Receiving: The Flip Side of Giving

Written by Avalon De Witt

Another winter holiday season is upon us, andrepparttar theme seems to be universal. You may call your holiday Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, Ramadan, or Winter Solstice. It is a turning point, a time of celebrating light andrepparttar 122341 hope for new life. The common element is that we all consider it a time for honoring Spirit in our best and highest ways.

Here inrepparttar 122342 United States,repparttar 122343 prevailing holiday is Christmas, and gift-giving isrepparttar 122344 major tradition. There are many stories behindrepparttar 122345 "why's" of this tradition. Many say it is to followrepparttar 122346 example ofrepparttar 122347 Magi who came to bestow their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh uponrepparttar 122348 Christ child. (See Matthew 2:9-11)

We want to have a joyous time, and remain mindful of our values. Yet, we often get caught up inrepparttar 122349 flurry of gift-giving fever, brought on by media pressures and society, and we forget to enjoy what others give us every day. In a time when people are saying "Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men," how is it that something meant to be so special can become so stressful?

Whenever we are feeling depleted from giving, it means we are not receiving enough. So much time and money goes into making our loved ones happy forrepparttar 122350 holidays that we wind up worrying how we're going to do it all. When you sacrifice your spirit, you are sacrificing too much.

Receiving is crucial for giving to be complete. Inrepparttar 122351 famous story, The Gift ofrepparttar 122352 Magi, by O. Henry, a man and wife find themselves lackingrepparttar 122353 funds to give each other what they wanted to for Christmas.

What Is Shamanic Smudging?

Written by Stephanie Yeh

Shamanic smudging—or just smudging—is an age-old tribal tradition which has been used for centuries to create harmony and peace. There are many different shamanic smudging ceremonies, and different tribes use a variety of herbs for smudging.

To define it more clearly, shamanic smudging isrepparttar burning of herbs or incense for cleansing, purification, protection of physical and spiritual bodies, banishment of negative energies and creation of sacred space. You can use smudge sticks (herbs that are tied into a bundle for easier handling), braided herbs and botanicals (like sweetgrass) or loose herbs (burned on charcoal or mugwort, or in a firepit). Shamanic smudging releasesrepparttar 122340 energy and fragrance ofrepparttar 122341 herbs and botanicals so they can heal, cleanse and purify.

In many traditions, shamanic smudging involves a four directions ceremony or prayer, which sends specific kinds of smoke or prayers intorepparttar 122342 four directions. Different tribes have different smudging prayers that “program”repparttar 122343 smoke to do a specific action, such as cleansing or aiding in divination.

In general, shamanic smudging can be used in daily life for practical purposes—to restore physical, mental and emotional balance; to shield against negative energies; to cleanse yourself, your magickal tools and your space; and to restore you sacred space.

<><><> COMMON HERBS USED IN SMUDGING <><><> Although different tribes and traditions use different herbs for shamanic smudging, some ofrepparttar 122344 most popular herbs include desert sage, white broadleaf sage, juniper, pinon (sometimes in resin form), sweetgrass, copal (in resin form), mugwort, lavender and sacred tobacco. Here are some general uses forrepparttar 122345 different herbs often used for smudging:

- PINON RESIN Primarily fire element though can also be used as for four-element general purposes. Has a pleasant and meditative fragrance. Is cleansing, strengthening, warming, and used by Native American cultures for its spiritual and healing properties. Produces a thick stream of smoke, and is excellent for refreshingrepparttar 122346 senses and reviving a tired soul.

- COPAL GOLD RESIN Primarily fire and water elements though can also be used as for four-element general purposes. When burned,repparttar 122347 scent is sweet, resinous, slightly woody, mildly earthy and spicy. Was a holy incense used byrepparttar 122348 peoples of Mesoamerica. Traditionally used as incense in divinatory and cleansing ceremonies. The resin contains aromatic chemicals called terpenes, which make it volatile and flammable. Used by Mayan shamans prior to ingesting mushrooms.

- MYRRH RESIN Primarily earth element though can also be used as for four-element general purposes. Produces a lot of smoke when burned, very earthy, piney scent. Gathered from an almost leafless Middle Eastern shrub calledrepparttar 122349 Commiphora Molmol. It was used byrepparttar 122350 ancient Egyptians in rituals of Healing and Passing. It is one ofrepparttar 122351 ingredients used byrepparttar 122352 Egyptians to embalm bodies. Useful for spirituality, meditation, happiness, release, transformation, strength, confidence and stability.

- FRANKINCENSE RESIN Primarily fire element though can also be used as for four-element general purposes. Isrepparttar 122353 resin of an African tree and produces a rich, dense smoke when burned. Used extensively in meditation and healing. In numerous religious traditions, frankincense's spiritual scent was believed to confer divine blessing. Plinyrepparttar 122354 Elder mentioned it as an antidote to hemlock poisoning.

- DESERT SAGE Primarily air element though can also be used as for four-element general purposes. Has a somewhat sharp, light and refreshing scent. One ofrepparttar 122355 most sacred herbs among Native Americans. Used to purifyrepparttar 122356 mind, body and spirit before prayer, meditation, ritual or ceremony. Also used to purify sacred items such as pipes, magical tools, tarot decks and eagle feathers. Can be used for area, house and personal cleansings. Some people carry a small amount of Sage in a pocket or medicine pouch to insure personal and spiritual safety.

- JUNIPER Primarily fire element though can also be used as for four-element general purposes. Has a sharp, piney scent. Excellent to stimulate and revive when tired in body, mind or Spirit. Used in ancient times for ritual purification of temples. Smoke believed to aid clairvoyance. Also useful for purification and to stimulate contact with other worlds. Burned duringrepparttar 122357 Plague to resist disease

- LAVENDER Primarily air element. Has a light, aromatic and refreshing scent. Useful for attracting peace, happiness and restful sleep. Also reduces depression, grief and sorrow. Aids in meditation and divination, and often said to aid in manifestation. Known as Elf Leaf, Nard, Nardus, Spike and Lavandar. Traditionally associated with fairies and elves

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