Each month, “My Better Day” newsletter contains tips for your yoga practice, yoga quotes to bring yoga off the mat and into your life, affirmations to brighten your day and motivate, and more! It is my wish for your well-being that I send this newsletter to help make your day a Better Day!
In this issue: Yoga quote, Practice yoga pose, Meditation on the go, Chakrascope, Hand Mudra, Featured Card Deck and Quote, Healthy News, Featured Recipe, Favorite Yoga Music / DVD, Happenings at Better Day Yoga LLC, Final Relaxation Quote.
Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC
“If you do not believe in magic, your life will not be magical. Magic, like the power of Stonehenge, is part of the unknowable—that which you cannot describe, but which exists and makes your life extraordinary.” –The Power Deck, The Cards of Wisdom, by Lynn V. Andrews.
Since this is the month of leprechauns and fairy wings, let’s dwell on the magic we allow into our lives. Yes, allow. If you aren’t open to an idea, you stop it from manifesting in your life. If you can’t believe something is possible, no matter how much you think you want to believe it is, you won’t be able to create it. So are you open to viewing the world a bit outside the box to allow for some magic?
Similar to other children, I grew up with a fervent belief in all things magical. Houdini was one of my childhood heroes. My favorite childhood book was a book about elves, fairies and mermaids. I think it was The Golden Books Treasury of Elves and Fairies or The Giant Golden Book of Elves and Fairies with assorted Pixies, Mermaids, Brownies, Witches, and Leprechauns by Jane Werner. Unfortunately, it didn’t survive my childhood. From the comments on Amazon for the second book mentioned, I have to believe the illustrator’s magical drawings affected more than just me as a child believing in magic.
One small mention of “the book” to my oldest sister and she went off on a tangent about the mermaids in the book. My special memory was a depiction of an elfin family beneath a tree. No space went unused. There was a loaf of bread stored in the crevice of one root, and others were used as furniture. I could get lost in that illustration and I did many times as a child.
My next favorite mystical book was a garage sale purchase in my early teens: The Complete Illustrated Book of the Psychic Sciences by Walter B. Gibson & Litzka R. Gibson. My favorite section was divination by dice. You ask a question from a list of 1-30 and then the toss of two dice dictated your answer. I asked and asked and asked, pondering life as a young teen.
I still have the book, which I found just now to get the title right. My copy of this paperback is falling apart. I have to share my amazing discovery as I pulled this book off the shelf: Had you told me this book contained a section on yoga, I would have said no; but there it is, plain as day—nine pages on yoga. I’m “re-enjoying” my favorite subject from a book I’ve owned most of my life. The yoga section opens with attributing much of our psychic science as coming from the Far East with India’s scholars “classing all manifestations of the mysterious as within the realm of their natural philosophies.”
Did you get that? Mysterious manifestations are natural. Yes, I’m sure this statement had an effect on me in my early teens, and perhaps was the first seedling planted in my psyche to check out this thing called yoga.
“One of the earliest written references to fairies is in Homer’s Iliad, (Written 800 B.C.E.!) in which he talks about ‘watery fairies dancing in mazy rings,’ while in his Odyssey he tells of “fair-haired dryads of the shady woods”. ..No one knows when a belief in fairies began, but the legends of indigenous peoples whose traditions survived for thousands of years in song and story tell of encounters of fairy kingdoms. What is most surprising to skeptics in that fairies from different parts of the world and from different ages have common characteristics in legends with no apparent geographical connection.
Fairies are found in mythologies throughout the world. Especially rich in fairy lore are Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales, the Mediterranean lands, Germany, Eastern Europe and Russia, Scandinavia and Iceland. These fairy traditions—and some believe the fairies themselves—travelled with the colonists to the USA, Central and Southern America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.” A Complete Guide to Faeries & Magical Beings by Cassandra Eason.
There was also no lack of the “little people” and magical events on television to stoke my interest:
Cinderella—The 1965 TV-version starring Lesley Ann Warren. I sang “In my own little corner, in my own little chair” over and over and over.
Didn’t every little girl want to believe in a fairy godmother sending you to the ball with a new wardrobe?
The Wizard of Oz had me believing in a place far away over the rainbow where wizards and good witches helped you find your way home along with your good friends—the talking scarecrow, tinman, and lion. Will you ever doubt you have the power within you after hearing it from Glenda, the good witch?
