Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Art & Vision

If you have ever visited art galleries, museums or art festivals and see a vast array of different kinds of art all in one day or one evening, notice how you feel. If you are really stopping to look, enjoy and take some of it in, you probably are going away from that visit with an elevated feeling, a sense that you have had an opportunity to view other worlds, other perspectives on reality.

Such events prompt us to be open minded. We need to at least consider a variety of perspectives in order to view them. That does not mean we like everything we see. Our tastes will predispose us to like some things and not like other things. That is only natural.

When we do find pictures we like, we stand and stare at them for a while, don't we? Our imagination is transporting us to other places, other times. Perhaps we are able to see through the artist's eyes. Perhaps we are allowing ourselves to see things we do not usually see. In this process we are freeing ourselves from our usual perspective. Our vision expands. We experience feelings and sensations that communicate ideas to us. We experience the art. Sculpture lets us use our sense of touch, so we have one more input, compared to paintings, drawings or photographs where we can only look.

Art opens our visionary sight as well as sensitizing our vision. The journeys of our mind will often preceed the journeys of our bodies. Reading takes the whole process a step further because we are taking words and using them to make pictures in our minds, constructing our own visions that let us see in both senses of the word.

The fact that art can trigger such powerful visions and influence our imagination through our senses explains why tarot has been such a powerful tool for exploring our visions for so many centuries. Just as there are many styles of art and we all have different tastes, a phenomenal number of these have found their way into print. Artists always intend to convey complex ideas and feelings to us through the use of colors, figures and symbols. And each time we see them, we may or may not experience what they intended through the filters of our own understanding and experience.

Art is a tool for spirit and vision. That is why we feel different when we come home from a visit to galleries, museums or festivals.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How Old Is A Late Bloomer?

When we delay doing something we really want to do, and the time comes that we finally have an oppportunity to break free of our restraints, all that power and desire that have been bottled up finally get put to use with a pronounced speed and efficiency.

If there were things we thought we wanted to do with our lives, but we never got around to it, if the desire wanes or shifts to another subject, that bottled up energy will dissipate.

Coming unbound, unwound, like a spring coiled tightly. That second wind we get when we finally break loose is refreshing. Some people are late bloomers because it took them a while to get their courage up, or until they got fed up with whatever else they were doing, and now everything changes, everything opens up.

Sometimes the universe may have held us back simply to give us time to gain the right amount of life experience before prompting us that it is time to cut loose.

Because people are living longer now, we are seeing more of this. More people because of the changes in the economy are looking at their lives and deciding to go for it now, whatever "it" is for them, rather than delaying until some uknown time.

Now is the time to declare your freedom from whatever was holding you back. Now is the time to focus more intently on bringing our dreams into reality. All of that energy you have been storing up, thinking that one day you will do this, all of that energy is begging to be released. All of that energy can be used to propel you toward that end. And as you move in that direction, more energy will be created to assist you.

No matter what age you are, if you have been postponing moving in the direction of your dreams, you are a late bloomer. Why not open up and blossom now?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Once Upon a Time

"Once upon a time" is one of the most famous magical phrases ever uttered and is one of the most powerful spellcasting techniques ever created. As soon as we hear those four words, we pay attention and are transported into another world.

Storytelling is an art form as old as humans, as old as spoken language. It was one of the first forms of magic, one of the first forms of entertainment, and it has served us well from the time the first cavemen and cavewomen gathered around the fire until this very day.

For thousands of years, older people told stories to younger people and they came to see the world around them in a new way.

Then about a hundred years or so ago, some people thought that these traditional stories might be too scary for younger people, so they edited them to removed some of the darker aspects of the stories. Those of us who only grew up learning the tamer versions still got tremendous value and were emotionally moved by these stories. But in more recent years, when the original versions were republished, there was a rich new sense of discovery of whole new levels of the story that were revealed.

In some cases, it was like stripping a layer of gray or white paint off a piece of furniture and discovering finely grained wood underneath.

We didn't need to have the stories toned down in order to appreciate them. Generation after generation grew up hearing the old versions. When you hear family stories or history stories that are not cleaned up or toned down, aren't the original versions even better?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Adventures in Tarot, Erotic and Otherwise

What a weekend! At the convention center this weekend, the Great American Beer Festival was in the hall right next to the Sex Show, and unfortunately, beer outsold sex by a huge margin. I cannot understand why. Don't know what that says about our culture or Colorado or whatever. GABF had 48,000 people attending, but the Sex Show was only a tiny fraction of that.

My booth space was in the same aisle as the tantra teachers, sex therapists and coaches. They are a great bunch of people, and I'm glad I got to meet them. I look forward to future opportunities to network with them.

The erotic tarot readings were a hit. Even though that put a very different twist on readings, it danced on the boundaries of excitement and fun, but also provided revelations to the ones seeking a reading. Amazing how well it worked. I will continue to do them, but mostly for private readings or in selected venues.

Closing out the show was another adventure. A young man came to me for a reading right before closing time, which was midnight. The deal at the convention center is whatever you cannot carry out before then you have to come back for after 10 am the next day. But I could not do that because I had to be at the Mega Aura Palooza in Cherry Creek at 8 am, and I needed my stuff to do that show. When I set up, I carried it all in myself, but it took three trips from the parking lot to the exhibit hall.

Everyone else was busy packing their own stuff. The young man who had the last reading was still hanging around chatting while I was packing. So I offered to refund the fee for his reading if he would help me carry my stuff to my car. He liked the deal and he was a good sport about helping. So then after I dropped him off by his car, then got home, it was about 3 am.

Got about three hours sleep then got up and did the Mega Aura Palooza at Cherry Creek. Had a great time, and the people from Minneapolis were a pleasure to work with. The adrenaline or whatever it is that pops me into the altered state kicked in as soon as I started doing readings again.

