Saturday, February 27, 2010

Moons for Expansion

We are now in the three day window for celebrating the full moon known as the Storm Moon, which was named for the fitful way that winter begins its transition into spring. The month of February we are wrapping up tomorrow is a perfect example of this, weather whipping back and forth from sunny and clear and 50 to snow, ice and 8 degrees and back again a couple of times.

The energy is making the shift from one season to the next as it always does, but rarely does it simply make the transition in one smooth move. That which has been hibernating, cold and frozen is beginning to feel restless and moves to shake it off. And it will have to try this a few times more before rolling over into spring.

There may have been waves of change we have been feeling and now we may be embracing the changes to come and looking for ways to implement them.

Remember the March Hare in Alice in Wonderland? The Hare Moon doesn't follow just yet, but that fertility energy is all over the place. Enthusiastic and creative, rebounding from winter, picture what would happen if we take the restless energy of this moon and use it to create the next phase of our life.

Rabbits are known for their ravenous appetites, which produces numerous offspring. One of the habits of the mother rabbit is to place her litter in a bunch of different nests so that if a predator finds one them, they do not find all of them at the same time, thereby providing a way to assure that at least some of the offspring to survive.

How is it with your dreams of success, growth or career change? Have you put all your eggs in one basket, or have you sowed seeds in several places to see which ones will grow best? Have you sensed that the career path you have been on has run its course and that it is time for a change? Have you tried more than one way to realize your dreams? Have you even investigated the possibilities for creating your new future off the beaten path?

Spring Equinox, or Easter, which is really an old name for the fertility goddess known by the variant names of Ostara, Estara, or Ishtar, herald the awakening of our spring fertility and growth periods. No wonder that the rabbits have maintained their place in those Easter baskets, along with eggs, the symbol of fertility.

In the national cathedral of Brazil, in Brasilia, over the huge crucifix hanging from the ceiling, is a large stained glass window, in the shape of an egg. I asked the tour guide what that egg was doing there. She replied that it was there because it was the symbol of birth and rebirth.

Even the vegetarians can be happy with the chocolate eggs and rabbits, which still have the ancient symbols of fertility in one of the world's favorite flavors, which comes from a plant.

When you celebrate this Storm Moon, focus on harnessing the great awakening energies to nurture your dreams into realities, using this expansive energy to change your world and welcome in the arrival of the new season of your life.

Friday, February 26, 2010


To get to there from here, sometimes we have to let our mind walk out in front of us. If we can just let go and relax, our mind can travel and bring us back information, impressions, imprints for the future.

I find that tarot cards work very well for this. So does drumming, dancing, taking walks. Simply engage yourself in one of these activities until your consciousness is free to wander.

Pull cards and make a spread, or keep pulling cards until you something clicks and you find that one image or a cluster of images sets your mind off traveling. The journey takes on a life of its own and does not need to be directed.

With drumming, just find a rhythm that feels right and keep going with it. The rhythms will create passageways to other realms.

If you dance for a half hour, your body will lead your mind out of whatever it is stuck in. It is best to use instrumental music because lyrics could set your direction, and you want the freedom to let the movement shape your journey.

Walking also works well. After a while, the physical motion is automatic and as you simply notice different things in your surroundings, your mind will wander in different ways than your body.

Why use trance? It can carry you to places that you will not get to simply by thinking about them. Trance can make you aware of things on a different level. There are certain realms that you have to be relaxed to enter.

Use trance for transportation, and you will be moved on many levels. These will heighten your ability to pick up psychic impressions and bring you a peaceful feeling. Trance has the ability to be both stimulating and relaxing at the same time.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Heart Breathing

As I watch for omens that will bring more possibilities for making this career transition, I am focusing my breathing through my heart. A simple method. Just as I breathe deeply, I imagine drawing breath in and out that way, just relaxing it, so that I can be more observant.

Keeping the intention circulating that I affirm that I do work that I love and make money this way. I affirm that what I have to offer is valuable to others. I let go of whatever tension is there.

My heart is beating smoothly, and it is full of good feelings, and doors are opening, with each breath. New possibilities become visible, with each breath. I am confident, creative and looking forward to finding solutions that work so that I can make a successful career transition.

I am still booking events, still extending my energies, and networking with others. I am still doing my work, organizing my schedule and inventory. All of that.

The stress melts away when I breathe through my heat. I know that the changes will come, the openings will present themselves, the opportunities will appear. And I breathe through my heart to dissolve stress and affirm that there is heart in my work, and that there is courage in the next step.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day Jobs & Day Dreams

Like many other people, I have a day job while I build up my own business. For the second time in 14 months, I am getting a pay cut on my day job. And for the second time in a year, the job I have been doing is being sent to India. Obviously the corporate strategy is to pay their American workers as little as possible, and when you cannot squish the wages down any further, export the jobs to third world countries.

These corporate thieves and liars promised me a certain number of dollars to do this job when they hired me, then after I was here doing the job, they simply sent out an email one day announcing that they were reducing our pay. They pulled that crap while the banking fiasco was going on, and said that the pay cuts were necessary "Due to the current economic crisis." Of course, that was a lie. That was a convenient cover for the company to steal from the employees. "The current economic crisis" did not stop the execs from rewarding themselves.

Today, they informed me that my pay would be cut again, because they just don't want to pay what they had previously agreed to pay me after the last pay cut. They have customers and they are renewing their contracts.

The management attitude is that they don't care if some of us quit because there are plenty of unemployed people to take our place.

It is the greed of the corporations that has made it more difficult to find jobs in the US that pay well. The corporation I work for is now the largest employer in India and they sold off their manufacturing division to a company in China.

I find it interesting to observe that people like the tea baggers are venting their frustrations at the government, but not expressing their dismay about the conduct of corporations.

