“Did Ancient People Really Have Lifespans Longer Than 200 Years?”, by Tara Macisaac

Read the entire article here.
Read the entire article here.

It isn’t only biblical figures who lived to well-seasoned ages of 900 years or more. Ancient texts from many cultures have listed life spans most modern people find simply and literally unbelievable. Some say it’s due to misunderstandings in the translation process, or that the numbers have symbolic meaning—but against the many explanations are also counterarguments that leave the historian wondering whether the human lifespan has actually decreased so significantly over thousands of years.

For example, one explanation is that the ancient Near East understanding of a year could be different than our concept of a year today. Perhaps a year meant an orbit of the moon (a month) instead of an orbit of the sun (12 months).

But if we make the changes accordingly, while it brings the age of the biblical figure Adam down from 930 to a more reasonable 77 at the time of his death, it also means he would have fathered his son Enoch at the age of 11. And Enoch would have only been 5 years old when he fathered Methuselah.

Similar inconsistencies arise when we adjust the year figures to represent seasons instead of solar orbits, noted Carol A. Hill in her article “Making Sense of the Numbers of Genesis,” published in the journal “Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith” in December 2003.

Similar problems have arisen when adjusting ages in ancient texts with the assumption that authors used a certain pattern for skewing the actual ages (such as multiplying them by a given number).

“Numbers [in Genesis] could have both real (numerical) and sacred (numerological or symbolic) meaning,” Hill wrote.

Mathematical Patterns?

In both Genesis and in the 4,000-year-old Sumerian King List—which lists the reigns of single kings in Sumer (ancient southern Iraq) as exceeding 30,000 years in some cases—analysts have noted the use of square numbers.

Much like the Bible, the King List shows a steady decline in lifespans. The list differentiates between pre-flood and post-flood reigns. The pre-flood reigns are significantly longer than the post-flood, though even post-flood lifespans are shown to be several hundred years or more than 1,000 years. In the Bible, we see a progressive decline over the generations from Adam’s 930-year life, to Noah’s 500 years, to Abraham’s 175.

Dwight Young of Brandeis University wrote of the post-flood lifespans in the Sumerian King List: “It is not merely because of their largeness that some of these numbers appear artificial. Etana’s 1560 years, to cite the longest, is but the sum of the two preceding reigns. … Certain spans seem simply to have arisen as multiples of 60. Other large numbers may be recognized as squares: 900, the square of 30; 625, the square of 25; 400, the square of 20 … even among smaller figures, the square of six appears more frequently than one might expect.” Young’s article, titled “A Mathematical Approach to Certain Dynastic Spans in the Sumerian King List,” was published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies in 1988. Paul Y. Hoskisson, director of the Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies wrote along a similar vein of the patriarch ages in the Bible in a short article for the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship.

On the other hand, looking at patterns, co-founder of the Church of God in South Texas Arthur Mendez thinks the rate of decline in longevity from pre-flood times as recorded in ancient texts to today matches the rate of decay observed in organisms when they are exposed to radiation or toxins.

Accounts in Many Cultures, Including Chinese and Persian

In ancient China, super-centenarians were also commonplace, according to many texts. Joseph P. Hou, Ph.D., acupuncturist, wrote in his book “Healthy Longevity Techniques”: “According to Chinese medical records, a doctor named Cuie Wenze of the Qin dynasty lived to be 300 years old. Gee Yule of the later Han dynasty lived to be 280 years old. A high ranking Taoist master monk, Hui Zhao, lived to be 290 years old and Lo Zichange lived to be 180 years old. As recorded in the The Chinese Encyclopedia of Materia Medica, He Nengci of the Tang dynasty lived to be 168 years old. A Taoist master, Li Qingyuan, lived to be 250 years old. In modern times, a traditional Chinese medicine doctor, Lo Mingshan of Sichuan province, lived to be 124 years old.”

Dr. Hou said the Eastern key to longevity is “nourishing life,” including not only physical nourishment, but also mental and spiritual nourishment.

The Shahnameh or Shahnama (“The Book of Kings”) is a Persian epic poem written by Ferdowsi around the end of the 10th century A.D. It tells of kings reigning 1,000 years, several hundred years, down to 150 years, and so on.

Depiction of Laozi in E.T.C. Werner's Myths and Legends of China

Depiction of Laozi in E.T.C. Werner’s Myths and Legends of China (Public Domain). Laozi was said to have gone to live as a hermit at the age of 160.

Modern Claims of Longevity

Even today, people report lifespans of some 150 or more years. These reports often come from rural areas, however, where documentation is scant. Documentation was probably even less valued in rural communities more than a century ago, making it harder to prove such claims.

One example is that of Bir Narayan Chaudhary in Nepal. In 1996, Vijay Jung Thapa visited Chaudhary in Tharu village of Aamjhoki in the Tarai region. Chaudhary told him he was 141 years old,  Thapa wrote in an article for India Today. If this claim was true, Chaudhary trumped the Guinness World Record holder for the longest life ever recorded by almost 20 years.

A photograph of Bir Narayan Chaudhary

A photograph of Bir Narayan Chaudhary. Image source: thedogintheclouds.com

But Chaudhary didn’t have the papers to prove it. He did, however, have collective village memory.

“Almost all the elders around remember their youth when Chaudhary (already an elder) would talk about working in the first Nepal survey of 1888,” Thapa wrote. “Village logic goes that he must have been more than 21 then, since the survey was a responsible job. Chaudhary claims to have been 33 and still a stubborn bachelor.”

Many people in the Caucasus region of Russia similarly claim ages reaching even over 170 years without the documentation to back their claims.

Dr. Hou wrote: “These exceptionally long-lived people have invariably lived humble lives, doing hard physical work or exercise, often outdoors, from youth well into old age. Their diet is simple, as is their social life involving families. One example is Shisali Mislinlow who lived to be 170 years old and gardened in the Azerbaijan region in Russia. Mislinlow’s life was never hurried. He said, ‘I am never in a hurry, so don’t be in a hurry to live, this is the main idea. I have been doing physical labor for 150 years.’”

A photo of Shisali Mislinlow

A photo of Shisali Mislinlow taken in 1970. (Wikipedia)

A Matter of Faith?

The issue of longevity in ancient times has long been connected to Taoist practices of internal alchemy, or mind-body cultivation, in China. Here, longevity was connected with virtue. Likewise it is intertwined with Western spiritual beliefs as part of the Bible.

Mendez quoted first century Roman-Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus: “Now when Noah had lived three hundred and fifty years after the Flood … But let no one, upon comparing the lives of the ancients with our lives, and with the few years which we now live, think that what we have said of them is false; or make the shortness of our lives at present an argument, that neither did they attain to so long a duration of life, for those ancients were beloved of God, and [lately] made by God himself; and because their food was then fitter for the prolongation of life, might well live so great a number of years: and besides, God afforded them a longer time of life on account of their virtue, and the good use they made of it.”

For now, modern scientists are left either to believe what ancient records and village memory have to say about seemingly unbelievable lifespans, or to consider the accounts exaggerations, symbolism, or misunderstandings. For many, it’s simply a matter of faith.

The article ‘Did Ancient People Really Have Lifespans Longer Than 200 Years?’ was originally published on The Epoch Times and has been republished with permission.

Featured image: ‘Abraham and the Angels’ by Aert de Gelder (Wikipedia). Abraham was said to have lived to the age of 175.

3 Ways Intelligent Extraterrestrials Could Traverse The Universe In Seconds

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“There is another way, whether it’s wormholes, or warping space, there’s got to be a way to generate energy so that you can pull it out of the vacuum, and the fact that they’re [extraterrestrials] here shows us that they found a way.”(source) – Jack Kasher, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Nebraska.

Thanks to the official disclosure of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) by dozens of countries which details encounters with UFOs, more questions are being asked. It seems logical, how are people supposed to respond to the fact that these objects are commonly tracked on radar by military agencies, visually confirmed by the pilots sent out to investigate them, and perform maneuvers that defy our current understanding of physics? You can find out more about that and view some of those documents here. You can find more of our articles on the subject by visiting the exopolitics section of our website here.

It wasn’t too long ago that the existence of ‘UFOs’ was considered nonsense, but now that their existence again, has been ‘officially’ verified in the ‘mainstream,’ the question is now shifting to, “What are they?” As you can see from the quote above, Dr. Jack Kasher believes ‘they’ are extraterrestrial craft, and he is joined by hundreds of other scientists, academicians, high ranking military people, and politicians who share the same opinion.

“There is abundant evidence that we are being contacted, that civilizations have been monitoring us for a very long time.” (source) – Dr. Brian O’Leary, Former NASA Astronaut and Princeton Physics Professor

To view some more statements like the two above, click here.

Apart from wondering what and who exactly these beings are, people are also asking how they got here. Below are some possible explanations, but a civilization so advanced as to visit us probably has methods that we cannot yet comprehend.

THE ALCUBIERRE DRIVE

The idea behind the Alcubierre Drive is to basically place a craft within a space that is moving faster than the speed of light. Therefore the craft itself does not have to travel at the speed of light from its own type of propulsion system. It’s easier to understand if you think in terms of a flat escalator in an airport. The escalator moves faster than you are walking! In this case, the space encompassing the ship would be moving faster than the ship could fly, keeping all the matter of the ship intact. Therefore, we can move faster than light in a massless cloud of space-time.

