Listening to DemonWars

Fantasy fans! Roleplaying gamers! Geeks! Lend me, and Audible.com, your ears! For I have news people!

Some of you may have heard of author R.A. Salvatore, well known fantasy writer perhaps best known for his “Forgotten Realms” novels (which is a setting for the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons). If not, now you have. He’s kind of a big deal in certain circles. Well keep following me. He also wrote a series of books referred to as the DemonWars Saga. It’s two trilogies bridged by a single book, “Mortalis”. The Saga is Book 1: “The Demon Awakens”; Book 2: “The Demon Spirit”; Book 3: “The Demon Apostle”; Book 4: “Mortalis”; Book 5: “Ascendance”; Book 6: “Transcendence”; Book 7: “Immortalis”. The Saga has an accompanying roleplaying game called “Demon Wars”. It’s hard to summarize 7 books so here’s the link to its Wikipedia entry if you’re interested.

Now the big news is that recently there has been the release on Audible.com of “The Education of Brother Thaddius and Other Tales of DemonWars” by R.A. Salvatore. These are three stories that surround the DemonWars Saga. According to Audible.com:

“Mather’s Blood” takes place before the start of the DemonWars Saga and tells of the ranger Mather Wyndon, uncle of Elbryan, a central figure in DemonWars.

“A Song For Sadye” offers new insights into the life of the bard, Sadye, who plays an important role in the second DemonWars half of the DemonWars Saga.

“The Education of Brother Thaddius” picks up the DemonWars story immediately following “Immortalis”, the last book of DemonWars, and opens the door for the next saga in the world of Corona. First printed in the DemonWars: Reformation Core Rule Book, “The Education of Brother Thaddius” highlights the troubles in the in Abellican Church, battered by the De’Unneran Heresy and struggling to survive in a world ravaged by wars and demons.

And in case you weren’t excited, guess who is reading these? Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day! If not THE King and Queen of Geeks, they are certainly our royalty. I know what you’re wondering. What does THAT sound like?

“The Education of Brother Thaddius and Other Tales of DemonWars” is for sale now on Audible.com.

Gaiam TV Goes Video on Demand

PHILADELPHIA, PA and BOULDER, CO, Immediate Release — Comcast and Gaiam TV, an innovator of online streaming yoga and inspirational video content, announced the launch of Gaiam TV Fit & Yoga, a subscription-based Video On Demand service providing Xfinity TV customers with access to premium yoga and fitness training directly on the TV.

Gaiam TV Fit & Yoga offers customers access to fitness programs from the world’s best yoga instructors and fitness trainers, including Jillian Michaels, Rodney Yee, Leslie Sansone and Shiva Rea.

“Consumers today are seeking specialized workouts and greater convenience to work out on their own terms. Our customers are constantly on the go, and need access to their fitness programming wherever they are and on any device,” said Andy Hunter, VP of Programming for Comcast Cable. “Gaiam TV’s comprehensive collection of programming is a great complement to our existing cross-platform Sports and Fitness On Demand programming, and this partnership represents another way we are innovating to deliver the content our customers want, when they want to watch it.”

“We strive to offer our members the world’s best yoga and fitness content to keep them strong and centered every single day,” says Jaymi Bauer, Gaiam TV CMO. “Partnering with Comcast to make a premium selection of this content available to their vast subscriber base enables us to reach millions of people who might be searching for ways to stay fit and balanced in the convenience of their own home.”

With more than 100 programs available, Gaiam TV Fit & Yoga offers something for all fitness levels, interests and demographics. Program choices include cardio, pilates, yoga, meditation, pre and postnatal exercise, sculpting and toning, walking, circuit training and dance, as well as programs tailored for certain health conditions including arthritis and stress-related illnesses.

“We refer to yoga as a practice because it requires us to be always evolving and growing, yearning and learning while being patient with ourselves. To be able to guide people in their practice right where they are, even if they can’t be in the studio with me, gives me great joy,” says internationally renowned yoga instructor Rodney Yee. “I’m very proud to be a part of Gaiam TV Fit & Yoga.”