Next month I will be reading with them at their next event in Minneapolis. Life is an adventure. Minute by minute, day by day. Life is like a box of.................................what was that thing again?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Celebrating Our Lives

Every day, we are presented with possibilities. What we do with them is our choice. There is always time to start something new, from now until the day we die. New friends, new hobbies, new jobs, new interests. Everything is possible.

Years ago, when I was an avid hiker I remember meeting an older couple on a hiking trip. I thought of them as older because I was in my 30s and they were in their 60s or 70s. I asked them how they kept on going at their age. They said "We always enjoyed this, so it never occured to us not to do it."

I have also met people at dances who told me that they didn't begin dancing until after they later in life when they decided that they needed more fun to relieve the tension from work.

This weekend, reading at the Sex Show, I see both very young people who are busy trying out different things to mature people who are navigating their way through adventures in sexual experiences and aspects of relationships that are new to them.

Tomorrow, I will work at a metaphysical event, Mega Aura Palooza, where speakers will include an animal communicator, a ghost communicator and other psychics.

Not so long ago, people speaking about any of these subjects would have been considered far out and wacky. It was not that long ago that even buying a deck of tarot cards meant hunting for a store that sold them. Today, even the chain stores have a decent selection of them.

A public show where couples could go and view demonstrations of S&M techniques or tantric techniques to enhance and enliven their sexual lives would have been taboo.

When I was growing up and well into my adult life, I never heard of such a thing as a psychic fair or a holistic health fair. But today, I routinely participate in such events, which draw from hundreds to thousands of people, depending on how big the event and how well organized and promoted it is.

From hiking and dancing to tantra and sex toys to pyschics and people who can communicate with other dimensions, to whatever else a person might be interesting, the world is more open and unlimited than it used to be.

People are starting all kinds of businesses, from teaching people about how to get more out of their lives to making their own perfumes to helping others to create more productive websites to pet sitters to personal trainers, and all kinds of other things.

We are only limited by our imaginations. Celebrate life by imagining what you would like yours to be like, and then do what it takes to bring your vision to life.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Work That We Enjoy

Yesterday, I addressed my comments to the self employed. I fully realize that most people do not want to be self employed. Many people just want to clock in, make 40 hours pay for 40 hours work and then go home. They don't like their job, but just like the steady paycheck.

There are also other people who really like their job, but their relationship with it is simply trading time for a paycheck.

I have also had times in my life where I worked for companies that offered a really valuable product or service to the customers, and when I was doing those jobs, I was totally committed to doing it well and was not searching for anything else.

For a brief period of my life, I worked as a picture framer for an art gallery, and that interlude was one that was really sweet. I came to work every day, simply prepared to do whatever jobs were put in front of me. Someone else handled all the sales. All I had to do was to stay in the shop with one other person, and we took care of getting all the orders out and he taught me what I know about framing. We would talk while we worked and sometimes listen to music, and there was satisfaction in putting each piece together and then seeing the finished product ready to go. Who knows how long I could have done that. I only quit because my then wife wanted to move, and that led me to moving here, and I got my life started fresh, so that was a good thing.

The world needs people who just want to do one job, do it reliably and be happy about it. And some of us, like myself, have managed to work in both parts of the working world at times in our life.

At an earlier time in my life, I worked as a freelance copywriter, and did that for several years until someone offered me a full time job editing a magazine that I was writing for. It has been interesting having done many different types of work.

Some people have spent their whole career working for others, and others have always found a way to be self employed. Some of us have done both. We all have an important part to play.

To me, there is only one factor that applies equally in both realms. I have to enjoy the work in order to keep doing it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do What You Love and See What Happens Next

We all face the same fears when we think of starting our own business. If this is such a good idea, why aren't lots of other people doing it? Am I the first one to think of this? Will I just be wasting my time and money?

Remember, though, that the opposite of fear is love. We can begin a new business because we love what we do, and we feel that we have something to offer that other people want or need. We can use our energy to create a new business because we want to be in charge of our own schedule and our own cash flow. We can start a new business because our creative impulse is urging us to express it.

Then once you get going, the challenge is getting the cash flow from your new business to be strong enough so that you can quit your day job. Sometimes you have to quit the day job and take the risk.

How do we know what is true? We have to account for variable factors. For example, someone else may have tried the same thing, but maybe they just were not that good at it. You might be able to do it better. Maybe your idea is just a different enough twist that you can get more people interested in it than previous efforts. Sometimes new ideas just are bold enough and new enough that we are the first ones to try it. Sometimes other people are making a living doing the same thing we are thinking about, but maybe they get all their business by referrals and in person meetings, and so we never see their ads in newspapers, magazines, radio or TV, and therefore, do not know that they exist.

Today, we also have the internet as a way for people to promote their businesses. This could mean spending many hours finding ways to get people to see your website or send out information through emails. There are other ways of using all this technology that I still have to explore myself. There are billions of websites out there, it is possible that other people are doing what we are thinking of doing, but we just have not seen their website to know about it. Others may contain ideas that will work for us too.

At some point, we just have to summon our courage and creativity and go for it.

The world of business is changing so rapidly that even if you have a job in a big company, you have no guarantee that you will have that same job or that same pay next year, much less for a career. And even if you do good work for them and get compliments on it, you have no guarantee that you will have any job with them down the road. These changes are prompting more people to think about creating their own business all the time.

Not everyone wants to own their own business, but some of us see this as our survival instinct kicking into gear, and others may just really need the feeling of freedom and creativity in order to blossom and become more of who they are, to realize more of their potential.

