28.3.11

Health and Wellness Terminology

Article

Health, Wellness, Alternative Medicine, Complementary Medicine, Natural Healing, Holistic Medicine; what do all these terms really mean?

Health and Wellness
In conventional terms, ‘health’, is considered to be ‘the state of being free from illness or injury’, although in 1948 the World Health Organisation labelled it ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. However, when Halbert L Dunn M.D., began using the phrase ‘high level wellness’ in the 1950’s, it was the beginning of the modern concept of ‘wellness’, which eventually began to become popular the 1970’s, and which has grown to what it has become, today.

The term, ‘wellness’ is generally used to define a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit, which results in an overall feeling of well-being. Wellness is considered care without drugs that can not only eliminate health problems but essentially prevent them. It is defined by the National Wellness Institute as, ‘an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence’. While conventional medicine remains a constant in our lives, more and more people are searching for alternative methods for overall health and wellness.

Medicine
The word, ‘medicine’ is derived from the Latin, ‘ars medicina’, meaning ‘the art of healing’. Modern, conventional medicine applies health science, biomedical research and medical terminology to diagnose and treat injury and disease, typically through medication, surgery, and occasionally other forms of therapy. There is medicine available however, considered un-conventional, which is utilised to not only treat injury and disease, but to prevent it, without the need for artificial medications.

Alternative Medicine and Complementary Medicine
‘Alternative medicine’ commonly refers to any healing practice that does not fall within the realm of conventional medicine, and is used to describe practices that are used in place of conventional medicine. It covers a broad range of healing philosophies, and therapies, commonly referred to as, ‘natural healing’, and many of which have been practised in different cultures for centuries.

If alternative medicine or therapy is used instead of conventional medicine, it is called, alternative medicine. If the treatment or therapy is conducted in addition to conventional medicine, it is referred to as ‘complementary medicine’. For example, many Chinese hospitals use acupuncture to reduce the pain during surgery, instead of anaesthetics, as in the practice of conventional medicine. Other widely used forms of complementary medicine include; relaxation techniques, visualisation and herbal medicine.

Natural Healing and Holistic Medicine
‘Natural healing’ is a broad term which refers to treating injury or disease with natural medicines, such as herbs, vitamins and supplements, and through physical, energy and spiritual techniques; in place of traditional modern medicine produced from chemical, synthetic drugs. Any therapy that relies on the body's own healing powers may be considered ‘natural medicine’.

While conventional medicine is divided up into specialists who treat only one part of the body, such as a cardiologist, gynaecologist, or orthopaedist; ‘holistic medicine’ considers the complete person, on all levels. Holistic medicine practices pay attention to the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of health, in addition to the physical body.  They believe our bodies are remarkably resilient machines, capable of healing themselves to a large degree, and in the importance of self care to prevent, rather than cure, illness.


© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

13.3.11

Harry Potter's Magical Creatures ~ Myths & Legends

Article


If you are a Harry Potter fan, you’ve probably already devoured your hard or soft cover copies of all that’s on the menu from the series, especially since the last is to be released in July this year. But if you still haven’t had your fill, there’s now a new delicacy available to appease your appetite : – Harry Potter’s Magical Creatures ~ Myths and Legends, ebook (Kindle).

The author of the Harry Potter series, J K Rowling will not permit the Harry Potter series in ebook form, but this hasn’t stopped Harry Potter fans from savouring other Harry Potter delights in the lead up to the culmination of the Harry Potter phenomena. It seems while there is Harry Potter nourishment needed, it will be delivered to the dinner table.

The magical creatures included in the Harry Potter books and movie series could quite easily have been conjured up in the mind of the author J K Rowling, through their direct appropriateness to the wizardry theme of the series; however, many of these creatures actually have their roots in folklore and early Greek mythology and legend.

Did these creatures actually roam the earth as magical beings in earlier times, or were they none-the-less amazing creatures, created by elaboration into the extraordinary, through the passage of time?

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

12.3.11

The Character of - If

Article

When I was a small child of eleven years old, before the internet became available, I came across a poem called ‘If’ written by Rudyard Kipling in 1895. Even though it is a poem that pertains to any age group, I considered it at the time to being applicable to those that had experienced much in life. My life’s experiences were still few at such a young age, but I felt compelled to buy this poem written on a poster, and I kept it in my ‘treasure’ box.

