73 Questions with Daniel Radcliffe

Vogue magazine has a web series called “73 Questions”. As you might suspect involves asking someone 73 questions. In the past they’ve featured Sarah Jessica Parker and Olivia Munn, which I didn’t bother mentioning to you guys. However when I received notice of the episode “73 Questions with Daniel Radcliffe” I thought that some of you might want to know about it. Particularly since at the very end he reveals a dirty little secret about Harry Potter.

So for those of you who want to see Daniel Radcliffe play some ping pong, talk movies, and give facial hair advice, this video is for you.

10 More Questions with Sasha Graham

1. First, may we still refer to you as the Tarot Diva even though your latest tarot book is “365 Tarot Spreads” and not diva related?

Of course!

2. Your book launch party for “365 Tarot Spreads” was sponsored by Barrows Intense Ginger Liqueur. I’ve never heard of any tarot author getting sponsored by such a fabulous sounding sponsor. Tell us how the sponsorship came about and how the party went.

The innovator of Barrows Intense Ginger Liqueur is a good friend, Josh Morton. http://barrowsintense.com/ He’s enjoyed wild success with Barrows, throwing tastings around the country. Since I was planning on wine, cheese and snacks, I thought the Barrows would be a great addition. Plus, I liked having the magical energy of ginger on hand. It heated things up!

The party was glorious. I host lots of parties at my place in the mountains. I planned the evening like a garden party except it was at the event space of the fabulous Namaste Bookshop in NYC with tarot thrown in!

3. Why did you decide to do a book with 365 unique, different tarot spreads?

I thought about a daily spread book because I wanted to buy one. When I realized there wasn’t one out there, I knew I had to write it!! It was such a fun challenge to see if I could pull it off. Plus, tarot is a daily practice for so many readers, it seemed an obvious thing to write since it hadn’t been done.

4. On each day you highlight a piece of history that influenced what the spread for that day is. How did you decide what historical tidbit to use?

I had specific criteria as I pieced it together. First, I found all holidays. Then, I looked for every important date in Tarot history I could find. I wanted to use everyone who has contributed to tarot history. Birthdays of tarot luminaries like Pamela Coleman Smith or Aleister Crowley. Events in Tarot’s history. I wanted the readers to learn about tarot as they performed the spreads. I found correlations with the occult, the Victorian era, anything gothic and ghosty felt very right. I included Greek and roman festivals, gods and goddesses when I could. I included artists and writers because true art is supernatural and artists are shaman in their own right. I included universal stories, fairy tales and popular films that almost anyone would be familiar with.

5. Did you pick something special for your birthday, because I would?

Everyone picks up the book and goes straight to see their birthday spread! Mine birthday falls on Halloween! The Halloween spread is massive. It looks at the 12 months ahead, considers personal magic and reflects on what you should embrace and reject.

6. What’s one of your favorite spreads from the book?

That’s like asking which is my favorite child! My daughter’s favorite is the Indiana Jones Spread. Hmmmm … one of the most useful spreads that really helped me through a tough time was a spread I created when I was having a difficult time communicating with my sister whom I love dearly. I named it the Sibling Issues Spread but really it can be used for any relationship you are struggling in. It changed the trajectory of our communication and things got better quickly. This is tarot at its BEST!

Cast Your Cards

1. The situation.
2. What I’m feeling.
3. What they are feeling.
4. What I see that they don’t.
5. What they see that I don’t.
6. What is truly possible for the two of us.
7. What action can I take to heal the relationship?

7. What’s one of your favorite historical tidbits from the book?

Random and fascinating was the Battle of Los Angeles! Right after US entrance to WW2, in 1942, there were objects spotted in the sky. Some thought enemy fire, others thought UFO’s, an air raid was called, shots fired, seven people actually perished. The incident was deemed a false alarm though many suspected a UFO cover up.

I turned that date into a tarot spread about personal defensiveness.

