Monday, June 30, 2008

Sight & Vision

Every time we see a picture, our mind gets some kind of feeling or message, some flash of intuition. Think about the last time you walked through an art museum or gallery. The pictures you liked, you stopped and looked at for a while. Those pictures communicated something to you. The pictures you didn't like also triggered some kind of thought, memory or feeling in you.

No doubt you have had the same experience at someone else's home when you looked at their artwork.

The same is true of a Tarot deck. As you look through them, the same process occurs again and again. You have in your hands a little art gallery and no doubt you like some pictures better than others. No matter what the author or artist says about why they made the picture that way, we get something from it.

Even when we go to a museum and we see a Monet, Rembrandt, Waterhouse, Titian, Van Gogh or Wyeth, we do not know what was in the painter's mind at the time they painted those pictures, but what we do know is how we feel when we see them. There is no right or wrong answer to the question of how we feel.

The Rider-Waite Tarot deck, which was illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith, with the concept and text written by Edward Waite, is now the modern standard for decks because it was the first one to have picture on every card. They understood that having a picture on every card made it easier for people to use as a metaphysical tool, and was probably the first definitive step in making it forever separate in most people's minds from the playing card deck.

As you know, the playing card deck can be used for game playing and for readings. So can the Tarot, but most people do not play games with their Tarot, just like most people do not do readings with their playing cards. Further in the past, one deck served both purposes.

Give yourself a vote of confidence. When you are shuffling and drawing cards and see a picture, trust your instinct as to what that picture means in response to your thoughts and questions. When you look up what the artist or author wrote about that card, you will probably agree anyway. And there will always be some pictures that you have a hard time relating to or agreeing with. The artist will certainly tell you that there is a particular reason why they chose to put a yellow flower, a blue butterfly or some other detail in a picture, but it may not always be important to answering your question at the moment. On some other day, it might be important, but on those days, your attention will immediately be drawn to that detail and that will be a big clue for you.

The same principles apply when you are laying on the grass looking up at the sky and see shapes in the clouds, stars, the flight of birds, the shapes of branches in trees, stones you find, or gazing into water that runs in a stream, or a camp fire. Sight brings us vision, both the obvious, physical kind, and the not so obvious reality behind the reality, the visions of a visionary. It is all about learning to see.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Keeping Your Desires Close To Your Heart

With all the talk about affirmations and positive thinking, we may start to reorient ourselves into chatterboxes that sometimes talk to ourselves and sometimes to others.

Take note, however, that there is an old and honored tradition that says that sometimes we will be more powerful in manifesting our desires by keeping silent and holding the energy close to our core until it is time to launch it out into the universe.

Picture what it is that you really want and then just hold that thought, letting the energy build, and as the energy builds, so does the clarity of the vision, the intensity of the desire, and the readiness to embrace that desire and step into it.

Your actions keep moving you in the direction of your desire, your thoughts bring in visions as vivid as any movie. You might even be able to hear, smell and feel what it is you want to make real.

Remember, silence can often be a more effective engine to drive your visions than chatter. Sometimes the more you chatter about it, the more you let the air out of the tires of your vehicle. Breathe life into your dreams. Be silent until exactly the right moment. And then grasp the opportunity, and grasp the prize.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Walt Whitman, the American Rumi

Leaves of Grass is one of the original works of American metaphysical literature, equal to the great ecstatic spiritual poetry of Rumi. I often wonder why it has not been used as source material in the same way that Rumi's poetry has inspired the creation of music, or how the Dances of Universal Peace groups have made dances based on his poetry.

Now don't get me wrong. I love Rumi. I have several books of his poetry and have had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Coleman Barks and attending his readings of Rumi. I just think that another original contributor to spiritual and metaphysical literature who made a giant contribution to our culture has been overlooked.

Leaves of Grass is brimming with the exuberance of one who clearly appreciates and celebrates all of life, from the titular blades of grass to the admiration of people doing their work, to the joy of sharing food, drink, dancing and singing with friends and acquaintances. You could say that Whitman's landmark work, was in a way, the spiritual grandfather to contemporary classics like Be Here Now by Ram Dass and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Every salient point you can find in these more recent works can also be found in Leaves of Grass.

Here is a small taste of the poet's wisdom to ponder. Whitman's poetry is peppered with phrases such as these:

"Of Life immense in passion, pulse and power,
Cheerful, for freest action form'd under the laws divine,
The Modern Man I sing."

"I sing the body electric."

"I launch all men and women forward with me into the Unknown
The clock indicates the moment --- but what does eternity indicate?"

"But now I think there is no unreturn'd love,
The pay is certain, one way or another."

"Was somebody asking to see the soul?
See your own shape and countenance, persons, substances, beasts, the trees, the running rivers, the rocks and sands.
All hold spiritual joys and afterwards loosen them;
How can the real body ever die and be buried?"

"I have perceive'd that to be with those I like is enough.
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough.
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh, is enough.

There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them,
and in the contact and odor of them that pleases the soul well.
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well."

"My faith is the greatest of faiths and the least of faiths,
Enclosing worship ancient and modern and all between ancient and modern."

"Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems.
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self."

Isn't this worth another look?

Spiritual But Not Religious

We have all heard the phrase, "I am spiritual, but not religious." Perhaps we have even used that phrase to describe ourselves or our practices. Typically, people attended whatever church or religion their parents chose. Usually they would take us to church with them or send us to schools or Sunday schools operated by their church. It was just expected that we would follow along in this way.

However, as we grew and changed, many of us have changed our ideas about religion and spirituality. Some of us changed churches, and some of us adapted various spiritual practices from different religions, cultures or traditions, creating our own unique blend of concepts and practices that work for us. Another word for that way of doing things is eclectic.

A survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted in 2007, published in February 2008, depicted a fluid and diverse national religious life marked by people moving among denominations and faiths.

According to that report, more than a quarter of adult Americans have left the faith of their childhood to join another religion or no religion. The survey indicated that the group that had the greatest net gain was the unaffiliated, accounting for 16 percent of American adults.

Who are the unaffilliated? These include minor, but growing choices, such as Wicca, Buddhist, Hindu, Sufi, Taoist, Druid, Asatru, Santeria, Bahai or Native American, to name just a few which have grown significantly in recent years. A person can practice these religions or incorporate aspects of them into their eclectic mix without officially joining anything. These practices can be done in the privacy of your own home, or on your own property without having to follow strict rules set by an organization or tithing to professional clergy. So there is no exact number of people who practice these things, only estimates based on surveys such as these.

However, the percentage of people who responded in this way has doubled in size in the last 20 years. If you choose to use a little of this from one tradition, a little of that from another tradition plus some parts you have improvised to synthesize the different parts that work for you, then you are a part of this growing part of the population that relates to spirit in a more universal way.

If you identify yourself as "spiritual, but not religious," you are not just being faddish, you are part of a steadily growing number of people who are using their own experience to engage in a spiritual life that blends into their everyday life.

Do whatever works. In fact, for a country that is made up of people from all over the world, rather than one ethnic or religious group, it seems quite appropriate to me that increasing numbers of people are being practical and eclectic in their spiritual practices.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Shakespeare & Us

Why have people speculated over the years that Shakespeare's works must have really been the product of someone else?

Because many people have had trouble believing that a man who was poor, the son of a glovemaker, who had little formal education, could have written plays that demonstrated a facility in portraying the lives of people from all parts of society, from nobles to jesters, to drunks, thieves, military men, clerics, whores, musicians and working people. It seemed hard to believe that a man of limited means who never traveled that much himself could write convincingly of places he had not been to, and of events that were over centuries before he was born as well as those set in the time in which he lived.

It was a feat that many modern authors cannot match up to, when you consider how insightfully he depicted the subtle inner workings as well as the outward actions of people. Even today, his plays are well received and draw hearty laughs as well as gasps of horror and jolts of irony, as rich in value and pertinent to current events as they were when they were first performed. Directors are still mining his work for fresh material or remaking his material with their own twist to make new movies. Contemporary authors still find inspiration for new work from reading his writing, and seeing performances of his plays. Musicians still create new music to use with his plays, or inspired by his plays and poetry.

Not only his plays, but his poems, are still among those most admired and most quoted in the English language. His wit, wisdom and profound heartfelt renderings of relationships still dazzle audiences and readers all over the world.

Why was it so hard to believe he did all this?

Because he used his abilities to do far more than the average person. He far outperformed and outproduced what anyone expected of a man of his rank in society. He showed us how much one man can create, if he puts his mind to it. And, by the way, no one has ever proven that he was not the author of his work. All of that is just speculation and theory.

We also have the ability to do far more than what we usually do, or what people expect of us.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Our Bodies & The Law of Attraction

One of the most important aspects of the Law of Attraction is that we stay focused on our goal. I am thinking about goals relative to the body right now. We have to not only see ourselves as a person who is fit, healthy and attractive. We have to also take action steps to get there, such as eating a balanced selection of foods, drinking plenty of water and exercising.

How often have any of us decided that we want to burn off some fat and replace it with toned muscles? How many of us give up on that goal before reaching it?

Health clubs make a profit from all the people who sign up and pay for a membership to work out but then quit coming after a few months. Craigslist and newspapers have plenty of ads for people selling brand name home gym equipment that people bought and quit using, hoping to recoup a fraction of their original investment. Around the country there are also retail stores that resell workout equipment on consignment.

