Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Alban Arthan, the "Light of Arthur"

In the Old World, in the Old Religion, it was common for a person to become a God or a Goddess, and for a God or Goddess to become a person. Divine attributes became Earthly powers and Earthly powers became Divine attributes. In the Old World, the Gods needed people as much as the people needed the Gods. At this time of year, and during this Yule-tide season, I’d like to talk briefly about two deities, Epona and Arthur.

Epona is the horse goddess. Known throughout the Celtic world, her center of worship was Gaul. She was also worshipped by the Romans and December 18th is her festival and feast day. She is called Rhiannon in Britain, and her name is known now as the root of the word “pony.” She was venerated by all connected to horses, like cavalry, grooms, farriers, etc and her likeness was found in stables. She can be evoked by all who need help to reach their destination, both physical and spiritual. Hanging a horseshoe over a door was to invoke protection from Epona and to be lucky by her visiting.

 The King Arthur we know now is a later manifestation of an older Celtic warrior king who became a God. His sister Morgan, and wife Guinevere, are both aspects of the Goddess. Arthur wields the divine sword of truth, Excaliber. He has all the attributes and abilities of a person who walks between the worlds. Indeed, he did not die but is alive in Avalon, having sailed on Solomon’s barge, waiting to come back to save Britain from her darkest future peril. December 21/22, the Winter Solstice is called Alban Arthan, the light of Arthur. It is also called Yule which is from Old Norse meaning “wheel,” and gives us the Old English word “jolly.”  The Winter Solstice shows the great turning of the wheel of the year. Arthur is the Mabon, the child of light, full of hope and potential, and he is the Og, the king of light, who achieves great deeds for the people. Arthur is in Tir na n’Og, the land of perpetual youth, and he is the perpetual youth. Invoke King Arthur when you need guidance, protection, strength, and courage, especially during times of great darkness, or the absences of the light!

Be safe at this time of year, both during travel and when encountering so many people. Blessed Yule!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Carleton T'ai-Chi class...THANK YOU!!!!

There is an old saying that when the student is ready the master will appear. I found this to be true in my own life. I've also found the opposite, when the teacher is ready, the students appear! Since September I've been teaching T'ai-Chi to group of 13-28 students through the Carleton College rec center. I found a group of students, who appeared, and have greatly added to my teaching enthusiasm and inspiration. A few had done T'ai-Chi  before but many of them were brand new. What I find so fascinating about this group is that they are willing to try anything! I have had them do the "Cloud Hands" posture and the "Golden Rooster Standing on One Leg" posture not only many times, but many repetitions with their eyes closed! They practice, they work, they laugh, and they truly appreciate the healing benefits of this ancient art.

Last week I was asked to come early, and before class I was treated to a holiday concert. Five members of the class (Wu Feng, the five breaths!) played instruments while the rest sang a Christmas Carol with the lyrics adapted to fit their T'ai-Chi class experience. I admit I was moved and even teary-eyed. Of course when the concert was over we went right to work. That's just the way they are. Below are the lyrics.

(To the tune of"Let it Snow")

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
But our class is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Ray's T'ai-Chi means we are improving
Because he has us moving
We're smooth and soft and slow
As we practice the moves we know.

When we finally learn the form
Then we'll know this is truly the norm
So if you'll really help me now
Then I can say " I know how!"

The class is slowly learning
And my friend, we're still a yearning
Just to do our best, and so
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Without the help and encouragement from Jane, Larry, RenĂ©e, and Mikki, I would never have found this group of amazing students. What does the future hold? For sure a demonstration at Chinese New Year…

Saturday, December 7, 2013

a follow up to my last post

I had lunch last week with Joanne Von Blon, another founding mother of Twin Cities T'ai-Chi Ch'uan Studio and a close and personal friend of Sage Cowles R.I.P. She told me one of her fondest images and memories of Sage was when Joanne and Phil and Sage and John were vacationing and backpacking in Africa. One morning Joanne got up and saw Sage practicing T'ai-Chi Sword, using a stick, in the wilds of Africa...