Over the years when the challenges of life left me feeling unsure or battle weary, I would pull out this poster, and ponder on the words and messages contained within. It would always amaze me that no matter the situation, I could not only find comfort and inspiration from the words, but also renewed ‘strength of purpose’ for life in general. Everyone will find their own interpretation from this poem, but I believe most people will agree that it also contains a blue print for that good old fashioned quality, called – character!


IF

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

– Rudyard Kipling


© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

7.3.11

Reflections of Life - Simple and Meaningful Quotes

Article


* Life*
**************

*The glass is always half full*
*Life isn’t fair - but it’s still good*
*Everything in life happens for a reason*
*We are all responsible for our own happiness*
*There will always be someone worse off than you*
*Whatever doesn’t kill you always makes you stronger*
*What other people think about you - really doesn’t matter*
*Focus on the positives and that which brings you happiness*
*When there is complete silence – you hear so much more*
*When nothing ever changes - nothing ever changes*
*The first thing to do in a crisis is to - breathe…*
*The most important things in life are to:-*
*  ♥ ♥ Love  ♥ ♥ and  be Loved  ♥ ♥*

**********************

*Life is good*
*Enjoy!*


© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

4.3.11

Natural Good Health - Chakra Ailments and Antidotes Part Three

Article

The Stomach (Solar Plexus) Chakra assists with balancing your emotions and will power. The Sacral (Navel) Chakra helps you express yourself fully, artistically, sexually and socially.

From birth, all Chakras tend to be naturally open and receive input from the environment. Unfortunately experiences in life can cause Chakras to partially, or even fully, ‘close’. With imbalance of the Chakras, it is also possible for some Chakras to be overstimulated, and too ‘open’. Rebalancing all the Chakras individually assists in returning to a nature state of good health.


Stomach (Solar Plexus) Chakra
Illnesses linked to the Stomach (Solar Plexus) Chakra include diabetes, hypoglycemia, ulcers, gallstones and mental and nervous exhaustion. The Stomach (Solar Plexus) Chakra is about connecting to your environment and the process of food digestion.

A balanced Stomach (Solar Plexus) Chakra will assist your overall mood.

Exercise: To stimulate a sluggish Stomach (Solar Plexus) Chakra, sit with your back straight. Take a deep breath and relax the muscles in your abdomen, and then quickly pull in the muscles in your abdomen several times repeatedly, causing sharp exhalations of breath
Aromatherapy: To relax an over-active Stomach (Solar Plexus) Chakra, relax in a bath with essential oils such as chamomile or lemongrass
Mantra: Repeat a calming Mantra in your mind, such as, ‘calm, balanced, focused’, whenever you find yourself getting annoyed or stressed
Meditation: Stand comfortably and visualise a golden glow emanating from your Stomach (Solar Plexus) Chakra, and spreading through your aura with golden light. As you walk slowly around the room, repeat, ‘I will be balanced’


Sacral (Navel) Chakra
Illnesses linked to the Sacral (Navel) Chakra include impotence, bladder and uterine disorders, frigidity and sexual dysfunction. The Sacral (Navel) Chakra is about your nurturing side and the way you interact with people.

A balanced Sacral (Navel) Chakra will help you express yourself socially and creatively.

Exercise: Stand up straight with your knees slightly bent and your pelvis dropped forward. Keeping your knees bent and flexible, rotate your pelvis in gradually decreasing clockwise circles, slowly increasing the circle rotation size. Repeat, in the opposite direction
Crystals: Anoint pulse points with frankincense oil. Sit cross-legged, breathe deeply and hold a piece of aquamarine or rutile quartz just below your navel. Close your eyes, relax and recite, ‘Through balance I am open to change, and create the future I desire’
Aromatherapy: Anoint yourself with a few drops of chamomile, lavender or ylang ylang essential oil just below your navel. Lie down, and relax, breathing deeply while inhaling to the count of four, and exhaling to the count of eight
Meditation: Lie down with your arms extended and your knees bent so that your feet are pulled up to your body, with the soles touching. This position stimulates your Sacral Chakra

Please Note: You should seek professional help if any illness or symptom does not improve with natural healing.

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Natural Good Health - Chakra Ailments and Antidotes Part Four

Article

The Base (Root) Chakra supports all the Chakras and is the resting place of sexual energy within every person.

From birth, all Chakras tend to be naturally open and receive input from the environment. Unfortunately experiences in life can cause Chakras to partially, or even fully, ‘close’. With imbalance of the Chakras, it is also possible for some Chakras to be overstimulated, and too ‘open’. Rebalancing all the Chakras individually assists in returning to a nature state of good health.


