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Showing posts from March, 2014

A Note of Gratitude to You

Celebrating--my 100th blog post today!


I thank you, for visiting, stopping in and sharing my thoughts and yours--nearly 30,000 times, and from so many countries!





                                             A virtual toast--to you!
                                                                                           Cheers!

The Beautiful and Gifted Goddess Lakshmi

Would you shun abundance and financial prosperity? For a long time, I did. Why? Two words, 'starving' 'artist'. Need I say more?

Lately I have been consorting with numerous gods, goddesses and spirits across cultures, time and space, as I write "Mama Nature's Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss."

Enter Lakshmi.


Few engagements with the gods, goddesses and spirits make me as joyful, complete or fulfilled, as invoking Lakshmi. Some of the a fore mentioned deities and spirits can be fickle or even down right temperamental. Lakshmi, on the other hand, always comes through.

Yesterday, I gently coaxed her out of her space, and into mine with a soft oil-based candle and sandalwood incense. Light and the scents she prefers draw her out. She appeared, resplendent; charming and friendly, yet in possession of breathtaking, glowing beauty.

I posted previously about luck charms, and this is a further engagement with good fortune work. Lakshmi is the very embodiment of luc…

Charms and Well Being

By Land               “Lord give me strength.” How many times have you heard someone say that? Implicit in that statement, we are reaching to the Divine Spirit for reinforcements. When you think of strength there are few things stronger than metal. So for our first charm let’s consider metal’s role in spirituality.      Metal and metalsmithing play are important in traditional West African society, culture and spirituality.  The idea of transforming a mundane, stiff material into something useful, is an act of alchemy that is treasured—it is nothing short of magic(k)al.  The admiration for the transformative properties the metal-smith and all that goes into the process, led to a wealth of traditions within Hoodoo.  Two of the objects that are the subject of the most lore are horseshoes and nails.                I am devoting this week’s Natural Healing Corner to strengthening and lucky charms because they promote well-being. Through greater strength and better luck, you will feel more …

Inclined Towards Dessert

Last night I happened upon the PBS Front Line program “All of Me” by Independent Lens. I was fascinated by the sociological and psychological implications of losing weight, particularly of obese and morbidly obese women that were featured.
An important part of the conversation was about acceptance of fat. One of the women said something to the effect of, “We came together as fat girls/fat women.” But then the documentary goes on to show how the women changed towards each other after weight loss surgery and the challenging effects of shifting perceptions of the self on the group.
                                                                  (Venus of Willendorf)
One of my close relatives is into the BBW (Big Beautiful Women) scene. He prefers his women super-sized. He came to where I live to be with a woman that had to be in the mid 400 pound range. She was not a happy camper but he certainly was.
The women in the PBS documentary talk about their relationship to men, the power fa…

Goddess and Prince of Flowers

While teaching painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute, I was always drawn to the Codex Borgia. Sadly, seldom did I actually find ways of incorporating that gorgeous, ancient, illustrated manuscript into my lesson plans. I would just go through the book of images and savor them on my own.

Now I understand why it was calling out to me. It is the tool of healers, diviners and scribes--it contains prophesies. It is going to take a while, still, but some day I will understand the lessons it seeks to teach me.


Now in "Mama Nature's Spiritual Guide to Weight-loss" as I write, I am finding my book is being fleshed out by Aztec and Mayan deities. They just showed up and wanted in. I find myself questioning their appearance and loving it all at the same time. Pictured above is Aztec Goddess, Xochiquetzal, pronounced Sho-chi-ket-sal. Her name is in the language Nahuatl. The first part Xochitl (flower or to flower) and the second Quetzal (bird of splendid feathers).

An Egg Story

As I prepare to poach my eggs for my husband and I, for breakfast, I stop and take a look at them. Examining the egg, I notice, it is a perfect and magical object. I think about Easter Eggs, since that holiday is approaching and my previous post about the Tale of the Easter Bunny.

People not involved with paganism or alternative/earth-based spirituality's diverse paths might be more concerned with the egg's nutritional benefits. Those of us on these diverse spiritual paths, see eggs quite a bit differently.

A week or so ago, I was at my son's apartment, reminiscing with my family about past events. One story that reoccurs in our conversation, was that particular son's first exposure to Santeria through an experience with an egg. He was about 2.

I was in my late twenties, so this was a long time ago. My son, I believe he had separation anxiety as a toddler. I was a full-time professor. He spent long periods of time with his brother and the babysitter. We were living in…

Banishing Fears

Fear is irrational. It creeps up on you when you last expect and can leave you paralyzed. When I first moved from the city to the country I was afraid of the outdoors—more specifically, what you could find there, and by that I mean snakes. I happened up on them on the ground. Water Moccasins are one of the poisonous types found in South Jersey’s Pine Barrens where I lived. I remember bounding down to the lake and then turning around to return to the house, only to see one of the black terrifying creatures staring straight in my direction. I was about 8.
I love swimming, especially in natural bodies of water. There was a lake right in our front yard so of course I spent plenty of time swimming and playing around in the water. On more than one occasion a snake would appear. Swimmers par excellence, they would tear through the water effortlessly and I’m afraid to say, at times one would head in my direction. Being away from the land as I was, all I can say is terror would strike but the…

