Monday, July 11, 2011

Ladybug Magick

“Honey come quick!” Mark called out from the bedroom. Jarred out of the email I was composing by the sound of my mate’s urgency, I took a deep breath and slid out of the club chair and moved m laptop to the side. My husband was prone to these kinds of bursts of excitement when something spectacular was outside our New York window that would be missed if a moment went by. I hastily made my way from where I was working to the window in the bedroom where he was prone to these exclamations

“Look!” Mark exclaimed in a hushed whisper as if something might be frightened away if he said it too loud. He pointed towards the upper part of the window. Thinking he was gesturing towards something outside I peered out, seeing only building fronts and the neighbor’s rooftop garden. “No, not out there. Look up. Up there,” Mark said pointing to the top of the window frame. I cast my gaze up and took in what had sparked this enthusiasm. It took my a few moments to calibrate what I was seeing, given they were so grossly misplaced in the reality of a midtown Manhattan apartment. Ladybugs. Two of them. Mr. and Mrs. the size of a plastic thumbtack tops, walking along the inside frame of our seventh story bedroom window. I stood for a few moments in utter disbelief – “How did they get here?” I wondered out loud. We live in the middle of New York City on the seventh floor of a thirteen-story building. The only bugs I’ve known in these parts were cockroaches and bedbugs. Amazed we sat for a few moments simply watching them, quiet, enthralled – a ladybug meditation. Something so small and beautiful and simple had stopped two Manhattanites in their tracks.

I grew up with Lady bugs in Oklahoma, in soft meadow fields, on the playground of my elementary school, atop shiny green leaves in my mother’s rose garden. I always associated them with good luck and beauty. I had never learned from any particular source that this small beetle held the energies of luck and beauty but on some level they simple were that – fortune, aesthetics. I was always impressed by the lady bugs’ bold color choice of a bright red shell with dark black polka dots – lady bugs were always in fashion - a birth mark of the Goddess, the bindis of Mother Earth.

After a standing for at least five minutes transfixed with this couple’s quizzical choice for a temporary home, Mark and I let them be, keeping the window cracked incase this was just a pit stop place for them. Shortly after, I went to my computer and goggled ladybug spirit. As a shaman, often when an animal appears in your life unexpectedly, it’s a calling card from nature, a teacher with a message, a communicator from Source. Machelle Small Wright, founder of Perelandra, a co-creative science and garden center calls insects ‘nature’s messengers.’ Humorously she goes on to say, “Well nature could send a flock of galloping trees but nature didn’t think the humans would respond very well, so nature sends insects.” Insects. Small. Unobtrusive. Messengers. Today nature sent ladybugs.

I follow threads through the Internet and learn that ladybugs sense their environment and vibrations through their feet – tiny little sensors that let them know the intimate nature of their surroundings. They feed on aphids and mites and pests and plant destroying insects keeping balance and order within an environment. I looked up lady bug spirit – Here’s what I found: “Lady bug = wish fulfilled. The appearance of a Ladybug heralds a time of luck and 
protection in which our wishes begin to be fulfilled.
 Fall and spring are the most abundance times for a person with a Ladybug totem. Higher goals and new heights are possible with a Ladybug totem. Worries begin to dissipate. New happiness comes about. Their presence signals a time of shielding from our own aggravations and pests. 
 Its coloring, red and black, is a warning to predators and we need to give that same clear warning to our enemies - Stay back! I'm dangerous if attacked! 
Ladybug is never the aggressor, but it will defend. Ladybug also cautions not to try to hard or go to fast to fulfill our dreams. 
 Let things flow at their natural pace. 
 in the due course of time, our wishes will all come true. Ladybugs with their bright red shells and black spots carry the magik of rebirth. Red and black are the colors of thoughts and manifestation. Often Ladybug will appear to us when we have an opportunity to succeed, grow, and start something new. All of the beetle family transforms from larvae to adult, showing us we too can transform our lives. Ladybugs can consume large quantities of aphids and other harmful bugs, which eat and destroy plants. So as summer begins to fade into fall watch for Ladybug to fly into your life. Let Ladybug consume your unwanted fears and encourage new adventures.

I liked the spirit medicine piece of pacing oneself. For two years now I’ve struggled with being in New York City as I longed for green mountains and small town life. Ladybug reminded me that all this is coming as my beloved and I search for our new home and shows us patience and everything in its right timing.

A few days later, having forgotten a visit from a pair of these lovely creatures, I was in the bedroom rummaging. The weather had become quite cloudy that day and the temperature had dropped. I went over to adjust the air conditioner. As I reached down to turn the knob to off I recoiled immediately. There was one of the ladybug pair right atop the vibrating AC radiator knob holding on for dear life… or really enjoying it depending on her mood. I scooped her up onto one finger. ‘So that’s what happened to you,’ I told her as I took her out to the plant on my front desk. I left her there to wander through the green. The next day as Mark went to do the laundry I heard him call from the back room “Isis, come quick!” I arrived to see the second ladybug working its way through the folds of the laundry bag. I scooped number two up and placed him on the plant by my desk hoping in that ecosystem he would find something to eat and his mate. Unclear on the proper care and feeding of ladybugs I hoped they would find something there that could satiate them or they would communicate to me what they needed.

Weeks later, having long forgotten about the ladybugs, I was sitting at my desk completing office work which included making copies from a printer that I keep on the floor. After copying what I had intended, I stood up and there was ladybug, right in front of the paper tray. She was slightly more orange today and was completely still. I bent down to encourage her to crawl on my finger but she did not move. I gave her a little nudge with the pad of my finger. No response. My heart suddenly felt heavy. I simply knelt for a moment feeling the passage of time. I slid her little orange and black spotted body delicately onto my index finger and held her there simply contemplating her bizarre existence in our New York City lives. After a few moments, I took her fragile dry body to the altar and placed her on the silk scarf that had an image of a garden on it resting her right next to the lotus altar candle. “You’ll be happy here,” I told her gingerly setting her on the silk cloth in what would now be her final resting place. A quiet silence moved through my body, a soft beat of reflection and gratitude. “Thank you,” I whispered, leaning my head over her body, my nose a few inches from her orange back. “Thank you for finding us and sharing your gifts.” I took in a deep inhale and moved slowly back into my New Yorker life, the body of a ladybug resting on my altar and her spirit resting in my heart.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Naked Yoga Makes News

Naked Yoga continues to make news. I took some time today to speak with Rachael Rettner of My Health News Daily about the benefits and the trend of naked yoga.