Yes, there were negative feelings expressed about the banking fiasco. But what about other corporate bad behavior? In order for our economy to grow, we need to outgrow these greedy execs and this corporate conduct that rewards duplicity and mean spiritedness. How are you going to grow the economy if you keep trying to pay employees as little as you can get away with?

It is good to have this safe space to vent. I am reminding myself that this is only my day job and my goal is to grow my own business.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February Energies

February is a mood swing kind of month. We go from warm and sunny back to snow and ice, a couple of times. The days are getting longer, but also colder, so there is a constant adjustment.

Some of us may be working on taxes now, planning and getting bookings ahead for the year, so it is a month to really lay the groundwork to make things happen.

Energies may be back and forth like the weather right now. Notice it. This is where we put things in motion.

Right now the Olympics are on, and some people are watching every day while others of us have not watched any of it, and have no idea who is winning.

It is ironic, isn't it?

Every four years, we get people together from all over the world to gather peacefully and joyfully to enjoy watching the best young athletes demonstrate their skills.

The irony is this. Every four years we can get this peaceful gathering. In between then, we still have wars. Yes, I know I am idealistic for even suggesting this thought. Imagine a world with more peace than war, instead of more war than peace.

The days are visibly longer now and it will be warm again. We have done some spring cleaning and celebrated the red, sexy holidays.

Dreams come easier and more frequently with candles, and we can dream of all kinds of things right now. Nights are still long and cold, and candles prepare the way for dreams and soft sleep.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Who Needs a Reading?

Nobody has to have a reading, but many people may choose to have one. Why?

A good reader will present the information to the person asking in a way that they can understand. As a reader, I see the patterns of energy moving with and around this person. I always emphasize to people that it is their own free will that chooses actions. I can be helpful by pointing out some of their choices.

I think that people seek answers from readers because they do feel that there are forces in the universe which influence their life. They often find our help useful in deciphering their life lessons and making use of the information presented by energies and recognizing opportunities.

Sometimes we readers simply confirm what a person already is doing, and that can be a powerful experience when a total stranger doing a reading lets you know that the choices you have made or are making are on the right track.

Other times, we help people recognize options they didn't know they had. The vast majority of the time, I do not personally know the person I am reading for, and so what I say is impartial. In other words, simply presenting information which the person will consider and then can use when they exercise their free will in deciding to do or not do something.

One thing I always do, is before I do any readings, I affirm that I am working with my spirit guides and that they will help me bring through something that would be useful for this person to know at this time.

That is why what I say may or may not be a literal interpretation of the pictures on the cards. Spirit guides may be prompting me to relay a message to you. I know that is an aspect that is sometimes puzzling to people because sometimes the pictures tell a story and sometimes the pictures simply open the way for guidance and insight.

The most commonly asked questions are always about love, relationships, family, friendships, spirit, career, business and money.

People have more questions when they are at a crossroads in one of these areas. Certainly a reader is just one option available to a person facing important decisions, and I always remind people that getting professional advice from others is important. Look at it this way. A reading is one more insight into your changes coming up. Use this information in combination with input from other sources and this could either add a new perspective to the mix or reinforce what else you are finding out in other ways.

The fact that readings are spirit driven rather than simply analyzing data is why sometimes a person may say at the time of the reading that what I am telling them does not seem to be in the picture or that it seems unlikely. Yet, I often get a call or an email at a later date confirming that in fact, that unlikely thing did develop and now the reading makes sense.

Sometimes a reading will sensitize the reader to possibilities they were not aware of, and this could encourage a person to take action, bringing efforts to fruition faster.

So, no one needs to have a reading. However, choosing input from outside the square can yield benefits and useful insights. It's your choice.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Self Fulfilling Prophecies

Words are powerful. Thoughts are powerful. They have the power to shape our reality. That is why we have to be careful of self fulfilling prophecies.

Right now, for example, there are people who keep on repeating a mantra that goes like this: the economy sucks, and that is keeping me from doing good business. Then everywhere we look we find confirmation that the economy sucks.

What if we started repeating a mantra that the world is full of opportunities and some of them are just right for us? Soon we might start finding opportunities.

If you read my blog, you know that I am as aware as anyone that there are things going on in our world that are not good. I have also had my turns being unemployed, being without insurance, losing money and being broke. At the same time, I keep on actively doing things to improve my situation. And I have never lost my zest for life.

Back when all the gloom and doom people were getting plenty of air time, I maintained that it was all bullshit. What happened? We all lived through it. And all those people who were expecting the world to end, well they got to cuddle up with their canned good and ammunition while I was out dancing.

Now some of the nervous and jerky ones are fixated on 2012. Bullshit alert! The world is not going to end then either. Some people just want to keep justifying their huge investments in Armageddon. Some people are always scanning the horizon for the next catastophe, and they always manage to find one, although they are kind of like those end times preachers who have to keep resetting their end time calendars every time their prediction is wrong. You would think that after a few of those snafus that they would lose their followers, but hey, I remember when one of those famous preachers went to prison for fraud, and there were still people sending him money, even while he was in prison. Oh, well. Guess they could not find another story they liked better.

I think it is perfectly sensible to keep some food on hand to get you through an emergency, but some of the Y2K babblers bought thousands of cans and thousands of rounds of ammunition, night vision goggles, hand cranked radios and their own generators. I wonder how they were going to get fuel for those generators if the whole world went to hell in a hand basket? Details, details.

Back to more practical things.

Connecting with other people is going to be our lifeline, not the stuff we have squirreled away in our hidey holes. That's one of the funny things about squirrels. They keep on burying nuts and things to eat later, but they keep on forgetting where they buried them. That's why they are such busy little boogers.

The more people we connect with, the greater our possibility to increase our opportunities.

