Tag Archives: protection

The Saga of Naga Meaning

naga meaning
Nagas protecting a Thai temple

Secret Life of Nagas and Naga Meaning





If you’ve been following my work for any length of time, you might notice I get jazzed about snakes.  For a myriad of reasons, snakes have always been my source of inspiration and wisdom. Perhaps it has to do with their symbolism of duality.  A staggering collection of cultural myths consider the serpent a symbol of contradiction like: light vs. dark, creation vs. destruction, good vs. evil, etc. I dig that.

The simple answer to ‘what is a naga?’ is this : It is a serpent.  Yep, naga meaning translates to ‘snake’.  But that’s where simplicity ends. Various forms of nagas are found all across Asia and India.  Each naga tells a different tale according to its location.

In India, snakes have been honored for centuries.  To prove my point about duality, Hindu belief identifies the snake as having two distinct personalities.  In this culture, nagas are both holy and maniacal, divine and devilish.

But in cultural symbolism, there is a reason for this two-faced aspect.  Almost universally, snakes are typically feared or revered. They are the epitome of mystery.  The serpent has wrapped its tail around countless legends throughout human history.  Inevitably, there is a silver lining to a snake’s evil action.  Vice versa, there is a consequence to a serpent’s good deed.  Let’s break it down…

The Dark Side of Naga Meaning

To understand the dark side of naga meaning, we have to understand their behavior is not random.  If a serpent lashes out, there is almost always a cause.

Let’s take the tales of nagas poisoning people.  In almost all cases, these powerful serpents are not spewing venom for the fun of it.  Nope. More often than not, the recipient of naga poison committed some kind of crime or misdeed.  This scenario serves as a great moral in children’s fables.  It’s a great teaching method encouraging children to be good – or else the naga will unleash their deadly spit. Yikes!

Nagas have an obsession with glittery goodies like gems, gold and other treasure.  Woe be to anyone who came close to their hoard of sparkly collection of precious bits.  Naga’s were known to squeeze the bejeebers out of anyone who attempted to go near its treasure. Who can blame the serpent for that?  I’d be pretty cranky if someone tried to steal my vintage-mint-in-box Pee Wee Herman doll. lol.



naga meaning
The Naga, or serpent, has a long history in Hinduism

Okay, I confess, I’m an advocate of serpents.  Snakes, including nagas are often villainized.  It just seem unfair.  It’s true, most times serpents of legend have a reason to be nasty.  But I must say…sometimes a wicked naga is just plain wicked.  For whatever reason, naga’s are known to seduce an unsuspecting folks.  Once lured in, the naga struck, killing the poor being who crossed the serpent’s path.  Some naga’s are just bad eggs, I guess.

The Light Side of Naga Meaning

Now for the good stuff.  The symbolic meaning of serpents (and the naga) often revolves around renewal and regeneration.  In the case of Hindu naga lore, the serpent represents infinity and creation. This has to do with the snake’s ability to shed it’s skin. Out with the old, in with the new.  After shedding, the snake is shiny and reborn. This theme is seen in many legends in Indo-Asia.

Another redeeming quality of the naga is protection.  Extreme protection. As mentioned, you don’t mess with naga treasure.  Often myth depicts the naga  protecting booty not for themselves, but for the royalty of the land.  If you ever tour around Asia or India, take a look at the temples.  Odds are, you will find carvings of serpents wrapped around stairs and columns.  This reinforces the aspect of fierce protection the naga provides.

Nagas are also associated with water and the underworld in Hindu belief.  As such, they influence behavior of rainfall, rivers, and lakes. Not only is this vital in hot climates, it is essential for successful agriculture.  In this sense, the naga is a positive symbol of provision, generosity and fertility.

There is another Hindu legend that states the naga showed kindness to Buddha.  One day while Buddha was meditating, a torrential storm blew in, pummeling the Buddha with wind and rain.  The nagas saw this and came to the Buddha’s aid.  They used their hoods (similar to cobra hoods) like an umbrella to protect Buddha from the rain.  Then they wrapped their bodies around Buddha to keep him warm from the chilly wind.

