Friday, December 31, 2010

Totems: Ant

Ants are well known and have been pests to many people. The ant is known to come in many shapes and forms along with being found across the globe.

This insect teaches to thinking for our future but also the value of preparing for it. Stockpiling is another lesson, as people prepare for the future some things will need to be stockpiled, for people it may be money or even food, for the ant it is food and liquids. The future in itself is pretty important and it can even be viewed that being prepared for this future is very much needed.

Teamwork is also important, we see ants do it, we see many social animals such as dogs and even humans do it. The thing is, while things can be done on their own and sometimes has to be done alone, teamwork can greatly reduce the time it is done it plus make whatever is being worked on a lot easier to deal with. It is this working together that proves to work so well for survival.

The power of work is apparent. Ants will work hard for their communities, ensuring not only their own survival but of the whole colony. Getting along with co-workers is also another message, ants are not fussy about what they have to do, they do what they need to do for the good of all and getting along with who you work with is very much needed.

Patience and self-sacrifice is also something to learn from the ant. They do pretty much sacrifice themselves for the better of all, working hard to get what is done. Patience is due to the fact that with work you will have to wait for certain results and that can be quite a while in itself..

Offering to the ant really depends on the kind of ant your totem is. Ants generally love sweets things such as sugar but ants are also known to eat whatever they can find which means things such as meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables.

Eight Immortals: Li Xuan

Li Xuan, also known as Li Tieguai and Li of the Iron Crutch or Iron Crutch Li, who was to first of the Eight Immortals to become immortal. His talisman is a bottle gourd that can concoct elixirs and magic potions to help the sick. Li Xuan is the patron of the sick, druggists and exorcists.

When Li Xuan was young he was of a poor family, and one year there was a severe drought where harvest failed in which his father committed suicide while his mother wept so much she went blind. Li Xuan resorted to begging and later to stealing for food.

When Li Xuan was caught stealing it became harder for him to get any food, which lead him to one night steal a material possession from another family, a wok. When running off with the wok Li Xuan was caught be a Taoist priest who told Li Xuan that one shouldn’t be a thief and that the wok should be returned. Li Xuan returned the wok the next day and the next night Li Xuan saw the same Taoist priest who rewarded him with the gourd that can cure illness.

Eventually Li Xuan started to practice the Tao within a cave. Lao Zi, the founder of Taoism, actually visited Li Xuan and the two became good friends.

Li Xuan was a handsome man who often sat in meditation and his spirit would actually leave his body, visiting Heaven itself.
However, one day Li Xuan told his disciple his spirit would leave his body for seven days and that it should be guarded during the time. On the sixth day the disciple got news of his mother being sick and that he needed to get home fast, so he cremated Li Xuan’s body. When Li Xuan’s spirit returned he couldn’t find his own body so he took the body of a dead beggar with a bad leg who sadly didn’t have the most handsome of appearances.
Lao Zi gave Li Xuan a gold band to hold the messy hair and a iron walking cane to help walk.

It is even suggested that the beggar one of the other Eight Immortals, Lan Caihe, brought back to health may have been Li Xuan himself.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eight Immortals: Lan Caihe

Lan Caihe is actually the least defined of the Eight Immortals. Lan Caihe's age isn’t even known and is usually seen wearing sexually ambiguous clothing. Thing is, Lan Caihe’s gender is ambiguous in itself, some say male, others female, Lan Caihe might even be a transvestite, transsexual or hermaphrodite. The talisman that Lan Caihe has is a flower basket that not only contains divine flowers but can be used to communicate with gods. Lan Caihe is the patron of beggars, minstrels, actors, florists, gardeners and the mentally ill.

Lan Caihe’s behaviour in itself is eccentric and so is the clothing. Lan Caihe is said to have been a beggar and a wanderer who carried castanets. Lan Caihe used the castanets to clap and make a beat with it by hitting it on the ground, singing to this very beat. This would attract and entertain people who would give Lan Caihe money, to which Lan Caihe would string. When walking the coins would fall off the string, Lan Caihe wouldn’t care about the falling money and this allowed other beggars to get the money. Lan Caihe also gave coins to the needy whenever s/he could.

The clothing Lan Caihe wears is a tattered blue gown, one shoe, plenty of cotton-wool clothing during the summer to keep warm and little clothing during the winter, even sleeping naked in the snow. Lan Caihe even wears a wooden belt. Overall, Lan Caihe is a pretty eccentric person who was known to sleep in a field or collapse in the middle of an inn to get some shut eye and when hungry earn enough money for food and some wine by entertaining others.

Personality wise, Lan Caihe is resourceful, quick-witted and with a sense of humour. Although Lan Caihe may seems crazy this person might not actually be as crazy as s/he seems to be.

How Lan Caihe gained immortality is a strange one, Lan Caihe helped a beggar, washing his boils and sores. Nursing this beggar back to health, Lan Caihe was rewarded immortality for this.  This beggar actually have been one of the other Eight Immortals in disguise, Li Xuan.
Its also claimed that Lan Caihe’s singing accurately predict future events.

A story of Lan Caihe goes that s/he was drinking wine in a tavern when music of a reed-organ and flute started playing suddenly. The next moment Lan Caihe soared into the sky on the back of a crane, dropping the clothes s/he was wearing to the ground.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Duanwu Festival and Double Fifth is on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. People eat rice dumplings known as zongzi, drink wine known as xionghuangjiu and race dragon boats during this day.

This festival is about a man known as Qu Yuan, a famous scholar and poet who was a loyal minister serving the King of Chu during the Warring States Period in the third century BC. In 278BC, Qu Yuan went to the Miluo River and drowned himself. People tried to save the man but were unsuccessful, and every year the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated for this attempt.
The local people started a tradition of throwing sacrificial rice into the Miluo River for Qu Yuan. A local fisherman dreamt that Qu Yuan did not get any of this rice, only the fish, and for this reason people made zongzi to sink into the river and wrapt bamboo leaves around the meal.

It is also said that the origin of the Dragon Boat Festival started because of a man called Wu Zixu who was a loved political advisor that committed suicide and had his body thrown into a river on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.

Along with racing dragon boats during the day people will create charms, amulets and lovely incense bags, filling these bags with herbs and/or spices to ward of disease. People will also attempt to stand an egg on its end at noon of the Dragon Boat Festival as it is said if this is successfully done it will mean good luck for the following year.

A story goes that during the Tan Dynasty of China a rebel known as Huang was scouting a village he was going to attack during the fifth lunar month. Huang saw a woman carrying a boy in her arm and holding another boys hand while running. Huang inquired to this woman why she was running and her reply was, “We heard Huang is coming, we need to run for our lives.” Huang further inquired and asked why one boy was in the woman’s arm while the other boy was simply holding her hand, the woman replied, “The one in the arm is the only son of my husband’s elder brother. The other my son. In case I cannot run quickly enough, I will drop my son and save my husband’s brother’s son.” Huang was touched by this and told to put two plants, the Acorus and Artemisia, onto the woman’s front door, saying that the family will be safe if done so.

