dreamwork

Dreams have always been a part of the spiritual experience from Jacob's dream in the Book of Genesis (or Joseph to Pharoah) to the very early Muslim dream manuals. The Ancient Greeks and Romans took a dream interpreter into battle with them. Oracles used dreaming as a way of communicating with Spirit and the Gods or God. In cultures all across the world, dreamers who could travel to the dream realm have been a vital element of the spirituality of that society. In some Native American traditions, dreamers are said to walk through a gateway into the dreaming dimension where Spirit, ancestors, and humans can meet as equals, learning from each other. As Western society rejected this societal dream work, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung turned it more inward, and have both advanced dream work by helping recognize the great teachings that come from having and understanding a symbolic language of dreaming. Personally, I have been told often that my guides work with me deeply in my sleep, helping me integrate medicine and ritual into my daily life and work by repeated lessons in my sleep.
 
From a young age, I have had a deeply spiritual and active dream life. I have been a Lucid Dreamer since my teens, which means that I am conscious of being in a dream while in it, and can also change and interact in my dream life as a tool for connecting to Spirit, the spiritual realm, and my Higher Self. I even connect with passed love ones this way, and sometimes have glimpses of the future, albeit in that surreal dream world that makes clarity challenging. Prophetic dreaming has been a source of curiosity and probably the most talked about and accepted psychic phenomenon. 

Symbols of and in Dream Work

Because of this personal background, I often talk about dream work, which is what I label the spiritual work, visioning, and remembering of our dreams. I often recommend dream work to my clients who are working with me for my Moon Cycle Coaching services, in Tarot readings or in my mentoring circles. In my readings, a number of Tarot cards have come to represent dream work to me--the Two of Swords, the Four of Swords, and Nine of Swords. Swords naturally represent dreams, because they often associate with perception rather than reality. In the Major Arcana, the High Priestess and the Moon (even the Star) can recommend using dreams as insight. In fact, some Readers see the two pillars in the background of the Moon as the gateway to the dream realm. Any card with nighttime can be seen as opening the door to dream work. While lucid dreaming may seem impossible to you, dream work can be as simple as remembering your dreams and journaling about them.

Like all psychic work, the symbolic language of dream work is individual as each person. You begin developing your symbols and meanings as you begin going more in-depth. There are of course some universal symbols and mythology we all can tap into when we begin interpreting our dreams. This is so similar to my feelings about crystals and Tarot--using a reference book is a great place to start, but eventually, you begin to learn your own language for dream interpretation. Journaling is important in this way, because you can refer back to the dream symbols, and begin to make notes. Remember your psychic language--the symbols you use in psychic readings, oracle card interpretation, and Tarot interpretation--are going to be the same in your dreams. And vice versa. So, when you journal for Tarot, daily reflections, oracle cards and dreams and make connections in your day to day life, you master the symbols your guides, angels and truly your Higher Self speak in. This is your psychic language. You learned it. You speak it. You understand it. So, trust yourself.

A few years ago, I have created a medicine bundle for the year with the intentions--Release, Purify, and Path of Service. I asked my guides for signs of what I need to release or what shadow work I must do. My dreams in the next few days were what I would call, "Anxiety Dreams." You know, those dreams of showing up at school in only your underwear, or trying to get to work in time, but being delayed every moment. I wrote them all down, and began really explicating them. What were these anxieties? Oh, right. This is how Spirit is answering my question. These ARE the things I need to release. They ARE my shadow work. As I reflected on them, wrote about them, I really discovered these deep-seated fears were flying under the radar. So, while at times we have very detailed dreams with our angels and guides, the majority of our dreams are about regular life. Don't expect to see your guide in front of you with a sign, "YOU MUST RELEASE GUILT!" Allow your psychic and symbolic language to be Spirit's voice. 

Remembering Dreams

Remembering your dreams requires diligence and dedication, but no special tools. Dream cycles happen every 90 minutes, and you might have read that waking yourself every 90 minutes is the way to go. You certainly can choose to do this, though I know if I did that, I would be a wreck the next day. Honestly, during phases of getting more fully in-depth with dream work (and when I was younger with more stamina and less need for sleep), I have set a gradual alarm every hour and half after my initial three hour early sleep. And it does work to hone your skills as a lucid dreamer. If you decide to do this, try a gradual alarm. There is one for iPhone that gently brings you out of deep sleep with gradual bells. Gradual is the key here, because a shocking alarm can sometimes be the enemy of dream recall.

The most important aspect of dream recall remains getting enough sleep. Self-care in all aspects of psychic work stands alone as your single most important ally--enough sleep, water, movement, clean food, and regular meditation. No matter what happens in the day, I maintain a nighttime routine of face washing, water drinking, prayer, and meditation. Also screen time is a no-no at least an hour before you sleep. Do not neglect yourself when you are trying to do spiritual work. Actually, you'll want to step it up. Also it is best to abstain from alcohol or drugs. You do not have deep, lasting, restorative sleep when you have alcohol in your system.

 So, how to begin this process? Dream work requires simply a notebook and pen, or audio recorder. I love the latter if you are in a place where you won't wake anyone with your possibly incoherent dream talking. If you are going to fumble with it in the morning or be confused by it, don't use it. The scrabbling may throw off your dream recall. Use something easy for you to handle in a half-awake stage. Most people use a notebook. I keep a dedicated clean spiral notebook for my dream work. My friend Rachel designed a cool handmade spiral book for me, and I loved using that as a dream notebook. But alas, I filled that baby in a year. 

I begin my work in prayer, as in all my spiritual work, and simply pray for my angels, guides, ancestors to help me fully awaken with the detailed memory of my dreams. I also think it is wonderful to meditate before sleeping, to clear your mind of clutter from your day. There are some wonderful guided meditations that ease you into sleep. I have used the Delta Sleep System. And again, iPhone, Android, iPod and other gadgets must have biaural tones for sleep enhancement.

In my notebook I write the date, and my intention before going to sleep. "Angels and Guides, help me gain insight into my relationship through my dreams," I may write. Or perhaps, "I easily recall my dreams with detail and insight." An affirmation for dream recall. If you have had trouble with dream recall in the past, you may want to pray, "Dear Angels, please work with me in my sleep. Remove any blockages that I have to recalling my dreams."

Again, you can train yourself to wake up, or simply allow your body to ebb and flow in and out of consciousness in the night. When you do wake, stay still. Try to stay in the same position, and ask yourself what you dreamed. Tell yourself the story of your dream. Not shifting quickly, or turning on the light quickly, helps your recall. It is imperative that you write down all your dreams, even just images that you recall. Or even if they seem stupid or unrelated to any depth. You might be right, but just right it down. It is often the catalyst to remember the deeper work. If you think it is boring or a mundane dream, begin writing it anyway. You might find how important those discoveries are. Try desperately not to edit yourself. Get every symbol, image, name, words, phrase down. The more you do this, the more you will remember, and the easier it becomes. It is also helpful to sometimes write in the present tense rather than the past tense. So, rather than saying, " I walked into my childhood home." Say "I walk into my childhood home." Like you are telling a story. That sometimes make it easier to go back into the dream. But you also don't have to write it as a story. Sometimes it is just a symbol, number, picture, animal, friend, place. I often dream of the same places that I do not know in my waking life--a broken down city, an inside mall-like society, a series of roads twisting around a building. After you've detailed these places, you might name them, so you can shorthand your recall in the future.

I try not to turn on a light before writing. Some people, and I think this is a fabulous idea that I have (caveat) never used, is to use a gentle light to wake up in the morning, vs. an alarm. So it is like a gradual light un-dimmer, mimicking the sun rise. That would be ideal for waking, I would think. I sleep with a nightlight (mostly for my children), but it gives me enough ambient light to write in the middle of the night if something comes up for me. If you trust yourself to write without light, do it. I often cannot read my handwriting without light, mindfulness, and careful concentration, so I need all the help that I can get! But that is something I do religiously, write down my dreams after every dream. In the middle of the night. In the morning. Humans have a light sleep between dream cycles. This is often when we wake up in the middle of the night from a noise, or have to go to the bathroom. I would recommend writing down all night if you are serious about dream recall and engaging in dream work. 

Tools for DreamWork

Whatever spiritual work I do, I try to create sacred space. This picture is my bedside table. No, how it really looks! The bowl of herbs and crystals, along with how to create a sacred sleep space, teas to drink to enhance dream work, and other cool dream tools. When I am doing moon cycle work, I always sleep with my medicine bundle, as I suggest to all my clients too. And as suggested, I always have a notebook and pen bedside. I use Moleskin now, because I like how it opens. I also adore Himalayan Salt lamps, which incidentally is a great light to keep on all night, if you choose to go that route. The beautiful statue is one I was gifted from my sister, and for me, part of creating sacred space. As a clairvoyant channel and medium, she can see my Spirit Guide, and when she saw this statue, she told me he looks just like this! I love having White Bear there all night, watching over me. 

As I mentioned before, if you do wake to an alarm clock, keep it close, so you can stay as close to your original position as possible. When we talked about remembering, we talked about how important it is to keep the original position of your body, keep the light low, not do anything but remember first, which is why alarm clocks can really block dream recall. Gradual alarms, or Zen Alarm clocks, have been around for a while. You can also find them as an app on your phone. I have one called the Progressive Alarm, which wakes with Tibetan singing bowls by gradually getting louder and more frequent. This eases you out of your sleep, rather than shocks you out. I fortunately (or unfortunately) wake before the sun rises in the morning out of my own internal clock, so I don't use an alarm unless I have to get up at an ungodly hour before 5a. I mostly rise 5:30-6a out of my own strange inner timer which craves the sunrise.

If you haven't noticed, I love ritual. For those who have had readings with me, you know I often recommend ritual or meditations with my readings. I am currently working on an oracle deck to help bring ritual and meditation into the reading. It is all about cycles. Through the years, my dream rituals created my nighttime routine. I eat half of a banana before bed (potassium helps your memory). And often I drink Dream Tea. I blend my own dream tea, but there are quite a few awesome dream teas on the market. One tea I like is Dream Tea by Mountain Rose Herbs, which has my favorite dream herb Mugwort in it. Mugwort is a key herb, in my humble opinion, for dream work. In my younger days, I would smoke Mugwort before bed (when smoking wasn't a big deal to me.) If you smoke chanunpa, or a sacred pipe with Kinnikinnick , you can add some mugwort to the mix. Since I do not smoke anything these day, I add it to my own blended dream tea. Other herbs that aid in dreaming, lucid dreaming, and dream recall are lavender, chamomile, and valerian--these are all good for falling and staying asleep and achieving good restful sleep. It seems obvious, but good sleep is the most important element of dream recall. Peppermint is a good blender for mugwort, which is not that good on its own. I have read a great deal about Calea zacatehichi, as well as other shamanic herbs for lucid dreaming, but have not used it personally. Very simply, but also delicious and effective, combine lavender, mugwort, peppermint, damiana, and chamomile for a gorgeous dream tea. 

Beyond drinking (or smoking) herbs, you can use them for dream pillows--small, easy to construct pillows filled with the herbs that rest next to your head while you sleep. You can also add crystals to these pillows for added vibrational medicine. Another great idea--put herbs in disposable tea pouches (you can buy these at Mountain Rose too), or reusable muslin tea bags, and put them in your bath. Warm baths ease you into a dreamy state, so adding dream crystals and herbs to your bath, keeping lights low, and sipping dream tea enhances your susceptibility for spiritual dreaming and spiritual remembering. Remember all these ideas are just starting points, you can build and work with anything here. You might find that you connect more with valerian as an herb for dreaming, or you might want to hunt around the internet for your own rare Shamanic herbs for dream recall. Awesome, go with it.

I also keep a small pottery bowl on my bedside table. In it, I use Athena's dream recall set with her dream herbs and If you have never used her products, I urge you to try anything. She has another Dream set which looks amazing too. I use all her oils for my ritual work, and if you have worked with me, so have you. I love this little set, and the crystals are magic too. I have talked about this before, but keeping crystals in your environment does not have to be complex. Having small bowls of herbs and crystals is not only gorgeous, but a great way to interact with your crystals on a day-to-day basis.

