Sam I Am Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘beliefs

Raise The Colors !

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I love to see a flag flying in the breeze.

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  The Saldana Family proudly flies their Republic of the Philippines flag in Barangay Baras among the coconut and guava trees.

  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Thanks to my brother-in-law, Ramon Q. Saldana Jr.,in a matter of days, we had a beautiful, tall, functional flagpole in our front yard. 

In the United States of America when a military installation or a government agency is ready to begin business, there is a formal ceremony that focuses on the raising of the United States flag to announce the”official” commencement of operations. Even homes, in the United States, with a flagpole usually has some type of ceremony before the flag is raised for the first time. 

Once a flagpole is ready, you need to understand your feelings toward the flag that will rise up the standard.  If the banner is a national flag, then, you need to understand your emotions and beliefs about patriotism.

Patriotism involves your love of your country and the respect to honor the memory of the people who have sacrificed their lives for your country.  If you don’t love your country or feel little to no emotion for the people who have sacrificed their lives for your country; then, you have no business flying a national flag.

In observing my nephews and nieces, they have shown care, concern and compassion for their community and have demonstrated their responsibility in their schoolwork, which translates to me as responsible citizenship.  I’m proud to watch them show an interest in current events and Filipino history, which I also view as personal pride in their country. 

 

When you fly a national flag, you should always be aware of your nation’s flag protocol.  In the United States Armed Forces, I was taught customs and courtesies, which addressed guidelines for the use and display of the United States flag.  And, I know there are detailed procedures for the use and display of the US flag at embassies, consulates and official government agencies.  I would theorize that most governments probably have similar procedures and guidelines for the display and use of their national flags.

 

I explained to my nephews and nieces that proper display of the flag is their responsibility and suggested they ask a teacher or go online and research Republic of the Philippines protocol for the display of the national flag.

1_RAMON AND FE ADJUST THE LINE_6711_resized

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., and Marife Saldana Roa adjust the flagpole line. 

  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we raised the flag, Ramon and Fe asked me if we were going to do “a formal flag ceremony ?”  I smiled and answered, “I’m retired.  My days of military protocol are behind me.”  The truth is before putting together anything like a formal flag ceremony, I wanted to be sure that the flagpole and the flag would work without any flaws. 

 

4_CHRISTY AND RAMONWATCH WHILE FE ADJUSTS THE LINE_6713_resized

 

 

 

 

 

Christy Warren and Ramon Saldana hold the banner while Marife threads a tie through the top grommet to tie the banner to the flagpole line.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I had not tested the flag raising procedure, I didn’t want to risk the kids being assembled for a flag raising and have the line hang up so that the flag did not rise or discover that the grommets were not tied properly and have the flag come loose and fall to the ground.  My favorite “Uncle Sam” had taught me to always hope for the “Best Case Scenario” and to be ready to expect the “Worst Case Scenario.”  Without a “dry run” to test the procedure, I suggested that we just try to raise the flag the next morning.

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Ramon and Fe make sure the top grommet is securely tied to the flagpole line as a part of the process to raise the banner. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I simply hoped that we would have the colors flying when the kids returned home from school the next day.

7_MARLON SALDANA CLIMBS A GUAVA TREE TO RETRIEVE THE FLAGPOLE LINE_6723_resized

Nephew Marlon Saldana climbs up a nearby guava tree to snatch the flagpole line which came loose from the bottom of the banner and did not allow it to rise in the first attempt.The failure revealed that the line should pass through the top grommet and the bottom grommet.  To keep the banner attached to the line, then, the bottom grommet would also have to be tied to the nylon flagpole line to allow the flag to rise with the line up to the pulley at the top of the staff.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

February 1, 2012, Christy, Ramon and Marife, three of the adult children of Ramon and Nenita Saldana, raised the colors in the front yard for the first time. I, of course, photographed the event.

Murphy’s Law – “Anything that can go wrong; will go wrong,” seems to pinpoint first time events.  The initial flag raising did not go smoothly.

