A Synopsis of Evil

A Synopsis of Evil

Author:   Bryce 

Within the Pagan community, we tend to avoid discussing the topic of evil. While many of us accept the idea of at least some form of karma or retribution, we do not generally dwell in depth on it. Indeed many of us were raised within the “mainstream” religions that focused all too much on the topics of sin and Satan. Thus we try to stray from these concepts and instead focus on the “brighter” side of things.

Yet as human beings, we cannot deny that there is a certain level of evil and negativity in our world. We also cannot reject the simple truth that we ourselves often take part in such acts. So how do we, as Pagans, react to this concept? How can we come to understand it and combat it?

Now I cannot and would never tell you what to believe. Spirituality is a journey, and we must come to accept it and understand it on our own terms. Thus what I have provided here is my understanding of evil. If you agree with it, that is wonderful. If you cannot quite accept it, that is just as well. Either way it is my intention that this perspective will give you new-found strength in dealing with and understanding evil in your own life.

What Is Evil?

Over the millennia, evil as accrued many different titles, the most popular of which among the Western World is sin. However no matter by which name you call evil, its nature is the same. Evil is the conscious choice to turn ourselves away from the Divine. We hear this a lot in Christianity under the summary that “sin separates us from God.” While this is true, for Pagans it is not quite the whole of it.

Many Pagans view the Divine as being within Creation. Thus the Creator and its Creation are one. In this light, then, the meaning of evil begins to take on a new identity for Pagans. While evil separates us from the Divine, it moreover separates us from our Divine-selves. This self is the Divine spark that lies within us and connects us to the great All. Thus in choosing to commit evil, to act so that we go against this notion of solidarity, we cut ourselves off from the Divinity within us.

In accordance with this, we now have a Pagan understanding of evil: a choice that fails to recognize our Oneness and thus separates us from our Divine-selves.

How Does Evil Exist?

If we can accept that the Creator is within its Creation, therefore making it one, we encounter another puzzling question: If the Divine is perfection and the perfection is here, how can evil exist within it? In truth, the answer to this question is the same as what prompted it.

The Divine is within everything, including us. As such, the Divine seeks to work through us that we and others may come to experience it. Thus we, and all other life, are co-creators of our own reality. However we are different from other life on this planet in that we are reasoning beings; as humans we have the ability to decipher what is right and wrong.

This gives us options: we can choose to work for the betterment of Creation, or we can choose to work only for ourselves. It is when we choose the latter that we allow evil into our lives, for no longer are we working for the Whole but only the singular.

What Prompts Evil?

Only we can ultimately decide to allow evil into our lives and our world. Yet we know that there is a certain prompting, a certain push toward evil that is often involved in our choices. Like evil, this too has been known by many titles, such as Satan and demons. However I would like to present a revised understanding of this concept, one that does not view it as a being but rather as a natural human condition.

In the natural world, both energy and matter flow through the path of least resistance. The human psyche seeks to do the same. It wishes to follow by the easiest path in order to get what it desires. However this route is not always the best, and we may end up harming others. Therefore, while we are provoked to do what is most convenient, we must remember that we are reasoning beings. We must do what is right rather than what is easy. If we fail in this, then we allow evil to enter our lives.

For example, while it may be easier to steal the apple rather than paying for it, we must use our reasoning abilities to discern what the just path is.

How Is Evil Combated?

This is a question that has been tried and tested over many thousands of years. From confessing your sins to a priest to allowing an aesthetic Yogi to pay for your wrongs, religions the world over have found their own ways to eradicate their practitioners’ evil. Yet what about in Paganism? What do we have that allows us to move beyond this state and back into alignment with our Divine-selves?

Most of us would say that we have some understanding of karma and that we will pay for our evil acts. However, while this may help us recognize them, it does not necessarily get us to move beyond these actions. To do that, I believe that we must look again at a reoccurring theme in this essay: Oneness.

If we accept that the Divine is within Creation, we must accept that it is also within evil. To absolve evil from us and from our world, then, we must seek the Divine within it. If we allow ourselves to revisit our acts and instances of wrongdoing, we can invite the Divine into these experiences and look for its messages and teachings.