Speaking of crystals, let's talk about some great crystals for dream recall. Amethyst probably remains the most popular, easily obtained and effective crystal for crown and third eye work. And actually, those are the chakras we are focusing on in dream work. We stimulate those two chakras--one for our inner vision and seeing and the other for our connection to the Divine, angels, our guides, and the universe. So, you can work with any of those third eye stones that you like--Azurite, Sodalite, Lapis Lazuli, Dumortierite, and Blue Kyanite. Sugilite is a highly recommended dreaming stone. Both Green and Purple Jade are often used for dream work. 

Some magical and moon time stones also aid and assist dream work like Moonstone, Labradorite and Black or Grey Moonstone--they are highly effective if you are using the moon cycles to work with your dreams. I have found the Black to be particularly effective as a dream aid. Prehnite is a wonderful psychic ally for dreaming, and I have used it for lucid dreaming. I have been working with Azeztulite and Spirit Quartz at night these past few months. Clear Quartz is always an ally, and is often good to enhance the work of another stone. So, if you have a small Sugilite, (which is all I seem to have right now) you might want to use Clear Quartz with it. 

I often focus my dream work on crystals or other tool, so I take a crystal, Tarot card, Oracle card, or other tool to bed with me for dream work; that is, I ask my guides to give me more information in my dreams about this tool, card or crystal. In that way, I love to work with Smoky Quartz or Garnet to help ground my dreams, or Fluorite to help me focus on this one tool, rather than have a chaotic, surreal dream. Some other crystals I have enjoyed working with for dreaming are Crown Chakra crystals like Selenite, Stilbite, Herkimer Diamond, and Scolecite. You can refer to my Crystals for Angelic Communication blog post for some recommendations for crystals for Angelic dream connection. 

It would be remiss of me not to mention some crystals for astral traveling and projection--Moldavite and Tektites are great ally for this work. Be careful sleeping with these, as some of them are very high vibrational. I was working with a Moldavite at night, and my son slipped into bed with us. He was two at the time, and all night, he was jumping in his sleep! It was like his body kept traveling and popping back into his body. I finally had to move the Moldavite to my ground floor so he could sleep! So, work with them in meditation and waking life before taking it to bed with you. It is a very far out crystal.

Whew, now that is a ton of crystals to go and find. But I recommend reading this list and working with one of these crystals that you already own. Or just letting one jump out at you, and search for that. There is absolutely no need to purchase all of these. let your intuition guide you.  If you have a good idea of mixing crystals for work at night, then do it! But mostly, I recommend working with one crystal for two to three nights/days. See how effective it is, or not. It would be good to note in your dream journal what crystals you are working with.
 

mothering

The breath catches in my chest. The cold hits me, energizes me. I am drawn outside. The winter air calls. I want to hike in the snow--to walk and walk and walk until I am way up in the mountains. The sound of my breath echoes in my ears, the cloud of it leading me deeper into the wood, higher into the ether. The sun flickers through the pine trees. It doesn't matter to me that it is cold. I dress warm, and stop when I grow tired, watch for signs of life. But that is not what happens when I step outside, daydreaming about walking for hours, rather a little one pushes through my legs and pops out the door ahead of me with no pants on, giggling wildly. I have children with me always. I wake up with a kid draped on me, his little feet finding a place to knead, a head finds its perch on a shoulder. When I close the door to wee in private, the door flies open, like the black hatted villain in a Western just slung open the Saloon door and is saddling up to the bar. Then it is the insistent, persistent calls for Mama, MAMMMMMMMMMMMA. Where you at? as my two year old says.

I was born maternal, nurturing my twin in the womb. Stuffed animals and baby dolls and then naming each fly that landed on my arm, and feeding it bits of water and fruit. Mothering is encoded in my dna, and writ on my body now is silvery stretch marks across my belly. I had three children in three years, then my fourth five years later. And I left my career to be there for my children. My body now is all mother--soft and low hanging breasts and lines around my smiles and eyes that show the love and joy my babies bring me.

For me, for many of us, mothering grants a daily spiritual experience. We bring this absolutely vulnerable being into this world, and then nurture it, watch it grow stronger. We love without conditions. We accept without limits. We give selflessly to them without a scorecard. Whether you mother human bubbies, or little fur babies, or your writing, or your artwork, or your home, or your own healing, the heart chakra cannot help but burst forth. 

And then imagine if we love ourselves this way. 

We would start a revolution. A wild love warrior revolution where we say to those negative voices, to the ones saying we aren't enough, or have enough, or give enough, "You are wrong, and I love you anyway too." Spiritual women and men often get teased about nurturing their inner child, as though it is a joke. And yeah, maybe it makes us sound a little woo-woo and emotional, but hell, I am a little woo-woo and emotional. I'm okay with that. The mothering of the Self is such a vital important part of us being able to mother anyone else.

As I continue on my work with Earth Medicine School in the second level, Pixie takes us deeper into who we are and what we do. And it has been an absolutely fascinating discovery into who I am. When I listed who I am, my first word was Mother.

I am a mother.

This is what I do all day. If you follow me on Instagram, I may post some artsy pictures of communing and meditating and doing cool artsy, bohemian stuff, but most days I am in the nitty gritty with a rambunctuous, curious, awesome, goofy two year old and two big kids with bigger emotional needs. I try to also post pictures of my kids crying too, because that is my life. It is all of it. The other day, for example, the baby had a bit of diarrhea, and screamed in ten minute increments on and off since he woke up. Because his bum hurts and he keeps pooping and he doesn't know what to do. And my job is to just hold him and rock him and change that smelly diaper and smooch his head and make sure he's hydrated and keep a stream of beauty coming so he can make it through an awful day.

When I go to work, I deal with people from all walks of life dealing with all sorts of issues, but maybe they too are in the same place as my son. They feel uncomfortable and don't know what to do.

I recenter my practice in what I know. When my children are feeling out of control, it is time to center. Breathe. Then I begin asking the questions:

Are you thirsty?  Drink water.
Are you hungry? Eat an apple.
Are you tired? Nap.
Are yousad? Cry.
Are you lonely? Call someone.

This is the same with my clients. Let's get simple. Let's breathe. Let's assess. Let's figure out your goals. What is uncomfortable for you right now? Is it your spirit? Is it your body? Is it your mind? Is it your heart? How are you uncomfortable? Are things too tight? Are they too loose? Is what you thought you had gone? Is it too heavy to carry? Is there a hole that needs to get filled? This sounds very basic, but it is the checklist I make in my head when I talk to a client. 

Nurturing comes by from setting boundaries some days. Other days nurturing is a warm blanket and tea with a good book. Other times it is saying yes to help. We don't mother each project the same nor do we treat each issue the same in session. With clients, I am a source of acceptance and non-judgment. How could I judge? I have worked on all kinds of people. People that look scary, people that look beautiful, soccer moms, alcoholics, witches, Christians, Buddhists and everything in between. I've worked on ex-cons and drug addicted moms and people with cancer and people who have survived the unthinkable. And whenever I close my eyes, their guides come. ALL of their gorgeous angels and spirit guides, animal guides and ascended masters come in droves expressing absolute, perfect love. They don't smell the cigarette smoke or judge that this person cusses when ordering take-out. I can feel that perfect love for each person. There is never judgment there. Only a suggestion, a reminder of our ability to release what is no longer serving, sometimes a redirection, but the thing that blows me away every time I work on a client is the amount of immense love, overwhelming love, Spirit has for us. It is profound. It is unconditional. Spirit loves us like we love our babies, with absolute awe and wonder, with reverence and endless compassion. And Spirit says what I so often tell my clients, "I wish you could see yourself the way Spirit sees you." As light. As love. As a heart. As a baby. As a wise sage. Who am I to judge when Spirit does not? It is overwhelming powerful and humbling.

But mothering isn't just about love, it is about constructing frameworks and boundaries, teaching ethics and how to behave in lovingly firm ways. I am not necessarily warm always. I am pretty masculine at times, blunt and to the point to avoid confusion about my expectations, but I like to laugh. And practice loving my clients as I love my children with awe and reverence and patience.

How are you showing up in your life? Who are you and how does that filter through your work? What or who are you mothering these days and how does it differ from the way you mother yourself?

crystal storage

I acknowledge my poor neglected blog, so this year, I want to focus more energy on my blog, newsletter, and writing about my work (and maybe finishing one of those books I have started). I am going to mix it up with pieces about tarot, crystals, soul work, incorporating mysticism and shamanic work into your life, earth medicine, and earth centered parenting. So, I thought I would answer some of these questions on my blog, have some conversations with people in the community, and just muse on my own. So, send me your crystal questions, or tarot questions, or spiritual questions you'd like to hear me tackle in the blog. Now onto my musings for today.

When people who begin getting interested in crystals come to my classes, or email me on-line, the questions they generally ask me revolve around normal logistical questions. One of the questions I get the most is "How do you store your crystals?"

I have many ways of keeping my crystals. First, I have this beautiful cabinet that my friend gave me from her father's art studio. They kept his slides for artwork and inspiration. I have kept his letters, and now fill it alphabetically with crystals. I have one of these cabinets at work in my healing studio and one in my home, and yes, they are both filled with crystals. 

Inside this cabinet, I have each crystal in a bag labeled with the crystal name and sometimes the Moh's hardness, etc. These are things I like to know, and even though I am pretty good at identifying crystals, it is much easier to have them listed out and accessible in each drawer. It is my Earth-sign nature to keep things color-coded and alphabetized.

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This is primarily for tumblies that I sell or give to clients. I often give little mojo bags to clients. I sometimes have rare smaller crystals that I have one piece of in these cabinets too. For gridding, I have bought art bins and storage bins for art supplies. I find that trying to come up with six crystals of relatively the same size and color can be difficult. I never seemed to have the right amount at the right time, and sometimes I have two extra-large tumblies and four small ones. So, I began collecting and buying crystals six at a time, or if I buy a nice pound or two for a class or the boutique at Alta View Wellness Center , I will nick six of them for gridding. I store them together in these containers. The top open one is for smaller tumbled stones. I always store six stones, as that is sort of the number I use for most of my gridding. The one on the bottom has bigger specimen pieces for gridding or tumblies for gridding. It is about 4" deep. I had them labeled, but they don't completely match anymore to their label. 

I do have larger specimen pieces that I use to center grids, or for altar making. I keep them in our old secretary with fossils, old bottles I collect and other curio items. I keep it them all in my meditation room, so the vibe in there is Ah-mazing. It is probably my favorite place in the house.  

For my crystal healing practice, I have to carry my crystals back and forth from my home to the office. I share the room with other healers, and one of them talked about how the vibration is too strong for her clients, so they began traveling. It isn't the easiest situation. Rocks are heavy, and I like to keep a variety available for my clients. So I found this perfect case for them and it has broken and cracked, and I still keep using it because I cannot find another that is exactly the depth and size I need for my practice. I took a picture of it this afternoon after weeding out the crystals I am taking with me to Tucson for the Gem Show, so it isn't as full as normal.

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Again, I chakra coordinated it, and it holds nice thick pieces and also small ones stay together. I also keep full layouts I use on people in there. I keep this and some of my items I need for a healing session--like a huge magnetite, selenite wand, eye pillow, pendulums, and a box of lemurians, malachite, smoky quartz point, auralite 23 wand and another laser wand for special work--in a box carrying case from thirty-one bags. Someone once came to a class I had and saw my carrying container and snarkily said, "A shaman carrying a thirty-one bag?!? Now I have seen it all." I don't call myself a shaman, but other people do, and their ideas about what a shaman, mystic or healer is and is not is really none of my business (this should probably be a whole blog post in and of itself!). But my first response was, "Shamans are practical, and this thirty-one bag can carry a whole hell of a lot of stones." It is the most durable bag I have. Seriously! 

That was a serious tangent. A tangent supreme.

AT any rate, the whole reason all of this came up is that I am trying to find a way to carry a very pared down version of my healing kit to Tucson without exceeding the weight limit in my bag, busting crystals or otherwise causing crystal mayhem. So, I went searching on-line and found my friend and fellow ACM Paula Martin's etsy shop with these cute little chakra bags that zipper. Then I bought a cool larger bag from East and Market. And it fits everything.

I love that it is color coordinated, and I can easily find which crystals go where. It also fits my selenite wand and my huge magnetite, which I posed next to my normal size hand for perspective.

