Beltane 2003, Vol 1-3
MatriFocus, a Cross-Quarterly Web Zine for Goddess Women Near & Far
Spring is a time of cleansing. "Spring cleaning" is an age-old activity. Windows are opened up and cleaned; floors are scrubbed; gardens are cleared. This is a good time to remove the clutter in our lives and open ourselves up to positive energy.
Spring cleaning can include more than just house cleaning. We can cleanse our bodies, minds, spirits and spaces spiritually as well as physically. This is a great time to consciously rid ourselves of toxins and waste on the inside, to begin anew. Let's throw open the windows of our souls and let fresh air refresh our spirits.
Remember that exercise can be a regular part of your life -- you exercise when you take a walk, play with the kids, rake or mow the yard. If you plan to do traditional exercises, start out small and build up slowly every day. Start with simple stretches and exercises, no more than 10 repetitions of any one on the first day. If you want to lift weights, work with a trainer so that you don't lift too much and hurt yourself. Aim for a calm state while exercising and tune in to your body. Pay attention; respect it when it's had enough. Stop before it hurts. Breathe slowly, evenly and deeply, keeping your mind clear. If your breathing is too shallow or too fast it is a signal to slow down and concentrate on making your breath deeper. (See Breath section below.)
or Weak areas of the body
Breath can cleanse our emotions and psyche as well as our lungs and bodies. Breath can invigorate us, helping us to draw in good energy. This energy is called Chi by the Chinese, Ki by the Japanese and Prana by the Eastern Indians. It is our vital life force. Qigong equates the function of the blood with the function of chi and says that blood follows chi. Chi, like blood, can supply our body with the energy that it needs. We need both. The chi can focus the blood and nutrients into all areas of the body and improve circulation. In other words, if we can concentrate on the chi energy going to all parts of our bodies, the blood will follow, nourishing each cell of our bodies and each part of our spirits. Breath can be an important part of meditation, and also of life. If we breate shallowly we are cutting ourselves off from life; if we breathe fully we are able to get the ingredients we need to live fully.
First, make sure you breathe from your diaphragm and not your chest. To test this, place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. Notice as you breathe which hand goes out when you inhale and comes in when you exhale. Concentrate on your lower abdomen and imagine there is a balloon in your stomach that blows up as you inhale and deflates as you exhale. You may place your hands on your abdomen and imagine that with each breath the abdomen is expanding and pushing your hands away. As you imagine it, also do it. As you progress, imagine a glowing light that grows stronger and hotter with each breath, or a flower that opens and closes with each breath. Try to use the deepening of your breath to increase your chi.
The om (in three long sounds aaaahhhhhhhooooooooommmmmmmm) is amore famous mantra. As you intone the word let the vibrations fill you and relax you. The om symbol is also very peaceful to look at. This sound clears the mind, opens the chakras and nadis (energy centers in the body) and awakens the life force (prana). That is why this sound is often used to conclude a session of yoga and/or meditation. Feel free to make up your own sounds, words and thoughts as well.
Tap gently and do only one or two taps in a given area. If you tap too much and release too much at once, your body may have a problem dealing with so many toxins all at once. Tap from the shoulder down each side of each arm. Tap all around your head softly with your knuckles. Tap down the sides of your torso and front. Have a friend tap down the sides of your back or tap where you can't reach. You can swing your body, letting your arms dangle and gently hit/strike all the areas of your back in succession. You can also gently hit your back with a stick. This is a tapping that is similar to a massage and is done very respectfully to the body and is done with a loving intent, never the intent to harm or punish. Tap down the fronts, sides and backs of your legs and tap all around on your feet.