Base (Root) Chakra
Illnesses linked to the Base (Root) Chakra include anorexia, constant illness through exhaustion, low blood pressure, arthritis, constipation, haemorrhoids and obesity. The Base (Root) Chakra is about balancing to avoid the effects of both inertia and exhaustion.

A balanced Base (Root) Chakra will bring you a more grounded sense of self.

Exercise: Stand straight, arms loose at your side and feet shoulder-width apart. Imagine a straight line connects the top of your head to an area in between your feet. Breathe in, rise up to your toes, while bringing your arms up slowly to form a cross, keeping your body straight and bottom tucked in. Breathe out, lowering your heels as you do so, and bringing your arms back down to your sides. Repeat 4 times
Crystal meditation: Using marjoram essential oil in your oil burner for its calming effects, stand comfortably holding a piece of rose quartz to your Base (Root) Chakra, at the back and base of your spine. Meditate and visualise yourself surrounded by a cool pink glow.
Colour: Avoid wearing ‘hot’ colours such as reds, oranges and yellows, when your Base (Root) Chakra is over stimulated. Concentrate on wearing clothes, jewellery and surrounding yourself with ‘cool’ colours such as blue, light green and white
Meditation: Use patchouli, cedarwood or sandalwood in your oil burner while meditating, sitting in the half-lotus position. Feel your connection with the Earth beneath you as you draw up its energy though your feet to your Base (Root) Chakra

Please Note: You should seek professional help if any illness or symptom does not improve with natural healing.

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Natural Good Health - Chakra Ailments and Antidotes Part Two

Article

The Throat Chakra assists self expression by helping you to find and use your own voice. The Heart Chakra brings balance to the Chakras by acting as the meeting point of the Upper and Lower Chakra energy centres.

From birth, all Chakras tend to be naturally open and receive input from the environment. Unfortunately experiences in life can cause Chakras to partially, or even fully, ‘close’. With imbalance of the Chakras, it is also possible for some Chakras to be overstimulated, and too ‘open’. Rebalancing all the Chakras individually assists in returning to a nature state of good health.


Throat Chakra
Illnesses linked to the Throat Chakra include ear, throat and thyroid conditions. The Throat Chakra is about expression; finding and using your words. If you do not express yourself you find yourself disempowered by your own ‘lack of voice’.

A balanced Throat Chakra will improve your confidence and creativity.

Daily Affirmations: Try using mantras such as – ‘I will speak up for myself. What I have to say is worth hearing. I will take responsibility for my needs and listen to the needs of others.’ Repeat several times every day
Massage: Gently massage the neck area to help release stored tension to calm the Throat Chakra
Yoga: Yoga postures such as the Cobra, the Shoulderstand, the Plough, the Headstand, the Camel and the Fish, are all good for stimulating and opening a blocked Throat Chakra
Crystal meditation: Meditate holding a crystal such as aquamarine or moonstone, or wear either of these as a necklace


Heart Chakra
Illnesses linked to the Heart include heart attack, high blood pressure, insomnia, and difficulty in breathing. The heart is the centre of love and being, the source of harmony that balances the Upper three Chakras, and the Lower three Chakras. Its focus is on balance, self love and love for others.

A balanced Heart Chakra brings balance to all the other Chakras, and connects directly with the minor Chakras in the hands.

Exercise: Stand comfortably with your hands held out in front of you at shoulder height with your elbows straight. Turn one palm downwards and the other upwards, then quickly open and close both hands into fists several times until your hands tire
Mantra: Repeating the mantra associated with the Heart Chakra (‘Sa’) while meditating is a good way to stimulate the Heart Chakra
Aromatherapy: A good way to calm the Heart Chakra is to indulge in a hot bath, adding essential oils such as chamomile, lavender or rosemary.
Breathing: Sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Be aware of your breathing, and with each inhalation, see yourself inhaling pure white light. Feel it filling your body and energising you.

Please Note: You should seek professional help if any illness or symptom does not improve with natural healing.

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Natural Good Health - Chakra Ailments and Antidotes Part One

Article

The Crown Chakra helps to combat negative feelings by teaching you to appreciate life, the beauty around you in nature, and the value of people you love. The Third Eye (Brow) Chakra helps to combat stress by teaching you to take quality time for yourself.

From birth, all Chakras tend to be naturally open and receive input from the environment. Unfortunately experiences in life can cause Chakras to partially, or even fully, ‘close’. With imbalance of the Chakras, it is also possible for some Chakras to be overstimulated, and too ‘open’. Rebalancing all the Chakras individually assists in returning to a nature state of good health.