The woman returning to her village told some people to put the two plants up on their doors. On the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, the forces of Huang entered the village to be attacked and all families with Acorus and Artemisia on their door was safe. From then on the custom to leave these two plants on doors grew.

Interestingly, the 5th Lunar month is marked as “Poison” month due to it being a time of active disease spreading by insects, where it is easy to catch infectious disease. The Acorus and Artemisia hung also serves as repellents to insects.

The fifth lunar month is seen as a bad month and the fifth day of this very month an inauspicious day (due to many famous people dying on this day of the lunar year). A male baby will bring back luck to the father while a female baby back luck to the mother if born on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, and due to this very reason parents have killed their babies born on this day. Ouch.

Eight Immortals: He Xiangu

He Xiangu is possibly the only female of the Eight Immortals. Some will say that she is the only female of the Eight Immortals, others will claim that there is another female within the group. He Xiangu is the only certain female of the Eight Immortals and also known as Female Immortal He or Immortal Woman He. She also owns a talisman that is a long-stalked lotus flower with the ability to improve both physical and mental health. He Xiangu is often pictured with her lotus flower but is also pictured with a musical instrument called the Sheng or with a bird called the fenghuang. He Xiangu is the patroness of the home, family life, virgins, unmarried women, cooking and housekeeping.

He Xiangu is the daughter of He T’ai who lived in the prefecture of Guangdong and was notably born with six long hairs on the crown of her head. When she was about fourteen He Xiangu had a dream where she was instructed to eat powered mica in order for her body to possibly become immune to death. He Xiangu did eat powdered mica and vowed to stay a virgin.
Over time she gave up ordinary food, eating fruits found on the mountains where she one day found a peach that she ate. It is said that this peach He Xiangu ate is the very peach that made her immortal.

He Xiangu’s parents arranged their daughter a marriage not long after she ate the peach she found. He Xiangu didn’t voice her opinion on the matter except the wedding day. He Xiangu was later found to have been missing from her bedchambers and had left a poem on a screen to which her parents did not understand.

A few years after this incident a Taoist priest who had came down from Luofu Mountain went to the He’s house. He Xiangu’s parents learnt that an apprentice by the name of He Xiangu instructed to bring her shoes back and this is how He Xiangu’s parents learnt that He Xiangu herself was studying Taoism.

It is said that Empress Wu summoned He Xiangu, but while on the way to see Empress Wu it is said He Xiangu disappeared. During the Jing Long period (about 707CE) He Xiangu  ascended to Heaven during daylight.

He Xiangu is also said to have met Lu Dongbin, one of the Eight Immortals, and successfully tried to bring He Xiangu into the Tao. Lu Dongbin apparently also gave He Xiangu a Peach of Immortality.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eight Immortals: Han Xiangzi

Philosopher Han Xiang, or more popularity known as, Han Xiangzi. He has a talisman which is a flute that produces music that can give life, make flowers bloom and soothe wild animals. Because of this life giving ability of his flute, Han Xiangzi became a protector of flautists. He is also the patron of musicians and of the middle class.

Han Xiangzi is a nephew of a prominent poet and statesman of the Tang dynasty whose name is Han Yu. It is said that Han Xiangzi tried to persuade Han Yu to renounce his political career and pursue Tao while Han Yu suggested that Han Xiangzi should renounce Tao and pursue a political career. Han Xiangzi filled an empty goblet with excellent wine and also caused flowers to spring up and bloom to try to convince Han Yu. Within the mist of the flowers words could even be seen which is said to have been:
“Lost on the far Qing Mountains, I cannot find my way;
Snowdrifts cover the Lan Pass and my horse can do no more.”

Some time afterwards Han Yu was sent off to a minor post and to do it in a place called Chaozhou. While heading to Chaozhou Han Yu was caught in a snowstorm and Han Xiangzi appeared. Han Yu asked for the name of the place, with the answer being “The Lan Pass.” The words seen in the mists were correct. A bit later Han Xiangzi told Han Yu that he will be back in good health and reinstated into his former post, it indeed happen to Han Yu‘s luck.

Han Xiangzi doesn’t have a so glamorous story of how he became immortal, as it is said that he was in a sacred peach tree and fell out of it which is said how he obtained immortality. But it also said that he enjoyed exploring his surrounding mountains, playing his flute and commune with nature itself, which is where he encountered one of the Eight Immortals, Lu Dongbin, who became his mentor.

Chan Chu

Chan Chu, also known as the Lucky Money Toad, Three-Legged Money Frog, Three-Legged Frog, King Money Frog and simply as Money Frog/Toad. Easily recognisable by the fact she is a frog or toad with three legs, often seen with a coin in her mouth and it is common to see Chan Chu on top of either a pile of coins, ingots or a mirror used in Feng Shui, the bagua. Not only that, Chan Chu has flared nostrils and red eyes which show a frightening look.

The coin itself that Chan Chu holds in his mouth is a I Ching coin which have been used as amulets to ward off evil and disease, but also for good luck. The bagua which Chan Chu is commonly seen sitting on is for the encouragement of the flow a lovely thing called chi. The ingots Chan Chu is also seen sitting on is of a simple boat shape which symbolizes abundance and an easy life.

Chan Chu is also known to have a lovely symbol on its back, the pa kua, symbolizing protection. Not only that, frogs symbolizes wealth and with a protection symbol on its back, Chan Chu is said to help bring in money and protect it as well. Chan Chu is also said to help get rid of bad luck.

In Feng Shui, Chan Chu would be placed in the living room of a house or the main room of a business, specifically at the corner diagonally opposite of the entrance door as it is said corners are where chi concentrates and chi flow will be helped with this. This is said to be the best placement for Chan Chu.

 Another thing done in Feng Shui being Chan Chu placed facing out the entrance door during the day and facing inwards of the house in the late afternoon and night. This symbolizes Chan Chu going out during the day to fetch money and later coming back with it.
Two of these frogs may also be bought and placed by a front door, one placing inwards of the house and the other facing outwards. The one facing inside brings in money while the other collects the money.

Some people will even buy nine Chan Chu’s as it is said nine is the ideal number, with these frogs placed randomly all over the living room, all facing in different directions.

Symbolically, Chan Chu represents the moon goddess, Chang E, and is even said to live on the moon. The reason for Chan Chu living on the moon comes from the legend that originally Chan Chu was the wife of one of the Eight Immortals and a greedy person herself. It is said that Chan Chu stole the Elixir of Immortality from a goddess known as Queen Mother of the West. She was punished by being turned into a three legged from and sent to the moon.

Lui Hai, one of the Eight Immortals, is also said to have known of Chan Chu’s like for money and use a red line tied with gold coins to lure Chan Chu out from hiding. It is for this that frogs with coins symbolize the soon coming of wealth.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Eight Immortals: Cao Guojiu

Cao Guojiu is one of the Eight Immortals and referred to as Royal Uncle Cao who is actually the newest but not youngest member of the Eight Immortals. Cao Guojiu is actually the brother of Empress Dowager Cao plus an uncle to an emperor and seen to represent nobility. Cao Guojiu can be distinguished as he wears a cloth cap and often seen holding a jade tablet (which is his talisman that can purify the environment, it also permit’s him an audience with the emperor). Sometimes Cao Guojiu is pictured with a pair of clapper castanets. Cao Guojiu personally takes patronage of actors.

