Category Archives: Miscellaneous

How to Get the Most out of a Psychic Reading

– Come into the reading with a positive attitude. Even if you’re facing difficult times, the purpose of the reading is to help you find clarity to move beyond the difficulty.

– A good reader will give you guidance that will help you use your own free will to improve your life. The reading is not about “fate,” it’s about possibilities.

– It’s perfectly fine to come into a reading without a specific question. Often the best readings come when we’re simply open to whatever Spirit wants to tell us.

– Keep an open mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re skeptical about psychic readings, as long as you come in without prejudging or demanding “proof.” Just be prepared — you may get more out of the reading than you ever dreamed!

– Be prepared to hear the answer you need, even if it’s not necessarily the answer you hoped for. You can be confident that this information comes to you for your highest good.

– There’s no hard and fast rule about how often to get a reading. For some people once a month is right, while for other people it’s more like once a year. Let your instinct be your guide.

– Generally, it’s best to avoid coming to the same reader with the same question over and over again. Sometimes people do this because they secretly hope “this time the answer will be different.” An honest reader will never give a different answer just because it’s what the client wants to hear. However, if something has truly changed — especially if you’ve made positive steps to take control of the situation — this may be the perfect time to come in for a follow-up reading.

– There’s also no rule about whether it’s better to see one reader or many. It’s kind of like seeing a doctor: Often it’s best to stick with one doctor who knows you well, but at other times you may need a second opinion or a specialist.

– Different readers have different specialties. One reader may have a special interest in animal communication, another may specialize in past lives, another may have lots of experience with dream interpretation. If you have a specific need like this, Mimosa’s staff will be happy to make a recommendation.

– Sometimes a message you receive won’t make sense right away because something has come through to the reader about your future. If you’re confused about why you received a message, write it down and hold onto it. If a message about your future came through to the reader, chances are it’s important.

– One of the best things about getting a reading is that it can help you learn to use your own intuition. A good reader is always happy to help you learn to use your own skills in your everyday life.


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How to Create a Vision Board

by Ashley Leavy

A vision board is a visual representation of an affirmation or intention, typically something you’d like to manifest. It may include pictures or words that show what you’re trying to create in your life.

It’s best to hang your vision board in a place of prominence, or somewhere where you will see it of- ten throughout your day.

Creating Your Own Crystal Vision Board:

To create your vision board, you’ll need to start by gathering some supplies. Some helpful items include a stack of old magazines, a pair of good scissors, a large cork-board, and tons of push-pins.

Using a cork board and push pins is helpful because you can change and update your vision board as needed (like when your goals, hopes, and dreams change and grow), but if you’d like, you could just use a glue stick to attach your images or works to a piece of cardboard instead.
vision board in progress
Next, you should browse your magazine stack, cutting out images or words that relate to your specific affirmation and capture the feeling of what you want your life to be. These should mostly be very specific, but sometimes they may be more generalized (i.e. like if you’re representing a concept like “Serenity”).

The next step is to arrange and organize the cut-outs in a way that appeals to you. You may even want to group things together (this is especially helpful if you’re creating a board for more than one affirmation).

Keep adding images and words until your board is full of positive, life-changing scraps of paper! Once you’ve finished your layout, you can use the push- pins to hold the paper scraps in place (or you can glue them down using your glue stick).

Finally, take a step back and look at how amazing this project turned out. You’re sure to feel motivated by all of the positive energy that has been put into it.

Again, it’s important to remember that it’s okay if your vision board changes as the year progresses, but that’s really the true beauty of it – it changes and grows with you (getting bigger and better all the time).


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Expressive & Creative Arts – Connecting with Your Inner Wisdom

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by Heidi Fassnacht

While I was living at a hermitage in Colorado, I picked a book out of the community’s library for something to read. It turned out to be Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss. I was just beginning on my journey into the metaphysical and wasn’t familiar with Myss, or apparently with myself. I remember reading a paragraph where she discussed intuition. She said something along the lines of “Intuition is that funny feeling you get when….” “Funny feeling? That’s intuition?” I thought, dismayed, “I’ve been ignoring that my whole life!”

Sad to say, it is not that uncommon for people to be disconnected from the signals their inner wisdom sends them through physical sensations, feelings, and emotions. How many times have you thought you were doing just fine, yet your shoulders were so tense they were up under your ears?

Science is rediscovering the connection between the mind and the body, and the powerful effect that thoughts and emotions can have on physical health. Negative thoughts and uncomfortable emotions, through their effect on our biology, lead to depressed immune function. Similarly, positive thoughts and pleasurable emotions lead to increased immune function. Over time, the stress caused by negative thoughts and emotions can contribute to disease.

