Mandalas: Their Meaning & How to Meditate with Mandala Sacred Geometry

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Mandalas represent a sacred geometry that emits and attracts positive energy. Sanskrit for “circle”, a mandala represents wholeness and the Divine, our relation to eternity, and unity between the world within our body and mind and the world outside.

Used in many spiritual traditions all around the world, the mandala emphasizes the interconnectedness of all life. The circular Aztec calendar is in the shape of a mandala.  Tibetan Buddhists have long practiced the art of creating intricate mandalas out of colored sand, chanting and meditating as they work and upon completion, and then allowing the mandala to blow away in the wind, as a symbol of impermanence.

The zodiac circle in astrology is also a mandala, mapping universal and planetary energies and the way they relate to one another.  

Even the Taoist yin yang symbol is a mandala, with the outer circle representing the divine universe, the white side Yin or the primordial feminine, and the black side Yang as the primordial masculine energy.  The Ying and Yang co-exist together, dancing their cosmic dance, continuously transforming one into the other.

In every tradition, mandalas represent connection, between the viewer and the object, between all things. Energetically, the often concentric design of mandalas tends to visually attract consciousness and awareness to the center point, allowing focus to draw inward. This makes it very useful as a meditation tool, whether your conscious focus is on interconnectedness or not! 

To use a mandala for meditation, clear away a quiet place where you can sit with your mandala clearly visible in front of you.  Decide what your intention for this meditation is.  Perhaps you want to foster feelings of peace, love, connection, joy, or relaxation.  As you set your intention, you may want to choose a word that represents that feeling to you.  It could be “love”, “ocean”, or any other word that helps you feel peaceful and present.  “Ohm” is said to be the sound of the universe, and it always a great mantra.   Let your gaze be gentle and soft, allowing yourself to blink normally.  Try to just look, not thinking, planning, or daydreaming.  Allow yourself to just be where you are.  If you find your mind drifting, acknowledge it and gently return your awareness to the present.  You can use your mantra to help yourself return to the moment, connect with your breath, and also imbue your mandala with that energetic quality.  Breathe in through your nose, and as you exhale, say the mantra in your head or out loud.  If your mantra is a longer word, you may want to say it (either internally or externally) with both parts of the breath.  Use your intuition to guide you in breathing with your mantra; there is no wrong way to do it!

As the mandala is a visual representation of the interconnectedness of all things, anything and everything is accessible to you as you meditate on it as a point of focus or energetic power. The more you practice meditating with your mandala, the easier it will become to connect with the positive energy of the universe, at once wholly present in your body and intertwined in the cosmic unity of all things.

Get started on your mandala meditation journey with a mandala tapestry or bedspread here.  Or check out our collection of wearable and decorative mandala art right here.  

“The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.”  

–Thich Nhat Hanh

Rudraksha Beads: Jewelry for Clarity, Peace, and Prosperity

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Rudraksha beads have been worn by sages and yogis throughout the ages for their spiritual and healing powers. Rudraksha beads are seeds from the Rudraksha tree and are believed to contain cosmic powers that elevate the soul of the wearer and assist on the path to ascension or enlightenment. According to accent Vedic texts, Shiva cried tears of compassion for humanity and his tears became Rudraksha seeds to assist humanity in our healing. When worn, Rudraksha seeds are believed to bring clarity and peace of mind, improve memory and reduce stress, bestow divine protection, and increase abundance and prosperity.

We’ve got tons of cool new Rudraksha jewelry just in, with powers frequently enhanced by the potent earthy energies of gemstone crystals! Check ‘em out here:http://ow.ly/zjynX

 

July 12th, 2014 Astrology & Energy: Full Moon in Capricorn

 

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(painting by Salvador Dali)

Happy Full Moon in Capricorn, Mexicali loves! Capricorn rules our ambitions and what we do to achieve them, our outer career-oriented self, who we present ourselves to be socially, and also our inner authority. It is important at this time to own your personal power. Take a look at where and how you can build better boundaries, and what you can do to accept responsibility for your own emotional well-being.

While the moon is in this pragmatic sign, the sun resides in Cancer, with its soft and flowing energy of feeling and valuing emotion. Thus this full moon highlights the importance of keeping a balanced perspective–bringing the nurturer (Cancer) and the achiever (Capricorn) into peaceful coexistence. Capricorn guides us to connect with our emotions from an unemotional standpoint, as the observer, forgiving what has come before and letting it go.

