Friday, August 26, 2011

Dedicating the merits of your practice

This one goes out to all the yogis and wannabe yogis and folks who feel ridiculously blessed (or challenged which is also a form of blessing) and simply don't know what to do with themselves.  There is a practice in many 21st century American yoga studios of "dedicating the merits of your practice."  You can dedicate merits to someone, a cause, an affirmation, even a Deity.  As best I can tell, this idea comes out of the Hindu practice of asceticism (and it was picked up by Buddhists later in a very similar manner).  Ascetics--usually of the Brahmin class but not necessarily so--were individuals who dedicated themselves to doing tasks of great difficulty.  Often these tasks were physical in nature, for instance, the Goddess Uma seduced and captivated Lord Shiva by standing on one toe and surviving on nothing but dried leaves for over a year--how's that for unconditional devotion?!  Occasionally the tasks were more specific and intellectual or spiritual in nature--chastity for eons was another popular form of ascetic practice.

Behind these traditions lie two powerful principles: the first is that the physical body and the sensations it experiences are largely illusory and the second is that through an understanding of the first principle an individual can pierce through the veil of the unreal and discover powers within him or herself that have the ability to manifest real change in the physical realm.  Now, on some level if you have ever exercised in your life to lose weight, increase muscle tone, or repair an injury you already believe these things because your physical self imposed some kind of limitation (impossible weight gain or an injury), you agreed that through effort and work you could positively impact that limitation, pierce through it and go beyond it, and once successful you discovered that your efforts did indeed cause physical change.  In traditional Hindu parlance the act of effort is known as karma--yes, karma comes from the sanskrit root kr which means to "act or do" and it is where we get such words as create, and what is generated by this effort is tapas or heat.  Again, physical exercise is a really great place to look at this because it is grounded and we have all experienced it--what happens when you make a physical effort?  You get hot and sweaty.  Well, as it turns out most major religions believe that a similar phenomena happens on a spiritual/energetic/soul level when you engage in certain ascetic or devotional practices.  This tapas in turn creates a kind of merit--in our words today it says that you give a damn about something greater than yourself, and this merit in turn carries a kind of power.  And, as a favorite comic book hero was told, Power can be used for good or evil.

So…back to dedicating the merits of your practice.  Now in today's world most of us are not standing on one toe and eating dried leaves BUT I talk to people all day who are willing to follow the example of the Hanged Man tarot card and make efforts to secure what they want/need/desire.  Not spending money can be an effort, not eating the cookie can be an effort, being nice to your brother when he is super difficult can be an effort.  Yoga teachers talk about dedicating the merit of your practice because yoga is an effort--on multiple levels at the same time.  If you are feeling blessed, loved and illuminated by the universe then give back--to your family and friends, to your favorite charity, to strangers you have never met. Blessings are meant to be shared, not clutched close to your vest in miserly desperation.  If you are feeling stuck or challenged ask yourself: am I making an effort here?  Be honest.  Can you make more of an effort?  Be honest.   What is your practice around the people, situations, and life areas that cause you the most difficulty, pain, anger, and stress?  What might a sustainable practice that could improve these feelings look like? And then, don't make the effort with the expectation of the reward.  Make the effort because you care about more than your own situation--dedicate the merits of your efforts to someone or something that really needs it.  All I can say is that you'll be surprised at the results and it worked for child birth--but that's another story.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A little Blake today

This poem has been on my mind all day--who better to share it with then all of you?

