Monthly Archives: April 2016

Venus & Current Transits for May, 2016

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Category: Current Transits

By Barry Kerr

The Sun moved into Taurus on April 19.

Taurus is ruled by planet Venus. In our journey around the zodiac, after asserting our spiritual essence into physical human form via Mars in Aries, our Venus sets about gaining a healthy connection to the physical world. This includes how we relate to our body, to physical resources like food, clothes and shelter, and to nature.  At the same time we learn to enjoy the beauty and miracle of being in physical form, to delight in our five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Much of this learning is fundamental to surviving on the physical plane.  We strengthen our commitment to building and maintaining a self, claiming territory for our ego to grow.

Think of a seed planted in spring. Its life force is there, ready to actualize its growth into form and eventually bear fruit. Taurus is the early stage of the seed sprouting, sending roots into the earth and growing a shoot up into the world to engage with the environment around it.

The healthy result of our Taurus experience is to develop the ability to provide for our self, to gain the things (money) that we need to maintain existence and well-being. Yet that extends past the tangible needs into the other basic human needs of love and comfort. To do that, we first have to establish a sense of self-worth. Without the necessary feeling of intrinsic worth, we may not even make the effort to attain our needs, much less our comforts.

Venus is the part of us that wants and needs to relate, both to things and to people. When our Venus is doing well, we are willing to give ourselves the pleasures of life. That includes delicious food, comfortable and attractive surroundings, and a sense of abundance. We feel comfortable in our body. Through this process, our Venus forms our values: what do we like and not like? This applies to people, too, in a practical way, however it is in the sign of Libra that Venus explores the emotional dimensions of relationship.

When our Venus is wounded or undeveloped, we experience a lack of self-worth, lack of abundance, lack of values, and/or an unbalanced desire for money and possessions. We might feel overly dependent on others or extremely self-contained, needing no one.  We might feel unattractive or that our body does not support us.  

Current Transits

The New Moon is on May 6

New Moon May 2016 copy (1)

With the Moon, Sun, Venus and Mercury all in the earthy sign of Taurus, the focus is on paying attention to both the practical needs of your survival and to what delights your senses and gives you pleasure.  This new moon is a good time to set intentions on listening better to your body. What can your body “tell” you about how aligned your intentions and actions are with your values? As a spiritual being, what is the proper balance with materiality?

The above planets are in a pragmatic trine with Jupiter and Pluto.  Jupiter in Virgo supports your ability to discern your spiritual truths while Pluto in Capricorn empowers you to align those truths with practical action.

Jupiter also forms a T-square with Saturn and Neptune during most of May. Saturn in Sagittarius is challenging you to question your beliefs and take responsibility to move beyond what remains of any old religious and cultural programming that promotes the separateness of matter and spirit, body and soul.

The Sagittarius Full Moon on May 21 will shine a light on where your reasoning mind is out of alignment with your beliefs. The Sun in Gemini emphasizes information and data, while the Moon in opposing Sagittarius reflects your interpretation of that information, which is often an emotional “spin”. With Mars hugging the Moon closely, be careful not to be overconfident in your convictions. Take time to consider all perspectives.

There are currently five planets (half) in retrograde, with Saturn and Pluto continuing into summer. By summer’s end, they will be joined by Uranus and Neptune. One accumulative affect of these seemingly backward moving planets is to create very unpredictable events. The current election cycle is a prime example of that. We can expect to see many more surprises and “reversals” in the election and in world events. On a more personal level, the challenge is to keep an open mind and heart as to what is possible in this quickening of the collective human consciousness. Stay grounded in your body. This is a key to discerning your inner intuitive messages that will help you negotiate the coming changes.

Barry Kerr, a soul-based, evolutionary astrologer, has 35 years of experience with an international clientele. He and Kristine Gay, a licensed psychotherapist, are owners/practitioners at Inner Essence Center in Madison. Both have extensive training in soul-guided healing of mind, body, heart and spiritual systems. Barry offers astrology, energy healing and transformational coaching by phone, Skype or in person in Madison, WI. Inquiries are welcome – free 15-minute consultation to explore if this is for you.  Visit for more information or email Barry at

Bird Augury and Omens

by Cathy Douglas

People have found omens as long as they’ve seen patterns and correspondences — it’s one of the traits that makes us human. Both science and religion are based on patterns that evolve through continued observation. And in their better moments, both religion and science might agree that real wisdom is less about “true” and “false” than about analyzing the observed facts in a reasonable way. Nowadays, as environmental awareness increases, observation of nature may be at the same time the most ancient and the most timely form of spirituality.