While we may have heard the science, if we aren’t aware of the messages coming from inside us, or if we misunderstand them, we may not even know we are in a negative pattern. For many reasons, we choose, consciously or unconsciously, to ignore, suppress, justify, or deny our negative emotions. When we turn towards our uncomfortable emotions rather than away from them, we create an opening, an opportunity to receive the messages being conveyed to us through our feelings, and to release the stress that comes from our thoughts or actions being out of alignment with our body’s inherent wisdom.

Expressive art provides us with tools to access and give form to what is going on inside of us, (how we truly feel vs. how we think we feel), reconnecting us with our inner landscape. Through the process of giving form to what is inside us, we gain new perspective, and can move to transform our perceptions. This change empowers us to consciously choose our emotional response to the circumstance of our lives, and to bring our thoughts and actions back into alignment with our inner wisdom.

Expressive art engages us in the process of creative expression using visual art, movement, sound, writing, theater, or some combination of these. Activities focus on moving us from our logical and analytical mind, to our intuitive, creative centers. Like any other path, expressive art is a practice. With time, patience, and a sense of adventure, we can connect with ourselves on a very deep level, and transform our lives.


This article was based on the information presented in Art & Healing, by Barbara Ganim, Three Rivers Press, NY, 1999.

Originally trained as a geologist and hydrologist, Heidi was deeply called in 2008 to pursue her own personal transformation. She immersed herself in the world of the metaphysical and the healing arts. She explored many paths including various shamanic traditions, breathwork, dance, yoga, energy healing, qi gong, and more. Reconnecting in 2009 with her love of creative expression, Heidi recently completed a professional development training in the expressive and creative arts for self-discovery, healing, and personal transformation. She will lead two series of classes on Expressive and Creative Arts in the next few months. If you would like to find out more, we suggest you attend one of the free introductory talks she will give on February 21, February 28 or March 14.


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Metaphysical Properties of Incense

by Cathy Douglas

Incense smells good, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it for that reason alone. But as with crystals, incense — in all its different styles and fragrances — has metaphysical properties based on a long history of use. In fact, if you’re used to working with crystals, the nature of many incenses can to some extent be compared to the properties of specific stones: sandalwood to quartz, lavender to amethyst, rose to rose quartz, etc. Using a crystal with a complementary incense amplifies the power of both.

Most modern incenses are built around a sandalwood stick or cone, overlaid with perfumes, essential oils, resins or other sources of fragrance. (For more on the general types of incense and how they are made, please see our previous article, Incense Basics.)

As always, please remember that the healing properties of the incenses below are complementary to regular treatment, not a substitute. Use common sense and seek your doctor’s advice, especially if you are pregnant or suffer from respiratory conditions.

Common Incense Blends:

Nag champa: While there is a flowering plant called nag champa, the incense that goes by that name is actually a blend of sandalwood with floral scents that include the champa flower, ylang ylang, and others.Traditional nag champa formulations also rely on resin from the halmaddi tree (Ailanthus, or tree of heaven). It creates a soothing, relaxing mood. Uses: purification, creating sacred space, spiritual matters, meditation, enlightenment.

Aastha: Very much like Nag Champa, but a little sweeter. The name means “faith.” Uses: relaxation, meditation, religious occasions.

Aqua: A light floral scent with cyclamen and primrose. Uses: any kind of cooling, whether of temper, physical fever, or excess emotion of any kind.

Darshan: This traditional blend combines sandalwood, jasmine and vanilla. The word can mean “pilgrimage,” or may imply having a vision of a deity or holy person. Uses: concentration, freedom from negativity, reviving a tired mind or spirit.

India Temple: Since this is a brand name, the ingredients are proprietary information. The manufacturer will only say that they use “the finest fragrant woods, herbs, essential oils, and other ingredients of the highest quality,” and that it is designed to smell “just like temples in India.” Uses: connecting with Hindu traditions, ritual

Opium: This incense does not contain any parts of the opium poppy. It’s a blend formulated to resemble Yves St. Laurent’s Opium perfume, which is a blend of many typical incense ingredients, including sandalwood, cedarwood, jasmine, rose, cinnamon, and many more. Unsurprisingly, it turns out smelling somewhat like a store that sells incense. Uses: sleep, lucid dreaming, developing psychic skills, contacting deities and guides in dreams.

Plum blossom: This Japanese incense is actually a combination of floral and spicy ingredients, blended to evoke spring. As far as I’ve been able to discover, it doesn’t actually use plum. Uses: meditation, connecting with Zen Buddhist or other Japanese traditions, purity, feeling young

Individual Scents

The following are properties for single incense ingredients. Remember, though, that in in the real world most stick and cone incenses contain more than one ingredient, usually including a sandalwood base.

