Being PRESENT during the Holiday Season


This is a beautiful offering written by Corrina Steward, Green Monkey Guest Blogger. As soon as I read it I couldn’t wait to feature it here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, it’s the perfect advice for the holiday season.. Cheers!

The holiday season is one of the best times to grow your spiritual muscles. Whether it’s attending holiday parties or venturing into crowded malls, you will be challenged to find peace in the chaos. This holiday season I’ve decided that I will embrace the chaos through seven simple practices that will keep me PRESENT.

I’ve practiced yoga for nearly 10 years. One of the greatest benefits I receive from my yoga practice is the awareness of my body, mind and spirit. I know when I’m no longer living from my “center,” that grounded place where all of my energy is available for life, it can be felt as tightness in my neck or hyperactivity in my mind.

These are my indicators that I’m living in the danger zone: In the danger zone, we become aggressive toward others or feel victim to (or simply drained by) all of our obligations. This is the usual state of being for people during the holidays, which explains the crazed stampeding into stores and the anxiety over our to-do lists.

I think we could all use a PRESENT to get us through the holidays and to leave the world in better shape than it was before the holidays. Try these spiritual exercises whenever you feel like you are about to enter the danger zone.

Peace. Make peace with whatever you are struggling with. In the end, if it’s bothering you that much, peace is always the best option. Do you really need to get that one extra gift?

Reflect. When you feel yourself getting caught up in the chaos of the season, take a moment to reflect on your true values. What is the true spirit of the holidays for you? Are you living it?

Energy. How we experience the holidays often comes down to the quality of our energy. If we are feeling drained, we are simply not going to be able to enjoy things as much as we could. Make sure to rest and do pleasurable activities that build your energy.

Savor. Savor the moments. What will you remember about this holiday season? Seek out joyful, spirit-filled experiences.

Enthusiasm. Spend your time on activities that you truly feel enthusiastic about. Just because you’ve done something the same way every year doesn’t mean you have to again this year.

Nature. Be in nature. It will bring you back to reality and into a space where time slows down.

Trust. Trust that you will get through the holidays remembering the joyful moments and forgetting the challenging ones. Trust that you will make someone happy with your contributions and the things you did not do will not matter.

Lastly, be PRESENT. Experience the moment you are in rather than thinking about the next. Not only will you feel calmer, others will notice your lightness of being. Spreading the light is the best present you could give to yourself and the world.


December and the Holiday Season


The major holidays of the month of December tend to become the focus of many people’s lives to the point which people schedule their activities around them. Some of us become so busy and stressed that we forget to honor ourselves and take time to relax and reflect upon our lives and what really matters to us. During this time of renewal all things should be considered, and we can use this season of celebration not only to acknowledge the light but the darkness as well.
In some cultures, the winter Solstice marks the returning of the light making this a good time for contemplation and meditation, and a chance to soul-search. Since ancient times, some cultures have taught that light is good and dark is bad, but in this era of awakening we’ve learned in fact that this is a limited way of thinking since Light and Dark create a perfect balance. We need to stop seeing them as “good” or ‘bad”, they are just different, complementary, and necessary.
When we close our eyes to rest, to meditate, what we see is darkness, the darkness inside of us, which is infinite space within the finite body. Bill Plotkin describes in Soulcraft the journey of spirit as an ascent and the journey of soul as a descent into the depths of the self, “Soul embraces and calls us towards what is most unique in us. Spirit encompasses and draws us towards what is most unversal and shared.” this time of the year celebrate both!

This December we have a Blue Moon, December 31st is the second full moon of the month, just as the year ends. this is a perfect time to honor new beginnings.

Meditation Practice

Find a place that will be completely dark when the lights go out. Prepare by having a candle and lighter or matches before you. Sit on the floor or at a table, and ground yourself, prepare the sacred and safe space. When you’re ready, turn off the lights. Sit in complete darkness and silence, and begin by visualizing the descent into your self. Do not feel frightened, remember you are in a safe space and what you’re feeling is the unexplored territory.
You can visualize descending a flight of stairs if you like, taking you deeper into your inner realms. Knowing you cannot get lost helps you get rid of your fear, remind yourself that you can light the candle whenever you choose. Look deeply inside yourself. Be honest. This is a secret place that no one else needs to know about. Investigate; examine memories, usually they are accompanied by feelings, emotions. If something does frighten you, light the candle. If not, light it when you are finished. Imagine the candle as the ascent upward from your journey, shedding light on what you learned, and bringing balance by adding light to darkness. This light illuminates the dark the way the spirit illuminates the soul.
You can come back and explore again any time you wish, and you should. Become a regular visitor, pretend you are an explorer. Draw or write about the landscape of your soul. Dig deep and find the roots of why you have the opinions you hold and how you came to the path you are on. What do you need? What do you want? Ask the tough questions. Just because you ask doesn’t mean you have to make an immediate change in your life; this process takes a lifetime of study. We are always changing and reinventing ourselves. Discover who you are and why. And watch yourself continue to change and grow.
Spirit connects us; soul sets us apart. Soul-searching is an investigation of our mysteries, a journey of self-discovery. There is a balance to be found in celebrating the yin and yang, dark and light, spirit and soul, the universal and the personal.
in this month of celebrating light, join together with others, and don’t forget to celebrate the darkness as well – the beautiful, often hidden mysteries of your soul.The process will enrich your personal life and your relationships. To reach our greatest potential we must grow, both toward the light that unites us, and toward the mystery that keeps us unique.

by Ember, Llewellyn Worldwide

Halloween decorating: Utahns spare no expense on scares

“Utahns seem to like decorating for Halloween almost as much as at Christmas.

