Mrs. R’s Review of Mrs. B’s Book

This is about a woman who has a very successful blog and with some hard work and a publisher that believed in her had her first book published. And that woman isn’t me. I’m talking about Kris Bradley who created the blog Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom, who with Weiser Books published her first book “Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery: Everyday Magic, Spells, and Recipes”. Obviously I despise this woman.

Of course that isn’t true. The moment you start reading “Mrs. B’s” you can tell Bradley is down to earth and probably very approachable. With the black kitties throughout the book I considered trying to set up some sort of pay per view throw down with Llewellyn author Deborah Black whose books all feature similar black “Magic” the cats playing on her covers and throughout her books too. Then I realized if you got these two women together, instead of fighting they would probably immediately start trading cat stories, or perhaps recipes. Either way, Rebecca ain’t getting paid so what’s the point? (Parenthetically, although it’s horrible grammar, don’t you think Microsoft Word should just get over it and acknowledge that “ain’t” is a word that is accurately spelled?)

Enough blither blather (Two words Microsoft Word acknowledges, I might add.) Let’s actually talk about Bradley’s book. This one is truth in advertising, she has created a pretty sweet guide to household witchery. There is tons of information about household foods and spices, different magical blends you might consider for around the home (ranging from protection washes to prosperity oils), a review of deities and household guardians to consider for your home, a room by room magical tour of your home, and more. In fact, despite how much information there is to be found in “Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery”, I almost wonder if it started out longer. Much longer. The book doesn’t feel cut off or abrupt. I just pick up a vibe that if let loose Bradley could have done a book that was twice as long, and for what it’s worth Weiser, I would not have minded at all.

Follow Your Heart

An Excerpt from Chapter 5 of “Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi” by Brian Leaf

I have since found that feeling good about my work is absolutely crucial to my happiness. When I work a job that is out of line with my values, I become depressed, and when I am in dharma, following my heart, doing what I believe in and what feels right, I am filled with energy.

The Buddha called this “right livelihood.” He taught that one who seeks liberation cannot hope to find freedom on the backs of others. Right livelihood is critical to the spiritual path; often when people are out of line with their values they have to numb out or shut down, not only because they are bored and uninterested but also because the pain of being outside their morals or their heart’s call is too much to bear. Interestingly, yoga brings these issues to the surface. Many times I have seen students of yoga realize that their job is hurting them. Sometimes making a change is too much to face. In these cases, people usually stop practicing yoga, and the revelation fades.

One time I was in a new relationship and had moved far away from New Jersey to be with my girlfriend. I had been practicing yoga consistently for years, but without even noticing, I gave it up. A month later, browsing in a bookstore, I stumbled onto a quote from yoga teacher Dr. Jeff Migdow: “When people do yoga consistently they’re much more open to change. That’s the key: If I’m not open to making changes, then I won’t let myself be aware.”

The quote was a slap in the face. As if waking from a daze, I realized that I had not done postures in a month. And I saw that I had avoided yoga because it sharpened my awareness and showed me that I was unhappy. But because I had been unwilling to make a change — to move and leave the relationship — I had stopped doing the thing that increased my awareness. In this way, yoga is a catalyst that demands truth.

This truth includes, but is also subtler than, simply doing what is right or wrong, ethical or moral. It means listening to your heart’s call.

I love to share this with my tutoring students. I remember a student, Aidan, was considering college majors and said, “I’d love to be an architect, but the world needs environmental activists, so that’s what I’ll do.”

Aidan is correct. We do need environmental activists. But I believe that even more, we need people who are passionate about what they do, living from their heart. I don’t think one can actually serve the world best by assessing what the world needs. I think, instead, we serve the world best by responding to our heart’s call. Not our ego’s call, mind you, but our heart’s.

As an environmental activist, Aidan might make a difference. That’s true. But as an architect, Aidan will be following his bliss. He’ll be fulfilled and happy. He’ll be lit up and creative. He’ll be a beacon of light and energy. And, I trust, his environmental concerns will still find a very effective, perhaps more effective, medium — maybe he’ll design green buildings or discover environmentally sustainable building materials.

Joseph Campbell told his students, “If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living…Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.”

And so, in our spiritual Easter egg hunt for the Keys to Happiness, we come to key number two:

Follow your heart.

Notice what gives you a feeling of rightness, ignites your creativity and passion, and makes you feel most alive, and pursue that.

Before every major decision, ask yourself, “Which choice feels right, is in line with my values, ignites my creativity and passion, and is an expression of my true self?”

