Friday, December 25, 2009

Golden Orange Ginger Christmas

With the magick of Christmas we are finally able to sneak on to Her keyboard – the thing that distracts Her from us so much of the time – and add our own thoughts to this thing She calls a ‘blog’.

She tells us that Jackie in Wales has a dedicated blog all for her cats and that they write on it daily. We wonder why She does not do this for us. But we so enjoy hearing the tales from Wales and all the mystery and magic that swirl around the House of Ginger in that realm.

Today our SoCal House is full of golden sunshine and tissue paper and magic as well. The sunbeams illume them like a stained glass window. People are always giving Her rocks, and today She has a rock with a bee inscribed on it.

And now the sunbeams call and we must answer in our meditative nap. And yield the laptop back to Her, for She has work to do.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter Solstice is Almost Here

Wishing you a beautiful, light-filled Winter Solstice. May 2010 bring us all increased love, prosperity, peace, and magic.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


OMG I can't believe how STUPID I have been!

Last night I dumped the starter down the drain as the bowl was resembling a pot of cheese. But it did not smell rotten; it smelled organic and somehow good in a weird, fermented old feet kind of way. So I thought: OK, I'll save a tablespoon of it and start again with that.

So I took the spoonful of stuff, which resembled sour cream in texture, and slopped it in a ramikin, and added some water and flour. And stared at it, thinking; I can't do the same thing again. What am I doing wrong? I want to see that hootch after a few days. Hootch. Alcohol as the byproduct of fermentation.... alcohol... alcohol.. OMG! It wants flour and SUGAR!

Gimme some sugar, baby! [said in manner of large voluptuous woman]

So I stirred in just a dusting of the cheap cane sugar I use to make the hummingbird nectar (C&H by the carton - it's great and the hummers prefer it to anything more exotic). Covered the ramikin and set it in a warm corner near the stove.

This morning: a thin layer of hootch! That's the ticket!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Seal Heal

Today I required healing. So down to my favorite beach I went to find my Selkie Sisters and look for my long lost skin. Today I came close to finding it. Tucked in the rocks. Tucked in the seaweed. Tucked away in the crevasses of the shoreline where the gulls laugh and the squirrels chitter and play. Gran-mere Mellie whistles me along and I go to the water. The water. Where the healing happens.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Musings on cleaning the cat litter

Ok so my stupid lupus is flaring and all I wanted to do today was to lie face down and drool and take painkillers, but that seemed like a defeatist attitude so I got up and cleaned the cats’ bathroom. They have the en suite bathroom in a spare bedroom and it tends to get hazy from litter. Clay dust gets kicked in the corners and clings to the fabric shower curtain. In his excitement at being alive, the young one sometimes misses and hits the puppy pads under the trays. In other words, it’s a barn if I don’t tend it every once and a while.

So I creaked and groaned as I leaned down to muck out litter boxes and scrub the floor in spite of my inflamed extremities. I also got to thinking about the scientific method. Why cat litter brought this about is a mystery, but there you have it. And I wondered when did we, as a society of humans, decide that the scientific method was the be-all end-all of analysis? When did it become the mock-able thing to do to listen to your intuition, your gut, that little voice in your head that warns in a very visceral way?

Everybody always says to listen to your gut, but then when you do, you often get chided. Try not taking a plane because you have a gut feeling. Everyone thinks you’re a nutter, especially when the plane later arrives without a hitch. Well, true, the rest of the passengers got there, but maybe you would have tripped in the jetway and broken your leg or something. It’s not always an air disaster that you get warned about.

I think intuitive knowledge got shoved aside when so-called modern medicine came into being, and medieval physicians did away with their main competition, the local wise woman, by burning them as witches. Away with herbalism and energy healing. In with medicine and the industry it became. Away with anyone who had intuitive abilities. In with those who embraced legalism and evidentiary proof.

It became unsafe and dangerous to profess any intuitive ability or inherent knowledge of healing or counsel. It could literally get you killed.

It still can in certain cultures.

There needs to be a balance. Sure, we can make good use of the scientific method of empirical evidence and logic when we seek certain information. But as a culture we’ve almost totally lost sight of intuitive knowledge. We’ve lost sight of ‘just knowing’. I think when we access both methods, and blend them all up, we really get information.

And I think that as we near 2012, the tipping point in our civilization’s evolution, we are starting to open up to using intuitive information once more. Thank God.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Digging out the winter socks

The weather has gone all cold here in the past few days. It doesn’t go much above fifty degrees and at night there is a risk of frost. A storm is moving in. It feels wonderful. I’ve been tucked in reading, baking, and doing home office work. Yum. Sometimes you’ve just got to go quiet. And I’ve enjoyed that this weekend.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Attitude of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is sweeter than bounty itself.

One who cherishes gratitude does not cling to the gift!

Thanksgiving is the true meat of God’s bounty;

The bounty is its shell,

For thanksgiving carries you to the hearth of the Beloved.