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And unbelievably, it all squishes in there. All my chakra stones, a few five + inch crystals (lemurians and smoky) and other smaller crystal points for bridging chakras, plus fifteen hematite for a few layouts...it's amazing and only 8 pounds. (um, maybe I shouldn't say only.)

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Eh, voila! So, these are the various ways I carry crystals and store them in my home. How about you? Where do you keep your crystals? How? Let me know in the comments, and don't forget to share what you want to read about on this blog and in my newsletter.

Love,

Angie

 

releasing

from my newsletter, january 2017. You can subscribe here.

I've been a terrible penpal. Truly.

I suppose you can say, I haven't been writing about my work, I've just been doing my work. This autumn I started not one, but two psychic development circles with women. What amazing, interesting, gifted women! And each circle has its own personality and beauty. It is always a gift to sit in circle with women open to Spirit, honoring their path. I have also been diving deep into my second certification with Pixie Lighthorse in Earth Medicine School. It is very personal work that will bring me closer to you.

One of the beautiful questions Pixie asks us is "Who are you? Who are you not?"

Who am I?

I'm a mother.

All day, I am elbow deep in diapers and kid toys and listening to violas being played and having balls thrown at my head and eating around multi-day games of Monopoly with my three wee ones, but I also mother in circle. I nurture my clients. I set healthy boundaries with them, and give them gentle direction. So, yeah, mother seems to fit.

I am a daughter of the Earth.

When I was a child, I would run to the nearest wood, even if it was two tree deep, and construct long stories about the kingdoms there. I would curl up on a patch of moss and sleep. I would climb vines, and swing down and take journeys into the woods, studying footprints and scat, searching for arrowheads and interesting rocks, collecting bones and feathers. In my circles, I guide women and men into shamanic journey, I describe the scene to them, which often looks like the woods around my grandmother's house, the stream to the right and the deer trail which is perfectly suited to me and you together, the fallen tree we need to step over. When I walk in the woods, I am the most me-eyes full of wonder and awe.

I am a bone picker. 

Vulture picks through death. My beautiful Vulture totem isn't for the faint of heart, but her job is invaluable. She transmutes death, the rotting unusable parts of us. She finds the goodness in the most unlikeliest of places. My job with clients is to pick through all the stuff, the assets and defects, the things no longer serving--can we let this go? Are you ready to have a sky burial for this anger that once served the purpose of justice, but now holds you back from love? Can we release the stuff that clutters your art desk? Can we let go of your sabotage? 

I have been doing this for myself this autumn. As my autoimmune issues flared after a particularly stressful October, I found myself looking at it all. What needs to go? What needs to stay? What no longer serves, but has been here so long, I don't think is possible to go. I felt such weight on me, emotional, mental, physical weight. I began praying each morning with another person, staying accountable, then I decided to release my hair. It was holding energy, heaviness, and clouds of bubbles. Truthfully, it felt like a dead limb. So, I started slowly. 14 inches came off. I wrapped it into bundles and mailed it to a place that makes wigs. My hair was still at my shoulders. A few weeks later, I went to my friend and said, "It is still too heavy. It needs to all go." And when it all went, I was naked. Standing in front of everyone. Where is my sorceress hair? Where are the curls, the twists of fate, the curious streak of whiteness underneath? Where is the cover I had so you didn't have to see me?

When we release, we not only stand with lightness, we also stand with vulnerability. Who am I when you take away my anger? Who am I when you take away two feet of hair? Who am I when you take away the boxes on my art table and I can create again? Am I still me?

Who am I?

Who I am not is that I am not someone who uses hair as an identity. Who I am not is someone who is ready to hold onto something that holds me back from allowing the world to see who I am.

I am the bone picker and this first bones I have to pick are my own. 

I intend to write more to this beautiful newsletter, and write more about myself and write more about why I do what I do and how to live this life. What do you want to hear about? Who are you? What bones are you picking? What are you releasing?

Email me and let me know you too. angie@themoonandstone.com. I also have been revising my website, so check it out and let me know what you think. Under Events, I have the local Central Pennsylvania events coming up. I also do on-line readings and distance healings, so check that out too.

With love, Angie

PS. I am headed to the Tucson Gem Show in February (from the 2nd to the 8th). Are you going? I'd love to meet you and connect in person, so pop me an email (angie@themoonandstone.com) and we can figure out a time. I can't wait!

thanksgiving

Two years ago, the snow gently fell all day, as I cuddled next to the fire with my newest little one, Zachary Michael. Though I was scheduled for induction, our little crystal baby decided to arrive early. My water broke and I labored for over thirty hours until he finally made his appearance. In distress, fluid in his lungs, they admitted my son into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for a few days until his breathing calmed, his x-rays showing his lung strong and clear again. My arms ached for him. I held myself for fear of falling apart, sending him Reiki from chair outside of his little plastic crib. To say I was in constant prayer was not an understatement. I called all the angels, the saints, the goddesses. I sat still in meditation and asked for Reiki and prayers on Facebook. I placed my hands on this crown and feet--soul and earth stars--helping incarnate. That is what it felt like--he hadn't quite figured out how this body thing worked yet. My friend Jack said, "It is hard for a spiritual being to become human. May the rest of his adjustment be easier than mine." And we laughed. 

As I sat in the NICU, watching my son struggle to breathe, I just kept thinking, "Scream, baby." They told me that the fluid in his lungs may have been caused from his easy birth--three strong pushes. That is what I prayed for after all and focused on--for my baby to just come quickly. He didn't scream right away, expelling that fluid in his lungs. He was content, lying on my bare breast after an easy delivery. But all that struggle down the birth canal serves its beautiful purpose of pushing out all the fluid in the lungs and pissing those little babies off enough to scream out the rest of the fluid that may cause pneumonia or infection in the lungs down the line.

I thought about that so much as I sat in the huge room of the NICU with all those very little sick babies. We have to scream and struggle against our own contentness sometimes. One of my Religion professors, my mentor really, used to say that babies cry and scream because they want justice. We come into the world knowing we deserve comfort, love, food, heat, people to care for us. No baby feels unworthy. No baby hates themselves. Babies scream because they won't settle for being ignored and unloved. And they stop screaming when people prove them wrong. 

The world talks about gratitude so much at this time of the year. But in this community, it is one of those spiritual principles we talk about all year. It is the elevator of vibration, carrying it up and open. Gratitude elevates our energy, opens us to healing. It is the gateway to forgiveness, love, and spiritual awareness. But I find that blanket statements of gratitude and platitude frustratingly miss the point. I think most of us recognize that we can say, "I am grateful for everything" and be done with it. But listing each of those things, appreciating the gift of them, the work we put into achieving and keeping them in our lives, recognizing their impermanence, focusing on those quiet moments of absolute thankfulness, are more the point. 

Gratitude isn't simple. We often have grief, sadness, suffering, illness, death, depression and other circumstances that create a stuckness in our own story. This stuckness can be an essential part of healing. It is the point before the scream. It inspires us to say, "I am worthy of NOT suffering." Think of the baby and mama pushing to get him out for longer than three pushes. They are suffering, pissed off. They are stuck in this tight space, ready for the world. If you have birthed a child, you know, this is the time when you are distinctly NOT thinking about how awesome it is to have a gigantic baby head stuck in your vaginal canal. You are thinking, "GET OUT." And the baby isn't contemplating how much fluid will be pushed out of his lungs. They are in stuckness, and feeling overwhelmed and can't really see the light at the end of the proverbial and literal tunnel. I think we do a huge disservice to tell people to be thankful when they are in that place of suffering. I believe with all my heart that all our suffering is there for a purpose, and yet it is not so helpful to be reminded of that during the suffering.

Struggling with gratitude IS the practice of gratitude. All we have to do is trust that our feelings when they arise are right and important and valuable to the next phase of our healing, even if our contemporaries shame us when we feel negative or sad or self-pitying. So the suffering--the feeling less than, unworthy, stuck--let this be the gateway to the scream that gets it all out. Let it be the catalyst for feeling worthy of not suffering. Can you find gratitude in your own screaming? In your own declaration of your worthiness? Can your suffering be a prayer of gratitude? 

When I am suffering, grief stricken or sick, I keep it simple. I look out the window, and find myself grateful for the beauty of a leaf twirling to the ground, for the air, and for my own miserable suffering, which reminds me that I am human and not a Buddha. For me, gratitude is an important spiritual practice, but our holiday of Thanksgiving transcends this individual daily practice. We gather our tribe and not gift each other things, not celebrate an achievement, or a person, or a God, but to collectively appreciate what we share as a family, or group of friends. We take inventory of those values we hold dear, and really appreciate what we have. As a society, we take this time to quiet and focus on home.

That is remarkable. It is wonderful to have this yearly community ritual of gratitude rather than just our personal daily practice of gratitude. And yet, I get why the holidays are challenging for so many who face dysfunctional families, estrangement, divorce, or grief. A few years ago, I took the opportunity of Thanksgiving to talk about grief during the holidays. I republished it yesterday, because I know so many of us revisit grief and suffering during this time. It resonated with so many at the time, and if you face difficulties during the holidays, it might be a helpful read. 

But I wonder if we can't reinvent this space of gratitude for those of us who are suffering this year. Rather than shaming those who struggle with gratitude, allow them to scream, abide their stuckness, marvel at their own righteous indignation of their suffering. It is our birthright after all to scream. It lets out the fluid stuck in our lungs. Helps us to take in fresh clear air, filling our heart chakra with the love for ourselves that we deserve.

My son's second birthday was on the 22nd. He turned two and is a bouncy, funny, silly boy who bring joy. I have so much to be grateful for, but I found myself grateful for all the screaming I have done in my life. 

So, on this Thanksgiving night, here is my blessing. It is the same blessing I gave two years ago after bringing my baby home. 

Scream, babies, and I will be dancing to your beautiful siren song of healing.

nourish

Every so many months, I think about my Word of the Year, Remember that? All the way back from January?

I had decided on a word, then during a visioning class I taught, another wordspoke its name insistently in my ear. Nourish.

Nourish.

The word itself evokes that satiating beautiful contentedness that comes from being filled with what your body needs. Mind you, I said needs, not wants. What I want is entirely different than what nourishes me. When I am sad, I like to be alone, isolated, watching Real Housewives with a carton of ice cream and bourbon. None of those things nourish me. None of them are good for my soul. What nourishes me is time spent connecting, exploring, meditating, walking in the woods, sitting still, praying, moving and dancing, singing, being me without all the chatter and noise.

I don't think about my word every day, but I have spent these months digging deep within me about what is nourishing. I have surprisingly cut out so much of what was not nourishing me from food to habits to self-talk to relationships. The surgeon even cut non-nourishing cells from my body. And I have replaced many of those things with new nourishing routines.

For the years in which I choose a word of the year, it is remarkable how the word manifests itself in my life. Emerge felt like a birth--painful and profound. Roots helped me connect and gain footing in my new home. Nourish has been an important shift for me in self-care and self-acceptance.

What nourishes me right now is earthy rooty teas, like Herbal Coffee from Mountain Rose Herbs, creating grids on these amazing batiked grid cloths by Amanda Johnson of Tie-Dye Bill, eating this amazing Paleo granola in the morning when my energy is low that has coconut, pecan, currants, goldenberries, cashews, raisins, and almonds with almond milk, cuddling with all three children while all three still fit on my lap, running again, journeying with Vulture, and singing chants, prayers, and songs I wrote for the Earth.

Singing is a new thing for me. I have traditionally not been fond of my voice, but I began just not giving a shit, and singing anyway. And it takes me to new heights and understanding. Earlier this year, I began searching for other women who like to sing without giving a shit, and haven't quite found that tribe yet. Someone told me to start the group myself, but I'm not sure I am that confident in the not-giving-a-shit part. I just want to sing earth hymns and pagan chants with women in circle--honoring, praying and connecting. All those things that nourish.

I'll be talking about Voice tomorrow night at my monthly crystal workshop at Alta View Wellness Center. We still have room and would love to have you. Email me or call 717-221-0133. We will be talking about how to use crystals to speak your truth, honor your voice and listen with compassion. I am also excited to be starting a new Tarot session tonight! WOOHOO!! And then this weekend, join us all for the Spirit of Oneness Holistic Expo. I'll be offering mini-crystal healing sessions and doing a workshop on Sunday morning about using crystals for self-love and self-acceptance. Check me out at the Alta View booth.

