ALTARS AND SHRINES
Many people get confused about the difference between Altars and Shrines.
Most simply, an altar is a ritual tool that holds other tools, and that helps you direct and anchor the energy of your work in that space. That’s why so many altars are made either of wood or of stone – both materials make it particularly easy to turn the altar into an anchor for all the other energy work of the rituals done at the altar. Many religions use an altar as a central focus for worship and ritual – in part because it’s very practical. It gives you a place to put all the other stuff you use in ritual so it’s right at hand.
A shrine, in contrast, is a place where we honor a particular deity, spirit, or other entity. They’re common in a wide range of religions too – you can see fabulous Buddhist and Hindu shrines throughout Asia, many Catholic shrines to saints, and there are many other historical examples.
AMULETS, TALISMANS AND TOTEMS
An Amulet is a protecting charm – any object worn to bring good luck and to ward off evil, illness and harm from supernatural powers and from other people. Amulets are typically carvings, stones (especially with naturally occurring holes), plants (such as sage, 4-leaf clover, shamrock), coins, and jewelry (crosses, horseshoes, gemstones).
A Talisman is an object that is considered to possess supernatural or magical powers and is used especially to avert evils, disease, or death. A talisman is typically engraved or cut with figures or characters, constellations, planets, or other heavenly signs. It is often worn as an amulet or charm. From the Greek word “telein”, which means “to initiate into the mysteries”. The word talisman is often used synonymous with amulet.
A Totem is an object that symbolizes a person’s or a tribe’s animal guide. This could be a totem pole, an emblem or a small figurine or carving. Native American tradition holds that different animal guides come in and out of a person’s life depending on the direction that person is headed and the challenges he faces. A totem animal is the one animal that acts as the main guardian spirit and is with a person for life, both in the physical and spiritual world. Traditionally, it is the totem animal, such as an eagle, wolf, bear, horse or dragonfly that finds the person, not the other way around.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being.
The inhaled aroma from these "essential" oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function. Essential oils can also be absorbed through the skin, where they travel through the bloodstream and can promote whole-body healing.
A form of alternative medicine, aromatherapy is gaining momentum. It is used for a variety of applications, including pain relief, mood enhancement and increased cognitive function.
There are a wide number of essential oils available, each with its own healing properties.
Astral projection (or astral travel) is a term used in esotericism to describe a willful out-of-body experience (OBE), a supposed form of telepathy, that assumes the existence of a soul or consciousness called an "astral body," that is separate from the physical body and capable of travelling outside of it throughout the universe. The idea of astral travel is rooted in esotericism and occultism, and was promoted by 19th century Theosophists—philosophers who explored the mystical and preternatural origins of the natural world. It is sometimes reported in association with dreams, and forms of meditation. Some individuals have reported perceptions similar to descriptions of astral projection that were induced through various hallucinogenic and hypnotic means (including self-hypnosis). There is no scientific evidence that there is a consciousness or soul which is separate from normal neural activity or that one can consciously leave the body and make observations. Claims of scientific evidence of astral projection are pseudoscientific.