Sunday, January 06, 2019

Epiphany



Epiphany is a symbolically sacred day following the Christmas season on January 6th of the new year. It is the Christian holi-day for recognizing the manifestation of God through the journey of the three wise men or magii to the visitation at the stable in Bethlehem.

The Three Wise Men came bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, as they followed the light of the Star of Bethlehem, to their revelation and understandings of the Christ child, Jesus.




The journey towards the light, the magic of that revelation, and the power of the gift, itself, are all seen as their own 'Epiphany', or manifestation of the Divine, and the gifts of the the Godhead of that Divine, the Universal all knowing, all seeing, all being presence of the "I am".

Today, in secular terminology, an epiphany is a sudden realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something. It is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify receiving new information or having an experience that illuminates a deeper understanding.







To 'have an epiphany' is to have a 'wow' or 'aha' moment. Suddenly, every thing is crystal clear, seen, understood or recognized. 

I long for aha moments. But I am grateful for any gifts, in any manifestation, that I receive.



On a more personal level, I've had many, many "aha" moments in my own life. I always saw them as I saw my own lifetime gifts of knowledge abd intuition as sacred and to be used for my own growth or to help others by caring and giving  of gifts in return.

As some of my holi-day gifts over the years, were some of these highly valued and sacred resins, shown below  Lovely and so symbolic, they were unusual and unexpected and appreciated holiday gifts.


I'd always wanted both frankincense and myrrh and was delighted to receive them. I placed my gifts within an abalone shell (my own gift from the sea) and now have gold (shown: gold pyrite), frankincense, which is the pale yellow resin, and myrhh, the golden amber resin.

These, of course, are the three gifts of the magii as they came bearing gifts on Epiphany. In the current dating and historical referencing of Christianity, January 6th of each year is known as Epiphany.

I was also given the gifts of a resin known as dragonsblood (dark red chunks) from the Canary Islands and Morocco, and copal (white chunks), a plant resin sacred to the Mayans.

All highly treasured throughout time among many cultures and belief systems. I treasure them greatly as well. Symbols and signs carry deep meaning and can be seen depending on your own spiritual, historical,  or cultural view and belief system.


Another year, I received an unusual selection of salts, Red Alea Salt, Cyprus Flake Salt, and Black Lava Salt.   I was also given a dainty salt spoon for serving them, a little mortar and pestle, and another smaller jar of frankincense of myrrh.


Seen as a miracle in themselves, all salts, precious minerals, and resins are quite mysterious, really. Mystical sap emanating from sacred plants and trees, which magically hardened with contact with the air and emit exotic fumes when burned as incense.

And of course many of you will recognize dried sage...a gift to many peoples for both burning and purification and of course, for a seasoning herb in cooking.


While I do grow my own garden sage, as shown tied by embroidery twine into a bundle or simple 'wand'. I love receiving them as gifts or growing my own. I use them as a natural decor element as i do rocks, or flowers, or gourds or pinecones.


This year I was gifted a bag of the loveliest white sage. Just looking at it is calming, holding it feels very cleansing and reminds me as 2018 ends, and we usher in 2019 how important it is to let go of old grudges, angers, jealousies or pains that we had in this last year and begin the New Year of 2019 with an open mind, heart and spirit.


And I also use and love lavender and other healing herbs.  This from a cousin in California. She raises horses, dogs. and lavender. She loves nature, the earth and its beings as I do with similar gifts of the heart and spirit.


I use my lavender in dried arrangements, in homemade bath salts for bathing in the bath tub, to add into my baking (lavender scones, cookies, and biscuits are delicious) and apparentjy to add interest to photos of our freshly made and canned applesauce. Ha

Perhaps I need to add both applesauce and lavender to my next batch of muffins. We ysually add cinnamon. 😉

My eldest daughter has given me many lovely herbs. As a trained medical herbalist, she once gifted my spice rack with the most unusual things with very unusual, even exotic, even strange names.


I, of course do love making my own Alaskan remedies such as my Cottonwood or Devil's Club lip balm, a fun recipe and great Alaskan experience gifted to me by my sister-in-law, Paula, from Douglas Island, where I grew up and visit when I can.

We share a love of arts and crafts and without her making these fun projects including paper making, tree sap and beeswax balms, creams, and ointments, (and learning to work with clay in her fabulously fun pottery studio) would have been much more challenging, or even unlikely.





Dried roots and leaves and such that I felt a great kinship with those women who'd cared for their families with balms and salves and concoctions and tinctures of all kinds. She makes a lovely elderberry elixir that is praised and valued for winters ills by all who've tried in.






And always, I bring the outside in with fresh greens, flowers, vines and fruits, vegetables, and berries. Gifts from the earth with the transformation with energies of the heart and the work of our hands.

Oops, did I sneak chocolate Christmas mice and Rachel Ray fudge into ny elixirs? Ha again.

But yes, some days an epiphany moment requires the "gift of the gods" otherwuse known as chocolate. Ahhhhh-ha!






And of course my own DIY tutorial on how to make paper :


https://www.with-heart-and-hands.com/2013/05/wildcrafting-making-homemade-paper.html?m=1



All of these precious gifts from days long ago, carefully mined, collected, and saved and used as currency or as gifts to those most worthy. Now, often unknown by people today, but treasures they remain.

I treasure the joys, the teachings and the many spiritual gifts of 2018 but I welcome a new and glorious chance of this New Year of 2019.

May I honor the opportunity to share love and goodness with each person I meet. May I allow them and may they allow me to meet as equal and holy beings learning from one another in this earth school and recignizing the blessing of life, health, and love for as long as we may experience them.


Celebrate Epiphany...the giving of the gifts, and the "aha" moments of awareness.  Light a candle in a window, give gifts of your own, celebrate the dawning of a new light into a new world.

And may you all feel and be blessed by the gifts of my heart to yours.


Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.

3 comments:

Shasta Matova said...

Beautiful post, Michele! Indeed, "how important it is to let go of old grudges, angers, jealousies or pains that we had in this last year and begin the New Year of 2019 with an open mind, heart and spirit."

Winifred said...

That is a beautiful post. Michelle. It's a pity The Epiphany seems to be ignored here in the UK. People seem to just want to get Christmas & New Year over & get back to normality. They take down their decorations & lights on 2 January. It's a pity because I never take down my decorations or lights until 12th night which is also The Epiphany. It's a lovely feast day.
At Mass tonight the priest told us about a Christmas card he had received from an Indian lady:
What would have happened if it had been three Wise Women instead of three Wise Men?
They would have asked directions,
arrived on time,
helped deliver the baby,
cleaned the stable,
made a casserole,
and brought practical gifts.
There would also have been peace on earth!

Michele Bilyeu said...

Oh,Winifred! I absolutely love that❣