To see a world in a grain of sand,
  And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
  And eternity in an hour.
A robin redbreast in a cage        5
Puts all heaven in a rage.
A dove-house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell thro’ all its regions.
A dog starv’d at his master’s gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.        10
A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.
A skylark wounded in the wing,        15
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipt and arm’d for fight
Does the rising sun affright.
Every wolf’s and lion’s howl
Raises from hell a human soul.        20
The wild deer, wand’ring here and there,
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misus’d breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher’s knife.
The bat that flits at close of eve        25
Has left the brain that won’t believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever’s fright.
He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be belov’d by men.        30
He who the ox to wrath has mov’d
Shall never be by woman lov’d.
The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider’s enmity.
He who torments the chafer’s sprite        35
Weaves a bower in endless night.
The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother’s grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the last judgment draweth nigh.        40
He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar’s dog and widow’s cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.
The gnat that sings his summer’s song        45
Poison gets from slander’s tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of envy’s foot.
The poison of the honey bee
Is the artist’s jealousy.        50
The prince’s robes and beggar’s rags
Are toadstools on the miser’s bags.
A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;        55
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro’ the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.        60
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The babe is more than swaddling bands;
Throughout all these human lands
Tools were made, and born were hands,        65
Every farmer understands.
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity;
This is caught by females bright,
And return’d to its own delight.        70
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar,
Are waves that beat on heaven’s shore.
The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes revenge in realms of death.
The beggar’s rags, fluttering in air,        75
Does to rags the heavens tear.
The soldier, arm’d with sword and gun,
Palsied strikes the summer’s sun.
The poor man’s farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric’s shore.        80
One mite wrung from the lab’rer’s hands
Shall buy and sell the miser’s lands;
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole nation sell and buy.
He who mocks the infant’s faith        85
Shall be mock’d in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne’er get out.
He who respects the infant’s faith
Triumphs over hell and death.        90
The child’s toys and the old man’s reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.
The questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt        95
Doth put the light of knowledge out.
The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar’s laurel crown.
Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armour’s iron brace.        100
When gold and gems adorn the plow,
To peaceful arts shall envy bow.
A riddle, or the cricket’s cry,
Is to doubt a fit reply.
The emmet’s inch and eagle’s mile        105
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne’er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt,
They’d immediately go out.        110
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.
The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation’s fate.
The harlot’s cry from street to street        115
Shall weave old England’s winding-sheet.
The winner’s shout, the loser’s curse,
Dance before dead England’s hearse.
Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,        120
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
We are led to believe a lie        125
When we see not thro’ the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.
God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;        130
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Virgo!

OK--I know that its not every virgo's bday today but it is the birthday of my best girl friend today and the Sun did enter the sign of the Lady of the Harvest early this AM so I think we are on topic.  As my Virgo clients will testify--I love these earthy, do-gooder, organizer, systematizer, and yes, a lil bit dreamy, signs!  Virgos are rock solid when you need them to be, shyly imaginative when you least expect it, and always willing to shoulder more than their fair share of the burden.  They are associated with grain and all cereal crops--the harvest of which is celebrated at the beginning of August with festival of Llamas.  But just because cereal is their province they are not flaky (sorry, I couldn't help it).  In fact, if I had to come up with one work to describe Virgo when he/she is working with all systems go it would be: acumen.  They have great business, money, and style acumen.  They always are put together even when they feel out of sorts, they excel at pretty much anything they put their intensely bright minds too and most of the time they stay pretty humble in spite of all of these talents, in short, they rock.  Fortunately for those of us who are a bit scatter brained or indecisive--that's right Libra, I'm looking' at you--we can all harness the power of Virgo to bring order into chaos, revise, plan, and strategize.  This is a good sign and a good energy to work with if you need to improve business, financial or communication endeavors as Virgo's ruling planet is Mercury.  So, if our recent (and almost finished) Mercury in retrograde got you all riled up about organizing your closet/car/life then the Sun could not have picked a better time to enter into the sign that won't just help you put everything where it needs to go but will actually IMPROVE your overall life as you do so.  All hail Virgo!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pay What You Can Day-we have an opening

Hi everyone,
I have a surprise opening for next Wednesday, also known as Pay What You Can Day, for the 10:30am cst slot.  Anyone want it?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

audio recordings now available!

I am very pleased to announce that I am now able to record readings and make the recordings available as MP3 files for my clients.  If we have a reading and you would like it recorded please let me know (I will be asking for the time being as well!)  A recording is an invaluable tool, especially if you have a longer session and you want to be able to refer back to it again and again.  Recordings cost $5 and are available a couple of hours after our session has taken place.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why I use the word "ritual"

There are spells and then there are rituals.  What's the difference?  Using the word spell is highly descriptive and straightforward, ritual has a more mysterious quality to it, but it also implies more in the way of the sacred.  Some people perform magical workings without any religious or spiritual framework--I have spoken to atheists interested in learning the basics of candle magic on many occasions. But for me and the type of work that I do--every component is heavily based upon my understanding of the Sacred.  Ritual does not have to be fancy or formal--the act of simply lighting a stick of incense or arranging flowers can be imbued with a sense of ritual, but there is a discernment, precision, and impeccability captured by the word ritual that spell just does not articulate.  I have described the ritual work that I do on many occasions as being a form of moving prayer or prayer with props.  My understand of the nature of the work that I am honored to perform on behalf of others is that of the petitioner.  I petition a higher power for aid, assistance, and succor in a specific individual's life usually for a specific situation.  The connection with the Source is the most crucial aspect of what I do, the herbs, oils, roots, incense, baths, washes, and curios that I work with during this moving prayer are also essential but they are absolutely secondary to that connection.  Furthermore, all of my working have a beginning (invocation), middle, and end.  They are performed in sacred space and time with a heart full of devotion and a mind fixed on what is eternal, unchanging, absolute, and divine in each of us.  To me, this describes a ritual mind set and goes beyond the scope imagined by the word spell.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fields of Gold Herb mix for abundance-wealth-prosperity