Abundance alone brings heedlessness,

Thanksgiving gives birth to alertness.

The bounty of thanksgiving will satisfy and elevate you,

And you will bestow a hundred bounties in return.

Eat your fill of God’s delicacies,

And you will be freed from hunger and begging.

- Rumi

(the photo is Del Mar California at sunset, Thanksgiving Day 2009)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A whole lotta feeding going on....

It’s Thanksgiving holiday here in the States. It’s a day for reflection, giving of thanks, and eating to the point of unconsciousness. How wonderful it is to live in a society that, generally, has plenty of food. How remarkable it is that we can regularly count on being able to feast in some form on this day. We truly do live in a time of bounty, in spite of all the gloom out there. We are a protected, fat society.

Yet to listen to the news broadcasts we are in dire straits, and there is want and despair and fear everywhere. We are instructed that we must be afraid of almost everything. Fear, fear, fear. And then, almost simultaneously, we are urged to buy or consume something which will purportedly alleviate this fear. The latest pharmaceutical. The latest electronic toy to distract us. Clothes to make us look better. Gifts to make others think better of us. Or we are urged to fund something that will supposedly take the fear away. Fund a war. Fund a campaign. But there is always another fear put in our minds, another fear to be fed and assuaged by another thing we must consume. Fear is fed to us, and we feed the fear back again…. A vicious cycle. We are a fearful, fat society.

For the past few days I’ve been put in mind of a Native American parable about the two wolves. You know this one; here’s my paraphrase: the Old One is teaching the Young One, and instructs that in each person’s life there are two wolves. Each wolf is magnificent and strong, full of powerful energy and very fierce.

One wolf is the doer of good; the one who fights for right; who defends and champions those unable to help themselves, and embodies all that is Good. This wolf is a careful mother to her pups, defends the pack, and maintains happy order. This wolf keeps us in positive thoughts and actions.

The other wolf is sinister and dark; this wolf preys on bad thoughts, exploits negative impulses and encourages us to go down the road of wrong action and negative intention. This second wolf embodies all that is Wrong. This wolf nips at the pups and takes food away from the pack without sharing.

The Old One further instructs that in our lives, these two wolves are in a constant, mortal struggle for our minds and souls, and fighting, snarling, and biting occurs often.

Wide eyed, the Young One asks: Which one wins? Which one lives? And the Old One smiles, responding “The one you feed.”.

So I ask you, Gentle Reader: who are you feeding? At any given moment, ask yourself: which wolf am I feeding?

When you have a choice of action, consider the likely results; consider the wolves. Every word you speak, every action you make, feeds one or the other wolf. It may not be dramatic; it may be a subtle thing. But every scrap ultimately feeds one or the other.

The quantum physicists dance and wave their arms (they are an animated lot) as they describe how each thought sends out an energy beam that ultimately takes form as a particle. Thoughts do become things. They really do. Each thought will manifest as something somewhere.

Today is a great day of eating and happiness. Whether you are with family, with friends, or curled up relishing a quiet day away from it all, take a moment and reflect on all that you have to be thankful for, and do a status check on those two wolves. Which one is more robust? Which one are you feeding more?

And is it really necessary to be so afraid as a society? Yes, there are negative forces and things to recognize, resolve, and with which to deal. It’s not all sparkly unicorns and happy dancing. But we do not need to be afraid. We need to take positive action.

Right now I’m hearing a wolf howling. Do you hear it? A proud, victorious wolf howling that she is alive and well and Being. Which one do you hear?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Some days you have to flip a lot of crepes...

Those of you who are my Facebook friends know I went to a crepe making demonstration yesterday with the Legal Baker ( It all looked so effortless and fun. The venue was very generous with freebie gifts. I wound up buying a Scanpan brand crepe pan and resolved to finally learn how to make the delectable thin pancake I have enjoyed for years.

Armed with recipe cards from the venue I headed home and once there I looked up Julia Child’s crepe recipe. Looks straightforward enough, I thought. To make it even better I already had all the ingredients on my shelf.

This morning I awoke to Gesine having blogged about crepes:( Kismet! Have to make crepes! I am totally in the flow! The zeitgeist! The quantum reality! It’s total crepe energy this weekend! As Deepak Chopra is fond of saying: “I got your message in the field” (insider quantum reality joke: nyuk nyuk nyuk).

It was rapidly made clear to me that I am no Julia Child. I am no Gesine Bullock-Prado. I am no Legal Baker.

Such a comedy! Even the cats were laughing their furballs off. I mixed up the batter (easy!) and set it in the fridge to settle out for an hour. Returned, fired up the miraculous Scanpan, and commenced to pouring batter.

Well, it takes a certain touch. And I realized after the first pancake came out thick as an IHOP griddlecake that I lacked the touch. I recall the instructor yesterday just grabbed the edges of the thing and flipped it over. She must have long ago killed off the nerve endings of her fingers because that sucker is way too hot to flip that way!

