The Little Book of Self-Care for….

Today we’ll be talking about “The Little Book of Self-Care for Gemini: Simple Ways to Refresh and Restore – According to the Stars” by Constance Stellas. I’ve got to start by telling you how much I love books like this for gift giving, and this one works great. Nice compact hard cover, with beautiful cover art, and sharp looking interior. Although I read the Gemini version, because I’m a Gemini, there is a book for each astrological sign. In other words, there’s a book for everyone!

The book opens with a good overview of self-care and its benefits. Stellas divides self-care into the categories of physical, emotional, social, mental, spiritual, and practical. She then goes on to provide a basic explanation of astrology and the advantage of practicing self-care that coordinates with it. Stellas presents over 100 options for self-care to add to your daily life. Many of them I already practice (meditation, stretching, skincare), and many appeal to me (Qigong, aromatherapy, travel). So, I guess as a Gemini I can say she did a good job of finding good options for me.

If you’re looking for some self-care ideas for yourself, or someone else, these “Little Books of Self-Care” are worth considering.

You can learn more here.

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Self-Love and Compassion

By Lama Palden Drolam

Love on Every Breath is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana meditation from the Shangpa lineage that combines breath, awareness, imagination, and an energetic transformation process. The meditation brings all these components together in a powerful way in order to open our hearts, to reveal and cultivate our kindness, love, compassion, and wisdom. In Tibetan, this is called the Extraordinary Tonglen, since it uses special techniques of Vajrayana to transform suffering. The Tibetan word tonglen is composed of two words — tong means “giving or sending,” and len means “receiving or taking.” First, we open ourselves to receive and feel the suffering of ourselves and others, breathing it into our heart center. This is the “taking.” The suffering is then instantaneously and effortlessly liberated in the heart and transformed by a special method into unconditional love. At this point, on the out-breath, love and healing energy are sent back out to whomever you are doing the meditation for at the moment, whether yourself or another. This is the “sending.”

The primary purpose of the Love on Every Breath meditation is to cultivate our love and compassion, to transform and liberate our heart. When we come from a place of love, everything shifts for us. This book gives you the tools to transform and empower yourself and come to a place of creative engaged freedom.

The Love on Every Breath meditation is not an exotic Himalayan practice, but it is something that emerges out of us spontaneously and naturally. It is inherent in us to want to remove suffering — others’ or our own. The problem for many children (and adults) is that we absorb the suffering of others, and then it stagnates inside of us. Love on Every Breath gives a way for the suffering to be liberated in the body and the psyche and emerge as compassion. There is a felt sense as this happens.

Developing Self-Love

Traditionally, in Tibet, Love on Every Breath involves first developing compassion and love for ourselves before we do so for others. In the West, many people do not experience self-love, but rather self-criticism and self-hatred. We tend to be overly self-centered and often feel that something is wrong with us. Therefore, it is important that we start the Love on Every Breath meditation by generating compassion and love for ourselves. One of my students, a serious meditator for over thirty years, found that meditating on Love on Every Breath for himself healed a deep psychological angst that had not been touched by many years of quiet sitting meditation. It powerfully liberated wounds he had been carrying for many years.

Without love and compassion for ourselves, we cannot sustain love and compassion for others. Love and compassion can arise spontaneously in certain circumstances for all of us, but to fully actualize love and compassion, we need to work through our anger and hurt and have compassion and love for ourselves. Then we can authentically have more compassion for others. Otherwise, it is like living in a home where we behave with harshness and cruelty and then expect to go outside and be open and loving. If we do not include ourselves in our love, our love is not whole, not complete. This is essential. As Aristotle wrote (in Ethics, book 9), “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.” It should be noted that self-love and compassion are not to be confused with self-centeredness or narcissism.

