Spiritual Names

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We all know that words have the power to create, destroy, bring about change. I’ve written a post about that in the past: http://www.awitchsjourney.com/?p=70

 

Our parents give us a name when we are born. This name becomes part of us as we grow up. It is the every day mantra that can bring about happiness, fear (when you did something bad and your mother calls you by your whole name haha), pride (when you are called at your graduation). It is a natural identification process for us. But not everyone feels their given name resonates with them. Some people decide to change it to something else that they feel more identified with. And that is ok.

 

In the Pagan community people use what we call a “spiritual name”. It’s usually a name that we choose based on a number of different starting points, be it personal preference, numerology, astrology or divination for example.

 

When I started my journey into the Pagan spiritual path, I chose a spiritual name based on the pantheon that I followed, which is Egyptian. The name was very dear to me and many people came to know me by that name; mostly other Pagans but some non Pagan friends as well.

 

When I came to a crossroads in my life in which huge life-altering changes were unfolding, I felt the need to change my name. Not only was I entering a new spiritual phase in my life, but I was walking away from a destructive period as well, and unfortunately, my name became stained with that negativity (I will not mention that name because it is in the past and no longer serves me, although it will always be in my heart).

 

That is when I became Oscura. In Spanish this word means dark. For years, I embraced my dark side. I became empowered by it. I grew with it, I learned from it, and enjoyed many new blessings coming into my life. Oscura was a diamond in the raw, needing to be put under a lot of pressure and hardship to finally come out of that shell. I found out that by embracing my dark side I was realizing the balance that was needed in life. Being in the light all the time leaves you imbalanced, very imbalanced. It is a denial of your own truth. There is much beauty and comfort in our dark sides; there is a warmth and resting place that is waiting for us to nurture it. And when we do nurture it, a balance is reached. I felt like a beacon of light was activated.

 

As I kept moving forward, the path opened up even more for me, and the blessings kept pouring in. I felt a stir within. An old layer is peeling away, and that layer is called Oscura. I can no longer identify with this name…but what am I to do? I meditated on Divine guidance. I read, I researched, I studied my dreams. What is the next step? How do I know what my name is now? It isn’t Oscura any longer.

 

For months nothing came to me, it was not time yet. I stopped chasing. I would let it come to me instead. And the first sign came. A Vedic astrologer tells me that a name change is coming, a spiritual name. Months later, I learn about spiritual names that Kundalini Yoga teachers take. I had been taking Kundalini Yoga classes but didn’t know about this until it was the right time I guess.

 

And then I decided to become a Kundalini Yoga teacher myself after much research and meditation on it. And so, the time felt right and I requested my spiritual name.

 

When my spiritual name was delivered to me, I was very nervous and couldn’t read it at first. It was a nervous excitement. When I finally sat down after a few days and read it, tears streamed down my face. This is me! And so, Nam Kirin Kaur steps into the light….

 

Nam Kirin Kaur is the sacred Princess/Lioness who manifests the Light of the Divine in the world by meditating on the Name of God.

 

I step from the darkness into the light. Oscura has blossomed into Nam Kirin Kaur. Nam means the Name of God/Goddess and Kirin means ray of light. I feel that this is so right and so perfectly timed. :) I am ever so grateful!

 

Sat Nam.

Learning Through Books and Experience

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Books are wonderful tools. They open up doors of possibilities, new worlds to explore, places we’ve never been to, places we could never go to, subjects we never heard of before, etc…books are really powerful doors we can open any time and venture into. There is much to be learned from books, no doubt.

Books have their limitations of course. Although the author can take us anywhere, anytime, and show us what they saw, what they see, what they know, we are missing a very big part of learning, and that is experience.
Experience is when we truly gain. The participation, observation, of events, practical contact and the impression left in us when we experience something…there is nothing like it. Some say that true wisdom can only come from experience and sharing the wisdom earned from that experience.
A question just came to mind: But the author is sharing their personal experience with me through the book, that must count, right? I have a vivid imagination and I feel that I am living an experience through the author’s words, doesn’t that count? Of course it counts! That’s what you experienced through reading the book and it is very personal and important. However, the explanation that an author can give you through a book will never truly be your own experience. If 10 people can read the same book and interpret it differently, of course you know that the experience that you could have is never going to be the same as what you read about it in a book.

