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The Symbolic Mile

symbolicmeaningoftravel

Symbolic Meaning of Travel

This post is dedicated to my bro, who at this very moment is enduring a 1400+ mile drive to visit me.  Bless his heart.  To make matters more challenging, he’s traveling with his precious kids – two furry, female beauties – a German Shepherd and a Beagle.

I’ve talked to him a couple times while he’s dealing with the drive.  There’s no bones about it…that kind of epic journey isn’t fun – and it can be arduous with dogs.  Let’s just say he’s not a happy camper. :o

I know what he’s going through.  I can’t count how many times I’ve made the same exact trip (from Texas to New York and vice versa).  It’s a colossal soul-sucker.

The drive reminds me of the freaking Odyssey.  But like that lovely Greek tale, the road kicks up some really wild, wonderful and magical dust.

Here’s where the symbolic meanings kick in….

No matter where you travel….no matter how far….how wide…how long…travel is one of the most superior symbolic lessons.  Why?  Because everything changes.  Whether by car, plane, train or boat – the scenery is always changing.  Have you ever contemplated the symbolism in that?  It’s heavy, man.  Real heavy.

With every passing mile, there is a golden opportunity to seize a symbolic lesson.  No joke.

These don’t have to be mammoth take-away moments.  I mean…my mind was blown away when I ate my first Scotch egg while in England.  Whoa!  But I tell ya – that was an eye-opener in culinary delights for me.  Who would have thought!?

Or what about driving…bleary-eyed and bedraggled into a town called Bucksnort.  What!?!?!  Yeah.  Bucksnort, Tennessee.  A gas station there has the friendliest folks and the best fried pies that I ever consumed.

But I digress.  Travel is a gateway drug for higher-mindednessTravel jackhammers holes in our hearts and minds that forces us to open up, be aware, embrace and roll with the flow.

The biggest symbolic lesson about travel (in my opinion) is this:  Surrender.

Let’s face it – no matter your mode of travel, poop will happen.  Stuff will hit the fan.  Sometimes it’s good poop.  Sometimes it’s fun and whimsical stuff (like the time I met a group of nuns in New Mexico – craziest ladies EVER!).

The point is: It takes guts to take a step out of our comfort zones.  Home is definitely where the heart is, and that’s a symbolic course that stands on its own.  But travel is crammed with big symbolic juju.

To those of you who chose to brave the great outer circle of comfort, I salute you!  And while you’re out there rambling about, consider what you run intoYou’ve got to know that no encounter or episode is random.  So when you’re driving alongside that motorcycle gang (the leader of which has a literal hog in his sidecar…not kidding…I saw it with my own eyes) consider what that means in the grand scheme of your life.

How do these sometimes bizarre or banal events reflect upon who you are and where you are right now in your life?

At least that’s what travel does for me.  It changes my mind, my heart and soul.  It re-awakens my heightened sense of symbolic meaning.  Travel is like a big puzzle.  The pieces all fit in somehow – it’s just up to us to figure out the big picture.

As always, thanks for reading!

Happy travels (and I’ll always leave the light on for you!).

Love,

Avia

Other Articles of Interest:

Symbolic Days for Best Travel

Change, and the Symbolic Meaning of Moving

Praying Mantis Meaning and Move-In Madness

PrayingMantisMeaning

Praying Mantis Meaning and Move-In Madness


If you’ve tuned into recent blog posts, you’ll know I’ve moved.  There have been lots of signs of reassurance during this move.  It’s a good thing, because this move has been brutal.

Lemme tell ya, I’ve moved way too many times, even across the country a few times.  But this current relocation has been, by far, the most challenging.

Why?  There’s no short answer.  But a lot of challenge came from the fact I moved into a tiny house.  Yep.  I went from 1800 sq ft. to 399 sq ft.  It’s not the smallest placed I’ve lived, but my first tiny space took place when I was much younger.  I’ve accumulated a lot more stuff since then.  Paring down wasn’t too difficult.  The killer was the books.  And that means bookcases.  Ugh.  Thankfully, I crammed all my books in the tiny house.  Don’t ask me how I did it, but I got all my precious tomes in!

So what’s this all have to do with praying mantis meaning?  On surface, not much.  But the mantis has a deeper meaning for me.  It was a very hair-pulling day in the middle of tiny-house moving.  I was pretty much fit to be tied.  Up to my eyeballs in dirt, dogs, books, bowls and not much room to navigate it all.  What’s worse, the shower didn’t work, my windows wouldn’t open, the toilet wouldn’t flush…you get the idea.  Just nuts.