What is your word of the year, and how is it manifesting in your life?

 

measuring progress

My vulture medicine altar had been up for a good long while, and not only did the things I want to transmute and release come, but all kinds of challenging aspects of my personality I wasn't quite done with arose too. You know, those things that feel so intrinsically part of your personality that when someone challenges you about them, you rise up and say, "BUT IF I CHANGE THAT, I WON'T BE ME!" I have heard friends (and myself, perhaps) say that about drinking, smoking, eating chocolate, drinking coffee, about gossiping and cynicism, about anger. In my experience, that is the first thing I probably need to change. Bugger.

 The Vulture medicine is not for the faint of heart, but it was necessary. I don't always want to look at certain aspects of myself, let alone release them. Those old ways of being are comfortable, worn, tried and true. And yet they are serving a pattern that fires me up and makes me feel shame. Discomfort often precedes spiritual shifts.
 
I spent the day canning bushels of Asian Pears and tomatoes from my parent's garden and orchard. Farm work is often tedious and consuming. Like I said in my last newsletter, I have had some shizzle arise, and it has been occupying a large amount of brain power. In fact, I am shocked at how much it has consumed my thoughts, how distracted I am, and how often I have to call my friends and spiritual advisors just to discuss it. Mind you, it is not actually happening to me. I'm just thinking about it. As I peeled and boiled and milled and mashed, I thought about how much I don't want to think about it. The baby crawled around my feet, trying to eat dropped pieces of fruit, and the children danced by with fairy wings and giggles. All this life I have is so beautiful. There is so much I am grateful for. I want to release this damnable thinking. And then I would find myself thinking about that thing again. Then back to how I want to release the thinking and how it is not serving me and besides, I AM DONE WITH IT! But then that old thought, "But I have always worried about this stuff and this person. If I don't worry about it, will I actually be me?"
 
The Full Moon rose above the neighboring horse farm this evening.The moon illuminates the horses, then the fields of wildflowers and the barns, and then our bamboo grove, then our home. As it rises, we feel the light enter the room, like a person. We were putting the children to bed, and I heard a hawk screech. I yelled to my husband, "Check the chickens, I just heard a hawk." The chickens were fine. My husband laid out a blanket under the moon where we could sit out with a cup of tea and talk after everyone was asleep. As I steeped our tea, I looked at my altar. Suddenly, all the vulture medicine felt wrong. I needed different energy. I pulled one of Pixie's animal painting cards (at the right), and Hawk arose. AHA!! That was the screeching we both heard. Hawk wanted to come screeching into our lives right now, helping us with vision and intuition, focus and staying present.

Hawk medicine is also about healing the heart, Pixie wrote. My husband and I created the altar together. We choose two oracle cards and both were Quan Yin--compassion and let it go. We set an intention, and I verbalized that I want to release this issue I have been talking and thinking about all week. In fact, this week we celebrate nine years of beautiful marriage. This is what should be occupying my mind. And so my intention became clear after reading the Quan Yin oracle card from the Goddess Oracle deck, "Transform harshness into gentleness by refusing to see anything but the shining light that is within each person and situation."
 
Later, as we sat outside talking about our lives and our future and our relationship, I began to speak once more about the situation and stopped myself. "No," I said, "I'm done talking about that situation." My husband reassured me that I could talk about it. And I said again, "No, I don't want to talk about it." And he just nodded and said good.
 
People often ask me how to release things no longer serving. It is part of what I help people do in my moon cycle coaching circles, in crystal healing sessions and in my tarot readings. I often use ritual--burning slips of paper, burying items, giving away others. I create altars and crystal grids. I wear stones that help my intention. But the work of release isn't simply all of this facade of release. Our progress arises through the way we interact with the world. When we set intentions, we often don't receive immediate, monumental relief from our ways of being that no longer serve, we begin with gentle curiosity and a subtle awareness of our behaviors. We pay attention. We decide to change one conversation we could have, one way of criticizing the world, one moment where we are not present. Through those thousands of very small decisions, we create profound changes. That is the extraordinary release we are granted, if we do all that tedious and consuming work of paying exquisite attention to ourselves.

truths

from my newsletter...

There is so much I want to say right now.

I have had a Tower moment or two the last few weeks. You know what I mean, when it feels like you are on the top of that Tower in the Major Arcana, as the lightning strikes. I'll probably talk about that another time. We just came back from driving across country with the three children to visit my in-laws. And more came in to shake us up when we walked in the door. Everything has been up in the air, and sudden news had me reeling. Insomnia and lack of appetite. I have been grateful for self-care and for exquisite self-compassion. My friend said to me, "Treat yourself as though you are injured, because you are. Your heart is hurt. Walk slowly. Rest often. Eat good whole foods. Take baths. Zone out with tv when it is too much." 

I have had more than a few Tower moments this year as I grappled with a new baby, surgery, and the blues. In the midst of it, I found myself saying things like
"I deserve this ice cream. I'm bone tired. I'm working hard for these kids and my job. I'm healing that sacral. Dammit, I deserve this ice cream." And yet, I felt awful after eating it, bloated and gassy, headaches and diarrhea. At some point, the uncomfortability was too loud. I started to pay attention again to every little part of my diet, weighing what was feeling beautiful in my belly vs. what was making me sick. 

Almost five years ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Wheat is an allergen for me that causes severe arthritic pain and stiffness and stomach pain and flare-ups that keep me on the toilet for days. I often would say, "I'm just going to have this one cupcake. I worked hard all day. I deserve that!" I said it about a glass of wine too all those years ago.

I am a lovely person. I don't deserve that suffering, even though cupcakes are delicious. And yet, I couldn't wrap my brain around this not-eating-sugar-or-chocolate thing. It felt like a punishment. As it is, I don't drink, smoke, take anything that alters my consciousness. I don't even drink any caffeine. Surely, I deserve chocolate!! Surely, I deserve that thing that makes me feel terrible and bloated, right?!

So, I decided this was an inside job. I wasn't going to search for some kind of ice cream that I could tolerate, or cupcake that serves all my needs. The sugar itself was part of the problem. I started to change the discourse from "I deserve chocolate" to "I deserve to feel good." I have eaten chocolate since that day, don't get me wrong, (though it has been many weeks, perhaps months recently). But the truth is when I began changing the voice in my head, my own cravings changed.
 
Sometimes we just need an editor to rewrite the story in our head.
 
We can sometimes be our own editor, but often we need someone else to read our story with new eyes and perspectives. Someone who understands our typos and strange patterns of speech that do not translate well. I consider myself a leader and a strongly opinionated woman, but I don't always know what is best for me. Case in point, cupcakes and chocolate feel like rewards, and good health feels like a punishment. What?!  I make terrible decisions sometimes. I have friends I call and ask their advice, or talk. I have mentors and a sponsor and a therapist and a mother. And I don't often go wandering in my head alone--there be monsters in those woods.
 
So, this week, I am giving you permission to ask someone for advice about some truth you have held for a long time. I would tackle that sneaking suspicion you have that this one truth is not serving your Highest Good. Ask them if it is true. Pick their brain. Maybe it is how you approach your work, or how you have envisioned your body, or what your childhood was really like. Whatever it is, remember to listen with wide eyes. I often quote this speaker I once heard who said, "It is not what you don't know that will kill you, but what you know with absolute certainty that simply is not true that will kill you."
 
I have been looking at how I do things around my classes and my work. I am reinventing my New Moon circles. I am still holding them. (Sunday, September 13th, if you are curious) But I am calling them Moon Cycle Coaching Circle, and we will work together more intensely through the three moon cycles. It will be a limited group and I am raising my price a wee bit. Creating medicine bundles is serious spiritual work, and I need to take the job of leading others around the work more seriously. I have also added a few new classes for the fall, including a creative journaling workshop, and a small group mentoring program for invited students of mine.
 
I also have been looking at my remote tarot readings. On September 1st, I will be raising the prices around my distant Tarot readings via pdf. It currently takes me around four to five hours to do what face-to-face would take 45 minutes. Those pdfs are pretty dang amazing, though. I end up channeling a ton of information for my clients through those readings. If you have had one and want to give a testimonial, I would appreciate it. But I am still offering them at the $50 price until then, so if you are interested, now is the time to get in on that action. The prices in person will stay the same.

When I am all jammed up, and I cannot remember to be grateful or that I deserve good health, I often stop and say, ALPHA WHISKEY ECHO. ALPHA WHISKEY ECHO. Those are the radio phonetic letters for AWE. It shifts me, makes me laugh, feels like a beacon in the darkness of my daily grind.

Have awe today. For yourself. For your truths. For your exquisite self. 

crystal healing

I don't love the term crystal healing.
 
This term "healing" filtered through our Western mind invokes this concept of "curing" people or even sound kind of like we are claiming crystals are a panacea. I was recently in a FB group where everyone was rebelling against this term "crystal healing" and more importantly, "crystal healer." They hate it, they said. And I get why. It is the "curing" thing, and the idea of the almighty healer.
 
So, I began looking up these words. Healing literally means "to make whole again." Or perhaps we can see it as re-membering--or bringing all these pieces back into a whole structure. The important part of healing is the whole, as in looking at the whole body, rather than just a single virus, thought, event making one sick.

So much of healing involves acceptance, processing, and dealing. We are re-membering who our soul is, and why we are here. When our bodies are out of alignment, our thinking becomes skewed, our emotions go up and down, our connection to Spirit strains against our suffering. When our body is out of alignment, everything is out of alignment. And conversely, when our thinking is out of alignment, our body is out of alignment. We cannot think of the mind as being separate from our body, or our emotions as having their own agenda, or the body as a traitor. It is all one. It is all you.
 
My friend Carol used to always say, "When you are sick, it is all you can pay attention to." And that is just it, isn't it? When we have pain, imbalance, cancers, illness, it is all we can pay attention to. When our hearts are broken, it is all we can pay attention to. When we have had a trauma, it is all we can pay attention to. When we are doubting God, it is all we can pay attention to. Our body works hard to restore balance and find homeostasis. And when it does, it shuts down the other noise. It is why we forget our purse when we are in raw grief, and why we forget to return calls when we are diagnosed with cancer. We shut down the noise. We reprioritize our life. We are searching for inner balance. We are looking to be whole again.
 
Healing is not one thing. Perhaps that is part of the rebellion with the term "crystal healing." Sometimes healing means releasing something, like literally cutting out a tumor, or like breaking up with a partner who is abusive, or quitting drinking. Other times it means bringing something in, like a medicine, or bringing yoga into the body or an affirmation that helps shift your thinking. But one thing I know is that I would be remiss if I told my clients that all they need is crystals and a prayer. 
 
In my line of work, it is damaging and wrong to steer people away from allopathic medicine or traditional therapy. We walk hand in hand, hopefully. That is not to say we are blind followers of our Primary Care Physician, ingesting every pill we are prescribed. But most importantly, we are not adversaries, as many paint us to be. The biggest gift we can give ourselves and our practitioners is to be informed, do research, and take responsibility for our own healing. And think of ourselves as having all these resources available to us for healing.
 
My clients come to me with a physical ailments. Other times it is an emotional issue--grief or heartbreak. Even further I have people with spiritual maladies, searching for God or a connection to their guides. And many times, they simply want to release from thinking, overthinking, analysis paralysis, stuckness. Crystals work for all these issues, because they are not focusing on the physical over the emotional, or the spiritual over the physical, but because they are re-membering. The stone medicine brings all of our Selves  (mental, emotional, physical and spiritual) into one, or rather helps us remember they already are one and re-member them, bringing them back into alignment. So, I don't prescribe a stone that only works to heal the physicality of a pain or bruise. I use a stone that works on many levels--the physical, the emotional, the mental, and the spiritual.
 
When we seek healing, we seek to bring it all into alignment with each other. If we simply seek the doctor to heal the physical body, we leave out vital parts of our re-membering journey. So we use doctors, medicine people, therapists, friends, yogis, dance instructors, artist teachers, mentors. We seek to make ourselves whole. We re-member our spiritual self, our mental self, our physical body and our emotional body, bringing it back into one being of light.
 