The collection of content will expand throughout the year, and is accessible via Xfinity TV Go mobile platforms. Xfinity TV Digital customers with Xfinity On Demand can subscribe to Gaiam TV Fit & Yoga for $6.99 per month. There will also be a collection of free content available On Demand, enabling customers to sample the programming.

About Gaiam TV:
Gaiam TV is a streaming video subscription service that offers exclusive, ad-free streaming of over 7,000 films, documentaries and original programs dedicated to transformational media, alternative knowledge, personal growth and spirituality, featuring luminaries like Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, the Dalai Lama and renowned yoga, fitness and wellness instructors like Rodney Yee, Jillian Michaels, Seane Corn, Mari Winsor and more. With the MyYoga channel, Gaiam TV is the world’s largest online yoga and fitness resource. Gaiam TV is a division of Gaiam, Inc. (NASDAQ: GAIA). For more information, visit www.GaiamTV.com.

Connecting the Dots – Journaling and Dream Connections

By Dayna Winters

Let me start by saying Happy New Year! As we enter the year 2015, it is a wonderful time to intensify our exploration of dreams and their meaning. In December, we examined the influence of lunar energies on dreams and dream work. This month, I would like to explore the importance of dream journaling. While the immediate benefits of journaling might seem obvious, there are long-term benefits derived from documenting dreams as well. Journaling allows you to take a look back at the dreams you have had in the last few days, weeks, months, and years. Over the course of time, the analysis of your dreams can reveal the appearance of repetitious archetypes, running themes, the connections between two or more dreams, and may even hint at real life events.

In order to explore this idea further, I will present you with a couple of dreams I’ve had in the past few years. The meaning of the dreams and a connection between the two is, at first, ambiguous. Yet, through analysis you’ll soon discover significant meaning behind the dreams and precisely how both narratives are connected to one another.

Dream #1: About two years ago, I dreamed I was in a row boat in a vast body of water. There was no land in sight and I was all alone. The boat was slowly taking on water. I put my feet up on the seat of the row boat to keep them dry. I didn’t notice the rainbow serpent curled up in the bottom of the boat until it was too late. The snake bit me. The creature was incredibly aggressive and would not let go. I was terrified as I struggled to get away from the snake. Then I awoke.

Rainbow Serpent by Dayna Winters

Dream #2: About six months after I dreamed of the rainbow serpent, I had the following dream where I was watching a scene as if I was outside my body. I could see a mound of earth and knew I was buried beneath it. The grass on the surface of the mound was green. I was terrified at the idea of being buried alive. I could see the mound of earth moving up and down slightly, as if it was breathing. I heard a female voice speak to me. I perceived the voice to be a divine being. The voice said, “Do not worry, you’ll be fine, this is only a rebirth – a resurrection.” Then I awoke.

Dreams Hinting At Real Life Events To Come

What makes the connections between the two dreams under discussion is not immediately evident. However, what is not revealed in the two dreams are real life events that occurred following both dream scenarios. Keeping a dream journal allowed me to take a look back and realize the startling connections. The events are as follows:

About a year and a half after both dreams, I became incredibly ill. The illness came on suddenly and aggressively. I was at the County Fair when I became sick. While there I saw a huge rainbow in the sky. I did not know it at the time, but I had a terrible infection and my condition worsened rapidly. I ended up with sepsis and had to have emergency surgery. Following the surgery I had a lengthy and painful recovery period. While recovering in the hospital, my home was under renovation. My daughter called my husband to tell him that somehow a snake got in the kitchen and just slithered out from behind the stove onto the coffee maker (And no one was pleased to hear this news!).

During recovery I had what I can only call a near death experience – there were moments I felt as if I was outside my body looking on to what was happening to me. I witnessed things that were otherwise impossible to witness given my condition at the time.

