This poem is posted in behalf of LunaLinda Branwen, who adds this introduction: “my poem for times of change… and today, for Essell, which I have come to love so much and so very well.”

It has always been my nature
to retreat into reflection
in times of change,
and moving on.

It has always been my nature
to do things: “one last time”
to visit places I will miss
to say goodbye and even wave.

It has always been my nature
when seasons pass and time goes by
to feel a wistfulness and whimsy
for what’s to come and what’s to go.

It has always been my nature
to let go slowly, to take it easy
and move back gently
and take steps—one by one.

It has always been my nature
to take my time with change,
and know I’ll get there
slow but sure.
So, I write here in this place of endings,
one last time.

Editor’s Note: United Healers of Second Life has been working at their location on Essell Center in Second Life for some time. But this has changed, as all things must and we have built a new location to serve our changing and increasing needs. This poem is provided on the occasion of the ending of one location and the beginning of the next.

New Moon Prayer August 2012

Blood courses through our veins
Beats within our hearts
In time with the rhythm of the earth
In time with the rhythm of the ethereal spheres
In time with the music that singes through the heavens

We dance under the new moon
Connected to your heart
Connected to the hearts of others
Connected to the heart of the earth …. of the Universe

Now is the time to feel, to experience
We cannot think our way through the maze of life
We must feel our way through it
Allowing our hearts to lead us forward

The light shines around each of us
We glow with the loving energies of the Universe
We glow with the loving energies of our own hearts

We stand in the spotlight of the Leo new moon
Now it is time to celebrate
To dance to the rhythms of the Universe
Without counting the bat
Close your eyes
Throw your head back and howl at the silver sliver high above
And dance…

The Chains That Bind

We rail and strain against the chains that bind us
But the chains are bonds of our own making
We forge a new link every time we are intolerant of others
We make the chains stronger when we fail to love our brothers
We make the chains longer every time we choose convenience over truth
We harden the steel of the links with every harsh word and every lie
We tighten the chains around our hearts with every injustice, every act of aggression
These chains were easily and thoughtlessly made but with a little thought can be easily broken.

You see no man can enslave a soul that refuses to be enslaved
No system can chain a spirit that insists on soaring
No rules can bind a heart that refuses to be bound
The keys to breaking the chains that bind us are ours from birth, we have only to choose to use them.

What are the keys?

Tolerance
Justice
Truth
Brotherhood
Sense of self
Respect for others
Peace
Love

Search your heart for the keys, find them – use them – set yourself free of the chains that bind.

Copyright 2012 ConnieJean Maven (and the person writing under this pen name)

Midsummer and New Moon

This midsummer we are joined in a celebration of life
Things come to fruition in their own time
Seeds sown at Beltane have taken root and sprouted
Intentions set then may be coming to fruition in the warmth of the summer sun
The sun the moon, the earth are round
Life moves in circles of days, seasons, years, ages
We honor life by casting a circle within our hearts
A circle that creates a space for celebration of the Divine
And separates us from the mundane cares and concerns of our lives.

We come together to celebrate the power of Grandfather Sun, the newness of Grandmother moon
We ask the goddess Psyche and the god Apollo
to join us as we celebrate both sun and moon as they ride across the sky
In the never ending rhythm of life.
The natural and divine powers of the east, south, west and north – air, fire, water, and earth
Join us in our dance of celebration
As we celebrate the cycles, the endless connectedness of all things, all beings, all life

This is the new moon of the deep psyche
And Psyche is the goddess of the soul, while Apollo is the sun god whose chariot pulls the sun across the sky
Follow Psyche into your soul to find the truest dreams of your heart
Throw those dreams to the universe
And let Apollo carry you and your dreams across the sky
Come dance in celebration of dreams come true
Those which have already come true
Those coming true with each moment we live
And those yet to manifest in our lives.

And now dance with us, with the fairies and the elves who abound in the world on this midsummer
night this most magickal night of the year.
Come hear the music of your soul … and dance.