How does the Law of Attraction relate to the goals we have and the vision we have for our bodies? Here's one perspective. Perhaps we need to prioritize more clearly. Perhaps working on our bodies is just one of many things on our list and we have not allowed a proper amount of time for the things on our list. Sometimes we overestimate how many things we can get done in a day, so that may mean we need to trim some things from our list in order to maintain our focus on the things which are most important and thus, are more able to keep up with our list.

This will help us feel better about our selves and our goals because we are keeping up with what we determined to be our goals. And then the Law of Attraction will work in sync with our desires, affirmations, visions and actions to bring about the desired result.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Goodbye, George Carlin

George Carlin was a comedian who gave me lots of laughs over the years. He was one of the first ones who could just take examples from everyday life that could make us ask questions about ourselves and take a look at our lives while making us laugh. Very much in the tradition of the old court jesters.

Comedians up until the time of Lenny Bruce, George Carlin and a few others relied on old format jokes that began with lines like "So two guys walk into a bar...." And I used to laugh over a lot those old fashioned jokes too. But then, about the 1960s, comedians started to expand the subject matter for what could make us laugh.

The reason that kings and queens used to keep court jesters is that there was always wisdom within their entertainment, only it didn't feel like the audience was being lectured because of the presentation. Jesters could say things that other people in court might be afraid to say.

This is useful for us to remember too. It is often easier for us to make a point with others through the use of humor. People who can do it are valued. When we look at contemporary literature, how many authors can make us laugh while we read? Not so many as there are serious authors, are there? And out of all the comedians, how many a so good that you always look for new recordings or shows that include them?

Humor is the finely tuned sense of gifted storytellers. Of the modern authors, ones that come to mind are Tom Robbins and Kurt Vonnegut. Of the modern comedians, beside George Carlin, I like Ron White, Chris Rock, older Robin Williams and Steve Martin routines, and I am trying to think of others. Humor is a great gift, and we will miss George Carlin, and welcome the new talent that he opened the door for.

This is why I frequently use humor, whether it is in my day job, or my my reading, healing and teaching work. Cracking a joke is a way to relieve pressure and help a person who might be overwhelmed or frustrated to lighten up just enough to see things from another perspective. And that little lightning strike, or perhaps even just a giggle or a smile, of an opening could be enough to change the mood and bring lightheartnedness and relief to someone in pain or distress.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Living on the Edge

Most of us grew up with set notions of how life should be. Our parents told us what kind of education we should get, what kind of job we should get, what church to go to, what kind of life to expect with our marriage, house and all that.

Then somewhere along the way, we started to get the idea that we could change our lives in all these ways. We changed jobs several times, moved several times, perhaps gave up going to church altogether in favor of fashioning our own spiritual lives by adapting various practices from around the world, using the services of alternative healers.

Many of these changes came on waves of popular culture, and so the big picture of how much things have changed did not emerge until much later. For example, divorce became easier due to changes in laws. Once we decided that we would no longer stay in marriages that did not feel good and did not work for us, we detected a new air of freedom. We experienced a real shift. Marriage no longer meant that we had one chance and that we had to stick with our choice, good or bad. We could actually choose again and try again if we wanted.

Years ago, there were churches that would not welcome a person as a member if they were divorced. How many people started searching for a new church as a result of such rules? How many people searched for a new church when the church rules forbid birth control? Once that sense of freedom to choose a church kicked into gear, it went to the next step, which was to choose a way of relating to spirit that was completely without the structures of a church. Free from institutions making rules that we could not live with, we also kept that portion of our income for ourselves rather than tithing.

In the world of work, we discovered that changing jobs and changing careers could be an interesting and exciting thing to do. Those people who chose to stay with the same company for years had economic advantages for a while. But that is true for less and less people now that companies are doing away with pensions, health insurance, paid vacations and shutting down businesses to move jobs to other countries where they can pay employees even less. Sometimes we change because we choose to and sometimes we change because we have to.

Each of these significant changes did not come in one overnight decision. They were a gradual wave that built momentum. Throughout our entire lifetime, we have been faced with these opportunities to reinvent our selves.

Growing up in a world where so many of these plans were made for us and we were expected to follow them, it has not always been easy to embrace change. Sometimes there are so many choices that choosing becomes an overwhelming process. That is why we must find a way to be centered in our lives, to discover what exactly we like and don't like, what works best for us, what kind of people we like being with the most. Then making our choices accordingly.

We are now at a point where our way of thinking about the world around us, our way of perceiving and experiencing, become the starting point for reinventing our selves. We find ways to choose partners, work, spiritual practices and lifestyles that suit us.

It is not always easy making adjustments, but choices are now available like never before. It can be confusing and we do need support from those close to us, because as we reinvent our selves and our world, we can be both excited and scared living on the edge.

This is a perfect example of how we create in our lives, choosing from either love or fear. We are already on the edge between the world as we used to know it and the world as we now know it. And we are headed into a world which is not yet clear to us, although it will be a product of choosing between love and fear as we reinvent our selves and our world.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Scent in the Air After it Rains

The rain last night was very welcome. It was not a long, hard rain, but a gentle one that sprinkled all the plants lightly. After it is over, there is a scent in the air that smells like summer plants about to bloom. It is a mysterious aroma that connot yet be identified as a flower. Just an earthy smell in the air that suggests the greenery stretching skyward through the dirt and rock to offer its flowers to us.

Simultaneously, we had lightning and a full moon. Quite magical to watch those two forms of illumination amplify the sky and shake up the night. Loved watching it.

Have you ever taken the time to just appreciate a scene like that just to drink in its simple, powerful, delicious beauty? Do you make it a regular habit? Would you like to?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What is Reiki Like?

What is Reiki like? Picture yourself lying on a comfortable massage table. You don't have to discuss or analyze anything. You don't have to do anything. You just have to be open to receive the energy. Just relax and know that whatever is bothering you can be aided by the simple loving, kind, compassionate energy that lives all around us and animates the entire universe.

A warm, soothing energy flows through the other person's hands into you. It feels both calming and energizing at the same time. There is soothing music playing in the background. The energy gives you a sort of tingling sensation, which is pleasant and seems to make you more aware of everything around you.

It seems like you have been here a long time, but only an hour has gone by. Somehow a lot of the things you were stressing about when you came in are no longer distracting you from consciousness. In fact, solutions to problems may be coming to mind. Some of these solutions include simply being more patient with others, or radiating out a feeling of compassion toward them, rather than arguing with them. Reiki can encourage a person to let go of fear, anxiety and conflicted feelings in favor of projecting some of that love, kindness and compassion you are receiving out to other people.

Pains and discomforts may drift away as a result of a Reiki session. A feeling of love and clear thinking will be present long after the session has ended. A person can continue these feelings by following the energetic flow that they sense. Additional sessions can continue to renew these feelings. Fresh new perspectives will occur to you that will ease your comfort in your physical, mental, spiritual and emotional bodies.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Our Own Personal GPS

We have constantly keep reminding ourselves of the path we are on and the ways we want our life to go. We find peace in quiet moments, joy in little things, and we have to keep restating things in a way that keeps us on track.

Every day as we keep reaffirming to the universe that we are doing the things we need to be doing, it is a combination of thoughts, words and actions that are like our own personal GPS.

Why? Because some days it is easy to forget. We can be distracted with a stressful day at work, letting ourselves get down by consuming too much news, or even watching too many movies about spies, private eyes, and other strange characters.

Navigating our way through the world and creating a better life has everything to do with keeping our bearings. That might mean repeating affirmations, singing a song or chant, taking time to laugh at a joke, and then reorienting ourselves to the big picture.

Have you checked the settings on your own personal GPS today? Are you heading in the direction you want to be going?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Green Gets Sexy

Green is not necessarily sexy, it is just necessary. It is interesting that companies now are interested in becoming greener. They are hiring consultants to help them build offices that use less energy, and many now have recycling bins for bottles, cans and paper.

In some ways, talking about saving energy is about as exciting as having someone tell you that it is good for your health to eat more vegetables, drink more water and exercise every day. True, but not necessarily exciting.

With the evolution of current events, we are once again concerned about driving fuel efficient cars. Interesting how easily lots of people forgot the oil embargo of the 70s and waiting in long lines just to buy gas.

Here's a conspiratorial kind of thought for you. What if there is more oil in the earth than anyone can calculate and the oil companies and politicians know it but they are just doing all this to drive up prices.

Does this mean that I think it is a good idea to waste resources? No. Even if there were oceans of oil easily tapped, it would not be good for the air or our lungs to burn it off at the rate of 10 miles per gallon.

The cost of filling up is a real burden for a lot of people right now. Trading in gas guzzlers for fuel efficient models is the new trend. Perhaps this time we won't forget.

Here is another observation about going green. The solutions have to be convenient in order to encourage participation. Back when we had to haul our recyclables to recycling centers, a lot of us didn't want to make a special trip with a trunk full of containers and papers they saved. Once recycling containers were in every neighborhood, people pitched in.

