BOAW ~ It’s Time We Show Up

Swaying hips.

Sultry eyes.

Seductive smiles.

I’ve always thought belly dancing was beautiful. Provocative, as well. Maybe a bit taboo? Perhaps. After having spent roughly nine hours—yes, nine—watching a myriad of dancers my opinion hasn’t changed.

It has been utterly transformed.

bellydancer

Long Beach, California. The Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition 2015. Dancers from all over the US, as well as Turkey, Japan, Russia, and Taiwan came and shook their all on the stage.

My initial reaction to the very first dancer was, “Wow. I can’t believe she’s moving her hips like that—in front of everyone!” My second thought was, “Wow. I can’t believe she’s moving her hips like that!” My third thought was, “Wow. I wish I could move my hips like that.”

A few more dancers came out on stage, and my reactions moved from the initial prudish shock to a more mature appraisal of talent. Then, it was my sister’s turn.

Antheya
Antheya

As soon as I saw her, a wash of sisterly pride poured through me. That was MY sister. My little sister. Then began a tumultuous churning of emotions coursing through me. I remembered her as a baby, a little girl, a teenager.. As I sat in that seat, breath held, eyes glued to the stage, I saw her—for the very first time (consciously anyway)—as a full grown woman. She owned her sensuality with such grace and beauty, it humbled me.

And, FYI, she won People’s Choice. ‘Cause she’s the shit. Just sayin’.

I’ve always thought I’d done okay being a woman. I mean, I smell good. I wear cute clothes. I get my hair and nails done. That’s good enough, right? Maybe. But, watching these women, my sister especially, I figured there was room for growth here. I watched their eyes as they moved and wondered what it must feel like to be fully in my body. To own my femininity in its entirety, without criticism, judgment, or doubt. To love all of my curves, flaws, and imperfections unconditionally. After all, they are what make me…me.

I might like to dip my toe in the water.

Well. Jump in the deep end is probably more like it.

I admired each of the women for getting up on that stage and performing, allowing their souls to shine. The freedom they experience must be a heady thing. While I’m sure some or all of them feel the aching judgment the mirror sometimes gives all of us, I know for a fact—because I saw it with my own eyes—they don’t let that judgment get the better of them. They show up. For the art, for their peers, for themselves.

The idea, perpetuated by our society, that women should hide their sensuality, reject their sexuality, and diminish their emotions hit home far stronger that day than it ever has before. These women did none of that. They flirted, undulated, and flaunted their feminine asses off. They were bold, beautiful, and brassy. Their emotion captivated, their strength inspired, their vulnerability enthralled.

They epitomized femininity. They exemplified beauty.

Each and every one of them, regardless of their size, shape, or color was a stunningly beautiful woman.

It’s time the rest of us show up. Show up for our daughters. Our sisters. Our friends. Show up for ourselves.

Because, we are all beautiful women.

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“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives and the passion that she shows.

The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.”

~ Sam Levenson

Welcome to Beauty of a Woman 2015. To read more fabulous and inspiring posts, please go here. To enter to win fabulous prizes, go here.

boaw-logo-2015-original

Goin’ Crazy

Aries

Courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ram/Sheep

March 21st – April 19th Fire Sign. Spans the 0 – 30th degree of the zodiac.

Before we get started, let me just say—I adore Aries! I’ve known many Rams (and some Sheep), and I’ve always been a fan. That said, Aries can be quite sensitive, so if you are an Aries, please take a deep breath before continuing, and know that this is a safe place of love and friendship.

Okay, so for those Aries who didn’t immediately click away, and for everyone else who’s stayed…

Aries are the protectors, the warriors, the defenders. There are two types of Aries: the Ram and the Sheep. Either way you slice ‘em, Aries are CAH-razy. The Ram is crazy on the outside—visibly pushing and striving, much like movie and sports celebrities. The Sheep is crazy on the inside—internally pushing and striving, overachievers like CEOs and business owners.

Not known for being gifted intuitively, Aries can be randomly insightful. They are go-getters and leaders. They are fearless and competitive. Typically, Aries feels that they have something to prove, whether it is to themselves or some outside influence—like a parent, sibling(s), or close friend(s).

Ram and Sheep are positive, masculine signs which means they are odd-numbered in the zodiac, and are strong, possessive, active and witty.

