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Archive for the ‘Blessing/Prayers’ Category

Rev. Annika blesses the family's pet

Rev. Annika blessing a family’s pet dog

This Friday October 4th is World Animal Day and the Feast of St. Francis. World Animal Day, a day dedicated to honoring, blessing, and protecting animals all over the world.  World Animal Day was founded at an ecologist’s convention in Florence, Italy in 1931 as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species.  October 4th was chosen as World Animal Day because it is also the Feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, a well-known Catholic Church holiday often celebrated with a “blessing of the pets”.  Since then, World Animal Day has grown to encompass all kinds of animal life and has been widely celebrated around the world. Churches, synagogues in many faiths traditions as well as many animal organizations have adopted “Pet Blessing Day” or “World Animal Day” in increasing numbers every year and celebrate it on or close to that date. Here is an article from one of the biggest “blessing of the animals” in NYC at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in 2012.

St. Francis with his beloved animals

Our pets give us so much unconditional love, isn’t wonderful that there is a day to bless and honor them!  I have included here a short blessing that you can insert your pet’s name and bless them on your own on Friday:

“________________, WE LOVE YOU, WE BLESS YOU, WE APPRECIATE YOU & WE BEHOLD THE LOVING SPIRIT WITHIN YOU. MAY YOU BE BLESSED WITH A LONG LIFE, GOOD HEALTH &  A SAFE HAPPY HOME. WE ACKNOWLEDGE YOU AS A GIFT TO US AND WE THANK THE SPIRIT OF LIFE FOR THE BOUNTIFUL BLESSINGS BESTOWED ON YOU TODAY.”

If you would like an in person blessing for your pet search the internet for Animal/Pet Blessings in your local area. If you can’t find one or you would like me to send your pet a silent blessing, please like Heartlight Peace Ministries’ Facebook page and go to the photo of St. Francis and add your pet’s name along with the type of animal he/she is.

If you would like to do something extra special for your pet, you might want to consider having a sacred pet reading for your beloved animal companion. For more info, visit my animal services on my business website: Heart and Soul Weddings & Events.

Blessings to all who take care of the animals as well!

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581152_10151852602808221_2042540918_nToday is International Day of Peace. I hope you will join me today in honoring this day –for no matter what our beliefs, peace is one of the common threads that create unity between us. We just have to remember that peace is available to us each and every moment.

This is  a day where the focus on peace is for the entire world, yet I believe peace begins with each of us. That’s why I so love the song: Let there Be Peace on Earth (click on the song title for a you tube video with the song.)  Also these words by Lao Tsu, a 6th Century Chinese Philosopher also emphasizes that if we want peace in our world peace must start within our own homes and hearts.

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

One of the simplest ways to find inner peace is through your breath and a smile. Here is a calming poem  by Thich Nhat Hahn.  I have never met Thich Nhat Hahn, yet I consider him one of my spiritual teachers.  His passion for peace, so resonates with me.  I find it amazing how speaking four lines, focusing on a  basic body function and making a sweet facial expression can center me in seconds! Recite these words as you focus on your breath and take a moment to smile:

Breathing in, I calm my body. 
Breathing out, I smile. 
Dwelling in the present moment 
I know this is a wonderful moment.

Mother_teresa

Peace and Blessings to One and All!

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Labor Day

This picture depicts how Labor Day’s was celebrated in earlier times. The First Labor Day was celebrated in New York City in 1882.  “Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September, that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. It was first nationally recognized in 1894 to placate unionists following the Pullman Strike. With the decline in union membership, the holiday is generally viewed as a time for barbeques and the end of summer vacations.” (Source Wikapedia)  For more info visit: History of Labor Day.

I see Labor Day as a day to give thanks. Both, in giving thanks for what we have received from being a worker as  well as what the summer has given to us. I give thanks for:

  • Having the right to choose how I work.
  • For all the hot summer days and not having to wear layers of clothing like I do in the winter.
  • The gifts and abilities that I passionately share with others.
  • Pink Lillies (3)The  colorful gardens, I  took in with all my senses on my walks this summer.
  • The abundance I receive from the wages I earn and the appreciation  I receive from those I help.
  • The seaon’s bounty of fresh fruit and vegetable that were so yummy.
  • The options of health and other related insurance that I have.
  • Walking  the beach at night and watching the moon rise over the ocean.
  • For the contributions all worker make to helping “our world go round”.
  • Sharing the fun of summer with friends like going swimming and having BBQs.

Another way to give thanks is just by celebrating with your annual Labor Day rituals. Here is an article that lists some of the more traditional ways to honor this holiday: Labor Day Traditions. Whatever you choose to do for this Labor Day Weekend, please be safe and enjoy the company of those you are with.