The Alcubierre Drive is based on Einstein’s field equations, and it  suggests that a spacecraft could achieve faster-than-light travel. Rather than exceed the speed of light alone in a craft, a spacecraft would leap long distances by contracting space in front of it and expanding space behind it. This would result in faster than light travel(source). Physicist Miguel Alcubierre was the first (that we know of) to identify this possibility. He described it as remaining still on a flat piece of space-time inside a warp bubble that was made to move at “superluminal” (faster than light) velocity. We must not forget that space-time can be warped and distorted, it can be moved. But what about moving sections of space-time which are created by expanding space-time behind the ship, and by contracting space-time in front of the ship?

A similar concept was also recently illustrated by Mathematician James Hill and Barry Cox at the University of Adelaide. They published a paper in the journal proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences (source).

“By creating a ‘warp bubble’ that expands space on one side of a spaceship and contracts it on the other, the spaceship will be pushed away from the Earth and pulled towards a distant star by space-time itself.” – Dr. Alcubierre (source)

Quantum Entanglement: All Points In Space Are Connected

You can view a visual demonstration/basic explanation of quantum entanglementhere. Einstein himself could not wrap his head around it and referred to it as “spooky action at a distance.” The phenomenon was recently confirmed by the Griffith University’s Centre for Quantum Dynamics, you can read more about that story here.

Quantum entanglement suggests that space is just the construct that gives the illusion of seperation. As demonstrated in the vido linked above, if you take two particles and put one of them on the opposite side of the universe, the moment you do something to one of them the same reaction occurs instantaneously in the other one. This suggests that either the pieces of matter are “entangled” or connected, or that information is travelling much faster than the speed of light.

So, if all points in space are connected, perhaps this could provide some insight into travelling to what we perceive to be the far reaches of the universe.

Ben Rich, the second director of Lockheed Skunkwork’s from 1975-1991, also known as  the Father of Stealth, made several shocking open statements about the reality of UFOs and extraterrestrials and how they are getting here.

“We already have the means to travel among the stars, but these technologies are locked up in black projects, and it would take an act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity. Anything you can imagine, we already know how to do it. There are two types of UFOs, ones that we build and ones that ‘they’ build.”

When Rich was asked how UFO propulsion worked, he said, “Let me ask you. How does ESP work?” The questioner responded with, “All points in time and space are connected?” Rich then said, “That’s how it works!”  

You can find the source for the above quotes in THIS article, and this information deals with what’s known as the “black budget.” You can read more about the black budget here.

Another hard hitting statement related to this topic:

“It is ironic that the U.S. would begin a devastating war, allegedly in search of weapons of mass destruction when the most worrisome developments in this field are occurring in your own backyard.  It is ironic that the U.S. should be fighting monstrously expensive wars  allegedly to bring democracy to those countries, when it itself can no longer claim to be called a democracy when trillions, and I mean thousands of billions of dollars have been spent on projects which both congress and the commander in chief know nothing about.”  (source) – Former Canadian Defense Minister Paul Hellyer

Wormholes

wormWormholes are passages through space-time that would allow one to create ‘shortcuts’ through space in order to travel long distances. They are predicted by the general Theory of Relativity, and as of now still lie within the realm of theoretical physics. In 1935, Einstein referred to these as “bridges” through space-time, again, connecting two different points in space-time to create a shortcut. It’s also important to mention that the existence of these wormholes has been mathematically predicted, but are still considered theoretical.

A paper that was recently published in the Annals of physics offers mathematical evidence that a massive black hole in our galaxy is actually a wormhole. If this is true, it should be possible for humans to navigate it.

“Our result is very important because it confirms the possible existence of wormholes in most of the spiral galaxies.” (source)

If we are being visited, perhaps wormholes are one of many possible means by which it’s happening.

It’s important to note that the human race is still in its adolescence, perhaps there are new discoveries to be made for “those who can remove some of truth’s protective layers.” – Niel Armstrong (source)

Just for Today

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Take a moment to re-examine your perspective of an everyday occurrence: try slowing down a bite during a meal, or walking more deliberately down the hall. What do you notice that’s always there, but easily missed?

Our senses provide us with our etchings of reality, various fabrics we draw together to create a semblance of what is real.  And yet, how different is the world to a bird, or to a bee, who perceives the world in ultraviolet?  Thus, is the secret life of our senses who together weave what is from what could be.

 

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.

— Oscar Wilde

The Venus Figurines of the European Paleolithic Era

Read the article by April Holloway here.
Read the article by April Holloway here.

The Venus figurines is a term given to a collection of prehistoric statuettes of women made during the Paleolithic Period, mostly found in Europe, but with finds as far as Siberia. To date, more than 200 of the figurines have been found, all of whom are portrayed with similar physical attributes, including curvaceous bodies with large breasts, bottoms, abdomen, hips, and thighs, and usually tapered at the top and bottom.  The heads are often of relatively small size and devoid of detail, and most are missing hands and feet. Some appear to represent pregnant women, while others show no such signs. There have been many different interpretations of the figurines, but none based on any kind of solid evidence. Like many prehistoric artifacts, the cultural meaning may never be known.

The Paleolithic period lasted from around 30,000 BC to 10,000 BC and is characterised by the emergence of human creativity. Man-made artifacts from this period show the very earliest signs of workmanship, from small personal adornments and cave paintings to the prevalent Venus figurines, which represent the earliest known works of figurative art.

The figurines were carved from all manner of different materials, ranging from soft stone (such as steatite, calcite, or limestone) to bone, ivory, or clay. The latter type are among the earliest ceramic works yet discovered.  The oldest statuette was uncovered in 2008 in Germany. The “Venus of Hohle Fels”, as the figure has since been called, was carved from a mammoth’s tusk and dates to at least 35,000 years old.

The size of the figurines ranges from 1.5 inches to 9.8 inches in height. They have mostly been discovered in settlement contexts, both in open-air sites and caves, and on rare occasions, they have been found in burials. Considering they were found all throughout Europe, and were sometimes separated by thousands of years, the general similarity of these sculptures is extraordinary.

A selection of some of the Venus figurines found throughout Europe

A selection of some of the Venus figurines found throughout Europe. Image source.

The term ‘Venus figurines’ is controversial in itself.  Inspired by Venus, the ancient Greek goddess of love, it assumes that the figures represent a goddess. Of course, this is one possible explanation, but it is just one of many interpretations that have been proposed.  A considerable diversity of opinion exists in the archeological and paleoanthropological literature regarding the possible functions and significance of these objects. Some of the different theories put forward include: fertility symbols, self-portraits, Stone Age dolls, realistic depictions of actual women, ideal representations of female beauty, religious icons, representations of a mother goddess, or even the equivalent of pornographic imagery.

According to Soffer, Adovasio, and Hyland (2000), the garments that many of the Venus figures have been found wearing, including basket hats, netted snoods, bandeaux, string skirts, and belts, were not typical Paleolithic day wear. The authors suggest that the garments are more likely ritual wear, real or imagined, which served as a signifier of distinct social categories.

Dixson and Dixson (2011) argue that it is unlikely that the figures were realistic representations of women.  At the time the statuettes were made, Europe was in the grip of a severe ice age and it is unlikely that obesity was a common feature. Instead, the authors proposed that the figures may have symbolized abundance and hope for survival and longevity, and for well-nourished and reproductively successful communities, during the harshest period of the major glaciation in Europe.

Unfortunately, the true meaning and purpose of these statuettes may never be known, leaving us to wonder why prehistoric people separated by significant time and distance created such similar figures, and what they really meant.

“Skeleton of a High Status Spiritual Woman Unearthed Near Rollright Stones in England,” by Mark Miller

Read the entire article here
Read the entire article here

Legend has it that centuries ago a witch turned a would-be king of England and his men and knights to stone, which still stand and are among the Rollright Stones circle at Warwickshire. Now a new legend has cropped up: A 7th century AD skeleton recently unearthed at the site is being called the witch who turned the ambitious men to stone.

The woman stood between 4 feet 11 inches and 5 feet tall (about 152 cm) and was buried with a Roman patera or bronze vessel possibly used to cook offerings to the gods, a large amber bead and an amethyst set in silver. The patera is only the fifth found in England. She also had with her a large spindle whorl, which, with the patera, ITV.com says, indicates that “Rita,” the Saxon pagan Rollright Witch, as she is being called, was a spiritual woman of high status.

The person who found the grave is Charles Wood. He was using a metal detector at the Rollright Stones with friends. He explains to ITV:

‘This was more of a social event as we weren’t expecting to find much. The ground is difficult to dig and you normally just find bottle caps from the Rollright Fayre they hold here. When my metal detector made a faint murmur I knew I’d have to dig down deep, but thought it would only be a plough tooth that had been pressed into the ground. I got 14 inches down and a small bronze rim appeared, but it seemed in too good condition to be anything significant. As I dug further though I saw it had a handle and it soon became obvious it was a patera, which is a very significant find. There’s a myth around here of the Rollright Witch, and this find is certainly very interesting because of the spiritual element. I’m not saying anything for sure, but there’s no smoke without fire. It was a once in a lifetime find. I could detect for the next 14 years and not find anything like it.’

