Join me in my Zoom Room on Monday, February 1st from 5:30-7:00pm to celebrate Imbolc, a time to emerge from the darkness of winter in preparation for the Spring. If you want to create new plans, sweep away old energies, and plant the seeds of abundance for the season, then don’t miss this event!
Imbolc is an ancient Pagan holiday based on Celtic traditions; it marks the halfway point between winter solstice and the spring equinox in Neolithic Ireland and Scotland. This is the time of year when we start to emerge from the darkness of winter in preparation for the Spring. Learning about ancient traditions can help us connect with the seasons of the Earth in the modern world.
During this online workshop, you will learn all about the Goddesses of the season: Celtic Goddess Brigid, Roman Goddess Juno, and Egyptian Goddess Renenutet.
Meditating is probably the number one thing I recommend to my clients. Meditation can be used for grounding, stress relief, for sleep, and for peace. An old zen saying goes, “everyone should meditate for ten minutes a day, unless you are too busy. Then you should meditate for an hour a day.” But lets get real here, sitting cross legged on the floor is not the best method for everyone. I hated the idea of meditating everyday, until I realized that there are hundreds of ways to meditate.
Anytime that you work to clear your mind, you are meditating. Focusing on the breath, relaxing the mind, quieting the voices – its all part of programming your own mindset. You can meditate while walking, while washing dishes, or listening to music. My favorite form of meditation is yoga and dance. Moving meditation can help you get in the zone mentally.
Movement was a big key to unlocking my own meditation practice. I spent a week in Vermont at a reclaiming Witch Camp last summer, and I took a workshop on meditation. We meditated in the forest for about three hours per day, learning different methods of meditation. My favorite is what I call, “mindful meandering.” Dropping into your belly, taking on a doe-eyed stare, and just wondering around the woods. Its amazing how much you can learn from nature. I was quite taken with the mushrooms, fungi and mitochondria at work in the forest; breaking down the old and fertilizing the new.
On a yoga retreat in India, I really ignited my love for movement as a part of meditation and spirituality, through my yoga practice. I’ve invested so much into my yoga practice this year, as my daily meditation break.
Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are a million ways to kneel and kiss the ground. ~Rumi
The Science of Meditation
One of the most interesting studies on meditation in the last few years, carried out at Yale University, found that mindfulness meditation decreases activity in the default mode network (DMN), the brain network responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts – a.k.a., “monkey mind.” The DMN is “on” or active when we’re not thinking about anything in particular, when our minds are just wandering from thought to thought. Since mind-wandering is typically associated with being less happy, ruminating, and worrying about the past and future, it’s the goal for many people to dial it down.
In 2011, a team at Harvard found that mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain. A program of yoga and meditation called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and memory, and in certain areas of the brain that play roles in emotion regulation and self-referential processing. There were also decreases in brain cell volume in the amygdala, which is responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress – and these changes matched the participants’ self-reports of their stress levels, indicating that meditation not only changes the brain, but it changes our subjective perception and feelings as well.
Meditation is great for kids as well as adults! Children benefit in all the ways that adults do, if not more. A school in San Francisco introduced meditation to their students, and saw a lift in attendance and over all grade point average (source). Meditation has been proven to improve attention, focus, memory, and resilience to stress and other negative emotions.
Here are some of my favorite tools, whether you are starting a new meditation practice or diversifying your current routine. You can find free meditations on youtube and wherever you find your podcasts.
A series of meditations that can be done in under five minutes. The cards can be downloaded for free. They are meant for kids to lead meditations in the classroom, but they are classic strateiges that work great for adults, too!
She spins together yoga with soulful talks and meditations. You can choose videos based on mood or theme.
Do you want one-on-one coaching?
If you want to start a daily meditation practice, become more mindful and boost your happiness levels, consider signing up for my three month coaching program. We will use science to idenify your happiness areas that need improvement, and cultivate tools and resources around a mindfulness practice. I can incopororate tarot, astrology, reiki and guided meditation as part of your program.
The experince is individualized and focused on you and your unique path to your higher self. If you’re ready to level up in your vibrational awareness – contact me! I’m here to hold space for your growth and transformation.
For the June 2020 card of the month, I chose the three of cups! The month of June was named after the ancient Roman goddess Juno, goddess of childbirth and savior of women. Juno was connected to all aspects of the life of a woman, especially married life. She was often depicted with a peacock.
The Three of Cups shows three lovely ladies dancing in an abundant harvest, their cups raised high in a toast.
Tarot cards have both light sides and dark sides, they do represent the human experience after all. You might resonate with one side or to both.