Finally, it would certainly decrease political tensions in many parts of the world if we were more energy efficient. Perhaps it is not possible to produce all of our own energy, but I am happy to see more news stories about wind energy, solar energy and other developments. I am happy to see home improvement stores showing us how to make improvements in our homes that look good as well as saving energy.

There are ads these days for lines of clothing made from recycled materials, and even furniture made from recycled materials.

Well, perhaps there are some aspects of going green that are getting sexy.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

How Real is Reality?

How quickly things have changed. It is now normal for me to use my email every day to keep in touch with people. I blog on this site, and of course, use various egroups and public postings, including my web page to try and increase my reading/healing/teaching business. I also visit various websites to research topics of interest and find out better ways of using the web.

We develop friends through websites who we only communicate with through email and these may be business or personal. We keep in touch with people we know who live far away, and it is much more convenient for both parties than long distance calls.

So after all of these interactions with people, when our computer suddenly breaks down and we are without it, we can be lost. Out of touch for a time. How strange that websites and emails are suddenly so much part of our lives that we miss them when they are even gone for one day.

Interesting how things we do on line are more real that some of the people we know in real life.

How helpless we feel when our computer breaks down. Not to mention those passwords that we told it to remember, and now we don't remember.

And to think that not too long ago, this was all just a dream. Some people make a living just using their computer. Some people keep in touch with their whole social network on computer.

The world is so small, and at the same time so large. No so long ago, we had phone calls and piece of paper that we sent through the post office to keep in touch, and everthing worked.

Now being without your own computer for a day or two is just as disruptive as not having your car for a day or two. What kind of perspective on reality is this?

Interesting how when certain people in the past said that they could communicate with spirits that they could not see or touch, they were often thought of as crazy. Yet how many people believe things they have only seen on the web and nowhere else?

Now we all do it every day and think that those who do not accept the web as real and vital are the crazy ones. Yet, when the computer is turned off, the websites and emails cease to exist. They are nowhere you can touch them, see them or feel them. You cannot take that old letter out of the drawer and read it again, or that old photo out of the drawer and look at it again. All these types of electronic data can be corrupted and lost, and you will never see it again without a hard copy.

Our reality is what we have agreed it is.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Humorous Observations

Watching the HBO series "Rome" a couple of humorous thoughts came to mind.

Ancient Romans had shrines in their homes for the guardian spirits of their families. These all had personal names, which are not in the mythologies. Other societies buried their dead with with valuables such as jewely, swords, pottery and so on. Archeologists and anthropologists can only guess at the significance of the burial rituals.

So what will people think hundreds of years into the future when they are excavating and find thousands of homes with little sacred objects set on a shelf in the kitchen, called Mr. Coffee? Will they think it was one of our gods? Will they think that the Barbie Doll on the shelf in another room was one of our goddesses?

Although, no doubt, the writers of this series had to use their imaginations to fill in some of the blanks, probably creating some of the characters, such as the town crier who sort of added his own subtle commentaries on the announcements. The little advertisements he would tack on from the bakeries, etc, were no doubt a modern touch, but graffiti and satirical plays that made fun of politicians are timeless parts of both their civilization and ours.

Whenever we take ourselves too seriously, grab a dose of humor.

Fantasy, Imagination & Manifestation

One of the most obvious values of science fiction and fantasy novels is that it is a perfect place for an author to let their imagination go and create worlds where things happen differently. For example, maybe all the characters all use psychic ability to communicate, or can travel to far parts of the universe in a short time, have the ability to fly or shapeshift into other creatures.

Authors generally go into trance in order to write. The focus has to be intense in order to create an entire alternate world in the mind's eye, and then hold that concentration long enough to write those visions on a page. In this way, the very act of writing is every bit as effective at shutting down the chatter in the mind as meditation, because while that one train of thought is going that will flesh out a story, there can be no interruptions, or you risk losing the entire continuity of the piece you are on.

Often times fiction offers the best explanations of how our world works and how it all fits into the big picture. Many authors have created whole stories by simply meditating on aritifacts or archeological finds and then trying to imagine how they might have been used. Such efforts have resulted in elaborately detailed stories of other eras and cultures. People who are interested in UFOs and ET life can let their imaginations soar as they try and put things into perspective.

People who wonder what it must have been like when the explorers and settlers came into contact with people of other cultures can let their imaginations fill in the blank spaces in the history books. Similarly, works of fiction have been made from the creation myths of various cultures. Consider then, how much there is in common between magic, meditation and creating fantasy fiction. All require intense concentration.

Suppose for instance, you are busy keeping your mind attuned to the Law of Attraction. Fantasy writers are frequently projecting their visions of an ideal world, which is a more finely detailed picture of affirmations. What kind of world do you want to live in? Here, let me paint you a picture in words. In creating with your writing, you are also putting out a vision that enters the consciousness of every reader, and that gains energy and momentum.

Fantasy writers create worlds, and for readers, these worlds become as real as other tangible things they manifest in their world.

Mysteries & Mystics

Just like people love a good mystery story because it tickles their minds into working to put a bigger picture together out of little pieces, the same is true for the way we are captivated by UFOs crop circles, near death experiences, reincarnation, the many forms that spirit takes, and so on.

What both forms, mysteries and mysticism, teach us is that we always know that there are things that even the smartest among us do not know and cannot explain. These things can be amusing, suspenseful, surprising and satisfying. Strange what delicious amusement comes from not knowing.

There is an underlying humor in all this. Maybe in the cosmic scheme of things, telling why did the chicken cross the road jokes might be as significant as all our discussions about life after death. We won't know for sure about all that until we get there. A sense of humor is a great traveling companion.

What else is it that we like about mysteries? The duel between criminals and justice? Isn't that kind of like karma? And arent't our favorite villains those we like up to a point? And some of our favorite cop characters are those who go out of bounds? Sort of like all the spiritual lessons we get from dealing with adversity? And isn't all the debate over who is the real culprit and who is the best cop is somewhat akin to trying to decide which creation story is important or believable?

Mysteries and mysticism. Two sides of the same coin.

Tarot Meditation on Cups

The suit of cups (also chalices, cauldrons, grails, hearts) is the suit of emotions. This includes love, friendship, trust, happiness, faith, and intuition, our gut instinct. How many times do we make decisions based on gut instinct?

How many times do we choose our friends, lovers and business partners based on this gut instinct? The down sides of this suit are fear, indecision, sadness over past losses, laziness, all of which arise when there is too little love, too little happiness, too little trust.

This suit is often illustrated with lots of water. Just like the Earth, our bodies are mostly water, and we feel the magnetic pull of the moon. We express all of our emotions with water. Tears, blood, sweat, orgasms, saliva when we kiss, and the water in our mouths communicate the way we sense taste. It is good to pay attention to emotions when making decisions. The decisions that are right for you feel good and the decisions that are not, feel bad.

Flow with your feelings. Let your self be moved. Follow the currents and they will lead you to where you want to be. When cups are the cards you draw, how do you feel? What do the pictures suggest you do?

Why Do We Need Big Challenges?

The most natural question of all is this. Why does it take such dificult life changes and hard times to form the catalyst for change?

Reflect on that for a moment, and the answer becomes clear. If everything is going great, who would want a change at that time? No one. If everything is flowing along smoothly, then we just want that to continue.

Great changes cause us to reconsider everything. If we have lost our things in a divorce, flood, or fire, perhaps we give great consideration to what we will replace it with. And then it will look different when we do. Suppose we have faced a great crisis in terms of our faith, and so we decide to embark on a journey of spiritual discovery, and choose to change our religion or perhaps not rejoin any religion.

Perhaps a serious illness not only causes us to investigate holistic healing and find comfort, relief and perhaps a cure there. Perhaps that same health crisis causes to rethink how we relate to spirit. Perhaps we have had part of our working life that so demanded our time and energy that we barely had time for family and friends. Perhaps we would change careers in order to reverse those priorities. Big challenges bring big changes. We can bless them or curse them.

My experience is that we will do better by embracing them, and then looking to see what is on the other side.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gifts in Strange Packages

For both myself and others, it often seems that the biggest opportunities to turn our lives around and make a significant change come in the form of apparently negative messages or messengers. Time after time, I see loss of job, career change, divorce, death of a loved one, facing serious illness or injury, menopause, change of religion or spiritual practice, bankruptcy or some other setback as the event that sets the stage for a person's greatest transformation.

Often, when a person faces such a crisis, they have to reconsider everything. An event that diminishes income, causes a loss of love, loss of health, loss of someone close, loss of self esteem and accomplishment that were associated with a former career path, all challenge us to emerge like the butterfly from the cocoon.

Radical changes in our lives cause reawakenings on all levels, physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional. What effects one of these bodies affects all of these bodies. It never feels like it at the time, but later on, these crises in our lives may seem like blessings in disguise opening us up to a whole new way of living and being.

Yes, sometimes gifts come in very strange packages.


I like to think that our spirit guides take many forms. Yours will generally take whatever form you wish to see them in. So they can be angels, fairies, gods, goddesses, earth spirits, and ancestors.

Ancestors to me mean those people all the way back there, whose names we do not know, and who have a vested interest in our wellbeing and success. Those people from earlier times learned how to survive on this planet and that is how we came to be. Many of them learned to thrive, doing well in many areas of life, and they made it possible for the gene pool to continue.