And by the way, following your bliss does not automatically mean giving up your nine-to-five job at the insurance company to dust off your old Fender Stratocaster and get the college funk band back together. Sometimes the boring job at the insurance company is just right. Your bliss might be the paycheck that feeds your family and allows you to spend happy evenings and weekends together. Or not. Following your bliss only means tuning in to and following not your ego, not your mind, but your heart. Put another way, it means setting aside what you want and doing what God* wants for you. And God, I believe, communicates through our hearts and through a feeling of passion, vitality, and rightness.

About Brian Leaf:
Brian Leaf, M.A. is the author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. He draws upon twenty-one years of intensive study, practice, and teaching of yoga, meditation, and holistic health. Visit him online at http://www.Misadventures-of-a-Yogi.com.

Excerpted from the book “Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi” ©2012 by Brian Leaf. Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi Video Contest

To celebrate the launch of his new book, Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi, author Brian Leaf is hosting a video contest with the theme “Insightful Yoga Comedy.” Video entries must be related to yoga, funny, insightful, and one to three minutes long. Each contest entry will be judged according to how well it meets these requirements. The Grand Prize winner will receive $250 and a signed copy of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. Two runner-ups will each receive $50 and a signed copy of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. Entries are due by 1/15/13 and must be submitted to misadventures.of.a.yogi@gmail.com. Give it a try!

Videos must be:
1. One to three minutes in length
2. Generally respectful of others. No videos intended to slander or harm any other person or their public image.

To enter, send a link to your video to misadventures.of.a.yogi@gmail.com along with your name, age, and city of residence. Write “Video Contest” in the email’s subject.
All entries must be received by midnight January 15, 2013.

Videos will be judged by Brian Leaf, author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi, according to how well they achieve the contest’s themes (related to yoga, funny, insightful).

Winners will be announced on the Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi facebook page, www.facebook.com/Misadventures.of.a.Yogi, on Wednesday, February 20th at 3pm ET.

One Grand Prize winner will receive $250 and a signed copy of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi.

Two Runner-Ups will each receive $50 and a signed copy of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi.

Must be eighteen years or older to enter. No purchase necessary. Decisions are final.

Good luck!!

Doing Celebrate Samhain 2012

When we last left off, I had spent an irresponsible amount of money and shamelessly plugged a bunch of fantastic craftsmen and vendors. But I’m here to let you know there is more to shopping at Celebrate Samhain. There is always an impressive array of speakers, performers, and divinatory readers, and this year was no exception.

Dawn Hunt of Cucina Aurora (who you may remember from my previous Celebrate Samhain post) talked about “Cooking with Heirloom Magick”. This is subject matter that she’s been working with for a while and the evolution of her presentation shows. Audiences are never disappointed hearing her speak, probably because she always feeds them!

Dawn Hunt

This year featured the first panel discussion I’ve ever seen at Celebrate Samhain. Deb Miller, a well known intuitive medium, was the moderator for a panel discussion called “Parting the Veil: Messages from the Other Side”. The panel participants were Christopher Penczak, Raven Grimassi, and Stephanie Grimassi. Audience members were allowed to pose questions to the panel. It was interesting to see such an interactive event at Celebrate Samhain.

Panel from Left to Right: Deb Miller, Christopher Penczak, Event Organizer Jess introducing them, Stephanie Grimassi, Raven Grimassi

Raven Grimassi spoke about “Samhain: The Open Portal”. As always his talk spellbound the audience. However out of everything he said what I’ll remember most was his humble and gratitude filled thank you to everyone in attendance and the event organizers for making it possible for him to do what he does. You hear thank yous often, but rarely with the sincerity heard that day. I suspect I’m not the only one who was touched by that moment.

Raven Grimassi

The last talk of the day was Christopher Penczak, “The Dark Goddess Morrighan”. What can I say about hearing Penczak talk that I haven’t said before? He is quite simply THE occult practitioner of our generation, and it shows. Penczak has an encyclopedic knowledge and the ability to clearly communicate to the average person. There is a reason his books end up in every Witch, Pagan, or occult students home. Penczak’s talk that day was supposed to be in conjunction with a book that came out, but unfortunately the book hadn’t released yet. I’m here to tell you, when the book does come out….I want it.

Christopher Penczak

While at Celebrate Samhain I also had my hands read. I had been hesitant to try any of the readers at Celebrate Samhain in the past, but I had heard very good things about Juliet Bell, a hand reader that attends the event. I decided this was the year to give it a try and I’m very glad I did. Ms. Bell is amazing, I was truly blown away by her accuracy. She is one remarkable woman, with over 30 years of experience! If you ever get the opportunity to get a reading from her, go for it!

Myself and Juliet Bell (We totally staged this photo after the reading! She rocks!)

