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Spirituality

New Moon In Libra: Intensity In Relationships

  • The Facts:The stories of many great teachers throughout history, lore and ancient culture point to many repeating factors. Are they Gods in the classic sense of the word? You decide, but we do know they may not be who we think they are.
  • Reflect On:What’s to say we do not hold and possess the same deep knowings, abilities and love that many of these teachers held? Other than the ‘holy’ books themselves, it appears that nothing is telling us we are not the same.

Across the ages there have always been saints, sages, seers, and prophets which have foreseen events, healed and spread a powerful message to the masses. On the surface, these messages may seem disconnected and different, but at their core there are many similarities, with the essence being the same.

This can be summed up metaphorically by an old Indian fable which tells the story of 6 blind men who all come in contact with an elephant. Taken from John Godfrey Saxe’s poem (1816-1887) Blind Men and the Elephant:

It was six men of Indostan,

To learning much inclined,

Who went to see the Elephant

(Though all of them were blind),

That each by observation

Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach’d the Elephant,

And happening to fall

Against his broad and sturdy side,

At once began to bawl:

“God bless me! but the Elephant

Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,

Cried, -“Ho! what have we here

So very round and smooth and sharp?

To me ’tis mighty clear,

This wonder of an Elephant

Is very like a spear!”

The Third approach’d the animal,

And happening to take

The squirming trunk within his hands,

Thus boldly up and spake:

“I see,” -quoth he- “the Elephant

Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,

And felt about the knee:

“What most this wondrous beast is like

Is mighty plain,” -quoth he,-

“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant

Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,

Said- “E’en the blindest man

Can tell what this resembles most;

Deny the fact who can,

This marvel of an Elephant

Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun

About the beast to grope,

Then, seizing on the swinging tail

That fell within his scope,

“I see,” -quoth he,- “the Elephant

Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan

Disputed loud and long,

Each in his own opinion

Exceeding stiff and strong,

Though each was partly in the right,

And all were in the wrong!

The moral of this story is that many people can view the same thing, yet get a different interpretation. This leads me to some of the great and most widely known prophets of our known history starting with Viracocha.

The Incan God Viracocha

Viracocha is God worshipped by the Incan people, however, it is widely believed by many that this “God” was actually a person who brought a new way of being to the Incan people. This included healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind and teaching skills such as medicine, farming, mathematics and writing. From Graham Hancock’s book Fingerprints Of The Gods:

This idol took the form of a marble statue of the god – a statue described ‘as to the hair, complexion, features, raiment and sandals, just as painters represent the apostle Saint Bartholomew’. Other accounts of Viracocha likened his appearance to that of the Saint Thomas. I examined a number of illustrated ecclesiastical manuscripts in which these two saints appeared; both were routinely depicted as lean, bearded white men, past middle age, wearing sandals and dressed in long, flowing cloaks. As we shall see, the records confirmed this was exactly the appearance ascribed to Viracocha by those who worshipped him.

This view has also been shared by sixteenth-century Spanish Jesuit missionary Fr Jose de Acosta (also taken from Fingerprints Of The Gods):

They make great mention of a great deluge [Severe flood], which happened in their country … the Indians say that all men were drowned in the deluge, and they report that out of Lake Titicaca came one Viracocha, who stayed in Tiahuanaco, where at this day there are seen to be ruins of ancient and very strange buildings, and from thence came to Cusco, and so began mankind to multiply…

There doesn’t seem to be any known history of Viracocha that predates the Inca people, but if you were to take the assumption that this God was based upon an actual person, then (like all other holy people) he would have had to go through an initiatory period of purification. This is something I will come back to shortly.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth

The most famous Prophet is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who appears not just in Christian text, but also in the Quran and many other holy books. As part of his purification, it is reported that Jesus went into the desert and fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. During this time he was tempted 3 times by Satan. The 3 temptations were: hedonism (hunger / satisfaction), egoism (spectacular throw / might) and materialism (kingdoms / wealth). After Jesus refused each temptation, the Devil departed and Jesus began his teaching. What is interesting to note is Jesus’ purification took place in the desert, predominantly under the power of the fire element of the Sun. Now I know we don’t know the pre-Incan history of Viracocha, but you could assume that had he faced a similar initiation it would likely have a close relation to the element of water, due to him rising from the lake.

