Monday, October 5, 2015

"The Veil Between The Worlds Is Thin" -- What Does It Even Mean?

If you've been studying magic and metaphysics for a while, you've probably heard it a million times. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, in October - and particularly on October 31st (or Samhain) - the veil between the worlds is thin.

But what exactly is this veil? And why does it thin? And why does it matter?

As you may know, the realm of magic is something we understand through symbol, emotion, and vibration...Although it's important to remember that we never quite understand it, at least in the most literal sense. The divine, magical realm is always mysterious. By its very definition, it resides just outside our everyday consciousness and linear, reasoning mind.

This doesn't mean that we can't have a familiar, working relationship with all that is magical and mysterious, or that we can't draw upon it to create positive change. We absolutely can, and it works fabulously well. It just means that we can never quite put our finger on what exactly it is and how it works.

Of course, drawing upon magic to create positive change becomes much, much easier when we take the time on a regular basis - through things like ritual, communing with nature, and meditation - to tap into the divine/magical realm. When we do this, we remember that while we appear separate, we are in fact one with each other and with All That Is. Knowing this, we are empowered to wield our power to do things like energetically protect ourselves and manifest the conditions we desire. Additionally, things that appear like "cold, hard reality" in everyday consciousness - such as the separation of life and death, seen and unseen, known and unknown, as well as the linear and finite nature of time - are, quite obviously, revealed to be illusions.

And now we've arrived at what the veil is. It's the ethereal curtain between the everyday illusion of separation and the divine truth of eternity and oneness with all that is. When we meditate or perform ritual, or when we have a mystical experience of any variety, this curtain parts and we are able to gaze into the place of power, the place between the worlds.

And in October - particularly as we approach the end of the month - the Wheel of the Year naturally thins the veil for us so that it is easier to tap in and see the truth of interconnection, empowerment, and eternity.

Why? Because the days are getting shorter and the natural world is preparing to temporarily withdraw from the realm of life and growth. In other words, the harvest cycle is waning, but it's not gone. It's a transition, a doorway between the season of life and the season of death. We are reminded that in this realm, everything is in a state of flux. This allows us to see that beneath this realm of constant change, there is a wide open space of eternity. A place of stillness in which the appearance of change arises. A serene openness to which we will always return, and with which we are one, even at this very moment.

And that's why we love fall!

Its also why we naturally feel drawn to certain themes at this time of year, all of which correspond to the parted veil. Let's briefly examine a few of them.


There's no denying that at this time of year, whether or not you're magically inclined, death is the primary cultural symbol. Scary movies, ghosts, graveyards, zombies, and skeletons abound. And it's worth noting that for a culture that normally does its best to brush the topic of death under the rug (or to pretend that it's a freak occurrence that only happens to other people), this is rather astonishing. Also astonishing is that this time of year (which falls in May in the Southern Hemisphere) is rather consistently associated with death, across cultures and continents.

For three generations, my dad's side of the family has been in the funeral business. And I love visiting the Spanish style funeral chapel in my rural California hometown because it's always like October there: the veil between the worlds is always thin. It's a place where the transition between this realm and the other realm has been honored over and over and over again for decades. There is something about the way the sunlight shines through the windows that brings you smack into the center of eternity.

Black Cats

If you're friends with a black cat, you likely know that that consciously connecting with one can be like gazing beyond the veil of time and separation, and looking straight into the heart of magic. Why? I couldn't say.

It's (quite fittingly) a mystery.

And why do stray black cats like to make their home base the garage of my hometown funeral chapel? Besides the fact that my dad feeds them and takes care of them, that's a mystery too.

Although I'm sure it all has something to do with the fact that cats - particularly black cats - have been traditionally considered "psychopomps," or beings that assist with the transition from this realm to the next by kindly ushering souls into the spiritual realm.

Magic and Witchcraft

Finally, for magical practitioners and non-magical practitioners alike, magic and witchcraft are a favorite theme of the season. Naturally! As we've discussed, the place of power is between the worlds. It's the place where we remember that we can draw upon the unseen world to affect the seen world and vice versa. It's the place where we bravely gaze into the realm of death and transcend our fear so that we can draw upon the infinite power that is our birthright. Here, everything is illuminated with that special light that reminds us that mundane is the illusion and only magic is real.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

5 Ways to Get Your Way Without Violating the Free Will Law

Here's how I define magic: a method of creating positive change through the employment of intention, visualization, and vibration.

