Chinese New Year of the Dog 2018:
This Chinese zodiac animal takes trust and companionship to a whole new level. Consequently, the year of the Dog is one of understanding, faith and devotion. Dog signs see the best in people, and they take great effort in coaxing those good highlights out of people. They are always up for a good time, and enjoy making people laugh. This makes them super-fun to be with. They make excellent friends, and they are the go-to pal when you need a supportive hug or just someone to listen to your woes.
You may note that Dogs and Horses have similar attributes (friendliness, faithfulness, etc). The Dog distinguishes himself by his willingness to serve. Where the Horse is a teacher, the Dog is a servant. Now, in our modern, independent way of thinking – the idea of “servitude” may not sound all that glamorous – but let me tell you – it is. Without the tender-hearted, thoughtful nature of Dog signs, we would not have hospice, charities, soup kitchens, fund-raisers, homeless shelters…you get the idea. The world needs more compassionate Dog signs. Thankfully, the year of the Dog interjects a quality of empathy at a level that is seldom seen in other years.
I want to touch on that word “willingness”. Dogs are ever-willing to fight for a cause. Dog signs act on their impulse – not because they think they should – not because it’s the “right thing to do” – but because they know it’s the right thing to do. They are willing to put themselves on the line for what they feel is decent, humane and honorable. Dogs often sacrifice a lot in order to stand up for their beliefs. They’ll do this even when the odds seem insurmountable. Hence the term “underdog”. Of all the signs in the Chinese zodiac, the Dog is the last one to compromise his morals or values. This sign will fight ‘doggedly’ for what he believes in.
Dog signs are also natural-born guardians. They don’t take on this role in an aggressive way though. They just keep a weather eye out for their loved ones. They tend to watch from a distance…just making sure all is well…just keeping watch – like a sentinel. Of course, they can be on the attack if their loved ones are threatened, but they usually try to resolve conflict in well-mannered, intelligent ways. Dogs are slow to anger – but when they do get mad (especially on a loved one’s behalf) – katy bar the door, because that dogfight’s gonna get intense.
Here again – it’s that “underdog” mentality. Dog signs will fight for the defenseless, the underprivileged, the misunderstood. So, it’s a good thing Dogs are so even-tempered, and a very good thing they handle mistreatment with diplomacy rather than aggression.
The year of the Dog will have that same kind of advocate feel to it. Those who have no voice to speak are somehow able to get their point across in the year of the Dog. Those who cannot stand on their own, will somehow have the support they need. This year is all about acknowledging those we have forgotten, and paying mindful respect to the unspoken heroes who deserve it.
Things to watch out for: Because the Dog is super-sensitive, and ultra-concerned for the well being of others, the Dog contends with a constant element of worry. In fact, Dogs can worry so much, they’ll imagine the most impossible scenarios of threat to their loved ones of areas of value. This behavior may crop up in the year of the Dog too. Be aware of nervousness or excessive worry throughout this year. If you experience that noodling concern – cull examples from your past that prove how things can work out just fine. Remind yourself that your daughter has driven that Volvo a million times, and she’s come home just fine. Remind yourself that thousands of people undergo surgery every day, and they come out just fine. Remind yourself of all the times people have pulled themselves out from adversity – only to become better and stronger for the experience. You get the idea.
Why Do We Call It A ‘Blue Moon’? Symbolic Meaning of Blue Moons
At the time of this writing a blue moon is approaching tonight, May 21, 2016. What’s up with that? What’s does the blue moon mean? Plenty.
Let’s start by explaining what a blue moon is. Basically, there are normally three moons in a season. Every couple years an extra moon crops up. Hence the cliché “once in a blue moon” akin to describing a rare event.
Pretty simple explanation, right? But what’s up with the colorful moniker? Why do we call it a blue moon? Why not “weird extra moon”?
I mean, blue moons aren’t even blue all the time. They can be any color. The hue of this moon comes into play as an effort to identify an anomaly. Why? I’ll explain.
As par with all assignments in symbolism – it’s hard to pinpoint an exact origin. The term “blue moon” crops up in lots of places during different eras.
