positive

Book Review – Mindful Dreaming: Harness the Power of Lucid Dreaming for Happiness, Health, and Positive Change by Clare R. Johnson, Ph. D.

March, 2019

Book Review
Mindful Dreaming
Harness the Power of Lucid Dreaming for Happiness, Health, and Positive Change
by Clare R. Johnson, Ph. D.

I love dreaming! It is one of my favorite things to do! I have been tracking and working with my dreams for years. But sadly, I have not had much luck with lucid dreaming, even though I’ve read many books on the topic and practiced lots of different techniques.

Author Dr. Clare Johnson is the first person to write a doctoral thesis on the topic of lucid dreaming as a creative tool. She’s been a lucid dreamer since the age of 3 and is currently the president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. So, she brings a real gravitas to the topic of working with your dreams. Her book offers a different take on the practice of lucid dreaming in Mindful Dreaming. She approaches “wakefulness” from the vantage point of “mindfulness,” bringing your attention to what is happening in the present moment. We bring our attention to the present moment, not only while awake, but during the one-third of our lives that we spend dreaming. The goal of mindful dreaming, as she explains, is to become awake to our unconscious patterns, modify them and heal our lives. “When we learn to be more present in our waking life, we are more likely to discover how our thoughts can shape our reality,” says Dr. Johnson. All this from dreaming, and not years of therapy?? Yes.

The key? Working with your dreams while you’re awake! For a lucid-dreamer wannabe like me, to know that I can go beyond recording my dreams and actually work with them and “change the movie” is exciting. Dreams are not just random firing of brain synapses. Rather, they are the doorway into our vast personal and collective unconscious. Learning to understand their dense symbolic language and decode their metaphors helps us to release powerful emotions, fears and memories stored at the cellular level. When we unravel unexpected associations that dreams make, we enhance our creativity. If we pay attention to their messages, we are shown where illness might develop. And we experience life-changing contact with the numinous when we become aware of our “soul dreams.”

Dr. Johnson takes us through the basics of working with our dreams: sleep hygiene, dream incubation, dream recollection and journaling. These are the first few of 50 dream practices and Lucid Dreamplay suggestions present in each chapter. The beauty of the Lucid Dreamplay practices is that many of them are done while you are awake! You can change your “inner movie,” write, sketch or dialogue your way into an understanding of a key dream image and tell a dream to a friend in order to excavate its many layers. The unconscious mind begins to build a blueprint for the possibility of change in waking life and the direction that change can take. Your unconscious will also begin to build new blueprints when you consciously make changes in your dreams. The book contains many examples of how these practices work for different dreams and dreamers. The techniques are valuable because working with dreams while awake can mirror the experience of lucid dreaming and have the same powerful results, as Dr. Johnson points out. She also outlines a nine step program for becoming lucid in dreams.

In addition to the useful and well-described techniques, Dr. Johnson devotes individual chapters to understanding and working with different types of dreams including nightmares; dreams of grief, loss and death; sexual dreams; dreams of illness and pain; and soul dreams or what I call “Big Dreams.” The book concludes with a chapter on creating your own best life by working mindfully with dreams while awake and asleep: “Dreamwork is a little like magic because it allows us to dissolve the veil the covers our own hidden, unconscious world. Once the veil is gone, we can clearly see the state of our life; what it lacks and what it needs to be healthier and happier.” Working with the Dreamplay practices will take you deep and keep you busy, but just in case you want to go beyond Mindful Dreaming, there is a Resource section. I am going to continue to use this book to get to dream lucidity!

Mindful Dreaming: Harness the Power of Lucid Dreaming for Happiness, Health, and Positive Change on Amazon

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About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart www.flyingtotheheart.com

Open Channel Astrology: openchannelastrology.com

Review – Find Your Happy Daily Mantra Deck by Shannon Kaiser

February, 2019

Review

Find Your Happy

Daily Mantra Deck

by Shannon Kaiser

Healing, Wellness and Self-Empowerment are a few of the buzz words we seek in our ever-changing and highly challenging world. This neat little 56-card and 144pg. book is all that you need to begin a practice of bringing healing, change and positive direction into your life. Ms. Kaiser uses the modality of Mantras as a tool for creatively changing how you think, respond and react to whatever life throws your way.

What I particularly liked about this self-help tool is that the author has the necessary knowledge of psychology, personal experience and an Eastern Perspective which makes this set one that can be used and appreciated by a variety of philosophical and spiritual beliefs.