Amber: love, comfort, happiness, healing, past life discovery, connecting with the past

Benzoin: purification, clearing negative energy, balance, prosperity, dealing with negative emotions (especially anger, anxiety and depression), working through grief

Cedar: purification, clarity, enhancing psychic skills, love, preventing nightmares, respiratory infections *

Cedarwood: purification, protection, abundance, grounding, clarity, male virility, strength (including strength during a healing process)

Cinnamon: prosperity, success, healing (especially during winter), love and romance, amplifying the energy of spells or rituals, strength, cultivating power (especially for people who feel otherwise powerless, or as if they are in a hopeless situation)

Copal: Purification, protection, exorcism, finding true love, separating from toxic relationships

Cypress (including Hinoki): Strength, comfort, stress relief, confidence, will power, concentration

Dragon’s blood (resin from dracena plant): removing negativity, banishing unclean entities, protection (especially during magical work), enhancing power, male energies

Frankincense: Purification, consecration, meditation, resolving conflicts, speaking up for oneself or others, transforming a chaotic environment to one of peace. Often used in religious rituals, sometimes with myrrh.

Gardenia: Love, healing or maintaining good health, peace

Geranium / Rose geranium: courage, protection

Ginger: love & romance

Jasmine: attracting love or money, cultivating beauty (especially inner beauty), creativity (especially creating something that will touch other people), connecting with others emotionally, wisdom, dreaming (including prophetic dreaming)

Juniper: psychic skills, psychic protection & protection from the evil eye, breaking a string of bad luck

Lavender: relaxation & sleep, protection & purification, romance, cleansing (especially after a period of health issues), healing (especially from addictions), serenity

Lemon: healing, purification, love. An especially good scent to use during fasting.

Lemongrass: mental clarity, relief of respiratory conditions *

Lotus: peace & harmony, improving mood, concentration, focus. Very good for meditation, or to burn while studying.

Mesquite: disinfecting, digestive problems, enhancing the energy of spells or rituals

Musk: love & romance, courage, facing one’s limits (especially one’s mortality), connecting with departed loved ones

Myrrh: purification, consecration, exorcism, banishing negative influences, connecting with solar deities & powers. Traditionally burned during funerals.

Patchouli: attracting love ** & money, connecting with fae, sensuality, fertility, finding happiness

Pine: purification, banishing negative energy, removing curses, moving beyond outgrown habits and circumstances, strength & healing, finding a job

Rose: love & romance, fertility, emotional healing, enhancing beauty (including inner beauty), divination, house blessing

Sage: protection, purification, wisdom, balancing mind / body / soul, cleansing, creating & purifying sacred space.

Sandalwood: Protection, purification, sanctification, offering to any god, good luck.

Sweetgrass: Purification, space clearing, calls up beneficial spirits.

Vanilla: love & romance, decision making, study, power

Ylang ylang: Love, harmony, peace, euphoria

* If you use incense as a complementary treatment for a respiratory condition, be sure to use a very pure blend, and stop use immediately if the smoke causes any discomfort. If the condition is a serious one, consult your doctor before burning any incense.

** If you use patchouli to attract love, it might be a good idea to make sure the object of your desires doesn’t hate the stuff. Many people have a visceral, negative reaction to patchouli, in part because in the past it’s been used to mask the smell of pot or BO.

Brainspotting: Funds Available for Veterans & New Research

by Patti Bee, M.S., LPC, NCC

What is Brainspotting, Again? Brainspotting is a Mind-Body Psychotherapy Method that literally connects your brain to your field of vision where you gaze upon a spot, and this is known as a Brainspot. Through gazing at a Brainspot, a person is connecting their body, to their brain, and this allows the brain to know that the person is safe while they process out an aspect of a trauma, emotional pain, or even physical pain. This deep brain safety allows the client to better tolerate the distress of bringing up difficult material in psychotherapy, and therefore moderates the brain rewiring process, that Brainspotting is known for. Brainspotting creates a “mind –  body – field of vision” connection, which is why it reaches the deep brain, where traumatic material is usually stuck.

