Today’s Holiday Meaning – April 2nd “Carrying Away of Death”
I adore this holiday. It’s all about celebrating life, renewal and rebirth. This is an ancient German celebration practiced by the Pagans. Now please don’t let the term ‘Pagan’ freak you out. That word has been so maligned by media and religious zealots; the meaning has spun into a dark place. What is the true meaning of Pagan? It means ‘country folk.‘ That’s it. Not as scary as some might have you believe.
But I digress. Today’s holiday meaning celebrates the return of warmth, and the abatement of the cold. The celebration is called “Carrying Away of Death.” For Pagans, winter was symbolic of a time of darkness, and the return of spring meant the return of life from the grips of death.
The ritual of celebrating the Carrying Away of Death is symbolic and elegant. The Pagans made little dolls made of straw. These are symbolic of death and winter. These little figurines also represented the challenges faced over the harsh months of intense cold.
After the straw figures were made, a tremendous bonfire was lit. The bigger the fire the better! Once the fire got stoked to a ferocious peak, the Pagans tossed their little straw effigies into the fire. It’s important to note, fire is symbolic of transformation, energy and inspiration. Tossing the dolls into the fire, it was believed, transformed energy from dark to light.
Essentially, this act abolished all the experiences, energies and spirits that plagued the people through the winter. It was a symbolic act of saying goodbye to death and welcoming the return of life. This ritual was a physical demonstration of annihilating unwanted evil and tribulation. It was also a ritual of welcoming life, hope and the promise of warmer, better days to come.
Today’s Holiday Meaning – April 2nd “International Children’s Book Day”
Today’s holiday meaning advocates children reading books. It is also the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen. He is most remembered by his enchanting fairy tales beloved by children all over the world.
This holiday was founded by The International Board on Books for Young People. Various countries celebrate this day in different ways. In Greece, a common tradition is for children to draw pictures of characters from their favorite books. In Denmark, there is a festival Hans Christian Andersen’s hometown. There, his books are celebrated, and read aloud to children. In parts of America, awards are given to children who have read the most books. Awards are also given to notable authors of children’s books on this day.
In closing, I hope you enjoyed this article on today’s holiday meaning (April 2nd). These two holiday’s are not the only ones occurring on this day – so do some research and see if you can find a perfect symbolic holiday that suits you!
The take-away point to this post, I think, is this: This is a day to celebrate potential. It is a day to embrace imagination. This day resonates with the promise of hope and new adventure. Why? Because between the Pagan Carrying Away of Death, and the recognition of igniting children’s imagination with books – we have a strong combo for awesome, limitless possibilities!
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Before we start flying with the angels, I think it's important to investigate how these divine entities came to govern the days of the week. Back its heyday, Rome was one of the most powerful empires in the world. Living large and in their prime, philosophers had plenty of time to...well...philosophize. A lot of the wisdom developed during this Roman era was connected to the cosmos. In the case of the days of the week, Roman philosophers designated the energy of a celestial feature for each day of the week. These are as such:
Celestial features assigned to the days of the week by the Romans.
Cosmic Connections Designated for Days by the Romans
Monday = Moon
Tuesday = Mars
Wednesday = Mercury
Thursday = Jupiter
Friday = Venus
Saturday = Saturn
Sunday = Sun
As time went on, early Europeans followed the same trend of associating cosmic bodies with the constants in life - like the days of the week. Like the ancient Romans, early Europeans certainly had gods and goddesses, but they also had a strong understanding of angels. While the Romans associated days with deities - the Europeans associated days with angels. Either way - deities or angels, all entities governing weekdays were affiliated with celestial properties as well as astrology. Below are the angels associated with the days of the week, and some information as to how they are connected to heavenly elements.
Cosmic and astrological influences helped determine the angels governing the days of the week.
Angels and the Days of the Week
The archangel Michael is in charge of this day. In the Hebrew language, Michael's name means: 'One who is as God'. Sunday and Michael are both associated with the Sun. This makes a lot of sense. Consider, Sunday in earlier eras was commonly established as the day of Sabbath, or day of worship. The symbolic meaning of the Sun is akin to the spirit, the light that shines bright within us, the fire within the soul. Archangel Michael and the Sun are mighty partners to enhance our virtues, devotionals, prayers and meditations on Sunday.