 

Where am I going with this? Well, although I do believe that we need books to learn and to supplement our learning, I personally feel that when I am within a group, the learning experience is more powerful and has a stronger impact on me. I can remember more, I can relate more, I can ask questions, I can network. Let’s not forget the amazing energy that can be felt in a group environment. Here is a good example: learning Kundalini Yoga from books and video vs. taking classes at a good yoga school. When I used a video, I enjoyed the practice, and when I read a good book on the subject, it helped me understand the details and I could go back and re-read. But it wasn’t until I started taking classes that I truly fell in love with Kundalini Yoga. Being in a class, surrounded by the energy of other people who love it as well, that is when I really felt the experience of Kundalini Yoga.  Same with Reiki. Some people claim that the practice of Reiki can be “learned” through books or online alone, but I strongly disagree.

 

Beyond reading great books, we must seek experience. Being able to recite pages upon pages from books we have read may be impressive, but again, nothing compares to personal, live experience, be it one on one with a teacher, or as part of a small or large group. Many people may be in a situation in which they feel they are isolated and have no access to groups or classes. I understand that, I really do because I was once in that situation. However, I made the effort to search and eventually found a few likeminded individuals to share experiences with. :) It is also helpful to remember, that we can learn from just about anyone and at any time, so don’t narrow your search too much. Think about it… 😉

 

Love & Light

The Priestess

Expanding Awareness with Kundalini Yoga

awitchsjourney.comAbout 2 years ago I became interested in Kundalini Yoga. I had already tried a couple of yoga classes (not Kundalini) and enjoyed it. The teachers were a couple with a small child, they were kind and very good teachers. Unfortunately for me, they had decided to go back to India. My gratitude to them.

 

One day I saw that the New York Open Center was having a short course in Kundalini Yoga, and I quickly signed up. I scrambled to find comfortable white clothes to wear for the class, as I had read that in Kundalini Yoga people wear all white. Most of my clothing is black so you can imagine how difficult was for me. I found some simple clothes to wear and went to my class, very excited and nervous. There I met Donna Amrita Davidge, a vibrant woman who blessed me with my first Kundalini Yoga experience. During our first class we did an exercise in which we sat in easy pose (cross legged), facing a stranger (class mate), and just stared into each others’ eyes and I had my first boohoo moment. I cried as I clearly heard this woman say “I love you” without opening her mouth. I felt her love, as a human to another human. Of course there was laughter as well in the group, as some just became giggly during the exercise, and it was all beautiful. I really felt the connection. The entire experience with Donna Davidge was eye opening for me, and heart opening as well. I found a practice that was not only very spiritual, but also strengthened my body as a whole. Kundalini Yoga certainly is a complete experience. And that was it for me, I wanted more. Sadly, this was a very short course. I did come back the second time that Donna Amrita Davidge came to teach at the New York Open Center, and after that I wanted to find more regular classes. I asked her about two yoga studios that I had found online, and she gave me her recommendations on both, saying they were very good places to go to.

 

As I’ve done before, I tried to get a friend to join me for at least one class so that I wouldn’t have to go by myself and feel so vulnerable. However, that didn’t work, and I decided to just go for it on my own. And so, I went to Kundalini Yoga East. There, after a warm welcome by the front desk person, I joined the class.

 

First of all, if you are wondering, as I did, why is it that people wear all white to Kundalini Yoga, I can tell you what I’ve learned so far. According to Yogi Bhajan (the spiritual leader who introduced Kundalini Yoga to the USA), wearing all white clothing expands our auric radiance. White is the representation of all colors in one, so you also get the benefit of all colors together.

