Latest News
There are no results for your search. Why not try something else.

Astrocharacters: Have you always wanted to write fiction but didn’t know where to begin?

Many new and even experienced fiction writers find characterisation difficult. Astrology offers a unique and very easy method of creating effective, intriguing, and authentic multi-layered personalities that leap off the page. Astro-characters starts with a guide to creating vibrant, believable characters. The twelve zodiac archetypes then share their intimate secrets, letting the reader into the…

Read More >
Many new and even experienced fiction writers find characterisation difficult. Astrology offers a unique and very easy method of creating effective, intriguing, and authentic multi-layered personalities that leap off the page. Astro-characters starts with a guide to creating vibrant, believable characters. The twelve zodiac archetypes then share their intimate secrets, letting the reader into the quirks, flaws and foibles that are so fascinating to readers and essential for a writer. Simply decide whereabouts in the year a character was born, throw in a couple of curved balls, the moon and the rising sign mix them around a little and there you have it. A multi-layered, tailor-made protagonist to fit any plot with no astrological knowledge required. Astrocharacters tells you everything you need to know. Here’s an extract to get you hooked. Who dun what? That is the question! ‘I only want a little bit of butter for my bread.’ When we were very young A.A. Milne (Capricorn sun and moon 1882-1956) This example of astro-characterisation in action is based on an idea suggested by an actual event, one which could become a Midsummer Murder plot or a murder mystery novel depending who in my writing group gets there first. Rumours and conspiracy theories abound as to what actually happened and, as writers will, we have speculated and expanded exponentially on the possible scenarios. It’s not so much a case of ‘Who Dun It?’ as ‘Was it done at all?’ I’m not suggesting for a moment that there is anything untoward in the original event, only using it to illustrate that everything that happens is fodder to the writer’s pen and can be played with, expanded upon and taken way beyond what was into a plot, especially if you use the astrology to develop characters that drive it forward and who have enough complexity to allow for several possibilities, or none at all, to be going on at once. The extract that follows the character sketches is from a first draft, drawn to give a sense of the characters and their interaction rather than a taut telling of the tale. The writing needs tightening and you have the opportunity to do that, rewriting it yourself based on the impression you gain of the characters. The Protagonists: Michael Cozens. Estate agent, community activist and general do-gooder. He recently contacted an old friend offering to hold her Power of Attorney (PoA) and take care of her financial affairs. But does he have a hidden agenda? He has two daughters who need to fund university educations and a son living in Central America who can’t afford to come home. Estate agencies are not doing well in the current economic recession. Has he bitten off more than he thought? His old friend, who is very demanding, loves men especially a charming one with wide, innocent eyes such as he has. He’s been called in at all hours of the day and night for the smallest of tasks. The astrological personality: [gallery link="file" size="medium" ids="3999,5723,4003"]  Mike has his sun in Pisces, the moon in Scorpio and Libra rising. His façade is charming and helpful, a people pleaser – on the surface. People say of him ‘what a nice man, you couldn’t find anyone better to help you’. His do-gooder sun in Pisces wants to be the rescuer, the saviour, but may have a guilty secret and will almost certainly have an escape route planned. But what about that secretive Scorpio moon? It’s much more intense, likely to have a hidden agenda, to look out for number one, to sting without reason. It revels in power, especially power over others to weak too care for themselves. It plots and bewitches its way to victory without giving anything away on the surface. What you see is definitely not what you get with this charmer. Will he be a victim or the perpetrator of a deception? It could go either way. The name: Michael, the great protector archangel who watches over souls in need. He’s the patron saint of grocers and mariners. Pronounced ‘cousins’ with all that that implies, Cozens means to con or deceive. Jill Cozens. A former nurse who now helps her husband run his estate agency and looks after all the lame ducks he takes on. Deeply involved with her family, she follows where he leads – most of the time. Jill willingly joins Mike in his get rich quick schemes but there comes a point where she stops to question, something he rarely does. The astrological personality: [gallery size="medium" link="file" ids="4000,4002,3998"] Sun in Gemini, moon in Leo and Virgo rising. Virgo rising is finicky and hardworking, offering service or getting stuck in a role of servitude. This detail-orientated rising sign harmonises well with communicative Gemini, which never stops talking and switches viewpoint from moment to moment. Jill never uses one word where ten will do. Nothing will stay the same with this character for long and little that’s said will be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It will be an expedient truth but not a malicious one. But let’s think about that superior Leo moon for a moment. It’s very proud but also open hearted. It genuinely wants what’s best for someone else - until it has to play second fiddle or is found lacking in some way. Then there’s a major rethink. The name: Jill means child of the gods. Jack and Jill went up the hill, Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after. Enough said? Josephine Janine. Former next door neighbour of the Cozens. Now in her mid-eighties, Josephine has lived as an ex-pat all over the world and has a history of being taken in by men but she’s had an extremely good time along the way. She doesn’t rate women very highly. She’s had four husbands, numerous lovers and many pets, and has now been diagnosed with early dementia due to severe but intermittent short term memory loss. She has no living relatives. She still appears bright as a button and very sociable – from moment to moment. Her credo is ‘never turn down an invitation because you don’t know where it will lead.’ However, these days she often forgets not only the location but the invitation itself. The astrological personality: [gallery link="file" size="medium" ids="4003,3999,3990"] With her sun in Libra, moon in Pisces and Sagittarius rising Josephine is game for anything but oh so open to duplicity and guile. She’s always looking for the next adventure (Sag), takes people at their face value especially on their looks (Libra/Pisces) and rarely thinks about their depths until she gets sucked down into them. She feels better when she’s part of a whole (Libra/Pisces). She drinks, smokes and engages in every kind of fantasy (Pisces). She’s been a playwright and a poet since she was a child. But she’s got a deep layer of guilt (that moon in Pisces). Her darkest secret is that she blames herself for the fact that she miscarried several times. She believes that she must have done something terribly wrong to be so punished. She would love to have been a mother. That at least two of the miscarriages were due to abuse by her husbands does not seem to her a valid reason, it must have been something she did. This could perhaps be traced back to her sailor father leaving when she was very young. On the one occasion she did spot him later, she called out to him but he ran away. Every since she has been seeking a handsome man to love and redeem her. Alas, what she found were loveable rogues and insincere deceivers. The name: Josephine and Janine were exotic dancers, one hiding behind a fan, and dancing features hugely in Josephine’s backstory, which we’re not going into here (but you could have fun constructing it for yourself). In Hebrew Josephine means ‘God enlarges’ or ‘he multiplies’ and this is a larger than life character but the meaning of Janine ‘God is gracious’ also holds good. This is a very gracious lady. The plot: An elderly lady, Josephine Janine, is approached by two ex neighbours with whom she had once been friendly. She hasn’t seen them since they moved away some years ago but they suddenly call in ‘to see how she is and if she needs help’ having heard rumours in the small town in which they all still live that she is failing to cope. She signs a Power of Attorney that gives them total control over her finances and her person, and a Will that appoints them her executors, and leaves her residuary estate to them. She is taken by them to a new solicitor to make this Will, someone who has no idea that she has senile dementia, nor that she was a prolific playwright in the past. One of her plays is in course of production and could yield a substantial sum of money. What the executors don’t know is that the elderly lady has made several draw-downs on her property and therefore has very little equity and minimal liquid assets. They do, however, know that she has a painting on a wooden panel that she was given for her 18th birthday when she lived in the South Seas in the 1940s and which is reputed to have been produced by the French artist Gaugain when he lived in the islands. If this can be authenticated it would be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. They obtain the painting under the ruse of having it valued and hide it in the garden of her home. Josephine forgets she has given it to them and tells everyone she has lost it. We join the plot at the point where Josephine has returned home from a Galapagos cruise (she’d been there two years before but said it was a part of the world she hadn’t seen). The cruise had been booked by her PoAs who said that she had a bit too much money in the bank so might as well use some of it to enjoy herself. The PoAs told friends who enquired how an elderly lady with severe short term memory loss could possibly cope on such a long cruise ‘oh there are facilities.’ The cruise cost over £5000, which has set the friends wondering and questions are being asked about Josephine’s future care and her need for a nursing home, which will be costly. A producer has been found for a play that Josephine had been working on before the dementia set in but the PoAs have failed to communicate with him despite repeated attempts at contact and Josephine can no longer understand his calls. On her return from the cruise, Josephine is taken ill. The PoAs, who will become the executors, want to visit their son who lives in South America. Extract from the first draft ‘Mike, I’m really worried about Josephine. Her colour is so poor and she can’t even walk to the commode with help. She’s been throwing up so much I think she must have norovirus. It’s doing the rounds especially on those cruise ships. We’d better get her to hospital.’ Jill brushes back the still-dark hair from the pale sweaty face in front of her. Josephine responds by throwing up yet again and Jill quickly wipes away the slime that’s all that’s left in the heaving stomach. She rolls her sleeve up with her finger tips, nose wrinkling at the smell. ‘Here, try to sip some water,’ she coaxes but Josephine shakes her head. ‘Gin,’ she demands. ‘That’ll get me better. And a fag.’ ‘What are you like?’ sighs Jill. ‘Mike, we have to get her some proper care, she’s so dehydrated. Look at her, the poor thing can barely move, see how she’s trembling, and her skin - oops, there you go dear, managed to catch that bit. Let’s just wipe your face. Mike we must - ’ ‘Nonsense, you were a nurse weren’t you. You can take care of her. She’ll only pick up some other bug in hospital and we don’t want her to have to go into a care home. You don’t want to go to hospital do you Josephine?’ He articulates the words carefully, as though speaking to a child. ‘Wh.. what? Hospital? Why? I’m not ill … am I?’ Jill has to bend her head close to Josephine’s mouth to make out the words, but doesn’t get too close, she’s wary of being vomited on again. Desperate to wash her sleeve, she dabs at it once more with the cloth. ‘Yes dear, you are, you’ve been throwing up all week. You haven’t moved off that sofa. You need to be in hospital.’ ‘Where’s the dog?... Where’s my Mitzie?’ ‘Don’t you remember dear, when you couldn’t walk her anymore you gave her to that nice family over Southampton way?’ Jill tries again to brush the sweaty hair away to the side. Josephine took such pride in her appearance, how can she have got like this? ‘I never did. I’d never give away my Mitzie.’ The sunken eyes roam round the room, staring at the empty lead hanging on the door. ‘I want Mitzie. She’s my friend. Like you Mike’. It’s a wail, although a quiet one. ‘I’m afraid you did Josephine. You should never have had another after Hero died. You knew you couldn’t rely on finding someone else to walk him. It was too much for me, I spend so much time doing things for other people. That takes up all my energy. I’ve no time for walks.’ Mike turns to leave. ‘Jill, you’re in charge. Is there anything you need?’ ‘Some rehydrate might help, and chicken soup. There’s a pot in the fridge at home that you made a day or two ago, could you bring that?’ ‘There’s some in Josephine’s fridge I bought it in that day for her, use that. I don’t think she’s touched it today.’ ‘Well, she can’t stand so I doubt she went in there to get it. But I think I need the rehydrate, now.’ ‘Yes, yes, I’ll need to call into the agency first, make sure the girls are on top of things. I’ll be back within the hour. Now you take care of yourself Josephine.’ As he pats her thin shoulder Josephine beams up at him adoringly. ‘Anything you say handsome. Don’t go, stay and look after me. She can sort out the girls - ’ ‘That rehydrate’s urgent. Couldn’t you come straight – ‘ Too late, the front door has closed behind him. Jill hadn’t even noticed him getting his coat. She makes her way to the kitchen at the back of the house. When she opens the fridge door she recoils in disgust. Sitting in solitary splendour is a half full bowl of scummy soup: greasy-topped, faintly green, but still soup. She recognises the bowl as one of her own. Surely this can’t be what Mike meant, this can’t be what he’s been feeding Josephine on? This hasn’t been here a day or two. It can’t have been. It’s too old, surely…  And what about that campylobacter thingie, is that what Josephine’s suffering from? The man from the Foods Standard Agency said on the radio that two-thirds of chickens were infected. People have died from it. He said not to wash chicken because it spreads the bacteria but she always does, and pats it dry with a paper towel. What did Mike do, could the chicken have been infected, is that why the soup’s gone that phosphorescent green? We really do need to get her to hospital. What will people think? They won’t blame us, will they, she asks herself. Just in case she tips the soup down the sink, boils a kettle and washes out the bowl. To be completely sure she scrubs out the fridge as well, switches it off and leaves the door open for it to air. If only there was some antibacterial cleaner in the house. *** Three hours later Jill is distracted from her book by a faint groan from the sofa. ‘What is it dear, what can I do for you?’ ‘My picture, my birthday picture, where is it? Mike said he’d take it to London for me, get it authenticated, it was given to me for my birthday you know,’ her hand is groping beneath the stained cushions, ‘the man said it came from Gaugain, he painted it, it was my ticket out of there, not that I particularly wanted to leave, I loved those islands, and the purser on the inter-island steamer, he was gorgeous, I nearly married him you know and Bertie from Burns Philp, but –‘ she struggles to sit up but falls back exhausted. ‘Quietly Josephine, you’ll tire yourself. I’m sure it’s safe, don’t try to talk.’ What can she say? She knows Mike buried the picture in a box in the back garden while Josephine was off on her trip. She’d been worried that Josephine might wander off while in port - if she ever made it past the airport that is - but he’d laughed it off. She’s been travelling the world since she was four he’d said, no reason to stop now. At least it gave them a break from her constant phone calls, she’d never realised before just how needy Josephine was. They had time to be a couple again, when she wasn’t chasing after his other lame ducks or organising lifts for the girls. Thank god Josephine had given them her old car that had really helped. When she’d protested about the picture getting damaged Mike’d assured her it was well wrapped and safe. ‘No point in having it authenticated now,’ he’d said, ‘it’ll only add to the value of the estate. Best to find it later, after she’s gone. If anyone finds out they’ll think she hid it. As it stands now we can probate the Will ourselves and that’ll be a lot less hassle – and cheaper - than getting solicitors involved. We deserve it after all we’ve done for her.’ Jill had agreed at the time, after all they were the residuary beneficiaries as well as the executors of the new Will he’d persuaded Josephine to sign before she left for her trip. With luck there’d be enough for their girls to come out of uni with no debts, and a bit left over for a treat. That visit they’d promised themselves to Guatemala to see Corin, they could do that… once she’d gone. Even bring him back with them if he wanted to come home. But she’ll miss her. Miss those mischievious eyes and the cloud of smoke that announced her presence. Just as she’d missed the parties once they’d moved to the other side of town. She’d thought it would be good to get away as Josephine had always wanted to know what they were up to. But it left a hole. What fun they used to have, what stories she’d told of her travels. Why didn’t they keep up the friendship? What made -  and why has Josephine remembered that Mike had the painting, she’d forgotten that when she last asked where it was. Told everyone she’d lost it. She glances warily at her old friend. Josephine has gone very quiet, her face the colour of the putty round the ancient windows and her breath less than the draught that comes through the ill-fitting door. A shining snail’s trail of drool creeps down her chin. Jill shakes her gently, ‘Come on old thing, wake up.’ But there is only silence. ‘Yes, an ambulance please, immediately… How long?... No sooner than that? OK, I’ll try to keep her going, but please hurry.’ Jill turns back to Josephine forcing water between the tightly pursed lips that used to pucker with air-blown kisses and constant laughter. It dribbles out again, washing away the drool. ‘They’re coming, it won’t be long now. We’ll have you in hospital soon as look at you – ‘ ‘What, did you phone for an ambulance? How are we going to explain this? What have you done? She’ll definitely need a nursing home now if she isn’t dead already. They’re bound to blame us.’ It’s Mike. He’s back. ‘Come on quickly, sit her up and make it look like it’s just happened. They won’t ask too many questions - ’ ‘But… ‘No buts, you’ve been alone with her all day, it’ll be your fault. You’d better have your story ready for when the police come calling.’ The extract is, as I said, from a first draft that fleshes out the characters and the way they interact. I’d cut it down drastically on the second edit but it gives me a sense that fastidious Gemini-Virgo Jill talks constantly, to herself if there’s no one else to listen, and that she notices every little detail. That she’s torn between her desire to please her husband and a need to look after her old friend and, in the end, does the right thing as she sees it (Leo moon). That Josephine has memory loss, yes, but she still loves the attention of a charming man (Pisces-Libra). And the man himself? Do you get a sense of Piscean slipperiness, can you pin him down? Did he or did he not take advantage of a vulnerable old lady (Scorpio) or was he being sincere and doing what he thought best for her (Libra)? Rewrite the story yourself and create your own ending using the astrological characteristics and what you’ve already learned from the protagonists to drive the story forward. Extracted from Astrocharacters: A writers guide to creating compelling fictional characters with the signs of zodiac (Compass Books) Buy Astrocharacters from: Buy from Amazon (UK) Buy from Amazon (US)