It is said there Cao Guojiu is a shy man who is uninterested in politics despite his nobility, and has a brother who exploits his position by murdering as people won’t arrest him due to his nobility. Cao Guojiu tried to council his brother about his poor behaviour but failed, Cao Guojiu left in disgust and took residence in a cave cultivating his conduct. After some years he was visited by two men, Lu Dongbin and Zhongli Quan (another two of the Eight Immortals) who questioned Cao Guojiu and awarded him immortality.
Some say that Cao Guojiu tried to kill his brother for killing a man and marrying the widow but ended up in prison. Upon getting out of prison Cao Guojiu mended his ways and eventually became immortal.

Eight Immortals

The Eight Immortals are known by many and a group of mostly males, with at least one female in the group and another, Lan Caihe, may be a female transvestite. Regardless of gender, each represent a different aspect of Taoist perfection.

The Eight Immortals are often depicted together and aren’t usually pictured with the gods and goddesses in Heaven. This group of people actually make their home at a legendary island known as Penglai. Their images can be seen in many places due to their popularity, the Eight Immortals are also revered with temples such as Eight Immortals Palace in Xi’an, South Palace (also called Eight Immortal Temple) found in Mu-cha in Taipei City, Taiwan and Xian Gu Tain found in Singapore.

Each of the Eight Immortals are even said to have a talisman of their own which can help them in some shape or form. There are quite a few legends around this group and it is said that simple having an image of this very group of people around is good luck.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gods And Goddesses: Mayahuel

Mayahuel is the Aztec goddess of the maguey plant, fertility, alcohol and an alcoholic drink known as pulque which was made from maguey itself.  Mayahuel is also associated with the moon.

Mayahuel is also one of the parents of the Centzon Totchtin, “Four Hundred Rabbits, whom the god of healing and fertility, Patecatl, is the father. Mayahuel also feeds the Centzon Totchtin with her breasts which fed them all an alcoholic drink and has been imaged feeding Centzon Totchtin with her breasts. Mayahuel is often depicted as a young woman wearing a blouse maguey plants coming out of her body, a jade ring piecing on her nose and carrying a flowering maguey plant.

A story tells how Mayahuel and the god Quetzalcoatl descended to earth and were escaping from star demons known as tzitzimime sent by Mayahuel‘s grandmother Tzitzimitl. The two tried to disguise themselves as the branches of trees but Mayahuel was recognised and torn to small pieces by the tzitzimime. Mayahuel was buried by Quetzalcoatl and it was the very pieces buried that sprouted the first maguey plants.

Friday, December 24, 2010


I got thinking a bit about totems, but not just any totems but dinosaur totems specifically which have a tiny amount of data around on it. The specific dinosaur I got in mind is actually one of my favourite dinosaurs, the spinosaurus. I got myself thinking, what would most likely be the lessons of this dinosaur and why?

Ancient wisdom is most likely a lesson of many dinosaur totems, not just of the spinosaurus. Wisdom of the past is not very heard of but it is well known, there are many things known of the ancient past yet it is likely that there is many more things not known.

Mystery is probably another lesson many dinosaur totems teach, but I would imagine the spinosaurus would teach of the power of mystery even more so as there are many things we don’t know about this dinosaur. It is not just about the colours and behaviours of what spinosaurus took, it is also about the sail on its back. I would imagine that a spinosaurus totem would teach about mystery partly due to its sail, as people don’t know if it was for fishing, a cooling device or a sign to show sexual maturity.

I would also imagine that strength and power would be a couple lessons. Strength seeing as the spinosaurus would have had strong arms and claws which would have had been useful for attacking and grabbing other creatures. Power deals with more with power over others, due to the size of the spinosaurus it would have been an intimidating creature and would have appeared especially so due to its sail making it appear larger.

Another thing I imagine the spinosaurus totem would teach is to show weakness. The reason for this that the spinosaurus’ spines are known to have been fused to its vertebrae which was this creatures weakness, if it rolled over it would actually break its back and die. The sail was pretty much a weakness that was very much exposed.

With offerings to the spinosaurus many would probably say offer fish seeing as spinosaurus probably ate fish, then again, this dinosaur probably ate whatever meat it could have gotten which would have included other dinosaurs and crocodilians.

This is however only ideas of what this dinosaur totem may teach. There may be quite a few other things a spinosaurus totem might teach and these may not be what is taught. I would absolutely love if plenty of information about dinosaur totems were around, but it seems there are very few who have a pre-historic organism as a totem so speculation for lessons is likely to be around for some time.

Chinese Zodiac: Goat

The 8th animal of the Chinese zodiac is the Goat, also known as the Sheep and even the Ram. The latest born Goat’s are the Water Goat’s from 1st February 2005 to 21 January 2004 and the next Goat’s to be born, the Wood Goat, are to be born between 19th February 2015 and 7th February 2016. The Goat’s hours are 1PM to 3PM, has the gemstone emerald, its colours are yellow and light green, its direction south-southwest while its month is July and its saying is, “I depend”.

Goat’s are elegant, good mannered and charming. It is their charm that brings in admirers and friends. However, Goat’s are insecure while also known to have a need to feel loved and protected. These people are also known to be both creative and artistic people, not only that but Goat’s are known for being gifted with intellect. As lazy and disorganized as the Goat is, they are both dependable and calm.

These people will try to live an easy life avoiding both conflict and problems, usually living passively. Goat’s will still become highly combative when needed. It is the Goat who will not just be highly combative if needed, but put up a ferocious battle.

Job wise, Goat’s are not much of a business person who are obviously good artists, writers and craftsmen. Amusingly, Goat’s can do quite well in business. Also note that it is not unusual to see a Goat as a astrologer or a fortune teller as these very people are known to read books about horoscopes and fortune telling.
In love Goat’s are sweet, gentle and caring yet can be a bit bossy and lazy.

The allies of the Goat is the Pig and Rabbit, with the secret friend being the Horse.

Totems: Cassowary

The cassowary itself is described as the most dangerous bird on the planet and it is well known for its importance in rain forests. These birds are known to be five to six feet tall and weigh around seventy kilograms.

The power of strength and self defence is of an important lesson of the cassowary, such a bird is known for its strength and quick temper. Cassowary’s are also known for their ability to defend themselves, and one’s ability to defend one’s self is important. The cassowary also teaches to go though an obstacle, to use one’s strength to go right through it. After all, why go around a problem when you can face it head on?

Female cassowary’s, after laying its eggs shows no interest in looking after the eggs. It is the male who builds the nest, incubates the eggs and looks after the chicks for about a year before chasing the chicks off to fend for themselves. It is the basis in this that the cassowary teaches the power of being a parent, that both parents must help in some way or form of looking after the kids even if one does more work doing so.

The cassowary is said to have three kinds of wisdom, of prehistory, of the rainforest and of the earth. Prehistory as it can be viewed as a living proof of evolution, of the earth as this bird does so much for it by scattering many seeds and of the rainforest as it inhabits such a place. The cassowary may very much advise to learn of such things or even teach about it. The home of cassowary’s is the rainforest and sadly it is the rainforests which are disappearing, one lesson is the importance of defending of one’s home and of forests.