Some call it the Law of Attraction. Others call it quantum physics. Still others call it the power of positive thinking.

But no matter what you call it, it's not ethical to use it in order to affect the free will of others. Not to mention, messing with other people's free will always results in some sort of undesirable karmic backlash. Not sometimes, not most of the time. Always.

So, when you're in an unpleasant situation that seems to be attributable entirely to someone else's behavior, what's an ethical magical practitioner to do? Certainly not resign yourself to mistreatment or unfairness!

So here are 5 tactics that can help you get your way without violating the free will law.

1. Improve your own vibration. This may sound like a crazy question, and like it has nothing to do with the situation at hand, but hear me out: do you have clutter that could be cleared? Like, anywhere at all? In your car, your storage area, your fridge, or your basement? Most of us have at least a little. So here's the thing: since everything is connected - and since our external environments mirror our personal vibrations and vice versa - the more physical clutter you release, the clearer and more positive your personal vibration will become. And since like attracts like, the more positive your vibration, the less you will be in alignment with negativity of all varieties, and the more likely it will be to disappear from your personal experience.

Other ways to improve your own vibration include clearing your energy field with things like sage and sea salt baths, saying affirmations, meditating, and calling on the Divine for help. And every single proactively positive action you take gets you that much closer to changing the current momentum of your life experience.

2. Be willing to learn the lesson of the situation. OK, it may really seem like the other party is entirely to blame. But the truth is, in some way or on some level, you've chosen this situation in order to learn and grow in some specific way. Now, I know this concept causes some resistance. After all, who would choose, for example, to be abused? Why would one's Divine self - if that self really and truly is Divine - ever, ever choose that, ever in a million years? Here's the thing: the challenge has already happened. Or it's happening now. So why not choose to choose it? Why not own it fully, simply for the purpose of taking back your power and moving on?

What I'm getting at here is that it doesn't matter so much if this concept actually makes sense from a philosophical standpoint. Because from the practical standpoint, the minute you choose to be the one calling the shots in your own life is the same minute you become powerful. You stop being the victim. You tune into your Divine knowing. And in less time than you previously thought possible, you courageously move through the challenge. (After all, you can't go around it.) When your cocoon of disempowerment falls away, you spread your wings and ascend to another level.

3. Interact on the Divine level. In meditation, you can move your awareness up above your crown chakra and consciously embody your true identify: your Divine self. You can rise above the "little you" -- the temporary appearance of this fleeting human life -- and connect with the part of you that is eternal, all-knowing, and all-loving. From this place, in the astral plane or on the etheric level, you can clearly sense that the other party involved in this situation also has a Divine self. Connect with this other Divine self in a way that feels powerful for you. Feel the harmony and love that flows between you. From this place, appreciate and love the other fully. You can have some kind of conversation at this point if you like. But simply placing your attention on your relationship at Divine level, and being present with it for a short while, can help shift matters in the physical world in a positive way.

4. Recognize and activate a Divine aspect of the other party. Out of the five tactics listed, this one has the potential to veer the closest to affecting the other's free will, so you have to be really careful with it. You must feel entirely beneficent and completely non-attached to your ego when you do this! If at any point, you feel any snarkiness or one-upmanship arising, abort immediately.

Ok, Here's how it works: let's say the other party is your boss. And let's say that your boss treats you with an extreme degree of disrespect. However, because we're all actually Divine beings temporarily having a human experience, the truer, more Divine aspect of your boss actually has a deep and authentic desire to treat everyone with respect. And embodying this aspect will actually bring much more joy to your boss than her current behavior ever could. So if you embody your Divine aspect and connect with the Divine aspect of your boss (see #3, above), you could clearly recognize the part of her who wants to treat everyone with respect. By placing your attention on this aspect, and seeing it light up with bright, divine light, you can activate it, and empower her to embody it more in everyday life.

Before doing this, it might help to affirm something like,

"I now call on the Divine and my Divine Self to allow me to interact with the Divine self of ____. It is my intention that any shifts that I help set in motion are in alignment with her free will, for her highest and truest good, and for the highest and truest good of all. Thank you."

In the future, when you see her and interact with her in the physical world, you can consciously connect with the part of her that wants to treat everyone with respect, and even expect her to do so. This will reinforce the energetic work, and works in accordance with the metaphysical law that states, what we focus on expands.