8. What are you working on next?

I just signed a contract with Llewellyn for my next book but I’m keeping the subject under wraps for now …

9. Any chance of a Tarot Diva Tarot Deck coming out one day?

Not that I know of 🙂

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

Mmmmm, fall is in the air! What are you most looking forward to as the air turns crisp and the witching season is approaching?

I’m kind of meh on autumn because it means winter is on the way, and I am not a fan. However I do love the Celebrate Samhain event that takes place every October, so I must accept fall if I want to go to Celebrate Samhain.

About Sasha Graham:
Sasha Graham teaches tarot classes and produces tarot events at New York City’s premiere cultural institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has shared her love of tarot on film, television, radio and print. She lives in New York City. Visit her blog at http://tarotdiva.wordpress.com/.

Writing with Nature

By Tina Welling

The author didn’t exactly have writers in mind when he put forth his idea, but being a writer that’s how I translated his work. Ralph Metzner in his book “Green Psychology, Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth”, discovered that tuning into the four different elements of nature – air, earth, fire, water – produces an experience of consciousness that is associated with the qualities of each element.

For writers this is a valuable tool.

When we align ourselves with the element of nature that meets our writing needs we dip into a vast inventory of inspiration and insight.

For example, if we offer our attention to the element of air, we align our body rhythms to the wind or breezes, breathing deeply if the winds are strong, quietly if the breezes are soft. We follow cloud movement across the sky, offer our full attention to the birds, butterflies, airborne seeds.

As writers we may be especially comfortable here. We enjoy soaring through the skies of our imagination, darting quickly from thought to thought, winging it. When we need such qualities in our writing as lightness, humor, change, we align with the element of air. This also works well for fast lists, witty dialogue, and overviews. Experiment with solving these writing problems using the qualities of air.

• Need surprise? Offer a sudden shift in direction that follows the dive of an osprey, which is a brief, almost imperceptible halt, before the abrupt change.
• Looking for patterns in plot or character? Get some distance on the problem with a “bird’s eye view” which allows us to note only the most prominent aspects.
• Does the pace plod? Storms are preceded by mounting energy that gathers toward resolution. Quicken the winds of your writing.

The element of earth is considered the practical realm. This element creates a mood almost the opposite of air. When our writing needs foundation, when a character needs to be strong-willed we go outside and sit on the ground and become conscious of how each thing including ourselves is rooted to the earth, that this is the source of sustenance for the trees around us, the animals passing nearby. These smells and textures and sounds need to be found in our language. The element of earth is helpful when we consider:

• Storylines that depict slow-moving, stuck, immoveable, or stubborn qualities. Those grounded in history or culture.
• Conveying simple, basic moods and emotions, such as long-suffering, generosity, attachment, fear, envy.
• The foundations of life – food, shelter, mates, heritage, religion, family, organizational structure.

The element of fire is the realm of energy, that often unseen activator of actions. Creative energy itself belongs to the fire element. We notice fire itself immediately. It excites us. In our writing when we want to set the scene for conflict, anger or passion we may have someone light a cigarette or a candle or fondle a gun. To create tension we may use the fire element emotionally as well as environmentally to underline the mood, foreshadow a plot, define a character. The element of fire is helpful when writing about:

• Flashy personalities.
• Abrupt resolution in story or character.
• Mounting tension, disaster, conflict, passion.

The element of water can douse fire or it can be churned to its own peak images of crashing waterfalls, stormy seas, beating rain and hail, as well as soothing pools and cups of tea. Water carries the symbolism of emotion, ranging from sorrow to joy, tears to moist lips. It is the realm of sensitivity and spirituality. Try aligning with the element of water when addressing these writing situations:

• Reflections of a character or narrator.
• Amplify tempo and pace using water’s vast spectrum, which ranges from seeping to surging, dripping to flowing.
• Emotion involves water in our bodies – tears, saliva, phlegm, gall, sweat, blood.

The rhythms and moods of the four elements support our personal energy and expand the field of choices in our creative work.