Anni Byard, a British antiquities official, said in a report:

“The location of the grave is of significance, and the items found with her were possibly religious in nature. She was definitely somebody of importance at that time, but this will take further investigation. We are currently trying to raise grants to examine the soil of the grave, this might be able to tell us something more.”

The Bronze Age Rollright Stones have much lore and myth surrounding them to this day. RollrightStones.co.uk is a website devoted just to the stone circle that gives the legend of the king and his entourage. The site says many stone circles in the British Isles were supposedly revelers petrified by God or the devil for dancing and fiddling or picking turnips on the Sabbath. The Rollright Stones legend is different.

There lived a king who aspired to rule England. He got as far as the Rollright Stones when he encountered a witch, possibly Mother Shipton of Shipton-under-Wychwood, who lived from 1488 to 1551 AD. (Mother Shipton is another story, but suffice to say she is England’s most famous prophetess who in childhood was a strange girl raised in a cave and who went on to become an accomplished herbalist and seeress who foretold many calamities of English history.)

 

The King's Men stone circle at Rollright Stones (Photo by Midnightblueowl/Wikimedia Commons)

The King’s Men stone circle at Rollright Stones (Photo by Midnightblueowl/Wikimedia Commons)

According to the legend reported by Rollrightstones.co.uk, the witch challenged the king:

“Seven long strides shalt thou take And if Long Compton thou canst see, King of England thou shalt be.”

The king continued on toward Long Compton, which is not far from the Rollright Stones, and as he strode along he shouted:

“Stick, stock, stone as King of England I shall be known.”

The King Stone at Rollright Stones in Warwickshire, England (Poliphilo/Wikimedia Commons

The King Stone at Rollright Stones in Warwickshire, England (Poliphilo/Wikimedia Commons)

When he hit his seventh stride, the ground rose up before him in the form of what is now sometimes called the Arch-Druid’s barrow. The witch said:

“As Long Compton thou canst not see King of England thou shalt not be. Rise up stick and stand still stone for King of England thou shalt be none; Thou and thy men hoar stones shall be And I myself an eldern tree.”

Then legend says she turned him into the King Stone, his men into the King’s Men Stone Circle and his knights into the Whispering Knights.

The Whispering Knights, a Neolithic dolmen at the Rollright Stones in the Cotswolds, England (Midnightblueowl/Wikimedia Commons)

The Whispering Knights, a Neolithic dolmen at the Rollright Stones in the Cotswolds, England (Midnightblueowl/Wikimedia Commons)

Rollrightstones.co.uk says it is unknown what the king did to incur the witch’s wrath or why she turned herself into a witch-elder tree, which is said to still grow in a nearby hedge.

The site says folk tales tell of caves under the King Stone and King’s Men that are the haunt of fairies or the little folk who dance around the stones at midnight. When people go into the caves, tales say, they report being in the fairy realm for years but only a few hours have passed outside. Similar tales are told of other stone circles and megalithic monuments in the British Isles.

Rita’s remains and her grave goods were shipped to the British Museum in London for further study.

Featured Image: The skeleton of the Rollright Stone “witch” (News Team International photo).

The Sumerians and the Supernova

Some 6,000 years ago, not far from Earth, a dim and unremarkable star suddenly exploded in the violent fireball that modern astronomers call a supernova.

On Earth it would have looked like a new star, brighter than the moon and visible even in the daytime for months.

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Among the early peoples who saw it were the Sumerians – Persian Gulf farmers and fisherman poised at the brink of civilization. They recorded the event in their myths and gods.

Now the scholar who first identified their record says the legend linking the star to the origins of civilization has turned up in Egyptian hieroglyphs, written thousands of years later.

George Michanowsky, a New York linguist, author and historian, believes the legend was passed along in Sumerian symbols borrowed by the Egyptians.

If so, it would force a reinterpretation of such familiar hieroglyphs as the “ankh” – or symbol of life – and King Tut’s royal emblem.

Some other scholars of the ancient near East disagree with the theory. But Michanowsky, a self-described “lone wolf” who works without support form institutions or foundations, counters that his critics do not understand astronomy. Astronomers believe the supernova may have been the most cataclysmic sky event ever witnessed by men.

The Vela supernova remnant is a supernova remnant in the southern constellation Vela. Its source type II supernova exploded approximately 11,000-12,300 years ago (and was about 800 light years away).

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A radio telescope has detected remnants of the explosion. It is a fast spinning dense star called a “pulsar” in the constellation Vela of the southern hemisphere. By timing radio pulses coming from the object, astronomers estimate that it erupted between 8,000 and 4,000 BC. It was toward the end of that period that the Sumerians living on the northern shore of the Persian Gulf developed the world’s first astronomy, mathematics and writing.

The Sumerians had a legend which held that they were taught these arts by a god called Ea, linked to a special star in the constellation Vela.

Copia_de_Enki

The reference has puzzled scholars because there are no bright stars today in that part of the sky.

But Michanowsky believes the reference was to the Vela supernova, a theory he propounds in a 1978 book, “the Once and Future Star”. The Vela star was two or three times closer to the earth than the famous supernova seen by Chinese astronomers in 1054.

Chinese_report_of_guest_star_identified_as_the_supernova_of_1054_(SN_1054)_in_the_Lidai_mingchen_zouyi_(历代名臣奏议)

The Sumerians would have seen it rise and set each day low over the watery southern horizon, and Michanowsky believes the sight so impressed them that it was anthropomorphisized into Ea and supporting legends and deities.

The symbolic record of the Vela star, he says, can be traced from its Sumerian origin to Egyptian hieroglyphs by “one unified train of imagery.”

For example, the Egyptian ankh, or looped cross, is usually thought to represent a sandle thong. But Michanowsky suggests its loop could represent the star, its cross bar the horizon of the Persian Gulf, and its descending bar the reflection of the star on the water.

And he says, the Egyptian goddess Seshat patronness of scribes, may derive from a Sumerian goddess called Nidaba who was patroness of mathematics, writing and astronomy.

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Seshat is pictured with a seven pointed headdress often interpreted as a flower. But Michanowsky thinks the headdress comes from a sevenfold Sumerian palm-tree symbol linked both to Ea and to the Vela star, and may represent the star itself rather than the flower.

He also believes the Vela star figures in one hieroglyphic symbol from Tut’s cartouche or royal emblem.

The symbol, a pillar, is among the last three in the cartouche. It usually is taken to refer a southern Egyptian city, and the three symbols together are translated “Ruler of Southern Egypt.” But the translation has troubled Egyptologists since it seems to slight the northern part of Tut’s kingdom.

The supernova explosion that formed the Vela Supernova Remnant most likely occurred 10,000–20,000 years ago. In 1976, NASA astronomers suggested that inhabitants of the southern hemisphere may have witnessed this explosion and recorded it symbolically. A year later, Michanowsky recalled some incomprehensible ancient markings in Bolivia that were left by Native Americans. The carvings showed four small circles flanked by two larger circles. The smaller circles resemble stellar groupings in the constellations Vela and Carina. One of the larger circles may represent the star Capella. Another circle is located near the position of the supernova remnant, George Michanowsky suggested this may represent the supernova explosion as witnessed by the indigenous residents.

Health ~ Exploring the Relationship Between Autism and Creativity

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The finding could help researchers understand more about the relationship between autistic traits and how the brain adapts to problem solving in the general population. This image is for illustrative purposes only.

Neuroscience News |

New research has found that people with high levels of autistic traits are more likely to produce unusually creative ideas.

Psychologists from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and University of Stirling examined the relationship between autistic-like traits and creativity. While they found that people with high autistic traits produced fewer responses when generating alternative solutions to a problem – known as ‘divergent thinking’ – the responses they did produce were more original and creative. It is the first study to find a link between autistic traits and the creative thinking processes.

The research, published today in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, looked at people who may not have a diagnosis of autism but who have high levels of behaviours and thought processes typically associated with the condition. This builds on previous research suggesting there may be advantages to having some traits associated with autism without necessarily meeting criteria for diagnosis.

Co-author of the study Dr Martin Doherty, from UEA’s School of Psychology, said: “People with high autistic traits could be said to have less quantity but greater quality of creative ideas. They are typically considered to be more rigid in their thinking, so the fact that the ideas they have are more unusual or rare is surprising. This difference may have positive implications for creative problem solving.”

Previous studies using the same tasks have found most people use simple undemanding strategies, for example word association, to produce the obvious answers first. Then, they move on to more cognitively demanding strategies and their answers become more creative. The new research suggests that people with high autistic traits go straight to these more difficult strategies.

“People with autistic traits may approach creativity problems in a different way,” said Dr Doherty. “They might not run through things in the same way as someone without these traits would to get the typical ideas, but go directly to less common ones. In other words, the associative or memory-based route to being able to think of different ideas is impaired, whereas the specific ability to produce unusual responses is relatively unimpaired or superior.”

Dr Doherty said the finding addressed an apparent paradox – that in a condition characterised by restricted behaviour and interests, some of the best known people with autism, such as British architectural artist Stephen Wiltshire and American author and activist Temple Grandin, seem to be unusually creative. The British Channel 4 television series the Autistic Gardener also illustrates the unique contribution someone with autism can make to a creative activity such as garden design.

