Friday, April 30, 2010

Merriment and Maypoles

May 1 is the day that Maypoles were erected in villages and fields and people danced around them, weaving brightly colored ribbons as they danced. The Celts named it Beltane after the god Bel. The Germans refer to the evening leading into it as Walpurgis Night, when witches would gather to welcome in the spring. All of the countries of Europe had similar traditions, with varying folk traditions, and names that reflect each culture.

The reason for these large phallic symbols was to bring joy and fertility to this year's crops. As a symbol for the fertilizing the earth, this was very public and festive and often times other ritual dances also celebrated the earth coming back to life and producing abundantly.

Some people would also have sex in the fields and gardens as a way of using sympathetic magic, their celebratory couplings infusing the fields with their pleasure, their energy and their hopes for a great year.

Given that we are not all farmers or gardeners, still there are seeds that we have planted in our lives this year that we want to grow. Those seeds could be the next stage of our career or job, they could be the seeds of the various relationships we are nurturing. They could be the seeds of success in all aspects of our lives.

Another old tradition is the jumping of the bonfire to signal the return of the heat and fertility into our lives.

Bringing fresh flowers into the house is a way of bringing in the spirit of spring. Flowers send their signal through the whole environment that the colorful fragrant bursting out of energy is all around us.

Although it is barely spring here in Colorado where we had snow this morning, and gardeners do not plant their outdoor gardens until after Mother's Day, when I was in Ireland several years ago at Beltane, the newspapers had photos and stories about welcoming in the first day of summer.

Beltane is the polar opposite of Samhain, or Halloween or Day of the Dead. it seems very fitting that ancient people had one major holiday signaling the beginning of summer dedicated to birth and rebirth, and another exactly six months later, signaling the beginning of winter, and honoring the dead.

In another symbology Beltane and Samhain can be seen as the yin and yang. The energies of the major seasonal shifts signal major shifts within people as well. If we attune our energies to growth right now, and we enjoy the bright colors and energies, we are priming the pump, and affirming that we will bring beautiful creations into being, beginning now.

Celebrate the season with positive thoughts and actions to expand upon our previous successes and build new beginnings where and how we choose.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Full Moon Reflections

Full moons have always held special significance to people because it is such an obvious sign of the cycles of nature, the cycles of life. It comes in a way that we can see with the naked eye and it comes frequently enough that we can remember the entire cycle and notice how it affects us.

By comparison, we sometimes have trouble remembering things that happened years ago. We have to stretch our minds to calculate what year that was we had the bigger than average snowfall, or the year that the drought was especially bad.

We sometimes forget when that was when we moved, if we have moved several times. We have to think hard to remember when we changed careers or jobs if we have done that several times.

So many things elude our easy recall. Not only that, but if we try to extract the important life lessons from many of our experiences and relationships, one memory always seems to lead to another, and we recall things in some seemingly random way.

Our lives often seem to be bursting at the seems with things to do, tasks to prioritize, things to sort out.

Then once a month, the night sky is lit, silently, sweetly, with the full moon that we watch steadily grow, then recede again, until it is hidden in the dark. Waxing, waning, presenting herself in her full glory, reminding us of the comings and goings of life, the things we have intended to do, and the things we have done, from month to month.

Her reminders are gentle. She simply appears and disappears, and we reflect on the natural beauty of the world we live in, both seen and unseen.

We are here for a while to shed our light. We share our selves and our time, for how ever many seasons and cycles we have. Our energy ebbs and flows, the seeds we plant, grow. Sweetness is more often quiet than loud. The light that glows from within is how. We see our way by feeling, with a universe of possibilities as never ending as the luminous night sky.

And the full moon visits us once a month, her mysteries in plain sight.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Senses and Psychic Ability

Psychic abilities are often extensions of our senses. Clairvoyance is another name for second sight. Clairaudience is the ability to pick up messages through what we hear. Calirsentience is the ability to read through the sense of touch.

Our psychic abilities are developed when we open our senses to a fuller use.

Have you tried just relaxing and opening your ears to hear the sounds from all around? Do you ever hear messages in those sounds? Are there patterns that emerge from what you hear besides the obvious?

Do you ever let your mind relax and look farther afield? You might think of this as imagination. What happens when you look ahead in time or to some distant place? Can you picture events playing out from the present energy?

When you pick up a random object, whether it is a stone, a personal object like a pen or a piece of jewelry, can you sense anything about the people who have had possession of this object or came into contact with it?

Psychic ability is an awakening to a higher level of awareness. We can increase our sensitivity to it through sight, hearing and touch.

You can mark down your impressions in a notebook and then verify them later. These exercises can help you start to make the connections.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rituals, Resonance, Remembrance

We know what we know through our senses. One of the important reasons why we use stimulants to our senses of taste, touch, hearing, sight, and smell during ritual is so that the experience stays with us.

Spiritual ceremonies always contain sensual elements. There may be frankincense, sandalwood, sage, juniper or some other aromatic herb that is burning. There are bells or gongs that are rung to signal the call to service. There are candles, bonfires or oil lamps.

