strength

Going Back to My Roots

December, 2018

(Roots by Frida Kahlo)

 

Be like a tree. Stay grounded. Connect with your roots. Turn over a new leaf. Bend before you break. Enjoy your unique natural beauty. Keep growing.”

-Joanne Rapits

 

I’ve been going through major internal shifts in the last year. Recently, I’ve been making some changes in my life that are shaking up relationships with people I love. Some of these patterns are co-dependent and that is a no-go for me. When I read this quote by Victor Hugo, I realized that I have a changeable mind and ways of being that used to work for me in those relationships stop working as my thinking shifts: “Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.” But one thing that keeps uncovering itself at deeper levels are my values; these, I’ve discovered don’t change. They do, however, reveal themselves more completely as I get older. As I grow towards my chronological elder hood, I see how important it is to be who I am at my essence. The intent that takes the most courage for me to keep meeting is to be who I really am, no matter what.

 

Over the last month or so, my paternal grandma–who I called Avó Maria–has been showing up in my 
dreams at night. She died when she was in her nineties in 2014. She had a big hand in raising me. As a 
child I spent a lot more time with her than I did my parents. My family were new immigrants to Canada 
at the time and my parents worked hard to build a life for us here. 

I am so grateful for the time I got to spend with my Avó Maria. 

In my dreams, we are back in her house only this time, I am in my adult body. 

We are doing the same things together that we always did: cooking, picking vegetables for meals, crocheting,
praying, and talking. The overwhelming feeling in the dream is one of comfort: You know, the kind you feel
when you are with someone who really loves, accepts, and gets you at an essence level. My dream ends with
her telling me in Portuguese to go back to my roots: volta para tuas raízes.

I’ve been sitting with this directive for a few weeks now. I’ve taken this question into ceremony, I’ve prayed about it, and I’ve stayed silent to hear the response from Avó Maria or Great Spirit or my ancestors or the land. It turns out they all had something to say about it! Paradoxically, this statement– volta para tuas raízes–has so many meanings on different levels. I remembered the many lessons Avó Maria taught me about the things my ancestors valued. Like all children, I’ve taken the values from my culture that resonate with me and left behind others that don’t. Among those that remain into adulthood are: inclusion, community service, hospitality, open-mindedness, and open-heartedness. Then there are the spiritual values that I feel come from Great Spirit of unconditional love, unity and equality among all of Spirit’s creations. From the land, I remember the values of diversity, creativity, and advocacy.

 

When I talk about raízes now, I see this going past my blood line to the earth, the sky, and all my relations in nature. My body comes from the earth and I am rooted in the Great Mother herself. It took me a long time to feel like I belonged here on earth but the Earth Mother was patient until I remembered the truth. My spirit comes from the sky; no matter what happens, it can never be damaged or destroyed–only transformed. I believe that Spirit will simply give me many chances and lifetimes to grow and change until I am finally living in alignment with the essence of who I am and why Spirit created me so.  Rumi reminds me that Everything [I] see has its roots in the unseen world. The forces change yet the essence remains the same.”

 

As I work through the spiritual causes of the autoimmune issues I’ve been facing in my body, I notice how part of my spirit has been living in the past searching for the answer to the question of where I belong. Through journeying in the spirit world, I realized that much of my consciousness was holding onto a past life where I felt I’d been completely accepted for who I was. I was living with this desperate feeling that if I let go of that past lifetime that I would never find my place in this present lifetime. Buddha reminded me that the only time is NOW: Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

 

I am aware that I have little control of what happens in the universe save for my response to the present moment’s happenings. My life hasn’t turned out the way I expected it to, however, I am so grateful that Spirit’s hand reached into my life at pivotal moments to re-direct me to stay on my path with heart. The truth is that I have no idea where my Sacred Dream is taking me and this scares me sometimes. I wonder if I will drift so far away from my raízes that I will be unrecognizable to those I love. But these are simply fears and I’ve never let them stop me before from creating positive change in my life. After all these weeks, I do know one thing…If I stay rooted in my values and I keep sharing my gifts through my essential being, my life will be well lived–no matter what surprises the universe sends my way.

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic coach, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing

For more information go to: www.spiraldanceshamanics.com

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’S Shamanic Journey into Healing on Amazon

MagickalArts

December, 2018

Excerpted from:

19-Days of Illuminated Darkness

Day Three

The Light Within the Shadow of the Winter Solstice



For most of us the turning of the Greater Wheel to the Winter Solstice (Yule) is one of welcoming the return of the Light of

renewal and strength, the promise of increasingly longer hours of daylight and anticipation of warmer weather and a more outer world focused time. This change is subtle in physical form as this is also when the cold of the Winter (Northern Hemisphere) will remain for a few months more prompting us to retreat indoors as the early arrival of evening’s darkness envelopes and calls us into the warmth and light of home.

Each year, I do my work of Self, both within my Tradition (The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel) and personally to call forth this return of Light. And, I also find myself retreating more deeply into the shadows and taking refuge in its landscape of shadow; being intuitively drawn towards the deeper work of spiritual quickening, I think of this as the energy of the Hermit Key of the Tarot and my time to move into the darkened areas of my own inner landscape so that I may welcome and bring forth the Greater Light within. This is also the time of relying on my Shadow self to provide the necessary absence of light to guide me through those darkened paths in a constructive and informed way.

In all spiritual practice, the thought of the physical being holding the Inner Flame of Spirit or The Divine Spark of Light is offered up as a basic concept. The language may differ. The way in which this Inner Light presents itself and interacts with conscious awareness may have different ideology. And, the tools and methods used to quicken its energy may be worlds apart in intent and function, but the premise remains the same. In the space of our dark nature lay a light that is luminescent and brilliant that may be called upon to enliven and transform our spiritual and mundane pursuits. If we take it a step further, this transformation is the direct result of collaboration and embracing the dark and the light natures of our consciousness and using each as support and spiritual catalyst of the other.