Copyright 2012 ConnieJean Maven (and the person writing under this pen name)

Angels Singing in our Hearts

We are born to live a magickal life
A life of mythic proportions
No matter how we choose to manifest that magick

We enter this life floating on a sea of Universal love — the angels singing in our hearts
As children we know the magick well
We know the imaginary friends grownups can’t see are
magickal creatures sent to keep company and bear witness

For some, worldly concerns overtake and overshadow the magick
For a blessed few the magick remains real
And we live the magickal, mythical lives we were born to.

We are one with the magick
We see the mystery and wonder in every breath, every leaf, every being
Each of us is borne up and beloved by the Universe

We live our magickal lives of mythic proportions
No matter the outward appearance
We know … those who love us know … and that is enough
        
And when the time comes for us to move on
To cross from this life into another
We are carried out on a sea of Universal love — the angels singing our our hearts.

Memorial for Deirdre McIntyre, who passed from this world to the next on June 3, 2012

Copyright 2012 ConnieJean Maven (and the person writing under this pen name)

Fundraising for Michael J. Fox Foundation in Second Life

The Michael J. Fox Foundations for Parkinson’s Research was founded in 2000 by actor, Michael J. Fox, who himself has been diagnosed with the disease. The mission of the Foundation is “finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today.” To date they have raised about $289 million either directly or through partnerships.

On Saturday, May 19, 2012 we will celebrate the grand opening of the “Creations For Parkinson’s- Team Fox For The Michael J Fox Foundation For Parkinson’s Research” sim in Second Life (SL).

This project was begun by two SL residents who, after 2 years in world, felt a desire to give meaning and purpose to the hours they spend in-world. Their father died with Parkinson’s and their mother has it now. To quote her, “I may have Parkinson’s, but it does not have me.” At 85 years young, she has entered Second Life and is thrilled to see herself running and dancing again.

100% of donations and income goes to The Michael J. Fox Foundation. There is no overhead, no administrative fees, no salaries. All expenses for operating this permanent fundraising location are covered by their family.

Those of us in Second Life can have fun while knowing we are making a difference in the real world. Those who are affected by Parkinson’s can learn about SL, a world where they can be free of physical limitations.

The residents of second life have a long history of support for charitable organizations, including the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, where upwards of $250,000 USD in donations for this cause are raised every year.

The “Creations for Parkinson’s – Team Fox” joins this tradition of giving. Residents of Second Life can participate in the giving … and in this grand opening celebration … at Creations For Parkinson’s, Solace Lake (89, 163, 40). Others can make a monetary donation via the MJFF web site at http://www2.michaeljfox.org/site/TR/TeamFox/TeamFox?px=1006572&pg=personal&fr_id=1053. (Please copy and paste the URL to go to the donations website. Thank you.)

May 5-6 Full Moon in Scorpio

This is a brief introduction and invocation for this full moon in Scorpio:

Moon of enlightenment, the birth of the Buddha
Shine down upon us
Illuminate the truth for us
Surround us with light that we may go within
To ask and answer the questions closest to our heart
As you shine upon us from a place closest to our Earth
Give us the courage to see and accept truths we already know
Each of us is a gift, a vital part of the circle of life.
We are not spare parts, none can replace us.

I know, you know, we know,
the most important truths about ourselves.
Who I am
What my purpose is
What empowers me
The truest desires of my heart
The passions that burn within me
The way to achieving all that I seek

This full moon in Scorpio draws us to these questions
and lights our way to our own truths.

It celebrates the birth and enlightenment of the Buddha
And will show us the way to personal enlightenment
as it celebrates his

Oh, and lest we forget,
This is the fae full moon
That follows Beltane
The gate between the fae and the mortal worlds still swings freely.
Shhhh now.
Listen carefully and you may hear the whisper of wings
or a sparkling gilded giggle.
You may feel fairie fingers brush your cheek
Or the breath of the fae upon your brow.
Magick surrounds us. We are magick.
May the magick of this full moon fill your heart and light your way to the truth.

Copyright 2012 ConnieJean Maven (and the person writing under this pen name).

Second Life from the Advaita perspective.

Posted on behalf of Hamlet Graves, a sometime spiritual seeker, and general traveller on SL.

