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Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve & Moving into 2012

You can start new any time of your life or any day of the year, but on New Year's Eve through to New Year's Day, when so many people all over the world mark the passage of time as a new beginning, there seems to be particular power to a fresh start.

According to my We'Moon book, tonight is also a waxing half moon in Aries.  Waxing moons are dramatic in themselves. They resonate with the third chakra and our personal power. The influence of the waxing moon can cause us to feel a need to move forward and realize our potentials.
The waxing moon is considered to be a time for gaining strength and drawing positive things to you. It is a time for "positive magic".  So the ritual of New Year's Eve on a waxing moon seems pretty powerful indeed.

The fact that this waxing moon is in Aries points to a bit of fireworks as well.  Aries is a fire sign and known for sparking action, initiating fresh starts, and waking things up. Maybe that's the type of energy that really signifies moving into 2012 and, what is believed by many ,will be a pretty fast paced, dramatically shifting year.

Some people consider New Year's Eve to be a time of past reflection, but the moon's influences tonight will be more about moving forward. The caution with a waxing moon, particularly when it is under the influence of Aries, might be to consider others in your plans to forge ahead. Aries can be a little self-centered and intensely self-directed. The third chakra is also about self power and direction. In my opinion, this is a good thing, unless you get a little unbalanced and turn that power into a struggle for material goods or power over others. This isn't a time to force others to see things your way or move in your direction although you may be tempted. It's about leading yourself towards the goals you seek.

If you're following along with Wise Woman from Sweet Shack & Bach Bar, tonight might be a great time to make Lemon Pavlova.  You might especially appreciate the power of that simple dessert by tomorrow!
The Bach Flower essences that resonate with this third chakra, waxing moon influences, are Impatiens, Scleranthus and Hornbeam. 

I think New Year's Eve celebrations have changed a lot over the past 11 years.  In my world, the celebrations changed dramatically under the threat of Y2K- way back when 1999 moved into 2000.  That year a lot of people stayed home expecting a bit of an apocalypse to occur as the clock ticked down- or at the very least a loss in power. The power stayed on, but by  New Year's Eve 2001, the world was still feeling the effects of the terrorist attacks of 911 and again mass gatherings weren't having much appeal. I think for many the threats and possibilities drew people inward a bit and we felt the need to feel safe and secure as we reflected on the past and moved into the new. Perhaps that feeling pervades a bit as we move from 2011  into 2012 . Many people feel the change and welcome it, but there is still a vague sense of the unknown and what it may hold.

All the more reason to draw on that Aries Waxing moon energy and feel the strength within.  In my part of the world there is a heavy rainfall warning out for tonight (a sign of a changing world in itself- it's more common to be snowing on New Year's Eve) and it's unlikely I'll be able to see the waxing moon. But I know it's there. Most people can't "see" their personal power or inner strength either but we know it's there.  We see it in others and acknowledge it's presence.  Maybe tonight is a good night to feel it in ourselves, acknowledge it's presence, appreciate it's source, and consider how we want to use that energy to move forward into 2012.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Melted Snowmen & In-between Chakras

In my part of the world, the weather has taken yet another dramatic swing.  It's warm and raining. It's raining a LOT. It's sort of gloomy out there and it feels a bit heavy. Maybe it's the post-Christmas feeling.  It's slushy and drippy and horse manure that was wondrously covered with a blanket of white is now revealed for exactly what it is!

Our snowman has melted at a dramatic rate.  His pine bough hat and chest buttons have now melted into his rubber boots.  There is nothing in between. Hmm....

Maybe I've been doing too much candy cane smashing,
but looking at that snowman made me think of the chakras.  It seems we put a lot of emphasis on our Root, Heart and Crown chakras.  It's sort of the way the world, even without any knowledge of chakras, functions. 

We think about our base, our safety and security. In fact, we spend a lot of time nourishing, building and working on our root chakras. We consider what we need to survive and we teach our children how to provide for themselves, how to be safe and secure no matter what. For some people that's the roof over our heads and the food in our fridge. For others that the pension plan, the saving account, the solid investments. As a nation, when we see disasters occurring in parts of the world, we rush in to help support the Root Chakras of those affected. We bring tents and blankets, clothes and food supplies. That's the rubber boots of the snowman.  They are still there despite some climate change/global warming happening today.

Most people spend a good portion of their life focused on their heart chakra as well. Perhaps during the Christmas season we got reacquinted a bit with this energy center as we considered the principles of loving one another and feeling self-love, of giving and receiving from the heart. Many people search for a "soul-mate" in an effort to balance this chakra.  Others constantly re balance and adjust this chakra as they go through love affairs, divorce and death of loved ones. Some people find the true sense of universal love. We write books and poems and make movies that focus on the lessons of this chakra. This is the snowmans' chest buttons.  They too are still there, but they've melted into his rubber boots and they don't seem to have any meaning now that they've been displaced.

On top of the melted snowman pile is his pine bough hat. This was his "crowning glory".  It was developed last with much pomp and circumstance.  It made him look complete. It rather gave him his identity as a snowman versus a few bumps of snow with stuff stuck in between somehow. I think we feel this way about the crown chakra. It's often the last chakra we work on to develop and balance but once we "get it" we feel very different. It's your sense of spirituality whatever that means for you personally. In the past, and still today for many, this chakra is a religious focus or set of beliefs. For many, there has been a pretty big shift is what we consider spirituality lately, but the same degree of emphasis is still being put on this energy center.

The snowman had all these pieces. His rubber boots were keeping him well grounded in place, his chest buttons were prominent and shiny and his pine-bough hat was awesome.  But without anything in-between, he's melted into just a pile of "stuff".  His boots no longer belong to anyone and they look out of place, his buttons look like the horse manure they might actually be, and his pine bough hat, without a head to sit on, looks like something that got blown around by the wind. Hm...

Maybe the in between chakras could use some focus and attention as well. 

There's that Sacral Chakra that is the center of creativity, and individuality. Perhaps there isn't much sense in developing the safety and security of rubber boots if you don't know what really motivates you as an individual in the first place. Once you've developed that safety, it's important to bring that security into who you really want to be.

Then there's the Solar Chakra, the snowman's "middle bump". This center of self-esteem and personal power seems to allow the safety,security and individual motivation to come to life. I think this might have been the center that encouraged "Frosty to dance around and come to life".  It's this chakra that when balanced, reinforces the fact that you "aren't just another pretty face".  You have substance, judgement, energy, and the ability to bridge your creativity and intentions with your higher self when this chakra isn't melted into the ground.

Perhaps part of the problem for our snowman was that we neglected to give him a scarf.  He really never had a Throat Chakra I guess. Although he had developed Root, Heart, and Crown chakras, he didn't have a voice to express himself. No matter what he felt in his heart, he wasn't able to express it.  Perhaps he would have asked to be moved to a protected area to avoid the melting in the first place! Surely he felt it coming!

Luckily people are not created like snowmen.  People develop. Your energy centers aren't "placed there for you". They are a part of you forever and always, despite the influences of nature, others, or the events that happen in your life. No one forgot to give you a throat chakra or any other chakra.  It's all there. As a person you are complete, always have been, always will be.  If you're feeling a bit melted or collapsed, you still have the ability to reinflate and reign supreme.  But it might just be a good time to pay attention to the in-between chakras and give them some of the attention they deserve.

And the good thing about a melted snowman is you get to create all over again. Maybe our snowman just didn't want to go to work today?  I'm pretty sure there will be snow again before the winter is over and perhaps we'll build our snowman differently the next time. The fun of building a snowman is the process of creating, the journey, more than the end product or the destination. Maybe that's the point to chakra development as well.

Enjoy the journey.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Candy Cane Left-overs & the Throat Chakra

Well... Christmas is over and it's boxing day already.  I have been known to de-decorate as early as boxing day.  It's not that I'm a Scrooge at Christmas. I enjoy Christmas, but when it's done I want it to be over. I don't want to linger and reminisce and watch  pine needles fall on the floor. This year, we entered a New Moon phase on Christmas Eve. A New Moon phase signifies moving on, starting over, creating new and letting go of the past.  Ahh... more reason to clear out and move forward

In my world, one of the items that seems to linger after Christmas is candy-canes. I sometimes wonder if they don't multiple on their own somehow.  They come in all sizes from those tiny weeny ones to the gigantic- no one should ever eat this whole thing, variety.  You find them in the candy bowl at offices everywhere.  They are a common "give-away" item through the season.  Mall Santa's have pockets filled with the things. Some of those creative wrappers even incorporate them into gift packaging. Teachers give them out on the last day of school.  The bus driver has a bucket full.  See what I mean, they multiple!  They also seem somewhat indestructible.  I've found seemingly perfectly good ones at the bottom of the Christmas decoration box years later.