Developing love and compassion helps us to grow spiritually and emotionally by lessening our ego fixation and self-centeredness and helping our relationships with others. When we generate compassion, we do not excuse or condone our own or others’ negative actions. Likewise, awakened love does not enable our own or others’ negativity or destructiveness. Awakened compassion understands that everyone is trying to be happy. We often try to be happy in all the wrong ways, such as when we think that money, prestige, and power will bring us happiness. Some people think they will be happy by stepping on, cheating, or destroying others, but we can have compassion for them in their ignorance. This does not mean we endorse or in any way condone their behavior. We need to stand up to their destructive agendas. Our compassion means that we wish for them to be authentically happy and free of suffering — in other words, awakened.

About Lama Palden Drolma:
Lama Palden Drolma is the author of “Love on Every Breath”. A licensed psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and coach, she has studied Buddhism in the Himalayas with some of the most preeminent Tibetan masters of the twentieth century. Following a traditional three-year retreat under his guidance, Kalu Rinpoche authorized her to become one of the first Western lamas. She subsequently founded the Sukhasiddhi Foundation, a Tibetan Buddhist teaching center in Fairfax, California. Visit her online at http://www.lamapalden.org.

Excerpted from the book “Love on Every Breath”. Copyright © 2019 by Lama Palden Drolma. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

Shop your local indie bookstore <--- This is an affliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book I will make a small commission.

Brave Ecstatic Woman

Today we’ll be discussing “Brave Ecstatic Woman: 7 Steps to Ignite Your Feminine Essence for an Audaciously Luscious Life” by Merav Richter, an interesting format for self-discovery.

Richter posits that there are 7 archetypes that apply to women: Earth Mama, Wild Woman, Wonder Woman, Love Goddess, Story Teller, Wise Woman, and Enlightened Mystic. No one woman is all one archetype, they’re just more of some than others. She provides a 48-question quiz to help you learn your dominant archetypes. (You can find a short version of the quiz at www.BraveEcstaticWoman.com.)

Once you know where you fall in the archetypes, you learn more about them. Their strengths, weakness, therapies associated with, examples from history and fiction, and more. Of course, Richter also provides loads of exercises to help you examine yourself and your relationship with each of the archetypes.

Richter’s “Brave Ecstatic Woman” is an entertaining book for any woman curious to learn more about herself.

You can learn more here.

Self-Love through the Sacred Feminine

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of goddesses, and so I’ll admit the main reason I wanted to check out Jo Jayson’s “Self-Love through the Sacred Feminine” was because the cover art was beautiful and the subtitle is “A Guide through the Paintings & Channelings of Jo Jayson”. I figured a book full of art like what was on the cover was worth a look.

“Self-Love through the Sacred Feminine: A Guide through the Paintings & Channelings of Jo Jayson” is a thoughtful exploration of what it is to identify as a woman. Jayson explores the lives/folklore and wisdom of Guinevere: The Queen, Mariamne of Magdala: The Magdalene, Brighid: Mother Goddess of Ireland, Isis: One Who is All, Mary: The Mother, Jeanne D’Arc: Maid of Orleans, Miriam: The Prophetess, Guan Yin: Mother of Compassion and Mercy, Morgan Le Fey: The Water Spirit, Artemis: Maiden of The Hunt, Kali Ma: The Dark Mother, Inanna: Star of Heaven and Earth, and Grandmother Spider: The Weaver.

First and foremost, the artwork is BEAUTIFUL! The book is hardcover with full color glossy pages, perfect for showcasing Jayson’s work. Each entry includes a brief history lesson and what we can learn from them. There is also a prayer and then some exercises you can work through. “Self-Love through the Sacred Feminine” is equal parts artbook, workbook, and history lesson. It’s wonderful book!

You can learn more here.

The Secret History of America

When you see a title like “The Secret History of America”, you might perk up at the thought of nefarious, conspiratorial plots. And although secrets abound in “The Secret History of America: Classic Writings on our Nation’s Unknown Past and Inner Purpose” by Manly P. Hall, you’ll be hard pressed to find sinister actions. That’s because through Hall’s account of history America, the literal land the country exists on, has been preordained to be a utopia, or as close to one as humanity can create.