Healing may be a clunky term for our Western minds. But when we seek to be whole, we find ourselves on the journey to re-membering who we are and why we are here. Amazing work for a little word.

changes

We're so grateful for this deeply precious life. Looking around, we see your love in all things. Allow us to feel more blessed than baffled, more clear than confused, and to let go of the ropes we've bound so tightly around our own fighting arms.
-- Pixie Lighthorse
From "Honoring Release" a prayer in her new book, Prayers of Honoring
 
My mentor Pixie Lighthorse just came out with a book of prayers called Prayers of Honoring. The humility in each word, the grace, shifts me. It makes me want to write my own prayers and songs, particularly of change, release, and transition, and so I do. As Vulture medicine comes in, transformation and change pushes right on my heart chakra, right on my back in between my shoulder blades. I sit to catch my breath sometimes. Shifts, reinvention, transformation, I mistake it for a person pushing, sometimes. Urging me forward. I have been looking at my offerings and classes, my ways of doing things, (including this newsletter,) my parenting and partnering, my self-care and diet. I can feel shifts, major earthquakes, within me, breaking me open, helping my spirit soar. It reminds me of what my friend Delfina says, "The ego cannot tell the difference between annhiliation and transformation." 

Nearly a year ago, I saw my first client at Alta View Wellness Center. We had just bought our wee farmette, and I was three months pregnant. I knew virtually no one in the area, yet Sharon Muzio took a chance on this earthy, knocked up, goofball mystic. She gave me an opportunity to offer crystal healing to Central Pennsylvania, offer classes in Tarot, art, and crystals, circling up women seekers on the moons with the deep medicine of the Earth. I will always be grateful for her trust in me. I have met such incredible women and healers here, learned about deep reserves of wisdom and medicine keeping within me.
 
As I began, Kate Pruiett and I partnered up just as she was finishing up her crystal healing certification with Hibiscus Moon. We have had an incredible first year here at Alta View Wellness Center, offering classes on crystals, monthly workshops and crystal healing events. It has been exciting to build this presence in Central Pennsylvania, and gather men and women who resonate with crystals to delve deeper into their connection. Through this year, Kate and I have enjoyed a fun and comfortable working relationship, building on each other's strengths, honoring the other's cycles and trials. Through co-teaching the crystal classes, we have shared our love of stone medicine with many people here.
 
As happens, life shifts and morphs, obligations from afar call us, and we shift and flow with life. Kate and I honestly looked at our work together and our future. Kate decided to step back from Crystal Healing at Alta View Wellness to focus on her passion, Reiki.  She teaches all of the Reiki curriculum at Alta View (Reiki II is offered this August 8), as well as leads the Reiki Shares and offers sessions throughout the week. I so enjoy teaching with her, but also honor her decision. We gratefully move forward as colleagues and friends. 
 
For my clients, I will still be offering crystal healing sessions as I always have. I will still be teaching the crystal workshops on the first Thursday of the month, albeit alone, and leading all the crystal healing events by myself. I anticipate they will also shift and change as I move into a rhythm of teaching and presenting as one person instead of two. I know I will be offering more Crystal Healing Events which are great ways of experiencing a group meditation and crystal healing session while I play bowls. I feel called to do more meditation and channeled work for those events, so stayed tuned.

from my last medicine bundle circle, our tools laid out for us.

from my last medicine bundle circle, our tools laid out for us.

For my other Alta View Classes, I am going to be revamping my medicine bundle circles and creating a more connected circle for those souls who choose that path. We will meet more often during the bundle work, as well as be connected throughout the process. It will be more expensive, but well-worth the money. The medicine is powerful, and those who sign up for that work need more support and more mentorship than I had been offering. In that vein, I will also be offering more moon circles that incorporate journeying and work with the cycle of the moon. These will be love donation circles so we can welcome more sisters into the fold here. It is a great way to connect with like-minded people. I was also asked to offer a monthly art workshop, and this is something I am still kicking around, but hope to start in Autumn. I have also revamped the Introduction to Tarot class offered in October of this year, making the classes longer and more in-depth. I am also publishing my newsletters as blog posts, so that you may comment on them there, joining a discussion. The link will be at the bottom of the email for you to connect to.
 
For my newsletter and on-line presence, I am committed to offering on-line Tarot classes in the upcoming months, so if you are interested, let me know. As always, I offer distance Tarot readings, and crystal healing sessions for those who live far away. They are powerful gifts. I also wanted your feedback, as I have been sending out my musings newsletter separately from an events newsletter. I have lost quite a few non-local people after my last events email, saying it didn't apply to them. I have created a local newsletter list for those who want information on my classes and events. If you want to opt into the Local Events, listing basically all my classes and events at Alta View Wellness Center, please fill out this opt in sheet. Otherwise, my events will always be listed at my website and on the sidebar of my email. And in case you missed it, my crystal mentor, Hibiscus Moon, interviewed me for her blog. You can read more about my philosophy of healing there. 
 

Thank you, Great Spirit, for this amazing holy day. Thank you for the dirt and the seeds, the fruit and the compost. Thank you for the bird and insect songs that fill the air--songs of family, of growth, of warning, of summer. Thank you for the process of emerging from shells, as difficult and uncomfortable as it makes us. Thank you for the process that builds our strength. Thank you for the mysteries and knowns and all that I experience in between. Thank you for the discomfort with those places, as I remember my own smallness in the wake of your large, unspeakable love. Thank you for the moon moving within me. Thank you for the heat, which makes us easy with each other. Thank you for this most amazing day.

 

 

vultures and septarian

One of my chickens stepped in front of me on Sunday, panting, wings semi-extended, clearly uncomfortable. Heat exhaustion. We splashed her hearty winter feathers with cold water, and got her into the shade. Energetically, the heat exhausts me too. The summer's long days and humid beauty hang on me like a cloak. I hide behind it, shield myself from the blaring light of July, from the summer people. I love the heat, but only when I am alone, drenched in her, digging deep into her wisdom. I find moments with tea and bathing, but it's not the same as in Winter. My children bicker, and give up on playing outside. The baby began to crawl, tearing through anything not nailed down--exploring, curious, ravenous for extremely tiny things that can kill him. I must be diligent and extroverted in my home. Meh, it is not my nature, but I'm not a monster. I adapt and shine and extrovert.

Midsummer and midwinter feel the same to me. Inward journeys with shadow and light. Introspective, deep. What needs tending? I ask myself. What needs nurturing? What does self-care look like right now? It is different in the different  cycles of the year, month and even day. My evening care is much different than my morning. My winter care is much different than my summer. Right now, my self-care looks like cleaning out closets, sparse meals with juicy sticky fruit, afternoon naps with the baby when I sneak them in, pulling weeds in the early morning, and reading snippets of books I love. I take a moment by the windows watching the butterflies drink from my Echinacea. Five minutes with a cup of tea and Women who Run With Wolves, or 78 Degrees of Wisdom. I refound the General Wolf Rules of Life, one morning, and nodded along. It is my practice to surrender to whatever comes my way. I tend to work less with many stones in the summer, and work more intensely with one or two.

 In June, I dreamt for three consecutive nights about Septarian, the beautiful stone that combines the energies of calcite and aragonite and dead sea creatures. I had no Septarian, but Spirit nudged gently. My Instagram feed showed three Septarians in one day, and an advertisement shows up on every website I click on featuring Septarian. Sure, there are logarithms, and techy bullshit that makes that happen, but I bite. I ordered one from my favorite on-line shop.

Dragon egg.
 
She looks like a dragon egg and I feel blown open by her energy, which is simultaneously grounding and cosmic. Through my work with Pixie's Earth Medicine school, I journey with her to the Lower World, and meet her as a goddess wrapped in black. Her energy came to me just as the energy of the beautiful Turkey Vulture entered as well. I no longer read books written by other people and their experiences with stones, I have been making my own notes and observations. As the Septarian fell into my receptive palm, I saw the shadow of the Great Mother, Turkey Vulture. She could be a black Dragon, I think, as I watch her circle above the cornfield. Could they be intricately tied?  And in the weeks that followed, two large vulture feathers crossed my path, literally sitting in the middle of the road to my house.

Last year, when we moved here, the vultures appeared. Thirty or forty of them resting on the hay bales down the street, wings outstretched like my heat-exhausted hens. It was the first time I ever worked with Vulture Medicine, and I shied away from it. Vulture? Really? I'd rather work with Owl, or Hawk, or Lion, something less, uh, creepy. As I shied away, the vultures stopped congrugating at the dead tree. My teacher Pixie often says, "If you don't honor the medicine, it will go away."
 
I missed the vultures when they left. I searched for them constantly, pointing them out way off in the distance to the children. I told the young ones in our kids meditation circle the story of Vulture.  Personally, I started intensely meditating on Mother Vulture and her role. How valuable, important, and amazing a creature the Vulture is. When she appeared again this summer, I was ready for her energy, dark and powerful as it is. I was ready to release what was not serving. Again and again, as many times as necessary.This time around, I ask Vulture to help me honor, release and transmute, so I don't have to do this particular bloody work again.
 
Releasing. Transmuting. Mothering the self. These are the medicine of Vulture, and now, perhaps, Septarian. As for me, Septarian and Vulture will be intertwined. We get lost, us caregivers, in the mothering of every one and every thing else in our lives. When we ask for our medicine to come, whatever shape that may be, we open to our own truth and comfort. We find self-care through the lessons of that medicine. We must find these moments in extreme heat and extreme cold to search within us for a safe haven, a place to rest our weary spirits and do the work of caring for our souls.

reading and writing about crystals

This piece has been reprinted from my newsletter shared last summer. 

I write about crystal healing a great deal, and exploring different topics on my blog. One thing I would be remiss not to talk about is the entire idea of writing about crystals to begin with. If you are interested in crystals, then you have no doubt perused crystal books in any number of metaphysical bookshops. There are quite a few established writers about crystal energies, and don't get me started on geological books about stones. So, where do you start? Who is right? How do they know?
 
There are some geological facts of crystals that are very important for you to know when working with crystals--Mohs hardness, crystalline structure, where the crystal is most likely found, and which minerals make up the crystal. Those should be consistent from book to book. I would expect, or perhaps, demand that my crystal book list these things. For someone working more in-depth for crystals, these things help when you are creating crystal grids, elixirs, or bathing with the stone. It is also important to know crystal structure and Mohs hardness for identification purposes. Knowing where the crystal comes from can help you from being defrauded when buying crystals on-line. For example, Chinese Fluorite is often sold as Chinese Chaorite--Charoite being a much more rare and expensive stone. Knowing that Chaorite comes from the Charo River region of Siberia would help you recognize that this might not be a real piece. Some books tell  you the rarity of a stone, which is nice, since I can't tell you how many times I went searching for a stone to find it the size of my pinky nail and sold for $300. I don't make that a deal breaker for a book though.
 
After these geological facts about a crystal, all the information in these books are gleaned from personal experience, traditional uses, and mythology. Some crystal writers, like Katrina Raphaell and Naisha Ahsian have channeled information about crystals. Judy Hall, a psychic and healer, prolifically writes her crystal information from a combination of the lore of the crystal, research, and intuition. Robert Simmons is a craftsman who began working with crystals through jewelry design and later really exploring their metaphysical properties. Melody, the author of Love Is In The Earth, is a scientist who claims all her metaphysical uses for crystals have been produced through a controlled environment and repeated three times.
 
As you begin to look at the same stone in all these different books with all these different writers, you begin to see discrepancies. Judy Hall says this, Naisha Ahsian says that. So, who's right? Maybe the answer is all of them.
 
These teachers, mystics and healers work with these stones for years. Taking notes, feeling energy, distinguishing reactions in themselves and their clients. They really embrace and embody curiosity--curiosity about their body's reaction to vibrations, curious about the stones. I may not agree with a writer's take on a particular stone, but I don't discount that the crystal resonates with that particular writer in that particular way. I have had crystal people tell me I was wrong about a stone, and I just laugh. This is how I work with this crystal. Just like perfumes smell differently on different people, crystals can also resonate differently with different people.
 
But these books give us starting points with stones. This is why I write my crystal blog. I pull from different sources after I have worked with the stone. I see what Judy Hall experienced. Or what Naisha Ahsian uses the stone for.  But in the end, I pull information that resonates with my own experience. And this is what I hope for all of you--that my crystal writing becomes a catalyst to learn more about a particular crystal or stone.
 