5. Strongly affirm that no other human has any power over you. Finally, it's important to remember that you are always the one who chooses how to react. And, as we discussed in #2, as someone who has chosen to walk the magical path, you are also always the one who has chosen to be in charge of every single condition of your life. Sometimes, this can be like waking up from a bad dream. Like shaking yourself out of a nightmare of disempowerment and saying, "Oh yeah! [This person or group of people] isn't the one with the power in my life. I am! And I am tapped right into Infinite Power, so there is always a way to find the blessing, transform the situation, and move on!"

Friday, September 25, 2015

How to Energetically Prepare a New Home Before Moving In

I've often been asked how to magically/energetically prepare a new (to you) home before moving in. And, searching my blog archives, it struck me that - shockingly - I've never blogged about this precise topic. So here we go!

First of all, there is a lot on your mind when you move. And this is an understatement. Believe me, I am well aware: I have had more than my fair share of moving days within the last year. (From Los Angeles, I moved to Missouri last October, and then to Colorado last month!) What I'm getting at here is that we definitely don't want your space clearing and blessing preparations to crowd your responsibility roster even a tiny bit more than it's already crowded. That's why I'm offering three different options below. Choose according to what feels the most appropriate for you. (For example, some of you may be moving across states, like I did recently, twice! Others may be moving only a few blocks. And of course there are plenty of other variables - like kids, dogs, and cats - that may make your move more or less overwhelming.)

Take inspiration from one, two, or all three of these, depending on what feels right. Even commitment level one can be plenty powerful, you trust it is powerful, and provided it feels powerful to you.

Commitment Level 1: Low
The night before your move-in date, as you lie in bed, energetically tune into the new space. Perhaps think of the address, and place your attention on an inner vision of the home. Ask Archangel Michael and Archangel Raphael to powerfully vacuum and clear it of all negativity, stagnation, and residual energy from the former occupants. See or sense them doing this with glowing vacuum tubes of light. Then request and envision these angels filling the space with very bright, golden white light. See and sense this light raising the vibration and attuning the space to the most positive possible frequency. See it become a glowing sphere completely encompassing the space like a sun, and gently spin this light energy in a clockwise direction to seal it in.

Commitment Level 2: Moderate
Before you actually move in any of your stuff, if it's necessary, perform a physical cleaning to make sure your new space is sparkling clean. Then, light a giant sage bundle so that it's smoking like incense, and carry a dish underneath it to catch any burning embers. Move in a counterclockwise direction around each room and area to powerfully clear out old energy and raise the vibrations. Extinguish by sealing in a large jar or running the burning end under water. Then stand in a central location or near the front door. Hold your hands in prayer pose and say a blessing prayer. Call on angels (or other divine helpers of your choice) and name all the positive qualities you'd like to call into the space.

Commitment Level 3: Advanced 
If you have time and you feel really enthusiastic, a more involved clearing/blessing ritual would be great to do before you move in your physical stuff. Once you've cleaned physically as necessary, clap, bang on a pot with a spoon, or shake a rattle loudly while moving in a counterclockwise direction around each room and area. This will break up stagnant energy and prepare the space for a new energetic imprint. Then, light a sage bundle and move around the space in a similar pattern, as described in the "Moderate" section above. When that's complete, while holding a delightful-sounding chime or bell, move around each room and area in a clockwise direction. Ring the chime while you repeatedly chant positive qualities you'd like to draw in, such as "Love, light, harmony, abundance, health, peace." Feel that you're generously scattering these qualities into the ether. Finally, stand in a central location or near the front door. Hold your hands in prayer pose and call on angels or other divine helpers of your choice to bless the space. Visualize a vibrant sphere of pink or golden white light completely filling and encompassing the space, and send it gently in a clockwise direction to seal in all the beautiful positive energy you've conjured up.

This should give you some ideas to work with. Follow these as written, or riff on them to create a similar ritual that works for you. For example, you might switch out the sage for nine sticks of frankincense incense, or mist with rosewater instead of ringing the bell. And again, be mindful of your responsibility level! You're already doing a lot, so be sure not to burden yourself with unnecessary stress, when simply following the directions for commitment level one can do the trick. You can always do more involved space clearing and blessing rituals later, once you've settled in and your schedule feels a bit less hectic.