Whatever is on your mind, check what is on your lips. If you believe that there is not enough money for you in the world, or not enough love, you will be right. If you believe that there is enough money for you in the world, or enough love, you will be right.

I heard someone else say it a good way. Where is the money I need going to come from? From wherever it is now.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Buddha Poster Boy?

Since Tiger Woods announced that he is going to resume his practice of Buddhism as a way of working through his problems, it will be interesting to see if he becomes a poster boy for it, the way Madonna did for Kabbalah.

Nothing wrong with that at all. Buddhists have some beautiful and useful traditions.

It will be interesting to see if he starts winning big again if people will attribute his wins to his Buddhist practices. Or if he manages to avoid any more scandals, will they attribute it to his Buddhist practices?

By the way, I think all of that hype over his affairs is over blown. People are just so voyeuristic they love to pick apart other people's bones. Do we know for a fact that he and his wife didn't have some kind of understanding about extracurricular activities, and she just blew her lid when it became public?

Even losing athletes have attractive women trying to score with them. Money, celebrity and prestige always bring out the groupies. Rock bands, actors, real estate developers, CEOs, politicians, all have a buffet line of interested dates.

Look at Donald Trump, with his comb over and everything, and how many beautiful young wives? People used to wonder how a dork like Henry Kissinger used to get so many hot dates. His answer: "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac."

None of this is really amazing. It has been going on forever. We just love talking about it, don't we? We daydream about what we would do if we made it big, and we speculate about what other people do when they hit it big. It's all talk until it's your turn. Hey, tell me again. What's that stuff that makes the world go round?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Veneer of Civilization

In some ways, we may not be so far removed for the hunter gatherer days of our ancestors. Sure we have laptops, ipods, blackberries, cable and cellphones, and jet travel. We have people who make their living entirely off the Internet. We have amazing medicines that can heal illness and injury rapidly and surgeries that can put traumatized bodies back together. In all these ways, we are a modern civilization.

Civilized societies also have elections to decide who our leaders will be and when we have groups of intelligent and compassionate people elected, laws are passed that lift the minds, bodies and spirits of people to new levels. In the past, we have decided to support civil rights for minorities who had a history of being discriminated against. We passed laws that provided for medical care and old age benefits for the poor and the elderly. We have agreed to pay taxes so that essential services can be maintained for the common good: transportation systems, fire and police services, water and sewer systems, utilities, school systems.

Some people now question whether we should do all that. There are radical fringe elements who would propose that all roads be toll roads, or that we should just leave it to each person to find a way to pay for their own medical bills, or maybe go back to subscription services for fire departments which would only be required to respond to fires and emergencies at subscribers houses. We already have private corporations running prisons. Some municipalities have experimented with selling their water systems or airports to private companies.

A little bit farther out to the edges, you have the people who talk about starting another civil war so that they could do away with the tax system. Some of these fringe players were anticipating the end of the world at the Y2K, and so they stocked up on canned goods ammunition and generators. But as we all know, the world did not collapse. However, just like some of the preachers that predict the end of the world on a certain date, they have to choose a new date when everyone knows they are wrong. What kind of people crawl out of that fringe? People like Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber.

We do have a problem with corrupt politicians in this country. Actually are there countries who do not have corrupt politicians?

Some people see the solution to corruption as simply withholding taxes and refusing to pay for anything like common services. They envision the world being improved by holing up in their hidey holes with guns and canned goods.

But the real solutions to these problems will be found by our insisting that the elected politicians do the right things. We need to keep the things that serve all of us in place. We need to design humane solutions for our problems so that individuals rights are respected and we all continue to get access to public services like highway systems, water systems, medical care, education, police and fire protection, libraries, parks, and so on.

Everything costs something. A civilization that is functioning properly, in my opinion, is one that sees to it that these essential services are available to everyone. These are simply the costs of living in a civilized society. The right wingnuts on talk radio and TV are ratcheting up the idiocy quotient by saying things like since health care is not mentioned in the Constitution, that means that no one has a right to expect health care. That is right about on a level with a fundie preacher who once proclaimed that yoga must be the work of the devil because it was not written about in the Bible.

The corporate executives who have managed to pull off all these massive frauds and ethical end runs without suffering any punishment, and in fact reaping outrageous sized rewards for themselves are simply the result of laws that were created to allow such behavior, courtesy of corrupt politicians.

Doing what it takes to fix the broken parts of our civilization is far preferable to letting the fringe players create chaos. The new coalition of the dissatisfied has allies that should make any rational person cringe, from militia groups, racist groups, John Birchers, talk radio and TV blowhards, and politicians who are widely regarded as a dim witted embarrassments.

Part of the reason this amalgam of malcontented people has gained visibility is because we have let the corrupt politicians fail to do the right things. These corrupt politicians have allowed corporations to rewrite the rules so that a handful of people could get extremely rich by wrecking the lives of employees and customers.

The greedy manipulative people have made scapegoats and sometimes people have fallen for the decoy. We have not lost millions of good paying jobs in this country because there are immigrants. The US has always been the first choice of destination for immigrants on this planet. No, those millions of good paying jobs were allowed to be offshored by changes in rules and laws. Our economy is not worse off now because we have recent immigrants doing our gardening, landscaping, janitorial work, restaurant work and common labor. They have been doing these jobs for generations. No, our economy sucks because good paying jobs in manufacturing, engineering, IT, finance, and customer service are now being done in third world countries where people can be hired for a fraction of what we used to make. Our economy is not faltering because we $10 an hour janitors, house cleaners, babysitters, busboys, gardeners and house painters came here. Our economy is suffering because jobs that used to pay people $15-$20 an hour or more to make things, create things, and service our accounts have been sent to India, China and other places where people will work for $2-$4 an hour.

