The holidays are upon us. What do these holidays mean to you? Why do you celebrate them, if you do? And if you don’t, what do you celebrate?
Celebration is a vital and a vibrant part of life. It is a primary way of giving honor to what is important to you, your accomplishments, those people and events in your life that have significance to the world you are seeking to create. You set aside the ordinary business of your life so that you can honor and celebrate what you cherish and would keep a part of you. If it is a joyous occasion – and certainly there are many celebrations which are of a very solemn nature – but if it is a joyous occasion, you make it quite festive.
The origins of the celebrations that we observe at this time of year go back over 4000 years, to early Mesopotamia. Most of them center around giving joy-filled thanks to the Gods and Goddesses of our existence for the miracle of renewed life. They are designed to bring together whole communities to celebrate the bonds that keep their life strong, vibrant and flourishing, and they have included feasts, song and the giving of gifts for many thousands of years.
It is through celebration that we revitalize the energy of our lives. Any time you give honor, your own spirit grows. Through the giving of honor and thanks, you revitalize your connection with Spirit, with the Great Spirit by whatever name you know God or the Goddess. When you celebrate the giving of thanks in a festive way, a way that brings you close to others, you connect with the life force in a real, meaningful and consciously intended way. You invigorate the life force within you so that you can draw upon that life force as you move back into the ‘ordinary’ business of your life a whole, vibrant and joyous person.
Who and what do you love in your life? How are you going to honor and celebrate what you love and the spirit of this love at this special time of year? Come with me now on a very special journey.
Imagine yourself on a journey of celebration and exploration. Close your eyes and dream with me. Keep your eyes closed, but pay attention to your other senses.
You are traveling by dogsled through a beautiful winter wilderness. You hear the shushing of the runners on deep snow and you know you are being carried somewhere special You hear the tinkling of tiny bells on the harnesses, and you hear the dogs barking joyously as they carry you over the snow.
As the dogs begin to slow, you open your eyes and see a cabin with smoke coming from the chimney. A door to the cabin opens and July comes out to greet you as she takes over the dog team. Behind her stands an elder woman wearing a blue flannel shirt and denim skirt. Long, salt-and-pepper braids gracefully frame her face, which is crinkled up in a warm smile. She is Agnes Whistling Elk, and she welcomes you into her cabin.
You enter Agnes’s cabin a bit shyly and hang your winter coat on a peg by the door. Agnes offers you a mug of hot tea and sits you down at her aged wooden table, and she sets a bowl of venison stew in front of you. You eat hungrily, enjoying the warmth and the delicious flavors of the stew. Ruby is sitting across from you, silently unwrapping several bundles onto the table while you eat.
Curiously, you watch as she unwraps a large, clear quartz crystal. She holds the crystal up and it catches the light from Agnes’s lamps and from Ruby’s eyes. As Agnes moves around her tiny cabin, clearing away dishes and removing a steaming hot pie from the oven, you notice that the crystal seems to catch the light of every movement as if the flames in the old wood stove are dancing off Agnes.
After a time, Ruby holds the crystal between her thumb and forefinger and reaches towards you. You look closely at the crystal and begin to feel pulled towards it, as if by a powerful magnetic force coming from somewhere within you! You can hear a voice in the crystal calling to you: “Watch the reflections of light. Look at me. Pay attention, and soften your gaze.”
You peer into the crystal and you see tiny flames as they dance in the facets of the stone. Suddenly you see someone in the crystal, beckoning you, pulling you into the crystal with her.
Startled, you look briefly at Ruby, now joined by Agnes. Together they smile and nod gently to you, and then close their eyes, as if moving into deep concentration and prayer. Your focus returns to the crystal and to the enormous pull you feel between the crystal and the very center of your own being. As you relax into this feeling, you feel yourself melting into the moment, being drawn into a milky white space.
Shortly, you land with a soft thump and you open your eyes. Ani is sitting before you, serene in her lotus position. Her red sari and huge green cat’s eyes watch you. You may feel a bit uncomfortable under her gaze, but then a voice which seems to come from somewhere outside of you and within you at the same time says, “Take a breath and relax. I have come to give you a message for the coming year.”
You relax your shoulders and look around. You are in a small room with yellow painted adobe walls. Large windows look out on a snow-filled garden, and you see a large statue of Buddha sitting in the lotus position, mirroring Ani’s serenity.
Ani tosses a little doll into your lap. You pick it up and you see that the doll is a perfect replica of you. As you look at this doll, you begin to feel her outer layer melt away showing you a universe of stars within her, and you are filled with wonder.
“Ani, Grandmother, teach me,” you say, in a hushed tone.
“This doll represents you as you could be, as you will be when you are perfectly balanced. Go ahead, throw the doll up into the air.”
You throw the doll up several times, watching in amazement as it lands on its feet every time.
“How did you do this?” you ask.
“Why do you think I did this?” Ani smiles. “This doll is balanced within her own being, equally grounded in all her aspects between the world of the physical and the world of spirit. Go ahead, give her a good toss.”
You once again throw the doll into the air, end over end, and watch in amazement as it comes back into your hand, landing on its own two feet. You hear a voice. At first you think it is Ani speaking, but when you look at her, her lips are not moving as she peers at you intently. Like Agnes and Ruby before her, Ani nods and closes her eyes, as if in deep contemplation and prayer.
“This doll represents you,” the voice says, and now it seems to be coming from somewhere within you. “She is part of you. She is that part of you that celebrates, that knows the power of honoring who you are in every situation of your life.
“Look at her closely as she shows herself to you. Do you see a glow within her? That is the flame of her impeccability, the flame of your impeccability, the beautiful inner power that you keep alive through the power of your sacred intent. Go into this flame within you and this beautiful doll now. The flame you are seeing within the doll is the same flame that burns within you, that burns in your center always.
“Every time you honor and celebrate yourself and some part of your life, this flame burns more brightly. You fan the flames through your impeccability, your dedication to self and Spirit and the power of your sacred being. This is how you create the opportunity to grow to a new level of awareness, a higher consciousness of living.
“It is good to discover this doll in the wintertime, the time when we go within, to sit in introspection and reflection with the Great Spirit, to rest and dream your new life into existence. This winter, find the light that is within you. Meditate on your own inner flame, the flame that is within you always, burning and helping you to feel your own life force.
“It is important that you feel your own life force. This is your connection with the Great Spirit and the beautiful Oneness of life.
“Every time you give honor, every time you celebrate some aspect of your life, you strengthen this flame. Every time you celebrate yourself or someone else, celebrate even your sorrows for the ability to feel truly alive, you build this flame. You build impeccability, you build your inner strength. Remember that impeccability is tended by the attentions of your sacred witness, that person within you who observes the target. So when you dream, do it from the place of your impeccability.”
You press the doll to your navel, into your shaman center, and then you hold her over your heart and feel the power of love filling you and flowing between you and the beautiful doll until you are one. Then you feel yourself begin to fall backwards on a beautiful cushion of faith. You open your eyes and find yourself back in your chair at Agnes’s table. Agnes and Ruby are both smiling at you.
These holidays we are approaching are a time for festivity and celebration. With each gift that you give, think about what it is that you honor and even love about the person who will receive the gift, and infuse your giving with honor. Enjoy the festive nature of these holidays and move fully into the experience of celebrating and honoring that which is good and right in your life. As you do, feel the flame within you grow. Fan your inner flame and connect with the sacredness of love and honor that reside within you.
The Sisterhood of the Shields and I send you prayers of love, abundance and beautiful inner growth at this joyous holiday season.