Spiritual Symbols: Willow Tree

                The willow tree is a spiritual symbol in many parts of the world. It’s drooping branches tend to make one think of sadness or mourning and it is often used as a symbol of mourning. That is probably where the term “weeping willow” came from. It is also a symbol of magic, dreams and inner vision. It can symbolize healing. A type of willow is the natural source of acetylsalicylic acid, which, in synthetic form, is the active ingredient in aspirin.

    The Celtic people consider the willow to be a metaphysical tool and it is used in ceremonies intended to improve or awaken psychic abilities. The very flexible branches of the willow tree was considered a symbol of someone on a spiritual quest for enlightenment as such people must be flexible and open to new ideas if they wish to get anywhere.

    The willow is associated with the moon, water, the goddess, and everything feminine. As such, it is also symbolic of childbirth and pregnancy. It is also symbolic of spring and new life. The willow puts us in touch with our emotions and helps us to express them. It especially aids in releasing surpressed emotions that may be festering inside. When grieving, the willow helps keep the emotions in balance so you are not overwhelmed by sadness. A willow wand under the pillow is said to aid in having and remembering vivid and prophetic dreams.

    A willow branch that falls on the ground often will root itself and grow a new tree leading to willow’s association with growth, healing and rebirth.

    In Buddhism, a willow branch is an attribute of Kwan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion. In Wicca, it is used in some rituals and guides the dead to the afterlife.

    In China, willow branches are sometimes places on gates or doors to ward off evil spirits. Taoist witches use a carvings of willow wood to help communicate with the dead.

    The Japanese associate willow with ghosts and believe that, if someone’s ghost is to appear, it will likely be in a place where willow trees grow.

    To Native Americans, the willow is often a symbol of wisdom. In one Osage legend, a boy is taught by an old willow tree to respect and listen to the wisdom of his elders.

    To see a willow tree in a dream generally symbolizes mourning, sadness, or a loss of some kind. Alternately, it can represent survival or rebirth.

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Random Thoughts 11-27-2011

I was glad that the CNN science reporter said that the new Mars rover, Curiosity, will be searching for signs of life “as we know it”. That’s important to mention because it isn’t the same as searching for sings of life. It is possible that there is life on Mars that is so very different from life on Earth that it would not be recognized as living.

As usual, we heard reports again of violence and injuries that happened during the annual Black Friday cattle & sheep stampedes, yet they go on as always because corporate profits are far more important than public safety.

The king of Swaziland has fourteen wives so he obviously has no concept of marital fidelity, yet he recently evicted wife # 12 from the country when she was caught with another man. Can we say “double standard”.

I would volunteer to be a Salvation Army virtual bell ringer if it wasn’t for their policy of refusing to hire gay people.

Another story on CNN this morning was a warning about the places with the most germs in the shopping malls (sinks in the rest rooms, tables in the food court, etc.). This may cause some to avoid those places but we all need to remember that we are all exposed to germs everyday. What makes us sick is not so much that we are exposed to germs, but that our bodies open a door in a sense, for those germs to invade us. When our bodies are weak from poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and a bad mental attitude, we open ourselves to attacks from those little beasties, so don’t blame the germs for accepting the invitation you sent out.

I believe that God is in me as the sun is in the color and fragrance of a flower—the Light in my darkness, the Voice in my silence.” ~Helen Keller

Not to be outdone by Lady Gaga, a German designer who is also a chef, recently showed his fashions that included a skirt made of seaweed, a hat of lettuce, a tunic of octopus and a suit made of bacon.

American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq are buying kevlar underwear from a British company to protect there privates from explosions.

A New York artist recently gave birth to her first child in front of an audience as an art event,

In Connecticut, a guy who wasn’t even running for office got elected. James R. Butler was running for office on the Board of Apportionment and Taxation, but because of a typo on the ballot, his son James J. Butler, who doesn’t want the job, got elected.

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Scripture:The Pali Cannon AN 1: xvii

Just as when a seed of neem, bitter cucumber, or bitter gourd is planted in moist soil, it transforms any nutriment it obtains from the soil and the water into a fruit with a bitter, harsh, and disagreeable taste, even so it is for a person of wrong view. For what reason? Because the view is bad.

That sounds like the way every time somebody come up with a new invention to help people, the military looks for ways to turn it into a weapon. This is why real spiritual teachers limit what they put in writing or teach in public to only the basics. The advanced material is taught only to those of the proper view who are ready to use such knowledge wisely.

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Positive Health

The type of thought we entertain has it’s effect upon our energies and to a great extent upon out bodily conditions and states. Strong, clear-cut, positive, hopeful thought has a stimulating and life-giving effect upon one’s outlook, energies, and activities; and upon all bodily functions and powers. A falling state of the mind induces a chronically gloomy and produces inevitably a falling condition of the body.” ~Ralph Waldo Trine

    Many of us try to take care of our physical bodies with healthy food and exercise. That is all good as far as it goes, but often it isn’t enough. I’m sure we have all known people who eat well, don’t smoke, don’t drink much, and exercise, yet still get sick and still seem to age faster than they should. One of the causes of this is their thought patterns.

    A person who has negative thoughts regularly is going to harm his health by doing so. As I have said before, thoughts are energy and energy does work. Naturally, the work done by negative thoughts like hatred, jealousy, greed, etc. is going to be negative. These negative thoughts can harm others too, but mostly they will harm ourselves. Unfortunately, as Candace Pert wrote in Molecules of Emotion, negative thoughts and emotions can alter brain chemistry in a way that some people find pleasant and become addicted to causing them to desire it and therefore encouraging more negative thinking.

    On the other hand, positive thoughts and emotions can improve our physical health. For starters, people who are generally positive in outlook will have stronger immune systems than negative people and so be better able to fight off bacteria and viruses that cause many illnesses. Positive people will also tend to avoid doing those things that expose them to unnecessary dangers and accidents. A positive person notices what is going on around her more than a depressed, withdrawn, negative person does, so is better able to react in a self-protective way such as noticing that the truck pulling onto the highway has blown a tire and seem to be loosing control giving her a chance to move over or hit her brakes to avoid a collision.

    Positive thinking also has a good effect on your spiritual growth. A positive person is more mentally and spiritually tolerant and open to new ideas and that is necessary if you are going to learn the spiritual truths necessary for true enlightenment.

    So what if you are one of those mostly negative people? What can you do about it? Plenty. Simply by acknowledging that what I have written is true, you have made progress. The next step is to practice being positive as often as you can. Positive people usually don’t have to think about being positive, but you do. You will have to make a conscious effort to be more positive. Pay attention to what you are thinking in various situations that occur during the day and, when you find yourself reacting to them negatively, try to thing of something positive in the situation. And especially at night, before you go to sleep, review the day and thing about the things that happened, how you reacted, and how you could have handled them more positively. Do this enough, and this more positive outlook will soon become habit and you will see improvements in your life and health because of it.

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