Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Priestess of Love

'It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving.' -- Mother Teresa

I've come across this beautiful quote this morning on a Solstice greeting, and was promptly inspired to look up some more of Mother Teresa's quotes. They really speak to my heart in their simplicity. I, for one, am a firm believer in that we all have a gift to share, and by doing what we truly love to do, and by doing it with consciousness and love, we enrich the world.

You can find some more of her quotes here:

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Look forward to your transition

Unconditional Love

Look forward to your transition.
It's the first time you will experience unconditional love.
There will be all peace and love, and all the nightmares and the turmoil you went through in your life will be nothing.
When you make your transition you are asked two things basically: How much love you have been able to give and receive, and how much service you have rendered.
And you will know every consequence, or every deed, every thought and every word you have ever uttered.
And symbolically speaking going through hell when you see how many chances you have missed.
But you also see how an act of kindness has touched hundreds of lives that you were totally unaware of.
So concentrate on love while you are here, teach your children early unconditional love. So remember concentrate on love and look forward to transition for it is the most beautiful experience you could ever imagine.

-- Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Ethical Banking: Love in Action

‘Some would term our efforts futile, but if all were to follow our example, what a change would be wrought for our beloved Planet!’
– Margaret Atwood, from ‘Year of the Flood’

This article is of a less esoteric nature, and yet it concerns a subject close to my heart - how we can all create a better, fairer world together.

Ethical Banking: What are you funding with your money?

When we think of banks, we primarily look for a secure place to deposit our money that pays us a good rate of interest. For this reason, many of us bank with traditional High Street banks. But have you thought about how the bank might invest your money when you are not using it? A bank’s core business is to lend the money you deposit with them to somebody else. We generally don’t know who the banks lend to and what the money will be used for. Hence, your money may be – and often is - used to fund wars, animal testing, nuclear power, tobacco or companies that operate in countries where human rights are disregarded.

What are the alternatives?

Unlike most High Street banks, ethical banks are concerned with the social and environmental impacts of their investments and loans. They are regulated by the same authorities as traditional banks, but share a common set of principles, primarily transparency about who they fund. Interest rates may not be as high as those of traditional banks as ethical companies tend to operate on narrower margins, but a better, fairer and healthier world might be the pay-off.

Switching your bank account, even though it may seem arduous, is actually very easy. Banks are now able to automatically transfer your standing orders and direct debits to your new account, meaning that your main task is to notify people who pay into your account, such as your employer.

Ethical banks and investments

There are now a growing number of ethical banks and investments to choose from.

The main, longest-established ethical bank is The Co-Operative Bank ( ) and its Internet equivalent Smile ( ), although, strictly speaking, there are doubts about as to whether their policy is completely ethical. However, the Co-Op has moved into the right direction and offered good alternatives to mainstream banking for many years.

The Triodos Bank ( ), based in Bristol, is Europe’s leading ethical bank as it directly invests in ethical and environmentally friendly enterprises and offers targeted account, such as the Earth and Organic Savers.

The Ecology Building Society ( ) lends money for the purpose of ecologically sound properties only.

For savings and investments, building societies such as Abbey National are an ethically neutral way to save, as the societies are owned by their members.

If you want to directly contribute to the growth of ethical businesses, you could think of taking out an ethical investment. You could consult a financial advisor that specializes in ethical investments, or visit the following links to find out more:

Ethical Consumer

Vegan Society

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

I am going to light a fire in Paradise and to pour water on to Hell, so that both veils may vanish altogether. -- Rabia, an 8th Century Iraqi woman poet and Sufi saint

Friday, 4 September 2009

What do you REALLY want?

A friend from Pakistan posted this article on Facebook this morning. I found it so inspirational that I want to share it here. It's Full Moon this afternoon and it feels like a time to really ask ourselves.... yes, what do we really want? I for one am going to spend some time contemplating that.....

This article reminds me of a saying I have posted on my desk:

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Dr. Howard Thurman

What Do You Want? and Tell the Truth

Robert Rabbin

In my line of work, it's common to have people tell me they are stuck, lost, confused, conflicted, or afraid. There's something NQR (not quite right) about their lives. Maybe their relationship is faltering; maybe their work sucks; maybe they are trying to find their role and purpose in life. Perhaps enlightenment seems farther away than when they started hunting it. Most feel oppressed with insufficient meaning, erratic motivation, and some degree of dissatisfaction or sadness.