Candy canes are a Christmas icon.  And after the fact, they can be a Christmas haunting in my opinion.  I have a solution...

In Chapter 5 of Sweet Shack & Bach Bar , Wise Woman makes Peppermint Cheesecake using candy canes.  You can make it using any kind of mints, but it's a great way to use up some of those little candy cane leftovers.  You can find the recipe in my book,which you can order by clicking on the cover picture on the top right of my blog,  but here's the basic idea.

Make a chocolate graham crust using 1 cup chocolate crumbs and 3 tbsp. of melted butter.  Form the crust into a spring form pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 

While the crust is baking, gather up those candy canes, unwrap them, put them in a plastic bag and pound the heck out of them.  This is VERY cathartic!!  You need about 3/4 cup of crushed candies, so just keep pounding until you've got that much! They can be mixed in size, color, flavor, the works- this is a chance to be creative and thrifty at the same time.

When the 10 minutes is up take out the crust and turn the oven down to 325 degrees. 

Beat 3, 8 ounce packages of cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar and 1tsp. vanilla.  Beat 3 eggs into the mixture. Fold 1/2 cup of the crushed candies into this mixture and pour the mixture over the crust.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup candy over the top and bake for 45 minutes.

The peppermint in the cheesecake resonates with the throat chakra.  It can be very soothing if you have a sore throat. can be an interesting recipe to take to gatherings between Christmas and New Year's.  When people's throat chakras are balanced they speak their mind and are able to express themselves with ease. You may find conversations switching to very real and positive communication if you feed guests this cheesecake.

Maybe once I've pounded enough candy canes, and made enough cheesecakes, I'll find my voice so that next year I'll pass up on those candy canes when they are offered to me!  All things are possible. There are Bach Flower essences that resonate with the throat chakra as well.  Rachael discovers them in Chapter 5 with Wise Woman and Merlin's help.

In the meantime- happy smashing, and Happy New Year's!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Poverty?

There are lots of stories of giving these days.  A lot of people really "step up to the plate" and share abundance during Christmas.  Perhaps we take notice of what people don't have at this time more than other times of the year.  But I wonder if we miss the mark sometimes and see this from a slightly distorted lens?

I read an article this morning about a family that was living in true poverty in my part of the world where this really shouldn't have to happen.  A documentary had been done on this family that consists of a single mother and four children. The family has deep roots in poverty and is trying to break out of the cycle and make changes. The article mentioned that the family is very focused on love and respect and together they are changing old patterns. The rest of the story is about the fact that the documentary gained the attention of a businessman who donated a lot of money to the family so they could have a much more opulent Christmas. This sparked the attention of others and the family has been showered with gifts of ipods and "teen electronics", a huge gift card from a local department store, educational support, and other "things". The mother is reported as saying that she had warned the kids that Christmas was going to be "lean" but now it turns out  they are going to have a lavish Christmas.

It's wonderful that people want to help. Most people that gave to this family wanted to remain anonymous so they weren't looking for public recognition. They truly wanted to help and I think and that's a wonderful thing. I don't mean to "slam" giving in any way. But I just want to examine it a bit...

This story has shades of Dickens "A Christmas Carol" and I think we consider that a bit to be the spirit of Christmas. That those more fortunate might help out others in need.  But it might be worth looking at the characters in that story a bit.

Tiny Tim and the Cratchit's seemed very happy despite some pretty poor living conditions. Scrooge, on the other hand was miserable and tortured, despite opulent living conditions.  In the story, Scrooge realizes the error of his ways and tries to make amends.  He doesn't bring the Cratchit's ipods, toys or "things".  He doesn't bring the Cratchit's to his home for a Christmas feast or to live with him. He really doesn't bring his world to them. I don't think he sees that as a gift.

Scrooge goes to the Cratchit's. He doesn't go there to rescue them.  He goes there to be rescued. He seems to understand that in their home and environment they actually have something he could benefit from. I think he realizes the love they have despite the "lean" conditions.  He does bring food and that is welcomed.  We are led to believe that he helps out with necessary medical expenses for Tiny Tim and that's a miracle for the whole family.  They understand the value that Tiny Tim brings to them all because Tiny Tim lives in the "now", happy to be alive and thankful for his family it would seem.  Tiny Tim's optimism is contagious and that seems to be what Scrooge is looking for too. We also leave the story thinking that Scrooge will continue to provide a job for Mr. Cratchit and income for his family, not through charity but because Scrooge understands the skills Mr. Cratchit possesses.  We think he may turn up the heat in the office a bit and perhaps provide more perks and time off. That seems welcome as well.

I don't get the sense in the story that Scrooge pats himself on the back for helping.  I think he realizes the errors of his ways in the first place in his unfair working standards perhaps.  But I think even more than that, he realizes a "lean Christmas" in terms of presents and "things" might be a very "lavish Christmas" in terms of love, peace and understanding.And that's what he's looking for- the spirit. Hmm...

In my opinion, we should be taking a look at what we consider poverty. I believe we should share food and the basic necessities for sure. But I also believe we should consider for a moment before we try and create for others what we have ourselves. Because I don't think that's the point.

I personally think jobs that match people's skills and abilities and provide self-sufficiency and pride are not so much gifts as a good match and what we should be doing anyway.  If we see a window to help facilitate that process  at Christmas, or any time, that makes sense. I think food for people that are hungry is always welcome and always right if it's given in an appropriate way and if it's what they want to eat. A frozen turkey when you can't afford the power bill to turn the oven on, probably doesn't cut it. 

On the toys and gifts, I think we should look at that.  I think a mother that can explain to her children why they are having a "lean Christmas" and how they may be replacing "things" with love, respect, budget abilities, good memories and a sense of self should be honored for her abilities and strength. I think she has much to give to the givers. I think her children do as well.  Aren't most of us trying to get away from expensive things and toys we don't need? Aren't we all looking for that "spirit of Christmas" that sometimes seems to elude us no matter how much we buy and spend and give? Hasn't she achieved that in a way perhaps we could emulate?  Hm...

See the Cratchits felt pity for Scrooge.  They welcomed him into their home and shared their spirit with him. The Cratchits rescued Scrooge much more than the other way around. I think that's the spirit of Christmas and it has nothing to do with "things" and everything to do with "being".  Maybe when you are surrounded by less "things" you can "be" with enough spirit to pass it on.

... bless us, everyone.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's Here! Sweet Shack & Bach Bar

Yipee! My latest book  arrived yesterday from the publisher, just in time for Winter Solstice and still in time for Christmas or as a start to the New Year.

Today's picture is the back cover of the book- the front cover is featured on the top right hand side of my blog site and you can order the book by clicking on that cover picture. 

This book is considered "creative non-fiction".  The characters in the book each go through some Chakra issues and find soothing relief from a Wise Woman bartender, the help of some Bach Flower essences and comfort food.  The characters do a bit of dimension shifting to get to the Sweet Shack and Bach Bar, Wise Woman has a bit of a unique method of delivering Bach Flower essences, and Merlin the cat has creative talents of the magical sort.

The Bach Flower essences are non-fiction and they can be "tried at home".  The recipes are easy (trust me on that one I know no other method of cooking!) and are designed to soothe each of the Chakras.
In my world, some of these recipes will be reproduced at Christmas to get us "through the season"!

If you've been reading my blog, you'll see lots of similarities between it and the book.  If you're new to the idea of Bach Flowers as a healing method you'll find this an easy guide to help self-diagnosis a bit. If you're just looking for an "easy read" during stressful times, I hope you'll find it in this book.  That's my intention. I think healing can be easy and fun and Wise Woman knowledge should be shared. There's a bonus at the back of the book too: a coupon to receive 15% off a personalized Bach consultation.

You can order the book directly from the publisher at   They will ship it off to you wherever "your world" is.

It is just starting to make the rounds of book stores and will be available through Chapters/Indigo/Coles both in stores and on-line soon. 

Here's what Jackie, from Flower Spirit and Essence of Wild, had to say about Sweet Shack & Bach Bar.  (She had a sneak preview)

'Sweet Shack & Bach Bar is a magical exploration of the Bach Flower Remedies told through modern day fairy tales that we can all relate to. Enter the enchanting world of Wise Woman and Merlin the black cat, a totem animal with a knack for giving people what they most need to give themselves.
Each of the women who enters the Sweet Shack and Bach Bar receives flower remedy healing while feasting on a delicious recipe that Wise Woman shares in the book so we can recreate her sweet treats at home.
Both students learning about the Bach Flower Remedies and people who have been using them for years will find a feast for the mind, body and soul in Sweet Shack and Bach Bar.  I’ve been supporting people with Bach Flower Remedies since 1999 and discovered new perspectives on using them from this book.'
Jackie Stewart |

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice Celebrations & Traditions

Today is Winter Solstice and a cause for celebration. Winter Solstice means, in the Northern Hemisphere, this day will be shortest in terms of sunlight for the whole year and tonight we will have the longest night of the year in terms of darkness. This occurs because  the axial tilt of the earth is farthest away from the sun ,so we get the longest amount of darkness within this 24 hour period.

