Film Composer A.R. Rahman Talks About His Spirituality

The pride of Indian film composing, A.R Rahman, has spoken in a recent interview about his spirituality and what it has taught him.

The man behind the score for the James Franco starring 127 Hours, and the composer responsible for the Danny Boyle mega hit Slumdog Millionaire, is one of India’s favourite sons. His legendary work has brought joy to millions upon millions the world over and he will be bringing his set to the UAE next month.

Speaking in an interview with the Khaleej Times, a UAE news site, A.R. Rahman touched on a number of topics, from his tireless work ethic and his collaboration with Coldplay. But what really draws attention are his comments on spirituality and how it affects him as a man and as a performer.

Rahman described in the piece how he allows his fervent spirituality to manifest itself in every aspect of life.

“As an artist, I cannot run away from the reality of chaos. But in my mind, I can go to places, which are not here. The training of spirituality has taught me to get away from the chaos and the hatred. It allows me to separate myself from the negative energy and go to something that is beautiful and reflect that in my music so people can enjoy”.

This is an important message. Spiritual training, such as what Mr Rahman has undergone, allows you to separate from the world’s negative energies and focus on what matters, allowing you to be the person you need to be.

This outlook on life obviously has helped Rahman to get to the position that he is in life, letting him express himself through his music in ways that he may not have been able to otherwise.

It’s quite amazing the changes one can undergo, and what we can be capable of through simply connecting with this ethereal aspect of our lives. Whether that be through training, meditation or spiritual readings.

The music of A.R. Rahman has always been inspiring, and knowing how much he is influenced by this aspect of his personality only makes his music that much more intriguing.

 

Image Credit: bollywoodhungama

What Does Your 2017 Horoscope Predict For You?

 

With 2016 in the rear-view mirror, any past baggage can now be shrugged off in pursuit of new horizons. 2017 is here and waiting for you, but what can you expect? What new challenges and opportunities will come your way?

Having insight to such things will help you to grow and progress spiritually. These predictions, like other spiritual related readings can also you help you deal with adversity and to embrace positive change.  So let’s have it, what’s instore for us in the year of 2017.

Aries

For Aries, 2017 is going to be an adventure, and a fun one at that. From your partnerships to progress in your long term career, you will start to formulate a game plan as to how tackle these two important factors in your life.

Taurus

Peace and harmony will be coming your way in 2017, Taurus. You will be planning something others do not know about, preparing for a life that will give you the freedom and liberty that you have been desiring.

Gemini

Geminis in 2017 need to remember not be too hyperactive as big changes are on the horizon. You will want to be calm, level headed and make sure to prepare and plan when undergoing server moves in your career.

Cancer

Choices and how to deal with them will be the name of the game for Cancer in 2017. You will need to embrace the strong connections you feel to your family and only then will you be able embrace what life has in store for you and live 2017 to the fullest.

Leo

Blessings will surely find their way to all those that are Leo this year. Luck will be on your side and you will want to enjoy the happiness that surrounds you, allowing yourself to be proactive and make the right decisions on your own terms. There is no need to hang around this year.

Virgo

Diplomacy will be high on the agenda for Virgo. Making sure to handle decisions smartly — especially things from the past — will be of the utmost importance. But your analytical mind will help guide you through as long as you embrace your critical side.

Libra

Appreciating your creative side and expressing all that is innovative about you will help bring Libra to a place of real discovery in 2017. Lead by example and know that there are no limits. Have confidence in your actions and don’t be afraid of making those tricky, tough decisions.

Scorpio

You will want your past behind you in 2017. You will go after your goals, and be ready for truly wonderful and exciting experiences that will make the year one to remember. Love and travel can also turn out to be rather breath-taking if you are ready to act and take those lucky opportunities.

Sagittarius

While your professional endeavours will be challenging in 2017, they will be equally profitable. Your romantic life will have never been better and with a strong mind and clear thoughts, your enthusiasm for the future will guide you to some real progress and enact change in your world view.

Capricorn

Considering your normal practical outlook on life, 2017 forecasts a year of innovation beyond your usual sphere. Peace will be with you and once you’ve weighed your options you will be able to be bold in your approach to the year’s challenges. With family and friends by your side, 2017 will eventually be one of harmony.

Aquarius

By looking within yourself and going with your heart, 2017 should allow you to excel at anything you go after with pride and passion. The work will be hard but the rewards will be opulent. With these tools you will be able to bring about the change you desire and find the love you’re looking for from others.

Pisces

2017 will allow you to look at life with a positive frame of mind and a new level of composure. The level headedness and peace you are experiencing will be the secret formula you will need to make great strides in your personal and professional life. If you stay true to your beliefs and attack your goals, 2017 will be one of fulfilment.

 

Image Credit: Geralt

The spiritual meaning and uses of crystals: Agate

One of the most important tools for any psychic are crystals. Gemstones can be used to develop individuals’ psychic intuition, correcting unbalanced vibrations, making clients more receptive and open to personal exploration.