And it was the changing of rules and laws that let the big banks and financial institutions merge and invent crazy, unethical and deceptive games with our money. It was the changing of rules and laws that allowed unlimited mergers between news organizations so that we get less real reporting. A handful of corporations now own thousands of radio and TV stations, magazines and newspapers.

Right now, for instance, a bill is pending that would place more reforms on the financial institutions. Brokers and agents would be required to do what is in the best interest of the customer. But banks and insurance companies oppose this rule. Why? Because things that are in the best interesst of the customer might conflict with what is in the best interest of an agent or broker. Suppose for example, a product or policy might best suit your needs. But a different type of policy or product produces a higher commission for the agent. Which one do you think they will sell?

There are enough good people in this country and we have the ability to raise our voices and our votes to make the politicians do the right thing. We have the ability to work in our own communities to see that the things that benefit us all are kept in place and strengthened.

Our choices are clear. The people who are so disgruntled that they can see nothing but fear and chaos will not pave the way for a better future. the creation and maintenance of a civilized society is the goal for us to work toward, and it is a goal we have achieved before. If we let the veneer of civilization be stripped away, it will not be good for any of us. It is time to work to strengthen those things that are good and fix those things that need to be fixed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Real Health Care Reform

If it were my decision to make, I would put all the health insurance companies out of business and replace them with a national single payer health care system. No halfway measures.

Right now, there is a furor over Anthem Blue Cross slamming policyholders with as much as 39% rate increases. Are they doing this because they have been losing money? No, they are a subsidiary of WellPoint Inc. which reported a $4.75 billion profit in the last quarter of 2009.

The reason that there are 45 million Americans without health insurance coverage is because the insurance companies have been doing things like this for years, which effectively prices some people out of the market. Others, who have pre-existing conditions, they will not sell policies to at any price.

In the past, insurance companies have thrown out the red herring of claiming that ridiculously high malpractice settlements have forced the rates up. Believe that and you might as well believe that research alone is the reason for the high cost of prescription drugs in this country, not marketing or promotion. Funny how people in other countries can buy those same medications for about half of what we pay.

In the not so distant past, St. Ronnie, the former president and shill for the insurance companies, made propaganda films asserting that a national health care plan was a communist plot.

But national health care plans are what they have in the countries of Scandinavia, Britain, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and the rest of Europe as well as in the other industrialized nations of the world. Are these all communist countries? Of course not.

Michael Moore's movie Sicko is about our health care system, and I know that there are people who cannot stand him and discount anything he says. I recommend Sicko. It has a lot of heart and contains truth. In that film, you will see an interview with a doctor who was with Humana and quit because she could not reconcile her conscience as someone who was trained and committed to helping heal people with her role in the company which based its rewards on the denial of claims.

I have Humana health insurance. Even if you go to one of the doctors on their list, and the doctor recommends a test or procedure for you, that does not mean that they will pay for it.

So much for the fear mongers who tell us that if we had a national health care plan that we won't be able to have everything we want unless we pay for it out of our own pocket. I have no fear. I already have that kind of coverage from a private company.

All this is not a new wrinkle that just developed recently. It is not a necessary result of modern medicine or modern finance.

When my parents got married, they bought a family health insurance plan. I was born with one leg that was not formed properly, and that required a number of surgeries to correct. My parents had to work out a payment plan with the surgeon in order for me to get my surgeries and they had to pay for it out of their own pocket, my father working two jobs to get the money. Why?

Because the insurance company told my parents that their family health insurance policy did not cover birth defects. My parents, being honest working people who respected authority, took the insurance company's word for it.

Not so long ago, my mother, who is no rabble-rouser, told me that she now knows that if an insurance policy does not specifically exclude something, then that means it is included. But consumer education was not a big thing just after World War 2. I asked her if it was some little podunk company that did that to them. She said that it was one of the big ones, a company that is still around, but she would not tell me the name. She probably didn't want me to name them in one of my blog pieces.

That's OK. I can make my point without knowing their name. And my point is that health care is a necessity, not a luxury. And executives should not be getting rich by denying claims (payment for care), jacking up rates, and refusing to care for those who already have some kind of health problem. Medical debt should not be a leading cause of personal bankruptcy.

The bill that is pending in the senate is crap. It would just let the insurance companies stay in charge of the system. Both the Democrats and the Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for selling out to the lobbyists for the insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

We should do better because we can do better. The health care business exists to treat ill and injured people. There is no other reason for it to exist. Some people seem to have forgotten that. It is time to remember, and make real changes.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Working It

Here is a different perspective on the challenges we face relative to work. What if the things we have done in the past were simply a sort of initiatory phase for the next phase of evolution?

For example, the US invented the auto industry, and for generations, that was a major force in driving our economy. Those manufacturers required a lot of skilled employees who made good wages. It will not be easy for those people who are out of work to adjust, and it will take a long time for new industries to replace the old industries. However, some manufacturers who are making parts for the aerospace and alternative energy industries are creating some new employment because they need the skills that the auto industry used to develop like machinists, engineers, electricians, mechanics and so on. These new industries will probably never totally replace the old factories, but it does show creative thinking and new strategies on the part of some companies and some employees.

A hundred years ago, coal fired power plants were the modern technology. Today, wind and solar are the modern technologies. It will take a lot of manufacturing and construction to bring these new power sources on line. So we get less pollution than building coal fired plants and new jobs are created, but there is still a period of adjustment needed to make all this come true.

Of course, this is just one industry. There are many others. The challenge is similar in other fields. How can we use skills we have developed in other jobs or careers to create new opportunities?

Obviously, the answer for some of us will be to develop new skills and learn to do different things, but creative thinking could also lead to developing new opportunities using the old skills.

Right now, I am using the Internet far more than I ever thought I would. I had to learn more about it. There is still a ton I do not know, but it certainly has helped develop more business. One of my skills I use differently is that I used to write for publications. Now I write on this blog. It is part of developing my new direction.

