is the right to explore our spirits and our connections to the Divine that gets taken away. To explore our knowledge of spirit, to believe that what we know is as valid as anything taught by others. We take the written works as law and yet these books, these words were in fact written by people, mostly men, but people none the less. This too, is something that we must accept, ALL religious books were written by people and it is their interpretation of what was seen, heard and experienced that made our religious scriptures what they are. Many of these are unchanged since their conception. They were and are designed to impose a sense of structure within the society that follows it. The Christian bible, especially the New Testament, is composed of the works by the apostles that most closely resembled Jewish law. It makes sense as this was the birthplace of Christianity. Yet more writings were removed when the governing counsels felt too much power was given to women and to the gospels that branched away from comfortable teachings. Whether you believe in the other gospels or not or whether you have read the Gospels of Mary Magdalena or of Judas Iscariot or not, one fact remains and that is simply if 4 wrote or had recorded their lives and perceptions then so must the others, at least in one fashion or another. Of course time and history have removed those scriptures from our physical world and those teachings are lost to the Christian and world communities. Even newly channeled scriptures must be weighed against spiritual gauges since those may be influenced by the channel's experiences.
Where many of the discussions on the social media sites are taking conversations are into the history of these writings. Condemning them for the acts that were written about such as stoning adulterers or cutting off the hands of a thief or worse. The history of almost every religion, even the nature based or spiritual religions have in their history a predominance of violence. Whether to non-believers or to animals, somewhere in the deep recesses of time, violence and brutality were part of every religious scenery. It is also true that the younger the religion the more prone to intolerance and "right-mindedness" within the confines of those become part of that religion. To hold aloft a current spiritual practice and to build a community and eventually a religion and then to tote it's kind and gentle teachings while condemning another for their past teachings is to turn a blind eye to the teachings that are a part of every history. To those who call themselves "neo-pagans" there is a challenge awaiting. It is a call to follow the highest form of paganism and tolerance of all other religions and so the call actually goes out to every living person on this planet. Greed, perceptions of power, perceptions of right and wrong must be re-examined if we are to build a spiritual religion that embraces humanity.
Spirituality in its purest and highest form comes from within. It is an extremely personal perception and it is the inner law which your spirit will not let you deviate from without without a huge battle and the potential for huge internal suffering. These battles can be devastating on the physical plane and on the emotion plane as well. Spiritually, we know when we are following the beliefs and rules for living that are an integral part of us because life seems to flow. Yes there will still be tests, tribulations and trials and events that will seek to utterly devastate us and yet we will persevere. This is the strength that comes from out own spirituality. This is not derived from any religious upbringing or teaching although we may find spiritual comfort in old and familiar teachings. What we endure is an example of the commitment we carry within our spirit. A commitment to our path, our journey and our own personal growth.
Many will seek out others that share similar spiritual beliefs. Sometimes for comfort, sometimes for reassurance when things get tough and sometimes just to be able to talk about experiences without suffering judgment from others who may not understand. Slowly these individuals beginning to form communities and in turn they can form religions. These new spiritual based religions may encompass a wide variety of common beliefs and elements from the denominations that most closely resembles their current beliefs.
A trap of spiritual growth involves the ego. Whether in religion or in spirituality, ego and a sense of right or wrong, entitlement, or better than thou sentiments can work against our spiritual evolution. These sentiments begin to close off the spiritual channel and trap us within ourselves. There is also a growing sense of spiritual snobbiness. The "I've been doing this for years" or the "who do you think you are to follow my dream with your's?" are all examples of the mind allowing ego to rule. We must remember whatever our calling, there is enough for all and each will approach the Divine in a way that is best suited to themselves. The only governing rule is to be based on the "Golden Rule." Simply treat others as you would be treated.
Tolerance of any person's path is the prime consideration of any spiritual life. Every life on this planet, whether you agree with their actions or not, is living a spiritual life. It is their path that they must fulfill. Society will always need to set boundaries of acceptable behaviour in order to function and they keep everyone relatively safe. This is where the law and what is considered normal behaviour come together. There will always be instances of injustice, suffering, crime and other events that will shock people and undermine their belief in people in general. Yet there are as many instances of the opposite happening people going out of their way to be kind and gentle while living their life the way that works for them. We just don't get to hear about them as often.