There is a physical touch in the way of greeting or blessing. There is taste in the sharing of food or wine. There are symbolic signals such as special robes that ritual leaders wear. There are sprinklings of holy water.

All of these are about marking the occasion as a special event. Rituals containing these elements stay with us much more powerfully than rituals that are merely a lecture or sermon.

Ritual music that is moving, literally moves us to remember. Rituals that involve drums, tambourines, stomping, clapping, singing, dancing, large groups of harmonious voices, all serve to make the ritual an indelible event.

These elements are found in various combinations in spiritual ceremonies all around the world.

There is a similar reason why bells are rung in steeples, gongs are banged in temples, and shamanic practitioners wear little bells.

There is a similar reason why if we are not dancing around fires, candles or lamps are lit all around the church or temple.

There is a similar reason why a shaman may smudge, temples may light sandalwood incense and churches may walk around swinging a censor filled with burning frankincense and myrrh.

There is a similar reason why earthy religions cut loose with drums and dancing, churches have large choirs, temples have drums, movement and chanting and some churches contain elements percussion, dancing and singing.

There is a similar reason why one religion shares wine and hosts, another bread and wine, some earthy religions share rum, and some shamans use vodka.

We know what we know through our senses. Bringing sensory experiences into ritual makes them more real for us, more memorable, more powerful. That is why a refrain from a song or a whiff of incense can suddenly evoke a spiritual feeling or idea.

Whether you are celebrating some regularly occurring holy day or creating a special personal ritual, bring your senses to your ritual for a more powerful result.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Coming to Your Senses

Why is it that something like a rainstorm can stir up memories? It is because our sense of smell is connected to a part of our brain that contains memory. Of course, exactly what memory is triggered can vary, but sensory memory itself is an involuntary reflex.

Of course, there are some scents that have a generally good reception, such as vanilla, cinnamon, rose, orange and so on, which is why there are so many perfumes and colognes which include these scents. Things that we generally experience as repulsive are warnings from nature, our self defensive mechanism. For example, natural gas does not have a smell. That is something the gas companies add so that we can tell when there is a leak.

Then we have things that are individualized, and so certain herbs and spices will remind us of home cooking and evoke pleasant thoughts, although the particular scents that do that may be linked to our family backgrounds and what we have experienced as delicious meals from our past.

So the rainstorms this week have evoked different feelings in different people, bringing us inside to avoid getting soaked, and then we go inside again in order to do some inner work. Whether it is playing a musical instrument, reading, journaling, meditating, sewing, beading, spending time on a hobby or other activity that we enjoy. The scent of the rain may prompt those choices as well.

Music also has an aspect of of involuntary recall. Ironically, it was after WW2 that therapists working with veterans who had suffered brain damage discovered that spoken language and lyrics in music are two different things, stored in two different parts of the brain. There were injured vets who had problems speaking, but when a favorite or familiar song came on a radio or record player, they could sing along with it.

So when music evokes powerful emotions within us, we again have those variables to consider. Although there are some pieces of music that seem to reach across time with their ability to soothe us or excite us, some of the music will have everything to do with what we have spent a lot of time listening to.

When you are creating a pleasant atmosphere and nurturing your mind and body, the sensory stimulants that will work best for you are very influential. You probably have been doing this unconsciously to some degree. Now when you do it consciously, you can create even better results.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Imagination's Importance

What would our life be without our imagination? A lot less, that's for sure. Think about the simple function that novels, and by extension, movies, play in our lives. It is our imagination that lets us travel to places where we have not been physically. It helps us experience what it must have been like to live in different times, as different people.

Imagination plays a vital role in providing stress relief. When we come home from work, and we set aside our personal business for a while, we enter into a more peaceful state of consciousness as we read a book or watch a movie, and imagine for a little while what it might be like to be someone else, be somewhere else and do something else. It is our waking dream state.

It is more than just entertainment. Think what our life would be like without our imagination? Probably at a much lower subsistence level, for one.

Many people tout the importance of positive thinking and creative visualization. These are simply other terms for using your imagination.

Our imagination can pave the pathway for the physical acts to follow. Cavemen imagined the hunt before they went on the hunt. Inventors imagined the bow and arrow, the wheel, the observatory, the vase and the sailboat before they invented them. Inventors still work this way, whether they are working on new aircraft, new computers or new phones.

Our imagination is also our gateway to psychic ability. The ability to see beyond the ordinary physical reality is how we open our second sight.

Our imagination has aided and enhanced our survival instincts and it has also contributed to our enjoyment of life and the development of everything from music and art to literature and games.

Exercise your imagination frequently to keep it fluid. It is a key to success in every aspect of life.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Healing Rain

I love the healing qualities of rain. I love the sound of it. I imagine that as it cools and cleanses everything, worries and concerns can drain away with it, soothing our spirits and giving us a drink of what we need.

There is a feeling that I get with rain. It is quiet. The constant sound of it drones pleasantly, encouraging those who don't need to be outside go in and relax.

As a backdrop for reading, reflective thoughts, note making, a little smoke and time to just be relaxed and unhurried, the hard rain is a blessing.

Of course, the rain prompts the onset of spring and the fullest greening of the trees and shrubs. One more reason to love it.

