Owl Symbolism: Meaning of the Owl as an Animal Totem

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Owls are known in Native American lore as the keepers of sacred knowledge.  Other ancient cultures believed that owls were actually priestesses and wizards in disguise, and to this day they are still considered to be messengers and companions to these magical folk. Sacred to Athena–the Grecian goddess of wisdom and war–owls are often considered a symbol of intelligence, status, and protection.  Ancient armies believed that an owl flying over the battlefield portended their certain victory.  Many representations of Athena show an owl perched on her shoulder, whispering words of wisdom and giving the goddess the power of seeing the whole truth of things (while the rest of us see half).  The ancient Egyptians, Celts, and Hindus considered owls to be guardians of the underworld and protectors of the dead.

Owls see clearly in the dark, and this strength makes them a powerful guide totem for journeys into shadow work.  With their gift of heightened senses, owls see through illusion and deceptive external appearances to find hidden truths.   Call upon owl in confusing times, when you need to make a discerning decision that rests on a solid foundation.  Her clear vision and innate mystical knowledge can help you to find a clearer path, even when the situation seems too dim to ascertain on your own.

If an owl has swooped into your life, listen and look for subtle signs and synchronicities around you.  Try to be consciously attentive to things you usually pass by or take for granted, as there may be important lessons there.  Owl may also be guiding you to uncover hidden potential and abilities.  Again, pay attention to the signs around you, particularly at night!

Buddhist Deities Explained: Tara

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Tara is the goddess of peace and protection.  She is also known as the “Great Compassionate Mother” and the Buddha of enlightened activity.

According to legend, Tara was a spiritual and compassionate princess who would frequently bring offerings and prayers to the nuns and monks in her village.  Impressed by her kindness, the monks told her that they would pray that she would return in the next life as a man, so she could spread the Buddhist teachings.  She responded that attributing separate abilities to man and woman is a construct created by the weak-minded and that gender is no barrier to attaining enlightenment.  Recognizing that there were too few bodhisattvas who were women, Tara vowed in all of her subsequent lifetimes to be born a woman and to pursue the path of enlightenment, until samsara (the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth) is no more.

Another legend says that Tara was born from a lotus blossom in a lake that had formed from Avalokitesvara’s tears of compassion, which fell when he first beheld the scope of suffering in the world. In this story too, because of her essential goodness, she was granted the right to assume human form as a man, but elected instead to remain in her womanly form. In each tale, Tara insists that women are equally as valuable and powerful as men, and we might then consider her one of the world’s earliest feminists!

Tara appears in a myriad of colors–all representing different qualities–but, each version of her represents some aspect of the divine feminine who engenders and fuels all life.  The two most commonly revered versions of Tara are the white Tara, the goddess-mother creatrix of all humanity, and green Tara, the playful and action-oriented protectress.

White Tara represents the motherly aspect of compassion, offering nourishment, warmth, support, and caring to all beings, looking upon them lovingly as a mother would look upon her children.  In this maternal compassion, she offers respite and healing to those who have been wounded in any way.  She brings health, long life, and peace to all who seek her comfort.

Green Tara is the buddha-goddess of enlightened action, offering protection from fears and dangers by actively facing them.  She is playful and sometimes mischievous, encouraging those who seek enlightenment to not take themselves or their spiritual path too seriously.  She demonstrates the ability to survive stressful times, and encourages deliberate and mindful action.  She can sometimes be fierce in her determination to overcome obstacles and protect her charges, but every move she makes is conscious and with the journey towards greater compassion and enlightenment in mind. She delights in hearts and minds that are open and receptive, and encourages those qualities in those who desire her assistance.

Bring Tara’s positive energy to your favorite space with our deity wall hanging.

Hindu Gods & Goddesses from Buddha to Shiva: Deities to Bring Positive Energies to Your Life

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Bring good vibes and powerful energy to your favorite zen space with our Hindu God batik wall tapestry. Choose from a variety of Buddhist and Hindu deities to attract the energy you need! Which one is your favorite or resonates the most with you?

Ganesh: Ganesh is the patron of arts and sciences and god of intellect and wisdom, known to remove obstacles.