As we evolve, physically and spiritually, we will see many more changes. Changes that affect how we see our place in the universe, how we interact and how we expand who we are. An openness of spirit is going to be required of all of us. This is not an abandoning of law and order, society needs that to exist. This is a personal change in how we perceive our place, our spiritual growth and our interactions.
I bid you peace as you celebrate your spirituality, in whichever religion or spiritual community you are called to. Blessings.
Sphalerite is a fairly common healing crystal, although it's healing properties were not well known until more recent times. Sphalerite is also known as zinc blende and has been used in jewelry since the Middle Ages. It's brilliance and transparency when cut made it suitable for jewelry use, as it could rival cut diamonds. Most jewelry used the yellow, honey-brown, orange and reddish crystals. Sphalerite is currently mind in many locales around the world, including, Canada, China, Germany, Switzerland, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Spain, England, Russia, Mexico, Peru and the USA.
As a tool for physical healing, Sphalerite is a crystal of strength, vitality and energy. Within the body, Sphalerite can aid in releasing trapped energy while allowing the chakra system to find a balance between the lower forceful energies and the higher functioning energies. Sphalerite has been shown to aid in skin ailments such as eczema and psoriasis, and in some cases acne. Sphalerite is often used by athletes and their trainers to aid in recovery times after intense training sessions. It can also boost a depleted immune system and increase sexual energy.
Spiritually, Sphalerite works on trapped energy within the mind to allow solutions and possibilities to begin to flow. This allows the wearer to find the confidence to continue and disperse any feelings of depression and hopeless brooding. Sphalerite is a crystal of letting go and finding peace within your existence at any given time. It can aid in changing perceptions that trap both the body and spirit in state of inactivity. The energy of Sphalerite can aid in rejuvenating relationships that have been affected by blocked emotions.
Sphalerite should be charged monthly amongst quartz crystals after a quick rinse under a stream of warm running water.
Thoughts for August and September
Late summer is here. The "dog days" of summer have arrived with all of the heat that summer can muster. The heat ripens the crops in the fields and orchards as we await our season of bounty and the start of the new spiritual year. Early harvests begin and they foretell of the coming bounty and the work still to come. Yet there is still time to celebrate the conclusion of this spiritual year. There is still time to relish in the still long days and cool nights. There is still time to play before we begin our rushing harvest work. The work of reaping what we have sown, and storing away as we prepare, at least mentally for the cooler days that are coming.
Yet we push those thoughts away in favour of today. We know what is coming and we do not wish, at this time, to be reminded of it. For now the larders are beginning to fill. Fresh fruit and crops are enjoyed while at the peak of their ripeness and others are stored away for colder, darker times of the year. There is no fear in what is approaching. To some it is a relief, the work is done, the heat and fervor that took hold of life in May and June is dissipating. A growing sense of serenity and of a job well done begins to settle in. We know it is too early to bask in such thoughts and yet when the cool evenings come we know we can smile with satisfaction that we have planned well and moved forward in our desires and we can still celebrate and vacation with family and friends.
"My Path "
"The path I journey on seems long and lonely.
Yet it is my path, my journey, my life.
I search for others who walk this path to find only myself.
No others walk this path. They may walk similar paths and they may experience similar events.
Though that it is their path ... not mine. My steps are my own and the marks left behind are mine.
A fear of being alone, and a fear of being inadequate to the challenge threatens to overwhelm me.
I know deep within me that this is untrue, for I am a child of the Divine and my Spirit is strong.
I will work to remove the doubts, so that I can lift my head high and
I can take the steps forward that must be taken.
This is my path, the good, the bad, the dismal and the glorious.
Each event contributes to who I am.
This is not as the world would see me, but as the Divine and my Spirit see me.
I will find a way to celebrate it, and myself.
This is my path, my journey, and my life."