Category Archives: Misc. Symbolic Meanings

Rain, Rain Go Away. Folk Predictions of Rain and Storms


Folk Predictions of Rain and Storms

It’s that time of year again. Spring is pushing into our lives, stomping her foot down on Winter.

Spring can be a crazy-unpredictable time. It has to do with the transitional nature of the season. Winter and Summer tend to take command of their time in the year. Spring and Autumn, however, are all about shifts and changes. For more symbolic seasonal insights click here.

So Spring is springing (in the Northern hemisphere). That means rain. It can also mean big honking storms.

Now, I’m a huge fan of rain. It’s symbolic of neat stuff like:

  • Healing
  • Renewal
  • Cleansing
  • Emotional Rebirth
  • Gifts from the Heavens

All good things, right? Indeed, rain is a super-keen meteorological event. Without it, we’d all be in a world of hurt. From replenishing vital water tables, to insuring food on our tables – we owe a lot of appreciation to the rain spirits.

But sometimes Mother Nature can go bonkers. Whatever the reason, sometimes Madame Nature takes those life-giving raindrops and transforms them into bullets of destruction in the form of a storm. You’ve heard it said “Into every life some rain must fall”. Well, same is true with storms. Both literal and metaphorical storms happen. To all of us.

So what? Nothing we can do about it, right? Wellll, I wouldn’t be so committed to that view.

I grew up with a friend whose mother was a walking encyclopedia of folk wisdom and medicine. She had hundreds of ways of predicting the weather. She also had equal amount of ways in thwarting bad weather.

Did her methods for shooing away storms work? I can’t say for sure. But I do know her prediction skills were better than the weatherman on TV!

Whether you believe in folk methods for weather prediction and prevention or not – sometimes it’s fun to entertain the ideas.

The following are some old folk tips on predicting rain, as well as ways to dissuade storms ruining your Sunday picnic.

Folk Ways to Predict Rain and Storms

Turning over a new leaf:
When leaves begin to turn over, it’s often a sign of upcoming rain or storms. I’ve written about this phenomenon on a symbolic level here: Turning Over a New Leaf – It’s Symbolic.

Pitter pat, check out the cat:
When cats rub behind their ears during a cat-bath, rain is on its way.

Down came the rain and washed the spider out:
Spiders are predictors of many things in folk lore. Spiders ducking for cover and seeking shelter is a sign of rain or storms.

Oh! My achy breaky bones!:
Perhaps the very best barometer of rains a’coming is aching bodies. I know it certainly works for me. So pay attention to those cranky corns on your feet, creaky bones and stiff joints – it could mean impending rain storms.

Folk Ways to Prevent Storms

Pass the salt, please:
Sprinkling salt on a ceremonial fire is thought to thwart torrential storms in the Spring.

X marks the spot:
Appalachian lore says marking an X on windows with your right index finger protects the home from storm damage.

More bark than bite:
Find a piece of bark from a tree that’s been hit by lightning. Folk tales say keeping this tree bark will protect you from lightning and ill effects of a bad storm.

Get stoned:
No. Not like that! Striking two stones together sends a message to the thunder and storm spirits. One stone must be black, the other white. If you’re about to be caught in a storm outside, strike these two stones together until you are safely under cover – it’s said to protect you from storm damage.


All superstitions aside, deluges of rain and epic storms are nothing to snicker at. It’s up to you whether you want to employ any of these folk tactics to predict or avoid weather threats. Admittedly, I find myself doing some of these things out of habit. I remember my old friend employing her folk remedies and predictions – and I guess they rubbed off on me over time.

Belief is a big ingredient in any method of honoring rain and storms. Symbolism certainly plays its part too. While the folk ways offer nostalgia, I still find the best tact is a path of respect. For example, tap into the symbolic meaning of rain. Once we’re familiar with the deeper meaning of rain and storms, we tend to connect with it. We may even auger a sense of honor and respect for it. I certainly do. In that same vein, I practice a simple ceremony. Just a closing of the eyes and uttering words of honor and gratitude for Mother Nature and the nourishment she provides. I also pay respect to Her power in the form of storms. All that said, I ask for the very best outcome for all involved. Then I sprinkle salt on the fire, X my windows and put Ben-Gay on my poor knees. LOL!

I hope you found this post on folk predictions of rain enjoyable. Maybe it will come in handy. Maybe not. Either way, I’d like to think you came away with a little laugh and a renewed respect for Mother Nature.

As always, thanks for reading!

Mightily Brightly,

Avia

If you liked this post, be sure to check out related articles here:

Symbolic Meaning of Moving

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Symbolic Meaning of Moving…

Various sources agree the average U.S. citizen moves about 10-11 times in their lifetime.  I’ve got that figure beat in spades, and I’m sure many of you reading this do too.