The angel Gabriel gets busy on this day. In Hebrew, his name means 'God is my strength'. Mondays are aligned with the Moon in astrology. The angel Gabriel, the Moon and Mondays are entangled in some pretty intense symbolism. First, the Moon is symbolic of creativity, intuition and birth. When I say birth, it isn't exclusive to childbirth (but is certainly applies). The process of birth can also apply to the launch of a new project, the birth of a new idea, the conception of a new creative endeavor, etc. Interestingly, Mondays are commonly considered the birth of a new workweek. So where does Gabriel fit in with all the birthing symbolism? Gabriel was considered the top liaison between heaven and humans. He was often called upon to deliver (birth) new insights to humanity. In fact, Gabriel delivered the big news to Mary that she was indeed pregnant with the Christ child.
The guardian of this day is Samael, and the ruling planet is Mars. This is a combustive combination. Why? Well, because Mars is considered a planet (and a god) of aggression, war and conflict as well as red hot passion. And Samael has a dicey reputation. His name in Hebrew means 'blind to God' and/or 'poison of God'. By some experts in angelology, Samael is thought to be the angel of death, and/or a dark angel. However, the Judaic Kabbalah references Samael as the 'severity of God'. In this context Samael was commanded by his superiors to essentially do all the dirty work that the 'nice' and 'pretty' angels didn't want to do. Affiliated with Tuesday, Samael and the planet Mars assert an energetic message that says: "This day is likely to bring conflict. But do not question the power of your influence over adversity. Assert your will, fight, refuse to let the poison of negativity overwhelm you."
The angel Raphael rules this day. He is considered a healing angel, as well as the protector of pilgrims. Interestingly, Wednesday is governed by the planet Mercury. This planet (and the Roman god) is symbolic of travel (pilgrimage), translations and exchange in all kinds of communication. Raphael and Mercury combined are a super duo when it comes to exchanging ideas, proposals or feelings to other people. This terrific twosome is a great formula for successful travel. I'm not talking physical travel exclusively. We can also travel places in our minds, through contemplation or meditation. Wednesday is a great day for astral travel, international travel, small day trips - and also auspicious for allowing our words to travel fluidly to our higher power (as in prayer/devotionals) and/or communicating with friends, family, co-workers, etc. Your thoughts and words are best received on this day.
It's starting to become clear that each of the days of the week offer a different flavor. Each day carries a certain personality. This day is under the influence of Sachiel, who is considered the ruler of all Cherubim. Cherubim are thought to keep constant vigil upon souls in need of strength, faith and renewal. Sachiel represents purity of heart and innocence. His name means "covering of God" in Hebrew. Thursday is also governed by the planet Jupiter. Jupiter is symbolic of generosity, personal growth, expansion, and gaining success in life. These two influences invokes a feeling of renewal, hope and enhancement upon Thursday.
Friday: There's a reason out of all the days of the week, Friday is commonly dubbed 'date night'. Why? Because Fridays are overseen by the angel Anael, who's name means 'Star of love'. Anael is one of the angels considered to have helped with the creation of the heavens and earth. If Anael doesn't convince you that Fridays are for lovers, then perhaps knowing this day is ruled by Venus might give you confirmation. Venus is symbolic of love, sensuality, creativity and relationships. Of course, love and loving isn't exclusive to Friday. Everyday of the week is an opportunity for love. However, Friday is most auspicious for connecting with others on a loving level. This doesn't mean you have to have a date, or a mate. You can augment your intensity of love on Friday by showing affection to your pets, your family and/or your friends. You get the idea.
Saturday: The angel Cassael governs this day. Cassael's name means 'speed of God' in Hebrew. This angel is symbolic of solitude, control, balance, reflection and sensibility. Interestingly the ruling planet over this day is Saturn, which has similar symbolic qualities as Cassael. The symbolic meaning of Saturn and Cassael deals with concepts such as: Time, Stability, Hard Work, Authority and Being methodical. As a result of both angel and planet connection, Saturday often has a controlling feel to it, or comes along with a sense of obligation. It is commonly a day of catching up on work we've put off, because that is the 'sensible' thing to do. This day often casts a sensation of establishing balance and order back into our lives.
In closing, I hope you enjoyed this post on angels and the days of the week. Whether you believe in angels are not, I'd like to think this post at least piqued your curiosity about the energies that flow through all the days of the week.
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Don’t let the title of this blog post fool you. I’m not waving my rowan-wood wand, turning folks into toads (yet, lol).