When offering to the cassowary keep in note that such a bird mainly eats fruit, but will eat fungi, frogs, rats and other birds occasionally.  It is best to offer the cassowary fruit due to this being a large part of its diet.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The Qingming Festival, also called Pure Brightness Festival, Clear Bright Festival, Ancestors Day, Festival for Tending Graves, Chinese Memorial Day, Spring Remembrance or Tomb Sweeping Day which is celebrated the fifteenth day from the Spring Equinox and it is usually on April fourth, fifth or sixth. During 2010 it was on April 5 and in 2011 it will be on April 5. Amusingly this day is also called All Souls Day which can be confused with the Catholic holiday of the same name.

The tradition of honouring ancestors in Qingming goes back over 2,500 years and the origin of the holiday is credited to the Tang Emperor Xuanzong in 732 where wealthy citizens of China were reportedly were having too many extravagant and expensive ceremonies in honour of ancestors. Emperor Xuanzong declared that such respects could only be formally paid at ancestors graves only on Qingming to try to deal with the practice. Interestingly, many years into the future the Communist Party of China repealed the holiday in 1949 and the holiday was suppressed until 2008 in which the holiday was reinstated.

During the celebration of Qingming, people honour ancestors at grave sites, at the name Tomb Sweeping Festival suggests, the tombs are swept while  food, drinks such as tea and wine, joss paper and such things are offered to their ancestors. Bland food usually are offered as it is said that ghosts roam the grave area and the food is likely to not be eaten by the ghosts as the food won’t be very appealing
People also respectively do a type of bow known as a kowtow at the gravesites in respect of ancestors. It tends to be three kowtows but can be as many as nine.

People will also do some singing, dancing and flying kites to celebrate spring. People will also colour eggs and break them open to symbolize springs opening of new life.

On the day of Qingming the branches of willow trees are also carried, put on gates and/or put on doors as it is said it is the will branches will help ward off evil spirits.

Monday, December 20, 2010


6, for me at least, is a lucky number and it is actually a perfect number seeing as the answers of both 1 + 2 + 3 and 1 x 2 x 3 is 6.

In China this number is considered lucky and is valued as it is associated with smoothness, stability, happiness and luck. Not only that but in Mandarin this number sounds similar to fluid and seen as good for business due to this. In Cantonese 6 is a homophone for blessings.

Elsewhere the number 6 is considered lucky as it is the highest number on six sided dice, but also is said to symbolize balance, love and health. 6 also symbolizes labour as Genesis says that the world was created in six days. The Star of David has six points which is said that represents God’s rule over the universe in six directions.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gods And Goddesses: Shou

Shou is a highly popular god, often seen with two other gods known as Fu and Lu. When these three gods are together they are known as the Three Blessings, Three Stars or the San Xing. Shou himself is also known as Shou Xing, Shou Lao, Nan Ji Xian Weng, the Star of Longevity and Star of the South Pole. As you can see by the title of Star of Longevity, Shou is the god of longevity. It is even said that Shou can control the life spans of mortals.

Shou himself can be easily recognized by his high bald head and beard but also by what he carries, a peach wood staff which holds onto his bottle gourd and a peach of immortality. Shou is sometimes seen with a crane and symbolically Shou is represented as a mushroom, deer or a turtle.

In legend it is said that Shou was born after nine long years in his mothers womb. It is said that his mother ended up pregnant by looking at the Star of the South Pole, in which the mother was supposed to carry the child for ten years until born. It was said that on the tenth year of the pregnancy the eyes of a stone dragon would turn red, but the mother was impatient and had the stone dragons eyes painted red with blood. Painting the stone dragons eyes did the trick and a baby was born in which the baby was then on known as Shou Xing seeing as it is said that his mother became pregnant by looking at the Star of the South Pole.

Shou is also said to have also been called Zhao Yen and was destined to die at the age of 19. Under the advice of a fortune teller to go to a field with wine and some food but to not answer any questions, Shou found two men playing a game. Shou offered the food and wine to these two men, in which the two men revealed their identities, the gods of Birth and Death also known as the God of the North Pole (who determines the day people are born) and the God of the South Pole (who fixes the dates of death). Shou’s life was given an extension for the food and wine, the 19 had been reversed into a 91.

Shou has been bald since birth and was embarrassed to go out into the public because of this. So instead of going out to the public Shou went to the hills practicing both meditation and the Tao. Eventually Shou decided to travel deep into the hills in which no one else had dared to. After many years Shou came out of the hills and went to the village he used to live in, carrying his peach wood staff with its gourd hanging off it and with his peach of immortality. Not only that but Shou had grown a beard.

Shou went to a place called Bianliang and his appearance caught the attention of many, this caused Shou to be brought to the Emperor who asked Shou who he was and for his age. Shou is said to have not answered the Emperor’s questions but simply asked for some dates and wine to drink. After Shou drank some wine without saying a word the Emperor sent Shou away. Shou did actually went away as the next day the Emperor was advised that the old man who was given wine and didn’t say much was probably the God of Longevity and couldn’t be found.
It is even said that a man saw Shou ascend to Heaven on a cloud of smoke.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chinese Zodiac: Horse

And now it is all about Horse’s with their location in the zodiac being 7th. The Horse rules the hours of 11AM to 1PM and the month of June. Their direction is south, have the gemstone of topaz and the colours red and ebony. Their saying is “I control”. The latest born Horse’s were the Water Horse's between the 12th of February 2002 and 31st of January 2003 with the next Horse's to be born are to be Wood Horse's from January 31st 2014 and February 18th 2015.

Horse’s are not only active and energetic people but they are also agile both physically and mentally. Being mentally agile helps the Horse in being quick-witted and tend to have more cunning then of their high intellect. Overall, Horse’s are gifted people.

Horse’s are workers and knows a good thing or two about how to handle money. Unfortunately, these people tend to be kind of selfish and will tend to not to care for problems but his own. Although Horse’s work for themselves for their own success there is the upside of the work done by Horse’s benefiting many.
Interestingly, despite the selfishness, in love Horse’s will give up everything for who they love.

Horse’s enjoy being the centre of attention while at the same time are people who are honest and friendly with an open mind. These people are also known to be popular.
The allies of the Horse is the Dog and Tiger while their secret friend is the Sheep.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Totems: Raccoon

The raccoon fascinates me and I do have respect for these ingenious creatures. Raccoons are the very creature with ingenuity, adaptability, creativity, curiosity, playfulness and dexterity. Curiosity should be pointed out in itself as it can be of great use to people but it can get people in trouble.

Distantly related to the bear, it is suggested that people with raccoon totem should study bear totem and as it was mentioned earlier, they have dexterity. Anyone who had dealt with a raccoon in person might know this very well as they can  use their hands to take off lids and open doors, making it very possible to get place to place and with ease.  Such dexterity is a reliable tool to any animal, giving the ability to literally open doors to opportunities in which may not be accessed without it.