Crown Chakra
Illnesses linked to the Crown Chakra include alienation, confusion and depression. Not knowing what your place is in the world and lacking confidence in your abilities are both symptoms of an imbalanced Crown Chakra.

A balanced Crown Chakra will make you feel more compassionate and fulfilled.

Colour: Wear and surround yourself with warm colours such as red, orange, and yellow. These colours stimulate the Lower Chakras, rebalancing the Crown Chakra
Massage: Massaging the head with gentle stokes across the top of the skull in 20 minute time frames is another excellent way to stimulate the Crown Chakra
Aromatherapy: Regular use of aromatherapy oils such as ylang ylang, clary sage and lavender oil help to calm the Crown Chakra
Crystal meditation: Meditate holding a crystal such as jade, malachite, rhodonite or rose quartz to calm the Crown Chakra


Third Eye (Brow) Chakra
Illnesses linked to the Third Eye (Brow) Chakra include stress, eye conditions, headaches (including migraines), and nightmares. Nightmares occur when the unconscious mind is stressed an unable to express a message in more positive ways.

A balanced Third Eye (Brow) Chakra will allow you to become wiser, more spiritual and creative.

Exercise: Sit down comfortably and rub your palms together vigorously for a few minutes. Close your eyes and cup your palms over them. Let your eyes bathe in the warmth and darkness for a minute or so. Open your eyes while your palms are still cupped over them and slowly move your palms away from your face. Repeat three times.
Breathing: Deep breathing, taking slow deep breaths, can help regulate the oxygen flow to your body which will help calm this Chakra down to its normal balanced rate.
Aromatherapy: Add 5 drops each of lavender, clary sage, rosemary and chamomile oils to a bowl of cold water. Dip a compress in this blend and hold it to the back of your neck.
Crystal meditation: Meditate holding an Amethyst crystal to your Third Eye (Brow), and gently rubbing your skin with it as you move it slowly in clockwise circles.

Please Note: You should seek professional help if any illnesses or symptoms do not improve with natural healing.

~



© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Natural Good Health - The Seven Chakras

Article

Our bodies are composed of a network of energy channels called Nadis that promote healing, by directing energy to the Chakras (energy centres).  The seven major Chakras consist of the Crown, Third Eye (Brow), Throat, Heart, Stomach (Solar Plexus), Sacral (Navel) and Base (Root) Chakras, which all deal with certain areas of our bodies, and all need to be balanced to maintain Natural Good Health.

The seven major Chakras are often grouped into three sections; the Upper Chakras, the Heart Chakra, and the Lower Chakras.

Upper Chakras
The Upper Chakras deal with our mental processes, our creative ability and how we express ourselves to others. They control our thinking, dreaming and communicating. The Upper Chakras also govern the relationship between our mind and body.

The Crown Chakra is located at the top of the head; controls consciousness and all the processes of the mind and body. In the body it also governs the pineal gland and upper brain.
The Third Eye (also known as the Brow Chakra) is located on the brow and controls psychic ability and mental process. In the body is governs the pituitary gland, the lower brain, the eyes, nose and nervous system.
The Throat Chakra, located at the throat, controls dreams, the voice and active power. In the body it governs the sense of hearing, the thyroid gland, the lungs and voice.

Our spirits grow weary and tired when the Upper Chakras are under-stimulated, we tend to ‘dream’ more, and achieve - less. Our sense of realistically achieving our goals becomes jaded.

Heart Chakra
The Heart Chakra, brings balance to all the Chakras by acting as the central meeting point of the Upper three Chakras (mental and perspective processes), and the Lower three Chakras (feeling processes).

The Heart Chakra, located at the heart, balances and directs all energies within the body, via energy channels called Nadis (translation – ‘flowing water’). In the body it governs the thymus gland, the heart, blood and circulatory system.

It is the centre of love and being, and the source of harmony, and if under-stimulated we feel unloved, by ourselves and others. The Heart Chakra also governs your sense of touch, such as when you are ‘in touch’ with someone or something.

Lower Chakra
The Lower Chakras deal with our feelings, instinctive and emotional behaviour, sexuality and sensuality. They are the ‘body’ Chakras, concerned with your well being through digestion, sex, social interaction, and daily routines.

The Stomach Chakra (also known as the Solar Plexus) is located below the breastbone and controls interaction with your environment, digestive processes and your emotions. In the body it governs the pancreas, the stomach, the liver, the diaphragm, the adrenals and the nervous system.

