Monday, June 28, 2010

Book Review: Black Elk Speaks

"It is from understanding that power comes; and the power of ceremony (of the ghost dance) was in understanding what is meant; for nothing can live well except in a manner that is suited to the way the sacred Power of the World lives and moves"  ~ Black Elk Speaks

Black Elk was born a member of the Oglala Sioux peoples in 1863, and was closely related to Crazy Horse.  In 1930, already an aged man, Black Elk spoke intimately with poet and critic John G. Neihardt, and recounted to him the tale of his vision of the Six Grandfathers and the reconstruction and vitalization of his people the Oglala Sioux.  Neihardt, in turn, recorded those sessions in a text, and thus the body of Black Elk Speaks was born.

The text tells a long narrative of Black Elk's vision for the unification of his people.  The vision came to him during a time of great decimation and privation, when outsiders were robbing the Lakota of their land, food sources and their very way of life.   Black Elk recounts in his memories as shared to Neihardt the fierce bravery of his people and how valiantly they fought for their freedom, winning a historical victory at Little Bighorn and suffering great decimation and loss at the Battle of Wounded Knee.

The text itself, however, is more then just a retelling of history.  It has been hailed by critics as a religious classic, and some consider it among one of the greatest spiritualist texts of the modern era.  It is a stirring narrative of the memories of an aged healer who, as a young man before the reservation years, experienced a great vision, a vision to which he held fast for all of his days, in the hope that it's manifestation would arrive within his lifetime.  It carries not only lessons of acceptance and perseverance, but also a central message of universal love and wonder.

This is a book full of history and wisdom, and at the same time full of insight and hope.  It is a recommended read for anyone interested in not only the Lakota nations, but the history of what it means to be a human being; of the glory and danger that comes with being a traveler through this world.

Black Elk Speaks:  Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux, the Premier Edition, 2008, SUNY Press

~ Christina Dudley, Capricorn Soap Company 

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Taking in Light: The Summer Solstice

The summer solstice occurs on the longest day of the year (June 21 this year), and festivities and rituals tend to center around the meaning of the sun, light, abundance, and passion in our lives. Its origins go back many centuries, the date being celebrated mostly in European countries, but today is celebrated by people worldwide.

“Like the winter solstice, the summer festival lasted a full twelve days. The people took in the fullness of the light and the power of the fire and enhanced their experience with the solstice fire, with fire-walking, with burning brooms and torches, and by rolling wheels of fire down the mountains and hills.”( p.10 Witchcraft Medicine; by Muller-Ebeling, Ratsch, and Storl)

“… took in the fullness of the light …” If there is one thing I am doing to mark this solstice time, it is taking in that light, opening to the warmth and brightness that summer offers, and allowing recent darkness to slip away and fade.

Some of you may know what I have been going through the past several months. An injury and long recovery interrupted the flow of my life, changed the day to day normal of everything, and had me looking within with a sharper eye than perhaps I truly deserved. In some ways my spirituality grew and became richer, but I also found myself, at times, standing in a place of fear.

I live in a state that is beautiful year-round – each season has its own unique beauty, and I tend to not prefer one season over the other. This year, I have especially needed the sun of the summer season. I have given myself the opportunity to experience its healing energy, for body and spirit.

This is a time of heightened worries for many. I don’t know how many people I have spoken to (friends, family, and a few strangers as well), who have shared similar experiences to mine – whether their place of fear grew out of a health crisis, or through financial difficulties, career challenges, or relationship issues. They too have been struggling with new found but undesired emotions, patterns of negative thinking, or in some cases, deep depression. Meeting others who understand, who have been there or are currently there, has provided a broader opening to light.

Taking in that fullness of light, that our long-ago ancestors had the wisdom to do, means not only enjoying the sun on one’s face, listening to the songbirds of summer, feeling the grass underfoot, or catching a delightful scent of flowers as we walk past… it is also a celebration of that connectedness to others – wherever we all are in our personal journey. It is the true embracing of all that is good – love, joy, beauty, the divine – as well as an acknowledgement and acceptance of those darker days, so that we might move forward, continue to grow, and ultimately, find peace and lasting fulfillment.