Both dreams pointed toward the potential for the occurrence of a terrifying event. What is amazing about the dreams I had was the fact that I got an infection in the exact location where I was bitten by the rainbow serpent I saw in my dream scenario about a year and a half prior to the actual incident. My illness was sudden, as was the strike of the snake, and the infection was rapid and aggressive, just like the serpent. The day I fell ill I actually saw a rainbow in the sky at the County Fair. The snake appearing in the kitchen of my home was yet another strange and amazing (and extremely undesirable) connection. Before and after my surgery, there were moments where I felt outside of myself, as I did in my second dream where a female voice speaks to me and comforts me by telling me that this time period is a resurrection and I am not to worry. Indeed, my surgery saved my life and my recovery time was, without question, life-altering.

What’s amazing is with some research, I found even more remarkable connections between my dream of the rainbow serpent and the divine being speaking to me. I looked up the mythological basis of the Rainbow Serpent in Aboriginal Australia. Scholars suggest a link between the serpent, the cycle of the seasons, and the incredible importance of water in supporting life (Note: In the dream I was surrounded by a body of water and the boat was taking on water. Also note that I attended the County Fair, where my illness began, during the shift of seasons from the end of summer to the early beginnings of autumn – this relates to the shift in the cycle of the seasons association of the serpent). Further research revealed that the Rainbow Serpent, because of its association with water, is considered “a giver of life.” However, the creature is also considered destructive when angry (Note: The snake struck me aggressively in the dream and the infection I ended up with was extremely destructive, destroying surrounding tissue and poisoning my bloodstream, just as if I was actually bitten by a poisonous serpent.) Remarkably, in some stories, the Rainbow Serpent has associations with blood, circulation, and the creature is considered a healer.

It’s important to note that while I was surrounded by a body of “life giving water” and the row boat was taking on the same waters, I removed my feet from it. The removal of my feet ultimately signified a withdrawal from the life giving, watery associations of the serpent and the potential destruction to follow. In fact, being in a boat at all serves as a symbol of a disconnect from the life giving waters; I was not in the water in anyway, but I was physically separated from it.

My research revealed even more incredible connections. According to some stories, the serpent is considered a Creator deity. The creature is told of in “Dreaming,” “The Dreamtime,” or Tjukurrpa myths – in Aboriginal mythos, “Dreamtime” is a real place where all time exists at once, past, present, and future. Dreamtime lies beyond space and time. Interestingly, it is a location one goes to just before being reincarnated (this notion seems to correlate with my dream about rebirth and resurrection.) In the Dreamtime or Dreaming stories of the aborigines, the Rainbow Serpent is described as a creature originating from deep within the earth – one that “pushes up mountains and gorges as it moves upward from deep within Mother Earth.” It is here that the subtle connection between dream one and two become evident (In my second dream I was buried beneath the Earth, and the mound of Earth was pushing upward as if it was breathing.)

In some cultures, the serpent is a symbol of an umbilical cord that connects a being to Mother Earth (Note: this literally connects dream one and dream two together via the suggestion of the serpent being a connection to the Mother Earth or female deity I encountered in my second dream.) In many cultures, the Goddess is associated with serpents, with the snake proving a symbol of immortality, healing, transformation, and fertility. The venom of a snake is thought to have a fiery-like quality – it can therefore serve as a symbol of will, strength, and a purification through a trial by fire.

Synchronistic Events

Even more remarkably, in a synchronistic event, a few days after researching the Rainbow Serpent’s meaning in various cultures and its connection to the Earth Goddess, I casually encountered a news article while browsing on the web. The article told of the recent discovery of a Goddess statue formerly buried by the Spanish Conquistadors because it is a pagan idol. Her name is Coatilcue, meaning “She of the skirt of serpents.” A replica was made of the statue and the item was reburied (Note: the remarkable connection between the serpent dream and the live burial in the second dream where I am addressed by a female deity.) The statue was rediscovered in 1804. Considered repulsive, the item was once again buried. She has since been rediscovered and the statue is now in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Once demonized, the statue is now viewed as a work of art.

