This month, I invite you to check out some foods and herbs that warm the soul and energize the body as we thank winter for its long embrace and welcome spring with arms wide-open. Some herbs and plant energies to look at include rosehips, turmeric, citrus, berries, cinnamon, cloves, and cacao. We also look to all kinds of dairy from our generous livestock and abundant mamas. These foods can highlight the seasonal energies of any dish or celebration, give clarity and joy to crafts and charms that will draw spring closer, and give power and stamina to those remedies that will strengthen immunity and resiliency in good health and balanced well-being.
Freshen the air and awaken the energy of your space with a potpourri of cloves, cinnamon, and citrus peels. Alternatively, you can take one or two citrus fruits – like an orange or grapefruit – and stick whole cloves into them in designs and patterns to make a clove-pomander. This can be used in centerpieces, on decorated altars, as offerings, or strung & hung to freshen a space for a few days. They are especially wonderful to clear the air in a sickroom or give a boost of energy to one recovering from illness or injury.
Infuse honey with rosehips and garlic for a cough syrup and supplement during a cold. Take a teaspoon daily as a supplement, or twice a day for sore throat & dry cough. Add up to a tablespoon in your tea likewise as a supplement to good health. Add Turmeric (fresh root or dried & ground powder) to stocks, soups, and rice dishes to aid circulation and to sort-of “grease up” cold-stiffened joints that are overcompensating with fluid retention and inflammation. Indeed, as a supplement, up to a tablespoon of turmeric may be added to the honey mix above for further immune support and easing of inflammatory illness.
Try some mental flexibility while inhaling some aromatherapeutic orange or vanilla. Pleasing thoughts, changing our minds about distressing situations and our stories around them, and creating the energy of movement and clarity within ourselves (hearts & minds) will open us to the inspired decisions and inspired actions that embrace opportunities and growth.
Serve up some fruit pies or tarts made from berry preserves or frozen berries with homemade whipped cream, ice cream, crème fresh, cottage cheese, or yoghurt – if, that is, you can tolerate dairy. Dairy dishes in many cultures are popular this time of year because one of the old-time agrarian holidays in the first week of February was called “Milking of the Ewes” – the mama sheep heralding spring with the birth of lambs and giving an abundance of milk which also helped folks making cheese, butters, creams, and all manner of baked goods which could get them through the last of winter and into spring planting season. Seasonal fruits include citrus of all kinds and the berries leftover from autumn in some preserved fashion – blackberries, elderberries, and cranberries – which all go great with citrus. Strawberries followed by blueberries are also coming to season in certain parts of the world and lend themselves deliciously to creams & cakes.
And, if there is still the bite of frost in the air, some hot cocoa spiced with red chilis and/or cinnamon makes a great addition to a chilly night or a rich desert. Plus, if it makes your soul feel good, then that will help the rest of your body’s cells feel good… and when they feel good because you feel good… THAT is good health!
Folks have asked me how phone readings work, how a reader can still be accurate if a peron isn’t sitting right in front of them. I tell them that their name and the sound of their voice is enough – there is a resonance, a vibration, that allows the reader to connect to their energies. And, when a reader is receiving messages from Spirit, well… Spirit doesn’t adhere to our earthly time-space-rules. They (for all intents and purposes) essential vibrations, invisible, and non-densely-packed forms of energetic consciousness.
Basically, you will likely not see them or smell them or touch them with your hands as if solid. They are physical vibrations but not manifest densely as, for example, the trees or humans or animals, or even lightning and clouds. So, it is that sound waves – a particular kind of vibration – carry much more than just words and music which lend us to listening and hearing in terms of sensation and perception. The waves of sound vibrations, even those apparently inaudible to human ears, still carry much more than we are often aware of.
This brings me to a couple of points I want to mention for your thoughts and inspirations and personal research. First, words are power. The power of your voice carries the integrity of who you are as an energetic being and vibration in material form. Your voice and your words and your tone also carry the power of creation. Therefore, consider The Four Agreements from don Miguel Ruiz, “Be impeccable with your Word”. The vibration is honest enough and essentially integral to your being. What could be questioned, then, is are you aligned with your integral and honest essential Being-ness?
