Category Archives: Positive Thinking

Interpreting the Runes ~ Wunjo ~ Joy ~ Light

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  — Adapted from the words of Reinhold Niebuhr

Wunjo is considered to be a positive rune and when drawn in the upright position will always represent joy and happiness coming into life. It is an excellent omen in a reading. A shift, that was due, has occurred and the blessings associated with Wunjo may freely be received and accepted. These blessings may relate to material gain, emotional life, or in a heightened sense of one’s own well-being. Be happy!

In combination with other runes, it indicates success in whatever areas they rule. For example, with travel runes such as Raidho or Ehwaz, it can show a fortunate and generally pleasing journey; with message runes such as Ansuz, it can mean good news; when Wunjo is drawn with love related runes, in can show deep affection and long-lasting emotional happiness.

Often, Wunjo will signify the object of one’s affections. In this case, it usually shows some activity undertaken with this person will end with a happy result.

Wunjo can also represent joy in one’s work, especially if that work is artistic or creative . Like the rune Kenaz, Wunjo appears in readings for people who are artists or craftsmen and shows that this creative element is very important to their personal happiness and wellbeing.

Reversed The meaning of Wunjo reversed is exactly the opposite of everything stated about its meaning in the upright position. Things are slow in coming and the person for whom the runes are being consulted may be undergoing a difficult, if not crisis time, filled with misery and unhappiness.

The runes drawn in addition to Wunjo should show the specific problem areas. Drawn with Raidho or Ehwaz, an unsafe or unsuccessful trip with breakdowns and delays are indicated and are likely.

If the question being asked relates to one’s employment, Wunjo reversed warns of dissatisfaction, either with the job itself or with one’s job performance.

In matters of love, this rune shows disappointment or a delay of some type in a present relationship, the intensity of which can be discerned from the other runes drawn.

In all questions about business, travel or love, Wunjo reversed shows a need for caution, perhaps even putting off an important decision until a seemingly better time.

The rune of Wunjo can also show trouble caused by a third-party in the form of friction and delays. One should be on the lookout for any possible double-dealing on the part of acquaintances, friends, business associates or opponents.


Interpreting the Runes ~ Ehwaz ~ Movement ~ Progress ~ The Horse

Ehwaz is a rune of transit, transition and movement; of physical shifts, new dwelling places, new attitudes or new life. It also signifies movement in the sense of improving or bettering any situation.

With this rune, there is a sense of gradual development and steady progress, with the belief in slow growth through many shifts and changes.  This could apply to the growth of a business or to the development of a new idea. A relationship may need to undergo changes if it is to live and grow. Moral effort and steadfastness are called for when this rune of movement, another of the cycle runes is drawn. Let it be said with this affirmation, “As I cultivate my nature, all else follows.”

This rune Ehwaz is symbolized by the horse, and it signifies the bond between horse and rider. Bronze Age artifacts show a horse drawing the sun across the sky. Here, Ehwaz is saying, you have progressed far enough to fee a measure of safety in your place.

Now is the time to turn again and face the future reassured, ready to share the good fortune that comes your way. The sharing is significant since it relates to the sun’s power to foster life and illuminate all things with its light.

Ehwaz Reversed

Movement that appears to block. Be certain that what you are doing – or not doing – is timely. There are no missed opportunities. You have simply to recognize that not all possibilities are open to you, that not all opportunities are appropriate. The opportunity at hand may be precisely to avoid action. If you are feeling at a loss, unclear about the need to act, consider what is timely to your nature and remember this affirmation, “What is yours will come to you.”

Life Lived Fully

 

 

“What a wonderful life I’ve had!  I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”  — Colette

Colette was a French author whose books give a sense of a life fully lived.  Yet, even she regretted that she hadn’t appreciated her good fortune earlier on.  It was only while writing that she learned to see how lucky and happy she was and to praise life.

I know that I have been tardy in realizing how rich my life has been.  It is often only in retrospect that I can see the beauty and feel the joy.  How beautiful that day was!  How much I was loved! How lucky I was to have such good friends around me!  What a beautiful child!

Why didn’t I see what was happening right before my own eyes? Why couldn’t I seize the moment?  It’s good to remember, but it is amazing to live in the present and to cherish each moment while it is happening.

 


Beauty Around Us

 

“Beauty is the promise of happiness.”   — Stendhal

Often, we are too busy or self-absorbed to notice what is beautiful in people and in the world around us.  We hurry along, focused on ourselves, inattentive to what really makes life worth living.