Courage requires that we proceed even in the face of doubt and fear. That is what makes it courage, because it takes a lot of heart. A sure thing requires no courage. If you do what you love, no matter how successful your business idea, at least you will have the satisfaction of knowing what it feels like to expand your potential, test your ideas, and explore more of your world. Do what you love and see what happens next.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why Rituals Are Important To Us

We all have our daily rituals, although we may not refer to them that way, and they help us to orient ourselves in the world and prepare for the day ahead. Whether you begin by brewing a cup of coffee or tea, reading, doing yoga or tai chi, making notes in your journal or walking the dog, these are rituals.

When we change clothes as soon as we get home, we are saying to oursleves as much as to the rest of the world that we are now changing our role, our consciousness, our frame of mind, as we make the transition from work to play, relax, exercise, or socialize.

Consider then, the lack of these things when big changes occur in our lives. For example, we have rituals for getting married, but almost none for getting divorced or separated. We may throw a big party when we get a new job, but how do we acknowledge the change when we leave one, whether the change was voluntary or not?

No wonder the period of adjustment is disorienting and extended for many people. Of course, such major life changes take a long time to digest and many changes in a person's lifestyle will flow from these developments. How much might it help put things to rest and put them in perspective if a person were to do something special to recognize and embrace the change? How much would a person be encouraged to complete their transition and move on if they actually did a ritual to signify their change of status?

There is, of course, no correct or uniform time frame for making such a transition, but picture how it feels to do something symbolic and saying to yourself and the world that you are taking the next step into your new life. You begin to prepare for the new possibilities life has to offer and seeing the world as the new person. And this process is aided by doing something to mark the occasion.

Rituals are not just for birth and death, but for all the important passages in our lives. If you feel a need to move yourself forward, perhaps you need to create a ritual for this time in your life.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Everything is Magic, Then It Expands

Some days, there is nothing but magic in the air. We remember those moments and hold them close, and then they expand.

We want more days like this in our lives.

Breathe, breathe. Some days putting one foot in front of the other is enough. Other days everything is magic.

One moment we breathe and we feel full of life energy. Everything around us is more alive, more interesting, more delicious than ever before.

We have looked ahead to see what is there, and then we find ourselves back here, now. Now, now, each step leads us toward whatever our future is, as we step into it, with everything here leading to it.

When we experience those moments when we are totally alive and in it, then we savor it, so that the taste can last longer.

Those moments when we connect and the rest of the world drops away, everything is magic and that is all that there is. So we enrich it with our presence, and charge it with our affection, tenderness, our fire and our strength and launch our energy out into the world to create more moments like this.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What Are We Balancing?

Tomorrow is the Fall Equinox, one of the two days of the year when we have an equal amount of dark and light, and the balance tips into dark until the balance tips back to light on the Spring Equinox, six months from now.

This begins our entry into the darkest quadrant of the year, in my opinion the most spiritual quadrant, and also the richest in terms of significant events. We sharpen our instincts in the dark.

What are we really balancing here? Is it the mix of work and play? The dance of partnership and individuality? The dance between our dreams and goals and what we have to do every day to get there? The balancing between silliness and seriousness?

We constantly move between these polar opposites as we live. When we have too much of one thing, we have to bring in more of another in order to find pleasure, relief, joy, renewal, passion.

So actually, how many days are we in balance? Probably few, because we go back and forth between these aspects. We work all day, then in the evening we do something fun. Or we rest. We study serious things and take care of business all week, then we play and party on the weekend. Is that a 50/50 split? Not really.

Look at another famous example. The image of the scales of Libra are also the theme of the statues of Justice. And yet, isn't this somewhat of a misnomer? If a person robs or kills someone, and then they go to jail for a few years, does that achieve balance? It takes the criminal out of public circulation for a while, but it rarely does anything to restore what was stolen from the victims and certainly does not bring back the dead.

Look at what lies ahead for us right after this day of balance. We find ourselves facing progressively darker and colder days for the next few months, and they will not balance out again for quite a while. Then they will just keep getting lighter for a while. In the calendar year, there is balance on only two days.

It appears that the perfect image of balance is really a symbol for a turning point, a dynamic influence, rather than a static state of being.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday, Saturn's Day

Names for the days of the week in some of the European languages, such as French and Italian, come from the seven planets the ancients could see: Sun, Moon, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, and Saturn, which gives its name to Saturday.

As the farthest planet they could see unaided (without telescopes) Saturn represented limitation, the boundaries, structure and discipline. It rules skin, teeth, bones and knees. Bent knees are a sign of humility. Saturn presents tests, which can humble us.

The constant interplay throughout our lifetime between knowing who we are and discovering more about ourselves is domain of the boundaries, of Saturn. Thus, it illuminates us and spurs us on in our life's journey.

Saturn lessons bring self confidence, perseverance and building toward mastery, step by step. As a bringer of change, it is fitting that for many people, Saturday is also a big day to play. We work at our jobs Monday through Friday, and go out to do something different on Saturday, whether it is hiking, bicycling, partying, dancing, concerts or theatre.

Those of us who do work on Saturday are also bringers of change. Many of those people who work a M-F schedule come out for readings and healings on Saturdays, or go to workshops or engage in other activities that test their limits and help enlighten and heal.

Celebrating Saturday as the bringer of change, the boundary crosser, the illuminator of our personal journeys, was appropriate for ancient people, and it still strikes the perfect note for us.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Our Own Underworld

People often come to me for readings when they are navigating their own underworld.

For example, when a person loses their job because the company they were working for has decided to eliminate some positions, and the person had been content in that job and therefore not out looking at other prospects, the sudden displacement sets them off on a journey that can include a deep reexamination of what else they want to do or can do for a living.