There is a taste in the air when it rains, a scent, an enlivening of the sense of touch, a quieting of voices.

Tomorrow there is other business to attend to, but for now there is rain. Just rain.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nature Takes Five

Notice how many things were brought to a halt by the eruption of a volcano in Iceland. More in Europe than here, although we had some ripple effects. Yes, some people are going to great lengths taking cabs from Norway to Britain or from Germany to Spain and whatever. What would I do? I would kick back and stay another week wherever I was, have a glass of wine and watch the spectacular sunsets.

A few years ago when we had bigger than average snowstorms and the city had not plowed all the streets, I just took a few days off. Other people got frantic and were out there shoveling like mad, but I just welcomed the break. Why strain your back and risk dangerous driving conditions?

The one thing I wish we had more of in Colorado is rainstorms. Heavy rainstorms with dark skies, thunder and lightning. Days when it rains, I leave the windows open, leave the stereo off and just enjoy the sound of the raindrops.

Last year, a friend and I took a little break and went out to the hot springs for a weekend. I did not bring my computer and did not turn on my cell phone during that weekend. I just took a couple of books to read. We enjoyed soaking in the mineral water and steam baths, got massages, went out for leisurely meals, did a little sightseeing, walked.

There are some people who cannot tolerate that much peace. On my day job, it is normal to get calls from the corporate type A people who are all nervous and jerky because their computer is not working right and they are going on vacation today. Or they are at some resort and you can hear from the background noise that they are in a lounge and are frustrated because they cannot get a good connection to the company servers. Or maybe they are going home for the holidays to visit their family, and they are having a problem checking their company email. Of course, you have to wonder how it could possibly be a vacation if you are tethered to the office.

It is not natural to be working all the time. Nature sometimes has to give us a big take 5. We all need times when we are vibrant and outgoing and active. And we also need those other times when we are quiet and relaxed and let a little peaceful time do its refreshing, healing, magic on us.

Nature takes five, and that's our clue to do the same. Just like the energy exercise I suggested yesterday. There is a time to be on and a time to be off. Take five.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Subtle Experiment

When I teach people about energy, use dowsing rods and pendulums to illustrate how it works because people can easily watch how they react.

Here is a test you can try right now, wherever you are to see how your energy is working. If you wish to be quiet and withdrawn today, send out that message, silently.

Now if you wish to have much contact and activity, send out that message silently.

Watch and see how the universe confirms your desire. See how much your intention and psychic energy can stir up contact, or if you prefer, how quiet your world can be.

If you wish for more contact, the contact may come in all forms; in person, by phone or by email. You may be surprised at the results you inspire.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Leading and Following

A free market of ideas can be a messy thing. One person may wonder why another joined a group that appears kind of whacky to those who are not part of it, while the one who is in it may be having fantastic experiences. I am excluding from consideration here any groups that had a violent ending. I am referring to the vast majority of groups in which the difference is in the leader or teacher and their methods.

Usually a person will choose to become part of a group because they like what the group and its leader or teacher has to offer. If they don't care for what the group has to offer, they leave. Some may leave within a matter of days, others stay in for years.

For example, there was one guru who became regarded as outlandish because he took the money that his followers gave him to buy a fleet of luxury cars. If I recall properly, that was one of those groups where followers gave up all their stuff in order to become part of the group. It certainly would never cross my mind to give all my money to some guru. Then over the years, I have met some people who were part of his group and they told me that they had a great time and they were glad they were part of it. Whatever. It was their time and money, not mine.

During my life, I have had many opportunities to meet a wide variety of gurus, teachers, shamans, witches, healers, readers, authors, artists, musicians, inventors, designers, adventurers, and whatnot. I have experienced things that were amazing, and others that were what I would consider a ripoff. In some cases, there is just no substitute for experience.

Examples. At one time, I would never have done a firewalk. The one day I did it. I once met a healer who was reputed to have a healing touch that would transmit light and electrical currents. The spot he chose was right on my third eye. I was skeptical until it happened. I have been in circle with a group of witches, doing a ritual on a mountain top. Storm clouds were all around us, and outside the circle it was cold. Inside the circle it was warm. The weather held the whole time we were together. After the ritual was over and we headed back to our campsites, then we felt the temperature drop, wind kicked up and the rain started. While visiting a famous healer in Brazil, I heard a man speak who swore that a well known healer came to him in spirit while he was in the morgue and brought him back from the dead.

Another example. There is a person who promotes himself as a marketing guru. Somebody who bought a book from him let me read it. I was stunned at how lame it was, and glad that I had not bought it. My friend later agreed with my assessment. Why does his stuff keep selling? There is a strong appeal in this crazy economy for people seeking to make a lot of money. Who doesn't want to have enough to have a safety net below and live in a comfortable way? Even a badly flawed opportunity still looks like an opportunity to a person who is struggling. In some cases, sampling a person's work was disappointing and disgusting. In other cases it was enlightening.