The Writer’s Back Room: And finally:

The Dark Witch-Fairy Gem. The Soul plaque. Lacking the flashes of turquoise but the nearest image I could find. My nocturnal owl meeting is swiftly followed by a dream gem from the dark witch-fairy. I am at a carboot with a friend. She finds a blackened plaque through which glitter tantalizing flashes of scintillating…

Read More >
The Dark Witch-Fairy Gem. The Soul plaque. Lacking the flashes of turquoise but the nearest image I could find. My nocturnal owl meeting is swiftly followed by a dream gem from the dark witch-fairy. I am at a carboot with a friend. She finds a blackened plaque through which glitter tantalizing flashes of scintillating gold and turquoise. She takes it to an expert who says, ‘It’s valuable – and old. Clean it – gently. And know when to stop.’ Compulsive cleaning follows. With an abrasive brillo pad. Traces of a beautiful scene appear – and disappear. Finally, with the scratched and battered core metal shining brightly and only a glimpse of the picture that once was, comes the expert’s verdict: ‘You’ve ruined it. I said clean it gently, not scour it to death.’ This particular friend always thinks there is more to unpick, more to work on. I prefer to regard myself as inherently perfect exactly as I am. A little gentle burnishing needed perhaps. But no more soul scouring. I’ve done enough of that. So this is where I stop. Before I analyse my gifts out of existence. Yes, there is value in seeing the tempered steel in our core. But there is value too in what has adhered to that core. The overall picture. The gems in our shadow. That’s what my modern fairy tale has reminded me. So thank you dream fairies one and all and my inner witches. It’s been an interesting journey. I am grateful for your company and the gifts you offered. Years ago, a shaman ordered me to: ‘Dance, bookwoman, dance the change.’ I did. And life refashioned itself profoundly. I’m deeply engaged in an ecstatic dance with my wild sisters. Moving without thought. Following an insistent inner beat. Perfect! Buy from Amazon (UK) Buy from Amazon (US)

The Sixth Gem: Nocturnal meeting. A ghost in the shadows.

A barn owl sweeps so close to the car its wings brush the windscreen as I drive home over the New Forest in the light of the almost-full super moon. It’s a spot where I’ve had so many significant shamanic ally meetings in the past. I can reach out and touch him as he keeps…

Read More >
A barn owl sweeps so close to the car its wings brush the windscreen as I drive home over the New Forest in the light of the almost-full super moon. It’s a spot where I’ve had so many significant shamanic ally meetings in the past. I can reach out and touch him as he keeps pace with me for awhile. This is no dream. I am wide awake and it’s the witching hour. But I explore the symbolism nonetheless. [caption id="attachment_5274" align="aligncenter" width="500"][/caption] ‘A ghost in the shadows, he comes from behind scooping up the quiet mouse no one ever saw and only he heard. On white wings he travels off silently caring death in his talons. There is no remorse, only absolute recognition of the cleverness in him that reflects the genius of the Divine. He finds a fence post on which to perch and brings his claw adeptly up to his beak. This is his sixth meal of the night and he is no rush to fill his belly. Instead, he snaps the neck of the mouse and sits stoically with it in his talons. He owns the night, the night without moon or stars, the night that sends most creatures into hiding. With his white, heart-shaped face and pitch black eyes he is both a light in the darkness and an invitation to it.’ Navigating in the Dark The Wild Gratitude site asks: ‘Do you feel like you’re groping around in the dark?’ Suggesting, ‘Time to call on barn owl’s help for understanding what you haven’t been able to know before and making your way to the dawn.’ No, not exactly groping. I’ve explored this symbolism before and the gems are making sense. American intuitive artist Kristin Ann Wieland drew me an incredibly insightful soul reading in which I appeared as an owl. Half darkness, half light, centered around a sceptre of power. With a single tear trickling. It summed up my life. But I’ve not visited this particular website before, so let’s see what it has to say. Insight is always welcome, especially as in the recent past I’ve been virtually blind for six months and intermittently deaf for days on end: ‘Being able to sense in absolute darkness speaks of the talent in ourselves to locate resources while blind. By listening deeply and intently like the barn owl spirit animal you can tap into the ability to find what you need where others may see nothing. The barn owl is able to create a “neural map” of auditory space.  Not only will the medicine of barn owl help you pinpoint what you need, but he will also grant you a picture of the unknown with more detail and accuracy than any other animal. Barn owls… have asymmetrical ear openings. One ear is higher on the barn owl’s head than the other. This speaks of the power to listen at all levels. By integrating what we hear from above and below, we are blessed with the gift of receiving guidance from the heavens and the earth. The guidance can relate to mundane matters of the every day as well as the most profound spiritual truths. Barn owl symbolism is about being able to discern where the intuition you receive applies to and from where it comes. This could be why owls are associated with wisdom because they can hear and know what others may not… When are you producing the most? What is your relationship to productivity? Do you wish you could produce more? Call on the barn owl spirit animal to help. Are you worried about others seeing what you’re doing? If so, now is not the time to pine for recognition. Now is the time to take advantage of the energy you have and to harness it.’ [caption id="attachment_5280" align="alignleft" width="150"][/caption] So appropriate given that I am writing two books at once and am more than a little pushed for time. The site goes on to talk about how the barn owl ‘lights the way for us through our own fears, nightmares, and shadows if we are brave enough to follow.’ And highlights its usefulness in soul retrieval work and finding the gems waiting in the darkness. Totally in accord with all that I have been doing. It looks like I am on the right path. I am assured: ‘This may be one of the most productive times in your life if you get the timing right and open your senses beyond the ordinary. The fruits of what you do may not “show” in the world for a long time or to many people, but that is not the point. The point is to join the barn owl in mapping the unknown and allowing the gifts to flow in as a result.’   [caption id="attachment_5278" align="alignleft" width="450"] I’ll go with that![/caption] [caption id="attachment_5279" align="alignleft" width="320"] Owl Totem[/caption] The Daily Om tells me that: ‘Owls are patient messengers, bringers of information and the holders of wisdom, and they are capable of seeing the unseen… With their keen eyesight, they can glance into the soul to discern meaning and motive, and they are totems of truth. Fully integrating the medicine of the owl into spiritual existence is a matter of considering how we might open ourselves more fully to the wisdom that can be found in the larger universe.’ But also warns that: ‘This denizen of the nighttime has overcome many prejudices in its long association with humankind. To reveal those hidden elements of the self that impact your life for better or for worse, you must often make your way through the darkest parts of your soul as if you yourself are the nocturnal hunter. There is indeed darkness both inside the self and outside the self, but like the owl you can transcend it by drawing nourishment from the insights you receive when you penetrate it.’ So, as always, the answers lie within. [caption id="attachment_5277" align="aligncenter" width="640"][/caption]

The Fifth Dream Gift: Angel Aura Quartz. Recognising the beauty within

I’m handed a piece of Aura Quartz I’d picked up on the Spiritual Planet stall in Birmingham the previous week. Deeply creamy with small, perfect and precise terminations all over the baseplate. It was beautiful but I’d winced at the price of something I wasn’t sure I could bond with. It was labelled Angel Aura…