This dark nature that I am referring to also has many names, functions and philosophies attached to it. I will simply call it the Shadow (Self) . There is an inherent polarity in all things and this Shadow is that polarized image of our Light nature. I am intentionally not using words that are negative in connotation for the Shadow, because it is not anymore a negative aspect of our being than the Light filled self is. Both are states of being that are subject to all the permutations and scales of intensity and impact that any other state of being is. In reality, if we did not have the antithesis or opposite of something, how could we ever enjoy and fully embrace the thing that is being opposed? So, how can this Shadow state be used during the waxing of the Light and engaged to work co-creatively upon those parts of myself I Will to quicken and prime in alignment with the increasing state of light?

The time of the Solstices allows for a deeper awareness and exploration of what impact we have in this world and how we may use the information we learn about ourselves to move in appropriate and fulfilling ways. It is the time of disequilibrium to bring about the eventual balance that is actualized at the Equinoxes. Neither of these energies are about everything being measured and being exactly the same amount of something on each pan of the scale. Rather, they are the states of balance that are dynamic in nature, moving and flowing one to the other and arriving at an informed state of equilibrium at some point of the process. It is again about the process of polarities and the allowance of a void or lesser amount of one thing, so that it may be filled and quickened by its opposite. There is also the component of sacrifice within these thoughts in that we must willingly acknowledge that something must be given up to make room for that which would be drawn in.

This is the battle of the Holly and the Oak Kings, as each gives way to the other and also resists the relinquishing to the other of its power. One holds the promise of the growing Light and the other the refuge of the increasing Darkness. And, although they are one in the same, in order that the cycles may continue and a newly formed energy can be birthed into being, one must relinquish a parcel of its power to be subsumed into the other; temporary imbalance as brothers become enemies and in the final act, become allies in the process of transformation. The Light of the Oak King birthed from the darkening and lessening of the Holly King.

We call forth to the return of the Light-filled Oak King and celebrate the waxing of the Light half of the year. But, in order for that light to shine in its fullest way, we must also embrace and celebrate the remaining vestiges of the darkness of the Holly King. The darkness of the months that persist of winter’s cold. The darkness that becomes the expanding shadow as the sun shines increasingly longer and brighter around us. And, the darkness that we can retreat into to find those hidden sparks that yearn to be nurtured and brought to the full light of day.

As the weather remains or becomes even colder, the natural inclination is to seek out the warmth and coziness of home. And, so I retreat into the welcoming warmth of my home and settle in ready to study, meditate and reveal more of myself to myself. I embrace the early evening darkness as a cloak that I step into so I can more fully appreciate the sun’s light of day. I move within both physically, settling into home and family and spiritually as I dig deeper into the recesses of my own nature. I seek out and call to the inner spark within and stand ready to embrace also the Shadow of my nature as it rises to the surface, revealed by that light.

In meditation, I allow my breath to slow and deepen into the darkness and move along the paths of my own creation that I have tended to in the previous months in preparation for this time of going within. These paths are often mired with the thorns and treacherous roots of inertness, illusory thoughts and judgments that I have used as the trappings of who I am in the world. My Shadow has nurtured each and knows the weakness and strength of each because in this space of darkness what is revealed is often seen more clearly in its true form than in the blinding light.
When I finally relax and surrender into the wisdom of my Shadow the first striking of the match of greater light is drawn across the rough surface of my resistance, and the resistance is transformed into the tiny sparks that ignite the part of myself that is receptive and waiting.

In accord with the energy of Yule, I allow the weakening resistance of my Holly King to be replaced with a renewed sense of purpose and the strength of my Oak King. My Shadow self is resistant to being brought forward, knowing that bits of it will be released in sacrifice and other parts will be transformed so that its darker nature can work co-creatively with the strength of my light self. I call to the Oak King that he may bless and enliven both aspects of myself as we move forward into the new year in anticipation of what can be seeded at the Spring Equinox; and accepting the knowledge that his wisdom will be transformed as the Shadow begins to strengthen its work at the Summer Solstice and the rising once again of the Holly King.

At those points when the darkness seems pervasive and overwhelming and the light is barely visible I am reminded that without the necessary shade to prevent the seedling from drying and withering from an overabundance of the light’s unfiltered rays, the beauty of new growth and radiant and healthy flower will not come to fruition.

May the blessings of the growing Light and the wisdom of the Dark create the quickened space for a prosperous, enlightened and informed Yule.

***

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.

Witch & Popcorn

September, 2018

Bright Blessings, film lovers!

This month, I decided to review another classic film- Steel Magnolias.

Some have not seen it, as it’s set in the 1980’s in Louisiana. The film is all about motherhood, the cycle of life, death, and birth, and the power of women to support one another no matter what. I have never met anybody who did not bawl like a baby while watching this film, and it is one of the finest films ever made.

It’s filled with big hair, snark, shade, charm, love, and laughs. You will fall in love with the Steel Magnolias- delicate like a flower, and as strong as steel!

Here is the link to a trailer you can watch:

The story follows the lives of lady friends who gather at the local beauty salon, ran by Truvy, played by the divine Dolly Parton. While it appears to be the story of Shelby, played by Julia Roberts, it turns out, it’s more about her mother, M’Lynn, played by Sally Field. She is the main representation of motherhood in this film, and she plays a mother who raises her daughter Shelby, helping with Shelby’s health issues, even after Shelby marries, moves out, and has a child of her own. Unfortunately, Shelby’s body could not handle the pregnancy, and she eventually dies even after exhaustive efforts to save her. M’Lynn even gives Shelby one of her own kidneys.

What is the mother goddess if not life giving? Whose body do we live upon, and it is the fruit of whose body that feeds us? Whose waters quench our thirst, and to whose body do we return when we die? Who takes care of our children after we are no longer alive to do so, continuing to nourish them?