Which brings me to my second point, that this alignment and awareness of such honest integrity and authenticity is what sound healing modalities achieve – a vibrational space in which the recipient is vibrationally coherent with (aligned with) their own essential integrity and authentic vibration. As far as energy work is concerned, this is the main principle of all of it – whether one uses sound, movement, aromatherapy, magic, crystals, or anything else you could think of. In terms of sound healing, we can use all kinds of music therapies, voice therapies, intonations, chants, and mantras. We even have wonderful tools to bring these into play – therapeutic drumming, group chanting and intonation, singing bowls, and tuning forks.
These sound vibrations are also used to clear and cleanse the energies of spaces and environments, such as gongs, bells, and tabletop fountains or water-features in homes, courtyards, temples, parks, hotels, and retreat centers - all the places we like to relax and feel well. Not only do we find nature sounds soothing, but we can sense their shift in the vibrations of a space. Have you ever opened a window during a steady and gentle fresh spring rain? Even if there’s a slight chill in the air, inviting that sound into your space for even 10 or 15 minutes can be rejuvenating and cleansing.
The joy of sound healing can start with you simply being deliberate with your words – deep breath, consider who you are, and choose your words without fear (of not reacting quick enough, of not responding correctly, of not being heard, of being wrong, of feeling how you feel). You can also begin to incorporate the intonations and chants associated with the chakras or the organs in your morning meditations. In Ayurvedic traditions, the chakras are energy wheels which maybe opened and closed with particular chants – check them out here. In Oriental Medicine, the vital organs carry Life Force, or Qi/Chi, in particular systems named for the organ. The practice of Qi Gong (“Life Force Work”) essentially used breath-vibrations similarly to move energies and open flows of Life Force through the body systems. Learn some of the practice here.
And, of course, aside from finding a sound healer or learning some more sound healing yourself, just be mindful of what you are hearing, listening to, and reverberating in your body, in your mind, and in your spaces – because they are a direct vibrational map of how harmoniously aligned with your true Self that you are. If you’re interested in alignment, space clearings, and learning other techniques for centeredness, check out Sovereign Space Pathwork here. Crank up your favorite “happy” song, sing, dance, and enjoy raising your Vibe – it shines out, and the world loves it!
This quick and profound read from renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn expresses important factors in our understanding of love, care, and compassion in relationship to others as well as ourselves. He dives into such useful ideas and practices as mindfulness and deep listening to align with one’s present moment awareness. He also opens the usefulness of these practices in our experience of relationship and our understanding of what love is.
True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart, by Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hahn describes four tenets of “true love”, which is that state of being in which our expression of care and gentleness in relationship to another person, a situation or circumstance, a self-awareness, or other condition is open and unentangled and authentic. The discourse in True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart is, in my experience, a hallmark guidepost on the pathway to any kind of self-development at any level which can help us recognize our true selves, our connection to others, our present moment, and what relationship from one heart to another truly means – whether in passing, personal, familial, romantic, neighborly, or professional situations of relating.
Thich Nhat Hahn’s book is one that brought to my mind a resonance of truth that allowed me to recognize feelings and memories, illuminate them, and let them go. It also began unfolding my understanding as I moved forward (at that time in my early 20s) into such works as The Four Agreements (Ruiz), Ask and It Is Given (Hicks), The Medicine Way (Meadows), and The Seth Material (Roberts). Ultimately, I feel like this particular work from Thich Nhat Hahn pinpoints the recognition that true, unconditional love of which every being is capable is the fulcrum upon which we may find balance at the center of every emotional experience we have at every age and every level of consciousness development. With that in mind, it appears to warrant a place on the “essential” list of titles one may want to peruse on any journey of self, love, development, understanding, and/or healing.
Enjoy this great read for yourself!
True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart, by Thich Nhat Hahn
Peace & Blessings, Cynthia
'Tis the Season... to allow your self-care routine to engage all parts of you. For the body, yes… It’s nice to eat well, treat yourself, rest up, take a soothing bath, enjoy your comforts and treats. These things are important because we engage in the pleasures and relaxation of our senses, we take care of our bodies, and we engage in modern comfort and the fun of living life.
For the mind, engage in your meditations. Enjoy interesting and pleasurable mental pursuits – a good book, crossword puzzles, decent conversation, or anything that stimulates your mind towards ease or fun. Relationships are also important components to our minds and mental-emotional awareness, so be mindful of your attitudes and thoughts throughout the day, especially in relation to others. Take care with your emotions and opinions. Make a deliberate effort to tend your mental-emotional body with gentleness and compassion – first for yourself so that you are in a position to tend it in the presence of others.