With this summer solstice, as I breathe in the light and enjoy the beauties of the season, I wish for all others, healing, happiness, and many, many blessings.  

~ Nellie Levine

Friday, June 11, 2010

Celebrating June

Waking up to a foggy morning on the first of June, it seemed "June Gloom" arrived right on time this year (the name for this yearly weather pattern in Santa Barbara — if it arrives in May, it's called "May Gray" — cool foggy mornings, or days, lasting for days or weeks at a time). In spite of that, I love June. It marks the beginning of summer, it has the longest days of the year, and by the end, the weather can be perfect. Not to mention the amazing purple jacaranda trees blooming everywhere. And the smell of jasmine in the air, sweet perfect cherries at the farmers market, the first real tomatoes of the season, I could go on...

When we first moved here, one June, one of the first events we attended was the annual Summer Solstice parade and celebration, which is wild and wacky and fun and I thought - what a great place, that celebrates the beginning of my favorite season in such a big way.

In honor of June, here are some tidbits I found about June's birthstone: the pearl:
Cleopatra is said to have served wine with ground pearls in it to her more important guests and Lucifer to have broken his teeth because of his craving for pearls. Early Chinese myths told of pearls falling from the sky when dragons fought. Ancient legend says that pearls were thought to be the tears of the gods and the Greeks believed that wearing pearls would promote marital bliss and prevent newlywed women from crying. Arabic legend says that pearls were formed when dewdrops filled with moonlight fell into the ocean and were swallowed by oysters.

In Western culture, pearls symbolize innocence and purity. They are told to promote faith, charity and integrity, especially personal integrity. They are believed to enlighten the mind and inspire the mood, while helping the wearer to learn to love herself more and, in turn, help her love others more, as well.

Cultured or freshwater pearls are considered to offer the power of love, money, protection, and luck. Pearls are thought to give wisdom through experience, to quicken the laws of karma and to cement engagements and love relationships. They are thought to keep children safe.


Thank you to Judi Muller for sharing this lovely blog post with us.
To view more of her beautiful work with pearls, visit her shop on Zibbet!

Related Posts:
Taking in Light:  The Summer Solstice

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thank you to Everyone!

We are pretty astounded to have reached 400 Facebook fans at the Mind Body Spirit Marketplace! Thank you all very much for your continued and active support.

When we originally started MBS our intent was to showcase products, ideas and services that were designed to nuture, inspire, heal and honor the spirit in all of us. We've grown our community so far beyond the walls of 1000 Markets, that we have decided to open up our FB Fanpage even further and encourage "all" of you (and our future fans) to actively promote "your" related items on the page too, regardless if you have a private related business or sell on a different selling site.

We are all a community, and being more familiar with what others have to offer can only help to educate us all personally as well as professionally. The items and information that you post on the Fanpage must be Mind Body Spirit related...and please, don't spam the page or overdo it. Nellie and I will continue to actively promote our regular marketplace members and run the blog as usual. (please remember to follow our blog)

A big thanks again to everyone, and especially to Matt at 1000 Markets for his continued support.

enjoy the rest of your day!


Artwork:  Connecting Heaven and Earth:  Adjusting Center,  by Diane Fergurson

Friday, June 4, 2010

Lost in Thought

I was driving my car past the park the other day.  I glanced over and saw an art friend of mine standing at its edge...gazing out...millions of miles away with the most serene, meditative look on her face.  She was somewhere pretty deep.  Not really contemplating anything in particular, but just in her own space.

I live in a town full of artists and writers who are very successful.  Most of the time when I see them in the park they are trying to escape from something mentally or relax themselves by moving their body.  Running, walking, talking to others.  Most of them plugged into their ipods, and they have that look on their face like they are trying to force the Universe to reveal content to them so that they can continue to write, paint and sculpt.  Trying to figure out the right words.  Trying to figure out the right intelligent content to convey in their work.  And all the while making themselves exercise (because that's what you're suppose to do).
Fit it all in.

My gazing art friend has had a long life dance with Eastern philosophy and it's various practices.  She's patient.  Not trying to force her work to emerge or trying to magically find it in a yoga studio.  It will come when it comes...if it comes.  In the mean time she'll remain open and centered and receptive....enjoying her day, a million miles away.

~ diane


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