Friday, February 28, 2014

Natural Healing Corner (1)


If you know anything about my books (A Healing Grove: African Tree Remedies for Body and Spirit ), you will know that I spend a lot of time and thought writing about herbs. As a magical herbalist, I write about the magic, mythology, folklore, and healing properties of herbs. In "A Healing Grove" I dedicated the book to trees so a tree is our point of departure today. 

I have decided that on Friday’s I will turn this blog into my Natural Healing Corner. Here I will talk about all the qualities of herbs I love as well as nature’s healers like stones, crystals, water and fire. I am partial to Fridays. Not in a TGIF sort of way but for its connection to the goddesses, particularly Venus. 

I call it the Natural Healing Corner because in a conversation with an octogenarian African American woman from the south, she mentioned that they (meaning Black folk) didn’t have doctors when she was growing up; just Natural Healers.

Today, I want to focus in on Linden Flower, also called Tilia. It is a magical healing tree. Traditionally Linden has been a tree sacred to Slavic and Germanic peoples, being revered and celebrated. It is beloved by poets and figures into Greek mythology as well. 

As an herbalist, I must admit, until last year, I had overlooked this herb in my personal practice. Once I started using it I was amazed by its myriad healing properties. I found what was called Tilia tea bags in our local Mexican American supermarket. Popular in Mexico, it was touted as a cure for nervousness and anxiety. Upon further examination I found it to be good for so many ills that plague our modern society. Just consider two of the most popular drugs, Xanax and Zantac or the little purple pill.


Tilia helps the body release water. It is a diuretic. As a sedative it brings about a state of tranquility. Tilia eases anxiety. It is a balancing and stabilizing herb. For people suffering from IBS in particular, Tilia helps with stomach disorders of various sorts and boosts the immunity—important to cold and flu season. I understand now from within my body, Tilia’s sacred healing properties.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Angelic Beings



Quite a while ago, I wrote a piece of prose called “The Pathway Home.” It was later published in the anthology, “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number,” edited by Carleen Brice. In “The Pathway Home” I write about many things, (my garden, my relationship with my son and planning dinner). Another aspect of this story is an encounter with a being I believed to be an angel.

You know from coming to this blog, that I believe in many different spirits, gods/goddesses, creatures, orisha, lwa, sprites and more. Just the past week I’ve written about dragons and sirens as well as the goddesses. Today I am feeling gratitude for angelic beings.

The back story is, that 2 days ago I wrote a blog post, called “Writer’s Rant” and posted it over at the website for women writers called She Writes. I have since that time deleted the post because it was written in anger, in a time I was feeling low and I don’t want that kind of energy coming out into the world from me. In it though, I was in a rage over being mistreated as a freelance writer. I had put 2 solid days into creating a writing sample, only to find out, quite callously mind you, that they had chosen someone else. This happens to freelancers more times than I’d like to count, especially this one.

You never know though, who is reading your blog posts and what they are thinking. Blog posts come from within and you put them out into the world—a lot of times, that is that. Anyway, someone, and she knows who she is, has been following my posts. In fact, she has told me she looks forward to them. I didn’t know that previously. She is in the position to hire freelancers and the two of us have entered promising discussions about my working for her as an independent contractor and writer.

If you told me that would be the result of my rant I would have laughed, but it did. Yesterday, I renewed my interest in angels. I also began to think about angels that walk this earth and look out for us. My newest work is about spirit possession and it also goes into the importance of voice. Those two aspects came together after that experience and led me to do more writing on my new novel. Prior to that, I had a writer’s block for over a week.


I believe the spirit of angels can possess certain people—people that seem human enough otherwise. I also see this next year as one in which I will develop my voice like my characters, quite possibly with the help of angel guardians and the ascended masters that surround me.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mirror, Mirror


In "The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets," Barbara Walker says ancients believed any reflective surface, solid or liquid had mystical powers because the reflection is a part of the soul. Hence, soulless beings like werewolves and vampires, show no reflection in the mirror.

The mirror is connected intimately to water, through the story of Narcissus and Echo. Various water orisha wouldn't be caught dead without their mirrors. Across cultures, water represents a mysterious spirit world. Walker closes her beautiful entry on mirrors sharing some Buddhist thoughts on reflections in the mirror; the belief that reflected images are a phantom of the mind.


For the past few years, or realistically to be honest, the better part of the last decade I have avoided the magical mirror on the wall. Lately though, I have been catching glimpses when I go by the mirror that intrigue me so much that they have entered the landscape of my dreams. The other night, I saw an amazingly fit and strong goddess woman in the mirror. Surprisingly enough, that goddess woman was me.

