Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Autumn Blessings and Balance

I’m not sure what excites me about this time of year. On one hand, I feel a hesitative approach to fall, as the days grow colder and I know that soon I will need to order oil to heat the house, and (sigh) get the snow shovel out, and I almost wish I could slow the progress to the colder months of the year. But, on the other hand, my soul is stirred by the crispness of the air, the clearness of the sky, the urgency of the birds – I see more woodpeckers these days and hear more blue jays and crows in the trees. There is a wildness all about, as leaves begin to change their colors with sudden abandon, and are carried in circles by the wind, to the ground.

With the autumnal equinox (or Mabon, as many pagans call it), light begins to die, as the days become shorter and darkness grows. But with these shortening, cooling days, we are provided with sustenance and security. Pumpkins and apples, corn stalks and hay bales – these symbols of fall offer comfort, as do the rich fall hues of orange, gold, red, and brown, the delicious aromas of slowly baked and roasted foods, and the warmth of ovens and wood-fires. We are nourished with deep goodness, to face the dimming days, to accept and understand darker aspects of the natural cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.

The autumnal equinox is a harvest holiday in pagan traditions, and as such, is a wonderful time to put on a feast featuring locally grown foods, expressive of thanks for the abundance we have been given. It is also a great time to allow balance in one’s life – as day and night are equal on this day, so might we find equilibrium within.

If you are interested in reading more about the autumnal equinox as a holiday, you may enjoy these books:

Autumn Equinox: The Enchantment of Mabon by Ellen Dugan
Mabon: Celebrating the Autumn Equinox by Kristin Madden

~ Nellie Levine
Black Rabbit Jewelry on Etsy

The New MInd Body Spirit Marketplace

What an interesting, active couple of days it's been! In case you haven't heard, 1000 Markets was sold to Bonanza. Here is the link if you haven't read about it.

As far as the Mind Body Spirit Marketplace, Nellie and I actually see this as a positive opportunity to expand what we have started on 1000 Markets and continue to build up even further off site...through our ever growing blog and Facebook presence. We currently have over 600 followers on our Facebook fan page alone.

We now won't be bound by the 1000 Markets membership constraints any longer. We can comfortably continue to grow and feature other Mind Body Spirit related products, ideas, and people from "everywhere".  From ALL selling sites and as well as showcase work from individual websites. We will getting back to you with further plans as this all continues to unfold.. It's kind of exciting, actually. In the mean time, if you have any questions...or would like for us to feature your Mind Body Spirit work, products, or blog post you can leave me an e-mail at: or at my email,

We'll make sure you are on our contact list and that way we can still be in touch with you and continue to feature your Mind Body Spirit work... wherever it is!
This week we will begin to feature Mind Body Spirit related work from sellers on Etsy as well as other sites.

Thanks again to everyone who worked together to make this 1000 Markets version of the Mind Body Spirit Marketplace possible.  And in particular, thank you to Matt and the other folks at 1000 Markets who created the software and provided the template for many of us to create Marketplaces for whatever we wanted, and allowed us the freedom to take those marketplaces in whatever direction we wished.  The creative freedom the 1000 Markets gave their Market Managers was very generous and it was a unique opportunity and experience for all of us involved.  We are very fortunate that MBS had the foresight to established itself enough outside of 1000 Markets so that we can continue to build upon the wonderful foundation that they provided for us.  We remain committed in what we are doing.  Promoting all things related to the Mind Body Spirit theme so that we can all continue to learn and grow in a positive, healthy way.

Onward and upward! Life is always in a constant state of flux. Remember that wonderful opportunities can grow out of a sudden, changed situation... In many cases it's actually a gift! :)
I'm sure the transition to Bonanza will work out fine for the 1000 Market sellers who choose to transfer think positive! We'll be getting in touch with you again soon!

enjoy your day!

diane fergurson and nellie levine

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Many Faces of Ganesha

Ganesha Reimagined

I took these pictures many months ago and even though I had been thinking of writing about them for a while now, I felt uninspired. A week ago, when my friend Diane Fergurson asked me if I would write an article for the Mind, Body and Spirit blog, suddenly it clicked. May be because tomorrow is Ganesh Chaturthi, the festival of Ganesha's birthday. Ganesha is one of the most adored in the Hindu pantheon of gods and Ganesh chaturthi is grandly celebrated by the natives of Indian states of Maharashtra, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. In the US, Ganesha is a familiar figure to those who practice yoga.