There is something to be learned in everything, even the most heinous of crimes. If we open ourselves up to these Divine lessons, we can pass them on not only to ourselves but to others as well; thus we can help prevent the same evil from being reintroduced into our world. And it is in this act that we leave behind our evil, our sin – for we have turned it from selfish evil to love that will benefit the Whole.

The Great Irony

There is a great irony in all of this, of course. While evil may be done, it can never prevail. Energy spent on evil is useless, for it ultimately benefits no one. As we can tell from the natural world, Creation abhors anything useless and therefore makes it useful, whether it is through the decaying of dead organisms or the evolution of a species. Thus it is with evil. It is useless, but the Divine may make it useful in the form of lessons and teachings. Therefore the only way that evil can ever win is if we, the reasoning co-creators of our reality, let it.

My Advice

What I have presented here is a summary of my thoughts on and reasoning behind the concept of evil. Whether you accept all or any of it is up to you. However, this is my hope for you: take your negatives and create them into positives. Live life not by what you have done but rather by what you have learned. Above all remember that in the Divine—no matter how you perceive it—all things are possible.

Slán leat

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9 Feng Shui Ways to Enhance Your Wealth

9 Feng Shui Ways to Enhance Your Wealth

  • Erica Sofrina

By Erica Sofrina, Author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World.

Welcome to my series on how to locate and enhance the nine key Feng Shui energy centers of your home. In this article I will show you how to identify and activate the area that corresponds to your wealth and prosperity.

Feng Shui has many practical applications that are logical, simple and even obvious, of which I have written many articles about. The more mysterious and esoteric part of Feng Shui is the study of the Bagua. This wisdom comes from the I Ching, or The Book of Changes.

The ancient Feng Shui masters felt there were certain parts of the home that corresponded to key areas of the lives of its occupants. By working with these energy centers you could A- identify what was going on in that area of your life, and B- enhance it by putting objects there that would encourage the chi (energy) to become activated.

The I Ching is a profound and esoteric study in its self, and has been used over the centuries as a method of divining right action. It incorporates both yin and yang expressions and is used to study and contemplate the process of change and inner development.

The portion that relates to Feng Shui has to do with charting the nine energy centers of your home by using what is called the Bagua Map.

By learning how to work with and identify these energy centers in our homes, we can become conscious co-creators of our lives.

Bagua translated means eight trigrams. These trigrams refer to important areas of our lives such as wealth, health, love, career, self-cultivation, fame, creativity, helpful people, etc. In this article I will talk about how to locate and activate and enhance the wealth area of the Bagua.

Wealth and Prosperity Defined

The trigram connected to wealth and prosperity in the I Ching is called SUN. It is about the deep roots of financial stability and calm security in terms of one’s personal wealth. A key component is gratefulness; being grateful before as well as after the money comes. It is not about fast money but the slow, steady, honest accumulation of wealth, along with the things we truly value in life. It is not about making the monthly bills (this is connected to the Health and Family area) but the abundance of prosperity, such as luxury items, vacations, those seminars you have been dying to take, and anything that is a want rather than a necessity.

 

Nine Suggestions to Enhance Your Wealth Area

Once you locate the wealth area of your home (directions below), take a look at what is happening there. Is this where there is a lot of clutter, or where the junk closet resides? Perhaps it is in a dingy bathroom or missing all together from the Bagua of your home? (this is addressed in the Bagua lay-out section)

Feng Shui teaches that the outer environment will always reflect our inner environment. By cleaning it up, clearing it out, making it beautiful and adding the enhancers, you activate this area of the Bagua and thus the extra money area of your life is activated as well.

Environmental affirmations are objects we put into our space that either reflects something we want to bring into our lives, or keep there. Use these environmental affirmations to vitalize the wealth area of your home once you have taken care of the ‘splinters’ such as clutter, broken things, missing areas, etc.

