Advice

Book Review – Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession by Mya Spalter

December, 2018

Book Review

Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession

by Mya Spalter

 

 

Inspired by a New York Occult shop of the same name, Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession, takes the reader on a virtual tour of the shop, its wares and the accompanying advice and conversation that might be had when looking to craft a beautiful and meaningful altar space, or create sacred space.

The author, Mya Spalter, uses a very warm approach, telling how she came to work at Enchantments store and then taking you on a journey through the highlights of her learning and experiences in working in a busy occult venue. Even the way in which the book has been arranged feels like a coffee break exchange of information of “what works, and what doesn’t?”, “how’d you do that?” and “can you teach me about that?”, that you would expect from most witchy stores and those who work there.

Part One is aptly entitled Witchy Implements and includes chapters dedicated to altars, correspondences, such as colors, plants, herbs and some of the disciplines that would be included in witchy practice such as astrology, the wheel of the year and more.

Part Two reinforces the necessity for Magical Intention(s) and begins the work of spell crafting, protection and divination, and concludes with a more in-depth approach to astrological uses and the cosmic connection found within what has traditionally been deemed an earth/nature-based practice.

The book is nicely illustrated with interspersed black and white drawings that are whimsical and informative. And, using a style near and dear to my heart, each chapter concludes with “Suggested Reading” and a list of well-respected titles relevant to that chapter’s offerings. I could go on in pointing out sections here and there, but, quite honestly, this is a book to be experienced first hand.

Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession is the next best thing to having a good friend who will walk you through the magic, point out the highlights anh solid and usable information, this is the one for you!

Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Book Review – Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down Advice by Janet Boyer

November, 2018

Book Review

Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice

by Janet Boyer

 

 

I am so excited to share Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice by Janet Boyer with you all. Naked Tarot is published by Dodona , Winchester, UK and Washington, USA, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing LTD., NO 3 East Street, Alresford, Hampshire S024 9EE, UK. It is available in paperback and digitally, and since I am reviewing a digital version, I can’t describe the physical book. But no worries, Naked Tarot has 451 pages chock-full of valuable insights into the Tarot cards, all presented in an easy-on-the-eye typeface in a style that is irreverent and fun!

I read the Forward, written by Craig Conley, author and creator of the Tarot Of Portmeirion, and instantly smiled. Eight Implications of Nakedness lets us know what we are in for, and it’s all good, even if you are squeamish about getting nekkid. The Introduction, written by Boyer, gives the framework of the book and some biographical information. Boyer, who also has an incredible amount of Tarot knowledge and experience, holds true to the title of this book and presents herself and her life experiences without shields, and with naked honesty. The book continues with an overview of the Tarot and of divination. Boyer also talks about ways to use the Tarot, methods for reading the Tarot, reversals, correspondences, Tarot suits/elements, and even things to consider when choosing a deck. I love her description of the Tarot as offering Who (the Court Cards), What/How (the Minor Arcana), and Why (the Major Arcana) with regard to our readings and the messages of the cards. All of this information without a single image, just lots of easy-to-read and understand text.

The section devoted to each card contains a Stripped Down Overview (describing the personality of the card), a whole paragraph of Keywords, several Personifications and Embodiments (OMG, one suggested personification for the Page of Wands is Tigger; how perfect is that?!), as well as a Quote, a Challenge, a Gift, suggested Occupations/Vocations, a list of correspondences, a Writing Prompt, and on and on. Then there is the Naked section, which contains Career, Romance, Parenting and Spirituality interpretations, as well as a list of Recommended Resources, and a suggested spread. In her card descriptions and extensive correspondence lists, Boyer uses current and up-to-date movie and book references and people, both real-life and imagined, who we all know well.

I particularly like Boyer’s treatment of the Court Cards. She treats each of the 16 Court Cards like individual persons, and even offers Nicknames for each, and the way to His/Her Hearts and MBTI/Keirsey personality descriptions.

At the end of over 400 pages of useful and fun information about each of the 78 cards of the Tarot, Boyer offers six sample spreads with interpretations, as well input and comments from some of the seekers. The book ends with an extensive bibliography, and a list of recent bestsellers from Donona .

Naked Tarot is a must-have, whether you are a new reader just dipping your toe into the Tarot ocean, or an experienced reader with a lot of esoteric information and reading experience in your tool box, or if you fall somewhere in between those extremes. This is not a dry list of correspondences and brief descriptions of interpretations that don’t seem to relate to current life. There is nothing stuffy or intimidating about this book; it is accessible to all and full of lots and lots and lots of useful information offered in a manner that is easy to connect with and remember, even though there are no card images.

