Empowering Women

My blog recently won a gold medal from the Coalition of visionary Resources

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Multi-Award winning Author, Julie Loar, explores feminine empowerment in today’s culture and the value of ancient wisdom…

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A Gold Medal and a Writer’s Voice

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This June (2018) my blog was awarded a gold medal.

When I began my blog it was meant to be a gift to me–something I did for myself as a purely creative outlet. There would be no deadlines, no publishers, no pressure, no one criticizing my ideas (certainly with only the best of intentions I’m sure). My blog would be just my words that emerged from the crucible of my life, reflecting on events and observations that stood out in sharp relief. Of course I hoped those words might reach out across the interconnected web we share and maybe, just maybe, someone would be touched, amused, or inspired.

Writers learn about, and quest for, that illusive thing called “voice. ” A writer’s voice lives at the heart and soul of the work, embodying a unique and precious quality. I’m no different–I long to find my voice. I’m still on that journey, but it’s always deeply satisfying to receive recognition even when we are still a work-in-progress.

The life of a writer is often solitary, even insular. We spend a great deal of time in the company of our own thoughts and internal processes. Unless we are fortunate enough to have some notoriety, we usually don’t know what impact our work has, and I think we desperately want to know if it does.

Receiving an award is an external vindication that something we’ve accomplished is seen to have merit. And I have to admit, I love having a gold medal on my blog. But what means the most to me are the comments I have received from readers–you who are reading these words right now. Most of you I don’t know, but some of you have taken a moment from your busy lives to make a comment and connect in the mysterious manner of our digital world.

My life has been blessed by the words of other authors, some long gone. I have wished many times that I could send them a comment and let them know what their words have meant. Although the blog is still my gift to myself, it’s your comments that keep me going.  So in a real sense this award is shared with all of you, and I send my deep gratitude.

Thank you.

Julie Loar

Frog Blog: A Jumpin’ Good Time in Frogtown USA

“Sometimes I wonder if the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.”  Mark Twain

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The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County is an 1865 short story by American author and humorist Mark Twain. The story was actually his first great success as a writer and brought him national attention. Something captured America’s attention and remains a compelling influence. Since 1928 an annual event inspired by Twain’s story has been held at the County Fair in Angels Camp in Northern California’s Calaveras County. Similar events are held in Indiana, Ohio, Washington, Maine, Missouri, Louisiana, New York, and also in Manitoba, Canada.

This May I witnessed the qualifying pre-trials from the bleachers as hopeful entrants coached their frogs into top performance. The contest is simple–which frog jumps the farthest in the one-minute time allowed per contestant. The record holder in Calaveras County is Rosie the Ribiter, who jumped 21 feet and 5 3/4 inches in 1986. Frog jockeys can win a $750 prize, or win the grand prize of $5,000 if a competing frog were to break Rosie’s record. It’s not clear what the frogs get out of the experience.

With 4,000 contestants in 2007, the Calaveras County contest imposed strict rules that regulate the frogs’s welfare, including limiting the daily number of a frog’s jumps, and mandating the playing of calming music in the frog’s enclosures. One assumes this is an attempt to reduce pre-game jitters. Because California’s red-legged frog is an endangered species, it’s barred from the competition. It is also forbidden for any competing frog to be weighted down by any means, as the frog in the Twain story was. Hopefully, the frogs don’t suffer too much as I worry about such things. After all, they’ve been captured and removed from their natural habitat and forced to enter into an all too human realm.

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Photo credit  Frank Schulenburg  CC BY-SA 4.0   2016

The frog jumping competition is a generous slice of American Pie. There is a whimsical quality of tradition, innocence, and plain good fun at a time when simple joys like County Fairs seem to be a thing of the past. Some frogs take the leap right away as if everything depends on the result. Others are frozen in place and never budge from the starting circle no matter the “encouragement” from their jockeys. This year’s winner jumped more than nineteen feet, certainly impressive, but not far enough to break Rosie’s record. Was it frog ambition or just sheer terror that fueled Rosie’s tremendous jump back in 1986? All the jumpers since have to go over that bar and perhaps Rosie was a unique frog at a singular moment. Maybe her frog jockey Joe Giudici had so much faith in her that his energy boosted her rockets.