And one more benefit: Partnering with the natural world offers us language that holds universal resonance. Everyone on the planet can identify with our writing, because we all experience the same four elements.

About Tina Welling:
Tina Welling is the author of “Writing Wild: Forming a Creative Partnership with Nature” and three novels including “Cowboys Never Cry”. Her nonfiction has appeared in “The Sun, Body & Soul”, and a variety of anthologies. She lives in Jackson Hole, WY. Her website is www.TinaWelling.com

Based on the book “Writing Wild”. Copyright © 2014 by Tina Welling. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. www.NewWorldLibrary.com.

Geek Month in Review: June and July 2014

By J.B. Sanders

June – Summer!

Personal Drone Selfie
Meet the AirDog, a drone designed to let you photograph yourself, generally being marketed to the sports crowd, but so many other uses come to mind.

LEGO Fusion
It’s like playing SimCity, only when you add buildings, you prototype them in LEGO first, then take a picture of the prototype, and the virtual building springs up in your city. Wild.

Trampoline Park in Abandoned Mine
Yeah, you read that right — these nut cases strung trampolines all over this abandoned mine, added funny lights and made a theme park.

Dead Trees Not Decaying Around Chernobyl
Not exactly because of Magic Radiation(tm) but due to the fact that a lot of the microbial life that should be busily helping the decay process along is gone.

July – More summer!

Indoor Farming Better Than Outdoor
Japanese scientist/farmer (been a while since we could use that one) has setup a hydroponic farm using LED lights and a tighter-than-normal day/night cycle to speed up production 250%.

Futurama in 3D Live Action Video
What would Futurama look like if some geniuses (genii?) threw some computer time and some serious artists at it? Wonder no more! It would be cool if this were a test shot for a future MMORPG or something, right?

Skeet Shooting With a Tank
That’s it. You don’t need more than that. Just watch the video.

Geekiest Basement Ever? You Decide
Guy has over $500k in Star Trek memorabilia. Good grief!

SciFi Writers, Start Your Engines
So here’s an odd thing: giant sinkhole in Siberia. Sure, sure, nothing all that odd about that — it seems like half the stories of sinkholes come from Russia (the other half from Florida). What’s odd about this one is that it’s HUGE, and might be more than a sinkhole. More like a crater, in fact.

Siberian Mystery Crater Solved
Turns out some permafrost ground simply flash-melted. Also, some pretty spectacular pictures of Russian arctic tundra.

Japan Getting Luxury Trains in 2017
They look like movie sets for that CyberPunk epic, during the bit where the hero is on a luxury train.

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://www.glenandtyler.com/

Touching the Art

I just became aware of a new web series from Ovation called “Touching the Art”. Thanks to Netflix I have watched a few series about art, but none have been as amusing as “Touching the Art” and that is thanks to host Casey Jane Ellison. Ellison is the star of the VFILES original web series “What the F*shion?” As an artist, her work has been commissioned by MOCA in Los Angeles and she has presented videos and animation at the New Museum, MoMA PS 1 and Museum of Art and Design. She is also a comedian and her blunt, comedic delivery of questions just rubs me the right way.

The episodes are just a little over 6 minutes but they pack A LOT in that little bit of time. First off, the two episodes I’ve seen have a spoken, unspoken, feminist message by having all female panels. So you have that, bam. Then in the first episode they discuss the nature of celebrity and its relationship with art, is art accessible and available to everyone, what the heck is art, and if you can believe it, they manage to cover more than that!

But don’t just take my word for it, check out episode one of “Touching the Art” right now!

Meister Eckhart on Mindful Meditation

By Matthew Fox

Meister Eckhart was a late-thirteenth- and early-fourteenth-century preacher and mystic, yet like Rumi and Hafiz, he remains relevant today. He speaks to so many and touches people’s hearts. In this short excerpt from his new book “Meister Eckhart: A Mystic Warrior for Our Times”, bestselling author Matthew Fox shares his insights on letting go.