This full moon is also a Super Moon, meaning the moon is closest to earth in its orbit, making the energy and power to support change instigated now EXTRA potent! This powerful full moon seeks to help you heal anything that is out of balance in your life. Do your best to stay out of conflicts, don’t take anything personally, and take time to reside in the awareness of what your natural emotional reaction is or would have been. This might illuminate a feeling or a story that has repeated over and over in your life, one that perhaps doesn’t serve your highest good any longer, but has recently been holding you back. Release it, and come up with an intention for how you would like to respond in such situations instead. Step by step, the industrious energy of Capricorn can help you to move towards who and how you want to be!

June 27th, 2014 Astrology & Energy: New Moon in Cancer

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It’s a New Moon in Cancer tonight! Cancer is the sign of emotions, and of the moon itself— cascading feelings, cathartic tears, an outpouring of compassion for those who suffer, or an all-encompassing swell of love could take you over tonight. Old wounds that you have locked up inside, perhaps because your feelings about them have been to intense to express, bubble to the surface now for closer examination. If you surrender to the pain, sit with it, acknowledge and allow, you can redirect your energy now so that you can forgive and heal. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you must accept the cause of the pain (if it comes from outside of you), but that you accept and understand your own feelings about it, allowing yourself to freely feel what you feel, without judging yourself for it. So often when we feel negative feelings, we berate ourselves; in not wanting to feel a certain way, we say “I shouldn’t/mustn’t feel this way!”. This moon in water-sign Cancer encourages us to just ride those emotional waves, feel the feelings, and recognize that even your struggles and shadow side are part of what makes you whole. Without your pain, you wouldn’t have such a great capacity for joy, or to help others with what you have learned. 

If you’ve been stuck playing out an old story over and over, now is a time to release it and move on to something that is truer to the heart-path of your highest self. Acknowledge the patterns you have created (you did it for a reason, at the time, though it may not serve you now), thank them for their lessons, and consciously let them go. If you take this on, you’ll probably have to do it more than once, but now is a great time to start, and it will get a little bit easier each time!

The new moon represents the start of a new cycle, a new beginning, and this one starting in Cancer is all about your soul power. What is your power? How do you own it? How do you give it away? Listen to your inner child for the answers that you seek, and surrender what is not working for you to the flowing river of this watery moon. <3

Want to know when the next new or full moon is coming? We’ve got lovely lunar calendars to lead the way right here: http://ow.ly/ywiqJ

May 14th, 2014 Astrology & Energy: Full Moon in Scorpio

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Happy full moon in Scorpio! This potent lunation will bring intense karmic energy that shines light on the darkest places in our souls.  Scorpio is a water sign, and encourages us to go deep-sea diving in the depths of our hearts to find what parts need transformation, intimacy, or emotional truth.  Something within your subconscious is wanting to be recognized and dealt with right now.  This might be an old story or wound you have been playing out in your life without realizing it.  You may want to look at any disagreements or stress you have had lately, and ask yourself if you can recognize a pattern in the way you have dealt with or felt about things of this nature.  Do you see evidence of coping strategies you came up with in childhood to deal with traumas or fears?  Are these ways of thinking/relating still useful to you?  Now is the time to look within by being keen observers of what our old wounds cause us to project outwards–particularly beliefs and feelings of fear, powerlessness, or unworthiness.

Dig into your shadow material and let go of what no longer serves you, preparing for yet another death-rebirth cycle.  You can’t start something new until you let go of the old thing that was holding you in the place that you were.  If you are repeating the same behavior over and over expecting different results. . . well, you know the old adage on what that means!  The power of this time will support the work of clearing out the emotional residue from past experiences, helping us to move to forgiveness and neutrality for all the lessons it took to get us to our present state.  Give yourself permission to heal and move forward in your life.

Transformation to a higher vibration of living involves cultivating awareness of harmful or inessential habits, cycles, or ways of relating, and Scorpio’s energy urges us to purge that junk to make way for the new.  Look at your emotional relationships with others to see where those changes are needed.  You must have a brave heart to want to shift the habitual, comfortable, and known to live more consciously and in the truth.  If you are ready to try, Scorpio’s full moon is here to light your way!

