Jan 6, 2020


Epiphany is a symbolically and  spiritually sacred and holy
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 gifts 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".

The journey itself, is not an easy one but the giving of holy commitment of giving and serving is rooted to the original halen or healing energies as well as the meaning of that journey.

The magic or magii as truly holy men bearing divinely inspired gifts,  as well as the rare and deeply meaningful gifts of sacred essences to their young king of kings.

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.

The journeys to our destinations of those understandings may take a great deal of time and many challenges but we arrive at a place of receiving the "aha!"vmomebts of light or clarity of understanding  The gifts that also arrive from the "ahhhhh" of amen.

All of our roots -- no matter your personal, spiritual, or religious beliefs-- arrive from the same holy aha/ahmen source or our roots. The word re-ligion from the original holy language means to link back.

We link back to our holy core of belief of  blessings of light and of our understanding to the level we each of us is at in divine inspiration.

It's a wonderful day for looking both inside to where your own gifts lie and then looking outside to how you might best use those gifts for the good of the world.

Consider the idea of selecting your own word of the year. The word that best represents the gift you would like to give to yourself, for your own blessings of transformation or the gifts you can give to others because of the blessings of your gifts.

To 'have an epiphany' is to have a 'wow' or 'aha' moment. Suddenly, every thing is crystal clear, seen, understood or recognized. It touches my heart and brings tears to my eyes

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 and  intuition as sacred and to be used for my own growth or to help others by caring and giving of my 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 deeply appreciated gifts beyond material items.

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 or January 6th in our current dating and historical referencing.

I was also given the gifts of a resin known as dragonsblood (dark red chunks) from the Canary Islandsband Morocco,also considered rare and sacred gifts sacred 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. I use them as a natural decor element as i do rocks, or flowers, or gourds or pinecones.

By bringing elements of the outside world into our homes we blend all parts of our own world with naturally occured or created through manufacturing as most items in our lives are now.

In 2018, when I was gifted the bag of the loveliest white sage, shown above. Inkoticed that just Just looking at it was calming but holding it feels very cleansing and reminds me as that as 2019 ends, and we usher in 2020 how important it is to let go of old things and bring in new ones.

Transfer this energy into letting go of old emotions. Let go of old grudges, angers, jealousies or other emotional impediments that you had in this last year and begin the New Year of 2020 with an open mind, heart and spirit ready to recognize and allow them to cleanse and heal you with understandings, light, happiness and joy

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.

All of these unique gifts opened my heart up to new acceptance if unusual gifts from nature that we might never have known about it considered before.

I, of course, do love mybown joy of going outside and wildcraftibg. An old art of collecting and making my own gifts from natural elements.

Alaskan native remedies such as my Cottonwood or Devil's Club lip balm, one of my treasured opportunities while "home" in  Alaska.

A treasured crafting experience gifted to me by my sister-in-law, Paula, from Douglas Island, where I grew up and visit when I can. We have such fun together and it never fails to lift our spirits during the long, cold and rainy Southest area experiences in the winter darkness.

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.

My oldest daughter makes a lovely elderberry elixir that is praised and valued for winters ills by all who've tried them from her elderberry tree and fig jam from her fig tree.

She cares for all of her treasured garden and flowering plants with the heart and the art of a naturally gifted gardener.

And always, I bring the outside in with fresh greens, flowers, vines and fruits, vegetables, and berries. Gifts from the earth with the transformating energies of our hearts and the work of our hands during all of our holidays seasons.

Oops, did I sneak chocolate Christmas mice and Rachel Ray fudge into ny elixirs? The Mayans considered chocolate to be a valued treasure

And yes, some challenging days an epiphany worthy moment requires the gift of chocolate to oneself s well as others . Ahhhhhh!

And of course my own DIY tutorial on how to make paper also incorporates many natural elements even if you reuse old paper instead of dried lily or other leaves to create it re-create it :


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

May I always share service, learning and knowledge with my gifts of sharing and caring. May I always 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 recognizing the blessings of life, health, and love for as long as we may experience them.

These are my thoughts, my energies of prayer in action as air create, sew, quilt, or craft.

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.


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.


Jan Mac said...

Hi Michele, Your post about epiphany and using your gifts to help others is very true for me today. The devastating bushfires in my beautiful country have urged me to run another quilt drive for those affected. I prayed for guidance first as I know how big a job it is but so many have been affected here with 1,300 homes lost so far, 500 million native animals lost as well as loss of approx 30 people, and the fires are still burning, so I felt compelled act in th best way I can. I hope that I'm up to the task again. Prayers for your DD's recovery too and please pray that my epiphany is not misguided. Xx

Jeanne said...

Beautiful essay -- thank you! You've given me food for thought. Happy New Year!

Michele Bilyeu said...

Oh Jan,

Australia and its beautiful people, places and all of its precious animals have been in my thoughts and prayers.

I know what a task quilt drives have been for you in the past and I can only pray for you and with you that your beautiful heart, and love for all there will come through in quilts and blankets of comfort and love for those in need of both, now.

Very best wishes and love across the miles to you and all who are reaching out to help.


Michele Bilyeu said...

Thank you so much Jeanne. Happy New Year to you as well 💜

Winifred said...

What a beautiful post Michelle, thank you.

I think this lovely feast is so underrated here in the UK now. The feast has been transferred to the Sunday before Christmas now.
When I was young (many moons ago) our Christmas decorations were never taken down until the Epiphany or Twelfth Night & I still follow that tradition.

Michele Bilyeu said...

I celebrated with that tradition too, Winifred! It made taking down the tree and saying goodbye to the Christmas season more than just "hurry up and get it done" that I often hear from others.

As I get older it takes longer so I finished the rest today. My husband had his 2nd hip replacement surgery New Years Eve. Everything went well and he had physical therapy exercises and practice walking etc. 'before being released for home.

Now we are resting and enjoying watching really only video camera videos of our 3 children when they were 2, 7, and 10. So cute and nostalgic to remember those moments.

Now they are 34, 41, and 44, 41 and have small children of their own. I can see the similarities in expressions passed down a generation. Touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

A nice way to look back at so many years and look ahead to 2020.

Happy New Year dear Winifred!