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.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Harvest Home

Now we pass into the Autumnal Equinox, or Mabon: the time when the day is as long as the night. The light looks different. There is a different feel in the air. It is a wonderful time well spent in reflection and re-dedication. I love the fall. I love the crisp feel and the cast of the light.

It comes this year at an interesting time: Rosh Hashanah… Eid al Fitr… the New Moon… Michaelmas… each within days of this astronomical shift. Clearly all cultures can agree that this is a special time; one in which we might all pause and notice.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere harvests are coming in and being tucked away for the winter. A cycle is concluding. In Triple Goddess lore the Goddess now passes from Mother to Crone, offering wisdom, healing, and succor to all in need: the pillowy grandmotherly bosom of rest and sanctuary.

Druids observed this time by honoring trees and offering libations to The Green Man of forest lore. This is a special time of year for trees. Watch them and see.

Take a moment to feel the energy in the air. Think of what in your life is ending. What is coming to fruition? What is dying? What is evolving? What wisdom have you gained in the past year? Reflect. What is your personal harvest? Bring in your nets and take account of all you have received. Even in this tough year I’ll bet you are surprised at all you have. And then, after reflection, do something to mark this time. Make a ceremony of your own devise. Meditate. Sage and re-dedicate your house to your family’s well being. Decorate with symbols of harvest. Observe this seasonal shift through your temple or mosque or coven or church. Mark it. Notice it. Feel the Earth rhythm in your energy field. That’s where the magic is.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Moon Coming

The New Moon is almost here. Can you feel it?

What are you going to relinquish or give up or set aside? What needs to stop in your life? What do you stubbornly continue to do that no longer serves you and can be let go?

What plans can you focus on and polish up so you can spring into action when the Moon starts to wax? Crouch down; it’s almost time to act.

I’m making my list. Going to go sit under the pine tree tonight and release some stuff while Owl calls in the night. He is the muezzin to my prayers.

Monday, September 14, 2009

How to Make Magical Air Freshener

Use this air freshener to clear the air in a room and for energetic maintenance of your home environment. Can also be used as a counter and cabinet wash.


Moon water or other energized water (See earlier Full Moon blog)
Crystals of your choosing (try quartz, obsidian, amethyst)
Essential oils of your choosing (try mixing lavender and clary sage together! Or rose and chamomile!)
Glass bottle for fixing
Spray bottle for dispensing

Combine all ingredients in a glass bottle. You’ll only need a few drops of the essential oils. Place in sunlight for a few days. Remove crystals, cleanse them, and set them aside. Place resulting liquid in spray bottle and keep in cool dark place.

Spritz the liquid in any room to give it a natural lift of energy. Remember to get the corners, where negative energy can hold itself. As you spray, set your intention to banish any negative energy or entity from the environment.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Clean it out with the waning moon

Yesterday I had a good old clear out of several kitchen cabinets. We all have some version of these cabinets. Mine were the tea and spice cabinets. They had been accumulating for over three years and I was frankly avoiding opening the doors. I knew critical mass had occurred when I realized that the coffee and tea I use daily lived on the counter because there was no room in the cabinet!

So, armed with large trash bags, I approached the cabinets and ruthlessly evaluated and separated useful from not useful. My criteria: If I hadn’t used it in nine months it went! I said to myself: I could have grown a baby in the time since I last used this thing! And out it would go. An hour later I had a bag full of discards, and a bag full of glass and tin for the recycler. Then I scrubbed out the cabinets, and spritzed them with some homemade air freshener so they sparkled with good energy. Wow! Much better feel to the entire kitchen! Gone were the twigs and leaves of once lovely teas now stale. No more anemic spices left over from the recipe I made only twice! Now I have an organized cabinet of useful fresh tea, coffee, and spice items.

Over time the cabinet became stale and was adding negative energy to the room. This in turn made me not want to open the cabinet door and instead stack the daily items on the counter! It was dragging me down!