The world is filled with beauty – winter twilight over the desert, a child’s laughter, a scene in a movie, the sun on the red stone walls of Sedona, a weeping willow, a lively song, our beloveds face.  If we are attentive and learn to slow down, we will see all around us signs of beauty that speak directly to us.

We don’t have to go to exotic places to find beauty.  It is here, in our lives, all around us.  Finding it, we carry it with us, and our lives are enriched.  The language of beauty is the language of joy.


When Some Part of Your Life Seems Beyond Your Control

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God delays, but doesn’t forget.”  — Spanish Proverb

 

Each month, I find it more difficult to meet my expenses until the end of the month, on my fixed income. As each month’s end grows closer and I find myself without enough funds for essentials like food and medications, I find myself sinking into a dark hole of depression and anxiety. I worry that I’ll become severely ill, as happened last year, spending months in the hospital. In today’s still lingering economic downturn, it’s frustrating for anyone who has lost a job or met financial setbacks.  Those of us facing financial difficulty suddenly feel curtailed, with the rhythm of our lives changed in a way we never anticipated.  But the Universe slows us down for a reason.

There can be gifts in adversity.  They can give us some much-needed time alone, time to think.  Being alone gives us the chance to find ourselves in a new way.  We may be surprised to find some previously unknown inner resources.  A period of waiting through adversity can also turn us to our Higher Power, God, or the Universe when the solace we need is beyond the capacity of people to give.

It’s challenging to be able to do nothing when the world tells us that we must take action.  When action isn’t possible, accepting the circumstances of our lives enables us to experience the value of being, and not doing.

 


Omnipotent and Ageless: Your Majesty the Baby

majesty-baby

“In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us.”  — Rilke

Too often we imagine life as sort of a magic carpet ride taking us wherever we wish to go.  Perhaps we’re watching television and an ad hooks into some fantasy we have in our mind and convinces us the world is at our beck and call.   We are omnipotent again, just as we were in infancy – “Your Majesty the Baby!”

But what would such a “magical” life yield in terms of change and growth?  Why would we even bother to strive if we could have everything we want or crave?  We would be the same at age fifty as we were at thirty and fifteen and five months – “Your Majesty the Baby!”

We need change and for the most part a majority of us are able to welcome it, even if change means some difficult growing pains.  With a little guidance from the Universe, we can strive toward an abundance of goodness.  We are omnipotent, but we are not alone.  We are part of a human community, and we can be in touch with that Power which is beyond ourselves.  That is the real miracle!

 


You Are In Integrity

“You are in integrity when the life you live is an authentic expression of who you are.” — Alan Cohen

 

Gemini Personality Traits v. Taurus

According to astrology, people who are born between the dates, 20th April and 21st May, are Taurus, while those who are born between May 21st and June 21 are Gemini.

Taurus Characteristics

On the positive side, people born under the sign of Taurus are very reliable people, who believe in fulfilling their duties, both professionally and personally. Taurus people are the “home loving” kind, who like to take care of their families and loved ones. Taurus people also love the material things in life. They want to live in the best of houses with the best of interiors and the most beautiful man or woman as their partner.

Highly determined and stubborn, people born under the sign of Taurus never ever change their mind or opinions, about anything. They can also be very rigid and argue for hours together, just to prove their point. A fiery temperament is something that most Taurus people hide well under their cool exteriors. If ever provoked, the person on the receiving end will certainly suffer.

Gemini Characteristics

Those born under the sign of Gemini are very intelligent and bright, making them the center of attraction in any party or group. They are also born flirts, and with their natural talent for communication, and can sweep any person off their feet. Gemini’s are also very independent and do not like people telling them what to do or not to do in life. Gemini’s are great at multi tasking and can work equally well at a number of projects simultaneously.
Despite these positive Gemini traits, Gemini’s do have a few drawbacks. Gemini can be very reckless at times, making other people believe that they cannot be trusted. They are also often thought to be fickle minded, as they seldom finish the jobs that they take upon themselves. Indecisiveness is another Gemini trait, which baffles people who come in contact with Gemini’s.

Taurus and Gemini Compatibility

If you look at the Taurus and Gemini traits, it may seem at first that Gemini and Taurus compatibility is almost impossible. Taurus is strong, silent and slow, while Gemini’s are reckless, chatty and fast. They are completely opposite to each other, making Taurus/Gemini compatibility difficult. However, as is said that opposites do attract each other, so there can definitely be something in each of them which may lead to an attraction, making Taurus/Gemini match a possibility.