I never expected to recommend a digital book on the Tarot, but this is one that you absolutely must have on your e-reader. Get the paperback too if you need to work with paper; you won’t be sorry. You will use this book, again and again, and the thoughtful insights and reader-friendly card descriptions and information will bring a new spark to your work with the Tarot, whether professionally or personally.

Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down advice on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

January, 2018

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times January 2018

Bright Blessings, and Happy 2018!

Time flies when you are an old adult, doesn’t it? It seems like just yesterday, I was looking forward to Summer Solstice!

I write this on Winter Solstice 2017, and my Yule gathering is two days away. We are rearranging the menu and scheduling rides for everybody.

As it is in between Sabbats, I get to pick a topic! I decided to write about Winter itself.

Specifically, I’d like to write some Winter survival tips.

Unlike some people like my husband- who LIVE for winter (psychos!), the rest of us suffer various issues due to cold weather.

I started having issues with Winter the day we moved from the warm South, to the cold North. I recovered for the ONE winter I lived in Arizona, but the dry atmosphere there proved too hard on me, so back to the cold, moist North I came!

Every Winter is a struggle. The older I get, the worse it gets. I have developed routines to get me through Winter in one piece, and I’m happy to share my tips with you.

Without further adieu, I give you:

Saoirse’s Winter Survival Tips

  1. Staying Hydrated- This is very important for both your skin, and your insides, Dehydration is no laughing matter, and while in Summer, people encourage us to drink lots of water, in Winter, we don’t talk about it nearly as much, but it’s just as crucial. One thing to watch for is the tendency to drink lots of hot drinks in Wintertime, which translates into coffee, tea, and hot cocoa. Which means we shun water we are more partial to in warm weather. Hot drinks are fine, and can help us feel warm. Just don’t forget to drink plain water also.
  2. Sickness- Because we go outside less often, our germs are more enclosed, so we are exposed to more of them. People don’t want to call off from holiday gatherings, let alone take any time off of school or work. Please do. I understand there are some people out there who disease does not phase, but not everybody is so lucky. The condescending “Just wash your hands” with an eyeroll is pure bullshit, because some contagious illnesses are airborne. The selfish “I don’t want to use my sick time, because I want a longer vacation” is also very common. Some people have kids and elderly family they take care of who the flu, or infections can be fatal to, not to mention people with compromised immune systems. Also, don’t be afraid to say you won’t be coming to a gathering if you know somebody has strep or the next contagious thing. I’ve done this for years, even leaving a volunteer spot one day, because the coordinator showed up with bronchitis and refused to take antibiotics. Staying well is one of the best ways to survive winter.
  3. Steam is your friend- Breathing in that cold air outdoors as well as air the hearing system dries out wreaks havoc on the sinuses. A steamer is one way to help keep the house humid enough to keep you from having those awful winter nosebleeds. There have been times I did not own a steamer, and I just boiled pans of water on the stove to make the same effect. I swear by it.
  4. F-O-O-D- Winter means winter holiday food, which is consists of high yum, and sometimes low nutrients. The first thing health gurus do is shame people for the high caloric intake of holiday food. But there is a reason people serve these foods come wintertime. In days of yore, you might have your entire food stash go bad in one day. You wanted to stock your body up on whatever you could, and high caloric intake could mean survival in the event that food source DID run out. Without the risk of that, and our more sedentary lifestyles, that extra weight we gain just stays there, and doesn’t benefit us. I’m not going to tell anybody not to splurge on some goodies. All I’ll say is keep your nutrients up, and take supplements if needs be. Many suffer in winter due to lack of vitamin D from the sun because we are indoors staying warm! Take vitamin D pills if needs be, or drink more Vitamin D milk. Do what you need to do in order to keep your nutrients up. Remember also, food like chocolate makes you happy, which boosts the immune system, so have some!
  5. Reschedule without guilt- People, especially if they love you, want to see you. Of course! Sometimes, they are the least understanding people if you have to reschedule. Tough toenails, I say! If the weather is bad…if your car cannot handle the temperature…if you are sick…if you have trouble driving in the pitch dark that seems to shroud us 24 hours per day from Mid -September through March…RESCHEDULE. Don’t let anybody guilt you into going when it is unwise. Even if you are just tired, reschedule. People who really care about you will understand, and as for the folks who don’t understand? They don’t matter.
  6. Dress for weather – Both inside and out, dress appropriately for the weather. A lot of people want to crank their heat up to 75 or 80, and run around in skimpy clothes in wintertime. If you are a millionaire, be my guest. The rest of us have to keep the bills at bay. So the double layered clothes and shoes on until bedtime are the best way to dress. We are able to keep our heat set at 65 because we dress properly, and we keep the bills down. Since I crochet, handmade afghans in laps are provided, and cats and our dog will gladly curl up beside you for added warmth. Baking and cooking all winter will also help keep the house warm. When you go outside, do yourself a favor, and bundle up. Don’t wear shoes that are slick bottom, because you think they look cute, or you might fall and bust your ass. A mistake a lot of people make is assuming they do not need to bundle because they are driving someplace- but if your car breaks down, you will be very cold while you are arranging your alternative transportation. Or forbid your heater goes out! So bundle up!
  7. Fires- Most especially if you are Pagan…have outside fires all winter long, even if it’s just an occasional candle! I have yet to meet one Pagan who does not feel invigorated by fire, which represents light and life for us during these dark months. Burn fires just for the smell of them if needs be, or because you love the ambient glow of them, even if you do so for no other reason. If you’re like me, you love the way your hair and clothes smell after a wood fire. Warm your hearth, yard, and home with fire all winter.
  8. Skin Care- Oh, how the wind, cold, and heaters dry skin as badly as they dry out sinuses! Some say you ought to shower less, but I say a good hot soak every day in a bath or hot shower are good for skin. Scrub all that dead skin off, and hydrate with good lotion after each bath/shower. Drinking plenty of water helps with that as well, and chap sticks/lip glosses/Vaseline on the lips does wonders.
  9. Drive Accordingly- People forget how to drive when weather changes for some odd reason. The first DAY of it, I can see- but some people NEVER acclimate, and are enraged that they have to adapt. This makes no damned sense, and if this is you? Change. Lave the house earlier to account for driving more slowly if needs be. Police say you need to leave an entire car length between you and the next car per ten miles you are traveling. Yet people leave less than half a car length between them and the next driver while going 80mph in the 65 mph zone in rain, snow, sleet, and hail, and are genuinely shocked when a car wreck occurs. I am not calling that an accident in those situations. The lack of safety due to refusal to take precautions is a choice, and there is nothing accidental. It’s unnecessary, and inexcusable. It’s also completely avoidable. Always use the toilet before leaving the house no matter what, as it prevents urgency to GET someplace fast. Play music you like, and take the route you like the best so driving is less of a chore.
  10. Be understanding- Winter is something many of us just don’t look forward to, but nobody can fight it. Understand the things you need to do, and the things other people need to do in order to manage well. Accept winter. Plan for it, and try to enjoy it if you can.

