Friday, April 13, 2007

Mythic Animal Teachings


He can guide us through dreams and astral travel experiences, as well as meditation. As directed by the Muse of Poets, he brings inspiration, teaching us how to express ourselves eloquently.

As a symbol of innocence, gentleness, and purity, they often tell us it is time to find those things within ourselves and see through childlike eyes in order to rediscover our personal sense of wonder at all the beauty around us. Also they help us to find and develop our individual power and then nurture it carefully.

Dragons represent the supernatural, and infinity itself and help us to understand both. They help us to find andcreate change and transformation and aid us in spiritual growth. Dragons represent ageless secrets and ancient energy, and can be helpful in working with those things.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Persistence as a Virtue

The ADF defines persistence as “the drive, motivation to pursue goals even when that pursuit is difficult.”

Virgil’s “Aeneid , the great epic of Rome’s founding, celebrates persistence. Writing of the voyages of Aeneas to find a home for his people, Virgil sought to codify the beginnings of Rome in an epic poem. However, Virgil died before finishing his “Aeneid”. Personally, I think that the “Aeneid” celebrates not only Aeneas’ persistence but Virgil’s as well.

After the Greeks destroyed Troy, Aeneas took his people on a journey find a new home. While searching, he was constantly harassed by Juno, the Queen of the Roman Gods, who bore a grudge against his mother, Venus, the Goddess of Love. While the two Goddesses sparred, Aeneas coped with the death of his father, shipwrecks, and attacks by vicious harpies. Finally, he landed in Italy, where his dead father had told him to go. However before Aeneas could settle, he has to fight the Latins and other local Italic peoples.

In my life, doing the family laundry exemplifies persistence. Every week, I have to walk two blocks to the laundry room in my complex. (Parking is not allowed in the area.) Carrying the soap and my bags, I walk in all types of weather. Furthermore, the laundry room of my complex is freezing in the winter and stifling in the summer.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Chinchilla

The Chinchilla

by Sayhada

A member of the rodent family, the chinchilla has big eyes, round ears and thick silky fur. Because of their beautiful fur they are captured and bred by the fur industry. It takes over a hundred chinchillas to make one fur coat. Unfortunately supply and demand could lead to its extinction.

Chinchillas have a persistent undying curiosity and will explore every nook and cranny of their surroundings. The like sitting high up as if to observe the world below. Once they feel an area is safe for them to enter they explore it with a sense of adventure and innocence. Their observation skills are acute. They instinctively know when to act and when to retreat. Chinchillas teach us the importance of timing. Those with this medicine intuitively know the right time to act and the right course of action to take, although caution is advised not to become too analytical. Balancing observation skills with a sense of innocence is an important lesson.

Naturally robust and hardy the chinchilla has an extremely sensitive yet effective digestive system which is designed to extract the most out of its food. It does not have a vomit mechanism like other animals and is unable to expel bad food out of its system. This serves as a warning to those with this totem. Good nutrition, a proper diet as well as physical exercise is a necessity for optimum health. Difficulty in eliminating toxins from the body can lead to many health problems.

The chinchillas predominate form of communication is the variety of sounds it makes. Each sound relays a specific message. When upset it chatters its teeth, when nervous it lets out a shrill squeal, when agitated or alarmed a sequence of loud high cries is heard. If it is hungry it will make a rasp like snarl. It knows how to use its voice to convey a message and teaches us the art of efficient communication.

The chinchilla is an important messenger that demands respect. It requires us to heed its advice. If we choose to listen it will serve us well. If we don't honor its message it will scamper away and find someone else to help. When it appears in your life ask yourself the following questions.

Do you need to apply more discernment in your life to avoid chaotic situations? Are you using your observation skills to help you reach your goals? Do you take the joy out of an experience by over analyzing it? Does the wonder and magic of life still excite you? Does your health need attention? Do you communicate effectively with others?Although the chinchilla holds a variety of messages one thing is certain. When it appears in your life something is out of balance that needs to be corrected immediately.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"A History of Pagan Europe"

Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick, “A History of Pagan Europe”, (Routledge U.K., 1995, Reprint 2005, ISBN 0-415-15804-4)

People new to Paganism will benefit greatly from this book. By tracing Pagan religious history from early Crete to modern Europe, Jones and Pennick introduce people to the depth of Pagan philosophy. By placing the European peoples in their Pagan religious milieu, the authors eliminate various Christian filters. Unlike many other books, Jones and Pennick do not assume that monotheism is the epitome of Western civilization.

By detailing Christian versus Pagan thought, the authors give the readers a solid grounding in Paganism. In discussing Roman piety, the authors write, “Interesting the Latin word superstitio simply meant religious practice which was outside the State rituals…private religion which could well be duly registered…. The Romans regulated people’s actions; the Greeks with finer sophistication, also judged people’s attitudes,” (p. 49) What I conclude from this is that Pagans usually regarded the structure of worship to be the most important.

This book expands on the tensions between Pagans and Christians. Two concepts in the Christian religion put them on the offensive. As a rule, Pagans were tolerant of other Pantheons, as long as the State Gods were properly honored. Christians, on the other hand, regarded the belief in any God but theirs (heresy) was a sin. Sin, another alien concept, baffled many Pagans. People break laws but they do not ‘stain their souls’. To “save” them, Christians had to forcibly convert Pagans.

What surprised me is the durability of Paganism. Instead of disappearing, it forced Christianity to adapt to it. For example, many early Christian saints are Pagan Gods in disguise. Many Pagan customs are intertwined with Christian holidays. Few Christians, today, know that many of their holidays are Pagan High Holidays, with a Christian flavor.

After discovering the varieties of various Pagan faiths, the reader takes heart that people can go back to their ancestral faiths. The history of Paganism in Europe is a fascinating one. Rather than the progression to monotheism that many histories present, this book shows how Pagan philosophies borrowed from each other. Each had their own specific focus but adapted from others. Celts borrowed from the Romans, while the Finns borrowed from the Norse. The Gods remain eternal, worshipped in Their various Aspects by peoples.