 

Kundalini Yoga is the Yoga of Awareness. It is a total experience. You chant mantras, you meditate, you practice many breathing exercises, and physical exercises. When I first took classes with Donna Davidge I realized this is tough! I was sore for a week after the first class but of course, I’m not an athlete so there is that to consider. But still, it is not exactly easy. There is a lot of fighting your Ego which constantly tries to stop you from doing things, making you think you can not, making you feel that you can not and constantly trying to distract you and talking you into quitting. I’m really glad that I decided not to listen to the Ego trap and I kept coming back to class.

 

Since I’ve begun to practice Kundalini Yoga more often, I’ve noticed a few changes. They have been slow, but they are happening. I have more patience with the world although I still need to work on it more. I am more calm in general, and when a situation does stress me out, I am able to calm myself down faster and easier. I’ve also begun to feel more connected to all, and I feel more compassion for others, which sometimes can be, difficult. One example; right before New Year’s eve I saw a woman on the train who had a very sad expression on her face. I see this woman often on the train but this day she looked particularly sad, as if she was about to cry. I wondered why she looked so sad, was she missing someone? At the end of the year, did she feel lonely? I smiled at her, but I really  just wanted to walk up to her and give her a big hug and tell her that I loved her. Another woman near me noticed the same thing I guess, and she was also smiling at the woman. I was just too shy to simply walk up to her and give her that hug. But I just felt so sad…I felt it strongly in my heart.

 

It is difficult to explain some of the changes that I am experiencing. But I must also mention that my Reiki practice is still part of the positive influence in my changes, because it really is. I do my Reiki self-practice right before Kundalini Yoga class and before going to sleep. The balancing effects of Reiki are also responsible for all these changes no doubt.

 

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On April 5, 2014, I joined many more Kundalini Yoga practitioners on a wonderful, big event called White Tantric Yoga. I had heard about White Tantric Yoga before, and I wanted to join the big event last November, but I was to be out of the country. This time I wasn’t going to miss it and I am so glad I didn’t. During White Tantric Yoga, we practice a number of meditations and mantras throughout the day. A meditation can last for 31 minutes, with a break after and then another one, then a break, and so on. The practice is done in pairs, sitting in very straight lines across the room. It is very challenging because of all the time you have to be sitting, but it is also a very unique experience. There really is no way of explaining much, all I can say is that each person has their own experience and it is not the same for all, but we all learn and grow from it, and we expand our consciousness. I did become emotional at the end of the day, and cried a little. I am grateful to Yogi Bhajan and to all who made the event possible and all who participated. I am looking forward to doing it again!

 

We were told that we’d be feeling the effects of White Tantric Yoga for about 40 days. So far, I have had unusual dreams, mostly related to animals so far. Last night I had a very personal and powerful experience which I will keep to my personal journal (sorry). It’s been 6 days…

 

Eternal gratitude to Donna Amrita Davidge, The New York Open Center and Kundalini Yoga East.

The gratitude that I feel is immense. May the blessings continue.

Sat Nam.

Dilemmas of Daily Life: Religious Recruiters

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It becomes a bit challenging to continue to be open to listening and open to talking to people in general, when some of them are just trying to trick you, fool you.

 

When you live in a very active, busy, tourist filled city, you get used to answering questions from random people. Usually they ask for directions. I’m always glad to help. But recently, I have been targeted several times by Christian recruiters, or at least that is what they end up appearing to be.

 

Example one. I’m on the train, during a Halloween night, and a woman sitting next to me starts up a conversation about the costumes, and how she used to go to the parade and how much fun it was. We were having a nice conversation, just two strangers on the train talking about fun times. We got off at the same stop, then she dropped the bomb. She gives me a card with information about a Christian radio show and asks that I join her. The disappointment was so huge that I was shocked and couldn’t even utter an answer to her. Looking back at our conversation I realized that she was pointing out all the things she used to do before she joined her religion, how she partied, drank, did this and that, you know, living her life.

 

Another one. Walks up to me, compliments me and I’m wondering what she’s up to. This one wasn’t as sneaky, but she didn’t mention her invitation to her church until the last minute when I said I was walking in a different direction.

