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A celebration of  love – Valentine’s Day is traditionally a special time for lovers, but Wendy Stokes believes it should be a special day for everyone.

 

 Because You Loved Me  BY DIANE WARREN   You were my strength when I was weak; You were my voice when I couldn’t speak; You were my eyes when I couldn't see; You saw the best there was in me. You lifted me up when I couldn’t reach; You gave me faith ‘coz you believed; |’m everything I am because you loved me. You were always there for me The tender wind that carried me; A light in the dark, shining your love into my life; You’ve been my inspiration Through the lies, you were the truth. My world is a better place because of you.
     

Did you know that St Valentine was a Christian saint who died in 269AD? His name derives from the Latin word valens which means ‘worthy’, ‘strong’ and ‘powerful’.

We all know he is the patron saint of lovers, but he’s also the patron saint of travellers and bee keepers. He’s often depicted with roses and birds. His feast day is on February 14th – known to us all as Valentine’s Day. 

Like birthdays, anniversaries and other special and memorable occasions, Valentine’s Day is a ‘feel good’ day that should be celebrated by everyone. Traditionally, it’s a day of romance, held this month because the birds are singing to each other (many birds mate for life) and preparing to build a nest suitable to rear their young.

All of nature is energised as the days increase in length. It’s a time for tenderness, sweetness, beauty, comfort, connection, intimacy, luxury, sincerity, delight, pleasure and desire.


Many kinds of love

While romantic couples are busy buying each other cards and gifts, those without a partner can sometimes feel lonely. Often, a word of appreciation can make someone’s day.

Romance is certainly not the only type of love. This is the day to celebrate all relationships, those with family, special friends, neighbours and work colleagues. Love exists between people whenever there is affection, consideration, thoughtfulness, generosity and warmth.

The Greeks had unique words for different types of love. Eros for erotic love. Caritas for caring love. Agape for compassionate love. There was also self-love, known as ‘narcissism’ after the youth, Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection.

Vanity has rather negative connotations but our personality needs balance and maturity. Only when we develop a level of self-respect and positive self-regard are we able to offer ourselves in equality, humility, openness and genuineness to another person.

Love energy needn’t depend on others

In her book Love in an Age of Uncertainty, psychotherapist Jocelyn Chaplin writes:

“Everyone wants love. But exactly what each person means by that elusive little word depends on their belief system...  Many people think of love as a thing to get or possess like everything else in our consumer society…

Jocelyn Chaplin’s painting, Yearning for the Moon
Jocelyn Chaplin’s painting,
Yearning for the Moon.
 
  

“The ecstasy of falling in love generally lasts for a tragically short period of time, and yet this is for many their only time of experiencing being fully alive and in touch with the life force. When this fades, the ensuing disappointment often gets blamed on the other person. It seems that a sense of ultimate aloneness is just too much for most people to bear…

“The modern myth tells us that this alone feeling will go away only when we find the perfect partner to be ‘kept’ as long as possible. I would like to suggest an alternative myth that doesn’t devalue the power of that ecstatic energy we also call being in love.

“The myth goes as follows: We are all born tingling with love energy all over our bodies and interconnected with similar energies in the universe around us…  It is our natural birthright… Sometimes other people or situations help inspire these feelings, but they don’t need to depend on others. This love energy actually belongs to us… It is simply being fully alive.”

Jocelyn describes her painting Yearning for the Moon as “an expression of my soul’s longing to become one with what is greater than me, to attune completely to the rhythms of life symbolised by the moon, to become whole, to be fully surrendered. My nakedness, felt from within, represents an emptiness of my ego and defences, status and superficial beauty.” The moon has long been a symbol for love and devotion.  

Valentine’s Day provides the opportunity for us to talk about love to everyone, to tell those close to us how much they mean to us, how much we cherish and appreciate them, to buy them gifts, send loving messages and, most of all, to deepen our love for them and theirs for us.

Wendy Stokes' garden altar
    My garden altar (or The Lovers’ Tarot card, any deck).
 

Love stimulates the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine, and these produce feelings of wellbeing and excitement. Studies have shown that the greater the amount of love we have in our lives, the more successful we are in accomplishing goals, and the easier and more quickly we recover from illness and other difficulties.

As 14th February 2014 coincides with a full moon, the moon lends its energy for strength, wholeness and completion. It is also a time of commitment. If you want to commit to a relationship, choose a full moon to say the words: I commit myself to a deep and loving relationship with… [name].

 

A day for forgiveness and life changes

It’s also a time to pledge to forgive someone for something you’re feeling hurt about. Say out loud: “I forgive [Name] for causing me to be upset”.

Another commitment might be to change your life in some way, such as to join a local voluntary group or fundraise or campaign for a charity dear to your heart.

Whispers of Love cover


A garden altar

To create a ritual, build a garden altar by finding some branches with leaf or flower buds and seasonal flowers. Add some herb leaves such as sage or rosemary, and some mementos and photos of those you love.

On a piece of paper, take a red felt-tip pen or crayon and draw a large heart shape. Write inside it the names of all the people you love, and the reason(s) why you love them. Light a pink or red candle and say: “I call upon all the great angels and spirits of love to guide me, that I may express greater love for the people listed here.”

If you have made a commitment of some kind, you can also place information about your commitment in the heart and say: “I pledge myself to [Name your cause] and ask that I may be given strength for all I need to accomplish.” Place the paper heart on the altar alongside the lit candle, and meditate for a while.


A special card for you

   

Wendy Stokes and Jocelyn Chaplin
are holding a ‘Celebrating Love’
workshop on Saturday 8th Feb
2014 at Clearly Destiny Spiritual
Centre in Euston, London.

To book, phone: 020 7387 0358.
For more info, visit:
www.wendystokes.co.uk

A card has been chosen for PN readers from the Whispers of Love cards by Angela Hartfield, with artwork by Josephine Wall. The deck helps attract love and can be used to build stronger and more loving relationships.

Angela says: “One of the amazing aspects of being loving is that love also supports us. It is important to remember that when we are kind to others, we create more opportunities to show kindness. When others are kind to us, in return, we are motivated to pass that kindness on. Show kindness and bring more love into the world.”
 
 


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