I tried the old Julia Child flip-it-in-the-air technique. Ah, no. By now the cats were snorting milk out their noses it was so funny. The pancakes had the right flavor (I was using Gesine’s recipe) but the texture and thickness and shape were all wrong!

Finally I got it right. Figured out how much batter to put in the pan; when to nudge it with the spatula, and how to get it to slap over to cook on the reverse side. Finally! Wafer thin pancakes! And it only took me an entire bowl of batter to figure it out.

I immediately stuffed one with cherries and ladled on some lemon curd (making do with what was on the shelf – I hadn’t thought through the filling bit too thoroughly). Sweet. I filled another one with spinach soufflĂ© from last night. Savory.

So… other than the magic of laughter, where’s the household magic in all this? Oh, to be sure, I did laugh the entire way through the experiment – those crappy crepes were too funny. But other than that…

I think the lesson is somewhere in the notion that: In life some of our initial attempts at whatever we are meant to do may be a little unlike what we might have originally intended. It’s up to us as individuals to regard the result, compare it to what we intended, and then fine-tune our actions to try again. And again. And again. And finally it will come out as you wish it to be

And what really helps is to have friends to laugh with and at you (with love!) and stay with you on along the way.

Now…. Maybe I’ll make some hollandaise for that spinach crepe….

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Late Night Rumi-nations

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ripple Effect

Saturday I went to a local beach clean up with some friends. We were part of a greater pick up effort organized by a coastal conservancy group. It was good exercise, lots of fresh air, and a good deed done as we picked up ciggie butts, fishing line, endless quantities of styrofoam and plastic, and the occasional mylar balloon (why oh why do people get them? And why do they let them loose into the air? ).

It occurs to me that there are two kinds of people: those who litter, and those who pick up the litter.

And moreover, in our lives we are, each of us, at any given moment both of those types of people. Sometimes we make a mess and leave it for someone else. Sometimes we clean up a mess we didn’t make. It might be a physical mess, like not bussing your table at a fast food restaurant, or it might be emotional, like a careless, hurtful comment hurled without editorial thought or reason.

Perhaps the trick of it is to recognize this and to be conscious of what we do each day. Are we leaving a mess for someone else? What impact are we having? And then act in a way consistent with your consciousness.

Our actions ripple out from us energetically like the water radiating in tiny waves from an object thrown in the ocean. What we do matters, even on a small scale.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Yesterday I spent time at the local Wild Animal Park. It is so soothing to walk in nature and see and hear the animals. True they are captive, and I ‘get’ the arguments against animal captivity, but the WAP is a fairly tranquil place and the animals are in natural surroundings with plenty of room and socialization. Even the elephants, who start their day in their dormitory, have their gates opened and they can roam all day on the acreage the WAP provides. It’s a beautiful sight to see them head out in the morning: the Grande Dames with their babies carefully sheltered in the middle of the group.

Yesterday I received two messages while walking. The animals teach us by their example.

The first was at the aforementioned elephant enclosure. We always beeline there as soon as we enter the Park, in order to watch the elephants come out, stretch, have some hay, have a piddle and a poo, and then head out for their day on the savannah. Frequently the keepers ‘wrangle’ them by preoccupying some of them with hand fed treats to distract while others of their group are moved around and by this corralling all personalities are indulged.

One of the wranglers had an elephant at the edge of the enclosure just where we were standing and was feeding him pellets, which must be delicious Ganeshe versions of chocolate truffles or something. Up would come the trunk, in the most supplicating manner: the edges of his moist snout undulating in sheer ‘Gimme, Gimme’ wriggling. Pellets produced. Pellets ingested. Up comes the trunk again: Gimme, Gimme. More pellets produced. The elephant endlessly asked; the keeper endlessly provided. No games; no ‘qualifying’ for the treat.

Elephant Asks. Elephant Gets.

Eventually, after about ten minutes, the episode concluded and the elephant stopped asking and ambled out toward the fields.

Note: it was the elephant who stopped asking; not the keeper who stopped giving.

I think we must keep this in mind as to the Universe. If we ask, we get. We don’t have to justify. We don’t have to feel bad or undeserving. And we don’t have to feel as though the supply is limited. Just ask. Ask with total confidence. Know that the response will come (therein lies the challenge for most of us). Those so-called sages who sell a lot of product by writing that you have to ask in a certain way are a little skewed. You’ll get what you ask for, so be mindful of what you ask for…. But that’s about it in the direction department.

The second message was at the lion enclosure. We were walking about a quarter mile away and heard the most immense ROARING. It was deafening and certainly caught our attention in an awe inspiring way. ROAR!

We went trotting over to the window that looks out to where the lions live, and there was a young male.

