The Magical Garden of the Soul

The soul is like a garden, and, like a garden, it needs to be watered, tended, and cared for. Our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings all contribute to creating the garden of our life. If we want the garden to be beautiful, we have to make sure that we remove the weed thoughts that can eventually choke the blossoms of love, joy, creativity, and abundance. Weed thoughts and feelings are the negative beliefs rooted in fear. Removing them is really fairly simple: We release any belief that is contrary to love, because the truth about the universe is that it IS love. In every moment, we are seen by the Cosmic Principle that runs through All That Is. We are loved. We are supported and upheld. Accessing that truth is a matter of quieting the mind, and surrendering into the stillness within. Entering the temple in the heart, we find the Divine Spark inside of us, the Ascended Master that awaits our recognition of it. Here is where we find the answers to all of our questions. Only here.

Nurturing the garden takes many forms. Create  relationships with people and beings that know what love is. Connect to a spiritual path that speaks to your heart. Mine is an ancient one, the path of the Mystic. It includes all living things, animals, plants, stones, trees, the stars, and people. I avoid situations and people that as the Desiderata says, are “vexations to the spirit”. ( I love the Desiderata, written by Max Ehrmann in 1927. I have it printed out, it is inspirational. )

Some of the things I do to nurture my garden include reading, meditating, connecting in the heart to the people I love, diffusing essential oils like Rose, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Myrrh, or Vetiver. Rose and Vetiver together are lovely. The Stones that nurture and uplift, imageas well as healing the heart are Rose Quartz, pink Mangano Calcite, Rhodocrocite, and Rhodonite. These are the gentle healers, that bathe our energy bodies with love. Animals play a significant role in my life as well, my own, and the wild ones that I can see in my yard. Right now, I am watching the Hummingbirds visit my feeders. The birds are winging past, always a delight to see. Bears and porcupines stroll through the backyard, on their way to somewhere else. I have a small pond with Water Lilies, which I planted when we moved here 9 years ago, that fill the pond with pink lotus-like flowers. The frogs discovered the pond, and sit on the Lily pads, and sing to me every night. My Wisteria is blooming for the second time this year, dripping purple blossoms that the butterflies are enjoying. I brought in some of my Stargazer Lilies yesterday, their fragrance is filling my room as I write this.

These are all simple things that bring me joy, that nurture the garden in my heart. It is important to be in the world, yes. But it is essential to not be devoured by it. Staying on our center, doing what we can, when we can, means that we need to cultivate our garden, making it as beautiful as possible. Then we can share it with the world, which sorely needs it. On this beautiful summer day, I send you flowers, hummingbirds, dragonflies, butterflies, and love, from my garden to yours.  Blessings, Judith

The Call of the Wild

img_2226As the world grieves the tragic and brutal killing of the beloved lion Cecil by the American trophy hunter Walter Palmer, I’ve felt the need to reflect on, and to revisit, some of the stories about animals and nature that have fed my soul over the course of my lifetime. As a child, I was a voracious reader, drawn from a very early age to stories about animals and nature. I read constantly, nurtured and enchanted by the books that represented animals in the way my child’s heart knew them to be: courageous, loyal, noble, and wiser than many of the humans around me. I took refuge in books that created a world where animals were teachers. Writers like Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, James Herriot,  Dr Seuss, Anna Sewell, and  Aesop’s Fables spoke to both my imagination and my spirit.

One of the many things I love about Indiginous cultures, whether Native American, Aboriginal, South American, is the shared belief that all living things are Sacred, and have much to teach us, if only we had the eyes to see and the ears to hear the messages being sent to us. Some of my favorite writers tapped into those beliefs, creating magical characters that taught the child I was about living an honorable life. Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Books” opened up a whole new world inside of me, a world I knew was real. Mowgli being raised by wolves seemed perfectly reasonable to me. Baloo the bear, Bagheera the black panther, Kaa, the python, Shere Kahn the tiger, all became a part of me. Jack London’s ” The Call of the Wild”, and “White Fang” also taught me things. As a survivor of sexual abuse, books that exposed the cruelties some people were capable of didn’t frighten me at all, rather, they validated what I had experienced first hand. They taught me that I could survive. They tapped into my fierceness, giving me permission to feel my pain and to rise above it. Because of these books, I could access an internal landscape that made sense to me, more sense that what the outer world was showing me.

For many of us, nature has always been a refuge, a sanctuary. Animals have taught me so much about what unconditional love looks like. The idea that anyone would find pleasure, or a thrill, in killing one is so far beyond my ability to understand, that it feels alien to me. I felt the shock of this all the way down to my soul. Every time I read about the poaching going on in Africa, the slaughter of elephants and rhinos, it devastates me. The same with the whales and dolphins. Capturing and enslaving them for profit is heinous. There is no other word for it.

I loved the Disney Movie “The Lion King”. I especially loved the song from that movie,  “The Circle of Life”, written by Timothy Miles Bindon Rice and Elton John. Some of the lyrics are: “From the day we arrive on the planet, and blinking, step into the Sun… There’s more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done. There’s far too much to take in here, more to find than can ever be found. But the sun rolling high, through the sapphire sky, keeps great and small on the endless round. It’s the Circle of life.”

I believe we should call people who travel around the world killing animals for sport what they really are: serial killers. Serial killers kill for the thrill, for the sense of power it gives them, the ego gratification. What is it, if not ego gratification, that causes someone to kill something rare, and pose for a photo next to the body? Theo Bronkhorst, the guide in Zimbabwe who organized the hunt that killed Cecil told authorities that immediately after killing Cecil, Palmer asked him if he could find him an elephant with tusks over 65 lbs to shoot. The guide told him that he couldn’t. This craving to kill is clearly an insatiable one, and another indicator of the serial killer profile. Just because the prey has four legs, instead of two, doesn’t make the pathology at work here any different. Calling these people hunters does a disservice to those who hunt for food, as opposed to those finding delight in ending the life of any animal. Can you imagine the outcry there would be if someone posted photos of themselves grinning, next to the corpses of 43 dead dogs they had shot with a bow and arrow? How is it different? The truth is, it isn’t.

It’s time to wake up, and become the defenders of the innocent that all of nature needs us to be. More and more species are on the brink of extinction. I believe if we come together as the heart-centered beings we are capable of being, we can change this. We have to. There is no other choice. We are all part of the circle of life. We must answer the call of the wild. The wild not only calls to us, it is alive within each of us. We are not defending something outside of ourselves, we are defending something INSIDE of ourselves. We are all wild, or we were, when we were children, before life tried to strip the wildness out of us. That wildness is precious. It is the seat of our magic, the seat of our power. Let no man disrespect the wild. It feeds our collective soul.

I dedicate this teaching to all of the writers whose vision of the souls of animals and nature saved me. You will live in my heart forever. Thank you for saving the child I was, and for shaping the woman I am today. And to all of the animals that have played a vital role in my healing, beloved pets, Power Animals, and allies, there are no words, other than I love you. Thank you. I wouldn’t be here today without you. Blessings, Judith