Last year when this happened we also had a full moon and a lunar eclipse, three pretty big events occurring all at once.  This year the moon will be a mere sliver as we are heading into a New Moon phase on Christmas Eve. But, just like last year, the sun moves into Capricorn today.

The influence of Capricorn is one of responsibility to family and traditions. That can be a good thing or a bad thing in my opinion. 

In my part of the world at least, this is a very busy year.  Not only is Christmas starting to "sneak up" but there are a lot of other, totally unrelated things, happening at the moment.  People are changing jobs, looking for jobs, and new careers, dealing with family illness and crisis, moving home locations, traveling, struggling with relationship changes, and financial changes.  Despite all this change and adaptation, it seems many are struggling with a sense of trying to "uphold tradition".  There are lots of traditions and customs that celebrate Winter Solstice with feasts and dancing , lighting of candles, and get-to-gathers. They are meant as a celebration of the darkness that heralds the light.

But tradition and celebration doesn't always have to mean work, organizing, effort, planning, and exhaustion.  I think we might have got off the mark a bit on that in our "to do" world rather than our "to be" world.  Maybe we get a bit confused on what the tradition actually is. Maybe the tradition doesn't have to be a five course meal with "all the trimmings" done in a particular way.  Maybe the tradition is "just" that friends and family come together to share a meal.  Seems like that could be done in a restaurant, with take-out, or over pot luck, with easy comfort foods, and a whole lot less exhaustion. Maybe you can even just get together without having to involve a feast. Maybe it's about the "getting together" more than the eating. Maybe it's about the "getting together" more than the presents, or the perfect Christmas tree, or the right decorations, or "what has always been done".

Maybe this year's Winter Solstice is a good time to examine the traditions and sift through them a bit. Maybe it's a good time to reflect on what makes you and your family feel good and what causes angst and darkness in the name of "tradition". Maybe today or tonight are good opportunities to just sit with the darkness and find your inner light and your real cause for celebration. Light a candle to your inner knowing, your sense of self, and the traditions you hold dear.

May all your traditions be light!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wanning Moon in Virgo

It's a busy time of year, of that there is no doubt. When the lists of what you need to do get extended even further, sometimes it's important to step out for a moment and just "be". Find that connection with nature. Maybe you just need to look up to the night sky.  Today, according to my We'Moon book moves into a Wanning Half Moon in Virgo.  Hmm...

I've talked about the wanning moon before. It's perhaps a lesser observed moon than the full moon or even the New Moon, but, in my opinion,  it deserves some recognition and  reflection. If the wanning moon has a two word phrase it would "let go". Easier said than done perhaps, especially at this time of year.

The last full moon was in Gemini so that might have meant you were bombarded with information and communication. Too much information can be difficult to assimilate. We get caught up in the left brain side of analytical assessment of information and loose touch with our feelings.

The wanning moon phase is about reconnecting with your feelings through your sixth chakra We might really need this reconnection right about now.  When your sixth chakra is clear and balanced you are intune with your feelings and moving foreword in a way that feels right to you.  It isn't about getting the tasks organized and completed as much as it's about doing the things on the list that feel right to you. Once you get in this flow things move much easier, calmer and peacefully.

But this wanning moon is in Virgo. When the moon is in Virgo, according to We'Moon (my source for all things lunar!), we become impatiently aware of what needs to be done, improved, fixed, or healed. Oh oh!  When all that information and communication was flowing a few days ago, the Virgo types in the group got out their pen and paper and starting categorizing all of it into actions led by objectives. The Virgo sign is a pretty industrious one. Those born under the Virgo moon are full of compassion but they can be pretty vigorous in their critique and investigation. They can also get a bit irritated at those people that are gently "smelling the roses" while there are obvious weeds that should be pulled!!

So if I put all that together, I figure this time of the wanning moon in Virgo may be a really good time to re-examine those lists again. It might even be a good time to let go of those tasks that are really intellectually driven. In this moon phase of cautious reflection consider whether or not the  lists and strategies are  right, or are they a little "over thought" and "under felt". When you connect to your sixth chakra you'll be able to tell the difference. You'll be able to feel your way through all those things you figured you had to do and see which ones you want to keep and which ones you could let go of.

As you feel your way through your list under the light of a wanning Virgo moon, you might actually discover that a few of those items were actions you expected other people to do. You might find that the reason those things aren't getting done is because others really aren't  in line with your expectations of them. Perhaps you were a little "over zealous" when you thought that was what they should do. Maybe you could let go of some of those expectations. Hmm...

Letting go often isn't easy.  Sometimes the Bach Flower essence Walnut can help.  It's useful whenever you are experiencing change. It has particular resonance with sixth chakra balancing and the wanning moon. Cherry Plum is also helpful if you're having difficulty letting go.  It's considered the essence indicated when you are afraid you might loose control. This is often interpreted as being on the verge of a breakdown, but if you read that phrase slowly "afraid you might loose control", it speaks to the tight rein we keep on things because we afraid of change

One more Bach Flower essence to consider at this particular time of a wanning moon in Virgo and Christmas preparations is Chicory. When you are in a Chicory state you can be pretty strong-willed in your expectations of others. You can start to make demands on others without really stopping to think about how they might be feeling.  Again that word feeling, as opposed to acting. If you've become a bit authoritative in your Christmas organization and your lists are so logical there's no room for creativity, feeling, and the true feelings of others,  the Bach Flower Chicory might go a long way towards everyone's well-being!

These days Santa is Claus is "making a list and checking it twice".  I don't think he's checking it twice to try and figure out who's naughty or nice. I think he's checking it to make sure he's left room in there for feeling, creativity, going with the flow, and letting go! I hope he does that before he comes to town!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Stress? Try the Bach Flower Elm

In my part of the world, Christmas Stress seems to have reached a pretty chaotic peak within the past two days.  All of a sudden it seems very capable, reasonable people are starting to "loose it", "barely hanging on" and "more than a little overwhelmed".

It seemed so universal, sudden and intense I looked to see if there was sort of astrological , lunar or weather related phenomenon affecting everyone.  I didn't find one. Which is not to say it isn't necessarily there, but still.. It led me to figure maybe this is something we are causing all on our own in our "humanness". 

In my part of the world, the end of this week signifies some "cut off points" on the Christmas calender and the "to do lists".  This is the last week of school before the Christmas break and that seems to activate a lot of frenzy.  It seems to me we do this at some cyclical times of the year, and often it seems to coincide with school. Seemed like the same thing was occurring in September

I think a lot of people on a day to day basis manage a pretty intense juggling act between work, home, family and a multitude of self-help, self-improvement, spiritual, diet, exercise, stress-management themes. There isn't a lot of wiggle room  to insert extra activities.  We know Christmas is coming but we just aren't really ready to "deal with that yet".  We get pretty good at procrastinating to what feels like a "far off date". So way back in September when we were feeling overwhelmed by the end of summer, we said we would do things "before Christmas". Now  suddenly it seems, the kids are going to be out of school and even if you don't have children in the school system, it would seem you can no longer deny it's "Christmas time".  With some business starting to have revised schedules in the next week, and then holidays, it's suddenly apparent that items from the "to do before Christmas list" haven't been done.

In the overwhelming sense that Christmas is coming at a  pace much too rapid to manage, it might be a good time to reach for a few drops of the Bach Flower essence Elm. Elm addresses that sense of being totally and completely incapacitated by the sense of responsibility.  People that respond well to Elm are typically very capable and competent. They are often in positions of authority or tasked with managing others.  That sentence sounds to me like the job description of every parent no matter what age or species your "child" might be.  So when these people do "loose it", there is often a ripple effect and the overwhelming sense of exhaustion and doubt spreads pretty far and furious.

It seems like it is often just "human nature" to keep taking on things. Usually this provides a challenge, enjoyment, some ego fuel, and self-assurance, to say nothing of financial security and productivity. But there is a limit and a breaking point.  If you find yourself at the breaking point, where you suddenly doubt your capacity to continue, Elm may be indicated. 

Elm can get you through the moment of self-doubt and the depression of feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.  But it doesn't stop there.  It's isn't just about taking Elm and carrying on in the same mode.  Bach Flower essences are designed to help you through the emotions that prevent you from making change.  They help you find the balance you need to re-examine and readjust from within. 