Much has been written about new age totem or spirit animals, and there are a lot of interesting and sometimes downright weird stories about bird augury in ancient history. (If you’d like a sample of the latter, see the footnote below.) For a change, I thought it might be interesting to take a more hands-on approach, and look at how we may interpret the bird sightings and patterns in everyday life.

Simple Bird Omens: One very basic divination technique is to simply spend time outside and pay attention to what you see and hear. A lot of bird activity flows in a predictable way through the seasons, and while this activity is interesting in its own right, it’s not really a sign or omen with any personal meaning. At times, though, you may notice a bird someplace you wouldn’t expect it, or doing something it wouldn’t usually do. These are the sightings that may carry a personal message.

Not too long ago, this happened to me in a very memorably way. My late husband was always a handyman, and the workshop behind our house was his favorite place. Not long after he died, I was back there sorting through some of his tools and other belongings, when a little finch flew in. This surprised me, because it was the dead of winter and not many birds were around. The finch circled the room, confused and unable to find its way, and I was afraid it would hurt itself running into walls and windows. Finally it found the door and burst out into the sky. I took this as an omen about my husband’s soul — that after a life that included a certain amount of frustration and difficulty, his soul’s time for freedom had come, and he had finally found his way.

Envoys of the Gods: Birds have a special place in nature because flight allows them to travel freely between heaven and earth. Some Greek philosophers argued that if the gods exist, they must care about the affairs of men, and if that was a case they must have some way of communicating. This tells us something about the spiritual nature of birds.

Taking a modern spiritual perspective, this means that if you ask for help from a god, goddess, or the universe, the answer may come to you in the form of a bird. You would not simply be watching nature, you would also be finding answers in her richness — sort of like picking an oracle card out of the sky!

After giving thanks, take some time to meditate and think. Many natural signs have more than one layer of meaning.

Folklore: There must be at least one rhyme interpreting the appearance of birds for every county in England. Here’s one about various black birds, such as rooks, magpies, crows or ravens:

One is for bad news, two is for mirth.
Three is a wedding, four for a birth.
Five is for riches, six is a thief,
Seven a journey, eight is for grief.
Nine is a secret, ten is for sorrow,
Eleven is love and twelve is joy on the morrow.

I don’t know if there’s much truth to any of this, but it’s kind of fun to try out.

Not all bird lore is fun and games, though. Because they cross the heavens, birds have often been seen as omens of death. Not as the cause of death, but as a soul-bearer or psychopomp; for example, a mysterious bird perched on the house was often interpreted as an unearthly being, waiting to carry soul to its new home. But as with all nature symbolism, it’s important here not to jump to conclusions based on other people’s stories. For one thing, symbolic meanings are neither inflexible nor infallible; something that had meaning for one culture might not translate well into another. Besides, the stories handed down with the most enthusiasm tend to be the creepiest ones! So take what you hear or read with a grain of salt.

A Special Bird: If a bird follows you home, or if you encounter the same type of bird over and over, it probably has some kind of meaning. It’s not necessarily your spirit animal (though it could be), it may just have a message you need to know. It can’t hurt to look up the meaning in a guidebook,such as Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak. But you should pay even more attention your own personal associations and instincts. Maybe the guidebook says cardinals have a certain meaning, but you feel something different based on a strong personal association, such as a cardinal family that nested outside your window when you were a child. In this case, you should pay attention to both meanings, but give precedence to the personal association, which will probably be stronger.

I remember one summer when it seemed like everywhere I went, I was practically tripping over great blue herons. Looking it up, I found that herons are a bird particularly associated with shamanism, which I found very interesting. But with further observation, I kept noticing how strong and self-sufficient these herons were — comfortable in air, land and water, a bird of the Three Worlds. At the time I’d been seriously considering joining a pagan group, but the heron’s message was that mine was to be a more solitary path.

Using a templum: If a simple bird omen is like pulling a single tarot card, taking auspices with a Roman templum is like reading a complicated spread. The ancient Romans used it not so much to divine the future as to consult with the gods about the present.