The great mother goddess! M’Lynn is the perfect embodiment of the lifegiving, healing aspect of the great mother.

Truvy, too represents that. She has her own issues, as her husband is struggling with a case of the blahs after being unemployed. She never gives up on him even when he holes up at the house, and won’t go anyplace. Her son, too has teenage attitude issues, and she still loves him in his rebelliousness. It turns out, her devotion to them was not misplaced, and her believing in them shows by the end of the film, the men in Truvy’s life are men who make life better for everybody. They just needed the understanding and support while dealing with their problems. Thanks to Truvy, they came out if their struggles whole, and better than ever.

The eternal compassion and understanding of the great mother carries us. Truvy embodies this.

She further gives a second chance to the heartbroken Annelle, played by Darryl Hannah. Annelle is abandoned by her good-for-nothing husband who is on the lam from the law, and when she can’t rub two nickels together, Truvy gives her a job, and a chance at a new life. Her whole life seemed over before being taken in by Truvy, but like a phoenix rising from the ashes, everything begins again for Annelle, and she absolutely thrives.

Sometimes, the goddess takes a bad situation from us we have been holding onto, because we believe it is all we have. Once stripped of everything, we are given so much more than we ever imagined.

The comic duo of the film, Miss Clary and Miss Ouiser, played by Olympia Dukakis, and Shirley MacLaine bring the snark and shade, and keep everybody in stitches. The oldest ladies in the group, they are bound by adoptive sisterhood, and both jokingly verbally attack one another.

Initially, Ouiser is a miserable old hag who bitches constantly, and looks worse than she acts. Shelby plays matchmaker a second time in the film, this time bringing Ouiser back together with an old beau. Reluctant to give up her independence, Ouiser first INSISTS they are just friends, which is pure hogwash. Soonafter, Ousier becomes kinder, gentler, and significantly less irritable, and all because she is HAPPY. Clary remarks at one point, “Ouiser! You are in a good mood! Did you run over a small child on your way here?”

She was absent minded, careless, accident prone, and a pain to be around at times. She stressed over every little thing, and complained constantly. None of the ladies disowned Ouiser when she was at her worst. Truthfully, her worst was not THAT bad, but she WAS difficult to deal with.

The goddess in her wrathful form is only such for reason. She has a benevolent aspect as well, Ouiser shows both sides.

Like the goddesses destructive side can clear the way for the good to come, Ouiser’s dark irritability causes her to snap at Annelle and drag the truth of her situation out of her. Had Annelle not spilled the facts, the ladies would not have known to immediately band together to lift up Annelle in her struggles. Ouiser also shows the fact the goddess needs the love and companionship of others to be her best self. Her friends as well as her new beau embrace her eccentricities, and while they joke with her about it, reminding her she’s got that mean streak she needs to keep in check, they give her the love and support she needs to be her best so she can love and support others as well.

Clary is a rich older lady, and uses it to put herself in positions to benefit her community. She is a testament to the goddesses generosity, and like the goddess smiles upon her children, so did Clary.

There’s not things in the way of mysticism or lore in the film, but the magic of women channeling their inner goddesses to make their lives and the lives of their loved ones wonderful is the lesson this film has for us.

This film deals with the joys of new life through children, the pain of loss when they die, and the new hope new life brings.

Don’t take my word for how amazing this film is. See it for yourself.

Note- I am also aware there was a 2012 remake of it, and I think I have to nab a copy of that as well. It got multiple awards and got rave reviews!

Happy film viewing.

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.

Witch & Popcorn

July, 2018

 

Bright Blessings, movie lovers!

This time, I reviewed a film that is considered by some to be one of the top films of all time, and is celebrated as a story of women’s empowerment in a time when women’s rights were still being fought for. It is also a story of love, the ties of family, and the power of women’s magic.

The Color Purple.

Here is a trailer:

The story follows the life of Celie, from her tragic beginnings to her personal triumphs after reclaiming the strength that was beaten out of her.

Her sexuality was robbed of her until she took it back.

Her belief she was beautiful was taken from her until a soul sister showed it to her, and kept at it until Celie believed.

Her sister and children were taken from her until she used magic to instill understanding in the one man who had the power to see to it she got her family back.

A dominant theme was that in the world Celie was born into, the men had the power to make decisions, but it was the women who made life happen.

Almost all of the men in the film were either emotionally crippled, selfish, stupid, lazy, or rapists. They relied very heavily on the women to feed, clothe, clean them, give them children, and take care of said children. The women were the ones who made a house more than a filthy shack with tattered walls, and it was the women who brought happiness. The women were the ones who created, and facilitated relationships through gatherings, healing the sick, forgiving ugly behaviors, ignoring nasty remarks, being beautiful, making music, and giving the unconditional love that makes it worth it to get out of bed in the morning.

The women in The Color Purple are shining examples of family matrons, and mother goddesses. Without them, there is nothing.

Two of the men redeemed themselves in the film, because they allowed the women to reach into them, and pull the good out. Harpo, who finally acknowledged the goddess in his beloved, Sophia, intimately played by Oprah Winfrey, realized his wrongs, and did all the things he needed to in order to correct them.

Mister, who was abused by his father from childhood, lived to become an abuser himself, but he sees the err of his ways, and changes. He redeemed himself too late, and while he was the one who brought Celie back with her family, he had hurt Celie too much for her to be able to trust him again. The pain of the boy who never truly grew into a man because he was never allowed to love, and be who he was is beautifully portrayed by Danny Glover.

The theme of men being threatened by women’s strength, wisdom, power, and bonds was painfully explored by author Alice Walker, a champion of women’s rights. She, herself was subject to abuse at the hands of men in her own family, and was neglected due to boys being favored. She was able to explore the damage that dysfunction creates, while providing a happy ending for everybody in the film, even the men who hurt innocent people.