Here are nine suggestions of objects you can add to your wealth area that will activate the chi:

  • Items that call in the Chi (energy)
  • Inspiring Art and other items that depict the things we want to bring into our lives in terms of wealth. An example might be a favorite picture of Tuscany if you wants to travel there, the tropical paradise picture for a much-desired Hawaiian vacation.
  • Quotes and affirmations pertaining to wealth written in present tense, as if it is true now!
  • Fountains, waterfalls and water features or pictures of flowing water. (Flowing water represents money in Feng Shui)
  • Articles you love that you might have paid a lot of money for, i.e., a favorite vase, coin collection, jewelry or artwork. (Or items that look like you paid a lot for them!)
  • Healthy plants with shiny, round coin-shaped leaves such as jade plants.
  • Personal wealth symbols reflective of your own taste and culture. (If you are not Chinese, symbols from your own culture may have a deeper meaning rather than Chinese coins, gold fish or ‘lucky bamboo’)
  • Objects in purples, reds and greens symbolizing wealth and money. Purple Amethysts and crystals are wonderful wealth chi enhancers. Add purple accessories, colors and fabrics to this area, provided you like the color purple* (Purple includes plum, lavender, lapis blues, etc.)
  • Create vision boards and collages depicting the objects you want to bring into your life in terms of wealth. * Note: never put anything into your space that you do not love just because a Feng Shui book or article told you to do so! The goal of Feng Shui is to create a living space that feeds your soul and uplifts your spirits. Objects you don’t love will have the opposite effect. The more personal the objects are to you, the more chi they will generate.

How to Put the Bagua Map onto your Home and Identify your Wealth Area

Here are step-by-step instructions for how to put the Bagua Map onto the floor plan of you home and locate your personal wealth energy center:

1. Draw a sketch of the floor plan of your space. This should be the birds-eye view as if you are looking down on it. Include all built-on decks, stairways and attached garages.

2. Draw a square or rectangle over the floor plan in the shape of the Bagua map. All of the areas of the home need to be within the square or rectangle. If your home is an irregular shape, still draw the rectangle or square around it.

3. Stand at the front door with the map perpendicular to the floor with the Entrance Quadrant touching your stomach. This will tell you the direction to overlay the Bagua map onto the floor plan of your home.

4. Now divide your home with the Bagua map overlaid on it in nine equal sections. This will identify for you where all of the key nine areas are of your home are. The wealth area will always be the far left quadrant of the home and the Love and Marriage the far right section, etc.

5. If your home is not a rectangle or square, you may be missing areas of the Bagua. If this is the case, you can do a mini-Bagua for each room of your home and enhance the wealth corner of each room. Treat the main entrance to the room like you would the front door of the home and lay the Bagua accordingly.This energetically brings back into the space the missing area.

6. If you have more than one floor of your home, what ever is below is above. You do not turn the Bagua differently for each floor. In which case you may have more than one wealth area, the same rules of enhancement apply to all areas!

Applying the Feng Shui Five Elements to Your Home

Applying the Feng Shui Five Elements to Your Home

  • Erica Sofrina

By Erica Sofrina- Author of Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World.

Bringing nature into our homes is a key component of the teachings of Feng Shui. The goal is to have all of the five elements of fire, earth, metal, water and wood balanced in every room of of our living space. By studying the Feng Shui Five Elements theory we can gain valuable insights as to why our lives are out of balance by looking at the elemental imbalances in our homes.

I have worked with many clients to improve their young children’s sleeping habits along with teens who were suddenly out of control. The culprit is often found in the elemental imbalances in their bedrooms. By bringing these into balance the child or teen comes back into balance as well. Clients think I have worked magic but I am merely applying these ancient, tried and true principles (also used in Chinese medicine) to physical environments.

The five elements can also be used in a powerful way to heal health issues, and to assist in personal growth. If we find we are staying ‘too small’ in our lives, our environment will often reflect too little of the wood element. We would want to both wear and bring into our living space objects and colors that reflect this element as shown in the chart below.

Please see the list on the next page of what the elements mean and what we experience when we have too much or too little of them in our lives and take advantage of my free offer to send you information about working with the elements at the end of this article.

If you are feeling over expanded and overwhelmed, you are experiencing too much of the wood element. In this instance you would benefit by bringing into your living space objects and colors that represent the element that cuts wood, which is metal. An example of too much of the wood element might be found in an all-green bedroom with floral prints and wooden furniture. What you thought would be soothing actually feels overwhelming.

The metal element is represented by white and cream colors, pastels, circular shapes, rocks and stones and metal. By changing the floral bedspread to a pastel or cream color and accessorizing with whites and pastels, you will begin to bring the room back into elemental balance.