So what makes Brainspotting so different than other therapy methods. Usually a traumatic event is also an event that takes place in the deep brain, as neural pathway wiring is set in place during and after the event. The deep brain is more technically known as the subcortical brain, and if an issue is stuck there, then that is the place that needs to be accessed in the therapy process to get more far reaching results for treating trauma. Working on a Brainspot connects the therapy process to the deep brain. Much of psychotherapy is what is known as “talk therapy” which happens in the neocortical brain, or the part of your brain where you think and solve problems. Thinking and problems solving are great skill for us humans to have, and it may not be where a person’s therapy needs to happen. This is not to say that “talk therapy” is all bad, it is also used in the Brainspotting process, along side of methods to resolve traumatic events on a brain level. It is this brain level of healing neural wiring that makes Brainspotting unique. And according to observations the past 11 years, it is what seems to be giving people their lives back, alleviating many symptoms of post-traumatic stress, as well as other mental health issues.

New Research:

David Grand, PhD., has recently published his book, Brainspotting: The Revolutionary New Therapy for Rapid and Effective Change, Sounds True, Inc. (2013). Here he relays the basic theory of what Brainspotting is and also the results therapists have been achieving with clients the past 11 years since Brainspotting was developed. David Grand, PhD., has also partnered with a Neurobiologist, Frank Corrigan, M.D., in an article, Brainspotting: Recruiting the Midbrain for Accessing and Healing Sensorimotor Memories of Traumatic Activation, in which they lay out the very technical brain sequencing that happens when a person gazes at a Brainspot. They also posit how the brain really does know how to rewire trauma, once the right brain “file” has been accessed, and that Brainspotting is able to do this. This is the first step in research that is informing us why Brainspotting is effective, and how brain pathway rewiring is crucial in the healing of trauma.

Funds Available for Veterans: There are now funds available for Veterans to come to Brainspotting. If the veteran is a qualifying veteran, then usually the sessions are at no cost to the veteran.

Patti Bee, M.S., is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Nationally Certified Counselor, and a veteran of the U.S. Navy (1980 – 1984). Patti works with women veterans and she is an approved vendor through the Non-VA Services Office at the VA Hospital. In her work with clients, Patti combines Brainspotting with Inner Parts Work (IFS) to better target Brainspotting sessions. Patti is also a member of the Midwest Brainspotting Institute and one of the first psychotherapists in the Madison, Wisconsin area to be Certified in Brainspotting.

If you are a veteran that would like to explore Brainspotting, Patti can help. Here’s one experience of what is possible when Brainspotting is a part of the trauma treatment. This is from a Brainspotting client, who has given permission to use this, and it is offered anonymously to protect confidentiality:

“Before I had my first Brainspotting session, getting triggered would become three days in bed, depressed, and it would take that long to work my way out of it. After Brainspotting, the next time I got triggered, I was in bed, and depressed for two hours. I really had moved on after such a short time. Brainspotting has given me chunks of my life back.”

Please contact Patti Bee for details on how to access these funds that are now available for qualifying veterans. And if you are a male veteran, funds are also available. Contact Patti today for more information: Website: www.brainspottingtherapy.com, Email: [email protected], Phone: (608) 255-9119 Ext.6

References:

F. Corrigan & D. Grand, (2013). Brainspotting: Recruiting the Midbrain for Accessing and Healing Sensorimotor Memories of Traumatic Activation. Medical Hypotheses Journal, (80,6), pp. 759–766, June 2013

D. Grand, (2013). Brainspotting: The Revolutionary New Therapy for Rapid and Effective Change. Sounds True, Inc., Boulder, CO.


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Home Care for Silver

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by Cathy Douglas

Sterling silver is a popular metal for jewelry, and for a good reason: it’s beautiful, durable, and can be worked into all sorts of shapes and patterns. Silver’s only real downside is that it tarnishes. Tarnish happens when airborne sulfur combines with elemental silver, creating silver sulfide, which makes jewelry turn first dingy yellow, and then black. Silver jewelry usually needs a good cleaning once or twice a year, plus regular touch-ups. Some silver jewelry is rhodium-plated. This gives it a shiny finish without polishing, though if you wear the piece a lot the plating may wear off.

At the store, we use a chemical silver dip to do the heavy lifting, tarnish-wise. It works, but you may not want to use a noxious chemical like this at home. Chemical dip has has to stay away from food and pets, and mustn’t touch skin, eyes, etc. Even the fumes make some of us feel sick.  Another downside to silver dip: the chemical reaction that does the cleaning releases sulfur back into the atmosphere. Yup, the very same element that causes tarnish in the first place. So if you dip, let your silver air out before putting it away. Also, be careful with gemstones. If dipped too frequently, finishing polishes used on lapis, onyx, malachite, and some other stones can degrade.

Fortunately, there are more convenient and less toxic ways to take care of silver at home. One the simple polishing cloth. We have single cloths for sale at the store for a dollar each, and one usually lasts a good long time. Variety stores often carry larger packages. These are simple to use, best for a quick surface wipe. Of course, they can’t get into the grooves of a chain, or completely clean three-dimensional decoration.