It’s widely agreed blue moon is a term of the Old Ways. It started with those savvy country folk who lived and died by the rule of Nature. In ancient Gaelic, the word blue identified the color, but it also had dodgy connotations. In Gaelic slang, the word blue was used to express indecency or inappropriateness. In old French, blue signified a low mood. Hence the phrase “I’m feeling blue”.
If we pull on this blue thread, we might wonder why dub an extra oddball moon as a bad thing? Pretty simple answer. Country folk of the Old Ways were profoundly connected to the earth. When I say they lived and died by the rule of Nature, that is oh-so-true. From crops to cows, cures to ceremony – earth and sky was the source of it all. So what’s the blue moon connection?
An extra moon in a growing season can do some really wonky things to everything. It affects human behavior, animal behavior, and it certainly influences growth of crops/plant-life. Full moons pack powerful punches once a month. But twicea month – whoa Nellie!! Stand back for a walloping effect. Ergo, this renegade extra moon became known as the ‘indecent moon’ or ‘inappropriate moon’. Basically it was an unwanted moon because to ancient country folk, it wreaked unpredictable results in life.
So that’s the winding road to answer the question “why do we call it a blue moon?” But I can’t leave it at that. I have this compulsion to turn frowns upside down. What if we flip this bad blue moon rap into a better perspective?
We can look to the same ancient folklore that gave the blue moon its indecent proposal from the beginning. The Old Ways tell of amazing results when we appeal to the power of the blue moon. Whoa? Yeah! Instead of getting freaked out over the unknown influence of this moon – we can harness its power – purposefully and profoundly.
This rare’ish lunar event is a perfect time to get serious about our affirmations. When we solidify our intentions during a blue moon, this moon blesses it in a big way. Think of it like sowing super-sonic powerful seeds in our lives. Then consider the blue moon adding magic lunar juju to our seeds – insuring the likelihood of successful sprouting of our dreams.
In short: Offer up your dreams and expectations for the future to this blue moon. Connect with Dame Bleue Lune on a personal level. Envision this dynamic, cerulean Lady Luna as a giver of second chances and big gifts in your life.
Blue moons have historically proven themselves to be catalysts for mind-blowing life-events. Don’t miss the chance to utilize this thin slice of night life. It’s time to boogie in the moon light and dare to dream for your best future.
Interestingly, the Old Ways document a domino effect with this action. If you engage the blue moon to aid you in your future manifestations, it will set factors in motion that will last until the next blue moon – which is about three years in the future. Considering this is a time of impressive influence, energy and potential – it behooves us to choose our wishes for the future wisely.
I hope this post on “Why do we call it a blue moon?” was illuminating. At very least, I’d like to think this post inspires you to wander outside and simply appreciate the bountiful beauty of this blue moon (even though it likely won’t be blue). If you do go lunar-watching, do me a favor. Just give thanks. Thanks for the little things, big things, and everything in between. But especially give gratitude for this glorious universe in which we live.
As always, my thanks to YOU for reading!
Bright lunar love,
Click the links below for more symbolic meaning of moons…
Symbolism vs. Superstition, what’s the difference between the two? This question came from an email sent by an avid fan of whats-your-sign.com (thanks Annabel). It’s an uber-valid inquiry, so I thought I’d devote a little time to the debate on this blog post.
First, a word from your pal and mine, Mr. Webster (Webster’s Dictionary):
Superstition: An irrational belief in or notion of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, or occurrence.
Symbolism: The practice of representing things by symbols, or of investing things with a symbolic meaning or character.
Big difference, eh?
The key phrase here, I think, is “irrational belief.”
Interpreting symbolism runs counter to irrational belief. In fact, the realm of symbolism is highly appealing because it requires a logical approach.
Relies heavily on logic
Feeds on ignorance
Encourages independent and critical thinking
Encourages no thought, blind acceptance
Encourages anthropological/cultural research for greater understanding
Requires no understanding or research, concepts taken at face-value
Requires interpretation and exploration from the observer
Must be accepted as truth or fact without substantiation
Offers insight according to the observer’s needs
Keeps banal value, with the gist of meaning left unchanged
Lends itself to improvement of the human condition
Keeps humankind stuffed in a dark hole of ignorance
Symbolism is an interactive practice, requiring the discernment of humankind to flesh out meanings according to his/her own perspective at the time of interpretation. Superstition asks no such thing of us, and that’s my main gripe.