 

April 29th, 2014 Astrology & Energy: New Moon in Taurus

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(Image is from the 1970 Aquarian Tarot, illustrated by David Palladini)

 

Tonight is a New Moon in Taurus, as well as a solar eclipse!  Taurus is all about grounded, earthy energy, focusing on natural beauty and enjoyment of embodied experiences.  As the feminine earth-powered sign ruled by goddess Aphrodite/Venus, Taurus cultivates beauty by doing, creating brilliant blooms through getting her hands in the dirt!  New moons are prime times for manifesting, planting your own seeds to grow into the things that you want, and you can connect with this energy quite literally by writing your intentions on small pieces of paper and burying them in the ground.  Also, anything that you do on this day that is focusing on physical sensations–enjoying a nice meal, wearing your favorite scent or a silky scarf–should help you get clearer on your intentions, if you’re not sure what they are.
Taurus teaches us how to build step by step, persevere, be practical, and cultivate a strong place of self-love from which to branch out towards our goals.  It also highlights our most solid and unshakable values.  What do you value above all else right now?  Are your actions lately supporting this value?  Now is the perfect time to reflect on this and come up with at least one small actionable step towards making that happen–getting clear on your values and allowing them to guide your actions will help you be more authentically you, and ultimately more happy and successful in your life.
The solar eclipse will only be visible in the south Indian Ocean, Australia, and Antarctica, but we will still feel its energy, wherever we are.  An eclipse amplifies the power of the moon, and this one gives us a shining light of refreshed alignment.  Re-ground yourself with the energy of Taurus by getting outside today and walking on dirt, sand, grass, or stone.  Find a beautiful spot to stop and stand, and imagine roots growing out of the soles of your feet down into the core of Mother Earth.  Draw her love, support, and nourishment up and into your body with gratitude.  Set an intention for how you would like to use these gifts, and allow the eclipsed sun’s ring of fiery light to give your wishes the strength and steady power to grow and flourish.
Want to be aware of when the next new moon is coming? We’ve got gorgeous 2014 lunar calenders in a bevy of brilliant colors! Get yours here: http://ow.ly/t77O5

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The Tree of Life: Symbolism Across Cultures & Time

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Mexicali Blues sterling silver tree of life pendant available here: http://ow.ly/w89SV

The Tree of Life is a universal symbol found in many spiritual and mythological traditions around the world. Sometimes known as the Cosmic Tree, the World Tree, or the Holy Tree, the Tree of Life symbolizes many things, including wisdom, strength, protection, abundance, beauty, and redemption. It also illustrates the interconnectedness of life, here on Earth and also with the spirit world and the Universe at large! While most philosophies hold this concept of connectivity in common, there are a wide variety of meanings of this tree across different cultures.

Tree of Life and Buddhism

It was beneath the Bodhi tree, the great Tree of Enlightenment, that Buddha (at that time known as Siddhartha Guatama) completed his spiritual quest to reach enlightenment. Vowing not to rise until he was enlightened, he sat under the tree for many days, not moving, not eating, just meditating, until finally he arose as a fully enlightened being. Soon after, he attracted a band of followers and, as the Buddha, spent the rest of his life traveling and teaching the path of awakening he had discovered.

Tree of Life and the Ancient Celts

The Irish Druids believed that the Tree of Life had the power to reveal messages from the gods. Believing that all living things were spiritual, mystical beings, they believed that trees in particular were a source of great wisdom and power. With branches and roots stretching between earth and sky, trees bridged the gap between the upper and lower worlds and brought blessings from the gods. The wood of many trees was also considered magical, particularly that of the oak tree, which was thought to symbolize “axis mundi”, the center of the universe.

The Celtic Tree of Life was also a symbol of a person’s quest for spiritual fulfillment. The Celts believed that at the center of each of us is a “golden child”, a being more valuable than all the gold in the world. They knew that in order to find our inner golden child, we must each first recognize our connection to the Earth, and the Tree of Life and all other trees were a clear and tangible symbol and reminder of that part of the quest.

Tree of Life and Nordic Mythology

Nordic cultures believed that Odin, the ruler of all magic, guarded the great well of wisdom and knowledge at the root of the World Tree, whose strength supports the whole universe. Under the branches of the World Tree, known as Yggdrasill, Odin came into his magical and Shamanic powers, obtaining inner sight and healing abilities.

Yggdrasill’s branches reach up into the spiritual realm Asgard, which also represents an individual’s higher self. The trunk of the Tree is the world of Midgard, the realm of the human ego and persona. The roots reach down to the underworld of elves and tree dwarves, the place of unconscious shadow senses and instincts. Yggdrasill, the Tree of Life, is the strong axis around which the three planes of existence orbit.

The Tree of Life is symbolic also in Christianity, Judaism, Shamanism, Alchemy, Kabbalah, and many other ideologies. Though the interpretations each have their own flavor and details, the Tree of Life is always a positive symbol of connection. What symbolism does the Tree of Life hold for you?

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