Both dips and silver cloths work by removing the black layer of silver sulfide that forms when the piece reacts to sulfur in the air, which is a byproduct of aging plant material and food. Unfortunately, these methods also remove a thin layer of silver every time. Here’s another method that removes only the sulfur, leaving 100% of the silver intact:

Find a pan big enough to lay your tarnished jewelry out flat, then cover the pan with aluminum foil. Lay the jewelry on top of the foil, so that as much silver as possible touches the aluminum. Boil enough water to cover all the jewelry, then mix in baking soda at a ratio of one cup soda per gallon of water. Pour the soda/water combination into the pan. (Careful, it may froth up a bit.) Light tarnish will disappear completely after soaking a couple minutes, though for really dirty pieces you may have to repeat the process. After a couple minutes, lay the jewelry out to dry. Then just brush off any excess baking soda with an old toothbrush or fuzzy cloth. That’s it! The aluminum foil is the magic ingredient; sulfur atoms like aluminum better than silver, which is why they’ll happily jump off your jewelry.

A few types of gemstones may degrade in boiling water. With biological stones like amber, copal and jet, it’s safer just to use a cloth.


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Blazing a Path to Perfect Employment

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by Liz Zélandais

The Neophyte

Liz Zelandais

Liz Zelandais

I was living in Tucson, Arizona, working with disagreeable people at an income so low, I couldn’t  afford to turn on my air conditioner to offset the 110-degree heat. Then, like water in the desert, even that job and income evaporated. As a newly divorced—and suddenly unemployed—single parent, I was panicked. I had few job-seeking skills, but inner guidance directed me to write down what I wanted from that next, desperately-needed employment.

I timidly wrote out three requests to the Universe:

1) More money

2) Kind and enjoyable co-workers

3) A stepping stone to better jobs and a brighter future

Within two weeks I landed a position as a receptionist at US Home Mortgage, working with great people and earning enough money to make judicious use of my air conditioner. I was even able to save a little. This was a seemingly dead-end job, but I was more than happy that two out of three of my requests had come to pass.

In the eighteen months I worked for US Home, I took on overflow work from the loan processors and closers. Then I was promoted to each of those positions in turn. That experience took me to progressively responsible and well-paying jobs with financial companies—and within five years I was working for a Wall Street firm in New York. Bingo! Third request fulfilled in spades. The Universe—teamed up with a strong work ethic and personal commitment—rocked that original list.

As Above, So Below

My thirty-year career across industries and organizations has demonstrated the importance of employing (so to speak) every tool in both the spiritual and conventional toolbox in getting hired for the right job. Clearing personal energy and invoking spiritual power to pave the path can make miracles in the quest for perfect employment, and those miracles can be facilitated with a well-written resume and cover letter, along with knowledge of current job-search techniques.

Finding the most effective techniques—both metaphysical and orthodox—has been a long and circuitous path for me, often fraught with detours. “Back in the day” I attended a job seminar in which the presenter offered a core focus of getting hired by standing out with originality. His major tip was to submit resumes on brightly colored paper. After following this advice a few times, my true “Eureka!” moment was in realizing that a fine line separates appearing unique and appearing to be a nutcase who is unaware of standard practices of excellence.

Various facets of job hunting are constantly shifting, and it pays to stay abreast of the latest and best practices. For example, the rule of a resume not exceeding one page has become as obsolete as the buggy whip, as has the use of the worn-out “objective”. Social media has given a new and high-impact dimension to most aspects of our lives, and job candidacy is no exception. With this in mind, I made it a point to change my LinkedIn picture with the red hat and martini sunglasses to one that suggests a greater degree of professionalism.

One unchanging and important hallmark of a successful job search is clarity—clarity of personal space and energy, clarity of intent, and clarity in every communication. Communication includes what you are conveying through what you say and how you say it (even to yourself), your body language, how you dress, and—of course—written communication. Going through the process of clarification that sparks a promising job search can provide the added bonus of amping up every aspect of your life.

Taking on the Mantle of Power

The most empowering aspect of job hunting is knowing your own importance in that equation. Too often job applicants appear as job supplicants. “Oh please, give me a job. I really, really need this job. I’ll do anything for you to like me enough to hire me.” True, this is a bit exaggerated; but it is not an exaggeration of the vibe that many applicants exude.

I remember the first time a wise friend informed me, “The job you are seeking is also seeking you. It needs you as much as you need it. Maybe more.” A jaw-dropping revelation, to say the least. Consider that each of us represents a one-of-a-kind package of skills, personality, and experiences that shape our environment and everyone around us. There is a job that needs you and your one-of-a-kind abilities. It is looking for you as much as you are looking for it. That’s power. Use it well.