Massage your abdomen every day to loosen old waste accumulated in your intestines. There are a lot of accupressure points along the abdomen that affect the various organ meridians. Massage with tiny circles in between the ribs as well. Notice the shape of your navel. If your belly button is not in the shape of an "O" it may be that there is tension pulling things off center. Massage around the belly button and outward in a spiral until you have massaged all the way under the ribs in a big spiral. Knead, scoop, and press the abdomen. This will help relax the areas of tension and help balance things and put everything in its proper place. You can read more about this technique in Mantak Chi's book Chi Nei Tsang: internal organ massage (first volume)
Ways of Purifying Ourselves
Drinking water or warm tea helps us cleanse our bodies and can also cleanse our spirits if we drink with that intention.
Note: Experiment with the oils first to make sure that you are not allergic! Some people have very sensitive skin. Never consume essential oils or place them on your tongue or in your mouth. Some may be poisonous to ingest. This can be said of herbs too -- be careful not to eat any herbs without first getting all the information you can on them and consulting a knowledgeable homeopath or herbal healer. Only take very tiny quantities at first to make sure you are not allergic or have reverse side effects.
Experiment. Find what smells make you feel best and use those to enhance the positive energy they emit. Some people prefer smudging, cleansing themselves psychically by blowing the smoke (using a feather) from a burning herb on to the aura/body. One such herb that is good for smudging is sage. Native Americans traditionally used this herb to cleanse their spirits, and used sweetgrass to call their ancestors in prayer. Sandalwood is said to cleanse, open and heal the seven major chakras.
Again, experiment to find the technique or scent that is right for you. Some enjoy spraying a scent into the air, but make sure that it is a nature oil essence and not an artificial chemical that is developed in a laboratory to imitate a smell. Also, be respectful of the people around you. If you work or live with people who are sensitive to perfumes, be careful that you do not wear or spray scents around that may irritate their allergies.
Bless and consecrate your house. State your intention for only love and peace to dwell within these walls. Use your imagination. You might even want to imagine angels or elementals guarding your house, or flowers adorning it. Bring in whatever energy makes you feel good. As you wash, cleanse and straighten imagine that you are purifying the energy, releasing any stuck or bad energy. Imagine that the good energy is flowing in and around your house and all the rooms. You can also smudge, drum or rattle to dispel bad energies, or play/sing healing music while you clean.
Feel free to make up your own prayers, songs and visualizations to instill your intention. Use your intuition. Be creative! Just as you smiled to your body, smile to each room in appreciation and thankfulness, imagining the good things that will happen in that room. Your house is like a living organism. It is a good idea to offer sacred gifts to the land that your house or business is located on, along with a prayer for your safety. If you can connect with the guardians or caretakers of the land while in meditation and prayer this is a special blessing. You don't have to wait to see something with your eyes or hear it with your ears. If you are imagining seeing or hearing them then you may in fact be present with them. Honor and trust it if you are met in this way. It is a good idea to introduce yourself and state your good intentions even if you don't receive a confirmation for your visit. They are there and they are listening.
Let your intention, however you chose to embody it, be to purify, honor, bless, listen to, respect, be gentle with, strengthen and protect the areas in which you live and work. Fill the space with good energy. Use your mind to dedicate each room for its purpose. When you are in the kitchen "see" the wonderful food that is going to be prepared, if you are in the bathroom imagine yourself becoming clean there, cleansed from all your worries, healed from all your wounds, comforted. Imagine yourself enjoying a soothing bubble bath and letting all your cares float away. In the dining room imagine sharing food, nurturing self and others. In the living room, imagine laughing in the company of friends. In the study, imagine your creativity unleashed.
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art of the placement of objects within a building to purify and promote good energy and luck. You can study the finer points of this system or you can just place something from each of the four elements in each corner, or somewhere in the room or house. Plants represent earth, a feather for air, water, and perhaps something red to represent fire. Obviously you need to be safe and work safety may prohibit the use of an actual candle flame. Never leave a candle flame unattended. You can acknowledge a heating system within a building (furnace) as your element of fire as well.
Plants in particular are very good for purifying and will absorb many negative energies, including invisible toxins from computers. They also brighten up the atmosphere and give you needed oxygen, particularly important if you have no windows or fresh air in a work environment.
Ground- Connect- and Center.