While on that journey, a person may encounter higher stress levels, rejection by prospective employers, perhaps frayed relationships with their spouse or partner as well as with friends, and they might also encounter new spiritual perspectives that they might not have previously considered. A result of their underworld journey might be that they are learning to simplify their life. They might also find an opportunity to do work that is even more satisfying than their old job. And all of this will probably happen over a period of months, perhaps as much as a couple of years to get readjusted and repositioned. Some may end up starting their own businesses, which may present them with this whole spectrum of challenges, yet once they have done it, they will feel like they have emerged from the crisis as a new person.

Similar events take place during a separation or divorce. Most people know that an unresolved difficulty in their relationship can lead to a break up, yet some deny this conclusion until it actually happens. Others know for certain that this is coming, yet when the time comes they may be stunned for awhile, unable to jump in and get started again until some time has passed. We get comfortable with our habits and routines, our places and our things and change represents challenge. How we handle those challenges determines how well we make the transition. Our perspective will either enable or disable our ability to see all of our prospects.

A person going through their underworld journey needs to adjust their vision, becomes sensitized to new feelings, begins to find different activities meaningful and fulfilling, and makes new friends along the way. The underworld journey serves to open them to all of these developments. The harder a person tries to grasp on to the memories of the life they used to have, the harder it will be to begin a new life, but inevitably they will. The difference is in how they do, not whether they will.

Some people when faced with a health crisis learn to live differently. They change their diet, take up different forms of exercise, change their thinking and extend their life. Others simply refuse to change and continue on the same patterns that contributed to the problem in the first place, and their result is inevitable.

A significant number of people during recent years have embraced a more open and flexible approach toward their spirituality and have discovered a great deal of joy and satisfaction with it, along with new perspectives about life. Yet there is still a feeling of displacement which requires some period of adjustment while these changes are in process.

All of these are examples of part of a person's underworld journey which will transform their life. One person may choose to view their journey as the one version of Persephone's story, where she is dragged into it against her will, while others will view it in the way of the second Persephone story, where she realizes that it is time for a change, even if it causes some disruption in the world around her. How do you view your underworld jouney?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Underworld Journeys

Every year at this time, around the Fall Equinox, another popular story about the underworld is that of Persephone, Hades and Demeter from Greek mythology.

One version of the story is that Persephone was a beautiful young maiden in the full flowering of her youth, beauty and fertility. Hades desires her, lusts after her, and one day while she is out wandering through a field picking flowers with some nymphs, he kidnaps her and takes her to the underworld with him. In this version, Demeter is distressed and outraged that Persephone has been taken by Hades.

In another version of the story, she is ready for the transition from girl to woman and desires Hades as her first sexual partner. She willingly goes with him to the underworld to explore the excitement of her newfound sexuality. In this version, Demeter does not want to let go of her daughter because she is not ready for her little girl to grow up.

In both versions, her mother, Demeter, the goddess of grains, demands her return. In one version, in retaliation, she withholds rain and the fruits of the harvest. In another version, she is so busy looking for Persephone that she forgets to nourish the crops. The distressed people who were deprived of their harvest implored Zeus, the leader of the gods, to intervene.

In both versions, Persephone eats seeds of the pomegranate, so when Zeus asks to have Persephone return above ground, Hades responds that Persephone had broken the rule decreed by the Fates that by eating or drinking in the underworld, she was bound to it.

Zeus, trying to bring peace, negotiates a settlement. Persephone will spend part of every year above ground, from the time of the Spring Equinox, when the planting is done, until the Fall Equinox, when the harvest comes. In between then, she goes back into the underworld with Hades. Thus, the significance of the turning of the seasons on the days when day and night are in equal balance.

In this story, the underworld journey signifies a necessary initiation for the person, where coming to grips with the unseen elements of growth, the interior excitement and evolution and indulging the taste for the hidden or forbidden fruits, are necessary for the awakening of the adult aspects of the person. Once a person has tasted these, they can never return to their previous consciousness.

A similar story, that of Ishtar and Tammuz from the Babylonian mythology contains a similar but different lesson, still with the transformation taking place in the underworld.

Yesterday's stories, about Robert Johnson and Tulough O'Carolan, also revolve around transformations through time spent in the underworld, as does the story of Thomas the Rhymer who may have been the inspiration for the Scottish story Tam Lin.

In each of these stories of underworld journeys, the person undergoing the journey comes back with some gift, or power that comes from venturing into the unknown, undergoing a trial and returning. Perhaps these stories are meant to encourage us to take these adventures when we are ready for our next stage of life, our next level of evolution.

The underworld may be scary to some precisely because it contains truths that are glossed over when we only skim the surface. There is a beauty and a power that comes in obvious forms and easily appealing appearances. And then there is another layer of beauty and power that comes from mining the powerful unseen currents of energy and insight that lie below the surface. The underworld adds complexity and subtlety and rewards us with insights that open our visions and enable us to access veins of talent that we did not know how to access before.

In the mythologies, the underworld is a place for the dead, and it is also a place for rebirth. Each time we evolve to a new level, our old self dies. And so our underworld journey continues.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Devil, the Fairy Queen & Enlightenment

One of the things that popped into my head as I was thinking about the blues was the story of Robert Johnson. One of the most enigmatic figures in blues, they say that he grew up wanting to play and that he was pretty good.

But then one day he disappeared. Legend has it that he went down to the crossroads near Dockery Plantation in Mississippi at midnight. When he returned, suddenly he was able to play leaps and bounds above anything he ever did before. His legacy includes songs that are part of the core of the blues tradition and have been rerecorded by many different singers and musicans since then. He claimed he traded his soul to the Devil in return for his great musical ability. Did he really do that? Or was he just pulling everybody's leg?