The light side of the Three of Cups represents celebration, friendship, creativity, collaborations. The three women in the card are comrades. I think of Monica, Rachel and Phoebe. The card is about lifting each other up, and celebrating each and everyone’s contributions to society as a whole. The card represents abundant harvest and the good life.
The three women in the card can also represent the maiden, the mother and the crone. These are the three different stages of a woman’s life, and a phase of the moon. You may be familiar with the triple goddess symbol, which represents these phases of life, the phases of the moon, and the realms of heaven, earth and underworld.
I have to take this opportunity to relate the Three of Cups to the goddess Parvati in the Hindu tradition. She is the gentle and nurturing incarnation of the Supreme Goddess Adi Parashakti and wife to Shiva. She has two sons with Shiva, Ganesha (learn more about Ganesha) and Kartikeya. Parvati symbolises many different virtues esteemed by Hindu tradition: fertility, marital felicity, devotion to the spouse, asceticism, and power. I can feel Parvati’s energy through this card, and I call upon her this month to help me feel connected and abundant in such a time of loneliness and fear.
So this card has some serious symbolism and feminine power! When this card comes up in a reading, it means you need to let you hair down and forget about your obligations for awhile. Spend time with your good friends. Collaborate with others on a spirited project. Be with your tribe.
Three of Cups Reversed
To the contrary, you might get this card in reverse if you really prefer to be alone right now. Maybe you’re in between groups of friends, or your usual tribe’s vibe is not matching yours at the moment.
Honor your feelings to take time alone and recharge. Work on creative projects alone. Maybe you’re over indulging more than usual, just be careful not to over do it. Just because you’re social circle is more selective, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay connected with the people that you care most about.
How to call on the Three of Cups
If you want to invite more happiness, creativity and friendship into your life, here are some mini-ritual, spells, activities you could try:
Start a small book club (seriously, so fun!)
Take yourself out for a picnic, alone or camp out in a friend’s yard
Make a toast before dinner each night, raising your glass to the things you are grateful for
Slowly and sensually eat a juicy piece of fruit
Ecstatic dance – put on some jams and ance around your house like no one is watching
Host a virtual gathering, there are lots of video rooms out there (you can book me to host a tarot party for your friends)
MEDITATE! The number one way to connect with any energy it to meditate with it. check out my guided meditation for the Three of Cups right here!
I’ve been shying away from posting about the pandemic that is rippling across the globe. I wanted to stay positive, and felt the last thing we need is more reminders of the current state of affairs. But as the weeks pass, I’ve come to realize that my daily rituals and witchy beliefs have helped me so much and I wanted to share my experience with all of you.
“Good morning star shine, the Earth says hello”
Morning ritual makes me feel like a human even if I’m not leaving the house all day. I meditate and hit my yoga mat every morning, first thing. Sometimes I free style and find what feels good. I also highly recommend this Down Dog app, which a friend turned me on to. It is being offered for free right now! Also, Yoga with Adriene on youtube is my jam. Don’t take your home yoga practice too seriously, just have fun with it.
After yoga, I always shower, and put on real pants! Well, at least clean pants. I always make a point to brush my teeth right after I finish breakfast. I open all of the curtains to let as much light in as possible. I try to get outside a little bit every day. I have three dogs and I live in a neighborhood with plenty of sidewalks for lunch time strolls and after dinner walks. I know that we all have different routines and preferences. Personally, nothing works better for me than movement, nature and healthy habits.
Spells and smells
Filling your space with nice smells can be surprisingly uplifting. I have some frankincense oil in my diffuser this morning. Sometimes I’ll pick a citrus scent or a floral scent. Nothing like that at home? You can simmer a small pot of water with cinnamon, rosemary, lemons, anything you have on hand to make the house smell good. This is also a good offering for your mediation or spells. A simple spell I like to do is write an intention on a piece of paper and burn it in a candle.
Speaking of making the house smell good, I’ve been doing so much baking! Check out these biscuits and cinnamon rolls. I made a sauce from some strawberries stuck in the back of my freezer and put that on the biscuits for some strawberry shortcake. What are you cooking up at home? I like getting creative with the odds and ends in my cabinets.
My pets have been a great comfort to me. As much as I enjoy conversations with my dogs and my cat, I also try to stay in touch with humans. I also have been putting myself out there online. I took a yoga class through zoom with Healing Within RI.
Other lifesavers have been: books, poetry, movies, coloring and crafting!