Facing Addiction (Natural Healing Corner)

(Billy Holiday)

I have known many people in my family to be addicted to different substances and activities, as well, as artist and writer friends. These addictions include gambling, shopping, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, sugar and food. Sad to say, the two dearest people, who were related to me, that were addicted to drugs, fell into IV drug use and died from the complications of AIDS. Alcohol is an ugly disease that consumes many creative, sensitive and emotional people. It is a nervous system depressant and people with that affliction often also suffer from depression. Right along with alcohol comes sugar which also effects the emotions and can lead to sudden blood sugar level drops, that verge on making one depressed. And then, there is food.
Back in the 90's I took my weight so seriously that I enrolled in a hospital-supervised super low calorie liquid diet. We consumed about 800 calories a day, for months…

Tale of the Easter Bunny

I wrote this a few years back and wanted to share it here today, on this very special day of Spring Equinox and Ostara.

Tale of the Easter Bunny “Mama, how does the Easter Bunny lay eggs and then bring them to all of our houses?” I asked circa late 1960’s early 1970’s. "I don’t know Sweetie … he just does,” was the tentative and unsatisfying reply. Somewhere along the way between Walgreens, Walmart, and Super Target, we forgot. We had an event called Massive Cultural Amnesia or MCA for short. Hey, sounds catchy. Maybe I can get a spot on the Today Show. Maybe not … okay, back to the story. "Once upon a time, long, long ago in a distant land called Europe, there were witches. Witches were not all ugly and green and covered with warts, smashed against a tree, as we see them today at All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween as some like to call it. Those early witches blended in with townsfolk. There were pretty ones—still maidens; fat ones in their motherhood stage; bossy, strange, smart, a…

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

Mirror, Mirror was a blog post, written not long ago that you all seemed to enjoy. Personally, I was so inspired by thinking about mirrors and image that I have developed a new workshop called Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.

So far, this will be offered as an art & spirituality workshop with the theme of new beginnings and vision quest into the dreamed image of the self, in January 2015 and March 2015. The January workshop will be the first weekend after the New Year and will tie into New Years Resolutions. It will be held at Life Force Arts Foundation in Chicago on January 3, 2015 from 1 pm - 6 pm. The second one will take place the weekend of Spring Equinox '15 at Aquarius Bookstore in Kansas City, Missouri. I anticipate that these workshops will be fun and motivational. I may offer them in other cities as well. This will be a part of my new book tour for "Mama Nature's Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss."

Here is a description of the Spring Equinox rendition:

Mirror, M…

Voice of the Goddess

(Sandro Botticelli Reproduction "The Birth of Venus")


Sexuality, sensuality, conception, birth, transitions, the hearth and home, beauty, destruction, change, crops, protection, inspiration, harvesting, the sun and moon, water, fire, creating and death.

What do they all have in common?

There are goddesses intimately connected to these important aspects of our lives.

Yesterday I had an inspiration in relation to the goddesses. I decided that every chapter of my new weight loss book will begin with a tribute to a goddess appropriate to carrying out the work of that specific chapter. Each will have her own altar, correspondences and a creative project such as an amulet, that can be made in her honor.

Male deity will also play a role in these chapter headings. With several gods and male spirits leading off chapters, though the main emphasis will be on the goddesses.

I will be drawing each god and goddess in pen and ink.


                 …

Tappin' the Inner Irish

I’m not one to go on and on about my admixtures though it has proved to be a fascinating hobby. I’m talking about Deep Ancestry through DNA studies. In reality, I don’t have to go back so far and deep, to find that my Grandfather’s father’s ancestry is Irish. My Grandmother, on the other side of the family, had her fair share of Irish blood. From what I can make out, she was about half.
Like most Americans, many African Americans have mixed ancestry. I have African American friends that are part Swedish, Indian, Native American, Cuban, Middle Eastern, and more. The further you go back in your history, the more mixtures you are likely to find. I’m from what I’d consider a fine kettle of fish; people that call home parts of Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.
I explored my ancestry and the notion of the biracial and tri-racial identity in my book "Light, Bright and Damned Near White". I have been fortunate to have a friend that is very involved in her Irish her…

Stephanie’s Sunday News

In a previous blog post, I told you some new developments were in the air but also said they weren't resolved. Today I want to share some news of upcoming events that are a cause for celebration.
New Book Deal
I am so happy to announce my 6th nonfiction book has found a wonderful publisher to call home. 
"Mama Nature’s Spiritual Guide to Weight Loss:How Earth Rituals, Goddess Invocations, Incantations, Affirmations and Natural Remedies Enhance Any Weight Loss Plan,” will be published in late 2014 by Punkin House.
Punkin House is an author-centered publishing house that will be moving more into publishing the types of spiritual and metaphysical titles I write. The publisher has a personal business style that includes being approachable while remaining a hands-on business woman. She is also a deeply spiritual Shaman and Yogi. From what I understand, Punkin House picked three authors to work with during this submission season. I am honored to be among them. I am hoping this is only t…

Full Moon and the Back Body

In Yoga, it was one of few places, you hear talk about the “back body.” Yesterday at Yoga, I became quite fixated on that topic. How could I soothe and heal my back body? What does back body want and what does it know?