Buddha: The “enlightened one”, teacher, compassionate leader, Buddha reminds us of the values of non-attachment and mindfulness.

Lakshmi: Goddess of wealth, love, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty.

Shiva: Destroyer and transformer, helps to shed old habits and attachments and open up to something new and better. Embracing impermanence.

Tara: Goddess of peace and protection, the “Great Compassionate Mother”, the Buddha of enlightened action.

Goddess: Wisdom and sensuality, feminine powers.

Buddhist Deities: Mahakala–the Protector of Dharma

Mahakala may look frightening, but his rabid glare is not directed at you! Mahakala is the menacing and powerful embodiment of the bodhisattva of compassion. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have put off entering paradise in order to help others attain enlightenment, and so Mahakala is here to help!  He is always depicted as an extremely fierce and terrifying deity. His purpose is to help in overcoming negative obstacles on the path to enlightenment, and protecting that path of righteousness (also known as “dharma”) from hindrances.

Like a gargoyle, the mask of Mahakala is also meant to scare bad spirits and energy away from the place it protects. He is revered as a compassionate protector, with all his aggression directed at those who would do harm. His anger is necessary because it gives him the fearsome power to demolish any enemies or obstacles on the way to enlightenment. His face is frightening also to scare away negative thoughts, actions, and energy.  The power of his fiery demeanor exists to guide spiritual seekers who are falling victim to deception, delusion, or who  are lacking confidence in their abilities to change, grow, or find their most positive place in the world.

Originally when the Tibetans began using the face of Mahakala for protection, they were a nomadic people, living in tents and moving from here to there all the time. He is still often referred to as “Lord of the Tent”, as roughly 40% of the Tibetan population is still nomadic or semi-nomadic, though now the mask of his face frequently hangs on more permanent walls. Because he is considered a protector of religious law in particular, Mahakala masks are frequently found in temples and monasteries in Tibet, as well as in private homes.

The blaze of fire above Mahakala’s eyes and coming from his mouth represents his powerful energy for consuming neurotic states of mind. His third eye denotes him as a protector; three orbs of vision express his ability to see the past, present and future. Staring at the world with widened eyes signifies that he is incensed at the current state of affairs, and none shall pass him without being affected.

Mahakala has a crown of five skulls, which represent the transmutation of five negative afflictions of human nature into virtues. As he confronts negative forces and crushes them with his anger, his crown of skulls neutralizes what remains and works to transform it into something positive. Thus ignorance becomes wisdom, pride is humbled, attachment becomes the wisdom of discernment, jealously shifts to feeling satisfied with one’s own accomplishments, and anger is released and soothed.

Mahakala is always a protective deity with these features, but he manifests in several different colors:

  • Often he is dark blue, which symbolizes the steady and enduring nature of dharma.
  • Sometimes he is black; as black absorbs all other colors, so does Mahakala represent ultimate or absolute reality and transcendence of all form.
  • Red Mahakala reflects in color his passionate and fiery nature.
  • Mahakala in his white form helps one attain riches and a long life.

Consider Mahakala your spiritual bodyguard. He appears to be tough and larger-than-life scary, but he is somebody you want to have on your side as you face the trials and stresses of life. That face is angry only in the service of a greater good: your happiness, wisdom, and karmic health!

Rock those Chakras: A Guide to the Chakras & the Colors & Crystals that Connect Them

Colored chakras with descriptions

Chakras are the energy centers of the body.  In Sanskrit, the word chakra means “wheel” or “vortex”, and that is what chakras are: spiralling vortexes of energy which hold, balance, and emanate different powers and aspects of our spiritual bodies.  There are seven major chakras, each with their own gifts to empower the physical body and bring about the development of our self-consciousness.

When you are having a problem in life, emotional or physical, it may be because the corresponding chakra is blocked or out of balance.  This imbalance can be addressed in several ways–for example: receiving reiki, or meditating on a crystal, color, or sound that resonates on the same vibrational frequency as that chakra.  It may sound complicated, but do not fear! Your chakras are ultimately your own energy, so all it takes is your conciousness and intention to set them right!