Read More >
[caption id="attachment_5276" align="alignleft" width="300"] Image[/caption] I’m handed a piece of Aura Quartz I’d picked up on the Spiritual Planet stall in Birmingham the previous week. Deeply creamy with small, perfect and precise terminations all over the baseplate. It was beautiful but I’d winced at the price of something I wasn’t sure I could bond with. It was labelled Angel Aura Quartz and I find the whole angelic world challenging to say the least. I’ve worked closely with Mother Earth, dragons, crystal skulls and star beings. But my encounter with angels ended prematurely – and badly – when a being that was far from angelic masqueraded as an archangel. When a twelve foot high purple being materialises in your living room and asks you to put on archangel workshops you can’t really argue, can you? But I certainly should have. And questioned the source. It taught me a valuable lesson in that not all ‘higher beings’ are what they purport to be. The fall-out was massive and I’ve stayed away from most archangels ever since. I do have one as a protective ally, but that’s a whole other story. So, when Edwin Courtney suggested some archangel work recently, I was wary. As he said, perhaps it’s time to do some healing on that. Maybe it is. But when I look back on the dream I question, is it Angel Aura Quartz? There are so many Aura Quartzes these days and it was definitely creamy, not silvery. I take a quick look at the useful aura quartz summaries on Crystal Vaults website: Angel Aura Quartz - Clear Quartz bonded with Platinum and Silver, sometimes Gold or other trace metals; exhibits a light blue, rainbow and silvery iridescence like the gossamer wings of angels. It carries a very loving and sweet energy, stimulating the spirit and elevating one’s mood. Meditating with this crystal allows one to enter a state of serenity and peace, purification and rest, and to go beyond the body to perceive and receive help from one’s angel guides. Angel Aura assists in remembering lessons from past incarnations and attuning to one’s spiritual purpose. It is a marvelous aid for recognizing beauty, from Nature and Spirit, from within, and in others. Use Angel Aura at the Throat Chakra for loving communications, in romantic pursuits, in caring for children and the aged, and in all healing situations. It may also be used to align and purify all chakras, allowing for the Rainbow Light Body activation and integration. Angel Aura is an all-healer, harmonizing one’s energy field with the physical body, and is thought to be particularly helpful for autism, Asperger’s syndrome and the nervous system. It is great for anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, and for use in Reiki healing, reflexology and shiatsu. [Simmons, Ahsian, 33-34][Melody En, 649][Eason, 179] And check out what has to say too: [caption id="attachment_5275" align="alignright" width="300"] Image[/caption] ‘Angel Aura Quartz is the ultimate psychic stone for sensitives, healers, empaths and zen seekers. Excellent for helping one understand the sacred astral plane invoking psychic protection, psychic visions and accessing the Akashic records and highest wisdom… It is also an excellent aura cleanser and aids in keeping the chakra centers clear and clean of psychic debris. It can be placed on chakras for alignment especially for the crown chakra. A beautiful activator for meditation and connecting to higher realm as it clear the bodies etheric energy field and connects us to our Higher Self allowing more clarity in connection. Promotes forgiveness, kindness, serenity, compassion and feeling safe in ones energetic environment. A wonderful tool for meditation and connecting to the higher self, strengthening our cosmic connection to body mind and soul.’ An aid to recognizing beauty within. That makes it seem like a particularly relevant gem. But I’m unsure of the identification, so I take a look at Opal Aura Quartz, another platinum-based crystal. And check out the piece we’d photographed for The Crystal Encyclopedia. Still not quite right. Too sparkly. Sunshine Aura is definitely too bright and brash. So the only thing to do is phone Stacey to see what the piece is – and if it is still available. She is out. When she phones back, she confirms it is a rather special Angel Aura Quartz alchemicalised onto high vibe Arkansas Quartz. But I’ll have to wait several more days until she unpacks the boxes to find out whether it has been sold at the MBS Festival or not. Another fairy tease? By which time I may have received all the gems and begun to put it all together. Perhaps the piece is to be my reward for solving all the clues? The next night: no dreams that I recall. But, before bed, I happen to be watching Bargain Hunt and guess what turns up in a box of junk: a bright green tinplate crocodile. A toy from the same era as the one I’d seen. But this one has all four paws on the ground. Grounding has been another liveslong lesson. A reminder? A nudge? Such a pity I am so busy writing a grids book that I don’t have time to write up the fairy story and unpick the symbolism further. But I will.    

The Fourth Dream Gem: Spider. Sparkling in a crystal web

A spider sitting a web sparkling with drops of water. Looking as though it is made out of crystal light. Having had a tarantula initiation, my childhood fear of spiders has greatly diminished. It tickled having her run up my arm, but she posed no threat as she whispered in my ear. I remind myself…

Read More >
A spider sitting a web sparkling with drops of water. Looking as though it is made out of crystal light. Having had a tarantula initiation, my childhood fear of spiders has greatly diminished. It tickled having her run up my arm, but she posed no threat as she whispered in my ear. I remind myself what my favourite interpretation site www.whats-your-sign has to say about spiders. ‘The Spider is an ancient symbol of mystery, power and growth. We take our first lesson from the ancient symbol of the Spider by contemplating its web. Just as the Spider weaves a web, so too must we weave our own lives. The Spider symbol meaning here serves as a reminder that our choices construct our lives. When the Spider appears to us, it is a message to be mindful of the choices we are making - and ask ourselves… Not only do Spiders and their webs draw attention to our life choices, they also give us an overview of how we can manipulate our thinking in order to construct the life we wish to live… When we see our decisions, choices and actions as far-reaching, effective tools in life - we can see how we weave a web that can either serve us or enslave us. The Spider symbol meaning beckons us to be mindful of our behaviors - be smart about the life we weave for ourselves. As it’s just past Halloween and I’m writing a book on crystal grids, I feel the need explore spider medicine further. I’ve already used the spider’s web as a healing vehicle in Karmic and Ancestral Healing.  ‘Spiders are also found to be connected to Halloween or Samhain. This is because Spiders are related to death because of the venom they carry. This venom is of course also used as basis for the antidote, connecting the Spider both to death and rebirth and thus she stands for the completion of the circle. The Spider teaches us to maintain a balance - between past and future, physical and spiritual, male and female. The Spider also teaches us that everything we now do is weaving what we will encounter in the future. In the tarot deck is a card - The Wheel of Fortune. This is a card that has to do with rhythms - the rise and fall, the flow and flux. It is linked to the energies of honour and fame, and the sensitivities necessary to place ourselves within the rhythm of Nature…  The Spider has come to be associated with magic and the energy of creation. It is a symbol of creative power, reflected in its ability to spin a silken web. It is also associated with keeping the feminine energies of creation alive and strong.’ Spiders in Druidry, Dennis Hazenbroek Appropriate as I am just about to facilitate a workshop on Crystals and the spiritual magic of Mother Earth. I resolve to use a Celtic Knot cloth on which to lay the grid. ‘The Spider is also associated with its spiral energy, the links with the past and the future. The spiral of the web, converging at a central point, is something to be meditated upon by those with Spiders as a guide. Are you moving toward a central goal or are you scattered and going in multiple directions? Is everything staying focused? Are you becoming too involved and/or self-absorbed? Are you focusing on others' accomplishments and not on your own? Are you developing resentment because of it - for yourself or them? If a Spider is a guide in your life, ask yourself some important questions. Are you weaving your dreams and imaginings into reality? Are you using your creative opportunities? Are you feeling closed in or stuck, as if in a web? Do you need to pay attention to your balance and where you are walking in life? Are others out of balance around you? Do you need to write? Are you inspired to write or draw and not following through? Remember that the Spider is the keeper of knowledge and of the primordial alphabet. The Spider can teach how to use the written language with power and creativity so that your words weave a web around those who would read them.’ How apt!

The Third Dream Gem: Tinplate toy crocodile. The treasure of the dark night.

A vintage tinplate crocodile, standing up and balancing on his tail. I call on that Crocodile great of terror to meet me by the desert’s mouth; Sebek Who is Ruler of the Desert Edge, whose teeth and claws reveal the flashing of the sun; He coming on the dark waters to predict light. c. Ptahmassu…