Closing Thoughts on Naga Meaning

See, so the serpent naga is not all that bad.  I think the symbolic lesson here is this:  If something seems scary or intimidating, there might be a positive side too.  I’ll admit, snakes aren’t everybody’s favorite creature, but when we take a look at serpents through the eyes of different cultures – it gives us insight into new perspectives.

I hope you enjoyed this post on naga meaning.  If you enjoyed this article, please be sure to check out the links below for related information.  As always, thanks so much for reading.

Symbolic Meaning of Snakes

Snake Tattoo Meaning and Ideas

Going Old School With Odin Meaning and Messages

Odin Meaning Odin God
The Norse god Odin with his two ravens

Norse God Odin Meaning and Insights





If pressed to make a choice, I’d say Odin is one of my favorite ancient gods.  Why?  Because he’s old school.  While Zeus was out playing pranks and scheming for more power – Odin had other motives.

What sets Odin apart from most gods in most cultures is that he was for the people.  While many gods in cultures around the world were fixated on self preservation, Odin made great sacrifices to give humans the gifts they needed to survive in a harsh world. He was a true benefactor to the human race.

Here are a few reasons Odin makes my top 5 list of favorite deities:

  1. He was a humanitarian
  2. He was an animal lover
  3. He had a great appreciation for art and poetry
  4. He was a fearless warrior
  5. He respected his comrades in arms
  6. His thirst for knowledge was unquenchable
  7. He never gave up, even when he knew fate suggested he should
  8. He didn’t say much, but what he did say was profound
  9. He understood great sacrifice is required for great gain
  10. He was a pretty good-lookin’ dude from what I can tell ;)

Odin The Norse God and the Nitty Gritty of Creation

Odin is a father-god as well as a sun god.  His association with the sun makes him a light-bringer, a creator, a passionate leader whose destiny simply must shine brightly.  Indeed he was bright, and he did a crackerjack job and creating stuff.

Well, sure, there’s that little detail of Odin almost killing his father Ymir which isn’t a very creator-type thing to do. However, by slaying Ymir, Odin (and his brothers Vili and Ve) created middle earth. You see, Ymir was the first giant.  After he was sacrificed, his blood became our oceans, his bones became our mountains, his flesh became our land, and his hair became our vegetation.  To his credit, Odin didn’t entirely off his dad.  Ymir still lives, although in a subdued state.  You know Ymir is still alive and kickin’ when earthquakes happen, that’s Ymir shifting his body.

After middle earth was created, Odin got the bright idea to populate the place. So he took an ash tree and crafted the first man.  From the elm tree, he sculpted the first woman.  I’d say he did a pretty fine job on both physiques.

Odin was an industrious dude because he didn’t stop at creating the earth or humans.  He also separated day from night.  Quite a neat trick if you ask me.  The ever-savvy Odin figured all this stuff needed a bit of organization, so he established Midgard (middle earth) for humans, then Asgard – the home of the gods.

The Secret Life of Odin – The Personality Behind the God

Within the god neighborhood of Asgard, there was a great hall called Valhalla.  That’s where Odin chose to spend his days and nights.  Interesting, the term Val means ‘death’ or ‘slain’ and halla means ‘hall.’ So essentially, Odin’s address was ‘the hall of death.’  But it’s not as macabre as you might think.  This was a place of warriors who died bravely in battle, fighting for the cause.

Valkyries (which means ‘choosers of the slain’) also lived in Valhalla.  These were lovely, strong women who at Odin’s bidding, brought the bravest fallen warriors back to Valhalla.  This wasn’t a gloomy glum place to pass your time in the afterlife. Nope. Big feasts were thrown every day and night. Sometimes warriors had friendly tests of strengths against each other.  Wild boar was served every night, and the mead (beer) flowed like waterfalls.

You’d think Odin would be whooping it up with his warriors and Valkyries, but hid didn’t.  He never ate.  Rather, he gave his meat to his two wolves, Geri and Freki.  But boy-howdy he drank mead like a fish.  A god after my own heart.  Odin also preferred to be alone rather than join the antics.  He was a deep thinker.  I suppose the alone time allowed him focus and the concentration he needed to protect, organize and enhance his kingdom.