If you want answers in your life about synchronicities, oracles, signs and other meaningful phenomenon it seems to me you have a choice. You can go the quick-and-easy route, the route requiring little to no effort on your part – a pat answer typically based upon fear-driven concepts, by all means, let superstition be your guide.
If, however, you find yourself to be more refined, more evolved, and so require a sophisticated approach to interpreting uncommon events in your life – an approach that encourages expanded perception, open-mindedness and soulful sensitivity – then symbolism might be your bag baby.
Nestled in soft pockets of awareness, there are messages waiting to unfold themselves to us, cosmic messages intended for our eyes only, and in James Bond ‘double-oh-seven’ style, with cryptic innuendo and a bit of humorous cheek, we are left to ponder the symbolic implications of oracles glittering on our path.
This human life is all espionage and safari, and I contend the hunt begins at the front door of our own consciousness. We all seek meaning, we all seek value, we all seek to lift the veil of the mundane that tends to cloak the brilliance awaiting us in this life.
To be sure, there is a remarkable quality of life available to each of us, and in my experience that extraordinary quality reveals itself via the endlessly versatile language of symbolism.
We all know this language, and we owe it to ourselves to interpret deeper symbolism in all its delightfully unusual dialects and cosmic contexts.
Symbolism is a language spoken from the Unified field, and its speech is variable, multi-tongued and infinite in manifestation. Interpreting signs, symbols and all manner of natural oracles is akin to tapping into limitless potential as well as establishing an experience with the Mystical.
Our lives are replete with multi-layered meanings, and that means big juju for all of us.
It means there is magic inherent in every moment of our lives. This magic dispels the ennui that sometimes clings to the human experience. Interpreting personal symbolism rekindles the conviction that we are all light-infused, special and valuable.
Regardless if we may be beset with grief, boredom or rage, we have the power to open just a few cracks of unique contemplation and view the moments of our lives as symbolic messages – these messages offer validation about our connection to something grandiose, something utterly unified in its ability to support and encourage our well-being.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Mike Bastine, a Native American Algonquin, who has been speaking about the necessity of re-connecting to Nature as a means to reform consciousness. It was an utter delight to spend time with Mr. Bastine, and equally uplifting to share common views with him. He’s got revolutionary insights anchored in ancient wisdom. Perhaps his words in this interview will contribute to your own conscious-reform for the better. Or, perhaps these views might maintain your own re-connection to the Mother (Nature). Enjoy!
The landscape cracks open like an egg in my view. The bright orange yolk of sun hangs, suspended in the albumen of a clear liquid sky. I’m driving along a curvy route to a quiet rural town to meet with Algonquin visionary and educator, Mike Bastine.
On the drive, the scenery unfolds like a Monet; billions of auburn-amber leaves splatter like dots on the rolling hills of Autumnal glory. It’s a two hour drive, stuffed with Natural beauty. The soft ride offers ample opportunity for me to ponder the upcoming meeting with Mr. Bastine.
Although diligent about suppressing any kind of pre-conclusions about this interview, electric expectation still amplifies my anticipation. I am meeting a Native master of tenets that have ignited my own elevated understanding; tenets essential to the broader soul-growth of so many people over human history.
My time with Mike Bastine, however, produces no glamour. No spiritual huff-n-puff. No fluffy clouds filled with insubstantial vapors about spirituality. Rather, Bastine proves to be a Plymouth rock of foundational wisdom. He radiates reverence for simplicity. He is rooted in the value of rekindling the heart of humanity; encouraging attunement with the energies of Nature, love and respect. No fancy juju; just bare-boned wisdom, exposing a soulful, nurturing marrow.
My car pulls into his driveway. Beyond the weathered, wood-clad exterior of his home, rests acres of maples waving goodbye to their own falling leaves. Rows of cornfields maze the back yard, their husks brown and crinkly, jutting up to the glassy sky.
My ears perk, hearing a yawning creak from the front screen door as I gather up my notebook, camera, and recording device from the car. It’s Mike Bastine walking out to greet me.
Mike’s Native blood etches clear evidence of his Algonquin heritage in his appearance. His skin is naturally tawny, obviously unaided by the sun’s tanning effect, especially as winter begins her progressive swallowing of solar rays. His hair is long, pulled back in a pony tail. It shines in onyx iridescence and reminds me of silky crow feathers.