Early in the film, it is established Celie has the power to keep the people she loves close to her, no matter what anybody else does to her. Her two children are taken away from her by her step father, but she always longs for them. Her sister, Nettie is separated from her by Mister, but both Nettie and Celie hold onto faith that “not even death” can keep them apart.

Because of Nettie and Celie’s will they stay united, the powers that be bring Celie’s two children together with Nettie when she has to flee when Mister banished her. The emotional reunion of the whole family, with Mister looking on, significantly aged from losing Celie, won’t leave a dry eye in the house, and I would advise you have a full box of tissues, something to cuddle, and chocolate when you watch this film.

Connection to the ancestors, and what Walker refers to as “The Motherland”, in Nettie’s case, Africa is elaborated in the film. Once Nettie goes to Africa, she sees the good and bad of the indigenous way of life. The good shares the knowledge of where you came from, who you are, and the interconnectedness of all those who are part of your tribe and family.

As Celie is ripped from family, she creates her own tribe. Sister friend Shug both needed Celie’s healing, and continued sisterhood. As she was seen as a “star” by all but Celie, who saw the humanity and brokenness in Shug, there was nobody she could confide in like she did Celie. In the same way, Shug saw all the untapped potential in Celie everybody else was blind to.

Shug’s pain lies in the fact her father rejected her, took away her children, and banished her from the family. He, a preacher, considered her unclean, having had children out of wedlock. Years later, through persistence, Shug is able to reconcile with her father. I know everybody hates spoilers, but I cannot help but share the link to the very moving scene where the reconciliation happens.

Another member of Celie’s adopted tribe, Miss Sophia, who married Mister’s son, Harpo is a shining example of the kind of powerful woman the men felt threatened by. Women are told from the time they are girls to be agreeable, conform, be small and quiet, and submit. Sophia is quite the opposite, and no amount of beating down keeps her down for long. She goes through a short period where she behaves as a shell of a woman, because of severe trauma that lasts for years. But when Celie finally comes out, and reclaims her own power, she gives Sophia the strength to reclaim her own.

In contrast with the beauty of Africa, an example of the things Nettie is shocked about in Africa is that like men, and white people in the rural South in the early 20th century, indigenous African tribal people portrayed in the film did not believe in allowing females to attend school. Reading, and learning anything besides having babies and keeping house was forbidden for girls in the tribal village where Nettie lived. Nettie, Celie, and other women in both Africa and America in the film defied that taboo, to rise to individuality, and freedom from oppression.

A recurring theme of one of the ways Mister keeps Nettie from Celie is his confiscation of letters Nettie sends Celie year after lonely year. Mister understands the power of the written word, and for decades, hid the letters in a plank under the floor in his closet. Nettie, allowed to go to school, would come home, and teach Celie to read, and it is because of this, once Celie and Shug find Nettie’s letters, Celie’s healing begins.

The first time Celie reads Nettie’s letter, Celie’s transformation begins. Although she fears what atrocities will happen to her if Mister discovers she has defied him, she continues reading her letters. One by one, Celie’s righteous anger wells up, and she grows stronger and stronger. Her strength peaks at the Easter Supper- a dinner celebrating resurrection of the divine dead into eternal life- that Celie tells Mister what he deserves to hear, leaves Mister, and physically places a curse on him. “I curse you. Until you do right by me, everything you think about is going to crumble.” She elaborates it a second time after Shug physically removes Celie from the house to get her to safety.

That curse works, and is broken only when Mister does right by Celie.

The binds of mothers with children, and sisters as well as the relationship to the continent where generations of ancestors lived, are buried, and their bodies create the very soil walked upon all explore the bond of blood. For some, blood really IS thicker than water.

This powerful magic confirms what magical practitioners have always known. The will of love is more powerful than the will to destroy. Not even death can separate what is united in love.

While many reviewers have seen this as simply a story of women’s empowerment, I see the magic and witchery in it, and the power of women to be the physical embodiment of the goddess on earth.

I have watched this film probably a dozen or more times in my life, as well as read the book it is based on. I recommend both.

Blessed Be, and happy movie watching!

***

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

 

 

 

 

Book Review – How to Find Your Spirit Animal: Connect with Your Animal Helper for Guidance, Strength and Healing by David Carson

December, 2017

I was delighted to receive a review copy of this book. David Carson and Jamie Sams co-authored the 1990s classic “Medicine Cards – The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals.” I spent many hours working with that deck, as the animal allies taught me about their gifts and powers and how to awake those in myself.

David Carson’s work in this book, first published in 2011, offers a brief introduction to how 4 different “medicine” traditions work with animal teachers. These overviews are drawn with a broad brush- mentioning a few North American traditions, then moving on to the Sami, the Australian First People, and finally, Mesoamerican cultures. Carson touches on animal myths and practices associated with each of these lineages and ends up with a short section on contemporary shamanism. This travel through cultures is truly an overview and not by any means an in-depth analysis. I believe it is written for those who have heard about shamanism and power animals and who are looking for a way in to see if a deeper relationship is worth further pursuit.

The book then moves in to a chapter on different ways to find and work with animal spirits. Again, this is a survey of different methods, not an in-depth discussion. Carson touches on vision questing, guided visualization, altar building, meditation and dreaming as ways to find a power spirit. I was surprised not to see “Medicine Card” work listed – I always found those cards to provide exactly the animal powers needed to address the questions I brought! He cautions against the trap of working with an animal simply because you like it and are drawn to it. This can be good advice, but is not always true. It’s quite possible that an animal has drawn your attention and affection towards it because it has teachings for you. It is always a good practice to work with a method you trust for finding “truth” and exploring what your relationship with this animal energy holds. Carson offers an excellent practice in relationship building in his advice to offer gratitude and thanks to your power animal when you find each other. As with any relationship, you and your spirit animal have much to offer to each other and can work at finding out how best to be of service and to honor your partnership.

