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Monday, March 8, 2010
From the Desk of the Spiritual Explorer Sometimes the beauty and elegance of crystal points do not show as well in pictures. Pictures cannot capture the power, radiance and feeling emanating from the particular crystal points we are currently showing at Ma’s India.
These crystal points are encased in sterling and worn as pendants with their own sterling silver chain. If you are in the healing profession, as many of our customers are, you can easily use these crystal points to clear away any negativity, both on a person and in a room. The tradition is that crystal points can be used upon any chakra, either to remove negativity or to send power, depending upon how one holds the crystal point. One can either point them inwardly to convey the power and emanation of the crystal or dip them in and out to lift bad energy. Another use of these crystal points is as a pendulum by which you might answer any particular healing question you have. It is customary that when the crystal point circles to the right, it is a “yes” answer and the left is of course, a “no” answer. Simply stated, these crystals are just beautiful with a great deal of feeling emanating from them.
We love the delicate rose hue of the Rose Quartz Point. When placed on the heart, the fourth chakra, one might feel a definite ability to heal emotional imbalances and help the recipient to open his heart to love and feeling.
We are particularly enamored of the Amazonite Point. This dark green color with specks of white embedded crystal brings a great soothing reassurance to the nervous system and feeling of peace. Amazonite crystal point is also known as a joyous stone enhancing creativity.
As you look at the Black Onyx Point, you can feel your attention drawn inwardly into a one-pointed focus, as if your energy is gathered inward instead of dispersing outwardly. This dark hue crystal point can bring one into a place of stillness and depth and also clears any negativity that might be present.
Azurite Point with its unique deep dark green and light green spots is associated with clarity in prayer and meditation. Azurite Point is known to not only increase psychic abilities and open intuitive facilities, but it also enhances creativity.
Amethyst Point is similar in that this crystal point enhances psychic abilities and makes one more sensitive to higher vibrational energies. Amethyst is the stone of Royalty and is considered to be most spiritually enhancing. Amethyst is also the crystal associated with the third eye.
Hematite Point, known to strengthen both the etheric and subtle bodies, is also a great healing aid for those who have just recovered from illness. This crystal point is similar to herbs in that it builds up and purifies the blood and acts on the inner and outer bodies to strengthen and revitalize.
Because of the subtlety and transparency of crystal points, they can pick up negative energy and hold onto it. You will want to do cleansing of your points if you have been wearing them for some time as they readily pick up the negative vibrations of people and surroundings. However, this is easily remedied through placing them under water, soaking them in salt water, or allowing the sun or moon to cleanse them.
Happy Crystal Point Choosing and Wearing!
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Thursday, March 4, 2010
Kashi Ashram in Sebastian, Florida had a wonderful event this Saturday, the installation of a Sacred Medicine Wheel on their grounds. This tremendous honor was spearheaded by Agni Jaya Starfire of Tampa, Florida. I had a chance to talk with Agni Jaya Starfire who gave me the lowdown on the spiritual meaning and tradition of the Sacred Medicine Wheel. Agni Jaya Starfire studied with Sun Bear, a powerful visionary of Chippewa descent, who was unique in his willingness to teach non-native people about how to live in harmony with the earth, particularly in such mundane ways as recycling, growing your own food, preserving the land, etc. In 1989 and 1990 Agni Jaya Starfire did an apprenticeship program with Sun Bear and thereafter brought him to Florida where he was instrumental in constructing many Sacred Medicine Wheels. “I received my Pipe from him,” she said, referring to the tradition of the Peace Pipe shared by Native Americans indicating harmony between cultures and traditions. One of the reasons I chose Kashi Ashram to place a Sacred Medicine Wheel is because their mission of universality and harmony amongst different traditions is similar to that of Sun Bear’s.” She continued, “The Sacred Medicine Wheel is a symbolic representation of all of life, indicating that we are all one and part of that same web of life and that all beings are part of the wholeness of life. The Sacred Medicine Wheel, in the shape of a circle, represents the never-ending circle of life.” She pointed out to me that many of the stones that go into the creation of the Sacred Medicine Wheel were from many places: the “Creator” stone in the center came from a river in the Taos Pueblo, home of the original peoples of that region we now know as New Mexico. Stones to create the Sacred Medicine Wheel were not only from other places such as Maine and Tennessee but offered by others from faraway diverse locales. The Sacred Medicine Wheel ceremony began with blessing the various stones, starting with the “Creator” stone, progressing to the Mother Earth stone, Father Sun stone, Grandmother Moon stone, and then to the various clan stones representing Earth, Air, Fire and Water. These clan stones within the Sacred Medicine Wheel represent the elements of the earth and form the inner circle around the “Creator” stone. What was interesting to see was how every stone of the Sacred Medicine Wheel placed upon the earth was blessed in the form of pinches of cornmeal accompanied by chants and prayers by all participants in the Sacred Medicine Wheel ceremony, including Kashi Ashram residents and all those who had participated in this inclusive and harmonious construction of the Sacred Medicine Wheel. Agni Jaya Starfire told me that these blessings invoked the spirits of each stone and awakened their power so that they would help anyone who came looking for blessings. I asked Agni Jaya Starfire which stones within the Sacred Medicine Wheel might be appropriate for what blessing. She gave an example of the pathway stones that led to the “Creator” stone. If one were to start out on a new direction in life, they would hopefully direct their attention to the pathway stones of the east, representing the direction of new beginnings. The south pathway stones connect the south to the center of the wheel and may support young adulthood and the blossoming of life. The outer stone anchoring the energies of the south is connected to summer and the burgeoning of life and is also the stone that one addresses with questions of love. The west pathway stones connect to the fall and represent a time of introspection and gratitude for fulfillment. The winter pathway stones, in the direction of north, represent a time of incubation or seeds under the earth and indicate a time of endings and the promise of rebirth. All of these pathways are integral to the Sacred Medicine Wheel. Two interesting books on the Sacred Medicine Wheel by Sun Bear and Wabun who co-authored books with Sun Bear and worked closely with him for many years include: Medicine Wheel: Earth Astrology with the lunar cycles of a person’s birth date, and Dancing With the Wheel, a detailed workbook on how to create or work with a Sacred Medicine Wheel for your own personal and planetary healing.