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May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
– Irish Blessing

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God our Creator, we pray:
for new mothers, coming to terms with new responsibility;
for expectant mothers, wondering and waiting;
for those who are tired, stressed or depressed;
for those who struggle to balance the tasks of work and family;
for those who are unable to feed their children due to poverty;
for those whose children have physical, mental or emotional disabilities;
for those who have children they do not want;
for those who raise children on their own;
for those who have lost a child;
for those who care for the children of others;
for those whose children have left home;
and for those whose desire to be a mother has not been fulfilled.
Bless all mothers, that their love may be deep and tender,
and that they may lead their children to know and do what is good,
living not for themselves alone, but for God and for others.
Amen.

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On this last morning of winter, I went to a vernal equinox sunrise ceremony at the Sun Circle at Beach Bluff Park in Swampscott, MA. I was inspired to share a Spring Blessing for the ceremony, but  first started off with a moment of silence to remember all that has transpired over the winter months. Even though I know I have seen tougher winters with more snow, this season seemed to be harder than those in more recent past.

This is what I shared with those at this morning’s ceremony:

Let us bow our heads and thank Spirit that we made it through another winter. We have survived the snows, the fires (we recently had two big fires on the Northshore in MA), illnesses, as well as the overwhelm from not knowing what to do about all of the protests, wars and natural disasters that are happening around the world. As we give thanks for all that we are, all that we have and all that we share, let us remember and send healing in this moment to those who are suffering on this planet. (moment of silence)

As we move out of winter, I see Spring as a time to bless our earthly life and all that it represents. Mother Earth is awakening from a deep slumber. We are connected to her cycles and now have an opportunity to renew. Let go, release the old. Come out of the darkness and start a new. I was very excited this past week to see signs of Spring all around me. I give thanks for the crocuses that have bloomed just as the snow melted. I also give thanks for the two robins that I saw flying about and the tiny leaf buds that are emerging on many tree branches. Oh and how could I forget, I give thanks for the miracle of seeing some dwarf daffodils already in full bloom.

I then read the following Spring blessing, which I adapted to make it more secular from Joyce Rupp and Macrena Wiederkehr’s book Circle of Life.

A Spring Blessing

Blessed are you, spring,
bright season of life awakening.
You gladden our hearts
with opening buds and returning leaves
as you put on your robes of splendor.

Blessed are you, spring.
In you is a life no death can destroy.
As you exchange places with winter
you harbor no unforgiving spirit
for broken tree limbs and frozen buds.

Blessed are you, spring.
You open the closed buds of our despair
as you journey with us
to the flowering places.

Blessed are you, spring.
You invite us to sing songs
to the frozen regions within
and to bless the lessons of winter
as we become your partner in a new dance.

Blessed are you, spring.
you call to us to shed our winter’s cloak
to come out and experience life more openly.

Blessed are you, spring,
free gift of the earth.
Without cost we gaze upon your beauty.
You bring inspiration and faith
to the poor and rich alike.

Blessed are you, spring.
Your renewing rain showers and cathartic storms
nurture the potential that sleeps in Earth’s heart
and in our own human hearts.

Blessed are you, spring,
season of rebirth, a call to wake up and rejoice
as you rise up out of the cold dark earth
leaving around you a wake of new life.

Blessed are you, spring,
miracle child of the four seasons.
With your wand of many colors
you work magic in the corners of our darkness.

Blessed are you, spring,
season of hope and renewal.
Wordless poem about all within us
that can never die.
Each year you amaze us
with the miracle of returning life.

May the Spirit of the Seasons guide you to new life as we welcome in the joys of Spring!

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A Prayer for Spring

from Leunig’s A Common Prayer:

Dear God/Spirit,

We celebrate spring’s returning

and the rejuvenation of the natural world.

Let us be moved by this vast and gentle insistence

that goodness shall return,

that warmth and life shall succeed,

and help us to understand our place within this miracle.

Let us see that as a bird builds its nest,

bravely,

with bits and pieces,

so we must build human faith.

It is a simple duty;

it is our highest art;

it is our natural and vital role

within the miracle of spring:

the creation of faith.

Amen.

Lent’s Ancient Roots?

I found some of the info for this article regarding the history of Lent on the internet earlier this week on a couple of “Restored Church of God” sites. Some of the info also came from dictionary sites that explain the meaning of the word lent. I did not do a lot of research on the background on this topic, but feel there is truth that Lent’s traditions come from pagan roots just as with other christian holy days.

Coming from the Anglo-Saxon Lencten, meaning “spring,” Lent originated in the ancient Babylonian mystery religion. “The forty days abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshipers of the Babylonian goddess…Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz…” (The Two Babylons).