Below is a Five Elements Map that will show you how they work together to balance each other.

The elements when closest to their natural state will contain the most vibrant ‘chi’ or energy. However, there are colors, objects and shapes that represent these elements as well. Some are subtle and some more obvious. A tall cylindrical shape (reminding us of a tree) represents the wood element, along with medium blues and greens, anything made of wood, plants and trees and pictures of them.

Here is a short summary of what we experience when the elements are out of balance:

Wood is about growth as reflected in trees and plants. We want the right amount in our environment, not too much or too little. Too much wood = over-expansion and overwhelm. Too little=staying too small. Bring in objects, shapes textures and colors of the metal element to cut the wood, or those of the water element to increase it if there is too little. See the controlling and nurturing cycles of the chart.

Fire is about passion. Too much, however will result in aggression and overly impulsive behavior. Too little will reflect as lack of enthusiasm, motivation and warmth. Add water to douse the fire when there is too much and wood to increase the fire when there is too little.

Earth is about staying grounded and being present. Too much= overly discipline and conservative. Too little= spacey, ungrounded as well as infertility issues. Add fire to increase it when there is too little and wood to decrease it when there is too much.

Metal is about mental clarity and determination. Too much= rigidity and inability to compromise. Too little=lack of back bone and indecisiveness. Add earth to increase it and fire to melt it when there is too much. There is a reason those who live in all- white houses tend to also be rigid… bring in fire and warm it up!

Water is about connection to spirit and synchronicity in our lives. Too much= not enough structure and being ‘wishy-washy’. Too little =the need to dominate, lack of flow and connection to spirit. Add metal to increase it and earth to dam it up when there is too much.

Please note that you can also just take away items in a particular element to decrease the amount of it in a space, or add it when you need more, you do not necessarily have to use the elements that either control it or nurture it.

I encourage you to learn more about these powerful concepts and utilize this powerful knowledge if you or your loved ones are experiences any of the imbalances as described above. I have seen profound shifts in my own life and those of my clients when applying these tried and true, age-tested principles that come out of the ancient practice of Chinese medicine and Feng Shui.

Dragons in Mythology and Legend

Dragons in Mythology and Legend

 

 

The world’s mythologies are full of tales about dragons. Sometimes they are portrayed as huge serpents, sometimes as the type of dragon known to the Western world, sometimes in the shape known to those in the Orient. But dragons have always played a part in the shaping of this world and its many diverse cultures. They have also had an important part in cultural perception of spiritual ideas.

Dragons have been portrayed in many forms and variations of these forms. Ancient teachings say dragons can have two or four legs or none at all, a pair of wings or be wingless, breathe fire and smoke, and have scales on their bodies. Their blood is extremely poisonous and corrosive, but also very magickal. Blood, or the life force, is a symbol of the intensity of their elemental-type energies. Depending upon the reception they received from humans in the area where they lived, dragons could be either beneficial or violent. One thing is for certain: dragons were regarded with awe by all cultures affected by their presence and interaction with humans.

Although one can speak of dragons as a separate species of being, there are numerous subspecies and families within the dragon community, as one can deduce from reading ancient histories and stories. The subspecies and families may have greater or lesser differences in appearance but still retain the basic traits that are common to all dragons wherever they are. One family of dragons, with very similar characteristics, lived in Europe, especially northern Germany, Scandinavia, and islands of the North Atlantic. A second family was recognized in France, Italy and Spain. A third family dwelt in the British Isles, including Ireland; these dragons, commonly called Firedrakes, included the subspecies of Wyverns (dragons with two legs) and the winged but legless Worm. A fourth family was found in the Mediterranean area, especially Greece, Asia Minor, southern Russian, and northern Africa; the dragons with many heads was common in this region. A fifth dragon family and the largest in number was the Oriental dragon of China, Asia and Indonesia. The sixth family, of very limited size and number, was found in the Americas and Australia.

In the Eastern world, dragons seldom breathe fire and are more benevolent, although hot-tempered and destructive when provoked. They are sometimes pictured as wingless, but can propel themselves through the air if they wish. The dragons of the Orient, Mexico, the Americas and Australia propelled themselves through the skies by balancing between the Earth’s magnetic field and the winds.