He welcomes me with a smile; a smile that equals the cheer reflected inside his home. I struggle to pull off my boots before entering. “Oh no, you don’t have to do that.” Mike says, chuckling, as I almost topple over. “Keep those on. Stay warm. Snow and mud aren’t sticking to the bottoms of our feet just yet.” We both break the initial conversational ice by agreeing how mild this year’s autumn has been.
Mike and I sit at his kitchen table. Pens and pencils stand at attention in a clean white cup, anxious to be put to use. Books and papers are neatly stacked on the table too. Mike thoughtfully pulls out a few of the many articles written about him for me to read. He pauses for a moment and pulls out a few books for me to look at too.
Pam, Mike’s wife, offers me a hot cup of green tea and a cinnamon pecan danish. I’ve just met these people, but it feels I’ve been a welcomed visitor in this kitchen for an eternity. Time is irrelevant. Indeed, the energy of their home is timeless, comforting and tremendously safe. I am calm, I am at home in their presence.
The black pot-belly stove churns out its warmth as Mike begins to do what he does best: Weave his spoken words into exquisite tapestries. Native wisdom is his loom, and Mike threads rich value into each sentence spoken. His voice is a smooth, lulling tenor and his words are framed in the rhythmic compassion that steadily beats within his heart.
For decades, Mike Bastine has travelled the US and Canada speaking about the wisdom of his Native ancestors, illustrating how Native ways are a catalyst for healing, renewal and reconnection to a higher way of living life.
“I’ve been bringing up a few terms in my workshops lately.” Mike begins, his soft brown eyes sparkling. “Terms we all learned in early schooling. I ask people how they feel about the phrase ‘Divide and Conquer’ and most people tell me it’s kind of a standard of life today.”
Mike explains that the modern Western civilized mind has been trained to weed out ‘weakness’ and conquer life by working hard at maintaining status quo. “Mainstream thought mostly adheres to popularly accepted, spoon-fed education and doctrine.” He says in his sing-song dialect. As Mike talks, my understanding lulls into compliance with his argument with this commonly accepted phrase.
“Today, most people’s perception of strength and weakness is skewed. There’s more strength in the gentle than there is in the bold. Gentleness accumulating over time – that’s where the power resides.” Mike taps his calloused-covered fingertip on the Xerox copy he gave me of Chief Seattle’s speech. “That’s part of what Seattle is saying in this address.”
Mike closes his eyes, and I wonder what scenes are playing beneath his eyelids. “The idea of ‘conquer’ is equally misleading.” He says, “What is there to conquer? If we each lived aligned to our True Nature, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation!” He pushes back a bit from the kitchen table after finishing this thought, as if sitting objectively – seeing a broad view of the human condition from his wicker-backed chair.
“The idea of ‘divide’ is just an illusion. Nature shows us different. Nature shows us progress only comes with inclusion, acceptance, absorption. Nature shows us surrender. That’s what evolutional progress is about.” Mike lets out a lightly exasperated chuckle, with a slightly discernable shaking of his head.
” I ask these same people in my workshops how they feel about another common phrase we’ve all been taught: ‘In God we Trust.’ I get the same kind of mental agreement. But I have to question this. How can we believe in ‘Divide and Conquer‘ and ‘In God we Trust’ at the same time?” Mike’s passion about these points of contention is clear, but his core demeanor does not waiver. He remains solidly anchored in a place of peaceful contemplation as he speaks to me.
The Algonquin Elder continues his thought-stream about Western culture’s unconscious acceptance of these two statements. “How can we be divided and yet trust in one God? This mentality is where the breakdown of disconnect to Nature stems.” Mike says softly, sad kindness lacing his voice. To him, unity is a far more viable solution to living a life of true freedom.
Mike leans forward on the kitchen table to drive his point home: “Prior generations had Elders to teach us about relationships. Primarily the marriage between humans and this planet. But now those teachings have fallen by the wayside. This causes separation. We have become distanced from the higher wisdom of Nature, love and goodness.” Mike further contends this disconnection has lead to an inflammation of humanity’s highest conflict: The conflict between the heart and the ego.