He was sitting there roaring. Just roaring. He didn’t seem remotely upset. He was just roaring. Then he would sit and look at the crowd and pose for pictures. He really would pose – he was smiling and would turn his head here and there just as surely as if he were a young star emerging from dinner at Mr. Chow’s in Los Angeles to face the paparazzi. And then he would sit down and ROAR some more. This was not a pacing, sad lion. This was a proud personality who was having a bit of fun with the humans who had gathered to look at his wonderfulness.

He put me in mind of my old cat Radames, now passed, who lived with me for twenty-one years. He roared every morning. He would get up, stretch, grab a bite, and then walk around the house roaring before settling down in a sunbeam. I think it was just love of life he was expressing.

The message I got from this young lion was that it doesn’t matter where you are. It doesn’t matter whether you are in your natural environment in Africa or in an artificial construct in North America. You Are. You Matter. And you can roar. You can be yourself and do your thing- and indeed you should do your thing-no matter where life, circumstances, or you have placed yourself.

So it doesn’t matter that you have lost resources in this current depression. It doesn’t matter if you are weakened with injury or chronic illness. You Are. You Matter. It’s important to roar and to smile at those who appreciate your wonderfulness.

Ask. Roar. See what happens.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Yeastie Beasties

Today is a sunny, bright, autumn day; not too hot and not too cold. I can feel the change of the season and it feels wonderful. Am just going with the flow this weekend and the flow pulls me to baking. Something about hearth and home. Likely some primal urge that has to do with putting away food for a long cold winter housebound.

Yesterday I had company and so mixed up some starter to bubble and froth. Today that yeasty beastie joined up to make the dough for some olive bread sandwich rolls for use next week. Lovely artisan dough… salty kalamatas….the house is filled with the aroma of bread.

I saved some of the starter and will feed it daily until the next round of bread making. I want to get back into the rhythm of making all the household bread once more. That crock of starter will serve me well, and I shall call it… Sidonie. Yes – am feeling my Celtic roots so shall call it Sidonie the is alive after all; it should have a name. Sidonie lives on the kitchen counter and makes the whole room smell wonderful. I am put in mind of Anthony Bourdain's wonderful book: Kitchen Confidential. In it he describes his baker who would frequently call in sick, actually on a bender, and yell at the staff to feed the starter: "Feed the bitch! Feed her or she'll die!" Sidonie shall never go wanting.

Couldn’t stop the kitchen energy so boiled up a fresh batch of hummingbird nectar for the week ahead, and made frosting for some vanilla bundtlets I’d made earlier in the weekend. They aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing looking baked goods in the world, but they sure are yummy.

Paired with coffee, they are perfect for early afternoon knoshing on a Sunday.

The Full Moon is coming, too and I’ve been hauling crystals outside to get charged up. Every evening a fresh rotation. Last night I put out my bag of crystals that I use for chakra healing work. They have a lot of reiki energy on them already in addition to their own little buzz, but Luna adds to the mix and now the sack fairly giggles with good vibes. Slipped them under my pillow but the cats hauled them out to nap with. Smart kitties. I tried to photograph the stones but they kept whiting out the camera. Powerful little buggers.

Yeah, just domestic today. A good fall day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lemons and Lemoncake

There’s an old expression: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. These wise words are sometimes mistaken to mean an improbable optimism, denial of reality, or Pollyanna-ism. Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of pessimistic naysayers who chide optimists that they are living in a delusion, and admonish them to stop wasting time pretending nothing bad is happening. They assert that those who glaze everything with sugar would do more to improve their situation if they would just embrace the doom and gloom and stop with the damn singing already.

I think those naysayers have got it a little skewed. Yet, it’s true that it takes more than just ladling sweetness onto a sour situation to make things better.

The world is not full of sparkly unicorns and harp playing forest creatures. Anyone who sits still and ignores a bad situation will only sink deeper, no matter how many affirmations they chatter and how hard they focus on wanting a better world. Some people claim they know a secret and assert mere visualization of what they want will change everything. Here’s a newsflash: Chattering and wanting and denial are not the ways to change things. Done with desperation, these techniques actually reinforce a negative situation. The chatterer is so focused on their desperation that they create an energy/vibration that attracts more of the same.

I think that changing a situation takes a number of simultaneous approaches. And I think these simultaneous approaches work no matter whether the problem is health, finances, love, or employment.

First, know that anger has its uses. Sometimes you have to smash those lemons to kingdom come and yell a little.

Anyone fighting cancer or other illness knows this. If you merely smile sweetly and murmur that things will get better and otherwise act accepting of the way things are now, guess what? More illness.

Get mad. Pitch a fit. Meditate at least daily and tell the illness that it is not welcome, has no part of you, and must leave. I have seen a friend with cancer literally yell at her illness. No comfort here, you damn cancer. No solace here, you damn illness. Get the hell out. If you are scared about finances then take a moment and state out loud what it is you are afraid of and what you want help with. It’s really important to say it out loud. And express your anger about it. You may have done this to yourself; it may have been done to you. You’re mad. It’s OK. Be mad. I had someone dear to me die suddenly and horribly and I yelled a lot. A lot. I still yell sometimes. (FYI: You can scream in your car if you are going down the freeway at 70 mph and no one will hear you).