Hi everyone--I was up late Saturday night/early Sunday morning as the full moon was at its brightest and shiniest concocting this delicious herbal blend for abundance, wealth, and prosperity!  Each biodegradable bag contains a piece of iron pyrite and a custom blend of over 13 herbs and roots that came out of my private stash.  I only had enough to make 6 5  4 bags of this fantastic blend so its a limited edition kind of thing.  As with all of my herb blends Fields of Gold can be used to dress candles, fill mojo hands, doll babies, honey jars, bottle spells, burned as an incense or even combined with epsom and kosher salts for a spiritual bath!  The bled includes five finger grass, cinnamon, blue flag root, alfalfa, grains of paradise, alkanet, sassafras and much, much more!  You can purchase a bag for yourself here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

How-to: Set Up an Altar

This is a question that gets asked on a pretty regular basis--how you you set up an altar or what is the "right" way to set up an altar.  For starters, it really depends on what tradition(s) you might be working in.  Someone who is a practicing Catholic is going to have a very different looking altar than someone who is Baptist or Hindu.  Furthermore, in many folk magic traditions altars are not necessary or are even relatively late inventions.  However, there are some general rules to consider when creating an altar or sacred space for yourself.

  • What do you do?  Do you light a lot of candles?  You probably need a place for matches as well as candle lighting tools, if you use oils you need a dark cool place to store those as well.  If you work with needle and thread a lot then you might want to consider dedicating a part of your craft or sewing room to your ritual work.  If you write recipes and petitions then you writing desk might be where you do most of your work.  An altar is a place of honoring the Divine and a place where you can do your sacred work--it does not have to be in any one specific room or locale.
  • East is for gain and West is for decrease.  This idea comes out of the very old tradition of following the sun--the sun rises in the East so on a spiritual and metaphorical level our desires, fortunes, and dreams can rise and gain strength with that fiery star.  It sets in the West allowing our fears, bad habits, and negative issues to go down with it.  If you want to set up a prosperity altar you might think that given the above rule you would place it in the East, but I encourage you to think about what the biggest challenge to your prosperity is.  If you really need to draw more money then make that altar in the East, but if you really need to decrease debt you might want to consider a Western banishing altar.
  • Altars need to have tools that you actually use.  If you are going to use your altar for prayer then have your rosary or mala or prayer beads and sacred text ready to go.  If you do a lot of hands on ritual work at your altar have the tools that you need for that--do not try to have a high magic ceremonial altar unless you actually are a ceremonial magician
  • Altars need to be private--usually this is true--an altar needs to be in a more private place so that when you are working at it you attention and intention are clearly focused and uninterrupted.
  • Altars should be beautiful--consider your tradition and influences, build something that is pleasing to you and to your Higher Power(s), don't skimp and remember: simple can be beautiful.  You are also not limited to only working with table top space--decorate the walls and floor around your altar as well.
  • You might need more than one.  If you are an active amateur or a professional then I recommend you have at least 3 altars--2 are for clients: one for increase and one for decrease and the third is your own personal altar where you go to reground and pray or meditate.  If you find yourself doing a lot of one type of work you might want to consider creating an altar specifically for that as well.
  • Altars are not magically shielded from dust and debris--at least mine aren't--like everything else they require consistent upkeep and cleaning.
Creating altars should be invigorating and fun!  If you start to really stress about it then stop--don't force the issue--altars have a way of letting you know where they need to be and when they need to be created.  Trust yourself to know when the right time is.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mercury in Retrograde and What you CAN do

Hey crew!
So as you all probably know by now, Mercury, that pesky, lovable little planet is all backwards for the next couple of weeks (16 days from today to be exact).  In previous posts I have talked about all of the things that you should NOT do during this time but today I am going to give you all some ideas about what you can do.  Here is what I am doing during this retrograde cycle:

  • Revamping my website--scheduling and working with a fabulous web designer to redo the site so that its more user friendly and clear
  • Going over by business--considering what components of my work are flourishing and what aspects are taking time/energy that I don't really have
  • Scheduling appointments with professionals who can support me in my work--like writers, accountants, book keepers
I think of Mercury in Retrograde as closet cleaning time.  Its an awesome time to assess what is going on in one (or more!) areas of your life, get rid of the stuff that no longer works and begin to lay plans to fully integrate the things you love.  Get clear, get organized, get detailed and get rid of time wasters and energy suckers--yay for Mercury in Retrograde!  Not sure how to start--a consultation with me can help you figure it out!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Personalized High John the Conqueror Roots Just In!