And just in case that wasn’t enough, I did mention the two live bands right? Oh yeah, I got to hear two awesome bands live.

First was Featherscale, a Pagan rock band I guess would be a general description. However I’m inclined to go with a rock band with Pagan leanings. I really enjoyed their album “Gypsy Heart”, but once I heard them play live it will be hard to go back to the album. They rock out so much live that a mere album cannot contain them. And I wouldn’t want it to. A band like Featherscale should be allowed to rock out, wild and free.

Featherscale!
Dawn Hunt and fellow attendee enjoying Featherscale

The closer for the whole day was Frenchy and the Punk (who you may remember from previous articles and interviews as The Gypsy Nomads). Their punky cabaret sound is always a hit at Celebrate Samhain. FYI, Scott (aka “the Punk”) totally complimented me on my shirt. By default that makes me a bad ass too now, right? Crap, I bet by asking the question I ruined it. Anyway, Samantha and Scott got the crowd going and kept them moving until the end of the set.

Frenchy and the Punk (From Left to Right: Frenchy and Punk)
Myself and Event Organizer Kevin Satoris attempt to dance. I was a terrible dance partner.

After that was the Samhain ritual which I didn’t participate in. Instead Jim and I helped some of the vendors pack up. And just like that, it was over.

The End

I can’t tell you how impressive of an operation Celebrate Samhain is and it is all because of two event organizers, Kevin Satoris and Jess G., and all of their volunteers. To think of all the work that must go in to making Celebrate Samhain happen 7 years in a row now, it’s amazing. I don’t think I took the time to say it while I was there because, well, I was too busy enjoying the fruits of your labor, but thank you.

Shopping Celebrate Samhain 2012

This past Saturday, October 20, 2012, was the 7th annual Celebrate Samhain event in Peterborough, NH. It was the first year in its new location at the Peterborough Community Center. This was the third year I have attended Celebrate Samhain and the new location made a big difference with regards to the event. The past two years you would rub shoulders with everyone just to attempt to look at vendor tables and if you thought that was an intimate experience, well just wait until you tried to go listen to one of the talks! The new space at the Community Center created spacious vendors areas (and trust me, we’ll be talking about my no holds barred shopping in a little bit) and a comfortable area to listen to talks from the speakers. It also allowed for a separate room for the readers so you could have a little privacy. Before they were wedged between booths on the vendor floor. Even with the new larger space the vendors and event organizers made sure that the Center still looked magical.

All right, we might as well talk shopping because readers know that is one of the biggest things I do at Celebrate Samhain. It’s impossible not to because they have some of the best vendors there! Now last year my husband Jim and I went with a list and a plan to get most of our holiday shopping done. This year there was no such agenda. Essentially my plan was, I’m going to be blowing some cash and Jim could either get on board or get out of the way. He got on board, primarily because of Cucina Aurora.

One place I knew we were stopping was Dawn Hunt’s Cucina Aurora booth. Dawn Hunt is a Kitchen Witch whose magical treats and talks are going to build her an empire. Hear the words coming out of mouth because they are true people, get in on the ground floor of this one and you’ll be able to say in your best disinterested hipster voice, “Cucina Aurora? I was totally cooking with her oil forever ago. Where have you been?” Jim is addicted to using her Rosemary Oregano Healing and Peaceful Energy Infused Olive Oil. It’s flavorful, but gentle enough that crazy stomach can handle it. He dips bread in it for snacking, but also cooks chicken in it, sautés all kinds of stuff in it, and when he makes pizza he puts some on the pan and on the dough. It gets used a lot. With that in mind, we bought 4 bottles. Also, after all these years of hearing about how popular Cucina Aurora cookie mixes are, we picked up a Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Mix to try.

The olive oils being used as dips.
Dawn Hunt making sure we're well fed.

Next we visited Haunted Wood Crafts. Craftsman and proprietor Mike Dolan was very excited about all the instruments he’s been making lately. I thought they were amazing and beautiful. I particularly like the ones that used cigar boxes. Who doesn’t love the look of a cigar box? He also had handcrafted wands, the wooden tarot prints like we bought last year, a stupidly huge selection of wooden runes, and I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff. I did make a purchase, but I’m keeping it to myself in case it becomes a part of a holiday gift giving idea. Sorry folks, but I bought something there and it was really, really, really cool. That’s all I can say.

Awesome instruments at Haunted Wood Crafts.