I should perhaps say something about Advaita before launching into a dialogue about its relation to Second Life. So, deep breath, I will attempt to summarise Advaita Vedanta and perhaps dispel some false notions about it. Advaita is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘not two’. It is a means of knowledge, and some would argue, a science, rooted in the tenet of unitary consciousness. Whilst the manifest world consists of multifarious forms and objects each with varying levels of awareness, relevance and particular qualities, Advaita asks us to step back and consider the nature of these manifestations, a pursuit known as self-enquiry. Conventionally we seek happiness from externalities such as possession of certain objects, relationships, and experiences. But when we look closely we find that these externalities are not in themselves sources of happiness, but rather the interaction with them, temporarily at least, causes desire to subside, and in so doing allows the bliss that is in fact there all the time, to prevail. Let us take a simple example; you desire a car, you need this car for whatever reason, whilst you do not have this transportational object desire gnaws at you like a hungry rat. One day you get the car, the desire is satisfied, you drive away feeling ten feet tall. However, the car itself did not contain the happiness; it was the fact that desire was alleviated that allowed the pervading happiness within to be revealed. One experiences bliss in deep meditation, not because the meditation put it there, but because the habitual mental activities which obscure the light are attenuated. Relationships have a similar paradigm, although there is not room in this essay to discuss them here.

In order to resolve the conundrum of the seeming plurality of existence, Advaita expounds the science of mind and its role in perception and experience in order to disabuse us of the illusion of subject-object predicated universe. These teachings are known collectively as the Upanishads and consist of many texts, some dating back thousands of years. There are however a core of a dozen or so ‘Sruti’, or ‘revealed truths’ which contain the essence of Advaita. Put simply: you are consciousness. Self-realisation is the understanding of this fact. Whilst it may seem glib to phrase it thus, let me first say that enlightenment will not dawn simply on hearing the words ‘you are consciousnesses’. The reason being that mind needs to be prepared first. This is what has brought Adavita into disrepute because certain pundits have sold the Advaita ticket without the attendant work that needs to be done. When you work towards enlightenment, certain experiences and epiphanies can occur which ‘point the way’ as it were. These are useful, but not a goal in themselves, because they exist in time and always end. Enlightenment dawns when the knowledge of one’s true nature is comprehended. At this point there is a shift in mental view and the appreciation that all existence is a manifestation of one’s self prevails.

How does this all relate to second life? SL ‘works’ because reality is non-dual. All experience is mediated through the mind. So whether you are in ‘RL’ or ‘SL’ it makes no difference, mind is the gatekeeper. It is all real in as much as whatever is perceived is simply forms of you, consciousness, manifesting via the senses with mind resolving the inputs into a composite whole. SL acts as a catalyst so that people with non-dualistic tendencies pick up vibrational energies, which are themsleves subtle emanations which sustain the illusion. If you stubbornly adhere to the view that you are an individuated entity with your own consciousness you will probably wonder what all the fuss is about with SL. However because reality IS non-dual, even those with dualistic notions start to appreciate that different areas in SL have certain ‘energies’, even though, ‘rationally speaking’, the scene is nothing but a projection of a digital landscape from a server a long way away. So what we find is the spiritually astute SL user picks up resonances straight away, how did they arrive so quickly? Because … because … you are non dual consciousness, time and distance are you, but you are not time and distance and you are not limited by them. The only limitation is the idea of yourself.

The final manifestation is a world in which, people come together and play or work whilst apparently separated by great distance. From the mind-view, by which I mean the SL user’s point of view, it is potentially immediate. Yes, there is a large body of users whose interaction in SL is, shall we say, superficial. If you explore the spiritual side of SL, however, you will be amazed at what you pick up. Meditations, healings, channelings, tantra will all relay an experience which is at odds with the supposed ‘reality’. One should perhaps voice a caveat here. Care is needed in selecting with whom one associates. Just as interaction with elevated souls will provide a positive experience, associating with beings with a crudifying or perverted nature, can, if one is not vigilant, cloud the mind. The wise acknowledge that there is no difference between ‘real life’ and ‘second life’. The fact that it is generally called real life, rather than first life points to a common misunderstanding. You cannot walk away from a second life experience without it affecting first life. And what you do in first life governs what you bring to second life. Once again, non duality causes us to take stock. The unity of all things and the apparent plurality are brought into sharp focus in SL. It is unregulated by internal physical laws, and as such, does not have their attendant latency. Mind is free, free to enjoy the pains, pleasures and experiences of the subtle world. How far are you from your mind?