If you have not worked with High John the Conqueror before and you are into roots, herbs, and magical talismans then you are totally missing out.  This lil guy is the root to end all roots according to some folks.  I love High John and I love placing them in mojo hands, on altars and around candles.  The root is purported to bring good luck, strength, mastery, skill, prosperity and acumen to its wearer--with all that good stuff its amazing that everyone isn't carrying them around.  Somehow the idea has gotten around the High John is only for me--that is just not true--women, including moi, work with High John and experience great success and fortune when doing so.  And there are a bunch of places where you can score generic High John root for a relatively inexpensive price.  However, sometimes your work needs a little more punch or maybe you are working on a project that has a very specific goal.  In those cases you may want a spiritually clued in worker to do some customizing for you--anointing a root in your name, perhaps over your picture, maybe with a petition, covering it with prayer and good fortune vibes.  If you find yourself nodding and wanting such a root NOW then I recommend you head over to my Etsy listing where you can order yourself a fantastic and personalized HJC root today!  Please note that the ritual I perform to personalize these roots is 7 days--so your special root won't ship out immediately.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Got Purpose?

Got Purpose?

Have you ever met someone and watched in awe as their life just seemingly fell into place?  The right job came along, the right living arrangement, the right partner, the right child, the right opportunity to rock it?  Some people describe this as being "in the flow" and some people describe it as being "damn lucky."  Most of us have had glimpses of what life can be like when it unfolds this way but that's it--a glimpse and then its gone and it feels like we are back to trudging uphill, knocking on a closed door, shouting always louder and still never being heard.  I don't think that flow or luck have much to do with this phenomena of rightness--in my experience a beautiful life takes blood, sweat, tears and a lot of hands on, do it yourself work. The people around me who objectively have the best lives revel in their lives--they love life and they love the way that they live it.  There is a word for that feeling--purpose.  Living in a world undergirded by ritual and a belief in the unseen (as I do), it is common and easy to chalk up frustration to bad juju, crossed conditions, jinxes, and bad luck.  I believe in those things more than most--I have seen first hand how they can screw things up BUT I see and talk to more people suffering from a lack of purpose and experiencing frustrations, blocks, and obstacles because of that as opposed to bad juju.  A friend of mine who is a reader herself and I were talking several weeks ago--she posed the question--how do you know that you are on the right path, that you are doing the right work?  Then she answered her question--because your life works for you!  If you feel like your life is working against you and you have prayed, cleansed, fasted, and prayed some more but don't feel improvement then what you may be looking for is your purpose.  I believe that each and every soul on this planet is unique and uniquely gifted.  You can do something with more grace, beauty and perfection than anyone else can--your job is to figure out what that something is and nail it.  And this doesn't mean that you quit your day job so that you can go find yourself--it means that you look at your job, your work, your family and ask yourself--what am I bringing to the table here?  What are the people around me bringing to the table?  Is this the best that we can do?  Is it the best I can do?  Then be honest with yourself.  If you are doing your best and your life still isn't working something needs to change.  Confucius and Jesus both recommended when making changes that individuals begin with themselves--only after your own house is in order should you go around trying to mess with other people's houses.  What do you need to do to put your house in order?  If you are not doing your best--then why?  Is it because your lazy?  You don't care?  You are trying but somehow not getting there?  You need support?  Inspiration?  Satisfaction?  Accolades?  These are the questions that can help you point yourself in the right direction, the direction of YOUR work and YOUR purpose--the work you are supposed to do and the reason why you are here, on the planet, right now.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pay What You Can Day!

Have you read the latest edition of the Milagro Roots Newsletter--its hot off the presses and you can get it here.  Of course there is always exciting information in the newsletters--why would I write them if there wasn't?!  But this edition was thrilling because it announced Pay What You Can Day--one day, every month, when I make 4 half hour readings available to folks at whatever price they can afford to pay. Each month all proceeds will go to a different charity of my choice--the charity for August is the Humane Society of the United States.  So, here are the rules (soon to be made into a web page)!

  • This is a service for low income folks--if you have oodles of cash but just want a good deal please consider your fellow brothers and sisters who may not be as financially fortunate.  I am not doing background checks on your finances but we are working on the honor system here.  Cool?  Cool.
  • You cannot book Pay What You Can readings two months in a row--let's give everyone a chance to participate
  • If you want to book a Pay What You Can session with me just email me with the Subject line: Pay What You Can Reading
  • Readings can only be booked within the month they are offered.  In other words, you cannot book a Pay What You Can reading for September in August, you must wait until September.
  • I will announce the Pay What You Can Day at the beginning of each month.

Pay What You Can Day for August is Wednesday, August 24th.  Currently there are 2 1 0 slots left--let's do some good and make some money for the HSUS!

Update: Pay What You Can Day for August is officially full--see you in September!