Not only that but raccoons are also known for the mask on their faces, hiding secrets and even magical ability. The raccoon is indeed an expert, even a master, of disguise and secrecy and this is an important lesson as it can be important to mask oneself to disguise and transform seeing how people will need to know well how to act around people in situations such as with kids, friends, family and co-workers as different behaviours will be very much expected.

Raccoons themselves are known to be courageous yet also ferocious. If you see one it should be noted that there is probably is another raccoon around nearby as raccoons are sociable animals like humans and are seldom in solitary life.

Interesting fact, raccoons are fascinated by water and it is water itself that increases the sensitivity of their hands in which this increased sensitivity helps to feel food. Another interesting fact, raccoons will eat whatever food they can get their hands on but mostly stick to fruit and veg instead of meat or junk food. The high fruit and vegetable with little meat and junk food diet should really be practiced by more people, especially for those with a raccoon totem.

As offerings go it is probably best to go with fruits and vegetables with some variety. Meat should, if ever, be given on more of a special occasion and seeing as junk food is obviously not healthy I don’t recommend offering such a thing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nirvana Day

Nirvana Day, also known as Parinirvana Day, is a holiday celebrated on the 15th of February but some celebrate it a few days earlier on the 8th. This day is the day where Gautama Buddha’s death is celebrated, but it is not a sad day as Gautama Buddha had became enlightened and because of this instead of being reborn he had achieved Nirvana.

This day is a day when the Nirvana Sutra (also called Paranibbana Sutta) is read out to many which describes the last days and death of Gautama Buddha. Not only that but during Nirvana Day is a time to honour the friends and family who have died while at the same time when people teach of the acceptance of the impermanence of life.

This day is also celebrated with meditation and by going to Buddhist temples or monasteries where food, clothes and money are given to the monks and nuns to help support them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dokkodo: The Way of Walking Alone

Dokkodo, also known as The Way of Walking Alone has influenced me in the past and it still does to this day. This is simply the precepts and my take on it.

1. Accept everything just the way it is.
This is a big one. The way things are is going to be the way things are. If everything is going easily you must keep going forwards through life, and if things are going hard you have to keep going forwards still as everything cannot go to plan. Life is life and there are going to be up and downs, so it is better to accept that both good and bad things are going to happen.

2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
Pleasure is a great thing, but as I see it, you should seek things to do instead of pleasure and you will get pleasure from that. You get kept busy and you will get pleasure from that instead of just pleasuring yourself for the sake of feeling pleasure.

3. Do no, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
This is more self-explanatory. To do things more on thought or instinct then of feelings.

4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
The world is a big place and individuals are only a small part of it. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and thinking lightly of yourself rather then deeply will hopefully get you to not overestimate yourself.

5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
Desires for things can be pointless seeing as your may never get it. The desire for something you could never get can disappoint you later on. Aiming for what you want is important but do not let the desire for it be a factor of it as the outcome of your doings can be different to what you want in which the desire can bring you down quite a bit.

6. Do not regret what you have done.
What is done is done, it cannot be changed. It is best not to dwindle on the past but to learn from it. Regret can just slow you down from your goals, learning from your mistakes can take you further.

7. Never be jealous.
 Jealously is another thing that can you slow you down in life. I think of jealously as pointless as there will be people with belongings, skills, talents and looks you will never have. It goes with the first precept pretty well, too, seeing as the way things are is going to be how the way things are.

8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
Separation just happens to be one of those things that is going to happen eventually. Friends and family move or die, people change and grow. Separation can also apply to other things besides with people, you may lose a pet or a belonging, maybe even separated with a place.
I want to move to the US, and I’m confident I will eventually get to live there sometime in my life so when it happens I shouldn’t let myself be saddened from leaving Australia. All I would be doing if I let myself be saddened is putting myself down, and it is certainly not a good thing to put oneself down.

9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself or others.
Another self-explaining recept. Complaining or being resentful isn’t going to get anyone anywhere, really.

10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
Lust honestly isn’t a good thing while love is a great thing, but I have heard a number of times that love makes you do stupid things. Then again, I also heard lust makes people do even stupider things.
I take this as to use your head instead of your heart, that way you hopefully won’t do anything stupid and if lucky you can be with the one you love.

11. In all things have no preferences.
Preferences can be seen by many, but the preference of things may not be the best choice. Chocolate is nice, but preferences for certain chocolate can stop many from trying the many other types of chocolate and in my books that would be a “no-no”. Having a preference can also stop people from doing or trying many other things, possibly even from choosing what could be the better choice.

12. Be indifferent to where you live.
This is a big one to me, a couple years back at school I had a teacher who told the class about a student who told the very teacher that he couldn’t get anywhere based of the area he came from and this is why it is important to me. It doesn’t matter where you come from and it doesn’t matter where you live, there are a lot more important things then one’s past and current residence.

13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
I take this as one shouldn’t worry about the taste of food. Don’t worry about the taste, worry about eating your fill.

14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
This has two obvious benefits, getting rid of what you don’t need anymore gets rid of cluster and others can benefit from what you no longer need. Besides, those things you no longer need may just be taking up much needed space.

15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
We can waste much time doing what others do when it makes no sense to us, and during the wasted time much better things can be done. It is better to act on what we find more meaningful to do then following custom.

16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
This is more relevant to the past of Japan then it does today, seeing as weapons were more common and were made of more use in the past then of today. However, there is still relevance for today, it can be taken as saying not to waste time with other things beyond what is useful or if isn’t going to benefit you.

17. Do not fear death.
This is pretty simple. All life dies as it is born. No sense in worrying about death seeing as all life eventually dies.

18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
You may never reach old age and you can also experience such things now. Enjoying life should happen now and in old age if reached, instead of just old age.

19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
 Help may not be given if asked for, and if given a more needy person may not get needed help. Relying on oneself is a good thing but asking for help from people around you should be done if needed.

20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.
All are born and all who are born must die. One’s honour is certainly important and you shouldn’t change who you are based on if others want you to.

21. Never stray from the Way.
I take this as never lose your way with Dokkodo, nor with the Tao (or ‘the Way’ as some may call it).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the very last day of the Chinese New Year festivals (the 15th day of the 1st month) which is celebrated on the first full moon of the new year, and it is interestingly also Tian Guan’s birthday.

Tian Guan is also often mistaken as Fu Xing who is often associated with Lu Xing and Shou Xing. Fu Xing is the god of good fortune like Tian Guan, but Tian Guan also likes all types of entertainment so people do all kinds of activities during the Lantern Festival to say to Tian Guan that they want good fortune during the year.

During the Lantern Festival many lanterns are lighted, red is the colour traditionally used and they do come in great number in areas where many celebrate this festival. People also eat tangyuan, a dumpling made of sweet rice in the shape of a ball and filled with sweet fillings. Eating this sticky food symbolizes family unity and happiness.

Walking on stilts during this time as well as doing a dragon dance or a lion dance is also popular during this time. Performers will often do difficult movements while on stilts.

Gods And Goddesses: Guanyin

Bodhisattva Guanyin, also known as Guanshiyin (meaning Observing the Cries of the World), Kwannon and in male form Avalokitesvara. Known for transforming into many forms when needed and as the bodhisattva of compassion along with commonly being known as a goddess of compassion and mercy. Guanyin is also has the title of ‘Guanyin of the Southern Ocean’ which stemmed from fishermen praying to Guanyin for safe voyages.