As editor Mitch Horowitz says in his introduction, “Hall’s view of American history could be called transcendental.” He goes on to explain, “Within Hall’s writings on American history, particularly in his essays and book called The Secret Destiny of America, appears the principle that the U.S. serves – at his finest hours – as a vessel for primeval ideals of democracy, self-development, individual searching, and personal liberty. Hall located these ideals, in their earliest form, within ancient esoteric traditions, and he believed that such principles were preserved within the work of illuminated intellects, like Francis Bacon and Sir Walter Raleigh, as well as covert fraternities, including Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism, and enacted, albeit imperfectly, by America’s founders, many of whom were either Masons, such as Washington and Franklin, or were intimately steeped in ethical and individualistic philosophy, such as Paine and Jefferson.”

Hall profiles a colorful cast of characters including George Washington, Albert Pike, Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Jackson, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. He shares stories of mysterious strangers at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and potential identities of Quetzalcoatl. All the while Hall paints a picture of an aspirational America. An America living up to its fullest potential.

Entertaining, inspiring, and informative, Manly P. Hall’s “Secret History of America” is a must read.

You can learn more here.

Williamson Wants You

I love primaries during the run up to a presidential election year. I play armchair pundit like many Americans, weighing pros and cons, and handicapping the primaries as they start rolling. Obviously, I was stoked to see who was going to throw their hat in the ring to become the Democratic Party presidential nominee. Well they can just stop it already! I had a good handle on the candidates for a while, but now I can barely keep up! My cup runneth over, and seriously, I’m drowning in the flood of information!

Not to make matters worse but there is a primary candidate that may be under your radar, and since she comes from a new age/self-help background I felt I should bring her to your attention. If you haven’t heard, author, speaker, and spiritual mogul Marianne Williamson is running for the Democratic Party nomination.

A quick overview of her platform shows her to be mostly in line with most of the progressive candidates. One of her biggest departures with other candidates is her desire to create a US Department of Domestic Peace-Building. As I write this, there are 14 people running for the nomination with Williamson being the last in fundraising. You can find out more about the candidate’s fundraising here.

I honestly don’t know who I’ll vote for at this point. I’ll probably wait for the primary process to winnow the field down, then pick from what’s left. If you’d like to learn more about Marianne Williamson’s campaign, visit her site here.

Musical Meditations on The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

Old school readers will recognize the name Paul Avgerinos. He is the Grammy winning new age musician who has been kind enough to be interviewed for The Magical Buffet on and off since 2007. When he emailed me about his latest project, I thought it would be of interest.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Deepak Chopra’s 1994 New Age classic NY Times bestseller, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”, Avgerinos has teamed up with Chopra and Grammy winner Kabir Sehgal to release “Musical Meditations on The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”.

In “Musical Meditations on The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success”, there is a summation of the essential meaning of each law, followed by a meditation on the essence of that law with guidance on integrating this wisdom into your life and being. Newcomers to this material will find an accessible path to understanding and for those familiar with the material, it’s a pleasant refresher course. There is also a bonus Mindfulness meditation included.

Here’s a little taste for you:

Joining The Ark

A Kickstarter campaign was recently brought to my attention and since it involves a deck, you know I had to share it! I’m excited about it because it looks like it’s incredibly flexible in how you can use it, has beautiful artwork, and the accompanying book features the creator (Bernadette King), Patricia Telesco, and Dayna Winters (who has had a book or two of her own featured on our site). So, what am I talking about?

“The Ark Animal Tarot & Oracle Deck”.

Bernadette King has created a 100 card multi-use animal themed tarot & oracle deck with 300+ page full-color guidebook. I just love the flexibility! You can easily use it like a traditional tarot deck (complete with major and minor arcana) or as an oracle deck, and probably a bunch of other ways!

You can learn more with this video:

To learn even MORE and/or contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, click here. (FYI, this project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, April 19 2019 5:55 AM EDT.)