While it’s not well known, there’s no reason we can’t adapt this technique to our own times. It would take a whole book to explain how to do it, and I’m no expert, but here are the basics:

Go to the top of a hill and face the point in the east where the sun rises. Use a staff or wand to draw a line on the earth from direction the sun follows from sunrise to sunset, then another line perpendicular to the first. Use this orientation to trace a rectangle or square. Then draw a corresponding rectangle across the sky. This is called the templum, and it functions very much like the sacred circle in Wicca, creating a temporary sacred space. Pray for guidance, and plainly state your question. Incense, flute music and libations were traditional parts of the process, both as offerings and to help the augur ignore everyday sounds and concentrate on signals sent by the gods. Watch what birds that cross the templum — not just what kinds of birds, but also their number, the sounds they make and how they fly. The Romans paid special attention to eagles, hawks and vultures.

It seems to me a templum would be best used to find the answer to a well-formulated question; using it for general guidance could get awfully confusing. The simplest way would be for a yes-or-no question. In Roman tradition, a bird flying across the templum from in front or the left means the gods view your plan favorably. If a bird flies in from the right or from behind you, the gods disapprove.

Beyond this, there was a whole system of traditional correspondences for species, flight patterns, calls and other behavior that goes way beyond the scope of this article. It would be interesting to find new ways to use a templum to communicate with the heavens, perhaps by combining it with a more commonly used system of correspondences.

Observing Domestic Birds: We can also learn surprising things by observing the behavior domestic birds, whether they’re farm animals or urban pets. Bird owners often notice, for example, that their pets get skittish when a storm is approaching, even if there’s not yet a cloud in the sky. And some say hens’ behavior foretells the length of a storm; if they hide under their henhouse, expect a short rain, but if they just give up and go out in the yard, expect it to rain all day.

As with other pets, birds may form strong attachments with their human friends. If you have a psychic bond with your pet bird, consider yourself lucky!

Footnote: A Couple Not-Too-Stellar Examples of Bird Augury in Ancient Rome

* One commander had his troops ready for war, confident and eager to engage the enemy. Their chicken augur (pullarius) spread bread before the chickens, because the chickens’ appetite was supposed to augur success in battle. Unfortunately, the chickens refused to eat. So he claimed the food was still on the ground because they’d eaten it so greedily that they’d slobbered it, intentionally misreading the signals because he didn’t want to bring bad news. The general found out, though, and put the pullarius in the front of the army and let the enemy shoot at him. As the pullarius died, a crow cawed loudly. This was taken as a good omen, so they went into battle confident, and won.

* Chicken auguring was common practice in the navy too. One consul, Publius Pulcher, checked his chickens before a big battle and found they wouldn’t eat. Considering his crew superstitious, he said something like ‘oh well, then let them drink!” and tossed them into the Mediterranean. Bad idea — his navy went down in defeat.


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Moon Calendar for 2019


Humans have always used the moon and sun to keep track of the dates and seasons. The Moon, the night sky’s brightest celestial being, is an essential part of our lives. The Moon pulls and pushes on our oceans, creating the tides, and helps keep the Earth’s orbit stable. Its gravitational pull reaches all the way into the Earth’s core, slowing down the rotational speed. The Moon literally keeps our planet in check, constantly pulling and pushing, as if we were engaged in a mystical ballroom dance. Yet even before knowing how much it controls our lives, we gave the Moon meaning.

A Full Moon occurs approximately every 28 days, which is the time the Moon takes to travel around our Earth. As it makes a full rotation in about the same amount of time, we always see the same side — the beautiful, cratered, and battered side. In it, some cultures see rabbits, or men, or a lady. But whatever they see, it’s something magical.

Many myths and legends surround the Moon, and every culture has its own idea. The Chinese believed there were twelve different moons, all made of water, each with its own month and meaning. The Algonquin tribe of North America also gave the Full Moons names and meanings, and these are still popular in North America. They used the Moon to tell the seasons, and to know the best times for planting crops and hunting. Many cultures see the Moon itself as feminine, helping women with fertility; since the moon’s orbit is about the same length as a woman’s menstrual cycle, it can help her make an educated guess about when she might be ovulating.