In my mundane life, I have started to pay attention to that image I see in the mirror. I see a transitioning body--a body whose transformation fascinates me. Today as I greet this day, 18 pounds lighter, I go forward reflecting lightness in body and spirit.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Something's Brewing



Yesterday was an exciting day! I was in communication with the publisher that might publish my spirituality and weight loss book that I've mentioned before. This book focuses around earth-based spirituality and earth wisdom like prayer, invocation, plant wisdom, the elements and more. Another publisher has also come forward to express interest, so now there are two. Both publishers are newer, especially in comparison with the publishers I have worked with in the past. Each one has a huge upside. The one is very eclectic and experimental in taste, whereas the other, is going to be devoting the house to more metaphysical and ritualistic titles. I will be reflecting on where might be the best home for my baby and should be able to share that with you shortly.

I have posted in this space about Dealing with Rejection because it is something I struggle with. I think most artists and writers do. In fact, I can't think of any one I know that loves to be rejected. I also posted recently about becoming a novelist. That is still in the becoming stage but I am certain that it will happen, as long as it is the Goddesses design.

Meanwhile, instead of going to the dark spaces that rejection brings us to I can celebrate because soon enough I will have a publishing deal and not long after that my new book will be released. As always, I will keep you in the loop..


Monday, February 24, 2014

Everyday Goddess



Like many pagans, I am very much in the mind/body/spirit conversation. Notice though, that body is positioned right in the middle of that triangle. Often though, body is left out of the picture for many of us. I am all too guilty of being of the mind and spirit while leaving my body to do it's own thing. This has led to me becoming overweight--a heaviness that drags down my mind and spirit. Over the past few years I have also been ill, making me uncomfortable within my body.

We are the bards and the scribes, the storytellers, myth weavers, healers and spell casters. A while back, I developed a workshop, Healing the Healer. It was telling that there was an abundance of interest in it. As healers we all know that we have a tendency to project our healing energy out into the world and at times that leaves little space for internal healing of our selves.

I have a book called "365 Goddess" by Patricia Telesco. Everyday she invites us to be inspired by the magic and inspiration of the goddess. Today, as I think about re-invigorating my body so that it can enjoy its rightful place between mind and spirit, I am considering the power, prowess, agility, acumen and strength of Goddess Artemis.

Telesco devotes this day, February 24th, to Kali however. Kali's themes are listed as rebirth, cycles, joy; Courage, Hope; Cleansing and Change. A while back I did a powerful series of charcoal drawings reflecting on Kali. when I find it I will post it. So actually as I move through this day, I will consider the qualities I admire and aspire to in Artemis and the promise of Kali. I invite you to do the same.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Conjuring Dragons



Dragons, be they beasts, monsters, muses or fantasies, have been with us since the earliest of times.  Dragon lore can be found all over the world. They come from the deserts, mountains and seas. I have been conjuring dragons as a writer and as an artist for quite a while as well.

Dragons are so mysterious however, they are hard to work with. Mine are shy and secretive on the one hand, yet powerful and awe-inspiring on the other. Being a water person, Ii am particularly enthralled with sea dragons.

In my story “The Girl and the Goat,” for that is all it is right now, (4 chapters), dragons wreak havoc on a tiny village by the sea. As I’ve said in a previous post, Serene, the sorcerer has conjured the dragons. Serene is the main character, Sophia’s aunt. Sophia doesn’t know her aunt Serene is a sorcerer or the cause for the dragons descending on the village that she is called to save.

I am working, sort of out loud here, on paper, on bringing those dragons back to life. Sophia needs to know them, their weaknesses and strengths so she can defeat them and bring peace back to her village. Serene is in an intense relationship with the dragons, but, why?

What fills my mind when it comes to dragons is not just their fiery potential but the sheer force and strength that they possess. Lifting a gigantic body like that into the air would seem impossible yet they can do it. I also pick up their scent which is really more of an odor. Sea Dragons in particular, have an incredibly musky, almost fish-like odor. They are kind and caring to their own kind, have a superior intelligence to humans and mobilize their strengths and talents to defeat those they perceive of as their enemies. My Sea Dragons also possess breath taking beauty. They are mesmerizing.


I have done some research on these creatures. I have plenty of dragon books and collected lore but believe the dragon lives inside all of us—in our dreams, our collective past and imagination. My job, at least for now, is re-invigorating my dragon so I can tell its story.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Quieting Down the Monkey Mind




The only word I can use for restorative yoga yesterday is phenomenal! I was drawn to this new studio for two reasons, my old one closed and this new studio has an open hand as its logo. It seemed welcoming and it was. It is called Ahimsa, meaning do no harm—especially to yourself. I was drawn to the particular class I went to because in its description it mentioned that it helps quiet down the monkey (busy) mind.
Good grief! Don’t we all, living in these times, have monkey mind? Couldn’t we all stand to be kinder and gentler to ourselves? We are our own worse critics about everything including our looks, talents, skills and abilities.

I don’t know what had gotten into me, except that it must have been monkey mind. I have not been in a class to do restorative yoga in years! And, the years just keep sailing by. There are only so many that the Goddess grants us.