Of course, we have continued to evolve in many ways, from our body structures to the ways we live. Yet these unnamed ancestors have a vested interest in seeing us succeed too. They worked hard so that we could eventually be born and live here.

That's why I sometimes think of them being the ones to give me the intuitive nudge that helps me with knowing when to do or not do something, when to say yes and when to say no, and how I know some of the things I just know.


I love it that it has been raining the last few days. Rain always feels so good, so refereshing. Take a look at how energizing lightning is.

For one split second, all the realms are united. Lightning connects earth, sky and everything in between for that brief span of illumination is united in one dazzling picture.

This powerful force of nature electrifies the air and feeds the plants. The wholeness symbolized by lightning is a powerful symbol for us. How often do you feel connected to everything, as if all your realms are in alignment, mind, body and spirit?

Do you feel as powerful as a stroke of lightning when thoughts, words and actions are all in agreement

How Much Love?

How much of your life every day is run by love, and how much of your day is run by fear? When you get up every day, are you focusing on thoughts of fear that your situation at work or home is fragile and may break at any moment?Or do you find yourself getting up every day looking forward to what you have to do and being happy to do it?

If you are not in a job that you can honestly say that you love, are you devoting thoughts, feelings and actions to how you can create a way to get yourself into work that you love?

Are you with someone you love? Or are you putting those vibrations out into the world so that you can be with people you love, both in your intimate personal life and in the larger context of friends and acquaintances?

Do you do something you love every day, whether you get paid for it or not? Do you take time to sing, garden, write, read, make music, make jokes, or call someone and talk to them and tell them how much you care? Do you spend a little time contemplating subjects or objects that are beautiful, mysterious or magical? Do you live as if the world is an interesting, exciting place, or a dangerous, difficult one? How much of your life every day is motivated by fear, and how much by love?

Kitchen Magic

Although chamomile has a fragrance that immediate pleases the senses just from the slightest whiff, I would say that my favorite herb for tea is mint. Either for cleansing the palate after a meal or making a tea to settle the stomach, calm the nerves or soothe away headaches, a person can always count on that flavor to be bright and refreshing.

Pan named it after one of his favorite nymphs so that he would always be reminded of her whenever he tasted these delicious green leaves. In fact, you can say that mint is one of the world's oldest aphrodisiacs. How so, you ask? Consider that most toothpastes and mouthwashes are some flavor of mint. Why? Because people like to kiss people who taste good.

A couple of other great culinary herbs that also are great healers are rosemary and thyme. Rosemary is a great antibacterial and for this reason is a useful ingredient in salves. In the kitchen, great as a flavoring for vinegar and with so many meats, fish and vegetables, particularly root vegetables. Yet it can also make a great incense or smudge stick. And a great hair rinse too.

Thyme tea is very helpful for upper respiratory ailments. Cooks also know how much flavor it adds to everything from soups to salads, grilled fish and tomatoes. And it also makes a pleasing fragrance burned as an incense. Thyme has tiny leaves, but they are potent and packed with flavor and energy. You've got to admire some of these plants that can thrive in the crevice between rocks.

Another summer favorite that is always in my garden is basil. We all know how delicious it can be in salads, or just with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Yet did you also know that it can make a great tea that aids with digestion? And the leaves can help tame the sting of bug bites when rubbed on fresh.

Try this for a surprisingly interesting and refreshing flavor for a cold tea. Put fresh basil leaves and lemon peels in a pitcher, fill it with water, and let it set overnight in your refrigerator. You will be surprised at the subtle, yet complex and delightful flavor you will have the next day when you are thirsty. Yes, many of the wonderful culinary herbs that we use can also be healers. And they all have a place in the little collection of containers that make up my herb garden.

Go ahead and experiment. See how many wonderful ways there are to make magic with kitchen herbs.

Comfrey and Chamomile

Since the cold snaps finally seem to be over, I planted this weekend. All are in containers on our patio. Most of what I put in are the sorts of plants lots of people put in, pretty annual flowers and culinary herbs. But I also put in a large pot of comfrey, which is one of the best external healing herbs I have ever worked with. It can help heal damage to skin and bones quickly. I use the leaves of the plant to make a salve. One of the old fashioned names for it is "knitwort" because it helps so well to knit things back together.

My sister went to the doctor because her foot was hurting. He took an x-ray and told her that she had a hairline fracture. She was in constant discomfort with it. And there are obviously downsides to simply relying on pain killers. She started applying my comfrey salve and immediately got relief. Next time she went back to the doctor, there was no more hairline fracture showing on the x-ray!

Next, I used an old bird bath for a planter, just for visual variety, and filled it with Roman chamomile plants. They will probably cover the top surface of the planter this season. This is, of course, the key ingredient in Sleepytime Tea and other similar herbal tea combinations blended to aid in getting a good night's rest. The sweet, immediately soothing fragrance is a delight to the senses, so it doesn't take much imagination to know why it is also good for upset stomachs, headaches or stress. In addition to tea, it makes a very aromatic bath ingredient, and also chamomile water makes a good hair rinse.

A very effective way to learn about working with herbs for healing is to work with just a few plants at a time, plants that you really wnjoy, and learn all the ways of working with them. A few simple herbs can do a lot of good. So I am glad to have these two magnificent and effective healing plants in my garden once again. It's sort of like having old friends come to visit.

Tarot Meditation on Wands & Swords

These two suits are confusing to some people because different designers attach different meanings to the symbols. Here is a way to think about the difference. Who wields a sword? Who carries a staff? The sword is about the use of intellect and will power. Warriors charge into battle, hacking away at the opposition. Now sometimes we do have to fight for self defense or to stand up for our rights. The person with the sword can be decisive when their mind is clear, but too much mental activity can cloud judgment, leading to jeaousy, anger, heartbreak, and fighting that is not necessary.

Wands, staffs, rods, scepters are all symbols of wisdom and authority. These are all variables of the suit according to different designers as well. Who is usually seen with these? Wise elders, bishops, kings, queens, martial arts masters. Passion, wisdom and creativity are indicated. It takes time, effort, creativity and the wisdom gained through life experience to achieve a position of genuine authority and trust. Authority won through force alone is never as well loved, enduring, or desirable.

So ask yourself what causes are at the root of issues when you see a lot of swords or a lot of wands in the cards you draw. Is it time to pick up your sword and spring into action, clearing away the clutter, obstacles and opposition, putting an end to events or relationships or situations that need to be brought to an end? Is it time to reawaken more passion, creativity, and inspiration in your life? Time to rouse your spirit with quests, adventures, passionate expressions and creative endeavors that spark the imagination and expand your vision?

What is it time for wands or swords? Swords or wands?

Tarot Meditation on Pentacles

In most Tarot decks based on the classic Rider Deck and those modeled after that design, the suit of pentacles is the suit that speaks of business and money. In the 3,7 & 8 of pentacles, we see images that feature a person who is focused on their work, is proud of their accomplishments and gains some recognition for their efforts. The 3 might also depict an artist who is the beneficiary of a patron of the arts.

In the 2 of pentacles we see a person in the midst of weighing his choices and making a decision. The 4 of pentacles shows a person who can either be seen as miserly or as a person who keeps a close eye on their money and uses it wisely. The 6 of pentacles presents a person who is generous, acting as a philanthropist who acts out of charity.

While looking at some of these images, we are prompted to consider important questions. Am I doing work that I enjoy doing? Do I feel like I get appropriate recognition for my work? Am I satisfied with my compensation? Am I giving anything back to others through the work itself or through the money earned? Do I manage my resources wisely?

If I am not answering yes to most of these questions, am I seriously considering my options? If I am not happy in what I am doing, how can I make changes that will get me into a position where I can do more of what I love? Am I conscious of how I use my resources? What can I do to bring my experience of work and money into harmony in my life?

Special Rituals

Why does anyone need rituals? Personalized rituals can be a transformative experience that help a person consciously and subconsciously make desired changes in their lives. They are memorable events that mark a turning point.

What kinds of special rituals can be created for a person? There is no limit to what can be done, but here are just a few examples.Customized marriage or committment ceremonies are popular because many people want their ceremony to be special and unique to them, rather than the preset arrangements that churches and judges have.

Couples do not have to be legally married in order to have a committment ceremony. If they wish to affirm their relationship and bless it, this can be done as a spiritual ceremony. Each one is different, because the couple always has a hand in designing their ceremony. One couple requested a ritual for a parent who was dying of cancer. They felt that she was afraid to let go. I did a ritual that was to help her let go and cross over. The children said that they felt better because of the ritual. I felt something shift during the ritual, that she was signaling to me that she was ready to let go.

One couple was moving into a new house, and they felt that the energy was not good from the previous owners. We did a house blessing ritual, leading the couple in clearing the old energy out so that the new couple could move a new, fresh, loving energy in with them. They said that their spirits felt lifted from the experience. Another couple needed to have a divorce ritual because they wanted to signal an end to the marriage without letting negative energy linger around both of them. They reported a sense of relief when it was done. One woman wanted a special ritual for a miscarriage years ago, to finally end her grief over this event. A special ritual was created for her and she was finally at peace with this chapter in her life.