The Sacral Chakra (also known as the Navel Chakra) is located just below the naval, controls creativity (procreation), nurturing, sexuality, sensuality and change. In the body it governs taste, ovaries and testicles, spinal column, womb, bladder and kidneys.

The Base Chakra (also known as the Root Chakra) is located at the base of the spine and controls instinct, survival, pleasure and base sexuality. In the body it governs smell, the gonads and adrenal glands, the excretory system, bones, teeth, nails and hair.

The Lower Chakras are the ones that enable basic needs to be met. Our self esteem is affected when the Lower Chakras are under-stimulated, and attention is not paid to the needs of the body to remain healthy and motivated.

~



© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Natural Good Health - Spiritual Healing Methods

Article

Spiritual healing methods to obtain natural good health are all linked by a common faith in universal life energy, and an understanding that the power of belief will help you heal.

There are many different kinds of spiritual healing, from the laying on of hands to colour visualisations, but the one thing they all share in common is the belief that some illnesses can be cured without the need for conventional medicine.

The Power of the Mind
The power of the mind to heal the body is often underestimated in Western medicine, but it can be the most important aspect of many spiritual healing practices. The desire to get better plays a major role in how quickly someone recovers from an injury or illness. In spiritual healing practices, understanding how a therapy works is not as important as believing in its ability to heal. Faith is the key, whether it is in the Christian God, nature magic or a healers hands, to allow these therapies to work.

Chi Energy
Christians pray to God for help for healing, while Chinese mystics point to an invisible energy, called Chi that needs to be rebalanced. Both Christians and Chinese mystics acknowledge that there are invisible energies in the world, in whatever form they may take. Chi is considered to be a flow of energy that runs through the body, both nourishing and healing it. Health can be affected by a blockage in the flow of Chi, so many healing practices, such as Colour therapy, Crystal healing, Reflexology, Reiki, Tai Chi, and Yoga focus on restoring balance to the energy flow.

The Chakras - Energy Centres of the Body
The Chakras are energy centres in a persons body that are all connected by energy channels called, Nadis, similar to veins but instead of circulating blood, the Nadis govern the circulation of energy instead. There are many Chakras in a person’s body but the major ones are the seven that run from the base of the spine, up to the top of the head. For both exercise and alternative healing, knowledge of the Chakras is very beneficial.

Crown Chakra: Controls the higher functions of intelligence
Third Eye: Governs psychic abilities and awareness
Throat Chakra: Controls how we express ourselves verbally and non-verbally
Heart Chakra: Controls self love and our love for others
Stomach Chakra: Controls personality and emotions
Sacral Chakra: Governs sensuality and sexuality
Base Chakra: Controls mental and physical strength

Maintain or Regain Natural Good Health
Life is shaped by experiences both good and bad, and at all stages of life there are challenges and events that can have an effect on a persons Chakras. By learning about your Chakras and how you can prevent them from closing as well as rebalancing them, through natural healing practices, can assist in maintaining or regaining, natural good health. 

© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Sacred Celtic Trees - Part Seven

Article

The sacred Celtic trees are rich in mythological history and have inspired many traditions in folklore. The Spindle, Willow and Yew, are the seventh in the list of sacred Celtic trees.

For the ancient Celtic culture, trees were an important asset to their way of life. They provided shelter, firewood, tools, weapons, dyes and medicines; were important to their ancient rituals, and the mythological meanings are still sometimes applicable in societies around the world, today.

Spindle
Spindles for spinning flax were made from the Spindle tree. The craft of spinning had deep associations for Celtic women and ancient goddesses. The Spindle trees crimson fruit combined with the image of the spindle also appears in the fairy tale of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, where the princess falls into a deep enchanted sleep after she pricks her finger on the needle of a spindle.



Willow
The Willow tree symbolises regeneration as cut Willows always re-sprouts. It is so highly flexible that the wood has traditionally been used for basket weaving. As a water-loving tree, the Willow signified emotional balance. In Celtic tradition, deserted lovers would ‘wear the green Willow’ to share their grief with others. The wood of the Willow tree was also good as a water-diving tool and for making wands.



Yew
The Yew tree symbolises death and rebirth in Celtic tradition. The branches of this unusual tree grow into the ground, and when the central trunk dies, the tree lives on as the branches grow into new trees. Celtic leaders were buried under Yew trees. It is believed this was to symbolise their eventual rebirth in the next life.




© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Sacred Celtic Trees - Part Six

Article

The sacred Celtic trees are rich in mythological history and have inspired many traditions in folklore. The Pine, Poplar and Rowan (Mountain Ash), are the sixth in the list of sacred Celtic trees.