Gemini’s are indecisive and have a lot of nervous energy in them. The strength and maturity of a Taurus acts like a soothing ointment, making them feel calm and at peace. At the same time, Gemini’s fresh ideas and new ways of looking at life can inspire the Taurus and he can get a new perspective on life, by just being in the Gemini’s company. If both Taurus and Gemini are able to admire and appreciate these qualities in each other, and learn from each other, then Taurus Gemini friendship compatibility and even Taurus Gemini love compatibility can happen.

Taurus and Gemini Sexual Compatibility

Taurus loves a challenge and Gemini is very sexy to Taurus. Ruled by Mercury, Gemini has both beauty and brain. Taurus is an Earth sign and is of course grounded and needs security that Gemini may not give over time. This can drive Taurus to a breaking point. There is potential here as long as both are seeking drama, sporadic separations and dramatic reunions. To make a relationship work, Taurus should give Gemini lots of freedom and Gemini will have to tone down his or her carefree ways. Taurus should stay a mystery to Gemini for best results. Sex can be either horrible or amazing. A one-night stand will leave a lasting impression. Both signs will need to make many compromises if a long-term relationship is desired. Compatibility between these two signs is generalized and for greater accuracy, one’s planets, rising signs and other astrological aspects should be thoroughly explored.

Embracing the New ~ Imbolc

 

“An old error is always more popular than a new truth.” — German Proverb

The Wiccan celebration and ritual for Imbolc is fast approaching February 2nd. Imbolc brings the end of winter and of course a time of great change toward spring. Spring, even here in the desert southwest means new, rebirth, regeneration. I find that I often feel uncomfortable with the new because it causes me to reach out and expand my vision.  This may be painful and I don’t like the pain that comes with change.

My life at times is cozy and gives me a curious kind of comfort and reassurance.  When lonely or anxious or hopeless, I have at times turned toward unhealthy behaviors.  I am used to it and don’t need to do much to keep on going in the same old way.

Suddenly, I have seen the error of my ways.  Discovery, disgrace, legal issues, isolation, despair, the loss of a partner, the contempt of friends – all possible consequences of that cozy, complacent turn to my old behavior.  Yes, I may have awakened one day to find that my old behavior ruined my life!  This awareness has caused me to begin reaching out for the hard process of change.

Making difficult change is painful, but that pain is preferable to the agony caused by the inevitable outcome of unhealthy behaviors.


I am a Unitarian Universalist

 

Spirit of Life

“Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
Move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me.”

Singing the Living Tradition Hymn #123

 

I consider myself to be a part of one of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations here in Phoenix, Arizona and plan to become more involved on a regular basis after I get settled in Tucson, Arizona when I move there this March. When I make mention to people inquiring what “church” I attend, and tell them I am a UU, the response is most often, “Oh yeah, sure; I’ve been to a Unity church before.”  Unity and Unitarian Universalism are not the same at all.

I was raised as a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) and in 1979 when I came out to family, friends and my church community, it was made very clear that I was no longer welcome “In God’s house” by my minister.  Thus began a spiritual drought for me which lasted until 1984.  That is, until one of my employees and I became close; close enough to discuss religious affiliations and beliefs.  Upon sharing my experience with the Lutheran church, she said to me, “You need to check out one of the Unitarian Universalist churches.”  I did attend a UU congregation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Easter Sunday.  I was impressed by the sermon challenging the reality of the resurrection.  I have felt truly “at home” in any Unitarian Universalist Association congregation I have attended in the country.

The Unitarian Universalist Association


For many, it is helpful to understand that the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is a religious organization that combines two traditions: the Universalists, who organized in 1793, and the Unitarians, who organized in 1825. They consolidated into the UUA in 1961.

The UUA roots in North America go back to the independent, self-governing churches of colonial New England that made a covenant to help one another in times of need. In Europe, the UU heritage reaches back to religious and social reformers in England, Poland and Transylvania.

Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion with Jewish-Christian roots. It has no creed. It affirms the worth of human beings, advocates freedom of belief and the search for advancing truth, and tries to give a warm, open, supportive community for people who believe that ethical living is the supreme witness of religion. Use of “Universe” is seen as a non-judgmental, inclusive term; respecting the choice everyone makes as to his/her higher power.

UU Principles

There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in UU congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within UU congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

These principles and sources of faith are the backbone of the UU religious community.