It’s an interesting and sad phenomenon; what negative energy does in the presence of positive energy. Say you have some positive people in a room, emanating a high, positive vibration. Enter a person emanating a lower, negative energy and who is resistant to change. What happens? Do the positive people induce the negative person to become positive?

Sometimes it happens, but more likely than not, one of two things typically happens first:

1. The positive reject the negative and continue with their positive vibe. This results in the negative becoming affronted or offended and in response escalating their negative vibe. Discord ensues. Typically the negative one leaves in a state of great negativity and agitation, and the positive ones feel attacked.

2. In an effort to be conciliatory and avoid confrontation, the positive lower their vibration to accommodate the negative. This results in the negative one ‘feeding’ off the positive, and in the positive being depleted. The entire situation is lowered because the negative remains negative.

We see this every day at work and in society. And we certainly see it being played out politically in the US right now. I’m not sure what the answer is. Negative energy is always going to be there; it plays a part in an energetic balance that is somehow necessary. For what, I don’t know. We can’t control society. But we are part of society and somehow we are part of the positive change that is happening (let’s all sing Age of Aquarius now….)

We can keep on keeping’ on, and we can create a positive home environment to sustain us through the unavoidable dealings with negativity. And part of that involves magical housekeeping. We can use natural products that help add positivity to our environment, and this will sustain us as we maintain our positive vibrations.

Tomorrow I’ll post an easy recipe for homemade air freshener that is guaranteed to clear a room of negative energy and add a little sparkle to anything you use it on!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


09-09-09. Lots of analysis about today’s date is coming across my cyber doorway today. Numerological significance. Mystical import. Astrological. Astronomical. Quantum reality.

All I can really tell is that the veil is thin today. It’s a great day to meditate and get some wisdom. If you’re in meditative practice, then you likely noticed this. Kundalini energy rises easily. Uplink-ing – what I call that connection with other dimensions – is effortless. For me the third eye colors flow and Spirit communicates directly today.

If you’re new to meditation, today’s a really good day to start. Just sit quietly with your back fairly straight (so the energy can rise on your spine more easily). Be comfortable and don’t force anything. Breathe in and out through your nose, and be aware of your breath. Don’t concentrate on it; just be aware of it. Think the word “I” on inspiration, and “Am” on exhalation. If you get distracted, just brush it away and return to your breath. See where you go. What you see. Who you meet (you might meet yourself!).

Whether you achieve a little relaxation, some third eye activity, or full-on communication with Spirit doesn’t really matter. What is good is that you “showed up to the mat”. It’s not a competition. It’s your reality. Be aware of who you are at your core level. The rest falls into place when you know who you are.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

White Rabbits and Pocket Watches

We girls assembled for a Mad Tea Party at one of our number’s gracious home. Hats, tea, cats, and great cackles ensued. Oh, and lots and lots of food: finger sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, crudités, scones, jam, biscuits, cupcakes, lemonade, and teas galore… oh my did we eat! And laugh. And yes, cackle.

Women of a certain age cackle. It’s the result of all of our life experiences. With the perspective of middle age we are able to laugh about so much that was once the source of angst and self-doubt. Men. Careers. Fashion in the eighties (Which, by the way, the LA Times announced today is coming back! Did I discard my shoulder pads too soon?).

I left our gathering feeling so refreshed! As though I’d had a psychic bath in clear cool water: inspired, invigorated, and ready to face my week ahead.

It’s so easy to get caught in a tangle of negative vibrations. Difficulties of economy, social dynamics, work drama, family crises… if we aren’t careful we can find ourselves just crawling between one negative encounter to another, and then crashing home to sleep and start the whole cycle the next day.

It’s so important to not only face those negative situations with grace and positivity, but to schedule fun breaks in life. Meet with friends. Do something that is carefree and happy and uplifting. Whatever suits you. It can be singing in church or the karaoke bar, dancing on the beach, having a Mad Tea Party. Share your experiences and have a laugh with others. It’s good to know you aren’t alone. And that you can laugh about things. Do it. Be a little outrageous.