How do we get to that silence, to that Source of all things? Meister Eckhart calls on the story of Jacob in Genesis (28:20): “‘Jacob the patriarch came to a certain place and wanted to rest in the evening, when the sun had gone down.’…He says: ‘To a place’; he does not name it. The place is God. God has no name of His own, and is the place and position of all things and is the natural place of all creatures.” We commune with the Godhead, which is natural for us: “The Godhead alone is the place of the soul, and is nameless….‘Jacob rested in that place,’ which is nameless. By not being named, it is named. When the soul comes to the nameless place, it takes its rest. There, where all things have been God in God, the soul rests. That place of the soul which is God is nameless. I say God is unspoken.” It is in repose, at night, in silence, that God’s love burns the hottest. “In a God-loving soul it is evening. There is nothing there but repose, where a person is thoroughly penetrated and made illuminated with divine love….The soul remains in the light of God and in the silence of pure repose, and that is evening: then it is hottest in the divine love.” Darkness holds its special power and its special attraction. God likes a no-place, a no-where, and the soul wants to commune with God there as well. “As long as the soul is anywhere, it is not in the greatest of God which is nowhere.” After all, “God is nowhere….God is not here or there, neither in time or place.” Christ, too, is to be found there in a place of nothingness. “Where is Christ sitting? He is sitting nowhere. Whoever seeks him anywhere will not find him. His smallest part is everywhere, his highest part is nowhere.”

The journey is a journey inward, for that is where the human spirit is most at home and so too is God. Eckhart says, “God is a being who always lives in the innermost. Therefore the spirit is always searching within. But the will goes outward toward what it loves.”

How do we go about this journey inward to a nameless and unknown place? Eckhart says, “The Word lies hidden in the soul, unknown and unheard unless room is made for it in the ground of hearing, otherwise it is not heard. All voices and sounds must cease and there must be pure stillness within, a still silence.” To meditate is to collect ourselves. “The soul must be collected and drawn up straight and must be a spirit. There God works and there all works are pleasing to God. No work ever pleases God unless it is wrought there.” We learn to focus, for “the more the soul is collected, the narrower it is, and the narrower it is, the wider.” Great things happen in this place of silence, which is “the doorway of God’s house….In the silence and peace…there God speaks in the soul and utters Himself completely in the soul. There the Father begets His Son and has such delight in the Word and is so fond of it, that He never ceases to utter the Word all the time, that is to say beyond time.”

The journey inward into the dark and silence is a trip into simplicity, Eckhart says, a letting go of all things — all forms and images and memories — into the “essential mind of God, of which the pure and naked power is understanding, which the masters term receptive. Now mark my words! It is only above all this that the soul grasps the pure absoluteness of free being, which has no location, which neither receives nor gives: it is bare ‘beingness’ that has been stripped of all being and all beingness. There it takes hold of God as in the ground of His being, where He is beyond all being.” One lets go of all desire, which is so “far reaching” and measureless. “All that understanding can grasp, all that desire can desire, that is not God. Where understanding and desire end, there it is dark, and there God shines.” The Word of God is heard there, for “to hear this Word in the Father (where all is stillness), a person must be quite quiet and wholly free from all images and from all forms. Indeed, a person ought to be so true to God that nothing whatever can gladden or sadden him or her. She should take all things in God, just as they are there.” Then God will do the work and humans need only not resist. “If only the soul would stay within, all things would be present to it.” Solitude is tasted, for there the soul “must be alone as God is alone.”

About Matthew Fox:
Matthew Fox is the author of over 30 books including “The Hidden Spirituality of Men”, “Christian Mystics”, and most recently “Meister Eckhart”. A preeminent scholar and popularizer of Western mysticism, he became an Episcopal priest after being expelled from the Catholic Church by Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI. You can visit him at http://www.matthewfox.org.

Excerpted from the book “Meister Eckhart: A Mystic Warrior for Our Times” ©2014 by Matthew Fox. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com