They want to seize the day and capture the moment, but the day slips through their fingers and the moment from their grasp.

In these conversations, I always ask one question: What do you want? With this proviso: And tell the truth.

I want to make a difference. I want more fulfilling work. I want to align with my higher self. I want to make more money. And off we go on the merry-go-round of what people say they want.

I look in their eyes when they say these things. I look for a light, for a spark, for some sign of authenticity.

I never see it. That's what NQR.

They think they know what they want, or they think they know that they don't know, because they've worked it out in their heads. They've got thoughts and ideas and beliefs about what they want. They use language to sort it all out and to communicate it. They have stories about why they want it: reasons and explanations and justifications. It's all in their heads.

But no light. No spark. No fire. Not in their eyes. Not in their bellies.

I ask what they've done, what actions they've taken towards what they say they want. Well, I can't because … And then they tell a story. Often the story is that something bad will happen if they pursue the truth. So they stay in their heads and keep spinning.

I'm looking for action. Life is lived in actions, not reasons, explanations, and justifications.

But not any action. Authentic action, propelled by authentic desire. That's what I want to know from people: what do you authentically want?

Not what you think you want. Not what you're supposed to want. Not what someone told you to want. Not the good thing, the right thing, the moral thing, the ethical thing, the spiritual thing. Just the thing, the thing you want.

What do you want?

Everyone knows. It's hardwired into us. But it's way down deep, the flecks of gold in our bedrock. We don't go there. We go, instead, into the stories of the flecks of gold. It's not the same.

As I work with people, I discover the same taboo each time, the forbidding door to the deep I want. Until we get through that door, we will be forever lost, confused, and conflicted. Even if we have a best-selling book, or appear on Oprah. Even if we've read 20,000 books or disappeared into ether or talk to dead people.

The great taboo is that we are afraid of what we want. The fear of what we want is what makes us tell lies about what we want.

What do you want? And tell the truth.

When people open the forbidden taboo-door to what they want, and tell the truth, I hear different things, said with a different tone and with escalating energy, and glimmers of light: I want to leave my family and start a new life. I want to be sexually dominated. I want stop meditating and trying so hard to be spiritual. I want to quit my job and go back to school. I want to be an artist. I want to stop hiding. I want to tell my boss she's a fucking bitch.

The energy imprisoned behind the previously locked door of what we want starts moving. That's the beauty. That's where the life is. That's the beginning of authenticity. That's where it all is, in the energy of life.

Why are we afraid of what we want? Because that simple truth, that simple gold-flecked bit of bedrock way down deep, below our thoughts and ideas and beliefs; below our stories and reasons and explanations — that simple answer to that simple question shatters everything else we know and think we know.

It takes us from our minds into life. It takes us from imitation to authenticity. It takes us from cowardice to courage. It takes us from hope to fulfillment.

Whatever insight we might need, whatever wisdom we want, comes to us from acting authentically, from telling the truth of what we want and then freeing those wild horses to romp in the wilderness of deep desire. This is how we live a true life. This is how we come to know, through authenticity and truth-telling, as much of how the universe works as we need to know.

Don Juan Matus, the either actual or fictional mentor of Carlos Castaneda, put it this way, "The flaw with words is that they always make us feel enlightened, but when we turn around to face the world they always fail us and we end up facing the world as we always have, without enlightenment. For this reason, a warrior seeks to act rather than to talk, and to this effect he gets a new description of the world — a new description where talking is not that important, and where new acts have new reflections, and a new world is born."

We've got to find a way to trust our deep desires and to tell the truth about that. It's freeing and revelatory. It's heaven and perfection. It's authentic and juicy. Dripping juicy.

Of course, you might think you know less than you did. You might give away all your spiritual books and knickknacks. People might not recognize you. You might start being kinky in bed — and out of it. You might make people feel uncomfortable. You might not do what's right, moral, or ethical. You might threaten authority. You might scare the crap out of yourself.

But I tell you this: You will never again feel as if something is NQR in your life. You will have found you and your place in life. You will have found the inner treasure. You will have found your evolving path in life. You will have found your map, your meaning, your everything. You will hear from deep within you a heard of galloping horses, each on fire, each an animal-rocket of force and fury. You will find yourself in a life you never imagined, doing things you couldn't have ever dreamed of. And it will be good.