Beltane – May Day – May 1

In ancient traditions, Beltane is the time when handfastings (weddings of a sort) took place. When a couple was handfasted the marriage was for a year and a day. If at the end of that time they wished to continue the marriage became permanent. If, however, they did not conceive a child (in some traditions) or simply found they no longer wished to continue, the marriage was effectively annulled and each went on.

Beltane is a time for honoring fertility and I offer you this invocation for Beltane in celebration of this time of the year.

A Beltane Invocation:

Beltane is the traditional time of joining, of honoring fertility
We honor fertility of the earth, of the spirit, of the body, of the soul, and of heart, and of the mind.
The 13 colors of the handfasting ribbons tell us all we need to know about Beltane
As in life some colors or events are vivid and exciting
Red for passion, strength, lust, and fertility
Orange symbolizes encouragement, attraction, kindness, and plenty
Yellow is the color of charm, confidence, joy, and balance
Green denotes fertility, charity, prosperity, and health
In blue we see tranquility, patience, devotion, and sincerity
Purple stands for power, piety, sanctity, and sentimentality
Pink is for unity, honor, truth, romance, and happiness
Still others are deemed more precious and valuable
Gold for energy, wealth, intelligence, and longevity
Silver symbolizing treasure, values, creativity, and inspiration
And still others seem to be mundane and dull, perhaps even boring
Black for strength, wisdom, vision, and success
White symbolizes purity, concentration, meditation, and peace
Gray is about neutrality, canceling, and balance,
While Brown gives us the earth, our home and all this means to us
For success in a joining, in a life, in a celebration we must have a balance of all
We must learn to value all for each plays a part in our living, in our growing
I give you the colors of Beltane,
I give you the joy, the color, the harmony … the fertility … of Beltane
May it give you all you need to be fertile in all areas of your life.

Copyright 2012 ConnieJean Maven (and the person writing under this pen name)

Earth Healing Meditation

This is a meditation for healing of ourselves, our loved ones and our earth.

This weekend I invite you to join me in a special healing meditation. Both the sun and moon are in Taurus, the first of the earth signs. And this weekend like-minded people around the globe celebrate earth day.

Now is a good time for us to reconnect with our mother earth in a significant way, healing her and ourselves as we do this.

In a moment I will ask you to think of your healing intentions, but for now just breathe. Relax and feel the rhythm of your heart, of your pulse, of your breath.

This is the rhythm of the earth, the rhythm of the Universe, the rhythm of life. Just breathe. Be mindful of these things and allow yourself to settle into a natural rhythm of breathing — neither deep nor shallow, fast nor slow. Just peaceful … mindful … relaxed.

Breathing mindfully clears us of unwanted energy and brings in the fresh, healing energy of the Universe. Focus on this for just a moment. Just breathe … feel … live … and be healed.

Breathing mindfully also centers us in time and in space. I invite you to center yourself in time by being fully present in each moment as it passes, fully invested in each breath.

And now I invite you to center in space. First center yourself in the physical space occupied by your body.

Now go beyond that, go within and center your energy in your internal space. With each breath seek your own internal center, that place where your energy feels most comfortable and peaceful. Center yourself there when you find it.>>

Now is a time for grounding, for reconnecting with the earth, with the source of all. It is also a time for opening to the divine, knowing that all energy flows in a continuous spiral with no beginning and no end.

April means to open in Latin. I invite you now to open your mind, open your heart, open your spirit. Hear the lullaby of the earth as she gives birth to the abundance of spring.

Open your heart to love as you feel the love of the Universe, the love of all of those around us. We are beings of light and love. Open to the love so that you can take it in and then share it with all.

This is the time for new growth and for flowering, and so I invite you to breathe thoughtfully and completely. As you breathe in, feel the clean, fresh air filling your whole body.