The above two examples lead me to point out that the purpose of fairy tales has been to see the hidden message within a story, often based in fact. Tales such as these have been told since time began. They open us up to receive the lesson in a non-threatening way—to encourage us to listen. Every little girl deserves to believe she “can be whatever she wants to be” and that “you have the power within you all along”.
Eddie Albert appeared in a movie called The Borrowers released in 1973. He was the father of the “inches-tall Clock family” that scrambled to avoid being captured after being discovered by a visiting boy from the “big people” peeking under the floorboards in the Victorian mansion they lived in.
Since it was the magic of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday that inspired this newsletter, I can’t forget one of my absolute favorite movies to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day—Darby O’Gill and the Little People!
“The history of leprechauns is filled with mystery, ancient tales and surreal incidents, but reports are conflicting. It’s hard to know which part is fact and which part is fiction. The only thing that is a sure bet is that the history of the Little People is surrounded by magic.
According to local Irish folklore, the history of leprechauns has its beginning in magic. The general belief is that leprechauns are descendants of the Tuatha De Danaan, who were the people of the Goddess Danu. The Tuatha De Danaan were a group of magical beings led by Lugh the Long-Armed Warrior, who used a rainbow as a sling weapon.
Based on facts and stories that have been passed down, some people believe that leprechauns are magical creatures that do exist. Others believe leprechauns are simply creatures of imagination. Magical creatures can be anything an individual wants them be: fact to some and fiction to others. I had to believe in leprechauns—I lived in South Bend, IN growing up, and my Dad was a fervent fan of Notre Dame’s fighting Irish—with the leprechaun as their mascot! If they didn’t win, he was NOT a happy camper!
Come on now. How many of you clapped for your belief in Tinker Bell, or checked under your pillow to see if the tooth fairy made a visit? I don’t have to tell you I still believe in Santa Claus (“a right jolly old elf” from The Night Before Christmas) if you read my Nov/Dec newsletter. How about you? Do you believe?
Fun fact: Pioneering scholar Rosemary Wells, a former professor at the Northwestern University Dental School, found archival evidence that supports the origin of different tooth fairies in the U.S. around 1900, but the first written reference to one specific symbol in American literature didn’t appear until Lee Rothgow’s 1949 book, “The Tooth Fairy.” Considered the world’s tooth fairy expert, Dr. Wells even created the Tooth Fairy Museum in 1993 in her hometown of Deerfield, Illinois. But according to the local library, it evaporated after her death when her husband liquidated all her memorabilia.
It was these early childhood influences that encouraged my deeply instilled belief in all things magical. They were the stepping stones to the “magic” of energy healing, like Reiki and Ortho-Bionomy—both of which I’ve trained in. Once you start to realize that everything is energy, the things we thought of as “magic” start to become quite believable.
For example, what is the placebo effect if not the body believing in the cure and then producing what it needs? It’s the energy of belief that is the major healing factor here. Is the healing any less real? Are you open to the possibility of energetic healing? I suspect when push comes to shove, and all current medical options have been exhausted, you would be. So why not open to other energies?
My continued belief in the possibility of the existence of the wee ones—be they fairies or elves—was further fueled by finding the book, The Coming of the Fairies by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, best known as the author of Sherlock Holmes. It was his “unshakeable belief in the spirit world” that prompted him to write the book. It’s a story of the “Cottingly fairy photographs” and it is “proof of mankind’s willingness to believe” (quotes from the book.) Who am I to argue with the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cottingley_Fairies.
If you consider me foolish, consider that Avatar, The Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter all have appearances in the top ten list of highest grossing films. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_films ) Don’t they all have something to do with magical happenings, elves, or fairies?
We are a society positively enamored with magic, and would you have it any other way?! “Indeed it might be said that if you inhabit a place where there is no room for magic, it is not good for people either.” A Complete Guide to Faeries & Magical Beings by Cassandra Eason. So before you write it all off as whimsical nonsense, consider the quote from my favorite early-teen book which succinctly reminds us that mysterious manifestations are natural.
In my attempt to find a study on the belief in fairies, I found “one of the most in-depth and scholarly attempts to explain the phenomena of the Celtic belief in fairies. Based on Evans-Wentz’ Oxford doctoral thesis, it includes an extensive survey of the literature from many different perspectives, including folk-lore, history, anthropology and psychology.”