A similar legend surrounds one of the greatest harpists and composers of Ireland, Turlough O'Carolan. He became blind as a result of a childhood bout of smallpox and spent most of his adult life traveling and playing music and gaining great fame for his music. They say that both weddings and funerals would be delayed until he could arrive to play.

Then one day, Carolan disappeared for a while and when he returned, he presented a new music he called planxties, which had a different rhythm from the familiar jigs, reels and lullabies, and he said that he learned this from the Fairy Queen during a visit to the underworld. More than 220 tunes that survive to this day were composed by him. He wrote lyrics for a number of them, but most musicians downplay the importance of these and focus on the melodies. Did he really get his gifts from the Queen of the fairies? Or was he also pulling everyone's leg?

What more powerful third mysterious musical character could be added to this trio of mysteries than Beethoven? He composed some of the greatest of his works after he was completely deaf. Beethoven also possessed great skills recognized at an early age and studied with many teachers, including Haydn. Yet he did not attribute his compositional skills to anyone else. He simply kept doing what he was inspired to do, Beethoven's struggles with illness and deafness could also be described as journeys to the underworld, which also informed his music. Who knows how much those incredible soaring melodies that we all know can be attributed to the difficulties he suffered and how much these affected his thinking, as well as inspiration from his lovers and muses such as the poet Schiller, his visions, the ideals of enlightenment and in turn, the creation of his work?

Did the Devil, the Fairy Queen or the Enlightenment have any hand in what these three great musicians created? Or were their creations simply so powerful that no one would believe that these were simply the products of three hard working, talented individuals? Did Johnson and Carolan know this and simply play it off, while Beethoven proudly claimed his place as the creator of his work?

What do these three great musical mysteries say about our ability to surpass all limitations and rise to greatness? What do these stories tell us about our ability to connect with spirit in any form in order to tap into even greater reservoirs of strength, beauty and creativity?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Taste for the Blues

Lately, I have had a taste for the blues. I still love violin music at this time of year, and some piano music as well, but I notice that more and more, I reach for blues to slip into the CD player to flow with the rhythms of my life. There is something irresistable about the beat and the bouncy nature of the groove. When times are tough, blues can help you bottom out and then bounce back up. Blues understands this time we are living in.

The blues always did. The blues gave birth to jazz, rock, rap, and popular music. The blues is earthy, lusty music that expresses its zest for life. Blues originated with field hands using music to help them find the strength to do the backbreaking work of manual labor on plantations, farms, and later, in factories. Blues could inspire people to get up and dance after a hard day's work.

Of course, the music was so entrancing that it would draw people into its spell and get them up dancing even if they never were field hands or manual laborers. Like magical chants and mantras, most of it is not very complicated. The first instrument that I was able to pick up and play by ear was blues harp (harmonica), and many a night gone by, I jammed with guitarists and singers who sang the blues.

Blues is very rootsy music. In recent years, a few recordings have been made where blues musicians got together with traditional African folk musicians and made magic with the sounds of the place where the musical roots began, together with what they evolved into. Blues can cast a spell that is like straight whiskey. It hits you hard and changes your whole perspective, right quick, and it doesn't take a lot to do the trick.

I grew up in Chicago where there was always a vibrant blues scene and I got to hear many of the legends play in bars for the price of a little cover charge and a few drinks. And by closing time, they had to kick people out because they didn't want to leave.

There came a time in my life when I was not listening to much of the blues, but they never really disappeared. Like there is no such thing for me as picking up the harmonica and not playing a blues riff.

So now it is time for some blues again. I got the feeling for it. Not exclusively. It rotates between music, but more and more as I work toward my goals, when I get up in the morning and wonder what day it is, but I just need to get started putting one foot in front of the other, some blues or some jazz will bring dream energy into focus. It is earthy and helps me keep grounded and centered. Blues is about feeling, and strong feelings have the power to move people.

The blues groove feels real good right now. Feel that beat? That's the pulse of life. That's the sound of people stirring up energy to do what they have to do and what they want to do. Oh yes, what songs we have about what we feel and what we do. And oh, yes, can you ever dance to it. Know what I'm talking about?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Water Stones

Whenever I hold a water stone in my hand, there is not only a sensation, but an instant reminder than come to mind. Water stones are simply those that have been worn smooth by the flow of water. If you were to ask a person, what is the stronger material, stone or water, many might say stone, but over time, water will wear down stone, but stone will not wear down water.

How many times have we found ourselves holding a firm position only to find that somewhere down the road we need to soften it?

How many times have we worried about something only to find out that if we had not worried about it, it would have turned out fine anyway?

Have you ever noticed how many meditation recordings include the sound of moving water, either stream or wave sounds?

It is the soothing sound of change that comes in invisible, but inevitable currents. Like the water finding its way between rocks, the tiniest opening can eventually become a torrent, the tiniest grains of sand and pebbles that are swept between rocks wear the edges of bigger rocks smooth.

Perhaps this is the underlying source of peace in the water sound. We know that change is inevitable and that going with the flow will make us mellower.

Water can carry us over rough rocks so that we can reach our destination.

Stones smoothed by water can make excellent healing stones and also divination tools. For me, found objects are just as welcome a tool, and just as effective, as tumbled gemstones.

Notice how the element of water works in our lives. In tarot, the water suit is usually called cups, caldrons, or chalices. It is about emotions and emotional connections. Most people immediately make the connection with love and romance, but it also rules friendship, acquaintances, associates and other connections that have an emotional heartfelt quality to them.

