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?

Check out our Tree of Life jewelry right here: http://ow.ly/w894O

Mexicali Travels: Holi, The Festival of Colors in India

1011419_10152245561008376_70218245_nMexicali founder Pete Erskine and his son Caleb were just in India for Holi, the annual festival of colors!  Holi proclaims the end of winter, and rejoices in the coming bounty of the Spring harvest season.  It is also a celebration of color and community–a chance to set differences aside and just have FUN!  The most boisterous of Hindu festivals, people most notably celebrate by throwing water and brightly colored powder (called gulal) at each other, creating a rainbow of radiant revelers everywhere you look!

Though Holi lasts for three days, most of the action is condensed into one raucous final day.  The night before, huge bonfires are lit in the streets of towns and cities and effigies of the demon Holika are burned, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil.  If cheerful rainbow colors and smiles are any indication, we’d say ‘good’ is the winner!

Here are a few favorite photos from Pete and Caleb’s Holi adventure, festively celebrating the coming of spring with many merry colors and good cheer!  The people in the photo are the very first suppliers and artisans we connected with  in India, who to this day create all the traditional block print that is done for our tapestries, curtains, bags, etc.  You can see a video of their printing process right here.  The whole Erskine family has visited and known them since the children of both families have been small.  As you can see by the photos, they all are still very good friends and the children still play together even though they are much older!  What a wonderful thing it is to have long-lasting friendships with awesome people–one of those beautiful things that makes us very grateful to be alive and doing what we do!

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March 16, 2014 Astrology & Energy: Full Moon in Virgo

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Illustration is “Winter Night with Full Moon” by Ev Cabrera Marinucci. You can get it here.

Happy full moon in Virgo! This moon guides us to put to use the things we’ve learned in the past few months, and let go of the old in order to make space for the new. It may be time to make a difficult decision in order to honor your greatest good. It may be that it is time to get rid of an outmoded way of thinking, or a habit that no longer serves. When you consider what this moon could possibly be guiding you to shed from your life, try to look beyond the first obvious thing (though that may need to go as well!).

Virgo helps us to understand and accept who we really are, recognizing at once the connection between ourselves and all other living things and the unique gifts that we each bring to the world. At the same time, the nitpicky nature of Virgo may lead us to be hard on ourselves in this self-evaluation, encouraging us to compare ourselves to others or the standards of others to see how we measure up. Ask yourself if you are seeing yourself as how and who you really are, or are you looking through a veil? If you simply hold the intention of wanting to see the truth, both the good and the bad, this full moon will likely offer some revealing answers. Once you have set this intention, pay attention to your dreams, imaginings, and experiences of synchronicity in your life for guidance.

If you are ready, it is a good time to face your fears and vulnarabilities and work to accept them. Try to consider what positive aspects of yourself have stemmed from or are related to the things you consider your flaws, with gratitude for how even the darkest and “worst” parts of you are part of what makes you whole. This is a challenging exercise, but will help you accept and ultimately celebrate the unique and wonderful being that is YOU!

Both light and shadow in our beings make us who we are and help us make a contribution to the world that is completely individual, and you may want to consider what you would most like that to look like. As Mary Oliver wrote, “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?”

It is a good time to bring your big dreams and intentions into the present, and commit to taking the first baby step towards achieving your goal. Do something practical, no matter how small, that supports your journey towards what you want to create in your life. Setting your intentions tonight under the light of the full moon–by writing it down, creating a vision board, drawing it in a picture, or just meditating on it–can help you manifest your desires.

Although right now (at least here in New England) the trees are still bare and the ground frozen, spring WILL come. What are your intentions for the next season in your life? The seeds you plant now will bear fruit when the real blooms and buds flower in the forests and the fields. Get ready.

Want to be aware of when the next full 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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Elephant Symbolism: Meaning of the Elephant as an Animal Totem

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Elephants are traditionally considered a symbol of good luck, wisdom, fertility, and protection. Wearing or placing in your home the image of the elephant with its trunk raised is thought to attract good fortune, as it showers its positive energy out of the trunk and into all surrounding beings and spaces. Elephants with their trunks down are thought to be accumulating positive energy and pushing through obstacles, and are particularly potent totems for those seeking fertility, wisdom, or strength.

Elephant is also associated with the root chakra, charging through blockages and offering energies of protection, love, loyalty, and quiet courage.

Some Asian cultures believe that the elephant is a cosmic creature–that, much like the turtle in Native American lore, the elephant carries the world on its back. Other cultures see it as an earthly animal, but one with a connection to divinity and ancient knowledge. Working with the elephant in meditation or waking life can help you to access your inner wisdom and own your power, overcoming obstacles with a steady force of strength that you possibly didn’t even realize you had.

Could you use a bit of elephant energy in your life? Get started here.

Tibetan Prayer Flags Explained: What Does All That Sanskrit Writing Mean?

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Our traditional Tibetan prayer flags are inscribed with symbols and words that are said to carry prayers and hopes into the breeze and across the lands. If you’ve ever wondered what all that Sanskrit writing means, read on!

The words on the prayer flags are a combination of mantra, sutra, and prayer. They aren’t directly translatable into English, as each mantra is an expression of an intention, energy, and the vibration of the sound. You might say that their inner meanings are beyond words.

A mantra is a powerful word or set of words with the capacity of influencing certain dimensions of energy. It is said that the vibration of mantras can control the invisible energies that govern existence. It’s the sound and the utterance of it that is said to have those powers, even without thinking about or necessarily understanding exactly what it is you’re saying. Buddhist monks will repeat a mantra over and over as a form of meditation, and a way of sending that energy out into the world. Similarly, the prayer flags send that energy out just by being hung!

One mantra that is on most prayer flags is OM MANI PADME HUNG, which is the mantra of the bodhisattva of compassion. Printed on prayer flags, this mantra sends blessings of compassion to the world.

Sutras are prose texts based on the words of the historical Buddha who taught in India 2500 years ago. One sutra often seen on prayer flags is the dharani. Similar to mantras, dharanis contain magical formulas which are comprised of symbolic letters and pieces of words. Read out of context, they make very little sense, but when on the flags they convey the essence of a teaching or a specific state of mind.

Text on the flags beyond mantras and sutras can be classified as prayers, and they include supplications, aspirations, and positive wishes written by various masters of Buddhism throughout history.

So in a nutshell, the words on prayer flags are all about sharing good vibes with the world!

You can learn more, including what the pictures on the flags mean, from this post here on our blog: http://wp.me/p2wKcA-2s

Get your own traditional prayer flags here: http://ow.ly/uvPe4

What prayers or positive intentions would you like to send out to the world?