Snow Moon Walking Meditation

snowy pathDuring this phase of the dark moon, it is a natural time to turn inward for contemplation and meditation.  Before all the white stuff melts, try this walking meditation to help ring in the return of increased sunlight in preparation for Spring.  Is the snow in your area already melted?  No worries – just imagine it is underneath your feet!

Bundle up!  Begin by standing at your starting point and observing the white ground around you.  Take a few moments to thank Mother Nature for her splendor, and set an intention for your walking meditation.  If you find the mind wondering, come up with a word or mantra that ‘reminds’ you of your intention, and repeat it mentally with each step.  Simply begin at a comfortable pace, looking at the ground just ahead of you.  Allow each step to contain full awareness and meaning, each step filled with gratitude.  If you can, listen to the crunch of the snow as you step in.  About half way through your walk, begin to envision, with each step lifting off the ground, a small plant or flower bud beginning to peek up through the snowy ground underneath you.  Each step gently uncovering the blessings and wonder that are Gaia.

After returning to the indoors as thank the Divine for a warm abode.  While the heart is primed with gratitude, send out prayers, offerings or wishes to those who may need a little extra sunshine or warmth in their lives.  Share the following punch in communion with family members or friends – children love it!

Herb Punch

juice of 6 oranges & 2 lemons

1 large handful of lemon balm

2 large handfuls of borage

1 large handful of mint

1 cup pineapple or other fruit juice

1 quart tea (strong)

syrup made with 1 cup sugar, boiled with 1/2 cup water

3 quarts ginger ale*

Pour 1 1/2 quarts of boiling water over lemon balm and steep 20 minutes.  Strain liquid onto borage and mint.  Add fruit juices, tea and syrup.  Refrigerate 8+ hours.  Strain into a punch bowl.  Add ice, extra mint if desired, and ginger ale.  *(I do not drink soda, so instead of ginger ale I will use water [sparkling water if you like a little bubbly] just to dilute it a bit without adding the extra sweetness and carbonation.)

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February Full Moon and Goddess Brigid

The first few days of February are dedicated to purification, and the bringing in of the light from midwinter.  During this time we honor the Old Celtic and Irish feast of Goddess Brigid (Brigit, Brighid, Brid), or the Christian feast of St. Brigid, whose day is February 1-2, by offering candlelight and purification rituals. February 2nd also represents Candlemas when purification ceremonies around the Christian world.  This year the full moon comes just after these sacred times, and still holds the power of bringing intentions into fruition. Originally and still to this day, fires were lit to welcome Brigid as she traveled around blessing fields, animals, and the people of the land.

This month’s Full Moon is February 3rd, remembering that a day prior and post to this date carries with it the full moon energy.  This month is the Ice Moon, also known as Storm Moon, Sage Moon, Cleansing Moon, and Wild Moon among others.

February comes from the Latin root ‘februum’, which means purification.  This is a great time to take a cleansing salt bath and give your surroundings a good pick-me-up by clearing the clutter and maybe even a little sage smudging around your home, especially around the windows and doors.

Whether you light a single candle to help St. Brigid continue to bring in the light into the upcoming season, or plan a pre-Spring cleaning while repeating mantra and burning camphor and frankincense incense under the light of day, help bring in the essence of Goddess Brigid and her message into your world in any creative way that inspires you.

February Moon Correspondences

Herbs:  hyssop, myrrh, spikenard, sage, clove, nutmeg, bay, basil, heather, grain & nuts

Incense:  camphor, frankincense, wisteria, heliotrope

Trees:  cedar, laurel, rowan

Animals:  otter, groundhog, eagle

Deities:  Brigid, Kuan Yin, Demeter, Persephone

Gold Buddha Bath Salts (for Prosperity)

Shake up all ingredients below in a sealed container, preferably glass.  Small canning jars are my favorite, and an ideal inexpensive and reusable alternative to fancy containers.

1 cup salt

8 drops lotus oil

2 drops cinnamon oil

8 drops sandalwood oil

3 drops myrrh oil

2 drops allspice oil

If you want to make a larger batch, shake in a teaspoon of baking powder as a preservative.

Come join me this Wednesday, February 4th at 7:00pm for the monthly Sacred Circle of the Mindful Muse and learn more about this sacred time of year!

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January Moon

6645538_lThis new year I greet you with an overview of the importance of the Moon phases and how you can use them to live, love, and work more efficiently and effectively.  Each month I will guide you through basic moon correspondences and attributes that I encourage you to consider when planning your days in conjunction with your goals, aspirations, duties and dreams for 2015.

As we move through the next months together, keep in mind the following overview of moon phase attributes.  The Full Moon is a time of high energy, creation and bringing to fruition, as well as a time of perfecting projects and ideas.  The Waning and Dark Moon phase is a time of resting, retreat, conservation, healing, and deep contemplation and meditation.  It is a time to decrease or banish the unwanted.  The Dark Moon is a great time for deep contemplation, meditation and psychic (clear-thinking) development.  During the New Moon and Waxing phase think of what you want to bring into your life; a time to start new projects and goals and invoking the things you want.