Unitarian Universalism (UU) draws from many sources:

  • Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
  • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to face powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
  • Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires one’s ethical and spiritual life;
  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
  • Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Welcoming Congregation

As a gay man, one of the most important components of the UU congregation for me is the “Welcoming Congregation” program.  In 1987 the UUA established the Common Vision Planning Committee. This committee found many negative attitudes, deep prejudices, and profound ignorance about bisexual, gay, and lesbian people, which resulted in the exclusion of bisexual, gay, and lesbian people from their churches.  As a result, the Welcoming Congregation program was created to educate its members. Each congregation adapts the program to best meet its goals and each unique situation can bring positive changes to people and congregations.

The Welcoming Congregation Program is a completely volunteer program for congregations that see a need to become more inclusive towards bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender people. It consists of a series of workshops developed by the UUA. The goal of the workshops is to cut prejudice by increasing understanding and acceptance among people of different sexual orientations. Some of the workshop titles include: How Homophobia Hurts Heterosexuals; Connections to Other Forms of Oppression; Gender Socialization and Homophobia; and Biblical Perspectives on Homosexuality. Many congregations offer the workshop series several consecutive times as an adult religious education curriculum open to all members and friends. In some congregations the workshop series (and later the entire program) is sponsored by a Welcoming Congregation Task Force/Committee created for just this purpose, while other congregations sponsor the workshop series through their Interweave chapters.

What it means to be a Welcoming Congregation

Congregations who publicly and successfully welcome bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender people have the following qualities:

Includes and address the needs of b/g/l/t persons at every level of congregational life—in worship, in programs, in social occasions, and in rites of passage—welcoming not only their presence, but the gifts and particularities of their lives as well.

Assumes the presence of b/g/l/t people and celebrates this diversity by having inclusive language and content in their worship.

Fully incorporates the experiences of b/g/l/t persons throughout all programs, including religious education.

Includes an affirmation and nondiscrimination clause in UU by-laws and other official documents affecting all dimensions of congregational life, including membership, hiring practices, and the calling of religious professionals.

Engages in outreach into the b/g/l/t community in its advertising and by actively supporting b/g/l/t affirmative groups.

Offers congregational and ministerial support for union and memorial services for b/g/l/t persons and for celebrations of…family definitions.

Celebrates the lives of all people and welcomes same-sex couples, recognizing their committed relationships, and equally affirms displays of caring and affections without regard to sexual orientation.

Seeks to nurture ongoing dialogue between bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and heterosexual persons and to create deeper trust and sharing.

Encourages the presence of a chapter of Interweave.

Affirms and celebrates b/g/l/t issues and history during the church year.

Attends to legislative developments and works to promote justice, freedom, and equality in the larger society.

Speaks out when the rights of bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender people are at stake.

Celebrates the lives of all people and their ways of expressing their love for each other.

Confronting prejudices in a non-judgmental, non-threatening group allows the exploration of their origins and offers an opportunity to replace those prejudices with knowledge. Understanding prejudices leads to personal spiritual growth and congregational unity.

The Flaming Chalice


A flame within a chalice (a wide-lipped stemmed cup), like that which you can see at the top of this blog, is a symbol of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) faith.  At the opening of Unitarian Universalist worship services, many congregations light a flame inside a chalice. This flaming chalice has become a well-known symbol of the denomination. It unites its members in worship and symbolizes the spirit of their work.

Hans Deutsch, an Austrian artist, first brought together the chalice and the flame as a Unitarian symbol during his work with the Unitarian Service Committee during World War II.   To Deutsch, the image had connotations of sacrifice and love.  Unitarian Universalists today have many different interpretations of the image. To many, the cup represents religious community, while the flame represents ideas including the sacrificial flame, the flame of the spirit, and more.

The flaming chalice image has changed many times over the past 65 years.  There is no single interpretation of today’s flaming chalice symbol.  Modern chalice designs often join two overlapping circles which, for many people, represent our Unitarian and Universalist heritages.  Other images include added elements, some of which are merely decorative and others which are very meaningful.

If you would like to learn more about the history of the chalice in UU congregations please visit http://www.uuworld.org/ideas/articles/2442.shtml

Spiritual Life

I began this blog with my favorite UU hymn, “Spirit of Life” by Carolyn McDade.  It is UU Doxology, or perhaps the UU “Amazing Grace.” Many congregations sing it every Sunday, or at least enough to know the words by heart. Sermons have been devoted to this one song.

In six short lines “Spirit of Life” touches so much that is central to our faith—compassion, justice, community, freedom, reverence for nature, and the mystery of life. It finds the common ground held by humanists and theists, pagans and Christians, Buddhists and Jews, gay and straight among us.