They can also be used for a number of purposes such as offering emotional protection and cleansing the psyche.

Recently we posted an article exploring the spiritual meaning and uses of quartz, and this week we are uncovering the psychic significance of agate crystals, and how they can be used in spiritual readings. Agate is famously used in spiritual healing to balance the energies, heal the soul and foster courage and calm.

However, the metaphysical properties of specific types of agate depend on its variety. So, here are some of the most popular forms of agate and why they are important for enhancing your spirituality.

Blue lace Agate

If you’re having problems expressing your feelings, or have encountered a communicational barrier in a relationship, blue lace agate is the perfect crystal to cure your woes. This stone helps us to speak confidently and clearly, ensuring that we communicate what we mean and that what we say is received as such. It can also be used to calm and cleanse the emotions, attune the senses and allowing you to think clearly.

Dendritic Agate

Dendritic agate is known for being one of the most powerful stones for protecting individuals on their travels. Preventing fatigue and reducing the chances of encountering accidents, this crystal allows us to leave our comfort zone in security.

It is also known as the ‘Stone of Plenitude’ as it brings abundance to life, creating luck everywhere from our financial affairs to our personal emotions. Although it takes time to work in its full effectiveness, dendritic agate can centre the individual and deepen the connection with the earth.

Fire Agate

Despite the assumptions its name might conjure, Fire agate is primarily associated with bringing peace and calmness to the soul, making it very useful for comforting individuals in spiritual readings where they are confused or in turmoil.

This multi-tasking gemstone is able to dispel negative energy back to its source and make the source aware of the harm it is doing and instil deep security in the individual. However, at the same time, crackled fire agate is able to stimulate vitality and creativity, which, according to Healing with Crystals, can re-invigorate couples’ love lives.

Laguna Agate

Laguna agate is the perfect crystal for use in couples’ or families’ spiritual readings, as it helps bond groups and restore relationships. It also stimulates the imagination and inspiration, making it perfect for writers and artists. Laguna agate also stimulates precision and the intellect in general, making it useful for individuals faced with complex tasks and mathematical or financial endeavours.

Moss Agate

Moss agate is understood to promote a deep connection between the spiritual being and the psychical body. Through protecting the aura, moss agate neutralises fears and allows the mind to remain open to new ideas, which is incredibly valuable in spiritual readings because it makes clients receptive to learn about their problems through a psychic’s perspective. It also increases trust and stimulates universal love, connecting individuals with the land, according to Wicca.

Botswana Agate

Botswana agate, otherwise known as purple agate, is a potent crystal for alleviating stress and depression. Increasing emotional understanding and empathy, this form of agate can actually stimulate spiritual awakening. It offers protection for the super-sensitive and eases feelings of loneliness.

However, Botswana agate also helps individuals find solutions to their problems, opening clients up to explore unknown territory and see the bigger picture during spiritual readings.

Turritella Agate

Turritella agate is unique in that it contains fossilised snail shells which create the visible circular shapes in the stone. This ancient stone was discovered alongside artefacts from ancient Greece, Egypt, and other parts of Africa, so it is perhaps unsurprising that it is so powerful in giving individuals insight into their history.

As a record keeper crystal, it may be used in spiritual and psychic readings to discover one’s ancestry and to gain access to the wisdom of past worlds and past lives.

New study suggests ‘love hormone’ also boosts spirituality

For many years, oxytocin has been dubbed the “love hormone”, the “cuddle hormone” and many other names due to its association with interpersonal contact. The hormone is released when people engage in physical or social contact, and according to a 2009 study in Hormones journal, it could even be secreted when people play with their pets. However, recent research by Duke University suggests that the hormone could in fact also play a significant role in how we experience life spiritually.

 

Patty Van Cappellen, lead author of the study published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, says, “oxytocin appears to be part of the way our bodies support spiritual beliefs”, affecting “how we perceive the world and what we believe.” Although she acknowledges that the process of spiritual awakening is complex and involves numerous factors, it would appear that the presence of oxytocin can lead individuals to place a higher value on their spiritual lives.

 

The study involved a test of 83 middle-aged men who were separated into two groups, one of which was administered oxytocin via a nasal spray, and the other of which was given a placebo.

 

Those who received the oxytocin were found to be more likely to agree with statements such as “all life is interconnected” and “there is a higher plane of consciousness or spirituality that binds all people”. As Popular Science reports, they were also more likely to feel “awe, gratitude, hope, inspiration, love and serenity” after a guided meditation, and even a week later the effects remained.

 

The emotional uses of Oxytocin

 

Oxytocin has recently been given to patients for a variety of conditions, such as helping children with autism to understand the emotions of others, and, in a 2013 experiment, in assisting with the functioning of modern-day romantic relationships.

 

Although experts emphasise that oxytocin “may exert a variety of different effects, at different dosages, on different people, under different circumstances” in the words of Olga A. Wudarczyk, these developments are very interesting for those of us who seek to increase our spiritual and interpersonal awareness.

 

What could this mean for spiritual readings and growth?