 

None of us had ever tied a flag to the line before.  The tie at the bottom grommets of the flag did not hold and the bottom of the flag came loose as it was raised.

Fortunately, the flag did not touch the ground. U.S. Flag protocol states that if the flag falls and touches the ground, then, that flag must be destroyed.

When we attempted to lower the flag, too much of the line came through the pulley at the top and the line rushed through until the knot at the end of the line caught in the pulley.   My nephew, Marlon Saldana climbed up the nearby guava tree and retrieved the knotted line caught up in the pulley and brought the line back down.

By the second attempt, the glitches had been remedied and the colors rose up the line to the top of the flagpole.

8_RAMON ADJUST THE LINE AND CHRISTY STRAIGHTENS THE FLAG_6717

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramon Saldana examines the flagpole line to make sure  it passes through the grommets of the banner to allow the cloth to rise up the line.  Christy Warren straightens the material, so that the cloth should rise like the sail of a ship up to the top of the mast.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The colors raised – there was only one item missing – a breeze.

FLAG RISES TO THE TOP OF THE FLAGPOLE_6738

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The flagpole line raises the flag up to the top of the flagpole on the second attempt.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time passed. The kids returned home from school, but the flag was not flying. That fact was a disappointment. Unfortunately, there was no breeze.

The irony is ,it was about, a week and a half later before the flag waved.  Typhoon winds off of the ocean actually spawned enough of a breeze to unfurl the colors.

SALDANA FAMILY FLIES THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES FLAG_8424_resized 

The colors unfurl.  The Republic of the Philippines flag flies above the Saldana Family residence in Barangay Baras, Tanauan, Leyte. 

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If you pass through Barangay Baras, keep looking through the tall coconut trees.   When you see a flash of colors in the trees look for the flagpole.  The Saldana Family flagpole stands proud and unfurls the colors of the Republic of the Philippines against the sky.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Death Anniversary Ceremony Considerations

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Plans, Procedures, Performance

Death Anniversary

Ceremony Considerations

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If you are interested in the Death Anniversary Ceremony there may be other sources on the Internet with this information. If you are fortunate enough to know a Filipino man or a Filipina woman, then, they might be willing to explain if their family observes this type of ceremony or tell you the procedures their family uses.

Annual Observance

I used the basics of a ceremony that I witnessed in the Republic of the Philippines in 1989. While the family explained that the ceremony is conducted every year for 10 years straight on the anniversary of the day of the death of the Loved One – they did explain that families sometimes do continue the ceremony for a number of years past the 10 year date.

The point is that the family conducts the observance to remember the Loved One who has passed on. And, even without a formal observance, the memory of the Loved One is kept alive by family stories of their lives that get passed on to the younger generations.

The Significance Of Ritual – Focus

I adapted the Death Anniversary Ceremony to fit my understanding and needs.

Papa Warren had been a Mason. Daddy had been a Mason. When I was 13, I joined the Order of DeMolay and learned the significance and importance of formal ritual. Ritual often becomes so rooted in tradition and history that people forget someone had to sit down and come up with the original procedures.

When I began to research Magick, it became apparent that even the old alchemist and ancient magickians knew the significance of ritual causes the mind to focus. The Altered State Of Mental Consciousness allows you to focus intently on the issue at hand and to ignore any petty concerns that aren’t important to the the matters at hand.

Another tactic of the ancient magickians is they would tinker with their procedures until they came up with rituals that they believed worked for them. Then, they wrote down the procedures and would use them as need. They had created their own rituals.

Candle Choice

In the article, Momma’s Death Anniversary, the candle in the photograph, is a light blue eight inch taper candle.

Blue Candle - In the Philippines, I learned that a candle lit to honor a Loved One is watched closely for indications of the Loved One's reaction of pleasure or disappointment with issues in the family at an Annual Death Anniversary Ceremony. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

There are books on candles that cover color and candle making. Candles are often associated with religion. However, candles share a long history of use in magick.