And if those aren't precious gifts to give yourself, and others, then I don't know what is.

©Robert Rabbin 2009;

Monday, 24 August 2009

Blood, sacred blood

'Blessed be the blood on my skirt, blessed be the blood on my thighs, blessed be the blood', sings Carolyn Hillyer on 'Old Silverhead'. For many years, I have been fascinated with the power and significance of women's cycles, of our monthly menstrual blood. We bleed in synchronicity with the moon's waxing and waning, we bleed continously for about five days and we do not die.


What fascinates me just as much is Western society's relationship with women's blood. At best, menstrual blood is ignored and hidden away, at worst it is called 'the curse' and viewed as 'disgusting'. Women suffer of PMS, of menstrual pain, and many of us wish that we were not afflicted with this 'condition'. We take pain killers, 'get on with it' and pretend it's not happening. What is behind this strange attitude towards one of our body's most natural functions?


Interestingly, in some cultures, menstruating women are highly respected as it is believed that women are at the height of their spiritual powers at this time. The veils between the mundane and the spiritual world are said to be thin for bleeding women, which facilitates psychic and intuitive abilities. In the old days, and still in some indigenous tribes now, women retreated into seclusion with other women when they bled. During this time, the men, and/or older post-menopausal women respect their space and take care of household tasks such as cooking and cleaning.


Two years ago, I visited the Kalash tribe in Northern Pakistan. The Kalash are a pagan tribe who dwell in the Hindu Kush mountains close to the Afghan border. Every month, all menstruating women retreat into the bashaleni, the tribe's menstruation and birth house, for five days. The women use this time to rest, sleep and lie around the fire. Older women cook for them and bring them food. This practice gives the women some time out from an otherwise harsh life in the mountains.


The onset of menstruation used to be celebrated, and still is in some traditional cultures. 'Among certain Australian aborigines, the young girl used to be buried up to her waist in warm sand to assist the first flow, and she was fed and cared for by her mother in a sacred place. Later she returned to the tribal camp to celebrate the feast marking her entry into womanhood. In some parts of India, kumaripuja was, and is, celebrated at the time of first menstruation. On the first day, having attained womanhood, the girl is worshipped by family and friends as the incarnation of the maidenly aspect of Shakti - Kumari, symbol of purity and promise. Kumari later grows into Parvati who becomes the consort of Shiva. The kumari is showered with gifts and flowers, and is presented with her first sari.' (from 'Nawa Yogini Tantra' by Swami Muktananda)


In the Indian tantric tradition, in which the body is viewed as something noble and pure blood is sacred. 'Tantrikas specially honour the menstruating woman', writes Daniel Odier in 'Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening', 'because they believe her to be at the height of her femininity; she is seated to the right of the master in Tantric gatherings, and menstrual blood is a sign of unfolding power at its peak. Ascetics willingly use menstrual blood to draw on their foreheads.'


I love this reverence of the blood, of life, and the marking of what is essentially an important rite of passage. I sorely miss it in our mainstream culture, and this is one of the reasons I started to train as a priestess - to help bring back an understanding and honouring of the natural life cycles: birth, menarche, sex, menopause, death. For me, every new stage, every transition in life is a wonderful time, too precious to let slip by unnoticed.


I certainly noticed that, when I started to honour my moontime and allowed myself rest and space, my menstrual pain and PMS decreased significantly. I realized that the pain was trying to tell me something. It was telling me to slow down, to take note. I now like to spend the first two days of my moon time in near-seclusion, sinking into 'dreamtime'. I like to connect with the body of Mother Earth, the fertile earth from which we all came. I love to lie on the land and feel her pulsating beneath me. I offer her some of my blood every month as a symbolic act of giving back to her, our Mother, affirming that I honour my fertility, my being a woman. By bleeding into the ground, I symbolically nourish her as she nourishes me, nourishes all of us. It strengthens my connection with her, with the land and the elements. I use my moon time to rest, to vision, to dream, to write, to read. To spend time with myself and feel into what is going on in my body. Admittedly, taking this time out can be hard for many working women - indicating how removed we are as a society from the natural cycles of our bodies. I was amazed to learn that in South Korea, every woman has the right to take between one to three days off every month to rest during her menstrual cycle. When my dear Korean friend Hee told me this, I was stunned; she was equally stunned that we don't have such a law in place. But even if we can't all take several days off every month, maybe we can simply slow down, tune into our bodies, take some time out, and postpone tasks that are not absolutely necessary. Maybe we can connect with other women once a month, at the Full Moon or the New Moon, to share, to dream, to be. Such practices also re-align us with the moon cycles, so that we bleed in rhythm with the moon again.