There have been times when I have been clearing a house of negative spirit and I have had to get really angry and firm and yell at it to leave. Then, and only then would the bastard leave. Roar at the damn thing. You are powerful. You have the upper hand. The vibration you create is one that repels cancer as surely as sage clears out a room.

Second, take positive action. Ask for guidance: what can you do today that will effect your situation? Eat nutritious food? Take a walk? Take a nap? Organize your bank accounts? Write a better resume or CV? Distract yourself and laugh with a comedy film? Listen to music and soak in a tub? After you are done yelling at whatever is causing you discomfort it’s important to take positive forward action. If you are physically struggling, take measures to support your body and healing (eat good food, rest, walk, laugh, hug puppies). If you are dealing with finances, take measures to fix things (send out resumes, call in debts from friends, hug more puppies) or live within the situation (ooh, rice and beans are a balanced protein source!). When you vent your anger and then shift to a proactive state, you direct your energies in a forward motion without denying your pain.

For reasons too deep to get into in this post, when you acknowledge your pain and then shift to proactive forward motion you do your heart a great service. Your heart houses an energy center that reconciles your body's upper and lower energy centers. Your heart works hard for you at the best of times, and in times of stress even more so. So help it out. Vent the negative. Direct it away from you. If you just choke it back down your throat and deny it, the pain literally kills your heart. Is there any wonder we have so much heart disease in this country? Yell. Get it out. Then after you’ve sent the negative away from you, take positive steps forward.

Third, don’t do it alone. Involve a confidant. Ask a friend to be there with you. Now here’s some magic: this is really great if the confidant can physically be next to you, but it works via phone and via social media. And it’s the same for every religion and faith I know: two or more of us together has a synergistic effect on situations. Sit with your friend, literally or virtually, and intend wellness. If you can hold hands or bump foreheads or have physical contact, all the better. And know: Whatever it takes; however it happens; whatever is needed; you will know how, you will recognize what, and you will effect the change you want. Health. Income. Situation change. It’s a bit of a mystery, but doing this exercise with someone else really, really works. Solutions present. Doors open. Paths become clear and less scary.

Fourth (and this is key), be grateful. Be sincerely grateful for what you do have. It might not be what you want for the future but it sure as heck is your present and it’s what you have to work with so be grateful you have the tools you have. The universe loves gratitude. It rejects those who are ungrateful.

1-2-3-4. Wash, rinse, repeat. Do this routine as often as you need to. I think performing this little ritual at least daily when in crisis is optimal.

Will your world change immediately? Well, it could; it might. More likely change will be a process. But every process requires a start. And you can only start from where you are presently.

See you on the road.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Rock We Eat

Salt. It’s the rock we eat. It’s the crystal everyone uses every day. Most people don’t think about it as a crystal, but of course it is. It comes in all colors, all textures, and all prices. And in the 21st century, we are fortunate because it’s so plentiful that we take it for granted. Salt is vital to our human health and society. But there’s a lot more you can do with salt than sprinkle it on food.

It has been used as currency and paid as wages (the origin of the word salary). It was regularly mixed with green vegetables (leading to the word salad). It has been carved out of mountains, evaporated from rivers, scraped off dry lakebeds, and boiled out of brine. It has preserved mummies, provided a tax base, cured meats, manipulated economies, been used as building materials, inspired a Bible story, and influenced trade routes.

Too much salt in your diet will kill you; too little and you’ll die as well. Just as the ocean is balanced in its salinity, so are our bodies. We have to take it in with our meals. We love the taste it gives food. Eat a high meat diet and you won’t have to add much to your plate to get enough. Eat a vegetarian diet and you’ll have to add more than the meat eaters require.

Any magical housekeeper worth her salt (pun intended!) will be versed in the many other, metaphysical, uses for salt. Here are a few. I’d love to hear yours.

Adding salt to bath water makes a soak that not only soothes sore muscles, but draws out impurities, negative energy, and restores vitality. A cup or two in a typical bathtub of water and a twenty-minute soak will change your outlook. Taken four or more times per week and it will change your life. This is especially true if you suffer from any chronic disease such as arthritis, experience muscle fatigue from overuse, or are tense from stress or depression. It’s lovely to use fragrant salts and exotic grains from faraway lands (I’m addicted to Dead Sea Salts and Utah Salt Flat Salts), but the truth of it is, any table salt will do the trick and do it on a budget. When I’m low on cash I get a canister of Morton’s. It’s good for about two baths. Take your soak consciously. It’s a healing calm time for you.

Mix essential oils such as lavender or geranium with some canola oil and pour into a jar full of medium salt crystals. Voila! You’ve got a salt scrub to rival the ones at the expensive spas. (These also make excellent gifts). Use it regularly and you’ll have the skin of a baby.