I have had the experience of going to a workshop with a teacher who was very popular and flashy. Lots of showmanship.He was the flavor of the month 20 years ago. Where is he now? Then I went to a workshop that has a much more grounded profile. The teacher and the system has been plugging along for years. It is so calm, simple and direct in the delivery of the presentation that participants discover amazing results, that just kept happening one after the other, without any flash. This group is so established that they don't get a lot of publicity these days, But they were absolutely worth it. The new star will outdraw the old standard on any given day, but those with an experience of both know who is better.

The dividing line, in my view, is to consider whether the type of business you are in will make you better off while giving the other party a fair deal. Answering that question is a reliable guide for your conscience and your actions. And are the things you will be doing,things you want to do? Do you feel the real connection. There is a huge difference between saying that you are happy to be making so much money, and quite another to say that you really enjoy doing what you are doing.

I think there are two different issues to consider, which sometimes get jumbled up. One is whether there is some lasting value in a transaction, one that is fair to both parties. The other is what kinds of life lessons do the students or members get out of their experience. There were people who have lived in communes (these days the preferred term is intentional communities) that failed, and yet gained valuable lessons from the experience. Others, of course, wish that they had passed on that opportunity.

What got me thinking about this was that a friend expressed concern about someone she knew just up and going off to follow some guru. The person in question is an adult and free to make that choice. The teacher in question? Well, after looking at some of her material on the web, I will say she is a lot better looking than other gurus. That could be reason enough for that young man to run off and join the circus. Who knows what he might learn from this?

I myself have been part of groups that outsiders might question the value of, but I am happy that I did what I did, and got a lot out of it. Sometimes I thought that if more people just understood what we were about, they would not see my participation in those groups as a good thing, But we all have our own opinions, and there will always be as many flavors of teachers as there are flavors of people. We also have to accept that sometimes a person is not interested in understanding someone else's point of view. Learning to accept and consider other point of view is part of the process

I deliberately left names out of these examples, because I did not want to get tangled up in discussing the particulars of individuals. I want to keep the focus on the principles.

Choose the times you want to be the leader or the follower, There's lots of opportunities, and they are not all equal, but some, strange as they may seem, may be just right for you. Instead if jumping to conclusions about others, engage them in a discussion about what they do. You may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome, Approaching our own changes and understanding those of others makes everything move along more swiftly. Sometimes we are leaders and sometimes we are followers

Friday, April 16, 2010

Take Heart, Take Part!

Courage is on display when a person proceeds with their desires even in the face of doubt or fear. When doubt or fear cause a person to summon their strength, that is when see courage. If we have an opportunity to engage in a venture in which there is a guaranteed return, no courage is required. If we enter into a contest with a person in a subject or skill in which we are certain that we are superior, no courage is required. Doing the sure thing is sometimes the wise choice, but courage is another matter.

It is at those moments when we have doubts about whether we can do something, but we press ahead anyway, that we are acting with courage. If we are afraid that we might fail and we take a deep breath and step forward to meet that challenge, that is courage. Courage stimulates those hormones that can boost strength and propel us through those barriers we were doubtful about.

Courage is all about heart. It can involve physical strength, but the real momentum comes from the heart. When we are doing what we love or pursuing an ardent desire, we are following the lead of the heart, and when we do that we discover hidden reserves of strength. Enthusiasm can manifest positive results in the physical realm.

Take heart and take the lead. Courage means that it is not always easy, but it is always worth it. Discover joy and strength when you live life to the fullest. Courage is not about who has the biggest muscles, it is about who has the biggest heart, and is willing to act like it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Optimistic Magic

In order to practice magic, a person must be an optimist. Once a person's hopes and dreams are awakened, that person must be able to visualize their life becoming populated by positive developments. A crucial ingredient must be added to the optimism, and that is will, or the actions a person takes to make their dreams real.

A person who is cynical or negative in their outlook can not be a successful magician, because in order to desire a change in their life, they must believe that such things are not only possible, but that they have the power to influence or create such changes.

Someone might say that a person who is constantly cynical or pessimistic in their outlook is also drawing more of those influences, energies and results into their life, and this is true.

However, my focus is on creating a better life. Those who are interested in a worse, more negative or more depressing life will not get any help from me. These ideas are being presented for the benefit of those people who want to move forward in their life and may have had doubts about their own abilities to make things happen.

Have you ever noticed that when you focus on looking for opportunities, you find opportunities? Have you noticed that when you are happy you attract other happy people? Have you noticed that when you focus on doing something well that you get better at it?

Practice, it is all about practice. The person who wants to become a good musician practices every day. The person who wants to be an artist is always making art. The person who writes every day gets better at writing. The person who plays a sport every day gets better at that sport. The same is true for all our endeavors.

Magic is about focusing on a goal and going for it, with full consciousness and confidence that we can do it. We may not know exactly how we will achieve our success, but if we proceed in that direction with our eyes and ears open for opportunities, then we are always moving toward making our dreams real.

We have to be optimistic enough to believe that our life will get better, then we have to really desire it, and finally take action on it.