As per usual we visited Fairy Spa. At this point I cannot survive without their Intense Lotion and now I’m totally hooked on their Goat’s Milk Facial Cleansing Bar: For Acne, Eczema, and Psoriasis. I’m so very blessed that at the age of 36 I’m dealing with, at times, some pretty ornery acne. I’m not lying to you, this stuff really works. The only reason at this point that I ever have acne is because I’m too damn stupid and lazy to make sure to wash my face every night with this cleansing bar. Fairy Spa also has a Men’s line and has branched out into aromatherapy oils. As you can see from the photo of their table at the event, they craft a lot of goodies, and they are all good from my experience.

Can you believe all this Fairy Spa stuff?

I was happy to see Inkubus Haberdashery at the event because I never got to shop in their store the past years I attended Celebrate Samhain. They brought some of the great clothes their store stocks, but for me, I was all about the great Dia de los Muertos stuff they brought. We bought another set of sugar skull molds in case we need them, an adorable garland for me to put on our door when we celebrate the holiday, and some stickers that I bought planning on giving to kids that come over when we celebrate but may just end up being mine all mine because they’re so cool. I asked when, oh when, will their website be up again so that I may shop from NY. No word yet on when all of us not fortunate enough to live in Marlborough, NH will be able to shop Inkubus online.

Inkubus! Their manager Spike is pleased to be mostly out of frame.

With Christopher Penczak giving a talk you can bet that the Temple of Witchcraft was there. We were fortunate enough to get to visit with Christopher, Adam Sartwell, and Steve Kenson (all three Temple founders) while doing a healthy chunk of shopping. Firstly, I was over the moon that they had the Spell Charms the Christopher did with Deva Designs. Sorry folks who came later and didn’t find any, I’m the one who essentially bought them out. If it makes you feel better, two of the coins are already being put to use, so they’re not just sitting on a shelf forgotten. We also picked up a Ganesha prayer card and a copy of Christopher’s book “Buddha, Christ, Merlin: Three Wise Men for Our Age”. While at their booth I also asked if they had a candle for healing and they said they did not, but that I had given them an idea. I’m thinking perhaps I deserve some sort of credit for a healing candle if the Temple of Witchcraft does one. Maybe in the naming, perhaps a free candle, or something……

Adam Sartwell (left) attempts to bend Apple to his will while Steve Kenson (right) looks on.

Lastly, we splurged at the Pentacle Press booth. There was a book I kept trying to resist all day and there was a tarot deck Jim was trying to resist all day. However as the day wore on Jim finally admitted he wanted the deck, which allowed me a sigh of relief because I really wanted the book! So Jim got “The Steampunk Tarot” by Barbara Moore and illustrated by Aly Fell (which confidentially I wanted too) and I got “The ABC of Magic Charms” by Elizabeth Pepper.

Just some of what Pentacle Press had to offer!

Now before you think there was only shopping at Celebrate Samhain, there was also fun things to do. And we’ll talk about that on Friday!

The Green Thoreau Down

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Walden

New World Library recently published a wonderful book, “The Green Thoreau: America’s First Environmentalist on Technology, Possessions, Livelihood, and More”, edited by Carol Spenard LaRusso. As you would suspect, it’s a lovely reader that I’ve taken great pleasure thumbing through, reading aloud from, and contemplating on. However I know what you’re thinking, cocky and/or jaded reader. “I own and/or read ‘Walden’. What else is there?” And it’s because of you, that I’m going to Thoreau down. (It’s like throw down, get it?) I’m about to present to you five, 100% bad ass quotes from Thoreau, and NONE of them are from “Walden”.

A man cannot be said to succeed in this life who does not satisfy one friend. – Journal, February 19, 1857

The fate of the country…does not depend on what kind of paper you drop into the ballot-box once a year, but on what kind of man you drop from your chamber into the street every morning. – Slavery in Massachusetts

That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. – Journal, March 11, 1856

Nothing can be more useful to a man than a determination not to be hurried. – Journal, March 22, 1842

The law will never make men free; it is men who have got to make the law free. They are the lovers of law and order, who observe the law when the government breaks it. – Slavery in Massachusetts

And that, my friends, is just a taste of some of the awesome to be found in “The Green Thoreau”. It pulls from 5 books, 7 essays, and 3 collections of journals and letters. It offers us a glimpse at a Thoreau outside of “Walden”, but it does also have some fantastic quotes from “Walden” as well. There may have never been a more perfect time for “The Green Thoreau”, consider adding it to your fall reading.