Read More >
A vintage tinplate crocodile, standing up and balancing on his tail. I call on that Crocodile great of terror to meet me by the desert’s mouth; Sebek Who is Ruler of the Desert Edge, whose teeth and claws reveal the flashing of the sun; He coming on the dark waters to predict light. c. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa The third gem is a jolly fellow. Surely it will be be easy to find a pic of him, but so far it is proving to be the most difficult of all. Here are the closest images I find and they are alligators. But then the crocodile is a master of camouflage and disguise. He’s very, very, very patient and that has been the hardest lesson for me to learn in life. In many respects though, this is the easiest gem to figure out so far. I have a strong affinity with the Egyptian crocodile god Sobek. He appeared on the cover of The Art of Psychic Protection - painted by master Egyptian metaphysician Judith Page, who knows him intimately. The symbols she depicted say it all really. [caption id="attachment_4763" align="alignright" width="236"] Sobek c. Judith Page[/caption] But I know him better in the Lapis Lazuli form that lazes the days away sitting on my old Aga quietly guarding the house. Deceptively quiet. Until required. [caption id="attachment_4760" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Image c. Judy Hall[/caption] And how could I forget the imagery of Lewis Carroll, who featured so strongly in my childhood: Note that pouring water symbolism again: intuition is at work. And, of course, the reference to the mystical Nile source of all life. I remind myself of the myth of Sobek: Sobek in Egyptian Mythology ‘According to some ancient Egyptian myths Sobek was the son of Neith and Set. His consort was Renenutet, the snake goddess who was the protector of the harvest and granaries. Sobek began as a deity of fertility and water. Then myths associated him with creation and the River Nile was believed to have come from the sweat of Sobek and gave life to vegetation and was credited with the fertility of the land. One of his titles was 'Lord of the Waters' as Sobek was believed to have risen from the primeval waters of Nun and laid his eggs on the bank of the waters to create the world. Sobek is also connected with the Osirian myth and was believed to have carried the dead body of Osiris on his back to the banks of the Nile. Another myth connected Sobek with the sun god Ra who ordered Sobek to rescue the four Sons of Horus who arose from the primeval waters of Nun and bring them to land. Sobek was also associated with the evil god Set who was the enemy of Horus and in the Horus myth the allies of Set made their escape by changing themselves into crocodiles. The ancient Egyptians believed that Sobek could bestow sight and senses to the dead. No, no, no I shout as I read this. Set is not evil. He is the equal and opposite pole. A complementarity. The red desert as opposed to the life-giving Nile. But I have, nevertheless, always read the story of Horus fighting Set as the battle to quell the ego and a potent transformation motif. So a theme is carrying forward. [caption id="attachment_4762" align="alignleft" width="380"] Sobek at Kom Ombo.[/caption] Just look at this potent piece of transformation! Loving the crystal imagery incorporated into the poem. It is a gift in itself to find the website When the holy river comes for me he is a raging nest of crocodiles in my path; what light the stars shone was consumed by their cavernous bellies; the stars of the north which rose for me; the Bull’s Thigh which sent me a ladder, glinting upon my lapis horizon; a torch which showered molten gold upon my feet. These are the treasures the sky gave me, dressed in their luminous mantle; and I too wore that cloak of stars on my shoulders, until the river came with his terrors. This flood pulls down the horizon from my brow, coming down from between the mountains to take me. In his wet hands like a lover I fall, opening my heart to be devoured by the depths; but this heart of mine is stronger than the current, a stone of malachite with his flint edge. Beautiful crocodile, I taste your bite and inhale your savor, your gold, and your carnelian eyes; you bring me my death, and I bring you my smile; for this body you take is not the one in which I travel. Beautiful crocodile, I take your bite for a lover, and my heart grows back as a malachite stone. These are the treasures the dark flood has given me, what create or destroy the passions of men. When your holy body comes for me he is a torch of fragrant cedar in the arms of the wind; his navel of electrum shines through the veil twilight brings with his whisper. I am confounded by your myrrh worn like a garland; I am suspended from your neck as a chain of gold; and who seeks me out but a heart of malachite with his flint edge, that beautiful crocodile with his ecstatic bite. A stream of moonlight shone from my hand, drawn from your stellar skin I had by heaven’s gaze; these are the treasures the earth gave me, stripped of his dusky mantle; and I too wore that cloak of moonlight on my shoulders, until the sun came with his commands. Beautiful crocodile, I wear your skin and know your scales, your teeth, and your potent aura; you bring me my second life, and I bring you my power; for this heart you take is not the one in which I travel. Beautiful crocodile, I take your flesh for a lover, and my will grows back as a malachite stone. These are the treasures the dark night has given me, what create or destroy the futures of men. When the holy flood returns for me he is a shady sycamore in my path; what light the stars shine is sheltered in his branches; the northern stars that rise for my brow, the Bull’s Thigh that opens my eyes; the heron of luminous crest surpassing twilight’s grasp; a torch of fine gold appearing in east’s mirror, whose gaze falls upon my feet ascending. These are the treasures the sky gives me, dressed in their eternal mantle; and I too wear that cloak of stars on my shoulders, until the river comes with his darkness. This flood brings up the horizon to my brow, rushing up from between his thighs to take me. In his wet hands like a lover I fall, opening my heart to be devoured by the depths; but this heart of mine is stronger than the current, a stone of malachite with his flint edge. Beautiful crocodile, I taste your vigor and inhale your desire, your turquoise, and your thighs of gold; you bring me my life, and I bring you my vessel; for this body you take is not the one in which I travel. Beautiful crocodile, I take your soul for a lover, and my heart grows back as a malachite stone. These are the treasures the dark flood has given me, what create or destroy the eternities of men. All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa I’d revel in the gift of being as poet. So many amazing images. I also find this, which perfectly reflects my own experience of art: "I regard my work as an act of worship, and also an act of magic. From the Egyptian perspective, magic, heka, is the process through which divine power is activated and harnessed in order to accomplish a constructive action. It is essentially the creative force, and is directly linked to the Gods. My icons are not simply decorative art, nor are they an expression of my own ego. The art I create isn't really created by me at all. It is a visual manifestation of the passion that grips me through my spiritual union with whatever deity I am painting. This is a moment of divine ecstasy frozen on canvas, and I believe that to see these paintings is to come close to the Divine, to touch the Divine through the immediate presence of the god's image, symbols and colors". I am transported by Sobek back to Kom Ombo where, in the 1980s, I had been horrified to see a guardian pulling a mummified crocodile out of a hole in the wall. Hardly the place for such a sacred being, I felt. But when I go back to Kom Ombo on our healing pilgrimage for Margaret Cahill in 2013, things have changed. The mummies are being honoured in a place of peace and stillness. [caption id="attachment_4759" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Kom Ombo[/caption] And I am reminded of the eggs placed beside them, waiting to hatch: [caption id="attachment_4758" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Image c. Terrie Birch[/caption] Is it finally time?

Intermission: The new moon Halloween blog

By Terrie Celest Black Moon You have probably heard of a Blue Moon, but what is a Black Moon? No, it doesn’t change colour , nor does it describe our mood, despite the influence of the dark of the Moon, and , in this case, the depths of Scorpio to contend with. A Blue Moon…