Moses

Moses was said to have freed over 600,000 Israelite slaves from Egypt. It is said that Moses crossed the Red Sea with the former slaves and they based themselves at Mount Sinai. This is where Moses went and fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before he received the Ten Commandments from God. Again, the predominant element of the mountains is that of air. Differing from the previous 2 elemental initiations.

Gautama Buddha

Gautama Buddha famously sat under the Bodhi tree until he reached enlightenment where, like Jesus, he was tempted by the devil. After 49 days of meditation, at the age of 35, it is said that he achieved his task of complete liberation. Again there is an elemental force here in the Earth which he sat on under the Bodhi tree.

Thus far we have spoken of the 4 agreed upon elements of the natural world, however, some argue that darkness and lightness are also elements. Light obviously has its physical characteristics, but could also be defined as the transcendent. The experience which is beyond that of humanness and materialism, what we could call the spirit realm.

Muhammad

Muhammad is the most recent of the prophets we speak about and the founder of Islam. It is thought he was born in 570 AD which synchronistically is the Year of the Elephant. Muhammad fasted and prayed for 40 days in a cave named Hira on Mount Jabal al-Nour. During this time it is claimed he was visited by the angel Gabriel. Gabriel then commanded Muhammad to recite the verses that would later become the Quran. The elemental force we are working within the cave is that of Darkness.

To Sum Up

There is no mention of a prophet that worked with pure light and this is because they all did.  It is believed that the liberation of a human being is to purify your physical body to the level in which you let pure light emanate through you. Meaning all of the prophets did in fact access pure light through their initiation. The pure light is the elephant and each of the prophets saw this truth and interpreted it through their elemental perspective.

At least this is an observational theory one could arrive at. As a stand-alone, none of the religions derived from these teachers has been able to bring about any level of lasting peace, and in most instances have caused more bloodshed than they have saved. But what if none of the religions are “right”? As with the elephant story, they are just a view of the same thing from a different perspective. Maybe with the unification (or at least acceptance) of the teachings of all religions comes access to a teaching that will lead us to an ascended 7th plane that we need to fully liberate ourselves as a species.

Maybe we all hold a piece of the bigger puzzle- with each partly right, and all of us wrong!

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Spirituality

Powerful Effect Of Incense For Mind, Body And Soul

Why do we burn incense sticks? Some use it for its ability to kill odour while in many cultures, it’s what you would need in worship. For several centuries, within different religious traditions have been claimed that burning incense is good for the soul. And now, scientists have found it has beneficial effects on the brain.

The Use of Incense

Incense has been the part of different religious activities since time immemorial. Even today incense sticks and cones are widely used in temples, in homes and at many places for worship. It is steeped in symbolism. The burning of an incense stick resulting in fragrant smoke teaches the necessity to burn away negative qualities within oneself in order to reveal the pure self within.

The calming effects of incense was discovered by ancient cultures. The natural fragrance of incense removes the stress and heals the spirit. Mesmerizing aromas create a sense of joy and uplift the mood. Recent study suggests that pleasant odour from burning incense may have antidepressant-like effect.

Powerful Effect Of Incense For Mind, Body And Soul

Incense burning in Buddhist Temple

Science Supports Benefits of Incense

Recent research made by John Hopkins University seems to suggest that incense is more than just symbolic in terms of meditation practice. Science Daily, who reported on this study, described it this way:

“An international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, describe how burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression. This suggests that an entirely new class of depression and anxiety drugs might be right under our noses.”