Salt water is excellent for cleansing most crystals (obviously not the friable ones, or ones set in metal that will pit easily). Placed in the corners of your house, it will dispel negative energy. Sprinkled across your threshold and no negative entities will cross. Several Texas friends of mine maintain a circle of salt around their homes at all times. They swear by it for protection. A Beverly Hills friend sprinkles salt in all the rooms of her house at the edges of the walls, to the detriment of her carpeting. Hey, it’s priorities.

Salt lamps are easily found in shops for not much money now and, in addition to a hypnotic and calming glow, emit negative ions that are very healthful. Placed near a computer, a salt lamp will help counteract some of the electromagnetic smog that is now recognized as causing subtle negative health changes. I have salt lamps in every room of my house, and I will often find my cats dozing in front of one, paws folded in under their chins, in feline meditation.

I have lumps and bricks of salt in various locations of my house as well. I’ve noticed the house has better energy since placing them. Occasionally the cats lick them. You can find bricks of salt in gourmet cooking shops. They are as heavy as marble and have a gorgeous look and feel.

I’m reading a fantastic book on salt’s history. If you’re as curious as me, give it a read: It’s entitled Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky. The book is riveting to any history buff.

And yes, I’ve been to the salt mines. While in the Salzburg region with my friend Doug years ago I donned a silly outfit and descended into the Salzkammergut, a mother lode of salt that fueled entire societies in the middle ages. The atmosphere in that underground cavern was mystical and intoxicating. As we glided on a barge onto a subterranean lake I felt a stillness I’ve not felt since.

So when you next pick up your saltshaker, take a moment. Pour some into your hand and examine it. This is the stuff of stars. This is one of the primary crystals on Planet Earth. You owe your life to it. Use it consciously. Use it magically. Use it gratefully.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I'm at a weekend long workshop on mediumship taught by the incomparable Lisa Williams. OMG what a gift that woman has! There are 300 of us assembled here, and I can only imagine what the rest of the hotel is feeling emanating from our ballroom in the way of vibrations!

There is much for me to process and I'll relate a lot of it here in posts this week, but tonight I'm intoxicated on the energy of my many friends. Some I have met before through Lisa, and many I'm meeting in person for the first time after a year or more of online friendship through Lisa's site and through Facebook. Our little community of witchy woos is a good one and I have never felt as much love in one room as I experienced today.

Which brings me to the notion of synergy. Today we were much more than the sum of our parts. No matter anyone's individual ability, everyone was encouraging and sustaining of an environment in which it was safe to express feelings and beliefs. To look into the accepting eyes of someone who "gets it" is a precious thing.

I'm exhausted and falling into bed now, but had to leave you with this image: Lisa was reading for a lady named Justine, who was in the back of the room. The air conditioner was on the blink and it was stifling in the ballroom. Those of us who were in the path between Lisa and Justine were treated to great whooshes of cold spirit energy racing down the aisle, and this was most welcome!

I write about spiritual based living and use 'magic' as a metaphor for that; today we really had magic racing about - at one point I caught sight of a swoop of energy, sparkles and all. It truly is a magical world we live in; being aware of energy and incorporating it into your life and home makes it more worthwhile.

It's the New Moon, and an appropriate time to start work on projects. It's been the perfect time for this workshop as so many of us seek to sharpen our clairvoyant skills. Here, at the moment of the New Moon, Lisa has given us many new tools with which to work in the coming weeks and months. Thank you Lisa! Thank you, Stephen, for the reading. Thank you my many friends!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Siren Calls

Today I want the ocean.

I’ve successfully battled an upper respiratory virus this week. Did the prudent thing and stayed home and as a result I’m now pressed up against some work deadlines. So I must attend to those tasks.

But I want the ocean. I want her messy fish bits and kelp filled brine to wash over me and take away the last of this little illness. I want to smell the marine essence and hear the scolding gulls. I want to sit in the breeze at the foot of the cliffs, read Julia Child’s My Life in France, and fantasize I’m on the Gallic coast. I want the damp air to seep into my skin and I want sand to scrape against my toes and get stuck in every crevice of my surf slippers. I want to watch the long legged birds race up and back at the water’s edge as they dig out hapless crustaceans from the surf line with their long bills. I want a cold salty face and black sand under my fingernails. I want all these things and yet I sit in my home and take care of business.

So I do what any magical homemaker would do. I take a short break and sit with my bowl of shells and look at them, hold them, and feel their energy. The pyrite sand dollar has a gurgling blurb of peacefulness. I remember each shell and where I got it: Coronado, Playa del Carmen, Carlsbad, Catalina, Grand Cayman, Cabo, Tulum, Marco Island, Cape Cod, Jekyll Island, Old Orchard. I reach in to the jar of Clearwater Florida sand… the beach of my toddling childhood. I press my finger into the granules and feel their roughness. I remember Nana and Great -grandmere Mellie.

