Welcome to the December Newsletter

jpegGreetings and Blessings!

The busy December month is upon us, are you ready??  The Winter Solstice is upon us as well as various holidays like Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza.  The Higher Self Bookstore is ready to support your holiday spiritual and gift giving needs.  We’ve restocked the store so we may have some items you missed during your last visit.  If you like buying local, we have many items from the Traverse City area as well as made in Michigan.  Please remember that we carry items for children as well.  While shopping downtown, please stop in and have a cup of hot tea.  Sit in the front window and review the latest Tarot or Oracle card demo decks.  We also have great seating in the back room that is perfect for meditating when classes are not in session.  So, come out of the snow, warm up, meditate and soak up the peaceful energy that is the Higher Self Bookstore.  Happy Holidays to all!!

This month, Cindy looks to the heavens, Ricki’s wants to know if you’re serious, Rodasi had “no problems” getting back from Spain, and Charlotte gets joyously creative.  Enjoy!!

Namaste – The Higher Self Family

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Winter Solstice Resources

winter-solsticeby Rodasi

Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year and conversely is the shortest day of the year. It is the first day of winter. It is also one of the magical cross-quarter holidays for all those who observe, celebrate and are close to the natural cycles of life.  In these cultures it is also known as Yule.

We welcome the re-birth of the sunshine after this night. How many ancient myths surround this phenomenon? Egypt, Greece, Rome, Asia, Native America, Scandinavia – the world over. Ya know- it’s really not rocket-science, is it? Long before the birth of Christianity and the celebration of Jesus’ birthday at this season, was the Winter Solstice celebrated, honored, acknowledged.

Simplicity really is everything. Nature’s messages are quite simple. Seeing Her many facets with fresh eyes is a choice. Look for the magic rather than seeing this moment as mundane. See into the wow of things rather than the how or why or when or what now of things. Nature is infinitely WISE. It is incredibly awe-inspiring in it’s wisdom and complexity; yet also in it’s simplicity.

winter queenLet yourself have the quietness in the midst of the storm of this holiday season. Be the agent for change. Bring the Sanctity and Holiness of the Season into your family gathering this year. Don’t decide that your family won’t be interested in the ancient story of this time of year – share some version of the story of the Winter Solstice from an open-heart. Be excited to share what you find. Add in a little family ritual, game or craft associated with a Solstice theme.  Let the creativity and passion move through you. If you prefer, find people who are already celebrating and gathering for Winter Solstice (Yule) and ask to come play. All are welcome to explore the gifts of the season at hand – together or singular. Let the magic carry you through the rest of the more commercial traditions of this season.

Enjoy your Yuletides and dig into the links below! May you find and share your voice, your center and your joy throughout this season and always. Let intuition, creativity and a dash of practicality guide you!

Blessed Be – Rodasi

RESOURCES FOR YULE

Check out this great link to more information on the Winter Solstice from our Farmer’s Almanac.

holly kingCheck here for some great kid’s crafts  for Winter Solstice.

More Yule Crafting for anyone

Check here for a great Winter Solstice story for the kiddos: The Yule Faeries

Check here for a Winter Solstice Tale for your Family

Yule Ritual ideas

A Specific Winter Solstice Ritual

Joyous Re-union

thQSSIK5ZIby Charlotte

 

We are sitting together

on the most beautifully snowy mountain

that you can imagine …

only we are not cold.

 

We sit facing each other as

though sitting on a tropical beach

… warm and comfortable.

 

The solitude embraces us

as we trance into the eyes of the other.

 

The wind blows gently

And the smell of the snow

and the distant pines

is refreshing.

 

We speak without talking.

We listen with ease.

And the information

you ‘hear’ soothes you.

 

You re-member

in this sacred space …

the love you’ve yearned for –

it caresses the essence of your being

and miracles

… the miracles that have always been there

are experienced.

 

These miracles

drift welcomed into

your cells and into

the spaces between your cells

and you accept the gifts.

 

In this bliss

you choose to remain and place

your next footfall – gratefully –  into the

warm bountiful snow …

and smile.  You know.