When you look at party invitations, schedules, events, and friendly or familial gatherings and communications of all kinds – even if you’re just running an errand and will be “out-and-about” – and prepare yourself by being aware of your mental-emotional body, your thoughts and feelings. If you begin to feel drained, unfocused, upset for any reason or to any degree, allow yourself a few minutes to reset your headspace, clear and calm your mind, and realign your mindset with better thoughts to get the ball rolling on higher vibration feelings.
If you accept an invitation for anything or have anything you feel you must do, prepare your mindset even before scheduling it or accepting it. Put yourself into a headspace of gratitude, hopefulness, peacefulness, fun and enjoyment, or some sense of good humor. If you are aware that such an event may have plenty of not-so-good-feeling triggers or expectations for you, choose to not accept the invite or prepare yourself in the same fashion ahead of time including an “exit strategy”, a socially graceful way of excusing yourself once you have brought as much good energy into the situation as you can. Simply be honest with yourself, set aside expectations of uncomfortable or unpleasant feelings in favor of your desire to feel good, and be aware of your boundaries.
And, of course, the part of you which tops all others – your spirit. Take plenty of time to tend your spiritual connection to your inner light. Take plenty of time for those meditations that strengthen your spirit, light up your soul, ignite your passion for living, and allow your imagination some joyful play. Take walks in nature (bundled up if you’re cold) for grounding and centering. Listen to soul-inspired instrumentals that evoke your joyfulness. And listen to your favorite music that always inspires and uplifts you. Awaken your playfulness with family and friends, or even just with your own imagination – engaging in some creative endeavor like crafting, painting, decorating your space, cooking and baking, drawing, writing, composing music, playing instruments, making up songs to sing in the shower. Find any way to allow yourself to truly laugh and play from within – not just because someone else told you a funny joke or some clown in a movie entertained you but from within your own lightheartedness rediscover your playful and creative side using your imagination, pleasures, interests, openness, and joy.
In Winter, we have a great opportunity to share and serve others and be grateful for all we have. However, we often neglect that – after harvest time is time to tend the self and go within. So many people who experience a difficult time mentally and emotionally in this season may blame it on their loneliness, or their lack of motivation to do and socialize on the weather, and many have a difficult time processing thoughts and emotions and being hopeful for the new calendar year. They try to force themselves to be motivated by the achievement of goals and resolutions that they sabotage before even getting started. This is because this is NOT the season for big social events and grand productivity achievements of the final quarter.
This is the season to choose self-care in some solitude over loneliness. This is the season to tend your health in everyway and cleanse yourself and your space, both inner and outer. This is the season to tend your inner light and allow that shining inspiration to filter those nearest and dearest to you in support of their inner light as well. This is the season to clean-up your energy and vibration from all that you released in the last few months, tidying up the residuals, and taking the time to tend and care for the blessings you were given. In so doing, then, we also look ahead dreamily to how what we have gained will serve us when the time is right, how we are inspired to grow in the spring. Yet still, we have time and need to take time to strengthen the inner light, to shine bright through dark winter nights with those we love, to celebrate the collective shining light in our homes, families, friends, and communities.
This is truly a season of lights, light in the darkness, and inner light above all else. May your inner light be tended carefully, may your space be cleansed pleasantly, may your light shine bright for all those who matter most to you, and may peace and blessings be drawn to your light like a moth to the flame!
Power in Winter - Craft with pine & pinecone, mistletoe & cinnamon
This season is full of traditions and festivals of lights & wards of protection. It is not just for survival during winter, it’s about physical health & well being seeing you through the outward death-lands, cremation grounds, hinterlands & barren landscapes of desolation & danger. Every tradition the world over has – given the timing of their geographic location – some celebration of light & surviving darkness within and without during their winter season/solstice.
Part of it is the strength and hope of the evergreens and the bright power of red holly-berries or leftover cranberries. Even the spicy and sweet depths of strong bark, like cinnamon, warming the insides. And the cleansing purity of white mistletoe berries, dispelling illness and misfortune. We hang these items in swaths, wreaths, and charms all over our homes in this season – along with candles and lights of all kinds. We build the warmth within and ensure both cleansing of illness and protection from harm. Like all things in life, we experience this on every level Spirit, Mind, and Body – so as we decorate our homes, cook and bake traditional foods, and celebrate with others – we are always tending the Light in the darkness, the light within ourselves, the light within our homes, the light of celebration and joyfulness within our families, and the light of hospitality in our communities.