I know there are a LOT more things you can do to survive winter than just what I listed, but here is my top ten list.

Blessed Winter.

Blessed Be!

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel

 

 

 

Dear Jules

January, 2015

Hello Jules,

I would really like to know how to let go. Let go of sadness, anger, any/all negativity. Thank you for your time.

Letting Go

Dear Letting Go,

I think that acceptance plays a big part on the road to letting go.  Our lives feel lighter and more manageable when we take the time to accept ourselves, our lives, our pasts, presents and futures, our fears, anger, negativity and positive emotions as well.  I think it is important especially to take the time to accept the current situation that we are dealing with.  Through acceptance we are able to let go of the things that weigh us down.

Joseph Campbell said “We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

Blessings,

Jules

 

Dear Jules,

My daughter & her b/f have been staying with my hubby & me for 6 months. They give us $250 a month for staying. We’ve gotten behind on bills. It’s catching up with us. We just bought this home in May & we were delinquent on our payment this month. Our water bill was late. They run the heater downstairs full blast… The toilet needs… is leaking & running all the time. They didn’t tell us. We had to figure it out. So we told them to shut the water off to the toilet.  There’s 2 more bathrooms upstairs but they still use that one. They turn the water on to it & forget to turn it back off…

I’ve told them repeatedly to stop all of these things. They leave lights on when not home… They both get a few dollars food stamps a month but when they go grocery shopping it’s all for them downstairs.

… Last time I went with her she got a car full & out of that 3 bags went upstairs yet I cook everyday & they eat our food. So, my hubby gave them 2 weeks to decide. Pay 1/2 utilities,  cable, & 1/2 of all groceries & they don’t have to pay the $250 a month rent so really it won’t cost too much extra.

