Saint Michael, Archangel of the South, Warrior

Saint Michael, Archangel of the South, Warrior

I’ve been thinking about Saint Michael a lot this past year.  As saint or archangel he is often depicted in armour holding a sword and a shield.

There is a lot of symbolism to explore here.  The shield is of course primarily a defensive weapon, though it can also be used to strike blows.  A shield can defend the one who holds it but i it can also be held above those who cannot protect themselves.

A sword can cut through the ties that bind, through ropes, and if strong enough and wielded with enough strength it can cut through chains.

A sword can also be used to parry a blow from another sword, and of course it can maim and kill.

In the Tarot the swords are often used to symbolise the mind and intellect.  We often speak of a keen and incisive mind.  The keenness of a blade represents the sharpness of the intellect.

Saint Michael, Archangel of the South, Warrior

In manly cultures a warrior knight is someone who is spiritually aware and perhaps religiously devout.  He is also able to fight when required.  He defends the weak, the old, and the vulnerable.

The Knights Templar guarded the pilgrim routes in Europe to the Holy Land.  They were also the guardians of many secrets and guarded places of sanctity and power.

If you face north in a magic circle then St Michael is behind you.  He’s got your back.

St. Michael features prominently in sacred and holy sites on pilgrimage routes and ley lines throughout Europe.  Britain has its St Michael and Mary line.  The Apollo line from Ireland to Greece is another.

Dragons and Serpents

He is often depicted as slaying the dragon, vanquishing the serpent, but what is this serpent?  The obvious answer from a Christian perspective is that it’s the serpent from the Garden of Eden i.e. the Devil.

That seems too simplistic. Where did this serpent come from and how did it come to be wrapped around the Tree of Knowledge?

In Chinese mythology serpents and dragons represent the energy that flows along the lung-mei lines that make up the energy network in the landscape.  In Britain they represent the same force, wrapped around hilltops or guarding treasure in a cave i.e. piles of gold and precious that represent power.

So conquering the serpent may just mean learning to harness the energy that flows in the landscape, controlling power and drawing from an inexhaustible source.

When we are threatened with violence, threats of any kind, or when we need a sharp intellect to cut through the dross then St Michael is your man.


How to keep your new year's resolution all year long

How to keep your new year’s resolutions all year long

New year’s resolutions will be made and broken within the first few weeks of the new year.  Gym memberships will be bought, online dating sites see a rise in new subscribers, and people resolve to make their lives healthier, more fulfilling, and more prosperous in all kinds of ways.  In this post I’m going to describe how to keep your new year’s resolutions all year long using simple yet effective adjustments to the way you plan and apply the changes.

Review, Adjust, Plan

At the turning point of the year in late December it feels appropriate to review the past twelve months, think about what we could have done better, and plan ahead for the next twelve.  The new year is a blank sheet of paper, an empty blog post or a blinking cursor waiting expectantly for us to add some input.

Many new year resolutions revolve around health.  We can’t escape the ageing process, we’ve probably eaten and drunk more calories than normal lately, and we know that if there’s any problem with our physical health then it effects all aspects of our lives.

However, perhaps one reason new year’s resolutions fail is because we make a large change in one area of life instead of smaller, more achievable resolutions in the others.  Perhaps instead of concentrating on a major change on the body we need to make smaller changes in body, mind, and spirit.

If you want to change your routine and break old habits then it will take time and application but keep in mind that it will get easier.  There’s the rush of enthusiasm at the beginning which soon diminishes.  It’s easy at this point to allow excuses to prevent action and commitment but if you maintain the momentum by reminding yourself of the goal and payoffs then eventually you’ll reach a balance.

Here are five tips that might be the answer to the question of how to keep your new year’s resolutions all year long.  Remember these tips apply whether your resolutions involve the body, the mind, or the spirit.

1.  Small Changes, Big Results

You know how it is; the bigger the change the harder the adjustment, so start with small and more achievable changes that build up over time. Set the bar at a height you have some chance of reaching in January then raise it a little in February and so on throughout the year.

If you need to exercise, study, or meditate start with short but regular sessions so that you begin to form the habit.

2. Fewer Resolutions, More Successes

In a rush of enthusiasm it can be tempting to draw up a long list of changes you want to make to your life but the effort to do so quickly becomes overwhelming.  Perhaps some of these goals need to be moved on to another list of ambitions or a bucket list.

It’s far better to succeed at four out of four resolutions than set yourself sixteen goals and fail at all of them.

3. Go Public, Repeat Out Loud

Write down your resolutions.  Write them in a journal or diary with a pen.  Describe what you resolve to do and how you plan to do so.  Make a copy on your computer and put it somewhere where it will remind you each day.

If the resolutions are ones you are willing to share with others then tell your partner, friends, and family.  Pin it to the virtual noticeboard that is social media if you like.

4.  Move In The Right Circles

We can draw support and encouragement from those who have already made the changes to which we aspire.  You can associate with fit people by interacting with them at the gym.  You can follow prosperous people on Twitter.  You can join Facebook groups made up of people who share your ambitions or who have already made the changes you’ve planned for yourself.

However, social media is a poor substitute for face to face communication so joining a group, association, or class is the best way to give and take encouragement and support from people who share the same goals.

5.  Perfection Takes Time

There are very few people who stick to resolutions with a 100% success rate.  Don’t beat yourself up if you take the night off or skip the occasional class.  Just make sure you stick to the resolution for at least the next three weeks otherwise the breaks will become more and more frequent.

Reward yourself for reaching milestones.  Give yourself a treat for the progress achieved and your body, mind, and spirit will soon get the message that the effort pays off.

In conclusion, you can have a healthier, happier, and more prosperous new year but it’s your resolve and effort, backed up with support from others, that will bring these improvements.

Imagine yourself doing your annual review twelve months from now.  Imagine the glow of achievement, the improvements you noticed along the way, the success you’ve enjoyed, and how you can put a big fat green tick next to all those resolutions you made last December.