Aries is the first sign in the zodiac, and is associated with the first astrological house. The first house is ruled by Mars, the God of War. This is the House of the Self, the House of the Individual. The first house is all about self-discovery, and finding out who we are at our core. How are you unique? Who do you want to be? What face do you present the world?

The first day of spring is the first moment of Aries. A Fire sign and a Cardinal sign, Aries has a fiery, high energy, and deep connection to life-force. This energy and connection result in inspiration. Of all the signs, Aries has the motivation and ability to inspire the world.

Enjoy Debra Silverman’s take on Aries…

So talk to me. What do you think of Aries? Ever lock horns with a Ram, or snuggle up with a Sheep?

Next up ~ The Loving Aries

**Note: The information described here is for entertainment purposes only. It does not in any way reflect the author’s personal beliefs. Please keep in mind that Sun Signs are only a part of an astrological reading ~ there are many other aspects to a person’s chart. To obtain an accurate, personal reading of your individual chart – based on the exact day and time you were born – please consult a professional.

The Loving Pisces

The romantic and receptive Pisces

Courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Down to their bones, Pisces are lovers. They are by nature selfless, giving souls. Shy, gentle and perceptive, Pisces are incredibly warm and nurturing. Though Fish prefer living in their lush dream world, their primary goal in life is to help others in whatever way they can. They are compassionate, charitable and utterly self-sacrificing.

This giving nature can get Fish into hot water if they’re not careful. Pisces have a tendency to be easily taken advantage of, so they must learn to focus in the real world now and then to watch for troublemakers.

Their highly sensitive and emotional qualities can make Pisces desperately fear criticism and judgments. If Fish aren’t being heard—or believe they’re not being heard—they may lapse into despondency and pessimism which will eventually lead them into procrastination and indifference. I’m sure you’re aware by now, if you weren’t before, of just how awful indifference is to Fish.

Pisces have a highly evolved intuition, are spiritually oriented, and incredibly perceptive. These qualities greatly aid them in their life-long goal in helping others. They may easily feel another’s pain, and are in-tuned enough to find loving, reasonable solutions.

Fish are defined by their feelings. This can be heavy for signs looking for lighter lovers. Creative and artistic, Pisces can, at times, become very focused on their own inner journeys, leaving their love interests in the dark.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, Pisces enjoys most—if not all—water sports, and swimming. Any water activities will alleviate stress. Here are some signs Pisces will invite to play in his Jacuzzi tub:

Pisces

Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Okay, this is almost cheating. By far the best companion for a Pisces is another Pisces! Their easy-going mellowness meshes so well together that they’re happy to swim side-by-side for the rest of their lives in complete bliss.

Taurus

Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is a love match for the ages. The Bull and the Fish are so completely into each other that sometimes they shut out the rest of the world. These two love nothing better than spending quality time together, and pleasing one another.

Virgo

Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

An amusing (to the outsider), and loving affair. These two lovebirds spend a lot of their time acting as though they’re not mad for each other. In reality, they’re quite the perfect fit. Each shores up the other’s weaknesses and revels in the other’s strengths.

So talk to me. Ever had a tryst with a Fish? What do you think of Pisces in love?

Next up, Aries..

**Note: The information described here is for entertainment purposes only. It does not in any way reflect the author’s personal beliefs. Please keep in mind that Sun Signs are only a part of an astrological reading ~ there are many other aspects to a person’s chart. To obtain an accurate, personal reading of your individual chart – based on the exact day and time you were born – please consult a professional.

Blessed Ostara

Fáilte! Welcome!

Today, at exactly 9:57 am PDT (the exact moment of this posting, in fact), marks the beginning of Spring. This is a wonderful time of celebration. In Celtic traditions, this is known as Ostara.

Courtesy of Navanna
Courtesy of Navanna

Not to be confused with Ēostre, a Germanic goddess, Ostara is the pagan name for the vernal or spring equinox (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere). Ostara marks the awakening of the Great Goddess from her winter’s sleep. She has been preparing for this awakening since Imbolc.

This time marks the end of the dreary days of winter, and welcomes the fresh days of spring. It’s a time for embracing the new beginnings, new loves, new lives wished for during yule.

As with all Celtic festivals, there are many traditions associated with Ostara having to do with food. Interestingly, many of these same traditions echo those of Easter. For instance, the tradition of decorating Easter eggs and then hiding them for children to find has origins in the distant past. Eggs are an obvious symbol of life and fertility. Celts decorated them and offered them to the Great Goddess at Ostara to bring blessings of abundance and prosperity. It was also customary to leave offerings of something sweet such as honey or mead.