...And hey: congratulations on the new space!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

You Don't Have to Eat Twigs and Leaves to Make the Switch to A Plant-Based Diet

I often find myself counseling people on how to switch to a plant-based diet...Not because I'm nosy about their eating habits (I swear!), but because they ask! It's a fast-growing trend these days, not just for the considerable health benefits, but also because it's such an extremely positive lifestyle for our precious environment. Not to mention, for those of us who are particularly sensitive to energy, literally internalizing the vibrations of pain, fear, and imprisonment experienced by the animals - especially over extended periods of time -  can be a challenge to our wellbeing to say the least.

First of all, I always suggest being mellow with yourself. It's not a vow: it's a lifestyle choice! For many, it can help to call yourself "mostly vegan," or to say, "I try to eat plant-based whenever possible," instead of defining your actual identity with a phrase like, "I'm a vegan." In addition to taking the pressure off, this can counteract the "all or nothing" challenge, so that each individual food decision can be completely its own thing, and not dependent on what you ate yesterday or what you'll eat tomorrow.

Next, I recommend starting by simply switching out animal-based products with plant-based ones. That's why I've provided a list of my favorites below. I've had over a decade to sniff out the good stuff, so I might as well share the wealth! You'll be surprised at how delicious these are. I truly don't miss animal foods anymore (except sometimes milk chocolate and sometimes salmon, but even in these cases I can usually find some sort of vegan option that will satisfy the craving).

This system of switching one for one is super easy...Provided you have a Whole Foods or another healthy grocery store in your area. Otherwise, I'd just recommend starting with finding the substitutions that you can at your local grocery store (you may be surprised!), and continuing to do the best you can without knocking yourself out or depriving yourself of important nutrition.

Oh, and feel free to switch to the plant-based products little by little, over time. And then one day, you'll be like, "Oh wow, I'm eating vegan!"

Here are my favorite plant-based alternatives to animal foods:

Cheese: Daiya
It melts, it's delicious, and it comes in different flavors and forms. Just, you know: like cheese!

Butter: Earth Balance
Non-vegans even love this stuff. It's delicious, and SO much better for you and the environment than butter and conventional margarine.

Milk: Westsoy Unsweetened Plain
Now, I don't just drink this plain. But it does work GREAT for all recipes and reasons you would normally use milk, like in cookies, cereal, coffee, smoothies, etc. Plus, it's really high in protein. (If you want to drink milk plain, maybe get a sweetened variety.)

Hamburger: Amy's Texas Veggie Burger
This burger went a long way toward supporting my boyfriend's switch to vegetarianism (he's still not completely vegan). If you're looking for a classic taste and lots of protein, try one of these, browned in a generously olive-oiled pan.

Gluten-free Hamburgers: Amy's Sonoma Veggie Burger
...But sometimes I like to eat gluten-free. And on those days, the Sonoma is the burger for me. The quinoa really makes it! The texture is unique, and addictive.

Mayonnaise: Just Mayo
It doesn't say "vegan," even though it is. Maybe that's because it just tastes like really good mayo! (But I also like Earth Balance's Mindful Mayo.)

Salad Dressing: Follow Your Heart
Follow Your Heart has a ton of vegan dressings. Look closely to make sure you're getting their vegan option, and then prepare to not notice again that you're eating a vegan option. :)

Chicken Strips and Ground Meat: Beyond Meat
It's possible that you'll like beyond meat's (gluten free!) meat better than actual meat. Or, if not immediately, you may feel that way after a few months. (All judgement aside, it really does start to seem intrinsically less and less ideal to gnaw on animal flesh after just a short while of seeking out other options.)

Chicken Nuggets: Trader Joe's Chickenless Crispy Tenders
A lot of the popular veggie chicken nuggets have eggs in them if you look closely. But not these ones! And they're delicious.

Beef: Gardein Homestyle Beefless Tips 
Gardein's other beefless products are good too, and are great additions to saucy veggie and rice dishes. Find them in the freezer section.

Lunch Meat: Tofurky Lunch Meat
As long as you don't mind gluten, this stuff totally does the trick by adding chewy, flavorful protein to your sandwiches and wraps.

Sausages: Tofurky Sausages
Again: not for the gluten avoiders. But delicious! (They also make Italian and Kielbasa flavors.)

Holiday Roasts: Fieldroast
The holidays are not too far off, and this thing is SO much more delish than a turkey. Just listen to how they describe it: "...a rich and savory sausage-style stuffing made from Fieldroast grain meat, fresh cut butternut squash, mushrooms and granny smith apples seasoned with a blend of rosemary, thyme, and sage. We then surround the stuffing with our most luxurious grain meat seasoned with rubbed sage, garlic, and lemon juice."