 

The latest one found me with my guard up. Although I did not yell, did not say anything rude to her, I stopped her dead in her tracks and walked away. She went straight to the point and asked if I had a church I go to, I said I don’t need a church. She then was surprised and was about to begin her speech, when I turned to her with a smile and said “Please, don’t bother.” and I walked away.

 

I understand that for some people, the joy they feel in their hearts related to their faith is something they feel they want to share with the world. But recruiting is just such a sneaky, low level thing to do. Instead, why don’t you spend your time engaging in activities that have direct, immediate positive impact like volunteering at soup kitchens, or find your local food bank or other organization that collects and distributes food and clothing to those in need? That is something we all need to do more often, and yes I am saying that I myself need to do it more often and that is, volunteer to help those in need.

 

This also presents another problem that was pointed out to me by my hubby. Personal safety. A person approaching us randomly in the streets and starting up a conversation could potentially be just a distraction so that another one can do something else like robbing, or attacking us, or even worse, kidnapping. This is not only possible, it is real danger and it does happen. It brings a dilemma to me because I would rather not shut myself off when I’m out in the street because you never know who might actually need help or who may be a potential new friend. So the solution right now is just to be more alert and listen to my intuition more.

 

We all choose and follow our own path.

Starting out with good health & moving forward!

pentacle AWJ

Well, I must say, I started the year the right way! And my gratitude just keeps growing!

 

On January 18th I went to a Women’s Health Symposium at the Meta Center in NYC. I learned so much! I was just blown out of my mind by the love I felt amongst the women who attended. It was love for life, love for health, love for self and love for all. Sharing different perspectives on health and healing, to improve and help each other grow.

 

First, Susan Wilson gave us valuable information about how easily Cancer statistics can be swayed in any direction to cause fear, and gave us information on other options for testing like thermography. She spoke about breast cancer and for example, that the hereditary risk is only 10%, but lifestyle makes the difference. The risk goes down 50% if we consume more fiber because everything starts at the gut. One great resource she shared was http://breastcanceroptions.org/. Her knowledge is vast and her energy is just so reassuring and calming.

 

Suzy Meszoly, a homeopath, spoke of a holistic approach, of how important energy is and how our bodies are completely capable of healing if we allow and help. She was refreshing and so loving! How great it would be if people had more access to someone like Suzy, for their health concerns!

 

Annelie Withfield spoke about nutrition, and she had a lot to say! She said something very important: “When we get sick or out of balance, the first thing to do is stop and look to nature for answers”. She focused on a few foods that are very powerful: beets (great food for women to build blood), greens, sea vegetables, fats (grass fed butter, grass fed beef), pollen, mushrooms and chocolate. She used to be a 100% raw food eater but like many who start that route, she realized that it wasn’t the best lifestyle for her or her family. She also mentioned how important it is to love our water and drink the best water we can (NOT tap water). Annelie’s website is great! Check it out, lots of great recipes! http://www.thesuperfoodfamily.com

 

Susun Weed was the last speaker of the day. She began with a song a cappella; a song about the maiden, mother and crone. She spoke about menopause, and boy did I learn a lot! I really didn’t know anything about menopause since I haven’t been there yet, but I’m glad I was there to learn from those who have walked the path and know that it is part of our lives, it isn’t a curse or a problem. I purchased her book, New Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way, Approaches for Women 30-90. I want to know as much as I can to be ready and enjoy every step of my journey! :) It’s good to know that we don’t necessarily need hormonal treatments during menopause and that if we simply nourish our bodies, our bodies will do the rest. Susun Weed had a lot to say, and her point of view is almost completely opposite from the other speakers, and from what I am used to hearing.