Some sources point out that the colors of candles suggest the use. White, basically is an all purpose color. Green is often mentioned to use for health or money. Purple is a color to set up to request or perform physic awareness. There are various sources that suggests various colors for various functions.

Some people who work with candles will have a preference of the material that the candle is made out of. Again, there are books and sources on the Internet to explain the various materials used to create a candle.

I used the light blue candle simply because I could not find Momma’s memorial green taper candle that I had put away last year after the ceremony.

I believe the Universe has dealt with people long enough to understand that often times we use what we have on hand at the time.

The Power Of A Candle - A candle is a light in the darkness. Candles have a long history of use in religion and magick. Visit a bookstore, a local library or surf the Internet for books on candles. Some authors point out that color should be considered in their use and explain the different materials that can be used to make a candle. Llewellyn Worldwide is one publisher of books that offers an assortment of information on candles. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Naturally, children should have parents set up the ceremony for them. And, if a candle is used then Mom or Dad lights the candle and makes sure it is watched until the candle is out.

The Time Factor

In The Death Anniversary Ceremony, you light the candle at 6 pm., and let it burn for an hour. The 6 pm, time is used, as it was explained to me, because of a cultural belief in the Philippines that when the sun goes down around 6pm, then, spirits have the ability to stroll about in The Real World. Thus, beginning at 6 pm, in the evening, it is considered relatively easy to establish contact with spirits. At sunrise, supposedly, spirits return to their own dimensions.

Spirit Communications

While Americans might consider only a day or two before of after Halloween as the time when The Veil Between The Worlds are thinnest to allow for Spirit Communication; in the Philippines, in the late 1980s, any day after 6 pm, was considered a good time to try for any type of Spirit Communication.

The cultural belief on Spirit Communication is easy to understand when you realize The Republic Of The Philippines is a devoutly religious country with also has centuries of belief and traditions in folklore magick in the rural provinces.

In the Philippines, the candle flame was watched for a response. Flickering candle flames were a sign that a spiritual presence had made contact. Based on the way that the flame reacted it was believed that the spirit was trying to convey either pleasure or disappointment at some of the family’s actions, during the past year. The way that the wax pools underneath the candle flame is taken as a sign of spirit communication, as well as, the manner in which the hot wax flows down the side of the candle is an indication of the spirit’s approval or disapproval of issues going on in the family.

Ritual Tool

In the Philippines ceremony that I witnessed, once the candle was extinguished it was saved for use the next year. In formal rituals in all ceremonies you have ritual tools that are kept packed away until it is time to use them and then they are carefully packed away until the next use in a formal ceremony. In essence, the candle used in the Death Anniversary Ceremony becomes a ritual tool. Thus, it is carefully put away and not used again until the next year.

Usually a candle will not melt away with only an hour’s use. Thus, a Death Anniversary Candle should last for a few years.

Candles have a long history of use in religion and magick. One magick belief is that basically a candle can be seen in other dimensions or to send a message to other spiritual realms. To 21st Century Americans this might seem like a quaint idea, but, if you consider how limited life must have been, even in the United States from the 1700s to the 1800s before electricity finally became commonplace – then, you can appreciate the significance of a candle. In rural America, when the sun went down you either went to bed or used a “coal oil” (kerosene) lamp until bedtime.

Fire Safety

Make sure your candle is in an appropriate holder that will allow a candle to sit upright and burn safely.

Always remember to watch your lit candle. Never, ever leave a burning candle unattended.

Your Procedure

Once the candle is in the holder and lit, you can sit and look at the candle. If you find thoughts in your mind are directed toward the candle, then, that is your procedure to perform the ceremony.

If you talk to your loved one in a chair behind the candle, then, that is your way to perform the ceremony.

If you want to look at the candle and pray silently or pray aloud, then, that is your procedure to perform the ceremony.

The point is whatever procedure comes to your mind is the technique that will probably help you to feel the most relaxed and at ease. One major purpose of the ceremony is to help you to feel at ease and to experience a sense of peace.

