What is the history and the meaning of Valentines Day? I wanna know.
For me the idea of hearts and red roses in a consumerist way, is enough to make me run a mile in the opposite direction, yet there is a draw for Love that wishes me to stay and honour it somehow but I am asking myself - what am I honouring and in what way? There is nothing to me in the world without LOVE - but, love comes in all shapes and forms and that doesn't mean having an intimate partner, but to me it is symbolised by kindness, openness, good communication and listening, compassion for everything that lives and breathes all around us. In ancient times in fact, Valentines day began as a Pagan Roman festival of fertility, the Eve of Lupercalia. You may read lots about this online and so I won't spend sentences explaining in-depth, but essentially lets not forget that when celebrating this day, try adding some magic and meaning to it and remember that it has come from pre-christian times that honoured the mating season of birds and fertility!!!
It was the festival of the Lupercalia, which, according to many writers, was originally celebrated by shepherds and also has some connection with the Arcadian Lycaea. At this time many of the young lads of the nobility and many of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, in playfulness and laughter, striking those they meet with thongs of hide still shaggy. And many women of rank purposely get in their way and like children at school present their hands (or their backsides) to be struck, believing that this will help the pregnant to an easy delivery, and the barren to pregnancy.
We didnt start celebrating this as we know it today in Britain until the 17th century. Printed cards did not appear until the late 18th century, but it was not until the 1840's that Esther A. Howland entered the history books as the first person to sell the first mass-produced Valentine cards in the United States.
So why is this day relevant to us Yogi's and Yogini's - well, if you are human and you have the life force of breath still running through your veins - you will have seen, heard about it or be asked to be someones Valentine. Or, maybe you won't and you plan, like me, to spend it either practicing Yoga or teaching it.
So how do we translate Love and Magic on & off the Mat in a Yoga sense.
Well - lets begin with the Chakras. And of corse the Chakra of the Heart - Anahata! There may be a tendency to overlook the heart in Spiritual development. But lets emphasize it here!!! In both Eastern and Western cultures, we may look at the spirit of the heart as weakness, when it actually makes you very strong when you are impervious to all outside influences, accepting life as it is.
Requiring no conditions, with no anxieties for the future nor guilt from the past, nor awareness of the egotistical 'I', an open Anahata will lead you to want what you have and not what you can't have.
By maintaining an open heart we may say that we may begin to side step the cultural environment that teaches us that the heart is too vulnerable to stay open. Anahata is the forth Chakra and its input will be fulfilled through the viewpoints of the lower Chakras. The first 3 chakras are often well developed, but this forth is believed to be the coming of New Age. It is like a sponge that absorbs what it is offered and therefore can become weak and many of us shut it down and armour against this when we feel vulnerable, rather than keeping it wide open, and will send its precious energy downwards to the base chakras if threatened. There is unlimited strength in unconditional acceptance that an open heart offers in contrast. It may feel weak at first not to rise up to the vulnerable places in life and automatically act to defend the heart, but to instead let this act just be un-reactionary and see the difference.
If we consider the New Age, it is a time where it is believed that humankind will achieve a greater capacity to enter into the space of the heart. Maybe with the potent times happening now politically, now is the time this may begin to manifest more and more. It's ripe! It's rife.
In the Tantric tradition of India the heart chakra is symbolised by the vision of a Yantra (mystical diagram) and takes the form of a 6-pointed star. The star is composed of two equilateral triangles. One upward-pointing turquoise triangle symbolises the male or positive energy. One downward pointing coral red triangle symbolises the female or negative energy. The golden point in the centre is Bindu.
That spark of union between yourself and the cosmos!
The twelve petals of the lotus are rose pink. The two circles are golden. The frame around the yantra is called Bhupur and is also golden. This sacred design symbolises unconditional balanced polarity!!!!!!
If we meditate on this Yantra by gazing at it or visualising it internally, we may use Moola bandha to help contain our energy, and magnify the energy by chanting the Mantra 'Yam'. As you breathe in, visualise the energy from the star entering your heart area. Feel the warm golden light swelling in your chest, like a flower opening in the sun. place your left hand on your heart area to keep connected. Tapping this area also helps to activate the thymus, endocrine gland associated with the heart. Scientific research suggests that this gland is susceptible to autosuggestion so applying a positive affirmation here causes it to enlarge and open, likewise negative thoughts create the reverse.
You may progress in to your upper chakras and more towards enlightenment that moves away from the tenancies of this Valentines time to be materialistic by firstly developing a strong foundation in the lower three chakras, like a tree needing strong roots to grow. Then with a change in our attitude to life that arises, being more in an unconditional and accepting place, may we begin the teachings to help open our heart and use it as our centre of cosmic awareness. We may use our Asana practice here to create opening in the body and find balance, using heart opening sequences of postures, alongside breath techniques and meditation.
Lets not forget where we are now in our environment that will affect our state of mind and the way we practice Yoga. Saturday night saw the Full Moon Eclipse in passionate Leo. There’s a feeling of fate stepping in and taking over. Not only is anything possible with this full moon—we will have the power to build on it too, so says astrology!
Since the most recent eclipse in September 2016 in this series, we have had six months of lessons, six months of growth, and six more months to live the questions in our hearts.
Our sun is in independent Aquarius, our moon is in passionate and fiery Leo. Leo is ruled by the lion, the king of the jungle. During this event, we will be challenged to see if we have stepped up as the kings and queens of our hearts…or are we still trying to talk our hearts out of their true feelings?
Our hearts want what they want—and they won’t rest until they get it.
This eclipse could be a game changer for many of us. There are too many components to easily dismiss it all as synchronicity.
The pentagram will be present in the skies during the time of the eclipse. Its appearance means that change will be not only be swift and unprecedented, but will also bring us exactly where we are supposed to be. This pentagram is all about bringing and restoring balance to whatever area of our lives we left undone in September. (Isn't the connection of the Yantra shape of Anahata Chakra also at this time being just like the Pentagram, being actually visible in the skies, great!!!!) OOOO I love finding these gems in life!
There are no mistakes in this life. There is nothing random. Beating beneath the illusion of free will is the possibility that fate may have a hand in all that we do.
Leo is all about passion and the heart center—what makes us truly roar.
Love is a drug, and commitment can be the ultimate high - Choose wisely!
There will be no struggle, no internal wars—just the magic that occurs when we finally make the choice to choose our fate.
Because when we chose fate, we also chose destiny; we chose the divine’s plan for us, and with it, our ultimate purpose. There is nothing to do this week except rest. We must try to prepare ourselves for anything, to ready ourselves for whatever may come, knowing that this time, it is meant to be.
So I gave myself a Goddess reading to check in with my feminine and the Yemanya goodesss presented itself as the future. She symbolises 'Golden Opportunity' and how a door is ready to open and we must walk through it! How wonderful that felt and it was all connected! New Opportunities and being strong to allow the freedom for opportunities to come, is the future, it is the LOVE.
I also went to watch the film Lion last Wednesday night and found it to spark so much passion in me to create change and openess for fate and freedom to arise and how with that comes an abundance of LOVE. The moral as sang by my fav - SIA is 'Never Give up!' I LOVE IT!!!!
Rest, Sleep In, Connect with your masculine and feminine self, breathe out like a Lion and ROOOOOOAAAAARRRRR with the strength of a Goddess!
LET LOVE IN!!! LET LOVE RADIATE OUT!!!!
YOU ARE PURE LOVE. Lets get on our mats this week and flow passionately with open hearts, strength and wild intuitive sensuality in us all.