About Liz: With a successful career that has included working with Wall Street firms, Fortune 100 companies, consulting groups, government agencies, and haute couture, Liz Zélandais knows what it takes to get a great job. Having personally experienced both carefully planned and unexpected job transitions, she has learned how to engage elements of metaphysical traditions as well as conventional job-search techniques to turn crisis into opportunity every time. Liz is a healer, shamanic mesa carrier, and experienced trainer/facilitator who also consults privately.

 

 


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color magic correspondences for candles, crystals, etc.

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Color Chakra Correspondences

Red

1st

Love, passion, courage, strength, success in times of conflict or danger, sexuality, vigorous health

Pink

4th

Happiness, self-love & esteem, romance, nurturing, peace, friendship, emotional healing, youth

Orange

2nd

Strength, success, attraction, good fortune, feasting & celebration, optimism, encouragement

Peach

2nd

Gentle strength & joy

Yellow

3rd

Clairvoyance, communication, air element, confidence, joy, banishing depression

Apple green

4th

Healing, new beginnings, cleansing

Green

4th

Healing, prosperity, growth, nature connection, fertility, rejuvenation, balance, happy home

Light Blue

5th

Clear communication, balance, intellectual & intuitive insight, creativity, adapting to change

Med/Dark Blue

5th

Meditation, tranquility, peace, truth, wisdom, devotion, healing, remembering dreams

Purple

6th

Spirituality, wisdom, intuition, divination, psychic skill, protection from “psychic vampires”

Lavender

7th

Intuition, dreams

White

7th

Clarity, protection, contact with elemental beings, consecration, cleansing, breaking curses

Gray

Balance, judgment, counteracting negative forces, stopping something already in progress

Black

1st

Absorbs negative energy, protection, Earth energy, deep meditation, power of the unconscious

Brown

Earth, animals, grounding, stability, physical healing, decisiveness & concentration, finances

Gold

Solar energy, yang force, developing aura, overcoming habits & addictions, luxury , generosity

Silver

Lunar energy, yin force, working with hidden energies, introspection, confidence, intuition, gratitude


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“Xocolātl: The Magic of Chocolate” by Cathy Douglas

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Chocolate is one of those foods that has an almost mystical, larger than life presence. Even though it’s a luxury, very few people have a take-it-or-leave-it feeling about the stuff. I’m a take-it girl, myself. So I decided to look at chocolate’s magical history, and see whether the lore of cacao is as rich as its flavor. chocolate

Chocolate originated in the tropical rainforests of Central America, where people have harvested it since a time before history. Archaeologists have found the Mayan civilization to be a chocolate-coated one, with cacao trees in the back yards of ancient houses, and remains of both beans and cocoa pulp in excavated cooking dishes. By the time of the Aztecs, cocoa beans were so highly valued that they were used for money. Ordinary citizens wouldn’t think of drinking it; it would be like shredding up hundred-dollar bills for salad greens! Only priests, honored warriors, and nobles would actually drink cocoa. Most people used the beans only for trade, or for offerings to emperors and gods. There’s even evidence that dishonest merchants tried to pass off counterfeit cocoa beans.

Originally, cacao was made into a paste, then mixed with water to make a drink. This wasn’t much like the drink we call “cocoa.” The Maya didn’t used sweetener, and to them, the idea of adults drinking milk would have been almost as foreign as text messaging. Instead, they often mixed their chocolate with vanilla, annatto, and chili peppers. The Aztecs also used with vanilla and chili peppers, and also cornmeal and black pepper.

Xocolātl is one name associated with chocolate, though there are others. (This is a topic of academic debate, and we’re definitely not going there!) However they pronounced the word, the Maya had their own glyph (picture/word) for chocolate. Artisans inscribed this glyph on ceremonial chocolate pots, alongside pictures of kings, gods and animals sipping cocoa.
What kind of magic did ancient people associate with chocolate? Healing magic, for one. Chocolate could help a person stay awake, though in the right cases it might also have a soothing effect. Both the Maya and the Aztecs associated chocolate with blood, so it was natural for them to use it to influence human energies.

Chocolate was then, and is to this day, considered an aphrodisiac. According to legend, Montezuma consumed 50 cups of chocolate per day–more if he was planning a romantic evening. How well did this work for him? Well, scientists have also turned up a brain stimulant in chocolate called phenylethylamine, which can produce emotional highs. The only problem is, you’ll get a heftier dose of it by eating pickled herring and sausage. There are 300 chemicals in chocolate, which gives scientists a lot to work with. Among them, they’ve found the ingredient theobromine has energizing and therapeutic properties. And research indicates that even the smell of chocolate produces theta waves, which help relax us. On the other side, chocolate contains caffeine and plenty of calories. Maybe that’s what helped keep Montezuma going.