She got smart with me & said none of it is their fault… our light bill is way up, groceries times 2 because there’s 2 extra people to feed, & from the leaking our water bill was $130 this month which I barely got paid before they turned it off.

My hubby puts in a lot of hours at work & we’re not making it all the while they’re getting a roof over their heads, cable, internet, water, lights, Netflix, food, etc. They have 2 weeks to decide on paying 1/2 on what we ask or get their own place.

They act as though we’re kicking them out when clearly we told them we are not! They can stay…

My daughter refuses to talk to her Dad about anything. She just gets smart with me. They’ve been staying downstairs other than when she comes up to get their plates of food when I cook supper.

Thanks,
Frustrated & Confused

Dear Frustrated & Confused,

It sounds like you and your husband are already on the right track because you both let your daughter and her boyfriend know that their forgetfulness with the utilities has caused a spike in cost for the whole household and that the agreed upon amount of rent is simply not enough.

We learn as we grow to pay for what we need and want.  In order for the home environment to be peaceful there must be a balance.  Ask yourself:  What is necessary to create balance in my home?  What needs to be done for harmony to be restored?  Use the answers to help you figure out what is fair for everyone involved.

Right now they are taking far more than they are giving and it is throwing the energy of your home out of whack.  To right the balance all 4 adults under the same roof need to come to a compromise whereupon the mortgage, utilities and groceries are all able to be paid each month. 

As far as financial issues are concerned – your daughter and her boyfriend owe money for what they have used already.  In order to steer away from a potentially more difficult situation I think the key is for everything to be fair to everyone involved.  If the money cannot be paid within an amount of time that you and your husband agree upon then it would be prudent to kindly and lovingly suggest that your daughter and her boyfriend find different living accommodations. 

In regards to the treatment of you and your husband by your daughter I suggest that the 3 of you sit down and have an honest and open heart to heart that is loving and compassionate and full of forgiveness.  Forgiveness has a way of mending so much. 

I hope that these steps will help you and your family find balance once again.

Blessed Be,

Jules

 

Please send your questions to me at thecraftwytch@gmail.com. All printed questions will remain anonymous once printed – please sign your questions the way you would a “Dear Abby” submission with something along the lines of “Lonely in Seattle.”

Dear Jules

December, 2014

I’m Jules and I am one of the newest PaganPages columnists.  I’m female and live in Las Vegas, NV with my family and cats.  I first discovered myself as a pagan, witch, psychic and empath back in 1999 and I’ve been a strong believer in the Goddess ever since.  I am a spiritual artist and I love to make things to brighten up people’s days.  I sell my creations in a local store and on Etsy.

The advice column I’ll be doing will be called “Dear Jules”.  I’ve always been someone who others go to for advice.  In one of the groups I belong to I saw that PaganPages was looking for some new columnists and I figured I’d give it a whirl.  I’d love for this column to be a safe haven where you can go to someone for advice who has an entirely objective perspective on your situation.  I’d like to be able to help others with matters like love, relationships and life in general.  I would love to see the column develop into something very down-to-earth and easy to relate to for all of us.

I am honored to be the newest member of the PaganPages family and I look forward to dispensing heartfelt advice.  I’d love to help in any way that I can.  Please send your questions to me at thecraftwytch@gmail.com. All printed questions will remain anonymous once printed – please sign your questions the way you would a “Dear Abby” submission with something along the lines of “Lonely in Seattle.”

 

The Holidays

Yes, they are upon us again already!  The holidays can be stressful for all of us for a multitude of reasons – there’s never any shortage.  One of the most difficult aspects of the holiday is dealing with depression and loneliness – others and our own.  It is easy to get drained when people close to us are depressed, lonely or suicidal.  Please take time to take care of yourself.  Make sure that you eat and drink well and get enough rest.  Know what your limitations are.  If someone is depending on you too much be sure to let them know in a kind and gentle manner that you need to take care of yourself.  You need to come first.  You need to be taken care of just as much as anyone else does.

I don’t like to think of holidays as a time of obligation to others.  Being around family and friends is a choice and it’s always okay to opt out.

Before getting angry this holiday season try to take 3 deep breaths and calm your mind and then react in the most understanding and compassionate way possible.  This will ease your stress and will help you to avoid straining relationships unnecessarily.