Is any of this easy? No. But if we look at the things that we know how to do and think of other ways to use these skills and abilities, we can at least see new options, new possibilities. After doing this, we may just want or need to do something dramatically different anyway.

We are in a period of radical transition. The way to success will require a different vision than what we had before. Different feelings are involved if we cannot continue on our old track than if we simply choose not to continue on the old track. We really are entering the realm of the imagination, aren't we?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lust & Valentines

Valentine's Day has its real origins in the old Roman holiday of Lupercalia, which was a very lusty holiday. Men who were the priests of Pan would run through the streets in furry loincloths, wielding little leather strips. Women would bare their bodies so that they could be playfully struck with these little leather thongs, stripping themselves in public to offer a larger exposure, it was considered good luck and fertility magic to be touched in this way. Modesty had no place in this ancient festival. People publicly and openly played sexual games and enjoyed sexual pleasure.

Think about how many playful aspects of sexuality had origins in this festival. When did B&D play originate with their leather toys, garments and regalia? Lupercalia certainly popularized at least an aspect of it. How about party games like Spin the Bottle? What other popular sexual play had their origins in these ancient bawdy festivals? Obviously, the festival was popular and hugely celebrated for centuries, and among some parts of the population, it still is.

Lupercalia gets its name from Lupa, the she wolf who suckled the twins, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. They were regarded as aspects of the origin of the wild god, Faunus, the Roman god who was the equivalent of Pan.

As the church became more powerful, they tried to get people to abandon the old Pagan festivals, but the challenge was how to get them to quit doing these things when so many people were having so much fun? Even though church leaders declared participation in Lupercalia to be a sin and forbid people to participate, the people largely ignored the church's orders and rules and continued to party on.

So in the 5th century, the church continued to use the tactic it had used with other holidays they were unable to get the people to give up. Using the strategy, if you can't beat them, join them, they simply renamed the party that people were already going to, and abracadabra! Saturnalia, the celebration of the Winter Solstice becomes Christmas, and Lupercalia becomes Valentine's Day (to name just two). Of course, there is Easter, which changes its date every year because it is celebrated on the Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Those fertility rites included the symbology of rabbits and eggs, indicators of plenty of copulation, and that is why it is always amusing to me how the great church holiday is still festooned with decorations of rabbits and eggs. If the people won't quit having parties, just slap a new label on it and announce that it really is an old church celebration.

Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar opens at the scene of Lupercalia, with Caesar and Mark Antony as participants.

Because of the combination of religious and political power, they finally managed to drive the bawdy aspects of the holiday underground.

So the church declared that in honor of an early church martyr, St. Valentine, the holiday would be a celebration of romantic love, affection and dedication. Of course, the original St. Valentine had as much to do with romance as rabbits do with the resurrection. Well, I guess if you are doing it frequently, some people may be praying for a resurrection.

All of the fabrications around St. Valentine being a patron of romance are just that. During the Middle Ages, in the time of writers like Geoffrey Chaucer, all kinds of stories about romance became popular.

The modern greeting card industry dates back to the 19th century, and they, of course, have profited mightily from promoting the sending of Valentine cards (a billion a year, according to the US Greeting Card Association), much the same way as the diamond cartels have profited by inventing and promoting the fiction of diamonds being the symbol of love. Industry has now expanded to promoting the sales of teddy bears and winter pajamas as Valentines gifts since the market is already saturated with heart shaped boxes of chocolates.

So if you are celebrating the real spirit of the holiday this weekend, it is not to be found in buying stuff labeled romantic. It is to be found in lusty playfulness and embracing the joy and pleasure of sex.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tarot Stories

Among the many varieties of tarot sets, there are those which accompany a strong narrative text. For example, in the Tarot of the Cat People, Karen Kuykendall created a whole world of planets where different tribes of cats lived. In the Legacy of the Divine, Ciro Marchetti imagines a world that survives a cataclysm. Luis Royo is the author of a book of the Third Millennium and a Tarot of the Third Millennium. There is a Decameron Tarot by Giacinto Gaudenzi inspired by the medieval tale of the same name by Giovanni Boccaccio, a Dante Tarot inspired by Dante's Inferno, A Wonderland Tarot inspired by the book Alice in Wonderland and the Fairytale Tarot by Karen Mahony, Alex Ukolov, and Irena Triskova, The Inner Child Tarot by Mark & Isha Lerner and Christopher Guilfoil.

Then there are the sets based on mythology. There is an Arthurian Tarot, Druid Animal Oracle, Medicine Cards, the Mythic Tarot, based on the Greek Myths, Llewelllyn Tarot, based on the Mabinogian of Welsh Myths, Babylonian Tarot, Ancient Egyptian Tarot, Norse Tarot, Kalevala Tarot (Finnish, the Voodoo Tarot, and a variety of Celtic inspired tarot sets.

In each of these cases, plus many more that might be named, We get an opportunity to correlate things that are going on in our own life with other well known stories, and sometimes it is easy to garner wisdom from the well told tales, which in these sets all have dynamic art.

In standard tarot decks without an overriding narrative structure like these, there are sets of symbols and pictures on cards that the reader can fashion into a story. The framework of the standard decks gives the reader much more freedom to improvise, although the structure can also suggest a powerful context and font of wisdom to draw from.

It is your choice how you prefer to work or how you prefer to use them as a meditative device or teaching tool.

In the cases where a deck was created to go along with an existing text, the artists have enlarged the scope of the book by creating a parallel illustrated book to go along with the text to form the equivalent of a text with 78 illustrations.

In standard decks and oracle decks where everything can mix and match randomly and make sense, the storyteller, the reader, is the one who forms order out of chaos.