Ready for more? Bernadette King, the creator of the deck has offered to giveaway a deck to one of my readers! (Once the project is funded and the deck is completed, of course.) Enter today using Rafflecopter! You have until Friday April 5, 2019 11:59pm eastern to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Five Core Beliefs for a More Peaceful and Meaningful Life

By Carly Pollack

The more you control the voice in your head, the easier it will be to allow guidance to come forth from your higher self. If your house is dilapidated and built on a crooked foundation yet located on a beautiful piece of property, do you try to put up new walls, give the house a fresh coat of paint, and hope for the best? No. You tear that sucker to the ground. Strip it of everything, including the foundation, and then start from scratch. We need to break the mind down to its core beliefs, decide how we want to view the world, and then build up from there. This requires a new set of basic beliefs, a new system for you to honor and practice.

During my many years of working with clients and walking my own spiritual path, the following five core beliefs have helped me live in a more peaceful and meaningful way. Whether you love these five or wish to make up your own, I encourage you to print them out and put them in a place that allows you to see them throughout the day.

Five Core Beliefs
1. Everything happens for me, not to me. There is meaning and growth opportunity in this experience.
2. Everything is unfolding perfectly at the exact right time.
3. Out of this, only good will come.
4. The Universe is looking out for me and conspiring in my favor.
5. I am enough, and I am loved.

Let’s examine these one at a time.

1. Everything happens for me, not to me. There is meaning and growth opportunity in this experience. You can’t control what happens in your life. Believe me, I’ve tried this from all angles (and endured a lot of suffering from doing so). You can, however, control what these events mean to you. You have the power to create any story you want. You can say, “This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me,” or you can create a more positive and empowering narrative.

2. Everything is unfolding perfectly at the exact right time. We live in a time when the world is at our fingertips. Social media shows us the highlight reel of everyone’s life, not the outtakes. One scroll through your Instagram feed, and you feel behind. “I should have a boyfriend/girlfriend/better job/child/more money/bigger home/bigger career/flatter stomach.” Believing that everything is unfolding perfectly on your life path allows you to take a deep breath and be grateful for the way that your story is unfolding. You must trust that the person you look up to was at one time standing right where you are. There is nothing amiss here. This is your story, and it gets more beautiful once you surrender to it. Fries won’t make you feel better about where you are in your life’s path, but this belief will.

3. Out of this, only good will come. You are most likely in the habit of living your life in hindsight. You experience massive stress and emotional turmoil when something undesirable happens, and then years later you look back and say, “I understand why that happened.” Think about your first heartbreak. Were you completely lovesick, devastated, and hopeless about ever finding love again? How do you feel about it now that some time has passed? Bad things are going to happen. It’s simply the human experience. No one is exempt from the pitfalls of being alive. Imagine being in the moment when the shit hits the fan and telling yourself that only good will come of this. This belief allows you to feel at peace, even while you are in the midst of chaos.

4. The Universe is looking out for me and conspiring in my favor. Whether you call it the Universe, God, Love, and so on, something more significant is guiding you and knows even better than you what you need to experience in your lifetime. Personally, I don’t want to believe that it’s all up to me. That’s just too much pressure! I have peace knowing something greater is working its magic on my behalf.

5. I am enough, and I am loved. You don’t have to be anything other than what you are right now. You don’t have to be richer, thinner, smarter, or more successful. You will feel most fulfilled when you wake up every morning with the desire to be better than who you were the day before. The difference is the energy you bring to this appetite for more. Wanting to evolve as you come from a place of feeling enough has exponentially more power than wanting to be more to prove to yourself that you are enough.

When beginning to take control of the voice in your head, please be patient. Your first reaction will be to go to your default survival mind. Take a little space, and start to do the work. Call on your new belief system, and ask your higher self for guidance. Have compassion for yourself in the process; you are doing the hard work of rewiring yourself from a place of fear and control to one of love and surrender. This requires daily practice but will ultimately give you the clarity you need to take action and live your life’s purpose. This purpose is nothing more than awakening to your gift and sharing it with the world, living in harmony with the flow of life, and enjoying your adventure as it unfolds.