For the ancient Celtic culture, trees were an important asset to their way of life. They provided shelter, firewood, tools, weapons, dyes and medicines; were important to their ancient rituals, and the mythological meanings are still sometimes applicable in societies around the world, today.

Pine
In Celtic tradition the Pine was known as the everlasting tree that held ‘the sweetest of woods’. Today, its fragrance is a popular choice for household cleaning products and fresheners, bringing the scent of the woods into the home. Druids hailed Pine as one of the seven chieftain trees of Irish mythology. Dried needles of pine were used to purify ritual areas, and its branches were used as a broom to sweep away negativity.



Poplar
The wood of the Poplar was thought to bring relief from death and disease in Celtic tradition. These attributes made it the perfect choice of material for making shields. The sacred Poplar tree was also a source of fuel, burned in ancient need-fires. These rites would take place whenever there was a local calamity such as an epidemic among the cattle, or whenever a shortage of rain placed the harvests in jeopardy.



Rowan (Mountain Ash)
The Rowan tree symbolises tenacity, due to the conditions in which it grows. It is found growing high up on the sides of mountains, often sprouting from tiny crevices in inaccessible places. The Rowan berry has a tiny five pointed star or pentagram opposite its stalk. This explains why it was worn, hung in doorways, or planted near houses to offer protection against evil forces.




© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Sacred Celtic Trees - Part Five

Article

The sacred Celtic trees are rich in mythological history and have inspired many traditions in folklore. The Juniper, Lime and Oak, are the fifth in the list of sacred Celtic trees.

For the ancient Celtic culture, trees were an important asset to their way of life. They provided shelter, firewood, tools, weapons, dyes and medicines; were important to their ancient rituals, and the mythological meanings are still sometimes applicable in societies around the world, today.

Juniper
The essence of Juniper has long been considered a purifying cleanser and as a protector against dangerous forces. Juniper berries were used by the Celtic cultures, along with Rue to cleanse and fumigate the house prior to the celebrations of May Day. Today, people who follow these traditions rub Juniper oil into their hands.



Lime
The Lime tree is also linked to the Oak tree. In some Celtic cultures, men made sacrifices to the Oak tree to ensure good crops, while women did the same with Lime. This suggests that the Oak was regarded as masculine, and the Lime as feminine. Today, lime flowers are used to make a light and refreshing drink.



Oak
The slow growing Oak tree is known as the, ‘King of the Forest’. With its huge height and wide girth, the Oak tree represents strength, courage and wisdom. The Druids revered the tree and held meetings in Oak groves. In the Ogham alphabet, the word ‘duir’, which means ‘door’, is linked to the Oak, and therefore links the tree as the doorway to knowledge and wisdom. The Oak tree is also linked to the Summer Solstice, and its wood fuelled the sacred Midsummer fires.




© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Sacred Celtic Trees - Part Four

Article

The sacred Celtic trees are rich in mythological history and have inspired many traditions in folklore. The Hawthorn, Hazel and Holly, are the fourth in the list of sacred Celtic trees.

For the ancient Celtic culture, trees were an important asset to their way of life. They provided shelter, firewood, tools, weapons, dyes and medicines; were important to their ancient rituals, and the mythological meanings are still sometimes applicable in societies around the world, today.

Hawthorn (May)
In Celtic traditions the most common name for the Hawthorn tree was the May tree. The May blossoms appear on the tree at the beginning of the month of May in the south of England, at the time of the Beltane or May Day celebrations. Armfuls of May blossoms were used to decorate doorways and make garlands for traditional Maypoles. The Hawthorn signifies rebirth, and the trees wood was often used in Mayday festivities.



Hazel
Hazel wood is pliant and was traditionally used for divining underground water. A hazelnut on a string also made a good dowsing pendulum. A Celtic legend tells of nine hazelnuts of wisdom, which fell into a sacred pool and was eaten by a salmon. Whoever ate the salmon would then receive infinite wisdom.



Holly
Holly is traditionally used to decorate the home at Winter Solstice. Its red berries and green leaves in the dead of winter symbolise everlasting life. A Holly tree growing near the home is thought to provide protection from thunder, lightening and demons. A masculine tree, its wood was also used to make spears and chariot wheels in ancient times.




© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

3.3.11

Sacred Celtic Trees - Part Three

Article

The sacred Celtic trees are rich in mythological history and have inspired many traditions in folklore. The Cedar, Elm and Fir, are the third in the list of sacred Celtic trees.