It is an interesting dynamic either way. We simply have to choose what method we prefer to work with, and some of us switch around for the challenge presented by variety, the chance of the shuffle challenging complacency.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tarot Art

Tarot art is still growing in terms of recognition. For example, art galleries are not all competing to host shows by tarot creators, and they do not get reviews like new books or recordings in most places, or even by art reviewers.

But a number of people who initially worked as graphic artists or commercial artists and illustrators have now created tarot decks simply because they were intrigued by the artistic challenge of being creative within a structured framework, meaning the deck of 78, with 22 major arcana, minor arcana, court cards, suits and numbers from one to ten.

There have been a few major artists, like Salvador Dali, who have produced a deck. His paintings of course, you can see in museums. But there are other artists like Luis Royo who is well known for creating comic books as well as tarot decks. Within those two mediums his work is well known, but not as much in the way of a gallery or museum show.

There are others who have done nothing but tarot and make numbered and signed limited edition sets. Some of these artists also make a standard edition set, in the more typical card size and print hundreds or thousands of copies. Some artists only sell their decks on their own websites.

Today there are artists using photoshop types of technology to create decks graphically separating themselves from the Renaissance type paintings and drawings. And there are some decks that incorporate art by classical artists in their design, so now you can see some of the masters in portable size reproductions.

Remember, when photography was a newer art form, gallery owners didn't want them either, until the popularity of people like Ansel Adams. Comic book artists are now getting more recognition because like tarot cards, lots of people buy them, read them and collect them, although gallery owners were not always willing to feature them as artists.

Tarot art is very user friendly, which is why some people buy decks just to look at the pictures, even without trying to do readings for others. It is like having your own little art gallery that will fit in a pocket or purse or not take up much space on a table or bookshelf.

Think about the times when you just want to spend a few quiet moments looking at a coffee table art book just for the sheer pleasure of looking at it. Those art books can be big, heavy and expensive, and this is not to imply any negativity there. I am just saying by comparison, tarot decks can be bought for as little as $20, and some of the more collectible ones are only as much as some coffee table art books. Only a smaller portion are up there in that very top end of the expensive stratosphere.

But if you are just looking to spend a little quiet time, enjoying visual art, you can take out a deck, fan through the images, and enjoy them simply as art. If you use them as a meditative tool or a philosophical or storytelling device, or for creative inspiration, after you are done with your brief interlude, you can set them on the coffee table or end table, or keep one in your desk for a little refreshment at work or carry them with you.

In this way, they are a very practical and affordable luxury or a very inexpensive tool that can grow with you.

One of these days, I think we will see more tarot artists get the recognition they deserve and be seen in gallery shows, museums, or on TV shows or documentaries that feature artists. It is a growing part of the art world. One of the reasons there are so many more deck designs out now is precisely because of this. Creative people are always looking for new ways to express themselves. And those who take the time to appreciate them also find a lot of benefit from this art form.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tarot Healing

How can a tarot reading be healing? I know this is a different thought for a lot of people, since many people think of card readings as simply fortune telling.

One. Notice how the reading will often indicate something that the querant needs to do before changes can take place that will stimulate the flow of healing energies. If a person takes these suggestions to heart, the reading forms a blueprint for action.

Two. Before I do any reading, I always affirm that I will work with my spirit guides to bring through something that will be useful for this person at this time.

Three, as a Reiki Master, I move the energy through the reading, using the card images as a vehicle to direct the healing energy to the area of their life where they need it.

In my readings, I am not only looking at the energies approaching and the energies at work, but also the energies the person can embrace and activate to open the way for beneficial results.

When we utilize the magnificent capabilities of the imagery built into the tarot decks by the designers, it becomes a powerful tool for self teaching and self healing, reaching far beyond the original parameters of game playing and fortune telling.

If you would like to experience this, I will be happy to show you how it works.

The more I see of the beautiful new decks that so many innovative, creative people are making, it is obvious to me that there is more power and potential to be tapped into as we make the best use of our tools. The creators of many decks have put a lot of intentional thought and energy into creating more than just pretty pictures. These are personal art galleries that double as life tools.

Worth exploring, don't you think? Feel the energy when you pick a card?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Beginning Gently

A little quiet time each day opens the way for new ideas to germinate. Start with as little as 15 minutes in the morning before you get going and dig into the business of the day. And it does not have to be complicated or rigid. Some people cannot embrace the idea of meditation because they think it must mean that you have to sit in a lotus position and stare at a mandala or statue or OM for hours. But more casual methods can produce the same benefits.

You can just sit in your favorite chair with a cup of coffee, tea or water, and have a notebook and pen handy. Take time to just listen and be open, to be reflective, to recall pieces of dreams, capture random thoughts, jot down new ideas.

If you just do this for a few minutes each morning before washing, preparing food, turning on the radio or TV or rushing out into traffic, you will be rewarded with fresh ideas, new insights, perspectives, gratitude and clarity.

The idea is to take time for yourself to let your body relax in a personal ritual that provides a respite from a day of traffic and multi-tasking. What you are doing is becoming open to receiving.

Some days to refresh your spirit, you can just relax with lighting a candle and perhaps playing some soft music, enjoying a few quiet moments before going to bed, still with your notebook and pen handy, ready to receive gifts from spirit.

If you need help slowing down, alternate your exercise with sitting in your favorite chair with a book of photos, art, poetry or a book that offers a thought or meditation for you to ponder, and just let your mind wander. For myself, I like using a tarot deck for this same purpose. Just pull a card for the day. Or perhaps a simple reading.

When the weather permits, perhaps there is a place outside you enjoy sitting.

Taking a simple time out every day yields many benefits, opening the way to greater creativity, cultivating connections to spirit, and a moment of peacefulness and tranquility to center yourself. I have found great benefits from this little bit of quiet time every day before getting busy. I think that if you try it, you will too.