If you have a chakra imbalance and would like to work on it, try this simple meditation:

Sit or lie down comfortably in a quiet room, making sure you will not be disturbed (remember to turn off the ringer on your phone!).  Burn some of your favorite incense (we love nag champa!) or a candle to create an olfactory separation between this sacred space and your daily life.  If you are laying down, you might like to place an energy-amplifying crystal on the physical location of the chakra, or if seated, you might simply hold it there. (See below for the crystals that are best for each chakra)

Breathe in and out, counting each exhale until you get to 20.  If other thoughts enter your mind, observe them and let them go.  Sometimes it helps to have a mantra to keep yourself present, so create one that has meaning for you as it corresponds to the issue you would like to address. We like to use the Mexicali chakra attributes flags or batik chakra wall hanging as a meditation object, focusing on the color and mantra of a specific chakra flag for a meditation. You can do that, or create one on your own if you wish!  For example, if you want to meditate on the root chakra, which is the center of grounding, your mantra might be, “I am present”.

Picture your chakra as a spinning wheel of colored light.  When you breathe in, imagine that you are letting in a waterfall of white light and positive energy, which makes your chakra grow brighter.  When you breathe out, imagine you are releasing all of your bad feelings or pain in a little grey puff of smoke.  Repeat this, breathing slowly, for as long as you feel is right.

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Chakra Basics: A Guide to the Chakras

The Root/Base Chakra–Center of Grounding & Security

Color: red

Location: base of the tailbone

Consciousness: security, trust, relationship to the body & the Earth, being grounded & present in the here and now, having passion for life

Signs of balance: good health, vitality, comfortable in body, sense of trust in the world, ability to relax and be still, centered

Symptoms that this chakra is out of balance:

Deficiency–insecurity, fear, anxiety, feeling “spacey”, disconnected from body/living in your head only–too much mental chatter, chronic disorganization, poor discipline, little willpower, lack of confidence, trust issues in relationships

Excess–hoarding, material fixation, rigid boundaries, fear of change, overeating, greed, overly protective, possessive, aggressive

Crystals to balance & benefit: garnet, agate, tiger’s eye, onyx, ruby, black obsidian, black tourmaline, hematite, smokey quartz, red jasper, bloodstone

Essential Oils & Incense: cedar, cinnamon, clove, dragon’s blood, sandalwood, ylang ylang, patchouli, clary sage, vetiver, rosewood

Affirmations:
“I am safe.”
“I feel connected to the earth.”
“I trust myself.”
“I stand up for myself.”
“My body supports me in living a creative and happy life.”
“I am at peace with life.”
“The world is a safe & friendly place.”
“I have what I need.”
“I belong.”
“I live to my fullest potential.”

Other Healing Ideas: Walk outside in bare feet (helps feel more “grounded” and connected to nature), bridge pose or another yoga backbend, eat vegetables from the ground (beets, potatoes, carrots) and hot spices (red cayenne pepper, tabasco), meditate outside while sitting on the ground, dance

The Sacral Chakra–Center of Creativity & Change

Color: Orange

Consciousness: happiness, creativity, sexuality, emotions & willingness to feel them, manifestation, honoring relationships, learning to “let go”, money

Signs of balance: nurturing of yourself and others, joyful, energetic, independent, secure, compassionate, patient, friendly, sociable

Symptoms that this chakra is out of balance:

Deficiency–guilt, shame, overwhelmed, overly sensitive, shy, timid, immobilized by fear, clingy or isolated, emotional numbness, procrastination, diminished libido

Excess–emotional outbursts, manipulative, caught up in illusions, poor boundaries, obsessive attachment, pleasure addiction

Affirmations:

“I welcome the comfort of others in times of need.”
“I am lovable and I am loved.”
“I feel abundance around and within me.”
“I am emotionally aware of myself.”
“I trust the process of life.”
“I am a unique being full of creative potential.”