Almost everybody moves from one home to another.  Lots of different reasons for this.  Some move for love.  Some people move for money or career.  Others of us move for less understandable reasons. 

I want to speak to that population of movers who pull up stakes…just because it seems like the right thing to do.  My practical peeps might be scratching their heads at this point.  I can hear their arguments…”Why!?!  The headache of moving!  The expense!  The planning!  Need I say more?” 

Agreed.  Moving can be an arduous undertaking, especially if you don’t travel light.  I’ve moved across the nation twice in a little over two years.  I’m not exactly a light traveler, but I think I’m more slim than most.

 


 

But this post isn’t about the logistics of moving.  It’s about the symbolic meaning of moving.  Those of us who move without a conventional, understandable reason (like a job) might be interested in the deeper meaning of moving. 

At its core, I believe the symbolic meaning of moving deals with change.  I can hear the mental comments now: “Well, yeah!  Duh, Avia!  There’s precious little in life that means change more than moving an entire household!”  Bear with me…let me elaborate…

If moving = change, then what does change equal?  What does change mean?  Why do we want change?  How do we deal with change?  What does moving do to us that changes us on the inside?

See, moving isn’t just about changing our external environment.  The act of moving changes us on the inside too.  And that’s what living a symbolic life does too.  When we see things from a spiritual, symbolic perspective – we’re changed.  Sometimes profoundly.

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Consider…when you move, everything pretty much changes.  The environment you’ve once lived in is boxed up, carted off, and plopped in a whole new area.  Then there’s the change of unpacking (for some of us, this is like Christmas, lol).  Then there’s rearranging, maneuvering, logistics.  This doesn’t even mention the new Nature to be experienced in your new locale.  Or the new people, restaurants, markets!

Some of us move for the hell of it.  Others of us move because our lifestyle demands it of us.  Whichever party you’re a member of, I encourage you to look deeper into the symbolic meaning of moving.  Sure, the process has the potential to overwhelm.  It can be frustrating, taxing, painful even.  But what’s rustling beneath all that stuff?

Beyond the surface inconveniences…Beyond the circumstances of the purpose of moving…Beyond everything else – move means change.  So, I’ll ask again – what does change equal?  What does change mean to you

If you find yourself in the midst of a move, consider the symbolic language of the Universe.  What kind of changes do you need to be whole, complete, fulfilled?  How can you embrace change with more patience, love, or with childlike wonder?  What does change teach?

Happy moving,
Happy changing,

Avia

Post Script: You guessed it. I’m in the process of moving.  Forgive me for taking so long with correspondence.  I’m trying to catch up on emails and social networking.  I’ll get back with you as soon as I find the box where my coffee maker is hiding! ;)

Mirth, Magic and Minstrels

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I live in a small town.  I wasn’t born in a small town as John Cougar Mellencamp croons, but I got to one as soon as I could.

It’s a town where everybody knows your name, and everybody at the local diner cries “NORM!” when you walk in…just like the show, Cheers.

When the temperature isn’t 18 below zero, and we’re not covered in five feet of snow, something magical happens in this small town.  Something completely random and delightful.

A wandering minstrel appears.

Huh?  Yeah.  A dude strolls about small-town-main-street USA strumming an acoustic guitar while singing.

What’s so magical about that?  I mean…the guy is average age, average height, average weight.  But what he does is magic, man.  Why? Because he’s a self-propelling joy machine.  And that joy is infectious.

I’ve never heard him play.  Seems I’m always spotting our small town minstrel while I’m driving.  But it doesn’t matter what he sounds like.  It doesn’t matter if he’s playing Hendrix or Prelude for Lute in C minor by Bach.  It doesn’t matter if he has the voice of Kermit the frog, or Bocelli.  The performance isn’t where the magic is.

You see, he cares not what the world thinks of him.  He makes his joy anyway.  He doesn’t have to have a record deal to perform.  He doesn’t get paid for what he does.  He doesn’t even require an audience! He just does for the joy of it.

And in so doing, he gives me merriment.  I’d like to think he spreads his good juju to all the townspeople too.  At least I hope everybody around here appreciates him as much as I do.

Every time I see the Wandering Minstrel doing his thing, it makes me beam.  Heck, HE’S beaming.  His mirth in palpable.  I love this guy for the gift he gives…the gift of being himself, doing what makes him happy, and thus spreading good vibes to others.

So…what’s the symbolism here?  What’s the moral of the story?

Be you. Sod what everybody else thinks.  Be your own Joy Machine.  You don’t need financial backing.  You don’t need permission.  Just do it.  Do it for the love of it.  The consequences of your giddy escapades will be astounding and far-reaching.

Mirth on,

Avia

Want the Bad News? It’s Not Coming From Me.