Monday, February 8, 2010

When You Shoot With Your Lunch Money..........

Years ago, I liked to shoot pool and spent a fair amount of time hanging out with a friend who showed me the finer points of the game. We had a good time and just played for fun, but every once in a while, some guy would come over to our table and ask if we wanted to shoot for money. Usually we turned down all those offers.

My friend had a saying "When you start to shoot with your lunch money, the pockets start to move."

There were other nights when I would be out with other people and would shoot for beers or money. Sometimes after a few beers, I could not sink even easy shots, but at other times, I could make every shot on the table even though I was hammered. Does beer help improve aim and follow through in shooting pool? Mostly not, although it depends on how much you care.

One night I went out drinking with some of my buddies and we ended up in a bar somewhere. We were shooting for fun. Then this good looking woman comes over to me and asks if I would like to shoot for a friendly wager, like $5. I won the game. The word "set up" didn't register with me because she was wearing this low cut top with lots of cleavage. As she pays me, she says, "My friend would like to play you next."

So this guy comes up to the table with his own cue, and he wants to up the bet to $20but won't go more than $10, and as soon as we lag for the break, I notice my friends betting on the other guy. The picture suddenly came into focus.

She was smiling. And I smiled. Somebody else would be a sucker for the big bet. The pockets were not moving. He was just a better shot. So I left the table and had another beer.

Lots of new business "opportunities" look like that little pool game. They want to sucker you into doubling down, doubling down, and you never have a chance. Being able to recognize the difference between real opportunities and fake opportunities gives you the big clue as to when to leave the table.

And now that we are all looking at new and different opportunities, it pays to tell the difference.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Head, Arms, Legs

One of the things that is characteristic of psychic work, in my experience, is that you sometimes pick up other things than that which you are seeking.

Example. My sudden hit that the Saints would win the Superbowl. People who know me know that it is a rare occasion when I watch sports. I did not watch any of the regular season games or any of the playoff games. Not one. But I suddenly just got that the Saints would win. The experts and odds makers had the Colts as 4 or 5 point favorites at the time I wrote about the game on Friday.

That's why sometimes in a reading, my spirit guides provide me with a sudden bit of information or insight that may be either a tangent or unrelated to the original question, yet that piece will usually also be of interest to the person asking for the reading, although they sometimes are more skeptical about what else comes in that seems far fetched to them.

Surprises are like a burst of fresh air. Sometimes cold and bracing. Sometimes tickling your fancy. Sometimes so unexpected that it is hard to wrap your head around it as some people say. Or wrap your arms around it. Head. Arms. Legs. Legs? Do people ever say they want to wrap their legs around an idea?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Saints and Mere Mortals

As most of you know, I am not a sports fan and never watch any games. However, every once in a while some event has such energy behind it that it catches my attention.

I think the Saints will win the Superbowl on Sunday.

There is an energy with this team that is like the Phoenix rising from the ashes. Since Katrina, New Orleans has been devastated. The Superdome became a temporary shelter for people stranded by the storm. The city is working to rebuild itself. And in that same vein, this team has risen from one of the worst to being a winner.

Other people may say that they were just lucky this year. I haven't watched any games, so I can't really say.

But remember that in one of the first Superbowls the Colts were favored over the New York Jets, and the underdog Jets won.

I remember when Lance Armstrong was first trying to win the Tour De France after his battle with cancer. People had doubts about him too. But he came back and he won.

There was a lot of psychic energy swirling around when the Red Sox finally won a World Series.

How about when the American Hockey Team beat the Russian Hockey Team?

When the Mets beat the Orioles in the World Series.

Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson.

Mohammed Ali, when he still used the name Cassius Clay, beat Sonny Liston.

Those of you who watch a lot of sports will probably come up with lots of other examples.

Sports is one of the few endeavors in the world where a person or team whose emotions and desire are strong can be just a step quicker, and hit harder, a bit more accurate, than expected just outperforming their opponent, and exceed their own personal best records.

I sense a Saints victory riding on the tremendous enthusiasm of the people of New Orleans and everyone who loves that city wanting to see it come back.

I am not going to suddenly start hanging out in sports bars, glued to the games. I am just picking up this energy, both emotional and psychic about this game.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sweating It Out

I have in the past been in sweats myself, and no one got hurt, no one died. I have led sweats myself, and no one got hurt and no one died. I have also been to firewalks. I have walked on fire and saw many others do it without getting hurt or dying.

I used to lead drumming circles and there were always people who came because they liked the energy and the feel of the circles, but had no training or experience with percussion instruments and drums. And yet, eventually, they all participated.

In each case, I always gave people permission to quit if they did not feel like they could keep up with everyone else. It was always my experience that they would get some value out of it even if they had to withdraw and sit out for the balance of the event.

If they were in a sweat and they said they needed to get out, they were let out so they could get fresh air, water and something to eat. They would sit with the firekeepers. When people were at a firewalk and didn't feel ready to do it, they were encouraged to simply sit on the side and watch other people. There is a lesson for people in that way too.

Drumming circles posed no possibility of physical danger as did a sweat or firewalk, but it was my experience, and I led drumming circles for years, that if you let a person join in when they are ready to join in, or leave when they want to leave that they will get value from the experience, and in most cases, when they felt ready, their energy would blend into the circle beautifully.

I no longer facilitate such events simply because I am focused on other things now.

Tarot readings, tarot teaching and dealing in tarot decks is my public activity right now and that is very rewarding. The daily challenge I set for myself writing on this blog is another.

I do a lot of one-on-one coaching and consultations which I offer in a private setting, and you can read more about those on my website. Some people do great in big workshops and others flourish in the one-on-one environment.

The key to all of these personal development challenges is to know what it is you really want to do and to give yourself permission to quit if you feel that it is time to quit. Focus your attention on what it is you really feel most important to do.