We do mention people talking behind our backs and we talk of people with eyes in the back of their heads. Also a very high percent of adults have back problems, so maybe it would be good if we all spent more time reflecting on the back and on making it stronger.
Apparently, as a culture, we are in agreement that we gain a lot of our overall strength from our back and our legs which are rooted in the earth. Saying someone has “a lot of backbone” is an indication that they are strong and courageous. But why have our backs become so weak these days?


Computers and screens, as much as I love them, play an important part in this weakening of the back and spine. We sit hunched over for hours on end. Just sitting all day to do our work is a part of the problem. We are built to…

Tibetan Singing Bowls & Yoga

Sound is playing an important role in my writing, as my new YA novel centers around sirens and the blues. It occurred to me in thinking about this week's Natural Healing Corner, while working on my manuscript, that sound can not only be a powerful creative inspiration but also an incredible soul healer. Think about the lullaby sung to soothe an upset baby or how humming makes your work time just zip by. Birds singing outside your home can made your hear soar.

As I have mentioned previously, I have restarted my Restorative Yoga practice. Our teacher is a Reiki Master and Certified Aromatherapist. At the Friday class I go to, she uses both scent and sound to create a magickal healing experience through yoga practice. When she places the bowl on me and hits it, especially if it is placed on my back body, near my root chakra, I get a tremendous feeling of centering. I feel firm in myself and rooted in the earth.

When placed on my chest, on or near the heart chakra, a warm feeling rus…

Viral Infection of the Spirit

Toxic people and situations are like the many mysterious viruses we pick up during cold and flu season.  You can never be quite sure how you caught them and really the most important issue is simply, how do you get rid of them?  How much effort does it require and what are the repercussions for your brain, emotions, psyche, spirit and indeed your soul to banish or purge?  One of the first causes of action is analysis—a good shaman will do this analysis—examining every aspect of the environmental situation and that includes the mental, spiritual and physical.


            Toxic people and situations may or may not have spiritual entity attachment.  Needy spirits, bad spirits, playful and mischievous spirits may inhabit the toxic source.  You always need to be aware of such potential and you need prophylactics—daily ones and in this case I’m not talking condoms.  Spiritual prophylactics can be charms, amulets, chants, affirmations, prayers—but, don’t let these things become distracti…

Just be Still

Remember as a child, being told, “Now, just be still?” I do. Mother’s and caretakers are sages. They know things that we as a child couldn’t even imagine. Stilling your mind, can lead to a steely resolve needed to make critical changes in your life. Changes you may have lacked the focus to carry out because your mind was in such fast motion. Stillness can lead to greater creativity and even productivity. Are you wondering what this crazy post is about? I can just imagine that because everything in our 2014 world says to stay constantly in motion. There is the subliminal message that if you don’t keep moving you will die.
No, I’m not being dramatic. That is the latest wisdom. Being sedentary, sitting around for hours on end can lead to an early death. Sitting around for hours isn’t what I’m advocating. We are all so accustomed now to sound bites. You hear a little something on the news or read it and then go with it. The kind of stillness I’m advocating is found through doing yoga and…

Ollie Opu and Bast

About five months ago we rescued a cat from a shelter. It was interesting because we went to get a kitten. We thought a kitten would work best in our home, with our small dog and birds. I was holding the kitten we chose only to be sidetracked by a very still cat that was about 5 months old, sitting a midst an amazing frenzy of kitty activity. There were cats pooping, leaping about and wrestling each other in a makeshift tent, and then this solitary cat just sitting there looking very regal. The cat reminded me of the modern Egyptian cats and he ended up being the one to come home with us.
Right away he took to me. He had an amazing demeanor for a 5 month old. He liked getting right on my chest and then would then extend his arms upwards towards my neck and caress my face before falling asleep. This cat, who we call Ollie Opu has a majestic spirit. As I said he is regal, self-possessed and very calm. Doglike, he greets you at the door when you come home. He also runs and plays with th…

Celebrating Poetic Genius: T.S. Elliot

This poem, the first time I learned of it and studied it, was back in high school in an English class with a brilliant and inspired teacher, so in love with poetry that he infected us all with his passion. T.S. Elliot--this guy was a true genius.
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Pufrock,” by T.S. Elliot leaves me speechless. It is complete and well resolved in a way that leaves me fully satisfied.  I love the pace, the atmosphere he creates and his incredible use of personification. Elliot asks us to look at the world through unfiltered eyes. He dares us to take an honest look at our surroundings, the places we go and ultimately at ourselves as we evolve, change and age. 

                                 (Vincent Van Gogh - "Self Portrait" 1889)
This is the anthem of artists and writers.
Here is an excerpt for you to enjoy on what seems to be a promising Sunday morning:
The Love Song of J. Alfred Pufrock T.S. Elliot (1888 – 1965)

LET us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out…