(artwork: My Sovereign Self with my Power Animals by Susan Rossi)

 

Carson touches on healing by asking your helping totem for a song or dance (or both) to use. He recommends working with a medicine wheel to overcome obstacles by consulting animals in the four directions for guidance. And his best advice, walk through your daily life with the awareness that your totem animal is ever present, always with you.

Most of this book contains short chapters on the qualities, gifts and powers of 50 different animals, both real and mythic. He provides information on their habits and associated myths. Again, this is not a detailed discussion, but an overview to give the reader a scent to follow. And these chapters truly are only tastes to set a trail to be followed; each person who has a relationship with Bear energy will discover the many different guises in which that energy may appear! The healing and nurturing mother bear perhaps, or maybe the grandpa bear who teaches the young ones to scamper up trees by chasing them. Or maybe the bear who speaks to dreaming and inner vision. There are no limits to what a helping spirit can teach us, so there is no one way that it always appears to everyone.

There is a short list of reference materials at the end of the book. Carson also provides a partial list of organizations working to benefit animals and suggests that readers inspired by working with their spirit animals may wish to donate time or money – an excellent suggestion that reinforces the importance of gratitude and cooperation in this work. 

This book is not for those who already work with totem animals. But for a beginner, this is a good place to learn how to take your first steps onto this path of relationship with your power animal.

 

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

***

 

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

Warrior Women

August, 2016

Temple Grandin

temple

 

Imagine being smart. Really smart. HaHa. Just kidding. You are smart.
Imagine being super intelligent, a brainiac extraordinaire.
Imagine being autistic.
Imagine being Temple Grandin.
Ms Grandin is a fascinating woman. She has accomplished a great deal, on many levels, and possesses a stunning command of two areas dear to her heart: autism and animal science. Two utterly disparate subjects, you’d think. But, no. Temple Grandin not only colours outside the lines, but, moves them around, if necessary.
Mary Temple Grandin was born on August 29, 1947, in Boston, Massachusetts. At the age of two years, Grandin’s parents were told she was autistic and recommended she be institutionalized. Her mother refused.
Instead, Mrs Grandin arranged for her daughter to engage in long-term speech therapy and hired a caregiver who played with her, talked to her and kept her from retreating into herself. Mrs Grandin also read to her daughter, sometimes for hours at a time. Finally, at the age of four years, Temple Grandin began to speak. There is no doubt in my mind that her mother’s devotion had a hand in this.
Ms Grandin was an outsider throughout her elementary and high school years. Children can be very cruel, and because she was “different,” they teased her. How difficult that must have been! But, despite her social anxiety, lack of social skills and bullying by her peers, Temple Grandin, with great determination, made it through elementary, middle and high schools. She then went on to earn a psychology degree, a master’s and a doctorate, both in animal science. All I can say is, Wow! Very impressive, indeed.
She began working as a consultant to large slaughterhouses, her goal being the improvement of the animals’ quality of life. Her observations of cattle on their way to the processing plants and their subsequent fear, motivated Ms Grandin to redesign the walkways and chutes via which the animals travel in their final moments. It is very interesting to note that she is able to see the world through the animals’ eyes and has stated that many of their fears mirror her own.
Ms Grandin has said she has no interested in emotional issues, nor being part of a relationship. And yet, she knows how animals feel. Mostly because they react the same way she does to the same outside stimuli. This is quite intriguing to me. She finds normal-level noises to be overwhelmingly loud and coping with changes in her daily routine are almost impossible. She does not like to be in social situations and likens it to being “an anthropologist on Mars.” (Dr Oliver Sacks used this description as the title of his 1995 book.)
Temple Grandin has allowed us to have a closer look at the world of an adult autistic person. Her frankness, her understanding of animals, her willingness to write about her life and her readiness to open herself to us, is counterintuitive to the essence of her instincts. She is truly a brave, brave woman.
“You can design a mind to be more social [or] more interested in things. And if we didn’t have people more interested in things, we wouldn’t even have a phone to talk on.” ~Temple Grandin

I strongly urge you to watch this video of Temple Grandin giving a TED talk.

https://www.ted.com/talks/temple_grandin_the_world_needs_all_kinds_of_minds?language=en

Tarot Talk

February, 2016

I love comparing cards! This month we will look at the Major Arcana Strength card and then come to understand it even further by comparing it to The Chariot, the card we examined last month. If you haven’t yet read last month’s column, please do so now.

Next, a quick review.

There are 22 Major Arcana cards in a Tarot deck, with numbers from 0 to 21; the Majors usually deal with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives. An archetype (pronounced “ark eh type”) is a generic, idealized model of a person, an object, or a concept which can be copied, patterned, or imitated. The term archetype often refers to one of two concepts: a “stereotype,” a personality type observed multiple times, especially an oversimplification of a personality type; stereotypes can be positive or negative, or an “epitome,” which is the embodiment of a particular personality type, especially as the “greatest” or “best” example of the particular personality type; epitomes can also be positive or negative.

So archetypes present personality traits that are common enough to be known by us all, through images (rather than words) that contain symbolism that connects with our subconscious in a universal manner. Each of us can understand the symbolism of archetypes and connect with that symbolism because each of us has (or will) personally experienced these archetypes.

Each Major Arcana card corresponds to an archetype, an image, a number, an element, an astrological sign or planet, a Hebrew letter, and a Path on the Tree of Life joining two Sephiroth. Let’s start breaking this one down; we’ve got a lot of work to do!

Many Major Arcana cards represent archetypes of people in our lives. The Empress is The Mother, The Emperor is The Father, The Hierophant is The Teacher; we easily understand these archetypes because most of us have them in our lives. Other Tarot Majors represent ideas or feelings or concepts or stories, rather than people. The Strength card is one of these, as Strength is the archetype of goodness and endurance. Like The Chariot of last month, Strength is about courage and self-discipline; however, Strength has an inner focus that allows us to tame and live with our instincts or animal nature.