Pleasant Odours Have Antidepressive-like Effect 

It’s a reasonable hypothesis, and certainly supported by aromatherapy.  This suggests that centuries of Ayurvedic and natural medicine are likely not wrong when they make fairly safe lists of benefits:

    • Lavender, know to relieve stress and relax
    • Sandalwood, removes tension, creates awareness
    • Cinnamon, known for increasing focus
    • Cedar or pine, well known to help with depression and sadness
    • Dragon’s blood, soothes GI tract, helps with pain
    • Jasmine, balancing hormones, increasing libido
    • Amber: boosting immune system
    • Frankincense: relieves depression; also known to increase creativity

Here is a word of caution though – before buying incense sticks, look for high-quality incense that isn’t toxic. Incense sticks made of cheap chemicals can have a harmful effect on your health. Poor quality incense is actually a pollutant, especially when burned indoors. Burning synthetic incense can even harm your lungs if you breathe it for a long period of time. It is also not wise to burn incense if you have asthma.

It is fair to say that any pleasant incense will affect mood positively. Using a different kind of incense burners and holders add a new dimension to your place. Apart from doing their job of burner, they can also act as a showpiece.

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Spirituality

Crystals That Require Extra Care

For a variety of reasons, many crystals need special treatment when maintained. It is good to be informed so that we do not damage our precious crystals, but they also take care of us.

Some crystals are water soluble, therefore they should not be immersed in water or other liquids; other crystals are soft and easily damaged, others may even be affected by the sun’s rays.

There are certain crystals and minerals that can be very toxic.

Although the chances of poisoning by use or by preparing elixirs from the crystals are very small it is good to know what these are and how they can be used.

Amethyst

Photosensitive, the color will fade if left in strong sunshine. It is recommended not to be left in the sun, except for short periods of cleaning or preparation of elixirs.

Apatite

Sensitive to acid exposure – an unlikely event in crystal therapy, but worth mentioning.

Calcite

It may be affected by water, so it is better not to be put in water for cleaning or cleaning.

The rough calcite usually has a smooth waxy texture, it can be immersed in water without problems and is often used to make an elixir.

Some varieties, particularly honey calcite, are photosensitive and will lose their color if exposed to the sun for a long time.

The calcite is also soft and easy to scratch.

Chrysocolla

It is a very soft crystal (hardness 2-4), therefore it scratches lightly. It is advisable to handle it especially as a jewel where it is quite exposed to possible scratches.

Pink Quartz

Some pink quartz crystals are photosensitive and will lose color if left in strong sunshine.

Being quite difficult to know which pink quartz will be affected and which is not, it is recommended to keep any quartz pink away from the sun’s rays; obviously except for short periods of purification and cleaning or for the preparation of elixirs.

Copper

Contains minerals that are slightly soluble such as malachite and azurite.

For elixir solutions use dioptase, chrysocolla and other copper-containing silicates

* and are safe to be non-soluble.

Florine

It is very soft (hardness 4), so it scratches lightly and will eventually have a deleted appearance;

although it does not lose its therapeutic properties, it will no longer be so eye-catching.

When transported, it is advisable to keep it separate from other crystals.

It is also photosensitive and its color will be faded if left in the sun.

Florina also has a strong cleavage that breaks easily in strokes, so increased care is recommended when handled.

Gypsum: Selenite, Satin Spar, Fishtail, etc.

All gypsums contain water.

They will absorb water and are soluble in water, especially the satin. If they are immersed in the water, the initial crystals will become erased;

if they are left for a long time they will even disintegrate.

Do not clean or clean under running water, can be cleaned with a slightly damp, non-abrasive material.

Halite

It is a salt crystal so highly soluble in water.

Do not clean or clean under running water, can be cleaned with a slightly damp, non-abrasive material.

It may even disintegrate if it is left in humid conditions, such as a cellar.