…”Ms. Kaiser has been named Top 100 Women to Watch in Wellness by mindbodygreen.com and is the founder of Playwiththeworld.com-named as one of the “Top 100 Self-Help Blogs”. Her work has been recognized across the globe by media giants such as HuffPost Live, Spirituality and Health Magazine, Australian Vogue and Entrepreneur Magazine.”…

So, when I say this is a well-respected voice that has established a presence in a market that is overrun by those who pull from the ether, this statement comes from one who has explored a plethora of self-help books, media and more. If you visit Ms. Kaiser’s website you’ll find this statement…..

..”.I spent years at war with myself and the world. I felt unworthy and unlovable. Life was an uphill battle”….

…which seems to be the pivotal point of creation of the Happy Deck, as well as her other books. The deck is meant to be used in an affirmative way and each of the 56-cards is highlighted in the accompanying book giving suggestions about use, possible interpretation and a question around the card’s message that leads to further contemplation and self-exploration.

A very nice integration of Mantra and divination (work to reveal answers through the use of a variety of tools laden with specific symbology) allows for the reader to be very mindful of the interpretation given and how the cards may be used beyond simply a daily or weekly activity. There are five ways of engaging the cards- Single Card draw-Relationship Draw-Three Card Draw-Weekly (Seven Card) Draw and for the more ambitious and committed a Year In Overview (Twelve Card) Reading.

Each card is numbered and has a specific Mantra written in beautiful script on a background of color and pattern. Mantras are an ancient Eastern practice of repetitive statement, much like a short prayer or affirmation, that in the repeating of them gather energy around the vibration of the words and a meaning that imprint on your psyche. The more the Mantra is used the deeper the inroads that are energetically created in how and what you out-picture of yourself. These Mantras may have any goal in mind, but the magick in their effectiveness lay in the intention you are forming around each statement, each repetition and the belief you are generating in hearing and uttering these words of power.

I chose a single card pick with the intention of how I could keep myself more present in the moment. The card chosen was:

Gratitude is the Life Force of Everything

I sat with this message for a bit and then turned to the appropriate page for the number of the Mantra I had selected. The meaning assigned reminded me that I may be turning my focus and attention towards things that are not productive (and not keeping me in the moment authentically. And, that …”by turning your focus to gratitude, you will open up to new opportunities.”. More to think about! There was another affirmation that could be used that expanded on the idea of gratitude and a final question: “In what area of my life can I be more thankful?” That final question is one I will carry with me every day.

Pretty simple stuff, yet in the simplicity I think we all could use an effective and enjoyable way to find our happiest and joy-filled self. And, I would say that this deck of beautifully crafted cards fills the bill quite nicely.

Visit the author’s page: https://www.playwiththeworld.com

Find Your Happy Daily Mantra Card Deck on Amazon

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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.

Magic at the Hearth Excerpt from The House Witch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

December, 2018

Magic at the Hearth

*Excerpted from The House Witch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

 

 

 

In hearthcraft, magic is a way of consciously drawing on the energy of the spiritual hearth to enhance the activity you are engaged in. In many paths magic and spiritual practices are separate, but in hearthcraft the magical activity both supports and draws from spiritual activity. As so much of hearthcraft revolves around love, nurturing, and protection of what you consider sacred, positive goals can be the only ones envisioned.

 

Another way of looking at magic within the context of hearthcraft is as transformation of some kind, a task performed with the intent to weave together energies in order to initiate some sort of spiritual transformation, rejuvenation, or growth. With that in mind, this chapter looks at kitchen folklore and customs and the energies associated with the equipment found and used in the kitchen.

 

Kitchen Folklore

 

One of the fun things about doing research into home-based customs is discovering the traditions and folklore associated with domestic activity. Here’s a series of domestic customs you can use to help enhance your awareness of the spiritual nature of your activity.

 

  • Stir the contents of pots and bowls clockwise to attract positive energy, or stir counterclockwise to banish things. Use one or the other according to the needs of your home or family at the time.

  • Pass items at the table in a clockwise direction to maintain harmonious energy there.

  • If you wish to clear the house of negative energy, clean it beginning at the back door and travel through it room by room in a counterclockwise direction until you reach the back door again, then sweep or mop out the door and off the doorstep.

  • To attract positive energy, clean items in a clockwise motion. is includes dusting, mopping, and scrubbing as well as wiping counters and washing dishes.