The Moon’s many phases are essential to Wiccan and Pagan practices. Each stage of the moon brings new and different energy to their magic, and certain spells work best at certain times. One common practice is known as Drawing Down the Moon, the purpose of which is to fill yourself with the Full Moon’s divine light, or Essence of the Goddess. Anyone can invoke Her, by simply looking up and willing Her Essence. Taking in the Full Moon’s energy helps increase self-confidence, release all worries and stress from one’s body, and essentially clear oneself of negativity. Drawing in the Moon’s energy is beneficial for all souls, helping one release the negative and accept the positive. It’s about directing energy in a positive way.

You can use any amount of Moonlight to fill yourself with Divine Light. Different phases have different meanings, so it’s important to be really clear with your intention when drawing in the energy. Each Moon Phase reflects a different face of the Goddess.

Phases of the Moon

new moon New Moon/Crescent Moon: The Moon is dark. Now is the time to seek new knowledge and new beginnings. Start fresh, try something new — perhaps a new project.
waxing moon Waxing Moon: The Moon’s light is starting to grow. It’s the time for abundance in your life. Invoke Her light to bring Good Luck, attract love and conceptualize new ideas.
first quarter moon First Quarter Moon: This is a time of action. If you’ve been meaning to do something, now is the time to do it.
waxing gibbous Waxing Gibbous Moon: There is forward momentum as the Moon moves into her fullest phase. You’ll start noticing results from your new beginnings now.
full moon Full Moon: The Moon is at the peak of her energy and the most positive. This is the primest time to take in her divine light.
 disseminating moon Disseminating Moon: As the light begins to fade, energies turn inward. It may be a good time to hold off and bide your time. Reflect on what you’ve learned.
 third quarter moon Third Quarter Moon: Now is the time to polish your skills. Use what you have and make the best of it. Look over your work, and make it better. Get rid of anything that just isn’t working in your life.
balsamic moon Balsamic Moon: Now that she is reaching her final stage, it is time to release all of your pent up energies. If you’ve been unhappy at your workplace or relationship, now may be the time to let go.
teensy waning moon Last Waning Moon: The Full Moon is passing and the light is growing smaller. This is the time to banish addictions or problems that cause you anguish.

Full Moons 2019

January 20, Lunar Eclipse/Full Wolf Moon: The name comes from the sound of howling wolves during this full moon. The wolves remind us to confer with our pack in times of great challenge, and honor our traditions. Wolves are very vocal beings, communicating openly and often. Not just through literal vocalization but also through body language and eye movements. Express yourself during this Full Moon. Full Moon Zodiac – Leo: This Full Moon in Leo is the time to invoke the energy of the Full Moon for courage or fertility.

February 19, Full Snow Moon: Another nickname for this moon is the Hunger Moon, as there is also a lack of food during this month. The amount of snow was usually so high in this month that even hunting was near impossible. This Full Moon is a time to come together with your loved ones. Full Moon Zodiac – Virgo: The Full Moon in Virgo is a good time to manifest employment or the invoke her energy for health and dietary concerns.

March 20, Full Worm Moon: As the snow melts, the ground is going through repeated stages of thawing and freezing, and earthworms start to peek out. This moon is also called the Full Sap Moon, as it is the time to start tapping Maple trees. It is also known as the last Moon of Winter. It is a time of renewal as the Earth begins to wake up from its nap. This Full Moon is about rebirth and fertility. During this time of the Full Moon, try branching out, try something new. Full Moon Zodiac – Libra: A Full Moon in Libra means good news for invoking Her power for artistic creativity. It’s also good for working with personal relationships as well as emotional balance.

April 19, Full Pink Moon: This name comes from the seasonal blooming of pink phlox, a bright explosion of color. This Full Moon is also known as the Egg Moon or Sprouting Grass Moon. During this time you may be feeling a little flighty or ungrounded. The Earth has been frozen, but now the earth is soft once more, and it’s time to ground yourself. During this Full Moon, imagine roots coming from the bottom of your feet and spreading deep within the dirt and sediment. You are strong and balanced, like a are beautiful tree.  Full Moon Zodiac – Scorpio: Scorpio’s Full Moon allows for one to go through transformations. Also helps one work in using Her Divine Light for sexual matters.