The finding could help researchers understand more about the relationship between autistic traits and how the brain adapts to problem solving in the general population.

Dr Catherine Best, Health Researcher at the University of Stirling, said: “This is the first study to find a link between autistic traits and the creative thinking processes. It goes a little way towards explaining how it is that some people with what is often characterised as a ‘disability’ exhibit superior creative talents in some domains.

“It should be noted that there is a lot of variation among people with autism. There can be people whose ability to function independently is greatly impaired and other people who are much less affected. Similarly not all individuals with the disorder, or the traits associated with it, will exhibit strengths in creative problem solving. Trying to understand this variation will be a key part of understanding autism and the impact it has on people’s lives.”

The researchers analysed data from 312 people who completed an anonymous online questionnaire to measure their autistic traits and took part in a series of creativity tests. Participants were recruited through social media and websites aimed at people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and their relatives. Seventy-five of the participants said they had received a diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

To test their divergent thinking participants were asked to provide as many alternative uses as they could for a brick or a paper clip. Their responses were then rated for quantity, elaborateness and unusualness. People who generated four or more unusual responses in the task were found to have higher levels of autistic traits.

Some of the more creative uses given for a paper clip were: as a weight on a paper airplane; as wire to support cut flowers; counter/token for game/gambling; as a light duty spring. Common ones included: hook; pin; to clean small grooves; make jewellery.

Participants were also shown four abstract drawings and asked to provide as many interpretations as they could for each figure in one minute. The higher the number of ideas produced, the lower the participant’s level of autistic traits tended to be.

About this autism research

Source: Cat Bartman – University of East Anglia
Image Source: The image is in the public domain
Original Research: Abstract for “The relationship between subthreshold autistic traits, ambiguous figure perception and divergent thinking” by Catherine Best, Shruti Arora, Fiona Porter, and Martin Doherty in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Published online August 13 2015doi:10.1007/s10803-015-2518-2


Abstract

The relationship between subthreshold autistic traits, ambiguous figure perception and divergent thinking

This research investigates the paradox of creativity in autism. That is, whether people with subclinical autistic traits have cognitive styles conducive to creativity or whether they are disadvantaged by the implied cognitive and behavioural rigidity of the autism phenotype. The relationship between divergent thinking (a cognitive component of creativity), perception of ambiguous figures, and self-reported autistic traits was evaluated in 312 individuals in a non-clinical sample. High levels of autistic traits were significantly associated with lower fluency scores on the divergent thinking tasks. However autistic traits were associated with high numbers of unusual responses on the divergent thinking tasks. Generation of novel ideas is a prerequisite for creative problem solving and may be an adaptive advantage associated with autistic traits.

“The relationship between subthreshold autistic traits, ambiguous figure perception and divergent thinking” by Catherine Best, Shruti Arora, Fiona Porter, and Martin Doherty in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Published online August 13 2015 doi:10.1007/s10803-015-2518-2

Random Thoughts: Unparalleled Elegance …

Art by William Blake for John Milton's Paradise Lost
Art by William Blake for John Milton’s Paradise Lost

The biological machinery behind each of our senses can be regarded as a function of consciousness, folding the physical into the poetic in order to transcend it and enter the realm of the spiritual.  It is therefor befitting to call to mind Thoreau’s defiant defense of “useful ignorance”:

 

Deep down, we know our devotion to reality is just a marriage of convenience, and we leave it to the seers, the shamans, the ascetics, the religious teachers, the artists among us to reach a higher state of awareness, from which they transcend our rigorous but routinely analyzing senses and become closer to the raw experience of nature that pours into the unconscious, the world of dreams, the source of myth.

[…]

Our several senses, which feel so personal and impromptu, and seem at times to divorce us from other people, reach far beyond us. They’re an extension of the genetic chain that connects us to everyone who has ever lived; they bind us to other people and to animals, across time and country and happenstance. They bridge the personal and the impersonal, the one private soul with its many relatives, the individual with the universe, all of life on Earth. In REM sleep, our brain waves range between eight and thirteen hertz, a frequency at which flickering light can trigger epileptic seizures. The tremulous earth quivers gently at around ten hertz. So, in our deepest sleep, we enter synchrony with the trembling of the earth. Dreaming, we become the Earth’s dream.

[…]

It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery. However many of life’s large, captivating principles and small, captivating details we may explore, unpuzzle, and learn by heart, there will still be vast unknown realms to lure us. If uncertainty is the essence of romance, there will always be enough uncertainty to make life sizzle and renew our sense of wonder. It bothers some people that no matter how passionately they may delve, the universe remains inscrutable. “For my part,” Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote, “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” The great affair, the love affair with life, is to live as variously as possible, to groom one’s curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred, climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day. Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding, and, despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours, life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length. It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.

— Dianne Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses (1990)

Forecast for the 2015 Leo New Moon

Astro-Insight

August 14, 2015
7:53 AM PDT / 10:53 AM EDT / 2:53 PM GMT
21 Leo 30

Impulses that have been smoldering all summer catch fire with August’s Leo New Moon. The event takes influences from two overlapping cycles, rolls them into a fireball and hurtles them — and us — forward.

Under normal circumstances, the Leo Moon gives a boost to our egos, playfulness and need for recognition and attention. This time around, the Moon is not merely priming our inner spark. It is     pouring desire and willpower into that spark and catalyzing dramatic developments.

sparkler-677774_1280

The catalyst angle comes from the New Moon’s tight, easy flow to Uranus, cosmic agent provocateur. Pressures and impulses from the last three years, and from the end of June in particular, are catching fire. (Again.) This link imbues the New Moon with the radically liberating, individuating end of the change imperative that has…

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JUPITER IN VIRGO – August 11, 2015 till September 10, 2016

Cristina Laird's Astrology

Júpiter-en-Virgo
For the first time since August 2003, exactly 12 years ago, Jupiter returns to the sign of Virgo from today, 11th of August until the 10th of September 2016. It leaves behind, 12-month journey through the sign of Leo with a lot of benefits and excesses that the Leos, will surely not forget that easily.

Virgo is an Earth sign, so this period of Jupiter transiting this sign for a year, will be rather less idealistic than the previous one. In traditional astrology Jupiter in Virgo is considered in its detriment by being in the sign opposite to the one (PISCES) which rules. Jupiter in Virgo believes that is work and dedication that creates opportunities, rather than luck. Given this and the fact that for modern astrologers, with whom I identify myself more, Jupiter ruled Sagittarius, sign that also challenges to Virgo, due to its extraordinary optimism, I tend to…

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The History of Reiki ~ Newly Researched by William Rand, RMT

What is the History of Reiki?
by William Lee Rand

The International Center for Reiki Training

Takata photo taken June 11, 1979, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada.
Used with permission from the estate of Gunter and Ursula Baylow

The following referenced history of Reiki is taken from Reiki, The Healing Touch and has been carefully researched to contain verified information from dependable sources. You have permission to copy and paste this history including the photos on to your own web site as long as you use the entire text and do not make changes to it.

Mrs. Hawayo Takata (Takata Sensei) brought Reiki from Japan to the West in 1937 and continued to practice and teach until her passing in 1980. Because of her devotion, Reiki has been passed on to millions of people all over the world, and the numbers continue to grow! And as you will see, if it wasn’t for her, Reiki most likely would never have been discovered by the West and even in Japan would have been practiced secretly by only a small number of people.

Until the 1990s, the only information we had about Reiki came from Takata Sensei. Her story of Reiki was recorded on tape, and this recording is still available along with a transcript of the contents.(1) In the past most people including many authors simply accepted Takata Sensei’s interpretation of the history of Reiki as accurate without attempting to do any additional research. Because of this, her version of the story was repeated in all the earlier books written on Reiki. (Fortunately many current authors are using more recent historical information.)

In the course of researching the origins of Reiki, I learned that Takata Sensei took liberties with the history of its development. In 1990, for example, I wrote to Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan where Takata Sensei reported that the founder of Reiki, Usui Sensei, had held the office of president. I had hoped to gain additional information that would help us understand who Usui Sensei really was. I also contacted the University of Chicago, from which Usui Sensei had obtained a degree according to Takata Sensei. Neither university had ever heard of him.(2) This disappointing discovery led me to wonder if other parts of the Takata Sensei version of Reiki were also inaccurate. In talking with several early Reiki Masters about this discovery, I was told that Takata Sensei had westernized the story of Reiki by changing certain details and adding others to make it more appealing to Americans.

I continued to seek additional information about the history of Reiki, but attempts to secure it went slowly at first. The main reason for this is that after World War II, the U.S. government had complete control over Japan for a time and banned all Eastern healing methods in Japan and required that only Western medicine be practiced there. The members of the organization Usui Sensei started, the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, decided they wanted to find a way to continue to practice Reiki. Some of the other healing groups such as the Acupuncturists were able to get a license to practice, but the Gakkai chose not to go through this process. In order to continue to practice Reiki, they decided to become a secret society and practice only among themselves and not talk about Reiki to anyone outside their organization.(3) This made it difficult for anyone to learn about Reiki including the Japanese. In fact, if someone in Japan wanted to learn Reiki after the war, he or she had to travel to the U.S. to learn or had to learn from a Western trained Reiki teacher who traveled to Japan. Because of this, even now most Reiki practiced in Japan is a combination of Western and Japanese Reiki.