Guanyin is often depicted wearing a white robe with a willow branch and vase in her hands and a crown on her head. She is also often depicted with young child’s and in Chinese art Guanyin is often depicted alone, standing atop a dragon, or with a white cockatoo.

Guanyin is also shown with multiple heads and arms, which shows her reaching out to help others. It is said that Amitabha Buddha gave Guanyin eleven heads to hear the cries of those in need and a thousand arms to help all.

Guanyin herself is well known thanks to her compassion and mercy. Regarded as a protector of women and children, thus seen as a fertility goddess. Guanyin is also seen as a protector of fishermen, sailors and anyone else who goes out to sea. She is also seen as a rice goddess as during what is referred as the ‘Great Flood’, she sent down a dog holding rice in its tail after the flood.

Guanyin’s birthday is the 19th day of the 2nd Lunar month, the 19th day of the 6th Lunar month is Guanyin’s Enlightenment Day and the 19th day of the 9th Lunar month s the Renunciation Day of Guanyin.

Guanyin is also known to have been a princess by the name of Miao Shan who had a cruel father that wanted her to marry a wealthy yet uncaring man. Guanyin said that she would marry the man if the marriage stopped three misfortunes, suffering people endure as they age, suffering people endure when ill and the third being the suffering caused by death and if the marriage couldn’t ease any of this Guanyin rather would devote her life to religion.

Her father wasn’t happy and everyday Guanyin begged to be able to become a nun, which was eventually allowed. However, the father ordered the monks to give Guanyin the hardest chores and so the hardest chores were given. Guanyin eventually got help from animals around the temple she was in, and her father tried to burn down the temple for this. Guanyin put the fire out with her bare hands without suffering any burns.

Guanyin’s father was fearful due to how his very daughter stopped the fire herself, so he got Guanyin executed. When executed a tiger took Guanyin to hell where Guanyin played music and flowers blossomed around her, turning hell into a paradise. Seeing as Guanyin was highly kind and helped others often in life as Miao Shan, she was given a new life and given the name Guanyin.

Guanyin also took up a disciple by the name of Sudhana, a disabled boy who became interested in studying  Dharma. Upon finding Guanyin, Sudhana asked the bodhisattva to teach him, so Guanyin tested the boy by creating an illusion of several bandits chasing Guanyin over a cliff. As Guanyin and the bandits fell down the cliff, Sudhana slowly followed to help Guanyin where he almost fell down the cliff. Guanyin had stopped the boy and then asked Sudhana to walk, in which Sudhana found himself no longer disabled and from then on Guanyin taught Sudhana.

Years after Sudhana had become the disciple of Guanyin a son of a Dragon King was caught by a fisherman while in the form of a fish and was unable to transform back into his dragon form due to being stuck on land. The Dragon King was distressed and Guanyin gave Sudhana money to go get the fish that really was a dragon. Due to the dragon still being alive hours after being caught it got plenty of attention and eventually people started bidding on it.

Sudhana begged the fish seller to spare the fish and the crowd was angry due to this. Guanyin loudly said that a life should belong to those who try to save it instead of taking it, which got rid of the people and made it possible for Sudhana to get the fish. Thus saving the life of the dragon. The Dragon King sent his granddaughter Lung Nu to give Guanyin the Pearl of Life. Lung Nu asked Guanyin to allow her to become Guanyin’s disciple which was accepted under the request that Lung Nu kept the Pearl of Light.

A parrot, specifically a white cockatoo, eventually became the disciple of Guanyin after it ventured out to find food for its mother and was captured by a poacher. The white cockatoo escapes but finds its mother has died and then goes to become a disciple of Guanyin.

There is even a well known story that in Bugis, Singapore during one of the World Wars Japanese fighter planes dropped bombs in the area and that all was destroyed in the area except for the temple dedicated to Guanyin, which was left strangely untouched, and it is said it is because of this that this very temple is popular. It is even rumoured that Japanese pilots in flight at that time could see a bright circle surrounding the temple. It is said that Guanyin protected the very temple and the people who were in it at the time.

A Chinese oolong tea known as Tie Guanyin is from Anxi in the Fujian province of China. A couple legends lie as to how it came to be. One legend tells of a scholar called Wang who accidentally discovered the tea plant beneath the Guanyin rock in Xiping and took it home to cultivate. Visiting Emperor Qianlong, Wang offered this tea as a gift, with the very emperor being so impressed by the tea asked of its origin. Emperor Qianlong, after learning of the teas origin, named it after Guanyin.

The other legend of the origin of Tie Guanyin is that there was a rundown temple with a statue of Guanyin within it. A poor farmer known as Mr. Wei would pass the temple and noted its worsening condition. With no means to repair the temple Mr. Wei would bring a broom and incense from home twice a month, sweeping the temple clean and offering Guanyin incense.

It was one night that Guanyin appeared in a dream and told Mr. Wei of a cave behind the temple with a treasure within it, giving the message to take the treasure and to share it with others. Going to this cave, Mr. Wei found a shoot of a tea plant which he grew and gave cuttings of to his neighbours. Tie Guanyin was the name given to this tea and over time Mr. Wei along with his neighbours prospered, which allowed the very temple Mr. Wei visited twice a month to be repaired.

Guanyin appears in Journey to the West where she is instructed by Gautama Buddha to search Tang China for a person to take Buddhist sutras from India back to China. It was Guanyin who found the monk Sanzang and got him to go to India for the sutras, along with getting Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie, Sha Wujing and the dragon, Yulong Santaizi,  to become disciples of Sanzang. Guanyin appears throughout Journey to the West, helping whenever her very help is needed.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival is the most important traditional Chinese holiday and it ends with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day. The next Chinese New Year is to be on February 3rd and it is only a time to get together with family to celebrate but to also remember family who have died.

The days before the New Year families buy presents, decorations, food, new clothes and have their entire houses clean. The intent of the cleaning is to clean away the bad luck and on the New Year Day it is bad luck to clean the house as it is seen as cleaning the good luck away.

On Chinese New Year there is celebration using firecrackers, lanterns, torches and bonfires to chase away the evil spirits believed to be scared off by the light and noise, with dragon and lion dances taking place throughout the first few days of the Chinese New Year.

Red envelops are a common gift around this time of year. The red of the envelop symbolizes good luck and money, with money usually an amount of a lucky number such as one containing multiple eights (as in Chinese it sound similar to “prosperity”.

Certain foods are eaten more often during the Chinese New Year, such as Year Cake and Prosperity Cake, dumplings, a salad of raw fish (known as you sheng), mandarins as they are a symbol of wealth and good fortune,  red Jujubes (or ‘Chinese Dates’) which symbolize prosperity, steamed fish as they symbolize long life and good fortune, uncut noodles during to their symbolism of longevity and baked foods with seeds to symbolize fertility. Quite a few things but that is what is eaten during Chinese New Year.