Odin had an inside edge when it came to wisdom.  He had two ravens (sometimes crows, depending on the literature you’re consulting).  Their names were Hugin, which means ‘thought’ and Munin which means ‘memory.’  Every day Hugin and Munin would fly throughout the land gaining information.  They would return at dusk and report all the going’s on they observed to Odin.

As far as Geri and Freki – these weren’t any ordinary wolves. They were supernatural.  These were warrior wolves gifted with super-canine strength.  They adored Odin, and never left his side.  So loyal, they would protect Odin with their lives.  Woe to the fellow who went up against those hell hounds. Mangle-mania! Oy!

Always the animal lover, Odin also had a horse.  But not just any horse.  His name was Sleipnir, and he had eight legs.  His name means “slippery” – I suppose he would be a slippery one to catch, having eight legs! Sleipnir was as devoted to Odin as Geri, Freki, Hugin and Munin. This horse was also endowed the gift to travel between dimensions.  In essence, no place was off limits to Odin as long as he had his noble steed.



An Ode to Odin Meaning and Accomplishments

Odin had a phenomenal reputation for tending to the needs of the other gods in Asgard.  He also paid special attention to his warriors.  They were his pride.  He took great care in their training and well-being.

Odin was always thinking of better ways to protect his people from the evil giants always wanting to pick a fight with Asgardians. So intent upon providing a peaceful, long-lasting existence for his people of Asgard, he made a gruesome sacrifice.

One day, Odin decided he needed more insight as to how to guard his people. So he went to the Well of Wisdom, which was guarded by Mimir. Odin asked for a drink from the well, but Mimir said there must be a price to be paid for such knowledge (there’s always a price, ugh).  In Odin’s case, he had to pluck out his eyeball.  Why Mimir wanted a slimy eyeball, I have no idea – but he got what he wanted, and Odin did too.

odin meaning odin god meaning
Odin never gave up finding solutions for his people, even though he knew Asgard would end.

Ironically, with only one eye, Odin lost half his sight as well as his depth perception. But he gained ‘second sight’ or ‘otherworldly’ sight from the wisdom juice.  From this ‘second sight’ he could see into the future, and what he saw was not good.  He saw the ultimate demise of Asgard.  But even after seeing this, he never gave up trying to find solutions to prevent its eventual end.

As mentioned, Odin also had a soft-spot for humans.  None of the other Norse gods could really figure out what his fascination with us was, but Odin didn’t care – he kept looking out for us all the same.

He made yet another great sacrifice, this time on behalf of humanity.  He wanted to obtain the powerful gift of Runes to give to humans.  Runes are magical inscriptions that can be engraved on wood, stone, whatever. These inscriptions are a language that can guide people and also offer protection.  They can’t necessarily tell the future, but the inscriptions can reveal certain potentialities that offer forewarning.  The runes can also offer advice and solutions for various tribulations.

In order to get this gift for the humans, Odin hung himself from a wind-rocked tree for nine whole nights while being impaled with a spear.  Ouch!  But he won the right to have the Runes, and gave them to humans.  Humans used them to help predict weather, crop behavior, oncoming threats, solutions to family squabbles, and much more.

Closing Thoughts on Old School Odin Meaning

In summary, it should be clear Odin was one bad as* when it came to protecting his soldiers, his Asgardians as well as human kind.  It should also be evident that Odin was outrageously determined to think his way through any problem.  He was rabid about finding solutions – even if it meant self-sacrifice.

Odin also stood up for his beliefs.  Even when the other gods were questioning his motive for fiddling with us humans – Odin still provided regardless.  He provided a home and happiness to his warriors even in the afterlife.  He created an almost Utopian place to live where all kind could live in harmony – at least for a time.  I’d say that’s pretty epic.  And it’s pretty old school to have a vision and hammer down on it, no matter what.

I hope you enjoyed this article on various thoughts on Odin meaning as a wicked-awesome Norse god.  Of course there is tons more to Odin, so don’t stop here.  Keep researching.  You’ll find out about his lovely wife Frigg, his buff son Thor, and his emo son Loki.  Keep diving into the fascinating saga of Odin, and you won’t be disappointed.

As always, thanks for reading.  If you enjoyed this post, you might also like these articles below:

God and Goddess Symbol Meanings

Celtic God and Goddess Meanings

 

Elephant Trunk Up – Is That Good Luck?

elephant trunk up
What’s Up With Elephant Trunk Up?