Another woman wanted to have a special ceremony to scatter her father's ashes in a place where she felt that his spirit would be happy. This experience allowed her to feel that she had said farewell to him in a way that pleased both of them. One man needed to create a special ritual to acknowledge that he was ending one career and beginning another and there was a sense of finally letting go so that he could more comfortably step into his change.

Single people have needed to find ways to design a ritual that would shake off the baggage of old relationships, so that the way could be opened for new ones. They reported feeling better immediately upon completing the ritual and much more positive about moving forward. These are just a few examples of rituals that have been created for special circumstances. Individual needs can create infinite possibilities for what needs to be done.

Have you ever done a ritual to pay special attention to a life change and face it straight on, so that it was empowering instead of holding you back?

The Importance of Ritual

We all have rituals in our lives, even if we don't think of them that way. For example, if you always start out your day by sitting in your favorite chair with a cup of tea, and that is a way you prepare yourself for your day's activities, that is a ritual. If you go for a walk every evening, quietly enjoying the sights and sounds, that is a ritual. If you do meditations, prayers or sing and dance every full moon to help you attune to the cycles of nature's energies, that is a ritual.

When we miss doing these things, we feel out of sync. That is because these regular parts of our lives help keep us oriented in the world. They give us a place to touch base and affirm our intentions. The importance of ritual is that it helps us connect with the world around us while finding some peace within. All rituals have their purpose, and the few simple ones I have named are for perspective. More often when we think of rituals, we think of big events, like weddings, graduations, house blessings, funerals, birthdays and other obvious big choices. But the little things we do all help us keep our bearing too, and give us a way of keeping in touch with the world in a personal way. Because even after the big rituals, comes the time when we settle in and digest the meaning of the big rituals.

The little rituals do the same thing, a little at a time. Some of the things we do we might not even call rituals. Then again, there might be changes in your life that you may feel calls for the creation of a special ritual, and these are becoming more popular too. Think of it. There are no established rituals in our culture for changing careers or divorce or fighting a major illness. Yet these are all things we face. Acknowledging these important passages can be very supportive in our journey.

The Lovers

This card in the Tarot seems to be obvious, and in some ways it is. If your question is about a relationship, this would be a good omen of a positive outcome. Look closely and it also speaks of a couple well matched, with their energy entwining on all levels. In other words, a type of relationship that many of us seek. That connection is one that may also be called soulmates.

More than one person can be a soulmate in our lives. There is more than one person on this planet who can make a good match for us. The fact that some of our past relationships were unsatisfying is because our connections were only partially there. In some ways, it is like a past life recall. Every character in there reflects a part of our life back to us, like pieces of a broken mirror or like pieces of a puzzle. Similar to a past life, in our next opportunity, we make a conscious effort to avoid previous pitfalls.

People who get divorced or widowed can still have another chance at a great soulmate relationship. We don't run out of chances to try again until we die. Some of us have had magnificent relationships, some of us are in one now, and some of us wonder if one is coming. These are all soulmate experiences, both the having and not having. We all make our own magic happen. We can decide to energize our relationships now or not. A good relationship can be transformed into a great relationship. We choose whether we want to or not. Those of us who have done readings for a long time know that most questions concern either love or money. The Lovers in response to a business question is also an omen for a good partnership.

Why are these, by far, the two most popular questions? The two biggest decisions we make in our lives are about who we love and what we do for a living. Free choice also determines who our soulmate is. No secret agent or little cherub is going to slip us a note with the phone number of our soulmate on it, any more than they are going to slip us a note telling us what our life's purpose is. When we meet a person who we decide we would like to form a stronger bond with, make the effort to interweave all our energy centers with them.

So when The Lovers card comes up in your life, recognize your role in creating significant relationships, rather than waiting for one to come.

What Do We See?

When we look around ourselves, what do we see? Is our life and our surroundings just as we would like them, or is it different? Have we been thinking that we would like to be doing something else, yet our living space doesn't contain any essence of that something else? If we say we want more peace and tranquility in our life, how is that reflected in the place where we live?

By looking at our check book, we can see where we spend our money. That's obvious. But the facts between the lines are interesting. Athough we all want to live a long and healthy life, how much of our money goes to cosmetics, compared to how much have we spent on healing? How much goes toward causes we believe in? How much do we talk about or think about losing weight, and how is this reflected by our expenditures on food? It is up to each of us to interpret the significance of such facts. I know that I was surprised at how certain figures presented themselves when I did my taxes.

This is about how much conscious awareness we put into our choices. The gap between thinking about writing and being a writer is the act of writing something every day or almost every day. The gap between being healthy and not being healthy could be as simple as taking time to walk every day, or drinking more water every day. Having more love in your life could be the gap between how much love you show to other people and the amount that would make you happy to have shown toward you.

The Magic of Tea

The Magic of Tea One of the great gifts I got from my garden was learning how wonderful herbs are for making tea. I also made salves, oils, incense, potpourri and other things from the plants that grew in my garden. It was amazing though, how many different plants could make a wonderful tasting tea, and how they affect the mind, body and spirit.

I used to drink coffee all the time, but after I started to get indigestion and heartburn every day, I had the feeling that it might be the coffee, so I switched to drinking tea for my daily beverages, and I never have that problem any more. Now I still enjoy a cup of coffee, but it is only once in a while, and in limited amounts, it agrees with me.

Daily, I brew all kinds of teas: black, green, herbs, blends. Different flavors for different days and different times of day to suit my tastes. Boiling the water, letting it steep, inhaling the aroma, then finally drinking it. Each step offers a different appreciation. It is easy to see how ancient cultures formed a ritual around making and drinking tea.

There most certainly are teas that are stimulating, teas that are aphrodisiacs, teas that can calm the nerves, increase psychic ability, soothe digestion, relieve headaches and pains, teas that can help sleep, teas that can curb appetites. Each plant has its own characteristics and personalities, and that can make blending them fun to experiment with. Tea is the most common way for people to ingest herbal medicine on the whole planet. Tea is also a beautiful way to expand our appreciation of the world around us.

With this simple little ritual every day, we take a few moments to enjoy ourselves and be conscious of that flavor, that moment, that cup of tea, and feel the difference it makes.

Discovering What Works 2

Holistic health, in theory and practice, was not hard for me to embrace at all. My first experience with a chiropractor was when I was 11. Somehow, as a result of playing baseball, I got a kink in my neck and could not rotate my head normally. My father took me to a chiropractor. He held my head in his hands, gave a little twist, I heard a little crunching sound, and all of a sudden, my movement was back to normal. I was amazed.

Learning more about different kinds of body work was pure pleasure. Massage, Rolfing, Reiki, Shiatsu, Tui Na, all of it. Having someone work on my body helped me get familiar with how all the parts fit together. I went to Chinese doctors who looked at my tongue, tapped on my pulse, gave me a brown paper bag of roots and leaves and things and told me to boil it and drink it. Tasted downright nasty, but it worked.

I once met a Brazilian healer who touched my third eye with his fingertips, and it was like lightning flashed inside my head. I do not understand how all these things work, and some things remain a mystery, but I could feel something happen. After I had a heart attack eight years ago, I took lessons in Tai Chi Chi Gong from a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It was an excellent way to regain strength, stamina and flexibility.

The slow, graceful movements of this method were easy to do and produced good results. Recovering from the heart attack, I had to learn to move again, slowly. I began by walking five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the afternoon. The next day six minutes in the morning and six minutes in the afternoon, and progressed to a half hour each time, then more. Tai Chi Chi Gong and walking worked wonders. I thought my doctor was joking at first when he told me that I would probably only be able to walk for five minutes at a time, but I was surprised to find that five minutes of walking did sap my energy. The slow, steady rebuilding of strength was an amazing experience. I had to slow down to a pace slower than I ever was used to, before my strength coming back, and it was a journey of rebuilding in many ways.

During this period I took up gardening and developed quite a green thumb with herbs, flowers and vegetables. Fruits grew well too, but birds, squirrels and bugs like fruit better than vegetables. Everybody goes for the sugar, don't they? Gardening is a form of healing. Watching the plants slowly grow and evolve through the various stages was miraculous. To plant a seed in the dirt, watch it sprout, then see the green shoot get bigger, flower and then produce something delicious to eat and drink, all from nothing more than dirt, water and sunlight, is an experience in how life works. When you think about it, observing the results of the plants growing and changing, drawing everything they need from the elements is a miraculous sort of teaching.

Puzzling in a way because we need more than sunlight, water air and dirt to thrive. How do they do it? There is truth in the concept that singing and talking to the plants, and touching them with a caress just so that plants can leave their scent on your fingers, is satisfying. The spirit of the gardener makes a difference to the garden. Keeping bird feeders in the yard is good for a garden too, because they help eat the bugs, although not the bees and butterflies that help with pollination.

Watching and listening to them is also healing. You have to slow down to appreciate them. Have you ever just sat there with a cup of tea and watched the way the different birds act? Some come, take a seed, fly off to eat it and come back, while others just sit there and keep eating until they get their fill or your movement scares them away. Others fight and bluster until they get the feeders to themselves. Listen to them sing and talk. Flashes of red, blue, yellow and black grab your eyes and draw you into following the patterns of flight.

Birdwatching and gardening are good for the spirit. They are healing in so many ways. Life is all about discovering what works by doing things and observing the results. Yes, different experiences are more satisfying, depending on where we are in our life at the moment.