This is why an accurate history of Reiki took so long to unfold up to that point in time. Then in 1996, I received from Japan a copy of the Original Reiki Ideals, which were different and more expansive than what had been presented by Mrs. Takata. They included the idea that chanting and offering prayers are important to Reiki practice.(4) In 1997, Arjava Petter’s book, Reiki Fire was published, which was the first of a series of books on Japanese Reiki. He along with his wife, Chetna Kobayashi, had made contact with the Gakkai. They had discovered the location of Usui Sensei’s grave and many other facts including information on the Japanese Reiki Techniques, all of which were revealed in his books and subsequent workshops.

Invited by Arjava Petter, Laura Gifford (now Laurelle Gaia) and I went to Japan in 1997, and with Arjava as our guide, we were taken to Usui Sensei’s grave and Mt. Kurama and much of the new information was explained to us.(5)

In 1999 and 2000 I invited Arjava and Chetna to come to teach workshops on the Japanese Reiki Techniques across the United States. In addition, in November, 2001, I took Reiki I&II from Chiyoko Yamaguchi in Japan, a Shihan (Reiki Master) who received her training from Hayashi Sensei. (She passed on in 2003). In October 2002 I took Gendai Reiki training from Hiroshi Doi—who is a member of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai—and also had two detailed interviews with him.(6) It is from these sources and my continued contact with these and other Reiki researchers that my understanding of the history of Reiki along with how Usui Sensei and Hayashi Sensei taught and practiced Reiki has developed.

A More Accurate History of Reiki

The following is an updated history of Reiki based on accurate, verifiable information. Where possible, sources have been referenced so others can follow up on this research if desired. The history begins with a look at the inscription on the memorial stone that was erected in 1927 in memory of Mikao Usui Sensei, founder of the Reiki healing system.

The Inscription on the Usui Memorial

The Usui Memorial

The inscription on the Usui Memorial, dating from 1927, was written by Juzaburo Ushida, a Shihan who was trained by Usui Sensei and able to teach and practice Reiki the same way he did.(7) He also succeeded Usui Sensei as president of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. Masayuki Okata, also a member of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, was the editor. The English translation was done by Tetsuyuki Ono and is reprinted here from the book, lyashino Gendai Reiki- ho, with permission from the author, Hiroshi Doi.

The large kanji at the top of the memorial stone reads: “Memorial of Usui Sensei’s Virtue.” The remainder of the inscription reads as follows:

What you can naturally realize through cultivation and training is called “VIRTUE” and it is called “MERIT” to spread a method of leadership and relief and practice it. It is people of many merits and a good deal of virtue that can be eventually called a great founder. People who started a new learning and founded a fresh sect among sages, philosophers, geniuses etc., named from the ancient times, were all those as mentioned above. We can say that Usui-Sensei is also one of those people.

He started newly a method to improve body and spirit based on REIKI in the universe. Hearing of the rumor, people who would like to learn the treatment and undergo the cure gathered from all quarters all at once. Really, it was very busy indeed.

Mikao Usui
(Usui Sensei), founder of
the Reiki System of Healing

Usui-Sensei, whose popular name is Mikao and whose pen name is Gyohan, came from Taniai-village, Yamagata- district, Cifu Prefecture, and had forefathers named Tsunetane Chiba who had played an active part as a military commander between the end of Heian Period and the beginning of Kamakura Period (1180-1230). His father’s real name is Taneuji and his popular name is Uzaemon. His mother came and got married from the family named Kawai.

Usui-Sensei was born on 15th August, 1865. Having learned under difficulties in his childhood, he studied hard with efforts and he was by far superior in ability to his friends.

After growing up, he went over to Europe and America, and also studied in China. In spite of his real ability, however, he was not always successful in life. Although he was compelled to lead an unfortunate and poor life so often, he strove much more than before to harden his body and mind without flinching from the difficulties.

One day, Usui-Sensei climbed Mt. Kurama, where he began to do penance while fasting. Suddenly on the twenty first day from the start, he felt a great REIKI over his head, and at the same time as he was spiritually awakened he acquired the REIKI cure. When he tried it on his own body and members’ of his family also, it brought an immediate result on them.

Having said “It is much better to give this power widely to a lot of people in the world and enjoy it among them than to keep it exclusively by his family members,” Usui-Sensei moved his dwelling to Aoyama Harajuku, Tokyo in April, 1922 and established an institute, where the REIKI cure was instructed openly to the public and the treatment was given, too. People came there from far and near to ask for his guidance and cure, and they over-flowed outside, making a long line.

Tokyo had a very big fire caused by a great earthquake in Kanto district in September, 1923, when the injured and sick persons suffered from pains everywhere. Usui-Sensei felt a deep anxiety about that, and he was engaged in a cure, going around inside the city every day. We can hardly calculate how many persons were saved from death with his devotion. His activities of relief, in which he extended his hands of love over to those suffering people against this emergent situation, can be outlined as noted above.

Thereafter, his training center became too small to receive the visitors, so he built a new house in Nakano outside the city in February 1925 and transferred there. As his reputation got higher and higher, it was so often when he received an offer of engagement from everywhere throughout the nation. In accordance with these requests he traveled to Kure and Hiroshima, then entered Saga and reached Fukuyama. It was at the inn at which he stayed on his way that he caught a disease abruptly, and he passed away at the age of sixty-two.

His wife got married, coming from the Suzuki family, and she is named Sadako and has a son and a daughter. The son’s name is Fuji, and he succeeds to the Usui family.

Usui-Sensei’s natural character was gentle and prudent, and he did not keep up appearances. His body was big and sturdy, and his face was always beaming with a smile. But when he faced the difficulties he went ahead with a definite will and yet persevered well, keeping extremely careful. He was a man of versatile talents and also a book lover, knowing well in the wide range from history, biography, medical science, canons of Christianity and Buddhism and psychology up to magic of fairyland, art of curse, science of divination and physiognomy.

In my opinion, it is evident to everybody that Usui-Sensei’s cultivation & training were based on his career of art and science, and the cultivation & training became a clue to create the REIKI cure.

Reviewing the fact, I understand what the REIKI cure is aiming at is not only to heal the diseases but also to correct the mind by virtue of a God-sent spiritual ability, keep the body healthy and enjoy a welfare of life. In teaching the persons, therefore, we are supposed to first let them realize the last instructions of the Emperor Meiji, and chant the 5 admonitions morning and evening to keep them in mind.

The 5 admonitions in question are:

1. Don’t get angry today.

2. Don’t be grievous.

3. Express your thanks.

4. Be diligent in your business.

5. Be kind to others.

These are really the important precepts for a cultivation, just the same as those by which the ancient sages admonished themselves. Usui-Sensei emphasized that ‘This is surely a secret process to bring a good fortune and also a miraculous medicine to remedy all kinds of diseases,’ by which he made his purpose of teaching clear and accurate. Furthermore, he tried to aim at making his way of guidance as easy and simple as possible, so nothing is difficult to understand therein. Every time when you sit quietly and join your hands to pray and chant morning and evening, you can develop a pure and sound mind, and there is just an essence in making the most of that for your daily life. This is the reason why the REIKI cure can very easily spread over anybody.

The phase of life is very changeable in these days, and people’s thoughts are apt to change, too. Could we fortunately succeed in spreading the REIKI cure everywhere, we feel sure that it would have to be very helpful in order to prevent people from disordering their moral sense. It never extends people anything but the benefits of healing long term illness, chronic disease and bad habit.

The number of pupils who learned from Usui-Sensei amounts to more than 2000 persons. Some leading pupils living in Tokyo among them gather at the training center and take over his work, while other pupils in the country also do everything to popularize the REIKI cure. Although our teacher already passed away, we have to do the very best to hand the REIKI cure down to the public forever and spread it much more. Ah! What a great thing he did; to have unsparingly given people what he had felt and realized by himself!

As a result of our pupils’ recent meeting and discussion, we decided to erect a stone monument at the graveyard in his family temple so that we may bring his virtuous deed to light and transmit it to posterity; so, I was requested to arrange an epitaph for the monument. As I was much impressed by his great meritorious deed and also struck by our pupils’ warm hearts of making much of the bond between master and pupil, I dared not refuse the request, but described the outline.

Therefore, I do expect heartily that people in the future generations would not forget to look up at the monument in open-eyed wonder.

Usuida, in February, 1927. Edited by Masayuki Okada, The Junior 3rd Rank, the 3rd Order of Merit, Doctor of Literature. Written by Juzaburo Usuhida, The Junior 4th Class of Services, Rear Admiral.