About Carly Pollack:
Carly Pollack is the author of Feed Your Soul and is the founder of Nutritional Wisdom, a thriving private practice based in Austin, Texas. A Certified Clinical Nutritionist with a master’s degree in holistic nutrition, Carly has been awarded Best Nutritionist in Austin five years running and has helped over 10,000 people achieve their health and happiness goals. Visit her online at www.carlypollack.com

Excerpted from the book Feed Your Soul. Copyright ©2019 by Carly Pollack. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

10 Questions with Nicholas Pearson

1. What first sparked your interest in crystals?

I’ve been collecting rocks since about as far back as I can remember. My grandfather was the first person to give me a proper mineral specimen (a piece of quartz from Hot Springs, Arkansas–if you look at the color plates in The Seven Archetypal Stones you’ll find it pictured there). I’ve been hooked ever since.

2. How do you go about researching crystals for your books?

It always starts with an idea that holds my interest. I really only write about things that excite me, which is why I haven’t done a “crystals for beginners” book yet. Once I’ve got an idea, I try to map it out from all angles. Examining the mineral kingdom through the lenses of language, culture, history, spirituality and religion, medicine, art, industry, science, etc. allows me to look for connections between mineral science and the metaphysics of crystal energy.

As for the how-to part of my research, I have a large part of my library devoted solely to minerals (getting closer to 400 books on rocks every day…), so I usually start there. Depending on the topic, I try to get as close to primary sources as possible, looking for the oldest and most reliable written accounts that I can access. Books that capture historic gemstone use, such as those by Lecouteux and Kunz, are invaluable. I try to compare the information in these with modern crystal mystics, like Katrina Raphaell, Naisha Ahsian, and Judy Hall, to name just a few. Next, I look for the threads of mineral science that unite them, perhaps by seeking common themes grouped around particular constituent elements or crystal systems. Ultimately, research for every project is unique, and it is guided by the overarching theme of the work itself.

3. How do you incorporate crystals into your everyday life?

I often say that there is no horizontal surface in my home without a crystal (or five). The mineral kingdom is a big support system for me. I keep crystals around my house, in my pockets, in the car, on my desk, and around my neck. I incorporate them into my daily meditation and use them for gem therapy protocols on myself and clients. Most importantly, I try to just take time out of my everyday experience and listen to the stones themselves.

4. I always say, “When in doubt, quartz!” Is it just me or is a good, clear quartz crystal the Swiss Army knife of the crystal kingdom?

Quartz is wonderful as an all-purpose tool. In gemstone therapy, we use quartz for a lot of basic treatments because it is said to offer the full spectrum of life-force to us. From the cultural and historical perspective, few stones have been held in such high regard as universally as quartz crystal. Even through the lens of mineral science, we see that the crystallography, optics, and other properties of quartz lend tremendous potential to this stone. It is a profound healer, teacher, and guide on our path, and for that reason it is often esteemed as the “master” mineral. I think part of what makes quartz so versatile is that it is easily programmed or charged to hold virtually any intention, and it is a master of reflecting our own psychological and spiritual makeup so we can better ourselves through crystal healing.

5. What inspired your latest book Stones of the Goddess: Crystals for the Divine Feminine?

Stones of the Goddess started as a persistent idea that I kept trying to sweep to the back of my head so I could focus on other projects. You see, the idea of Earth-as-Mother is cross-cultural; we find it throughout the ancient world, and it is even extant in scientific literature today (albeit metaphorically) through ideas such as the Gaia Hypothesis. If we conceive of the planet as the embodiment of the Great Mother, rock and stone are part and parcel of Her body. The mineral kingdom becomes a powerful conduit through which we can experience the love, power, and wisdom of the Goddess. Further, there is an extraordinary amount of folklore that links rocks and minerals to myths and themes associated with the Divine Feminine.

I admit that I was skeptical about writing this book at the onset because the idea for Stones of the Goddess felt a little out of place next to some of my other titles. Thankfully, after chatting with one of the editors at Inner Traditions about it at the International New Age Trade Show two years ago, I felt encouraged that there would be an audience. That really paved the way for the manuscript to take form.