Honouring my blood is also an act of all-encompassing acceptance of myself, of the human being, and dissolving the illusionary separation between 'good' and 'bad', 'pure' and 'impure', 'light' and 'dark'. In tantrism, we accept everything. Everything comes from Source, everything is sacred.


Jai Mata Kali!


Some inspirational further resources:


* read 'The Red Tent', written by Anita Diamant

* watch 'Bloodtime, Moontime, Dreamtime', a poetic documentary by Roberta Cantow (

* Moon Times eco-friendly Menstrual Products (

* visit the Soul Fire Heart Centre in Wellhouse Lane, Glastonbury - the centre has a beautiful Blood Garden where you can lie on sheepskin rugs on the land just beneath the Tor and offer your blood to a special flower bed (telephone Draupadi 07952.739961)
* join Deborah Tual's 'Sacred Blood' online course at


Practical tips to attune yourselves with your cycle and ease menstrual cramps:


* Practice some simple yoga postures, like vajrasana (thunderbolt pose), shashankasana (hare pose), marjari-asana (cat/cow pose) and shavasana (corpse pose)

* Practice deep abdominal breathing

* Cut out sugar and processed foods

* Up your magnesium and zinc levels (a naturopath or nutritionist can advise on correct intake levels)

* Try to feel into the pain, meet it with curiosity, surrender to it. When we do that, rather than push it away, it often dissolves.

Friday, 21 August 2009

The path with heart

I believe that all of our problems are based on our disconnection from our hearts. Several years ago, I worked with Milena, a Bulgarian woman who was researching for a PhD on violence. She was very active in an organisation that was working with Eastern European women that had been trafficked and forced to work as prostitutes in this country. Milena once said to me that she decided to pursue her PhD studies because she simply could not understand violence. When I asked her as to why she thought violence such as the trafficking and exploitation of human beings existed, she thought for a while, and then said, 'You know, there are so many theories about violence. But ultimately, I think it comes from a lack of empathy with others.'
I often remembered her words since, and I believe them to be true. If we believed, and felt that everything, every being on this planet was sacred, how could we treat them with anything but love, respect and reverence?
If we saw the Earth as a living, interconnected organism consisting of sentient human beings, animals, plants, would we engage in the actions that we so often do? There is so much talk now about the environmental state of the world, and the urgency to take action. Climate change, energy, waste, the short supply of water, food, consumption, land management, ecosystems, endangered species.
If we truly lived from our hearts in a state of awareness, would we be able to close our eyes to these issues? Would we buy goods in shops and supermarkets that supported unfair working conditions? Would we continue to buy and use plastic if we loved the Earth's body as our own? Would we continue to fly around the world and use cars if we were fully connected to the consequences of climate change? Would we deposit our money in high street banks that directly sponsored warfare? Would we buy and eat animals that had been reared in horrendous conditions?
It is this disconnection from Nature, our true selves, our hearts, that we need to heal. In some way, I feel that the current environmental crises in the world are a positive shift in that they make us re-evaluate the way we live, and hopefully help us to find our way back to living in tune with nature again. A way of life in which we again respect everything inside and outside of us, in which we realise that we are all interconnected, and that every action has a reaction. A way of life in which we only use what we need, and in which the qualities of the heart, of empathy, of intuition are fully integrated again. A way of life in which we realised that everything and everyone is an aspect of ourselves.
And although the situation seems bleak, I feel this shift is happening already in the world. Many of us are coming together to create a new world, through movements like Transition Town (, The Work that Reconnects(, Terre des Femmes (, and the work of many inspirational women and men like Amma (, Daniel Odier (, and Cate MacKenzie ( whose mission it is to open our hearts and help bring love back into our world.
Take some time to connect with your heart today. Visualize the world you would like to live in. What small change can you make today that brings you closer to our vision?