Optimism is an important ingredient because it always involves positive thinking and creativity. A person can do magic much more effectively when they are optimistic. Does it bring a smile to your face when you think of what you really want? See?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Green Fire

in talking about green energy, most attention goes to solar and wind. Denmark, for example has highly efficient plants that turn waste into electricity and heat, and have filters that catch harmful substances like mercury and dioxin. Today's incinerators are much cleaner than earlier versions, capable of filtering out, scrubbing or trapping hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, dioxins, and heavy metals — as well as small particulates. And some of the by products of the process, extracted metals, gypsum and acids, can be sold to construction and manufacturing companies. Quite green, isn't it?

Burning waste also decreases the need for landfills, both preserving nature and cleaning up waste at the same time. The fact that big cities like New York export garbage to landfills in other states is a good indicator of how incinerators can solve two problems at once. By converting garbage into fuel, they change a smelly unsightly mess into a valuable resource and decrease their dependence on oil.

Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands are also using this technology and they like it so much that they are building more plants. In Germany they only burn materials that cannot be recycled. After all, we don't want to have to keep cutting down trees just to make paper, do we? In the big picture of using renewable resources, there are other solutions on the horizon.

As people become increasingly aware of the fact that industrial hemp is different than marijuana, we can once again have a renewable source of material for making paper without decimating our forests. We used to do this all the time, making paper, rope, oil and fabric out of hemp. Farmers all over the US were growing it. then when the anti-marijuana mania hit, industrial hemp was lumped in with marijuana, its psychoactive cousin. You cannot get a buzz smoking industrial hemp.

Hauling garbage to an incinerator saves the burning of the fuel needed to haul it to distant landfills, and instead of just dumping it and letting it rot, it is turned into electricity.

In Denmark, between recycling and the trash to energy incinerators, very little of their waste goes into landfills. Once again, if we would get busy building such plants, people would be employed in construction and maintenance, our environment would be cleaner and we would be less dependent on coal and oil. All good results.

Fire is a great way to purify. When my time here is up, I want to be cremated. Makes a lot more sense to me than being buried in a box and continuing to set aside endless acres of land to keep burying people in boxes. I will gladly return to ashes and leave the rest of the world have the room it needs to work and play.

See, our alternative energy choices are not just limited to wind and solar. There are more options. We still have time to clean up our act. Fire can help green our world.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Magic Mushroom Medicine

Chemist Albert Hofmann discovered LSD in 1938 but didn't take his first trip until he accidentally took a taste of it five years later, in 1943, opening a whole new era of drug research.

It should be noted that shamans all around the world had been using various hallucinogenic plants for healing purposes for millennia. But the discovery of LSD opened a new chapter on clinical research into hallucinogens. One of the first uses of it was to treat various forms of mental illness, including alcoholism. Then when the military and CIA discovered it, they tried using it in various covert experiments, which may or may not have been combined with psychic experiments, known as the MK Ultra Program. Whether or not one set of experiments led directly to another or whether they were tangential, there were subsequent experimental programs, including what is known today as Remote Viewing. Although the world had heard of Hofmann's research, the military experiments were not known to the public at that time. The linkage between hallucinogenic drugs and the expansion of the psyche have long been linked.

And then came another group of people who became very excited about the possibilities of hallucinogens. The exuberance of people some of those early researchers like Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later to become Ram Dass)was scorned by various regulators and by other people in academia. In this same time period came the books of Carlos Castaneda, who gave much of the American reading public their first exposure to the subject of shamanism and the use of various "plant allies." Hallucinogens became the recreational drugs of choice for a generation of young people, and given that, serious further research came to a halt for decades.

40 years later, things look different again. Today, researchers are excited about the possible uses of hallucinogens in treating depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder. Johns Hopkins Medical School, University of Arizona, Harvard, New York University, the University of California, Los Angeles among others are now researching the usefulness of psilocybin, which is found in certain types of mushrooms, in treating these disorders.

These schools are using money from private non-profit foundations to fund the research. During the last 40 years the growth of hospice movement, the broad acceptance of meditation practices, and perhaps the growing success of the medical marijuana movement are all contributing to a more receptive environment to this type of research now.

How many times have we seen this pattern in history, when the first people to advocate a new concept are ridiculed, then later validated.

Several years ago, I was listening to an interview with another advocate for hallucinogens, Terence McKenna, who had gone in a bit different direction than Leary. In fact, you might say he sort of extended the early work, as one of the people who also championed traditional shamanic substances, such as ayahuasca, which has also become quite well known in the last couple of decades.

McKenna, who was a serious student of the subject, but also quite witty, answered the interviewer's question about the value of hallucinogens. I am paraphrasing from memory here. McKenna said, "We can talk about enlightenment for the next hundred years. We can put it on cereal boxes and milk cartons. But the only thing I know of that can make a person's consciousness stop and turn on a dime is a psilocybin mushroom."

Like marijuana, we appear to be approaching a time when hallucinogens will be seen not only as a recreational drug or a spiritual sacrament, but also as a powerful healing agent.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hunting Magic

Primitive people discovered something that we still use. When they were making their cave paintings, they were visualizing themselves having a successful hunt, by performing the ritual of drawing pictures and getting themselves into the feeling of being successful before they went. We call this self hypnosis.

They knew that their mind could prepare the way for their physical success. Who knows if they discovered this by feeling, by visualization, by dreaming or some other method, but they did, and we have known it ever since. Sometimes we just forget to use it.