We do learn by doing. Movement, sound, taste, smell, touch, sight, all bring us knowledge and life. Surgery and patent medicines can do a lot to heal us. But, as many of us now realize, there are other things that also play an important part in healing both ourselves and others.

Discovering What Works

If you would have asked me earlier in my life if I had any desire to be the editor of a new age newspaper, the very question would have bamboozled me. Yet, that became my life for a number of years. Later on it became more fashionable to refer to ourselves as holistic or metaphysical instead of new age. Point is, that we don’t always know where we will end up, geographically or otherwise. I didn’t always dream of living in Colorado, but due to changes in personal circumstances, this is where I moved two years ago.

Geographic change can presage other changes in not only the physical body, but also the mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. For example, a business move earlier in my life led directly to my involvement in metaphysics. Moving your body can be a catalyst for things unforseen. One day, after the corporation moved me to yet another city where I had no friends, relatives, or anything else but my job, I was looking around for things to do. So the flip side of the situation was that I had even more choices of things to do. The boundaries of my world expanded. Art fairs, cultural festivals, hikes with the Sierra Club, and then one day, I spotted an ad for a psychic fair. I thought to myself, I’ve never been to one of those. So I went.

Prior to that, I had my own deck of cards, and had used the I Ching, but never went to a psychic fair. Suddenly, a whole new world opened up to me. I had no idea that so many people were into this stuff. At that time, I was working in advertising and business writing, and just for variety, one day I approached the publisher of the first new age publication in Atlanta and offered to write an article a month for her, and took all kinds of assignments.

It was pure pleasure for me to interview healers, psychics, authors, musicians, artists and others and write about them. I was consistent and persistent as a contributing writer, and then one day the publisher asked me to become the editor and that path lasted for a long time, during which I helped create three other new age magazines and newspapers. I had no idea where all this was taking me, but I enjoyed doing what I was doing so I kept on doing it.

Each month I met new people, learned new things and had countless opportunities to participate in events and workshops in addition to interviewing all kinds of great people, both famous and not so famous. My world of experience included everything from walking on fire to speaking at expos to drumming all night for dancers. I met Tibetan Buddhist Monks, Carlos Nakai, people who claimed to have been cured of cancer by energy healing and vegetarian diets, and people who claimed to have ridden in spaceships.By this long, winding road then, I left the corporate world and immersed myself into the entire spectrum of what came to be called new age, holistic and metaphysical.

I just kept going for the experience, examining the whole world of possibilities and discovering what works.

Giving Ourselves Permission to Tell Stories

Years ago, when I was teaching Creative Writing, I remember students signing up for my workshop because in their own words, they had "really routine jobs and home lives, and they wanted to see if they could do something creative." Commonly, one of their pleasures was that they enjoyed reading, so their choice was to try and express creativity through writing. They wanted to know first hand that they were capable of being creative and that their stories could captivate people's imaginations and hold their attention.

On the first night of class, I informed them that there were absolutely no restrictions on subject matter. Their only requirement was to write something every week, with no requirement or expectation as to what that might be, and they could get immediate feedback on their writing by their classmates listening and responding to the reading of their stories.

There were people who entered my workshop wondering if they really had any creative ability who went home knowing that they did. They enjoyed themselves and the listeners enjoyed themselves.The first step they had to take was to not censor themselves and just say what they had to say. That simple step opened people up and changed their lives.

The first person you please when you write something is yourself. The readers are next. If you can drop the conditioning that holds you back from saying something because it might offend someone else, you open your expression to not having limits, and what you can create evolves into something beautiful.There are times when it is cathartic to just write something.

Whether you call it inspired, channeled, a crazy dream, funny story, or real life incident that you want to recall and replay, writing about it can be a healing act. Even if it does not get published, you still feel good from saying it, from writing it. Write it first, and worry about what will become of it later.Once you give yourself permission to write whatever you want, it is amazing what might come out. I know. I have experienced it, and the results were wonderful, life affirming and powerful. If you have an urge or an instinct that this is something you want to try, I will help you express yourself.

Humans are storytellers by nature. From mythology to biography and everything in between, it's in our nature to tell stories. From gossip to jokes to opinions on current events and the future of the world, it's all part of our conversations, because it is part of how we share ourselves and our experiences to get our bearings and enhance this journey. It is all storytelling, and if we simply give ourselves permission, we can become storytellers, even if our only audience, at first, is ourselves.

As we make up new stories, we can make up new stories for ourselves to live by. We all have the opportunity to rewrite our own stories, from today to the end. What does your story read like? How would you like it to read? There is magic and power in the rewriting. If you would like to know how, I will be happy to read your writing and give you feedback.

Reiki Testimonials

"After I left your home/office I was able to have lunch with our friends and not suffer the pain that the adhesions produce after a meal. I was also able to have dinner and sleep well. This morning I am better - and this is all due to your treatment. Thank you so much Dan." --- Teresa

"I actually feel great all over, thanks. The arthritis in my hand is feeling better. Our talk yesterday was helpful in getting me moving." --- Tacy

"Thank you so much for taking the time to see me and help me with all of this at this time. You have an amazing heart and very calming spirit. I look forward to having life be clean and clutter and frantic free as I felt in your space. It's getting there! Thanks so much, I slept well and had vivid dreams. " --- Cindy

"I feel both energized and grounded from the Reiki session. It feels great! Thank you!"---Clare

"Thanks. I could really feel the pulsing of the Reiki in my chakras (energy centers), even the ones I didn't think needed anything. Now I feel stronger and energized. I feel much better, and encouraged to do what I have to do."---JC

"I want to thank you again for the wonderful Reiki session on Saturday. I was so relaxed and soothed afterwards. I found that the next day I was very emotional - a lot of stuff I have been supressing, came to the surface. I think the Reiki instigated that. Since then I have been feeling more relaxed than I have in a while and just happier in general. You really are a powerful and gentle healer guided by so much love. I so appreciate that you are offering your gifts in this way!" ---Many Blessings, Sarita

Tarot Testimonials

"Just letting you know that I had a really amazing reading by Dan Liss awhile back. It was very clear, very concise, very right on with what was going on in my life and it pointed me in the direction I needed to take. Quite helpful. Check him out if you get a chance."---Mindy de Marmion

"Last night was such a comforting session. Most of the things we discussed were things that were buried deep in my heart and soul and bringing them to the front as you did brought such clarity. You have not heard the last of me. You will be reading for me again and hopefully for others that I am more than happy to recommend to you..You are a kind and gentle man. Thank you." ---T

"We're both very interested in the things that you have to offer, especially the past life stuff. You were very accurate about our reading. You hit so many points that we were actually discussing on the way to the fair yesterday. So, thank you for the confirmations and letting us know that we are on the right track." ---Corine

"During the reading you gave, you mentioned the need for a nurturing approach when dealing with my father. Not easy, but it's definitely a better route than I've taken previously.I've been getting the Death & Hanged Man cards quite a bit, so change must be required, and soon. Just trusting in the goodness of the universe at this point, and trying to remain open to new possibilities." ---Chad

"I had several readings that have proven so incredibly accurate, you are amazing. You are an extraordinary, compassionate, generous human spirit at work." ---Marie-Claire Wilson

"Thank you for your reading yesterday! I was so involved with the readings that I didn't feel the time running, but I liked it very much and I needed enough time for all my questions. Many thanks! Blessings" --- Antonio Carlos

"Thank you Dan, for everything. I am grateful that I met you when I was in a lower point of my life a couple of years ago. I plan on doing a reading when I feel like I need it again. Now, everything seems to be going the way you told me." ---Oana

"Well thank you for the reading. It's still rather amazing that you got all of that. I'm still shocked!! :) You're quite good." --- Sharon

"Thanks. That was great! I enjoyed it and will listen to your advice." ---Michele

"Wow you are right! How does the card thing work?" --- La Trena

"That was a good reading, and a good take on the friendship, as good as you could get without knowing the particulars. Thanks for the advice to pursue creativity. You're good with the cards." --- C

"Considering that you know practically nothing about me, you were right about some things very surprisingly. About my business and trying to get into something now??? Well, it is true, I just hope that all will work out as you are suggesting." --- K

"Interesting thing. I was just now bawling my eyes out over this situation, asking God to help me when you gave me this reading. Right now it doesn't look as if I will get custody but time will tell. Thank you for the hope." --- S

"Okay...pretty close to my thinking if not hitting the nail on the head! I've been thinking of Reiki for a long time now. I've had several treatments myself and always came away feeling really good. So, thanks very much for this, some more food for thought." --- Deb

"Thank you for the reading. Very, very good, Bravo!! I found your answer to be very interesting and accurate. You are correct that in my field I am excellent, I am just not where I would like to be. You are correct in the protection that surrounds me and I am very grateful that God smiles down on me." --- Angel

"It was, indeed, very good meeting with you at the psychic fair. I hope your time there was fabulous. I found your Tarot reading to be exceptionally clear and honorable. Thank you." --- Nancy

Reiki, Love, Courage and Healing

Reiki comes through the heart, both the heart of the healer and the heart of the one seeking healing. A heart full of love is a heart full of courage and compassion. In order to be of service as a Reiki healer, a person must be willing to open their heart with compassion to be a conduit of healing energy that draws from the infinite source of the universe.