This way, you raise your vibration. And the raised vibration will attract more of the same to you. And while you will still encounter negative situations and people; it will be easier to deal with them and maintain your own good positive vibration.

To me that’s really what karma is all about. The vibration you put out is what comes back to you. So put out a joyful vibration. It will bring joy back to you threefold or more.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Luna and Michael

Luna is Full and I'm watching the Michael Jackson funeral on telly. Feeling still and involuted. The Full Moon seems a good time for interment. Interesting thing, this vicarious grief; this collective sobriety. Why do so many of us feel like we lost someone we knew? I never met the man. I have met several people who knew him well. My own burial arrangements are for a less illustrious area of the same Forest Lawn site. But I had no interaction with him other than to sing to his music and dance to his tunes. Why this connectedness? I think it's evidence of the Universal Spirit that binds us all and of which we are all ultimately a part. A ripple on one side of the water is felt on the other. Even though we may never have been aware of him, we feel the absence of his energy on this plane. He has moved on. We remain.

Tonight as I go out under the Moon for my ritual work, I'll look up and maybe there will be an extra sparkle. RIP Michael.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cocoa and Cats

Tonight is a quiet night; the outside air very humid and hot even at this hour. Fires to the north in LA; Hurricane Jimena to the south in Cabo. But here it is still and languid and I have cocoa and cats and am working on figuring out how some one died in a nursing home when they weren't supposed to and whether there is a case here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Full Moon and Crystals

Just like the New Moon, the Full lasts only a moment. You can feel it. For energy work purposes though, the effect of the Full Moon extends for a ‘full’ seven days: three days before and three days after. After this time the Moon begins to significantly wane and other sorts of energy work are best done then.

I like to use the time of the Full Moon to cleanse and charge things. Especially my collection of crystals: the decorative, the jewels, and the ‘working’ crystals used for healing. Because I get a lot of questions about it, I thought I’d take the Full Moon time to write about energetic crystal cleansing. Everyone develops her own traditions, and you will develop yours, too. Here’s an introduction:

Lisa Williams taught me to regard crystals as though they are little sponges. I love her metaphor. They soak up negativity and there is only so much they can take on and then they must be cleansed out or they become ineffective, just like a washing up sponge. Most crystals will benefit from periodic rinsing in salt water (know that some are friable and cannot tolerate water – there are other methods of cleansing for them). I either take my crystals to the ocean, or mix up a good bath of salt water and rinse them in that. As you rinse, set your intention that all negativity leaves the stone. Then they are ready for charging! That’s where the Full Moon comes in.

Set the crystals out where they are safe (from robbers, from raccoons, from anything that may be tempted by the sparkle) yet can access the night air during the Full Moon. It’s not imperative that there be a visible moon. If it’s overcast or raining (or snowing) it doesn’t matter. It’s the energy you want. Moonglow is merely a tracer for the energy. You can set them on your windowsill, on your patio, in your yard, on your roof – wherever they are safe Let them sit there all night if you can. You’ll know what to do.

If you set out some bottles of water too, you’ll have Moon Water to use for charging during the coming month. The water will hold the charge. Moon Water is great for zapping up crystals, washing your face, cleaning your kitchen, making air freshener – you name it. It adds a little extra zip to everything you use it for.

When I was in litigation I used to treat myself to pampering at Bellagio and would always get a stone massage. The masseur I saw was into Native American shamanic magic and healing, and would take the stones up onto his roof there in the Las Vegas desert and charge them. You could feel the difference in the stones. He would also burn sage during the massage. Very cleansing. (You can similarly use sage to cleanse friable crystals)

This is just a summary. There is much more to the subject, but this will get you started if this is the first Full Moon you will charge crystals. Dig into your jewelry drawers and grab stones that haven’t been charged in a long time. Clean them and get them into that Full Moon energy! And notice the difference when you wear them.

Listen: one of my favorite songs in the entire world:

If you have any questions, feel free to email me; I’d love to hear from you.