The Whole Metric Album

I’m so very happy! Not too long ago I was complaining to my husband that iTunes killed the full length album. It seems like the more pop oriented artists just make a bunch of singles and they happen to end up together in case, if by some fluke, you want to purchase them all instead of one at a time for .99 as you discover them. Of course, if you decided like a madman to buy the whole Madonna “MDNA” album; don’t worry about hearing the songs “Give Me All Your Luvin'” or “I Don’t Give A” when selecting the album to listen to on your iPod. You see, Madonna had the nerve to collaborate with M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj on those songs respectively and thusly iTunes has decided that those song are now special, independent songs that now live entirely on their own and unless you take matters into your own hands you will never hear the “MDNA” album whole, as the artist intended. All this annoys the hell out of me because I believe in the album. I live by the rule of, if you like three songs, you buy the album. Sometimes I’ll buy on only two songs if I really like them, and I’ll even buy on none if I loved the previous album. But I almost always buy the whole album and listen to the whole thing. That’s why I’m so happy that I recently bought an album. A really good album. An album that even had a theme running through it. An album that reminds me why I buy albums; Metric “Synthetica”.

Some readers may remember that all the way back in 2009 I wrote a review of Metric’s previous album “Fantasies”. Obviously I liked that album if I took the time to review it. Well my friends, as much as I enjoyed “Fantasies” I have to say “Synthetica” kicks its ass.

“Synthetica” explores some kinds of heavy, but pretty relatable ideas and questions. Songs explore aging, disillusionment, wondering if you’re being true to yourself, etc. This theme is stretched so far that album’s lyrics and track list are printed backwards and included with the album is foil so you can read the words in the reflection. Now before you all zone out on me, thinking that this is one bummer of a concept album, I’m here to tell you where the rest of the awesome is…..it’s not one long drag.

Musically Metric works double time to rock you. I bought “Synthetica” while the weather was still warm out. I was playing it full volume in the car with both windows and the moon roof open and losing track of my speed. It’s that kind of sound. I do not often notice drums, but the drums at times are brutal. On the title track I swear the drummer had to have gone straight through the drums.

The opening track, “Artificial Nocturne” starts out slow, but it’s compelling with the opening line of, “I’m just as fucked up as they say.” Your curiosity following this is rewarded as the song opens up into a New Wave sound that would make New Order proud.

Then hold onto your hats as the single from the album, “Youth Without Youth” kicks in!

This one’s got a nice bouncy, driving, 80s vibe that I love. “Breathing Underwater”.

And here’s the title track, “Synthetica”. By the end the drums are kind of epic, right?

That was three songs. Go out and buy the whole album!

Moonlight Tarot’s Question Corner: Mystical Answers to Mundane Inquiries

By Angela Kaufman, Moonlight Tarot LLC

This column is intended to provide messages from the Tarot to address modern problems experienced by everyday people. Questioners, also known as “Querents” submit requests to have their issue addressed in a complimentary three card Tarot Reading, published as part of the Magical Buffet on a monthly basis. The reading not only addresses the Querent’s issue but also provides education about the role of Tarot as a tool for exploration and empowerment.

A Querent who will be referred to as “Gwen” to protect her confidentiality, asks for guidance regarding romance. She explains that she is on the verge of making a transition in ending a long term relationship and has hopes for a new budding romance with an individual she has met. She wants to know if this new relationship has potential for long term commitment and although she reports no concern, she wants to know if any indicators of the influence of another woman are shown in the reading.

Gwen presents one of the most often requested subjects of a Tarot Reading, relationships. For starters, I am obliged to share a word of caution when it comes to romance and divination. Relationships are a living entity in their own rite. Tarot offers insight into the complex factors influencing the success or challenges in a relationship, but the relationship is also subject to the processes of growth and development of the two individuals involved. Therefore it is useful to consult Tarot to forecast a “pulse” of relationship strengths and challenges, but I would caution against taking the results of the reading as an indication of a steady state that will remain constant “forever”. I say this because any forecast is an indicator of patterns based on the energy emerging now, like a weather forecast. Individuals have free will, and their choices influence the development of the relationship. It is important to use common sense, personal judgment, and intuition in relationship decisions. A relationship that is fulfilling at one time may take more work to maintain connection as individuals deal with stress, changing goals etc. Most importantly, any relationship that begins to develop a pattern of unhealthy interaction such as abuse, violence or control, should be taken at face value regardless of the positive omens appearing in a past prediction.

Public Service Announcement aside, let’s proceed to the actual reading. The Aquarian Tarot is used for this reading. Three cards are selected to explore the potential for success in this relationship, potential conflict and long term commitment in this relationship. The selected cards are the Lovers, numbered 6 in the Major Arcana, reversed. Following this card we have the King of Rods, and the King of Cups. The Lovers card, being part of the Major Arcana, has significant ramifications for relationships of all kinds. It is the archetype of partners and speaks to potential romantic and intimate relationships. Its reversal does not negate its meaning, so do not fear its position being upside down.