Hearing that raw food is not what we should be eating, and that we must cook our food to get the best nourishment we need… wow! Also, that even in a so called raw food diet, the majority of the food is not raw at all. Cooking is not just putting the food over the fire, there are other ways to cook like, dehydrating, sprouting. Raw foods aren’t nourishing because the cell wall of the food is intact. It can’t be broken if the food is raw, even if we put it through a juicer it won’t break the cell wall and release the nutrients. All this information is very crucial and important to me because, for a long time I’ve been questioning my eating habits and trying to force myself to eat more raw foods but I was never sure if it was the right choice. Now I understand that I either extreme is not beneficial. I guess I kinda knew it, but I just needed more information. Susun Weed paid for research about this matter herself, so I feel that I can trust the information. She also recommended as part of nourishing the body, to drink 1 quart of herbal infusion a day, and she rotates between these 5 herbs: nettles, linden, red clover, oat straw and comfrey. This is part of the Wise Woman Way. I highly recommend to check out her website: http://www.susunweed.com

 

There was much more information and hopefully soon the videos will be up on Youtube so that I can share them here. I feel so blessed to have been there! I can’t wait for the next event!

 

Now for the rest of 2014, I hope to continue growing, loving, learning, living!

 

The Year of the Blessed Snake

2013…

 

2013 Year of the Snake

Another year of challenges, and blessings. Many lessons learned, and much gratitude for it all, and for all those people who have taught me something. I have learned a lot from everyone. A few highlights come to mind to make me smile and feel such gratitude!

 

In January, I officiated my first wedding. I am grateful to my sister, Lady Ophelia, who blessed me with this opportunity. It was her who thought of me as the Priestess that would perform the wedding ceremony for her and her beloved. It was her, who put this challenge in front of me and said, “I can’t imagine anyone better than you”. It was because of her, that I got my license to be able to legally officiate weddings in the city of New York. Of course, I couldn’t have gotten my license without the help of Goddess Rosemary, H.P. & Matriarch of Temple Sahjaza. I am surrounded by amazing human beings who care about others, and will do anything they can to help. Lady Ophelia & Matt’s handfasting/wedding was a beautiful, blessed experience that I will always treasure. May their lives continue to be blessed.

 

In March I was blessed with the visit from one of my all time favorite authors who is an immense inspiration to me. And by visit I mean, not that she came to my house (I wish), but she wrote a comment in one of my blog posts (see: Awakening Osiris:  The Egyptian Book of the Dead). Thank you Normandi Ellis!

 

In April, I got to spend time with someone I love very dearly. My beloved sister of Temple Sahjaza, Priestess Madame Webb. I missed her so much, and seeing her again, talking to her, hugging her, ah, it was a true blessing. She is one extraordinary woman.

 

In the summer, I finally started my official journey into herbalism (see previous posts My Journey into Herbalism and A Visit to Mother Nature’s Temple & School) . I am grateful to the NY Open Center and to Peeka Trenkle for making this possible for myself and all the other students who love plants and appreciate all that Mother Nature has given us. I intend to continue learning and practicing herbalism in the years to come.

 

This summer I also was blessed to be in Ammachi’s presence once again. This time I joined in at the front for meditation as well. The love, compassion and unity experienced will always stay with me. Thank you Amma.

 

In October, history was made. Yet another blessing. High Priestess & Matriarch of Temple Sahjaza, Goddess Rosemary, made her comeback to NYC. It was a long time coming, and I don’t even know where to start when it comes to describing this event. Meeting her for the first time in person was so natural, just like seeing an old friend. We had a wonderful time, all of us together. And she performed a Third Eye Opening ritual, which lasted about 4 hours. Four hours, people lined up to have their third eye opened by Goddess Rosemary, while the members of the Temple backed her up energetically and physically. This was another experience that I will never forget. The bonds in this Temple are strong and beautiful.

 

Another blessing in my life this year is Kundalini Yoga. I’m grateful to Donna Amrita Davidge for teaching at NY Open Center. From there I knew I wanted to continue practicing this spiritual, beautiful form of yoga. And now I’ve managed to do that at Kundalini Yoga East. Gratitude!!

 

These are the highlights of my year, but by no means the only blessings I have received and enjoyed. My husband is a daily blessing in my life, and so is my family. I have so much to be grateful for, every single day. I’m working on living more mindfully, and slowing down as much as possible. I look forward to the future with excitement, and a heart full of love and joy.

 

Awake in Peace
Awake in Love
Awake in Joy
Awake in Truth.

 

~Priestess Oscura N.