May 18, Full Flower Moon: This Full Moon represents the end of spring and the welcoming of Summer. Because of the abundance of flowers and life, Faeries are prominently found. Communication to the Faerie Realm and the trees is heightened. There is a strong power flowing from the trees and plants during this Full Moon. There are myths that flowers grow in the moonlight and even dance. During this Full Moon the Faeries remind us to relax a little and enjoy life. Creative energies are flowing. Full Moon Zodiac – Sagittarius: This is a good Moon to try invoking the energy of Divine Light in aid for legal issues, publication, traveling and revealing the truth.

June 17, Full Strawberry Moon: The name evokes strawberry picking season, but this Full Moon is also known as the Rose Moon in France. In this prime season both roses and strawberries are at their best. During this Full Moon you will need to strengthen yourself and fix your inconsistencies. It’s a good idea to remember to reward yourself for all your hard work, and know that you are essential. Full Moon Zodiac – Capricorn: The Full Moon in Capricorn is excellent for using the Moon’s energy to bring you ambition and success in career and political matters.

July 16, Full Thunder Moon: Also known by the Algonquin tribe as the Full Buck Moon, because this is the time when bucks’ antlers grow a lot. It’s also very stormy, which means there is a lot of energy flowing around. It’s important to ground yourself, but to embrace this surge of energy as well. Use the more tranquil storms to carry you to another plane and meditate. Try manifesting or simply just sitting quietly and enjoying the sound of rain. Open yourself up. Full Moon Zodiac – Capricorn: The Full Moon in Capricorn is excellent for using the Moon’s energy to bring you ambition and success in career and political matters.

August 15, Full Sturgeon Moon: This Moon is also referred to as the Red Moon in honor of the hot summer days that are beginning to fade. The Algonquin tribe named it for the lakes and rivers being abundant with fish. This Full Moon is the calm after the stormy weather. It’s a great time to strengthen your relationships. Hang out with friends, and even make new ones. Give thanks for all you’re grateful for. Pamper yourself and your loved ones. Full Moon Zodiac – Pisces: This is a good time to work on psychic abilities and your creative outlet.

September 13, Full Harvest Moon: This Moon also goes by the name of Full Corn Moon (as you may have heard in the famous Disney Pocahontas song “Colors of the Wind”.) It is a time of harvesting crops before the cold sets in and the ground freezes. If this Full Moon appears in late August, it’s known as the Full Harvest Moon; if it occurs in early September, it’s known as the Full Corn Moon, since this is the time to pick corn for winter storage. This is a time to let go and forgive, and for abundance and growth. Out with the old, in with the new. Full Moon Zodiac – Pisces: This is a good time to work on psychic abilities and your creative outlet.

October 13, Full Hunter’s Moon: Known as the Harvest Moon if it falls close to the Autumn Equinox, though the Algonquin tribe referred to it as the Full Hunter’s Moon, as this was when they hunted game for winter. It’s also known as the Full Dying Moon, to symbolize the dying of the old year, to lull the Earth to sleep for the Winter. This is also a great time to communicate with animal spirits and to find your animal guide or totem. You may have been born with a Spirit Animal Guide, or you may have instinctively picked one. Full Moon Zodiac – Aries: Now is the time to invoke the Goddess’ skills in leadership. She will help you become the leader you want to be with all the authority you need.

November 12, Full Beaver Moon: The Algonquin tribe would trap and kill beavers during this month, in order to use their fur. This is a time to protect yourself. Surround yourself in white light, and remember to love yourself. It’s good to try to ground yourself before the warmth of the world fades and the long winter comes. It’s important to remember the Sun will keep shining. So be the Sun, and shine. Full Moon Zodiac – Taurus: Now is the time for manifestation of love or material things. This is a great time to ask for things we want.

December 11, Full Cold Moon: Otherwise known as the Long Dark Nights or Full Yule Moon. During this month the nights are long, dark and frigid. We remember those in need of warmth, and sitting with our loved ones before the blazing fire we are reminded that there’s love and warmth even in the cold of winter.We are not alone. We protect each other; we are the Sun. We celebrate that the year has come full circle, knowing that soon the Earth will warm and breathe again, full of new life. Full Moon Zodiac – Gemini: This is the best time to work on communication. You can use this energy to manifest travel time or even help with your writing.