Lovers (reversed), King of Rods, King of Cups

Gwen faces issues pertaining to her relationship but much more than the qualities of her significant other, her ability to BE in relationship and how this has recently transformed. Gwen has conflicted feelings about her long term relationship that will be ending, and the connection to a new potential partner. The Lovers card indicates focus being brought to relationships, and at this time Gwen would do well to examine the role of cooperation and interdependence in her new relationship. The potential for satisfaction in this new relationship is indicated by this card. As you may guess, there is a “but”…the “but” is the reversal. There is potential for understanding and connection in this relationship, but at this time things are starting off out of balance in some way. Gwen is being given an opportunity to find balance with a partner, but she will have to recognize that at this time there is unequal power. The essence of the Lovers card is the magickal combination of the energies of two individuals, two complete individuals each with their own strengths and weaknesses, who make a harmonious connection which allows them to transcend their limitations, complimenting what one lacks with what another has to offer. The key behind the power of the Lovers is that each partner is independent, but together are a blend of the best each has to offer the other.

At its best this relationship is promising. At present, there are some obstacles to overcome, hence the reversal. The Lovers reversed carries an energy of unequal dependency, one of the parties involved needs the other just a little too much. One partner is in a position of giving more than they receive, which tarnishes the sacred balance of the Lovers. It is in fact, a balancing act in any relationship at any time, like a recipe, a dash too much of one ingredient, and there goes the soup! So at present, there is not an equal exchange. This does not mean there cannot be or will never be, but there is not right now. The Lovers is presenting in reverse, to give Gwen the guidance she needs to examine issues of power and dependence in relationships so that she will not repeat patterns of codependency that are carried over from the past. The relationship has potential but issues of expectations around individual identity and independence must be addressed. In the ideal expression of the Lovers it is the admiration and respect for the individual as a separate person that provides for this ideal relationship. When the Lovers are reversed there is a slight twist- control becomes an issue. The partners may have expectations of each other that take away from their mutual independence or identities, the needs of the other become more important than the needs of one’s self. Gwen, take care not to fall into a pattern of rescuing, fixing excessively caring for this person, especially in a way that is unsustainable in the long term. Let it be known from the get go what your needs are as an individual and build the relationship around each of your individual dreams and identities. Do not fear that the relationship will not withstand your boundaries or your needs as an independent individual- it will. It is important to have a reasonable separateness and “interdependence” from the beginning, otherwise the risk of the Lovers reversed is that expectations of caretaking and accommodating will be fostered resulting in a challenging and out of balance role of “provider” or “rescuer” rather than “lover “and “partner”. You are being granted a test of balancing your needs, your partner’s needs, and your relationship’s needs at this time. Knowing the message of the Lovers will help you to pass this test. It will also be important for Gwen to monitor her own insecurities with relationships in general as pain from past relationships may cause Gwen to feel jealous, doubtful of herself etc. and these feelings alone could contribute to behavior that tips the balance in the relationship more in favor of control than trust.

Now we have a couple of Kings to deal with. The King of Rods represents where the obstacles, if any, lie in this relationship. He is the master of communication, education, networking and planning, and this is where things need some adjustment at this time. Gwen’s new beau may not always communicate his feelings, and there is no room in this relationship for assumptions. Gwen must be sure to express herself clearly. There is a lot of planning, setting the stage for changes and new beginnings and it is possible for this to bring some stress especially related to very mundane and boring matters such as paperwork, organization, planning etc. The managerial parts of this relationship may be less enticing and perhaps get neglected, but it would be in Gwen’s best interest to be as direct and clear as possible to avoid miscommunications and the problems that go along with “assuming”. Also it is likely that if anyone is going to be a distraction in this relationship, it is not another woman, it is likely the involvement of another man. Whether this is someone who captures Gwen’s attention as this relationship is forming, or represents the past long term relationship that Gwen is ending, this is someone who is potentially intelligent but does not always carry out the plans they make. He may be a lot of talk but lack substance. This is someone who will use words to entice, and even manipulate, and will likely talk a good story- but will be recognized as a salesman, not following up in action what he promises in words. This person is a distraction from Gwen’s relationship. Situations that will challenge Gwen’s relationship will also involve barriers of communication, travel, planning and business- there is some type of advancement in the realm of business that does not occur as planned and puts a damper on plans Gwen and her partner had been discussing and working on together. Gwen should not take guarantees of assistance from others at face value at this time as communication and planning are going to be more a source of stress than resolution at this time.