The Feast of Tammuz was usually celebrated in June (also called the “month of the festival of Tammuz”). Lent was held 40 days before the feast, “celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing”. This is why Lent means “spring”; it took place from spring to early summer.

But why did the church at Rome institute such a pagan holiday?

“To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated, and, by a complicated but skillful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity….. to shake hands” (The Two Babylons).

The Roman church replaced Passover with Easter, moving the pagan Feast of Tammuz to early spring, “Christianizing” it. Lent moved with it.

Before giving up personal sins and vices during Lent, the pagans held a wild, “anything goes” celebration to make sure that they got in their share of debaucheries and perversities—which is how many folks today have come to celebrate Mardi Gras . In some countries such as in the United Kingdom the day is often known as Pancake Day. Making and eating such foods was considered a last feast with ingredients such as sugar, fat and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during fasting associated with Lent.

Christian Lenten Traditions

I always knew Christmas and Easter traditions were connected to nature based religions, but I never thought about lent. I guess because I never thought it much of a holiday especially with all the focus on “giving things up” having grown up as a Catholic. The season of Lent for those faithful to their christian religions goes from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Christians use a variety of rituals that include solemnly marking their foreheads with ash, “fasting” (or abstaining from certain foods or physical pleasures) for 40 days. This is done to supposedly to imitate Jesus Christ’s 40-day fast in the wilderness. Some folks give up smoking. Others give up chocolate. Still others give up over-eating or cursing. When I was a child, I also had a “Lenten bank” in which I gave up part of my allowance in dimes to give to some charity. People basically vow to give up anything, as long as it prepares them for Easter.

My Lenten Springtime Rituals

Today, I still follow some Lenten rituals, but I have recreated them to honor who I am today while still acknowledging what I value from my upbringing. Since I very much honor the cycles of nature, I spend time in meditation reflecting on what I need to release to move out of winter and open up to a  new season that emphasizes rebirth and growth.

1) I usually do at least one or more 24 hour silent meditation time during Lent. Good Friday is usually a very quiet reflective day for me. I actually usually spend it in nature. For a number of years, I have been communing with nature and praying to Jesus, Mary and other christian deities on the grounds of the St. Francis Retreat Center in Andover, MA which is not too far from where I grew up.

2) I don’t give up any particular foods for Lent. During my childhood, I loved the fact that we had pizza a lot of the time on Fridays during Lent. When I am in a silent retreat, I will eat very simply. Also this year, I will do some kind of  internal cleanse since I have learned that the beginning of Spring is one of the best times to rid the body of toxins. See spring-detox-cleanse-and-recharge-for-radiant-health

3) I also have already started doing some Spring cleaning. Getting rid of old stuff (recycling books, changing beliefs about myself, ect.) and making space for all kinds of new possibilities in my life. Making clear conscious decision for you and your home can be a very uplifting and spiritual experience. See cleaning_spiritual_act.htm

4) Finally, I prefer to reflect on how I can be more “Christ like” by giving than giving up something. Tomorrow I will meditate on where I will focus my energies to be of service for the next 40 days. Here is a website that shares ideas on how to live life more fully during lent by giving: about.html

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Do you want more peace in your home or business? Wouldn’t you want your home or workplace to attract only the highest and best energies to live or work in an environment that feels good to be in? In these times of an over loaded housing market, falling real estate values, …doesn’t it make sense to do all you can to present an environment clear of negative energy to prospective buyers? Read on to find out how a house blessing or space clearing may help you. This is one of my favorite ways to be of service to others. I’m always amazed at the results it brings!   – Blessings, Rev. Annika

Irish House Blessing

“God bless the corners of this house and be the lintel blessed:
and bless the hearth and bless the board and bless each place of rest;
bless each door that opens wide to strangers and to kin;
and bless each crystal windowpane that lets the sunshine in.
And bless the rooftree overhead and every sturdy wall.
The peace of man, the peace of God, the peace of love to all.”

House blessings have been around for a long time. Yet like many things today, house blessing have changed to encompass the demands of modern day living. You may remember when the parish priest/minister came over to your family’s home many years ago; or read stories about shamans and others from long ago, who connected with the land, and worked with the energy in a specific space. House Blessings are still done today by priests and ministers in local churches, though it is not a service that is widely publicized. Interestingly, a new group of practitioners is also now available to offer these blessings and more. Lay people who have studied feng shui  or psychics with spiritual knowledge can provide similar services. Feng shui means “wind & water” and is the ancient science of balancing the elements within the environment. Generally, blessings and space clearings for a new house, business, property or for an already existing home/space are utilized to create a more positive thriving, energetically flowing living/working environment.