In the midst of all this chaos, I spied this little baby with my little eye: PrayingMantisMeaningAvias

She had been watching me the whole time I was fussing and fighting with fixing up the house.  I had to laugh at that.  She doesn’t have a care in the world (because believe me, there were plenty of bugs in the house for her to munch on, ugh).

My point is, she was calm as a cucumber while I was mad as a March hare.  That’s a lesson.

In fact, praying mantis meaning is all about staying calm and carrying on.  From Asia to Africa, the mantis is a consistent symbol of peace, tranquility and stillness.

Interestingly, the mantis is symbolic of dreams for African Bushmen. The mantis is thought to be a dream-bringer, a soothsayer – capable of predicting events in the future.  When one is seen, go deep in dream or meditation and cast yourself into the future.  The Bushmen say the mantis will guide your way so you can see your future path clearly.

So guess what I did?  I saw that mantis, calmed myself down, and got into meditation mode.  Where did Miss Mantis take me?  Well, she got me as far as unboxing all my books, lol.  And she did assure me all this move-in/tiny house madness will settle down in time.  That’s all I needed to move forward.

So was she right?  Yes.  Move-in magic was made when I got 11 bookcases in, plus my treadmill.  And it looks fabulous!  Not at all cramped or claustrophobic looking as I feared it might be.

As a thank-you to my praying mantis pal, I gently picked her up and placed her out on my front porch.  If you look real close, you might be able to see her among the plants!

TinyHome

I hope you enjoyed these thoughts about praying mantis meaning while moving into the tiny home.  Mostly, I hope this little story reminds you to observe these sweet little visitations from Mother Nature.  Why?  Because every event is symbolic.  Every visit is a gift.  It just takes a little pondering to gain great insight and deeper meaning.

If you liked this post, you might also like:

More About Praying Mantis Meaning

Symbolic Meaning of Insects

Crackers, Croaker, Crazy (Tiny House Move and Toady Visitation)

Ants, Agony and Answers (Symbolic Lessons from Ants)

SymbolicMeaningOfAnts

Symbolic Lessons and Meaning of Ants


Any of you sweet peeps who have followed me over the years know I’m all about having a positive attitude.

But sometimes poop happens.  It just does, and it blows.

Well folks, these last six months have been replete with messy, sloppy hip-high poop for me.  I suspect many of you may be in the same quagmire.

So what’s a human to do?  What do we do in those moments where we’ve pulled almost every hair out of our heads, wrung our hands and rendered our garments?  Those times when everything seems so overwhelming and utterly futile?

We look at the secret symbolic life of ants.

Huh?  Yeah!

In the middle of family crisis, negotiating a complicated relocation of my home/business AND experiencing a devastating blow to one of my websites….I just felt fully crushed.

Actually, I felt like that little blonde girl in pigtails in the movie E.T.  You remember the scene.  She’s up to her eyeballs in frogs, and she’s clearly lost her mind with the madness of the frog stampede Elliot let loose in science lab.  Aaaarrrgh!

But in that moment of tears, wailing and agony….I looked at the dirt.  Whoa?  Yeah, it’s a good practice.  If everything is unstable – get in the dirt.  When you’re all topsy-turvy, dig your feet in the dirt.  Press your hands into the Mother Earth.  It’s a very grounding thing.  Very therapeutic. No joke.

You see where I’m going with this.  Yep.  In my effort to find some stability within the dirt – I encountered ants.  Lots of ’em!  I’m talking swarms!  And they weren’t very happy with me.  They stung the bejeezus out of me!  Ouchie!  :o

At first I was infuriated.  That pain just added salt to my emotional wounds.  But then I started thinking…..

Yeah, yeah, I can hear the nay-saying….”Avia…how could you possibly find a silver lining in being consumed by a bunch of bitey, bitchy fire ants?!?  C’mon!”

Easy.  Those ants were bad-a*s’s! They reminded me they are not to be fooled with.  They said:  “Hey!  This is our turf!  Don’t mess with us!”  That helped me realize my feelings of helplessness are an illusion.  We all have tools to fight back and defend ourselves – even in our weakest moments.  It might be our intellect.  Maybe it’s our faith.  Perhaps we find strength in family or community.  When the going gets tough, take a bite back with what makes you feel strong and confident.

Those cranky ants taught me more than that.  After I tended to my ant bites, I went back to that spot in the dirt.  I’d messed up their home (total accident – sorry babies!).  Within 20 minutes, those ants had already reconstructed their mound.  Impressive.  That’s a lesson.  It speaks to us about teamwork.  It talks about rebuilding with ferocious determination.  That was a big lesson of which I needed reminding.