Crystals to balance & benefit: garnet, carnelian, copper, fire opal, tiger’s eye, orange calcite

Essential Oils & Incense: angelica, gardenia, lemongrass, orange, lemon, bergamot, rose, sandalwood

Other Healing Ideas: hip-opening yoga poses, dance, visualize the color orange, cobra pose, journaling, pursuing personal projects, spend time near water in nature, eat almonds, cinnamon, strawberries, coconut, oranges

The Solar Plexus Chakra–Center of Power & Confidence

Color: Yellow

Location: Just above the navel and below the rib cage

Signs of balance: confidence, healthy relationships, freedom, assertiveness, clarity, self-control, motivation, success in business and material world, vitality, spontaneity, celebrating life, feeling empowered

Symptoms that this chakra is out of balance:

Deficiency–low self-worth, mental fatigue, memory problems, moodiness, digestive disorders, doubt, negative self-talk, inferiority complex, weak intentions, fragile determination

Excess–stubbornness, aggression, projecting superiority, intrusive, quarrelsome, overpowering, pushy, angry, rebellious, viciously competitive, ruthless, chaotic, burnt out, exhausted, disconnected, workaholic, fears intimacy, fussy, lack of tolerance

Affirmations:

“I accept and value myself exactly as I am.”
“I am confident that I know what is in my best interest.”
“I am my own person. I choose how to think and behave.”
“I choose health, healing, and happiness.”
“I am worthy of love, respect, joy, and prosperity. I am open to receiving all of these good things and more!”
“My personal power is becoming stronger each day.”
“I delight in the opportunity each day to be true to the wisdom of my highest self.”
“Every present moment is another chance to make a positive choice.”

Crystals to balance and benefit: Citrine, Amber, Gold, Topaz, Malachite, Jasper, Tiger’s Eye, Yellow Tourmaline, Rhodochrosite

Essential Oils & Incense: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Fennel, Rosemary, Rose, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Chamomile

Other Healing Ideas: yoga boat pose, dancing, eat whole grains & yellow fruits, drink peppermint or chamomile tea, taking a walk in the sunshine, sitting in front of a campfire or fireplace, burning yellow candles, visualizing the chakra as a sunflower

The Heart Chakra–Center of Love & Compassion for Self & Others

Color: Green (or Pink)

Location: The center of the breastbone or sternum

Consciousness: love, joy, inner peace, honesty, healing

Signs of balance: patience, generosity, peace, kindness, forgiveness, love, humor, compassion, accepting others as they are, self-acceptance, healthy immune system

Symptoms this chakra is out of balance:

Deficiency–negative thinking, stubborn thought patterns, feeling unloved, unworthy, having a hard time trusting others, antisocial, withdrawn, narcissism, fear of intimacy

Excess–ruled by emotions, manipulativeness, mood swings, grief, co-dependency, harsh judgement of others, looking outward for acceptance or fulfillment, intense jealousy, overly sacrificing, clinging

Affirmations:

“I forgive freely and easily.”
“I am worthy of love.”
“I find courage in my vulnerability.”
“I am loving to others and myself.”
“There is an endless supply of love.”

Crystals: Malachite, Rose Quartz, Jade, Peridot, Green Aventurine, Emerald, Green Tourmaline, Rhodochrosite

Essential Oils & Incense: Rose, Eucalyptus, Pine, Palmarosa, Hyssop, Lavender, Neroli, Chamomile, Ylang ylang, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Rosemary

Other Healing Ideas: chest opening yoga poses, hugging, verbally expressing love, drink green tea, eat pink grapefruit and green vegetables, lighting green candles, surrounding yourself with the greenery of nature in real life or with photos

The Throat Chakra–Center of Communication

Color: Blue (or Turquoise)

Location: The central base of the neck, throat

Consciousness:  expressing feelings, speaking your truth, listening to intuition, creativity, sharing

Signs of balance: freely flowing communication, honest expression, good listening, artistic expression, happiness in career

Symptoms this chakra is out of balance:

Deficiency–quiet, timid, unreliable, manipulative, inconsistent, devious, can’t express your thoughts, afraid to speak, poor rhythm, tone deaf, weak voice, feeling isolated & misunderstood

Excess–gossiping, interrupting, arrogance, inability to listen, self-righteous, talking as a defense, ignorant, dogmatic

Affirmations:

“I express myself honestly.”
“I release the habit of gossip.”
“I use my words to empower others.”
“I speak up for myself.”
“I speak the truth with love.”