Elephant Trunk Up – Is That A Thumbs Up for Good Luck?

A few weeks ago, I helped my dad move into his new home. First task: Tackle the kitchen. It became quickly apparent that dad had a lot of extra, unneeded stuff.  I mean three can openers and four corkscrews? C'mon dad!

So dad, mom, my niece and I started helping dad cull out the superfluous, and keep the essentials. The result of all this gleaning was my mom and niece inheriting a lot of stuff.  I got the super cool hand can opener I coveted! Lol.

Now understand. My needs are simple. I live in a tiny home - 300 sq ft. Talk about having to cull out the flotsam and jetsam!! I did a lot of eliminating to get the bare necessities in my small space!

But I digress. The reason I'm bringing this up has to do with elephant, trunk up. To explain, while sorting through dad's stuff, pops found two elephants. He asked me if I wanted them.  Well....like I said, I've got precious little room for anything - much less knick-knacks.   Moreover, elephants don't quite fit in with my decor.  Let's face it, an elephant trunk up doesn't quite mix with skulls and freaky looking gargoyles.  Lol!

Nevertheless, as dad was holding those two elephants, I recalled those pachyderms  on display in my childhood home.  Having been in the family for so long, it was hard to say 'no' to dad.

So I accepted dad's elephant offering, wondering where the heck I'm going to put them.  They're quite lovely, actually.  Here's a pic of these two elephants:

elephant trunk up good luck

It's  the only free space in my tiny home I could find.  I kept that space clear, because as you can see in the background, my a/c and heat unit is there.  Let's just say these elephants have some pretty frosty bums when the a/c kicks on. :o

So, with elephants in place, I started to wonder about which direction they should face.  It matters, you know.  I remember as a kid, mom told me they should face east.  So that's how I situated them.

But then I got curious. Why face east?  And is that really the elephant good luck law? Or is it just an old wives tale with nothing to back it up (no offence mom).  So I started doing some research.

Elephant trunk up = good luck, apparently.  Elephant with trunk down = not necessarily bad luck, just a different vibe, an introspective energy.

But what about the direction? The preponderance of data I collected was adamant that elephants sporting uplifted trunks should face the front door.  This, according sources such as Feng Shui expert, Lillian Too, and superstition connoisseur, David Pickering...front-door-facing is the rule concerning an elephant trunk up scenario.

Why?  Apparently it has to do with welcoming good chi, or positive energy into the home.  Door facing elephant ornaments are like a big "Howdy! C'mon in!" when it comes to invoking good luck, wealth, a happy family and healthy relationships.

Elephant Trunk Up, Facing East - Is That A Thumbs Up for Good Luck?

elephant trunk up meaning

Interestingly, elephants with their trunks up facing east is also a good idea. According to Feng Shui, east is an arousing energy. East positions tend to entice good luck, and facilitates the flood gates of prosperity.  Same with elephants facing the door - it opens the door to positive mojo.

You know...I'm not the most superstitious person...but if I have an invitation (real or imagined) to allow good juju in my life - you can bet I'm going to take advantage of it.

So I compromised. My two elephants - trunk up - are facing northeast. -North because that's where my front door is, and east because that's a positive position too.  Here are some other things I learned during my elephant placement research:


Elephant Trunk Up And The Real Symbolic Scuttlebutt:

No bums facing the door! Supposedly, this blocks good luck and is extraordinarily harmful to positive chi (energy).


Elephants with trunks up are symbolic of fierce protection to the owner of the pachyderm.


Elephants with trunks down have a bad rap for rotten luck. But this isn't true according my resources.  A downward trunk has an internalizing energy. It's about introspection, and internal growth. Quite literally, internal growth as in producing a baby. Feng Shui recommends a pair of trunk down elephant in the west quadrant of the bedroom if you want to conceive a child with your partner.


White elephants are supposedly the Grand Poobah of good luck.  Their beauty and rarity is considered the ultimate conjurer of good fortune.


Two elephant trunk up meaning: Well, my instinct on the meaning of this one is age old adage, "If one is good, more is better". Lol.  Seriously, double (two) elephants are good omens for partnerships - particularly  for married couples and/or partners living in the same home.