Mikao Usui

Mikao Usui, or Usui Sensei as he is called by Reiki students in Japan, was born August 15, 1865 in the village of Taniai in the Yamagata district of Gifu prefecture, which is located near present-day Nagoya, Japan.(8)

He had an avid interest in learning and worked hard at his studies. As he grew older, he traveled to Europe and China to further his education. His curriculum included medicine, psychology and religion as well as the art of divination, which Asians have long considered to be a worthy skill.(9) Usui Sensei also became a member of the Rei Jyutu Ka, a metaphysical group dedicated to developing psychic abilities.(10) He had many jobs including civil servant, company employee and journalist, and he helped rehabilitate prisoners.(11) Eventually he became the secretary to Shinpei Goto, head of the department of health and welfare who later became the mayor of Tokyo. The connections Usui Sensei made at this job helped him to also become a successful businessman.(12)

The depth and breadth of his experiences inspired him to direct his attention toward discovering the purpose of life. In his search he came across the description of a special state of consciousness that once achieved would not only provide an understanding of one’s life purpose, but would also guide one to achieve it. This special state is called An-shin Ritus-mei (pronounced on sheen dit sue may). In this special state, one is always at peace regardless of what is taking place in the outer world. And it is from this place of peace that one completes one’s life purpose. One of the special features of this state is that it maintains itself without any effort on the part of the individual; the experience of peace simply wells up spontaneously from within and is a type of enlightenment.

Usui Sensei understood this concept on an intellectual level and dedicated his life to achieving it; this is considered to be an important step on Usui Sensei’s spiritual path. He discovered that one path to An-shin Ritsu-mei is through the practice of Zazen meditation. So he found a Zen teacher who accepted him as a student and began to practice Zazen. After three years practice, he had not been successful and sought further guidance. His teacher suggested a more severe practice in which the student must be willing to die in order to achieve An-shin Ritsu-meiwhich.(13)(14)

So with this in mind he prepared for death and in February, 1922, he went to Mt. Kurama to fast and meditate until he passed to the next world. In addition, we know there is a small waterfall on Mt. Kurama where even today people go to meditate. This meditation involves standing under the waterfall and allowing the water to strike and flow over the top of the head, a practice that is said to activate the crown chakra. Japanese Reiki Masters think that Usui Sensei may have used this meditation as part of his practice. In any case, as time passed he became weaker and weaker. It was now March, 1922 and at midnight of the twenty-first day, a powerful light suddenly entered his mind through the top of his head and he felt as if he had been struck by lightning; this caused him to fall unconscious.

As the sun rose, he awoke and realized that whereas before he had felt very weak and near death, he was now filled with an extremely enjoyable state of vitality that he had never experienced before; a miraculous type of high frequency spiritual energy had displaced his normal consciousness and replaced it with an amazingly new level of awareness. He experienced himself as being the energy and consciousness of the Universe and that the special state of enlightenment he had sought had been given to him as a gift. He was overjoyed by this realization.

When this happened, he was filled with excitement and went running down the mountain. On his way down he stubbed his toe on a rock and fell down. And in the same way anyone would do, he placed his hands over the toe, which was in pain. As he did this, healing energy began flowing from his hands all by itself. The pain in his toe went away and the toe was healed. Usui Sensei was amazed by this. He realized that in addition to the illuminating experience he had received, he had also received the gift of healing.(15)

Usui Sensei practiced this new ability with his family and developed his healing system through experimentation and by using skills and information based on his previous study of religious practices, philosophy and spiritual disciplines. He called his system of healing Shin-Shin Kai-Zen Usui Reiki Ryo-Ho (The Usui Reiki Treatment Method for Improvement of Body and Mind)(16) or in its simplified form Usui Reiki Ryoho (Usui Reiki Healing Method). It is important to know that Usui Sensei didn’t create Reiki as there were other methods of Reiki healing in Japan prior to Usui Sensei creating his method and in fact one was called Reiki Ryoho.(17)

In April 1922, he moved to Tokyo and started a healing society that he named Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai (Usui Reiki Healing Method Society). He also opened a Reiki clinic in Harajuku, Aoyama, Tokyo. There he taught classes and gave treatments.(18)

The first degree of his training was called Shoden (First Degree) and was divided into four levels: Loku-Tou, Go-Tou, Yon-Tou, and San-Tou. (Note that when Takata Sensei taught this level, which in the West we refer to as Reiki Level I, she combined all four levels into one. This is most likely why she did four attunements for Level I.) The next degree was called Okuden (Inner Teaching) and had two levels: Okuden-Zen-ki (first part), and Okuden-Koe-ki (second part). The next degree was called Shinpiden (Mystery Teaching), which is what Western Reiki calls Master level. The Shinpiden level includes, Shihan-Kaku (assistant teacher) and Shihan (venerable teacher).(19)

Contrary to previous understanding, Usui Sensei had only three symbols, the same three we use in the West in Reiki II. He did not use a master symbol. This fact has been verified by Hiroshi Doi and by research done by Hyakuten Inamoto, Arjava Petter and Tadao Yamaguchi.(20)

In 1923, the great Kanto earthquake devastated Tokyo. More than 140,000 people died and over half of the houses and buildings were shaken down or burned. An overwhelming number of people were left homeless, injured, sick and grieving.(21) Usui Sensei felt great compassion for the people and began treating as many as he could with Reiki. This was a tremendous amount of work, and it was at this time that he began training other Shihan (teachers) so that they could help him more quickly train others to be Reiki practitioners and help the sick and injured. It was also at this time that he further developed his system of Reiki, including adding the three symbols and devising a more formal Reiju (attunement) process.(22)

The Reiju process was different than the method used now in that Usui Sensei had just one type of Reiju that was given over and over. He didn’t have a different Reiju for each level and there was no Reiju to activate the symbols. It was taught that it is important for the student to get as many Reiju as possible as this was an important way to increase and refine the quality of one’s Reiki energy.(23)

Demand for Reiki became so great that he outgrew his clinic, so in 1925 he built a bigger one in Nakano, Tokyo. Because of this, Usui Sensei’s reputation as a healer spread all over Japan. He began to travel so he could teach and treat more people. During his travels across Japan he directly taught more than 2,000 students and initiated twenty Shihan,(24) each being given the same understanding of Reiki and approved to teach and give Reiju in the same way he did.(25)

The Japanese government issued him a Kun San To award for doing honorable work to help others.(26) While traveling to Fukuyama to teach, he suffered a stroke and died March 9, 1926.(27) His grave is at Saihoji Temple, in Suginami, Tokyo, although some claim that his ashes are located elsewhere.

After Usui Sensei died, his students erected a memorial stone next to his gravestone. (See page 14.) Mr. J. Ushida, a Shihan trained by Usui Sensei, took over as president of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, and was responsible for creating and erecting the Usui Memorial stone and ensuring that the gravesite would be maintained. Mr. Ushida was followed by Mr. Ilichi Taketomi, Mr. Yoshiharu Watanabe, Mr. Toyoichi Wanami and Ms. Kimiko Koyama. The current successor to Usui Sensei is Mr. Mahayoshi Kondo, who became president in 1998.

Contrary to what we have been told in the West, there is no “lineage bearer” or “Grand Master” of the organization started by Usui Sensei—only the succession of presidents listed above.(28) Among the twenty teachers initiated by Usui Sensei are Toshihiro Eguchi, Jusaburo Guida, Kan’ichi Taketomi, Toyoichi Wanami, Yoshiharu Watanabe, Keizo Ogawa, J. Ushida, and Chujiro Hayashi.(29) Contrary to one version of the Reiki story, Chujiro Hayashi was not the Gakkai’s successor to Usui Sensei, but rather Mr. J. Ushida as previously mentioned. It is also important to note that the first four presidents of the Gakkai who followed Usui Sensei were Shihan who had been trained directly by Usui Sensei, thus assuring that the Gakkai understanding, practice and teaching methods were the same as that of Usui Sensei.

Chujiro Hayashi

Before his passing, Usui Sensei had asked Hayashi Sensei to open his own Reiki clinic and to expand and develop Reiki Ryoho based on his previous experience as a medical doctor in the Navy. Motivated by this request, Hayashi Sensei started a school and clinic called Hayashi Reiki Kenkyukai (Institute). After Usui Sensei’s passing he left the Gakkai.(30)

At his clinic he kept careful records of all the illnesses and conditions patients who came to see him had. He also kept records of which Reiki hand positions worked best to treat each patient. Based on these records he created the Reiki Ryoho Shinshin(Guidelines for Reiki Healing Method).(31) This healing guide was part of a class manual he gave to his students. Many of his students received their Reiki training in return for working in his clinic.(32)

Hayashi Sensei also changed the way Reiki sessions are given. Rather than have the client seated in a chair and treated by one practitioner as Usui Sensei had done, Hayashi Sensei had the client lie on a treatment table and receive treatment from several practitioners at a time. He also created a new more effective system for giving Reiju (attunements).(33) In addition, he developed a new method of teaching Reiki that he used when he traveled. In this method, he taught both Shoden and Okuden (Reiki I&II) together in one five-day seminar. Each day included two to three hours of instruction and one Reiju.(34)

Because of his trip to Hawaii in 1937–38 prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was asked by the Japanese military to provide information about the location of warehouses and other military targets in Honolulu. He refused to do so and was declared a traitor. This caused him to “lose face,” which meant he and his family would be disgraced and would be ostracized from Japanese society. The only solution was seppuku (ritual suicide), which he carried out. He died honorably on May 11, 1940.(35)

Hawayo Takata

The following is a summary of Mrs. Hawayo Takata’s version of her early years leading up to her contact with Reiki at the Hayashi clinic:

She stated that she was born on December 24th, 1900, on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Her parents were Japanese immigrants and her father worked in the sugar cane fields. She eventually married the bookkeeper of the plantation where she was employed. His name was Saichi Takata and they had two daughters. In October 1930 Saichi died at the age of 34, leaving Mrs. Takata to raise their two children.