 

Merry Meet, Merry Part, Merry Meet Again

Blessed Be

Ask Your Mama

April, 2014

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

 

             _    *Ask Your Mama               

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™

 

by

©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

A Question of Baby Steps to the Goddess

 

Dear Mama Donna

 

I am not a follower of the goddess, but I was walking around downtown Brooklyn with my six-year-old daughter Beatrice when she said to me, “Mommy, I don’t believe in God. I believe in Mother Nature and the faeries in the woods. That’s why I make the circles with the rocks.” Clearly she is on a spiritual path and I would like to support her but I really don’t have the background to show a 6-year-old the path to the Goddess.

 

I have seen some of your literature about spirituality and ceremony and thought that you might  give me some ideas as to how to help her find her way to the Goddess.

 

Thanks,

 

Mom On a Mission in Brooklyn

Dear Mom,

 

Ah, to have had a mom like you when I was six and building shrines! I am so impressed with your desire to help your daughter pursue her own personal spiritual path. Brava!

 

I established several rituals with my little granddaughter who spent every summer with me until she became a teen. At bed time, after we read stories or talked, we would “Do Om.” I would sit on her bed facing her. We held each other’s hands to create a complete circle, and then we chanted together, Ooooommmmm. Every night was different, sometimes longer, sometimes softer. Occasionally it got all  silly and giggly, but more often, we chanted until we felt peaceful. Shaleike would drift off to sleep and I would be reenergized for my night’s chores. This was sacred to us. Sometimes she would ask, “Can we do om for a really long time tonight?”

 

You might say some version of grace at meals, acknowledging the bountiful Mother Earth Goddess for all the fruits of her belly. Since she already seems to be drawn to creating altars and shrines, you can encourage her to make a special one for her room and “make offerings” there. I’ll bet she has her own version of what that might mean.

 

The moon is a great way to link to the Goddess. In most cultures, She is the Lady in the Moon. I never could understand how anyone could look at that lovely, smiling, serene lunar face and refer to it as The Man in the Moon. Watch the lunar cycles and do something special on the full and new moons.

 

The New Moon is the perfect time to start something. Begin a project, Make a plan, Set a goal or an intention. Make a wish. As the moon grows to fullness, so will your ideas. This is a great opportunity for Beatrice to understand that her ideas are powerful and that she can strive to manifest them. She can make offerings to the growing moon to send energy to whatever she is focused on.

 

On Full Moons we often got dressed up as for a party and drove out to the beach on Stateb Island and danced in the moon light. With sncks, of course1

The first thing Shameike asks when I pick her up in the summer, is “when is the full moon.” When she was little, she called it the “whole moon.”

 

Take your cues from her. She still remembers.

 

With blessings on your grand adventure,

 

xxMama Donna

Dear Mama Donna,

 

Can we do a fire circle? A water circle?  An air circle? And an earth circle together?

 

Love,

 

Beatrice

 

Dear Beatrice,

 

Yes. We can do a circle together. I would love that.

 

And you can also do a circle whenever you want to all by yourself – or you can invite your mom or a friend if you want. You can sit down with a bowl of water and a bowl of earth and some incense to make fire and smoky air. You can talk to the Goddess whenever you want to. You can ask Her for help, or you can just tell Her how great you think She is. You can also tell her how great you think you are! She will be proud.

 

Keep on making your stone circles. People all over the world make circles of stone to use alike a temple for the ceremonies to the Goddess. When the weather is warmer, you could have a ceremony circle outside. What fun!!!

 

Whenever you have a question, please write to me and I will answer you.

 

I can’t wait to meet you. You are a real soul sister!

 

Lots of blessings of light and love to you,

 

xxMama Donna

 

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. *Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com

Ask Your Mama

June, 2013

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

                 *Ask Your Mama™               

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™

by

©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

A Question of Connection

 

Dear Mama Donna,

 

It’s so important that we all work together in cooperation.

Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that we’re all connected.

They live their lives thinking they’re completely separate. So how do we get everyone to realize that we are a whole?

 

Looking for Unity in Ashville

We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.

      -Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Dear Looking,

Well, that IS the question. Basically, we keep talking. To everyone we know and everyone we encounter in the normal course of our lives. We take every opportunity to keep pointing out our connections and our mutual interdependence.

 

Just by virtue of your having written this letter, you have touched who knows how many people. Granted, most people who will be reading this already understand the complex web of life and relationship. However, we all need reminding from time to time. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

 

Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads…our actions run as causes and return

to us as results.