Three elephants together meaning: Three elephants have a 'triple luck' effect.  The number three is hugely lucky.  You ever heard of the idea that if you do something good, karma or the universe will deliver good back to you three times over?  Three elephants kinda emphasize that idea.  They encourage, and intensify what the elephant stands for: Protection, prosperity, luck, and successful relationships (especially with family).


Well, trust me, I haven't covered all the nuances and meanings of the elephant trunk up phenomenon.  But I covered the highlights.  I hope you found this article helpful, or at least entertaining. ;)

As always, thanks so much for reading.

Bright pachyderm prosperity to you,

Avia

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Dogs and Defining Moments – Update

dog meaning, dog moments
The Whole Clan. From Left to Right: Kip, Chadwick, Avia and Gus

Meaningful Dog Moments

Back in September of last year, I wrote a post about my symbolic journey with my dogs.  If you're interested, you can read it here: Doggone Awesome Defining Moments.

That post reveals my utter newbie-ness about having dogs. Before the boys (all rescue dogs) started showing up, I hadn't had a dog in over 20 years.

And now I have three.  Soon to be FOUR!  Ack!  Fortunately, I live on a nice big piece of land.  Somewhat UNfortunately, I live in a tiny home, about 300 sq. ft. Lemme tell ya...it gets tight with one human and three dogs.

Avia with Hank, newest member of the pack.

Am I crazy for getting a fourth dog?  Absolutely!  Classic madness on my part.  But maybe not.  My dogs: Kip, Gus, Chadwick and soon-to-be Hank (shown above) have given me more sanity than I've ever had.

I'll admit, I get berserk sometimes. My dogs, even though mighty feisty, calm me completely.

I'll also admit, I can be a total sloth - slow and unmotivated. My boys force me to move. Even in my most sluggish moments, my dogs push me to go outside with them, feed them, love them...eventually all that action replenishes my energy, and I'm often able to get some work done due to their prompting.

In my first post, I confess that each dog I rescued was a remarkable defining moment.  At that time I took in another stray, whom I named Penny.  Since then, I found Penny's true owner. She lives right behind me, and Penny, being ancient (18 years old) and nearly deaf simply couldn't find her way back.

I saw a poster with Penny's picture on it at the local market.  Now, this is three months and 100's of dollars in vet bills later. In short, I was really attached to Penny at that point.  But, with my heart breaking, I made the phone call to her real owner.  The reunion was a sweet one, but I bawled like a baby for weeks over not having her in my home.  She pawed her way into my heart, and I was crushed by her absence.

Chadwick, the most recent addition to our pack.

My best friend, Dave calls me every day. Maybe he got sick of me bemoaning my loss of Penny.  Maybe he saw a need to fill my void.  Whatever his thought process, Dave told me to quit my bellyaching and rescue another dog! He was much nicer in his delivery than that, but I got the point. So that's exactly what I did.  Meet the newest member of the family, Chadwick (shown above).

This little guy is like a cranky old man, but he's a darling. And yes, he does have little dog syndrome.  Oy!

When I first got him, there was a big adjustment period for us both, but now Chaddywhack never leaves my side.  It's almost as if he needs to be close to me all the time.  The big boys, Gus and Kip love their mamma, but they're not as needy as the little boy.

The big boys: Gus and Kip

Speaking of Gus and Kip, they continue to amaze me every day.  They are so sweet, I've gone diabetic. And their personalities get more developed and bold every day.

It is a privilege to watch them, know them and grow with them.  A truly special bond that equals no other kind of relationship.  Here are the big boys, Gus and Kip shown above.

Now a fourth beastie is soon to come into the fold.  Hank.  My niece took in a stray dog who happened to be pregnant.  I swear pregnant strays have 'sucker-radar'.  They sniff out soft hearts that will take them in so they can pop out their babies in a safe place. I had a cat named Suki who roped me into her pregnancy plan. I almost had a stroke when the vet told me she was pregnant.  But that's a totally different story to visit another day.

Hank (shown below) is still in the process of weaning off his mamma.  I expect he'll have his homecoming the end of March.  Goddess help me get through the potty training and teething.  :o

But how could I say 'no' to this ridiculously cute little guy?  You tell me....