Take a moment, if you have not hung any greens or decorated in common traditions of where you are, to intentionally choose a few things that will draw the power of this season into your space. For example, candles, strung lights, decorative stars, pinecones or an evergreen branch if you can gather one in nature are great ways to bring in some small element of the season.
Choose your focus & items:
Perhaps you can find or make a wreath or circle and glue and string these elements together to be hung of placed on a mantle or table. As charms, the small bundles hung over doorways are good, or wreaths decorated with the smaller items. As centerpieces, these displays draw our eyes and thoughts and can be a focal point for meditation.
Everyone is different and their spaces are different. Winter does not have a race or religion, nor does health or well-being or happiness. You do not have to have deep pockets or be crafty to select some of these items you can find easy access to in nature or at a grocery store.
Simply put your intent for strengthening your light, cleansing and healing, prosperity and well-being into any selection you find and accept. Then, continue that intention joyfully as you place them, glue them, and/or tie them together. Then, continue further with your joyful celebration as you light your candle and meditate, or plug in the lights and watch them glow, or smell the aromatics stewing on the stove or in the potpourri crock, or hang your evergreen charms.
May the coming year bring you joy and well-being through your Inner Light! Have fun decorating and meditating, charming your life and enchanting your spaces!
A fascinating and scientific approach with experimentation and case studies regarding encounters and conversations with deceased loved ones. Moody and colleagues set the stage for grieving and bereavement processes while looking at spiritual and mediumistic encounters with our dearly departed.
In their explorations, they discuss in real terms and experiential evidence with a degree of scientific objectivity particular Spiritualist concepts and other religious philosophies espousing life-after-death, spirit world existence, lucid dreaming, self-hypnosis and hypnotherapies, mediumship, meditation, and so much more. A world of possibilities, either with personal grieving, healing, and closure or philosophical and spiritual development, I found this read to be an informative sharing of experiences in spirit communication, mediumship, and healing.
With that, I invite you to read Moody's & Perry's book. Take it in, check yourself, and do your own experiment. It doesn't matter if it's "just your imagination". The point isn't whether or not you believe a thing is real or others tell you it's real. The point is that you validate your experiences, who you are, and own how you will utilize the experience or information given. Perhaps you'll discover more within yourself than any outside source could have ever provided.
Cheers to a good fireside read on a cold winter night!
What is Visualization really? And what does it have to do with meditation?
"Visualization" is kind of an umbrella technique that encompasses practices like guided meditations and guided imagery therapy to get your imagination going and your mind focused. But, it doesn't always have to be about the visuals - the picture of something - in your imagination. A person's "mental picture" may be of feelings or other sensations of an experience.
Meditation is a great way to calm and clear the mind and allow us some headspace to relax. It can be used to just get quiet, or it can be combined with various techniques in order to recognize, train, and utilize all facets of our Consciousness. There are meditative traditions the world over which use things like gestures, hand positions, chants, mantras, postures, body movements, and breathing techniques to work with the mind, its role in and pathway to Consciousness, and its influence on the body’s health & well-being.
All forms of meditation are equally powerful in personal, spiritual, and Consciousness development, yet forms or techniques of meditation may vary depending on purpose – why are you meditating? Some folks meditate to relax, to just clear their heads and take a breather. Different breathing techniques, body postures, self-hypnosis or hypnosis, and visualizations or guided meditations may all help in this relaxation meditation. The simplest way is to just sit, calmly & comfortably, and stare out the window at a tree, the skyline, the ocean waves, the clouds or the sky, the moon or stars at night.
You’d be surprised at how quickly your brain can turn your thoughts down or off when you do this. Sometimes you “snap out of it” and get your mind going again or start yourself awake if you were falling asleep. With practice you can then consciously tell yourself to look at the tree – no reason, just look, just observe, just watch. This is a lot gentler than “snapping out of it” or “starting awake”. This is a way of becoming consciously aware – whether you’re about to fall asleep or not – yet not letting your mind overtake your Consciousness as it stretches to breathe in the experience.
When getting ready to do any meditation, remember that you can always set yourself a fifteen to thirty minute timer if you have appointments or responsibilities to tend to, that way you can let yourself relax into the experience knowing you will be alert and awake when the timer goes off. You can even recite that to yourself as you sit down and set the timer – a little verbal reminder to yourself. This kind of “basic-goodness-daydream” meditation is the kind of gentle & effortless calming meditation we need to take in our fast-paced lives at least two or three times a day for a bit of balance between our inner world and outer world.