And I get up with a sigh, refreshed, and get back to work.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Full Pull

Ok, so I know Luna was Full, from an astronomical and astrological view, at some point mid- yesterday, but I didn't feel the Full Pull until very early this morning. I went outside at 3 AM and felt the moonglow on my skin and sat very still and soaked up the energy for about an hour. Very peaceful and beneficent. The autumn air was perfect and there was just enough of a breeze to demonstrate how the Earth has tilted and everything is different. I had my Stillpoint blanket with me, and I know it's just wool and silk but it seems to make a difference. It's a great blanket.

I went back inside just as the visiting Chinese parents of some neighbors were headed out to do their predawn tai chi. They have been signalling the dawn here for about a month now; outside doing a true sun salutation like mystic statues in the dawn air. Their ritual is oddly comforting to me each workday morning as I move around my kitchen at o-dark hundred feeding cats and getting ready for the commute. Their shadows play against my windows and imprint good energy. I'll miss them when they head home again.

Tonight - going to make more moonwater. Going to recharge crystals. Going to head out again, but earlier tonight.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Time to Ourselves

My Nana was a wonderful woman. As a child I thought she was the source of all happy things. Whenever Nana could be with me she was, and she always made life seem magical. We baked cookies. We wore aprons and she let me sift the flour, spoon the dough onto the baking sheet, and then lick the bowl. She brought me any stuffed animal I asked for, even when I requested a kangaroo with a little joey. My favorite thing of all though was when she spread a bed sheet on the carpet of her parlor and brought me her train case of costume jewelry. I could play with the jewels as long as they and I stayed on the sheet. I stuck her clip-on earrings on my baby earlobes and looped strands of costume pearls around my neck. I remember marcasite brooches and enamel pins. Clunky bracelets of gold and glass would slip off my hands and if any rolled off the sheet, her dog Mitzi would always nose them back on again, as if in some conspiracy with me to keep the magic there.

Even at the tender age of seven months I could already feel the intoxication of crystal energy...

Nana died when I was around five years old. My last living memory of her is of me standing in the parking lot of the hospital and watching her wave to me from a window. She remains my most steadfast spirit guide, and helps me daily.

Back in the time I describe, the time when I was little, Nana would tell me stories. She would pull me, crinoline and all, onto her lap, and smooth my hair and talk in low tones and we would giggle together. One of my favorite tales was of Gran-mere Mellie. Nana told me that Gran-mere Mellie was a beautiful powerful woman who was one of my great grandmothers from long ago. Gran-mere Mellie lived with her husband, my Great Granpa, and they were very happy. She told me how Gran-mere Mellie loved to take baths and always had the finest salts and talcum powders. Through Nana I developed an appreciation for the art of bathing not just for cleanliness, but for relaxation and rejuvenation. Since those childhood times the water and especially the salts have brought me back from the brink time and time again.

Nana told me it was always important that I remember to take long soaks when life was challenging. She would draw me a bath and sit by the tub while I soaked and played with float toys. We laughed at my conjoined toes and she told me that my little webbers were Gran-mere Mellie giving me a sign that I was one of her daughters.

Nana and my Grandpa had separate bedrooms and I remember once I asked Nana why they didn’t share a room. She laughed and told me that all women need their own room and some time for themselves. She told me that she loved my Grandpa, and that he loved her. In fact, she said, he loved her so much that he gave her a room of her own. This struck me as the height of romantic love. I adored her room. She had a collection of porcelain figurines and statues of men and women from the eighteenth century, Louis Quinze stuff I later learned. She had perfume and face cream and dressing gowns and all sorts of pretty feminine, girly things. Her room was in French provincial, while Grandpa’s was in heavy dark oak. She loved anything French. Images of Chanticleer dominated that kitchen we baked in. He now dominates mine.

Nana and Gran-mere Mellie knew what all wise women know: that we women give so much to others that we need regular time to ourselves to restore our energy and our magic.

So this weekend of the Full Moon, I’m going to set my crystals out to recharge. And I’m also going to retreat for a day of silence (and yes, ritual bathing) to rejuvenate.

See you later.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Crystal, crystal on the wall...

Earlier today I was posting on Lisa’s site ( about the virtues of iron pyrite, and was reminded how wonderfully varied crystals are in their appearance and presentation. Since I was a little girl and had my shoebox full of minerals found on walks in the woodlands outside Philadelphia I’ve been fascinated by the variety, the colors, and of course, the energy of crystals. Every type of crystal is different, and even within the same type each “individual” has a different energetic quality to it. Yum. Kid in a candy store.

I remember my favorites from those childhood days were mica, milk quartz, and something I labeled talc but was likely actually some form of yellow jasper. I had no access to witchy woos then. My Nana who had the sight had passed, and so I was on my own for the next twenty odd years. Now I work with crystals to heal people. It’s always magical to see the results. And Nana is around me now (well, she always has been, but now I know it).