For the ancient Celtic culture, trees were an important asset to their way of life. They provided shelter, firewood, tools, weapons, dyes and medicines; were important to their ancient rituals, and the mythological meanings are still sometimes applicable in societies around the world, today.

Cedar
In Celtic traditions, the Cedar tree was also known as the ‘Tree of Life’ (plus Ash), although the Cedar tree symbolism was rather ironic, as the oil was used as a tool of the battlefields. In wartime the heads of enemies were kept as trophies and preserved with the oil of the Cedar tree. Another belief however, is that the Cedar tree has the ability to connect people to the universal energies of the Earth, which compliments the name symbolism.



Elm
Although a scared tree of the Celts, the Elm has traditionally been regarded as unfriendly to humanity, and although allowed to ‘roam free’ in wide open spaces, usually not grown too close to dwellings. Considered a tree of shadows, the Elm was sometimes planted in certain areas as a warning to people to not venture too close.



Fir
The Fir tree is a tree of seasonal festivity. Fir trees were brought indoors during certain traditional celebrations to ensure that some green-growing energy remained in the home. This predates the custom of bringing in a tree at Christmas time. The Fir tree was also often used for the Maypole and as a result Fir tree cones are considered to be ancient symbols of fertility.




© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Sacred Celtic Trees - Part Two

Article

The sacred Celtic trees are rich in mythological history and have inspired many traditions in folklore. The Beech, Birch and Blackthorn, are the second in the list of sacred Celtic trees.

For the ancient Celtic culture, trees were an important asset to their way of life. They provided shelter, firewood, tools, weapons, dyes and medicines; were important to their ancient rituals, and the mythological meanings are still sometimes applicable in societies around the world, today.

Beech
Beech is traditionally known as, ‘Queen of the Forest’, because this tree is seen as the female counterpart to the Oak, the ‘King of the Forest’. The words, ‘book’ and ‘beech’ are of the same origin due to the historical use of the Beech tree. Closely grained and easily smoothed, Beech wood was used for writing tablets, and also connected with ancient wisdom.



Birch
The birch is often known as the ‘Lady of the Woods’, and signifies new beginnings, predominantly because it is the first tree to grow back after a forest has been burned. New beginnings are further signified by the way it sheds its bark, releasing the old to make way for the new. Traditionally couples would marry by jumping over a Birch twig to symbolise a new life together.



Blackthorn
The Blackthorn tree grows as a thorny thicket. Its prickly nature assisted the Celts to form a barrier to keep out intruders. The hard strong wood has traditionally been used for walking sticks, such as the Irish shillelagh, and according to ancient lore, the thorns from the Blackthorn were used to pierce waxen images.




© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

Sacred Celtic Trees - Part One

Article

The sacred Celtic trees are rich in mythological history and have inspired many traditions in folklore. The Alder, Apple, and Ash, are the first in the list of sacred Celtic trees.

For the ancient Celtic culture, trees were an important asset to their way of life. They provided shelter, firewood, tools, weapons, dyes and medicines; were important to their ancient rituals, and the mythological meanings are still sometimes applicable in societies around the world, today.

Alder
In Welsh mythology, the Alder was the front line of the ‘Battle of the Trees’, against the Underworld. When cut, the wood turns from white to red as though bleeding. As it grows near water, the tree has feminine characteristics, although its links to war also indicate masculinity. The Alder therefore speaks of balancing masculine and feminine properties.



Apple
The Druids revered the Apple tree due to its connection to Mistletoe, which was also considered sacred. The fruits of the Apple tree are still regarded as a cure-all today, as is depicted in the saying, ‘an apple a day, keeps the doctor away’. Apples also symbolise love, and loved ones are often described as, ‘the apple of my eye’.



Ash
In Celtic tradition, the Ash tree is the ‘Tree of Life’, and its winged seeds, called keys, represented the key to universal understanding. The tree was also believed to cure warts, by pricking the Ash tree with a pin, crossing the warts with the pin three times while saying: ‘Ash tree, ashen tree, pray buy this wart off me’, and then putting the pin back in the tree.



© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

2.3.11

Pagan Celtic Spirituality

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Ancient cultures around the world were more closely connected to the natural world physically and spiritually then we are today. The people from ancient times relied greatly upon the natural gifts of the Earth for food, clothing and medicine, and the Celtic culture developed their spirituality from observing nature closely.