There is no judgment of the cause of the wound, nor is there an attempt to analyze or treat it scientifically. The healer opens their heart to the person requesting healing, who must also open their heart to receiving the healing energy on whatever level it is most needed, physical, spiritual, mental or emotional.For a person to want healing is to take courage, and a heart full of love is a heart full of courage. The French word for heart is "coeur" which is the root word for courage.

Heart centered healing opens to love, courage and compassion, which is an important step on the path to healing.The energy of Reiki can be felt immediately as a warm, tingling sensation that frequently makes a person feel light and radiant. It may also feel like a pulsing, like the heartbeat of the universe, and it may seem to run in a circuit from energy center to energy center.Our feet are the way we keep in touch with the earth, our crown is the part of us that always faces up to the universe above, and our hands are the way we touch other people. They are how we connect when we greet each other, when we do our work, when we touch each other in a caring way. Love energy is warm. Healing is warm. Love gives us strength and courage to do what we need to do for self healing.

This is how Reiki feels, and how it works, at least in my experience. Our heart chakra (energy center) is in the center of our being, and it radiates out to all those other energy centers above and below.The heart centered energy connection is the key for both the healer and the one coming to the healer. When this intention is clear, something beneficial always results. This is my experience of it, and why I feel that it really works.

Sympathetic Vibrations

For a very clear and simple illustration of the metaphysical principle of "like attracts like" if you had two drums and you only hit one of them, the vibration from the first drum will call the second drum to resonate with it. This same principle can be demonstrated with tuning forks. If you don't have these types of things laying around your house, you can try the experiment with other objects.

In any case, this same principle is what works between people. Just as one drum elicits a response from other drums, people sending out a vibration elicits a response from other people. So we draw people to us who respond to the message we are sending out. We draw people into our orbit who have a similar vibration and this results in a larger atmosphere that contains sympathetic vibrations making it possible for us to make our way in this world, with greater efficiency and harmony.

On a simpler level, this also explains why it always creates a closer feeling between people when they sing together. They are creating vibrations that draw them closer together. The more we send out vibrations of what we want, we draw that to us, and these need to be more consistent and clear than any other vibrations we send out.

We achieve our goals when surrounded by people who have sympathetic vibrations with us.

Feng Shui for the Soul

If you think about what it means to feng shui a house, what you are really doing is deep cleaning and rearranging the house so that it is beautiful, efficient and allowing pathways for energy to flow through. Our living space now is inspiring and beneficial in many ways.

Over time, we gather lots of stuff and accumulate stores of positive and negative energy. There are mementos from failed relationships, projects halfway completed and abandoned, reminders of old injuries. As we remove these, we replace them with things that inspire us because they are beautiful, things that support what we enjoy doing most, and a place for doing and being. Feng shui is not just a physical house cleaning then, but also a soul rejuventaion.

When we move old stagnant energy and broken things out of our life, there is a natural pathway that good energy will find its way into. We have to do this every once in a while to stir things up and keep ourselves alert to new people, new pleasures and new ideas. Some of us have moved more than others, and perhaps done it more for this reason, but either way, feng shui is good for the soul.

This is what keeps us flexible, growing and glowing. It is good every now and then to decide that maybe this thing we used to do a lot can be replaced by some other activity that gives us great satisfaction. Sometimes we have books on our shelves that we just don't want any more, or maybe we didn't even really want them in the first place. Now those can be replaced by books we really do read. Maybe we indulge in singing and dancing just because we feel like it, without trying to make a particular, familiar song, or even have a partner to dance with. This could be just as beneficial as any aerobics or yoga class and more fun for us.

Maybe you do take time to write something, just sit and listen to the birds, brew a pot of tea, play a game of backgammon or chess, or perhaps decorate your patio with bunch of stones you found on your walks. It is all about keeping the energy moving in our lives. A little feng shui for the soul.

Sing Your Own Song

When I was younger, I played guitar, and that opened many doors. People would come over in the evening just to share music, sitting in a circle in the living room, playing and singing. Picking up a guitar and lunching into a song was a sure way to meet people. One of the keys to that though, was to be able to know and play other popular songs so that people could join in with you. The common bond is easier to form if there is a common understanding.

One limiting factor to this approach is that some people wanted slavish reproductions of the songs the way they were on the original recordings, and so a musician might hear the comment that he or she didn't play it right. Although I had lots of fun with that over the years, I eventually gave up the guitar. Then several years later, I discovered drumming. Using hand drums, rattles and other percussion, there was a freedom to simply play as a way of releasing energy. In drumming circles, people would frequently feel inspired to get up and dance. And then there were chants that would add another layer to the drumming and dancing. Some were traditional chants from various cultures and others were simply improvised on the spot, in the moment. And this was also a great way to meet people and create good energy.

There are other ways to use music with yourself or other people. One is to simply use any hand drum or rattle and create a rhythm that you feel like making. They always fall into a pattern, no matter how you begin. You will choose to repeat beats, because that is the nature of life. Our breathing, and our heartbeats, give us our rhythm.There is a tradition among healers that each healer eventually gets their own song that only they sing when they are doing healing work. That is their connection to spirit. There is no right or wrong attached to this, simply whatever sounds spirit prompts your voice to make, whether it has words or not. Another way of music is with the simple wind instruments, such as a wooden flute, bamboo flute, clay flute, panpipes or harmonica. With these beautiful, simple instruments, you can either learn to play songs by ear, or you can simply use them to make sounds that are meditative, healing and inspiring. These can be good for both the person making the sounds and the person hearing them. Enjoying the freedom to make the sounds that you feel is an act of courage and an expression of self. It is healing. It expresses both pain and joy, whichever you feel moved to express at the moment. And sometimes we just need to move our bodies to move energy, to heal ourselves.

Tai chi and yoga are expressions of that. So is dancing. Sometimes healers dance and move around people who need healing to summon and stir up energy. Sometimes groups of people dance together to celebrate life and bring healing to a whole group. In this aspect too, there is a freedom to move in whatever way spirit prompts you to move. Moving this energy benefits whoever is there, whoever needs the healing, whoever needs their spirit lifted. Dancing and movement can also help with dream recall and interpretation. Sometimes when we have trouble remembering a dream, moving our body like we were moving in the dream will prompt an insight. All of these elements can be used in creating our own personal rituals to acknowledge, facilitate and integrate changes in our lives and changes we want to bring about in our lives. These are all ways of working with music that you can use for yourself, even if you are the only one there. Or you can use it with others. Either way.

If any of this appeals to you, I will be happy to share ideas and techniques with you.Sing your own song. Use music as a tool for transformation. Play in the rhythm of life.

Mothers of Our Creations

Taking a walk today in the Old Town section of Longmont, there were many flowers in bloom, including daffodils, lilacs and tulips, among others. There were bursts of bright yellow yarrow, sweet woodruff and a number of others. Broadleaf trees are starting to bud, there is a delicious floral fragrance in the air, and it finally feels like spring.

The mothering, nurturing aspect of the earth is now in full bloom, inspiring creativity and passion in those who indulge their sense in the burst of energy that is all around us now. Some people have children and Mother's Day means one thing to them.

However, there are many others who have chosen not to produce children and instead focus their creative energies on their careers, hobbies or other pursuits that feed their creative spirit. In a manner of speaking then, all women are mothers, by virtue of the nurturing and creative spirit that facilitate all types of creation in this world.

The Devil as an Inspiration

One card that people do not like to see come up in a reading is the Devil. But once we come to an understanding of the symbology, we might look at this card as good instead of bad. Yes, there are times when this card can signify a person who is an adversary, or an obstacle in our way. The obstacle or adversary could be an evil person. But if we look at the traditional imagery on the Devil card, it becomes clear that one of the widsom teachings of this picture is that we are only bound by the things that we let ourselves be bound by.

The man and the woman on the card could walk away from the Devil figure, but they choose not to. How many times in your life would you have chosen a different path or done something more creative, but you held yourself back, for whatever reason? Later on this choice is a source of regret. In this instance, you forged your own chain. This is like the couple in an abusive marriage that refuse to end it. They like the old saying "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know." Some people convince themselves that they cannot do better, or have a happier, healthier relationship, so they stay with the devil they know.

Who forges that chain? For another person it was the choice to turn away from a creative endeavor or some activity that gave them great happiness because they felt pressure to make more money, and those creative pursuits just were not producing much money. Who knows for sure that it would not have paid off further down the road? And even if it never produced a great amount of money, what if that pursuit produced a great amount of happiness?

We bind ourselves to our choices, until we gather the courage to break the chains. Bindings that represent a darker aspect of people, such as drug, alcohol or food addiction, are also chains that we choose. A person can choose to imbibe these substances to excess. Or not. A person can choose to eat to excess. Or not. When these addictions turn to liabilities in our life, then once again, we have chained ourselves to a negative cause. Once we realize that we have the power to break these chains, then the Devil is not some creature out there who made us do anything. It is our own poor choices that hold us back.

Next time the Devil card comes up for you, ask yourself a few questions. What is it that is holding me back? What do I need to do to set my self free? If I could break a bad habit or change a course I have set for myself, what would that be? In what way am I holding myself back? In looking at the image this way, the Devil can be a source of inspiration.