—Herman Melville

 

We also need to make it our business to point out the frightening ramifications of breaking the bonds that bind us, and to suggest positive alternatives to destructive or divisive behavior. It is especially important to talk with people who you think might relate to these ideas. You never know.

 

When I was in Florida recently, I asked a retired gentleman, a refugee from the north, just why there were no solar panels anywhere with all the new development going on. And you know what? He agreed with me. While this is something that he never noticed or thought about before, it immediately struck him as true and important. And then he, too, wanted to know why not. Hey, maybe he’ll write a letter to the editor.

 

Lately, when I buy stamps at the post office, I refuse the flag ones that they are always trying to palm off on me instead of the pretty flowers and such. Each time, I announce in a loud voice, “No thank you. I refuse to fly the flag until this war is over.” And it never fails to elicit a chorus of “Uh huhs” from the folks on line and an “I hear you, sister” from the clerk.

 

These are very small gestures. Tiny. Miniscule. But they serve as cause for thought and invitations for interaction. Each one, one more strand woven into the web that reaches around the world and connects us all at our cosmic center.

Keep looking. Unity is already here, everywhere, all the time. And unity creates more unity. Let us celebrate it every chance we get.

 

xxMama Donna

 

No one can deny that a network (a world network)

of economic and psychic affiliations is being woven

at ever increasing speed which envelops and constantly penetrates more deeply within each of us. With every day that passes it becomes a little more impossible for us to act or think otherwise than collectively.”

 

– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)

            From The Formation of the Noosphere, 1947

Dear Mama Donna,

 

I applaud your call to others to make connections and make friends. There are so many of us wanting the same things and it’s a matter of simply being aware of each other’s presence. We need to introduce ourselves and share where we come from. May I recommend a website to visit? www.vov.com. If that’s not correct, please look up Victory Over Violence on the internet. This program renews the practice of peace in everyday situations. It is non-sectarian but based in Buddhist principles. We need this interfaith-interaction now more than ever.

For Peace, Rhode Island

 

Dear Peace,

 

You are right. We do need programs of all descriptions that facilitate cooperation, understanding, compassion, and community. Thanks for sharing this information.

 

Also, for peace,

 

xxMama Donna

A person who believes…that there is a whole of which one is part, and that in being a part, one is whole: such a person has no desire whatever, at any time, to play God.  Only those who have denied their being yearn to play at it.

-Ursula K.  LeGuin

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. *Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com

Ask Your Mama

March, 2013

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

 

                 *Ask Your Mama™

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™

 

by ©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

A Question of Grief and Guilt

Dear Mama Donna,

I have had a hard time lately because its almost one year that
my husband of twenty years died, and I have lots of sad and confused thoughts and feelings about this.

Now my dear dog Lady is having hip problems and I feel terrible. Right now she can barely walk. I spent most of yesterday weeping. She is all I have left of my small family and I feel like its all slipping away and I am on the verge of being so alone. I try not to think being alone is a bad thing but I am so sad not to have a partner (or even a lover) to share my life with. It is also hard to feel like there is much love for me like that left in the world. I have good friends and family but at the end of the day I am all alone. For now Lady is here, but I worry her life is waning too.

I had not remembered any dreams in a long time and then this summer when I was in Beijing I had a very intense dream about Jon: Jon (as the sick skinny Jon) came to a party. He “climbed up” into the crowd from some invisible staircase from the earth. He was dressed in jeans and jean shirt. He was carrying mountain climbing gear. He had the rope over his shoulder. He couldn’t really speak but it was very clear that he had come to get me and Lady. He wanted us to go with him. I told Jon we weren’t ready to go and he should go away. That was it and then I woke up sobbing.

I don’t know what to do. Please, I need help.

-Grieving, in Brooklyn

Dear Grieving,

It is very natural to be sad and lonely around the first anniversary of the death of a loved one. The first recurrence of the same time of year brings up the pain and despair all over again. I am so sorry for your suffering. But please know that it will ease.

Maybe you can use this period to honor Jon’s memory. To remember the good times and release the hard ones. Jews do this as a conscious ritual by marking every year anniversary of a death by lighting a Yartzheit candle. This burns for 24 hours and serves as a focus of remembrance. You can get one at the supermarket. It helps to mark the occasion and focus your grief so that you can move on again after the day passes.

The dream that you describe is such a clear affirmation in no uncertain terms that your soul is ready to live your life and follow your own karmic path. Good for you! Your subconscious mind is looking after you well!