 

Astrologer In Training – Back to Basics

thJDXD6A67When I was chosen to write this column on Astrology, it was known that I was not an expert, but that my sharing my studies and fascination of Astrology could be helpful to those wanting to better understand how astrology can be a useful tool in their lives.  So, where to begin??  One thing I know for sure is that you only have one Sun sign, and it may not be the sign you think.

When you look at your daily newspaper horoscope each morning over coffee, it appears the change from one sign to another occurs neatly at midnight.  However, this is simply not the case.  The Sun sign changes when the Sun moves into the next Zodiac zone.  On December 21, 2013, the sun will move from Sagittarius into Capricorn at 12:11 pm Eastern Time.  So babies that are born that day are not all Sagittarius.  The morning babies will be Sagittarius and the evening babies will be Capricorn.  So if you think you are on a cusp based on the generally accepted date division between signs, we can settle the debate with birth chart or looking up data in the American Ephemeris.  In order to have an accurate birth chart calculated, the date, time and place of birth is needed.  If time of day is not known, it can be calculated by a good astrologer.  The time of day and place of birth is used not only in determining the placement of planets in the appropriate zodiac sign but most especially in determining the Ascendant or Rising sign which is the zodiac sign on the horizon at the time of birth.  Besides the Sun sign, the Rising sign can be very important, since this sign represents how one presents themselves to the world.  Astrologers often recommend that you read the Rising sign horoscope as well as your Sun sign.

Astrology is the study of the stars, skies or more appropriately the study of the heavens.  Per Webster’s Dictionary 1986, astrology is the “divination of the supposed influences of the stars and planets on human affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and aspects”.  Simply put, astrology is the study of the heavenly movement as it influences those on earth with earthly elements, qualities and polarities.

An astrological chart consists of four components: Planets, Signs, Houses and Aspects.  Each component represents a different level of human experience. The “planets” include the Sun and Earth’s Moon, along with eight planets.  The “signs” are named after twelve constellations representing a segment or zone of the Zodiac belt or “circle of animals” through which “planets” appear to move.  Zodiac means the circle of “animals.  The twelve “houses” are also associated with the twelve “signs” though simply named First house, Second House through the Twelfth house.  “Aspects” are the angular relationships of planets within a chart along the Zodiac zones, resulting in trines, squares, oppositions, and so on.

The chart is a circular depiction, divided into twelve zodiac zones of 30 degrees each for a complete 360 degree view of the terrestrial positions from beyond the planets with planet Earth in the center.  The chart looks like a pie cut into twelve pieces with the “birth” place, date and time on Earth representing the exact center, pictured from outer-space so that the twelve “signs” are presented in counterclockwise order, so that East is to the left and North is to the bottom.  The First house is always shown at 9 o’clock on the clock dial and the Second house at 8 o’clock, continuing counterclockwise until the Twelfth house is between 10 and 9 o’clock.  This pictorial image is a very helpful tool while trying to remember all the signs and house and their makeup.

Planets rule signs, and signs rule houses.  These rulings influence the human experience.  The overall “natural” wheel of life is shown through the progression of houses, planets and signs.  Similar to a Medicine wheel or a Tarot card deck, the human journey from childhood to elder is revealed in the houses and signs that rule them around the Zodiac belt.  The house is what area of life we are experiencing and the sign is how we approach that experience.  However, before we can get into all that, we need to understand the building blocks of astrology.

The twelve signs each have one of four elements (Fire, Earth, Air or Water), one of three qualities (Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable) and one of two polarities (Feminine or Masculine).  Western Astrology is also known as Tropical Zodiac.  The Summer Solstice starts the first day of Cancer.  The Fall Equinox starts the first day of Libra and Winter Solstice starts the first day of Capricorn. The Zodiac is divided into these four seasons with each season having three signs.  The first sign in each season has a Cardinal quality of initiative and action, which is appropriate as each sign “initiates” the start of a new season.  The second sign in each season has a Fixed quality of steadfast, consistent and loyal.  Being the sign in the middle of the season, it neither starts nor changes.   The third and last sign in each season has a Mutable quality of changeable and flexible as in ready to “change” to next season.  Each of the four Cardinal signs are one of the four elements, as is each of the four Fixed signs and each of the four Mutable signs.  Fire element is energetic and passionate.  The Earth element is tangible, material and practical.  The Air element is intellectual, communicative and interactive.  The Water element is emotional, feeling and sensitive.