Vitally important to crystal work remains your own experience with the stone. Do not rely on my experience or sense of expertise. Yes, I am a crystal master, but I am just a human being, like Judy Hall and Naisha Ahsian. My beginning point with a new stone is to sit in meditation quietly with it. I remove any crystal jewelry or pocket crystals. (As I have gotten more into crystals, I wear FAR less than I did before. One crystal or intention at a time on my body now.) I take a notebook with me. Place it in my receptive hand (non-dominant).  And I listen.
 
So often the key to working with a crystal is just getting quiet. What are you feeling? What thoughts are popping into your head? What images? Where do you feel tingly in your body? What feels open? What feels closed? Sometimes you feel nothing. And that is cool. When that happens, I change the placement of the stone. I may lie down and place it on my third eye, or on my heart. Did that change anything? If not, I may decide to work with that stone for a few days straight. Keep it in my pocket. Take it to bed. Allow the messages to come all day, if necessary. What has been my dominant mood? What chakra does it work with?
 
When I establish how the crystal resonates with me, I then work with the crystal in sessions with clients, or with my amenable husband. How is my client reacting? I develop an idea of this stone. Often times, my experience with a stone mirrors another crystal teacher's or writer's experience. Sometimes it does not.  I think the best advice a crystal teacher can give you is to empty your mind in a store. Pretend to know nothing about crystals, and just be receptive. Where are you drawn? What crystal looks prettiest? What looks ugliest? Which one are you avoiding? Which one are you drawn to? And then buy the one that you feel strongest about (either repulsed or attracted.) Begin working with it. Great magic comes from that beginner's mind.
 

solstice spreads

I have shared these Tarot spreads before, but I really love the way they use the energy of the Solstice to help clarify, priortize and magnify . When gathering for the Solstices or Equinoxes, a wonderful way to connect with one another and delve deeper into honoring the times of release and renewal is to do readings. Reading Tarot brings so much togetherness to a gathering, and reading cards with the holiday in mind makes it doubly special. I love seeing my people all huddled together discussing cards, letting Spirit speak through them for one person. You can either have one person designated as the Reader, or you can all read together. Or if you are a Tarot Reader, you might want to be the one to offer this to your guests, or as a gift to each person at the gatherings. I personally love gifting readings to my friends and family. This is also a great solo activity for those looking for ways to honor the solstice in solitary practice. 

These Solstice layouts I developed focus my attention for my personal ceremonies and spiritual work. During different phases of the moons, and always on solstices/equinoxes, I check-in with Spirit via a reading. This is a great layout to do with Tarot, or ANY Oracle Deck. Oracle Decks have such beautiful messages and really succinctly communicate the energy you have around you. So, if you are not a Tarot reader as such, oracle decks are great tools. Most come with a book with a nice detailed interpretation of each card. Oracle decks are easy to find, inexpensive, and make great hostess gifts too. There are oracle decks that involve Fairies, Angels, Saints, even one that wholly focuses on Mother Mary! Think of the Divine connection that most aligns with your beliefs, and use an Oracle Deck that speaks to that tradition. You'll understand the symbols and resonate with the message much more clearly.

Back to the Solstice Layout, you can use this as a touchstone for your work in circle, or in privately. Remember, first is the release, then the welcoming of energy in your next cycle. I would use an crystal like Orange Calcite, Carnelian, Sunstone or Fire Agate as an ally in this reading. It represents the Sun, but more importantly, it represents the clarity that the Sun brings. In this way, using a Clear Quartz is always good if you cannot find a Sun stone. Just place your crystal by your candle and other sacred objects around your reading space. Creating sacred space is a beautiful way to begin your reading. I always blow and knock out the energy, shuffle eight times, then cut the cards three times. And I say a prayer of protection and openness, "I am a clear and open channel through which Spirit make speak truth and only truth for the Highest Good of All."

I have read and used other Solstice spreads beautifully. If you google Solstice spreads you can find a number of ideas. I prefer my own spreads, because I am intimately connected with these questions, and it more succinctly clarifies what I work on for Solstice. Some people suggest pulling out the Sun (XIX) as significator in the center of this spread. I like to use a You Now card as a general check-in with Spirit. One beautiful way to use this spread would be to lay it out in a Solstice crystal grid with a Sun stone as your center, and lay the card out between your crystals. 

I created two spreads, really. The first one is great for groups, more succinct and really draws out clarity. The second is good for those who want to delve deeper for personal work on Solstice. It gives you insights into your releases, and the energy you want to bring in.

For example, I pulled this Spread for myself during Winter Solstice, pulling out the Sun as my You Now, or my Significator. 

small+solstice+spread.jpg

In the position of my Strengths (position 2), the Judgment speaks to my ability to release judgment and forgive. Pulling this into the New year, I can see that my work with forgiveness--both self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others--is something I may have to draw on, and will be important for my spiritual growth. In the Roots position, or where I draw my strength (position 3), I pulled the World. I draw strength from every aspect of my life--my children, my home, my crystal work, my Tarot and psychic work, teaching, learning, writing, and art. I had wondered for so long which was my path, and have come to accept that all are my path. In the Release position (position 4), or what is no longer serving, I pulled the Four of Swords card, which is a card of retreat and meditation before battle. I believe this means that what I need to release is my over-analysis. My Analysis Paralysis, as they call it, and move forward with my work in this new space. So, I need to release inaction! In my Energy I am Ready to Bring into my Life (position 5), I pulled the Magician. Oh, hellz to the yes! This is the energy I want to bring in--achievement, magic, spiritual work, using all my gifts together. 

In the Second layout, we just expand on the smaller layout to get more in-depth. It involves more reflection and self-examination.

For example, I pulled this second layout without using the Sun as the center, and pulling a card to represent myself.

In this layout, the King in position 1 represents me in the Now, someone who is financially stable and in my Earth sign element. In position 2, my strength is my ability to withstand chaos and massive change. Not that I will be facing it, but just to remember that I can weather any storm with aplomb and grace. In the position 3, where I draw my strength, the King of Wands was pulled, and this is a creative man, my husband, I think, who inspires me and grounds me. In the two position 4 + 5, these are the things that are no longer serving me--Eight of Pentacles and Page of Pentacles. I think the Eight is there to remind me that I am ready to move into a more teacher/owner role, rather than as a student, and the Page of Pentacles is immaturity with money. Financially, I think this means moving into amore mature approach with my business, not taking money from our home account for Moon + Stone, and begin treating it as a mature business. What I need to release position 6 is more of an emotional release for my spiritual growth. I believe this card, the Nine of Wands is any defensiveness, or heart protection. I need to wear my vulnerability, embrace it, accept it, wear it proudly. On the Future side, position 7, the Energy I am ready to Bring in is definitely circles of women. My peeps, where for art thou? Position 8, my meditation position, really is something to sit with, and journal about to achieve my release and renewal. I pulled Temperance, which is a card of purification and balance. Such an important card for me. In the 9th position, Outcome, the Queen of Swords is absolutely the energy I would like to welcome in my new phase. No nonsense. And not taking things personally. Also, nodding to my grief without having to live in it.

I hope reading my albeit brief interpretations of these cards in these new spreads helps you to read your own Solstice cards. Let me know what you think in the comments, and Blessed Litha, friends.

summer solstice

Ah, the Northern Hemisphere is starting to heat up on its slow crawl toward summer sostice. The Earth tilts toward the sun, honoring its beautiful fire. Solstice is a perfect time to explore your intentions, dreams, and set goals, like in my Creative Visioning class at Alta View Wellness. For each solstice and equinox, I create a seasonal altar and grid to help me harness that energy and maintain the beautiful vibration of the solar and lunar energy of this time. So much of the celebration of the solstices honor the Sun and the movement around the wheel of the year. 

I thought I would share some solstice stones to include in your Litha or Summer Solstice altars, celebrations and grids to help you harness that gorgeous vibration and work with it around this time. 

Let's start at one o'clock. Fire Agate captures the essence of fire. This stone holds the essence of physicality and strength. It is a stone of vitality and sexuality. So much of that sexual fire translates to creative fire. It inspires, ignites and intensifies one's passions and emotions. I couldn't think of a more apt stone on your Summer Solstice altar.

At five, I included raw Carnelian. My friend Joe from Crystals and Crafts sent me this beauty, which I have been working with in Medicine Bundle since the new moon of the Spring Equinox. The energy of Carnelian  vibrates at a physical level. It helps stimulate the first three chakras, and again ignites a kind of passionate dance with the Self. It's an amazing ally for courage and for self-realization. Creative fire sparks with Carnelian, and because of its help with certain literary homework in our house, it is nicknamed "the Poetry stone", as poetry and writing can't help but flow around Carnelian. I love Carnelian in all its forms, you have probably seen it in a thousand grids in my home, but I particularly love raw Carnelian.  

At six o'clockish, Sunstone beckons the long Solstice sun.  Sunstone stimulates that idea of enlighened leadership. Enlightened leadership utilizes this idea that true leadership is being of service, rather than being in control. And so Sunstone helps align self will and Divine will. It is a strong fire stone, again for Summer Solstice, it is important to honor the element of fire (and often water hand in hand.) Sunstone emanates, as Naisha Ahsian says, the Solar Ray. This is my experience of Sunstone as well, and I often use it in the center of Solstice Tarot readings, and other times I am invoking the sun and Father Sky.

At seven o'clockish is Citrine. This is a natural polished Citrine, and it does have a different vibration than heat treated Citrine, which is not to say one is better than the other. I simply prefer natural Citrine for Solstice altars and work.  It holds that pure fire energy, and emanates a golden ray. Most Citrine has smoky quartz within its matrix, and so that combination is amazingly grounding, helping one truly manifest one's desires and dreams, as it grounds the manifestor into realistically setting goals. 

At nine o'clock, Tangerine Quartz points toward that sexual, creative self. It inspires curiosity, playfulness and innocence. I used to always shy away from stones with fruit in the name. My teacher says most fruity named stones are dyed or faked, but Tangerine Quartz is an exception. This year, as I battle some sacral issues, I have really worked deeply with Tangerine Quartz. My personal specimen has both a past timeline and future timelink, which was incredibly helpful, as I was healing both my present sacral, past traumas and fears held in the womb, and then trying to heal any future trauma there. I love the lightness of being that Tangerine Quartz brought to my womb. It is a place of birth and creativity, not pain and fear. And Tangerine Quartz seemed to capture that for me. Whereas Carnelian can be a strong, masculine feel in the sacral area, Tangerine Quartz feels less violent and war-like. It is more like a gentle hand on the shoulder, rather than a full metal shield for protection there, and it is incredibly healing. 

At the eleven o'clock area here is Dogtooth Calcite, which is also called Stellar Beam Calcite. I just love this rock. My goodness. Stellar Beam is a wonderful ally for connecting with angels and guides. They are a stone of light, and connect the Higher Chakras with Divine Will. I included it with this grouping for Summer Solstice because they carry the golden ray, and in that way, connect with the power of the Sun.

Creating grids is my jam, you know. This Summer Solstice grid is simple and beautiful, and captures the fiery Sun energy for Solstice. Centered with a Carnelian sphere, the first circle includes natural Citrine, the second contains Sunstone, and the third contains Carnelian and white arrowheads to help direct my energy and cut through any blockages arising for me right now. I used a flower of life woods grid from Eternal Glyphics. Another wonderful way to create a grid is to include flowers in the grid itself. Of course, it doesn't last as long, but it is a wonderful addition to a Solstice circle or party.

You can also create your own gorgeous sun drink with Golden Milk. The main ingredient of Golden Milk is Turmeric, which is an anti-inflammatory. This is my main reason for drinking it. I am new to the whole Golden Milk thing, but I am in love with it. I could bath in it, honestly. Or marry it, even though my husband would be jealous. It is perfect. When I am taking in tea, juice or drinks as medicine, I like to create a wee grid around it, and charge it with Reiki. Not only does it satisfy my ritualistic itch, it slows me down, appreciate the small beauty we can create around us. And I am worth a little grid making, no?