Repetitious Archetypes and Running Themes

The repetitious archetypes become evident when viewing all of the related information associated with both dreams. Here, appropriate dream archetypes include all images of the Goddess/Divine Beings, serpents, and Medusa, The Magician, The Healer/Wounded Healer, and The Prophet and Mystic are all appropriate dream archetypes to examine. Looking at the following Tarot cards can also provide insightful information: The Magician, The High Priestess, Strength, Death, and the meaning behind Swords, and Pentacles.

The running themes in both dreams become evident and a connection can be made between the two – both dreams refer to life altering events, change, death, rebirth, resurrection, and purification via a trial by fire. The dreams were vivid and lasting, making them easy to remember – thus, the dreams pointed to potential life events of incredible importance. For more detailed information on dream archetypes and themes, see “The Esoteric Dream Book: Mastering the Magickal Symbolism of the Subconscious Mind (Schiffer Publishing, August 2014).”

Dream journaling gives you the opportunity to document the dreams you have for further exploration. You can look to dreams for meaning you can extrapolate and use immediately, and you can use your journal to examine the potential long-term connections you might identify. Had I not documented both dreams, I might not have remembered the details of each dream with such incredible detail and I could have overlooked the connection between the two dream scenarios. Over the course of time, your journal can point to running themes, important dream associations, and potential dream connections that will prove more insightful than you ever imagined.

About Dayna Winters:
Dayna Winters is a solitary Witch, author, and artist. She is the co-author of three books written with Patricia Gardner and Angela Kaufman including, “Wicca: What’s The Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions,” “Sacred Objects, Sacred Space: Everyday Tools for The Modern Day Witch,” and “The Esoteric Dream Book: Mastering the Magickal Symbolism of the Subconscious Mind”, all of which are published by Schiffer Publishing. You can find out more about Dayna and her work at her blog: http://daynawinters.blogspot.com/.

Well Seasoned

Originally I had wanted to review this before the holidays, in the thought that people would want to give it as a Christmas gift, but things sometimes don’t work out as planned. However it isn’t that big of a deal because it turns out the “Well Seasoned: Savoring Life’s Lessons” by Rebecca Webb Wilson is the perfect gift for all seasons. So stay tuned as I clue you in on a great book for you, and probably for lots of people you know.

Rebecca Webb Wilson is a professional nature photographer who has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Swiss Alps part of the Haute Route, and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. She began her professional career as a Pan American World Airways stewardess, did a brief stint as a realtor, then went to law school eventually serving several years as an Assistant United States Attorney. The point I’m trying to make here is that Wilson is a creative, intelligent woman who has, and is still, living an amazing life. That life translates to “Well Seasoned”.

A Photo From Summer

The book is divided into four seasons. Surprising, I know. Wilson discusses how we often draw parallels between the seasons of our environment and the cycles of our life. Traditionally we view spring with birth and childhood, summer with adulthood, fall with maturity, and then winter with decline of the elderly. But she comments that this isn’t necessarily based in reality. That for many, the later years of life are a time of rebirth thanks to retirement. New careers are started. Educations are continued. New passions are discovered, or old passions are pursued once again. That could make those years spring time. Suddenly the seasonal metaphor is all kinds of exciting and up for grabs.

A Photo From Winter

With that in mind, Wilson starts us off at summer and childhood. From there it’s autumn, winter, and spring. Each chapter shares her personal insights, reflective poetry, and the lessons learned in each season. And of course, beautiful photos.

Rebecca Webb Wilson has crafted a book of wisdom that can speak to new parents, recent retirees, graduates, and anyone else looking for a different perspective on a new phase of their life.

The Geek Month in Review: December 2014

By JB Sanders

Happy Yule!

Alien Fonts
Great article on the fonts and symbols used in the movie Alien, and how they influenced other scifi movies. Bonus points for a tie-in with The Secret Doctrine by Helena Blavatsky.

Touchable Holograms
Yeah, you read that right. Projected images that have haptic feedback — meaning you can feel them. Go ahead and let your brain explode on that one.