Notice how all of our emotions express in water. Blood, sweat, tears, taste, orgasms. The water flowing between us smoothes our rough edges and shapes us in ways that allows us to fit together better, whether we are looking at just two of us or a bunch of us as the many stones in a riverbed. Letting the water flow lets us all fit together better, and takes some of the edge off as we allow the energy to move us.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Look Ahead, Then Rest Before What's Next

After wrapping up another outdoor festival today, I am looking forward to the next two festival gigs being indoor events. Once again the weather was a factor, as the cold, lightning and rain caused the festival to shut down on the middle, and longest day, which everyone who bought a booth also regarded as their potentially most profitable day. The break on Saturday gave us a little time to rest. After half a day of being in a tent with not enough warm clothes in the damp and cold, an afternoon of chicken soup and kicking back with a movie felt fine. Fortunately, Sunday picked up and turned out to be a good day.

By the time Sunday evening came, it was a good time to simply clean up and put things away, take a soothing shower and settle in with a good book.

In the morning, I will go back to the day job, but before I do, I give myself a little time to check my emails to confirm appointments for the coming week, going over some bills I need to pay, plan for the talk I am going to give at next week's fair, and then just relax a bit. Tomorrow, I will send emails to people I met today. I have an overview for the week and see how all the things I do will contribute to my larger goal of doing this work of reading and healing full time, and being able to quit my day job when the reading and healing business is built up to a more consistent level than it is now.

So this evening there is simply a pause in the rush of activity. There is movement beneath the surface. I will be going over my presentation for next Saturday all week in my mind. I will be connecting with as many people as possible before then.

But tonight, just for a while, just for a breather, there is soothing piano music playing, I am enjoying a taste of whiskey, and reading a good book. Soon I will go to sleep. A little pause is good. We all need it. There is much to be done tomorrow. Rest is what feels good right now.

Each week, do you take a look at your week ahead? Do you give yourself a little time to mull over the important things that need to be done, and then let go of them and simply be quiet for a while?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Quiet Fires

On a cold winter night, there is great comfort in having a fireplace going in the living room. If you do not have a fireplace, candles can create the same aura on a smaller scale.

The fact that they are still built into homes as ornaments rather than a real source of heat and light, like the gas models with the fake logs, are an echo of the ancient memories we have of the primal importance of fire in our lives. This image and feeling is embedded in us. Some people refer to this kind of resonance as genetic memory. From the time of our caveman ancestors to the present moment, sitting by the fire is something we have done until we no longer think about it, we just do. If I fire is burning, we gather around it.

Fire was the first great discovery of mankind. Once we knew how to start a fire whenever we wanted one, we were safe from freezing to death. Imagine the first people who discovered that fire would keep wild animals at bay. Imagine the delight of the first people who discovered the taste of food warmed over a fire. Imagine the first people who experienced the soothing pleasure of a warm bath. Imagine the the first people who discovered that putting plant leaves in boiled water sipping their first cups of tea. Imagine the first people hypnotized by the flames speaking visions.

Fire was magic to those people. Fire is still magic to us. Here's to the joy of winter evenings in front of the fire.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lighting a Fire

Fire is vision. We need light to see, not just what is right in front of us, but the long range, what is in our future. What we passionately desire, what we dream, what we want to do differently.

Fire is creativity. The flames dance, our vision expands and we think of new ways to do things, or at least different ways to do things. When our creative energy is moving, so is all of our other energy. Creativity causes us to move, to dare to be different, to get up and find a better way, to find a more exciting way.

A person who has no creativity needs more fire in their life. They need the fire of inspiration, the fire of lifting spirits, dancing bodies, lightened moods, laughter, loving. Fire, creativity, imagination. These are the components of aphrodisiacs.

A person who has more creativity is a better lover. Passion gives rise to enthusiasm, and enthusiasm gives rise to creativity, and creativity gives rise to the senses, and the senses open the way for courage. Courage to speak our desires, courage for the other to open to those desires, courage to act on those desires. Courage to cast aside the dull shells of routine and immerse ourselves in those bright colors and the juciness they bring when heat brings sweat and the warmth between us becomes liquid. Unleashing this fire, this creativity, this bold action, this love, this passion, can begin with simple questions, as does all creativity. What if? Will you? Now? How does it feel? Again?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We Dance to the Fire

Perhaps it was the fire that first made people dance. Perhaps they were celebrating the purifying of their space when they threw all their bones into it, creating the first bonefire, or bonfire. Perhaps they danced in celebration of the clearing away of the old and the making way for the new.

Fire is still a way to purify our space. We can burn those things we are done with. We can burn those things that are unclean. Wounds can be cauterized with a knife blade heated in fire. Old dressings can be burned in the fire.

Old photos, old letters. old papers that we do not want to keep can be burned in the fire. We dance as they burn, faster, as the flames leap higher, slower as they die down. Once the old photos and papers turn into ashes, what was on them only lives in our memory. When the fire of our spirit dies and energy leaves us, the fire of memory passes to others.

Fire heats stones for saunas and sweats, opening our pores so that we are cleansed by the release of water through our skin.

Fire boils water for bathing, for cooking food, for making tea. We dance when we heal. We dance when we feast. We dance because we can. We dance to connect our energy with the energy of others. We dance to connect with the energy of spirit.

We gather by the bonfire and the fireplace to tell our stories and sing our songs. In the places where we do not have fireplaces or bonfires, we have candles. Our spirits dance by these candles, with romance and softness mingled with the soft glow of the candles, the gentle fragrance, the light that keeps us close.

It is the softness of the skin and the subtle scent of the person, and the pheromones that dance underneath the aura of oils that heat sends sailing toward us on the air, and these invite us to taste the softness we crave, and dance with our tongues.

Friction from our bodies, persistently rubbing together until spirit fire ignites, set us in motion and we dance with the fire. We dance with the fire for as long as it lasts, and when it comes down to a bed of orange embers, we dance on them and walk to the other side. Then we exhale loudly, then softly, and raise the embers into flames, our breath the fuel for the flames. And when the flames dance upon the earth again, we add more wood, and the smoke and the scent of the burning herbs circle our beings. And we cast off everything until there is only us, our skin, glistening in the glow of the fire.