I’ve had some zoom chats with my friends, and I try to call and text friends and family throughout the day. Its not always easy for me to point the camera at myself, but this has been a great opportunity to work on that. I’ve been giving tarot readings over the phone way more than usual. I’m working on creating more video content, like this fun “pick a number” reading!
How are you coping with our current situation? Let me know! Connect on Facebook or shoot me an email. A 30 minute phone reading with me is not only great entertainment, but it can reveal some clues and give some insight on how to make the most of your time at home.
What is the difference between Lupricalia and Valentine’s Day?
Lupricalia was an ancient Roman Pagan Festival of love and lust, celebrated on February 15th and dating back as far as the 6th century B.C. King Amulius’s sister broke her vow of celibacy, and as retribution, he ordered her sons Romulus and Remus to be drowned in a river. A servant saved their lives by placing them in a basket and sending them down the river, where they were caught in a fig tree on the bank.
Legend says they were saved by a wolf mother, who they named Luperca. They were later adopted by a shepherd and his wife, who raised them. As men, they killed their uncle Amulius, and they celebrated Lupercalia in February, to honor the she-wolf, and please the Roman fertility god, Lupercus.
The celebration began with animal sacrifice, and then two priests would smear the sacrificial blood on their foreheads. The blood would be wiped clean with a piece of wool dipped in milk, and the priests were required to laugh while doing so. This represented new life and procreation. The two priests would then run through the village and whip women who got close enough, with pieces of hide from the slain animals. Women usually welcomed the lashes for good luck with fertility. Couples were paired up by pulling names from a vessel or a jar. The celebration ended in feasting and love making!
Saint Valentine came along much later, in the 3rd century A.D. He was sentenced to death for performing marriage ceremonies with Christian couples in love, during a time when Christianity was persecuted. One story says that while in jail, Valentine tutored the blind daughter of one of the guards, and they fell in love. The night before he was executed, he wrote her a love note and signed it “from your Valentine.”
About 200 years later, the Pope, in an effort to ban the pagan holiday of Lupercalia, declared February 14th as the day to celebrate Saint Valentine. Little did he know that the spirit of both holidays would collide. The color red, which now represents hearts and love, originally represented the blood of the animal sacrifice. Valentine’s Day is more about cards and chocolates, romantic love, and sex, than about Saint Valentine himself.
Both holidays have been overly simplified and romanticized over the centuries, but here are some less extreme ways that you can celebrate Lupercalia this weekend.
Three ways to celebrate Lupercalia on February 15th
1. Have a rose water bath
The day after Valentine’s day, the price of roses drops dramatically. Grab a simple bouquet and draw yourself a bath. Add a touch of your favorite body wash, a few tablespoons of epsom salt, and a few drops of essential oil like lavender or rose of course! Pull the petals from your roses and sprinkle them on top of the bath. Light some candles (those are probably on sale too). Turn on a good self love meditation track and sink in. Here is a quick 6 minute session by Michelle Chalfant on Youtube. Maybe grab a box of chocolates at 50% off and go wild!
2. Make a self love altar
All you need is a small shelf or table in your home, in a room that is peaceful, where it won’t be disturbed. Decorate the altar with meaningful items that make you feel loved. Maybe a piece of lace as the table cloth, a pink or red candle, a white feather. You could include a picture of a wolf or a little wolf statue to honor Lupercal. Add some evergreens or fresh rosemary to represent long lasting, unconditional self love. A piece of rose quartz would help you raise the love and beauty vibes. Face your altar during meditation, or just admire it each morning for awhile.
3. Read your cards
You can also do this with a regular deck of playing cards: the old hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds. Here is a list of the suits and their meanings.
First, decide on a spread, maybe a simple three card spread. The first card you draw will represent you, in regards to your love life. The second card will represent the other person (whether you’ve met that person or maybe s/he is on the way). The third card will represent what you should be mindful of in this relationship, or what purpose the relationship is serving in your life. Or the first card is your past, the second is your future, and the third is how you can love yourself more in the present.
Shuffle the deck as you ponder your three questions and ask your spirit guides to help you. Spread the cards out on a table, it can be as messy as you want. Wave your hands over the pile of cards and feel for warmth or vibrations. Pick up three cards that speak to you. Look up their meanings online, and try to be open to the messages that are coming though.
Need a little help? Contact me for a reading! I’m available for readings via email, phone, or in person. You can also host a Galentine’s Day party with your friends and play with the cards together. You can book me for a party; it’s really fun to get tarot readings as a group. You can book an appointment right through my Facebook page.
May your Lupercalia/Valentine’s Day weekend be full of light, love and self-confidence!