Thursday, 20 August 2009

New Moon in Leo - time to listen to your heart

It's New Moon in Leo today - helping us to open the heart ever more.....
Visit the below link for more information on the energy of this beautiful, strong New Moon:

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Love is liberty

No one can possess a sunset, just as no one can possess an afternoon of rain beating against the window, or the serenity of a sleeping child, or the magical moment when the waves break on the rocks. No one can possess the beautiful things of this Earth, but we can know them and love them. It is through such moments that Gods reveals him/herself to mankind.
People give flowers as presents because flowers contain the true meaning of love. Anyone who tries to possess a flower will have to watch its beauty fading. But if you simply look at a flower in a field, you will keep it forever, because the flower is part of the evening and the sunset and the smell of damp earth and the clouds on the horizon.
I will always remember now that love is liberty.
-- from 'Brida', Paulo Coelho

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Real Beloved

The real beloved is that one who is unique, who is your beginning and your end. When you find that one, you'll no longer expect anything else: that is both the manifest and the mystery.
- Rumi.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The flames of bhakti leap higher

As Parvati grew into a young woman, she left her home for the forests and began to perform tapasya (austerities) to please Shiva and inflame his ascetic’s heart. Her austerities are described as surpassing those of all other ascetics in penance. Parvati underwent severe mortifications, chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ throughout. In summer, she built a fire around herself and sat at its centre. In the monsoon, she sat motionless through lashing torrents of rain and hail. In winter, she dug a ditch and filled it with freezing water, which often turned to ice. She stopped eating and stood on one leg for three thousand years. Her tapasya was such that it heated up the world and scorched everyone, scathing the entire Universe. Finally, the dismayed Gods travelled to Mount Kailash and implored Shiva to marry Parvati before the world melted through her intense tapasya. Shiva, who recognized his beloved Sati a long time ago, tested her devotion one last time by sending an attendant to criticize Shiva. Unimpressed by the attendant's scornful words, Parvati retained her single-minded desire for Shiva, which in turn compelled Shiva to reveal himself and marry her. Two thousand years of ecstatic lovemaking followed their union and preceding austerities.

(with apologies to Ramesh Menon)