When we are undergoing a career change, we are extending an aspect of hunting magic. Whatever it is we have been doing successfully has been on automatic pilot. Just as we can ride a bicycle or swim robotically, without thinking through every movement, we learn to do things mechanically at first, through applied conscious effort. Then we go into automatic.

The same thing happens with what we do at work. Whether it is some aspect of using a computer, giving speeches, fixing cars, cooking meals, whatever our tasks are, a great portion of them we learn to do automatically.

So it is when we have to stretch beyond those boundaries and learn new things, to use abilities that we do not always use in picturing ourselves doing a new job in a new place, with new people. Our instinct for hunting magic is needed for this.

This is one of the reasons why people often disbelieve in their own or other people's powers at the higher end of the spectrum. We often live our lives on automatic, and when we go beyond that, we find that we can do things we don't usually do. Hunting magic is one of the powers we have had since caveman days, but we don't always use it, so we often amaze ourselves with the results when we do.

It feels extraordinary when we reach beyond what we usually do. Just remember, those powers out there are not supernatural. They are always there, always within our reach. It is just that we have become accustomed to not using them.

Today, how will you use your hunting magic?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Intuition for Information Overload

Our attention creates pathways for action. That is why energy follows. Our attention is the first way that we steer our consciousness and subsequently, our physical presence.

We magnetize ourselves for information, and then once we have gathered enough to give us momentum, we reach a tipping point where we either have to proceed in the direction of our thoughts, or else consciously exert the energy to change directions.

Take a simple example. Let's say you are interested in energy healing. All of a sudden you are finding all kinds of information about energy healing, meeting people who do energy healing or have experienced energy healing.

People who follow politics can find all kinds of information to support their point of view, whatever it is. Once they start magnetizing themselves and searching, the information flows to them.

Since I am very interested in the subject of tarot, there is no shortage of information that I have discovered about it, opening up many different areas of inquiry.

No doubt you have discovered the same to be true in whatever areas of life are of great interest to you. Notice too, how once you shift your attention, that the information coming to you changes just as thoroughly.

There are also times when it is impossible to know something for a certainty based solely on facts. For example, in some quests, there is no absolute right or wrong or definitive answer available, so we are forced to rely on intuition.

Why is this important? Because this is one simple way to acknowledge and experience all the many possibilities we have in life. If we are focused on changing our job or career, the wealth of information we can draw to us can help us make a choice that is best for us.

Sometimes we are overwhelmed with too much information, and that is where our use of intuition becomes an important way of helping us navigate.

Take a simple example. If you have used Google to try and find some information and the result came back that there are 10,000 web pages that might have information you want, most people would not try to take the time to check them all out. So you follow your intuition and check out several that seem most relevant.

If you are considering a major life change, let's say involving your work, you may find yourself with a number of interesting choices or possibilities. Let's say you determine that you cannot pursue more than one or two of those. So how do you choose? You follow your intuition to sort out the best choices. The prompting may seem mysterious, but your spirit guides are the ones helping you.

Sometimes it is intuition that opens up a realization and moves us along in one direction or another, and spirit then may make certain information available to us that helps us choose.

Tarot can be an excellent way to open that road to discovery. There are other methods that can also be used.

Next time you feel information overload weighing down on you and clouding your decisions, summon your intuition, and an outside opinion from a neutral perspective, like that of a professional reader can help you see your options more clearly so that you can make the best choice for yourself.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Visual art, in addition to music and writing, is a third creative means of expression that is finding new outlets on the web. Just as writers have to find agents or publishers, artists traditionally seek galleries to represent their work.

Tarot artists have created decks that are only available from them on their own websites, and so have other artists. The obvious challenge with the Internet is that it is so massive that you can post marvelous things out there, but people still have to find their way to your site.

So although the web offers creative people an opportunity to express themselves with complete freedom and make a profit from their work, getting traffic to a site is a major marketing challenge.

And even though I appreciate these freedoms, I think that most of us who work creatively still dream of seeing hard copies of our work in people's hands, or on display in stores. I don't think that is just a vanity. I think that there is something that makes it real when you experience a tangible object. like sitting in your easy chair reading a book, seeing a painting hanging on the wall, looking at the cover of the CD as you put the disc on to play. These experiences take on a different level of reality when you come into contact with the physical object.

For these reasons, I feel that there will always be a demand for some hard copies, at least for hard copies of our favorites, and one of the ways that becomes possible is when creators develop a large enough following on the web, and then others will give them more consideration and perhaps create and market hard copies of their work.

Satisfaction for a creative person comes from the act of expressing themselves, and that is enhanced when they get feedback from others who enjoy their creations.

With the advent of these new technologies and all the changes in the way we work and play, challenges are different, but the essence remains the same, and that essence we all seek is connection.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Between Reader and Writer

New technology has also radically changed the fields of writing and publishing. What you are reading right now is a perfect example of this. I took up blogging because it is an efficient way for me to write what I would like to write and then share it with whoever wants to read it. And not one piece of paper has to be used in the process. All you have to do is visit this site to read it.

