understanding solitude

The Seriousness of Solitude

I was brought to tears this morning by the most surprising of lines in a book: “I see more and more that solitude is not something to play with. It is deadly serious. And much as I have wanted it, I have not been serious enough. It is not enough to ‘like solitude,’ or love it even. Even if you ‘like’ it, it can wreck you, I believe, if you desire it for your own sake.” – Thomas Merton in…

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seeker archetype

The Seeker Archetype

It is no surprise that the seeker archetype is one of the most difficult to define. Pinning down this roving icon becomes even more complicated the longer one spends following her this way and that like the seed of a dandelion cast on the wind. The Seeker Archetype Searches for Truth The seeker archetype is looking for a thing, a feeling, a knowing, an experience called truth. This is not truth with a lowercase t mind you, but Truth with a capital T. Concrete physical facts…

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shamanism beliefs

Do Shamanism Beliefs and Other Religious Beliefs Mix?

Shamanism as a Container Unlike organized religions that tell you exactly what to believe, precisely when to worship, and literally how to talk to God, the practice of shamanism does not fill our worlds with things to do and think. I like to use the metaphor of a container, be it a bowl, vase, or basket, that holds our beliefs. Shamanism is that bowl. It is our hands cupped and open, ready to receive whatever we choose to fill them…

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bat symbolism

Spirit Animals: BAT BRAVERY

The vast majority of people are frightened, if at the very least trepidatious, when encountering bats. For some, the mere mention of a bat sends them into a panic Conservationists have been working for decades to dispel the terrifying myths about bats and to bring humans into a greater appreciation of these flying mammals. Bats work wonders for an ecosystem keeping dangerous crop pest insects in check and producing great agricultural fertilizer in the form of guano. Still, despite the best…

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archetypal hero archetype

The Hero Archetype

The hero archetype is one of the most recognizable archetypes in literature, film, television and video games. It seems that any compelling story has a hero of some flavor that is easy to name. Here are twenty real-life and fictional hero archetype examples: Superman, King Arthur, Joan of Arc, Luke Skywalker, Rocky, Hercules, Spiderman, Harry Potter, Wonder Woman, Wolverine, Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games), Neo (The Matrix), Rosa Parks, Frodo, Daniel LaRusso (Karate Kid), William Wallace (Braveheart), Dorothy Gale (Wizard of Oz), Moses,…

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spirit animal squirrel meaning


Squirrels are members of the family Sciuridae and are characterized by slender bodies, longer back legs, and a long, expressive bushy tail. The name squirrel is derived from the Ancient Greek world skiouros meaning “shadow-tailed”. There are over 265 species of squirrel worldwide, with the Eastern Gray Squirrel being the most commonly seen mammal in the United States. The family of squirrels includes not only tree squirrels but also ground squirrels, flying squirrels and chipmunks. Squirrel Meaning and Preparedness In four-season climates,…

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is shamanism a religion

Is Shamanism a Religion?

Shamanism is experiencing a great resurgence. The prevalence of shamans is on the rise. And, as everyone figures out how to pronounce shaman and shamanism (the first “a” is soft, like an “ah”), there are alternative terms adding to the confusion, “shamanistic” and “shamanist” being primary contributors. Given that many people are still getting comfortable using the words, it is no surprise that few know how to categorize shamanism. The question of “is shamanism a religion?” is a reasonable inquiry. Very strictly speaking, shamanism…

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autumnal equinox celebration

How To: Autumnal Equinox Celebration

The autumnal equinox (otherwise known as the “first day of fall”) is a turning point in the seasons when the sun reaches its zenith over the celestial equator. Or, more plainly, it comes to the midpoint in its journey from north to south. On an equinox, both the northern and southern hemispheres are equally illuminated. From the Latin word meaning equal (equi) night (-nox), the day of the equinox is a time when there is an equal amount of nighttime to…

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stacey couch red-tailed hawk

10th Anniversary: Remembering Graccia the Red-Tailed Hawk

Since the red-tailed hawk Graccia’s passing on September 17, 2005, I have noticed the coming and going of this date. It always causes me to stop and look at what is moving in my life. I am reminded to find meaning in the now like I did on that day. On the 10th anniversary of her crossing over, the date has astrological significance. Mercury is going retrograde. This means a time for reflection is coming upon us. We’ll be challenged…

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black panther symbolism black panther spirit animal


Typically, I like to stick to explaining species (such as the red-tailed hawk or barn owl) or a general group of species (such as turtle or eagle) when writing spirit animal articles, but in this case, I am making an exception. Black Panther spirit animal looms so large in our psyche and mythologies that she warrants unique treatment when considering interpretation. Is Black Panther a Jaguar or a Leopard? She can be either! Black panthers are not a distinct species, nor…

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