 Why? I ask myself, do I deny myself the simplest and purest pleasures in life? Why become some wrapped up in inner turmoil, creating chaos when it shouldn’t even exist?
The class I attended started off right, from the start. I expressed the anxiety I was having over being in a new class and in a new studio and the teacher spoke to my inner child. Like a caring mother, she just said, “Stop it” and I did.

That class was the single most relaxing hour and fifteen minutes I can remember spending doing yoga—maybe ever in my life and I’ve done a lot of yoga classes. There were Tibetan Singing Bowls placed on our bodies, chimes, and she spritzed hydrosols like rose water and essential oils on us. My favorite oil was a mixture with frankincense in it; followed by invigorating orange oil. Immediately, upon receiving the frankincense, I began to sink into a deeper state of relaxation than I thought was possible.
I was pleasantly surprised that the people were friendlier than at my last studio. I felt welcomed and at ease. There were some larger people there as well, so in that way I wasn’t alone. There is another class today and I am very tempted to go.


Thanks goes out to my husband for his Christmas gift of 10 classes at that studio!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Spirituality and Weight Loss

Ok, so, I consider this my before picture. Let’s get that straight. I will post another one when I hit the 30 pound lost mark. I promise you, it won't be long!

I am one of those stubborn people that sticks to their New Year’s Resolutions. Is anybody reading this doing the same? I decided to lose weight this year. Not a little bit, I consider it a whooping amount. I’m down just about to the 20 lb. mark after 6 weeks. It feels great but there is a lot more to go. I have been gaining and then losing the same amount of weight for years, since child-bearing really. 

4 years ago (and I can’t quite believe it’s been that long but that’s what Microsoft Word says so I have to believe it) I started a book that is a spiritual guide to weight loss. Considering my battle and my use of magic it seemed a fitting premise. Finally, I got the courage to submit it to a few places. It is being considered but so far nothing has happened with that. I will keep you posted.

I just finished eating that dieter’s classic, cottage cheese and a half grapefruit. Ugh! Can anything in this world be worse? Nothing at all spiritual about that, no matter how I look at it, though the pink grapefruit was quite good, cottage cheese remains abysmal, except for when it's hidden in a smoothie.

The journey of weight loss, especially losing a lot and having that weight loss stick for good, is no easy journey. It is fraught with setbacks, temptations and yes, fear. Any big change presents challenges, not just for you but for those around you.

Yesterday I watched an episode of “My 600 Pound Life.” I don’t know why exactly, but it inspires me. The people on that show have swelled themselves up to an enormous proportion. Still, they have the courage and steeliness to battle their weight and lose 100's of pounds over the period of a year. Most of us can only imagine what that must be like. The word struggle doesn’t even begin to describe their way of being.


I have been watching that show as a part of my research for the book. The stories presented there are truly touching and they stick with me for days. There is so much more than food intake that makes a person overweight. The psychological issues that surround the person play an important role. Spirituality can also enter into the picture. Through a deepening connection to Mother Earth, I find that my spiritual beliefs help the cottage cheese go down a lot more smoothly.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Exploring the Siren

When my siren appears in my new novel, "Out of the Blue," it is not certain whether she is an angel, young woman, demon or spirit. I have had a long term fascination with water and everything within it--real, from the spiritual realm, folklore, mythology and tales stemming from the imagination. I also love thinking about the possibilities presented by angels. This particular siren that has called to me, is far from angelic. She is of the very old type, not a mermaid but more of a bird woman. What does she want, I wonder. She looks like La Sirene from the Vodou pantheon, being light skinned but not white. Today, I wait for her elusive spirit to return. I am conjuring her, so that I can carry on telling her dark tale in Chapter 2. If any of you out there in the blogosphere have any interesting tales about encounters with Sirens or La Sirene, I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Budding Novelist

Hmm, I like the sound of that title--Budding Novelist. I have been very busy, immersed in my writing. Last year I finished my first novel, "No Barren Life." It is currently under consideration by several publishers. "No Barren Life," is about coming of age in the mid-1970s, healing from violence and trauma and transformation through shape shifting, shamanism and magick.

Then I started "The Girl and the Goat." A story about a biracial heroine who lives in a small European village in the 1400s and still worships the Goddess. She saves her village from a massive dragon attack, only to find out that her aunt, who is a sorceress, conjured the dragons. Yes, it is designed for YA (young adults).

Now I am busy again, writing a brand new novel. "The Girl and the Goat," is on the back burner for now, as I am kind of stuck in a rut with it. It has the beginning, middle and end but needs some meat on its bones. So I have started a new novel called "Out of the Blue."

For some reason all my protagonists are between the ages of 14 and 16. Even though they are young, I am not convinced that all of the novels are destined for the YA audience. That remains to be seen. More on all of this as it develops.

I've been away from this blog for quite awhile. So glad to be back!
This is the post I wrote about writing fiction