Read More >
By Terrie Celest Black Moon You have probably heard of a Blue Moon, but what is a Black Moon? No, it doesn't change colour , nor does it describe our mood, despite the influence of the dark of the Moon, and , in this case, the depths of Scorpio to contend with. A Blue Moon is the term given to the second Full Moon in a month and a Black Moon is the second New Moon in a month. We had the first New Moon of this month on 1st October, when both the Sun and Moon were in Libra. Now, on 30th, they have both moved onto Scorpio.  Embracing the Current Energies Stripping back our layers of emotions to really find what is going on beneath the surface, is one of the keys to this Scorpio New Moon (see my insights below). Here is a very simple, but effective way of reaching layers. If you are feeling unhappy now, try to put a simple label on your feeling, for example, fed up. Then say to yourself, I am feeling fed up because….. and allow the space for the answer to come up. Then take the answer and make it into the next question, I am feeling  (answer) because…….. This can be repeated time and again and is a simple exercise that can give us some surprising insights  into what is going on beneath the surface. 'Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people’ (Carl Jung) ‘Pluto is perhaps the most enigmatic of all the astrological planets. A god who wore a helmet of invisibility when above the ground, he is all that is deepest and darkest in the psyche and the inner alchemical processes that power our transformation. Despite his bad press, it is in Pluto’s realm that our true riches are to be found. This is where we take responsibility for ourselves and all that we are capable of. Going where others fear to tread, we will need hard hats, a miner’s lamp and a pick and shovel to make this journey. But it will be rewarding and turn some of our ingrained assumptions on their head along the way. ………… Unless you are prepared to step outside your comfort zone and engage in deep transmutation ……this is not the workshop for you.’ The above, is part of the description of a Pluto workshop run by Judy Hall that I attended a couple of years ago. I could, for this New Moon, and even for the coming Full Moon (both in Scorpio which is ruled but Pluto), simply post that description and no more, for it sums up the energies perfectly. But, being Pluto, we will venture a little deeper and try to gain further insights. During our lifetimes, we will all have some experiences that cause us deep hurt in some way. Those experiences will be different for each of us and occur at different times in our lives. They will also challenge us in a way that is uniquely personal to us. That is because our reactions are not merely governed by what happens in that moment in time. The brain compares what we are experiencing with what we have experienced before. It is a way of keeping things simple, of generalising our experience so that we are not overloaded by the multitude of information that it is trying to process at each given moment. Once we have learnt what a door handle is, and how to open it, our brain automatically does the translation when we see one, and without thinking, we can reach out and open a door. Have you ever noticed how confusing it can be if a handle isn’t where we expect it to be, or if the door opens the opposite way to what we expect? That is because it is an automatic, unconscious action. All the experiences of our lives, are layered and filed in our unconscious, and in the same way that it sees and recognises a door handle, our unconscious will try to recognise emotional experiences by comparing them with ones that we have had before. The unconscious looks for previous, similar circumstances and creates the same response. They can be everyday responses like our food likes and dislikes, to a memory of a good time in our life being triggered by something we see, smell or taste. Negative responses can create fears and phobias - the brain thinks that after one “bad” experience, the same result will occur from a similar experience. We don’t always remember circumstances that have caused us pain. The first time our heart was broken, might seem a long time ago and we think we are over it, but many years later, emotional memories can be triggered by a betrayal or loss. Beneath the first romantic heartbreak memory might be layers created by the loss of a pet, sibling or a parent in childhood. As children, we didn’t have the emotional intelligence to deal with deep feelings, and may have been discouraged from expressing them, so our hurts ended up being buried. There can be further, deeper layers of hurts that weren’t healed in past lives, so, layers of memories, of previous experiences build up in our unconscious, in our emotional memory banks, and then our current experience gets filtered through, and coloured by, these layers. So, when we feel a very deep reaction to something, it is often because old hurts are being triggered by the unconscious. Unaware of these deeper, unhealed layers, we can be surprised by the depth of our reaction and feelings. The deeper the emotion, the more ingrained it can be and the harder it can be to shift. We can even feel physical pain, heartache, or an ache in the pit of our stomach. We can feel heavy, depressed and stuck. It can take enormous courage to face our deepest, darkest shadows, fears and insecurities and to be honest with ourselves. Often operating from deep in the unconscious, they are ingrained, habitual responses, and until we become aware of them, and turn to face them, we do not realise we have any control over them. But we do have power over our conscious thoughts, and what we give that power to, has power over us. If we use our emotional intelligence to become aware that an unconscious response is being triggered, we can begin to look deeper and break the thought and the emotional habit. To break the cycle of hurt and ingrained responses, to lift ourselves out of our emotional depths and to create a new response and future, we have to shine the light on them. We have to lift up our miner’s lamp and shine it into the depths. Where does this light come from? It is the light of Source, of God, Allah, the Infinite, the Universe, whatever your belief system is. It is the pure essence of happiness, it is joy, it is love. It is self-belief and self-love. In the presence of this pure energy, negative thoughts cannot exist. When we have planets in Scorpio, as we do at this New Moon and the coming Full Moon, it is time to go beneath the surface, to gather up our hard hats, miner’s lamps, our picks and shovels and also our courage, and look beneath the surface to our deep emotions and the unconscious programs that run our lives. We also have, building in the background, a powerful karmic aspect that has been maturing all year, between the Nodes and Neptune. These, and other contributing factors, mean that we could have a difficult time until a few days after the New Moon. It is important to take note of what comes up now, and what we have felt building in the last few days, as these karmic issues will be old challenges that have been flagged up several times this year already. The circumstances might vary, but the feeling is the same. If we have been burying our head in the sand, which is one of the possible expressions of this energy, we cannot ignore the issues any longer. We are not the victim of others actions or words, as we have full choice over our own actions and reactions. We are the only thinker in our minds, so we have to take responsibility for our thoughts and change them if they are making us anything other than happy. There is help to access the layers of emotions after the New Moon, and any New Moon is the best time to start and try something new. Other influences might make it harder later in the month and If we don’t do something to clear these old energies now, they will hinder us through the month and will peak at the Full Moon. The key to this New Moon and for the next couple of weeks is mastery, one of Scorpio’s strengths. In particular, it is mastery of the mind. For our minds are incredibly powerful and can create an experience that is far from reality. The mind could get caught in a groove of old thinking, of obsessing or brooding, and we need to find a way to break out of that. We need to be prepared to step out of our comfort zone and engage deeply with our unconscious mind and programming, and to take responsibility for our actions and reactions. We have to bring the unconscious into the conscious in order to see exactly what we are dealing with. Facing our shadows, we can heal them and transform ourselves. For now, we need to be aware, to observe what comes up, and use another of Scorpio's strengths to strip off the layers and see what is beneath. When we trouble our minds with anything other than what actually is, right now, in the present, we give our power away and rob ourselves of happiness in the moment. Ask yourself who are you giving your power to, who or what are you blaming for not feeling happy, right now? Past life and ancestral clearing can help to shift the layers, but we also have to deal with what we are experiencing in the present. Each thought has only the power that we give it. If we feed it, it will grow. True power, lies only in the present moment and the choice that we make in that moment. Both the power and the light we need comes from within.  It is not something outside of ourselves that we have to bring in, we already have our own light and our own power within us. This power is not the stuff of politics, conquests or control, but an inner strength, that of empowerment. It is there for us to tap into, and here we can make positive use of our unconscious memories. For, as well as hurts, we have all experienced happiness, love and joy at some time in our lives; the smile or gurgle of a baby, the beauty of a flower, a sunset, the touch of a lover’s hand, an unexpected gift or act of kindness. We all have positive memories that we can tap into and they contain the light that can dissipate the darkness. How does the light permeate and illuminate the darkness? Sometimes, the stream is so strong and so pure that we can have an “ah-ha” moment, an inspiration out of the blue that completely shifts our viewpoint and clears the energy instantly. Sometimes, the light increases a ray at a time and we have to peel the layers back one by one. These wounds can take us by surprise as, having already worked on them, we might believe we have cleared them, but, being layers of many lifetimes, there is more than we can know about now, and it might take many more lifetimes to completely clear them. And sometimes the light goes out and we can struggle to find it again. But the more we find, and stay in that positive energy stream, the easier it becomes each time to find it and reconnect with it. We create a new emotional response and a new emotional foundation, each time raising our energies higher than before. Take your courage in one hand and your miner’s lamp in the other and empower yourself to chase away the shadows and light your path to a new, and brighter future. Wishing you the brightest of New Moon blessings. ©Terrie Celest

A Writer’s Back Room – Part II: The witch-fairies gems

The First Dream Gem: a coconut pot. The auspicious work begins. Floating before me is a large, elegant pot with a lid. Carved from what appears to be a burnished coconut husk. It is empty. But clean. Waiting for something to fill it. So I turn to the symbolism of the coconut. ‘The coconut is…