How To Get More Magic in Your Life

Who doesn't want a little magic in their life? Wait a minute! Who would not like a lot of magic in their life? There is magic around us at every moment.

Sometimes we just need help recognizing it. Magic is when things happen at just the right time, in a way that we can appreciate. But there is a key here to unlocking the secret. We must do something to make it happen. When we focus our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual energy on a goal, something will happen.

This may sound like positive thinking, but it is more than that. Positive thinking is a good way to reframe our ideas into a more optimistic and pleasant way of looking at things and stating our desires to the universe.

Magic, however, requires an immersion of our selves into a flow that moves toward our dreams and goals. If we merely think that something is a good idea, it has a limited amount of energy, but if we are emotionally invested in achieving our goals and physically do things to make them real, that is a much more intense way of being and moving forward. The spiritual component is this: the universe likes to support us much better when we do things that are also beneficial for others, not just ourselves.

Ask yourself this question. If I am not experiencing magic in my life, could it be that one or more of my four bodies is not in alignment with the others? Am I committed physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally? What needs to change to create more magic in my life?

Hidden in Plain Sight

Here is an item that almost everyone has in their house, yet it is laden with symbolic significance that most people do not notice. It is invested with significance that is intertwined with another famous (or infamous) item, the Tarot. What is this? A deck of playing cards.

People have always debated whether the Tarot began as a repository of ancient wisdom or as a game. Because of the presence of the major arcana cards (Magician, Devil, Lovers, Justice, Death, Temperance, Strength, etc) the case looks strong for this as a metaphysical invention. All of the major arcana cards easily serve as teaching tools for major life lessons. But when we look at early Tarot decks, they greatly resembled playing card decks. They consisted of court cards and pips (the cards that simply have the numbers and suit symbols on them)with a major arcana. Nobody knows who devised the major arcana and added it to the playing cards (which in Tarot are called the minor arcana), but the first Tarot decks appeared in Italy in the 14th century.

The first deck to have a picture on every card is the Rider, which is about 100 years old now. That fact alone is what made this deck the modern standard. So if we go back to looking at the ordinary playing card deck, there is no major arcana, except for the Joker, who is the Fool in Tarot, and the only holdover between the two sets.

I wish that modern playing card manufacturers would go back to more colorful Jokers, like they had in the recent past. The jacks in playing cards replace the pages and knights of Tarot. Why, I do not know. Fascinating aspects to the playing cards include the fact that those kings and queens were representations of historical figures, such as Julius Caesar, Alexander, King David, Judith, Joan of Arc, Ruth, or Elizabeth of York. Designs varied a little, with maybe one designer adding Charlemagne, Solomon, Arthur, or Guenivere. Why include these historical mythical personages in a game? Did this thought ever even occur to you in all the hours you used decks to play games? Why does the deck consist of 4 suits? Do they stand for the 4 seasons or 4 elements? Why 13 cards in a suit? Becasue this is the number of moons (months) in a year in the old calendars? Why 52 cards in the deck? Because this is the number of weeks in a year? If it is only a game, why not 3,5,6,7,8 or 9 suits? Why not 5 cards or 25 cards in a suit?

Makes you wonder about intentions of the designer of the deck, doesn't it? Game theory advocates say that the major arcana were merely trump cards in trick taking games like pinochle, hearts or spades. They speculate that these trumps (short for triumph) also used familiar power symbols for winning hands, like the Pope, Emporer, Empress, Devil, Death, Magician, High Priestess, etc, which might provide a similar rationale behind the use of historical kings and queens in the playing card deck. After all, who has never heard of Caesar, Solomon, Alexander, Arthur, David, Joan, Guinevere, Elizabeth, or Esther? They would certainly be power symbols of a winning hand. I have had excellent readings from people who used playing cards, and I use them myself.

They do work as well as Tarot, because all of the cards we use for readings are simply tools for accessing different levels of consciousness. In other words, the physical tools are simply gateways. My mother, who does not like the images in the Tarot, remembered how when she was little, her mother used to get readings from a woman who lived in the neighborhood who only used playing cards. Using playing cards for readings was a very practical step not so long ago because Tarot decks were harder to come by, but playing cards decks were always around. I think that people prefer Tarot over playing cards for readings because they like the pictures. Today, there are literally thousands of decks because so many artists have created their own versions, and many of them are fabulous works of art. Since there are many different tastes in art, everyone can find pictures that appeal to them.

Even though I own several decks and use them to read for people, there is something very magical about being able to pick up something that is always around the house and use it for purposes of eliciting wisdom and insight. There is magic in the fact that something that everyone in my family and all my friends used as simply a game playing device can now be seen in a whole new light. The cards are right there on the table, beckoning to us. Almost no one is turned off by the mere sight of a deck of playing cards, and those who know more about them can pick them up and shuffle and read the game of life. Since they are such common objects, someone like my mother is not put off by seeing them on the table. So they are both a familiar form of amusement, and a mystical magical tool, hidden in plain sight.

It kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it? What other magic is hidden from us in plain sight?

Our Own Reality

If we accept the idea that we create our own reality, then as we look at our lives, we discover things. That is not to say that we do not know what is happening, just that we know more fully and consciously and appreciate what is happening.For example, for my day job right now I have affirmed that I only want to work at something where I can log in and log out, just giving the company 8 hours work for 8 hours pay, rather than a job with higher levels of responsibility that might require more than 40 hours a week or business travel. In the company where I work during the day, there is an unwritten rule that if you get into management, you are expected to work overtime if you want to keep your job and you need to work lots of overtime if you want to move up.

But we must get our sense of security from our selves, because in today's business environment even managers who work lots of overtime still worry about being let go. I have consciously chosen not to take that path because I want to spend more of my time doing healing, readings, writing and the other things listed on my webpage.Earlier in my life I did the corporate ladder climbing for several years, and although it had its rewards, such as higher pay, it also had its limitations, such as less time for a personal life and relationships. So I am grateful for a 40 hour a week job that can pay my basic expenses, and that also explains why it is not my goal to try and move further up in the corporation.

This is not laziness or lack of ambition, because doing everything I do is the equivalent of working two jobs, and I am grateful to have them both.I am committed to creating my reality as a person who can do all these different creative things with my clients and bring through and awaken additional energy for them so that they can enjoy more healing, strength, satisfaction and joy in their lives.

Ultimately, my vision is that I have many clients and the sum of their donations makes it so that I no longer have to work the day job, and I can devote my full attention to the type of work I love best. I am fully conscious of the fact that the reality I have created will support me while I work toward my goals.I am creating this reality and I am aware of what I am creating. I am sure that I will get signs from the universe if this is the path they want me to take, or if my direction needs to change. Meanwhile, I am happy to do whatever I do every day. Energy is moving.

Our Life's Purpose

What if we considered for a moment the opposite point of view that, in essence, our life does not have a purpose?Maybe we have been asking the wrong question.

What if those of us who are healers simply enjoy being healers? What if we enjoy being the conduit of healing energy? What if those of us who are readers simply enjoy being readers and watching the spark of recognition come into the eyes of those people we read for?

Aren't inventors often driven to create a machine or a software that can do this, this and that more efficiently? They didn't dream of doing this since they were babies. They simply see this as a puzzle to be solved, and they enjoy solving the puzzle. By now we are all familiar with the Edison story. Did he really try 2,000 different ways to invent a light bulb because that was his life's purpose? Or was he simply challenged by this puzzle and he pursued it until he found a solution? When email was invented, was a person just trying to see if they could create a method to communicate more quickly than regular mail and cheaper than long distance phone calls? Or did they think of this as their life's purpose?

For those of us who are more metaphysical, perhaps we prefer to regard life as full of mysteries, rather than puzzles.When a singer or musician creates a beautiful new melody, are they just reveling in singing or humming this melody, or are they considering this to be their life's purpose? Are all doctors doctors because they consider it their life's purpose, or do some embrace the joy of solving puzzles, devising ways of keeping damaged hearts beating, when previous doctors said that it couldn't be done? Are all architects and interior designers in those professions because they consider it their life's purpose, or simply because they enjoy creating beautiful living spaces? Are some people great chefs because they consider it their life's purpose? Or do they simply enjoy finding different ways to create with food?Yes, the sales of millions of books with this concept or phrase in their title seem to indicate that people have a hunger to discover their life's purpose.

But what if there is no purpose? To me, the problem with this concept is that it seems to imply that there is something we need to be doing and that someone else needs to tell us what that is and that we should be following those instructions instead of doing what we like.

What if some of us simply enjoy what we do and people pay us for that? Some of us get well known for that which we choose to do, and ultimately get paid more.The other night, the History Channel showed a special on Edgar Cayce. It mentioned that he did not charge set fees for his work, but simply accepted donations and that he did it because he was doing what he felt best doing. Could it be that each of us does not have a purpose that needs to be discovered? The evidence seems to be that we will be most happy if we simply focus on doing what we enjoy doing, and find a way to do more of that.

There is no little vault somewhere that we open that tells us what we are supposed to be doing and what our life purpose is supposed to be, so there is no point looking for it. Instead of asking what our purpose is, perhaps we are better off asking how we can spend more of our time doing what it is that we really love to do.