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Want the Bad News? You won’t get it from me.

I get a lot of emails.  I don’t answer all of them, but I DO read each and every one.  A number of emails are quick to point out the absence of negative meanings for a sign or symbol on my websites.

It’s true.  Currently, I have over 1,000 articles written on various symbolic meanings.  If you read each article, you’ll maybe find three or four citations that might be deemed negative.

Many well-intentioned folks ask why that is.  They ask why I don’t mention the symbolism of death about a certain animal.  Why not mention the connection to the devil with a certain symbol?  And what about that flower that means avarice?  Or what about the bad omen implied when a certain bird flies by?

Valid questions.  I mean…for every positive, there is a negative.  It’s the universal law of polarity.  So why not mention the “bad” stuff with the good?

My answer is pretty simple.  There are over 6 million websites on the internet. There are over 10,000 news channels broadcast around the world.  There are over 7 billion people in the world.

If you want the bad news…just look around the internet, turn on the news, or ask somebody…you will inevitably get it.

Better yet – if you want the bad news – just focus on bad stuff for awhile.  The bad answers will come.  I guarantee it.

There are negative observations enough without me contributing more.

Now, I’m all for a balanced debate.  I’m no Pollyanna with a sugar plum shoved up her bum.  Bad stuff happens.  There’s a dark side to every light.  But in all honesty, I’ve had my fill of wading through crummy energy.

I strive to gear my thoughts, my life and my writing towards the good juju.  I want to inspire.  I want to enlighten. I want to energize.  There are plenty of other sources in the world that can do otherwise for you if that’s what you want.  But if you want a bad rap sheet on symbolic meanings from me…sorry…I’m not your gal.

Do some animals, symbols, etc. have negative meanings?  Yeah.  Sure.  Lots of stuff carries meaning of foreboding and fear.

But let me ask you…where do those meanings come from?  For that matter, where do ANY meanings come from?  They come from the human mind.   They come from our ancestors who passed on their observations.  They come from our parents.  They come from you and me.  They come from our biases and experiences.

Some might argue meaning comes from the Divine (the deity of our own understanding).  I agree.  However, the minute a Divine insight is bestowed upon a human – it goes through a series of filters.  Filters of experience, judgment, discernment, etc.  That Divine wisdom will never be as pure as it originated once it passes through the filter known as human cognition.

So what does all that mean?  It means the realm of symbolic meanings is infinitely open to interpretation and personalization.

In essence, the world is your oyster…and so are the meanings rooted within it.  Make it sparkly….or make it slimy.  Your choice.  Your oyster. 

Just thoughts.

Brightly,

Avia

 

Tsk, Tsk. Symbolism of Copycats

Copycatting

Copycatting.  Plagiarism.  Claiming material as one’s own, when it’s not.  It happens all the time.  The act is especially rampant in this Internet age when the copy-paste function is just a few clicks away.

I don’t have kids.  Well, I take that back.  I DO have children.  They’re names are:  “My Work” and “My Websites.”  Yeah, it’s THAT big of a deal.

So, when I see blatant copying of my hard work without a hint attribution – it feels like someone is stealing my kids.

Over the years, I’ve coaxed myself into (mostly) ignoring the copycat syndrome.  I reason that information is meant to be shared.  I even reason that my stuff must be pretty good if folks want to use it as their own.  I also tell myself it could be an honest mistake…an oversight of etiquette, or simply forgetting to give credit to the source of whatever material being used.

It’s a good thing I calm myself into these rationalizations.  Why?  Because there’s very little I can do about plagiarism.  Sure…I copyright my material.  I’ve even trademarked my brand.  I also clearly state proper use of my material on my policy page. But folks are still going to do whatever they do.  It’s all just another lesson about control…specifically, the only control I have is the control of myself and my actions.

So what’s the symbolism of a copycat?  Sadly, I wish the use of ‘cat’ hadn’t been adopted in this 19th century American term.  Cats are astoundingly original.  They have no use for copying.

In truth, the symbolic meaning behind a copycat deals with an underlying insecurity.  It has nothing to do with having lack of originality.  Why?  Because everybody is original.  Everybody is unique.  Everybody is capable of spectacular brilliance in expression.  It’s how humans are built – we’re designed to create remarkable stuff.

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Nope – the symbolic root of the act of plagiarism is insecurity – specifically a fear of taking responsibility.  I get it.  It’s tough to step out.  Tough to expose oneself.  It’s not easy to break out of the drone mentality and create something wildly original.  Much easier to copy.  That way, the fault lies elsewhere.  Or…there is no consequence (good or bad) to being bold, breaking the mold, and being different than everybody else.  That’s a sad mental prison to be in, and I truly feel bad for copycats.