The Bach Flower essence Elm can help you put things in perspective.  It can help you realize that maybe if you didn't get to that item between now and last September, it really doesn't need to get done.  And before you just change the timeline to, "we'll do that AFTER Christmas, in January", consider whether or not it's critical in the big scheme of things. Maybe, if you're facing yet another Christmas without having made that gingerbread house, or baking those shortbread cookies, you don't really need to take on that tradition.  Maybe if you haven't got everyone together for that meeting between summer and Christmas, you don't need to even try for January.  Maybe you can move out of your "humanness" and allow yourself to be "less". Maybe you can do a bit less and find more. If you're drowning in your self-created lists, a few drops of Rock Water might be indicated as well

In my opinion, Christmas chaos seems to come on quickly and disappear quickly as well.  There seems to be a window of time when it feels like there is still enough time to worry about what you should be doing, while still procrastinating actually getting them done. At this point we are still creating the lists.  As we move into next week, that window closes and the door opens. By next week you've either "done it or you haven't" and most people find a bit more peace in that. We relax, we accept our humanness and we decide to just enjoy the couple of days that is really Christmas.

But today, next week might seem both way too close, and way too far.  If that's how you feel, take some Elm, consider some Rock Water, rip up the list and remember... "this too shall pass".

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Three Wise Men & Many Wise Women

At this time of year, depending on the traditions you believe in,  mention is often made to "The Three Wise Men". In the Christmas concerts of my youth, the costumes for The Three Wise Men were always fathers' bathrobes, a rope belt and a towel or a tin foil and cardboard crown for your head depending on which of the three you were supposed to be and which gift you were carrying. These guys were usually portrayed by either the tallest boys in the group or girls that were lucky enough to get very few lines.  The Wise Men never said much. They just deposited their gifts and then "stood by". Hmm....

But in my world, that whole concert experience from the appearance of any kind of  respectable costume, and props, through line rehearsal, and most of all, frayed nerves and hurt feelings, was organized or at least soothed, by Wise Women. I still rely on Wise Woman to help guide and soothe me and am thankful that there are many more than three of them in my life!

My We'Moon 2011 book includes an excerpt from Beth Beurkens 2009 entitled "The Wise Old Woman". Beurkens is quoted as writing:
The wise old woman stands guard over every century, stoking the fires of the hearth and the alchemical brew. Her words, sometimes gentle, sometimes harsh, point the way, help us reckon and understand. Her medicines are many-the swish of a feather, the warmth of tea in a china cup, the milk of kindness, the staunch of herbs on a wound.

She is the salt in our tears, the salt in our blood the salt of wisdom. Vital, essential, for without her salt there is no life, as without her wisdom there is no healing, no insight, no progress forward through life's cycles and passages.
To me, Wise Woman is an energy that is passed on from one to another. When you receive that energy it becomes a part of you and you are able to pass it on to someone else. Not all the Wise Women in my life have been female. I believe it's an energy that can sometimes come from male figures as well.  It's not about the physicality of someone, it's about the energy that surrounds them. There are clear differences between The Three Wise Men and Wise Women that are related to something much different than physical attributes.

The Three Wise Men were always looking up- following that star, some sort of external guidance system.  Wise Woman look within for direction.  They know they have everything they need within themselves and they no longer place as much faith and trust in external evidence.  They are able to pass on that sense of internal strength. A Wise Woman is the one that can truly enable the Wise Man with the scruffiest bathrobe to feel like a king inside, proud to be exactly who he is whether he remembers all his lines and cues or not. Wise Woman recognize the vast difference between beauty and fashion. And they can pass that sense on so you actually believe it yourself.

The Three Wise Men carry gifts from their world with them. They brought what they believed to be important. Gold, frankincense and myrrh were considered very practical gifts with multiple uses. I'm sure they were appreciated for equally practical reasons. Wise Woman gifts are often very practical as well.  But if they bring gifts, they bring what they know to be practical to YOU, not what they figure you need.  There's a big difference in my opinion.  Their gifts are often not as tangible as those brought by the Three Wise Men. They are more likely to be the passing on of abilities, strengths, and ways of making it on your own in the world. Many times when you receive a gift from a Wise Woman you aren't even aware of it until later on.  No thank-you cards are required.

At least in the concert version, the Three Wise Men didn't say much.  Wise Women on the other hand, while they aren't "chatter boxes", and they don't speak for the purpose of hearing themselves talk, are not afraid to speak their mind. They speak their mind because it comes from their heart. Through the sharing of their experiences, they pass on that knowledge through stories.  There's a good chance at least at some point in your life, you heard a lot of Wise Woman stories without realizing it.  You know you're becoming a Wise Woman when you remember the stories and realize the value behind them.

The Three Wise Men "came from afar".  They traveled great distances to bring their gifts. Wise Women on the other hand are all around you.  You just have to open up your eyes, your ears and most of all your heart, to let them in.  Sometimes they are family members, sometimes they are neighbours, sometimes friends, sometimes they are complete strangers that you meet for an instant and in that seemingly chance, spontaneous exchange, you  receive that energy transfer.

If you're searching the "perfect gift" you might be caught up in a mythical search for  gold, frankincense or myrrh.  Maybe what we should be giving and receiving is Wise Woman energy. Maybe it's about just sharing a laugh, a story, an understanding. That to me is true Wisdom and the greatest gift of all.

Pass it on!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wrapped up in Christmas: Bach Flowers to Match your Style

Okay, I'm procrastinating, I'll admit that right away.  As I type this blog, I'm surrounded by Christmas paper, tape, scissors, ribbons, and did I mention tape?? I really need to get just a couple of presents wrapped up and ready to send so they make it there before Christmas.  It isn't a long "to do" list.  The hard part should be done, but I just can't seem to get those things wrapped up!! Some people really enjoy the wrapping process.  They make a ritual out of it- put on a Christmas movie, get out the supplies, pour a glass of something or other and make it an event.  I just can't get there.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to figure out some Bach Flower essences to take first if I ever want to get this done.

It can often be difficult to figure out just which Bach Flower essence is your "type", or right for you.  It occurs to me that there might be some distinguishing factors according to how you approach gift wrapping.  Warning: this list is not "Dr. Bach approved"- just a thought to be considered:

Agrimony- when everyone at work is talking about how much they enjoyed wrapping gifts by the fireplace on the weekend you smile, agree, say you love it too, are going to get at yours done tonight and make a joke about how it goes better with a stiff drink. But really, you weren't kidding about that drink- you hate wrapping if you really think about it, but you don't want people to know that.

Beech- you sometimes enlist family members in the wrapping process. After all - this should be a family event. But in the end you find yourself wrapping by yourself because really they all use way too much tape, never get the right color combinations and are just always wanting the scissors at the same time you need them anyway.

Centaury- not only are you doing your own wrapping although you really don't like to, you've agreed to do the wrapping for your boss, the lady down the street and the volunteer toy drive. You just couldn't say no.

Cerato- the wrapping is taking a bit longer than it should  because you keep asking everyone else what color bow you should match with each box and "does this look alright". You had a plan for this whole wrapping thing, but you're just not sure if it's right.

Cherry Plum- if you've thrown anything against the wall in frustration , or ripped anything apart in a fit of anger during the process of wrapping- this Bach is for you!

Chestnut Bud- every year you find yourself surrounded by wrapping "stuff" , tape and scissors, and every year you find yourself typing your blog instead...

Chicory- you spend as much time picking out just the right wrapping supplies as you do the presents themselves when it comes to your kids and loved ones.  You know they won't appreciate it, they never do, but you really hope some day they will appreciate all the extra effort you go to.

Clematis- you  imagine how wonderful the idea of a lit fireplace, some mulled cider, all the family gathered around to wrap the gifts together would be.  You considered calling some friends and doing the wrapping together over a pot luck get-to-gather. You 've thought of lots of ideas, but you end up on Christmas eve trying to get the wrapping done alone because you didn't actually put the dream into action.

Crab Apple- you hate the idea of the mess that wrapping presents creates.  All those little pieces of paper, the garbage of tags and little bits of tape all over the place.  The idea of the clean up is what prevents you from getting the job done in the first place.  You'd have to vacuum the floor before you could even set things down on it...

Elm- you feel overwhelmed at the thought of the wrapping.  It took all your energy just to get the presents in the first place, plus you got a lot of things to help out other people because everyone is busy at this time of year.  You don't think you can possibly find it in you to deal with this.

Gentian-after you got all the wrapping stuff out and set yourself up for the task, you discovered you forgot to buy tape. You have given up, are going to eat chocolate ice-cream instead and watch a movie that matches your depression.

Heather- well if it weren't for the sore throat you're feeling, your hip that's acting up, the doctor's appointment you have scheduled for next week and all the Christmas baking you have to do, you might be able to get to that wrapping.  You decide to call a friend and tell her about your latest diagnosis first...