The traditional image associated with Strength is a woman and a lion under a blue or golden sky, with the woman appearing calm, gentle and cultured, gazing peacefully at the lion; not a figure typically associated with the ability to dominate a wild beast. Often the woman is clasping the jaws of the lion or petting or combing his mane; on a few versions she is prying open the lion’s mouth. Some cards show the lion sleeping at the woman’s feet, others show the woman riding the lion. Many Strength cards contain a lemniscate, a geometric shape also found on The Magician. There are often flowers, green grass, and mountains in the distance. The lion is a symbol of our passions and instincts and desires, and it is interesting that while The Chariot offers us the Warrior, Strength presents a woman to tame the lion. Here is the first hint that Strength is not about physical strength at all. The woman tames the lion with gentleness and patience; in many images the woman’s left arm (representing mental effort) is exhibiting effort while her right arm (representing physical effort) is merely resting on the lion.

Strength is the number 8 card, which tells us that we have skill to move forward, and the time has come to move, and to follow our instincts. This number represents the concept of a Remedy or a Reaction to the degeneration of the number 7; 8 is the number of building and of destruction that asks us to present a conscious and deliberate response to what has been presented to us to date. In some decks, Strength is switched with Justice and thus is numbered 11. The number 11 reduces to 2, the number of balance, polarity, diplomacy and the energy of “distance between.” This number offers the concept of comparison.

Strength corresponds with the element of Fire. Fire corresponds with the Minor Arcana suit of Wands, playing cards suit of Clubs, the cardinal direction of South and the color Red. It represents creativity, ideas, ambition, and growth. This element represents seeds being planted and things being born; Fiery energy encourages us to move forward and to take action based on Divine Will rather than our ego-based Self. In its natural state, the element of Fire is hot and dry. It tends to bring spontaneous change or impulsive, energetic effects. Fire transforms everything in our world. Fire can sanitize or cleanse, and it can destroy everything in its path; Fire can warm us and keep us safe, or it can kill us. Fire is associated with our ability to experience joy and passion (including sexuality), and can represent enthusiasm and a pull towards being physical or artistic; it can also represent recklessness and apathy, a lack of energy and potential health issues.

In astrology, Strength corresponds with Leo (“I am,” passionate, dramatic, egotistical). The Sun sign of Leo is connected with the Lion, the king of the jungle, and the Lion plays a huge part in the Strength card. Leo also corresponds with our Sun, the center of our solar system; it is a fixed Fire sign. In Astrology, Fixed Signs are associated with stabilization, determination, depth and persistence. This means that Leos are powerful and willful in all they do, often achieving more than expected. Of course, they can also be inflexible, rigid, stubborn, opinionated and single-minded. Leos are passionate and courageous; they can combine dignity and strength in order to be effective leaders who have a talent for inspiring others to also go above and beyond what is expected. They tend to plunge into a situation without a second glance, but since they thrive on risk and competitive situations, the end result is often good.

In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter is connected to the creative forces in the universe, and they express themselves on three levels: one level is archetypical and runs from the first to the ninth letter; the second level is one of manifestation and runs from the tenth to the eighteenth letter, and the third is a cosmic level and runs from the nineteenth to the twenty-second letter. Strength corresponds with the Hebrew letter Teth, the tail or the coiled serpent, the 9th letter in the alphabet which falls into the archetypical level. A coiled serpent has built up its power and is ready to strike; this is seen as a hidden spiritual awareness the release of which creates a reminder of our divine origin.

On the Tree of Life, Strength represents Path 19, running between Geburah (the place where forms and structures are challenged or affirmed) and Chesed (the place where forms and structures are stabilized and nurtured), representing Spiritual Intelligence. The 19th Path tells of the balance between strength and severity, and affection and gentleness. It encourages us to endure the tests and challenges that give us the strength and skill to wield Perfect Love and Trust. The 19th Path is one of the Paths that crosses the Tree of Life horizontally, moving in both directions between the sephiroth and spanning the Pillar of Form/Restriction and the Pillar of Force/Expansion. If you remember, The Chariot is a vertical Path, also originating in Geburah, the center of the Pillar of Form/Restriction, but moving upward into Binah and remaining on this Pillar.

The Chariot tells of having the control necessary to focus on our goals, and to avoid distractions, and it represents the ability to get to where we need to go, perhaps even the ability to get there quickly, rather than walking. Sometimes The Chariot can represent our mind and intellect and the way our feelings can affect them; both our mind and our feelings need to be controlled with a firm hand.

Strength does not tell of physical strength or the use of strong muscles. This is energy without brutality, a feminine strength, irresistible in its gentleness. The Strength card is seen as being connected to The Magician (they both contain that sideways 8, the symbol of eternity), however, The Magician must learn his skills, while the Strength card represents the ideal to be attained and strived for. The lesson The Magician must learn is that gentleness tames violence.

Like The Chariot, the Strength card also represents determination focus and power, however there are differences. The Chariot represents the Will, Strength represents Endurance. Two powerful forces, one with an outer manifestation and one with an inner manifestation. Originally, Strength was called Fortitude, one of the cardinal virtues (the other two are Temperance and Justice). Fortitude tells us that we need to moderate our expectations regarding pain and danger, for while we don’t usually want either of them, they can’t be avoided but rather endured. The Chariot has strength and focus, and is able to direct the forces around him in order to arrive at his chosen destination. Strength adds patience and composure to the mix, taming the unpredictable energies so they no longer present obstacles.

Strength has a powerful yet subtle message for those who seek to understand the energies of this card: it is not holding on that makes us strong, but it is the act of letting go.