Monday, 10 August 2009

The divine ecstasy of bhakti yoga

I seem to be undergoing somewhat of a bhakti transformation recently. For those of you that don't know, bhakti yoga is the yoga of devotion. Swami Vivekananda describes bhakti yoga as "the path of systematized devotion for the attainment of union with the Absolute". It has been said that in this age of the Kali Yuga, all that one needs to do to achieve moksha (liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth) is to sing the holy names of God/dess. Bhakti is an ecstatic path of worship, and in its most advanced stages, the devotee goes literally insane burning with love for his chosen deity. One example of such a bhakta was Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who lived in Bengal about 500 years ago.
I first learned about Caitanya Mahaprabhu from Elahn at Shekinashram (, a beautiful bhakti and karma yoga ashram in Glastonbury, where I lived for two months last winter and return to frequently. When recently asked by my friend Mandy what we do at this ashram, I flippantly replied, 'Oh, we just sit around and sing kirtans (devotional songs) and cry.' Her eyes lit up and she said, 'Wow, I want to go!' Admittedly, it's not quite like that all of the time, but I do like to exaggerate somewhat, and besides, I have lived through a most extra-ordinary three days there in January during which I was crying near-continuously and was having the most intense visions of and satsangs with Lord Shiva. Such is the power of bhakti! It's perfect for emotional people in particular, and for those who need to melt their hearts.
Anyway, back to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Elahn, a great devotee of Lord Krishna and Radharani himself, was, at the time, very fond of showing a film depicting Caitanya's life to the karma yogis that passed through the ashram. I was one of them. 'You must watch this film', he said, eyes sparking with eager enthusiasm. 'Ok', I said, surrendering to my destiny. 'Nimai of Nadia' and its sequel 'Nilachala Mahaprabhu' is a black & white Bengali film shot in 1959 in India and depicts the extra-ordinary story of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the person, who, if one was cynically inclined, could accuse of bringing the Hare Krishna movement into existence.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu was thought to be the reincarnation of Krishna and Radha in one body, in inseparable union. Spending his younger years as a respected and erudite scholar, he changed his direction when he travelled to Gaya to perform a ceremony for his deceased father and met his guru, the ascetic Ishvara Puri. From him, he received initiation, and upon his return to Bengal, things changed significantly in his life when he began to live not as a scholar, but as a devotee. For several years thereafter, Caitanya Mahaprabhu travelled all over India, chanting the divine names of Krishna constantly and ecstatically. He was also something of a social reformer, because he mixed with and defended India's so-called 'Untouchables' and told them that there was no difference between them and the high-caste Brahmins, because they all chanted the 'Holy Name' and that made them equal in the eyes of God. He rejoiced in singing and dancing, swaying with his arms high up in the air, chanting 'Haribol'.
The first half of the film is a little boring, with unnecessary slights at the 'tantrics' which are sensationally portrayed as permanently intoxicated brutes ready to sacrifice virgins. However, there is a classic, must-see moment in which one of the tantrics hits Caitanya Mahaprabhu over the head with a pot. Injured, CMP sinks to his knees, with blood dripping down his face, then gets up again and begins to sing dramatically: 'You hit me with the pot, in return I will give you love', whilst the astounded tantrics look on with grim faces. CMP continues to implore them to 'chant the holy name', which, of course, they eventually do. (You can see the whole film for free at:
Now the real treat is 'Nilacala Mahaprabhu', the sequel to 'Nimai of Nadia'. This is where it gets interesting. The film is divine: evocative, eerie, fascinating. Much of its appeal rests with the haunting quality of the main actor, a detached, ethereal, luminous, otherworldly figure. It's the last twenty minutes that make the film, in which Caitanya Mahaprabhu goes into a divine ectatic form of samadhi. He returns from his home town after seeing his mother for one last time, in which he movingly thanks her for the gift of his body, saying 'The human body is the best temple. Mother, you are the Goddess of this temple'. After that, he goes into the extreme bhakti state and just wanders around in a daze, recognizing noone, crying 'Oh Krishna', 'Oh Krishna', while Krishna appears to him in fleeting visions. At this point, I challenge you to remain detached. It is heartbreaking. I tend to start crying at the point he goes to see his mother and don't generally stop until... oh, maybe the next day. It is profound. In the end, Caitanya Mahaprabhu disappears, probably consumed by the fires of eternal bhakti, united with his beloved Krishna.
You can see a scene here:, however, it's not the best one of the film.
Of course, you may wonder what the point of such extreme emotional states is. For the outside observer, it just seems plain mad. But, in a nutshell, bhakti yoga is about union with God/dess, in which the soul returns to its original state of bliss. Of course, we are already in bliss and this separation is only perceived because we often can't recognize it, so the practice of bhakti brings us into harmony and closer to feeling it again. And, ultimately, the purpose of all sadhana (spiritual practice) is to develop real love. Nothing more, nothing less.
Vimalananda, in Svodoba's classic 'Aghora' book, describes true devotion as such:
Once, an Aghori told his disciple, 'Take this pot and fill it with water, but don't go near any lake or river.' The disciple thought to himself as hard as he could, and then he wandered around awhile before returning with an empty pot. The guru looked up at him and said, 'There is only one way to fill this pot - with your tears. When you love your deity so much that you cannot bear to be without Him, that you cannot exist unless you have a glimpse of Him, that you are ready to kill yourself unless He shows Himself to you, and when you cry continuously until the pot is full, then only are you fit to do Aghora sadhanas; not until then.'
Another day the guru told the same disciple, 'Build me a fire without wood.' The disciple made an effort, but to no avail. When he confessed his failure to the guru, the latter shook his head and said, 'Until your heart catches fire with the intense longing for your deity; until you burn yourself to ashes and continue to burn even then; until you become flame yourself, you can never succeed at Aghora.'

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Have you lived?

'There is a practice which I follow every night before going to sleep. It is very simple, but it has helped me immensely, and it can help anyone who uses it. It involves only three questions:
Have I lived? Have I loved? Have I laughed?

Have I lived? Have I made the best use of the time provided me during that day to grow, to learn, to develop?
Have I loved? Have I reached out to everyone I met and made them aware of the love in my heart and eased their burdens of self-mistrust and self-doubt?
Have I laughed? Have I seen the humorous side of even the most painful incident?