 

These findings may mean that engaging in spiritual growth in social situations may be particularly fruitful. Perhaps this means that couples, families and friends could engage in social bonding before a spiritual activity such as meditation to stimulate the release of oxytocin and therefore improve their psychological engagement with spiritual emotions. This could also suggest that the interpersonal connection brought about during spiritual readings with an expert psychic may be more successful in leading you to true spiritual insight.

 

Whatever the answers to these questions, what is sure is that those of us seeking spiritual enlightenment should be sure to nurture our personal relationships in order to reach these goals.

Ghost stories from around the world

From paranormal visitations to curious orbs, from haunted houses to psychic communication in spiritual readings, spectral encounters come in many forms. Throughout the course of many centuries, each unique culture around the world has developed its own distinctive unearthly tales shared throughout generations as ghost stories.

North American ghost stories

 

Witch's cabin

 

One of the most famous ghost stories in the world originates from the United States. Say the words ‘Bloody Mary’ and anyone will know exactly which story you’re talking about. Say the words ‘Bloody Mary’ three times and you’re in serious trouble! However, the tale of Bloody Mary does not derive from 21st century films and TV.

As American Folklore explains, the urban legend originates in North America, perhaps Pennsylvania, where it was said that an old lady lived in a forest cottage. Locals believed she was a witch and called her ‘Bloody Mary’. Then, young girls in the village began to disappear. One evening, townspeople followed as a girl went outside following an enchanted sound only she could hear. They found Bloody Mary in the woods casting an evil spell on the girl, and they shot the witch before burning her at the stake.

Whilst she burned, Bloody Mary cursed the villagers, announcing that if anyone dared mention her name aloud before a mirror, her spirit would avenge itself upon them. Over many years, this has transformed into the horror story we know today.

 

Great Britain

 

Haunted lane

 

Great Britain is home to countless ghost stories, from the real-life witch burnings to contemporary tales of spiritual visitation. Urban legends expert Tom Moran of Urban Ghosts shares one of his favourite local ghost stories from his home town of Sheffield. The tale of the phantom hitchhiker follows a young girl whose motorbike had broken down on a lonely lane of the Peak District. Tom describes the story:

“She thumbed a lift from a couple in a car, but upon arriving at the girl’s home, the couple found that she had disappeared from the back seat of their vehicle. They knocked on the door of her house only to be told by her distraught parents that she had actually recently died – killed in a motorbike crash.”

Many ghost stories also arose from the Second World War, where reports of airmen and aircrafts haunting wartime airfields were rife. Tom explains that “there are many tales of apparitions in flying uniforms thumbing lifts from passing cars, or invisible aircraft ‘flying’ near their old aerodromes”, highly atmospheric paranormal sites.

 

Europe

 

Haunted tunnel

 

There are many prolific ghost stories in European cultures, many of which are subject to different interpretations in each country. However, one particularly popular paranormal myth can be found in Swiss folklore.

The tale of the “white woman” of the Belchen Tunnel began as late as 1981. The tunnel connects Basel to Chiasso, and at this time drivers began reporting uncanny happenings in the tunnel involving a white-clothed woman appearing from nowhere and attempting to catch a lift. WhatCulture reports how, in 1982, two jurists claimed to have picked up a pale woman who told them, “I am not well at all. Something really awful is going to happen, something very dreadful!”

When the pair looked again to the back seat where the “white woman” had sat, she had disappeared.

 

Asia

 

Ghost stories

 

Japan is often considered a mainstay of psychic folklore, and for good reason. When the first ghost stories began to circulate in the eighth century, they were considered a sign of good fortune (as Tofugu explains).

However, this changed, and now the country is home to some of the most disturbing ghost stories around. One of the most famous is Yotsuya Kaidan. This tells the story of a young woman, Oiwa, whose husband had an affair with a rich woman called Oume. The husband eventually poisoned his wife so he could be with Oume and get her money. However, only Oiwa’s unborn baby died and eventually he pushed her off a cliff. However, as the husband plans his new wedding, the disfigured face of Oiwa begins to haunt him, finally committing him to the fate he imposed upon her.

 

South America

 

Ghost woman

 

A similar story forms a popular part of South American mythology. Known as La Llorona, this legend recites the tale of a beautiful young woman named Maria. Left heartbroken by unrequited love, she drowns her children and then herself. However, when she reaches the gates of heaven, Maria is asked about the fate of her children. Tearfully admitting to her terrible sin, Maria is denied entry into the afterlife. Destined to wander the world as a spirit for all eternity, Maria spends her time searching in vain for her children as she mourns her losses.

Whether or not you believe in ghosts, it cannot be denied that some very uncanny preternatural events have occurred across the globe from ancient times until the present day. As Tom Moran points out, “so common are these stories that similar tales may well have become confused and conflated over time, their facts morphing into urban myth over the decades.”

However, he says, “to me, that in itself is just as compelling as the notion of ghosts.” Whether urban myth or manifest reality, ghosts certainly reveal a lot about the psychic lives of people around the world.