Last but very important, we have the King of Cups. He brings positive indicators for emotional contentment in this relationship and there is a long term commitment potential. This is Gwen’s partner at his best, caring, empathic, sensitive and good natured. Mature and responsive, this shows an emotional connection and romantic bond. This individual takes the relationship seriously and has intentions of committing his emotions to the relationship. What may hold him back or delay him is not another woman, or a lack of deep feelings, it appears more likely to be some type of holdup involving the plans to change direction of business, move or advance in business in some way, particularly due to the offer of an opportunity or assistance that brings some delay, conflict or setback to the end goals.

All things considered there is potential for deep connection, understanding, and a strong romantic bond. Some initial caution needs to be taken for both partners to not lose individual identity and independence in the excitement of this budding romance. Best of luck to Gwen in the future, and remember, regardless of where you are reading this, in NYS all readings are conducted for entertainment purposes.

Interested in being the Querent in next month’s column? Contact Angela at Trionfi78@gmail.com.

About Angela: Angela Kaufman has been exploring divination through Tarot cards over a decade. She is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and formed Moonlight Tarot in 2009 which would become Moonlight Tarot LLC in 2010. Angela uses the Tarot to assist clients in exploring personal growth and development, and in accordance with New York State Law offers readings for entertainment purposes. Angela began providing readings on a professional, “Moonlighting” basis in order to provide affordable readings to those seeking guidance, inspiration and fun. Angela is also co-author of the new book “Wicca, What’s the Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions.” (Schiffer Publishing, 2011). In 2006 she joined ISIS Paranormal Investigations and has accompanied the team on numerous investigations in private residences and businesses throughout the capital region, Adirondacks, Vermont and Massachusetts.

For more information on services offered by Moonlight Tarot LLC, visit http://www.saratogaintegrativepractitioners.com/kaufman-tarot.php

Check out Moonlight Tarot on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MoonlightTarotLlc

For more related to Tarot and Wicca, check out: “Wicca, What’s the Real Deal?” At www.wwtrd.webs.com

For more related to the Aquarian Tarot Deck, created by David Palladini and published through US Games Systems, Inc. visit http://www.usgamesinc.com/product.php?productid=413

Invisible Excursions: A Compass for the Journey

“Invisible Excursions: A Compass for the Journey” by James Conlon is a memoir of sorts. Conlon tells the story of his life as it unfolded during pivotal events like the Vietnam war and Vatican II but he also discusses his emerging love affair with creation spirituality. As the book progresses the memoir comes to the present day where Conlon talks about the Sophia Center where he is Director.

However, that truthful, but remarkably bland, descriptive paragraph does not do “Invisible Excursions” justice. It tells the story of a questing, compassionate Christianity that I wish we heard more about these days. One that knows matters of taking care of our planet and social justice are equal to, and work with, matters of theology.

Conlon doesn’t just share his personal journey, he tries to inspire you to look at your own journey and make the most of it. He shares a few of the journeys of those who came to the Sophia Center. Ultimately I feel that “Invisible Excursions” is meant to give us hope in a time when despair is pretty easy to find, and more importantly, Conlon wants you to take that hope and pass it along.

Geek Month in Review: September 2012

By JB Sanders
And so school starts.

Easy Alternate Earth
Looking for a wild alternative Earth for some Great SciFi story you have in your head? Look no further!
Yes, it’s an xkcd What If article, but it’s all about an alternative Earth based on the simple idea: what if the Earth were rotated 90 degrees?

Missing Some Treasure?
I was doing some research, and came across a really handy GM tool. Or if you’re a thriller writer and need a handy lost treasure for your protagonists to stumble across, here you go. It’s the whole list. All known “lost” treasures. Enjoy.

The Only 25 Words You’ll Ever Need to Name Your TV Show
I’m not sure how serious this is, but take any two words from the list in this article and they will form an immediately obvious and totally viable concept for a TV show. Don’t believe me? Try it out.

See Curiosity Land on Mars — in HD
Great video, color-corrected and enhanced, of the Curiosity lander reaching the surface of Mars. The video is all real-time.

Lava Fountain — Up Close
These crazy people got themselves a mostly heat-proof suit and filmed a lava flow (fountain?) up close and personal. Great video.

The Caves Beneath Nottingham
Yes, the Robin Hood Nottingham. Apparently it’s sandstone bedrock makes it really easy, with hand tools, to dig out a cave. So everyone in the last two thousand years appears to have done that. The geek part of this is the laser-mapping the archaeologists are using to find all of the caves. Be sure to watch the movie. Also, there appears to be an upcoming enhanced-reality app for the caves — where you use the app to reveal what caves lie beneath buildings and streets by pointing your smart phone at them.

A little addition for medievalists and beer lovers, another blog on the same private tour wrote up information about Nottingham’s “beer caves“.