Lapis Lazuli

Sensitive to pressure – an unlikely event in crystal therapy, but worth mentioning.

Malachite

It is a very soft crystal (hardness 3.5-4), so it scratches lightly and becomes matte.

When transported, it is advisable to keep it separate from other crystals.

Also sensitive to heat, acid, ammonia and hot water.

Malachite is potentially toxic.

If used in elixirs, it is quite unlikely to be poisonous, but as a safety measure, it is recommended to create an elixir to use the external method.

Take great care not to inhale malachite filings.

Pyrites

Do not dive into the water.

Turquoise

It is a soft and very porous crystal.

Reaction adversely to oil, light, sweat, cosmetics or detergents.

Always remove turquoise jewels before using water.

Use other cleaning and purification methods than running water.

* Silicates are a viable solution for creating elixirs. Any crystals in the quartz family can be used, so having a fairly varied range of crystals that can work in creating elixirs.

The information provided in this article is not designed as a substitute for the diagnosis, treatment or advice of a medical practitioner. The information comes as complementary options to conventional medicine (complementary = it can work with). In no way should the information be considered as “medical practice”.
The site assumes no responsibility for the use of this material.

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Taoism In Modern China

Last month, Shanghai’s City God Temple played host to a solemn congregation assembled in celebration of the birth of Laozi, an ancient philosopher broadly called the founder of Chinese Taoism. The service has been held on the 15th day of the next month in the Chinese lunar calendar, an auspicious day which Taoists consider to be the birthday of the Highest Lord Lao, one of Taoism’s three greatest gods.

Lord Lao is the deified form of the same Laozi who apparently wrote the Tao Te Ching, a classic work of Chinese philosophy written around the sixth century B.C.. During the Eastern Han Dynasty, Lord Lao allegedly reappeared before the Taoist celestial master Zhang Daoling, bestowing upon him the teachings which afterwards came to shape the orthodox beliefs of the Zhengyi sect, one of the significant Taoist denominations in China now.

For followers of Taoism, the Highest Lord Lao is the embodiment of the Tao, or”Way,” and the Tao Te Ching is among the most important Taoist scriptures. During the Tang Dynasty, the emperor gave Laozi the venerable title of”Highest Emperor of Mysterious Origin,” and from 840 A.D. onward, his birthday was rigorously observed by the royal court, when the nation’s larger Taoist temples held burial ceremonies for followers to fast and preach scripture. Lord Lao’s birthday is, in nature, as close as Taoism gets to Christmas in the West. Nevertheless regardless of the current resurgence of religion in China, Lord Lao had not enjoyed a birthday celebration on this scale for quite a while.

Last month’s celebrations in Shanghai were so important for two reasons. For starters, it had been the first time in many years the City God Temple hosted a large scale Taoist festival. Although Taoism is China’s only indigenous religion, its sway now pales compared with its previous status. A lot of people know the City God Temple as a tourist milestone and business center, but few understand it as a significant Taoist religious site.

Secondly, the ceremony itself revealed Taoism is adapting its image to attract new converts. Within the course of the afternoon , organizers deftly mixed tradition, commerce, and technologies to create a welcoming atmosphere for new and lapsed Taoists alike.

During morning , the temple abbot started with a ritual preaching of the Tao. Afterwards, he conducted the tradition of natural audiences with Laozi, an extremely ritualized ceremony where followers proceed in slow procession around an altar, repenting of the sins and praying for blessings from heaven. In the day, two additional ceremonies were held which were significant for more pious followers who, after committing to longterm study and self-cultivation, want to eventually become”lay Taoists” — spiritual adepts who dedicate themselves to following the Tao, but aren’t members of the clergy.

The party was meant to expand the influence of Taoist culture, notably by bringing more young people to watch and take part in this traditional festival. Because of this, the thoroughly planned event was filled with fresh interpretations.

