Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Samhain, Hallowe'en, and All Souls Day

     Samhain is the ancient Celtic celebration marking the end of summer and the beginning of winter.  Pronounced "sa-win," it was the time when harvest was over, the cattle brought in from their summer pastures, and some of the livestock were slaughtered to feed the families for winter.  The ancient Celts sometimes lit great bonfires and they believed that the smoke acted as a purifying force.  Samhain marks the mid-way point between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. 

     The Celts believed that it was a time when the veil between the world of the living and that of the dead was very thin.  Sometimes they honored those who were dead by preparing a feast and setting a place for the deceased person.  In this way, it is similar to the Latin American festival Dia de los Muertos, or the Christian holiday All Souls Day. 

     In addition to honoring the dead, the Celts gave offerings to fairy mounds as a form of protection to ward off any spells during this time.  They believed that this night could be perilous because of harmful spirits and used small lanterns made of turnips (sometimes with grinning faces cut into them) to ward off evil (see below).  This is the origin of our jack-o-lantern.

     So, however you celebrate this night, I wish you well. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Mayans and 2012 -- A New Exhibit!

     I read in this morning's paper that the Houston Museum of Natural Science is launching an exhibit about the Mayan culture.  The curators are hoping that this will help demystify the Mayan world view and decrease the panic-talk about the "end date" of December 21, 2012.

     There's a really cool website associated with this exhibit.  If you're interested in exploring it, click here.

     The article goes on to explain that the Mayan calendar is cyclical in nature, and that the whole idea of an "end date" comes from the Christian West, where the concept of doomsday and apocalyptic endings are part of the Christian teachings.  In the Mayan world view, December 21, 2012 is the last day of a large cycle of time. The next day, when the sun rises again and life goes on, marks the beginning of a new cycle.

     In other words, it's pretty safe to go Christmas shopping.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Do You Ever Feel . . .

Do you ever feel . . .
  • there's not enough time to do what you want, and too many things on your "to-do" list?
  • that time-saving devices often aren't?
  • that your dreams seem still very far away, and prayer and visioning hasn't changed that fact?
  • that people are less and less kind these days?
  • that if you have to hear one more robo-call about politics you're going to scream?
  • that your empathic sense tells you that big changes are coming, but you have no idea how to prepare?
  • that the best antidote to most things is a purring kitty on your lap?
  • that another great antidote is being in the arms of your loved one?
  • that sunlight reflected off an autumn leaf can contain eternity in a moment?
  • that lying down for fifteen minute and closing your eyes can do wonders to your world view?
  • that perhaps the results of all your work aren't meant to be seen by you in this lifetime, but their effects are like tiny ripples, which grow larger and larger with each passing year?
  • that this last fact makes you both sad and happy at the same time?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rumi and Shams, Part 2

     As I mentioned in the previous post, I read a terrific novel about the spiritual relationship of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz.  The book is A Moth to the Flame: The Story of the Great Sufi Poet Rumi by Connie Zweig.  I think it portrays the Twin Soul relationship as a precursor to spiritual unity with the One.  Here's a great quote:

     [Shams]:  "This friendship, like prayer, is conversation with the Holy One.  I don't know if my soul is in your body or yours is in mine."

     As I've learned in my research about Twin Souls, and as I endeavored to explain in The Gemini Bond, the union of Twin Soul with its other half is not only a symbol but also a necessity for union with the divine. Forget the Hollywood stereotype of finding fulfillment of all needs and wants in another person for "happy ever after." Rather, it is the stripping away of the self in service to the other.  Only in this way can one be ready for spiritual union with the One. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rumi and Shams

     Happy is the moment when we sit together,
   with two forms, two faces, yet one soul,
you and I.

     This poem was a chapter heading in a novel I read recently entitled A Moth to the Flame: The Story of the Great Sufi Poet Rumi by Connie Zweig.  It is a fictional account of the key points of Rumi's life, his becoming the leader of his religious community, his marriages, the birth of his children, his meeting with Shams, and Shams' death.  Of course, there is no way to tell how close the author was to the biographical truth (she lists a time line in the back of the book, and I noted that she took some liberties with some of the occurrences in his life), but as far as the spiritual truth of the book goes, I think she came pretty close.

     My favorite part was when she was explaining the nature of Rumi and Shams' relationship.  It was a deeply spiritual relationship, and, as I've said before, I believe that they were Twin Souls.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Mayans and 2012, Part 4

     We've learned in previous posts that the Mayans foresaw that on December 21, 2012 the winter solstice sun's path will intersect with the great rift of the Milky Way.  This represents the union of the male (sun) with the female (great rift), and the end of the Great Count of the Mayan calendar.

     So what?