As you breathe slowly out, feel the worries and problems of your everyday life, your mundane existence dropping away, through your feet into the Earth.

Feel your connection to the earth. Feel the energy collecting in your feet and then traveling out through the soles of your feet.

Feel the energy grow down into the earth, as roots. Feel the roots travel down through the earth, past rocks, through water, perhaps mingling with the roots of those around you.

From these roots we will grow and flower. The roots continue down and down until they reach the deep well of cool fresh energy offered by the earth.

Find that energy and begin to draw it up through these roots, allowing it to rise through you like refreshing water.

Feel this energy of life and rebirth come through your feet and draw it into yourself.

Draw it up through your chakras … root … sacral … solar plexus … heart … throat … and brow, finally reaching the crown chakra and connecting us to the divine.

The energy of the crown chakra is like a thousand petaled lotus. Feel the energy you are drawing up from the earth feed and open this flower, allowing you to connect freely and openly to all that is divine.

Feel each petal open and unfurl. Know that each has its own special vibration of love and life and together they sing a harmonic song of life and healing and unconditional love.

Know that even as you are one with the source, you are one with the divine, and one with all things.

Now that you are firmly reconnected to our source in mother earth and joined with the divine, I invite you to hold in heart thought the names of any healing requests you may have.

Feel these intentions flow out of your crown chakra as water from a fountain spraying your wishes and intentions high into the Universe.

Know that the Universe will catch this love, these intentions and spread them high, far, and wide, until all the beings are resonating with you, reflecting your love and your intention.

This love, this intention, this healing energy is deep enough, broad enough, high enough, strong enough, sweet enough to nurture and heal the entire Universe. No one is missed — no one is excluded.

Hear the siren song of the Universe luring you to love, healing and unity. Now know that all of those for whom we seek healing … all of those in need … hear the same song and answer to its call.

Know also that the earth hears this song of love, even as the oceans hear the songs of the whales and the laughter of the dolphins. We are one with the whales and the dolphins, one with all things, one with all beings, one with the Universe.

As we love and heal ourselves, we love and heal others, our earth, and our universe.

As always, but never more than at this time, we offer healing love to our mother earth, for her sustenance and health, and for healing of the damage done by natural and man made catastrophes around the globe.

See the fountain of love and energy pouring upwards through your crown chakra spreading out to join with the outpourings of all us to cover every part of the universe where humans, animals and other beings have been injured, sickened or killed.

Know that this fountain of light touches every being. It flows with our gratitude for the work being done to help those in need. It flows with gratitude for every improvement that has occurred, no matter how large or small.

It pours over the global environment, healing the earth, the air, and the water.

This fountain of love that has welled up from source through you and into the Universe also flows over those who have caused man made tragedies whether accidentally or deliberately through their their foolishness, insecurity, anger, fear, ignorance, greed, or their unwillingness or inability to be good stewards of the earth and their fellow beings.

Hold them, hold us all, in heart thought as this never ending fountain of love and forgiveness pours over us all — see us gaining peace and wisdom, remembering that there is no them and us, there is only us.<<<

Pause for a few moments now. Feel the light and love coming up from source through you, grounding you and connecting you to the divine. Know that this fountain of energy flows up and out pouring over us all, healing us and filling us with love. Breathe … open your heart. Let the love, the healing and forgiveness in.

Now see this flowing fountain gradually slowing and stopping the visible flow. The world is and will continue to be bathed in this love long after we stop the active flow of energy … long after we part company.

Take your time. Let the flow up through your crown chakra gradually stop. The flow is at your brow chakra now, down to your throat, down to your heart.

Now it pulls back to your solar plexus chakra, then your sacral chakra and finally to your root chakra.

We stop our work now, with gratitude for being allowed to participate in this healing, for being able to participate in this healing of our loved ones, our planet and all of her inhabitants.

Take that peace and knowledge of this grounding and this connection with the divine with you wherever you go, whatever you do this earth day weekend.

Many blessings and much love. Namaste.

Copyright 2012 ConnieJean Maven (and the person writing under this pen name)

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