Among the most surprising innovations lay in the organizers’ repurposing of traditional iconography. In contrast to traditional images of Laozi — which tend to depict him as an elderly, ethereal, sage-like figure — the predominant image at the City God Temple was an anime-style illustration of Laozi as a baby, his hair drawn back into a bun, naked as the day he was born.

The icon’s artist, the Taoist priest Wang Minyuan, told me that the infant Laozi is, in fact, a very important part of Taoist iconography. It has its origins in the Eighty-One Transformations of Lord Lao — an illustrated religious text — in which it represents the beginning of the universe. In addition, the image of a child reflects the Tao Te Ching’s veneration of newborns, who symbolize the purity and sincerity of ancient times. Returning to a state of primordial communication with the Tao is the ultimate aim of those who practice Taoist self-cultivation — but that’s not to say representations of this ideal cannot also be updated for modern followers.

The event compellingly mixed modern-style iconography with much more traditional paraphernalia. Organizers erected a shrine to the Holy Infant and a further altar in honor of the Sovereign of the Void, a Taoist celestial worthy. The former harkened back to the tradition of sacrificing to Laozi during the Han Dynasty. The shrine was draped in a purple coverlet that joined together like curtains in the front, with a statue of the infant Laozi housed within.

The latter followed the ancient style of the Tang and Song dynasties, featuring outer, middle, and inner altars. Believers gathered to pay their respects at the outer alter, with a view of the religious accoutrements laid out on the middle altar. Finally, the inner altar was dedicated to spaces for the high priest, the abbot of the temple, and the other religious masters to perform Taoist rituals.

The planners’ intentions behind committing and constructing to these special altars were clarified by Taoist priest Tao Guanjing. The altars’ reappearance reflected the ongoing revival of the Taoist belief in spontaneity, he said. Taoist priests and adherents were invited to interact with one another during the ceremony, as a means of restoring the long-lapsed connection between the temple clergy and the congregation. Together, they gave free reign to the concept of universal salvation through communing with the Tao.

Interestingly, the entire event was broadcast live on internet giant Tencent’s Taoism channel, an online TV station that, alongside Buddhist and Confucian sister channels, aims to popularize Chinese traditional religion via the web. This was a historic first for a Shanghai-based Taoist ceremony. On the ground, three camera operators filmed the event in real time, beaming full, detailed coverage of the ceremony to audiences at home and abroad. Statistics showed that 630,000 viewers tuned in to watch the morning mass, a number that grew to 740,000 by the end of the day.

Throughout the broadcast, a senior Taoist of the Shanghai City God Temple, Li Daqian, offered commentary on the ceremonial happenings, explaining in exhaustive detail each stage of the event as it proceeded. The effect was to give audiences at home insight into the rituals playing out on their screens, challenging the idea that Taoism is impenetrable, irrelevant, or irreconcilable with modern life.

Outside of the specialized Taoist ceremonies, pilgrims and tourists to the City God Temple could hang talismans bearing their personal wishes for the future, as well as eat local pastries purportedly infused with the energy of the Tao. These activities reflected a deep-seated commercial aspect of Taoist festivals, many of which historically developed into temple fairs with distinct regional customs. The Laozi Fair at Chengdu’s Qingyang Palace, located in southwestern China’s Sichuan province, takes place alongside a local flower market; in the same vein, the treats on offer at the Shanghai temple fair added to the sense of community participation.

Combining the traditional with the modern has long been a challenge at the heart of Chinese Taoism; indeed, it is a difficulty that confronts practitioners of all forms of Chinese traditional culture. For me, the mass was largely successful: The organizers captured much of Taoism’s basic spirit through their adaptation of ancient classics, and revitalized the ceremonies of the Tang Dynasty — a golden age of Chinese culture — for a contemporary audience. They promoted orthodox Taoist culture while utilizing modern online media, keeping their eyes trained on the preferences of today’s young people and working hard to create a “Taoist Christmas” that everyone could enjoy.

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