Crystal: Lapis, Blue Agate, Sapphire, Sodalite, TurquoiseAquamarine

Essential Oils & Incense: Peppermint, Tea Tree, Thyme,Cypress, Geranium

Other Healing Ideas: shoulder stand yoga pose, singing or chanting, listen to favorite music, eat raw fruit and sea vegetables (algae, dulse kelp, nori), play Tibetan singing bowls or bells, visualize blue light emanating from the throat

The Third Eye Chakra–Center of Intuition & Extra Sensory Perception

Color: Indigo

Location: center of brow, between the eyes

Consciousness:  intuition, imagination, wisdom, decision-making, dreams, psychic ability, spirituality, empathy

Signs of balance: clear head, easily discerning reality from imagination, full understanding that you are the creator of your own reality, astral projection, lucid dreaming, receiving messages from spirit guides, ease in learning new things

Symptoms this chakra is out of balance:

Deficiency–negative self-talk, not trusting intuition, trouble making decisions, lacking purpose, second-guessing everything, afraid to take action, lacking common sense, memory and learning difficulties

Excess–immersed in a fantasy world, stressed, delusional thinking, judgemental, unsympathetic, over-intellectual thinking

Affirmations:

“I honor my vision; I trust my intuition.”
“Imagination fuels my creativity.”
“I see beyond the veil of societal conditioning and illusion.”
“I am open to receiving guidance, and following through.”
“I learn with ease and  joy.”
“I look at low energy situations from my highest self before I choose how to react.”
“I see divine light in everyone.”
“I open my heart and mind to the wisdom that is within me.”
“I am constantly expanding my awareness.”

Crystal: IoliteQuartz, Tanzanite, Amethyst, Sodalite

Essential Oils & Incense: Patchouli, Camphor, Frankincense, Star Anise, Lavender, Clary Sage, Juniper, Rosemary, Sandalwood

Other Healing Ideas: child’s or fish yoga pose, eat broccoli & purple fruits or vegetables (eggplant, grapes, purple onions, prunes), stargazing, visiting an art museum, meditation, wear purple

The Crown Chakra–Center of Cosmic Consciousness

Color: Violet

Crystal: Clear Quartz, Diamond, Amethyst

Essential Oils & Incense: Jasmine, Lavender, Magnolia, Lotus

Consciousness:  integration of spirit & body, connection to spirituality, empathy, bliss, prophetic dreams, compassion, feeling connected to others & the universe

Symptoms that this chakra is out of balance: feeling isolated, disconnected, egocentric, overwhelmed

Other Healing Ideas: meditation, downward dog yoga pose, running or other cardio, spend time outdoors in fresh air & sunshine

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We hope this guide has been helpful to you in learning about your chakras!  At Mexicali Blues, we have a variety of gemstone pendants featuring the crystals that resonate with each chakra.  They are helpful in keeping your chakras aligned and energized, and are also just really pretty!

Crystal & Sterling Silver Chakra Pendant

Large Chakra Crystal & Sterling Silver Pendant

Check them out at Mexicali Blues online or any of our stores in Maine!

What chakras do you feel are the most powerful in you? Which ones do you want to work on?

Mandalas: Their Meaning & How to Meditate with Mandala Sacred Geometry

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Mandalas represent a sacred geometry that emits and attracts positive energy. Sanskrit for “circle”, a mandala represents wholeness and the Divine, our relation to eternity, and unity between the world within our body and mind and the world outside.

Used in many spiritual traditions all around the world, the mandala emphasizes the interconnectedness of all life. The circular Aztec calendar is in the shape of a mandala.  Tibetan Buddhists have long practiced the art of creating intricate mandalas out of colored sand, chanting and meditating as they work and upon completion, and then allowing the mandala to blow away in the wind, as a symbol of impermanence.

The zodiac circle in astrology is also a mandala, mapping universal and planetary energies and the way they relate to one another.

Even the Taoist yin yang symbol is a mandala, with the outer circle representing the divine universe, the white side Yin or the primordial feminine, and the black side Yang as the primordial masculine energy.  The Ying and Yang co-exist together, dancing their cosmic dance, continuously transforming one into the other.

In every tradition, mandalas represent connection, between the viewer and the object, between all things. Energetically, the often concentric design of mandalas tends to visually attract consciousness and awareness to the center point, allowing focus to draw inward. This makes it very useful as a meditation tool, whether your conscious focus is on interconnectedness or not!

To use a mandala for meditation, clear away a quiet place where you can sit with your mandala clearly visible in front of you.  Decide what your intention for this meditation is.  Perhaps you want to foster feelings of peace, love, connection, joy, or relaxation.  As you set your intention, you may want to choose a word that represents that feeling to you.  It could be “love”, “ocean”, or any other word that helps you feel peaceful and present.  “Ohm” is said to be the sound of the universe, and it always a great mantra.   Let your gaze be gentle and soft, allowing yourself to blink normally.  Try to just look, not thinking, planning, or daydreaming.  Allow yourself to just be where you are.  If you find your mind drifting, acknowledge it and gently return your awareness to the present.  You can use your mantra to help yourself return to the moment, connect with your breath, and also imbue your mandala with that energetic quality.  Breathe in through your nose, and as you exhale, say the mantra in your head or out loud.  If your mantra is a longer word, you may want to say it (either internally or externally) with both parts of the breath.  Use your intuition to guide you in breathing with your mantra; there is no wrong way to do it!

As the mandala is a visual representation of the interconnectedness of all things, anything and everything is accessible to you as you meditate on it as a point of focus or energetic power. The more you practice meditating with your mandala, the easier it will become to connect with the positive energy of the universe, at once wholly present in your body and intertwined in the cosmic unity of all things.

Get started on your mandala meditation journey with a mandala tapestry or bedspread here.  Or check out our collection of wearable and decorative mandala art right here.

“The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.”

–Thich Nhat Hanh

Rudraksha Beads: Jewelry for Clarity, Peace, and Prosperity

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Rudraksha beads have been worn by sages and yogis throughout the ages for their spiritual and healing powers. Rudraksha beads are seeds from the Rudraksha tree and are believed to contain cosmic powers that elevate the soul of the wearer and assist on the path to ascension or enlightenment. According to accent Vedic texts, Shiva cried tears of compassion for humanity and his tears became Rudraksha seeds to assist humanity in our healing. When worn, Rudraksha seeds are believed to bring clarity and peace of mind, improve memory and reduce stress, bestow divine protection, and increase abundance and prosperity.

We’ve got tons of cool new Rudraksha jewelry just in, with powers frequently enhanced by the potent earthy energies of gemstone crystals! Check ’em out here:http://ow.ly/zjynX

 

The Tree of Life: Symbolism Across Cultures & Time

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Mexicali Blues sterling silver tree of life pendant available here: http://ow.ly/w89SV

The Tree of Life is a universal symbol found in many spiritual and mythological traditions around the world. Sometimes known as the Cosmic Tree, the World Tree, or the Holy Tree, the Tree of Life symbolizes many things, including wisdom, strength, protection, abundance, beauty, and redemption. It also illustrates the interconnectedness of life, here on Earth and also with the spirit world and the Universe at large! While most philosophies hold this concept of connectivity in common, there are a wide variety of meanings of this tree across different cultures.

Tree of Life and Buddhism

It was beneath the Bodhi tree, the great Tree of Enlightenment, that Buddha (at that time known as Siddhartha Guatama) completed his spiritual quest to reach enlightenment. Vowing not to rise until he was enlightened, he sat under the tree for many days, not moving, not eating, just meditating, until finally he arose as a fully enlightened being. Soon after, he attracted a band of followers and, as the Buddha, spent the rest of his life traveling and teaching the path of awakening he had discovered.

Tree of Life and the Ancient Celts

The Irish Druids believed that the Tree of Life had the power to reveal messages from the gods. Believing that all living things were spiritual, mystical beings, they believed that trees in particular were a source of great wisdom and power. With branches and roots stretching between earth and sky, trees bridged the gap between the upper and lower worlds and brought blessings from the gods. The wood of many trees was also considered magical, particularly that of the oak tree, which was thought to symbolize “axis mundi”, the center of the universe.