We have broken the spell of everything that does not matter. There is dancing and fire, and the fire creates water, and the water is us, flowing together. And we dance to the rhythm of the fire within.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fire, Light and Heat

One concept we hear frequently among metaphysical practitioners is that of bringing in white light for healing, protection, and clarity.

Just as some people see auras and some feel them, I agree with the concept of bringing in light and heat to help with healing, but I just do not always see it as white light.

Light can come in all colors. Look at fire when it burns. Does it appear white to you? No, there are many colors, including red, orange, yellow and blue that share their light and heat with us.

This, no doubt, has its roots as a concept that comes from polarities, like black and white, ying and yang. Although in movies and other popular culture references, black is the color of bad guys and white is the color of good guys, white is the yang color and black is the yin color.

Yin is the nurturing, feminine energy, and just as when a seed is in the ground nurturing, it is in the dark until it sprouts. There is a richness in that dark that provides energy. We are in the dark before we are born, we are in the dark at night when we dream, we are in the dark again when our bodies are either burned or buried.

I want the fire when it is my time to be done with this body. I want the fire now too. When I do healing for people I feel the ancient fires coursing through me, the fires around which our ancestors warmed themselves, cooked their food, told their stories and lit the places where they lived. People have long gazed at fire until they could see visions of the future.

The dancing of the flames opened passages in the dark, casting light and heat and welcoming vibrations as it moved in the cool, dark space and air. The dancing of the red orange yellow blue light is like our blood circulating through our bodies, mixed with liquid sunlight and moonlight coursing through our veins, strengthening and nourishing us.

Fire is poetry. Fire is percussion. Fire is beauty and inspiration. Fire is healing. Fire is purifying. Fire is passion. Fire is life reaching up from the ground. Fire calls to us to rise up and celebrate. Fire calls us to give light and heat. Fire calls us to dance with each other, to intertwine our energies, to move to the ancient rhythms. The fire within and the fire without call to each other.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Darkness and Fire

As the darkness settles in on us in the shift from summer into fall, there is something special about how the darkness draws us together.

The days get shorter, the weather becomes cooler. The leaves turn colors, many plants enter their dormant stage.

The spirit of this season crosses cultural borders. Perhaps it is the signal the changing foliage sends our subconscious, as we celebrate harvests with a festive, yet wistful spirit that prompts Octoberfests, with joy and gratitude for food and drink.

Then we take time at Halloween, also known as Samhain, Day of the Dead, All Souls Night, All Saints Day. The plants at the end of their cycle remind us to take time remember those of our friends and relatives who reached the end of their cycle in this life, on this earth. People of all ages celebrate this crossing, as children do their trick or treat and adults throw costume parties and masked balls.

The wonderful, heartfelt civic holiday of Thanksgiving is a time when family and friends get together to enjoy each other's company. It is the quiet, sweet, relaxed pause between the exotic masked, costumed holidays of Halloween and the hyper-commercialized shopping extravaganza of Christmas.

And all this time, the fires are growing. The fires in our hearts, the fires in our fireplaces, in our candles, our lanterns, our spirits. It is the fire of learning for those who go back to school, the fire of creativity for those presenting new seasons of theatre, music, movies, and books. It is the fire that gives heat and light, within us, without us, among us, around us.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Off The Beaten Path

One of the things I notice about metaphysical fairs that has remained constant over the years is the underlying sense of optimism about them.

The variety of things that a person might encounter there have one thing in common. People who offer natural and traditional methods to healing, products that contribute to a healthy environment, alternative energy, ways of developing our pyschic and creative abilities, all are putting forward solutions to problems, and offering mind expanding concepts about life.

While the wide open and accepting nature of metaphysical people and events has also provided a platform for things that are without much merit, those things usually fade away while the people and methods of substance remain.

As we have seen in recent years, politics and power are often the stumbling blocks to progress. For example creative people have been promoting alternative energy for years, and invented methods to produce it. More energy efficient vehicles and homes are already possible, it is just that the powers that be have long chosen not to really promote their development and use.

Herbal healing has been a fact of human life for millennia, so it is interesting to hear experts express doubt about it. But it is about the money. Energy healing, hypnosis and other methods which have ancient roots are also considered alternative, although they were here first.

It is satisfying to see the wheel turning, as more people become interested in these things all the time. When grocery chains become interested in organic foods, there are yoga studios and herb shops in every shopping center, massage has become readily available, and people going through major life changes get readings to gain another perspective and some insight into how to deal with these changes, there is more acceptance of these concepts and methods across the general population.

This is one of the reasons I have long been involved in all this. Looking through a lens of life affirming methods and associating with life affirming people adds to our resources for getting more joy and satisfaction out of every day. Workshops and courses of all types will continue to be popular because people are always open to finding ways to improve their quality of life.

Looking into those many things that were at times dismissed as foolish, outdated or superstitious has proven to be a boon to many. When many of the realities of our world are crumbling and being replaced or rebuilt in unfamiliar ways, the whole spectrum of metaphysics, holistic health, environmentalism and personal growth have much to offer.

Journeying off the beaten path has a great deal to offer the traveler who is open to life's journey, savoring the experience and adventure of it all, and finding hidden treasures of joy and discovery in these unlikely places. Optimism, like laughter, and curiosity, make good medicine.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Travels with Spirit Guides

When doing readings in big public events and I am very busy, I am more easily able to enter that zone where I am in close contact with my spirit guides, and the readings just flow through me. Time disappears and I might notice that when I pause to eat because my blood sugar is running low.