Hank comes home end of March

So what's my point to all this blathering and boasting about my dogs?  Well, foremost, I'm pretty sure I'm just babbling and bragging about my dogs. Lol.  But the secondary point is how incredibly therapeutic our animals can be.  Further, there's something remarkably special about a dog and the bond with his/her owner.

I've had cats, snakes, fish, and an iguana.  I've had a pet rat, gerbil, rabbit and even a pet horny toad. I've hung out with horses, and befriended ferrets.  Side note here: If you haven't guessed, my first 'real' job was working at a pet store.  Believe it or not, lots of creatures were dropped at the front door of the store.  Yep. You pegged it.  I took in every critter that needed a home.  Thus my Dr. Doolittle diversity in pet ownership.

At any rate, my point is this:  There is nothing like the connection between canine and human.  For sure, a bond was formed between me and all the various creatures I cared for.  But it was my dogs who taught me stuff.  Huh?  Yeah.  Dogs teach, and they give, and they need you on a whole different level than a rat or a cat.  Sure, other pets need you for food, and a modicum of attention.  But a dog needs you with all his/her heart and soul.  So what have dogs taught me over the years?  Here are a few big dog lessons I've learned...

Top Five Dog Lessons I've Learned:

dog meaning, dog lessons  1) Dog forgiveness is infinite.  At times, I can be most cantankerous. Sometimes I get crabby with my dogs. But you know what? They always forgive me.  So much so, that they have taught me the extreme importance of forgiveness.


dog meaning, dog lessons 2) Dog joy is on steroids.  Seriously, I've never witnessed such bliss.  When dogs get happy (which is more often than not) it's like watching a kid at a carnival with cotton candy in one hand, and cuddly stuffed animal her dad won at a game of chance in the other hand. It's unreal how dogs beam with joy.  They even smile!  This has taught me there is more benefit to bliss than being blue all the time.


dog meaning, dog lessons 3) Dog gratitude is intense. My dogs seems so grateful for the tiniest things. From a scratch behind the ears, to a wee treat, dogs are just so incredibly thankful.  This, of course, is a big lesson for anybody - especially me.  My dogs have taught me to have an attitude of gratitude for everything and in every moment.  Even something so commonplace as running water - I get grateful.  This is especially true when times are tough.  That's when giving thanks really matters. In short, I'm grateful my dogs showed me the importance of being thankful - even for the smallest things.


dog meaning, dog lessons 4) Dogs take protection personally.  My dogs take protecting me and my property very seriously.  Sometimes it's hard for me to perceive these sweet babies transform into fierce, feral beasts when they sense a threat.  And they make that shift from pacifist to "I'm gonna chew your face off" mode within a blink of an eye!  It's quite staggering to observe sometimes.  At any rate, my dogs have taught me there is a time for being passive and a time for aggression.  Further, this behavior has reinforced a belief I've always held: Protect that which is sacred, and do it to the tooth. Meaning, I go ballistic when it comes to protecting my dogs and my peeps.


dog meaning, dog lessons  5) Dogs are love machines.  Canine love is primal.  It's a special brand of love.  I've never seen anything like it.  Human love can often be complex, or come with strings attached.  Not dogs.  Their love is unconditional and pure adoration.  From sloppy kisses to full body hugs - wagging tails to barks of bliss...dogs got love like Serena Williams got game. Hands down, dogs know how to love far better than most humans.  In fact, my dogs have taught me a lot about how to love with abandon...no conditions, no expectations, just pure love.  That's perhaps the biggest lesson I've learned from my boys.


In closing, I just want to thank you all for indulging me in this post on dog and defining moments.  To be sure, dog meaning, dog messages and dog lessons are extremely simple - but hugely profound.

I hope you enjoyed this dog article.  I know I got carried away with blathering about my boys.  But I hope the lessons I've learned are also available to you, because they are priceless on any path in life.

If you liked this blog post on dog meanings and defining moments, check out the dog links below.  They may offer deeper inspiration (I promise, I don't blab and brag on my other articles like I did in this one. lol).

As always, thanks for reading.

May all your dog days be dazzling,

Brightly,

Avia


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Dog Tattoo Meanings

Doggone Awesome Defining Dog Moments