Hybrid Transparent Rocket Engine
Scientist builds a rocket engine with a transparent acrylic rod and some oxygen. See the rocket burn and consume the fuel (acrylic) from the inside.
Bonus: full explanation of how it was built.

Where Science and Science Fiction Meet
Neal Stephenson and the president of Arizona State University have together setup the Center for Science and Imagination, a collaboration of scientists and scifi writers to create a better tomorrow. Or something like that. All sorts of Serious Names in scifi are involved.

Einstein’s Brain
Now an iPad app. No, I’m not kidding. Stop laughing. The folks who have Einstein’s brain preserved took thousands of pictures and slides of his brain, and made it into an interactive app. Not sure it’s worth $10, but still.

Laser Pointers and the Moon
What if everyone pointed a laser pointer at the same spot on the moon? The latest xkcd What If article is up and it’s fun.

Solar Super-Charger
Sounds like a scifi thing, right? Nope. Elon Musk, the savvy CEO of Tesla Motors (and backer of SpaceX) is planning to build fast-charging (full charge in 30 minutes or so) stations all over the US. Right now, he’s got 6 stations built in California, with more to come. The idea? Stop for food and charge your car while you wait. All using solar power.

And in the Geek Dad Category
This guy, his 4-year-old son, a toy train and space. Oh, also an HD camera, a weather balloon and an old cell phone with GPS (for locating it all afterwards). This guy sends his son’s toy train into space via weather balloon, and films it from liftoff to finish.
Note: some special-effects wizardry on the toy train’s “face” for amusement (or how the Dad thought his son saw the toy train Stanley).
Warning: Some mushy content!

Leonard Nimoy on How the Vulcan Salute Got Its Start
Do you need more than the title? Go read it!

Nazi Buddha Originally from Space
You know what? I had to link this article just because of that headline, pulled shamelessly from the BBC’s website. The less sensational version of that headline goes: a statue of the buddha, recovered by a Nazi expedition in the 1930’s, was made from a meteorite that fell to Earth 15,000 years ago.

Tiny Dragons Found in Indonesia
No, really. Look, there are photos!

About John:
John’s a geek from way back. He’s been floating between various computer-related jobs for years, until he settled into doing tech support in higher ed. Now he rules the Macs on campus with an iron hand (really, it’s on his desk).

Geek Credentials:
RPG: Blue box D&D, lead minis, been to GenCon in Milwaukee.
Computer: TRS-80 Color Computer, Amiga 1000, UNIX system w/reel-to-reel backup tape
Card games: bought Magic cards at GenCon in 1993
Science: Met Phil Plait, got time on a mainframe for astronomy project in 1983
His Blog: http://glenandtyler.blogspot.com

Just Some of What October’s Got Going On

Ack! A lot of stuff goes on in October! It’s that righteous blend of Halloween, Samhain, paranormal, and just a dash of “other”. I had a few people email me asking if I’d mention their event on the site, so I went ahead and asked on our social media pages that if anyone knew of any upcoming events to go ahead and email them to me and I’d add them to the list. Well I ended up with quite the eclectic list!

October 6 – Normandi Ellis Writing Class – The Scott County Public Library in Georgetown, KY (Ellis wrote “Invoking the Scribes of Ancient Egypt” and “Imagining the World into Existence”.)

October 7 – Normandi Ellis Book Signing – Morris Book Shop Lexington, KY (Ellis is the pretty woman in the photo.)

October 13 – 14 Temple of Isis Mystery School and Metaphysical Weekend – Frankfort, KY

October 18 – 21 Paradigm Symposium – Minneapolis, MN

October 20Celebrate Samhain – now at its NEW LOCATION of Peterborough Community Center, 19 Elm St., Peterborough, NH (You guys know I’ve attended this for 2 years now and they needed a bigger space, so I’m excited to go this year and see what its like.)

October 21 – November 1Foundation for Shamanic Studies Two Week Intensive in Advanced Shamanic Healing – Madison, VA

October 26Burlington Vortex Conference – Burlington, WI

October 27 – Sugar Skull Workshop – Muse Gifts & Books, Marlborough, NH (Two of my favorite Marlborough stores, Inkubus and Muse, are coming together to do a sugar skull workshop at 1pm on October 27th! Call 603-876-4242 for details!)

October 27 Temple of Witchcraft Samhain Psychic Faire and Ritual – at their NEW LOCATION 52 East Derry Road, Derry, NH – Faire ends at 5pm with a public ritual to follow.

October 30 – 31 Fly 92’s Annual Haunted Broadcast with the Northern NY Paranormal Research Society – www.fly92.com (The NNYPRS will also have their own live video feed and chat room running throughout the event at their website www.nnyprs.com)