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/ffcc/index.htm . Yes, you read that right. It says doctoral thesis! This very interesting work reviews all aspects about the little people, and it’s still in print.
“Puzzling and weird occurrences have been vouched for among all nations and in every age. It is possible to relegate a good many asserted occurrences to the domain of superstition, but it is not possible thus to eliminate all.”—Sir Oliver Lodge. “Do we not find in the different ancient literatures, demons, angels, gnomes, goblins, sprites, spectres, elementals..? Perhaps these legends are not without some foundation in fact.”
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/ffcc/ffcc411.htm#page_456 . Both very well put, don’t you think?
It’s no secret that one of my absolute favorite authors is Ted Andrews. I’ve mentioned his books on animal totems and nature many times. He has authored several books that have piqued my interest. So when I found one entitled Enchantment of the Faerie Realm, I devoured it. This wonderful book is yet another way to connect with nature and in being open to the magic that awaits you in nature, if only you let it.
Ted Andrews first introduced me to the concept of “the ‘tween times’—times that are not distinct or definable—they are in-between. Dawn is neither day nor night, and neither is dusk. Noon is neither morning nor afternoon, and midnight is neither one day nor the next. Equinoxes and solstices—especially autumn and spring are also “tween time””— Enchantment of the Faerie Realm. A partial list of “tween places” from this book includes: Where streams divide, intersections of roads, beaches and seashores, fences and border hedges, thresholds, and stairwells, landings and hallways. The “tween times and places” are the best times and places to be open to the magic.
So—full disclosure— this leads me to share my own “tween time/place” story. Fair warning, I know this may sound a bit crazy to some of you; but now that I’ve warned you, you get to choose to be open to the magic.
My husband and I were in the process of moving to Minnesota from Wisconsin about 17 years ago now. It was a time of big change for us. He was to develop a fairly new sales territory in the Minneapolis area, and I looked at the move as a new beginning too. One evening I was in Madison getting ready for the movers to come the next day. Ed was already in Minnesota establishing a place to live and becoming acquainted with his new territory. So I was alone.
There were some items I didn’t want to be without that I was going to pack away in my car for my drive to Minnesota the next day. I decided to place them in the front of the fireplace in our kitchen, in the hearth area (which in retrospect was its own “tween place”—neither in the kitchen nor in the fireplace). I was in an expectant mood, perhaps a bit anxious, knowing that this was the end of our time here in Madison, which I dearly loved, and the beginning of a new adventure.
It was late in the evening so I had the lights on in the kitchen, i.e., no chance of sun reflections from outside. At the time I was not dwelling on anything but packing and the move ahead.
All of sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I saw what appeared to be a little glowing ball bouncing in the area of the hearth. I giggled a bit wondering “What the heck is this?” and walked over. As I caught it in my gaze again, it jumped behind a paper bag I’d placed in the area as if to try to elude me. A couple of jumps and I could no longer detect where it was. I was never scared. I knew what I saw was real and I was not imagining it. I didn’t know exactly what it was, I only knew that it was real and I felt truly honored to have witnessed it.
Apparently, Fairies often make themselves known as sparkling balls of light. The Complete Guide to Faeires & Magical Beings by Cassandra Eason refers to these as “earth lights”.
For the longest time, I only told my husband. Once, he tried to bring it up among friends, I quickly changed the subject and told him later that this is NOT a subject I tell just anyone. After all, not everyone knows me well enough to know that I don’t make this stuff up, and sometimes no matter how well they know me, they won’t be open to believing the story.
So please know, dear reader, that I offer my “tween time/place” moment with a full heart knowing full well there will be some or many of you who will think I’m nuts. But just as yoga opens you up to the awareness of your full potential both physically and spiritually, I hope to share my experiences with the magical moments in my life to open you up to a “world full of color and joy and wonder”—Ted Andrews—or at least give you reason to pause.
I am currently participating in a second 200-hour yoga teacher training with TeriLeigh Schmidt. TeriLeigh has studied extensively with West African Shaman, Malidoma Somé. In 2009, she was initiated as an Elder into the Dagara Tribe of Burkina Faso. The cosmology of the Dagara Tribe teaches the value of spiritual ritual, relationship to ancestors, and the healing powers of five elements: fire, water, earth, mineral, and nature.