I reflected on what it is that propels us to our greatest accomplishments and how can we learn to harness that propulsion at will?  Do we make quantum leaps in our own lives through grit and will, or is there something else that moves us to peak moments of achievement? We can’t always choose the arenas of tests and trials that present themselves, but we always have the choice of how we show up to meet the contests.  As we meet the challenges in our lives I believe it makes a difference if we call forth our best effort rather than refusing to try because we’re afraid we’ll miss the mark. Until we try we can’t know how we might be changed by taking the leap. And maybe we also have unseen cheerleaders whose faith in us lifts us to greater heights and longer distances once we jump. We can stay safe in the pond, or maybe become a champion–the attempt is up to us.

http://www.julieloar.com

 

 

 

Perspective – Inner and Outer Change

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 “I see myself by the light of my becoming.”      
                       Egyptian Book of Coming Forth into Day

I’m just back from my twelfth trip to Egypt since 1995. As always the experience was profound and heart opening. I took this picture of the Full Moon as our group was about to enter the Great Pyramid for two hours of private time.

Once this monumental structure was covered with white Tura limestone casing stones and crowned with a golden capstone. Even in historical times we are told it shone like a brilliant beacon in the distance. Today the exterior of the Great Pyramid is a skeleton of its former grandeur, but this last remaining wonder of the ancient world still vibrates with power and has the capacity to transform.

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I have been called back to Egypt many times, seeking answers to a lifelong pull this ancient land has tugged on my heart. The visions and memories that haunt me from former lives are in stark contrast to the Egypt of today. I have visions of glorious temples where ritual and ceremony connected with the deepest parts of my soul. I sense that my life had meaning and purpose then and that I have been searching for that kind of fulfillment ever since.

This time my transforming experience was completely unexpected. I’ve seen changes in twenty-three years–more women are working and technology has changed lives. On my early trips all the flight attendants on Egypt Air were men; likewise those who cleaned the rooms in hotels and acted as servers in restaurants were men. That has changed dramatically. This time the person who cleaned our room at the Mena House was a beautiful young Egyptian woman.

It happened that one afternoon I returned to the room and discovered her as she was working. I was transfixed as I realized she had just finished and was looking around the room inspecting her work. Her sense of pride was palpable. She turned, saw me, and her face blossomed with a radiant smile. We connected in that moment in a silent accord as she had the chance to silently share what she had done. I nearly wept. Her satisfaction at a job well done hit me like a bolt of lightening. I felt a kinship with this woman that she had found the freedom to work and a measure of independence. Our connection was silent, but it was a bond between women that is timeless–our struggle to learn who we are and what we are capable of. I won’t forget her or the brilliance of her smile and what that brief link meant to both of us.

I’ll close with a poem written by Bob Ransome, a member of our group, as it captures the spirit of our time in the pyramid.

STARING AT STONE
Staring at Stone
          Shaped by unknown hands
brings to mind possibilities
          Of what began
in ages past
           Creating a story
of lost civilizations
            Bathed in the glory
of a universe bigger
            than the mind can conceive
are we more than dust
            Created to believe
that mysteries exist
             So answers can be found?
above, below and within
              Eternal, sacred ground

 

Timeless blessings,

Julie

http://www.JulieLoar.com

 

Trusting

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   “Trust in dreams, for in them is the hidden gate to eternity.”  

Khalil Gibran

An intrinsic wisdom lives inside a seed. The small miracle trusts that if planted in rich soil, watered by rain, and warmed by sunlight, the seed will break out of its shell, sprout, and grow according to its template of hidden potential. Perhaps that potential will yield a fragrant lily or a mighty oak. The seed doesn’t doubt its future, and it unfolds and grows according to an inherent destiny.

Perhaps it is only humans who fear what is contained within our potential. For many reasons we lack the will or heart to follow the path of our own becoming. We hold back, doubting our gifts and our deep longings. Maybe we define success in the wrong way, believing we need fame and fortune, rather than joy and fulfillment, as indicators that we’ve “made it.”