Any meditation is best begun with relaxation. But, if the purpose is something other than just relaxing and clearing your head, meditation goes further spontaneously or with use of a technique. Visualization meditations – like self-hypnosis, hypnosis, neurolinguistic programming, guided meditation, guided imagery therapy/practice, and other visualization exercises – have become powerful techniques in meditation. They serve to bring your energetic senses (the pure vibe senses corresponding to your physical senses) to the forefront of your imagination where creativity and life force blend according to intention and awareness.
I often like guided meditations for myself and in group settings, and one time after guiding a meditation someone mentioned that they don’t “see” the visual described but that they feel it. I, myself, am a very visual person most often, but it has become an art to change-up the language to embrace the various ways our energetic senses and imaginations combine to give us the experience of a guided meditation or visualization. Everyone is different, and everyone’s energy is meant to flow naturally through their experiences.
If you are not a “visual” person, don’t shy away from a visualization exercise. Just feel it instead of seeing it, sense it, know it, allow it to sink into you. Imagination is a facet of our Consciousness. Let your imagination flow with the exercise. If someone says, “See this chakra glowing yellow”, change it. Shift your attention to your upper abdomen, where your Solar Plexus chakra is located and often associated with the yellow color. Now, don’t try to see yellow – unless you can remember what the banana you ate for breakfast looked like. Try instead to feel the energy in that area of your body.
What feelings come to mind when you think of the color yellow or an object naturally colored yellow? Does it bring you joy or anxiety? Do you feel open or blocked? This could indicate a consistent pattern beliefs or attitudes or behaviors. It is, for example in chakra balancing meditations, an experience to note because that is what may need to be cleared or realigned or balanced for development and progress. That’s the point of the visualization in this example – to give your focused attention to that chakra, at least until you move on to the next chakra or step.
Everyone has an imagination – it’s a part of Consciousness. Anyone can participate in, effectively utilize, benefit from, and experience a visualization meditation exercise. When clients ask me how to meditate and ask how I meditate, which is quite often, I usually let them know: just begin by sitting quietly, usually near a window or outside. Just sitting quietly, observing the scenery and sounds and feels all around you without trying to think or trying to stop thinking, and with – if the mind begins a tirade – a focus on breathing deeply, inhale and exhale, are all you need to begin and continue. Whatever you are drawn to, whatever flows naturally for your meditation, whatever resonates with the basic goodness in your center (your core), take a step to experience that – a yoga posture, a Tai Chi form, a song, a chant or mantra, a guided visualization or meditative journey, a napping-daydream or lucid dream – calmly and consciously.
It’s the season of Family! From honoring deceased relatives & loved ones on October 31st, to gathering together and sharing in November & December, this is the season that is all about family, friends, & community. Whether you go your own way or get wrapped up in social engagements, we are always surrounded by the energies of others – in life & in Spirit – and we can easily forget to take time for ourselves.
Totem Animals are Spirit Helpers to us. Once the connection is recognized, they will travel with you throughout life. I say it this way because the connection is already there but, depending on our perspective, we may not recognize that we have a connection to Nature, Animals, or Spirit.
A Power Animal may be a very close guide along our journey. We recognize a kinship, deep respect, or inspiring awe with a particular animal or kinds of animals. But, as we grow and change and our lives change, we may not always feel the same strong connection or affinity. Therefore, a Power Animal may be seen as a guide who could stay-or-go as we journey in life, unlike Totem Animals which are Spirit Helpers so deeply connected to us that they often remain in that role throughout our journey.
Energetic cleansing is a process of dissolving obstructions & clearing the connection between you and Life. It helps to reharmonize the energies within us and emanating from us with the energies around us. We often hear of “smudging” or “burning sage to clear a room”, to rid the space and the air of harmful or unwanted energy. How many of us really know how to go about it?
Scrying The Well is our everything metaphysical blog, posted once or twice a week. Select articles are also published in our Newsletter (about 8 issues annually) along with other news & promos!
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Cynthia Botsko is a Psychic-Intuitive Tarot Counselor and Numerologist. She is also a ReiKi Master. Cynthia has been writing essays, articles, & pamphlets for over 20-years, some published locally or in small circulation and some remain unpublished in her personal archives. She has been teaching the Tarot, Psychic development, & Metaphysics for over a decade.