Ice Cream: Coconut Bliss
I can honestly say that this super creamy stuff is better than dairy ice cream. At least to my tastebuds. Now, just because you aren't a fan of coconut flavor it doesn't mean that you won't dig this stuff, necessarily: in most varieties, the coconut is used as the super rich base, not as the main flavor. (Hint: the Salted Caramel and Chocolate - pictured - is AMAZING!)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: Eat Pastry
Whether or not you prefer gluten in your cookies, Eat Pastry has got you covered. They even have snickerdoodle flavor! Find the dough - which makes truly exceptional cookies - in the refrigerated section.

Did I leave something out that you especially wanted to know about? Or do you have a plant-based favorite you'd like to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Monday, September 21, 2015

5 Easy Ways to Celebrate the Autumn Equinox

For those in the Northern Hemisphere, the Autumn Equinox (also known as Mabon) is almost here! Technically, it takes place very early this Wednesday morning. (So early, in fact, that celebrating Tuesday - tomorrow - would make just as much sense. So take your pick!)

As you probably know, the Equinox is a time of balance. The days and nights are precisely equal. Furthermore, the autumn equinox is when the sun moves into Libra: the sign symbolized by the scales of balance, and ruled by Venus: the goddess of beauty and love.

As a time of balance, creating harmony in the home feels especially right. And, as the moment when the harvest goddess Demeter bids farewell to her daughter (the springtime goddess Persephone) as she slips into the underworld, letting go and paring down also feels right.

The equinox is traditionally a harvest festival, so it's also a time when it feels appropriate to assess and celebrate your accomplishments and blessings.

Acknowledging the holiday - even briefly - can provide an infusion of soul nourishment and a sense of satisfying connection to the bounty of the earth and the Wheel of the Year. In case you're looking for simple ways to work your equinox celebration into your everyday life, here are six.

1. Take store of your pantry, give away extras, and let go of what's no longer edible. Go through your cupboards and fridge, and remove everything, one shelf at a time. Dispose of expired food and give away food that's still good that you'll no longer eat (i.e. donate it to a food bank or give it to a friend). You might also create a feast out of forgotten food that's still good, such as pasta, rice, and frozen or canned vegetables. All of these activities can support you in creating harmony, reveling in abundance by sharing the wealth, and activating stuck energy...All of which will raise vibrations and bless the season ahead.

2. Share homegrown and homemade food with friends and family. If you have extra fruits, veggies, or nuts that you grew yourself, now would be a great time to share gift baskets with family and friends. Or, distributing food that you made yourself - such as carrot apple muffins, pecan pie, or salsa - to loved ones would be wonderful way to show love while sharing the abundant bounty of the earth.

3. Clear out old photos and "harvest" the good ones. Let's face it: most of us snap way more photos than we actually need. And digital clutter is still clutter, so take a moment to delete the photos you don't actually need or want to keep. Then, "harvest" the other ones by making collages online, turning them into greeting cards, scrapbooking with them, or just posting them on social media and tagging your friends. This mini-celebration of beloved memories will feel right at this cozy and nostalgic time of year, and will be sure to bring joy to your heart (not to mention the hearts of your loved ones).

4. Light an orange candle, brew a cup of spice tea, and celebrate your successes and accomplishments. Sit somewhere where you can see the beautiful autumn sky. Breathe, relax, and make a list of every positive achievement you can possibly think of from the past year, no matter how tiny. Then just rest and smile, recognizing how hard you've worked and how far you've come.

5. Build an outdoor fire in a fire pit, or your first indoor fire of the year. Then, alone or with one or more loved ones, have a pumpkin martini (or another fall-appropriate beverage) and discuss your accomplishments and successes from the previous year. Make it a "negativity-free zone," and be sure to respond with abundant admiration. Relax fully, and revel in the magic of the season.

Friday, September 18, 2015

I'm Giving Away THREE Magic of Flowers Oracle Decks!

OH WOW! The new deck is here and it really is gorgeous. Would you like to win one? I'm giving away three. Just follow the directions in the widget below the video. Note that the extra options are all optional, but they will give you additional opportunities to win.

Speaking of the video, I've had a lot of questions about how to use the deck. So I made this 2-minute tutorial to give you a quick overview. As you'll see, it's easy! So you can get started right away on doing intuitive readings for yourself and others.

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