It was a time of harmonious connection to the earth and to ourselves, and Kashi Ashram who has waited for a long time for our own Sacred Medicine Wheel is grateful to our Agni Jaya Starfire for bringing this extraordinary Sacred Medicine Wheel to our land. We are very fortunate to be blessed in this way. Thank you. Om Namah Shivayah, Ki Jai. Victory to all who nurture the land and the people who strive to live in harmony with Nature and Spirits through the blessing of the Sacred Medicine Wheel!!
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I had the chance to meet David Newman and Mira, extremely talented kirtan singers at Kirtan College, a once a year offering of instruction in the ancient art of kirtan at Kashi Ashram in Sebastian, Florida. For those not in the know, kirtan is all about spiritual singing to whatever deity or god you love. It is extremely heartfelt and inspiring, consisting, among other things, of sacred mantras sung together in a call and response style.
In kirtan, what is unique is that the audience is as integral to the group as the lead singers themselves since it is the blending of the voices that provides the soul lifting and spiritual resonance of the pieces. The music and chanting then become a meditative offering by all. Throughout the country the ancient practice of kirtan grows. One of the reasons, according to David and Mira, is that there is a blending of western music sound and styles with the ancient kirtan mantras. According to David, in the U.S.A. the new breed of kirtan singers are being referred to as Chant Artists.
Sitting down with David Newman later, I asked him how his interest in kirtan had arisen. He told me that that while his background had always been musical, interest in kirtan had arisen as a result of his involvement with yoga and particularly by the influence of both Bhagavan Das and Krishna Das, both devotees of Neem Karoli Baba. David had his own singular spiritual experience with Baba in an inner vision that awakened his heart. As a result of that vision where he began to see “the divine thread in everything, David began to pursue what he calls “bhakti yoga,” dedication of one’s life to the service and love of humanity. When I listened to David and Mira’s music at Kirtan College, that divine infusion of love is readily heard in their self-styled chants. L.A. Yoga Magazine has said, “David is reminiscent of George Harrison, Dylan and Paul Simon when they are in soul mode.”
Ever the “romantic,” I asked David Newman how he came to be with Mira and he told me that he met Mira first when she was a teenager and then later as she traveled in concert with Bhagawan Das; their relationship grew from being just good friends to the marriage partners they are today. I thought to myself how lucky they both were to be with somebody who inspires them both spiritually and musically. David is well on his career path, having released five CD’s already. In 2004 David met well known New York City Producer and Mix engineer Frank Wolf who has worked with artists such as Pink, Santana, Dido and JLO. Immediately finding a natural musical rapport ,they recorded their groundbreaking Lotus Feet: A Kirtan Revolution, which became an instant classic in the newly emerging Kirtan field. David went on to record Love Peace Chant, a contemporary progressive kirtan with lots of eclectic musicality and world beats. David’s wife, Mira, as singer and percussionist, played a prominent role in this record, adding her unique rhythmic groove and delicate angelic vocal style.
The Hanuman Chalisa, a devotional love song to Lord Hanuman, becomes an ambient and meditative lullaby for the soul in Leap of Grace. It is the recitation of the Chalisa eleven times against an ethereal musical backdrop, an auspicious number that is traditional for bestowing Hanuman’s blessings on sacred occasions.
His CD and DVD Collection Into the Bliss is sung from an intimate setting in Topanga Canyon, California, and Yoga Magazine has called it: “One of the best kirtan CD’s we have heard.”
Having heard David’s music and particularly his striking original stylistic arrangements, we anxiously anticipate the release of his new album this April, called To Be Home. It contains a touching piece recorded from David’s experience as he meditated before a picture of Baba, acknowledging Baba as his spiritual home. David told me that To Be Home is a two-fold combination of original melodies; one, utilizing kirtan mantras with original melodies and arrangements around them, and the other being original lyrics and melodies composed by David.
While kirtan music might be considered a niche market at this time, we think, because of their universality of style and musicality, that David and Mira will find their music increasingly and popularly mainstreamed for sure!
Kirtan College as led by David and Mira is a training program for those wishing to develop a regular chanting practice, utilize healing application of chanting in daily life and cultivate musical skills to accompany, compose and lead kirtan in a group. For more information about David Newman or Kashi Ashram.
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