Rather, this post is about the tricky business of assigning animal totems to folks wanting to know.
Not a day passes when someone doesn’t send in an email with a question like: “Avia, can you tell me what my animal totem is?”
On the one hand, I’m thrilled with these inquiries. It suggests a desire to re-connect to animal kin. It’s a sign that folks are becoming more attuned to the wild and wonderful realms of the Mother [Nature] – and that is uber-awesome.
On the other hand, I’m often distressed by the lack of personal investment in re-connecting with our animal brothers and sisters. Connections to our animal kin is a deeply personal act.
What’s even more irking is the idea that a virtual stranger can arbitrarily assign a totem to another person. To explain, I’ve been known to listen in on certain radio show discussions about totems and neo-shamanism. I’m not naming names, but I’m suspect when these totem-experts get callers on their show with the inevitable question: “Can you tell me my animal totem?” and I’m floored when the totem-practitioner pops off a critter to the caller – essentially assigning a totem to him or her in the span of two seconds.
How can that cosmic connection be gleaned from a distant second party? It feels like “slot-machine logic” – an answer spit out at random. I could be wrong. These totem experts could be mightily connected to their spiritual council, and so they are fed this totem information to present to the caller. Still, I have doubts.
On my most connected days, in which unification with my own Spirit Council is super-tight, I am fed information in terms of “seeing” woodland creatures or other critters scampering around my client’s energy. These visions give me a good idea about the inquirer’s totem affiliations. Nevertheless, in the midst of these visions come strong admonishments from the Council. Admonishments like: “These are the animal energies communing with the human – but he/she must establish the connection.”
Historically, shamans could succinctly identify totems to the members of their tribe/village. There’s a reason for that. Shamans, elders, seers, and wise-women of a tribe typically hold their positions in the group over long spans of time. They live, learn, love together in a tight-knit community, intrinsically linked to the clan members. They often oversee the birthing of new members, and are participants of that member’s life from day one. This gives them special knowing, they see the patterns between a tribal-member’s aura, energy, personality that link to the like-energy of their totem. Simply put, tribal shamans have had a long-standing connection with their people, and are therefore in a better position to identify the individual totems of their tribesmen and women.
So what if we don’t live in a native setting in which an Elder knows us and can help us retrieve our animal totem identities?
The onus is on us. We must be the ones to invest the time to re-connect with our animal guides and guardians.
Asking others to identify our totems isn’t a bad thing, but I’d be leery of pat answers from virtual strangers. Those who ask me what their totems are often get frustrated with my round-about answers. I offer information that my Council feeds me, but not without belting out a few paragraphs about the importance of personal meditation, research and investigation into the matter.
Let’s face it. Most of us wouldn’t ask a stranger “Who is my life-partner?” and then marry the first person named Joe or Suzie just because we’ve been given a pat answer to this question.
In my opinion, re-partnering with our animal totems is no less serious. Our animal totems are profound partnerships – indeed, a marriage. They deserve our time and attention to get to know them. We deserve the investment to familiarize ourselves with our connection to them. So, be wary of the “poof! you’re a toad” syndrome. Pat answers to complex questions like these are to be approached with caution.
I got the low-down on silly bands from my niece, who gave me this one – a Dragon, who happens to be my predominant animal totem.
Now, I’m not big on extraneous consumerism. I prefer to keep my personal adornments and purchases as pure and simple as possible. However, I can see some pretty practical uses for silly bands in relation to our animal totems.
Life is replete with distractions. There’s so much going on in our modern lives. Busy-busy, push-pull, tag-your-it.
If your days are potentially crammed with complexity like mine are, then perhaps you’ll agree it’s good (indeed, even necessary) to keep reminders close by. Reminders that ground us, and redirect our consciousness back to the pure vitals of life like: Compassion, Dynamism, Expansiveness, Balance, and such.
I have tattoos that serve as permanent reminders of these things and more. Photographs plaster my office-studio walls serving the same purpose.
Imagine my surprise and delight when this tiny silicon silly band fulfilled the same function.
Every time my eyes catch sight of this little guy, I return to my core – a place in which my Dragon’s crave for me to stay rooted. Why? Because being rooted in the realms of our animal totems manifests superior benefit for them, ourselves and our society.
Just thoughts…an idea for triggering awareness back to your ideal, totemic core.
That said, a special thanks to my niece for this wicked-keen gift! ;)