Ganesha is also called Vigneshwara, "remover of obstacles". At the start of any auspicious occasion, the blessing of Ganesha is sought with the recitation of the verse:
Om shuklambaradharam vishnum sasivarnam chaturbhujam
prasannavadanam dhyayet sarvavignopashantaye
(I meditate upon the all pervading Ganesha, the one with four arms and moon like bright complexion, 
clad in white, ever smiling, to remove any obstacles in my endeavor)

Yet the image of Ganesha with his elephant head and a potbellied human body has fired up the imagination of Hindu artists and has become anything and everything they want him to be. In their hands he could be a busy businessman cooking up deals on the phone or an elderly gentleman taking an afternoon nap or a percussionist in a band or a a stylish beau out on stroll swirling his walking stick or a yoda-like figure or a joyous dancer. This trend started about twenty years ago when it became a hobby for many to collect these cute and charming images of Ganesha. These images are usually made in clay but sometimes they are also made in precious gemstones for the rich collectors. My sister is a collector too and the collage above shows a few a from her collection. It is always fun to stand in front of the curio cabinet and look at her collection of ganeshas because they bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart.
Music anyone?
Vishnu Ganesha
Beau Brummel Ganesha

Shall We Dance?

An Epicurean

Yoda Ganesha

Taking a nap

Iconic OM (photo courtesy: Creative Commons)

Thank you to Indira Govindan for writing this wonderful blog post for us and sharing her fabulous pictures!  You can stop by her shop, "DharmaKarmaArts", on Etsy!

You may also enjoy reading:
"Mudras:  Gestures of a Different Kind"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Messages from Nature

Yesterday, a great blue heron lifted off from the middle of the road as my husband and I turned a corner and came upon it. Because the trees on that stretch of road create a canopy – with a steep hill on one side and a deep gully on the other – and because the heron’s wing span was so large, it could only follow the course of the road, until we all came out from the trees. It was exhilarating, even in such simplicity, to watch the beautiful bird follow the same course we were on, and then quietly fly on its way.

We have been seeing much wildlife lately. At the end of a recent walk, coming out of the woods we saw two deer grazing serenely in a field. They took notice of us, and gazed at us until we were in line with them, passing them on the road. On a recent morning walk a coyote stepped out from the woods onto the road, and upon seeing me, immediately turned and ran back into the trees. Crows have lighted on the tops of trees as I walked beneath… Blue Jays have lit the sky with their song – not always seen, but always heard. Beavers and woodchucks have been busy creating dams or searching woodpiles. Bullfrogs have uttered their bass notes.

I used to believe that each time an animal or bird crossed my path in some unusual, special way, it meant something more. What would the message of the heron have been? Or the two deer watching silently and with gentle trust? Or the coyote, in his skittish manner, darting back to cover? These days, their significance is a little different. I don’t necessarily see a specific message… it is no longer a divination, but the significance is just as great. I see this beautiful, constant interaction between beings – beings of the sky, the earth, the water, and us. We may seem to be outside their natural world, but we are truly a part of it. We are no more separate from them, than we are from our own families. At times, we might even follow the same path.

Recognizing this significance – that I am, indeed, a true part of Nature; a more instinctive awareness that goes beyond a philosophical understanding of being one with nature – brings a unique sense of self-respect, as well as love, affection, and compassion. Should we not be as gentle to ourselves as we would to any of those birds or animals we might encounter? The message I now receive, put very simply, is to treat myself kindly. To me, especially at this point in my life, that is a more important message than any I have ever perceived before from these encounters. And, I would hazard to guess, it is far more divine, in its infinite wisdom.

~ Nellie Levine 

You may also enjoy:
Spiritual Walking
The Magic of January Snow

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Artist,Writer, Jewelry Design