Holly- what really bugs you is those people that can afford to buy those fancy wrapping boxes that require no work- the kind they always have in the T.V. shows. Everyone else probably takes their presents somewhere to have them professionally wrapped, you're pretty sure that's a marketing ploy created by "big business"

Honeysuckle- you long for the days when everyone had only one present and it was a homemade gift that didn't require wrapping...

Hornbeam- you're writing your blog instead of getting started on that wrapping project

Impatiens- you started out okay on the wrapping event, but part way in the tape was sticking to everything, the boxes weren't exactly the right shape, and you don't have the patience to fold everything just so. Now you're "hockey sticking" tape around  the boxes, squashing things inside,  and figuring it's what inside that counts.  Who has the patience to put on bows anyway

Larch- if only you could wrap presents as well as most people seem to you'd  be okay. You think you most likely could if you put your mind to it, but you're worried they won't be just right so you've hired you're 7 year old to do the job instead.

Mimulus- you're afraid people are going to laugh at your eco-friendly wrapping paper.  You really want to use this stuff and you've spent a lot of time creating it from recycled products but it sounded better to you in September when no one was going to see it.

Mustard- you just have such a cloud hanging over your head you can't imagine Christmas even coming.  There's no known reason for the gloom, but you can't seem to shake it off in order to even feel like buying the wrapping supplies

Oak- you'll be doing your wrapping at midnight on Christmas Eve. You do this every year because you always take on a million extra projects at Christmas time- you just have to, it's part of being a family.  You'll struggle through it and it will get done. You'll be exhausted and maybe even too sick on Christmas day to open your own presents, but the wrapping under the tree will be beautiful

Olive- you have been at the mall all day long. It wasn't fun.  It feels like you have been trying to do things to get "ready for Christmas" all year long.  You open the door, carry in the last of the presents, see the wrapping supplies on your table and burst into tears.  You're too exhausted for words..

Pine- you put a sticky on each present apologizing for the messy wrapping. Every time you hand a gift over to someone you apologize for the wrapping as well. You also apologize for not teaching your children how to wrap well. You know it's all your fault

Rock Water- your presents are a work of art, perfect in every way.  If you don't have exactly the right supplies, you go out and get them.  All your corners are perfect, your bows look like they have professionally custom created.  It's important to you that the wrapping is perfect and you'll stay up late just to accomplish it. You believe everyone should put the same kind of care and concern into wrapping. There's no excuse for messiness.

Sclernathus- you couldn't decide whether you should wrap presents or bake cookies.  You agonized over the decision until it's too late to start either one. You'll just go to bed instead. Maybe tomorrow you can flip a coin, or ask someone...

Vervain- you have started a campaign within your family and the community boycotting the wrapping of presents this year. It's way too harmful on the environment and puts the emphasis on the wrong things. Instead of wrapping you are making posters to set up in all businesses to further your cause. You'll stay up late making lists of who you can recruit and how you can take this campaign national.

Vine- you gave all your unwrapped presents to that Centaury person from the office. They'll wrap them for you. They better- or else!

Water Violet - you have sealed yourself off for the weekend to wrap presents all by yourself. In fact, you'll gladly skip the office party to do the wrapping alone. You don't have many people to buy gifts for anyway because you're really not a "social animal".

White Chestnut- you got some of the wrapping done but now you can't sleep.  You keep wondering if you got the right present, if it will get there in time, if you put the right postal code on the box, if you got the right present, if it will get there in time...

Wild Rose- you don't really feel strongly one way or the other about the wrapping. You don't like it but you just consider it part of life and Christmas. It isn't enjoyable but it just has to be done. You'll get it done one of those days..

Willow- you're not sure why you're always the one that has to do the wrapping. It really doesn't seem fair, but then again you do most of the preparation for Christmas anyway.  Everyone else just sits back and enjoys the season, but you work like a dog...

If of those, or a combination of those sounds like you, the Bach Flower's might be helpful to the process.   If you'd like a Bach Flower consult- go on my website and sign up for a consult- please.. it would take me away from the wrapping!!!! Sigh....

Friday, December 9, 2011

Full Moon in Germini & Lunar Eclipse

Tomorrow, December 10th marks a full moon in Gemini and a Lunar Eclipse.  This is a pretty big astrological event, so I thought it warranted some reflection in the days leading up to it!

The moon in Gemini really highlights communication. Gemini's are talkers and that's the first and foremost attribute you will likely notice about them. When the moon is in Gemini we wake up and quicken our communication. Conversations sparkle and our thinking often broadens. The influences of the moon in Gemini may make you feel like networking or brainstorming with others.

The New Moon this month was in Sagittarius and that highlighted information and communication as well. So now that this moon is going into it's full phase, you really may feel the urge to talk about things and to talk fast and furious about all that information you have gathered! Sagittarius is a fire sign, and Gemini an air sign so that means the fire that began under the new moon is being fueled to a frenzy now. Both these signs are pretty light hearted but face paced so there is an energy of impatience around this full moon.  We want things to happen faster and sooner and we may quicken our communications to try and achieve that.

This is a pretty fast-paced time of year to begin with and this moon will really accentuate those feelings in us. When the full moon is in Gemini you may  find yourself multi-tasking and being pulled in multiple directions or into multiple conversations. Information and communication may be coming at you from many sources. The Gemini sign is twins.  There is a duality that occurs with this moon influence. You don't necessarily have to choose between intellect and imagination. You may find your perception shifting to incorporate very new ways of viewing the world and the information and communication you receive.

Then there's the whole eclipse side of things as well!  An eclipse is said to shake things loose and give us the sense of being at a crossroads, a time of change.  Eclipse's are said to be forceful tools to cause us to evolve and mature. They push us to strengthen any weakness we may have. We last had a lunar eclipse on June 15th. Eclipses are said to build on each other, so whatever was going on in your life in mid-June may come to a critical point or an end now. I went back to my posting on June 15th to see what I was focused on at that time Interesting... Mr Purple is now Louie.  He is old enough and has enough attitude to howl at the moon with me tomorrow. I guess I better listen to what he has to say! No doubt he wants to write his letter to Santa.

If you've been feeling a lot of emotions swirling around in your head and your heart, you may be feeling the effects of the universe! In this time of Gemini Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse, the Bach Flower essences that might be particularly helpful include Cerato, Scleranthus, Clematis, and Heather.

According to, there may be a special connection between Gemini and the Bach Flower essence Cerato. Gemini's are eager to gather information and knowledge but can be uncertain in their own opinions. With so much information and communication being circulated under this moon influence, it may be hard to listen to your intuition, filter through the information and trust yourself.  Cerato can help you sort through the communication so you can trust yourself to take only what you need and act on it. The communication "floating out there under this moon" is broad, but not necessarily deep- for that you need go within and reflect and consider what is right for you.

Scleranthus has some similarities to Cerato and they are both categorized under uncertainty. That dual nature of the Gemini influence may cause you to flip back and forth between two ideas, tasks, thoughts, or actions. Scleranthus can help you find the integration between your logical mind and intuitive nature. Once you can integrate the communication coming at you , it may be a lot easier to choose your correct path and move forward through the lunar eclipse transformation.

In my opinion, Clematis is always helpful during the strong astrological influences of full moons and lunar eclipses. Clematis can help you remain grounded even when you feel "pulled away" to another dimension, to dreamland, to a world of infinite ideas. Clematis can help you connect your beliefs, and the information you are receiving with your daily routine and grounded action. It's hard to stay focused and concentrate both at this time of year and during heavy astrological influences and that's what Clematis can help with.  Clematis may be particularly helpful for children struggling with the school routine  in the last couple of weeks before Christmas break.

Although a difficult essence to self-diagnosis, Heather may be a Bach Flower to consider in the next few days. When in a Heather state people are very talkative. Perhaps this gets accentuated during the Gemini influence on communication. When in this state the preoccupation is with self. The person in a Heather state really needs an audience to describe in detail their latest symptoms, and problems.  They want to tell you everything that is going on in their lives. So much information can sap other people's vitality. With the focus on information and communication in the next few days, it may be important to remember that half of the communication process is listening. A few drops of Heather can enable you to be a good listener, able to help others because of your own experiences.

The full moon in any sign, is meant as a time of reflection. When the world is spinning so fast, and so much information is finding it's way to you, it may be that much more important to just slow down a bit and reflect. Shut off the information flow and go within. Gaze at the moon in all it's glory, honor it's place in the universe, recognize it's influence on you and honor yourself. And a howl or two can never hurt!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Reindeer Bullies & Bach Flowers for Rudolph

There are lots of pretty lovable little characters floating around out their in holiday traditions. I really have a fondness for elves, but the characters that really grab my heart the most are probably the reindeer.  I love those guys. In real life they really seem to have kind of a scraggly, "bad boy and girl" image that I also like. I love the children's movies about reindeer and of course, there's always Rudolph, "the most famous reindeer of all".