Whether I am doing one-on-one sessions in my home office or meeting and reading for large numbers of people in a festival or fair, I always affirm that I am bringing through something that will be useful to this person at this time.

Opening the connection with my spirit guides this way, the altered state produces a feeling that leaves me tired, but in a good kind of way. That is why sometimes on festival weekends, I do not have the energy to make blog entries when I get home, and that is part of the natural ebb and flow of energies I work with.

I am happy to have met so many new people and to have been of service through my readings. It is an affirmation of my work, and we all need and love that. Who would not like to get feedback from others that the work that they have done has benefitted them and that they feel better as a result? This kind of feeback is an important part of the process of giving and receiving.

Life is good. I am thrilled to be busy. Hope to see you again soon.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bargaining and Consciousness

Of the different interpretations of the term bargain, probably the first one that comes to mind is something that you buy because the price is significantly less than usual. But is that really the best definition? No, but it is one of them. After all, if the only reason you would consider buying something is because the price is cheap, then all you have is some cheap stuff which you may not ever use, and it will just clutter up your space and will eventually end up in the garbage. So is that really a bargain?

Of course, if you bought something you would normally use at a greatly reduced price, then you have gained something an advantage, a real benefit, and now there is money left over from the normal purchase price that can be used for something else.

These are examples of a bargain as a thing. But when we take a look at the word bargain as an action, we see something different.

Perhaps the greater sense of the word is when we use it to mean giving up something that has value to us in order to obtain something else that has an equal or greater value to us. Part of life is that we have to give something of value in order to get something of value. The concept of haggling with another person to try and get price concessions is a very limited view of bargaining.

Sometimes we may even feel that we don't want to give up anything in order to get what we want, but sometimes, that is exactly what is required.

We may not always see it this way, but bargaining is a constant part of life. When we buy a new car, a new TV, a new computer, new house, new clothes, or whatever else, we are actually agreeing to spend an equivalent number of hours doing an equivalent number of tasks in order to pay for that item. Our agreement then, means that we are trading away a number of hours of our life in order to make this purchase. (Of course, if there is someone who will simply give us these things as gifts, that is not a bargain, it is simply a gift.)

The best bargains are the ones where both parties get something they want. We can structure them by our own definitions. We enter into bargains with the intention of giving and receiving prepared to give and receive. We decide what we are willing to give and receive. We decide how much of a price we are willing to pay. Some cultures treat it as a game, where going out to buy anything is all about haggling over prices until a bargain is reached. In our culture, we have come to see the prices on the shelves as the price, and commonly we do not haggle with shop keepers. The invisible bargaining that is going on involves what we are willing to do in order to be able to afford that price. Today with the changes in the economy, people are more readily engaging in bargaining, even in standard retail stores.

Life is all about giving and receiving. We are always engaged in both. Bargaining is the fluidity of change and growth. It is the necessary component that helps us adjust to growth and change. The more conscious our bargaining, the more conscious our change.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Harvest Moon in Pisces

The full moon in September is known as the Harvest Moon, and it arrives this Friday, September 4. This moon celebrates the fall harvest of nuts, corn, apples, grapes, pumpkins, squash, beans, wild rice and other crops. The light of the moon enabled farmers to work a little longer in the fields to bring in the harvest.

So even though most of us are not farmers, it is an excellent time to pause and appreciate all that we have harvested in this year. Being grateful for all we have received and cultivating that attitude will serve us well in sending out sympathetic vibrations and prepare the way for more good things to come.

This full moon is in Pisces, which rules intuition, mysticism and the collective unconscious. Pisces energy enhances a person's ability to read and develop psychic abilities. During this period, we may also find ourselves picking up more omens and messages than usual, and it is up to us to find ways to make use of these for our benefit. Pisces also brings tenderness, compassion and creativity. Pisces links us through the heart and heightens sensitivity.

If you were not planning to do a full moon ceremony, give it a little thought. Even a small simple ceremony can bring you blessings. Over the span of millennia, people have found many ways to celebrate the full moons. Our ancestors knew that harmonizing our personal energies with the cycles of nature's energies was a wise thing to do, and that's why these practices have continued to this day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

An Appetite for Growth

We never get tired of finding new ways to work on ourselves. Either we continue to expand our consciousness and find ways to align our lives with our desires, or we sink into misery from which there is no recovery.

Throughout history, we have had to make constant adjustments to our environment. When our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, they kept moving to where the hunting, fishing and wild food plants were plentiful.

When they settled into villages, the ones who learned better ways to farm or make things were the ones who survived and prospered. Those were very outward and obvious skills.

During our lifetimes, there have been revolutionary changes in industry and business. Just look at one cycle. We went from the invention of the personal computer to the boom of that industry, and now, what company even makes computers in the US any more? Yes, we still design software for them and service them. My point is that we have watched the whole industry be born, rise and be transformed within one lifetime. By comparison, it took several generations for most farmers to go from having their plows and wagons pulled by animals to using tractors. it took a couple of generations to go from the Wright Brothers momentary flight at Kitty Hawk to regularly scheduled, widely available commercial air travel.

The world is evolving rapidly now, and we are evolving with it.

As we rise to meet the challenges of our lifetime, we are called on to learn new job skills and make new career moves, not just until their mature adult years as our parents did, but all the way until we die.

As we rise to meet the challenge of changing relationships and creating relationships that are more satisfactory to ourselves, we adjust and stretch to adapt to our new realities.

We cannot retreat back to our old realities. We have no choice but to evolve. The world will keep changing whether we choose to or not. And if we choose not to change, the piece of the world we can relate to, the piece of the world we will be comfortable in, will continue to become smaller and smaller. Even keeping our life small requires us to grow and be more flexible.