Nobody needs to walk on fire, spend hours in a sweat, climb mountains, go on vision quests, fast in the wilderness, jump out of airplanes, deep sea dive, drink ayahuasca or eat mushrooms. These are all just tactics we use to break through limitations.

We have all kinds of challenges in life and our first task is to decide which ones we need to meet.

For some people letting go of their concerns about not having the most beautiful voice, or not knowing the finer points of music will allow them to listen to others, join in, let their energy flow, experience joy and visionary states. It was said by another drum master that a person who does not know how to drum is one who does not know how to listen.

When I used to teach creative writing, one of the comments I heard often from new students is that they did not know if they could write. But after I told them that they had permission to write whatever they wanted and not to censor themselves, suddenly those very same people were writing good stories. They just had to let themselves go.

For some people, decluttering their own home and office so that they only have what they really want and really use would be a far more cathartic and valuable experience than walking on fire or sitting in a sweat.

There are those who hold onto every souvenir, every scrap of paper, old magazines, old newspapers, clothing that they have not worn in years, equipment from sports they no longer play and will never play again, broken appliances, and other things they have never gotten around to fixing. A person in this situation is really needing some coaching and support in the art of letting go.

For some people, learning to let themselves experience the ecstasy of orgasm on a regular basis would be far more beneficial than walking on fire or sitting through a sweat.

Each of us has different challenges to sweat out. Which one is most important to tackle first? Choose. Now if you want help doing it, ask.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Primal Multi-tasking

It is interesting how we multi-task all day because there are so many things to do, and we have to pay attention to several things going on at once. Yet, when nature shifts her energies, it is easy to observe how we feel the surges of energy that come with spring, the anticipation of longer days and warming weather can stir us and shift our attention.

It is like the full moon nights, when people just feel like being still and gazing at her for a while. She calls to us, no matter what else we are doing. Our primal instinct draws our attention to the full moon because we have been watching the movements of the moon and the seasons ever since caveman days.

Although most of us have shifted our attention from being farmers or hunter/gatherers, when paying close attention to these things meant life or death to ways of earning a living that are disconnected from the natural cycles of things. Ye we still feel called to it, and that is why winter draws us in and spring brings us out. And the moon stirs our souls.

No matter how hi-tech we get and how much we multi-task, our primal instincts will always beckon, and nature always gives us the energy we need, whether we know enough to ask for it or not.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Heaven, Earth & In Between

Here is a story that you might find as fascinating as I do. Many of you might be surprised to learn that when Igor Stravinsky's ballet, The Rites of Spring premiered in Paris in May of 1913, it caused riots in the audience. Nijinsky's choreography, the costumes by archaeologist and painter Nicholas Roerich coupled with the primal tones and atypically heavy use of percussion and dissonance roused unusual passions in the classical audiences. There were catcalls, whistles, fistfights, people storming out of the theatre. Many people obviously were quite shocked and taken aback by this tour de force. How could all these intense feelings be stoked by a ballet?

The actual translation of the title Le sacre du printemps, Tableaux de la Russie païenne would be Sacred Spring, Pictures from Pagan Russia.

Rites of Spring has been performed many times since then, with different choreographers and conductors interpreting it, but no performance since the first has had the same impact. Many people have grown to love it as one of the great ballets and one of the most popular pieces of classical music.

The primal energies of the return of spring is part of our nature. How we celebrate it and mark the change of seasons will vary among people and cultures, but the calling is always there, with the genetic memories of our bodies.

Another story involving classical music caught my eye today. The Houston Symphony this past weekend performed Gustav Holst's The Planets while NASA film of the planets was shown.

What is amazing here is that this music came from the same time period as The Rites of Spring, at which there were still only seven known planets. Holst was inspired more by the ancient gods and goddesses the planets were named for than the actual planets in that he never had the ability to see them through the kinds of telescopes and cameras we have. He drew his inspiration from classical mythology, but remember, the planets were named for characters that people had strong feelings about. To name your heavenly bodies and the days of the week after these shows how much the stories of the myths were part of people's daily lives. Picture a world where a day every week was dedicated to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn. It was a sense of perspective, of organization. The characters inspired people to name the biggest visions in the sky after them. It was this immenseness that Holst tried to capture in The Planets in this popular and evocative tone poem.

When you listen to the music, the majestic pulse and sense of melody actually creates seven different characters, seven different sonic portraits. When you look at space shots and listen to the music, see if you do not agree that he has captured the immensity and gravity of the scope of his subjects.

Remarkable how perceptive the human imagination is, and how powerful our creativity when we unleash it. Our relation to the energies of our world are quite amazingly reflected in these two works which manage to evoke deep feelings in listeners without any words. These potent non-verbal communications conjure up the mystery and awe of living on this planet. Appreciating being on this earth and looking out beyond it to try and see and comprehend what is there, these are lofty goals, and sometimes creative spirits are able to touch both heaven and earth and everything in between simultaneously.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hail Spring Fever!

The idea of spring cleaning goes back to the ancient Romans. February was time for purification and cleansing. Time to clear out the clutter and debris and get ready for the new growth in spring, which naturally leads to the spring fertility rituals.

Centuries before there was a Valentine's Day, there was a Lupercalia, a very popular festival celebrated at mid February, featuring the return of the Horny Old Goat. Did he ever really go away?

It was a very bawdy, primal festival featuring lusty play and fetish toys such as little whips that were used to arouse erotic energies.

Yes, it was a randy celebration of the rites of spring that makes all the giving of greeting cards, chocolates and roses boring by comparison.

In short,the ancients cleared the way for a vigorous rebound of energy to shake off the lethargy that resulted from all the overabundance of food and drink during the Yule holidays, leaping into the new year with a wink and some lip-smacking lust.

Hail Spring Fever!