So today while waiting for bread to rise (it’s still all Gesine, Gesine, Gesine and yeast and flour in my household) and listening to Paris Combo and Ute Lemper CDs, I’m sorting crystals and saying hello to some that have been tucked away unused for a little while.

Here are some small slabs of purple amethyst, and some chunks of green fluorite:

Here, clockwise from 11:00 are: brecchiated jasper, clear quartz, desert rose selenite, blue kyanite, laboradorite. Sorry for the over exposed images of the desert rose balls and the kyanite blades - they are super charged with energy and I can't get the camera to shade it. This is more a comment on my photography than the energy, but there you have it.

And here's pyrite in three forms; all spiky and crystally and shiny, tumbled and smooth, and a pyrite sand dollar:

If you are interested in learning more about crystals, I can’t recommend Judy Hall’s books enough. They are the witchy woo standard (as well as the novelty collector’s standard) and sell for about $20 each. And of course stay tuned here. I like to yammer on about them.

Oops. The bread dough needs a good punching down. Gotta run.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Baking, baking....

It's fun being enchanted. I'm still under the floury spell of Gesine Bullock-Prado and am baking today.....I have bags of King Arthur Flour flung all over my small galley kitchen, and Pink Martini on the CD player (yes, am anachronism and still use CD player). Some yeast is bubbling up over by the window. Today's projects are scones and French bread...... and maybe olive bread.

The cats are completely stunned at this revival of baking. They sit at the edge of my kitchen and stare at me like I've gone mad. It's going to be 100 degrees today. So I'm clearly possessed to be firing up the oven. But yeast and dough and butter and sugar calls me today. And I must obey the siren song....

Wanna get enchanted?

New Confections of a Closet Master Baker Trailer from Raymond Prado on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Beautiful and Magical Evening

Tonight I met a woman who understands magic. Her name is Gesine Bullock-Prado and she is a baker. Actually she’s a Master Baker. But not just any Master Baker. I think she is an enchanted baker.

She probably knew this all along, but like many of us, she first set aside her passions and inclinations in order to fulfill a socially conventional role. I think we all do this; it must be part of the Earth Education. She became an attorney laboring in entertainment law in Los Angeles. SoCal is a cruel place, and The Industry particularly so. Accordingly, she started baking “in search of balance and hope”.

I’ve been pulled back in to cooking and baking lately. When I was married to Mike years ago I baked all the household breads several times a week and pretty much made all meals and desserts from scratch. After our divorce I got away from that and for several very distracted years essentially nuked everything. A new frugality along with an urge to once again eat more healthfully brings me back to my kitchen. When I heard about Gesine and her book Confections of a Closet Master Baker, I leapt at the chance to meet her.

What a friendly and engaging woman! Ours was an intimate gathering of bibliophiles at a local beachside cantina. Gesine spoke of how she moved with her husband and dogs to Vermont, how she started Gesine Confectionary and launched a neighborhood business. A bright warmth and love of life radiated from her as she described that she would rather feed people and teach people than sell product. In her book she describes herself as a misanthrope. I sure didn’t see that.

Her hands moved as she described the flours and chocolates of her childhood Germany; I could smell the cocoa and taste the butter in the croissants and breads she described. She made me remember the feel of kneading yeast dough, and the satisfaction of a cupboard full of homemade rolls, breads, cakes, and biscuits. She made me remember Germany, and walking around Heidelberg with Doug one night, slightly tipsy on wine, as we searched restaurant after restaurant until we found the perfect chocolate mousse. I remembered stopping in German and Austrian pastry shops and seeing the bees buzzing, no one shooing them away, on the rolls drizzled with honey. How the flour tasted unlike anything I’d ever had before. How the chocolate was the best I’d ever experienced.

I didn’t have to search for chocolate tonight. We each had our own dessert plate. Yum.

It seems to me that for Gesine baking is meditation. She writes: “As I mix butter, flour, and sugar, I’m relaxed and accepting. I can see all those parts of my mother, my father, my grandmother, and my sister, all mixed up to make me.” She’s right. Cooking and baking with love. Feeding your loved ones. Nourishing them. Sharing food. That’s what makes a home magical.

I admire Gesine. I aspire to her self-realization. Of her personal journey she writes: “ I didn’t want more stuff. I wanted to be more happy. I wanted to be good. I wanted to stop hating people and start understanding. And the only way I knew how to feel like a good and kind person was through baking.”

Perhaps, if we each listened to the small voice inside of us as Gesine did, we could become who we have been trying to be all along. We could be happier. We could (apologies to Mr. Gandhi) be the magic we want to see in the world. She and I spoke briefly of magic. She gets it. She lives it.

Gesine has another book in the works. I can hardly wait. She also mentioned that in her new house she has various ovens and a... cauldron (!). That makes me gleeful. Now, whenever I see her sister Sandy in one of my favorite movies, Practical Magic, I shall in my mind’s eye see instead Gesine with her own particular brand of magic, and I'll smile. And then probably go bake something.