Why have a blessing for your home/business?
Our homes have always been regarded as havens, sanctuaries for our families. The home is our castle. Today many Americans spend a lot more time at work. Many folks even have their businesses in their homes. So many influences are entering our homes and businesses through our computers, televisions and even visitors. As a global society, countless hands have already touched most objects we bring into our house or place of work. Our world is a constant flux, a buzz of electricity, radio waves and the energy of everything surrounding us — all of which is created through our thoughts, emotions and actions.

Most people want their home to be their sanctuary but many people cannot always leave the outside energies of world behind. We tend to bring in energies we pick-up from walking on a busy city street, the emotions felt from a customer who yells and the stress from an unfinished “to do” list. One client had unbalanced energies coming into her home where all her outside electric service was connected to her house. She also had a very unhappy and confused relative who had stayed with her for several weeks. It was as if a dark cloud was hung in the room in her home where he stayed.
The good news is that we can also bring good energies into our homes and businesses to counteract the stressful energies. We can bring in a beautiful piece of art or our happy feelings from having experienced a great day. For getting rid of stuck energies, space clearings work at a subtle level to clear negative or stale energies from a house/business. Blessings for a home or space are where we would ask for protection of our sanctuary and bring in more sacred energies. For the client I just mentioned, in clearing the space, I brought in crystals to hold positive vibrations in certain places in the home. I also instructed her on some feng shui tips for keeping energy flowing through her home.

Energy clearings can be done for places of work as well as one’s residence. This can be highly beneficial for workplaces where there are high levels of stress and other tensions. For instance, I have blessed and cleared yoga studios for owners whose intentions were to maintain the highest level of harmonious energies for their growing clientele.

Best times for a house blessing
House blessings, in many religions and cultures are conducted from around the new year till mid spring using a variety of rituals and prayers. I remember when I was growing up that the priest would always come around the first of the year. I always thought it had to do with the new year, but recently I learned it has to do with having the home blessed during the holy days of Christmas that ends with Epiphany on January 6th. Buddhists who celebrate Chinese New Year clear out the old and bless in the new usually later in January. Some Jewish and Christians have their homes blessed during the springtime holy days of Passover and lent. In Native American and Wicca traditions, blessings are done throughout the year. Days that contain stronger energies, a full moon or a feast day, like of St. Brigid’s Day also known as “Candlemas” and Ground Hog’s Day offer the opportunity for a more powerful blessing.

Special occasions, such as moving into a new home, the start of a new business are a perfect time to celebrate and offer a blessing. These can be done anytime. When I was traveling in India, I saw “pujas” (prayer rituals) being done in the early morning at the local marketplaces to welcome the day and bring abundance to one’s business.

House blessing/clearing rituals
Some religions use holy water to bless a space while others employ a bundle of herbs such as “smudge sticks” to clear unwanted energies. Different types of symbols can be used to protect a space, such as crosses in Christian homes or mezuzah posted near front doorways in Jewish homes. There are also many different prayers and readings that can be used. As a minister of peace, my focus is not on any specific religion. My house clearings tend to lean toward ancient shamanic practices, using elements of the natural world, such as smudge sticks, crystals, sacred water and sound vibrations as well as guidance I receive.

Whatever your faith, I can customize a house/office blessing to meet your beliefs and fits your needs. When scheduling a blessing for your home, business or property, I’ll need to ask you a few questions concerning your space to discern what kind of blessing or clearing you need. I then mediate or journey to other realms to get spiritual guidance for what needs to take place to create the highest positive energy in your space. After that, we’ll pick a convenient time to carry out your blessing or clearing. Sometimes, clients can assist me with this process or I’ll receive guidance that there is a something which needs follow-up, such as a feng shui energetic remedy to facilitate the flow of more positive energy in the space.

Here is what clients have experienced from my house blessings/clearings:
“I own a three family house and one of my apartments had been vacant for over two months. After the space/land clearing, Annika said the energy around my property had changed so that now my property would attract more positive people and repel negative ones. Within a few weeks, I had new tenants! The following month, my problematic tenants of ten years, gave me notice of their leaving. I was amazed when I had new tenants with a signed lease in four days! How else can I explain it…what Annika does, really works.” – Jeff F, Boston, MA

“Annika has an incredible gift. We had been trying to sell our house for 2 years, but an oil spill on the property, though cleaned up, made the task difficult. After Annika came in the whole house felt lighter and family members noticed the change. We put the house back on the market while Annika kept us focused with her counseling and intuitive skills. Our house sold within two months as she predicted. – Cari M. N. Andover, MA

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