Hand-Illuminated, Hand-Bound Copy of the Simallarion
You remember that Tolkien book, the one that is basically lifted from his hand-written notes about the world of the Lord of the Rings, but it is basically unreadable except as a reference work? Yeah, this German art student decides to just go ahead and create a copy of the book by hand. It’s awesome.

Margaret Hamilton, Lead Software Engineer, Project Apollo
Yeah, that headline pretty much tells the whole story, but for the details, read the article.

Interactive 3D Display
Nope, not the same as the link above. This is more like a telepresence version of that toy with all the pins in it that everyone always presses their hand into. Only with color.

Lord of the Rings Partially Explained
Ever wonder how Gandalf got to be so badass that he could go toe-to-toe with a Balrog? Check out the video!

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/

Glamourscopes

While it’s still the start of 2015 I’m happy to share something neat that came through my inbox. It turns out that Glamour magazine has teamed up with Susan Miller, the founder of the Astrology Zone website, to bring us Glamourscopes!

Glamourscopes is where you can find year-long outlooks for each astrological sign in fun video formats.

For example, I’m a Gemini. Here’s what Ms. Miller has for me.

Obviously I’m happily married so none of that, getting’ yo’ self a man stuff interests me. However, will this be the year that my health issues take a turn for the better? That will be a thing to watch.

Not lucky enough to be a Gemini? You can watch your year-long out look here.

How Would You Like a Spell a Day?

You may remember that on January 5, 2015 I reviewed “A Spell a Day: For Health, Wealth, Love, and More” by Cassandra Eason. I was quite the fan. What I didn’t mention was that I have an extra copy that I’d like to send to a good home where it will be loved. It’s also early enough in the year that you can catch up quick and be rocking a spell a day in no time!

The prize in question.

For the first time I’m trying Rafflecopter to see how it works. If it works out okay I’ll upgrade to give us all the fun bells and whistles for the next contest. Oh yes my friends, there will be other contests….

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Listening at 451 Degrees

Well folks, it is time again for me to talk about the classic “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury.

The last time we talked about it was in January 2012 when I talked about how Bradbury’s thoughts on e-books evolved (The Temperature at Which the Kindle Burns). In the article I declared I would never buy “Fahrenheit 451” as an e-book. However neither I, nor Bradbury, have/had any hang ups about audio books and that is a very good thing because I have news.

Guess who has reached out to the little ol’ Magical Buffet? Audible.com. Oh yeah baby. And one of the many, many, many wonderful things they’ve let me in on to share with you is that there is a new audio book version of “Fahrenheit 451”. Who narrates you ask? Just Tim Robbins. As in Tim “Bull Durham, Mystic River, Shawshank Redemption” Robbins. I guess what I’m saying is, he’s got skills and yes, said skills do in fact pay the bills.

For those of you unfamiliar with “Fahrenheit 451” (how is that possible?), let me blurb you.

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family”. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television. When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life. (Audible.com)

What does that sound like when Tim Robbins reads it? Haunting. Beautiful. Mesmerizing. Here, give this sample a listen:

You get your copy here.

A Spell A Day

It’s January and although I’m not a fan of the New Year’s Resolution the start of the year is a great time to pick up your 365 day, or your “something” a day, type of book. Now I happen to have in my possession the most adorable little spell a day book you could ever want to own.

“A Spell A Day: For Health, Wealth, Love, and More” by Cassandra Eason is an amazingly diverse book of spells that quite literally has a spell for every occasion. First off, there are 366 spells in case of it being a leap year. Good catch Eason! Second, her introduction mentions that idea of opening the book for a spell at random. Suggesting that perhaps the spell you need will find you. I love that kind of thing. Third, it has a great index. With spell books, you want a good index because at some point you’re going to want to find some spell you read and you are NOT going to remember what day it was on.