Every other sign is either a Feminine energy (draws to self, introvert, negative) or a Masculine energy (puts out, outgoing, positive) starting with masculine Aries.

Sign       House   Planet   Element  Quality              Polarity     Season

Aries      1st           Mars      Fire          Cardinal              Masculine           Spring

Taurus  2nd          Venus   Earth       Fixed                   Feminine             Spring

Gemini 3rd           Mercury Air          Mutable             Masculine           Spring

Cancer  4th           Moon    Water   Cardinal                Feminine             Summer

Leo         5th           Sun        Fire        Fixed                 Masculine           Summer

Virgo     6th           Mercury Earth   Mutable               Feminine             Summer

Libra      7th           Venus   Air          Cardinal              Masculine           Autumn

Scorpio 8th           Pluto     Water   Fixed                     Feminine             Autumn

Sagittarius  9th    Jupiter  Fire        Mutable               Masculine           Autumn

Capricorn  10th   Saturn   Earth     Cardinal                Feminine             Winter

Aquarius  11th     Uranus Air          Fixed                     Masculine           Winter

Pisces    12th         Neptune  Water  Mutable            Feminine             Winter

Please note that all the signs with Air and Fire elements have a Masculine polarity and all the signs with Earth and Water elements have a Feminine polarity.

Planetary qualities are Personal, Social or Outer.  The Personal planets are those closest to the sun.  They include the Sun (self, shining, life force), Mercury (communication, how one thinks), Moon (emotions, nurture, “I need”), Venus (value, relationships, expression, “spirit into form”) and Mars (assertive, aggressive, control over physical, projection, sexuality, “form into spirit”).  The Social planets are Jupiter (expression, expansive, teachings, optimistic) and Saturn (responsibility, boundary, rules, pessimistic).  The Outer planets are those not visible from earth without assistance.  They include Uranus (individual, independent, inventive, “receiving from both worlds”), Neptune (spirituality, escapism, inner connectedness, empathy) and Pluto (death and rebirth, transformation, possessive).

Some planets rule more than one sign and house and in fact, before discovery of Neptune, Uranus and Pluto, these visible planets were assumed to rule all the signs and the older signs are still considered to be dually ruled, which we will discuss further next month when we delve deeper into the heavens with planetary explanations and the planet and sign symbols or glyphs.  Until next month, may the heavens be kind and your holidays be shiny and bright. – Cindy

No Problem

planetsIn this moment – is there anything that could be amiss? If you thought of something, did you have to leave this perfect, quiet moment to go looking for it? Really, stop and be very honest with yourself. It’s actually super important for you to discover what the truth is for yourself. I already know the answer because I’ve done my own experiential research on the matter.

There never really has been a problem. There has only been a thought. There has never been a problem outside of you. It’s never been inside of you either. Your awareness is accustomed to paying attention to thoughts. Your mind likes to have something “to do.” If there is no problem, what then will be the purpose of the mind? It will be out of job – or so it thinks.

Believing that thoughts mean something about you, your life, your well-being is painful. From that perspective, thoughts are either for you or against you. You either like them or you don’t. They are either comforting or uncomfortable. They are, either way, attractive to the mind. Does this mean you are masochistic? No way. But the habit of your mind just may be!

Living life this way makes you susceptible to suffering. The mind’s content will continuously change. Being on the roller coaster ride of the mind is a living hell. Get off. Nothing that moves through your awareness has anything to do with you. You see, the mind thinks that it is you – but it is not. It’s a bit like a bird that sees itself in a mirror and begins to talk to itself. Luckily that old habit of identification with the mind is reversible – there is a way for you to stop talking to yourself in your head; to see into the mirror from a higher perspective. Your true nature is free, at peace and in a state of grace.