In order to provide for her family, she had to work very hard with little rest. After five years she developed severe abdominal pain and a lung condition, and she had a nervous breakdown. Soon after this one of her sisters died and it was Mrs. Takata’s responsibility to travel to Japan, where her parents had resettled to deliver the news. She also felt she could receive help for her health in Japan.

After informing her parents, she entered a hospital and stated that she was diagnosed with a tumor, gallstones, appendicitis and asthma.(36) She was told to prepare for an operation but opted to visit Hayashi Sensei’s clinic instead.

Mrs. Takata was unfamiliar with Reiki but was impressed that the diagnosis of Reiki practitioners at the clinic closely matched the doctor’s at the hospital. She began receiving treatments. Two Reiki practitioners would treat her each day. The heat from their hands was so strong, she said, that she thought they were secretly using some kind of equipment. Seeing the large sleeves of the Japanese kimono worn by one, she thought she had found the secret place of concealment. Grabbing his sleeves one day she startled the practitioner, but, of course, found nothing. When she explained what she was doing, he began to laugh and then told her about Reiki and how it worked.

Mrs. Takata got progressively better and in four months was completely healed. She wanted to learn Reiki for herself. In the spring of 1936 she received First Degree Reiki from Dr. Hayashi. She then worked with him for a year and received Second Degree Reiki. Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii in 1937, followed shortly thereafter by Hayashi Sensei and his daughter who came to help establish Reiki there. In February of 1938 Hayashi Sensei initiated Hawayo Takata as a Reiki Master.

To summarize Takata Sensei’s Reiki background, she traveled from Hawaii to Japan to tell her parents about the death of her sister. Having been diagnosed with several ailments, the main one being asthma, she was guided to Hayashi Sensei’s clinic in Tokyo and after receiving four months of Reiki treatments was completely cured.(37) She wanted to learn Reiki in order to continue treating herself and also to take it back to Hawaii to share with others. Hayashi Sensei allowed her to work at his clinic and also began giving her Reiki training. She worked one year at the clinic and eventually received the Shinpiden level (Reiki Master). Hayashi Sensei officially acknowledged this in Hawaii on February 21, 1938, and also stated that she was one of thirteen Reiki Masters trained by him.(38)

Takata Sensei practiced Reiki in Hawaii, establishing several clinics, one of which was located in Hilo on the Big Island. She gave treatments and initiated students up to Reiki II. She became a well-known healer and traveled to the U.S. mainland and other parts of the world teaching and giving treatments. She was a powerful healer who attributed her success to the fact that she did a lot of Reiki on each client. She would often do multiple treatments, each sometimes lasting hours, and she often initiated members of a client’s family so they could give Reiki to the client as well.

It was not until after 1970 that Takata Sensei began initiating Reiki Masters. She charged a fee of $10,000 for Mastership even though the training took only a weekend.(39) This high fee was not part of the Usui system, and she may have charged this fee as her way of creating a feeling of respect for Reiki. She said that one should never do treatments or provide training for free, but should always charge a fee or get something in return. She also said that one must study with just one Reiki teacher and stay with that teacher the rest of one’s life.(40) In addition, she said that she did not provide written instruction or allow her students to take notes or to tape record the classes and students were not allowed to make any written copies of the Reiki symbols. She said that this was because Reiki is an oral tradition and that everything had to be memorized.(41) While this is generally true, she didn’t always teach the same way and in at least one class she allowed her students to take notes and gave them handouts.(42)

It is not certain why she said Reiki is an oral tradition or why she taught Reiki this way. What we do know from our research in Japan and the research of others is that these rules are not part of the way Usui Sensei or Hayashi Sensei practiced Reiki. In fact, Takata Sensei received a Reiki manual from Hayashi Sensei indicating that the oral tradition was not how Hayashi Sensei taught.(43) In addition, Takata Sensei taught Reiki differently from how she had been taught. She simplified and standardized the hand positions so that every treatment would be the same. She called this the “foundation treatment,” containing just eight hand positions.(44) She also eliminated the Japanese Reiki Techniques.

It is also likely that she is the one who changed the attunement process by creating a different attunement for each level, indicated that the attunement empowered the symbols and added the Master symbol, as these features were not taught by either Usui Sensei or Hayashi Sensei.(45)

Before Mrs. Takata made her transition on December 11, 1980, she had initiated twenty-two Reiki Masters.(46) These twenty-two Masters began teaching others. However, Mrs. Takata had made each one take a sacred oath to teach Reiki exactly as she had taught. This made it difficult for most of them to change, even though some of her rules made it more difficult to learn, which seemed to go against the nature of Reiki.

This version of the history of Reiki from Usui Sensei to Mrs. Takata relies on verifiable information that has taken a long time to reach the West. In addition to the reasons for this mentioned earlier, there are a number of others. After Hayashi Sensei died and World War II ended, Takata Sensei stated that all the other Reiki Masters in Japan had died during the war and that she was the only Reiki Master in the world.(47) Therefore, most people refrained from researching the history of Reiki, thinking she was the only authority. Many of the Masters she initiated also discouraged people from doing such research, stating that it was not needed, as their knowledge of Reiki was complete. Add to all this the fact that the Gakkai had become a secret society along with the linguistic, cultural, and geographic barriers that separated the United States from Japan, and it is easy to see why most authors simply accepted her story as true without seeking verification. Most did not realize that the organization started by Usui Sensei still existed in Japan and that contact with them, while difficult, was still possible.

Reiki since Mrs. Takata

Reiki energy is very flexible and creative, treating each unique situation with a unique response and working freely with all other forms of healing. The Reiki energy itself provides a wonderful model for the practice of Reiki. This began to be acknowledged gradually after Takata Sensei passed on. In the mid-1980s, Iris Ishikura, one of Takata’s Masters, trained two Reiki Masters at a more reasonable fee and made them promise they would also charge a reasonable fee. The Masters trained by Ishikura at this lower fee began training many other Masters in turn. Out of this group, many were open to change and began allowing the wisdom of the Reiki energy to guide them in the way they should practice and teach Reiki. Because of this, restrictive rules began to fall away. Reiki classes became more open and more supportive of the learning process. Workbooks were created, notes and tape recordings were allowed, reasonable fees were charged, and many began studying with more than one teacher. All this generated greater respect for Reiki. It also increased people’s understanding of Reiki and improved their healing skills. With lower fees, the practice of Reiki began to grow quickly and spread all over the world. It is estimated that there are at least 1,000,000 Reiki Masters in the world today with well over 4,000,000 practitioners, and the numbers continue to grow!

I learned Reiki I on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1981 from Bethel Phaigh, who had learned from Mrs. Takata. In 1982, I received Reiki II from Bethel. I loved Reiki and started a Reiki practice. Because of the high fee for Reiki Master training at that time and other restrictive rules, I did not think that becoming a Reiki Master was part of my spiritual path. However, Reiki has a way of guiding us in the way we should go, and through a number of coincidences and fortunate circumstances I met Diane McCumber in 1989. She was a Reiki Master of the Ishikura lineage and was charging a very reasonable fee to train Reiki Masters. I took her training and began to teach.

I chose to allow the Reiki energy to guide how I would teach. Rather than adhere strictly to the rules set by Takata Sensei, I wanted to do everything I could to help my students learn Reiki and use it in a way that was right for them. If they wanted to start a Reiki practice or to teach, then I wanted them to be as successful as possible.

To further this purpose, I took everything I had learned about Reiki to that point, organized the information and placed it in a class workbook that included drawings of the Reiki hand positions, which I then gave to my Reiki students. I have continued to expand and update the workbook until it evolved into the workbook you are reading now.

From the beginning, I encouraged students to take notes and to tape record my classes; I openly answered all questions and actively encouraged my students to do well. I taught the value of developing one’s intuition and having confidence in one’s experience and personal decision-making abilities. Knowing that one can always learn more, I continued to study Reiki from others and eventually took the Master Training from four additional Masters including two from Japan. This added to my understanding of Reiki, as each teacher had gained many unique insights about how Reiki works and how to practice it. I make it a point to acknowledge the value of other teachers and practitioners. In my travels, I continue to exchange Reiki information with them, looking for new information to use and pass on to others.

Because I based my Reiki practice on the process of working in harmony with the qualities and values apparent in Reiki energy and following Reiki’s guidance in carrying out my plans, my classes were filled with students right from the beginning.

A newsletter was started in 1990 that continued to grow in size and readership and in 2002 became the Reiki News Magazine.

Wanting to maintain high standards for Reiki, I started a teacher certification program (now called our Professional Licensed Teachers program) that required additional training and takes about three years to complete.

In 1995 a website was started (www.reiki.org) that now offers over 300 free articles on Reiki and lots of resources for those wanting to practice or teach Reiki. We also have a web store, which offers class workbooks, Reiki tables, and other products. (www.reikiwebstore.com)

We began the Center for Reiki Research in 2009 (www.centerforreikiresearch.org). Staffed by seven Ph.D qualified researchers, it contains references and summaries of all Reiki research studies published in peer-reviewed journals, a description of over 70 hospital Reiki programs, and many useful articles and other features to help those interested in promoting an evidence-based understanding of Reiki. We’ve also started our own research study on pain in orthopedic patients due to be completed in 2012.