Lastly, did I mention how cute it is? For reals yo. It fits perfectly into my small girl hands, and more importantly I can hold it open with one hand, which means just about anyone should be able to hold it while casting spells. It has a nice heft. It’s got a nice fabric and embossed spine. The font is in purple (I like purple). If the spells weren’t done so well, you could mistake “A Spell a Day” as a puff piece based on the book’s lovely physical appearance. Just remember, you should never judge a book by its cover. Just consider it a bonus feature when it’s awesome!

Cassandra Eason has crafted an interesting and diverse book of spells that, in my opinion, a beginning or experienced magic practitioner would find worth adding to their collection.

Create a Vibration of Prosperity in the New Year!

By Shaman Isabella Stoloff

As the year 2014 comes to an end, and you reflect on this past year, what will you think of? Most of us will dwell on the mistakes or problems we had, or are still having. Very few will look over the past year and say, “Good job my friend”. Instead of beating yourself up over things you cannot change, take a moment and see all the accomplishments you have made, no matter how small. Pat yourself on the back then say, “Well done”! This is the first step in shifting your vibration to become more prosperous.

As a Shaman I teach people to take their power back by focusing their attention on releasing negative self-talk, and falling more in love with themselves. If you want to create more prosperity, then it is important to become more loving with yourself. Create a vibe around you that will increase your magnetism. You know the type of person you enjoy being around right? Someone uplifting and happy, someone who is so secure you can’t help but want to be near them. In the year 2015 you can become that person by listening to your inner guidance.

Most of us are so in our heads it’s hard to get out. We find ourselves in an unstoppable cycle of repetitive patterns. Mentally we go over the same problem trying to find a better solution. Does doing this really help? I feel this is actually what keeps us from finding inner peace. Make a promise to yourself that in the year 2015 you will commit to living in present time consciousness. Let go of the worry, and try something new. Trust that everything will work itself out as long as you stay positive and keep a high vibration. Do this for 30 days and see what happens.

One way I have been able to shift is to listen to my thoughts, and observe how they make me feel. How you feel has a great deal to do with how your life is showing up. When one creates a vibration of love, and safety around them, automatically things begin to get better.

Many times I had to fake it till I made it, but it worked! Each time I shifted my consciousness and vibration around an issue the issue dissolved, and things worked out. Now that’s not to say it was always in my favor, its just that the way I felt about the situation and my perceptions shifted, so I was happier.

It can just be a subtle shift, a little reminder that your thoughts are going in the wrong direction. Then you gently bring your awareness into your body and breathe. Release all that no longer serves you. Find all the things you are grateful for, smile for no reason, sit quietly and find joy in the silence. I know these seem like simple tools for success but they work. Once you can get a handle on your thoughts you will notice your body more, and your intuition will heighten. The importance of having a heightened intuition is learning to trust your inner guidance. As a society we have given our power away for so long that we have begun to not trust ourselves. We need to trust our inner knowing so we can experience happier, prosperous lives.

Everyone is searching for an answer. All of us want the key to success. My feeling is true success comes from deep within. It comes from a place of falling so in love with ourselves that we believe in who we are as individuals, trust our decisions, and know that we deserve the best that life has to offer.

In 2015 learn how to shift the energetics of a situation by shifting your perceptions, and watch your whole life change!

About Shaman Isabella Stoloff:
Shaman Isabella Stoloff is a dynamic leader. She founded the Orange County Healing Center in 2009 and since that time has committed herself to leaving the world a better place. Isabella has been called the Golden Condor and World Ambassador. She has traveled to connect people to their inner wisdom and provide ceremonies for the land. She has a full time practice, writes articles, a YouTube channel, and does guest spots to carry the message of enlightenment. Isabella is a mother and grandmother and understands what is needed today to raise a conscious family. Shaman Isabella feels honored to be on the planet during this time of great awakening. She feels once you empower yourself through positive thought and action you will feel connected and centered. Isabella’s message is to awaken to the light that you are, so you can become the Shaman in your own life. For more info on Shaman Isabella visit www.ochealingcenter.com