I have come to believe the key to the dilemma lies in our inability to perceive the nature of our unique and individual templates. Because we don’t really know ourselves, we don’t know the nature of our “seed self.”  Therefore, we can’t comprehend the vision of our expanded expression, and we remain blind to what is possible. Or, we try very hard to become a pine tree when we are meant to be a lilac.

A teacher of mine once shared a humorous anecdote to illustrate our reluctance. A caterpillar once gazed up at a butterfly and proclaimed, “You’ll never get me up in one of those things.”  And so, rejecting the metamorphosis of the cocoon, and the exquisite creature he could become, the caterpillar continued to crawl on the ground. Sadly, the caterpillar never tasted flight or grew glorious wings. That is a loss for all of us.

What does it take to reach out of our own element and sense of safety and trust? What can be gained by risking? Sometimes, after a risk, life is never the same. Maybe we experience a loss as a result, but we are deeper, wiser, and hopefully more compassionate. Maybe the risk brings great joy. Either way we learn what we’re made of by taking the leap and seeing where we land. It’s often been said to watch where we light up, know what excites us, and when we lose a sense of time when doing something we love. This knowledge is precious.

. . . take a chance today–it could change your life . . .

Julie

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Quintangled: A Game of Strategy, Chance & Destiny

Quintangled is the result of a five-year journey of creation that began with a dream. Many years ago I had a vision to create a board game based on timeless archetypes and universal symbols. I have shared this journey with my amazing co-creators, Karen Stuth and Sue Lion, who have been there every step of the way. Together we have created what we hope will be a fun and fascinating game experience.

Please visit our crowdfunding effort at Indiegogo  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/quintangled-a-game-of-strategy-chance-destiny#/

As Characters journey through the Quintangled world players meet guides, guardians, and mentors, facing demons and threats that will challenge resolve. Players acquire wisdom from the Oracles of four elements who reside at the corners of the game board. Characters will face the ordeal of The Abyss, and return Home heroic and wiser. Crossroads, choices, and tests help Characters gain courage and wisdom, thereby awakening the hero or heroine within.

After The Abyss, when a Character has achieved heroic status, the game changes and motives are transformed. Will the heroic Character use new powers wisely, or selfishly squander these gifts? If a Character has been brave and clever, acquiring wisdom along the way, when returning Home the heroic Character will redeem the world left behind at the beginning of the journey. The measure of wisdom gained on the journey, represented by points earned, determines the winner of the game.

In Quintangled, there are talismans, adversaries, risks, perils, setbacks, allies, rewards, and buried treasure. Quintangled incorporates timeless myths and universal archetypes and offers the opportunity to play on more than one level. Quintangled’s purpose is to have fun while discovering the magic and excitement of the heroic quest and learning about character archetypes that appear in stories, legends, and life. Thanks in advance for your support.

Julie

http://www.julieloar.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Solstice

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Kindle Your Inner Fire

Winter Solstice is the rebirth of the Sun and is an important turning point in the year as it marks the longest night. Winter Solstice occurs at a specific time, not on just a certain day. This year on December 21, at 11:29 AM EST and 8:29 AM PST, the Sun will shine directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, the southernmost point the Sun reaches in its apparent annual journey, causing colder temperatures and shorter days in the north. In the Southern Hemisphere, days are long and it’s high summer. On December 21, North America will see only nine and a half hours of daylight and fourteen and a half hours of darkness.

After Winter Solstice, the Sun seems to rise and set in the same place in the sky for three days. That’s why December 25 is significant as that’s when the Sun begins its northward motion. Many scholars believe the Christian church selected December 25 as the symbolic date of Jesus’s birth several centuries after his death, mystically linking him to many ancient and powerful solar deities and holidays such as the Roman Dies Natalis Solis Invictus, the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun.