     Well, according to John Major Jenkins, a prominent scholar in Mayan cosmology (see previous posts), this is a really big deal for several reasons.  One, this event only occurs every 26,000 years or so.  Second, the Mayans viewed it as a very auspicious time, a time of celebration.  Third, the Mayans didn't see this is a cataclysmic event, a time of death and destruction, but rather as a time of rebirth. 

     Ultimately, Jenkins argues, what happens on 12/21/12 is really up to us.  We can buy into the fear-mongering (and what are they trying to sell you?), or we can be active participants in this great rebirth.  How do we do that?  By getting our internal house in order.  Devote time each day to focus on your real Self, and bring that spiritual centeredness into the rest of your day.  Let go of fear, and be perceptive about who is trying to sell you something or control you through fear.  Take time to focus on the bigger picture, rather than the dust balls and tangles of our everyday lives.  Be kind and compassionate, and recognize the Self in everyone you meet.  Keep your chin up, and believe that humankind can evolve.  Be a part of that evolution. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Mayans and 2012, Part 3

     In previous posts I've been discussing the Mayan calendars and how their cyclical view of time and their extraordinary mastery of astronomy were able to predict that the winter solstice sun's path would intersect with the great rift in the Milky Way galaxy on December 21, 2012.  Why is this important?

     According to John Major Jenkins, in his audio book Unlocking the Secrets of 2012, the importance of the 12/21/12 date and this galactic event was based on Mayan mythology.  I won't go into a full description of all that Jenkins explained concerning their mythology, but I will give you some key ideas.

     First, the sun carries a male connotation, as it represents the father of the Hero Twins, important figures in Mayan mythology.  The great rift in the Milky Way can represent many things, from the doorway to the underworld, to the portal for shamanic vision quests, to the great birth canal of the universe.  It has a feminine connotation.  So, when the sun passes through the center of this great rift, it shows the union of the male and the female.  Sound familiar?  If you've read The Gemini Bond, you'll recognize this theme of the union of male and female, both within an individual, as well as part of the spiritual unification of human and divine necessary to prepare for the union of Twin Souls.

     As they say, "As above, so below."  From galactic events to the human heart.  Cool.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Mayans and 2012, Part 2

     As I wrote in my previous post, I was listening to the audio book Unlocking the Secrets of 2012 by John Major Jenkins.  One of the most important things I think he brings to his discussion of the December 21, 2012 Mayan date is that he views it through the astronomical perspective of the Mayans. 

     As you may know, the Mayan calendar is really several calendars running at once.  There is the 260-day cycle that is based on the number of days between conception and birth in humans, as well as the length of time between planting a seed of corn and harvest.   It was also the number of days between absolute solar zenith in the city where the 12/21/12 calendar date was birthed -- Izapa, Mexico.  There is a 52-year cycle, there are lunar cycles and Venus cycles, and other various cycles, but the cycle ending that is coming up is one of the longer ones, the Great Cycle, circling around every 26,000 years or so.

     What is it that they're measuring?  The Mayans were extraordinary astronomers, and they were able to predict over 2,000 years ago that the path of the Winter solstice sun would intersect with the great rift of the Milky Way on December 21, 2012.  What's so important about that astronomical event?  More on that next time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Mayans, 2012, and Us

     I love sales, don't you?  I received an email a few weeks ago from Sounds True about a slew of products that were on sale (killer prices!) and a few items piqued my interest.  One was Unlocking the Secrets of 2012 by John Major Jenkins.  I've been listening to it on my otherwise dreary drive to work (it keeps me from screaming at other drivers -- yeah, I'm spiritual), and found it fascinating!

     Here's a little of what I've learned.  First, the December 21, 2012 "end date" is not really an end date in the Mayan world view because their concept of time is circular. To the Mayans, time has no beginning or end, just variations or changes in a cycle.  Think of how the sun starts every day in the east, waxes toward noon, sits high overhead for a bit, wanes toward the afternoon, and sets in the west.  Or think of how the seasons run in a continuing cycle -- winter wanes as spring takes hold in all its splendor, then summer rolls around with its full-throated heat and growth season, then fall draws us inward as we descend into winter again.  Or, considering my special interest, think of Twin Souls.  We begin as one, make the decision to split into two separate but connected souls, experience two different life lines (sometimes for centuries), find each other, blow apart, grow, and then come back together.  Or think of our breath -- we breathe in, release the air, rest, and repeat. This view of time better reflects life on Earth than the concept of a 'time line' that we all learned in elementary school.

     For this reason, the Mayans who still live and follow their calendar in the highlands of Guatemala are not getting all hot and bothered by the 12/21/12 date.  They don't see this date as a time of apocalypse, but of a new beginning, a new birth.  More on that next time.

     I love sales, don't you?