  • Draw a spiritual symbol that has meaning to you (either cultural, religious, or designed by you) with salt water on the windows of your house and on the front and back doors. Paint these symbols with clear nail polish if you want something a little more permanent.

  • If you wish to further connect your cooking to your spiritual hearth, draw a spiritual symbol on the inside of the pot or bowl before you use it. A stylized flame is a good basic image to use.

  • Empower your laundry detergent for purification of any negative energy clinging to clothes. Water has a natural purification effect, but empowering the cleaning substances you use boosts that natural effect. Do the same for your household cleaners.

  • Running out of salt is said to be bad luck for the posterity of the home. Keep a small packet of salt somewhere to ensure there will always be salt in the house. (This may be one of the origins of the custom of bringing a bottle of wine, a loaf of bread, and a box of salt to a housewarming.)

  • Hanging braids or wreaths of garlic, onions, or hot peppers will keep your kitchen free of negative energy. Compost them every fall and hang new ones. Never eat them!

  • Hanging bunches of dried Indian corn attracts prosperity and abundance.

  • Leave an onion or clove of garlic outside below the kitchen window to absorb any negative energy trying to enter the home. You may leave them around the doors to the house as well. Place a new one there every month, or more frequently if the old ones decay faster.

 

The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home on Amazon

 

*Copyright © 2018 Adams Media, a division of Simon and Schuster. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

 

Book Review: The Giggles and Joy Children’s Series

November, 2018

Book Review

The Giggles and Joy Children’s Series

 

The Giggles and Joy Children’s books are a series of three books that focus on spiritual life lessons for kids. Each book consists of 8 poems that cover a variety of different topics. The books are written by Ariane de Bonvoisin with Carlie Sutcliffe. They are beautifully and creatively illustrated by Ellie Cross.

These books are amazing and now a personal favorite in my home. They teach kids that positivity, joy and happiness are something to experience every day.

 

 

Giggles and Joy

Giggles and Joy: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids is the first book in the Giggles and Joy series. It features 8 poems on topics of “kindness, gratitude, having a bad day, home, prayer, planet Earth, self-belief and the physical body”.

One of my favorite features is that even though Giggles and Joy talks about prayer, it is in a universal way, that does not align prayer with a certain religion. For a home like mine, where I’m Pagan, my mother is Christian, and my son is undecided, this is a perfect fit.

Planet Earth is one of my son’s favorites. He loves saying “thank you” to our planet Earth. He also enjoys the illustrations that accompany not only planet Earth but all of the poems in Giggles and Joy.

 

You Are Loved

You are Loved: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids is the second book in the Giggles and Joy series. It also features 8 poems. These poems cover “love, navigating change, this beautiful life, courage, grown-ups, self-confidence, and adventure”.

Picking a favorite from this series is difficult. The poems are beautifully written in terms that are easy for children of all ages to understand. I will say that “The Moon Loves You” and “Change” are two of our most read poems. My son has always had a special attachment to the moon so this one gets read almost nightly.

Change quickly became one of our other most read poems when we had a situation shake up the home. It was nice to have a poem that could be read to my son to help him. It taught him that change can be scary, but change can also be fun and exciting.

 

Being You

Being You: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids is the final book in the Giggles and Joy series. The topics for these last 8 poems are “what many kids are facing in the world today, what is true self-worth and how to nurture it, the importance of telling the truth, how to feel safe inside oneself, the magical effect of deep breathing and the adventure of being free to really be yourself”.

Take a Deep Breath” is one of my son’s favorite poems from Being You. It incorporated the deep breathing technique that he learned in school. It also has illustrations of dragons, which is his favorite beast.

 

All in all, I give the Giggles and Joy series a double thumbs up. By far, one of my favorite poem series for children. If you are looking for a positive series full of lessons, look no further. These poems are fun to read and listen to no matter the age.

 

Amazon Links to :

The Giggles and Joy Gift Set on Amazon

Giggles and Joy: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids on Amazon

You are Loved: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids on Amazon

Being You: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids on Amazon

 

 

 

The Road to Runes

October, 2018

The Road to Runes: Keeping it Balanced

Any divination can be a double-edged sword. And isn’t it interesting that sword is an anagram of ‘words’; our fiercest weapon and most powerful tool. We practice divination through our words, by asking questions of the universe or our deities via tools such as the runes. But it can be hard to ask the right questions, and very easy to attribute meaning in hindsight. How can we be sure that the interpretation of the runes is in relation to what we’ve asked, and that we are not just shaping it around the answer we hope to receive?