Tarot Talk

January, 2016

I love comparing cards! Let’s begin a comparison of The Chariot and Strength by looking at The Chariot of the Major Arcana. First, a quick review.

There are 22 Major Arcana cards in a Tarot deck, with numbers from 0 to 21; the Majors usually deal with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives. An archetype (pronounced “ark eh type”) is a generic, idealized model of a person, an object, or a concept which can be copied, patterned, or imitated. The term archetype often refers to one of two concepts: a “stereotype,” a personality type observed multiple times, especially an oversimplification of a personality type; stereotypes can be positive or negative, or an “epitome,” which is the embodiment of a particular personality type, especially as the “greatest” or “best” example of the particular personality type; epitomes can also be positive or negative.

So archetypes present personality traits that are common enough to be known by us all, through images (rather than words) that contain symbolism that connects with our subconscious in a universal manner. Each of us can understand the symbolism of archetypes and connect with that symbolism because each of us has (or will) personally experienced these archetypes.

Each Major Arcana card corresponds to an archetype, an image, a number, an element, an astrological sign or planet, a Hebrew letter, and a Path on the Tree of Life joining two Sephiroth. Let’s start breaking this one down; we’ve got a lot of work to do!

Many Major Arcana cards represent archetypes of people in our lives. The Empress is The Mother, The Emperor is The Father, The Hierophant is The Teacher; we easily understand these archetypes because most of us have them in our lives. Other Tarot Majors represent ideas or feelings or concepts or stories, rather than people. The Chariot is one of the former types of cards, as it is the archetype of The Warrior. The Warrior within each of us is usually activated in adolescence and continues to protect our emotional boundaries and assert our needs in the world. The Warrior is about duty, honor, loyalty and discipline, about the boundaries we set for ourselves, and about the way we respond to the boundaries imposed by others. Today the Warrior archetype lives on in our reverence for those who serve in the armed forces

The traditional image associated with The Chariot is a warrior or king standing on a chariot that is being pulled by two animals or beings, often those animals or beings are faced in opposite directions or are rearing or struggling to move in their own chosen direction. The animals pulling the chariot are often opposites of some kind, representing the Shadow Self and the Conscious Self. Often there is a sun in the sky, or some other representation of the sun may be found on the warrior’s armor or chariot. Some images also present a body of water or some representation of water in the vicinity of the chariot. The Chariot card of the Shadowscapes Tarot is such a beauty! The chariot is riding a wave, with the charioteer standing with pride and confidence, reins dropped by her sides.

The Chariot is the number 7 card of the Majors. This number tells of pause and reflection, of accomplishments (but with work still to be done), evaluation, research, and thoughtfulness. The number 7 can represent the energy of pushing too hard and thus needing to step back, or of isolation, aloofness, or a solitary approach to a situation; it tells of the onset of the degeneration of the balanced energy of the sixes, but in that process greater variety and imagination is infused into that energy.

The Chariot corresponds with the element of Water. The element of Water corresponds with the Tarot suit of Cups, the playing cards suit of Hearts, the direction of West and the color Blue. Water is about inner manifestations of all kinds, emotions, dreams, divine love, the heart and the subconscious., as well as our connections and bonds at many levels, Water also represents purification and transformation, and being grounded in the heart rather than the intellect. The element of Water usually represents a caring and sensitive nature; it can also represent dreaminess and self-delusion, the presence of some emotional trauma, and possibly a refusal to address this hurt.

In astrology, The Chariot corresponds with Cancer. (“I feel,” sensitive, tenacious, nurturing, moody). Cancer, the Crab, is responsive, emotional and generous, but that hard shell can shield a person who is moody, insecure or sensitive, and is often affected by the environment and people nearby. Those born under the sign of Cancer, the 4th sign of the zodiac, acknowledge that they experience strong feelings and emotions, and they are very protective of those feelings and emotions. Cancer people tend to be very attuned to the past, and they like to have mementos of the times and people of their childhood. Cancer people place a high importance on family, both family of the blood and family of the heart. They nurture and protect those they love. Cancer people are hard workers, and that paycheck is important not only for what it will buy, but also for the security it provides.

In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter is connected to the creative forces in the universe, and they express themselves on three levels: one level is archetypical and runs from the first to the ninth letter; the second level is one of manifestation and runs from the tenth to the eighteenth letter, and the third is a cosmic level and runs from the nineteenth to the twenty-second letter. The Chariot corresponds with the Hebrew letter Cheth (the hedge or fence), the 8th letter in the alphabet which falls into the archetypical level. A hedge or fence can be seen as delineating boundaries or imposing form upon a place or situation. Cheth represents the profession of tailor, representing the physical body. If we understand that the life essence takes on a physical body the way a person dresses in clothes, we will understand this concept. Cheth also represents equilibrium, our reservoir of energy, and the law of attraction and repulsion.

On the Tree of Life, Temperance represents Path 18, running between Geburah (the place where forms and structure are challenged or affirmed) and Binah (female receptive energy and the origin of form and structure), representing Influencing Intelligence. The 18th Path offer the ability to discern truth and falsehood, the ability to decide when using power is for the highest good, and when **not** using power is for the highest good. It offers the ability to control and use power, and to correctly choose how to use it. The Chariot climbs the Pillar of Form and transitions beyond the Abyss to the Sacred Feminine.

The Chariot tells of having the control necessary to focus on our goals, and to avoid distractions. This card definitely brings a sense of motion to the day, and motion (and the control of that motion) is his forte. The Chariot represents the ability to get to where we need to go, perhaps even the ability to get there quickly, rather than walking. Indeed, the Chariot is a vehicle for forward motion and change. The young charioteer is in command of his physical and emotional drives, even when they seem to oppose each other; he point his Chariot toward the present moment, for he has found the “now” and rides through life in that way.

