In early November of 2001, while I was living in Spain and attending university, I took a trip to northern Portugal as a requirement for the Portuguese language class I was taking. We left Madrid on November 1st, the Feast of All Saints, and meandered by microbus through Spanish villages dotted with cemeteries overflowing with flowers and candles placed on that holy day as offerings for the dear departed. We passed though the dense, mysterious and undeniably haunted woods of Galicia into northern Portugal. We spent a few late autumn days walking through the charming cobblestone streets of Ponte da Lima, Viana do Castelo and Braga. One evening, my classmates, my teacher and I came upon a souvenir stand in the central plaza that was selling all kinds of trinkets among which were a variety of colorful ribbons with the words “Lembrança do Senhor do Bonfim,” Memory of the Lord of Bonfim printed on them. Out teacher explained that these where wish ribbons that originally came from Brazil but had since spread all of the world. Tradition dictates that a friend must tie the ribbon onto your wrist with three knots while you make three wishes and the ribbon must be worn until it falls off on its own. Of course we all loved the idea of having wishes fulfilled, so we bought these ribbons and began tying them onto each other’s wrists in a delightful wish-making frenzy. I honestly do not remember the wish that I made, but I have heard from others over the years that many wishes have been fulfilled and blessings granted by wearing the lembrança.
The lembrança, which directly translates from Portuguese as “memory” or “souvenir” comes from Salvador da Bahía, a city in northeastern Brazil, in particular from the church of Our Lord of Bonfim which dates back to 1745. Around that time, a Portuguese sea captain brought a statue of Our Lord of Bonfim to Salvador and a church was built around it in fulfillment of a promise he had made and in thanksgiving for the divine help he had received. Immediately, many healings and other miracles were reported at the church and its reputation spread far and wide. Starting in the early 1800’s, it became common for people to bring colorful ribbons back from The Church of the Lord of Bonfim as a memory of their pilgrimage there. The ribbons were exactly 47 centimeters long which is the length of the arm of the statue of Our Lord of Bonfim. It is not exactly known when the tradition of making wishes became associated with the lembrança, but it was certainly in place by the 1960’s when these colorful ribbons became a ubiquitous symbol of the hippie culture in Brazil and throughout Latin America. Today the lembrança can be found in many parts of the world and is a sign of faith, friendship and love.
It is said that the different colors of the ribbons are intended to help manifest different types of wishes. Truthfully, I feel that this is a recent development in the tradition of the lembrança and that any color ribbon can be used for any purpose as long as it is placed and worn with love, faith, hope and respect. Just for reference sake, I will include a list of the colors of the lembrança and their purported significances: White: peace, calm, cleansing, and stability. Red: Love, passion, desire and power. Light Green: Youth, health, rebirth and renewed energy. Dark Green: virility, masculinity and male strength. Yellow: money, wealth, new opportunities in business and a desire to grow rich. Orange: Success in career, achieving personal goals. Blue: Peace, harmony, stability, loyalty in a relationship. Dark Pink: Passion, love, relationship and marriage. Light pink: gentle love, kindness, feminine energy and sweetness. Again, it is my opinion that these color associations are more a product of the new age movement and not traditionally associated with the lembrança, but I have included them just for reference sake.
The proper way to place the lembrança is to have a friend tie it onto your wrist with three knots while you make three wishes. You could also repeat the same wish three times for reinforcement. I like the aspect of having a friend tie the lembrança, since it fosters friendship and allows for a moment of spiritual connection. The lembrança is worn until it falls of naturally which can take several months. It is said that by the time the lembrança falls off your wishes will have been granted in their entirety, but they have been known to manifest even while the lembrança is still beging worn. In such cases, it is still a good idea to wear the lembrança until it falls off to complete the process and as a sign of gratitude for the wish granted.
I hope you have enjoyed this post on the lembrança and that if you ever encounter these ribbons that you give them a try. If worn with faith, hope and love, I have no doubt that your wishes will be granted. I thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and as always I wish you peace, happiness and abundant blessings.