False Positives

No, I’m not talking pregnancy tests! Although I do know of situations where the runes have indicated possible future fertility, but that’s quite another story. A false positive is what I call it when someone purposefully takes only the positive aspects of a rune and applies them to their situation or question. It’s so tempting to reach only for the positive outcome, but in divination, we’re looking for accuracy, not platitudes. It’s even harder to avoid falling into this trap when doing readings for others, as who wants to be the bearer of bad news?

Balanced Readings

However, just because a rune or rune spread carries negative connotations, it doesn’t mean a reading is all bad news. It’s important to look at both aspects of the runes; the ‘bad’ and the ‘good’. Many aspects that may seem bad may actually be about cleansing or something negative being swept away or destroyed. Or they could be indicating the tumult of a current situation rather than a future outcome.

Here’s an example. Today I drew Thurisaz in relation to a question about a personal issue I was dealing with. Thurisaz means ‘giants’ and is shaped like a thorn, representative of conflict and pain. It’s associated with both Loki and Thor, particularly the tormenting and aggressive aspects of these deities. Immediately, I started looking for alternative meanings to the rune, and ways it could be viewed positively. Of course, there are positive aspects to Thurisaz. Conflict can lead to resolution, or the rune may indicate that you are being resistant to change. It can indicate a breakthrough or breaking down internal blockages that have been preventing you from progressing.

divination vs. hope

My problem wasn’t that the rune doesn’t have a positive aspect. It was that I immediately began to try and skew the rune’s meaning to a positive outcome for my question. This is not divination, it’s just being hopeful. Reading the runes should come with a balanced approach, and the understanding that the answers received might not be what we were expecting or looking for. But we should take them on board, just the same.

In my situation, once I took a deep breath and stopped grasping for the good, thurisaz means I might have to drastically alter my own view of myself and accept that there are parts of myself that I want to change, and actually do something about them rather than just saying “this is who I am.” It tells me that there is pain, and may be more pain, but that it’s up to me to take responsibility for my own actions and resolve to be the change I want to see; to set an example.

Remember, the runes are sending a message in response to your question, or allowing you to dredge your own answers from your subconscious. Just because these answers aren’t always happy and hopeful, doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. Keep yourself open to all aspects of the reading, and of course, that includes the positive aspects too.

Next month I’ll be talking about how to frame our words and questions in the best way to get the most effective readings. Contact me via Twitter @Mabherick if there’s a particular rune you’d like me to focus on.

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About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways

Art & Mystery

September, 2013

Stepping Back to Go Forward

 

August is the worst month in my third floor studio. I rarely wander up the stairs into the suffocating heat, which means I don’t see my paintings-in-process for several weeks. I have to admit that I miss them and begin to look forward to working with them again.

 

When the temperature breaks in early September, they surprise me greatly. They look very different from how I remember them. This one is much better than I thought it was when I stopped working on it. I can see immediately what my next steps are for another one. I have gained some distance and can look at them with a fresh eye. I can see a clear path out of what was muddy mess a month ago. I approach the easel with more confidence and respect for the painting and the energy it is manifesting.

 

It is like that with any relationship, whether with another person, parts of yourself, your work, or even the Mystery. Sometimes you have to walk away and engage your attention somewhere else before you can gain some perspective and return.

 

In many esoteric traditions, our whole reason for being, for incarnating over and over again, is to gain that perspective. The universal divine becomes divided for the sake of union. We dissolve and congeal from union to separateness back to union. And each time the universe learns more about itself at the finest level.

 

Think about all those times in your life when things seemed they were in a hopeless mess. Your brain went round and round and never got any closer to a solution or resolution. Instead, you got caught in whirlpool vortex of suckage that mired you down. What a relief it would be to walk away from all that for a while, to just go and do something that restored your faith in beauty and goodness in the world. You don’t really need anyone’s permission, but if it makes you feel better — you have mine. Go. Do something else. Shoo. (Hint: My favorite way to get away is to take my kiddie crayons and cheap paper to the park and color abstract shapes without thought or intent.)

 

And when you come back, observe the situation and check in with yourself. Open yourself to the possibilities of thinking and feeling about what you are doing in totally new ways. I have found that, when I return to the painting, I can open to its energy. I have the clarity to see what needs to be done and the courage to go a completely different direction if I need to.