In the past, I self published two books of poetry. It was not just the printing that was expensive, but there was an incredible amount of work involved in visiting bookstores and trying to get them to carry my books, and most insisted on consignment, which means you are putting your product out there with no compensation until after it sells. So I did tons of performances and readings to introduce people to my work. Lots of work for a little bit of money.

Later on, I wrote a couple of books, but could not find a publisher who was interested. They had lots of questions about my platform, and disappointingly few questions about what I wrote about. Platform in their terms means that you have an audience already built up, ready to buy your book. For example, if a person has their own radio or TV show, they have a way to promote their book on the air every time they broadcast. Publishers also like to rush things into print when a person or topic is suddenly hot. So where the publishing process used to take a year or two to get your book on the market after they decided that they wanted it, celebrity books can be popped out in a matter of months, from start to finish.

Since I was not famous on that level, they were not very interested in what I had to offer. Many other people have had this same experience. Before the Internet, the only alternative was to publish it yourself, paying a printer then driving around with a box of books in the trunk of your car, selling them wherever you can. Now you can share your work on a website or blog, or offer versions that a person could download. And you don't have to give one thought to trying to convince some agent or publishing company representative that you really do have something worthwhile to offer them. You present your writing directly to the readers.

You just put it out there and see what kind of feedback you get. Some days you get lots of feedback, some days you don't, but there is a very satisfying feeling to be able to be able to express yourself in writing, without any censorship. Plus it offers an opportunity to make new friends and have interesting conversations with people you might never have met otherwise. Some may live in other parts of the country or other countries. Discussions can take place in person or by email.

Once again the challenge is how the creative person can make money for their work. What I have done is put a paypal donation button on my blog so that people who enjoy what I do can support my efforts. I have written over and published more than 600 pieces on this blog so far, and anyone who wants to read them can access all of them for free. That represents a lot of time and effort on my part, and donations are a way for readers to show their appreciation, and will help me make a living as well. I thought this option is a simple, gentle way to go forward.

Once again, creativity has gone from essence through various types of forms, then back to essence again.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Musical Chairs

My love for music is deep. That's why during my life, I have learned to play several different instruments, why I have enjoyed dancing and singing. Music moves me.

Back in the 90s, I was a music reviewer who wrote about new CDs and interviewed musicians. So as a result, I received thousands of recordings to listen to, and had wonderful opportunities to hear great musicians play in person.

When I began listening to music, everything was on records and single hits were made on 45s that had a song on each side. People just wanted to hear the hit songs they were familiar with. But then that form stretched out a bit and albums became more popular as creative individuals and bands put out albums that were more akin to a suite than a hit and the attention span of listeners extended to a half hour at a time or an hour, rather than the three minutes that singles usually lasted. It is kind of ironic that we have come full circle to a degree, where people now download just a hit song or two rather than a whole album of music by that musician.

Then they started making music on cassette tapes, which were really portable. You could put one in your pocket, play it in your car, or pop it into a tape player that was way smaller than a record player. When the Walkman was invented, that changed a lot about the way people listened to music. You could listen to whatever you wanted as loud or soft as you wanted, and it did not impose on anyone else. The sound quality was also different. It was more intimate, private.

I also remember how the transition happened. First you could buy your music on records or tapes, then eventually stores only carried tapes. Then after we got used to tapes, suddenly there were CDs. Then stores went from offering tapes and CDs to only carrying CDs, which of course, required different players.

The next transition brought MP3 players and iPods. And now if you need to replace your player, it will be easier to find a CD player that has a port for a digital player than a tape deck.

And some of us have not made that transition yet. Some maybe never will, just like there are some people who have stuck with records. I don't have the CD or tape collections that I used to have, but I still have quite a few and I can't see just dumping them to move to the new technology since they still work just fine.

But I can see the beauty of having a whole music library on one little gizmo. And it will be easier on the environment not creating zillions of pieces of plastic just so that people can enjoy listening to music.

However, an issue that is significant is how can the musicians make a living with their music. Album, tape or CD sales were at least a way of channeling some money back to the artist. Now if people pay for downloads, they will get some, but they make nothing off all the free downloads.

There was a time when some musicians made great recordings but hardly ever toured, compared to those who made relatively few recordings but played lots of live dates. So fees for live dates are now more important for them to make a living. Some will make good money creating scores and soundtracks. Funny thought. Not so long ago, musicians were hired to make original music for commercials, but now commercials are far more likely to play bits of a song that already is a hit.

Yes, the new players are more portable than anything we have had, and probably more green. I am one of slow adapters to technology. I will keep my TV until it quits working and then I will get a flat panel. And I will keep playing music on CD players and tape players until I cannot do that any more. I use my computers until they die. Then I get new ones. I don't just rush out to buy the new model of whatever just because it is available.

There is another metaphysical angle to all this. Music has taken on various physical forms, mutating from something that was heard in person to something that was recorded, now back to something that we just hear, rather than a collection of things we buy. Comparable in a way to what has happened with movies. I don't need to go to a video store any more to rent a tape or disc and then make another trip to the store to return it and rent something else. Now I can just watch a movie on my computer or TV without having to have any hard copies.