What’s more….did you know ants can lift THREE TIMES their own weight?  Yeppers.  Again – very impressive.  This smacks of big potential in the most unlikely tiny packages.  When we feel ineffectual or weak – I think we should remember what teeny weeny ants can do.  Often it’s the ‘dark horse’ that wins the race.  It’s hard to imagine the extraordinary feats of physics ants pull off – but they do – because they ban together, and they never give up.

And speaking of banning together….ants are a remarkable demonstration of teamwork and community.  If you watch them, you get the sense they work as a whole.  And they do.  They can’t build a village with a single member.  Nope.  They communicate and work together to meet their goals.  Big juju in that lesson.  At least for me.

Well, that’s my ant-insight.  I hope it brought you insight too.  Hopefully the next time you come across the deceptively small ant – you’ll realize they’re actually quite tremendous in strength, resources, defense and unity.

As always, thanks for indulging me – and thanks for reading!

May all your ant antics be inspiring!

Avia

More Articles of Interest:

Symbolic Meaning of Ants in Dreams

Symbolic Meaning of Insects

Reading Tea Leaves

ReadingTeaLeaves1


Tasseography: The Art of Reading Tea Leaves

Tasseography is the practice of reading tea leaves with a goal to derive deeper meanings.  These meanings could be of a fortune-telling nature, but I’m more inclined to read the leaves for the purpose of broadening perspective or confirming intuition.

Tasseography was initiated and mastered by the Chinese who have held a deep reverence for tea and its life-affirming qualities for centuries.  Coffee grounds and wine remnants can also be interpreted, and these practices also fall under the heading of tasseography.

This article offers a few tips on reading tea leaves as was passed on to me by one of my teachers.

Choosing a Tea:

Choose a tea of choice.  Black, green, herbal – it makes no difference.  Whichever you prefer.  Choose a loose tea for optimal results (I love oolong, rolled or cut – makes great designs in the cup).  If you don’t have loose tea, you can cut open a bagged tea.

Brewing the Tea:

Put your loose tea in a small teapot.  Fill the pot with water and put to a boil.  Swirl your teapot a bit (think of your question as you do so) to kick up the loose tea and then pour out the tea in your cup being careful not to burn yourself.  Note: Use a teacup with a handle.

Settling the Sediment:

1)  Enjoy drinking your tea.  As you do so, think about a question you want clarification on.

2)  When you are almost done, swirl the last little bit of liquid and tea remnants three times:  Clockwise if you need clarity on future events, counterclockwise if you need clarification on past events.

3)  As you are swirling think upon the issue/question  you are seeking guidance about.

4)  Place your teacup rim-down on the saucer to empty out the last bit of liquid remaining.

The sediment left in your cup is what you will read.

Reading the Tea Leaves:

The Chinese have a whole dictionary of tea-leaf-shapes and meanings.  These reference guides are filled with hundreds of potential symbols that may be interpreted from remnant tea leaves.  You can certainly use reference books (there are several books on the market, or you could go to your library).  However, my teacher encouraged the use of self-determination and imagination to interpret leaves.

There are a few ground rules however.  Your teacup will serve as a guide in your tea leaf interpretation.  Specifically, the position of the handle on your teacup in relation to the tea leaves will help you determine the timing of your oracle (past or future).  The cup will also help to determine if your oracle is referencing you, or other people – consciousness or unconsciousness.

Here are some diagrams to illustrate what I’m talking about:

ReadingTeaLeaves2

When you are contemplating the arrangement of tea leaves, and they are mostly flowing to the left half of the teacup (according to the left-pointing handle) then you are dealing with past issues.

Alternatively, if most of your leaves are arranged on the right half of the cup (according to the handle), then you are dealing with the future.
How you turn the cup handle will be determined by your intuition.  You will see, during the practice of tasseography, the leaves will convene naturally to make a coherent design.  That design will look differently according to how you turn the cup.

The tea leaf design will look more coherent and take on a real shape depending upon which direction you’re turning the cup.

The last illustration on this page will explain this more fully.
In the same way, you can determine if the tea leaves are offering an oracle about yourself or about others.

ReadingTeaLeaves3

Likewise, your leaves can tell you if your question/issue is rooted in your conscious awareness, or buried in  your subconscious.

So how do we read the actual leaves? 

Turn your cup around to get the best view of your tea leaves.  You will notice that turned in different directions, there will be no discernable feature.  Yet turn the cup in a different direction, and you may be able to make out a clear figure.