No thought has ever actually had anything to do with you, but ironically, every thought has some underlying sense of a “me.”  It’s endless to try to work within the mind to change a thing in life. This is why even “positive thinking” and “affirmations” don’t always hold a sustainable result – they are still very connected to the underlying idea that you are your mind and even more painful, that you need to control it. Ugh.

One of the 4 Agreements says, “take nothing personally.” It’s not because you shouldn’t but because it is absolutely elementary to believe that anything passing through your mind and body belong to you in the first place.  From one perspective – a very still, silent and clear one – you do not exist as a separate being from the Universal Flow moving through your mind and body. You conceptualize that “we are all One” and from that experience nothing that moves through could possibly have anything to do with a separate you – it just isn’t a possibility.  It’s a slight, yet profound shift from a “me” having to achieve something to a resting back into the reality of what is. The same Universal Flow that is my consciousness is the energy that seems to be moving through and around me. It is part of me, yet not personal to me.

Yeah – it feels weird at first because the mind will constantly come up with infinite and clever ways to convince “you” that some part of the Universe is personal for you. In my experience, defending any part of this idea is adding to the suffering, destruction and sense of separation in our world rather than focusing upon the element of wholeness in our Universe.

You are that which is observing every thought, every breath, every moment of life lived through your mind and body. You are innocent, fascinated and curious. You are awareness itself. Your true self is not identified with thoughts, feelings or perceptions of the senses. As such, you are free. Unfortunately, this is just more highfalutin concept for the mind to feel really cool. My objective is NOT to add to that mechanism of error, but rather to set you free from it. Knowing is NOT the same thing as experiencing.

Is hearing about how chocolate tastes anywhere near like actually experiencing the taste? No. Worlds apart. One experience exists solely in the mind- in fantasy, the other giving a living experience what is.  Some folks are very content to think their way through life – living only in the fantasy of a past and a future that are not at all present here and now. Some folks are far more comfortable dreaming about what could be rather than taking the risks involved with living in the perfectly wild and rich present moment – full of the unknown.

Some people are content to hear about chocolate, Paris, and internal freedom – to read about it and think about it.  Some fancy themselves expert after having done so much mental research about it. This is a particularly tragic illusion as these folks have become some enmeshed in their mind that they believe their enlightening fantasies are actually the reality.  Not wrong or bad, but a misplacement of attention on something but what actually is.

When attention is resting in what is there is absolutely no need to try, to achieve, to produce, to succeed, to become, to prove, to demonstrate. There is a resting – not a pretending to be calm and at peace. The experience of being deeply rooted in our true nature offers up absolute fascination with what is showing up through us. No pretense, no guise – just pure, authentic allowing of the divine to pour through. This is your birthright. Don’t settle for “knowing.” You are worth more than that.

meditationExplore the following exercise to begin to experience a more selfless and problem-free existence:

Begin in a restful, seated position.

Bring attention to the breath – just notice that the body is breathing.

Notice that gravity is supporting and holding the body.

Notice that you are aware of the body. You are that which is aware of the body, the breath, the thoughts, the feelings, the sensations.

Begin to observe what is. Notice everything – every thought, sensation, noise, temperature in the room, the way the body feels where you are sitting.

Take the awareness wide. Notice the space in the room.

Let the awareness widen further- stretching all the way out beyond the walls of where you are, out into the city, past your continent, beyond the Earth, out into the Universe. See if you can find the edges of the Universe.

At the edge of the Universe, do the edges continue outward?

Rest here in the nothingness of awareness. Empty and full. Alive and still.

Notice that the body is breathing and that gravity is supporting the body.

Bring awareness to the back of the eyelids. Open your eyes bringing awareness back to the sense of sight. Notice the space in the room. Let the awareness stretch all the way out to the edges of the Universe again. Bring awareness to simply what is.

Let the essence of what is carry you throughout the day.