Essence takes form and then the form dissipates, and it is back to essence again.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Willing Green Energy into the Grid

Common sense would suggest that instead of saying that it green energy has some problems that need to be worked out like bringing down the cost of components and figuring out more efficient ways to store the energy, or making some additions or modifications to the energy grid, that we go ahead with it and find solutions to those problems.

We do know that it is cleaner and healthier for us to get energy from the wind and sun than continuing to burn coal and oil.

If something is worth doing, we put our energy into achieving our goal. Certainly creating and constructing cleaner ways to provide electricity for everyone is a worthy goal. Add to that the additional benefit of utilizing our own natural resources rather than having to import oil, or at least import a lot less of it, would be a very large benefit.

We didn't let the fact that it was expensive prevent us from developing a space program or a more hi-tech military.

We didn't let the fact that it was expensive prevent us from building an interstate highway system or making electricity available to everyone in the country. We ran telephone cables to every town in the country. We ran cable so that most places in the country can get internet and cable TV, and those who don't have access to cable have access through satellite hook ups.

Now that cell phones are the new technology, we found ways to provide reliable cell phone service everywhere. Did the fact that it was complicated or expensive prevent companies from inventing better portable music players? Better cell phones? Or microwave ovens for cooking?

Even within the oil technology, when one method of drilling oil was not productive, they invented other methods of drilling. We just need to exert the will to go ahead with it and do it. Our creative abilities will help us find solutions just like they have in other fields.

If we could apply our ingenuity and our will to create solutions to these other large tasks, why not apply them now to creating a better system of providing energy?

Do we have the will to create a green energy grid? Where there is a will, there is a way.

Monday, April 5, 2010

New Energy

I am just thinking out loud.

How many people might be put to useful work if we really tried to build as many windmills, solar panels and other methods of generating energy by working with nature?

If some kinds of adjustments to the existing energy grids are necessary, how many people might be employed in every state, county and city doing this work?

If we really devoted our minds and muscles to creating this reality, how much could we decrease our dependence on oil and coal as a source for power?

After these things are built, how many people would be employed maintaining these new types of energy generating stations?

Could this be one of the best ways to employ people while producing something we would all use? Since we all need electricity, and there have been significant advances in technology, why not pursue this even more?

I do not know the answers to these questions, but I am willing to bet that the answer would be that it would be beneficial to pursue this course of action, and that many decent paying jobs would be created and the end result would produce something we would all use and enjoy.

What are the prospects that this will happen sooner than later?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Coming Back to Life

Coming back to life has one resonance as the return of spring and the ancient fertility rituals that celebrate this fact of life. Pagans reawakened the earth with dancing singing and sexual pleasure to create sympathetic magic in the fields and gardens, imparting their energy to the reawakening of the earth and inspiring the growth of the spring planting.

The early church overlaid the story of Christ's Resurrection over the old Estara or Ostara rituals to celebrate the idea of his rising from the dead. Of course, for those who can entertain other perspectives and the quirky humor of author Tom Robbins, in Another Roadside Attraction, he spins a tale about how the early disciples snatched the body from the tomb and hid it and then told everyone he rose from the dead, in order to build up the religion around the Christ story. Robbins uses his wit to poke fun at all kinds of ideas in his books.

On another note, there is also a coming back to life that we often need to do after we face a serious setback. A death in the family, a loss of a job, end of a relationship, bankruptcy, or any number of other difficult developments that can set us back in life can sometimes send a person into a withdrawal or retreat from life. A person can get depressed over such things.

To rebound from such things, often a personal ritual is needed to signal to body, mind, spirit and emotions that you are back and ready to be back. Engaging in a symbolic act signals to your self and the universe that you are done with your period of mourning and are ready to spring back into action.

Spring Equinox is the tipping point and the Easter rituals reaffirm this message. Time to bounce back. Time to move from darkness into light. There are all kinds of ways to do this. Love, laughter, music, dance, all kinds of things can work. At this time of year, the symbols of coming back to life are all around us. We just have to activate them.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Let Me Hear Thunder!

Glad to see that it is cool and dark this evening. It has been sprinkling a little bit, but I would love it if we got a good hard rainstorm with thunder and lightning.

That is what I miss most since I moved out here. We don't get nearly enough rainstorms for my taste, so I savor every one of them.

I love the feeling of the moisture in the air. I used to love watching the rain fall on my garden, the drops bouncing off the leaves of the plants.

The spirit and the mood that the rain would bring would make it feel like a wonderful time to be inside with the fireplace going and the raindrops resonating off the chimney.

Making love during a rainstorm added an extra energy to the act and the electricity in the air was muted and pungent, lightning and thunderclaps punctuating the rhythms of two natural cycles intersecting.

It was refreshing the way it would wash the car and the sidewalks, and bring a refreshing scent to the air. And the way it would make a sound that would displace all other sounds, beating out a rhythm on the surfaces of everything it touched.

I loved the feeling of being outside and letting the rain soak me and then come in with the feeling of being cleansed by the rain.

There are rituals for storms and dances for those who wish to feel the rain on their skin and bathe in the energy with nothing between us and the sky.

Let me hear thunder and feel rain in the air. I love a good rainstorm!