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The Care and Feeding of Your Pendulum

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Category: Divination
  1.  If you are drawn to a particular pendulum, it has probably already chosen you.
  1.  Cleanse your pendulum by rinsing it under cold water or smudging with sage.  
  1.  Always prayerfully ask your questions.  Keep your mind clear and positive.  If you can’t handle learning the answer to a particular question, don’t ask it.
  1.  Pendulums have directional swings — clockwise or counterclockwise, horizontal or vertical straight lines.  These swings are highly individual, and vary from one pendulum to another.  
  1.  Start by asking your pendulum a question you already know the answer to.  First ask a “yes” question, such is “Is my name ________?”  The swing the pendulum uses to answer this question will let you know what its “yes” looks like.
  1.  Repeat step 5 for a “no” response.
  1.  Always stop the pendulum from swinging between questions.
  1.  Unless you’re using a pendulum chart, it’s best to stick to questions with “yes” or “no” answers.  At times the pendulum may also give a “neutral” response which is somewhere in between.
  1.  As you get to know your pendulum, you will go beyond just seeing its response; you will also learn to feel it in the hand you use to hold the pendulum.  This sensitivity will help you fine-tune the answers you get from your pendulum. 

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Inula: Aromatherapy Recipe for Colds and Other Respiratory Problems

by Christina Wilke-Burbach

The intuitive essential oil for the month of April is Inula (Inula Graveolens). Inula is in the daisy/sunflower family and has a sweet medicinal but floral and intoxicating, powerful aroma. My husband and I were both pretty sick the past few weeks and I was drawn to use Inula (a few drops on a cotton pad and inhale for a few minutes at a time throughout the day). Inula is antibacterial, mucolytic, expectorant, antitussive, and an antihistamine. It is a great respiratory oil and helpful for head colds, coughs, congestion, and asthma.  There are no known hazards or contraindications with this oil. Please do not confuse it with the hazardous oil Inula helenium (elecampane). If Inula is distilled in a copper still, it will turn a beautiful emerald, turquoise, green color. This is a more expensive oil, but is so potent only a drop or two is needed. Due to its aroma, I personally prefer to use it by itself instead of in blends.

My Inula forecast for April 2016: Inula’s aroma, vibration, chemistry, and deep turquoise green color resonate with the higher heart chakra; the healers’ chakra located between the heart and throat. The higher heart asks you to think of how your actions impact not yourself, not others, but all of humanity. The higher heart is also a chakra of transition. Inula asks you to explore your role in helping move humanity forward during these turbulent times. Are you part of the problem or the solution? We are at a pivotal point in our collective journey right now. Be wise with your behaviors and decisions.

Blend and Meditation for the Higher Heart Chakra

  • One drop Inula
  • One drop Ho wood (or Rosewood)
  • One drop Thyme

Place drops of oil on a cotton ball or cotton pad.

Close your eyes and deeply breathe in the aroma. Put your awareness and your attention on the higher heart chakra. Visualize healing energy coming directly from source/divine/heavens down through your crown chakra….through your third eye…..through your throat….through to the Higher Heart… Allow compassion to build up within your higher heart….allow unconditional love for all to build up in your higher heart…….. ….You are completely full of higher heart chakra energy. Have the intent that you want to send healing energy to help heal the world and all of humanity. Feel your higher heart chakra expanding and getting larger and larger…..its filling your entire chest, your entire body……Feel the expansion of your higher heart chakra to encompass everything in the room, outside the room, all the way to the center of the earth all the way around and completely covering the earth. Feel your turquoise higher heart energy healing the world.

When you are ready, bring your higher heart energy back into your center. Relax…..breathe in and breathe out…return to normal space and time. Namaste

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Aroma Readings are a divination technique using essential oils developed by Dr. Christina Wilke-Burbach, a Holistic Health Psychologist, Certified Aromatherapist, Herbalist, and Reiki Master Teacher.  She offers individual Aroma Readings and spreads as well as teaches Aroma Readings in her level 2 ‘Holistic Healing with Aromatherapy’ certification series. Interested in learning more about aromatherapy and essential oils? Christina offers face to face, live online, and recorded online self-study aromatherapy classes and aromatherapy level 1 and 2 certifications. Join Dr. Christina for the ‘Holistic Healing with Herbs’ series on 100 acres of the Kettle Moraine in West Bend, WI starting May 14, 2016: