Blessing Spaces with Intention

A few months ago, I decided that I would gather some herbs from our existing house to use as a ritual for our new home.

My intention is to create smudging sticks to clear the space of our new home and bring in energies of our current home. I collected sage for wisdom, lavender for purity and peace, and thyme for the freedom and time to enjoy our new home.

I planted these herbs several years ago, and have watched them come back season after season.  They are like old friends to me.

These were all picked when they were blossoming in the spring and early summer.

Here are three smudging sticks for our home blessing to come. They don’t look like much yet, but it’s the intention that counts.

Now, I am searching for a good blessing to use in this process.

John O’Donohue wrote a wonderful book of blessings called To Bless the Space Between Us which has many wonderful blessings.

I love what John O’Donohue had to say about home:

Home is where the heart is.  It stands for the sure center where individual life is shaped and from where it journeys forthWhat it ultimately intends is that each of its individuals would develop the capacity to be at home in themselves. This is something that is usually overlooked, but it is a vital requirement in the creativity and integrity of individual personality. It has to do with the essence of a person, their sense of their own inner ground.  When a person is at home in his life, he always has a clear instinct about the shape of outer situations; even in the midst of confusion he can discern the traces of a path forward.  When one is at home in oneself, one is integrated and enjoys a sense of balance and poise.  In a sense that is exactly what spirituality is: the art of homecoming.

The Most Powerful Enchanted Symbols in the World

Religion

Religion (Photo credit: Rickydavid)

This post concludes my brief and cursory exploration of symbols of enchantment in this blog.

Outside of this blog, I’m currently writing more stories and in-depth discussion for a book that I hope to have published this fall, but can’t include it all here.

My goal is to share the highlights of this new book freely with you, and hope you’re enjoying this journey through our Enchanted Oasis.

When I was thinking about the topic of enchanted symbols, I asked myself:

What are the most powerful enchanted symbols in the world?

My mind immediately went to the powerful symbols we see in the external world:

  • Symbols for money
  • International Business Logos
  • Stories and Movies
  • Flags of Countries
  • Religious Symbols

All of these symbols influence our actions, whether we realize it or not, and are very powerful in both good and negative ways.  We need to understand our personal and collective relationship to these symbols of power and control, as well as their positive side of freedom, peace and prosperity.

Iraqi girl living next to Al Daura Oil Refiner...

Iraqi girl living next to Al Daura Oil Refinery in Baghdad pauses for a smile, 7 Mar, 2003. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet, when I asked my spirit and heart this same question about the most powerful enchanted symbols in the world, I received a different answer.

One that may sound too simplistic or trite, but I don’t believe it is.

Spirit told me that our most powerful symbol of enchantment is our smile.  The smiles and genuinely kind expression on the faces of the people around us are more powerful than we often recognize.  Symbols of currency, business, country, and even religion are temporary.  They will pass from existence some day.  Some stories may endure for thousands of years, but if we put much focus on these symbols, even religious stories, we can miss an important piece of life.

Smiles are also temporary expressions.  They can be recorded through art, but the true power and enchantment of smiling comes from daily use.

Smile

Smile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We may not understand or appreciate other people’s customs, food choices, beliefs, religions, points of view etc.  Fortunately, the creator of Life made us capable of communicating unconditional love and peace through our face. No expression is more powerfully good than a genuine smile.  It not only transforms others, it transforms us.  Scientists are now recognizing that sometimes we can act as if, until it becomes true for us, though I’m not suggesting that you discard difficult emotional experience and only smile.

There is a reason, that this simplistic symbol 🙂 is used in so many places, including social media. There are other emotive symbols, and other expressions, but none of them bring as much good will and connection as a smile.

The most powerful stories share the timeless wisdom of how we need to cherish the gift of Life and be our best self in the moment. Every religion teaches this.   And we can show our understanding and faith in something bigger than ourselves through our choice to smile.

Smile to the world..the world will simle back ...

Smile to the world..the world will smile back at you (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We cannot hoard our smiles and save them for another day.In fact, the more we use this enchanted symbol to connect and appreciate the people and loves of your life, the more enchanted our life becomes.

There is much in life that can cause us to feel pain and sadness.  Look at the News any day and you will see suffering. We cannot run away from heartbreak.  Yet, even in the midst of whatever is happening in our life or the world, each of us, no matter what our situation, has received this gift to create the most powerful enchantment in the world – a smile.

For me the question for today,  and the rest of my life is:

How have can I use my own magical power of a simple genuine smile to enchant my world today?

What do you think the most powerful enchanted symbols are in the world?  I’d love to hear your ideas.

I leave you with this blessing:

May you every day enchant the world around you and receive the very best enchantment that life has to offer!

Healing with Enchanted Symbols

World citizen

World citizen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For millennia, humans have discovered and created symbols and stories of how the world works that protect and nurture us.  Sometimes the symbols were called Gods and Goddesses, sometimes they were enchanted figures.  Never has humankind had more access to more universal symbols than we do now, and maybe that is part of the challenge we face moving forward.

Perhaps, we need to choose more carefully the symbols we individually and collectively allow to guide our lives and art.

Many spiritual practices involve focusing on the good in life through prayer, or repeating a mantra or contemplating a sacred icon. Unfortunately, the pace of modern life often pulls us away from the very symbols that refresh our spirits, and we settle for a focus on stories of fear instead.

The Power of Symbols of Fear

Choose me a film!

Choose me a film! (Photo credit: Pip)

Symbols have an energy about them, whether they are dark or light.

Yesterday, in America, we saw the worst case of the tying together of a dystopic movie about Batman with a horrible real life image of death and destruction. Some people blame Hollywood for creating visions and using symbols of violence and being able to spread them to us in ways that earlier humans never could have experienced.

Scientists say that humans pay much more attention to dark events and symbols of doom than we do to happier events because of how our brain works.  The fear center in our brain is always on alert to protect us, so we are naturally looking out for danger and how a tragic event might happen to us.   And of course the media and Hollywood play up to these fears, as does much of mythology and religion.

If we look back thousands of years, the fear center has dominated our mythology, particularly in our focus on mythical Gods of War and real life ones as well. Every spiritual master has taught us that we must move beyond fear, but that’s tough to do when you’re surrounded by messages and symbols of fear.

More and more people are recognizing that we can’t keep living out of that fear center in our brains and hope to create a better world, despite the fact that as human beings we are fragile creatures and can easily get hurt in the world. That’s why it matters what symbols we give our attention and focus.

Healing with Enchanted Symbols

The Education in Geography of the young Achill...

The Education in Geography of the young Achilles by the Centaur Chiron (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What then is a practical alternative to dealing with the constant bombardment in our daily lives with negative messages and symbols?

First of all, I believe that religious symbols generally speaking have an enchanted quality inherent in their being that heals us. Almost every religion talks about miracles and our power to create them in our own lives through compassion and love.  So focusing on religious stories,  symbols and ideas is a way to heal with symbols for many people.

There are other types of symbols that can be healing and those are the ones we find in our stories and novels and movies.  If you had to come up with a fictional enchanted symbol which is the antidote to modern fear, what would it be for you?  How do you manage the symbols and stories that bombard you every day?

One of the ways I counter fear is to look for stories with a positive vision of the future, another is to look for ones from the past that contained wisdom we can still use.  The third is to write my own stories.  Two of my favorite enchanted symbols are the centaur and mermaids, and both of these figures are modified in my novel, in ways that you wouldn’t necessarily recognize the original symbol.

A centaur is a symbol of the capacity for both wildness and wisdom in man.  The centaur Chiron was said to the be the teacher of Achilles, and for astrologers the planetoid Chiron is seen as a healing force in the sky.  It interesting to see how we interpret symbols differently in different times of history.  If you watched the Harry Potter movies, you saw centaurs running wild in the forest, mostly as symbols of wild freedom.   This interpretation seems fitting for what we see in society now, because in some ways we have lost touch with the healing part of our animal nature.

Mermaids to me are connected with the healing power of water and our oceans, and are generally seen as gentle creatures that often rescue humans from shipwrecks and danger.  The exerpt of my novel that I shared a while back included genetically modified whales, that in many ways serve as mermaids in my story.

Finding Your Own Healing Enchanted Symbols

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are living through a time when the conditions of human existence are changing so quickly, and we don’t have enough of a collective utopic or even positive future vision to offset the dystopic and life destroying symbols that are abounding in the world  and our stories now.  The creatures of enchantment that collectively have fascinated us in recent years have been werewolves and vampires, and dark knights.

For those of us who are writer, artists, thought leaders, societal change experts and healers, we need to be aware of our own symbols.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t create dark characters or symbols or stories.  I just wonder if the world could use some different kinds of symbols and stories that uplift our hearts and minds.  The great mythologist Joseph Campbell said we needed new myths for this new time in history.

This is one of the major challenges that writers and creative types of our time in history must address.  If we want a better future, we need to be purveyors of new symbols or a new empowerment of old symbols with energies of peace and freedom and social justice that have laid dormant for too long. There is a need to create masterful new stories that go beyond violence, conquest and fear.  Yet, we have to also to tell the truth of our fearful and violent times as well.

Here’s a few questions to consider:

  1. Are there enchanted symbols that keep appearing in your life and stories?
  2. If you had to choose a favorite enchanted symbol what would it be?
  3. What period of history might it come from?
  4. How might that symbol inspire others to view life differently?
  5. What are the most powerful symbols in the world today?

Tomorrow, I’m going to complete this brief exploration of enchanted symbols by talking about what I believe have become the most powerful symbols and stories of enchantment in the world, and they might surprise you.