Candle Snuffer

If you use candles, then, you probably have a candle snuffer. Mine is a black bell shaped snuffer. The snuffer is a clean, safe way to extinguish the candle. In magick work, you do not blow out a candle.

Candle Snuffer - A candle snuffer lowered over the flame of a candle is a safe way to extinguish the blaze. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

When an ordinary candle is used up, people traditionally make sure it is cold and can be placed in the trash.

Expiration

Eventually, the candle will have melted away. Once the natural expiration occurs, then, you have to decide how to properly dispose of the candle. A ceremonial candle used in an observance: personal, religious or magick is traditionally treated with more concern than a candle used for a romantic dinner or for a power outage use.

A Death Anniversary Candle is a ritual tool and a symbol of a somber observance, thus, the demise should be appropriate. The candle remains, melted wax and any of the pieces can be placed in a paper towel and then placed in a little hole you dug in your yard and covered over. In contemporary America this is an easy way to recycle the candle remains into the earth. As a traditional magick belief, Earth as one of the elements absorbs the candle pieces to purify them and prepare them for rebirth and renewal.

Another option is to place the candle pieces in a nearby stream. Again, in contemporary America, placing the candle pieces into the water is a simple matter of letting nature do the recycling. Water is one of the major elements in Western Magick, thus, by placing the candle pieces in a flowing body of water like a stream, creek or river, you are allowing the earth to recycle and purify the candle pieces.

The Death Anniversary Ceremony is an observance that I witnessed and adapted to fit my personal needs to deal with the grief of the loss of my mother.

Your Personal Grief Ritual

If people feel they need some type of ritual to deal with a personal loss, then, by all means seek out a ritual. Keep in mind,

Rosary Beads On Cathedral Amethyst - Catholicism has a long history of formal rituals for use in worship. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

we all have daily rituals like shaving in the morning. We have rituals like what time we go to lunch and even rituals of – we eat lunch at our desk or leave the office and go somewhere for lunch. Everyone’s life is composed of a series of rituals that we perform so often that we don’t even recognize these actions as small daily rituals.

Holy Bible - Religious books are a source of inspiration in designing a ritual for a specific, personal purpose. Every photo has a story. When I went outside to use the Bible for the photo shoot, when I opened it - it opened to Second Samuel. After trying some different natural backgrounds, I tried this one and opened it to a chapter in Samuel. I had the Bible positioned on the TV snack tray table to take the photo. The sun shined and there were no breezes. As I snapped the shutter a breeze caught the page. I leave it to the reader to determine the meaning. Since the Universe had recommended Samuel when I began selecting natural backgrounds, it could be the Universe might have a subtle sense of humor at times. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Observances are usually formal rituals. Church on Sunday is a ritual. Every Faith has a series of rituals that begin once you step through the door and the rituals are designed to focus the mind on the matter at hand.

You can surf the Internet or stop by the local library to research the different types of rituals used for funerals, memorials and observances. If the chosen ceremony seems elaborate, time consuming, requires a lot of props and gear to carry out – remember: Adapt.

Pentacle In Spheres - My research into the Wicca religion suggests that it is a religion concerned with nature. Wicca, I believe, encourages people to try to live in the flow of the Universe, on earth or beyond. There seems to be a wealth of rituals that can be practiced or used for inspiration to create your own. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Use What Works

Spiritual Beliefs - Death of a Loved One is a Major Challenge to your personal spiritual beliefs. The Personal Grief might force you to look inside yourself and examine your beliefs in the smallest details. I sought out resources from the religious community and decided to try and find a spiritual path, which led to a ritual - The Death Anniversary Ceremony - which has helped me. Anyone should be free to search out a path that works in the time of loss and personal grief. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Use what works. Jot down the information on the ceremony that you find at the library or while surfing the Internet. Work a pencil to add to and take away from the ceremony, until you have come up with your own personal ritual that will be of meaning to you. We are all human, but we each have different needs, attitudes, personalities and life experiences – What works for Aunt Darlene might not work for you.

Use what works for you.

Best Wishes - Best Wishes In Your Journey Through Life. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 Sam

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