July 23, 2015

Respectful Prayer

A little over three years ago, I wrote a post about Prayer and Selfishness. In that post, I discussed how traditional Christian prayer could sound selfish because one is typically telling, or even outright commanding, their deity to do something for them. I also suggested some alternate ways of prayer. I thought I should revisit the topic and approach it from a different perspective.

In the "big three" Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), God is seen as all-powerful, omniscient, omnipotent, and demanding of worship. Even the various aspects of God, such as Jesus or the Holy Spirit, mostly fit these qualifications. And it is those same qualifications which make the concept of selfish prayer so ridiculous. However, not all belief systems view their deities in the same manner. There are many spiritual and occult systems that view deities as not something to worship, but rather something to build a relationship with. In these traditions, a prayer where you ask for something directly is not a complete contradiction in beliefs and can be quite a reasonable thing to do. At times, it can even be quite reasonable to outright command a deity.

I tend to think of the various deities in the same way I would think about a revered teacher or master - someone who is wiser and more powerful than myself (and in the case of most deities, wiser and more powerful than any human master). I don't worship my teachers, but I do try to build a mutually respectful relationship with them. I take their opinions seriously, I listen intently to what they have to say, but I do not turn my free will over to them. I may not always take their advice, but I will do it in a respectful way. I may even joke around with them, depending on who it is and what kind of relationship we have cultivated over the years.

Deities are no different. Once you build a relationship with them, you can start breaking out of the bounds of a worship-based relationship. Make sure you treat each one appropriately and with respect. Just because you can joke around or even pull harmless pranks on a trickster god like Loki (if you have that kind of relationship) doesn't mean that you can get away with that same behavior with any deity you want. Much like your friends and family, some aspects of your personality are appropriate in some circles, but can be highly inappropriate in others. Use your judgement, but don't be afraid to grow and break out of the limitations of a worship-based relationship with your deities.
March 25, 2015

The Deal on Divination: Overview

Divination CardsYou go in to get a divination and death card is drawn - oh no! Are you going to die?! Thankfully, that’s hardly ever the case. Readers telling you that your lights are going out in two weeks is a Hollywood trope, but that doesn’t mean that divination isn’t real. In fact, it’s a very real, very useful practice that is still used worldwide today. Unfortunately, this valuable art is misunderstood in our modern world of gadgets and gizmos - which is why I’m starting a new blog series. This post is the launch of my series, “The Deal on Divination”, which is going to explore the less-discussed side of what readings actually are and should accomplish. Unlike other resources available, the goal of these posts won’t be to teach you how to read, but instead will fill in all those cracks that aren’t usually touched on when first learning to divine. And so, without further ado, let’s get into an overview on divination.
March 23, 2015

What is Jade Phoenix Healing?

A closer look at the emerging Austin business

If you’ve lived in Austin long enough, you know that it’s home to all sorts of quirky and cool businesses. We’ve got everything from tasty food trailers to robot-themed sushi restaurants to famous candy stores with soda fountains. You might say that Austin is a great place to introduce new ideas, and we’d have to agree - which is why this city is the perfect  home to our business Jade Phoenix Healing! Now, exactly what are we and what do we do? We’d be happy to explain!

June 3, 2014

The Thirteen Postures of Taijiquan

NOTE:  The examples of the postures given in this article will be from the Wu Family Taijiquan Long Form, as taught in conjunction with the systems of won hop loong chuan and pyong hwa do.  Where applicable, the corresponding postures from the more commonly known Yang Taijiquan Long Form will also be given for reference.  However, not every movement has a counterpart in the Yang form.  It is also worth mentioning that the Wu form has many postures with names that are similar to postures in the Yang form.  Aside from a few exceptions, though, these do not usually refer to same motions.  For example, both forms have a posture called “Repulse the Monkey”, but they are each referring to a completely different set of movements.


 The basis for taijiquan, regardless of style, are the thirteen postures.  In fact, the thirteen postures are what defines a martial art as being taijiquan or not.  If an art contains all thirteen postures, no matter how different from traditional taijiquan it may seem, it can be considered true taijiquan.  On the other, an art can not be considered taijiquan if it is missing any one of the thirteen postures, even if it seems very similar to taijiquan on the surface.  Therefore, it is important for all serious practitioners of taijiquan to understand the meanings of the thirteen postures.  As it is said in the Song of the Thirteen Postures, If you don't diligently search for the meaning, you will only waste your effort and sigh."

Language of Martial Arts

The Chinese language is overflowing with subtleties, nuances, and layers-upon-layers of meanings that go far beyond the scope of most modern Western languages.  At times, it can even be a dramatic understatement to call it “poetic”.  As a result, the vernacular of Chinese martial arts has long been complex and chaotic, especially from the point of view of most Westerners.
May 14, 2014

Impact of Martial Arts on Western Culture

Martial arts has been a pervasive part of human history for millennia. Ever since the first caveman picked up a rock and used it to strike his enemy, and then wondered if there was a better or more efficient way to do it next time, humans have studied martial arts. The oldest known records in the West go back to 4000 BCE, depicted in painting on walls of Egyptian tombs. The precursors to what we now call the “Western World” - the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans - all practiced martial arts in the ancient world. But they were by no means the only ones. Africa was rife with their own indigenous martial arts, and of course so was Asia. These Eastern arts, specifically ones from China, Japan, Okinawa, and Korea, made vast inroads into the Western world during the mid-to-late 20th century, and changed the landscape of martial arts in the West forever.
January 15, 2014

The Nature of Love, Part 6: Modern Concepts and Triangle of Love

Last time in Part 5 of this series, I talked about Hindu and Tantric concepts about love.

Madeleine de Scudéry
In the West, more modern ideas about love started to emerge around the 17th century, in France, unsurprisingly. The novel Clélie, by Madeleine de Scudéry, included a map known as "Carte de Tendre" (Map of Tendre"). The map represents the road to finding love.

The map is a metaphor showing the growth and development of love, as understood at that time. The waterways are a major feature of the map. A major river, known as "Disposition" splits the map in half, then merges with two smaller rivers, "Respect" and "Gratitude". The Disposition River then empties into the Dangerous Sea. Across the Dangerous Sea are the Unknown Lands, and off to the West is the Enmity Sea. The rivers represent control over one's passions, while the seas represent the loss of that emotional control.
November 7, 2013

Magick and Diviniation

There is real and nonreal, this is both joyous and tragic,
Surpassing of both is the purpose of all creation.
When you alter them at will, it is magick,
When they speak to you, it is divination.

World of Smoke and Haze

As I walk through my wondrous garden,
I look out from behind my mask.
Here, I am my own warden,
Sadly drinking the last drops from my wine cask.

The garden, and everything beyond,
Is my world, is my creation.
All that is here, I have spawned,
The totality is my application.