I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year! 2017 was a difficult year for many people but I can feel that 2018 will be a time to reap the rewards of the hard work and lessons of the past year. I am not an expert in astrology, but a friend of mine who is has been telling me that this year will be filled with unique planetary alignments that will make 2018 a time of spectacular energy, positive change and the planets will truly be on our side as we work toward achieving our goals. For many people, weight loss and improved health is often a resolution for the New Year, so I thought I would share one of my favorite spells for weight loss.
This is one of my favorite spells to cast since it is about taking control over your weight and making a firm decision to commit to health and well-being. I designed this spell based on another ritual called a revocation that is performed in many spiritual traditions that is meant to expel bad luck, evil spirits and break curses that were placed by one’s enemies. In this case, what is being sent away is your fat. In addition to being highly effective in terms of weight loss, this spell is extremely empowering as when you perform it you are literally taking an oath to take charge over your own body and inviting health and happiness to your life.
You will need:
A small white or yellow candle
A small piece of paper and a pen
Think for a moment about the amount of weight you’d like to lose. Write the number of excess pounds on the piece of paper.
Light the candle.
Hold the piece of paper above the candle, but not yet touching the flame.
Say aloud in a confident, authoritative voice, “I cast out and expel from by body and life all unwanted and unnecessary psychical and spiritual weight. All that holds me back in life I send away to the wastelands where the shepherd does not graze his flock never to return to me. I am now and always in a perfect state of health and well-being. So be it.”
Touch the paper to the flame and allow it to burn to ashes on a heat resistant surface.
Extinguish the candle and then dispose of it. This is one of the rare occasions where I would advise you to extinguish a candle and not allowing it to burn out on its own. Once the paper is burned, it has served its purpose.
Take the ashes from the burnt paper and either scatter them into the wind or flush them down the toilet.
Walk away knowing that your excess weight is no longer a part of your life and it will quickly and easily fall away.
I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and happiness for whatever joyous, beautiful end-of-year holiday you may celebrate. This is one of my favorite times of year when we can take time to relax and look back of all that we’ve done and accomplished and make new plans for the coming year.
Sometime during the last week of December, I urge you to undertake some sort of spiritual cleansing such as a simple salt water bath or running an egg down your body from head to toe and then disposing of it outside or by breaking it in the toilet and flushing it. This will remove any negative spiritual residue or bad luck from the previous year and allow you to start the New Year spiritually clean. Also, as some to midnight as possible on New Year’s Eve, take a shower and while the water streams down pour a bottle of cheap champagne or sparkling wine, beer or ginger ale over your head. The gold color symbolizes wealth and the bubbles symbolize lifting you to a higher position in life. This is a popular tradition practiced in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and is a perfect want to start the New Year with a vibe of wealth and success.
Thank you for following my blog throughout this year and it is my sincere wish that abundant blessings rain down on all of you and that the year to come be filled with peace, love, good health, wealth and happiness!
We are heading full force into the holiday season which for me has always been one of the most wonderful times of the year, but for many it can also be the most stressful and dare I say depressing periods of the year due to the rampant stress and pressure to create an ideal holiday experience for loved ones not to mention the greed and materialism that is afoot. Historically speaking, the four weeks before Christmas were a time of fasting, prayerful contemplation and joyful waiting known as Advent which coming from the Latin Adventus being a direct translation from the Greek Parousia meaning “coming.” Advent is a time to focus on the spiritual meaning of Christmas and to practice the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. I find that keeping the spirit of Advent in our hearts and actively participating in some Advent traditions is the perfect antidote to the materialism and commercialism associated with the holidays in modern times and is the key to having a wonderful and blessed holiday season.
In Western Christianity, Advent marks the beginning of the liturgical year and is a time of anticipation for the coming of Christmas. It is a time to focus not only on Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem but His coming into the hearts of the faithful and His glorious return at the end of time. In fact, during this liturgical season, the church readings are about the end of the world and preparation for the second coming. Advent is a time of sacrifice and penance in preparation for the great feast of Christmas. Church décor tends to be somber and no flowers and permitted during this season, except on the third Sunday of Advent known as “Gaudete Sunday” or “Joyous Sunday” a day on which the joy of the coming of Christmas is especially celebrated. The liturgical vestments of Advent are purple expect for Gaudete Sunday when rose colored vestments are used. An Advent wreath made of evergreen branches symbolizing eternal life and three purple candles and one pink candle representing the four Sundays of Advent are indispensable in any church. In Eastern Christianity, Advent starts earlier, on the 15th of November, and is a time of strict fasting during which the faithful abstain from all meat and dairy products. Fasting during Advent is an ancient practice that goes back to at least the 3rd century AD and still continues to be vigorously observed in the East whereas the emphasis tends to be placed on the joyful waiting for Christmas in the West.