Just ask Jim Lauscher of The Village Christmas Shoppe at Gardner Village, who said business in Halloween decorations is already brisk.

‘Halloween in the state of Utah is the second biggest holiday for decorating,’ he said. ‘I am from the Midwest, and on Halloween people dress up the kids for one night. Here they are starting to decorate the inside and outside of houses on Oct. 1.

‘The other thing about Halloween is that price doesn’t matter,’ he added. ‘I have trouble selling a $100 Christmas item, but selling a $200 witch is no problem.’ “ (via Salt Lake Tribune)


October & Its Festivities

Every being is always receiving that which is a vibrational match to whatever they are offering.

Let’s welcome the month of October and let’s celebrate the season!

So, what are you offering? Are you happy with what you’re receiving? As we gently spin away from the Sun, the year slowly shifts into its last quarter and the light is gradually waning down. What are your plans for this month? Are you ready to finish your projects for the year?, or will you carry them over into the new year?
Enter the month of October we are already in full celebration with Ramadan, which comes to its completion on the 2nd. October is my personal favorite month of the year because not only is the celebration of Samhain, most commonly known as Halloween, but it also kicks off the holiday season, and the colorful Autumn season has begun to settle in, that is, in the North, as playful Spring arrives in South. Our look, first hand, at the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
Interestingly, depending on each cultural belief, this month could bring hard work, or none at all. For example, Yom Kippur, which is on October 9th, is traditionally observed by fasting, prayer, abstaining from physical pleasures, and refraining from work. Yom Kippur is the climax of the Yamim Noraim (“Days of Awe”), and with Rosh Hashanah (at the end of September) forms the Jewish High Holy Days. In accordance with Leviticus 23:27 the date of Yom Kippur is the 10th day of Tishrei (“the tenth day of the seventh month”) in the Hebrew calendar.
Columbus Day is October 13th, Sukkot begins on the 14th, the same day of the Full Moon. This month the Full Moon is in Aries. On the 22nd the Sun enters the eighth house of the Zodiac, the sign of Scorpio; the New Moon is the 28th, the same day the Celtic Tree Month of Reed begins. And on the 31st we celebrate Halloween/Samhain/All Hallows Eve. In the Northern Hemisphere it is still a time of harvest, the last of the year; back in the old days when labor was all done by hand, it meant a lot of hard work, followed by celebration and finally rest.
Samhain is a very important holiday in a Witch’s year. Being a time of reflection, we remember and honor our ancestors; and since it is one of the two times a year when the veil between worlds is the thinnest, we attempt at this time to establish communication with other worlds and those who have crossed.
To those in the Northern half of the world this holiday is about death, completion and transition, when Nature wanes into the end of another cycle, the Winter season, a time to remember all that has died in the course of the year. Life feeds on life. In the Southern Hemisphere October carries in a time of rebirth and renewal, restoring the land and thus maintaining the balance of the Grand Design.

I hope you enjoy the journey this month inspires you to take, as you begin to prepare for new resolutions and setting new goals.
Remember … there are always reasons to engage in joyful celebration. The more celebratory energy you “produce” the more you send off into the air, spreading it throughout the world. This is how we heal the planet, and reduce the negative energies that dwell over it’s green and watery surface. Don’t forget that whatever you celebrate make sure you do exactly that … celebrate! Bring happiness into your life, let the joyful energy surround you, blessing your home, your path, and every choice you make.


It is believed that the spirits of the dead remain wandering until Samhain, when they can finally cross to the “other side” to rest, as the passage between the living and underworld is open. With this doorway between worlds slightly ajar, the festival of Samhain is also regarded and respected as a time that allows mischievous and restless spirits to make a temporary return to our world.
On this night, take a symbolic journey to the underworld with a virtual or actual walk in a labyrinth. The mystical labyrinth is believed to be a metaphor for the journey of death and rebirth as you travel through the spiral patterns to the core and return on the same path. If you can visit a labyrinth, take the journey. Or you can mark out a temporary labyrinth on sand, or on the ground with twigs, sting, or tape. As you travel to the center, leave behind thoughts and images that no longer serve you, shedding unnecessary emotional burdens. Upon reaching the center, stop and imagine you have arrived at the underworld where you can communicate with loved ones who have died. On your walk out, focus on the release and rebirth and enjoy the symbolic transformation. –by Emely Flak. Courtesy of Llewellyn Worldwide

Another type of Samhain celebration is a Dumb Supper, a meal eaten in silence, communing with the spirits of those who have died. Traditional foods for the Dumb Supper vary, but they should be the favorite foods of those you plan to honor. Set a formal dinner table, with a tablecloth and your best dishes, as you would for any honored guests. There should be several more places set than living guests attending. The meal should not begin until after dark, and use candles for lighting, not electric lights. Allow the candle to burn until they have gone out. Photos and mementos of those who have died may be placed on the table or someplace else in the room. For the feast itself, people enter the room in silence, serve themselves or pass dishes, and eat without speaking or making any sound if at all possible. Be sure there is a libation plate and bowl; some of each liquid should be put in the bowl, some of each solid food placed on the plate.
Afterward, these should be given to the earth by placing them in a compost heap or burying them in the garden. In this way, many Witches honor their dead and celebrate the harvest at Samhain. –by Magenta Griffith. Courtesy of Llewellyn Worldwide

Click Here for recipes, activities and more information about the magickal holiday of Samhain.

Click Here for a fun Samhain Ritual.