Might I suggest that part of your sorrow comes from the guilt of wanting, of needing, to stay here in your life without Jon. Certainly society might say that that is not a very wifely thought, nor a particularly seemly one for a window. Propriety be damned. It is a very basic and authentically felt decision to save your own life.

You mention a craving for a lover. Rather than focus on looking for another partner, try to keep your attention on your relationship with your Self. Remember, you have lived with another for a very long time. It is a big adjustment to suddenly be solo and it takes a while to feel really comfortable and satisfied on your own.

Give your Self permission to explore the new parameters of your life. To establish a new sort of home for your Self. To create new patterns and rituals. To pursue personal interests. To surround yourself with nourishment on every level. It is only once you are able to do this that your energy will begin to attract the sorts of relationships that you desire and deserve.

“I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.”
– Anna Quindlen

Sending you blessings of solace and Self care,

xxMama Donna

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. *Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com

Ask Your Mama

January, 2013

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

                         *Ask Your Mama™
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™

by
©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

A Question of Healing

Dear Mama Donna,

I have a friend who has been very sick lately with lymphoma, HIV related
KS, and an embolism. Can you suggest anything from your bag of healing aids that I can get for him?

Worried in Wisconsin

Dear Worried,

First of all, I thank you in the name of all human and holy comfort for being such a good, caring friend. Your healing intentions add blessings to his life and yours and to all life everywhere.

Secondly, please know that my work is in healing the psyche and the spirit, rather than the physical — if there is, indeed, a difference. So that is what I will address.

It is important for you and your friend to understand that healing and curing are not necessarily the same thing. Curing is about reversing the effects of illness; returning the body to health, if not precisely the way things were.

Healing is about dealing with the current state of affairs and coming to terms with the situation and adjusting to the new reality with equanimity. That is not to say to resign to being ill, but to accept it as a challenge to learn some deep lessons. This process is not only healing, but can also be curative. Attitude is all.

How is your friend’s spirit, his outlook, his way with himself?

One of my clients just succeeded in transforming her thyroid cancer. She had been bitter, but determined to get better. She fought the disease with fury. She had chemo and radiation, which succeeded only in making her sicker.

But at some point during her ordeal, she realized what her body was trying to tell herself. Since she had not listened to the messages from her body or her own deepest inner wisdom for 50 years, it needed to explode — into an invasive tumor— to be finally to be heard.

She came to realize that her cancer was all the suppressed words, anger, outcries that she had swallowed all her life. She made friends with her body instead of hating it for letting her down. She began to embrace the disease as a part of herself, which it was — her own cells that burst through the repressive boundaries that she had imposed on herself.

Her realization led to her healing. In her case, she was also cured.

Encourage your friend to engage in activities that will nourish his soul and help him live with a positive attitude. Journaling, meditating, visualizations and drawing are all excellent ways that pave the path to our self-knowledge and centered outlook.

Annie Dillard wrote, “I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam.” It might not always be possible to cure someone. But we can encourage a profound healing.

Send blessings spirit support to you both,

xxMD

*Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com

Ask Your Mama

May, 2012

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

*Ask Your Mama

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™

by

©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

A Question of What To Do

Dear Mama Donna.

The recent state of the financial, political and environmental realms have pushed me to the point of despondency. I am completely crippled with feelings of helplessness and inadequacy. There is so much that I want to see improve in our country and in the world, but I don’t know where or how to begin. What is a girl to do?

Depressed, Frustrated and Disillusioned in Dallas

Dear Depressed, Frustrated and Disillusioned,

First of all, don’t be. Depressed, frustrated and disillusioned, that is. Know that you are doing what you can and that it counts. Every single solitary thing that we each do and say and, especially, think really does count. More than we can ever believe.

Some might argue that we don’t have any choice in this upside down dangerous world and that we can’t effect what will happen. But even if we can’t immediately alter the course of human events on the world stage, we can certainly create change in our own lives and in all of the lives that we touch. And our thoughts are the seeds of that change.

Dr. Christiane Northrup writes, “Use your thoughts wisely. Understand

their power. Thoughts have a tendency to become their physical equivalent. This is one of the fundamental laws of the universe. Another one is the law of attraction, which states that ‘like attracts

like.’ Because it is consciousness that creates reality, the kind of consciousness you hold — your vibration — actually creates the kind of life you’re living.”