Pagan Celtic spirituality developed from their understanding that all of existence has a cyclic nature, and a direct connection between the material world and the otherworld. The Druidic teachings, from Welsh Celtic tradition tell of an unseen world affecting the visible world, with everything existing on simultaneous levels.


The Otherworld
According to Celtic tradition, the Otherworld is the realm of spirit, existing alongside the everyday world, with the two worlds only separated by a veil. This veil is a thin penetrable barrier, which ‘thinned’, or even lifted at various places and times. A mist, a lake, a hill, could all be places where the veil was thin enough to allow passage between the two realities, and ‘time’ had no connection. Celtic literature documents such travels.

Today, some of the traditions of the Celtic people survive in Catholicism in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man – the Celtic nations. However, their original spiritual and religious views can be gleaned from their well-known myths and stories which exist from the Welsh ‘Mabinogion’, Irish stories and sagas, and the famous tales of King Arthur Pendragon.

The Mabinogion
The Mabinogion is the title given to a collection of eleven prose stories collated from medieval Welsh manuscripts. The stories draw on pre Christian Celtic mythology, international folktale, and early medieval historical traditions. In the mid 19th century Lady Charlotte Guest was the first to publish English translations of the collection, making the name ‘Mabinogion’ popular at the same time.

Pagan Celtic Traditions
There are many different forms of pagan Celtic traditions, and some of these include; Celtic Shamanism, Druidry, Faery Faith and Celtic Traditionalism.

Celtic Shamanism is a shamanic path based on the Faery Faith of the Celtic people. Modern Celtic shamanism builds on ‘core shamanism’ through the myths and traditions of the British Isles. Historically shamanic roles among the Celts were filled by druids and bards.

The responsibilities of a Druid included those of priest, receiving and holding knowledge of the past, present and future, scientific and medical learning, and settling disputes.
Bards were trained as druids, but specialized in memorizing and reciting stories of the myths of their people and sacred lore and incantations, in verse form.

The Faery Faith is based upon the belief that everything in this and the otherworld is alive, and everything is possessed of its own soul or spirit. This belief is called ‘animism’, which was present before the advent of the Christian religion, which insists that only man has souls or spirits and everything else in the world has been placed here for the use of mankind. This attitude, that humankind is superior to all of the rest of creation, is not accepted in those parts of the world were animistic beliefs are still held.

Celtic Traditionalism is a current religion consisting of trying to reconstruct the beliefs and practices of the original Celtic people, as opposed to Druidic teachings. This tradition focuses more on the beliefs of the average Celtic man or woman.


© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.

The Celtic Identitiy

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The Celtic identity has long been associated with independence. They were never a broad cultural ‘race’ of people, or an ‘empire’ ruled by a government. Where the Celts lived, was a constantly changing group of tribal ‘nations’.

According to historians the Celtic culture originated in central Europe, to the east of the Rhine in the areas now part of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. From these areas, around 3,400 years ago, the Celtic people expanded across the Continent, and eventually inhabited a large portion of central, western, and north-western Europe.

Celtic Nations
Today, the Celtic nations are territories in north-western Europe in which the Celtic languages and cultural traits, or identity, have survived. Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man, are basically Celtic in character, and these are the six ‘nations’ considered to be the Celtic nations.

Celtic Language
Each of the six nations has its own living Celtic language. In Wales, Scotland, Brittany and Ireland, these have been spoken continuously through time. However, although the Celtic languages spoken in Cornwall and the Isle of Man gradually died out at one point in time, resurgence in recent years has brought about a revitalisation.

Nation, Celtic Name and Language
Wales: Cymru – Welsh
Scotland: Alba – Scottish Gaelic
Ireland: Eire – Irish
Brittany: Breizh – Breton
Cornwall: Kernow – Cornish
Isle of Man: Mannin Ellan Vannin – Manx

Celtic Character
The history pages depict the Celts as stemming from two main groups. One group which is referred to as the ‘lowland Celts’ from the Danube region, and who made their way to Ireland, were skilled in the use of metals and worked in gold, tin and bronze. They were agriculturally orientated, being herdsman, tillers and artificers.

The second group, often referred to as the ‘true’ Celts, from the Rhine region, followed closely behind their lowland cousins. These people were a military aristocracy, reputed to love fighting for the sake it, and frequently found in the great armies. These were the warlike Celts who made their way across much of Europe to the British Isles.

The ‘true’ Celts were known for their qualities of chivalry, courage and dauntless bravery, but they also balanced out these more aggressive tendencies by possessing a great sensitivity to music, poetry and philosophy.


© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.