Aside from the official church observance of Advent, several popular customs are practiced in various locations. Traditionally, in parts of northern Britain women would make two dolls representing Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary and go from house to house asking for alms. The tradition bears a striking resemblance to souling which was practiced around All Saints’ Day. The begging of alms before Christmas was practiced well into the early 20th century. In Normandy, during Advent there was a practice which involved young children under the age of 12 carrying torches over fields to bless them for the coming growing season. While these last two traditions seem to have disappeared into the past, it is still common in many parts of the world for people to keep Advent calendars in their homes and to open a new window on the calendar each day leading up to Christmas. Advent wreaths are also kept in many homes and families will often light a new candle each Sunday in anticipation of Christmas.
I hope you have enjoyed this post on the Advent season and if you feel bogged down by the fast pace and materialism of the holidays season, I urge you to take a few moments to focus on the chartable and spiritual values which are the central focus of advent. As always I thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and I wish you peace, happiness and abundant blessings!
The month of November is now halfway over and we are heading towards Thanksgiving and the Holiday season, one of the most magical and fun times of the year. In the past I have written about the many important holy days that occur towards the end of November and into December leading up to Christmas and the New Year. This is a truly wonderful period with deep spiritual significance. I would like to discuss an Asian holiday that shares many of the principles of gratitude and family unity with the American observance of Thanksgiving. This is Chung Yeung or Double Ninth Festival which is celebrated throughout China, Japan, Vietnam and Asian communities throughout the world. Chung Yeung is a holiday that encourages people to take a day out of their busy schedules to honor their ancestors and spend quality time with family, especially the elderly, and otherwise stop for a moment and enjoy themselves and give thanks for the many blessings in life.
Chung Yeung or the Double Ninth Festival takes its name from the fact that it falls on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month which roughly corresponds to late October on the western calendar. The number nine is considered highly auspicious in Chinese numerology and many weddings and other important events are planned on the 9th of the month. Chung Yeung is considered highly auspicious since it falls both on the 9th day and during the 9th month. This festival dates back to at least the 1st century AD and has its roots in a story involving a man named Huang Jing who believed that a monster was causing hardship to the land. He told his fellow villagers to hide on a mountain while he defeated the monster. Once the creature was subdued, the villagers returned and celebrated Huang Jing’s victory over the beast which happened to fall on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month, a feat and date which are commemorated to this day in the festival of Chung Yeung.
Presently, Chung Yeung is celebrated throughout China, Japan and Vietnam and in Asian communities around the world. In Chinese folklore, it is believed that the world is filled with both Yang which is male energy and Yin which is feminine energy and Chung Yeung is considered a date that is highly Yang, so activities such as eating sweet cakes and drinking chrysanthemum tea are common since they bring Yin energy to achieve balance. In fact, the chrysanthemum is such an iconic image of Chung Yeung that the holiday is known commonly in Japan as the Chrysanthemum Festival where it is often celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar on September 9th and not on the traditional Chinese date. Mountain climbing is also a popular activity on Chung Yeung in commemoration of Huang Jing’s defeat of the monster during which the villagers took refuge on a mountain. As is common with many Chinese observances, ancestor veneration is widely practiced especially in Hong Kong and Southern China and large quantities of spirit money are burned at ancestral graves and food offerings are made. It is also important to spend quality time with family and loved ones on this date. In Taiwan, Chung Yeung has been celebrated as Senior Citizens’ Day since the 1960’s. The longing for closeness with one’s family at Chung Yeung is expressed beautifully in the following poem:
As a lonely stranger in a foreign land,
At every holiday my homesickness increases.
Far away, I know my brothers have reached the peak;
They are wearing the zhuyu, but one is not present.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and in the future we can all make a point of spending time with living relatives and friends and honoring our ancestors on Chung Yeung and always. I thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and as always I wish you peace, happiness and abundant blessings!