First of all, let's be perfectly clear right off the bat.  All of the reindeer in Santa's team are females. Male reindeer loose their antlers during the summer months while females keep theirs. Everyone in Santa's team, in all the pictures, all the movies,  and all the stories has antlers in December; therefore they are all females. Maybe that's why so many people claim to have seen Santa's reindeer. It's likely they aren't afraid or too proud to stop and ask for directions if lost!

So.. Rudolph is a girl. And at least the first year she lead the team, the year that all the stories and songs highlight, she must have been pretty young- maybe a young teenage reindeer. So imagine a teenage girl, going out in front of all the other girls with this big red shinning thing on the end of her nose!  I imagine her mother heard the screaming: "Mom, you can't possibly expect me to be seen anywhere in public with this huge disfiguring thing at the end of my nose can you"! and , "Surely you don't expect me to get out of bed and go to reindeer school! I will NOT be seen in public until this thing goes away. I'll just text Santa and tell him he has to find someone else".

So I figure the real story lies behind the scenes, before Rudolph ever made it to the barn that night.  I think there must have been a very caring, smart, Wise Woman that helped Rudolph shine her light.  I think Rudolph's mother must have known about the benefits of Bach Flower essences.

I figure that this Wise Reindeer  gave Rudolph a few drops of the Bach Flower essence Crab Apple in her morning glass of apple juice. If she was really smart, she might have got it in there before Rudolph ever looked in the mirror and started to panic. Crab Apple would have helped Rudolph feel better about herself and her appearance. Maybe they even rubbed a little Crab Apple on her nose and realized in fact,  it wasn't a skin problem at all, but a gift of illumination.

I think the Wise Reindeer might also have suggested a few drops of Larch for Rudolph.  Even if Rudolph was starting to feel okay about herself and accepting of her gift, it must have taken a lot of courage and confidence to stand up against the reindeer gang of girls and take the lead.

At least that first year, Rudolph must have felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility.  I mean, there are a lot of people counting on Santa's sleigh making it through some pretty horrific and often changing weather conditions on a pretty tight schedule.  Maybe a few drops of Elm helped Rudolph feel capable and self-assured that she could do it. I think the Bach Flower Elm might also have helped Rudolph schedule in a few water. sweat feed, and carrot breaks for the team during the long night as well. It might have helped her realize that one has to take time to look after your own needs before you can be everything to everyone.

I'm not sure if Santa was fully aware of the issues going on with his team.  He kind of strikes me as being just a bit like a "shop teacher".  Likable enough for sure,very cool in the eyes of all the guys,  but a wee bit distracted with the power tools and  measurements and the urge to build the perfect widget or the thoughts of turbo boosting the sleigh.  I'm not sure he would have realized the sneaky things the mean girl reindeer might have been doing to Rudolph behind his back. 

But I bet, Mrs. Claus saw it all.  I figure she went out early in the morning and put a bit of Vine, Holly, and Beech  into the water buckets because "all the other reindeer used to laugh and call Rudolph names".  I'm pretty sure Mrs. Claus saw when "they never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games".  The Vine Bach flower might have toned down the bullying a bit. The Holly might have got to the real root of the problem: that the others were a bit jealous of Rudolph in the first place, and Beech could have helped everyone be a bit more tolerant of those they were harnessed up next to.

So I  figure Mrs. Claus and Wise Reindeer did a lot of very smart work before that sleigh ever lifted off the ground.  Once everyone was out of their site, I imagine they put a few drops of Red Chestnut and Mimulus into their own hot chocolate.  It must be a bit worrying to see those you love take off to parts unknown at warp speed. The Red Chestnut probably helps them let go of the worry and angst that the sleigh will crash or they will run into a obstacle, or not have the right toys, or be too proud to ask for those directions.  I also think some drops of Mimulus probably helps them get through the night.  I figure both Mrs. Claus and Wise Reindeer have "been there done that".  They understand the life of girls and the struggles it takes to get to be wise and knowing and supportive of each other.  I think Mimulus can help them release the fear that the girls just won't play well as a team.

So to Rudolph, all the girls in the team, and their Wise Woman backers, I say "You go girl"!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Biophilia: Connecting with Nature

I came across the word "biophilia" twice in the past couple of days in totally unrelated places.  This is both a new word and new concept to me. Having never even heard of this before, when it comes to me in such an "in my face" way, I figure I better pay attention.

Biophilia is a term coined by Edward Wilson. He used it to describe what he called, " our innately emotional affiliation to living organisms". The definition has been expanded to include the natural landscape as well. Apparently after decades of scientific research, Wilson's theory holds true. We do, at a level we don't fully understand, need direct experience with nature. We need to feel a connection with nature in some way in order to feel healthy and happy. Hmm...

So then I got thinking about this time of year.  In my part of the world, we are experiencing quite an incredible fall/early winter. It has been unseasonably warm, we have had rain not snow ,except for one brief storm that brought out my mittens, and it feels more like spring than winter. Perhaps it's because of the sunshine and warm temperatures that the short days and early darkness seems even more pronounced. For some people, these long days of darkness can signal Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) So that got me thinking....

Maybe it isn't the lack of sunlight we miss so much when the the the sunrise comes later and sunset comes earlier in the day.  Maybe it's Wilson's biophilia theory coming to light.

In our "modern lives", most people spent most of their working day inside, within climate controlled atmospheres. There isn't a lot of interaction with nature happening during the workday for many people. During the shorter days of winter many people drive to work in the dark and come home in the dark.  In my opinion adults are not generally as good at "being" as we are at "doing".  So when we spend time outside we often have to associate that time with a project.  In the summertime we do pretty good. We plant gardens, we tend to plants, we go swimming, or go for a walk, we sit in the sun talking to neighbours or reading a book, we cook outside on the barbecue.  All those are "projects"- things to accomplish while outside. Maybe we just wanted the "excuse" to go outside and connect in some way with nature.  During the summer, spring and early fall, we often can still "sneak in" some outside time either before or after work.  Definitely we "pencil it in" in for the weekend or days off.

But during the winter we loose the light. And that means we loose our "excuse" to get outside. We say that we hibernate indoors because of the cold. But I'm not sure I'm buying that reason these days.  I think it might be because in the absence of light, we're not sure what we could "do" out there.  We haven't really created any projects that we can do outside without sunlight. So we drive to work in the dark, come home with our headlights on. Walk through the garage, into the house, turn on the lights and sit in front of the T.V., or do some sort of inside "activity" until it's time to go to bed and get up and do it all over again. It's too dark to go outside. Hmm...

There aren't a lot of natural ways to increase the sunlight hours. At least not that I know of!  But maybe if we changed our thinking a bit we could find that we could have a nature connection even when it's darker earlier. Maybe we would find that if we spent the time outside, even in the dark, we wouldn't feel the same sense of sadness and depression that we associate with a lack of light. Certainly would be worth a try!

One activity that doesn't require sunlight is star gazing!  And the nighttime sky in the wintertime can be the most amazing of all.  In fact, in some parts of the world, the Northern Lights are amazing right now. This website can give you some great information about what's happening in the winter sky Maybe you could put on your mittens and pull that lawn chair out of the garage and just sit out there and admire the darkness?

Today's photo is courtesy of Liz Corbett. She's a Professional Bowenwork Practitioner , an amazing photographer, and, in my opinion, a Wise Woman. Thanks Liz!  Her pictures show her deep connection with, and understanding of , nature- perhaps her biophilia. Her photos aren't always taken in brilliant sunlight. Perhaps if you went outside with a camera either early in the morning or after work, you might find a "reason and an excuse" to have an "outdoor project". There have been some interesting photography courses initiated lately to bring children closer to nature in this way.

True connecting with nature isn't about "doing" anything.  It's about being.  If you are an adult, or a child brought up in the techno-age, you might have to get there gradually. At first you might need some creativity in order to find a way to "do" things outside in the early darkness. Although I think it might take less thought than it first seems. Ultimately, it's our mindset we need to change.  Maybe we just need to consider that we might need to be out there for a bit in order to feel healthy, happy and alive.

When I saw Liz's picture today, I wanted to just sit underneath that tree. I wanted to lean my back against the trunk, shut my eyes and listen and feel nature.  And I don't know about you, but when I close my eyes it's dark anyway! So it really doesn't matter whether it's sunrise, sunset or somewhere in between. It's about the connection to something much bigger than self. Maybe that's all we need to embrace the darkness of winter!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Review: SageWoman Magazine

A friend led me towards a great discovery this weekend when she gave me a copy of the magazine SageWoman.  Once again, I guess I'm a little behind in my discoveries as this issue (and the one featured on today's picture) is the 81st issue.  At 4 issues a year, that means they have been around for awhile! No wonder- this is quite a read!