In 2010, we created a professional Reiki Membership Association (www.reikimembership.com). The current membership of over 1800 Reiki practitioners and teachers offers Reiki sessions and classes across the U.S. and in some foreign countries.

1 Mrs. Takata Speaks, The History of Reiki, (Southfield, MI: Vision Publications, 1979).

2 See http://www.reiki.org/Download/TakataLettersAnd Documents.pdf

3 Tadao Yamaguchi, Light on the Origins of Reiki (Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press, 2007), p. 66.

4 Toshitaka Mochizuki, Iyashi No Te [Healing Hands] (1995), p. 227, ISBN 4-88481-420-7 C0011 P1400E; “The Original Reiki Ideals,” Reiki News (Fall 1996); and page vi of this manual. To order the Original Reiki Ideals: http://www.reikiwebstore.com.

5 For more information, see Appendix A, “Discovering the Roots of Reiki,” and The Inscription on the Usui Memorial section below.

6 William Lee Rand, “An Interview with Hiroshi Doi,” Reiki News Magazine, Pts. 1 and 2 (Summer 2003), 9-11; (Fall 2003), p. 12-14.

7 Tadao Yamaguchi. “Excerpts from Light on the Origin of Reiki” Reiki News Magazine (Spring 2011), p. 19. Included in this article is a photo of the 20 shihan taught by Usui Sensei. The text below the photo indicates that these are the students of Usui Sensei who are authorized to teach in the same way he taught. Juzaburo Ushida is in the photo.

8 Inscription on Usui Memorial, Saihoji Temple, Suginami, Tokyo, Japan.

9 Inscription on Usui Memorial.

10 Mochizuki, lyashi No Te. See note 3.

11 Yamaguchi, Light on the Origins of Reiki, p. 61.

12 “Searching the Roots of Reiki,” The Twilight Zone (April 1986),: p. 140-143. This article can be viewed on the web at http://www.pwpm.com/threshold/origins2.html. (Note that this Japanese magazine is no longer in business.)

13 Frank Arjava Petter, This is Reiki: Transformation of Body, Mind and Soul, From the Origins to the Practice (Twin Lakes: WI: Lotus Press) p. 44.

14 In an alternate version of this story it is said that Usui Sensei’s personal life and business had failed and that he had gone to Mt. Kurama to meditate to gain clarity on what to do to solve his problems. See Takai, “Searching the Roots of Reiki,” p. 140-143.

15 Doi, Iyashino Gendai Reiki-ho, Modern Reiki Method of Healing, p. 35. This story has been passed down within the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. According to Doi, it is also written in “Kaiin no tame no Reiki Ryoho no Shiori” (Guide of Reiki Ryoho for the members), September 1, 1974.

16 This is based on the translation of an original document written by Usui Sensei. See: http://www.reiki.org/japanesetechniques/5principles.html

17 William Lee Rand, “Reiki Before Usui,” Reiki News Magazine (Spring 2014), p. 32-33.

18 Yamaguchi, Light on the Origins of Reiki, p. 63-64.

19 Walter Lubeck, Frank Arjava Petter, William Lee Rand, The Spirit of Reiki(Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press, 2003).

20 William Lee Rand, “Interview with Hiroshi Doi, Part I,” Reiki News Magazine(Spring 2014) p. 27. Frank Arjava Petter, This is Reiki (Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press, 2012), p. 174

21 “Earthquakes Tokyo-Yokohama,” Encyclopedia Britannica (1997), CD-ROM.

22 Frank Arjava Petter, Reiki Darma Newsletter Number 31, January 1, 2011

23 William Lee Rand, “An Interview with Doi Sensei,” Reiki News Magazine(Spring 2014), p. 27.

24 Go to Reiki News Magazine (Spring 2011), p. 18 for a photo of Usui Sensei and the twenty Shihan. Note that while all in the photo were authorized to give Reiju, some were not Shinpiden. In those days some of the centers did not have a Shinpiden to give Reiju so Reiju was taught to the leader of the center.

25 Yamaguchi, Light on the Origins of Reiki, p. 63-64.

26 Takai, The Twilight Zone, p. 140-143.

27 Inscription on Usui Memorial.

28 Frank Arjava Petter, Reiki Fire, (Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Light, 1997), p. 26. ISBN 0-914955-50-0.

29 This list comes from the research of Frank Arjava Petter.

30 William Lee Rand, “An Interview with Hiroshi Doi, Part II,” Reiki News Magazine, (Fall 2003), p. 13.

31 A translation of this healing guide can be found on p. 63.

32 Frank Arjava Petter interviewing Tsutomo Oishi, a member of Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai.

33 Rand, “An Interview with Hiroshi Doi, Part II,” Reiki News Magazine, (Fall 2003), p. 12.

34 Yamaguchi, Light on the Origins of Reiki, p. 28.

35 Ibid., p. 69.

36 Vera Graham, “Mrs. Takata Opens Minds to Reiki,” The (San Mateo) Times, May 17, 1975.

37 Patsy Matsura, “Mrs. Takata and Reiki Power,” Honolulu Advertiser, Feb. 25, 1974.

38 This information was recorded on Mrs. Takata’s Reiki certificate and in Mrs. Takata’s handwritten notes dated May 1936. A copy of her Reiki certificate is included in the article “How Hawayo Takata Practiced and Taught Reiki” located on page 157.

39 Bethel Phaigh,Journey into Consciousness,” p. 130. Other Masters initiated by Mrs. Takata have confirmed that she gave Reiki Master training in a weekend.

40 We know that Keizo Ogawa took Reiki Master training from Usui Sensei and Kan’ichi Taketomi, so it is not likely this rule came from Usui Sensei.

41 “Mrs. Takata Speaks.” See footnote 1. This was also explained to me by Bethal Phaigh in 1981 when I took Reiki I from her.

42 William Lee Rand, “Takata’s Handouts,” Reiki News Magazine (Summer 2009): 58. This article contains the handouts and notes taken during one of her classes.

43 A translation of this manual is on p. 63.

44 John Harvey Gray and Lourdes Gray with Steven McFadden and Elisabeth Clark, Hand to Hand, The Longest-Practicing Reiki Master Tells His Story (Gray, 2002), p. 93.

45 Rand, “Origin of the Usui Reiki Master Symbol,” p. 34-35.

46 Before she died, Takata Sensei created a list of the twenty-two Masters she had initiated. They are: George Araki (deceased), Dorothy Baba (deceased), Ursula Baylow (deceased), Rick Bockner, Barbara Brown (deceased), Fran Brown (deceased), Patricia Ewing, Phyllis Lei Furumoto, Beth Gray (deceased), John Gray (deceased), Iris Ishikura (deceased), Harry Kuboi, Ethel Lombardi (deceased), Barbara McCullough (deceased), Mary McFadyen, Paul Mitchell, Bethel Phaigh (deceased), Barbara Weber Ray, Shinobu Saito, Kay Yamashita (Mrs. Takata’s sister), Virginia Samdahl (deceased), and Wanja Twan.

47 Graham, “Mrs. Takata Opens Minds to Reiki.” This is also stated on her Reiki flyers dated July 1975 and June 1976.

The text above is reprinted from Reiki the Healing Touch byWilliam Lee Rand. Permission is granted to reprint the text onto your web site as long as you use the entire text and do not make changes and indicate that the source is from www.reiki.org.

Keeping Your Magic Alive

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The most common reason that people lose their magical “mojo” is that they don’t practice daily rituals. Daily rituals provide regular contact with spirit guides and the Universe, and a good working relationship with these beings does improve chances of getting assistance in magical acts. Also consistent practice of regular magical rituals helps boost your magical force — every successful daily ritual adds magical force until your magical bank account is overflowing; but failing to keep in touch with your magical practice can leave you magically bankrupt!

As Above So Below
How much do you move your body? Many of us spend a great part of the day sitting and not moving. By the esoteric law of “As Above, So Below” each part of our being affects the other parts. So when you find yourself mentally stuck, moving your body helps get your mind moving. By this law, when we change one part of our being, every other part has to change to match it. So as you move your body, your mind and spirit move to match it. Understanding how this law works can help you transform every area of your life.

Slow Movement
Now that you see how moving your body can help get your mind and spirit moving too, you can also use this principle to control your mind when it starts running away with you. That means times when you start obsessing about something that happened during the day or incessant worry or just mind chatter that interferes with your inner silence or trying to meditate. In these cases when you get up and move your body, move it slowly. Walk across the room taking slow deliberate steps or slowly do some Tai Chi or yoga moves. Whatever type of movement you do, do it consciously and slowly, feeling all the sensations of your body moving and your breathing. This slowing down of the body will help slow down your mind so you can have some inner silence to hear your guides, higher powers and beings and your own inner wisdom. Regularly practice with moving your body slowly will help your mind slow down and stay more focused and help you get better sleep at night. The next time you’re feeling nervous or anxious, give this a try and magically help slow down your racing feelings and thoughts.

Give these techniques a try and add them to your magical toolbox.