Thankfully, there’s good stuff that comes from replication.  Really good stuff.  Tons of folks use my material all over the world – and they do so by giving credit to my work.  I LOVE THAT!  I’m all about sharing the joy of symbolism.  The more sharing and spreading the word – the more people are reached – the more our world is exposed to a fascinating, healing way of living…symbolic living.  Rock on!

Am I vain to want credit for my work?  Maybe.  Perhaps one day I’ll coax myself to a place of complete neutrality about copycatting….not caring one whit about it.  I’ve done a good job at letting it go so far.

But in the end…like having kids…I made this thing.  I created it.  Worked hard at it.  Gnashed my teeth, and rendered garments over it…for hours, days, weeks, years.  You get the idea.  This is my baby.  I can’t quell my pride completely.

I’d like to think it’s healthy to stake claim for producing good work.  If I didn’t care so much – that would reflect in my efforts, which essentially means you’d be getting crummy stuff from me.  That’s no good, wouldn’t you agree?

Just thoughts.

As always, thanks for reading!

Avia

 

Top 10 Reasons Christmas is NOT for Sissies

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Christmas is not for Sissies – Top 10 Reasons

1)  A big gold star goes to those of us who normally wouldn’t be caught dead on a 8-foot ladder….but make an exception to hang holiday lights.  :o

2)  ‘Shop till you drop.’  What!?   I’d rather drop first, and skip the shopping altogether.  Shopping this time of year is not for sissies! It’s madness out there!

3)  Hot cocoa is such a cozy Christmas beverage.  Unless, of course, it’s served at 5,778 kelvin – which will melt your face off.  Not pretty.

4)  The weather outside really is frightful.  At least in areas that get snow and ice this time of year.  Sometimes venturing out in a ‘winter wonderland’ ain’t so wonderful.

5)  Gift bags rule, wrapping paper drools.  Kudos to all of the wrapping-paper-challenged who dare to fold and square in spite of the vexing crinkles that foil.

6)  You know you’re not a sissy at Christmas when you don the knee braces and Ben-Gay before spending untold hours in the kitchen.   Cooking should be a competitive sport this time of year.  Bless you merry cooks and bakers for laughing in the face of personal injury and getting those tasty goods out!

7)  Holiday traffic. Need I say more?  Not for sissies.

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8)  Cats!  If you have one and deck the halls for Christmas – you are definitely not a sissy.  Every new Christmas bauble and sparkle is fair game for the felines.  I found an ornament in the bathroom sink.  Don’t know how it happened, but I know there was a cat behind it.

9)  Dogs!  How many times do we have to tell them not to drink from the Christmas tree water container?  And what’s up with the overly affectionate advances on the stuffed Santa pillows?  Off!

10)  Sometimes keeping our sanity this time of year can be a Herculean feat.  The holidays are so out-of-the-norm.  New stuff, a break in usual routine, visiting friends and family we normally don’t see.  It’s a tsunami of uncommon experiences.  This can potentially uproot a body who’s been quite alright in a comfort zone every other day of the year.  Hat’s off to those of us who embrace the unique situations Christmas might toss our way.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I dig the holidays.  But they can present some challenges.  Our early ancestors experienced challenges too.

This was a hard time of year for early humankind.  In fact, some of the roots of Christmas traditions today were born from early darkness.  Specifically, the darkest day of the year.  To explain, the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, and hence, the darkest.  It was a time that was symbolic of unknown’s and mystery for early peoples.  The solstice brought up questions like:  “How harsh will the weather be this year?”,  “Can I provide for my family through the winter?”,  “Will we be spared illness?”, “Do I have enough food?”.

To counteract some of these fears, civilizations and cultures (especially early Europe) started to employ good juju.  For example, they brought evergreens into the home to brighten the gloom.  The scent of pine is invigorating and proven to lighten the mood.  The sight of an evergreen bough indoors is inspiring against the stark, snowy landscape outside.  Interestingly, this practice eventually grew into our modern day Christmas trees!

Another example:  Candles.  Early traditions included ceremonies around lighting candles.  This symbolizes the return of the light…the promise of lengthening days and eventual return of spring.  Fire and candles are icons to the eternal light that is always present – even if not evident all the time.

There are lots of old practices that uplift this sometimes anxious time of year.  Check out my Symbolic Meaning of Christmas post to explore a few.

Let’s face it.  Christmas isn’t for sissies.  It certainly wasn’t for our ancestors way back when…and even though our challenges have morphed, in many ways, today’s challenges are just as stressful.

We can transform holiday anxiety.  How?  By being grateful.  By having a laugh.  By poking fun at some of the lunacy that goes on this time of year.  By appreciating what we have.  By giving to others who need more than we do.  Just thoughts.

As always, thanks for reading.

I hope all your holiday moments are magical and mostly stress-free. :)

Brightly,

Avia