Chocolate was used in ritual–as an offering, or as part of betrothal or wedding ceremonies. The ancients seem to have universally associated it with blood. They would drip the blood of sacrificial offerings onto cocoa beans, or sometimes burn the beans themselves. Blood-red colored cocoa was best for ritual, and they used annatto to give the beans a reddish tint. The Mayan god Ek Chuah was the patron of cocoa growers and merchants. Among the Aztecs, offerings of cocoa were holy to the god Quetzalcoatl, who got kicked out of paradise for giving chocolate to the human race. Before that, the gods kept it for themselves.

Later, the history of chocolate is mixed with European conquest and enslavement, as chocolate became a cash crop grown in plantations. When Cortez demanded Montezuma’s treasures, he receieved a lot of cocoa beans in with the gold he wanted. He didn’t like it much at first, but he understood the commercial potential. This is how he described it in his pitch it to people back in Spain: “The divine drink that builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink will enable a man to walk for a whole day without food.” Later on, the Catholic Church used it as a fasting beverage. Its use spread in Europe when history’s first recorded chocoholic, Queen Anne, a Spaniard by birth, married King Phillip III of Austria. As its use spread, so did its medicinal reputation; many believed chocolate would aid digestion, purify the blood, and induce sleep.

Nowadays, most cocoa beans are once again grown by hand by independent farmers in equatorial regions. Small-scale farmers tend the plants, harvest the beans, and ferment, dry and pack the crop by hand. In Mexico, chocolate is still used as an offering to ancestors during the Day of the Dead, in the form of a dish of cocoa beans or a bowl of cocoa. As far as medicinal benefits, pure cocoa has a good mixture of fats and won’t raise your cholesterol. It’s also got antioxidants and flavonoids, as well as several micronutrients–all good stuff.

Okay, so it’s still got a lot of caffeine and calories. But sometimes that pick-me-up is exactly the magic we need!


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“Disabilities and Souls” by Jack McCarty

Written by Mimosa
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I am not a typical guy that you might meet in a supermarket, thank God. And, most people would not call me “normal.” I am simply who I am meant to be, and I write. Crystal-Layouts-Grids-205x300

How would you define “normal?” Few people could give a quick answer to that question. After working in state hospitals for fifteen years, and studying New Age Spirituality, this is what I have come up with.

Normal, first of all, is a judgment; and all judgments are only an individual’s point of view. When we experience anything, we compare that experience to our past. If the experience is comfortably within our tolerance to differences, we judge the experience as normal. Therefore, there is no such thing as normal; it’s all in our minds. Now, here is a bit about how I am different.

Many people have judged me as “odd,” or terms more colorful, because I was born with Tourette’s Disorder. It is a movement disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics. Some cases shout short profanities. I did not develop that symptom. I also have a bit of Adult ADHD and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). So, besides my tics, I am forgetful, have trouble with spelling — etc, restless with a short attention span, and think about some things too long. I did not make great grades in English, and I seem to be mildly dyslexic. However, some years ago, I finally heard a silent voice inside of me saying, “You are a writer!”

On the other hand, I seem to have some gifts. I am very good with abstracts and concepts. Before I was ten, I picked up a simplified Air Force preflight manual. It was about the basic workings of aircraft, and the theory of flight. I read through it and understood it. I could envision the principals of aerodynamics. Today, I often read scientific articles, and I have learned a lot about science. I could discuss String Theory with a physicist, and even suggest some new ideas, as long as we avoided the math. I also seem to be capable of spontaneous knowledge. When I write about a familiar subject, when I am finished, I sometimes know more about the subject than when I began, by just writing what I know.

In addition to learning a lot about science in general, I studied computers when PCs were only experimental. I studied electronics in the military. And, I had clinical Psych as a part of my training in the nursing field.

Most people would look at this situation and say, that even with such gifts, becoming a published author is “having your head in the clouds.” They would say it is impossible for me to write anything of any quality. I admit that it takes me a lot more time to write a story than most writers do. Ultimately, anyone is capable on anything. Some of my work is close to being publishable, at least. Impossible is only a belief.

My studies of New Age Spirituality have led me to a much larger understanding of life, and how it always works out for the best. I saw plenty of the dark side on humanity, growing up with uncontrolled Tourette’s. No one knew what it was until I was in my thirties. However, I found a lot of truth in the works of some authors.