So our first order of business must be to stay positive. To entertain only positive possibilities. To imagine only affirmative alternatives. To surround ourselves with wholly uplifting, life-affirming people and influences. To align ourselves solely with the greater good so that our actions will be born of only the finest of our best intentions.

Far away there in the sunshine are my

highest aspirations. I may not reach

them, but I can look up and see their

beauty, believe in them, and try to follow

where they lead.

—Louisa May Alcott

What we all have to do from now on is to stay open, stay alert, stay centered, keep connected and most important of all, keep talking. Talking, writing, protesting keeps the light of truth and tolerance shining upon the hidden agendas of governments, industries, institutions and individuals. Silence, like the dark of night, shelters nefarious deeds. Silence forgives violence.

I have been haunted recently by the words written by a Protestant minister after the downfall of the Nazi regime. “First they came for the gays. I am not gay, so I didn’t say anything. Then they came for the Gypsies. I am not a Gypsy, so I didn’t say anything. Then they came for the Jews. I am not a Jew, so I didn’t say anything. Then they came for the Catholics. I am not a Catholic, so I didn’t say anything. When they finally came for me, there was no one left to say anything.”

Be bold.

Make a statement.

Make a stand.

Make a difference.

In light of the widespread oppression, manipulation, intimidation that surrounds us today, we most certainly need to say something.  We need, in fact, to talk to everyone who we meet, actually engage on a human level with those who we encounter as we make it through our day. Not just our families, friends and colleagues — those of presumed like-minds — but the shoe repair guy, the waitress at the coffee shop, the post office clerk, the bag boy at the super market.

A good example is Dianne, one of the wonderful people who regularly attends my healing circles. She not only prays for the homeless men and women who live on her block, she calls them each by name. I am so impressed and inspired by her personal outreach to the “untouchables.” Everybody is, after all, somebody.

If we ignore, exploit or patronize those people whose lives intersect with ours, how can we expect international relations to be more civilized? We need to walk our talk wherever we go, whatever we do, remembering always, that by doing so we do make a difference. Let us each be a sun, sending our caring energy out into the world, shedding light wherever we go. You never know whom you might touch with the radiance of your warmth.

I have an outgoing message on my answering machine that doesn’t even say, “Hello.” It just starts right in with, “You know there really is still a chance for peace and that chance will definitely increase if we each do our piece. So let’s make peace — in our homes, in our own hearts, in our relationships, in our communities, in all of our dealings and in the world. Peace be with us all.”

Much to my surprise, the very people whom I never would have thought would respond favorably, have. The overwhelmingly positive reactions that I have received from workmen, telephone solicitors and service personnel has been an important lesson about the necessity to reach out beyond the boundaries of our biases, assumptions and expectations.

A few weeks ago, I came home to a message from the plumber who was making an appointment to fix my sink. After listening to my taped pep talk, he answered in his gravely Brooklyn brogue, “Yeah, what is this war all about, anyway? Why are we fighting those people? They never hurt us.” This, from someone I would have assumed to be a proponent of the war.

The electrician, another guy who really shocked me, loves the message and calls in daily just to hear it! Once I was here when he called and when I picked up, he complained. “Let me call back again,” he implored. “I want to hear the message. It makes me feel good.” The reason, he explained, is that it is not political. It is personal. And it touches his heart.

But why was I surprised? People are just people, after all. When you think about it, all people are of a like-mind when it comes to living a life unthreatened by hatred and violence. The urgency for war only seems enticing when it is waged elsewhere. Ask anyone. “Do you want bombs and missiles to blow up your house?”

Every parent has the right to put her/his child to sleep each night without any risk of that child being shot, trapped in the midst of some hostile crossfire — be it in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ireland, Angola or the South Bronx. No one wants to live and work in a war zone — in Palestine, Bosnia, Zimbabwe, the World Trade Center or East L.A.

So, buck up and say what is on your mind. The more you do so, the more empowered you will feel.

We become just by performing just actions,

temperate by performing temperate actions,

brave by performing brave actions.

—Aristotle

xxMama Donna

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. *Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com

**************************************************************

Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine and writes for The Huffington Post, Beliefnet and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.

www.DonnaHenes.net

www.TheQueenOfMySelf.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Henes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Queen_of_My_Self

Watch her videos:

http://www.youtube.com/user/MamaDonnaHenes

Follow her on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/queenmamadonna

Connect with her on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/#/donnahenes?ref=profile

Read her on the Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-henes/

Read her on Beliefnet:

http://blog.beliefnet.com/thequeenofmyself/

Next »