The elements also make their appearance in the world of the “little people” as “Elementals”: There’s an elemental spirit of the Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. “Sometimes Archangels take on this role: for instance Michael, Archangel of the Sun, is linked with Fire, and Gabriel, the Archangel of the Moon, with Water.
Rather than being creatures with a permanent form, the elementals are the forces or energies that in nature and magic give shape to living things and bring thoughts and desires into actuality, for example seeds into flowers and trees…They take on a particular form for a particular task…The elemental beings, as manifestations of these forces, are believed to occupy a kingdom between the material and spiritual plane and so act as a bridge between the two dimensions. The four elements can be regarded as one of the focused energy sources that for centuries were believed to be the building blocks of life.” A Complete Guide to Faeires & Magical Beings, by Cassandra Eason.
TeriLeigh had mentioned in an earlier workshop prior to the start of the teacher training program that her teacher, Malidoma, had told her that the events portrayed in the movie, Avatar, are commonplace in his tribe. “Among the Dagara of Burkina Faso there is no distinction between the natural and the supernatural: The living converse with ancestral spirits, and those with the proper knowledge routinely travel to other worlds.”—Robert Bly testimonial on the back cover of Malidoma’s book, Of Water and the Spirit.
It was TeriLeigh’s background and commitment to infuse these teachings in her yoga instruction that played a big part in my decision to take this second 200-hour yoga teacher training. There’s that magic leading me again. “Don’t deny yourself Magic…believe. – Rachelle Donahoe
So are you open to viewing the world a bit outside the box to allow for some magic? Here are some ways to open to the magic, straight from Ted Andrews Enchantment of the Faerie Realm book:
“Laughter is always an open invitation. Wherever stories are being told, those of this realm will usually gather to listen. Simple and sincere music and song are always attractive to those of this realm. These joyful spirits will often gather where children play and in any area in which nature is allowed to grow free—even if only a small section within your own back yard. Wherever there is ceremony, joy and color, these beings will be found.” And a partial list to add to those not covered above to invite their presence into your life:
- Spend time in nature.
- Meditate while sitting under trees around lakes, etc.
- Have plants and flowers inside your house or apartment
- Be cognizant of the abuses of nature and do your part to clean it up and reverence it.
- Involve yourself in some creative activity on a regular basis. You don’t have to be an expert in it, but enjoyment of any creative activity will draw those of the faerie realm.
- Leave an area in your yard to grow wild so that the faeries can play freely.
- Be generous in your dealings with others.
- Keep the child in you alive.
I’ve also read that practicing meditation and yoga weekly, daily if you can, to boost your spirituality and enhance your mind is another way to prepare for the magic. Practicing outside so you can be one with nature is even better.
To all unbelievers still reading, please re-read the list above. At the very least you’ll have spent time outside, added meditative moments to your life, created something you enjoy, added friends and spread smiles through your generosity, and giggled more than you used to. If that isn’t creating magic in your own life, I don’t know what is. So what’s so bad about that?
“By reading what has been written about them in story, song and poetry, you send a message that you are open to contact. Just as with humans, if we show an interest in them, they will respond.” Enchantment of the Faerie Realm, by Ted Andrews. I’ve given you many resources here to start your research!
I have not seen another “glowing ball” since that time many years ago, but I remember it with a smile. I still am not sure if it had a specific message for me other than to keep believing in the magic. Perhaps it only wanted to come along with me on my ride the next day. I’ve always secretly believed that. Perhaps I could view it to be a spirit guide of sorts.
After re-reviewing The Complete Guide to Faeries & Magical Beings by Cassandra Eason for this article, I now realize I wasn’t far off: “Household fairies are usually solitary, guarding a home. The benign ‘bean tighe’, is a fairy housekeeper or domestic fairy godmother and as such a personalized representation of the Mother Goddess. She is attached to a specific family rather than to the house. Her name means “woman of the house” and she guards the hearth, traditionally regarded as the center of the home and refuge for both living and deceased family members.”
I don’t know. I only know that it ensured a continued growing belief in the magical mysteries life will bring if you are open to it. Perhaps it was my total openness to all things magical that allowed the magical visit. As Wayne Dyer, another favorite author, says, “you’ll see it when you believe it.” Happy sightings!