“We must think independently. We can’t think what we’ve been educated to think, because it’s not what this life is about. We must observe what’s going on today and rejoin the ranks of our Elders who looked to Nature for assistance with answers.”
Mike Bastine gently illustrates how many of today’s youth are no longer educated by their Elders who have been steeped in the nurturing, honorable ways of the Great Spirit and the ways of Nature. Today, our youth are educated by capitalist systems whose primary impetus for functioning is money and conformity. It’s a disturbing observation. Mike points out a fundamentally flawed educational system that produces fact-filled sheep, designed to follow (and not overthrow) the powers that be, namely, the government. More unsettling, is the valid observation of mass-media’s role in raising our youth.
“If we look at the bigger picture of what’s happening around the world, and we see the events – how they connect. How they unfold. How they evolve. We can start to see that disconnection is the source of great upheaval.” Mike’s hands are upturned; his arms slightly raised in a supplicating gesture as he utters these words. He speaks like a man who sees problems and feels frustration because he knows how simple the solutions are.
The furrow in Mike’s brow smoothes back into its customary serenity as he expands his revelations: “This disjointed gap….the inability to connect human thought and behavior with the deeper functions of Nature….this is the sole flaw that prohibits the flow of peace.” This flaw, Mike explains, is aggravated by the lack of unity and acceptance being taught by our modern elders, who are our politicians, educators, doctors, etc.
“I wish there were little manuals written about how to be a good human. How to make choices that honor and respect our world and all that lives in it.” I nod my head and smile, thinking about how Mike’s ‘How to be a Good Human’ manuals might not be the most ideal replacement for wise Elders in our modern-day global tribes. But, I silently agree these manuals would be a good start at defining simple steps for reconnecting to the Golden Truths inherent in every human heart.
“When enlightenment dovetails and becomes manifested into the outward happiness of being, do you think something like the definition of ‘a metaphor’ is essential to sustaining that education? No! It doesn’t take rocket science to gain a higher education. This is about human interaction conducted with respect.” Mike makes this statement with conviction backed by the wisdom of his lineage. His faith in the cathartic, healing practice of unifying with the foundational energy of Nature, humility and honor is unshakable.
As Mike Bastine carefully crafts his words and purposefully narrates his perceptions, I recognize him as a visionary educator. Why? Because he can see into the human heart and there he greets only the heart’s inherent potential for goodness in spite of the presence of malignant understanding. It takes a visionary to see the spiritual gifts hiding behind ugly curtains of the ego.
I get the sense that Mike is not entirely aware of his ability to overlook the presence of fear feeding the human heart. His unsinkable faith in each human’s inherent goodness overrides the presence of fear and pain glaring back at him when he speaks about ‘consciousness-reform.’ In every word and movement, it’s apparent Mike knows the path to higher societal evolution is born from virtue and devotion to the grounding cornerstones of Nature.
Mike continues his mission to reveal the true values indwelling every heart, and how each heart is hard-wired to reconnect with all life in loving ways. His unwavering belief in human potential makes him both a visionary, and an exemplary educator in the realm of thoughtful unification with elements of life that truly matter.
The warm bubble of the Bastine’s hospitality cannot be popped as I drive back to the pointy edges of city life. The yolky sun is pressed behind me now, enhancing a sense of warmth and nourishment. Driving back the way I came, my mind turns with the soft curves of the road as I think about our discussion.
My intent for this piece was to capture the essence of Native American wisdom; writing about how the ways of Native Elders provide healing to the human heart – – healing wisdom that prepares each of us for future global shifts we are all destined to experience in the process of living life on this Earth today.
But really, after listening to Mr. Bastine, my lofty intent dissolved into particles of more substantial import. As the hills of the countryside roll behind me, I think of Mike’s parting thoughts:
“The value of simplicity. The value of independent thought. The value of re-connecting to Nature and its wisdom. These are small, incremental choices of honor we can all choose to make. These are the functional building blocks for re-connecting to life’s vitality.”
Ultimately, Mike Bastine helped me understand that it is not so much the intellectual or spiritual path we choose, but how we utilize our faith and educational choices – that is the true catalyst for global unification and peace. Essentially, every moment is an opportunity to ‘Unify and Conquer’ rather than divide and perish.