January’s Moon is known as the Snow Moon, Quiet Moon, Wolf Moon, and Cold Moon just to name a few.  This year the Full Moon falls on January 4th.  It is commonly believed that the energies of the Full Moon exist up to 2-3 days prior and after the date of the Full Moon.  The week before this Moon spend some time contemplating needed and necessary changes that should be made in your life.  This can be anything from something that is specific to you, or on a larger scale, a social wrong that is in need of transformation.  Think children’s rights, homelessness, medical care and attention available to all, women’s issues and crisis centers, animal shelters, etc.

 

January Moon Correspondences

Herbs:  nuts and cones, holy thistle, marjoram

Incense:  mimosa, sandalwood, musk

Trees:  birch

Animals:  coyote, fox, wolf

Deities:  Sarasvati, Hera, Innana, Freyja, Sinn

 

Indian Spiced Tea

(serves 6)

7 cups cold water

6 green cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

6 cloves

1/4″ peeled & chopped fresh ginger

1/4 cup honey or brown sugar

2 Tablespoons black tea leaves

almond or coconut milk to taste

Bring water to a boil and stir in spices and brown sugar.  Boil over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes.  Add tea leaves and bring to boil.  Lower heat, cover pot and simmer for additional 5 minutes, adding optional milk to taste.  Strain the tea leaves and serve.

 

hOMework

When you go to your altar during this time, have something specific in mind, and infuse it with intention and feeling.  You may be able to release emotions.  On or around the Full Moon, decorate your altar with a lit white candle and burn some sandalwood incense.  Spend time meditating upon your intention, envisioning the changes you would like to see happening.

Lovely Lady of the Moon, bless and purify me with your light.  Thank you for empowering me this night.

http://svendfreytag-astroimaging.com/Documents/2015-01%20Moon%20phase%20calendar.jpg

Click Here for Downloadable Moon Phase Calendars

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Practice Lovingkindness

metta meditation purple(photo: www.buddhistdoor.com)

The Buddhist practice of Metta Meditation translates into the meditation for lovingkindness.  The full practice usually consists of at least 30 minutes of blissful mindfulness, but during the hustle and bustle of this time of year, we may only have a few minutes to find our center.  Please take 10 minutes out of your day to remember the reason for the season with the audio below, and expand lovingkindness out into the world around you.  There are many variations of the authentic practice, you may choose the following variation – whatever resonates with you!

May all beings be happy,
May all beings be safe and protected from all harm,
May all beings be well,
May all beings live their lives with a sense of ease.

Please see full site for audio meditation!

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Gratitude Journal: A Very Personal Thank You

retreatkitchenhelp2

Photo: Me, Brittney & Doreen ‘Cooking in the Raw’

I would like to take this opportunity to honor two of our longest-standing teachers, friends and mentors at Yoga Garden – Brittney Powell and Doreen Baum.  Their dedication to their personal practice and teaching the Holy Science of Yoga has helped make the Garden the  sanctuary it is today.

Brittney has been a staple at the Garden since the beginning, and was our first official teacher, other that David and myself!  I met Brittney many years ago when she was just starting her yogic journey.  At the time I was leading class at our teacher’s school, and Brittney showed up for my class regularly each week.  What a young beauty to have been so blessed to find her path that early in life.  I remember her tapas in building herself up to a solid headstand.  She worked so hard, yet kept the yogini mentality of equilibrium, focus, devotion and with integrity.  All though I do not get to see her on a regular basis, I know Brittney’s presence at the Garden is a strong one.  She is the epitome of grace in action.  She is a great reflection of why we show up, every day, and dedicate ourselves to something greater than ourselves by truly living our yoga. Thank you, Brittney, for being such a integral and ongoing part of Yoga Garden and its community and such an inspiration to others.  You are a true blessing, a golden treasure and a beloved teacher.  Om Shanti.

Though no longer in N.C. and a regular face ‘at’ the studio, Doreen is still with us heart and soul.  You will find sprinkles of her spirit throughout the Garden, from our lovely logo to her teacher training that shines through many of our instructors.  From the inception of Yoga Garden, Doreen stepped in and stepped up, dedicating countless hours and endless energy and enthusiasm to the upkeep and organization of our studio and staff.  She helped keep me on the right business track; not an easy task – and kept the Garden moving forward.  Anyone who has had the honor of being in her class or simply in her presence understands immediately her love for and deep knowledge of the yogic postures, philosophy, and lifestyle.  Everywhere I go in the studio, office and even the hallway, I see a reflection of Doreen, and it warms my heart.  Thank you, Doreen, for your selfless service, keen insights and knowledge, and sacred spirit.  Om Shanti.

Who has been an inspiration to you?  How can you make them aware of the most subtle ways in which they have touched your life?

 

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