The late L. Ron Hubbard, as many know, founded the Church of Scientology. I was a member of that church for a short time. I found a lot of truth in his work. However, his views seemed to have some flaws. Nevertheless, I feel he came very close to the ultimate truth. I no longer see “eye to eye” with that church. And, it is a very expensive religion.

Richard Bach writes fiction with a metaphysical theme. Most people have heard of his book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.” Some have read, “Illusions, the adventures of a reluctant Messiah.” They are both about the road to Enlightenment. They stimulate the imagination. And, they have inspired many to seek the truth.

Few people know who wrote “A Course in Miracles.” Most of what I learned about that was from a promoter / expert named Marianne Williamson. She has published many recorded lectures. She talks very fast. It is a set of books written by a woman by way of channeling. Channeling is when someone writes or speaks for a disembodied spirit. Normally, the human is in a deep trance. He or she does not remember writing or speaking after coming out of the trance. Many people believe she was channeling Jesus. She chose not to put her name on the work.

Neal Donald Walsch wrote the “Conversations with God” books. He writes that God talks to everyone all through life. However, we have forgotten what to listen and look for. And, the filters of our egos block much of that out. But somehow, after he had decided to write God an angry letter, he couldn’t put the pen down after he finished writing. He picked his tablet back up and wrote what a silent voice inside his head started telling him. That was the start of the conversation. He is now my favorite New Age author. If you have read any of his books, my inspirational stories may remind you of his work, including much of the last half of this essay.

And, I don’t want to forget James Redfield, who wrote “The Celestine Prophecy.” It is a fictional metaphor of a man’s search for Enlightenment, which seems to occur through happenstance. However, in ultimate truth, there is no such thing. It has a lot of drama and action. The book is better than the movie.

Here is some of what I have learned. For someone with a disability, one of the greatest truths I have found is regarding the agenda of the soul. Most people have never heard that one’s soul has an agenda of its own. But, the soul brings forth all the major events in one’s life. And, these events are to fulfill the soul’s agenda. This agenda is not a list of specific events, accomplishments, or things you will have. It is sort of a list of experiences of what the soul wishes to be. In order to experience many of these things, the soul gives the EGO and the body some circumstances and limitations, and sometimes the lack of a common limitation or two, which help guide the EGO to these experiences.

As one example, say the soul needs to experience some of the most basic parts of being a human wearing its heart on its sleeve, with few complexities. That soul may be born with a body that has Down’s syndrome. When that life is finished, in its next life it might be a genius and become a rocket scientist. In this case, the soul may wish to experience being a student of the universe. Circumstances, created by the soul, help lead us to the soul’s choice of being, the soul’s agenda.

However, many people become frustrated when they choose to be something, and life seems to begin to work against them. I forget and do this too. But, there is a reason for that. And, it is a blessing in disguise. Einstein stumbled onto something much bigger than he may have known when he developed his theories of relativity. Relativity came before this, or any universe. Can you have up, without having down? Can you have hot, without having cold? Nothing can be experienced without comparing it to its opposite. Comparing something to a point of reference is a basic concept of relativity.

When life gives you the opposite of what you have chosen to be, you are experiencing a reference point from which to experience being what you have chosen to be. In metaphysics, the term for that is “The Law of Opposites.” When you choose to be something, its opposite soon shows up in your experience. Expect it and bless it. These opposites are allowing you to experience what you have chosen to be, and give you the choice to commit to that choice of being.

Look at your history to find what kind of experiences you have had repeatedly, which shaped your life. Also, look at the things you most enjoy doing. What were you being when you had those experiences? And, what situations have come up frequently in your life that seemed to oppose you? What ways of being are the opposite of those situations? Find the most common ways of being in these examples, and you will have begun to find your soul’s agenda.

Another of life’s unseen truths is that everything we experience in the physical world we are making up. You might think of it as a play, “and all the world’s a stage.” Ultimately, all life is equal; and we are here helping each other have the experiences we came here to have. Physical reality is a collective illusion created by life itself — another word for God. I have found that it is not easy to convince most people of this, however. Try telling any of this to a homeless person, for example. I once said to another man in a homeless shelter, “I’ll tell you one of the secrets of life. It’s all made up.” I got a laugh, like I was crazy or something. And, yes, I was also homeless.

We do ourselves a dis-service when we judge others, and ourselves for our differences and shortcomings, and when we fear others for their advantages. We are all in life together, helping each other have experiences. Everybody needs everyone. As it has been said in “A Course in Miracles,” “There is only one person in this room.” Or, as Mr. Walsch has put it, “We are all one.” “Separation is an illusion.”

Souls never oppose each other, only our egos do that.

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