The tradition of hiding them, however, is a bit less heartwarming. Followers of the pagan religions, including the Celts, were forced to hide their offerings when Christianity became popular and it was considered heretical to follow the Old Ways.

So talk to me. Do you celebrate Ostara? How ’bout the spring equinox? Are you familiar with the ancient traditions which have evolved into modern-day Easter?

Goin’ Internal

Pisces / Pisceans

Courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Fish

February 19th ~ March 20th Water Sign. Spans the 330th – 360th degree of the zodiac.

I am very excited to share this post with you. I’m a big—BIG—fan of Pisces. My oldest daughter is a Fish, so this particular post is especially fun for me.

Pisces are touted the chameleons of the zodiac. They’ve inherited some traits from each of the other signs, though they don’t like to show it. They prefer living in a fabulous dream world of their own making. In fact, they feel so comfortable in the illusory world, that sometimes they have a hard time telling fact from fiction.

Fish are—you guessed it, a Water sign. Like Scorpio, Pisces experiences deep emotions. However, unlike Scorpio, Pisces tends to internalize these emotions making it difficult for others to interpret their moods. This natural internalization may be why many Fish feel misunderstood much of the time.

Sensitive, compassionate and loving, Pisces loves helping those less fortunate. Interestingly, Pisces is more likely to show the stronger, more forceful side of her nature when defending a loved one than she would when defending herself.

Pisces is the twelfth sign, the final sign, of the zodiac, and is associated with the twelfth astrological house. The twelfth house is ruled by, originally, Jupiter—the King of Gods, and Neptune—Ruler of the Seas. These two planets bring unique energies for Pisces. This is the house of the unconscious, the house of reckoning. This is the house to meditate in. This is where you come to ask life’s big questions, and then ruminate on the answers. It makes sense why Pisces is never fully checked-in, if you know what I mean.

This is a negative, feminine sign, which means it is odd-numbered and receptive.

Pisces is a mutable sign. He is very much a go with the flow kinda fish. He’s not gonna make waves…pun intended.

Pisces is part of a select group, the Bicorporeal Signs Group. This is where all the cool kids are at. Along with Pisces, Gemini and Sagittarius play here. Bicorporeal, or Double-Bodied, means the sign has two symbols. Gemini has the Twins, Sag has the Archer and the Horse, and Pisces has the two Fish. Having two signs—and speaking from experience, ahem—signifies a dual nature. If the sign is near the seventh house, the sign may have more than one marriage. If it is near the Fifth house, the sign may produce twin offspring. That’s fun, eh?

Let’s see what Debra Silverman has to say about them:

So talk to me. What do you think of Pisces? Do you swim with Fish?

Next up ~ The Loving Pisces

**Note: The information described here is for entertainment purposes only. It does not in any way reflect the author’s personal beliefs. Please keep in mind that Sun Signs are only a part of an astrological reading ~ there are many other aspects to a person’s chart. To obtain an accurate, personal reading of your individual chart – based on the exact day and time you were born – please consult a professional.

Come See Ashley!

Ashley Davis
Ashley Davis

Hello girls and boys! I am honored to introduce you to the beautifully talented, Ashley Davis. A lovely lass originally from Kansas, Ashley offers beautiful melodies with a mixture of Ireland, Scotland and US’s mid-west.

An internationally recognized recording artist and songwriter, Ashley has collaborated with such musical luminaries as the Chieftains’ Paddy Moloney, fiddle player Eileen Ivers, harpist Cormac De Barra, singer-songwriters John Doyle and John Spillane, and the “First Lady of Celtic Music,” Moya Brennan. Throughout her career, she has, to quote NBC’s “Today Show” co-host Meredith Vieira, thrilled audiences with “new music springing from ancient roots.” But in a greater sense, she has become a pioneer, navigating new frontiers and sharing her genre-defying musical vision with an ever-increasing fanbase. ~ Cyber PR

Enjoy!

Beautiful Goddess

“Butterflies represent transformation. They evolve from a caterpillar into a beautiful, wondrous being – much like a woman finding her inner goddess; her personal power.” ~ Nicole Graham

Many cultures believe in the Goddess, or the Divine Feminine. If you are not familiar with her, think of her as the female aspect of the masculine creator God found in many organized religions.