(from 'Aghora - At the left hand of God' by Robert E. Svoboda)

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Intoxicated by Rumi's spiritual wine

I simply adore the Persian poet Rumi. His words have the ability to cut straight through my heart, piercing it with the subtle arrows of the most sublime transcendental passion and devotion. I recently read a fantastic novel called 'Rumi's Daughter' by Muriel Maufrey, which is based on Rumi's life and tells the story of Rumi and Shams (the wandering wild holy man who captured his heart and consequently caused him to write volumes upon volumes of divine poetry and stories) through the voice of Kimya, his young disciple and spiritual daughter. It's one of those books that managed to take my breath away because it touched me so deeply. I had to put it down ever so often to fully receive and appreciate the beauty and depth of the words. It staid with me for a long time after I read it, lingering in my soul like a delicate fragrance. Rumi was a true Bhakti Yogi, living his life for love and love alone, with the utmost devotion.
Right now, I dip in and out of a wonderful translation of his poetry called 'Love's Ripening - Rumi on the heart's journey' by Kabir Helminski and Ahmad Rezwani. One of my favourite poems is
'My Life Is through Dying'
My religion is
to live through Love:
a life created from my own
small mind and self
would be a disgrace.
The blade of Love cuts away
what covers the lover's soul;
Love's sword severs sins.
When the bodily grime is gone,
a shining moon appears:
Spirit's moon in a wide-open sky.
I've beat this drum of Love
for so long, for you whom I adore,
singing: 'My life depends upon my dying.'
This keeps my body and soul alive.
I dream but I do not sleep.
This seagull fears no shipwreck.
Her feet love to touch the Ocean.
Mathnawi VI, 4059-4064

Friday, 7 August 2009

Living in the moment

My dear friend (and brilliant astrologer) Amodini Gaganavir from Rishikesh, India, forwarded this flyer to me today. A good reminder to enjoy each moment as it comes......

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Little sparks can create big fires

I've been meaning to start an inspirational blog for ages. I already keep a travel blog (, but wanted to have a more general one for when I am not travelling through the spiritual world, to share the things that inspire me or simply make me think and smile on a daily basis.

The final push I needed to set this blog up was a lovely Dutch woman I met at this year's Goddess Conference ( in Glastonbury. The Conference's theme this year was 'Celebrating the Sun Fire Goddess', and featured many exciting and amazing people and activities, such as fire dances, fire songs, fire rituals, and fire walks.

I was working at the Conference as a Hearth Priestess, and as part of my job, I facilitated 'hearth meetings', in which we discussed the things that came up for us during the Conference. The meeting just before the Fire Walk (on which participants were to walk barefoot across hot coals) was highly charged, as people expressed their fears and blocks that surrounded their creativity and life in general. When it was my turn to share, I said that I would like to have more focus in my life. Because I am so interested in many different things, I tend to spark many small fires all around the globe, rather than one big fire. I've often thought that if I concentrated on one or two things at the time, I could move mountains, rather than dispersing my energy in all those little fires. So I said that my intention was commitment to one big fire.

After the meeting, the aforementioned lovely Dutch lady came up to me and told me a little story, which her father had once shared with her. 'Imagine that there is a lighthouse', he said, 'a lighthouse which generates all of the world's power. The power from this lighthouse goes to all lightbulbs, from the biggest to the smallest, and also to the tiniest Christmas lights. The power that runs through the lights is the same, it is just the medium through which the power shines that is different.' She paused. 'The 100 watt lightbulb's job is to illuminate a whole room, whereas the Christmas light's job is to be lovely and to warm people's hearts. Do you think that the Christmas light says 'oh, I should be like the big lightbulb and illuminate a whole room?' Do you think other people say to the Christmas light 'oh, you should be bigger and make more light'? Don't you think that the Christmas light's job is just as important as that of the 100 watt lightbulb?'

I was very moved when I heard this story. This Dutch lady's father had made a very important point. I often think that I have to do more, more, more all the time, and that nothing is ever enough. This little story made me pause and ask myself: aren't the small fires, the sparks of inspiration, just as valid, just as important, as the big fires? As long as we come from the heart and our intentions are pure, who can tell what the effects of our actions, no matter how small or large, are?

I cherished this heart-warming story and want to share it here with all of you around the hearth of my newest creative fire.