The beginning of Chinese New Year is said to have started with a fight against a beast known as the Nien.
The story goes that the Nien would come to a village on the first day of the New Year where it would eat livestock, crops and villagers (especially children), and because of this villagers would place food in front of their doors at the beginning of each year. Then one time people saw the Nien being scared away by a child wearing red and people knew it was the red that scared the beast away, so people began hanging red lanterns at the start of every New Year. People also used firecrackers to scare away the Nien. The Nien never did go back to the village, and was eventually captured by a Taoist monk by the name of Hongjun Laozu.

With fifteen days or the Chinese New Year there are much to celebrate.
The first day is of the welcoming of deities of both Heaven and earth with meat and the killing of animal often being abstained from this day. Lion and dragon dances are common this day along with fireworks. The first day is also known as the birthday of Budai, the Laughing Buddha.

The second day praying to one’s ancestors and all of the gods are occur this day. It is also the birthday of all dogs this day, so dogs are treated with extra kindness with being given an extra nice meal.

The third day is known as ‘chi kou’ which means ‘red mouth’. Nothing much happens this day as it thought to not be a good day to socialise. Nothing much happens on the fourth day, either.

The fifth day it is known as the birthday of the Chinese god of wealth, Tsai Shen Yeh, and it common to shoot off firecrackers to get the attention of the god of war, Guan Yu, for his favour and good fortune.

On the sixth day is another day of not much happenings but on the seventh day of the Chinese New Year it is known as the common mans birthday and raw fish salad is tossed.

The eighth day is when the eve of the birth of the Jade Emperor is celebrated, with the ninth day the birthday of the Jade Emperor is celebrated. Prayers to the Jade Emperor are said and offerings are given, usually of incense, tea, fruit and vegetarian food. The tenth day is also another day when the Jade Emperor is celebrated.

Sadly, nothing can be said by me for the eleventh and twelfth days… But on the thirteenth day people will tend to only eat vegetarian food and this day is dedicated to Guan Yu, the god of war. It is this day where most organization and business in China will pray to Guan Yu.

Fourteenth day nothing much again but on the fifteenth day the Lantern Festival is celebrated and candles are lit outside houses to help guide spirits home.

Chinese Zodiac: Snake

The sixth animal to appear in the Chinese zodiac is the Snake who rule over the hours of 9AM to 11AM with its direction being of south-southeast and its month being of May. The gemstone of those born under the year of the Snake is opal, their colours red and blue and the motto of the Snake is “I feel”. The latest born Snakes are of Metal Snake who were born between 24th January 2001 and 11th February of 2002, with the Water Snake being the next Snakes to be born from 10th of February 2013 and 30th of January 2014.

Snakes are born charming and with popularity, nor will they be ignored, and despite this, this is the least of what Snake’s expects. Snake’s are known for their excellent manners and for not being deliberately outspoken.

Those born under the year of the Snake don’t waste time in gossip. Snake’s are intellectuals who think often and deeply. They are fast learners and when they make a mistake they will never repeat it.

Snake’s themselves rely highly on first impressions, their own feelings and on the advice and opinions of others. These people are very capable of lying yet they do not lie often, lying only when they know they can get away with it,

Male Snake’s are romantic and charming with a sense of humour while female Snake’s are usually beautiful and successful, while they’ll be jealous and possessive of partners. Snake’s take rejection harshly as it is a strike at the ego. This is how Snake’s are with love.

Snake’s are intelligent plus highly analytical in decision making, their analytical side prevents them from jumping into situations. They are however very effective at getting things done. Snake people tend to be materialistic with a preference to have the finest things around them.

Snake’s are private people who like their quiet, and are not great at communicating. The Snake will plot and scheme if needed to make things the way they want it to be.

Snake’s are also good with money and don’t have to worry much about their finances, yet they shouldn’t gamble as they can suffer large losses if they do.

The allies of the Snake is the Rooster and Ox while their secret friend is the Monkey.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Totems: Fly

Fly totems are something I haven’t really heard about but such a totem is around. Fly totems are also considered to have courage, and people with such a totem are said to often be overconfident as well as going into danger without thinking.

The fly teaches quick action and reacting quickly to achieve results.  If you look at a game such as Assassin, quick action is needed to “kill” others and you need to react quickly to when somebody tries to “kill” you so you can win. Life can be seen as similar to Assassin seeing as quick action and quick reaction will be needed suddenly, but also useful to gain results.
The fly also teaches the ability to multiply prosperity by huge rates, and this goes well with the quick acting and responding to get results.

Flies tell of patience, detachment and of minding your own business. All three are important, patience as everyone will have to wait sometime or later for whatever reason and detachment can help seeing as you likely will not have what you possess in the future. Minding your own business is major as some people won’t and whoever has experienced others not minding their business knows how annoying it is.

The power of eyesight and extended awareness is also told of. We know of the many eyes of the fly, and the many eyes are indeed useful. Flies do have plenty of awareness making it easier to notice their surroundings.

Persistence is another lesson, and anyone who has dealt with a annoying fly knows how persistent a fly can be. Persistence is however a great lesson to learn, seeing as not giving up means it is ever more likely that you’ll get what you are after.

Flies are known to eat decaying matter, which means whatever leftovers you have make a good offering. It should be noted that flies like to feed on sugary food, so rotting fruit could make quite the offering to the fly.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Witch Ball

Witch balls are made to ward of against evil spirits, spells, illness, witches and negativity. They are hallow and traditionally they have been made of glass in the colours of green or blue but have been made out of either wood, grass or twigs. People have also traditionally hung witch balls by a window while any area in and around the house is a good place to have such an item.

The bright colours of the witch ball would attract evil spirits, however the ball itself would then capture the spirit. It is even claimed that today’s ornamental balls we see on Christmas trees originated from a person who placed a witch ball on a tree with presents under it to ward off envy.

The history of the witch ball is said to have started in the 16th or 17th century with witch balls being in the USA during the 18th century. Witch balls were even a sign of wealth in the past while today they have been given as gifts and are becoming increasingly popular.

The witch ball has been confused with gazing balls and sometimes even crystal balls. Gazing balls have been said to ward of witches, like the witch ball, which in this case the gazing ball and witch ball is connected.
The name of the witch ball is suggested to be the corruption of ‘watch ball‘.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Nine in itself seems to have a lot around it in symbolism, and it is partly due to it being the highest single digit number.

The Emperor of China has been associated with the number nine seeing as it is the greatest single digit number and the Emperor’s robes often had nine dragons. It is even said that dragons always have nine children. Not only that but in China, the number nine is a homophone for the word for “longlasting” and this number is often used in weddings due to this.

There are many cultures that have some sort of symbolism to this one number. Such as with Hebrew’s nine symbolizes pure intelligence and truth while with the Mayan’s there are nine underworlds each ruled by a god. It is even said that the Norse god Odin hung for nine days and nights on Yggdrasil to win secrets of wisdom for mankind.