In physical terms, Goddess is, essentially, the land. The mountains are her breasts, the hills her belly, the vales and ravines her secret places and the rivers her blood. She holds the secrets of life and death, of fertility and regeneration. She ages and renews herself with the changing seasons.

In the Celtic tradition, Goddess holds three aspects within herself, or three stages of the cycle of life. Maiden, Mother and Crone, her faces mirror the seasons and humanity itself:

Courtesy of Natasa aka UnripeHamadryad
Courtesy of Natasa aka UnripeHamadryad

Maiden represents spring, and youth and puberty. This is the time of fresh beginnings, of innocence and discovery. She symbolizes the repeating cycle of birth and rebirth, the waxing moon and the crescent moon, enchantment and seduction.

Mother represents summer, and adulthood. This is the time of active creation. She symbolizes blazing noon, reproduction and fertility, the ripeness of life, the full moon and the high point in all cycles.

Crone represents winter, and old age. This is the time of death and the end of cycles. She symbolizes the night, the time when life rests before rebirth, the waning moon and the new moon, and the deepest mysteries and prophecies.

In spiritual terms, Goddess is our loving mother. She guides and watches over us. More than that, however, she is us—and we are her. Every one of us women in our lifetimes will be a maiden, a mother, and a crone. Sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively. In each cycle, we are as beautiful as a fresh spring morning, as glorious as the sun setting over the ocean, and as mysterious as a bright full moon on a cloudless night.

Goddess shows us that we are all equally beautiful, equally sensual, equally worthy. The female form is something to be worshipped all on its own. Our bodies, regardless of size or color, offer love and life. We nurture with our bodies, and can not only offer great pleasure, but also receive great pleasure.

If you’re a frequent visitor here, you’ll remember that I’ve been on a personal journey of self-discovery and transition. If you’re not a frequent visitor, well, now you know.

There are days when I still have trouble saying, “I love you,” to the woman standing in the mirror, but thank Goddess there are many, many more where I can say it with passion, mean it, and sometimes even throw out a wink ;)

Goddess is not only one hot mama, she is wise. Sometimes we think life is this crazy rollercoaster ride of coincidences, but if you’re paying attention, you’ll see that she’s always giving you signs. It’s up to you whether you follow them.

I will never give up on myself. I will question my journey. There will be nights when I cry myself to sleep. But I will wake up, I will continue to move forward. Because not only do I have great value to offer my children, and the world, but I have great value to offer myself every time I look in the mirror.

Just as Goddess is the land, so too is she each one of us. I see her in my reflection. I see her in my two gorgeous children. Look into your eyes. You will see her there, smiling back at you.

August McLaughlin ~ Beauty of a Woman 2014
August McLaughlin ~ Beauty of a Woman 2014

~ We are beautiful. Goddess made us so. ~

“Complete ownership of ourselves and all our gifts is the price that beauty exacts.” ~ Mama Gena, School of Womanly Arts

This post is brought to you by August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman blogfest.
Celebrate the beautiful women in your life!

Celtic Ghouls & Goblins ~ And It’s Not Even Halloween!

Fáilte! Welcome!

I ran across this little bit of mythological fun, and immediately wanted to share with you all. Enjoy!

Psst…BOAW is coming! Check out last year’s post here if you’re not familiar with it. Check back in next week for this year’s post :)

The Loving Aquarius

Happy Valentine’s Day!

What a perfect day to talk about love. More specifically, Aquarius in love:

Courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My Sagittarius heart warms and softens for the freedom-loving Aquarius. They are, all the way down to their dark hidden places, individuals. They need to roam, and have space to express themselves in whatever way that means to them.

Aquarius is quite the flirt and enjoys love-play, but when they have their sights locked on you—watch out because these relentless lovers play for keeps. However, a male Aquarius’ need to protect his feelings may cause misunderstandings.

Water Bearers are intellectuals; they love to analyze everything and will poke at a problem until it is resolved to their satisfaction. This can potentially cause rifts in their personal relationships if they are unable to respect their lover’s emotional space. However, Aquarius is perceptive and clever. They are likely to find a way to make you melt before your angst has a chance to set in.

Aquarius just wants to make things better. Better for him, for his family, for the world. In fact, it wouldn’t be too far off to say Aquarius is out to revolutionize the world—so be prepared for a wild ride. These broad-minded, artistic smart-thinkers handle abstract reasoning well. If you’re of a mind to start-up a romance with one be prepared to think on your feet, quickly.

