Monday, 19 November 2012

Beautiful creation

I wanted to post a picture of my sister's new tattoo. It was built on top of an existing piece, which Clair was never entirely happy with.

However the tattoo artist, Charlotte, has created something extraordinarily beautiful from that original starting point. The work was done at the Ink Shack and took about two and half hours. The result is stunning, as you can see for yourself.

Celtic Blessings

I received my Celtic Wheel greetings cards today - they're really beautiful. They're designed by artist and illustrator Samantha Symonds, whose site you can check out here. To see Samantha's cards, go here.

Along with the cards, I also received a lovely note from Samantha thanking me for my order. The card bears one of her own designs called Oak Moon. I've added the card to my prayer table to help me to celebrate this mystical season.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Any yoga in the future?

I was browsing on Elephant Journal yesterday, and came across an article on the future of yoga. It said:

Yoga is tonic for the world’s ills.

Yes, I agree with that! But the article went on to ask:

But who among us is studying yoga in the depth that the last generation did? Not me. Who is stewarding the roots of yoga, which are about “stilling the waves of the mind,” as Patanjali puts it? Is meditation a part of your typical yoga class?

And then reminded me (because I get hooked by the adverts every time..!) that:

yoga isn’t… yoga pants. It’s not young models exercising with pastel backgrounds before they get back into their SUV and pop by Whole Foods to grab some quinoa for their 1.8 children.

So, the article ended by asking:

What is yoga?

1. Yoga is a spiritual path. Yoga is about becoming a more fully present, genuine, compassionate person.

2. And, yoga is—for those who don’t want to become happy holy spiritual types—a physical exercise that will—as a pleasant side effect—open up your mind and heart so that you, yes you—are a better businessperson, saner lover, better parent, more focused athlete, relaxed child.

Ending with a challenge:

In just 10 years…who will present yoga in depth? And who will learn it?

...will you or your favorite local yoga teacher accept this important challenge and responsibility—and study, practice and teach yoga’s roots?

I would love to do this: to take up the chance to study yoga in more depth, and to help to offer it as a life-long practice (physical and spiritual) for all. So my next question is: how do I make it happen?

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Samhain - Summer's End & The Sacredness of Place

The Samhain ritual is a celebration of circles - the circle of sacred space which is created for the ritual; the circle of life which is recalled as we honour the departed; the seeds of hope which are planted for the next cycle of the year.

It is also a time of letting go, of casting into the Samhain fire all that has nourished us in the past but now no longer brings growth or that which shackles us to the old year or binds and limits us.

Also, as I celebrated Samhain, I was keenly aware of the way in which the ritual forged a connection to the earth. As the sacred space was woven we honoured the energy of the Life around us, in the place where we all stood:

Here in this place we honour muntjac deer, robin and squirrel;
Magpie and owl, fox and badger, blue tit and chaffinch
...the mighty cedar in whose shade we meet...

Throughout the ritual I felt that what we were celebrating was rooted in that very place, in that garden, amongst those trees, with that group of people. As I reflect on the celebration I am aware of the intimacy of the ritual and of the way in which it drew on the experiences of those who were partipating in it.

And although I had met the majority of the group only half an hour earlier, I felt a belonging and that what we were doing together mattered. This resulted in a connection and a rootedness which I find so often sadly absent from our weekly celebrations and services in church. Is this because our Anglican rites fail to take account of who is present, of the holy place in which we are meeting, of the connections we have to one another?

After the celebration was complete, we took refuge from the cold and gathered indoors for the gorsedd. Again, the power of this came in the meeting and sharing of those who were present. Poems were shared in celebration of the Earth, sacred songs were sung and drums were played. As the first fire of the season leapt in the hearth, a sacred rhythm drew us together and, again, a connection was made - the sacredness of the place.

Before departing, we shared thoughts about the next step for this gathering: should it be made public, an open invitation? Or is the gap between this group and traditional Church too wide for many to easily move from one to the other? I am still pondering this and I have no answers. However, I feel clearly drawn to this path of celebration and wonder if, for some at least, it may be a new route (?root) on the journey of life and faith.

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