Winter Solstice, or Yule, is deeply rooted in the cycle of the year; it is the seed time, the longest night, where the Goddess once again becomes the Great Mother and gives birth to the new Sun King. In many cultures Winter Solstice was associated with the birth of a “divine king,” a god of light. Since the Sun is considered to be a male divinity in many traditions, this time is celebrated as the “return of the sun god” as he is born again of the Goddess. At this time of year, the Goddess is in her dark Crone aspect, ‘She who cuts the thread,’ ‘Our Lady in Darkness’, severing the old year and calling back the light. At the same time, she gives birth to the Son who will fertilize the Earth, bringing back light and warmth to the world.

Fire festivals, celebrating the rebirth of the Sun, held on the Winters Solstice can be found throughout the ancient world. The Roman festival of Saturnalia was held on the Winter Solstice. Boughs of evergreen trees and bushes would decorate the house, gifts where exchanged, and normal business was suspended. The Persian Mithraists held December 25th as sacred to the birth of their Sun God, Mithras, and celebrated it as a victory of light over darkness. In Sweden December 13th was sacred to the Goddess Lucina, “Shining One,” and was a celebration of the return of the light.

On Yule itself, around the 21st, bonfires were lit to honor Odin and Thor. The festival is also associated with the birth of older gods like Oedipus, Theseus, Hercules, Perseus, Jason, Dionysus, Apollo, Mithra, Horus, and even Arthur with a cycle of birth, death and resurrection.

Culturally, we do not allow enough space or value to darkness – the night’s deeps, Winter Solstice, dreaming in a cave, Yin energy, the formless, infinite, indefinable, unknowing realms of unconsciousness and shadow. Yet this is where creativity and energy are born. In a poetic sense it is on this, the longest night, ‘the dark night of our souls’, where a new spark of hope, the Sacred Fire, the Light of the World, is reborn within.

Take time this December 21 to welcome back the light. Many solstice rituals include lighting candles, incense, and setting intentions for the new year. It’s a perfect time to write down what needs to be released and burn the paper in a fire, releasing the old energy and liberating bound patterns. Meditating at the moment of solstice, settling into the deep and silent darkness, then lighting a single candle with intention, brings in powerful energy as a profound shift to the return of light.

Fan the spark of your inner fire and let it blaze with joy and inspiration. Joyous Solstice!

 

Radiance

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“Even though my life may seem to lie in ruins at times, I know that I can rise from the ashes like the phoenix, as the scales of Karma balance all.”  

(from Goddesses for Every Day–August 1)

 

 

I begin each day reading the goddess for the day from my book , opening to how the goddess might speak to me. These archetypes of feminine power continue to inspire me as they did throughout the process of writing the book nearly a decade ago. Yesterday’s goddess (August 1) is a Hindu deity named Surya Bai–she is called “Daughter of the Sun.” She is said to ride across the sky in a chariot pulled by two Asvins, “wonder workers,” who are twin gods of day. Together Surya Bai and the Asvins represent morning, noon, and night.

Her story is similar to many that tell a tale of star-crossed lovers and their ultimate redemption. She was married to the king of the land, but she was pursued by a jealous sorceress, who wished to destroy her light and her love. To escape, Surya Bai turned herself into a shining golden lotus. The king loved the lotus, which further angered the sorceress. She burned the lotus to the ground, but the power of love triumphed, and a beautiful mango tree rose from the ashes. Surya Bai emerged from a ripe mango, and the lovers were reunited. It’s a lovely myth that assures us that light is a radiant power, love is always victorious, and darkness is the absence of light. In Hindu symbology the lotus is a symbol of divine wisdom.

It seems inevitable on the Earth plane that our lives have times when all seems in ruins and our hopes and dreams have been shattered. We are tempted to see only loss, feel only pain, and there is danger of sinking into darkness and despair.  At those times we must remember that we too possess the radiance of light that dwells in the fire of the sacred heart. Courage and will are required to rise from the ashes and fan the flickering flame into a blaze, reclaiming the reality that lies hidden in the smoldering ashes of illusion. Proving that truth is universal, in the Bible (1 John 4:18)  the Master Jesus says, “There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears has not been transformed by love.”

We live in perilous times, and our precious light is desperately needed. In the face of darkness that can seem overwhelming, and fear that feels crippling, the only answer is to shine, tilting the scales of Karma toward light and love.

Shine on . . .