Read More >
The First Dream Gem: a coconut pot. The auspicious work begins. Floating before me is a large, elegant pot with a lid. Carved from what appears to be a burnished coconut husk. It is empty. But clean. Waiting for something to fill it. So I turn to the symbolism of the coconut. [caption id="attachment_4551" align="alignleft" width="330"] Right material, wrong shape.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4552" align="alignleft" width="330"] Almost the right shape, wrong material.[/caption] ‘The coconut is a resilient fruit whose shell can withstand the pressure of sea water…In Indian culture, Nariyal is a symbol of good luck and prosperity... for attaining success. [The associated ritual] is believed to bestow spiritual growth on the seeker and is the symbol of selfless service.’ A good omen. The coconut has profound symbolism in terms of spiritual transformation: ‘The seed can be separated from the coconut fruit. However, when the coconut fruit is unripe and raw, if the shell is broken, the kernel will also break. In the raw coconut fruit, the seed and the shell are joined together. However, the dried ripe coconut is different. If the fruit is dried, the kernel can be removed intact. The seed of the dry coconut shrinks inside the shell and becomes separated from the shell and there is now a distance between the shell and seed. The seed contains the hard shell and a white meat can be eaten and the liquid the coconut milk can be drunk to give life. A similar thing occurs with our consciousness. Our consciousness creates a vehicle for the physical experience (the body) and then believes it is the vehicle. It believes the shell, the vehicle in the form of the body, and the kernel, the awareness that created the vehicle are one. However, there will come a time when the consciousness becomes aware, when it become ripe. That, it is, the creator separates from its creation. We call it death. In death there is a distance or detachment between the body and the consciousness inhabiting the body but the process doesn’t stop there. A similar phenomenon occurs with the ego. The ego too is a shell used by the consciousness to define itself and it too can be separated from the consciousness. The essence that is us is what creates the identity for the experience it has by the experiences it has. That is, what we experience defines who we think we are. Ideally when we die, the ego create as a result of being in the body also dies. However, many hold on to the ego whole or in part after death of the physical body. The body is like the shell of the coconut seed and the ego is like the hard outer shell of the seed. It gives a form to the seed and hold and protects the edible parts inside the seed that can be used to create or sustain life. The ego can be separated from the essence that gives life. All the entities of the unseen world that have an identity are simply the egos projected by the consciousness inside the ego expressing themselves in the identity it projects. We are no different. We are the seed and that seed will create life ad infinitum in whatever realm that it exists. However, we have a choice. We can wait till we die and have the consciousness and ego separated from the body and wander around the universe as that seed ready to create a new life in the identity we have created. If that seeds falls on fertile ground and conditions are correct it will grow into a new life repeating the life cycle all over again. This phenomenon is what gives rise to the idea of past lives and karma for unless we break the hard shell of the ego, that identity mind has created for itself continues to create generation after generation after generation based on the ego it has created slowly evolving itself bases on the experiences it has. Whether the life it creates for itself is in the seen or one of the unseen realities of Creation, that is a human being or some spirit entity in some part of the infinite Creation, a life will be created based on the seed. But, we can if we wish, separate our awareness from our ego before body physically dies. Going one step further, we can separate our ego and mind which created the ego from the awareness that gives rise to the mind. In that awareness beyond ego and mind, we can see we have the "stuff" it takes to create any life in any form in any world. We only need to create the vehicle to do so. This is what it really means to transcend the ego and what many mystics have been trying to communicate for eons and is the source of our creative power. Learn to identify with the "stuff" inside the hard shell of the seed beyond the form that exists. Symbolism In addition to the coconut symbolizing our awareness, the ego and the body, the coconut is also chosen as a symbol because its three eyes - the two physical eyes and the third eye, the eye of wisdom unopened. Symbolically, when the coconut is broken it symbolizes the ego shell breaking and the heart, the essence which gives life, being allowed to come out and be made available. The contents, the heart of the coconut and the symbolically the heart of our being, can then be surrendered to be eaten and consumed to nourish a new life. Here in needs to be noted, having broke out of the shell it is not a life that would have grow if one stayed in the form of the original seed encased in the shell of the ego. If the essence of our being stayed in the shell of the ego, the seed would act as any other seed and create a new life based on the life which created the seed. Acting as a seed creating a new life based on the seed generation after generation is another form of karma. Breaking the shell of the seed allows us to create a different life than the one creating the seed and allows us to step out of the past.’ So, in receiving this ‘lost artefact’ I am being gifted a powerful symbol of the transformed self. And a deeply insightful answer to the eternal Sagittarian question: ‘What’s it all about?’ Something I have been exploring all my life, sharing the answers that came to me whenever I could. Karmic and ancestral healing is just the latest in a long line of books that do precisely that. Excellent confirmation that I am on the right path. [caption id="attachment_4545" align="aligncenter" width="300"] He’s gotta be a Sag![/caption] The Second Dream Gem: The Land Rover Defender. A tale of mud, sweat and tears. [caption id="attachment_4546" align="alignleft" width="300"] More shabby-chic than tatty but you’ll get the picture. image:[/caption] Pulling aside a tumbled wooden door, reveals an old Landrover Defender in a crumbling wooden outbuilding. Rusted and untouched – the type salvager Drew Pritchard would go mad for. Tatty in the extreme. Now, I’ve been looking at possibly buying a Landrover Freelander so I could get out of here in the winter – and up the crystal dragon mountain with ease. But, if I parked it in any of the cramped local parking spaces, I wouldn’t be able to climb out the door. So, the dream is not exactly telling me to buy. I turn to the symbolism. ‘The Land Rover Defender: a tale of mud, sweat and tears ... of rationed metal, paint and fuel.’ ‘Renowned for unstoppable off-road ability.’ ‘If the Land Rover Defender was a person, it would be your granddad. But not just any granddad, it’d be your 40-a-day, whiskey swilling, strong as an ox, lady charming granddad.’ Yes! And yes to this clue too: ‘In 1947, the first Land Rover prototype was created with the nickname “Centre Steel”.,, Another thing many find curious about the first Land Rover models is the fact that they could be driven for thousands of miles on nothing more than banana oil.’ I power myself with a banana every morning. And, yes, yes, I do know the dangers of the rain forest being destroyed to plant coconut plantations and biofuel. A balance has to be found. Then I see: ‘For sale: Land Rover unrestored condition. £200k.' These things can be worth big bucks. The one advertised was claimed to be the first ever production Land Rover to feature a diesel motor. But the engine in question wasn't even included. Hidden value? Or big con? And how about this: ‘On a Saturday afternoon in a field in Cambridgeshire, a very different crowd assembled for an auction of vintage tractors, motorbikes and bits and pieces of machinery. No one here was wearing a bandage dress or high-heeled boots. Hardly anyone was even country-smart. It was an assembly of weather-beaten faces and weather-beaten clothes, although discreetly tucked into the crowd were a few men in expensive trousers with very deep pockets, because this was no ordinary country sale. In place of honour, standing alone in its own little enclosure, was what must be the world’s most distinguished Land Rover, presented by the Rover company to Sir Winston Churchill for his 80th birthday, on November 30 1954. In it the former prime minister, who had survived a major stroke the previous year, would be driven around his Chartwell estate. Corroded, battered and unrestored, its only concession to greatness was an extra-wide seat for the extra-wide passenger… There were bidders in the tent as well as others (including the Land Rover company) on telephones and iPads. Bidding started at £40,000 and rose swiftly in £5,000 leaps. Eventually the Land Rover sold for £129,000 to a man in the crowd who chose to remain anonymous.’ I spot a link to my coconut pot:  ‘The classic Land Rover embodied a host of attributes, real or assumed, of post-war British life. It was basic and hardy, a mechanical expression of austerity, a tough vehicle for tough times. Yet it also represented invention, adaptability and a certain understated style. Its very simplicity was the key to its longevity, both as a design, and in the case of individual vehicles, of which a large majority are thought still to be in use. It wouldn’t get you there in comfort – you would feel every bump, every jolt – but get you there it invariably would, through anything, over anything. It was British indomitability manifested as four-wheel drive; make-do-and-mend in vehicular form. It went where roads and maps didn’t. It survived where other cars couldn’t. And it was, in its own spare, boxy way, beautiful…’ [] But what did the Land Rover have to offer me? This website in part explained why I was being gifted it: ‘Self-expressive benefits allow brands to become symbols of a person’s self-concept. They can provide a vehicle by which a person can express his or her self.’ Publishers today expect their authors to be a ‘brand’ and market themselves as such. But is my self-concept really one of a tatty old Landrover? Well, appearance doesn’t matter much to me. It’s what something, or someone, is rather than how they look that matters. Are they trusty, reliable, adaptable, able to navigate all terrains? That something should be beautiful and/or functional also matters, somewhat. Bearing in mind that I was born during World War II and lived through childhood austerity, I gain more insight about how my character has been shaped from Even the logo has significance it seems: ‘The logo is made in a bold oval shape, containing the company name in white letters on a green background. The oval is also formed by smooth white edges of a shiny quality. The words “Land Rover” are framed by two arrows going left and right. While it may not look like much to the unobservant eye, this logo contains a simplistic brilliance and vivid green color that almost contains a sense of regality. Green is often known to symbolize vitality and growth while white symbolizes purity, making it a very fitting combination for such a unique car company. The font used for the logo is custom made. It is believed that the expanding arrows on the logo are meant to mirror the company’s motto – “Above and Beyond”. This is not the first version of the logo introduced, but it certainly is the most stylish. The early Land Rover logo had the same principle – the company name on an oval shape, except the background was black, a big “Z” overlapped the name, and the company location was also written on the sides. Rover logo is a Viking ship – the adventurer’. There’s nothing I like more than a bit of conspiracy theory (I do have a Scorpio Moon after all), so ‘Illuminati Sun Symbolism -- Auto Logos, Capstone of Pyramid’ in connection with the Landrover logo catches my eye, and, of course, the Egyptian connection. I dive straight in. ‘The pyramid is another way of conveying “God” status or “Sun” status.  To them –the Illuminati, the sun equaled God.  At the very top of a pyramid is a capstone.  It symbolizes the holiest of holy.  It is the all-knowing, God, or The Sun. The triangle contains the eye of Horus with light rays bursting outwardly. In Egypt, the eye symbolizes the newborn sun, Horus.  Horus was God’s son, the solar divinity.  The eye represents the pupil of God, the light of the world.  That’s why light is emanating from it like a sun. Simply put, the sun/son/God was and still is symbolized as a triangle or capstone. Land Rover is subtle [in using it for its logo].  But, the only things in addition to the all caps/slanted name are the lambda/ triangle shapes sitting on the oval eye.’ The shamanic connection. The next website I visit has a lion on the ‘cover’. As Leo is the rising sign in my astrological chart I read on. Loving this tale of shamanic magic! ‘When I was growing up in Kenya, the Land Rover was the very image of safari.’ ‘In November 1991 some guests at a game lodge in the Timbavati region of South Africa became stranded at night in the bush, deep in lion country. The Land Rover driven by their guide was lodged in a ditch with a broken steering column. Around them it was pitch dark and the presence of lions, animals who see perfectly in the dark, was announced by ominous growls. With several tawny lions situated near the vehicle, the primal terror of being eaten by a predator gripped the group and paralyzed them with fear. Then, suddenly, human figures emerged out of the darkness – a native woman of an advanced age with a baby on her back, a young girl around ten, and a slightly older boy. Walking in a slow, trance-like state and keeping closely together, they made their way between the pack of lions that had gathered around the Land Rover. One of the stranded group ventured to exit the shelter of the vehicle. He and the young boy then departed for camp to find a rescue vehicle, while the woman with the baby and the young girl stayed close to the others. The rescue took place in a kind of dreamlike calm, largely due to the serene, commanding attitude of the black woman. The group later learned that the woman had been able to walk safely among the agitated lions because she went into twasa, shamanic trance.’ Ancient Land Rovers have finally had to leave the road. Beaten by modern emissions checks. Let’s leave it there – for now. [caption id="attachment_4544" align="aligncenter" width="250"] The end of an era? Or is it transmutation?[/caption]