Nine in itself is considered a sacred number and there is much about it. There is Cloud Nine, cats having nine lives, three multiplying by itself to give eternity, completion and fulfilment. A nine pointed star is even used by the Baha’i as the symbol of their faith.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gods And Goddesses: Huitzilopochtli

Huitzilopochtli is a sun god and the god of war. Referred to as “The Eagle” and whose name means “Hummingbird on the Left” or “Left-Handed Hummingbird”.
The goddess of the earth, Coatlicue, is said to have given birth to Huitzilopochtli (the sun) as well as Centzonhuitznahuac (the stars) and Coyolxauhqui (the moon).

Images of Huitzilopochtli usually show this god as a hummingbird or a man with a helmet of hummingbird feathers, having blue legs and arms, as well as having his lower half of his face blue while the upper half black. Huitzilopochtli images also usually depict him with a round shield and a snake.

Huitzilopochtli is the patron of the city Tenochtitlan, and a temple of the main pyramid was created for this god and many sacrifices were for Huitzilopochtli to feed him. It is said that Centzonhuitznahuac and Coyolxauhqui were jealous of Huitzilopochtli, so the “serpent of fire” was used by Huitzilopochtli to defeat  Centzonhuitznahuac and Coyolxauhqui.
From then on the stars and moon continued to battle the sun, with each sunrise considered by the Aztec’s as a victory of the sun over the moon and stars. This was why sacrifice to Huitzilopochtli was important, as he needs to feed to gain strength to defeat Centzonhuitznahuac and Coyolxauhqui during the night.

Panquetzaliztli, or The Raising of Banners, went from November 20th to December 9th and was the major festival of Huitzilopochtli, where the priests of this god would begin preparations for this festival forty days in advance. An image of Huitzilopochtli was made using seed dough, in which it would be used during the time of the festival.
Warriors who have been captured would be sacrificed to Huitzilopochtli (with those who captured the warriors fasting five days before the captives would have been sacrificed), the very people who were sacrificed would have sung and danced to those who captured them.

Another festival honoured Huitzilopochtli, Tlaxochimaco, or Birth of Flowers, went from July 23rd and August 11th where flowers would be offered to gods and ancestors. A sacrifice just for Huitzilopochtli occurred during this time.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chinese Zodiac: Dragon

The Dragon is the fifth to appear in the Chinese zodiac and is the mightiest of the signs. There hours are 7 to 9AM with the direction of east-southeast and the motto of “I reign”. The month of the Dragon is April and their birthstone is the diamond. The latest born Dragon’s were born between the 5th of February 2000 and 23rd of January of 2001, these Dragon’s are specifically known as the Fire Dragon’s and the next Dragon’s to be born are from 23rd January 2012 to the 9th of February 2013 and will be known as the Water Dragon’s.

Dragon’s themselves are usually successful and filled with ambition, unafraid of challenges and willing to take risks. Dragon’s are also passionate in what they do, and this can leave them feeling exhausted and even unfulfilled.

Dragon’s are born leaders and perfectionists. Irritable and stubborn people, too. These people are very willing to help others yet it is themselves who rarely seek help when needed. Dragon’s often have good advice and have opinions worth listening to.

These people are aggressive, intelligent and tyrannical. Dragon’s hate getting orders while fine with giving them. Dragon’s are quite the snobs, really, yet also very much loved.

The allies of the Dragon are the Monkey and Rat with the Secret Friend for the proud Dragon being the Rooster.

Friday, December 3, 2010


At school I did photography classes for two years, and this was the only time I had that class seeing as I was only offered such a class for those two years I took it. The second year I took photography classes I was told something that has stuck with me since I heard it, “Simple photographs make the best photographs.”

It really stuck with me, seeing as things don’t have to be complex to be great. Simplicity for many things doesn’t rule out greatness. You can create a garden, but a simple shape such as a square can contain many plants and in such a square nothing much has to be grown in it to make it a great garden.

Look at all the simple things in life, and people do love such things. It is the simple pleasures people love, and who wouldn’t? It can even be said that its the simple things that make life great. Life in itself is amazing, both the simple and the complex, people just seem to love the simple more then the complex.

Totems: Scorpion

Scorpions are obviously the sign of the star sign Scorpio, which I personally fall under and because of this it has given me some interest in scorpions yet my knowledge is very limited on such a creature.

The scorpion totem teaches about always being prepared to deal with tough times, such as with your environment. The scorpion is also a creature of self-defence, being able to defend oneself and knowing a thing or two to defend oneself can not only be a good lesson to learn but a needed lesson.

Death is yet another lesson but rebirth is needed to transform, to become a better person, wiser or stronger.

Scorpions are solitary creatures, and it just goes to show that being a solitary person isn’t a bad thing. While it is true you can learn a lot around others, a lot can also be learnt on your own. Such a lesson shouldn’t be passed, as if one can learn to be able to learn on their own, it can help the person greatly when they only have themselves to learn.

When offering to scorpion it might be of insects, crickets, small pieces of meat, but also of  water. It should be noting what kind of scorpion your totem is, seeing as many kinds of scorpions do not drink water so the offering of water may be improper.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rain, Thunder and Lightning

Since it has been raining earlier for me and has started raining again, along with the start of thunder and lightning, it got me thinking about the symbolism of rain. For me it is a nourishing force of nature, and that is all it really is for me while with thunder and lightning, I don’t really know what to think of it.

Then again, for many people who are not farmers rain is seen as an annoyance instead of a nourishing force since it can ruin a planned day, but it can also be seen as very needed do to drought. Rain itself can be seen as a symbol of Heaven’s tears, but also for sorrow and anger.  Rain also symbolizes cleansing but physically and mentally.

With thunder and lightning, it is seen as a symbol of Zeus by the ancient Greeks and likely it is the same of many people to this day. Union of the skies and of the earth is another symbol of thunder and lightning. A bolt of lightning tells of the loss of ignorance and punishment of humans by gods.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Summer Time

As a kid I personally didn’t have much, the thing I got on the very first Easter I lived through was a teddy bear. Now, eighteen years later this very teddy bear has a green jumper made of wool created by my mother and still has its red and green hat that stays very much put on his right ear.

I came to call this teddy bear by the name of Bear and what always has interested me is that despite being a gift from my father the first Easter I was around to see, it has a hat of red and green, colours of Christmas.
And I have to say, the very teddy bear I was given on an Easter day many years ago serves to me a good reminder of Christmas and those hot summer days many have to deal with.

Now it is getting to hotter days and I am already not liking the heat. I do like the fact that the plants I am trying to grow are getting plenty of sunlight and plenty of rain, that is an upside at least. A number of seedlings I am trying to grow are doing great, a few that appears to be catnip that I had no luck growing last year.


Yellow itself is a warm colour, and a highly visible colour making it useful for hazard signs and emergency vehicles. This colour tells of happiness and joy yet cowardice and deceit.

In Egypt yellow is the colour of mourning, and interestingly, actors in the Middle Ages wore yellow to signify the dead. For Japan, yellow represents courage, in India this colour is of merchants and in China yellow is the imperial colour.

Yellow is also the colour of the 3rd chakra known as the Solar Plexus, yet also at the same time associated with the element of fire and such things as wisdom, joy, happiness, enlightenment and optimism.

Yellow has been used to indicate honour and loyalty yet people see yellow as the colour of cowards. Dull yellow itself represents such things as caution, sickness and jealously.