Golden Milk is a simple recipe--a cup of almond milk, coconut milk or other milk product. I don't do dairy, so I made this one with coconut milk. One teaspoon of dried Turmeric, one teaspoon of Ginger, and a sprinkle or two of black pepper. Then honey to taste. I put the milk, turmeric, ginger and pepper in the blender, and mix is up. Then I pour into a saucepan and add raw honey to tast, warming it slowly. It is simply sun in a cup.

I wrote about Summer Solstice visioning in my latest newsletter. You can read that here: Visioning. I am promising to be on the blog more. I also am going to be rewriting/revisiting some old newsletter topics and re-publishing them on my blog, so let me know if you have some oldies, but goodies you are interested in seeing.

Tarot of the Week: the High Priestess

“Our duty is wakefulness, the fundamental condition of life itself. The unseen, the unheard, the untouchable is what weaves the fabric of our see-able universe together.” ― Robin Craig Clark

So much beauty and mystery in this card, the High Priestess honors us with her presence as the first post of the new year--2015 with all her mystery and wisdom yet bestowed. There is so much on this card, it is hard to know where to start. The High Priestess is the second card of the Major Arcana. She follows the Magician with all his power and achievement. You see this often in the Tarot--masculine and feminine cards following each other, balancing each other's energy. There is a sense of yin-yang balance of the feminine and masculine throughout the Major Arcana (and Minor, every King and Queen sits together in the deck). The High Priestess follows the Magician, yet her stance harkens more to the Hierophant. Historically, this card in the original deck way back in the 14th century was called La Papesse, or the Female Pope. WHAT?!? It is true. Such a strong, or rather the strongest, role for a woman in a traditionally patriarchal religion. I am quoting Rachel Pollack here for the historical background:

In the 1200’s, a radical movement sprang up in Europe led by a woman named Guglielma of Bohemia.  Guglielma preached that Christ would return in 1300 to begin a new age when woman would be popes. Guglielma died before that great day and so her followers elected a woman named Manfreda Visconti to be the first female pope. The year 1300 came around and went without Christ returning and its church made its position on female popes very clear: they burned Manfreda at the stake. 150 years later the first tarot deck {as we know it} was created, commissioned by the rulers of the city of Milan- the Visconti family.” -Rachel Pollack, quoted by Marybeth Bonfiglio

This I find absolutely fascinating and important for us Tarot readers. I don't think it is any surprise she stands on the Waxing Moon, as the Virgin Mary is so often portrayed in paintings. This would be the only image of a female spiritual leader the Italians who created the first Tarocchini decks would know. This imagery would have made complete sense to Catholics. She is the Pope of the Virgin. She has been elevated beyond a simple priestess. Like the Pope, she has a connection to the Divine that is beyond a worshipper, or the common man, or the priest. she hold papal infallibility. If the Pope is lineage from Peter, then who is La Papesse in lineage from? It is interesting, because I think the pomegranates behind her are so wrought with symbolism. Nearly every major religion of the Middle East hold pomegranate as particularly symbolic. The Egyptians felt it was a fruit of abundance. The Ancient Greeks associate the pomegranate as the fruit of the dead, and it is intertwined deeply with the story of Persephone and Demeter, so there is an ancient mother connection here. The Pomegranate is associated with the Crone. And in Kabbalah, perhaps the most likely of symbols for Arthur Waite and Pamela Smith Colman, it symbolizes the mystical experience.

Woman in the Tarot hold this deep mystery for Arthur Waite. Pomegranate is a common theme from the Empress on. But the High Priestess is their mediator, and she stands as the symbol of the Divine Feminine. Her standing is more of the holder of mystery, the esoteric, the deep water of religion, of the self, of Nature. Because women have always been associated with mystery, the moon, the water, the nurturing mother, there are additional symbols here that hold this more enigmatic spiritual meaning for us. Her dress literally turns into water as it falls over the moon. The Moon, the eighteenth card of the Major Arcana, is not to be missed. The connection is clear and important. She also wears a crown. I have read that it is similar to the horned crown of Hathor, Egyptian goddess and now a modern symbol of receptivity. I always imagine center of the crown being moonstone, because to me, as a crystal healer, Moonstone seems to be the High Priestess' stone. It sits on her third eye, and the crown itself opens to the Divine. She bears all kinds of religious iconography--the cross over her heart, the Torah in her hands. So, her connection is not to one religion--she is the Priestess of Pluralism. Every path is through her to the Divine. 

She sits regally, flanked by two pillars much like the Hierophant (the Pope), Justice, the Emperor. Front and center she faces you. Her pillars are different for one is dark and one light, anointed with the letters B and J, meaning Boaz and Jachin of Solomon's Temple, the first Temple in Jerusalem. All of these symbols lead to this woman, the High Priestess. She is the prophetess, the seer, the mystic, the psychic. She connects to the Divine and the Mystery, but the darkness of her and this card are important. The mystery holds us captive and frightens us. We must push through the fear for her wisdom and insights propel us to the next phase of our spiritual development. So, in my work, the High Priestess is the card of the channel, the oracle, the psychic. She is guardian of the mysteries of the Divine and esoteric knowledge. I think of her as carrying sacred geometry and a stream to the Akashic records.

When the High Priestess appears, I know I am facing someone who is psychic, intuitive, opening to her or his spirituality. Dreamwork, journeying, visions and psychic abilities are at play here. Dreams are particularly important with any card that shows the Moon. Many of my Tarot friends sleep with a High Priestess under their pillow when they need insight. She is Divine and of the Divine and so there is a kind of purity and grace with her presence. She helps release and shed what does not serve. She assists one in finding their soul path. Meditation, prayer and new spiritual work is indicated. Unlike the Hierophant, which has religion all tied up with its means, the High Priestess is about spirituality and one's spiritual path. The High Priestess is about upper chakra work. She lights up the Third eye and the Crown. Though she is silent, she also opens the throat for channels and oracle work. The blue is important, it calls to work with the throat and third eye together for gaining your own insights.

Reversed, we get a feeling of the shadow self. The mysterious grows darker when the High Priestess is reversed. It can mean one is not facing their true self and honoring oneself.  As always, I'd love to hear what you think of the High Priestess and this post. Comment below.

Word of the Year

I toiled this year with my word of the year. So much has happened in the last few years, my husband and I have barely breathed. Each year, we seem to say--nothing big. No changes. And then something large happens. For our family, 2014 was a major year of change and rooting. This was my word of the year for 2014--ROOTS. As I had just moved to Central Pennsylvania, I wanted to plant some roots--both career-wise, friendships, colleagues, circles of women, roots for my children. There is nothing more rooting than birthing a child somewhere. It is now part of your being--the place. Your baby's home. This will be the only home Zachary will know, we think. That is powerful to imagine.

I grew up about an hour and half from where I now live. My parents are within an hour or two from me now, and the land, landscape, the trees feel like home. I know these rocks, the fields of corn and wheat, the horses which graze in our yard. I spent this year starting our farm. My feet dug into the earth of our small farm and roots began swirling in the loamy mix of new family soil. Nourished is how I felt, my nails dirty from the garden, and my knees sore from pulling weeds as we tended all these roots we planted. I couldn't imagine how this word would play out in my year. I found a home for my healing work at Alta View, and felt rooted there, held, nourished, supported. This year I considered the word blossoming...the natural growth from roots. Sprouting and blossoming is what I imagine this year being for me. But it is more, and the word didn't quite capture it.

I had a long list I started in early December of words I thought might capture this year. Austerity, fortitude, quiet, prudence...enough. WORTHY. Later I had narrowed it down to a few--integration, authenticity, acceptance, blossoming, mindful, utilize, enough, and resourceful.

See, here is the idea I am working with. I have spent the last few years taking classes like a dehydrated woman and wisdom was water. Classes on-line, circles of women, meditation circles, angel classes, oracle card creations, elemental workings, crystal certifications, reiki attunements. I am at a point that I am ready to take all this learning and turn it into teachings. Hell, I've been doing that this last few years, right? Working on clients, integrating my native wisdom, the teachings given to me and my creative fire into a unified healing style. If you have had a healing with me, you know I often do breath work, grab a rattle, use the hawk wing to draw energy, read Tarot, then place crystals on the body. I follow Spirit's guidance, and Spirit guided me to all these different classes.

All these classes and books are wonderful if you really sit with the work and allow it to integrate. Have I been sitting with it enough? I do my work, don't get me wrong, but I was going from one heavy deep class to the next. Your spirit needs quiet to process and integrate, and I wasn't giving myself that. I can be a workaholic. It has damaged relationships in the past, and this is another thing I have worked on the last few years--putting the phone down, writing less, living more, being present with my family. These on-line classes and workshops were heavy emotionally and spiritually. At some level, I wondered if they weren't punishing in some way. Maybe I needed to simply sit still, since sitting still is much harder for me that uncovering, explicating, talking about what is wrong with me. What if I could sit still and be comfortable with all this amazing work I have done this last few years?

The truth is I wonder if I have been collecting wisdom, like I once bought crystals and oracle cards. Is the collecting of wisdom materialistic? Or can it be? Can I look at this wisdom and integrate it, rather than simply catalogue it?  Can I live the beautiful lessons I have learned the last six years? See, I noticed something about myself a few years ago. When I felt empty, or sad, I went to the metaphysical bookstore or the crystal shop or a religious store, and bought something spiritual. A crystal that a book said would soothe my emotional state, or a statue of a goddess who helps with wisdom or sadness or whatever I needed. I was consuming spiritual things in a sadly materialistic way. When I quit drinking, I realized I could get addicted to anything--was I becoming addicted to the spiritual? I made a vow this year to watch my spending around crystals and spiritual things. I've done a decent job. Not perfect, but decent. But every class I crossed my FB feed, and caught my fancy, I took. "I definitely need to learn how to do that!" This year 2015, I thought I want to be mindful about consuming wisdom, and begin to trust that I have enough wisdom. I no longer have to BUY things so I am wise or open or spiritual. I have all that I need now. I am enough. ENOUGH.

What word embodied that? Well, you read my list of words, and as I searched for ways these words have worked in other people's lives, I saw the word REALIZE. Bam. This is it. This is my word. I have three books half finished in my computer. One untouched for about four years, and others that are waiting to their realization. I have paintings I want to paint, classes I want to teach. And so I see this word realize. I realize my ideas into actions/books/classes, my learnings into teachings, my teachings into healings, my healings into a living wage...to make the wisdom and spiritual and emotional real. And maybe most importantly, to realize how beautiful, wise, nurturing, loving, important, spiritual I am. To realize I am enough. To realize my path clearly. To walk it authentically is to me to REALIZE the true Angie in all her glory.

What is your word of the year? Why did you choose it?

Tarot of the Week--Knight of Swords

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.” ― William Faulkner

There is a deep level of courage to each of the Knights of the Minor Arcana. This is what distinguishes them as court cards, and what makes the Knight the most powerful force in the Court. I have written a background post about the Court Cards, which I link to each time I write about the Court Cards, so here is that link.

Let's talk about this courage. The Knight is a more mature energy than the Page, which is still green with new eyes and approach to his Element. He carries messages, but doesn't quite fight a battle yet. The King on the other hand is the wisdom and maturity of his Element. The Knight is the one waging a war, fighting for his own truth, for his beliefs. He is out there, the face of the Court and of his Suit. He travels to the distant lands. He listens. He bridges his passion with his sense of justice. The Knight of Swords has an interesting perspective, and perspective is clearly the key word here, as Swords reigns the element of Air, and of the mind, logic, communications, and perception. With the Tarot, perception is a vital part of understanding the Swords. For the Mind often betrays the heart and the spirit in Tarot. The Tarot was developed as a tool to connect with the Mystical elements of our own spirituality for the early Tarot readers and developers. This was a tool of the Christian Mystic, after all. So the Tarot has a complicated relationship with Logic and Science and the Mind as the one that talks us out of our true wisdom.