A Writer’s Back Room – Part I: The Dream

 A peep into an author’s life I heard Alan Bennett on the radio talking about how writers always have something in a back room that they’d prefer other people not to know about. Stuff they don’t reveal as it’s too intimate. I have to say, in the past I’ve tended to recycle stuff like that…

Read More >
 A peep into an author’s life I heard Alan Bennett on the radio talking about how writers always have something in a back room that they’d prefer other people not to know about. Stuff they don’t reveal as it’s too intimate. I have to say, in the past I’ve tended to recycle stuff like that into ‘case histories’ – although I started owning those awhile ago – and put them into my fiction. . Having had what turned out to be a significant dream that I reframed to reveal its gifts, I’d like to share this modern fairytale with you, my ‘dear reader’. Between the dream and the recycling came Terrie Celest’s Scorpio new moon blog – an intermission which you’ll find at the end of the story. This modern fairy tale occurred over the course of ten days and, as it’s rather long, you might like to read it that way. The dream, the reframing and then one gem a day. Look on it as an initiation into your own deepest self. Then, invoke your personal dream to discover the pearls in your heart. (My ‘Book of Psychic Development’ contains all you need to invoke insightful dreams.)     Be the witch you are: a modern fairytale                   Part I: The Dream I am at a lunch party in the grounds of a stately home. I know I’d been invited on sufferance and there is a reason, a hidden agenda. I can feel the undercurrents. I am talking to the languid owner when a snooty butler comes up to say disapprovingly: ‘Your friends have arrived to see the six ‘special lost artefacts’ you’ve told them that no one else knows about. Undiscovered gems. Allegedly.’ His hands sketch haughty quote marks in the air. I vehemently deny having invited anyone. I am led towards six women in 1950s party clothes – one wearing a diamond tiara, evening dress, long gloves and a look on her face as though butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. Innocence personified. The rest are similarly unsuitably attired. Apparently they are doing a Fine Arts course and I’ve told them there are hidden gems, lost artefacts, to be uncovered. [caption id="attachment_4282" align="alignleft" width="249"] Ava Gardner but you’ll get the picture.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4289" align="alignleft" width="236"] Billed as ‘perfect outfits for not talking to each other’.[/caption] Again, I deny knowing them. Walk up to them and tell them off for coming. How dare they intrude! Off they stalk. Protesting. Escorted by the snooty butler.                                     The Reframing [caption id="attachment_4290" align="aligncenter" width="300"] ‘Sleeping Beauty: The twelve good fairies/witches travelling to the princess’s christening, unaware that the evil one is following.’ Amy Elize.[/caption] When I wake, I read Terrie Celest’s Scorpio new moon blog, which came in while I was away in Ireland for Halloween.  The new moon is almost conjunct my own Hades birth moon. I realise that I’m shutting off a part of myself that holds the key to gems in the darkest depths of my being. A trip into my Self is indicated. I’ve just returned from facilitating a workshop on exactly that, watching with awe as women released so much crap in order to find their gifts and their hidden strengths. Now it’s my turn. So I back into the dream I go. Reframe it. Welcome the visitors. Invite them to join the party. Out they come, in fairy-witch garb. Tiara dances a stately waltz with the butler. They are having a fine auld time as Gillian would say if I were still in Belfast. I realise one is missing. A dark figure. Hiding in the corner. So I invite her to show herself. Her message is unequivocal. She throws off her cloak and steps out in long, slinky evening dress and ruched black gloves – but keeps her witch’s hat on. She dances with wild abandon. I’d watched Hocus Pocus on Halloween eve with Gillian. This is hot-stepping Bette Midler at her most fabulous. [caption id="attachment_4288" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Those lovely Deviant Art people again.Only the hat is missing![/caption] The ecstatic dance finishes. I ask for the lost artefacts, the hidden gems, to be revealed. The screen goes blank. In case you’ve never seen Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus, here’s ‘I put a spell on you’. It’s the Emperor’s new clothes story in another guise. I’ve been that boy crying ‘you don’t understand, all is not as it seems,’ so many times in my life. And so…? Now, you have to remember that the 1950s was my era. I was a teenager then. Discovering rock music and boys. And experiencing great disapproval. I actually knew the inside of a stately home quite well. My friend’s aunt worked at Downton Abbey (well, what doubles for it in the t.v. show), and we visited from time to time. It was holding part of the ‘lost’ Carter Egyptian collection, kept in a cupboard between rooms, that solidified my lifelong interest in Egypt. I have since enjoyed the patronage of an Earl (not that one) and spent time in his stately pile, which was gently crumbling. I lived in the grounds and discovered all kinds of treasures in the outbuildings, but that’s another story. I have taught in a stately pile too. Not all it’s cracked up to be. I could have discovered university in my late teens but my mother thought it a waste as I was bound to get married at the same age as she did (20). So my brother would go instead. I well remember the head mistress begging me to stay on for sixth form. Tears in her eyes as she told me I’d be wasting my brain going to a secretarial school. Actually, given that I still type at 90 words a minute and that’s how I write so many books, it wasn’t a total waste. Nothing ever is. But you’ll get the idea. When I eventually did go to uni it was more than a decade later, and when I finally did the M.A. I’d been encouraged to do back then, I was 60. I still have 78 folders of research for the PhD I could have gone on to do. But I don’t have the memory capacity now to support it. The key to the mental filing cabinet is lost. And I certainly don’t need the letters after my name to know who I am. But I am aware there is this whole other life I could have lived. [caption id="attachment_4285" align="alignleft" width="219"] Nothing to do with the family, I borrowed him from the internet.[/caption] Oh yes, I forgot to tell you my maiden name was Butler. There’s something called deterministic nomenclature. Not that my mother knew it by that name, which was coined much later, originally as noministic nomenclature, but she knew how to put it into practice to keep one in one’s place. In her eyes, the working class was where I belonged, not in a stately home. Nowadays I occupy a perfect liminal space accessing many worlds but belonging to none. “Nominative determinism, literally "name-driven outcome", is defined as the hypothesis that people tend to gravitate towards areas of work which reflect their names. The name fits because people, possibly subconsciously, made themselves fit. Nominative determinism differs from the concept of aptronyms in that it focuses on causality.” (definition from the Wikedpedia). Rather like “I can’t help it, it’s my karma.” Oh yes you can!! I use deterministic nomenclature to open out a desired outcome rather than to circumscribe my opportunities in life. For instance, when the lovely Julie who is my Facebook manager, needed a name for her publishing house and was considering something nautical as the book was on smugglers, ‘High Sails’ was a given. (It only has to sound the same.) So the idea of these undiscovered gems of the witch-fairies is intriguing to say the least. Little do I realise they will be presented as riddles and symbols. A trail to follow with hints to untangle before I interpret the gems they offer me. Gifts that I have garnered over the course of a long life. The answer to a question all Sagittarians ask: ‘What has it all been about?’ A trail that I invite you to explore with me in Part II.