First of all, this is not your glossy full -of -ads- type magazine. There isn't a single make-up or clothing ad unless you count amulets, animal totem jewelry and magic slippers within that category! This magazine feels really solid in your hands and is more article than ad. It feels like sitting down to read a book and I spent most of Sunday doing just that.  There is also amazing artwork throughout the magazine- all in black and white and somehow that makes it feel more enjoyable to me. I feel like I can really connect to the pictures and be a part of them rather than looking at some highly glossed, colorized picture that puts distance between the artist and the viewer.

Each magazine issue follows a theme and this latest issue is devoted to  "Weaving The Web". The articles cover just about everything imaginable from a Wise Woman, natural, "lived life the "interesting" (I like that better than hard) way" point of view. Each and every one will make you think. The writers are highly accomplished women with a wide variety of backgrounds including an eclectic mix of formal and informal education and experience. Many of them have masters degrees in topics such as psychology, Woman's Studies, and Spirituality. Some of the articles are written by professional writers and authors, some are written by beginning writers, but all of them write from the heart and from a wealth of experience and understanding. Reading the bios is as enlightening as the articles. This magazine has been developed from herbalists, shamanic artists, naturalists, Priestesses, mothers, animal lovers, healers and witches. The commonality among them all in my opinion, is that they are all Wise Woman. They all share a piece of their journey.

I learned things about spiders, sheep, birds, weaving, beach combing, being in nature, Tarot cards for women, creating a community, and following dreams.  Most of all I learned a little bit more about myself and I had fun doing it. I was inspired. When reading this magazine, I really felt like I was part of something bigger and wonderful. 

But you need to find out for yourself.  I'll be getting a subscription. As it turns out, this is a good time to support this magazine because they have had some setbacks due to the closure of Borders Bookstore. You can find out about subscribing and the magazine itself at 

As I was reading through this magazine I also learned something about my friend. She didn't give me this magazine because it was something that she liked and thought I should experience. She doesn't have a subscription and figure I should have one too.  I think I may have been guilty of giving gifts for that reason- thinking this is something the other person doesn't have and should. I guess a lot of gifts are an attempt to fill what we consider a gap or hole in the other person, or at least we want them to experience a part of what we have discovered, to understand us through our gift. But she gave me SageWoman because she knew I would appreciate it. She knew it was "my thing" and not necessarily "her thing". It wasn't given so that I might understand her better. She was really "honoring me" through her gift. She didn't see it as something to fill the "hole" but something that was part of my "whole".  That may be the true art of Wise Woman giving and the very essence of friendship.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cinderella meets Cowboy Boots and Text Messaging

Remember the Cinderella Cowboy Boots post from awhile ago? It's back... Pour a coffee, or better yet, a glass of wine, and get settled in for a long read, because here's the manuscript.  Since I can't figure out what format or publisher might actually be appropriate for this- viola- here it is.