Sometimes The Chariot can represent our mind and intellect, and the way our feelings can affect them; our mind can take us anywhere we can visualize, but often our thoughts and emotions play tug of war with us, and they need to be controlled with a firm hand. Indeed, while the charioteer often holds a set of reigns, it is not those reigns that control the movement. Rather it is the charioteer’s pride and confidence, and ability to focus on the goal.

There are dangers associated with this card. While the charioteer has control over the chariot and the creatures pulling the chariot, he is also to some extent insulated or isolated from the world around him because he is in his chariot. Here is the “stillness in what is eternal motion” of The Chariot. If the charioteer looks away for even one moment, everything might tumble, and focusing on the goal way off in the distance could end up causing him to trip over something right at his feet. If the energy of The Chariot runs out of control we run the risk of quite literally running “off the rails,” and find ourselves engaging in relationships and behavior which goes against our better judgment. The life lesson is: don’t assume the reins unless you do so with humility and grace.

The Chariot shows us that when we are focused on our path and have found our direction, nothing will divert or distract us. We can move past obstacles, make decisions, choose the correct path and get things done. The steeds pulling the chariot keep the wheels turning, but it is our control and direction that gets them to the desired destination.

-Next month, we will look at the Strength card, and compare it with The Chariot.

Warrior Women

August, 2015

Frida Kahlo

Frida-Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was one of my favourites – favourite painter and favourite person. Not that I knew her or even met her, but everything I’ve read about her, every photo I’ve seen and every single one of her paintings makes me think she was a strong, fascinating woman. A woman you’d like to spend time with and get lost in hours-long conversations about life and death and sadness, hope and love.

Frida Kahlo was a true free spirit, boxed in by life and circumstance. Her art became a conduit through which she was able to communicate her physical and emotional pain.

She was born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón on July 6, 1907, in Mexico. Her father was a German immigrant, a photographer, whose second wife was Frida’s mother, Matilde.

Frida’s life was a train-wreck of illness, accidents, broken hearts and betrayal, beginning with a bout with polio at age six. She was bedridden for nine months and had permanent damage to her right leg and foot. She limped for the rest of her life.

I think about how awful that must have been, to lay in bed for nine months when you’re six years old. No TV. No video games. No radio. Did she have picture books to look at? Were her sisters kind to her? Did her Mama cook special dishes for her? Did her Papa bring treats and surprises at the end of his work day? I hope the time passed quickly.

In 1925, when Frida was 18-yrs old, she was severely injured in a bus accident. This time she spent a year in the hospital. It was during this period that she began to paint. Her parents provided everything she needed, including a mirror with which she would paint self-portraits. In her lifetime Frida painted fifty-five self-portraits. Why? In her words: Because I am so often alone….because I am the subject I know best.

In 1928 Frida met her life-long love and future husband, Diego Rivera. He was twenty years her senior and already had an established career as an artist. She was twenty-two and had just became a member of the Mexican Communist Party. In 1929 they married. The next year they traveled to San Francisco, New York City and Detroit. Frida wanted to go home, to Mexico. She really didn’t like America. She was lonely and had little to occupy her time. Diego was busy with his shows and his work at the Detroit Institute of arts.

Between 1930 and 1934 Frida lost three pregnancies, either through miscarriage or therapeutic abortion. The bus accident had damaged her pelvic area so thoroughly that she was unable to carry a fetus for very long.

Both Frida and Diego had many affairs during their marriage, Frida with women as well as men. They seemed content with this arrangement until Diego had an affair with her sister, Cristina. Frida packed her bags and left. She took an apartment in Mexico City and stayed there for several months. By the end of 1935 Frida and Diego had reconciled. However, they lived in two separate residences that were connected by a walk-way on the second floor. Perfect.

In 1939 Diego filed for divorce. It was finalized on November 6. During this post-divorce period, Frida showed her paintings at several exhibitions and continued to suffer from various physical ailments.

On Diego’s 54th birthday, December 8, 1940, he and Frida remarried in San Francisco. He remained there while she went back to Mexico.

In 1944, and for the next ten years, Frida underwent a series of surgeries on her back and her foot, but her health continued to deteriorate.

In 1950 Frida was hospitalized for nine months and endured seven surgeries on her back during that time.

In August 1953, Frida’s right leg was amputated below the knee.

In April of 1954, Frida entered the hospital yet again – and for the last time. She died on July 13 in her childhood home.

This article about Frida Kahlo seems to be merely a compilation of her illnesses and hospital stays. It is true that the majority of her life was spent fighting illness or enduring the consequences of that horrible bus accident. However, because of her incredible strength of character and determination she lived life on her terms.

Some of her paintings are so raw, so personal, I am in awe of her trust in people; her trust that the emotions evoked by her work will be kept sacred. If you look at her painting entitled Henry Ford Hospital you will see, clear as day, exactly how she felt after losing her third baby. This is a very sad painting. What remains in my heart is how lonely and isolated she is. Naked, no blankets and all alone. Heartbreaking. Here is the link: ow horrible http://www.abcgallery.com/K/kahlo/kahlo19.html

The Broken Column is another of her paintings that has lodged itself in my heart. It depicts the physical pain she had lived with since the bus accident, daily pain, 24-hour pain, seven days a week pain. It amazes me that she accomplished so much in her life. Her focus and determination was obviously fierce. Here is the link: http://www.fridakahlofans.com/c0480.html

I will leave you with a description of Frida I believe is perfect: : “…one of history’s grand divas…a tequila-slamming, dirty joke-telling smoker, bi-sexual that hobbled about her bohemian barrio in lavish indigenous dress and threw festive dinner parties for the likes of Leon Trotsky, poet Pablo Neruda, Nelson Rockefeller, and her on-again, off-again husband, muralist Diego Rivera.

Here is a link to one of my favourite self-portraits:

http://www.fridakahlofans.com/c0130.html

I hope the end is joyful – and I hope never to return. ~Frido Kahlo