6. Were you concerned that there could be backlash with you being a male writing about the Divine Feminine?

I’ve been transparent about this idea from the inception of the book. I totally understand that as someone who identifies as male, there will be concepts, experiences, and feelings that I’ll never fully grasp. However, I’ve cultivated a personal relationship with the Divine Feminine through daily practice for almost twenty years now. I think it’s fair for me to write from the perspective of a scholar and practitioner, so long as I own my maleness. Since I have a public vehicle to honor the Divine Feminine, I really want to do that as respectfully and sincerely as possible, and whenever there is an opportunity to cede my space at the table for someone who identifies as female to take the spotlight and have her voice heard, I will do so. Ultimately, I hope that conversations about the Divine Feminine lead us all–male, female, or otherwise–to act in ways that honor our inner Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine.

7. Stones of the Goddess is a huge, full color book LOADED with some seriously sexy photos of crystals. Are those all from your collection? (Actually, how large is your collection?)

Thank you for your kind words about the photos. My partner, Steven, is a talented photographer who has worked on all my books so far. We decided to create scenes that were evocative of spells, rituals, and sacred spaces with the images for Stones of the Goddess. It’s definitely our most beautiful collaboration yet.

Sadly, not all the stones pictured in the book are mine. Some of my most beloved tools are a little less photogenic than we needed, or they’d been photographed for other books. Although I managed to borrow a couple of stones from friends, many of the crystals (and the props like candles, herbs, statues, and more) were graciously loaned to us for photos by my friend Miranda, owner of Avalon, a historic metaphysical store near downtown Orlando.

As for the size of my collection, it’s at the point where I really can’t keep track. I can tell you this much, I wouldn’t want to get trapped underneath all my rocks and minerals if they were piled together.

8. You also wrote Foundations of Reiki Ryoho: A Manual of Shoden and Okuden. Do you feel there is an overlap with your work with crystals and Reiki?

I get asked a lot about crystals and Reiki together. In my earlier days, I often combined the two in my everyday practice, but these days I tend to allow each modality to stand on its own. The understanding of energy, and the sensitivity to subtle energies overall, have certainly enriched both my awareness of crystals and my Reiki practice.

In spite of a theoretical overlap of the theory behind crystals and Reiki, I do keep them separate. Right now there is a big trend in the modern metaphysical milieu to equate Reiki with energy healing of almost any variety. This is can be helpful when broaching the topic with the general populace, but it ultimately does a disservice to Reiki itself. The practice of Reiki, called Usui Reiki Ryoho, or “Usui’s Reiki Healing Method,” is a spiritual practice in and of itself–a complete system that doesn’t require any add-ons, substitutions, or deletions. A lot of the fundamentals of traditional Reiki practice are misunderstood or omitted entirely, and my hope is that we can reclaim these tools and teachings to maintain the integrity of the system for future generations.

9. What’s next? Do you have any upcoming projects my readers can look forward to?

I’m always working on something new! Next year I’ll have a manual of practical crystal healing (much more than just a crystals 101 book) coming out. For this year, I’m focused a little more on travel and teaching. I’ll be on the road a lot, so there will be a better opportunity to connect with my readers. And eventually I’ve got two sequels to Stones of the Goddess planned, too.

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Buffet any one question.

If you could have any Goddess over for tea, who would it be and why?

I’ve given this question a lot of thought by contemplating my own personal altar. I have 4 goddesses on my altar: Kwan Yin, Santa Muerte, Medusa, and Kali. I think I’d have tea with Kwan Yin and Santa Muerte. I feel they would be soothing, thoughtful companions. On the other hand, I think doing some hard drinking with Medusa and Kali would be fun. Definitely a sitting at the bar trash talking good time would be had by all!

About Nicholas Pearson:
Nicholas Pearson has been immersed in all aspects of the mineral kingdom for more than 20 years. He began teaching crystal workshops in high school, later studying mineral science at Stetson University while pursuing a degree in music. He worked for several years at the Gillespie Museum, home to the largest mineral collection in the southern United States. A certified teacher and practitioner of Usui Reiki Ryoho, he teaches crystal and Reiki classes throughout the United States. He lives in Orlando, Florida. www.theluminouspearl.com