If Cinderella Wore Cowboy Boots...
By Heather MacKenzie-Carey

Cinderella scooped mouse poop, added fresh shavings to the floor of the cages and poured clean water into all the containers. She was getting tired of cleaning all the cages for her step-sisters pets. The sisters didn’t even appreciate the poor little creatures- barely even looked at them and never talked to them. But then they didn’t talk to Cinderella either unless it was to tell her what to do. Cinderella felt a bit like a mouse herself. She was trapped in a cage, surrounded by poop, spinning around and around on a wheel going nowhere.  Cinderella’s life was a mess.  But, all that was about to change. Cinderella had a secret.
When Cinderella was five years old, her mother died. A year later, her father re-married. That’s when everything went bad for Cinderella. Her stepmother moved in with her two horrible step-daughters and they made Cinderella’s life miserable.  They all treated her like a servant.  Since her father was away most of the time on business trips, he had no idea that Cinderella was being bullied so badly. He believed all his new wife’s lies. He said Cinderella was “exaggerating the truth” any time she tried to explain how lousy her life was. He was in pretty heavy denial.  Only Cinderella and her mother’s best friend knew about the secret.
When her mother was dying, she gave her best friend a package for Cinderella. She instructed her friend to give the package to Cinderella when the friend thought the timing was right. Last month, on her 16th birthday, the friend gave it to Cinderella.  In it was the favourite bedtime storybook her mother read to Cinderella every night, a T-shirt that still smelled like her mother, and an emergency life-line phone. The phone came with hand-written instructions from her mother. She explained that it was for one-use only. It would connect Cinderella to a Fairy Godmother. The Fairy Godmother could get Cinderella out of a jam. Cinderella was about to use her lifeline.
A you-tube video call had gone viral. Justice, the greatest rap star ever, was looking for back-up singers in an open casting call. The open invitation was all over Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. It was all anyone was talking about.  The news media was calling it the “modern day Woodstock”.
Cinderella wanted to audition. She knew if she got picked she could travel all over the world with Justice and be out of her step-mother’s house. She would never have to clean cages again. Everyone knew that it really wasn’t singers he was looking for. He was searching for “a look”.  A lot of people said Cinderella had just the look he wanted.  She knew she had a pretty good chance. The problem was, her step-mother wouldn’t let her go.
The step-sisters were going to the audition. Their mother had taken them to the mall where they bought fancy new dresses and shoes. They had manicures and pedicures and facials. They had been getting ready for weeks. The day of the event the pace was crazy. The whole house was in turmoil. A hair stylist had been in and gave them fancy up-dos.  A make-up artist was now trying to give them “the look”. Cinderella had been sent out to buy toilet paper and cotton balls.  She thought the toilet paper was appropriate to the occasion.
Cinderella called her father’s cell phone to complain, and to get permission to go. He was in a meeting and transferred her phone call to voice mail.  He sent a text to Cinderella telling her that her Step-mother was in charge when he wasn’t there and she needed to clear any events through her. He said he’d work things out when he got home. Cinderella had heard that before.
Cinderella put on her mother’s T-shirt and inhaled the wonderful smell. She picked up the emergency phone and placed the call according to the instructions her mother had written. Suddenly a Fairy Godmother appeared.  If Cinderella had known she was actually going to appear, she might have cleaned up her room, but the Fairy Godmother didn’t seem to notice the dirty clothes, and stacks of books. Cinderella discreetly nudged the mostly empty yogurt container under the bed. The Fairy Godmother looked just like they do in story books and movies. A little old-fashioned, but Cinderella figured she could work with her for sure.
The Fairy Godmother started taking over. “Honey, I’ve been doing this story for so many generations, I know it by heart. We’ll get you a fancy ball-gown and a coachman with white horses.  I’ll just need a pumpkin to start out with. We can use your sister’s mice to transform into the horses. I’ll bring in the magical glass slippers and you’ll be ready to go.  I find Cinderella’s are always beautiful and you’re no exception. This is one of my easiest gigs.” The Fairy Godmother pulled a sparkling wand from a pocket and turned it on. While she was waiting for it to charge up, she started to explain the story.
“You’ll go to the event and no one will even recognize you. Justice will love you and pick you from all those that audition. You’ll have to run out of there by midnight because the spell only last till then. You’ll likely dilly daddle and be late so you’ll have to run. On the way out, you’ll lose one of your shoes. Justice will come running after you and will find your shoe. He’ll come looking for you the next day. The shoe won’t fit anyone else but you, although everyone else will try to make it fit. He’ll put the shoe on your foot and “the rest is history”. You’ll marry him and live happily ever after. Now, let’s choose your gown...”
“Wait a minute,” said Cinderella. “I’d like to make a small change or two to my story if that’s okay?”
“A change,” asked the Fairy Godmother?  She stopped her wand in mid-flight. “No one has ever changed the Cinderella story before. What are you thinking of?”
“Well, instead of a gown, I’d like something that is “wearable” and comfortable. I’m thinking maybe leggings or jeans- I’m not much of a dress person.”
“That’s not a problem,” said the Fairy Godmother. “It’s unusual and most definitely not my style, but wardrobe changes aren’t really a big deal”. She waved the wand and Cinderella was wearing a very fashionable but workable outfit out of breathable fabric.  Cinderella danced a bit and held her hairbrush to her mouth while she looked in the mirror to try it out.
“Perfect,” Cinderella said. “I don’t want a fancy up-do or a lot of make-up,” she said as she saw the wand being pointed towards her again. “I’d like the natural look”.
“Kids these days. Styles have certainly changed,” said the Fairy Godmother. “I must say, I prefer the elaborate costumes, but at least you are very low maintenance. I’ve had some real divas in my day”. The Fairy Godmother waved her wand and Cinderella had just a touch of make-up and her hair was shinny and flowing with just the right amount of swing to make it look like she had just got out of bed. The pimples that had been lingering on her chin and forehead were gone.
“Okay, you go get a pumpkin and I’ll get the mice,” said the Fairy Godmother. “Let’s get some real magic going here.  It doesn’t feel like I’ve been doing anything with you looking like that!”
“About the coach...” said Cinderella?  She figured she better approach this change pretty cautiously. She didn’t want to insult her Fairy Godmother but it was her story and she needed it to be right.
The Fairy Godmother already had her hand on the doorknob of Cinderella room. She turned around to look over her shoulder. Cinderella figured by the set of her mouth, the Fairy Godmother had already suspected this change was coming. “I’m listening,” was all the Fairy Godmother said, but she turned around and made sure the door was tightly closed.
“I’m actually a pretty good horse back rider and I’ve always wanted my own horse. I was wondering if I could have a strong black horse instead of the team of white ones. I really don’t need a coachman. I’d rather just ride the horse bareback, all on my own. “Once she started explaining, Cinderella figured she might as well let it all out. “And, I’d like to switch those glass slippers for a pair of really awesome cowboy boots”, Cinderella said.
“Cowboy boots!!!” Her Fairy Godmother screamed and turned a bit white at the same time. She grabbed onto Cinderella’s desk for support and felt blindly for the chair which she collapsed into. “That has never been done. I’d have to check with the over-seeing committee on that one.” Cinderella figured it was best not to say or do anything at this point. She watched as the Fairy Godmother pulled a cell-phone out of another pocket and started texting.
To:  Fairy Godmother Overseeing Committee (FGOC)
From: Fairy Godmother (FG)
Cindy wnts MAJOR changes to wardrobe and props. No coachman, 1 horse only will ride barebck. No glass slippers. Wnts cowboy boots. Can these changes be approved???? Sorry for the unusual request. This Cindy is very different!!!!!!
The Fairy Godmother pressed SEND. While they waited Cinderella pleaded her case. It’s really just a small change, said Cinderella. Cowboy boots are a little more practical than glass slippers. I’m not very good with high heels. My ankles are a bit wobbly in them. And I think boots would look very appropriate with this outfit- more my style.
The Fairy Godmother seemed to be considering the outfit.  Her cheeks were back to the ruby color they had been before and she seemed composed again. Just as it looked like she was going to say something her cell phone binged an incoming text. Cinderella read over Fairy Godmother’s shoulder.
To:  Fairy Godmother (FG)
From: Fairy Godmother Overseeing Committee (FGOC)
CC: Script Writers Union (SWU)
Wardrobe changes acceptable, x-change of coachman for horse ok, do u really mean cowboy boots instead of glass slippers????? Please confirm. SWU approve as well- these changes are highly irregular!!!!
Wow, now the union is involved said the Fairy Godmother. That’s a pretty big deal. Let’s think about how we want to phrase this. The Fairy Godmother smiled at Cinderella. She was definitely understanding and on Cinderella’s side now. Together they sent the following
Reply All:
From: Fairy Godmother(FG)
Yes, cowboy boots wnted, no slippers... heels a problem...
The Fairy Godmother smiled at Cinderella.  “Now there’s nothing we can do but wait,” she said. “You could always spend the time cleaning your room.”
Cinderella moved impatiently around the room rearranging stacks of mess from one pile to another. The Fairy Godmother moved around the room looking for better cell phone coverage. Finally she opened the window and held the phone out.  When that still didn’t bring a quicker reply she waved the wand around a bit and a pile of clothes became neatly folded. The yogurt container turned into a bar of white chocolate which they split between the two of them.
Finally they heard the bing. The Fairy Godmother held the phone between them while she pressed RECIEVE.
From:  Fairy Godmother  Overseeing Committee (FGOC)
To: Fairy Godmother(FG)
CC: Script Writers Union (SWU)
On conference call with SWU. Here’s the deal FG. Cindy can hve boots, horse and wardrobe change. Curfew stays at 12. GPS on lifeline phone will track and transform spell components at 12. SWU approves.
Luckily Cinderella’s step-mother had already packed the stepsisters and their hair into the SUV to get them to the audition. All the make-artists and designers had left. Standing calmly on the front lawn, eating the clematis was a huge black Friesian. Her curly mane glistened and her luxurious tail twitched at the occasional black fly.
“She’s beautiful”, whispered Cinderella. “I’ll call her Freedom”.
“Looks a bit big,” said her Fairy Godmother who maintained a respectable distance from the huge feet while Cinderella gently stroked the Frisian and asked permission to ride her.
Cinderella instructed a reluctant Fairy Godmother on how to give her a leg up so could mount Freedom.
Once Cinderella was comfortably mounted and balanced, her Fairy Godmother passed her the life-line phone. “Remember Cindy, this phone has GPS tracking in it. At midnight the committee will send a signal to it and all your magic disappears. You go back to Cinderella the mouse maid again”.
Cinderella put the phone in her boot and smiled. She had a plan. “No problem, and thanks for everything,” she said as she leaned down to hug her Fairy Godmother. A little pressure with her legs and Freedom and Cinderella were off to the audition.
Cinderella found a nice path of grass on the theatre lawn for Freedom to munch on and she slid off her back. No one seemed to even notice the girl and the horse in all the frenzy of the limos, the red carpet and the paparazzi. Cinderella figured there might be some kind of cloak of invisibility spell around Freedom.
Cinderella sailed through the intake questionnaire and the first series of interviews. She dodged her step-sisters, but by the time they got to the first round of auditions they were already out of the competition and partying with the roadies.  Everything was running late and Cinderella nervously checked the time on her life phone. She set an alarm and placed the phone back in her boot.
Cinderella hid behind the curtains back stage to avoid step sister detection while she waited for her final call.  She was finding Justin more than a little nauseating as he sat in the big chair shouting at people while attendants fawned and fussed over him.  Cinderella really didn’t understand the attraction.
One of the stage hands admired Cinderella’s boots. The two of them got in quite a conversation while Cinderella waited. Turns out the stage hand was a cousin of Justin’s and had rather the same opinion of him that Cinderella did.  They both agreed that Justin was pretty silly and cowboy boots and horses were much more important than fame. The stage hand had another cousin that ran a dude ranch well outside the city limits. He told Cinderella his cousin was always looking for help on the ranch. Cinderella put the contact information into her life phone. She Google mapped the address and saved it.
Cinderella was standing in the middle of the stage, staring down at Justin and performing when her boot started to vibrate the alarm she had programmed.  At the same moment one of the step sisters screamed as she recognized Cinderella. Cinderella used the diversion to run. The alarm meant she had 5 minutes before the spell was lost and she didn’t intend to waste any of it.  She bolted from the stage, ran past the astonished media and flew down the front steps.
She realized this was the part where the glass slipper was supposed to come off leaving a marker so the fairy tale could come to a happy ending.  But everyone knows that once a good pair of cowboy boots is on your feet they aren’t coming off without a lot of tugging and effort. Cinderella’s boots stayed on her feet.
As luck, or magic, would have it, just as Cinderella reached Freedom, the huge horse gently lowered her head and front hooves in a bow enabling Cinderella to swing her legs over her back and mount up. As soon as Cinderella was balanced, Freedom took off at a gallop listening to the whispered instructions Cinderella gave her as she leaned close over her mane, hugging her legs to Freedom’s body, trusting her with every ounce of her being. 
Perhaps they did actually fly. Magic has a way of being unpredictable. However they did it, by the time the overseeing committee was connecting the signal to the GPS in the life line, Freedom, Cinderella and her cowboy boots were all out of signal range.
And that’s how Cinderella changed the story line.  She made it to the dude ranch with Freedom.  They were both hired “on the spot”. Within a few months Cinderella became the head horse trainer and Freedom helps her out with that.
The step-sisters did make it as part of Justin’s posse.  The fact that they knew the girl that ran off gave them some celebrity status with the tabloids and they have a following now that Justin appreciates.
Now that all her daughters have left home and are making their own way in the world, Cinderella’s step-mother seems a bit more gentle and Cinderella’s father is home more. He calls Cinderella a lot and they spend time together.  The mice have been released to the wild.
Occasionally Cinderella’s step-sisters come to visit her at the ranch. It’s good for their reality T.V. show. Cinderella has taught them how to clean out stalls.
To: Fairy Godmother Overseeing Committee (FGOC)
From: Fairy Godmother (FG)
Cindy sends me encrypted texts. She is very happy!!!!! Maybe we should look at revising the Little Red Riding Hood story??????