The Knight of Swords fights his battles with both heart and mind. Much of this struggle is internal, as it is for the entire suit of Swords. This is evident in the background of the Knight of Swords, who is shown rushing forward into the wind, the trees and clouds evidently strewn across the sky from the wind. He doesn't fear this adversity. He grimaces, but he is determined.This Knight enjoys sparring intellectually, a good adversary is worth his wait to this Knight. His curiosity, intellectual interest, and search for the truth remain important for the Knight of Swords, but the irony of this Knight is that he is passionate about his mind. Don't be mistaken, he leads with his head, but his heart is not far behind. It is simply not the same passion that the Knight of Cups leads with. There is nothing maudlin or sentimental about this Knight. He is not necessarily as artist or musician. He is a logician, a thinker, a heady fighter of justice and truth. Think lawyer, police officer, economist, teacher, engineer, accountant...he uses his mind as his ultimate tool. He is drawn to fights that are about justice, and while others find this sentimental, to the Knight of Swords, it just makes good sense to treat people well. He doesn't fair well with small talk, or simple gossip. It is not his game or interest. He find these things deplorable, and often makes his opinion known. This Knight can be sarcastic, quick-witted, or even cynical to others. Downright negative to those who live in the heart space that doesn't want to hear about murder, rape and betrayal, but for this Knight, this is just realism, not cynicism. The Knight of Swords might say, the glass isn't half full or half empty, it is simply not the correct size.

If this card comes for you, it might signify that you are speaking your truth, or must stand up for yourself of others in the name of justice and equality. It can foretell a spontaneous event, or unexpected situation in which you must use your logic, common sense and clear speech. This Knight indicates a courage there that needs to be tapped into. You might be afraid of speaking your truth, but the Knight bolsters you. You are ready! Champion your cause. Fight for your sense of justice and fairness, it is time to jump on the back of that gorgeous steed and ride into the wind. These Knights often come for other people in your life who may be Air signs--Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. They often fall between the ages of 18-35 and can indicate men or women, but the feeling of the person is one of action, movement and courage. 

In the reversed position, this Knight is incredibly challenging to you. It can be an overly opinionated, negative, pushy, cruel, unfair and brutal person. When I say brutal I mean, mentally, verbally and physically abusive in some way. The person might be narrow minded, and unfair. See, when the Swords can reversed, he often see this type of reversal of the things they hold most dear in the upright position, like equality and justice. They turn that into their own sense of self-righteous justice.

Because of the movement in this card, the Knight of Swords can be a card that POPS up in your life, and can mean some situation or person has suddenly popped up. Reversed, it can mean someone is leaving quickly from your life. This is a less common interpretation, but this movement with this Knight, and intellect.

Let me know what you think about the Knight of Swords below in the comments. 

crystals for pregnancy

Okay, so I thought I would take this opportunity in my pregnancy to talk about some great crystals for pregnancy and fertility support. Again, crystal healing is a complementary healing modality, and can work vibrationally to help facilitate healing. I am not a doctor. But see a doctor too, particularly in pregnancy. Disclaimer over!

From 12 O'clock, Carnelian sphere, Garnet, Orange Calcite, raw Carnelian, and Fire Agate.

From 12 O'clock, Carnelian sphere, Garnet, Orange Calcite, raw Carnelian, and Fire Agate.

Crystals can be amazing allies in pregnancy and for fertility support. You can run the gamut with crystals for pregnancy support and fertility issues. Sacral Chakra stones often help support good uterine health and energies, so you can always turn to our tried and true favorites when you are trying to conceive--Carnelian and Orange Calcite are two perennial favorites of mine. I love the deep red stones also for Fertility support like Ruby, Garnet (Almandine and Spessartine are great allies), Fire Agate and Cuprite are some personal favorites. Shiva Lingam is a great support for all issues dealing with the reproductive system in both men and women.

Pregnancy itself is a time of great ungrounding. You are nauseated, headache-y, spacey...those are all signs of ungrounding. Things that make you go hmmmmm...so grounding stones can often be the best friend of a newly pregnant person. As your pregnancy progresses, we often find ourselves unstable from our new center of gravity, so these stones are wonderful for that too. Most of the time, I recommend the dark stones of Smoky Quartz and Black Tourmaline, but for pregnancy, think RED! Red Jasper is a great ally for this work, Mookaite as well, Red Calcite, and Garnet. 

For nausea associated with morning sickness and pregnancy, Golden Apatite is my Go-To. I created some gem water with Golden Apatite and steeped some ginger tea with it. Kicks out the swirly yuckies.

Stones for anxiety, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia from Upper Right, Lepidolite, Lithium Quartz, Sodalite, Petalite in the middle, Rhodochrosite, Larimar, and two more pieces of Lepidolite. 

Stones for anxiety, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia from Upper Right, Lepidolite, Lithium Quartz, Sodalite, Petalite in the middle, Rhodochrosite, Larimar, and two more pieces of Lepidolite. 

If you are diagnosed with High Blood Pressure, pre-eclampsia or are going through anxiety, some wonderful allies are Petalite (MY GO-TO!), Sodalite, Lithium Quartz, Lepidolite, Rhodochrosite, and Larimar. Any issues with gestational diabetes can be helped with Honey Calcite, Chrysocolla, and Sodalite. Anemia often arises in pregnancy and Bloodstone is wonderful for that, as is Tiger Iron.

For all around pregnancy support, my absolute hands-down favorite stone is Moonstone. It is associated with the Goddess and used during women's moon cycles. It is considered the healing stone for women, and with our deep association with the Moon, I find it healing, feminine and beautifully enhancing of my experience of pregnancy. My teacher Hibiscus Moon has a wonderful post on her take on fertility and pregnancy stones which include a great deal of heart stones. Crystals for Fertility and Pregnancy. Her go-tos are Jade, Rose Quartz, Unakite, and Moonstone--all beautiful resonance for a beautiful pregnancy.

My crystal recommendations have developed during this pregnancy. I'm looking down at ten days before my own labor and birthing for my fifth pregnancy. Yikes. What will I be carrying with me into labor? My Chrysocolla heart will be with me. I am going to be wearing my Moonstone pendants and earrings, so Moonstone out of the wazoo (literally). I think I will keep a piece of Unakite close. It reminds me of my mentor Hibiscus Moon and brings the heart and Mother Earth earth together. Garnet is a must-have for me. I might grid the bed in Garnets. Petalite in my bra to keep my blood pressure and anxiety down. And a Ruby to rub on my belly during labor. My children love doing this for me, so it will give them some good mojo for our laboring.  

My laboring bag will include from Left to right, Garnet, Petalite, Moonstone pendant on Labradorite and earrings, Moonstone Angel gifted to me from Peter Jarvis of L.A. Crystal Energies, and my Chrysocolla heart sitting in front of my beautiful Gaia statue given to me by my husband. 

My laboring bag will include from Left to right, Garnet, Petalite, Moonstone pendant on Labradorite and earrings, Moonstone Angel gifted to me from Peter Jarvis of L.A. Crystal Energies, and my Chrysocolla heart sitting in front of my beautiful Gaia statue given to me by my husband. 

So, what crystals have you worked with for pregnancy? What are your go-to for fertility work? Share your experience below and let me know what you thought of this post. Smooches.

Tarot of the Week--Nine of Cups

“Formerly, when I would feel a desire to understand someone, or myself, I would take into consideration not actions, in which everything is relative, but wishes. Tell me what you want and I'll tell you who you are.” ― Anton Chekhov

There is no more auspicious card in the Tarot than the Nine of Cups. It is nicknamed the "Wish Fulfillment Card", and it features a rather contented man sitting in a semi-circle of filled cups. He wears a red cap, symbolizing his wealth and material success. His arms cross over his solar plexus. He is done with his work. Life is good for him. He has succeeded. Marcia Masino called this the "Wine, Woman, and Song Card," which I love. We see enjoyment of life's sensuality and finer aspects. This card brings good health, wealth and enjoyment.

Tarot is often not what is seems exactly. It is hard to take these beautiful cards of happiness, contentment and comfort at face value, and indeed, we shouldn't. There is more here than meets the eye. Let's talk about the numerology of Nine. This is the number of attainment. But as the Tarot often challenges us, what is one man's completion is another man's beginning. We complete school, only to move into the business world. And with this Nine, it is no different, except we are talking about the emotional suit of the Cups, and so we must delve deeper into the psyche to understand the Nine of Cups.

For most Tarot readers, the Nine of Cups is a blessing anywhere in a reading. It is a sign of good luck, good fortune. It tells the Seeker that their wishes are coming true, but like the Chinese curse--May you get what you wish for--we must talk about what our wishes are and if they are aligned with our Highest Good. AHA! And there is the rub in the Nine of Cups. It says nothing about whether your wishes are aligned with what is best for all. You may be focusing on winning the heart of Mr. So-and-So, the handsome co-worker, but he may have secrets, abusive pasts, or other skeletons in the closet. The card says, "You are getting what you wish for, now WORK ON WHAT YOU REALLY WISH FOR!" This work calls for the surrounding cards, and for our own inner wisdom. What it calls for is to align with Divine Will.

This quote by Chekhov really sums up for me what the real work of the Nine of Cups is about. "Formerly, when I would feel a desire to understand someone, or myself, I would take into consideration not actions, in which everything is relative, but wishes. Tell me what you want and I'll tell you who you are."  I know this sounds trite and easy to dismiss. We often think these things apply to other people, but it is really difficult and important spiritual work to figure out what exactly you want. Let's take the example of the co-worker. Here's a handsome, knowledgeable co-worker, who is professional and kind to us in the workplace. That's a great starting place--we know he works hard, is kind and we have similar interests. But we actually don't know much about who is he. So, here we may wish for him to be interested in us, or ask us out. Maybe a better wish is to be ready for a partner, a soul mate, someone we are attracted to physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. We often don't voice that, or write the qualities we value in a partner. We often meet people and say, "Close enough. This might be my last chance at love, I better snatch it up." The real work is knowing what exactly you want in the life. This can be as specific as demeanor, values, habits...when I was manifesting my partner, I wrote a list of qualities I wanted, including going to bed early, and waking up early. Hey, I'm a morning person! I was in a long term relationship with someone who slept until noon. That is literally seven hours of my morning wasted. I love getting up and putzing around cafes, or diners, or farmer's markets. By the time I was tired and ready for bed, he was just getting his groove on. So, when this card comes for my clients, I give them homework. What is it that you want? We need to voice that clearly, eloquently, and honestly. No writing things that sound good. If you are a jealous person by nature, than a good partner for you would be someone who values your insecurities, rather than a flirty partner. No harm in asking to not compromise on that. 

Whether you see this as the Law of Attraction or not, I think it is helpful to state and write out what you want. If you don't know, how will the universe know? And how will you recognize it when it gets here? The Nine of Cups begs you to be honest, authentic and do your work. Tarot often lives in this liminal land between support and forcing you to do your spiritual and emotional homework. Take our example--from switching to "I wish for Mr. So-and So" from "I wish to be ready for my partner",  you are signaling Spirit that you are ready for your spiritual work. It means you are ready to do the hard work that has been preventing you from bringing in your soul mate relationship. It doesn't mean that your Twin Flame is coming NOW, but it means you are beginning the work of releasing all the blockages to a healthy, whole relationship. It is important work, unvalued in this society, but Spirit doesn't let us off easily.

So, the Nine of Cups is about your wishes, and your indulgences and ultimately, your emotional wants, and stating them. As the Nine of Cups crosses his solar plexus, this card signals that this work isn't physical, or from your will center. This is turning things over to your Higher Self, your guides, Spirit, God by tapping into your intuition, your emotional being, your Divine Feminine. Isn't that ironic? This card is NOT about your will, even though it is about your wishes. It is being receptive to your own desires, needs, and wants, rather than pushing forward into a space where your ego and superficial desires rule your will. Upper chakra work, really, or maybe it is better put--the work of Nine of Cups is an inside job. It is hard work to tap into your Intuitive side and really allow Spirit to guide your wishes to your Highest Good. My wishes are often very simple these days--Your will, not mine, be done. Because my will gets me into trouble. It is about me having an extra piece of cake, or chasing the wrong handsome partner after the other, or driving fast because I am late, or taking a job that pays a ton of money, but leaves me spent with no time for self-care.

In the Reversed position, the Nine of Cups can signal overindulgence in material things, carnal delights and the sensual pleasures of eating too much, drinking too much, smoking too much, sexing too much...think Gluttony and Greed. Like I said, the Nine of Cups is a blessing anywhere in your reading, so this reversed thing really is a reminder to watch it. Don't overindulge, just enjoy your life, and may you wish for what you already have.