The Celtic Tree of Life was also a symbol of a person’s quest for spiritual fulfillment. The Celts believed that at the center of each of us is a “golden child”, a being more valuable than all the gold in the world. They knew that in order to find our inner golden child, we must each first recognize our connection to the Earth, and the Tree of Life and all other trees were a clear and tangible symbol and reminder of that part of the quest.

Tree of Life and Nordic Mythology

Nordic cultures believed that Odin, the ruler of all magic, guarded the great well of wisdom and knowledge at the root of the World Tree, whose strength supports the whole universe. Under the branches of the World Tree, known as Yggdrasill, Odin came into his magical and Shamanic powers, obtaining inner sight and healing abilities.

Yggdrasill’s branches reach up into the spiritual realm Asgard, which also represents an individual’s higher self. The trunk of the Tree is the world of Midgard, the realm of the human ego and persona. The roots reach down to the underworld of elves and tree dwarves, the place of unconscious shadow senses and instincts. Yggdrasill, the Tree of Life, is the strong axis around which the three planes of existence orbit.

The Tree of Life is symbolic also in Christianity, Judaism, Shamanism, Alchemy, Kabbalah, and many other ideologies. Though the interpretations each have their own flavor and details, the Tree of Life is always a positive symbol of connection. What symbolism does the Tree of Life hold for you?

Check out our Tree of Life jewelry right here: http://ow.ly/w894O

Elephant Symbolism: Meaning of the Elephant as an Animal Totem

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Elephants are traditionally considered a symbol of good luck, wisdom, fertility, and protection. Wearing or placing in your home the image of the elephant with its trunk raised is thought to attract good fortune, as it showers its positive energy out of the trunk and into all surrounding beings and spaces. Elephants with their trunks down are thought to be accumulating positive energy and pushing through obstacles, and are particularly potent totems for those seeking fertility, wisdom, or strength.

Elephant is also associated with the root chakra, charging through blockages and offering energies of protection, love, loyalty, and quiet courage.

Some Asian cultures believe that the elephant is a cosmic creature–that, much like the turtle in Native American lore, the elephant carries the world on its back. Other cultures see it as an earthly animal, but one with a connection to divinity and ancient knowledge. Working with the elephant in meditation or waking life can help you to access your inner wisdom and own your power, overcoming obstacles with a steady force of strength that you possibly didn’t even realize you had.

Could you use a bit of elephant energy in your life? Get started here.

Tibetan Prayer Flags Explained: What Does All That Sanskrit Writing Mean?

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Our traditional Tibetan prayer flags are inscribed with symbols and words that are said to carry prayers and hopes into the breeze and across the lands. If you’ve ever wondered what all that Sanskrit writing means, read on!

The words on the prayer flags are a combination of mantra, sutra, and prayer. They aren’t directly translatable into English, as each mantra is an expression of an intention, energy, and the vibration of the sound. You might say that their inner meanings are beyond words.

A mantra is a powerful word or set of words with the capacity of influencing certain dimensions of energy. It is said that the vibration of mantras can control the invisible energies that govern existence. It’s the sound and the utterance of it that is said to have those powers, even without thinking about or necessarily understanding exactly what it is you’re saying. Buddhist monks will repeat a mantra over and over as a form of meditation, and a way of sending that energy out into the world. Similarly, the prayer flags send that energy out just by being hung!

One mantra that is on most prayer flags is OM MANI PADME HUNG, which is the mantra of the bodhisattva of compassion. Printed on prayer flags, this mantra sends blessings of compassion to the world.

Sutras are prose texts based on the words of the historical Buddha who taught in India 2500 years ago. One sutra often seen on prayer flags is the dharani. Similar to mantras, dharanis contain magical formulas which are comprised of symbolic letters and pieces of words. Read out of context, they make very little sense, but when on the flags they convey the essence of a teaching or a specific state of mind.

Text on the flags beyond mantras and sutras can be classified as prayers, and they include supplications, aspirations, and positive wishes written by various masters of Buddhism throughout history.

So in a nutshell, the words on prayer flags are all about sharing good vibes with the world!

You can learn more, including what the pictures on the flags mean, from this post here on our blog: http://wp.me/p2wKcA-2s

Get your own traditional prayer flags here: http://ow.ly/uvPe4

What prayers or positive intentions would you like to send out to the world?