Alert, curious and inventive, you are guaranteed a good time when playing with an Aquarius. Here are some signs that she’d love to get to know better:

Taurus

Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Bull is sensuous, reliabletrustworthy; qualities to entice and ensnare the Water Bearer. Aquarius and Taurus work well together; they both have powerful personalities and share a strong desire to succeed. However, when in conflict, Aquarius will likely pull away and seem aloof to the Bull who—true to his nature—will push back, demanding to know why. Clear communication will smooth out any rough patches. Aquarius stimulates Taurus, and the Bull comforts and supports the Water Bearer. This can be quite an exciting and satisfying union.

Scorpio

Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Scorpion’s passion is irresistible to the Water Bearer, yet Aquarius can feel drained with all that intensity if they’re not allowed some breathing room. These signs have very different needs and different ways of viewing life. They both can also be uncooperative, opinionated and unyielding. Fear not! There is hope for these two: If Scorpio is gentle with Aquarius, he can teach her about emotional intuition. On the other side, an understanding Aquarius can teach Scorpio to calm down and reevaluate goals. If these two can appreciate and celebrate their differences, they can have a rewarding, delicious union.

Leo

Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Air meets Fire in this hot, hot, hot romance. Both the Lion and the Water Bearer are thrill-seekers. Both are energetic and unstoppable. Both are highly motivated. There will never be a dull moment in this relationship. However, the Lion’s fiery passion and tendency toward the dramatic combined with the Water Bearer’s unpredictability and tendency to withdraw could result in a lot of arguments and temper tantrums. However, their mutual admiration and idealism will always bring them back to the table. When Aquarius and Leo celebrate their differences, magic happens. Leo is energized by Aquarius’ individualism, vision and creativity, and Aquarius is enlivened by Leo’s zeal, charm and dignity.

So talk to me. What do you think about the eccentric Aquarius in love? Have any exciting stories to share?

Next up, Pisces..

**Note: The information described here is for entertainment purposes only. It does not in any way reflect the author’s personal beliefs. Please keep in mind that Sun Signs are only a part of an astrological reading ~ there are many other aspects to a person’s chart. To obtain an accurate, personal reading of your individual chart – based on the exact day and time you were born – please consult a professional.

Goin’ Utopian

Aquarius

Courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Water Bearer

January 20th ~ February 18th. Air Sign. Spans the 300th – 330th degree of the zodiac.

Known as the trailblazers of the zodiac, Aquarius are humanitarians. The Water Bearer is philanthropic, and has a keen social conscience. She doesn’t just want to make her neighborhood better; she sees a much bigger picture.

An Air sign, Aquarius is an intellectual. They are visionaries that see a global need and find a way to meet it. The Water Bearer is a rebel, loves the radical and the eccentric. He is creative and inventive; a smart thinker.

Outgoing, friendly and intelligent, Aquarius always has a crowd around her. She makes friends easily, and keeps them with her charm, sensitivity and compassion. An Aquarius will treasure his friends, and if you happen to have one in your life I’m sure you can relate.

Aquarius is the eleventh sign of the zodiac, associated with the eleventh astrological house, which is the house of friendships, and is ruled by the planets Saturn and Uranus. This combo creates a strong and vibrant energy in the progressive, freedom-loving Aquarius.

This is a positive, masculine sign. You’ll remember this means it is an even-numbered, active and spiritual sign.

Aquarius is one of the Fixed signs which means she is stable, determined, and has a calm objectivity when approaching life and all the craziness that comes with it. Fixed signs move patiently and steadily toward their goals, and exude a confidence that can sometimes border the edge of arrogance, but ultimately—they get results.

The freedom to create positive change in the world and bringing together groups of like-minded individuals to do so are some of the most important things to Aquarius. However, sometimes in their quest for improvement, they can seem like stern taskmasters. When he has his goal in sight, the Water Bearer can be a bit impatient and temperamental.

Please enjoy Debra Silverman’s demonstration:

So talk to me. What do you think of Aquarius? Know any good Water Bearers?

Next up ~ What to do when your heart is caught in the powerful current of Aquarius’ passion..

**Note: The information described here is for entertainment purposes only. It does not in any way reflect the author’s personal beliefs. Please keep in mind that Sun Signs are only a part of an astrological reading ~ there are many other aspects to a person’s chart. To obtain an accurate, personal reading of your individual chart – based on the exact day and time you were born – please consult a professional.