Take this image (left) for example.  When I turned the cup clockwise (with the handle facing left), my intuition could not make out any definitions.

ReadingTeaLeaves4

However, when I turned the cup the other way (handle facing east/right) then I could clearly see a rabbit leaping about.

Can you see the rabbit?

You will have to move the cup (not the remnants, that cheating) around and your intuition will tell you which position offers the clearest tea-leaf-symbol.

Once you define a specific symbol in your leaves, allow your intuition to provide the answers.  My tea leaves form a rabbit, so I ask my intuition “What does the rabbit mean to me? How does it relate to my life?”

Rabbits, in my training symbolize fertility.  And, as I’m not having babies any time soon, that means my future is filled with a different kind of fertility.  I could interpret this as: “New creative ideas will be born in my future.”

Keep it simple.  Let your intuitive vision fall on very simple symbols. Then allow your basic reasoning skills to understand what that symbol means to you, and how it applies to your life experience.

And don’t forget the most important rule: Have fun and enjoy yourself during the process.

I hope you have enjoyed these thoughts on tasseography as a means for clarification.

Wishing you happiness while reading tea leaves,

Avia

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:

Spinach and First Dates

FirstDates

A dear friend of mine is dating, and that got me thinking about my own dating experiences.  She’s feeling the bloom of new romance. From first date to current, she’s reveling in that intoxicating experience of getting to know someone.  I’m utterly thrilled for her!

My friend is classy, eloquent and highly impressive.  It sounds like her new beau is her equal on all counts. Rock on!

I wish I could say the same for myself.  I’ve got a fabulously awesome partner right now…but that wasn’t always the case.

To explain…I’m not the most orthodox gal.  I’m wired a little funky, and I don’t comply to society’s idea of femininity.

I could write a book about the epic failures I’ve had on first dates (or consecutive failed dates, for that matter).

I’ll suffice to just share this one…

Meet Ben.  Accountant.  Shy.  Well-meaning guy. A good guy.  Really trying hard to make an impression, but we both know within the first hour we’re not really a smart match.  We even admit it to each other!

As Ben relaxes a little, and the pressure is off (because we both know a 2nd date is out of the question), he asks me:

“So…Avia, if you were to describe yourself in under 5 minutes with total, brutal honesty…what would you say?”

This is not the question to ask a ridiculously honest Sagittarius who has had a few Lowenbrau’s on a date.  So I asked Ben, “Are you sure you want the low-down?”  He said, “Absolutely”, with a sly grin.

And this is what I said…

“Photographic memory.  Attended 4 prestigious colleges.  Kicked out of 3.  Earned a degree at the college that didn’t give me the boot.

Don’t always follow the rules, but know how to conjugate a verb, and how to avoid dangling participles.

Multi-Lingual in HTML, XHTML, CSS, SEO, and not too shabby at Spanish.  Pretty sure I could get around in Italy too.

French horn player for 15 years. 3 of those years as a pro, and sat as an alternate for a major metropolitan symphony.

Refuse to drive an automatic.  Jeep driver, always with a standard.  Drove a 18-wheeler too.

Clocked 80,000 miles on a Harley Softail.  Super fun.

Put a few people through school.  Donated thousands to charity. Support my local SPCA.

Been 250 pounds with a fantastic stuttering problem, compounded by an ugly skin condition and chained to an asthma inhaler.  Conquered all that in my 30s.

A product of two amazing parents who are still well-respected and completely awesome.”

There might have been more I divulged to Ben, but I remember keeping it under 5 minutes.

At the end of my deluge, all Ben had to say was this…

That’s all well and good, but you have a big piece of spinach between your front teeth.

Isn’t that nice!?!?

This brings me to the point of this post…

Was I bragging to Ben?  Am I bragging to you?  Yeah…maybe I was, and maybe I am.

But the Universe has a funny way of bringing us down a notch.

It’s fabulous to be aware and proud of our remarkable achievements through our lifetime.  But my experience has taught me not pull out the braggadocio to the enth degree.  Lest we get caught bragging with spinach in our teeth! LOL!

Mostly, I want this post to remind all of us that it’s not what we say about our achievements….it’s what we do with them.  I’ve learned to live as an example…not just talk about stuff I’ve done.

Being a mentor,  an illustration of the best action is the most effective tact in showing others what we’re made of, in my opinion.

Just thinkin’.

xo

PS:  And learning how to laugh at ourselves is a major plus. (see image above).  ;)

FYI:  Ben and I still keep in touch via pen-pal.  He’s a great guy.